Same eats all week

There’s a character in some Anne Tyler book (maybe it’s Back When We Were Grownups?) who makes himself a big batch of something (stew, meatloaf, pot roast, something like that) once a week and just eats that until it’s gone, every day. It struck me as the most depressing thing ever at the time. Actually, it still seems really depressing, but this past week since The Little Red Haired Girl has been out of town I’ve been doing something similar. Not nearly as depressing, and actually quite enjoyable for me, but still reminiscent of that character (whom it turns out I don’t really remember that much about at all).

In general, when left to my own devices at home I just won’t eat, I’ll drink my dinner, or I’ll eat some previously canned or frozen crap. It’s partly that I’m lazy, and partly that cooking only appeals to me when I need a stress release, and/or there is someone to appreciate my cooking, and/or there is someone there to do the dishes later. Given that The Little Red Haired Girl was to be gone a full 6 days, and my stomach has been behaving badly as it is, I figured I needed some sort of new strategy.

So at the beginning of the week I did two things. I cooked a package of bacon, and made some broth and chicken for Vietnamese chicken pho soup. The rest of the week I had two of my daily meals were cobb salad and chicken pho soup. It has worked out quite well, but I’m now out of bacon and broth, and am starting to feel lonely.

Istanbul cafe

After having a fire lit under my ass about exploring the restaurants down on Nolensville Road, The Little Red Haired Girl, The Superheroes and I hit Istanbul Cafe last week for our kickoff Nolensville Wednesday. I hate to say, I was a little disappointed. Maybe we just didn’t order the right thing. Stupidly we forgot to check the article from Good Magazine to find out what the recommended thing was.

We started off with some fantastic stuffed grape leaves, which I forgot to get a picture of. They just looked like 7 grape leaves on a plate, anyway. The Superheroes ordered a salmon plate and white bean soup while we ordered some sort of meat combo. The entrees were so-so, but cheap with huge portions. We thought most of the things on our plate were too salty.

The salmon that The Superheroes ordered didn’t seem to come with everything as described on the menu, but there was still plenty of food and the salmon was quite good. The service was strange and inattentive I thought, and we never got the olives that we thought we ordered. The Little Red Haired Girl and I talked about this later and decided that we never actually expect the service to be all that good in small cheap eateries. But if the food isn’t great, then it becomes an issue for some reason.

Anyway, I’m not sure we’ll go back to Istanbul Cafe, but if someone invited me I wouldn’t refuse. I think I might ask for recommendations about what to order though. I’m not discouraged about Nolensville Wednesday either. Wherever we end up this week, I’ll make sure I do a little more research about what to order.

Sad news for the haves

I found this out on Wednesday, but have not been able to bring myself to talk about it. It’s just so sad. The Yankee Doodle in New Haven closed this week. It’s understandable, they just can’t make enough money. A bunch of folks are trying to “save the doodle,” and it looks like the owners are accepting donations, so maybe there is still hope.

If you don’t know, the Doodle was this tiny diner-type restaurant over by the Broadway strip. Basically you walked in the door and there was a counter running to the back, and enough room to either sit at the counter or stand behind someone sitting at the counter.

The first time I went was as a high school student; my advisor then was a Yale alum, and thought it a travesty for his students never to have experienced the Doodle. So one day he arranged for us all to meet over there for lunch. The place was packed, so that people were standing and eating or waiting outside the door for their food to be ready to take away.

It’s hard to describe why the place was so great. Clearly, part of it was that it was family-owned and operated, so the same folks were always behind the counter and they got to know you. But for me, it was the food. They had a small menu, but everything they made was delicious. Mostly I think of the hamburgers. There’s nothing like it. They scoop some chopped onions onto the burger before pressing it into the grill. Then they butter up the bun and toast that in the hamburger grease. When those things are done they top it with mystery barbecue sauce that is strange and chunky and delicious. There were other things too, that are part of Doodle legend.

Like the doughnuts that they slice in half, grill in the hamburger grease, then serve with cold vanilla ice cream. Or the muffins that they slather with butter, then, of course, grill in the hamburger grease. Egg sandwiches. Omelets. Freaking delicious. And, they’d open early enough on Saturday mornings that we’d be able to get hamburgers for breakfast on our way to rugby games.