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Of A Quiet Place, zombies, and nightmares

A Quiet Place reminded me of a recurring nightmare I had when i lived in San Francisco. My studio apartment there was first time I actually lived in an apartment on my own, without anyone I knew in the city. I watched a lot of zombie movies and The Walking Dead was probably starting its second season, this was back  when it was still tense and seemed fascinating and original. I shared a fire escape with the apartment next to mine; i had huge bay windows with beat up blinds and no curtains. I lived on the fifth floor and would often leave the blinds up, letting the sun shine in the apartment. I never had such a gorgeous view or such light in my apartment when i lived in New York and I was soaking up all that glorious vitamin D. I felt relatively safe on the top floor. My neighbor would bring a lot of men home. Sometimes I could hear them yelling from the street, "maggie! maggie? are you there?!". They would occasionally hang out on her side of the fire escape smoking cigarettes. One time late at night i woke up to men talking loudly right outside my window, seemingly unaware anyone was in the apartment. This spooked me and I jumped up and closed the blinds, which in turn, spooked them and sent them dashing back into her window. It didn't happen again. But that lingering feeling of someone getting in through the shared fire escape was always in the background of my mind at night. Add to this my very nervous dog. She would pace relentlessly at night. It was a constant tap tap tap of doggy nails on a wood floor in an apartment with high ceilings bereft of furniture. I only had a twin bed, a computer desk, and a tiny ikea coffee table my neighbors were throwing out that i used as an elevated dog bed.. tap tap tap. then she'd jump on the dining table, which i'd placed by the window so she could look out. It was so light it'd teeter a little. tap tap tap, thunk, wobble wobble, thunk. Then she'd jump down with a thud and tap tap tap again. It could get very annoying. All of this set the stage for this nightmare. Oh right and i was working on a novel about a zombie apocalypse. Its called Test Kitchen and is coming out somewhere just short of never. 

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Post i started on facebook, but didn't post


Spoilers, I guess? Star Wars related. Not that i don't think they are a little hokey, but i'm surprised by some of the things people find disappointing. Here are some things i don't think need to be spelled out for me to understand:

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Fancy Food Diary

what i can remember about the last week...

Country Loaf with Chaource and White Chocolate Raspberry Jam, Mexican Hot Chocolate
Broccoli and Potato Gratin (using gravy made from silky prosciutto broth and beaufort) (i so burned us out on broccoli gratin)

Homemade English Muffin Bread with Chaource and White Chocolate Rasperry Jam, Roasted Green Tea
Grilled ciabatta with turkey, truffle mustard, and brillat savarin
Delivery Pizza

Homemade English Muffin Bread with Chaource and White Chocolate Raspberry Jam, Mexican Hot chocolate
Pan Fried Trader Joe's steak burrito covered in salsa and guacamole
Leftover pizza with a salad of green leaf lettuce, red onion, mint, watermelon, and chevoo marinated goat cheese

Homemade English Muffin Bread with masacarpone and white chocolate raspberry jam and watermelon, fresh mint tea
Bacon Burger, french fries with truffle aoili and Angel city Pilsner at Bunker Hill Grill
Black Beans, Brown Rice, Guacamole

Cornbread with mascarpone and honey and watermelon, fresh mint tea
Tuna salad with crackers, cucumbers, jalapenos, and fresh greens
Avocado, banana, peanut butter smoothie

Homemade Englsih Muffin bread with mascarpone, mustard, red onion, lettuce, and prosciutto cotto, fresh mint tea
Tuna salad with greens, cucumbers, crackers, cornichons, and truffle popcorn
Prosciutto cotto sandwiches, homemade potato chips, and watermelon

Frugal Food Diary

Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: Scott and I went toa wampurgisnacht event, i had a bbq brisket sandwich and beerspent moeny here, but i am allowing myself one resturant meal a week
Dinner: Hamburgers with shiitake mushrooms, kale slaw, home made fries and watermelon sparkling water

Breakfast: don't remember, probably cereal
Lunch: 2 black bean and guacamole tacos at chipotle. I used my tips, it was under $6
Dinner: Turkey Sandwich Showdown (took double meat sandwich home from work since i didn't eat one at lunch, then gussied it up with things i had at home, most also taken from work) one roasted red pepper and emmenthaler, the other cranberry chevre and tomato, both with kale and onion confit aioli

Breakfast: Turkey and egg sandwich
Lunch: cheese probably don't remember
Dinner: Lentil Chili (made with vacuum packed lentils i'd had for quite awhile, black bean broth, black beans from the freezer and the last of a couple of chili powders), sour cream, and cornbread (i made with pantry ingredients)

Breakfast: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with crumbled cranberry chevre
Lunch: Turkey grilled cheese
Dinner: Hot Wings, kale salad, ranch

I forgot to cancel my blue apron box. Having cooked almost every night for the last few weeks,, I was disappointed in blue apron. My dinners are better. I am still surprised by how good i eat while spending very little at the grocery store. My last imperfect produce box plus the last trip to trader joes was about $25. (other than cat and dog food, which i didn't count in that total, i only bought naan and avocados at tj's)

Breakfast: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with crumbled cranberry chevre
Lunch: Buffalo Brussels Sprouts with bread and sofia ends
Dinner: giant wedge of cheese pizza and a coke from the only place open in near the theater (scott treated me to guardians of the galaxy vol 2)

Friday :
Breakfast: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with crumbled cranberry chevre
Lunch: Turkey and Brie Sandwich
Dinner: Blue Apron: Roasted Pepper Calzones

Breakfast: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with crumbled cranberry chevre
Lunch: Truffle Grilled Cheese
Dinner: Blue Apron: Seared Salmon and roasted potato salad

Breakfast: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with crumbled cranberry chevre
Lunch: pizza (coworker brought it from a catering gig), salad greens, and a chocolate cupcake (from catering gig)
Dinner: Blue Apron: Lemongrass burgers

Breakfast: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with crumbled cranberry chevre
Lunch: mortadella grilled cheese
Dinner: leftover lentil chili and cornbread with creme fraiche (all from the freezer)

Breakfast: watermelon, crackers, and cheese
Lunch: tortilla chips, sliced radishes, guacamole, and salsa
Dinner: Broccoli Gratin (broccoli plus leftover creme fraiche and a sample wedge of Beaufort) on top of Trahana (try the world greece box) cooked in silky pork broth (prosciutto ankle plus sbrinz rinds plus frozen bag of vegetable timmings from last summer) with country loaf (day old from work)

Breakfast: Leftover broccoli gratin on country loaf toast
Lunch: Mortadella and Coppa hero
Dinner: Pizza:  Burrata (froze expired burrata weeks ago, thinking it'd be fine melted, it was), Prosciutto (cut down an end destined for the garbage), and Kale (imperfect produce) on Trader Joe's Garlic Naan ($1.99) drank with a coke a coworker bought me. First item i've ever seen with my name on it.

Breakfast: pineapple
Lunch: Spinach artichoke dip (made with some extravagant cheeses i was lucky enought to take home: valencay, fresh sheep milk cheese, beaufort and the rest of the creme fraiche), potato chips, tortilla chips, country loaf
Dinner: Hoping the last of the burrata is still good for Pizza with ikea meatballs, i still have 2 garlic naans to use up

tomorrow's plan is tacos, i might make tortillas today, i still have beans in the freezer plus leftover pickled carrots, radishes, and some avocados.

I am really lucky i work somewhere that i can take such nice food home and that scott gets so many whole body goodies (we never buy shampoos, lotion). 

My bourgeoisie broke life

It is getting kind of fun to be thrifty. I somehow forgot how fun it is to cook; i guess i just got used to the convenience of delivery. I did not have enough pto hours to cover my mini vacation earlier this month, so my paycheck was so scarce.Luckily this is tax month and I got a refund. This is also the month that hosts wfm's tm appreciation week and Scott is still a tm there. They give out coupons of certain things 20% off on top of a 20% off tm discount. Normally I would put this on a credit card and just get anything i felt like. This time i went with a list and a plan to spend under $200. I still have things in my cabinet from last year and while its cool i bought over a year's worth of stuff, it also means i didn't really need all of it. Other than beer and steak, i got only things i know we buy often (like cereal) and things that are pantry staples i'm out of (for example mayo and mustard, i have jars and jars of fancy mustard from try the world and from work, so i didn't buy more; but i am out of mayo so i got that) things like beans, and  few perishable things that would save me from groceries this week and next (eggs, sour cream). Now I have steaks in the freezer, burger meat in the freezer, a full pantry, a couple weeks of cereal, etc and i did spend just under $200. I signed up for a new csa box, its Imperfect Produce. Its the cheapest produce box i've gotten. I only wish they didn't have a delivery fee, they didn't mention that at sign up (its 4.99). My first box at 50% off was $11. My upcoming box is $20, but i also added things to it (like tomatoes and onions) so i wouldn't go to the store. This week has been a lot of good eating. I've had:

McDonald's for dinner, we watched The Founder the night before, it was scott's treat

Breakfast: Cheerios
Lunch: tuna sandwich  (free)
Dinner: Rib Eye steak, pureed butternut squash (was in my freezer) with sofia goat cheese stirred in (scraps from work, i sometimes take the ends of cheese we prep for service that would otherwise go in the garbage), and kale with apples and mustard (imperfect produce plus try the world mustard)

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: grilled cheese,  i used a bunch of scraps from service and wilted sandwich greens in butter on the panini press, it was delicious (free)
Dinner: Chilaquiles (scott was at a concert, i ate by myself) eggs, last week's tortillas and enchilada sauce, cheese scraps, bell pepper and i drank a beer

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: The kitchen shared family meal with us, eggs, sausage, bacon, blt, and potatoes (free)
Dinner: Steak tacos (leftover rib eye, last week's beans refried, carrot slaw with bell peppers and orange, last week's tortillas)

Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: tuna sandwich (free)
Dinner: cheese: langres and adante largo (out of date or almost dead from work) with a fruit salad of mango (bought last week), watermelon, cucumber, apple, orange (imperfect produce) chipotle powder, smoked paprika, and fleur de sel (all pantry items), and a ton of crackers i've taken home form work (rustic bakery dropped off a sample i was allowed to take)

skipped breakfast, wasn't hungry
Lunch: more langres, crackers, and fruit
I went to trader joe's to buy cat food and ended up buying wings, chocolate, and ice cream too (wings are in the freezer) just under $30. This is why i can't go to a grocery store.
Dinner: Thai red curry (curry paste from a try the world box), tempeh and coconut cream from a previous grocery shop, red bell pepper, carrot, yellow squash (imperfect produce) and garlic with soba noodles (pantry). Thsi turned out to be spicier than i anticipated and I also made a quick cucumber side with ponzu sauce. Scott grabbed ranch tortilla chips, turns out they are delicious dipped in thai curry.

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter (scott bought), date spread (try the world), and leftover fruit salad
Lunch: Fatburger (I couldn't eat one more sandwich, plus the sandwich girl went home sick, didn't want to risk it)
Dinner: Eggs and "bacon" (an end of speck i took home from work and fried), roasted yellow squash (imperfect produce) with truffle cheese melted on top (work scraps), toast with buttery coconut oil (pantry) and white chocolate raspberry jam (work scraps). I also had a before dinner margarita made with the fruit juice from the spicy fruit salad. it was delicious.

Today so far i had toast with pecan butter (out of  date from work), the last of the date spread and acai jam (try the world) and carrot and orange juice (imperfect produce). I will probably have leftover thai curry for lunch or maybe cheese and salad. not sure yet. Dinner will probably be cheese if i don't have it for lunch or pasta and meatballs (still have ikea meatballs in the freezer) and try the world has sent me so much pasta, i've got pasta for days in the pantry.

All in all, i've eaten good. Healthier and even almost fancier food than when i eat out or get delivery. And i've saved so much money. I was wasting so much money on food. and wasting so much food! So with cooking again i've found more ways to stretch things. For example, when i made fruit salad, i put cucumber end and orange peel in water to steep for a day and then put that water through my soda stream and made a sparkling water that's reminiscent of sprite without sugar. I also put watermelon rind in water to steep and made a watermelon sparkling water. Apple core and cinnamon stick in another jar of water, that one probably needs more apple core, its like a cinnamon soda. I'm reusing the watermelon rind and cucumber orange once. I made a syrup out of mango pits so i can make a mango soda. I saved the stock from making black beans last week and froze some of it in ice cubes, i put a few of those in the thai curry as "water". I saved the pulp from my carrot juice this morning, if i don't find an appealing recipe using it, i'll just throw it in a veggie stock (i save scraps form carrots, onions, celery, peppers, etc in the freezer for making broth. i never buy canned broth or stock).

Summertime is when there are so many things to go to and spend money on, so hopefully i'll find free things to go do as well (the beach comes to mind).

getting out of debt

I read this book recently, The Spender's Guide to Debt Free Living and now I'm on a spending fast. I analyzed 3 months worth of bank and credit card statements and found that i'm spending almost half my income on groceries. I am feeding 1 1/2 people. There is no need for that. I don't even work in a grocery store anymore. Honestly, it isn't even restaurants that are the problem. Its grocery. Crazy. I had already been cutting down and trying to shop with a plan from looking in my pantry, but now its time to really follow through. On the flipside, my overstocked pantry would be a great asset in a zombie apocalypse.I was so proud of myself Sunday. I went to the closest grocery store and bought only $18 of groceries. I even got beer and prepared salsa and still spent less than $20. I was able to pay $218 on my credit card today. You are supposed to zero out your bank account the day before payday by putting the money towards a debt. That's a lot of money and the month isn't even over. I almost went to the store today. I wanted to make hot wings and I don't have another off day until next week. Then i thought about how that would take money away from paying off the debt. Then i realized i still hadn't even used up all the $18 groceries. I made enchiladas last night (i get lots of free cheese from work and i bought fresh tortillas with my tips and had chili powder and bacon fat roux on hand). I'm making tortas tonight (beans, avocado, cabbage, salsa, and bolillo from my sunday grocery trip plus some tofu i bought months ago and never used). I had frozen korean dumplings for lunch (from a grocery trip months ago), my breakfast was soft ripened goat cheese and pistachio pork liver pate with rosemary crackers (all things i scavenged from work).

Tomorrow I'll probably eat tortas again, the next day i'll probably have swedish meatballs and croquettes i bought at ikea before the spending fast, and sunday i'll probably make thai curry with things i already have in my pantry and tempeh i bought months ago and never used. My lunch at work is free. It does get tiresome to eat a grilled cheese or tuna sandwich every day, but free is free.

I just can't believe i already saved such a big chunk of money. its really encouraging. I did my taxes the other day and my debt pretty much equals the difference between what i made last year and what i made this year, so i obviously just kept spending money like i'm not making less. I cleaned up the apartment because some of scott's friends were staying with us from out of town and found horror block box after horror block box under my bed with things in them. I wasn't displaying or using half the items in the box, so have started putting various horror memorabilia up for sale on ebay and amazon. There is a lot. I'm cleaning out one filing cabinet drawer at a time and then i'll move to the things i haven't even unpacked from san francisco.

Soumaintrain Sangiovese

I tried Chaource yesterday. I loved it; instant flash of Mt Tam, but richer. I think I just really love fat. I am a fat addict. Just tried Soumaintrain; I was excited because the new guy (season 3 contestant of master chef) was so excited to tell me about it and it seemed like it changed his world. I don't think I'm a huge washed rind fan. Epoisses, eh. Soumaintrain, eh. And now my hands smell like dog.

Finally cancelled my Bright Cellars membership; they don't make it easy. The last time i tried to cancel i ended up on a quarterly service. I told them i work in a wine store and no longer needed a membership, they suggested i get cheese instead. ha. i'm a cheesemonger in a wine store! They were not the best wines, but i do appreciate that they sent me reds i wouldn't have picked. I love zinfandel; i never once got a zin. I got a lot of syrahs, and recently sangiovese (i'm loving sangiovese) and other reds, that after reading about, i learned hit some of the flavor profiles and pair with a lot of the same foods as zins. Can't wait to have a sommelier recommend some Sangiovese's to me from work. I forgot I used to drink Riesling as my favorite until one of the somm's convinced me to buy this wonderful tart riesling.

It turns out my anxiety dog is good walking in a pack. I already knew this, as she's always been ok to walk when its both me and scott, but little did i know that walking with me carrying a crated Candy (cat) would also calm her. Turns out my neighborhood is beautiful. The street i live on appears barren and run down, but walk over one street in either direction and its very family oriented, historic houses, gorgeous lawns. People saying hi to each other. Who knew. I feel like i learn this lesson anew each time i finally walk somewhere, maybe the lesson is i need to get out of my apartment and go palces nearby, not just hollywood and downtown. I learned that there is a lamb kebab place in walking distance (you can also order bull penis), you cook at your table over wood chips. There's also ayce kbbq in walking distance. Walking on the koreatown side reminded me i have also not walked on the central american side lately and haven't gone to the tortilleria in a very long time. My neighborhood is much more awesome than i make it sound.

Also roaches suck. I had to pretty much pack my whole kitchen up so they could be treated. I don't want to put anything back because i'll have to do it again in a week. I'm just going to eat frozen dinners and take out for awhile, make sure those bugs are packing. 


I went to a ugc wine tasting and fell in love with a sauternes. I thought my sweet wine drinking days were over, but wally's proves otherwise. A sommelier introduced me to Max Ferd, Richter Mulheimer Sonnenlay Zeppelin Riesling; it was like drinking tart green apples, or more accurately, green grapes that aren't quite ripe but sour in a delightful way. Then the Sauternes. Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey. It was like dirnking rose petals and overripe honeydew. Beautiful. 

that cheesemonger life

I make the least amount of money I've made in at least ten years, but my diet consists of out of date pate, smoked salmon, caviar, and fine cheeses I get for free. So, I live poor and eat rich. I even got some half to 3/4 bottles of bordeaux leftover form tonight's tasting. The other night there was an event  and there was leftover truffled roasted chicken and sea fennel braised bass that never made it onto plates that I took home and devoured. Our chef  has an impressive resume and he's really good.


While the biggest protest in U.S. history was going on, I was plating expenisve 3-5 oz portions of cheese and charcuterie for the richest of the rich. The restaurant was packed from afternoon to midnight. None of this affected them. Until we take the protests and the riots to the beverly hills of world, there will be no impact on them.

A coworker's wife tried to go the protest today, gave up when the platform to the train was too crowded and had brunch instead. Not that I did any better, but it just doesn't seem like protest when its only done in comfort.