Love Sampling Those Samples

I love going to Costco.  To me, shopping there is like going a mini-vacation.  Its delicious food, cheapie clothes, and electronics prove to be a great place to visit over and over again.

My parents and I will go on a random Saturday, when we have four hours to spend wandering around the super-store, purchasing our favorites and perhaps even some new treats. My mom always jokes (or doesn’t joke) that when they bring me with them they end up spending $200 more than they originally would have. She says this because my dad distracts her while I hide something in the cart, and vice versa. This tactic has worked for us for several years, because she usually doesn’t see what we’ve snuck into the cart onto we’re at the register and, by that point, it’s too late. (What a team my dad and I are – Mwa ha ha!)

The greatest part about Costco, and I’m sure you know what I’m about to say if you’ve ever shopped there, are the Continue reading

Movie Theater Snacks: Giving a “Tub” of Popcorn A Whole New Meaning

There is something about movie theaters that makes me go crazy for junk food. I usually try to stay away from sugary snacks, but when I go into a movie theater, I am taken over by an urge to enthrall myself in fatty scrumptiousness.

And why shouldn’t I be? I am literally surrounded by popcorn, soda, bon bons, cookie dough, M&Ms, gummy bears, sour patches, and so much more.

Everywhere I look I see people indulging and overindulging in sweets of all shapes and sizes. Scratch that. The sizes don’t really vary all that much. The choices are usually large…and larger.

I’m lured into buying the biggest tub of popcorn and cup of soda I can find. It costs $5.50 for a small bag the size of my forearm, a quarter more for a medium bag 4 inches longer, and 50 cents more for a tub so big I can bathe in it. Continue reading

Serving in Hell: In The Weeds

I was at a beach-side restaurant this past weekend for Memorial Day. It was great, the sun was shining, the waves were crashing, the breeze was blowing; there was just one problem – we weren’t being served. As a matter of fact, we weren’t even being given menus. After twenty minutes of waiting, I finally decided that I would hunt down the server.

Maybe he/she thought we were all sitting there just to sit there, since it was also a bar. After a five-minute search, I found her speed walking toward a table of rowdy jerks, holding a tray of chicken fingers, French fries and beer. I waited patiently while she was first attacked for the food, and then berated by them for getting one of their orders wrong. I actually heard one of them call her, “Waitress!” Ugh, the rudeness and audacity of some people nauseates me.

When she was done being tortured, I almost felt guilty even asking her for something. Almost. After I politely asked her for Continue reading

Eavesdroppers Beware: I’m On To You…

I cannot stand eavesdroppers. I don’t like having to edit my stories simply because someone on the train or in a restaurant can’t mind their own business.

One evening, my friend John and I were eating at our favorite restaurant. As we were talking, I realized that the two ladies to the right of me were being very loud and opinionated concerning the old woman sitting to my left.

The old woman was sitting by herself. She had ordered a big bowl of pasta, as an appetizer to her chicken dish entree. Do I think that’s a little excessive? Yes. But for God’s sake, leave the poor woman alone. She’s already eating all by herself. Can’t they let her eat what makes her happy? Continue reading

One IS The Loneliest Number

To me, there is nothing more depressing to see than someone eating alone. Especially old people. Because old people usually eat alone for one of two reasons: (A) Their husband or wife has passed away, leaving them lonely, or (B) They never found anyone and have been alone their whole life, forced to live a “Table for one” sad existence. Either way, I am depressed as hell seeing it.

I do not put down anyone who does this. Lots of people don’t mind eating by themselves. They don’t think twice about it. They are completely comfortable and I think that’s commendable.

I, however, hate eating by myself at a restaurant. Alone on my couch is fine. Alone at my kitchen table if my family is out? Totally doable. But walking into a restaurant and telling the host or hostess that I will be dining alone, and then explaining to the waiter or waitress that no, I am not waiting for someone else to join me, and watching the bus-boy take away the other place setting is way too horrifying to even imagine. Continue reading

I Was VIP At The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2011 & It Was Horrifying!

On the Fourth of July, my parents, cousins, and I received VIP passes for the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition.  We thought it sounded like a great idea.  We walked passed the crowds, feeling like Very Important People indeed, and were escorted into the mash put directly in front of the contestants.  How close was I?  Let’s just say if Joey Chestnut sneezed, my face would have felt it.

I love food. I love consuming large portions of food. I don’t, however, have even 1% of a desire to enter a competitive eating contest.

I know a lot of people enjoy watching them, and many people train and enter them. But, I’m sorry. I think they are too gross for words.

When I first saw Joey Chestnut, I really could not understand how he could have possibly beaten out all the fat guys competing in the hot dog eating contest with him. He’s not insanely Continue reading

(Don’t) Drop It Like It’s Hot

Dropping food is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person – especially at a fast food restaurant, because not only have you just waited twenty-plus minutes for your not-so-fast food, but you know that once it hits the ground of a skeevy “restaurant” like that, your food is a no-go.  You get so excited to finally eat whatever it is you have been waiting in line for, only to see it land at your feet.

This is when the whole Five-Second Rule debacle comes into play: Do you pick it up and eat it?  According to Gerald, studies have shown that the amount of germs on your food depends on the floor on which the food drops, and the food itself.  So I’m thinking with that floor – hell no.

I’ll never forget the time I was at a family party at my cousins’ house.  When the buffet was opened, I piled my dish so high that you would have thought I was stocking up for the winter.  I’m telling you, that thing had to weigh about two pounds.  As I walked into the white dining room and set my plastic dish on the white tablecloth (you know where this is going), the entire thing caved under the weight and flipped over, Matrix-style. Continue reading

Pour Some (Sweet ‘N Low) On Meee

My name is Jennifer, and I have a problem…I am a Sweet ‘N Low thief. I physically cannot walk out of a restaurant without at least two Sweet ‘N Low packets in my possession. “But you can buy it at a store” you may say. To which I would reply, “Ha! Amateur!” Next thing I know you’ll be telling me to pay for straws, and ketchup packets, too!

Stealing, I mean, long-term borrowing has, truthfully, caused me a good amount of stress over the years. I always need a watchman to make sure the waiter isn’t in sight, and I shamefully slip the little pink packets into my purse in the hopes that no other patrons will see me.

When I go out with certain friends, they are shocked and appalled at my behavior. Continue reading

Ciao, Eataly!

A couple months ago my boyfriend-at-the-time surprised me with a trip to Eataly in Manhattan! I was so excited to go, because I’d heard that you literally feel like you’re in Italy when you’re there – and you sort of do!

Everywhere you turn, there are Italian-made foods, drinks, wines, cheeses, pastry, coffee, etc. Walking through an aisle in Eataly in literally like shopping at an Italian supermarket. The mere sight of all the Italian words on the label was enough to make me squeal with excitement.

We were told that the wait time for Manzo, one of the four restaurants in building, would be an hour and a half, but less if we sat at the bar. I gave the hostess my number and about 45 minutes later my cell phone rang and our bar seats were ready.

The food was nothing short of amazing. It reminded me of the awesome food at Babbo, which makes sense, since they’re both owned by Continue reading

All The Places You Didn’t Know You Could Eat Prosciutto

While I was in Mario Batali’s new Italian haven, Eatily, with my boyfriend-at-the-time, David, we were told that there were four different restaurants – one that specifically served seafood, one that specifically served pasta, one that was specifically vegetarian, and a fourth that had a mix.  Because we have such different opinions when it comes to ordering food, we decided to go to the fourth restaurant – Manzo.

Unfortunately for us, the wait time was an hour and a half.  The extremely courteous hostess asked me for my name and cell phone number, and said she’d call when our table for ready.  She also asked us if we would want to sit at the bar if two seats became available before the table, and we said that would be perfect.

David and I walked around Eatily for the next half hour, taking in all the sights.  We started to get jealous of everyone around us eating, so we decided it would be a great idea to get our appetizers in the “piazza” part of the building, where they were selling prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, vegetables, etcetera.

Because David has champagne tastes, he decided to order half a pound of the best prosciutto they had, which cost $35 a pound.  I yelled at him for five minutes, until he opened it up and made me try a bite.  Then I stopped yelling…and started Continue reading

I’m Not An Over-Eater, I’m Just Over-Eager

My favorite thing about any party I go to: the food.

First, I attack the appetizers: My family and extended family usually put out a variety of food – from chips and dip, to artichoke dip, to cream cheese, cheddar cheese and salsa dip. For bigger parties there might be mini riceballs, jumbo shrimp, baked clams, etc.

Here’s the problem with me and appetizers – I fill up on them! Every single time I go to a wedding, communion, graduation, anniversary, or birthday party, I say the same thing – “I’m not going to eat a lot, now…because I want to eat the real food. And what happens every single time? I eat my body weight in appetizers, make friends with the waiters and waitresses (if it’s in a catering hall), and throw people out the way to get to the goods.

Next, there’s the main course: By this time, I’m usually completely full from the appetizers, but I will always push through like a champ anyway. My entire extended family and I always have our catered food set up buffet style, so that everyone can make a non-hectic line and easily take whatever they want. Of course, my family has so many people (usually 60 at every party) that the line can stretch for a mile, so I always make sure to run (yes, run) when I hear that the food is out. Continue reading

I Ate Fast Food On A Nathan’s Garbage Pail

Last month, I went on a double date to Astroland in Coney Island…and I experienced a few firsts while I was there.

For the first time in my life, I ate a chilly cheese dog. We entered Nathan’s, and immediately began reading the giant billboard that is its menu. I saw “Hot Dog, “Cheese Dog” (something that had intrigued me), and “Chili Cheese Dog” (something that fascinated me so much that I decided I had to try it.

I also decided to order something else I had never tried at Nathan’s – a large bacon cheese fries. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the cheese fries, but bacon? At Nathan’s? This was an unfamiliar phenomenon that I wanted to familiarize myself with…ASAP.

I ordered a small soda because I didn’t want to be a pig (hahaha). Continue reading

Dining Etiquette: The Awkward Moment When Everyone At The Table Gets Their Food But One Person

This past weekend, two of my best friends and I went to a restaurant in Manhattan called Max Brenner: Chocolate By The Bald Man. It’s an awesome place to go for dessert, but it also has good regular food. I wasn’t too hungry, having eaten the remnants of my half-eaten burrito throughout the afternoon. I guess this worked in my favor.

After waiting about twenty minutes for a table, the three of us sat down in the crowded city restaurant. Waiters and waitresses were bustling passed us with huge trays of food, drinks, and chocolately delicious desserts. We were given menus and I decided on the lemon chicken with cherry tomatoes and roasted potatoes. Kerry and Melissa both got a Greek Salad with feta, red onions, tomatoes, olives, hummus crustini and red-wine vinaigrette. Kerry also a side of chicken/bacon skewers..

Both of their salads, along with the skewers, came out within fifteen minutes. My food, however, did not. The girls sat there for a good five minutes while we chatted, and never touched their forks. Finally, the waitress came over to our table.

“I am so Continue reading

The Pros & Cons of Cruise Food

This past week, I was on a cruise to the Bahamas. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a cruise before, but the food is all-inclusive. That means that you sit down at a fancy restaurant, and choose between 8 appetizers, 4 soups or salads, 8 entrees, and about 7 desserts. The fun thing, though, is that you can order one of everything! You can literally eat until you are full.

Now, here’s where the “con” comes into play. Unfortunately for me, I have that eyes-too-big-for-my-stomach syndrome and I’ve been over-ordering all week long. I always seem to like a minimum of two appetizers, a soup or salad, and two entrees (that’s not even getting to dessert yet).

As great as this all may sound, unfortunately the food itself is not exceptional. First of all, the food looks and sounds a lot better than it tastes. I was disappointed countless times after ordering something that sounded great, was served something that looked great, and then tasted it and found it to be just okay.

Secondly, Continue reading

When The Special Food Makes You Especially Sick

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than vomiting up whatever it was that I ate or drank the evening before. It especially sucks when you’re on vacation.

Right now, I’m sitting on my cousin Luca’s balcony in Calabria, while my poor cousin, Victoria, is lying in bed with what we think is a stomach virus.

She thinks that her body is rejecting the sheer amount of food she’s been exposing it to, coupled with the fact that we eat crazy things at crazy hours of the day.

Because we are traveling all around Italy, the planes we are catching are at 6AM, ensuring that we get a full day in whatever city we fly into. That, unfortunately, means waking up at 4AM and, essentially, feeling famished by 7AM.

Because I am a cafone who will never choose to not eat, I probably eat about four times before noon. My cousin, however, still feels full at 5AM from dinner the night before. Her body is telling her that she isn’t hungry, but her head is confused because it’s thinking, “It’s morning. You’re supposed to eat breakfast now!” Continue reading