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Plastic and the City

28 Oct

Things are great here. Really really great. The city has the most amazing energy, people are alive (mostly) and I killed 3 mosquitos last night. This didn’t save me from waking up with a few new bites, but hey. It’s a step.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the greatness of my life right now that I feel like I can do anything. Like drink until 4 in the morning. Or start smoking again. Or eat out for lunch every single day and not think that it will eventually catch up with me. I can see how people get caught up in the craziness of things and stop remembering what is really important: Friends. And Family. And being good to each other and our space.

This brings me to my next point. The plastic bag situation here is crazy. OUT OF CONTROL crazy. Because of my current living situation, I am somewhat forced to eat out more than I would like to, so I notice the consumption that I and others around me participate in.

For example: Yesterday I went to get a salad at this place that makes them in front of you. You choose the greens, which you pick up out of a cooler, they are in a plastic tub, then you give them to the salad maker, and he mixes your lunch.  Bring it to the counter, they automatically put it in a plastic bag for you, and shove plastic forks, knives, napkins, and send you on your way. About half of the people just walk over to the seating area, unwrap the plastic bags and eat it FOUR FEET AWAY. This hardly constitutes the need for a bag. Yesterday I told the girl at the counter that I didn’t need the bag, so she looks at me-very confused-and takes my salad out of the bag. She then puts a NEW BAG inside what was going to be my bag-for the next person. I’m assuming this was because the plastic from my salad touched the inside of the first bag. Uh-oh. Don’t want any germs or anything.

I’m sorry. It’s not her fault. It’s not really the people who walk a few feet only to throw the just used plastic bag away, minutes after using it. It’s all of our faults for letting it get this bad.

I’ve got more. But for today, I don’t need a bag, thank you.

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A Tale of Two Cod

24 Feb

I just returned from a weekend in LaCrosse, WI.  I am now convinced that people do not eat in LaCrosse, because we didn’t.  I attended the Organic Farming Conference, held annually in LaCrosse.  The conference itself was interesting enough, as interesting it can be for a city girl who really wants to move to San Francisco or New York.  However, when we attempted to find a decent restaurant to spend our co-op’s per diem money in, we were out of luck.  Defeated and hungry, we returned from a walk around the two blocks of downtown LaCrosse to the hotel bar.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I decided to try the Lemon Pepper Cod from the menu.  Actually, I know why I chose that dish, it’s because I couldn’t eat anything else except for the Italian Nachos.  Something told me that the ghosts of thousands of Italians would descend on my conscious  if I ate something called Italian Nachos.  I mean, really. So, cod it was.  When the food came, I quickly realized that my cod was very undercooked.  Don’t get me wrong, I love sushi, but not from a hotel bar that serves pizza fries. I sent it back to be finished, and when I attempted to eat the rubbery pieces that resembled someones arthritic old fingers, something told me that I would be better off not consuming this stuff.  I settled for my steamed broccoli (which was my dinner for the second night in a row) and ordered another glass of wine.

After the final presentation of the conference, we decided that rather than attempt to eat in LaCrosse again, we would eat on our way back to the city.  Having struck out all weekend, I was not expecting anything.  We decided to go to The Norton’s, a restaurant in Bay  City, WI owned by the husband and wife team of Greg and Sarah Norton.  Greg also has a claim to fame as the bass player for Husker Du, and currently plays with Gang Font, which also includes Dave King, one of my personal favorite drummers.  So, I had to control my groupie tendencies and attempt to play it cool while I was there. I think I did alright.

We began the meal with two little boats filled with pickled green tomatoes and a plate of Spanish almonds, Manchego cheese topped with quince and andouille sausage.  The tomatoes were SO good. I love quince. I decided that I needed to erase the memory of last night’s cod and ordered cod again from Norton’s.  Granted, there was no where to go but up, but when I had my first bite of the miso and sake marinated black cod with crimini mushrooms, brown rice and a miso sauce, I was in love. The fish was wonderfully light and flakey,  the miso was sweet and delicate and the mushrooms balanced it all with a rich saltiness.  Maybe it was the lack of food all weekend, but I ate every bit of it. I was even a little sad afterwards.  It was one of those meals that you don’t really want to end.  There were very few things that could have been better, mainly that I wished I was there with a hot date instead of my coworkers (sorry guys) but some things can’t be helped.

What’s the moral of this story?  Never eat fish in a hotel bar, unless the hotel is within ten miles of the ocean where it was caught. I’m glad that Norton’s was able to give me something to look back upon my mini-trip with happiness. Go check them out.