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Archive for June, 2009

Crack is Whack

I came downstairs this morning to make some coffee, to help fuel Tyler and I while packing him up to go to a conference in NYC for the remainder of the week.  The afternoon prior, I had made a nice salad with local greens, a white wine vinegarette, goat cheese, and pecans.  When opening the bag of pecans, a few fell out onto the floor.  Reggie was very interested in these few stray pecans, and being in a hurry, I just left them on the floor.
What could a few pecans on the tile floor really hurt, right?
I fill the coffee maker with water, looking down at Reggie, who is standing by a pecan, meowing.  The pecan is moving.  Wait, do I just need a cup of coffee?  No, no, the pecan is moving—covered with tiny little black ants.  I yell for Tyler, who is making his way downstairs (he has a bus to catch to the airport), and report my observation.  We stomp the ants, sweep the floor, and wonder how the heck that many ants could have possibly made it into the house.

After rushing to drop Tyler off at the pickup point, I go home, and notice ants still crawling around the kitchen floor.  This entire wall is covered by cabinetry, the fridge, the stove, and the sink below a window.  The only access I really have to this area is under the stove and behind the fridge.  I can’t really pull out the fridge by myself, so I decide to remove the tray from underneath the stove and am greeted with….. a sight.

There’s a crack.  In the floor.  Where the wall meets the floor.  And it is crawling with ants.

Step on a crack, break your mother's back?

Step on a crack, break your mother's back?

I thought maybe I was exaggerating, and the crack was always there, but man, looking back of pictures of the house (built one year ago) as it was being finished, there was no…. gap….. between the wall and the floor.  Houses shift, its new construction, these things happen.  We are awaiting the handyman from the company that built our house to come out “ASAP” to assess the situation.  This should be covered under our one year inspection deal with them, so I’m hoping it will be (properly) fixed and not just patched in that easy convenient spot… what if it runs along the entire length of the house over on that side!??  What if the water that refuses to drain on that side of the house is causing the problem?  I am concerned that it won’t get fixed properly, and the problem will reoccur later.

The joys of home ownership.  If I feel like something isn’t being done right, I will cutabitch.

Sorry for the mess, but the ants have been collecting foods from the kitchen for awhile now, apparently, and storing it under the stove!

Sorry for the mess, but the ants have been collecting foods from the kitchen for awhile now, apparently, and storing it under the stove!

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The Great Gardens restaurant off of Georgetown Rd in Indianapolis is by far and away the best Asian food I’ve ever had!  We went for a late lunch on a Friday and were greeted with a warm, friendly entrance that exuded a lovely, welcoming ambiance.

An old wood fountain and stools

An old wood fountain and stools

Fortunately for us, the dim sum place that was recommended to us originally by friends was “Closed for Renovations” (read: health code violations?) and I happened to have the address of this restaurant as a backup.  A quick reference to Google Maps on T’s cell phone, and we were on our way to the best, BEST dim sum experience I could have ever hoped for!

We walked in and were instantly greeted and seated in the large, open dining area.  The tables and chairs were simple, clean, and well dressed with teacups, chopsticks, and napkins.  We didn’t get in for lunch until about 1:30, but there were several tables of customers finishing their meals.  The old adage “go where the line is the longest” or “where the locals eat” holds true here–even though there wasn’t a line, we were certainly the minority.

Our lovely hostess opened our chopsticks, broke them apart, and arranged the plates with great care.  She instructed us to indicate what we wanted to order on the full-color paper menus, each featuring a picture of what you were about to enjoy.  Reading the reviews from another blogger, I knew we had to try the seaweed roll, deep fried taro, and shrimp dumplings.  As we were deciding, the hostess returned and said, “You must try this, it is very good,” and helped round out our order to seven dim sum total.  As we were looking for more things to order, she stopped us and said, “Seven will be enough.”  She knew we were noobs, and took good care of us.

Our first two dim sum arrived in record speed—the seaweed roll and stuffed green peppers.  They were perfectly hot and crisp and the smell of fresh oil very quickly took over our senses.  The seaweed roll was filled with what we suspected was fresh shrimp, and the stuffed green peppers had a combination of ground pork deliciousness and a breaded topping.

Seaweed roll (4) $3.20

Seaweed roll (4) $3.20

Stuffed Green Peppers (Jalapenos) (3)  $2.80

Stuffed Green Peppers (Jalapenos) (3) $2.80

Our first bites of dim sum were unrivaled by any other Asian cuisine I’ve ever had.  Ever.  It was that good.  The freshest ingredients, prepared with expertise and a diligence to quality, was apparent in these two (and the other 5) dishes.  We ate these quickly (perhaps too quickly, as I burned my mouth on the seaweed roll, happily), and right as we finished, our next three plates arrived.

Shrimp Dumplings (4) $2.80

Shrimp Dumplings (4) $2.80

Our hostess advised us to start with the deep fried taro, as the shrimp dumplings and the chive pork dumplings were still steaming in their baskets.  I have always wanted to try taro, and I’m glad I did it this way.  The outside was delicate and crispy, and the inside was like the consistency of a mashed potato.  There was what I could only describe as “Chinese gravy” inside of the soft taro, and I began to wonder why no one had thought of making deep fried mashed potatoes and gravy (coming to a carnival near you, summer 2009).  The shrimp dumplings, and the chive pork dumplings, were simple and delicious; a few ingredients artfully prepared.

Deep fried taro. It's like mashed potatoes stuffed with Chinese gravy, and fried.  In other words, heaven.

Deep fried taro. It's like mashed potatoes stuffed with Chinese gravy, and fried. In other words, heaven.

Chive Pork Dumpling (3) $2.80

Chive Pork Dumpling (3) $2.80

Another blogger insisted that anyone visiting Great Gardens should order the rice in lotus leaf.  I’m always up for trying something new, so we asked for one order.  As we were reveling in the dumplings, and wondering how anything could be better than what we were experiencing, the rice in lotus leaves came.  Two globs of sticky rice, lightly covered in sauce, and wrapped in steamed lotus leaves arrived.  As the hostess walked away, she quickly came back with a spoon, and said, “Don’t eat the leaves, just the rice,” and she opened the first one for us.  What a livesaver she was!

This will sound weird, but the meat-based sauce smelled a bit like canned cat food…. but in a good way.  It was really earthy, as the lotus leaves steamed an indescribable flavor into the rice, and the meat sauce added and extra earthy saltiness that I had never tasted before.  Order it, try it, and see what you think.

Rice wrapped in lotus leaves (2) $3.20

Rice wrapped in lotus leaves (2) $3.20

The pot stickers came last, and our hostess clipped them in half with a pair of scissors to make them easier to eat.  I know this is repetitive, but they were just as delicious as everything else.  We had the option of dipping everything in a sweet pineapple-y sauce, hoisin, or a hot chili pepper oil.  I stuck with the hoisin for the most part, but nothing needed extra sauce!

Pork pot stickers

Pork pot stickers

Each of the plates comes in a pre-determined size, and the size determines the price.  These 7 plates filled us to the brim, all for $20.  We left a hefty tip because she was so nice and helpful, and the service in the restaurant was exceptional, fast, fresh…. I would have paid more money for this, but I am glad the price was so affordable.
I don’t care where you live.  Go there, now.  I can’t wait to go back any time I drive anywhere near Indy.  Five stars!

An open door leading to great food and atmosphere.

An open door leading to great food and atmosphere.

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MY CUTE CLOUD BOLERO

My wonderful friend Lauren E. is making this for me so I don’t have to show my bare back during a wedding I’m in in a couple weeks.

CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, I mean, not yet, but it will be, just you wait and see.

Bolero!

Bolero baby!

One cute mo fo-ing sweater!

One cute mo fo-ing sweater!

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