Yellow Dog Eats

*I have started and stopped writing this post 3 or 4 times.  I just need to push through the block.  I know what the block is.  How to live when people around you have passed away.

I am not sure where to take this post at all.  We have been going through a prolonged season of grief at work and then Saturday we went to a memorial service for one of our close friend and  colleagues mother and then in the midst of that another colleague passed away last Thursday.  And as these things are they were both expected and shocking at the same time for the speed with which they happened.  I was actually surprised to watch myself walk through Thursdays events in a way that I hadn’t expected.  I could in no way convince myself that what I had heard and repeated was actually real and repeatedly found myself going to Facebook to hope that I would find out that I was wrong.  I watched myself do this in a detached kind of way and kind of marvelled at my own actions as they happened because they seemed to come from someone other than me.  A friend wrote a great post about hope in mourning that I resonate with.   This same friend has a great way of keeping it real and suggested we all go out for lunch after the service on Saturday.  So, that’s where we are.  Life goes on for us as we contemplate the loss of life in another.  It’s interesting how I feel sad or loss but those weird moments of joy too.  Laughing feels wrong and right at the same time.   Life is funny that way.

The service was on the west side of Orlando so we went to a place we had all heard about and no one had been to-unusual for a party of 6 in a town where one had grown up and the rest have lived between 5 and 15 years.  Yellow Dog Eats.  A really REALLY casual place (for two of us in heels and a couple of suits and a few more in  ties and the fact they allowed dogs inside—incidentally not my favorite.)   We tried to dissect the decor and found it could easily be dropped in a beach town or in my mind Breckenridge -it sort of had a surf shack/mountain bar vibe of casual thing.  Lots of writing on the wall, a faux biggie fish, and in general a weird over-packedness.    It’s an order at the counter and find a table spot and was really crowded over Saturday lunch.  I would definitely recommend scoping the menu online before you go to avoid problem of a long menu and a short time to think about it.  They have two general lines of food, deli type sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches and all are sort of cheffy over the top towers of food.  Prices in general are 8-12 for a sandwich with chips which is slightly high maybe but the portions are big.  We could have easily shared something if we weren’t both so happy to eat lunch.yellowdogeats

Z ordered the Fire Pig which is savory pulled pork, pecan-smoked bacon, Gouda cheese, tangy coleslaw and Sriracha, topped with Fish’s Gold BBQ sauce and fried onions, served in a southwest chipotle wrap.    I was surprised to see him order a wrap and he offered me a bite.  A sweetish bbq pork with a bit of heat and crunch from the slaw.  I had the Mr Smokey which is pulled pork topped with smoked pineapple slices, fried onions, pecan- smoked bacon and Fish’s Gold BBQ sauce on a fun-fluffy bun.  I used their text there and yes, the bun was fun and fluffy.  It was a sweet handheld and I loved the addition of the pineapple.  It could definitely become something I would crave.  Bags of Miss Vickies chips and nice big dill pickles were served on the side.  I liked the addition of the pickle for the acidic cut through the sweet sandwich fillings.

The food was good.  Actually go back good.  The atmosphere I didn’t love and would likely try to sit outside next time on the patio and definitely in casual clothes.  The company though – that was the best part.  This life is too short not to enjoy and adventure through with good people.  We have another service this weekend for our beloved co-worker.  It will be hard  but I know that I should go into it looking for the joy in life.


carrot soup

True Story.  I made a super-secret pinboard of food I wanted to eat while Z was out of town.  Yea…hhhh.  I did that and am clearly somewhat embarrassed but it’s out there now and I will live with it. Anyway, I figured I could dream a little dream and make myself dinners that Z would likely not want to eat and have super-amazing super-chic non-boy friendly sandwiches for work brown-bag lunches.

Day 1 – I pulled out all the stops. This is really saying something since I got up at 3 AM for an airport run.  I made myself a sweet little sandwich of a baguette spread in butter and topped with fresh creamy mozzarella and roasted red peppers.  Not too shabby and supremely tasty.  I had bought artichoke hearts to put on it and they were forlornly forgotten in the pantry.  For dinner I cooked up a little pot of beautifully orange carrot soup.  Dense and thick and warmed with the spice of coriander and cumin.  I dolloped on a scoop of greek yogurt thinned with a little olive oil, lemon, and garlic (this recipe eyeballed and minus the cuke).  Oven roasted chickpeas roasted with cumin on top.  Totally amazing and if you like soup I recommend this recipe-kind of vegetarian and fairly healthful.  I even had leftovers to take the following day.  IMG_3160

Day 2 – I ate my leftover soup as I watched flight tracker and the landing of Z’s plane in Bangkok while lunching with some co-workers and Z’s mom and grandparents.  Clearly something existential happened in that moment for me because that landing broke the wheels off my wagon.  For dinner?  Takeout burger from Outback…  I then proceeded to eat comfort foods like eggs and pizza most nights for dinner (with a few notable exceptions.) Oh, that is other than Friday night when I ate bagel chips with cream cheese-for dinner.  So, out of the chic and into the pure comfort of fried eggs and toast.  You know, I think I’ll make him a pot of that carrot soup one of these days.


we have a good friend who is originally from Philly.  She has mentioned that there isn’t really good cheesesteak outside of Philly but has recently unearthed the most authentic one to be found in Orlando at The Cheesesteak Factory (no, not cheeseCake-cheeseSteak).  We set a lunch date for Sunday afternoon and headed out.  The Cheesesteak Factory is kind of in an old gas station or something-very stripmallish and painted in psychedelic swirls of milky paint.  I guess it doesn’t inspire much more than the moniker of dive. In the great style of Orlando it is also something of an attraction-beyond the food and into the entertainment venue.*

Walking in the first thing we noticed were the ‘Rules’ – kind of funny really, if you order wrong or talk on the phone there will be consequences.  We figured out we wanted to split a 12″ sandwich with onions, banana peppers and hot sauce with a side of tots and away we went.

Sitting in our booth there were a few other guests – kind of Jersey Shore sort of guys who were a little bit commanding of the energy in the place.  We could hear the chef/owner chopping the meat in the kitchen and the food came out fairly quickly.  A huge steaming sandwich heaped with meat.  It was filled with silky cheese and the meat was really tender.  He brings in the rolls fresh from Philly somehow and they are a middle weight bread, not too crusty with nice chew.  Overall a really enjoyable lunch despite the strange swagger of the owner and other guests.   In general we are used to a somewhat more refined, and I suppose, rarefied, dining experience.  This has its place and I can see where the food is totally craveable-cheesy, salty, chewy, savory.  It hits the right notes that bring you back even to a place you’ve never been before.

*on a side note – this is the first cheesesteak ever for us

po’ boy

baked popcorn shrimp tossed in a bowl with just enough remoulade to coat (probably 1/4 cup for 2 servings) and smothered in shredded lettuce on a hoagie roll.  Great quick supper.

what’s that weird lump on the side you ask?  Z made spicy dill deep fried pickles.  I pickled the pickles over the summer and he made a quick batter a la minute – 1 egg, 1 cup ice water and 1 cup flour.  They were good although we have a few ideas to make them better.

bar americain and a bit on ww

I picked up a copy of Bar Americain by Bobby Flay sometime in the range of Christmas.  It was right around the time we started Weight Watchers (WW) so it has somewhat languished on the shelves.  I got a fairly good selection of cookbooks just aching to be opened up and put to the test.  WW has been going well for the most part – we started in December and have lost 23# and 25# depending which of us you ask.  But last week we tried one of the recipes calling me from the book to good success.  A green tomato, goat cheese and bacon grilled cheese.
I picked up a loaf of jalapeno cheese bread from the bakery for the base which was slightly different from the Pullman loaf it called for.  I wasn’t really sure what that would be but found out after the fact that it is a basic square sandwich loaf baked in a pan with a lid to keep it square.  No matter, the jalapeno bread added just a bit of tang and played well with the others.  I crisp fried a few slices of bacon and thin sliced the tomatoes adding them to an ounce or so on each sandwich of semi-soft goat cheese and toasted it all with some butter.  This sandwich is a perfect riot of flavors, crispy fresh, tangy and savory.  In the old days we probably would have had it with fries (we still would sometimes) but instead had it with some lightly dressed spinach.