Tag Archives: Chinese food

They Call Me “Typhoid Wendy”…

It’s the story of my life…just when I get to love something, it gets taken away…I’m the kiss of death!

This weekend, one of my favourite live music venues is closing after eight years: The Blue Olive in Saint John, New Brunswick.  The owners have decided to put a new restaurant in the space.  We loved going to shows there because there are very few places for people like us in the city…when I say “people like us,” I mean folks who like to be home by 11 after enjoying a fine evening of entertainment accompanied by a couple of drinks (maximum).  I also enjoy exiting with most of my hearing, unlike other venues populated by somewhat younger patrons, where the thumping of the bass remains in your head like a piledriver until the next morning.  The entertainers who performed at Blue Olive were high-quality acts and reasonably-priced for those of us who have hungry teenagers to feed.  The Blue Olive helped fill the void left by the closures of venues such as Tapps, Melvin’s and Sessions Café, other places I used to hang out in before…it’s all my fault!

Jim and I had one of our first dates there...we saw Lenny Gallant...

Bands have broken up shortly after I’ve discovered them: Madrigal, Modabo, and Vetch…all fine regional acts from the late 90’s and early 2000’s which are now defunct, thanks to my adoration!

Oh, Modabo...Where are you now?

I’ve also been the cause of many restaurant closures in Saint John…sometimes the restaurant didn’t close…they just took my favourite thing off their menu!  Do you remember Wendy’s beautiful thick Chicken Wraps from the late ’90’s?  Gone.  I must have bounced too many chunks of chicken off of Hope’s head as she slept in her Snuggli while I ate lunch there on Saturdays!  Also gone from Wendy’s are their wonderful Spinach Salad and the Mandarin Chicken Salad…why?  I liked them…it’s all my fault!  When was the last time you saw the Mushroom Swiss Burger on their menu?  I killed that one too!  You’d think I’d get special consideration since they named the restaurant after me (sorry…that’s a lie…but Dave Thomas, the guy who started Wendy’s, is a fellow Ohioan)!  I dare not try their Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt…

My restaurant let me down...

Every Tuesday at the Saint John City Market, I used to go to Yogel’s for vegetable pie.  One day, they told me they didn’t make it any more…”not enough demand.”  Apparently, a customer travelling on a bus every week from the West Side to get their pie wasn’t enough.  I never ate there again, and sure enough, they closed within six months! 

Other eatery demises I caused were Keystone Kelly’s (club sandwich with sweet potato fries), Boilerworks (California pizza), Café Soha (Flipwiches), D’Amico (spinach salad, thin crust pizza and amaretto chocolate mousse cakes), Ming’s (Chinese food), and Barton’s (chicken burger platter).  I hope nobody finds out I like the spinach salad at Urban Deli or the chicken pesto pizza at Pomodori!  Oh, no…now I’ve done it!

I love their chicken pesto pizza...I mean, it's okay...

 

It happens with TV programs too!  I’ve lost track of the number of sitcoms I’ve killed.  Jenna Elfman rebounded from the end of Dharma and Greg to star in Accidentally on Purpose (cancelled after one season).  David Hyde Pierce of Frasier was a cast member on The Powers That Be, a satire about the First Family in the early ’90’s which had only a 20-episode run.  Before he hit it big in Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) was in a smart, funny sitcom called The Class, another one-season wonder.  His “sister” in Modern Family, Julie Bowen, appeared in Ed, one of my favourite defunct dramedies.  [whispering] I love Modern Family!

Jesse and Julie in a scene from "Modern Family"...re-enacting a childhood ice skating routine...

They’ve cancelled dramas I love from every setting…Cop shows: The Commish, The DistrictThird Watch  and Hill Street Blues…War shows: China Beach and Tour of Duty…Hospital shows: Chicago Hope, St. Elsewhere…School shows: The Education of Max Bickford, and Boston Public.  Even my favourite soap opera, Another World, was cancelled!  I love Kyle Chandler…he’s survived two dramas I loved: Homefront, and Early Edition.  I’m afraid to watch him in Friday Night Lights!

Kyle Chandler...I hope he doesn't strike out a third time...

So, to all the fans of the above places, bands, foods, and TV shows, I extend my humble apologies…maybe if I pretend not to care, the things I like will stick around a little longer!

DisclaimerThis is a satirical piece.  I’m pretty sure I’m not responsible for any of these things disappearing.  But I would be really happy to have some of them back!

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The “There Should Be An Award for That” Awards…Winter Edition…

This past summer, I did a post called The “There Should Be An Award for That” Awards.  Having spent the greater part of the day trolling unsuccessfully for something else to write about, I bring you a Winter Edition of the Awards:

1. The “Most Freshly Pressed” Award.  Winner: My friend, Todd Pack at Todd Pack’s Messy Desk.  On Tuesday, Todd was Freshly Pressed for the 4th time in the mere 8 months he’s been blogging!  He’s an excellent writer, great dad, and an all-around nice guy.  Check out his blog!

Four Times "Freshly Pressed" Man...

2. The “Giggling at Inappropriate Moments” Award.  Winner: Hope.  During my dad’s Christmas concert on Tuesday night, the audience was invited to sing along to three Christmas carols.  Hope found the word “ass” in the lyrics of What Child is This? highly amusing.

3. The “Last Minute” Award.  Winner: Anna.  We leave at 7 a.m. for town every morning.  This morning, she decided at 6:56 a.m. that it would be a good time to look for her bodysuit for cheerleading (they have two basketball games this evening).  We didn’t find it…we did, however, find her French language dictionary that’s been AWOL since school started in September.  Her friend, Celia, will be very happy not to have to share hers any more!

4. The “Worst Stocking Stuffer Ever” Award.  Winner: Vicks VapoRub.  Today, my new blogging acquaintance, Vickie at Jumping in Mud Puddles, talked about things she got in her stocking as a child.  Sure…we all got socks, but how many kids were lucky enough to be the recipients of Vicks and tweezers?  Vickie was also recently Freshly Pressed.

Worst Stocking Stuffer Ever...

    

5. The “Angry Street Musician” Award.  Winner: The kid I saw sitting on the sidewalk in front of the City Market today playing a xylophone as if he were doing a drum solo.  Newsflash:  You are not Phil Collins, and xylophones should not be struck hard enough to bend the keys.  Producing harsh tones is not conducive to filling up your hat with change (unless people pay you to STOP). 

6. The “Clever Pun” Award.  Winner: A customer at my favourite Chinese food place.  Once a week, I buy my lunch…it’s my treat to myself.  I usually go to House of Chan in Brunswick Square and get one of their combo plates.  When I arrived there today, the Lo Mein noodle warmer was empty…there were three more people in front of me who were also waiting for noodles!  I got a kick out of the guy who went around the lineup, ordered fried rice with his chicken balls and dry garlic meatballs, and then proceeded to call his noodle-loving buddy in front of me a “Ricist.”  Eventually, fresh noodles were ready…I enjoyed them with my cashew guy ding and sweet and sour chicken.

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Sunday, Seals, Siamese Twins and Sci-Fi…

On Friday night, Hope had a friend come over for a sleepover…as kids do, Hope stood gazing into the freezer, looking for “something to eat” as every child does.  “Are those waffles?” she asked.  Vaguely remembering buying waffles a couple of months ago, I answered, “Umm-hmm…” without looking up from my computer screen (as every blogging mom does).  “You and Gabrielle could have those for breakfast tomorrow morning.”

Fast forward to Sunday morning (Gabrielle was long-gone):  I came down from having my shower to hear a fabulous story about Hope putting a chicken burger into the toaster!  She was fooled by the woven pattern stamped into the meat.  Note to self – don’t put stuff in the freezer in unmarked plastic bags!

To make the morning even better, Hope and Anna spent the next hour bickering (whipping the dog’s tennis ball at each other until one cried).  It ended after I ordered them each to make a list of ten nice things they could do for their sister, and then do one each day.  The first day, Hope came up with telling Anna, “You dress cool.”  To which Anna replied, “You sing well.”  We’ll see what today brings…

After brunch of (burned) toad-in-the-hole flax bagels (accompanied by more bitching), we went to Superstore to pick up last-minute school lunch makings (stores here are closed on Labour Day).  I vetoed the 24-pack of lunch-sized potato chips…I refuse to pay $3.49 for 120 chips!  Hope was happy to get pear-flavoured applesauce, and yogurt tubes.  Anna got Bear Paws and Vachon snack cakes.  I grabbed some bread, and a pack of bologna and ham for “real food.”

We brought the groceries home, and unloaded them.  We got right back in the van after that…Jim had suggested we visit the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews.  Anna and I had never been, and Jim hadn’t been for at least 10 years.  Hope had been there on a couple of school trips.

On our way, we stopped at McKay’s Blueberries in Pennfield.  The lineup was long, but it was worth the wait.  We watched as people walked by laden with pies, muffins and jams.  Finally, it was our turn:  Hope had a strawberry sundae, Anna had a blueberry sundae, and Jim and I had blueberry shortcake with homemade biscuits.  Everything was covered with real whipped cream!   Awesome deliciousness!  I have to say my mood improved remarkably after that…

We arrived at the Huntsman Centre  about 3:00.  What we didn’t know is that they were in the middle of an $8 million dollar renovation, which meant that the entire aquarium population was housed in temporary facilities while a new building  was being constructed.  We paid our admission in a large tent…the attendant informed us that they would be feeding the seals at 4:00 (we knew that already).  We proceeded to the seal tank, where two harbour seals swam around.  After that, we watched sturgeon and stingrays in another tank.  We made our way to the “main building” where several other marine animals were displayed.  Hope had fun with the “touch tank” where a number of sea animals could be picked up – her favourite was the starfish.  I tried to stay out of the way of the hundreds of strollers (okay, I’m exaggerating – it was probably five).  It was a pretty small space!  We were finished our tour by 3:30.  We went back to the main tent and sat down to wait for seal-feeding time.

Jim took this picture of Hope and a starfish...

This is Hope's photo of a rare blue lobster...

This is Anna's shot of an anemone...

 

We staked out a space beside the fence just before 4.  Finally, two female attendants came out with plastic dishpans filled with herring.  Each had a bright blue rubber glove.  One of the women proceeded to give us background information about the two seals:  They were father and son: Loki was 17 years old, and Snorkel was 5 years old.  The son did tricks (Dad was learning by watching the son).  The attendant explained that the tricks were to help prevent boredom (for the seals).  “We don’t want bored seals!”  The crowd (which was filled with bored toddlers) was getting restless…the woman asked if anyone had any questions.  I listened in amusement as I overheard the young mother next to me tell her 5-year-old to put her hand down: “Just let them feed them!” she hissed, holding her restless 2-year-old.

The attendants started throwing individual fish either into the tank, or up on the sidewalk next to the pool.  Anna, Jim and Hope snapped hundreds of photos as Snorkel performed some cute tricks, including “kissing” the attendant on command (she made a comment about her husband wondering why she smelled like fish when she came home…ewww!).  It was fun to watch – harbour seals are very dog-like in their facial features – they’re called “seadogs.”  In fact, our Saint John hockey team is called the Saint John Seadogs.  Hope was annoyed because she was standing beside a kid who kept yelling, “I want to see their whole body!” over and over again.  After the show was over, the little girl beside me finally got to ask her question…I forget what it was now.  Everybody headed for their cars (except Hope, who headed for the port-a-potties – she loves those – NOT!).

Anna took this picture of Snorkel...

The senior attendant with Snorkel...photo taken by Jim...

A full-body shot of one of the seals...these guys are about 300 lbs...photo by Anna...

This seagull was hanging around hoping for a handout...apparently seagulls are one of seal's menu choices too...

Back in the van, Anna mentioned that she wanted to go into St. Andrews to see if the candy store was open…it had been closed in the spring when we were down in St. Stephen for Brianna’s cheerleading competition (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/adventures-of-a-reluctant-cheer-mom-part-2/).  Kandy Land was open this time…I was happy to find Milk Duds (I’ve never paid $2.29 for a box, though!).  Jim and Anna got surprise bags, and Hope filled a tube with banana-flavoured powdered sugar (it had a name we can’t remember, came from a big machine, and cost $1.99 – it must have been good!).

We hit the highway, bound for Pennfield again.  Jim and his friend, Scott, had discovered a good Chinese restaurant there right next to McKay’s:  It was called (are you ready for this?) Highway’s Good Wok.  I don’t make this stuff up!  We all ate until we were about to burst.  Jim ordered Curried Chicken and Vegetables, and Hope kept edging away…she doesn’t like the smell of curry.  I traded her eggroll for my garlic spareribs – the eggrolls were amazing!  I had chicken chow mein and sweet and sour chicken balls too.  Anna had beef and broccoli, chicken balls, and garlic chicken wings.  Everybody had fried rice, which was also very good – not too greasy.  While Hope and I made a pit stop, Jim and Anna paid the bill and got doggy bags for the rest of their food (Hope and I finished ours!).

We arrived home about 7:30, and I rushed out to the garden to pick tomatoes.  I needed two mixing bowls to hold them all!  The yellow light bulb tomatoes were really starting to come now (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/blackberry-cobbler-and-light-bulb-tomatoes/) …I even found “regular” tomotoes (I think they were Early Latahs) which had grown as Siamese twins…The beans will have to be picked tonight…there was no light left last night!

Tomato Siamese Twins...photo by Anna...

While a load of laundry went through, Jim and I watched another episode of “Eureka”…despite it being sci-fi, I’m really starting to like that show (not to mention that the star, Colin Ferguson, is Canadian, and very hot!).  It’s been on since 2006, but I’d never seen it until Jim found out about it from Scott.  It is filmed mostly on location in British Columbia.  The writing is pretty sharp, and it’s funny too!

Colin Ferguson in his "Sheriff Jack Carter" uniform...what's not to like?

So that was my last Sunday of the summer…sigh…

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