Category Archives: food

Doesn’t Sound Appetizing

Hmmmmm!

Hmmmmm!

I’m not sure what disturbed me more about these items on Pho Mai’s menu: The odd fish balls visualization or the “barbecure” pork typo.

At least the price isn’t too expensive!

iPhone Photo Friday

Guess who expertly drew the smiley face in the fogged-up glass door?

Wondering who expertly drew the smiley face on the fogged-up glass door? Guilty!

Happy Friday! Guess where I’m eating lunch today!!

Food List Mania

Recognize any of these eateries?

Recognize any of these eateries?

My older son likes to make lists. He started when he was young, and, apparently, he’s continued to this day. I know that because yesterday when we asked him what he’d like to eat for dinner, he whipped out a neatly folded piece of paper featuring his signature small scrawl and handed it to me.

It was his list of favorite (and acceptable) places to eat. It opens with sit-down restaurants where he can enjoy boneless buffalo bites, chicken fingers, dry hamburgers, hot dogs, and honey-seared chicken. There’s not much variety in his choices; he’s pretty picky. The second line includes eateries with drive-throughs. The third, obviously, are pizza places, while the final set is for desserts.

My #1 son chats with his little bro last night at Fuddrucker's.

My #1 son chats with his little bro last night at Fuddrucker’s.

You’ll notice that “home” and “Mom’s cooking” are nowhere to be found in his log. He hates when I whip up my few standard meals, dismissing them with a withering “this isn’t as good as eating out.”

Apparently, I’ve made his “places to avoid” list!

One-Word Wednesday

Look what my older son has added to his lunch. Now the Cookie Monster is appeased!

Look what my older son has added to his lunch. Now the Cookie Monster is appeased!

Cookies!

“C” Isn’t Just for Cookie

Protein, carbs, and fat—it’s the perfect combination

Protein, carbs, and fat—it’s the perfect combination

Now that my older son is a working man for the summer (much to his dismay, because his buddies don’t start the daily grind for a couple weeks), he’s decided to save money by bringing his lunch.

When he told me what he wanted me to buy for it, I couldn’t help but laugh: Cheese (Colby Jack, to be exact), crackers, and carrots.

Somewhere the Cookie Monster is weeping.

One-Word Wednesday

Shouldn’t they change the name?!?

Liars!

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Huge fruit!

Wait, did you think I was going to write about my new iPhone 5 (which I, of course, love)?

Wonder if I have a future as a hand model.

When I saw these enormous honey crisp apples, which must be on steroids, at my local HEB, one question occurred to me:

How big are the trees they grow on?!? They could rival redwoods!

Like Mother, Like Son

Just the ticket to cure the blues.

Yesterday my younger son and I were sharing a mutually bad day. While we were shopping at Target, we passed the candy section.

“With the way we’re feeling,” I said, “we definitely need a dose of chocolate.”

“Let’s buy some M&Ms,” my son replied.

Sigh! My long-time, personal comfort food all-star. He definitely is my child.

Call me one proud mama!

Freeb!rds Vies for My Veggie Bowl Love

Yes, it is!

Well, lookie who just rode into town: Freeb!rds, a Chipotle competitor.

As regular readers know, not only is Chipotle my favorite restaurant, but I’m the mayor of our closest location. I usually eat there twice a week, often with friends I’ve picked only because they also love the place (well, not really . . . it just seems that way). In my opinion, none of the other burrito/bowl places comes close in terms of taste, especially their guacamole, which is like a scoop of sunshine at Chipotle. As far as I’m concerned, Bullritos and Mission Burrito are mere pretenders to the throne.

But Freeb!rds does have its legion of fans here in Texas (including my younger son). I had eaten there twice, once in College Station several years ago (wasn’t impressed) and a year or two back in Houston (meh). After reading that they finally opened a location in my little ’burb, I figured I’d see if the third time was the charm.

A motorcycle breaks through a wall; Freeb!rds has a lively interior.

So the Mister, our younger son, and I stopped in for dinner on opening night last week. At first people were queued out the door, but it didn’t take long to get inside and place our orders in the serving line. That’s when we ran into problem number one: Freeb!rds might be the noisiest restaurant on the planet.

“What?” “What?” It was as hard for us to hear our order takers as it was for them to hear us. I’m just not into shouting for my food. It was so loud and confusing that I actually forgot to ask for guacamole (I had to return for it), which is squirted on. Yes, with an actual squirter. I was missing that large Chipotle guac spoon already.

The forks don’t meet my exacting standards.

When we sat down to eat, problem number 2 quickly cropped up: I hated the plastic fork. The handle is smaller, and the entire utensil isn’t as sturdy as the ones at Chipotle. I was not a happy camper.

Sidebar: I’d better ’fess up and admit that one reason I don’t like Mission Burrito (besides the fact I had to deal with a surly order taker yesterday) are its metal bowls. They detract from my eating experience. Oh, and I hate how the chairs squeal when you move them along the floor. They need some kind of pad! But the forks are okay.

Aluminum artwork hangs from the ceiling.

Of course, what’s really important is the quality of the food. I’ve returned to Freeb!rds a couple times just to make sure that I’m not overfocusing on the noise and fork fiascos. So I can declare with confidence that . . .

I’ve dubbed Freeb!rds as the second-best burrito/bowl restaurant, easily trumping Bullritos (third place) and Mission Burrito! I’m sure they’ll want to erect a plaque.

But next time I eat there I think I’ll come prepared . . . with a set of ear plugs and my very own fork.

Another Reason to Love Chipotle

Chipotle means home to me.

About a week ago I was sitting in my local Chipotle (aka the best restaurant ever) enjoying the same veggie bowl that I typically eat there twice a week. Suddenly, Amber, the manager, pulled up the chair across from me and held up a square envelope.

“Because you’re our best customer, we’ve selected you to be the first person from our store to be invited to join Chipotle’s Farm Team,” she said.

“Farm Team?” I asked. All I could think of was how woeful the Houston L’Astros’ minors are; did I really want to be a part of that problem?

“It’s online, and it sounds like fun,” Amber assured me.

The fateful invitation

So I opened the envelope and took out what was inside. It was a slightly fawning invitation (“brightest and most loyal customers”? You mean I’m not the only one?!?) with information about where to log on to start the adventure. Once I got back home, I did.

The Farm Team is an interactive way to learn more about the foods we eat.

Chipotle’s motto is “food with integrity.” They try to buy their produce locally (as organic as possible), and they use meats naturally raised without antibiotics or added hormones, if possible. All I know is the food always tastes fresh and great; I’ve never been disappointed.

Sidebar: I’ve only eaten veggie bowls at Chipotle, so I can’t vouch for how the meats taste. The yummy guacamole is free when you go meatless!

So far I’m working through Chapter 1 on the Farm Team. As I click on the exclamation marks, question marks, and video and poll icons, I’m learning a lot of fascinating facts about sustainable farming. For example, did you know that pigs on most industrial farms never go outdoors? Chipotle won’t work with those kinds of suppliers.

Here’s an interesting bit of info: Chipotle uses 97,000 pounds of avocados every day! I guess I’m not the only one who loves their guacamole.

Perhaps the best part of being on the Farm Team is the swag. A gift card for a free burrito or bowl came in the invitation, and so far I’ve earned a Chipotle t-shirt. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead as I complete all four chapters.

It definitely pays to be the mayor of my local Chipotle!