Thursday, April 3, 2014

Saint Benoit Yogurt...

I went exploring the other day. Hopped on the AC Transit 20 line from Alameda into the Dimond District of Oakland. It's confusing because it seems like an extension of Fruitvale and Fruitvale seems like an extension of the barrio I grew up in, in Sacramento. Same wrought-iron fences; because chain-links are so declasse. 

There's a little pod of shops on Fruitvale, between MacArthur and Sloan; La Farine, Cybells ($1.38 cheese slice Tuesdays), Nama and a hippy market called Farmer Joe's Marketplace. This place is dope. It's sort of like Trader Joe's, Rainbow Co-op, Whole Foods and your corner bodega combined. It's got bulk items, English things (HP sauce, Bird's Custard Powder, Heinz beans, McVities), Indian spices, Clover dairy products, meat, baked goods...too many things to list.

I happened to wander the dairy aisle and got particularly enamored with a delicate looking glass jar with a gold foil top. Turns out, it was yogurt from Saint Benoit Creamery based out of Petaluma. Far more tangy than I've ever tasted and creamier than any yogurt deserves to be. And only $2. There was really no option but to pair it with the strawberries and gingersnap granola I had in my pantry, turning this yogurt into a breakfast for heathens.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sari material as curtains...

I'm newly married. My husband's apartment was...minimal, is a polite word. If he wanted to ever disappear into the shadows of the bay area, it wouldn't have been a problem. He could have left his apartment and no one would have known anyone lived there, except for the toothbrush in the bathroom.

Maybe I'm a nester...or maybe I just like looking at nice shit.

I was at the thrift store looking for table runners, which are hard to find second hand and expensive to find at Tarjeh (Target), when I noticed some Sari material in the "house fabric" aisle of the Eco Thrift near my mother's house. Since the apartment has taken on a sort of Boho-Broke theme, the 50% off Sari material fit the bill to be used as a curtain panel. I didn't even bother to use fabric tape and drape it over a curtain rod. I just used clear thumb tacks and hoisted it up. But, you could buy fabric tape and a curtain rod, if you wanted to do a stellar job.

And now I have a $2 boho-esque curtain panel for my bedroom.

My $5 Thrift Store Vintage Le Creuset Dutch Oven...

Last week I was visiting my mom, who lives in my hometown along the Sacramento River Delta, and we fell into our usual routine. Thrift shopping. Every day, virtually. And really, I couldn't have found this deal in the bay area because thrift stores out here are over-picked and over-priced. You definitely have to work harder to find the deals.

This is my new (used) $5 Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. "French" Dutch Oven. I just love it. Everyone knows I collect vintage Descoware and Le Creuset. Some of it I use, some of it I just admire. I'm very happy that I was finally able to attain such a jewel. You know, because I'm an artist/writer and...well...I'm broke. Often.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bacon Bacon: The Food Truck Dedicated to the Noble Pig...

You can't blame someone for creating the quintessential homage to America's favorite animal product: pig. But, sometimes...too much of a good thing goes wrong. Pork belly fries and bacon fried chicken sandwiches.

Photo of truck is courtesy of: Andi Fisher

Sunday, February 2, 2014

An attempt to travel from Portland to Tillamook via public transportation...

Although I have been to Portland, at least once a year for the last several years, I never grow tired of the city that smells like Christmas. This time around, I'd like to explore more of the Pine State, but I didn't want to rent a car. Well, I didn't want to drive what seems a treacherously winding road for hours, I'm scared. I'll admit it.

I wanted to visit, or set eyes upon, the Jacobsen Salt. Co facility that harvests their incredibly beautiful salt from Netarts Bay. Alas, getting from Portland to Tillamook seemed easy enough at first. Tillamook
County provides a commuter bus between Portland and Tillamook, but looking closer, it proved to be impossible.

Here's why you'd want to rent a car or find a rideshare situation.

You can catch Wave bus #5 from the Union Station in Portland at 10:15 am and it gets into Tillamook around 12:50pm. Unfortunately for you, the last bus that leaves Tillamook back to Portland leaves at 12:30pm. It's $15 one-way and $20 RT.

Now, you can get back to PDX by catching the 6pm Greyhound ($18) in Astoria. However, getting from Tillamook to Astoria requires a hefty amount of transfers and 3 hours:

When you arrive in Tillamook at 12:50pm, you can transfer to a #3 bus that goes north to Cannon Beach, departing 1:30 pm, arriving 2:53 pm. From there you can catch a Sunset Empire ( #20 bus, departing 3:26 pm and arriving in Seaside at 4:06 pm. Then the 101 Express leaves at 4:13 pm, arriving downtown Astoria at 4:54 pm.

Which leaves you just enough time to navigate Astoria and find the last Greyhound bus that leaves back to PDX.


So, either rent a car or stay overnight in Tillamook. Looks like I'll never be able to place the palm of my hand on another one of my obsession locations.

Visit me at my new website: EatGordaEat

Photo courtesy of: Anthology Magazine

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our Broke-Ass Wedding Reception: Merriment On A Budget...

Our outdoor ceremony was 15-minutes: my mom walked me down the aisle and gave me away because my dad sucks balls, rings exchanged, vows exchanged (I left vows upstairs and was forced to wing it), some bawling, an Iron & Wine Lion's Mane and two renditions of Erik Satie's Gymnopedia No. 1 and a Bon Iver's Re: Stacks.

Event decorating: I cannot stress the dollar stores. However, when buying in large quantities, it's best to purchase them online. Sometimes you get an extra discount and let's face it, you won't be the asshole who just bought 100 tea candles at the Dollar Tree, which is like their entire stock. This is where I purchased our LED tealights, which used to come in a packet of three, but they got hip to the game. I purchased cute frosted tealight candle holders that came in a package of three, they hid the LED weird-fake-"realness," and our wine and champagne cups and silver plated plastic flatware. The silver-plastic flatware is good for soft foods, but they were shattering and sending shrapnel throughout the mansion when faced with al dente carrots. But, our plastic plates with silver bands from Webstaurant held up nicely.

Consider another alternative to flowers. Yes, they are beautiful and smell nice. Even if you get them at a wholesale shop, they're still going to be costly and die the next day. I used wheat stalks (it was autumn) and elegantly long peacock plumes I foraged on my friend's property. I also used some autumn foliage from my mom's trees in her backyard. But, if you're getting married in the spring and longing to create a whimsical fairyland of flowers that will never be seen growing together in the wilderness, you could buy some Daffodils from Trader Joe's. I buy lots of these every spring. They come in a little cluster of around seven-pieces and on the West Coast they're only $1.29. I put these in simple vintage green vases. Again, don't be the asshole that bought up the entire stock like those people (that shall remain ethnic-less) at the dollar store who buy up all the fucking stock of products they're now going to install in their rental buildings. True story.

Flowers and candles are all you need to create a romantic ambiance. Booze and food are all you need to keep people in merriment. And a go-with-the-flow attitude to preserve your sanity.

Since I begged my two handsomest friends from culinary school to cater, they gave their labor as a wedding gift. I only paid for ingredients. We worked on the menu together. Even then, because I'm a cheap ass, I still went through the receipts. And quite rightly, they showed up at my door with their torches.

We put two handles of Seagram's 7, 4 liters of 7 up and lemon wedges into a free Martha Stewart Beverage Dispenser (we got with our Macy's registry gift card). We bought a case (12 bottles) of $2.49 Charles Shaw. Ice in the chests. No one cared about the lackluster quality of wine and plastic bottles of non-Laphroaig whisky after they were boozed up and happy. I made signs for the entire wedding: cocktails, favors, arrows pointing wedding traffic off the main road. I had some scrap wood around the art studio and painted them with blackboard paint ($3) and used a white china marker I already had to write. Don't get suckered into buying signs like this at craft stores for $20.

Favors: We had my mother's Mexican Wedding cookies, my friend's caramel apples, and pan dulce. We sat tongs and paper bags next to the pan dulce so people could take home. 

There were hors d'oeuvres

We had two entrees. Beef Burgundy w/ potatoes pave and some delicious pickled yellow beets. And arroz con gandules with pernil; my nana made the Puerto Rican rice, as her gift to me and a consolation prize for not being able to muster up the courage to be seen in public with her oxygen tubes. I roasted the pork shoulders. Then I transfered them all in hotel pans (you can get for $10 each) from my house to the mansion. My friend let us borrow some chafing dishes she had. 

My beautiful sister-in-law

Here is an itemized list of how much we paid for shit:

- Food: $564
- Wireless speaker: $100
- Computer speakers for the dancing: $100
- Booze: $60
- Favors: $40
- Plastic wine, champagne, beverage cups: $36
- Pan Dulce Favors: $30
- LED Tea Candles: $25.76
- Five 12-packs of sodas: $15
- Flatware: $12
- Mexican Wedding Cookie Ingredients: $12
- Table vases: Six bud vases were $3 and mason jars were all from my own collection.
- Blackboard paint: $3
- Cake: Gift from pastry instructor/mentor/friend
- Officiant: FREE
- Tablescapin' shit: Acorns, pinecones, chesnuts, wheatstalks, peacock feathers, autumn foliage.

Total spent on reception: $1,291.76

Visit me at my new website: EatGordaEat

Friday, January 17, 2014

Vintage Plus Size Wedding Dress on a Budget...

I'm a big girl. The hopes of squeezing into an any season couture gown was never an option, thankfully. However, with me doing the butterfly and typewriter outside of the Goodwill on 50% off bric-a-brac day where I just scored a collection of fine art prints that Christie's valued highly at auction that I paid $3.99's safe to say I wasn't going to pay an arm and a leg for one day's worth of dress.

I relish the adrenaline rush that comes from purchasing an English leather messenger bag for $5 that's worth $300 online.

My dress came from The Avenue. It's a simple, ivory, Roman style, sleeveless, scoop neck, knee-length dress I purchased on clearance for $15. I matched it with a sheer, ivory, lace bordered, long sleeved top I bought at the thrift store for $2.80. My veil also came from the thrift store and it was $7, my mom had to hand wash it several times. My earrings were in an art deco style and they came from JCPenny for $12. My cream-coloured vintage shoes, already had. My victorian necklace, which came from my own collection, was a single pearl on a gold chain. Rust-coloured stockings, $5.50 at The Avenue.

I did my own makeup. I purchased a tiny ass tube of Dermablend foundation, which was $32. My cousin-in-law did my hair, because she's a cosmetologist for a living. I also plan on wearing this dress to the Great Gatsby event we attend every summer. Yeah, we do that.

Total for entire chick outfit, down to the rust coloured stockings: $74.30

In the beginning, we had considered renting a modern tux at the Men's Warehouse. Some of their tuxes were merely modern renditions in the form of a fancy ass suit. But, my husband pouted and he decided on buying a three-piece outfit that cost a lot more than mine. He bought a sportcoat, shirt, vest and tie at JCPenny for $100. His flat front Chinos came from Nordstrom for $60. He bought a new pair of $100 Van's and wore one of his own fancy ass hats.

Total for entire dude outfit: $260.00

I did not have a bouquet (blah) and I made his boutonniere out of $0.10 worth of ribbon off the "by the yard" spool at Beverly's, hot glue and peacock feathers (which I got from my friend's house in the sticks where a muster of peacocks roam and shed their feathers freely). I didn't follow the look of boutonniere, but I used the technique. I chose to only use feathers, three different sizes and stagger into pattern.

Boutonniere: $0.10

Total for both dude and chick outfits: $334.40

Visit me at my new website: EatGordaEat

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Oakland, CA
A lowly food writer for Broke-Ass Stuart: