Archive for the ‘food’ Category



Quiet summer morning
Day dawns cool and pleasant
Breakfast for two
Outdoor eating
Watching the world rush by
Eating slowly
All the carrion the world
Two vultures in the median strip

Thankful… for….?

It doesn’t quite seem like it should be Thanksgiving.  The weather has been too warm (until this weekend), the time too early, the election far too fresh, the mood not quite right.  And yet….here it is.

On an individual level, I struggle with giving thanks.  Life is not as I wished, not as I expected.  My life seems less full, just plain “less” than others.  And yet… and yet.  I have my health (not withstanding plantar in my feet and SAD in my head).  I enjoy my job (mostly). My apt is nice and sunny and cozy, lined with books.  Benny has been a great joy, all 14 lbs of feline affection that he is.  Mom is still alive and healthy, even having barreled past 90 a few years ago.

Nationally, I struggle as well.  I’m concerned both with the outcome of the election and with the tone of the country during the election.  And yet…..despite the challenges, our election was peaceful, our protests within the bounds of what has been done in the past.  In this respect we are far better off than Greece, and their last round of protests. Or any number of African countries where elections lead to coups or riots that destroy have of a capital city.  We are far better off than Syria, in the midst of a civil war longer than ours.  Or Iraq, being slowly carved apart literally and figuratively by ISIS murderers. Or Venezuela suffering through catastrophic economic issues.  Or El Salvador with gang murders. Or North Korea with…..nothing for anyone but Un dear leader.

Are things great?  No.  But I am thankful that they are as good as they are.  That I have the ability to appreciate that, and the ability to change what I don’t like.  That I can take a day (or more) out to thank God that I have been blessed….if I just open my eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Customer care…heard and remembered

I learned a long time ago that it helped me to voice my displeasure, and satisfaction, with customer service.  It allow me to let it go, and sometimes it allows things to change because the hearer of my compliant or compliment pays attention.

Celestial Seasonings pays attention 🙂

I wrote to Celestial Seasonings a while ago about their new marketing campaign that eliminated the traditional art work on the boxes for a newer, fresher design.  I didn’t like it.  I have been a fan of the traditional art for years.  And years.  And Y E A R S.  So I wrote and told them I didn’t like the switch.

Apparently, I was not alone 😀

They have switched back.  “The Magic is Back” as they say, and I’m pleased that they have listened to the customer base and switched back.  The tea never changed, so this isn’t like the New Coke/Old Coke fiasco.  This is just about the image.  I was surprised that I got a letter from their General Manager, announcing the change and thanking me for commenting.

Wow.  Not only did they listen, not only did they change, but they remembered those who commented and wrote them.  Pretty attentive marketing there!

So how enthusiastic am I about the brand?

I have their magnets on the door of my refrigerator.


I have turned coasters into art above the vestibule of the kitchen.


I have turned box tops into kitchen art work.


I have turned postcards into framed art in the kitchen.


And I have three mugs I use for drink and decoration.

Customer for life?  You betcha.  Remember this?  You betcha.  Will continue to voice both concerns and compliments?  Dang straight I will!

It kinda made my day 😀

more bees please — EAT UP

Standing on the roof of SHARE Food Program in north Philadelphia, the audible hum of bee wing vibration is hypnotizing. Drones dart out of their hives to forage for pollen and nectar, others sluggishly return with…

via more bees please — EAT UP

Food Critic….Redux

It was with some surprise that I found myself in the position to reprise my role as food blogger and critic once again.  My first one was fairly recently, but since food is not my primary blog topic (wait….I have a primary blog topic?!) I was not expecting to do it again so soon.

One of my favorite restaurants is closer to me!  Starting today, Noodles & Co. is in Columbia Mall!  Surprisingly, it has taken up residence in the food court, between Chick-fil-a and Arby’s.  The blogging community was invited to partake in their pre-opening shakedown yesterday, and as the ever frugal single guy needing a good meal, I of course took them up on it!


Since this was intended to be a branching out for me, I went with something new.  Rather than my normal go-to meal (the one that I always go to because it is uniquely available there and I just love it) of beef stroganoff, I opted for a different choice. For an opening, I went the tomato basil bisque, and for the main course the Tuscan Fresca with Parmesan crusted chicken.  Both were stellar choices.  The bisque was tangy, with a nice body.  The Tuscan Fresca, which I did with parmesan cheese, had a great cheese taste.  I have confidence that the other options will be as delicious as normal.  I know I’ll be back, since my only real problem with the original location on Dobbin was the distance from my apartment.  This location will be a great on-the-way-home spot for good. satisfying food.

Thanks to Noodles & Company for inviting the bloggers out!  And an extra special shout out to the heart beat of the HoCoBlogs community, Jessie Newburn (seen here on the right) for helping to make this ( and all the great blogging events) happen!

And tonight I’ll have a little bit of leftovers 🙂






In which I become a restaurant critic….

While I have blogged on a number of widely divergent topics, I’m not sure I’ve ever started out with the intent of writing a review of a restaurant .  Until today.

I’ve had the opportunity to twice now try a brand new restaurant in Columbia, Nalley Fresh, located on Dobbin Road.  The first time was for Community Day, when they opened for free to anyone willing to stand in line (the requirement wasn’t explicitly to stand in line, it just worked out that way!), and the second was for a HoCoBlogs event.

As an engineer and neophyte architect, the first thing I noticed was the decor.  The interior is soft and modern, with an industrial touch.  There are two community tables, where 10 or more could sit, but most of the tables are 2 or 4 tops, both low and barstool high.Brighter lighting in the middle and softer lights at the edges, all with a good warm feeling.


The niche for Nalley is point and pick salads, wraps, bowls and soup…think Chipotle for the non-burrito crowd.  You start by identifying which of the four options you want; I picked bowls on both occasions.  Then you select a protein.  interestingly, this includes a couple of chicken choices, a couple of vegan choices, and a seafood or meat option.  Very nice, and both of choices (buffalo chicken one day, pulled beef the other) were nicely done and tasty.  Followed by a selection of a base — brown rice, noodles, sweet potato (!)


After that, things get crazy.  You proceed through the line adding to your creation what you want.  Not one or two, but whatever you want.  Since the selections vary by day and season, I won’t list them all but they range from 4-6 types of greens, selections of fruit, eggs, bacon, beans, grains, peppers, mushrooms, and at the end, either a dressing or a broth.  I went through and went wild….mixed peppers, banana peppers, corn, egg, bacon, tomatoes, black beans, roasted mushrooms, black olives, and green goddess dressing.   I was very pleased with both creations, and thought they tasted wonderful.


Did Columbia need another restaurant?  I think they needed this one, a healthy, fresh, alternative that works whether you like salads or bowls (and I have to think soup too, but I didn’t try that option).  If you go, and I think you should, I’d suggest going up front and looking at the selection through the overhead mirrors, so you know what is coming up and you can plan what you’d like to create.  It also gives you the option to see the proteins of the day, in case that sways your opinion on what to create.

Me….I liked it. I’ll be back.  Frequently I suspect  🙂


Blog style highlights

I have a  couple of blog topics formulating, but this weekend are two blog related items that I thought would be worthy of mentioning before the weekend was over.

First, the wonderful HoCoBlogs group has the opportunity to try a new restaurant in the area!  Nalley Fresh is opening up at Dobbin Center, and the bloggers have been invited to visit and write.  Wonderful!  What could be better than eating food and writing about it?  And the type of food…point and pick salad!  Yay!  This should be interesting, because I always need more salads, and the idea of picking what you want to go in it appeals to me.  I remember years ago a place in the Mall where you could do that, and it was great.  I look forward to doing it again, and telling the reading world what it was like.

The second item was the notice I saw that this iteration of my blog has now hit 100 posts. We tend to put stock in major numbers, round numbers, even numbers, etc.  so I suppose I should celebrate somehow.  I know the blog isn’t a major trender (THAT is an understatement!) but it still serves a useful role in my life.  And I’m grateful for the starting of version 1 back in 2010, and this version in 2013.  Now if I could just get around to publishing this in paper, just for the experience and to share with my daughter if she ever wants to see it.

So as I start into the second hundred blogs, I do so looking forward to fresh, individually designed salads to report on!  And a sunny weekend to boot 🙂


Urban agriculture

It has been a far longer hiatus from blogging that I expected it to be.  Actually, I wasn’t intentionally planning on taking a hiatus, it just sort of happened.  More on that later.


One of the more recent blogs I’ve seen (because I follow it!) involved urban agriculture, and I thought it was quite interesting. Now while the impetus for the Cuban adoption of a program of taking vacant urban land and using it for agriculture was driven by political problems and sanctions, the impact and usefulness of this approach shouldn’t be missed.  While we aren’t a third world country, there are certainly enough people living in food poverty and food deserts with unused urban (and suburban) land available that this approach could easily be applied here as well.  How much improvement in personal health could be accomplished through the combined improvement in diet and in the outdoor exercise of farming?  I know that urban ag is occurring in the dead zones of Detroit, and other cities are doing this in limited fashion in rooftops.  It strikes me as a program with no down side.

Rooftop gardening…a reblog


I’ve been a fan of green (vegetated) roofs for some time, trying continuously to work them into projects.  The idea of roof top farming, while not totally new, got a new impetus when I was at Greenbuild this year.  This whole concept of rooftop agriculture appeals to me, for a variety of reasons. Reuse of space that is otherwise lost in developed civilization. Fresh food where that would otherwise be crated and shipped. Functional green roof to reduce heat load on a building. Food production where there may be otherwise be a food desert.  This blog happens to capture some great things going on, so….enjoy the top 5 rooftops of 2013 on Eat Up