Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

Last week, about a minute after I made the ENT appointment, my PCP called and told me I needed to start a supplement because my lab work showed low results in a category. After hanging up, I broke down crying. I'm just exhausted and overwhelmed from the sinus infection, the not sleeping, the constant pulsating/whooshing in my ear, constantly needing a fan or the white noise machine running. I've never had such a horrible sinus infection and it's so much more draining than I would have expected. I just didn't cope well with another issue. I wanted to tell the PCP that I would not take the supplement and she can shove it up... well, you know.

But of course I'm taking it because I used the internet to discover 1000 ways I'm going to die next week from being low in this category. The supplement is HUGE. I cannot take huge pills. There is no way I can swallow this pill. There is not enough water in the world to get that thing down before I choke to death. The pharmacist said I can split it, but even split, it's big, and I hate taking a split pill because of the jagged, rough split edge. But wait! You can dissolve it in water!

My new morning routine: Eat breakfast (because you cannot take this on an empty stomach). Dissolve GIANT pill in 4 oz water for 2 minutes. Rapidly stir for 30 seconds. Chug. Add 1 oz water to remaining pill residue. Swirl. Chug. Add 1 more oz water to remaining pill residue. Swirl. Chug. If you're me, add in "Gag, choke, burp, act like you're dying." It's disgusting. Also, I cannot guzzle water. By the time I swallow my first gulp of water, the pill crud has settled in the bottom of the water and at the end of the first 4 oz, I've barely ingested any of the pill.

This lovely process results in my drinking about 16 ounces of water after breakfast/before morning  tea in order to get all the tiny pill grit rinsed out of my mouth, teeth, and the glass and down into my tummy. Then I have my morning tea. And then I spend a lot of time in the bathroom because good grief that's a lot of beverage before 11 am when you get up at 8:30 am. It was especially fun on Wednesday when I took my once/week prescription as instructed: first thing the morning with 8 oz of water, no other food/drink/medicine for 30 minutes, do not lie down. Then after the 30 minute wait, I took my other 3 daily prescription pills that I take at the exact same time every day. Then a bit later, before my banana and coffeecake, I took the ear pill because that has to be taken before breakfast. Finally I ate my banana and coffee cake. Then I took the evil HUGE supplement that requires 16 oz of water. Just imagine we coasting along on a huge wave of water on Wednesday. I almost peed my pants that afternoon. How do people drink this much?!

I guess to look on the positive side, I'm not having any problems staying hydrated.

What We're Eating:

  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Grilled Cheese (ham, Swiss, Mustard, on marble rye bread)
  • Dessert: Apricot-Orange Shortbread Bars

What We're Watching:

  • We watched The Incredibles 2. It was a fun movie.
  • We watched The Flash-Green Arrow-Supergirl three night crossover event, with a special appearance form Batwoman. It was fun but since I only regularly watch one of the three shows, I kept asking SP questions. I think he got annoyed.
  • We're watching the Great American Baking Show, Holiday Edition. 

What I'm Reading:
The magazine pile. And cookie recipes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


LeoGreta opened up last spring in Carnegie, which is where I used to live. Of particular interest to me is that Chef Greg Alauzen worked at a local Italian restaurant, Fatigati's, in Bridgeville. I have fond memories of Fatigati's. My parents would take us there, it was huge, a huge square (rectangle?) room (at least to my 5 or 6 year old eyes) and had fish on the walls - I seem to remember a swordfish? - and I think I ordered popcorn shrimp? And I got to drink Shirley Temples! Shrimp and Shirley Temples at Fatigatis and Wrights Seafood were a big deal to me as a wee little girl.
Anyway, LeoGreta opened last spring on Main Street near Third Street (which is the street my great-grandpa lived on and I remember visiting him and his tiny dogs in his tiny apartment there and he always gave me shiny quarters - you can walk from great-grandpa's place to LeoGreta).

We went last Friday, for lunch, after my doctor appointment. We got there around 1 pm and were seated right away by the front window. It was crowded, cozy, and friendly. A simple and clean interior, quaint, perhaps. I ordered iced tea, which is brewed fresh so I was happy. They also have a sweetened tea, but I had unsweetened.
Bread & olive oil. I thought the bread and olive oil were fantastic, but I'm also going to point out that I was really, really hungry! The olive oil was just that, no herbs or garlic floating in it, a lovely flavor, and fresh yummy bread. We ate 2 plates of bread & olive oil.

Here's what else we ate:
Frisée & Lardon (crisp bacon, creamy herb dressing, fried egg). Yum! I don't really like frisee, but in this creamy dressing and with bacon it was really good.
SP had the Daily Special: Pork Ragu Over Risotto. This was really good, too. We both enjoyed it.
I chose Gnocchi (baked with white & red sauce, Asiago, Reggiano). Another view:
These were tasty. I must have been really, really hungry because except for the one SP tried, I ate them all. But also, they were that good. The sauces - so good. We were too full for dessert.
We'll definitely be back. Everyone was really friendly. The food was delicious. It was cozy and welcoming and relaxing. I think I read they may be expanding into space next door. Also, I think they used to be BYOB but now they have a license and offer wines and beers and some after dinner drinks. There is street parking and a parking lot at Third & Main. If going for dinner, I'd suggest making a reservation because it's a small place and probably fills up quickly.I'm looking forward to our next visit.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Thursday Thoughts (A Few Days Late)

I didn't get to Thursday Thoughts last week. Thursday was a doctor day, and we were there for a bit. Then when I got home, I desperately needed food because it was nearly 1 pm and I had not yet eaten that day. Then, priorities. I had to choose an ENT specialist from the ones suggested by my PCP. That meant looking them up, reading reviews on several sites, looking them up in my insurance to be sure they are in network, and then finally a phone call and a long talk with a super helpful lady who helped me make an appointment for the next day. Then it was time to nap because my ear was not happy and I was exhausted form getting up earlier than normal.

Friday was another doctor appointment. I know I've mentioned I've been enduring some evil sinus crap. It started Nov. 11 and got really bad on the 14th with me hearing a pulsating/whooshing sound in my right ear. I went to Urgent Care and they said I had a bad sinus infection and prescribed 10 days of a decongestant pill and sinus spray. There was a lot of sinus draining but my ear whooshing got worse. So bad. I thought I was going crazy. It was sometimes a whoosh, sometimes a squeak, sometimes a honking noise. Sometimes so loud I thought my head was going to split open. I was not sleeping well. I tried using a white noise machine to mask the noise, but then I heard SP's snoring, so I'd put my ear plugs in to block his snoring but then I'd hear the horrendous noise in my ear. I was barely sleeping and I had a constant headache.

The 10 day plan of attack failed so the day before Thanksgiving my PCP put me on a week of antibiotics. We went ahead & hosted Thanksgiving because I was not contagious, but I had a tough time and I was exhausted and short tempered. The antibiotic plan failed. OK, to be fair, there was a wee, wee bit of improvement, but still so much pulsing and whooshing. I was carrying the white noise machine around the house.

The latest failure meant an urgent same day trip to my PCP. I had to see another doctor at the office. New plan: I had swimmers ear and needed a week of special prescription ear drops. OK. Sadly, I couldn't get the drops in myself because the bottle was super stiff so SP did it in the morning & evening and my mom came over every day in the afternoon to do it. Result: minimal improvement.

By now we're up to last Thursday, the 25th day of ear crap. My PCP said no wax, no swimmers ear, time to see an ENT. So I did, on Friday. I had a hearing test (and hear better in the sick ear than non-sick ear!). Diagnosis: A Really Bad Sinus Infection/Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. Sigh. That's been the diagnosis since Day 1, it just won't get better. New plan: a week of a steroid prescription and 2 weeks of Flonase twice a day, if not better in 2 weeks, go in again.

I'm decongesting. Still waiting on the ear pulsing/whooshing.

So that's life here. I'm a giant sinus infected blob about ready to enter the loony bin from the constant pulsating noise in my ear.

What We ate Last Week:

  • Pasta with Asparagus, Smoked Mozzarella, and Prosciutto
  • Meatloaf with Roasted Cauliflower
  • Dessert: Raspberry Shortbread Bars

What We Watched Last Week: 
The usual. I really don't remember because of my ear.

What I Read Last Week: 
My magazine pile more than doubled. Some new issues arrived plus MIL brought over a bunch of magazines she'd finished reading. I'm slowly working my way through the pile.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Hole Doughnuts

When we were in Asheville, we wanted to try Hole Doughnuts. We like doughnuts. A lot. Damaris & Rutledge went to Hole Doughnuts on an episode of Southern & Hungry and we were intrigued by the flavors. There's so much food to try in Asheville and we missed out on several places due to lack of time but we did manage to get to Hole Doughnuts as we were heading out of town. Doughnuts for the drive home!
I was already wedged into my seat for the drive home with snacks, beverages, entertainment, and blanket arranged around me, plus it was raining, so SP ran in while I waited in the car. The parking lot is smallish and can be tough to get in/out. The doughnuts are fried to order so SP was excited to watch the doughnuts being made.
He took some photos on his cell phone. Freshly fried doughnuts coming off the... doughnut stick?
The flavors when we were there. They offer 4 doughnut flavors. We got one of each to try. Back row: Vanilla Glaze and Cinnamon Sugar. Front Row: Toasted Almond Sesame & Cinnamon and Golden Beignet. We ended up being too full from my birthday dinner the night before to try any doughnuts on the drive home but we did eat them after we got home for dessert that night.
According to their website,"All of our doughnuts are made from a single yeasted dough recipe. The recipe contains organic stone ground flour from Lindley Mills, unrefined organic cane sugar, sea salt, cage free eggs and whole butter, and are fried in non-GMO rice bran oil."

Basically, that means these doughnuts are super yummy. Like we wish we'd been able to eat them when they were hot yummy. If we're back in Asheville, we'll definitely get some Hole Doughnuts again - but next time eat them hot.

HOLE Doughnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Poulet Bleu

Last weekend we met a friend for dinner at Poulet Bleu. It was our second time dining there, his first. SP started with the same cocktail as last time, Sidecar, and then ordered the same wine, Gueissard Bandol Rose. The wine list no longer listed the sauvignon blanc from Touraine, so I chose one from another region: Sauvignon Blanc Fleur du Roi, Bordeaux. I didn't like it as much as the one from Touraine.

Here's what we ordered and shared:
Chips & Dip (20 grams of market caviar, french onion dip). The chips were super thin and tiny, which I liked, but they did break easily when we swiped them through the dip. I don't like caviar, so I avoided that part and enjoyed the creme fraiche dip. My companions thought a couple chips tasted stale - ? But the others were fine, and I had no problem with any of the chips I ate. This was tasty and good to share with people but I'm not sure the two of us would order it again.

Once again I ordered Parisienne Gnocchi (brown butter, confit tomatoes, mushroom ragout, pearl onions, gruyere). It was good, but not as good as last time. There didn't seem to be as many gnocchi and there was a lot of what I think was parsnip and not many mushrooms at all whereas last time there were lots of mushrooms and peas. I was disappointed.
Our friend ordered Boeuf Bourguignon, which was not on the menu last time (and isn't listed online). It wasn't quite what he expected and he said it was good but not great.
SP again chose Trout Almondine (Laurel Hill trout, haricot vert, brown butter, almonds, capers). He said it was as good as last time.

We ordered a large press pot of coffee to share with our desserts:
Fried Beignets (chicory powder, sugar, creme anglaise). These were really tasty. I shook off as much powdered sugar as possible since I didn't want to end up wearing it on my face & shirt!
We also shared a weekend souffle special: Grand Marnier Souffle. I took a lot of photos but they all seemed to come out a bit blurry. Like the chocolate souffle, there are accompaniments:
Cranberries, creme anglaise, vanilla ice cream. I'm not much for the accompaniments with souffle, I just like the souffle, which was very good.
We still like Poulet Bleu a lot, but were definitely disappointed in our second visit. I was very hot inside. It was in the 40's outside but rainy and chilly so I wore a thin long sleeve t-shirt and a thin cardigan and I was uncomfortable. I am usually cold, but not at dinner that night.

It took a long time for dinner to arrive after the appetizers & soup (everyone ordered the French Onion Soup, which was not photographed and which is still so gosh darn delicious). We had trouble catching our servers attention when we wanted anther beverage. Two of us were disappointed in our meals. Water was spilled on the table when refilling the water glasses and I didn't notice until it started to cause issues for me in my area and I had to use my napkin to wipe it up.

We will try it again and hope that service and food are better next time. Our frequent dining partners S&R are going to Poulet Bleu this coming weekend for their second or third time, so we'll be interested to hear about their experience.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Tupelo Honey Cafe

Our last day in Asheville we went to Tupelo Honey Cafe for late breakfast/early lunch. The last time I was in Asheville, I really wanted to try THC but did not have the chance. I'm glad we had a chance to go this time. We both ordered hot tea to warm up (we'd been walking around on chilly & windy day) and we ordered way too much food, but it was all good.
We ordered Warm Pimento Cheese (served with tortilla chips). This was my last chance to have pimiento cheese (other than when I make it). This was yummy.
It was warm and slightly melty but not too melty and now no nacho cheese sauce will ever be good enough for my tortilla chips.
Biscuits with blueberry jam & honey. These showed up. They were good but it was tough to eat a lot of the biscuit because we had a lot of other food.
SP opted for healthy: Appalachian Spinach Salad (sweet potato puree, fresh blueberries, goat cheese, spiced pecans, maple vinaigrette). He liked it.
He also had some Creamy Tomato Soup (with pumpernickel croutons). He liked it but if I remember correctly, he said it had a bit of a kick to it? This is the one time I remember SP not finishing soup because he was too full!
I had a Side Salad, which was fine, greens and carrots and radishes.
I took advantage of my last day in the south to have Famous Fried Green Tomatoes (basil, goat cheese grits, roasted red pepper coulis). I thought the tomatoes were fried a little too long. They were very dark and were too crunchy. The grits were fantastic. I'd order these again and hope that the tomatoes aren't over-fried like these were.

We thought our food was tasty, our server was wonderful, we were tucked in a corner by a window. We'll go back the next time we're in Asheville. I won't be able to pass up the pimiento cheese tortilla chips!

Tupelo Honey Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, November 30, 2018

Spirits Tavern

Back to our time in GA. Saturday was nephew's wrestling day. Apparently wrestling is a day long event so my brother suggested we spend the morning relaxing and then get some lunch before heading to the afternoon matches. So we went to Spirits Tavern. They are sort of like Burghers or Burgatory here in Pittsburgh: burgers with your choice of certified Angus beef, ground turkey, veggie patty, Springer Mountain Farms chicken, or White Oak Pastures grass fed beef. There also are a fish sandwich, crab roll, and several hot dog creations plus appetizers and soup/chili/salads.

We got there a bit after they opened for lunch and got a table next to the window.
SP really wanted a Bloody Mary. He liked it. I tried a sip and all it did was confirm that I really dislike this beverage. I stuck with my fresh iced tea.
SP ordered the Crab Roll (lump crab salad, tomato, bacon, avocado corn salsa, hoagie roll with a side of Sweet Southern Coleslaw). He said it was delicious.
I chose the Rude Awakening sandwich (cage free fried egg, white American cheese, hickory smoked
bacon, with a crispy hash brown). I chose chicken and tater tots for my side. I loved this sandwich. Really good. And the tots - oh my gosh the tots were so darn yummy. SP kept stealing them off my plate but that was OK because this was a lot of food for me for lunch. I ate half my sandwich and then ended up eating the insides of the second half (sorry delicious bun but you were just too filling) and almost finished the tots.
Maybe I should have chosen a different side since there was a hash brown on my sandwich. But if I had to choose again, I'd get the same sandwich and tots.

Spirits Tavern must be a popular place because we tried to go there the night we arrived but the wait was over an hour. It filled up with the lunch crowd by noon, so we were glad we got there a little early. Our server was friendly and answered my questions but somewhat sadly, she did forget our fried green tomatoes appetizer. I say somewhat sadly because when our food arrived and we saw how huge the sandwiches were, we figured we didn't need an appetizer as well. There was no way we could have eaten an appetizer as well. Maybe at dinner time, but not lunch time.

Next time we visit my brother, we'll be sure to stop by Spirits. I want more tater tots!

Spirits Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato