Monday, April 11, 2011

something old, something new

What a strange day.  Originally, the weather was predicted to be stormy and scary - thunderstorms and other such severe weather.  Instead, today was mild enough that I only wore a light jacket out of stubbornness and paranoia - the last thing I need is to get sick right now.  I suppose there's never really a convenient time to be sick, so I'll rephrase that: I really don't want to get sick again - I feel like I've spent the better part of the last six months either ill or trying (normally in vain) to battle some pathogen.

Mister, on the other hand, is definitely sick.  He slept most of today.  I left the apartment mid-afternoon and headed over to Whole Foods; I returned to the lingering scent of a recently extinguished candle and found Mister was not where I left him.  Instead of sitting at his computer, he had crawled back into bed, fully clothed.  He was fast asleep and remained so while I went to SuperFresh, CVS, and Essene, even stopping on the way home from Essene to chat with cousins (Greeks can't live too far from one another or they wither and die, I think).  He slept through two rounds of dish-doing, as well as some fun on You-Tube (you haven't lived until you've cried through this video) and Facebook.  The sun set, my belly began to growl, and all my plans to have a completely Mama Pea-inspired dinner, including dessert, went out the window as I looked in on his slumbering form.

I heated up what was left of the Salsa Rice and Red Beans and poured a glass (or few) of my newly acquired bottle of Apothic Red (did I leave out the trip to the wine store?  Yeah, that was right before Superfresh).  Nothing exciting there.  We did not make it to the Eiffel Tower light show, either.  In fact, unless you count the joy of spending almost $200 on groceries, wine, and toiletries, today was pretty well wasted.  Nevertheless, I do have a new menu for you!

1. Mama Pea's Meatloaf with braised skillet potatoes (and possibly cake).
2. 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma from Appetite for Reduction.  I have passed over this recipe several times because Mister doesn't like brothy food (he refers to it as "runny").  However, he's gotten Kormas at restaurants, so he'll be okay.
3. Pasta Florentine from The 30 Minute Vegan.  It's been a while since we've had this - heck, it's been a while since I've cracked open this cookbook.  Anyway, I was glancing through some old posts and saw this and thought, "well, that's easy and always goes over well...why haven't I made it lately?"
4. Jerk Seitan with Coconut Rice, both from Vegan with a Vengeance.  It's been a while since we've had this, also, and the jerk spices of the Rice Island Casserole always make me long for this dish.
5. Pasta Puttanesca from One-Dish Vegetarian Meals.  If it's been a while since I cracked open 30MV and made the meal from there, it's been eons since I've bothered with this book.  Sad to say, ever since my "Vegan Experiment" became a way of life, I have largely neglected any cookbook that is not expressly vegan.  This is not without good reason - I never realized until the last 6-9 months exactly how dairy-heavy many vegetarian cookbooks are.  Nevertheless, this recipe is naturally vegan and supernaturally incredible.
6. Vegetable Etouffee also from One-Dish Vegetarian Meals and also a recipe I've neglected far too long.

Now, as I was putting my menu together, I had intended to only choose 5 meals because I thought Mister and I would go out to dinner tonight, either before or after seeing the Eiffel Tower in the plaza of the Kimmel Center put on its little light show.  Right now you're probably thinking (if you actually read the first part of this post), "Good thing you added that Etouffee, then, huh?"


We did not go out tonight, but due to some mixed-reaction news I got pretty early in the day (as in, some time during the four hours Mister and I were both awake), we most certainly will be going out to dinner this week.  Specifically, we will be dining at Horizons.  The news?  They're closing.

This is devastating to me - Horizons is my favorite restaurant in all of Philadelphia (and we have a lot of great restaurants!).  One of my favorite parts of living in Queen Village is how close we've been to Horizons.  Don't get me wrong - the pricing still keeps it in the "Special Occasion" bracket of restaurant choices, but it was nice to know it was there.  Mister and I have often mused about a phenomenon we've both recognized during the time we've lived in the city: depending on where you live, your idea of proximity changes.

When I lived in the sticks, the last gasps of the Main Line, in a town that is more sub-rural than sub-urban, I thought nothing at all of driving 15-30 miles to find something fun to do.  When I moved into my Art Museum apartment, I enjoyed that there were many places (Art Museum, Wawa, restaurants/bars, work) that I could walk to, but I was still in a place where I didn't think twice about driving to a different part of Philly or out of the city altogether to find fun.  When I moved to the ghetto, the only time I went anywhere without being inside an enclosed vehicle was the one time we got three feet of snow and the only way to the bar was to walk.

Everything changed, though, when we moved down to Queen Village.  I had never been so close to everything I could possibly want.  Three supermarkets, Essene, two Farmers' Markets, flower shops, all of my favorite restaurants (except Azure, but they closed shortly after I moved) and bars (except Fergie's, but I stopped going there shortly before I moved) - there was no need to drive anywhere and the parking situation made me loathe to do so unnecessarily anyway.  Suddenly, if we couldn't walk there, a place was simply "too far away."

The point of all that babbling? Well, the mixed-blessing of the whole Horizons situation is this: they are closing Horizons, but opening a new place somewhere in Center City.  Presumably, the move is because they're doing so well they are always completely booked, but it makes me sad because I know Mister and I will not be as inclined to travel to the new location.  I'm hoping it will be somewhere close, like Washington Square or Old City, but with my luck, they'll have done so well that they'll end up in Rittenhouse Square.  Sad to say, if that's the case, we'll probably go once just to check out the new digs...and never again.

So, sometime this week, we'll dine at Horizons.  Some time in a few more weeks, we'll dine at Horizons.  I intend to go as many times as we can afford and Mister will let me before they close (tentatively set for July).  It's funny, because we didn't end up going there for Valentine's day because it was "just too far" from our new apartment for us to want to make the trip on a frost February evening.  Just a week or so ago, we had planned to go, "just because" and I postponed it, telling Mister I wanted to wait until we had a good reason to go, like a celebration of some sort.  Well, I wouldn't call this a celebration by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly a good reason if ever I had one.

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