Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two Tickets to Pittsburgh

Here's a joke.  Two guys are talking about this and that, and the first guy asks the second, "Hey, do you know what a Freudian slip is?"  Second guy says, "No, what's that?"  First guy says, "Well, it's like when you go up to the bus counter, and the woman selling the tickets has large breasts, so instead of saying, 'I'll take two tickets to Pittsburgh,' you accidentally say, 'I'll take two pickets to Titsburgh'."  Second guy says, "Yeah, I think I know what you mean!  Like, the other day, I meant to say to my wife, 'Dinner is delicious,' but I accidentally said, 'You stupid bitch, you ruined my life!'"

ANYWAY, speaking of Pittsburgh, dinner, and marital bliss... 

I went to Pittsburgh this weekend, staying with my friends Brandon and Erin, who took care of me in every possible way.  They gave me a super-comfy bed to sleep in, took me out, drove me around, fed me, made me coffee, and Erin even gave me a bunch of clothes that she was going to get rid of (I'm wearing her pink shirt today).  Their adorable little dog licked my legs and feet and I got to give kisses to their adorable kitty.  I could not have asked for a better weekend.
Oh my god, I love their dog.  He is sooo cute and little!  I want to eat his face!
There was a farmer's market at a truck stop on the turnpike, so I picked up a couple squash and zucchini, and on Friday night, Erin and I randomly prepared them and some potatoes, a portobello mushroom, pressed tofu, and some yummy bread for grilling.  You know what I learned?  Everything is better when grilled!  Also, food is better when prepared and eaten with friends.  We prepared everything simply, mostly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper, and it was just ridiculously good.  Marveling at the tastiness of the potatoes, Erin informed me that CSA veggies are just better, which I'd always kind of figured to be true.  I wish that I could do better than just get on a CSA waiting list here in Chester County.

The next day, we were going to a potluck BBQ, so I quickly whipped up some one of my baking favorites: Banana Split Pudding Brownies from Vegan with a Vengeance.  The bananas weren't super-ripe like they are supposed to be, but you know what?  It turned out excellent anyway.  Also, Erin didn't have a brownie tin, so we overfilled it into a pie pan.  Somehow, the brownie underneath broke through the topping in this perfect, lovely circle -- and once the bananas were sliced on top, it made the most gorgeous banana brownies to date.
I actually took this picture while the brownies were in my lap in a moving vehicle on the way to the BBQ, so it's not the nicest picture, but you get the idea. 

On Sunday, they took me to a vegan restaurant called The Zenith Cafe, and although it was a really cool place with a whole antique shop attached, and a style of ordering where you get an entree and then there is a full buffet where you can go crazy on the sides, I didn't actually think the restaurant was very good.  I had this coconut curry wrap thing, and it was pretty plain.  I don't know.  In my opinion, one should aim to impress with vegan cooking, or else people will just hold on to their ideas that vegan cooking is not as good and unsatisfying.  Erin got some french toast and let me have a lot of it, and although it was ok, I thought it was pretty spongey and I couldn't help but think with longing of the blueberry pancakes I have in my freezer, which no one would ever guess was vegan.  The french toast, I'm sure, would not fool any omnivores.  So that was a let-down, but I don't regret going because, really, it is such a cool place.  But I know that if I want something done right, I must do it myself (with the help of awesome cookbooks, of course)!

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