Archive for September, 2011
Oh my God, oh my God! You’ll never guess where I am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yeah, I’m in Fullerton. In my office. In my house. With my cats. (They say hello, btw.)
Once again, my “if it’s Tuesday” post presents the usual challenge: I never go anywhere worth writing about. One of these days I’m going to write about Target — or Targets. Fun fact: there are FIVE Targets within ten minutes of my house. Two of them have Starbucks and one has an escalator. Oh, yeah, you wish you were me.
My next book, WHAT CAME FIRST, comes out in eight days. (Did you know that? Are you excited? Have you pre-ordered???? For your convenience, I’ve got pretty little bookstore link buttons to the left of this post. Because I’m always thinking of you.) That means I’m spending even more time than usual at home, working on guest blogs and such (which is my excuse for slacking off on my own blog). So today, instead of writing about someplace interesting that I visited (Ralph’s grocery store, anyone?), I’m going to go all vicarious and talk about my friend Tammi’s trip to Prague. That way, you can vicariously enjoy my vicarious experience.
That is SO meta.
When we last visited Tammi, she was getting measured for custom orthotics to manage her plantar fasciitis while walking around the cobblestone streets of Europe, and I was getting orthotics so I could walk from my desk to my kettle and back again. And so, let us begin our vicarious tour. Here are Tammi’s feet, clad in brand new shoes from The Walking Company:
Okay, quiz time: Prague is in what country? Did you say Czechoslovakia? Well, you’re wrong! Because Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed since 1992, when it was peacefully split into two countries, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, and Prague is in the Czech Republic!
Okay, maybe I’m the only person in the world who didn’t know that, in which case I’m reasonably certain I shouldn’t have admitted it.
At any rate, enjoy Tammi’s pictures. (How cool is the astrological clock?) And don’t be too jealous. She said her feet really hurt.
Years ago, when I was a student at Brown University, there were two late-night dining alternatives: Taco Maker and The Silver Truck. Taco Maker’s food — I use the term loosely — was way better than the truck’s, but it was a ten minute walk away, while The Silver Truck parked mere steps from my dorm. As such, on nights when I was up late and ravenous — from like, studying — I’d hand my dollar bills up to the guy in the truck in exchange for their greasy fries and oily grilled cheese sandwiches.
My husband — we went to college together but didn’t meet till later — remembers it differently. “Their fried egg sandwiches were delicious!” He doesn’t even like fried eggs. But I guess if you’re studying really hard and really late, anything takes good.
Anyway. Here we are in 2011, and food trucks are all the rage, the perfect recession cuisine. Several local restaurants have closed up shop and moved their operations to the road. There’s even a food network show called The Great Food Truck Race. (I almost snarked about wishing I had the kind of time to watch a show about food trucks — but then conceded that I’d open up some hours if I cleared “Millionaire Matchmaker” from my list of must-watch programs.)
This Tuesday I decided to find out what all the fuss is about when I attended Fullerton’s weekly Epic Dinner (which sounds way better than “a bunch of food trucks in a parking lot”). First stop: The Lime Truck, which has to be good because it is on The Great Food Truck Race, and nothing says “guaranteed quality” like reality TV. (Can somebody PLEASE explain to me why Kim Kardashian is famous?)
Snarkiness aside, the Lime Truck has a lamb sandwich (which goes by a more creative name) that is nothing short of EPIC. (Note: I have never used the word “epic” before, and as it felt forced, I will not use it again.) The meat was incredibly tender, the pita was fluffy, and the sauce was tasty.
We also tried the taco trio (chicken, steak, pork) from a Filipino fusion stop called The Pogi Boy Truck. All were good, but the crispy pork was the only one that I’d classify as epic. (Yes, I’ve slipped already. But saying epic just makes me feel . . . young.) At the Pogi Boy Truck, my daughter ordered a cheeseburger on French toast. You heard me. She thought it was a bit much, but I suspect “a bit much” is the whole point.
My son, who’s not a real adventurous eater, went to one of the few non-specialty trucks and got a regular cheeseburger. It tasted like a cheeseburger.
All in all, I’d give the dinner high points for food and low points for ambiance: we sat on folding chairs next to our car and ate off our laps. But the food ranged from good to outstanding, it was cheap (or cheap-ish), and I didn’t have to cook. So I think we’ll be back.
Food Trucks in Fullerton:
Tuesdays: Epic Dinner, 2949 Brea Blvd.
Thursdays: FCLO, 218 West Commonwealth
Fridays: Best Buy parking lot (corner Harbor & Imperial)
Downtown Fullerton is about three miles south of my house — and five miles north of Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center. I don’t want to say that the restaurants around Disneyland are all horrible, but if they’re not horrible, they’re horribly crowded. Plus, a lot of them have stupid names. So if you’re visiting Mickey, Goofy and the gang, let me just say: better you than me. And: if you want really good food, get on Harbor Boulevard and head north.
Some of my local favorites:
The Burger Parlor: Okay, quick: what is the best burger you’ve ever eaten? These are way better. The buns are homemade and the beef is flown in from Wyoming. As a bonus, you can bring in your own wine. What are you waiting for? Go! (Note: The Burger Parlor, formerly a pop-up restaurant, is now open seven days a week in its new location, 204 N Harbor Blvd.)
The Pint House: This place was recommended by a family with four young kids. How can you not a love a child-friendly place with a beer reference in its name? Anyway, it’s got pub food that’s far better than most and a great big patio that is probably raucous after ten p.m. but that is low-key, quiet and comfortable at dinner. Man, I’m getting old.
Kentro Greek Kitchen: Do not confuse this place with Daphne’s. Ever. True, you order at the counter and they deliver your food, but it’s a “real” restaurant, with excellent service, an airy, urban atmosphere, and interesting, tasty Greek food. Lamb flatbread: Mmm. Next time I want to try the moussaka.
Sushi Momo: Pretty good sushi. Really good rolls. Somehow the service improved when their Sunnycrest building got knocked down and they moved downtown.
Matador Cantina: There’s a lot of good Mexican food around. There’s also a lot of mediocre Mexican food around. The Matador has delicious burritos, tacos, salad and more that is (slightly) lighter and (a lot) more interesting than the usual. Friends rave about their margaritas, and I like the comfy booths.
Other Fullerton restaurants I like:
Les Amis: Tasty Lebanese food in a cafe setting (now serving wine and beer)
Cafe Hidalgo: Spanish and Latin American food in a historic Spanish building
El Camino Real: Rumor has it that Kobe Bryant’s (soon to be ex-) wife makes (made) him drive all the way from L.A. to pick up authentic Mexican food from this strip mall spot. There are so many things I could say about that … but I won’t.
Jinga: Korean barbecue near Cal State Fullerton
The Greenhouse Cafe: Fresh salads and interesting sandwiches in a cozy setting make this a perfect lunch spot.
Phans55 Vietnamese Bistro and Bar: Delicious, interesting, guilt-free food in a sleek yet comfortable setting. Try the ahi spring rolls — mmm.
I love Bowling for Soup for a whole bunch of reasons. Their tunes are catchy, their vibe is happy, and their lyrics are funny. They take their music seriously — without taking themselves too seriously. Or at all seriously. A lot of us artsy types could learn from that.
“Almost” is the first song on my Getting Warmer playlist. I envisioned it playing on the radio as chronically late high school teacher Natalie rushed to get to work in the morning.
Okay, the real reason I love “Almost”? Because Bowling for Soup managed to rhyme “Texas” with “breast-es.”
For full lyrics, check out this YouTube video:
There are only seventeen days till What Came First comes out, and I know what you are all wondering.
Well! My custom orthotics came in, and for a full day I’ve been wearing them with my timelessly unfashionable Merrells, and so far, so good! Don’t worry: I will keep you updated.
In other news, I received my first copy of What Came First, and I love the book design even more in the flesh — okay, in the paper — than I did when it was just a thumbprint. First, there’s the background color, which is way more green than it looks on Amazon (or in this reproduction) — kind of a Tiffany blue and really, really pretty. Also snazzy: the background is matte, but the booties, chicks, eggs, grass, etc. are all glossy.
Another nice touch: the back cover has three little chicks at the bottom. How cute is that?
And finally, I’m excited to have reached a certain milestone: What Came First is my first original trade release that doesn’t feature a half naked woman on the cover. It’s the first cover that doesn’t scream CHICK LIT.
Except, of course, for the chicks.