Monday, March 23, 2009

No salad for you!

Noel and I have been intrigued by a restaurant, Conrad's Family Restaurant/Cocktails (whatever that means), since we moved here. It's almost always busy, but looks like kind of a dive...not a "hole in the wall" place that you'd actually try and discover it has amazing food, but a family restaurant/lounge/bar/who knows what, dive. A few of our neighbors have also been wanting to see what Conrad's is all about, so we decided to have our "end of the quarter celebration" there on Friday night. Let's just say we won't be going back anytime soon...or ever.
I was pretty excited when we walked in because the interior totally reminded me of Russ'! I love Russ'! The customers were all about 70 years old and so we felt a bit out of place, but still had an open mind. We were seated immediately and started to read through the abnormally large menu that had everything from breakfast, "Italian Fare", "Mexican Fare", Seafood, burgers, sandwiches, soup, fried chicken, etc., etc. Basically it's your one stop shop for any kind of food you want.
After spending a long time looking over the menu, Noel decided on the Fettuccine Alfredo and I decided on the Garden Burger with Sauteed mushrooms. My entree came with a choice of fries, coleslaw, or fruit on the side. However, I really wanted a green salad. So, I ordered my burger and then had the following conversation:
Server: "Would you like fries, coleslaw, or fruit with that?"
Me : "Could I substitute a side green salad?"
Server: "No."
Me: "Not even for an additional charge?"
Server: "No."
Me: "So, I can't even order a side green salad?"
Server: "No."
Me: "Ummmm, okay, I guess I'll have the fruit."

I was so confused by the whole situation. I have never been told that I can't substitute a salad! I know that at some places it's an additional charge, but apparently that wasn't even an option here. Anyway, Noel's pasta came and looked pretty sick. It was just cooked fettuccine with a thick white mystery sauce ladled over top (probably from some over sized can or jar that's been sitting on a shelf for months). He took only 2 bites and said it was so disgusting he couldn't even eat it. Luckily, he was give a side green salad with his meal and ate that (though we're pretty sure it had about a half a bottle of dressing on it). On top of it all, this place was not cheap! We could've eaten at MANY other restaurants in Pasadena for much less and gotten much better food. Oh well, it was a funny experience. We'll never know why it's always busy there, but we'll also never wonder what it's all about when we walk past anymore. The night was redeemed with a trip to 21 Choices, which was a much needed cleansing for our pallets.

Two big thumbs down for Conrad's!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pot-pie Extravaganza

I have been wanting to serve dinner at Union Station, a homeless shelter/rehabilitation center in Pasadena, for a long time. I recently found out that our church is responsible for preparing and serving dinner the 2nd Sunday of every month. This includes making dinner for about 50 people, delivering it to the center, and serving it to the residents. It's quite structured in terms of what you can and can not bring, and my "go to" lasagna was on the "no" list. I decided on chicken pot-pie, salad, and garlic bread for the meal, and bars and ice cream for dessert. Luckily, my neighbor, Rebecca, volunteered to help me on Saturday as this was quite a large undertaking for me. She made all the crusts, rolled them out, and put them on top of each pie. I had made all the fillings earlier as well as dessert. Thank you, Rebecca!!!!!


Here are all the fillings without the crusts as well as 1 pan of bars. We were so thankful to have the help of our friends, Joey and Katie, to serve the meal on Sunday. It was a great experience and I will definitely do it again. I might make something a bit simpler though so it doesn't take a whole day. Also, I will prepare less food as we had 3 of the 6 pot-pies left (for some reason only about 25 people showed up that evening) Luckily, they gladly accept leftovers so we weren't stuck with anything. I think Union Station has a great program and does a great service to our community. I am happy to help support them in this way.
I do have to say, I can't see myself eating pot-pie for a VERY long time. I pretty much never want to see it again.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rainbow

Rainbows are neat. This one appeared in our neighborhood on Wednesday. It was a full one, though we couldn't capture the whole thing on film. Heidi took this picture looking across the street from our place. I was at the library at the time, and I got a great view of it from the 2nd story.

Genesis says God put the rainbow in the sky as a sign of the covenant God made with all flesh not to flood the earth again. I am thankful for that rainbow, because violence seems to be as much a problem in our day as in the days of Noah.

Friday, March 6, 2009

CSA picture

I forgot to take a photo of our box, but my neighbor happened to take one of hers! You can't see the depth of the box, or how packed in everything is, but this may give you a little idea of what we get. There's a huge bunch of cilantro on top (which I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with...maybe make cilantro pesto and freeze it) as well as lettuces other greens, etc. There are other veggies underneath, such as broccoli, carrots, radishes, and parsnips.

By the way, I think I made my best CSA dish ever this week! I made CSA crepes that were filled with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and wilted greens. I rolled up the crepes, placed them in a pan, and made a white sauce with herbed goat cheese in it. I poured the sauce over top and baked for about 15 minutes. It was delish! I love being forced to cook with things I would never normally buy at the store. It's really expanding my repertoire.