Annabel Langbein; natural New Zealand cooking

annabel“No matter how humble the food, people are always so happy to be cooked for.”

Those are the words of Annabel Langbein, a cook and food writer from New Zealand.

On Saturday mornings, I watch her tv show on one of our PBS channels. She cooks from her kitchen from her cabin in the woods, on a lake, in New Zealand on “Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook,” which only has a few episodes – three seasons, 13 episodes per season. Anabel cooks off the land, she grows most of her own crops and she heads out to local farms for other sources of food.

I don’t cook, I barely like to boil water, but I enjoy cooking shows, I find them very relaxing. Put that together with Annabel’s New Zealand accent, probably my most favorite accent in the world, and it’s enjoyable, especially when she goes out to forage for food in the New Zealand country side and mountains. The scenery is so beautiful.

At the end of each episode, she brings a bunch of friends together and they eat out on teh deck of the cabin, they eat what she prepared throughout that episode. The people are mostly those who were in the episode earlier – maybe a wine maker or a farmer or a helicopter pilot who took her up over the mountains or maybe an apple orchard owner where she picked apples for that meal’s dessert earlier in the day.

She drives an old yellow truck and prepares meals out in the wild where she is spending time, like at the apple orchard or up in the mountains.

Anabel has an interesting history, she started out as a hippy in the 1970s, having left home at age 16 and lived in the wilderness, cooking over open fires, which eventually brought her to her cooking life.

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International House of Burgers?

I know it’s just a publicity campaign, but I thought of this comic when I heard that IHOP, International House of Pancakes, changed their name today to IHOb – “b for burgers.”

ihob-print

Anthony Bourdain; a friend in my head

anthony-bourdain-no-reservationsAnthony Bourdain is friend in my head. You know how you see people on tv or movies and you just feel as if you know them? Every once in awhile someone famous dies and I feel as if they were/are a family member. I mean I guess I feel that same way when they were alive, but it hits hard when they pass on. Random people have had that effect on me over the years. It was shocking to hear his name announced on the tv this morning. I had my back to the Today Show, I was making breakfast when they announced a famous chef had passed. I held my breath as they said the name, hoping that I didn’t know the person they would announce, so it knocked the breath out of me when they said his name.

I loved Anthony’s attitude and story-telling technique. I was drawn in like so many millions when he took us on adventures of far away places and even places close to home. I’ve lived in Miami most of my life, but on his Miami episode I learned so much.

First No Reservations and then Parts Unknown. I would watch marathons of these shows, always drawn in from the beginning of each episode. The food and the locations were featured, but Anthony was the star.

Awkward lunch

There’s this new restaurant in the neighborhood, it’s a casual place. You walk up to the counter and order and they bring it to your table. It’s a sort of Asian bowl place, but you can get many things there, they have a large menu.

Well, it’s always empty. I’m usually the only one there when I stop in for lunch. There are maybe four or five employees behind the counter and some preparing the food in the kitchen and my $12 lunch probably doesn’t cover one of their salaries for the day.

babu

They have a few locations in Miami and I don’t know if they are a large chain around the county or just have the few locations here. The food is great at a great price, but no one is going. I’ve told so many people about it, too.

It used to be a Quizno’s and that place was always full, so it’s not about the location.

It reminds me of that Babu, cafe episode of Seinfeld.

As you enter, before you are even in the door, they are greeting you from the front counter, I guess they are so happy to see a person arrive. Then when your food is being prepared, you don’t know where to look, they all just stand and stare at you and when you look at them, they smile. Very weird.

I do hope they make it. I like the food very much and it’s a great place for lunch.

UPS ruined my cooking experience

I ordered one of those Instant Pots. I have been wanting to make bone soup and other things in a crock pot and I read about this newfangled pot in the NY Times and I ordered it from Amazon.

instantpotIt came in two days. I haven’t tried it yet, I may try to figure it out this weekend.

I do have a complaint though, it’s about the delivery. The UPS driver just threw the box over the gate, you know, like you see on the tv news? I’m assuming this is a delicate piece of equipment and throwing it over the gate isn’t a good thing.

I complained to UPS about the driver and asked why he didn’t ring the bell, which he never does. Their response was that the driver cannot call me and that I should choose another delivery address for deliveries in the future!

I didn’t ask the driver to call me, I asked that they ring the bell and I was home, why would I ask for another delivery address?

So if the food in my Instant Pot comes out bad now, I don’t know if the pot was damaged in delivery or if it’s operator error.

UPS and their stupid response is unacceptable and is a total example of what is wrong with society today.

It’s about the parking; not the food

When I meet my friends for lunch, we’ll usually text or email and say, “Wanna go to lunch tomorrow? Where?”

I usually choose places where it’s easy to park, The others of course, choose based on the food, which seems like the normal thing to do.

I guess I really don’t care what we eat, I just don’t want to drive around the block five times looking for parking, so for me, it’s all about the parking. We don’t have restaurant ratings in Miami, but if we did, it would be all about the A-rating, too.

There’s a place in New York City that always looks good, a Chinese restaurant in Midtown East, I think around 50th and 2nd, I think. They are the only place I have ever seen with a C-rating. Then from that they went to an “Under Review” rating and now they are a B. What’s so hard about getting to an A?

$14 Pop Tarts greeted me today

pop-tarts

I’m in New York City this week for New York Comic Con, which starts Thursday. After I arrived, within 15 minutes I must have spent over $100. Crazy. I paid $50 for a cab from the airport, $31 for a Metrocard, $11 to get something to eat, $5 for coffee and it went on. At one coffee shop called The Bean, I saw this, $14 for a Pop Tart. Homemade, but still a crazy price.

I was here for a long time in the summer; I don’t remember such crazy prices.