Wegmans Italian Day

Part II – Free Sample Day!!!

At our yuppie Wegmans, they were celebrating Italy with food and festivities. I mentioned the Rat Pack singer, but in addition to that they had a store full of (mostly) Italian themed free samples! I tried several new things with some big hits and some severe misses. Sorry Wegmans, you are not infallible.

The first item I tried was called Trugole. It was a sharp cheddar cheese with prosciutto. This was very good.  Also, the free sample girl invited us to enter a contest to guess how much a giant wheel of cheese weighed.  I told her my guess was 10 million pounds, and then I jumped up and down yelling, “I won, I won!!” Then I walked away leaving a stunned free sample girl and an eye-rolling Lisa to attempt to explain the man she married. I don’t care that it didn’t make any sense. It’s what I do. The scientists can explain if you want to know why it was funny:

My second item was Speck and Mortadella Panini.

Beautiful Understanding Wife Lisa: Uh oh, I don’t think you will like this

Tim: What? It’s ham and cheese and bread, all three things I like.

Beautiful Understanding Wife Lisa: Oh yea because that logic applies to you.

Tim: … … Touche

Oh I should have listened to her. If you want to find out what a Speck and Mortadella Panini tasted like, you can experience it right now. Take off your shoe and lick the inside of it. I imagine that is about half way to how gross this was. Bad does not begin to describe it. It was not as bad as the betrayal of pizza, but I definitely wanted to punch ham and cheese sandwiches in the face.

The third item I sampled was by far the most disgusting thing ever made. I decided it would be a good idea if I tried apple butter on a corn pop. Corn pop = great. Apple butter = death.  If you want to lose friends in a hurry, I suggest you buy them apple butter. It took two things that are relatively safe, apples and butter, and made them into something vile. It would be like if you took Transformers (great) and a live action film (great) and made a worthless pile of crap movie (or three of them.) Apple butter failed to impress. Oh and Michael Bay ruined Transformers.

used with permission, but not endorsed by, Flickr

Ethnic Flair at the Wonderfulness that is Wegmans

I thought I would start this week by giving you a little background on my eating eccentricities. I was told by my mother, as a baby, I would eat everything. Apparently, I used to love tuna fish, pickles and even fish sticks.  Eating any of these things today would most likely induce severe sadness with intermittent periods of whining. In my mind, I was a totally normal, but picky eating kid. It was not as if I did not eat, I only ate certain things. In my adolescence and early adulthood, I had 4 basic food groups:

 

The slim category “Other,” is mainly composed of generic Doritos and the occasional Lucky Charms I would get whenever I slept over my cousin’s house. One thing you would never see on my childhood plate, or frankly, on my adult plate, is Asian Food. With trepidation, I give you my new Food Virgin challenge.

This challenge was proposed to me by a fan.  It was suggested I should go to Wegmans and try the various items in the buffet. Challenge accepted!

First, I want to say I love Wegmans.  If you do not have a Wegmans near you, I will try to explain it for you.  Picture a place so great you wish you could live there. If Jesus bought groceries, they would most certainly be from Wegmans. That’s how great it is. Wegmans is an experience. You walk in the door and there are fresh baked cookies sitting on a warming tray so they stay fresh, hot, delicious and ready for immediate consumption. There is a singer on the upper balcony singing Rat Pack tunes to entertain the wily, old senior citizens, who are dancing the fox trot like they’re back in the ol’ speak easy slinging back nickel shots of moon shine. It is amazing for people watching too. We go to the “yuppie” Wegmans in Williamsville.  There are cougars on the prowl and tons of free samples of food I cannot pronounce. Other DINKS (Dual Income No Kids), like myself, can be seen frittering about the day, without a care in the world, in the adult playground that is Wegmans.

I was accompanied by my beautiful, understanding, pinkies out wife Lisa and she helped me pick out my food.  I thought the price of the food was expensive at $7.99 a pound.  Lisa picked out some food items and my grand total came to a whopping $1.81… Apparently, Lisa did not have a lot of faith that I would enjoy her choices.

Taste 1: Salt and pepper pork.

This was good, if not a little bland (Tim friendly.) I enjoyed it, but it was plain, even for me.

Taste 2: Lo Mein.

Again, another food item that was not scary at all.  No problems. Tim enjoys.

Taste 3: Beef with Broccoli.

I did not really care for this.  Steak is one of my favorite foods and anything that purports to be any type of bastardized version of steak doesn’t really sit well with me.  It is like watching the WNBA. There is no point to doing it.

Taste 4: General Tso’s Chicken

This was definitely the scariest item going into the meal. It had a ton of sauce on it; it came with little red pepper looking things and sesame seeds.  Don’t ask me why I do not like sesame seeds. I think it is just because they do not add anything to the food, so one shouldn’t bother putting them on the food. As with most of my food trials, Lisa will not tell me what I am eating. She knows I will pre-judge the food. I tried this mystery dish and was pleasantly surprised to find I loved it! It was one of the more delicious things I have eaten. Lisa did warm me that it would be spicy and she was not kidding.  Not only do I not like food with taste, I don’t like food with heat either. The spicy end could have been a game changer for me, but I felt it went well.  A+ Wegmans!

Date Night

This week presented a number of challenges for me. Lisa wanted to go out to dinner, as she was growing increasingly jealous of the fancy pants meals her friends were eating. She made reservations at a restaurant downtown called Bambino. She assured me that her friend and her husband had gone there before and the husband ate a delicious chicken parm sandwich.  I am all about chicken parm as it is just pizza + chicken fingers with a fancy name. The first thing I notice upon arrival: no chicken parm sandwich.  I continue to look at the menu and my horror intensifies.  I see that there are lots of choices, most of which have words I cannot pronounce or accents over the vowels.  Accents equal death in my book. They mean flavor.  I recently hired some scientists to help explain my logic. Here is a chart they provided me:

 

Image

As you can see, the relationship between me puking on your shoes in disgust is directly related to the amount of flavor in a meal. Meal not even started yet. Tim not in good mood.

Task One: Appetizer

This particular restaurant featured hand-made mozzarella sticks, delicious beautiful mozzarella sticks, again another pizza hybrid. We of course do not order mozzarella sticks, but instead Lisa ordered us arancini.  The conversation went like this:

Waiter: Are you ready to order?

Beautiful Wonderful Loves to Torture Me Wife Lisa: We’ll start with the Arancini.

Tim: Wait Lis, I wanted the mozzarella sticks. It says right in the menu that they are made by angels and are probably the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life.

Annoyed Wife Lisa (Still Beautiful): …

Tim: I mean I wanted to try the arancini too.

I will get to the entrees in a minute, but first I wanted to provide some photographic evidence of my skepticism upon the arrival of “my” appetizer choice.

Image

Result:

Tim Enjoys!

For those that do not know, arancini are little deep fried risotto balls filled with awesomeness, or in this case Italian sausage and summer peas.  They were incredible and they came with a creamy red sauce that was amazing. I truly did not expect this outcome. I am as shocked as you are.

Date Night Part 2

Task Two: Entrée

I wimped out on the entrée for myself and just ordered a chicken dish. It did come with something that looked like broccoli, but tasted more like death. Lisa ordered some type of pizza dish, but she would not tell me what it consisted of:

Tim: What is it?

Beautiful Caring Wouldn’t Harm Me on Purpose Wife Lisa: Just try it.

Tim: OK (inserts food into mouth) … … … (trying to swallow food)… … … (is sure death is imminent)

Beautiful Wife Lisa Covering Mouth Feigning Concern but Really Just Trying Not to Laugh: You look like you just ate a pile of thumb tacks.

The pictures tactfully hides Lisa’s embarrassment.

AHH food virgin failure. Lisa ordered an artichoke, green olive, prosciutto white pizza. I know what you are thinking, “Tim pizza is good!” and I agree.  On the other hand this pizza was death incarnate. I think I should try to explain how this tasted to me. Imagine something that you love and trust, say I don’t know, umm how about pizza? Okay, so take pizza, that rock in your life, the ever steady hand, could never lead you astray, would never hurt you. Take pizza and then essentially, put poison on it.  Okay, maybe poison is too strong of a metaphor. Actually, let’s not use pizza. Say Santa Claus rings your door bell, you open the door and he tells you, I am going to make all of your dreams come true. Oh and by the way, here is a billion dollars and a box of puppies!! Then Santa just punches you in the face and steals your car. That’s how I felt. I didn’t know pizza could be such a jerk. I should also add that Lisa loved the pizza and thinks I am crazy.

Mini task 3

I also found out at Bambino that I do not how to drink wine. Lisa ordered a glass of chianti and asked me if I wanted to try it.  As this process is all about discovery and  the magic of expounding my taste buds I naturally said no. Wine is gross. So I tried the wine.  I take a sip, swallow it and the following ensues:

Tim: (swallows wine) gross

So sick of all the adjectives Beautiful Wife Lisa: … you do not know how to try wine do you?

Tim: Wait that’s a real question?

Lisa: you have to smell it first, and then chew it so it touches all the parts of your tongue, then slowly swallow it.

Tim: chew a liquid?

Lisa: The act of chewing ensures total palate submersion.

Tim: Oh I get it… I won’t ever be drinking wine ever again in my life. Ever.

So I try the wine again. It was still gross. Lisa explains that it will grow on me and that my rebuttal is not required. She knows me so well.

Date night was not that big of a success for the Food Virgin.  I went one for three on trying new things. I did have a great night and look forward to the next challenge. Oh and my scientists came up with an artist’s rendering of the betrayal of pizza.

Falafel Bar

Against my better judgement, I went to Falafel Bar this week. I should start by saying, if you own Falafel Bar or any restaurant I visit, please know that my critique of what I eat does not reflect positively or negatively on your restaurant. I am odd and you should know that before yelling at me for possibly speaking ill of your establishment.  At one time, I did own a restaurant, so I understand one does not want to read a negative review. Just remember, if I do not like your food, I only represent the 1% of weirdos like me who cannot eat like a grownup.

With that out of the way, on to Falafel Bar. My wife and I had just finished bowling in our mixed couples league with our friends, Meg and Mike. Our team, Show me your Splits, just got our butts handed to us, so we decided to celebrate our loss with drinks and grub at Falafel Bar.

My intention was to only partake on the drinking part, but my wife, Lisa, insisted on me trying whatever concoction it was she had ordered. My Food Virgin challenge on this night: Baba Ghanoush.

Let me start by explaining my first impressions. If Baba Ghanoush was a dude on a job interview, he would have been wearing sweatpants. Have you seen this stuff? It looks like seaweed.

Secondly, it is cold. I was definitely not prepared for that. I don’t know why I thought it would be hot, but I think it is because it kind of looks like spinach artichoke dip, which is generally served hot.
Thirdly, it was served with plain pita bread! Point for me. Plain is my wheelhouse!

Before I tried the aforementioned Baba, I asked the obvious:

Tim: What is it?

Innocent friend Mike: It’s eg—OWW!

Beautiful Understanding Punchy Wife Lisa: (While punching) Shut up Mike! Tim just eat it.

Tim: …

So I spread this seaweed goo on my pita bread and gave it a try.

Result:

Tim Enjoys!

Now, this could have been a result of the amount of alcohol I had consumed prior and during my visit to Falafel Bar, but I did not hate it. It reminded me of eating what I would describe as the solidified state of campfire smell. Does that make sense? Sorry, this is how my brain works and you will have to deal with it.

I tried my first scary spread and I didn’t die! No one is more surprised than me.

Now for those who do not know; Baba Ghanoush is smoked eggplant mashed into a paste.

Baba Ghanoush

20120913-064713.jpg

Seaweed

20120913-064729.jpg

-FV

Food Virgin Diaries

A Brief History

I should start by saying I have never really liked food with taste. Even my dog, Link, is a picky eater. I enjoy the taste of chicken or potatoes and do not need my food covered in a rosemary demi-glaze for me to enjoy it. Who needs The French Laundry when you can have a plain chicken fajita, no sauce, from Mighty Taco? Conversations in my house go like this:

Beautiful Understanding Wife Lisa: You should try this hummus Tim. You would really like it.

Me: …..

Beautiful Understanding Wife Lisa: It’s super bland. You like super bland food.

Me: ……

Beautiful Slightly Less Understanding Wife Lisa: You really need to branch out.

Me: …..

Food is a challenge for me and I hope this blog enables me to show the humorous and often confrontational journey that is being an adult who is afraid of taste.