Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HoliDAZE...

The holiday season has been flying by. It seems like it was summer only moments ago. The warm sun was on my face. Somewhere there was Thanksgiving and not far after that was the Winter Solstice and Christmas. Now it is bitter cold. And here I am, on the verge of a New Year. So much has changed and continues to change. I feel as though I'm in a daze.
For our Christmas Eve lunch, I made a papaya and cantaloupe salad with a chili and lime dressing and Greg made Ahi Tuna. Sweet, tangy, and a little bit spicy, this meal was perfectly light and refreshing.

For Christmas Eve dinner, I made a turkey meat loaf (wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a maple glaze), some fingerling potatoes, and we made some freshly crisped up crostini. Slathered on the crostini were healthy portions of garlic and herb goat cheese spread. Nothing says "comfort food" quite like a meatloaf.

When everyone went to bed and in between some of my projects, I whipped up an apple tarte tartin. I used some ginger gold apples for maximum flavor. The apples were coated in a glistening carmel, the spongey cake absorbed the decadent apple-infused syrup, and the (dye-free) pistachio gelato lent a sweet nuttiness and smooth creaminess. It was a totally rich and decadent treat before bed.

I awoke to the sound of Cynthia and Greg discussing the weather, which had just cleared up. Apparently it was our opportunity to make a break for Ohio to see Greg's family. The plans had originally been scrubbed due to bad weather. Finding out that I'd be in Ohio also stirred the plan to inch my way back home to neighboring Pennsylvania. (My car is still broken down and it has been months since I've been home.)

We arrived in Ohio with enough time to prepare our beds and say goodnight. I-40 was closed in sections due to rock slides and we were forced to take detours and we came in pretty late. In the morning we went to the Original Pancake House. I had a Dutch Baby. It's basically an inflated pancake, doused in powered sugar, whipped butter and lemon. Look at the fork shown to the right of the plate for scale of just how BIG it was. Regardless of size, I polished it off like a pro.

After breakfast, they took me to Jungle Jim's. I've never been, so I didn't know fully what to expect. From what I was being told, it sounded too good to be true. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised that the mega-purveyor lived up to the hype!

Jungle Jim's is simply put: Part international foodie wet dream and part amusement park. (Seriously, what regular grocery store has a monorail?) One can see anything from Kiwano Horned Melons, to the animatronic Cereal Bowl Band, to mini pineapples, to recreations of Sherwood forest vaulted above the English food section. Although it was a little overwhelming, it was also definitely a delight for all the senses.

One of my favorite sections was the beer section. Here they had all manner of beers divided up by region. I recognized beers from all over the world, all readily available. We chose an Apricot Wheat from the Ithaca Beer Company. "Apricot Wheat" sums up the refreshing blend of fruity and creamy. Needless to say, it was tasty!

Upon leaving Jungle Jim's, it started to snow. My stomach sank as I had booked a bus ticket back to Pennsylvania later in the evening. The bus was delayed, but I eventually got on the road.

It has been years since the last time I was on a Greyhound. The last time I was on one, was after high school. I made a trip across the country to see my grandparents and to hang out with some of my friends scattered throughout the midwest. I still remember the characters that I sat next to. Some were scary, some were sweet, but what I remember most was that we were all traveling together. It felt almost as though we were pilgrims – wayfarers – on the road each with a destination.

I finally made it back home.

15 comments:

Pretty Things said...

Jungle Jim's sounds amazing! I love really cool stores like that. My favorite around here is a huge Korean grocery store with a bunch of smaller Korean shops inside. Makes me homesick for when I lived there!

Elizabeth said...

What a sweet story. Wish I had smell-o-online. Your food sounds amazing. Happy New Year.

Lynn said...

So glad you finally made it home! :)

Janet said...

Oh and theres No place like home where you hang your hat. Glad too that you finally were able to get there! I bet its super cold too...
Yall know how to eat!

kate mckinnon said...

How nice to be home. I'm glad you made it safely, and get to spend some time there before the Tucson shows.

Beth said...

Andrew, I'm not even sure how I found your blog, but you are literally, the cutest person in the world. Like, what an adorable human being--happy new year to ya! Beth

Jean Hutter said...

Glad to hear you made it back to PA safely. I love your food photos and that tart - oh my!!!!!!!!

I hope you have a happy and healthy 2010 and may it be a creative year for you.

quiltingjewel39 said...

Glad you made it back safely -sorry it had to be so hard. Jungle Jim's sounds incredible -love food stores. Your necklace is fantastic - love the garnet and velvet ruby quartz. Happy New Year.

lorrwill said...

Great post. So glad you finally made it home. I always felt like I was in an episode of some TV show on long trips on the bus. Like either a 50's serial drama or the Twilight Zone.

laurelmoon said...

I absolutely love Jungle Jim's! It's hard to believe that it all started as a roadside cart selling produce, honestly.

Every time I do a Cincinnati show I always stop by and load my car full of delicious treats. It's such a great place!

Ahtee said...

My sister-in-law loves posting pics of the food she makes and yours makes me just as hungry as hers does! Glad you've made it back home. Hope 2010 brings you lots of love and happiness.

Jennifer said...

glad you made it back home. that pancake is incredible.

belvedere beads said...

Ithaca Apricot Wheat? Being an Ithaca girl that's my home brew. I agree - it's delicious. Try the Cascazilla - it's their red beer.

belvedere beads said...

After reading your post I went downstairs, grabbed the "Joy of Cooking" and whipped up a dutch baby. My family was amazed, it wasn't as handsome as yours, but was truly tasty.

Andrew Thornton said...

I'm glad to be back! Though it's dang cold outside.

I'll definitely have to put down Cascazilla on my wish list and will hopefully get to drop by the brewery this fall!