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Category: eating out

03/29/09 01:43 - 42ºF - ID#48229

Isn't it time you Merge-d?!?

(e:Heidi) and I went to Merge on Wednesday night and LOVED the whole experience. I recommend this restaurant most enthusiastically.
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The food is wonderful and so is the entertainment. Heidi and I must have laughed non-stop for around 2.5 hours after we finished eating. A really funny improv show troupe performed at the restaurant.

Merge has a very friendly art-and-show friendly atmosphere.
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Some very interesting sculpture and art on walls keep you busy while you wait for your order.
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And the wait is not too long either. We wanted to sample a good range of their food (I intentionally had a light lunch earlier that day) and ordered quite a variety.
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The polenta dish came first. I have never had polenta before and this was my introduction. I thought it was a bit bland on the inside. But then, I am not really a bland food person. I get through red onions and chillies by the tonload every week. (e:Heidi) and I agreed that the blandness of the polenta was more than made up for by the tomato sauce and onions accompanying the dish. We were so hungry that we finished most of the polenta before we realized that we had not taken any photos of it! So this was a photo of the last piece. :)
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If I were making this polenta, I would probably season it with hmmm... jalapenos or dried red chillies before making the exact dish.

Our waitress was really sweet and never once stopped smiling. She made our dining experience extremely pleasant! She told us that her mom, Katie used to make these for lunch they were little. The panini is called the Katie. It is made with some really nice strong cheese, jicama slices and granny smith apple slices! It was served piping hot and was the most perfect comfort food I have ever eaten.
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(e:Heidi) made an excellent choice in the Kale salad that came with the Katie. The Kale was (I think) very lightly sauteed (olive oil?) to a crispy crunchy texture and delicately flavoured with pine nuts and dried cranberries.
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We also got the vegetarian lasagna with broccoli and greens.
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The lasagna had a sharp sourish cheese in it. I thought the taste was pretty unique and liked it. The tomato sauce complemented the taste.
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I have to say that this was the BEST broccoli and greens I have ever had. The broccoli was steamed to crunchy perfection and flavoured with a delicate an almost-soy sauce.
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We found out from our delightful waitress (I wish I had asked her name!) that it was flavoured with this cool sauce available at wegmans. She even brought out the bottle and showed it to us. It was such a pleasant change from restaurants that won't tell you anything and leave you guessing. I think I would go back to Merge just because they have such a nice staff! Thank you, Katie's daughter, you made our evening perfect! (Hahaha, that reminds me of Cold Comfort Farm and whole Robert Poste's Child bit. )
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I ordered the rice and beans as a side. It was a bit on the bland side but tasty. I would season this with cumin and red chillie powder.
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We were not quite full and were ready for dessert. (e:Heidi) and I both ordered chocolate. It was served in a generous sized comfort cup.
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I asked for a shot of espresso in mine and stirred it in. It was some wonderful lightly sweet chocolate. When I reached the end, I realized that they had used real chocolate bits to make it - not chocolate powder.
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We topped our meal with two really special desserts. A delicious cheesecake with lemony hints and (I think) raspberry sauce?
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And an apple pie served warm with rich cream on the side.
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I loved this pie, the apples were tart and the pie crust was crumbly and had a hint of cinnamon.
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We weren't very sure whether these guys were a rock band or improv artists because I thought I saw an electric guitar earlier.
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But it turned out that they were members of the Francis Bacon Improv' troupe.

We were relishing our dessert when this cheerful little stage came to life with really colourful lighting effects. They went through the entire rainbow before they decided on this one...
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The improv skits were SO utterly hilarious that we stayed till the very end. I think you need to catch the Francis Bacon improv troupe if you get a chance. They has us in splits the entire time!
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Overall, I loved the restaurant. I don't think I have ever reviewed a restaurant in this much detail before. I really want to thank (e:Heidi) for coming out with me and having a rocking time (even though she had an important "hazing" oral argument examination the next day (e:tinypliny,48207)). It was an extremely fun 4 hours. :) We also ran into (e:enknot) at the very end. I wish he had been there before!

It's time you all Merge'd. You won't repent it! :)
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PS: We took all the pics on (e:Heidi)'s phone! I shamelessly stole them from (e:Heidi)'s picasa and tweaked them with explicit permission. Thanks (e:Heidi)!

PPS: Our bill came to ~$43.03 (+tip). It was really worth it!! (e:Heidi), I owe you $2.00. I miscalculated the tip.

PPPS: (e:Heidi), its been SO SO SO VERY LONG since I have had a 100% unalloyed fun with anyone. I attribute this all to YOU. I am SO looking forward to our next outing already!!
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Permalink: Isn_t_it_time_you_Merge_d_.html
Words: 1027
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: grocery

03/28/09 09:54 - 52ºF - ID#48222

Buffalo Grocery Review: PriceRite

Let me just start off by saying that I am thrilled to bits that I actually have a full-scale grocery store with awesome produce within WALKING distance from my flat! It means a lot to me.

I don't need to fish out that small poor tomato that slipped away and got attacked by fungus in the third shelf of the fridge. I don't need to go for DAYS without cilantro just because no one sells it within walking distance. I don't have to buy treacherous non-granny smiths because I ran out of every fruit in the course of an insanely busy work-week. I don't have to wait for 1/2 hour for erratic buses, look longingly at cars passing by or push crazy heavy carts across 3 miles (because I couldn't bear waiting) or find out that the milk had not survived the 3 mile hike and make emergency paneer instead. I just don't have to stock up anymore.

I can WALK to PriceRite instead. :)

My fridge can finally grow up and be what its meant to be - not a massive OMG-I-am-stockpiling-for-the-drought-of-the-century but a healthy conduit of fresh produce and cooking bliss.

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I was chatting with a family on the checkout queue and they were telling me that the crowds would die down as soon as the sales end. I really hope this doesn't happen. I know the prices of meat etc. were ridiculously cheap. The produce prices were great as well. However, on the whole they were more expensive than the farmer's market (Rochester). This tells me that they are hopefully not selling it all without profit in the first week. I think that's a good sign. The enormous mark-up on the rest of the brand groceries around town are really quite atrocious. I am not kidding when I say that Buffalo's (city) cost of living is far higher than Rochester. So price-wise, I think pricerite has come at a right time.

Given the proximity of the place, I didn't feel like I had to fill up my cart to the limit. I didn't even take my cart. I only bought stuff that I really needed (with the exception of the granny-smiths of course). My grand total grocery bill stood at $12.85. I got a decent armload of produce plus some odds and ends.

Broccoli Rabe (Or Rappini): 1.27lb @ 1.29/lb - $1.64
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I have never seen this less than $2.00+/lb anywhere. I like it even better than mustard greens because its got this unique punchy flavour that beats out so many other greens. It's a piece of light and pungent heaven with garlic and basmati rice.

Kumquats 1 Pint - $1.99
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FINALLY. I finally bought this delightful little fruit today. Thank you pricerite! I am in love with the taste. It's super strong citrusy-lemony-orangy all combined into a concentrated little fruit with an edible rind! I think I might be a bit addicted because I finished half a box for lunch today.

2 Lemons: $0.50
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The lemons were HUGE and so fresh.

2 granny Smiths 0.77lb @ 0.99/lb - $0.76
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I bought this out of sheer force of habit. Thankfully, I stopped myself before I could pick up a dozen. I already have a dozen at home! Compared to the Wegmans and Tops price for bulk granny smiths - its costlier. It's cheaper than Guercio's granny smiths. However, Guercio's granny smiths are bigger and more intensely tasty somehow.

3 HUGE navel oranges - $1.00
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This was a great deal. Get it before it goes away.

Bananas - 2.38lb @ 0.49/lb - $1.17
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Standard price - same as Wegmans, Tops and Guercios.

1 lb Strawberries - $1.99
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Okay, these strawberries are ACTUALLY sweet and fungus free for a change.

Red Grapes - 2.22 lb @ 0.98/lb - $2.18
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Also a great deal. Green grapes were similarly priced.

Ivory Dishwashing Liquid (Proctor and Gamble) - $0.99
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My dear building plumber inverted 3/4th of my dishwashing fluid into my kitchen sink in the hopes of stopping the stench and cutting the grease. I found myself in a severe dishwashing fluid bind today morning and had to get a new one. Apparently, this one's supposed to be gentle on the hands and had the least amount of chemicals as compared to the rest of the stacked ones. Yes, I am a sucker and totally believe the lies while I am shopping. Hahaha.

Birthday Card for my friend - $ 0.50
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I could have followed (e:mike)'s example and handmade my card - but illumination only struck when I was halfway home. That should say something about how dazed I was to find myself *walking* home with groceries in less than ten minutes.

To get on with the review, I think Pricerite effectively rules the produce planet. I don't think there is need for me to go elsewhere for daily produce. It has dairy - a nice bonus. Milk was priced at $1.99/Gallon. If Guercio's was in that very same plaza, I would still go to Guercio's but unfortunately its not in the same plaza and requires 10X more walking and/or taking a bus. I don't think anyone comes close to Guercio's for their crazy and weirdly awesome speciality foods and cheeses but to be honest it is quite a way off and that factor alone might make my Guercio visits less frequent.

As for Wegmans and Tops, they are off my list for now. Someone at the shop was remarking that Pricerite didn't have tofu and for that, they would go to Wegmans. I realized that I am not really that desperate for a chunk of soy. That kind of sealed it for me. And who knows - maybe that huge shop has tofu somewhere...!!?

Pricerite is really quite enormous. It took me 2.5 hours to complete a cursory stroll-stare. I don't think I ever saw more enthusiastic shoppers at a lowly grocery store before! People were falling over each other to get a grotesquely packaged turkey deal. Many carried their enthusiasm a bit too far into the realm of obnoxiousness.

Some abandoned perishable refrigerated/frozen items on random shelves on their way to checkout! I thought this kind of behaviour was so irresponsible. Maybe its my infectious disease class spirits talking but... hello? aren't you concerned that these abandoned perishables will end up in the fridge at the end of the day and YOU (yes, you who carelessly ditched them wherever) will pick it up tomorrow? This thought cycle prevented me from getting anything from the fridge. I even spent some time going around the store and replacing perishable stuff in the fridge before I realized that I couldn't beat the ill-behaved protoplasm. Just after I checked out, a woman oblivious to any kind of common sense or courtesy left a milk gallon bottle on top of the stack of green beans!! The lesson of course, is that if you happen to have a mild OCD (as I apparently have) of replacing things where they belong, this week might not be the best time to go to the store.

In summary, I think pricerite is a really nice and very reasonably priced addition to our neighbourhood. I foresee myself getting to know the employees there really well over the next few months. The variety of produce and other groceries they carry is very impressive. However, I am somewhat distressed at the appalling behaviour of some of the shoppers there. In some ways it reminds me of the black Friday mentality. It doesn't make any sense to me. Is it really necessary to run amok and forget good manners when one is at a store that is selling slightly discounted merchandise?

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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_PriceRite.html
Words: 1276
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 11/09/11 08:12


Category: e:strip

03/26/09 04:12 - 49ºF - ID#48207

Good Luck, Heidi!!

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Permalink: Good_Luck_Heidi_.html
Words: 1
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: whine

03/24/09 10:08 - 37ºF - ID#48185

My Kitchen Sink = Revolting

Some bloke on the eighth floor poured grease down his kitchen sink. It came down and blocked mine. The resident plumber of Mayflower worked on it for 2 hours. To give you a fair idea about the actual sink circumstances and show off my sink-drawing skillz...

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When I came home at around 5:30, the sink was filled to the brim with back-flow greasy gutter water!! It was pretty gross. After some frantic emergency bailing and plumbing, it is now filled with a sort of mini-bubble bath (made up of a generous dose of dishwashing fluid foam and water) for... creepy-crawlies. The plumber said that if he started fixing it now, the whole building might need to be up and bailing gutter water for the next 12 hours. So he going to fix it tomorrow. The soap is to cut the grease and stop any more back-flow.

Anyway, the after-picture is not good. I can't cook today. What a cruel little torture. I have already had 4 apples. :/

AND WHO THE HELL POURS GREASE DOWN HIS KITCHEN SINK??? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR RAVING MIND, 8th floor denizen??? AAAARRRrrrrgh. Yeah, I am TOTALLY not smiling and saying Hi to YOU any more.
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Permalink: My_Kitchen_Sink_Revolting.html
Words: 198
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: the odes

03/24/09 07:35 - 43ºF - ID#48182

Really Lazy

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Permalink: Really_Lazy.html
Words: 1
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: grocery

03/23/09 08:10 - 31ºF - ID#48169

We have a grocery store!!!!

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PS: I am reviewing it this Saturday.
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Permalink: We_have_a_grocery_store_.html
Words: 8
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: e:strip

03/23/09 12:37 - 28ºF - ID#48161

Hello E:Strip!

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Permalink: Hello_E_Strip_.html
Words: 1
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: science

03/22/09 05:51 - 41ºF - ID#48155

The Pope says what??

The Pope on AIDS:
"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," "On the contrary, it increases the problem."




Sure, Mr. Pope. Were you wearing your seat belt when you said this? You shouldn't have. You can't resolve air crashes by wearing seat belts. On the contrary, it increases air crashes. You are encouraged not to fly at all. That is the perfect solution for avoiding air crashes. Seriously, stay on that Vatican balcony, wave to people and make all the diseases go away.
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Permalink: The_Pope_says_what_.html
Words: 95
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: tourism

03/15/09 11:54 - ID#48059

Lent can go to hell.

You know what? I can't take this any more. I ran into (e:paul), (e:matthew) and (e:terry) yesterday and its time I chucked the cultural tourism away.

Oh, and I officially hate the much touted "Slumdog Millionaire". I have a good mind to push Danny Boyle into a pool of poo for ruining my mood and day yesterday. Keep your depressing tales of India to yourself, you oh-I-am-holier-and-more-artsy-than-anyone-and-all-Indians-rot-in-slums-or-are-evil angrez. If this is all you can see in India, then probably you should stay in cold britain and spin depressing tales until you freeze to death.

YES. People live in slums. YES. There are riots - some of which are senseless and religion-based. YES. There is police brutality. YES. There are gangs. But you cannot take *everything* that goes wrong in a country of a billion, filter out all the balancing good and slam it insensitively in everyone's face for two+ hours all over the planet. No wonder Indians don't like this film. UGH.

Do you know what I heard coming out of the theatre yesterday? Some buffalo denizen wondering about the Mumbai blasts and commenting that it probably put the orphans living in Mumbai slums out of their misery. Yeah sure. People in the twin towers were steeped in corporate evil. The planes put an end to their evilness by ramming into their offices. /end sarcasm

Oh and about the Indian head shake - how can you get it right, if you are a Fanny I-am-so-artsy Boil directing a brit born Indian teenager who has probably never been to India before this movie was shot? Nice bit of cultural mocking to add insult to injury. If you found it annoying (e:Paul), I found it morbidly contrived and irritating. :/

I think the Oscar judges are a bunch of masochistic little losers who can't appreciate happiness and hope and probably think negative is a synonym of powerful. To hell with your myopic little twisted world.
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Permalink: Lent_can_go_to_hell_.html
Words: 326
Location: Buffalo, NY


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