E.G. (elainegrey) wrote,

New lunch take-out project

Some weeks ago i was sad and frustrated about the lost pleasure of eating out, which is both a relocation issue as well as more recently the pandemic.

There aren't as many dining choices in the woods as there were in silicon valley California with every Google chef wanting to open their own restaurant. There's a spectrum of ways in which i don't find delight, and there's an even larger range of ways Christine isn't delighted. As a small example, there was a diner-ish place Christine and i would go for breakfast in California: i would get scrambled eggs and the grilled potatoes and Christine a variety of things. The people at the restaurant felt like a cut across society: construction folks to techies. It wasn't high end dining, but we were very comfortable. The local equivalent here has a lot more meat-bits that have to be interrogated on the menu and the cross section includes a certain amount of sidelong looks at two women who are a couple.

The Fish Market chain in the bay area was wonderful, and i delighted in a light dish of broiled fish with sides of cherry tomatoes with basil and lovely broccoli. The two of the three fish places are either "brown food" -- fried fish with hush puppies and fried sides (or a pale green slaw) -- or locovore farm to fork dishes (that i really enjoy) that are a bit pricey and that have challenging ingredients for Christine -- some unfavored vegetable from her childhood, like turnips or butterbeans -- elevated with challenging ingredients like a foraged dandelion green puree. Me, i'm delighted to try that as well the local catch that isn't the prized fish but instead something like smooth dogfish. On the other hand, on today's menu, there's one fish dish that isn't fried and doesn't have duck, sausage, or bacon involved. More meat-bits to negotiate. Christine always got the big bowl of steamed shrimp.

So we get pizza, pizza, pizza. And some of the pale green slaw, because i make chunky slaw at home. Occasionally the salad from the pizza place because, while it isn't special, it's very very fresh and substantial. And grocery store sushi.

I reflected one day that half my problem is Christine's ... rigidity, let's say ... around some of the choices. I think i might enjoy more places that she does. So. i could try getting lunches just for me and not be constrained by her range. And the other issue is pandemic normalization. What's a reasonable expectation for quality, quantity at a certain price?

My plan is to do a take out lunch once a week to try to find places that delight me, that i can then use as rewards or treats in the future.

This week, i'm counting the take out we got on Tuesday night.

$16.50 (8.25 x2) Buddha Delight with shrimp: Broccoli, Mushrooms, Carrots, Snow Peas, Onion, Napa, Water Chestnuts, Bamboo Shoots, baby corn and bell peppers in Ginger Brown Sauce.

This might actually be a good baseline. The flavor was just fine, the veggies fresh (if possibly from frozen), and the shrimp delicious. It was satisfying, and, despite the expense, it was two meals. On the other hand, it wasn't an exciting dish, but in my reach. One thing i would never want to try to replicate at home was the slight breading on the shrimp - like they were fried before being added to the vegetable melange. The dish is not something i would be able to use as motivator (not that i'm certain food can act as a motivator). There does lie the uncertainty whether the sauce might contain beef or chicken stock, but not at the level of the dipping sauce for the appetizer i bought. So baseline.

Sadly, the restaurant is a little too far for me to pick something Christine wouldn't pick as a lunch that might be a little more inspiring.
This is also posted at https://elainegrey.dreamwidth.org/867112.html .
Tags: lunch take-out

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