The Kids Meal

5-26-10                 4:24am

I just gotta point out how awesome the kids meal is at Panda Express. I get it all the time. It’s perfect. I can’t eat a two entrée meal. I can’t even usually finish the kids meal. It’s the perfect size for me when I’m REALLY hungry. I finished it all today (except for the cookies) and was so stuffed it was painful. And it cost me less than $5. What do you get? Everything here. One side, one main item, a chocolate chip cookie, a fortune cookie, and a tiny drink you can refill as many times as you want.

Today's Meal

I don’t know why smaller meals are limited to kids almost everywhere. Panda Express doesn’t hassle me about age. Neither does the movie theater. At most theaters, for around $5, I can get more popcorn than I generally eat, candy and a drink. Why would I pass that up? I don’t need a big bag of popcorn or a bucket. I’m just feeding the trash. Try the kids meal. You just might like it. ;)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010

A Good Night – Croce’s & N-

5-24-10                 3:12am

I had an awesome night tonight. For those of you who are always hassling me about not eating healthy, I did. Certainly tastier than a burrito but much more expensive.

I went to Croce’s downtown, had to get out of my house. I got off at the 12th & Imperial trolley stop and asked valets and hostess people along 5th Ave where I could find food and jazz that wouldn’t break the bank. They pointed me there. I’m glad they did.

It was such a great experience. I had a table in the corner right by the piano. The waitress was attentive and helpful. The food was amazing. I couldn’t figure out just what to order since I don’t eat most of what was on the menu. Not because it’s weird food. I just don’t eat much. So I settled on the goat cheese salad. New things are scary to me but I tried and loved it. And, save for leaving off the onions, I tried every part of it. Even the beets and cucumber.

Note to self: I LOVE fried balls of goat cheese!

I overheard the person next to me order potato soup, which I didn’t see on the menu, and I love potatoes so I ordered that too. It was more like puree than soup but it was good. And she didn’t look at me like I was crazy when I asked if I was supposed to eat the leeks in the middle or if they were just for decoration.

Much more soup than it looks like here. Warm & filling.

I also got a piece of cheesecake. I got strawberries on the top instead of their fruit topping that had orange liquor in it. I don’t do alcohol. It was so divine. Tiny bites of delicious cheesecake and strawberries with my eyes closed to good jazz music. Amazing.

Mmmmm... Heaven on a plate

Even the silverware intrigued me. The forks are anorexic but the spoons make up for it.

And as I sat there I watched the staff. They interacted and joked with each other and with the musicians. They smiled and laughed. Most of them didn’t seem to hate being there. The manager was welcoming guests and the musician introduced him as a fellow musician. The musician gave props to the bartenders. It was a cool environment. The team worked.

It was very different than my experience at Bing Crosby’s where nobody talks, the wait staff is invisible and there is a general attitude that they’re better than the customer. At Croce’s it wasn’t like that. It was warm. I felt at home. And when I left I felt full of something other than French fries and regret. I missed Sacha though. The music tonight was good. It was fun and upbeat, but she’s powerful. The two together might make me melt. ;)

I wrote in my journal, “For $32 and a tip tonight I got a goat cheese salad, potato soup, cheesecake with strawberries, a Sprite, the perfect corner table, great service & some awesome jazz music. (big sigh) The happiness is worth it.”

When I left Croce’s, I took the trolley back to East County and met N-. We went to Fridays. I had a strawberry lemonade and some mashed potatoes. I love potatoes. He talked about cars and airplanes and school and family. Mostly I just listened. And I wondered what he thought of the listening.

As I listened to his thoughts about school and the future and his schedule I thought about how different we are. I didn’t really have anything to say. At least nothing that was relevant. And I had taken some meds on the trolley so I wouldn’t throw up that were making me tired. I literally said almost nothing, except for something about the origin of blue raspberry and asking a few questions. (AT – I have nothing to offer.) I was witnessing his stream of consciousness. He seems so happy. And determined. And figured out. I felt like an observer.

I like N-. He’s like the perfect guy. Family-oriented, studying to be a doctor, loves music, goes to church, doesn’t drink, sings. I don’t know if he dances. He even lives in east county. Go figure. I don’t want to feel so separate. I don’t want to feel so empty.

Tonight was a good night.

©Michelle Routhieaux 2010


5-19-10                 1:20am

So, M- was at it again today making me think. Today’s question:

What are you having for lunch today darlings?

A simple question, I thought. However, the complexity of an answer lies not in the question itself but in who’s answering it. And the answers astounded me.

  • Poached eggs
  • Miso soup, edamame and green kombucha tea
  • Coffee
  • Leftover dim sum goodies – sticky rice, turnip cakes, a random siu mai
  • Grass
  • Banana cream pie yogurt
  • Country stew chicken
  • Fried chicken
  • Kung pau chickin
  • Chicken Katsu
  • Wallaby raspberry yoghurt (followed by existential question about the spelling of yogurt)
  • granola bar

My answer?

  • Lunch? I haven’t made it to breakfast yet. I’m debating over Honey Nut Cheerios or hot dogs.

Now, I’ve thought about this on and off all day. And I pondered it as I ate the microwaved hot dogs I finally settled on for breakfast. What does the food I eat mean about me?

I don’t know what half the things those people named are. I’d like to be in the category of people who eat them, but I’m not. Grass? Really? I don’t understand why people pay lots of money for organic grass to eat like a starving child in Africa. Do they even eat grass in Africa? Animals eat grass, right? The raspberry yoghurt existential question response made me laugh and then gag. Like, really? Wow.

My main foods are hot dogs, burritos, tacos, an occasional sandwich or frozen dinner, ramen, and whatever I can find in my fridge in the middle of the night. Tonight it was milk and cheese. I eat like a bachelor, and a poor one at that. But I really don’t know any different. And I wouldn’t be caught dead eating grass.

I don’t quite understand foods that are out of my price range or out of my class. And every class has their foods. I went to a dim sum restaurant in LA once with my friend Shana. She was so excited to take me there. I told her I don’t do ethnic but she was convinced I’d love it. She and her boyfriend and I waited outside for like an hour for a table, during which time I noted the B rating from the health department displayed proudly in the window. I was compliant. I tried things. Hated them all. Left starving.

Maybe it’s in my genes to like poor-people food. I don’t know. I’d take a corn dog from 7-11 any day over dim sum. I’ve tried sushi several times trying to convince myself that eventually I’ll like it. No luck. And word to the wise – do NOT buy sushi from 7-11. ;)

It’s kind of tricky because I WANT to try new foods (even though I hate trying new things), but I don’t want to find a new food that I like and cannot afford to eat. You know? And I don’t cook. And I don’t want to cook…

(sigh) My head hurts. I can’t think anymore now.

Lunch. Such a complex thing.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2010