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lord, give me strength… with a side of chick-fil-a sauce

22 Jan
chick-fil-a chargrilled chicken sandwich

so delicious. so healthy. so... evil?

Friends, I have a gastronomic dilemma of the ethical variety.  Before I get into the details, though, let’s just talk about all the reasons  my favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-a, is AWESOME:

  1. Those cows are so right–chicken just tastes better than beef.
  2. Chick-fil-a is healthy. Not if you order fried chicken strips, french fries and a milkshake–but they have a robust selection of healthy options that are all delicious. Every single one! My favorite is the chargrilled chicken sandwich (pictured above) with a side salad. The salad comes with sunflower seeds, y’all! SUNFLOWER SEEDS. Anything to say to that, McDonald’s? I didn’t think so.
  3. Their customer service is stellar. Not only are the people nice, but when there was a tomato shortage a couple of years ago, they actually added a line item to my receipt refunding me the 10 cents for the slice of tomato that was missing from my sandwich.
  4. Every winter, they have the most delicious peppermint milkshake in the world. Okay, maybe not in the world, but trust me, it’s yummy.
  5. Do you really want anything except a chicken biscuit when you have a hangover?

And yet, despite being the fast-food love of my life (imma call you, Taco Bell!), I am sad to say the Chick-fil-a apparently has not-so-friendly views about homosexuals.

…INSERT SAD/CONFUSED/HUNGRY FACE HERE.

And that brings us to the place where I need your advice. I have been trying really, really hard to not eat at Chick-fil-a since learning this news… but I’ll be honest. One one hand, sometimes I need to grab lunch to go–and when I do, I’d really prefer that lunch be healthy. On the other hand, I also don’t want my lunch to be supporting hate. I mean, if Chick-fil-a were donating $2 million to the Klu Klux Klan, it would take me and I hope not a few other people about .5 milliseconds to stop eating there completely. Why am I still tempted now?

What do you guys think? Do I bite the bullet and stick with the only healthy (and delicious) fast food gig in town–or put my money where my mouth is and swear off the beloved chargrilled chicken sandwich completely? So far, Chick-fil-a is winning in spite of myself. Help!

i am the walrus

7 Jan

Today I got to go to lunch with one of my co-workers, Tara, at Old Ebbitt Grill. Old Ebbitt’s is the kind of place that makes you want to smoke cigars, order lowballs and look important–preferably starting around brunch. Unfortunately, I don’t think Tara and I would make very convincing sinister DC insiders, so we stuck to the regular lunch menu… OR SO WE THOUGHT.

I was going to order a regular cheeseburger, but another burger called “The Walrus” caught my eye, mostly because it came with sauteed balsamic onions and white cheddar cheese. Upon ordering, however, the waiter kindly informed me that the Walrus Burger was highly recommended because it was actually made of walrus.

Just add ketchup.

Wha-wha-whaaaaaaaaat?

“Would you like to try it?” he asked, as if that was a question you needed to pose to someone with a FOOD BLOG.

The Walrus Burger, Old Ebbitt Grill

So of course, I ordered the Walrus Burger. And ate it. And it was good–right up until the waiter returned to ask me how it was and informed me it was all a ruse and the burger was, in fact, good old American beef.

Beef, y’all! For half of an entire cheeseburger, I THOUGHT I WAS EATING A WALRUS.

Me, really excited about eating an alleged walrus.

To my credit, I did say it “pretty much” tasted like beef, but with each bite my mind kept trying to convince me there was some flavor of fish or blubber or anything ocean-like… And to the waiter’s credit, he did say that while he’d pulled that line on several diners before, nobody had actually ordered it after being told it was made of walrus meat. Guess that makes us even.

Thanks to Tara for joining me on this culinary adventure, and to Frederick for giving us a good lunch hour laugh. Goo goo g’joob!

best ever: ginger ale edition

12 Dec

During my first week at work, one of the partners took me to lunch at a place in DC called Vidalia. Vidalia has a lovely menu, but what really delighted me on this visit was the Blenheim Ginger Ale. It comes in mild or hot (I had mild), and while all the other ginger I’ve ever had always left me scarred and confused, I’m pretty sure this is the way God intended ginger to be consumed.

Ginger ale @ vidalia's, dc

Thanks to Jeff Mascott for this delightful discovery!

hot spot: poor herbie’s

5 Oct
poor herbies

Grandpa Ed at Poor Herbies. New Jersey, 2010

I made a trip to New Jersey/New York last week and have to tell you guys about Poor Herbie’s. Poor Herbie’s is an old family run pub and restaurant in Madison, New Jersey with an Irish-American feel and an Italian-American menu. Grandpa Ed first took me there when I was a sophomore in college, and that is when I first tasted Poor Herbie’s house salad with creamy Italian dressing. My life hasn’t been the same since.

House salad w/ creamy italian dressing, Poor Herbies

House salad w/ creamy italian dressing, Poor Herbies

This trip marks the third time I’ve gotten to have that salad in the past 10 years, and even though there’s nothing to it but lettuce, tomato and dressing, I’ll be damned if it isn’t still super freaking delicious.

Of course, the company is always great, too. :)

cupcakes and cactus, together at last

9 Sep

Okay, so I didn’t actually have cactus cupcakes–but if you gave me one, I can now safely say I would try it. (New Life Goal: Become judge on Cupcake Wars episode featuring cactus as challenge ingredient.) After a weekend visit to one of my favorite Deland restaurants, de la Vega (formerly known as Penachos) and trying their huarache de nopal I am officially dubbing cactus “the watermelon of the desert.” What exactly is in huarache de nopal?

huarache de nopal

huarache de nopal, starring cactus!

“A delicious tender chicken breast baked with poblano, green and red peppers, spread with cream cheese and topped with a red mild sauce. Served on a savory grilled cactus leaf.”

Cactus has the texture of a moderately sauteed pepper, but a light flavor that really does make desert imagery (the Georgia O’Keefe kind, not the snakes, scorpions and death-by-dehydration kind) burst in your mind when you try it. This dish earns two and half noms. With de la Vega’s best-ever guacamole appetizer, I bump this experience up to a full triple nom nom nom!

And last but not least, I hope you left room for dessert, aka devils food cupcakes topped with marshmallows. My sister-in-law made these super cute and totally yummy concoctions for my brother’s birthday:

cupcakes w/ marshmallows

cupcakes w/ marshmallows

The recipe is featured in this month’s Real Simple magazine, but I think the basic idea is you add the jumbo marshmallows to the cupcakes during the last 2-3 minutes they’re in the oven. And guys, you know how good these must be when the following words come out of my mouth, but here it goes: Move over, Publix buttercream icing, there’s a new sheriff in town!