Tag Archives: food

What Your Favorite #Instagram #Filter Says About You

Normal — You’re an actual photographer. Just kidding. You actual have #NoFilter, brah.

Amaro — Your nostalgia is European, a supercool pretentiousness that’s incomparably aloof, just like that great regard you hold for places that you’ve never been.

Mayfair — You like it when people consider you an artist, and lucky for you, you’re smart enough to realize that a little added shadow and saturation looks dramatic enough to half-do the job for you.

Rise — You refuse to believe that any good music has been released since 1978, even though you yourself weren’t born until 1987.

Hudson — You’re self-conscious because you’re worried that your friends are going to figure out that all you do is use the Mayfair filter, so you feel the need to switch it up.

Valencia — You own a different flannel shirt for ever hair in your beard, which is one for every song ever written by the Decemberists.

X-Pro II — You listened to more rap metal growing up than you’re comfortable admitting, which is why you’re still a sucker for anything with a totally awesome “X-” in front of it.

Sierra — You have a dog, or some other pet that you won’t stop taking photos of.

Willow — You feel like you’re supposed to be using Instagram for things but you’re too self-conscious and afraid that you’re not doing something right simply because you don’t “get it,” so you default to black-and-white so you feel like you’re doing something (even though you’re not).

Lo-Fi — Garage rock bands and the Elephant Six Collective were just as good to you in art school as they are today.

Earlybird — You’ve lived your entire life basking in sun-soaked sepia, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sutro — You care less about pictures and more about telling the world about the totally cool concert / restaurant / tourist trap vacation spot you’re currently at.

Toaster — You’re a Cylon.

Brannan — You’re a challenge-seeker, always looking for something new, so congratulations, you got this far in the filter list, instead of settling for the moderately-less-shadowed Mayfair. So maybe you’re a little darker, too.

Inkwell — You’re trying even harder than that Willow guy to figure what the hell this whole Instagram thing is supposed to be about, so you dig deeper into the filter list, hoping that later filters are cool like deep album cuts.

Walden — You still quote Transcendentalists in your Facebook profile.

Hefe — You’re the boss. Of Instagram, anyway.

Nashville — You’ve never been down South, and you’ve never owned a Polaroid camera, but you think it’s cool when other people have.

1977 — You don’t even care that punk’s not dead, you just want find a filter that no one else is gonna use ’cause you don’t wanna be like all them other poseurs.

Kelvin — You’re rough around the edges, enough that you probably do things like write lists of What Your Favorite Instagram Filter Says About You when you’re not already busy bitching about Thought Catalog.

The Late Night Mistake Haiku

Hamburgers and fries
In the glow of the drive-thru
Clogs your soul with shame.

Dinner for One

She revels in knowing that these are the days she’ll recount to her children’s children. She thinks about the advice she’ll give, advice she never received because of her own family’s conservatism.  She makes dinner; sauteing onions and garlic that mix into a smell that never fails to make her feel closer to her mother, dancing to music that gives her no choice but to move (even when she’s at work or on the train, tired or upset). She dances while the sweat drips off of her, while the onions sizzle, while the water in her glass threatens suicide over the edge. She stops only long enough to drink it in greedy gulps, then begins dancing again in a movement that suggests she never stopped. She lets the water spill, thinks about all of the thirsts she gets to quench. When the food is done, she piles it onto a green plate, licking her fingers as she does.

Burrito Sonnet #1

Our love is like a burrito, tightly
wrapped and warm and sometimes much too filling
(not uncomfortably so) or slightly
messy, sometimes sloppy, often dripping

with a liquid mélange of every food
group represented — the fluffy brown rice
with mildly spiced salsa and a good
chunk of meat, not-too-sour cream, a nice

spoonful of Aztesticles, beans and cheese.
A savory medley united by one
massive, impassioned consumption that frees
that flavorful drive. As it spills and runs

through your body, its tastes fill your being
with pleasures that make for a life worth living.

Broken Bread (Part II)

So, since this site isn’t called five by eight hundred, I split up last week’s story into two. Below is part two. If you missed part I from last week, you should probably read it.

“What? Ben, you haven’t seen this woman. Her body is the reason poetry was invented.” She could feel herself getting carried away. “I bet she has really soft skin.”

“Are you in love with her?” Ben opened the freezer, stared in as if taking inventory.

“Perhaps,” was what she said. Then quieter, “I do wish I was her sometimes.”

“Unbelievable,” Ben said, still staring into the freezer.

“Close that,” Bea said.

Ben slammed it shut. A couple of magnets shifted and some unpaid bills fell onto the floor. Bea leaned over to pick them up.

“You act like you’re going to love me forever,” she said. One of the papers had fallen under the fridge and she was very aware of the folds in her stomach as she reached under to get it.

Ben laughed then, a cruel incredulous laugh she didn’t recognize.

“I don’t know what you want from me. I love you right now. I plan to love you until forever, but you’re not making it very easy.”

“There it is,” she said, standing up. “I knew you weren’t sure anymore.”

“You think I don’t see the bank receipts?” The question came out like an involuntary cough. “You think I don’t notice that you spend thirty, forty dollars a day on lunch? Ten bucks at the coffee shop? What are you buying with all of that?”

“What do you think?” she asked over the sound of onions popping in the oil. Black smoke rose in waves from the pan, the smell of sautéing onions was no longer pleasant.

“I don’t know, Bea,” he said. “They always say people get accusatory when they’re guilty themselves. Why do you think I’m going to leave you?”

“You think I’m going to leave you?” she asked.

She was flattered; he thought she was cheating. He had interpreted her high lunch bills as proof that she was dining with another man. She knew her alleged cheating was much worse, but her bingeing habit was so unimaginable that Ben hadn’t even imagined it.

“Is it true?” he asked. He sounded tired. He was no longer looking at her, instead sitting at the table with his back to her.

Bea said, “No, Ben.” She walked over to him, put her arms around his neck from behind. She kissed the top of his head, around his ear the way he liked, put her face into his neck. It smelled like cut grass and faded cologne. “It was a mistake,” she said. “It’s over now.”

Broken Bread (Part I)

Note: This site ain’t five by eight hundred (the amount of words in this particular story), so I’m stealing Five Chapters’ idea and posting this story in two parts. Here’s part I:

Bea had gained so much weight that her jeans no longer fit. She began to worry, which in turn made her eat more, order foods she knew were too large for her to finish and she’d finish them. She ate lunch out alone—performed her ritual while thinking about all of the beautiful women her fiancé would rather be with. Take the waitress for example—she was dining at Fresia’s down the street from her office. They boasted fresh ingredients, healthier options which, she felt, licensed her to order more, eat more. But anyway, her waitress, was this tight young thing—she’d come to describing her fiance’s potential lovers that way—with hair like silk that reached down to her impossible waist. She was beautiful: almond eyes and olive skin—a perfect exoticism. But she was kind, the way Bea wished only unfortunate looking women could be. Nevertheless, she was kind; she never judged when Bea ordered multiple meals and finished with dessert at one in the afternoon. She always remarked on something Bea was wearing—some ring or scarf or eye shadow—using words like “flattering” or “gorgeous,” words Bea would never use to describe herself. The worst part was Bea believed her. Some days Bea could only hope her fiancé would find a woman as beautiful and kind as her waitress. She’d make a good mother, an ideal wife.

She said this one day to Ben, her fiancé. He had just complimented her on her scarf or something, asked if it was new.

“You know, Ana likes it, too. I guess it was a good choice,” she said.

“Who’s Ana?” he asked.

“She’s this waitress,” Bea said. She was chopping onions in a race with the oil heating in the pan. “Works at Fresia’s.”

“Oh,” he said. Bea heard the newspaper crinkle as he turned the page; she hoped they’d do the crossword puzzle together later.

“Yeah, I go there for lunch sometimes. Ana’s beautiful,” Bea continued. “I think you’d really like her.”

Ben flipped pages again, giving up on an article halfway through the way he sometimes did.

“And she’s sweet, you know? Like a really warm heart. Probably the only reason I go to that place, now that I think about it. I think you’d really like her,” she said again. She began dicing in a haphazard pattern; the oil popped in the pan.

Ben laughed and folded the paper in his lap.

“You trying to set me up with her?” He stood and walked over to her, nuzzled his face in her neck.

“Well, if you were going to leave me for another woman,” Bea said, tossing the chunks and onion bits into the pan, “I would want it to be Ana.”

Ben stopped kissing her neck, pulled his head back.

“Jesus, Bea,” he whispered.

Check back next Wednesday for Part II. Please?

Foods at the street fair

I made it to the food fair, on 9th between 57th and stretching, it seemed, as far down as 40th.  I only made it to 44th or so, but I still saw a crazy bevy of sights.  Games, food, shows, amusements – it seemed totally out of place for New York City. 

I was assaulted in quick succession upon entry to the area by water-gun games and ‘horse racing’ games (the kind in which players roll balls up a ramp and into slots on a board, each trying to push their horse to the finish fasted in order to win a prize); I saw underwear vendors and bedspread salesmen who touted the thread counts of their linens; I saw a man selling Sham-Wows (no mention of the oroginal pitchman being in prison for hiring, and then assaulting, a Las Vegas prostitute); I saw children playing on inflatable slides and in bouncy castles, which sparked in me for the first time in years the yearning to be young and tiny once more.

But mostly, I saw food.  Here are the things I saw for sale, and which I ate:

Fried fish, fried chicken, chicken wings, rice and beans, mac and cheese, and fried shrimp, all of which were for sale at a vendor who marked their wares halal, of which I was suspect, given that I believe shellfish to be as verboten for observant Muslims as they are for Jews.  Carribean food – jerk chicken, curried goat, meat patties.  Mozzarepa, a grilled cheese sandwhich served on grilled two corn pancakes.  Chinese food – which I saw plenty of people eaating out of the white-and-red takeout containers.  Why they decided to walk around eating fried rice in the middle of the street, I have no idea; there is almost no other food less conducive to ambulatory walking.  Burgers, one vendor of which touted as the best in New York and offered a challenge for people to find better – a challenge which is easy to make, given that few people at the street fair would have the means to walk home, make a burger, and carry it back to the man still fresh and hot and in time for him to try.  Pizza, which prompted me to strike up a discussion with one guy I ran into – a man whom I found out is a trained chef, though not someone who cooks professionally, and whom had once been on a Food Network TV show – about the glory and ease of making Breakfast Pizza.[i]   Chocolate-dipped-anything on a stick: marshmallows, strawberries, apples, and grapes (which, few people know, is actually the best of all possible chocolate-dipped fruits; they are sweet, but tart, and the skin gives a natural and satisfying snap as you bite through the chocolate shell and into the fruit, a snap which yields to soft, unctuous, and sweet – but, again still tart – inner flesh).  Chocolate cake, topped with raspberries, which, after mac and cheese, delectable flour-battered shrimp, and sangria from an outdoor bar stand that also served the Asian Chicken Salad that a number of people with whom I had since joined up tried, I bought from a pair of men whose prinicipal ware was soft shell crab sandwiches.  They let me watch as they pulled a live crab from a bucket, ripped out its guts, floured it, cleaved off its forebrain and face, and threw it, still twitching into a pot of boiling oil that sat just a foot above the city’s pavement whereupon car tires had passed screeching not two days before. 

There were plenty of alcohol vendors besides the one sangria place, which was nice, though most sat in front of brick-and-mortar bars to which it was clear that they belonged; it seemed in fact that the only restaurants along the busy 9th avenue that bothered to open storefront street cafes were places with liquor licenses that relied primarily on the booze trade both in al fresco settings and inside.  There was greek food, delicious looking shwarma and gyros and kebabs.  I saw whole roasting pigs on spits, which took me back to Texas in my mind; there were also pulled pork sandwiches to be had.  The Cuban places served pork as well and didn’t shy away from showing off whole hindquarters of roast pig at their stalls; the Latin booths (Dominicans, especially) offered a whole varieyty of foods all their own that were no less tantalizing for their relative obscurity in the American culinary landscape: empanadas, patties both meat and vegetarian, tamales, items con queso and con quezo, et al.  In fact, in hindsight, the most glaringly absent ethnic foods were some of the more popular in regular New York City culinary life: Korean, Japanese, and Indian were nowhere to be seen.  Instead, there was all the bevy listed above, plus more.  I saw clams being offered, and fresh-shucked oysters on the half-shell; more than once did I see folks chowing down – in the middle of the street! – on opulent whole red lobster!


[i] Breakfast pizza is a bachelor’s dream.  It’s a great food in the morning in the afternoon, equally good whether hungover or not, requires little in the way of ingredients and nothing at all special or out of the ordinary.  It’s hot, but the cooking and prep time are minimal, and it makes for great use of leftovers that would either go to waste, or be consumed under sub-optimal conditions and without a great deal of pleasure.

How to make it?  It’s easy.  First, take your leftover pizza, the stuff from last night that you threw into the fridge.  Now get a pan, butter, and some eggs.

Scramble the eggs and pour them into the hot buttered pan.  You can keep scrambling them in the pan, but it’s better if you leave them omelet-style – it tastes better, looks better, and is easier to eat.

When the plain omelet is about ready, pull off the top of the pizza – the cheese is cold and congealed now, so this should be pretty easy; it doesn’t have to all come off in one piece – and place it into the middle of your omelet.  Look at that!  You’ve just made a cheese omelet – hell, maybe a pepperoni and cheese omelet, or a mushroom, cheese and onion omelet, or whatever else you had the pizza topped with!

That’s pretty good, but it gets better.  You’re going to take that now-naked slice, and stick it in an oven, toaster oven, or microwave.  Heat it up, and when it’s done, drop your nice hot omelet onto your pizzatoast.

Ta-da!  You’ve made breakfast pizza!  It’s delicious, and I bet no one has ever thought to show you that neat trick before.  Go ahead, impress your friends.