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On This Episode of 92101…

February 25, 2010

I’ve decided that I’m going to use sheer force to make myself like San Diego, and that’s all there is to it.

Having a fucking sweet-ass apartment with a view of the bay doesn’t hurt…

After a 20-hour roadtrip from Austin, we arrived on Saturday evening and got a room at the Ramada Inn in the Gaslamp District.

Saturday evening, as I wrote previously, was probably the wrong time for me to arrive, as the streets in the Gaslamp District were brimming with groups of mostly 20-somethings out on the prowl.  In general, I don’t mind crowds at all–New York crowds, I can deal with.  San Diego crowds, not so much yet.

Wearily, we made our way to Star of India, and I’m sorry I don’t have pictures.  Trust me, though, the food could have been from any Indian restaurant in the US–nothing special.  We emphatically requested “spicy” and got “bland.”  The atmosphere was weird, too brightly lit and eerily quiet.  The only sounds were snippets of dialogue from the kitchen.

That is, until a large party showed up, insisting loudly that they had a reservation.  Though the host seemed unable to find it, he seated the group promptly, on the other side of the dining area directly across from Andy and me–despite the fact that the rest of the place was empty.

We might as well have been seated right next to them, though, as we were able to hear almost every word they uttered because they spoke so loudly.  Their conversational topics covered the entire spectrum of stereotypical southern Californian life, as I’ve learned from bad television: plastic surgery (including appetizing details about placement of incisions), their friends’ annual salaries, fashion no-nos, gratuitous name-dropping of movies their friends supposedly worked on, and so on, and on and on and on…

By the time we left, I was gritting my teeth.

After I griped a little too much, Andrew didn’t speak to me much for the rest of the evening.

That was day 1.

The next day went a bit better–after breakfast, we went to look at apartments.

Contestant #1 was in a building that was built in 2004 and features a gym, valet parking, and a rooftop pool.  Ok, so far, so good.

The apartment itself was a dark, lifeless box that had small windows overlooking a sterile concrete-and-aluminum courtyard, in which the only greenery was the succulents planted by the building’s landscapers.

Doesn’t anyone here like to put plants on their balconies/patios? I thought. Are these people such self-absorbed a-holes that they can’t even take care of a plant??

Okay, so I panicked a little.  Living there–even for a few months–would have been like living in a hotel, only without housekeeping, little soaps, or toilet paper folded into a little point at the end.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but…

And I didn’t like the way the people in the lobby looked at me, with wide-eyed surprise and/or horror.  Hmmm…I’m just sayin’.

Andy filled out an application while I pouted.  We left that place and wandered around for a few blocks.

Within minutes we found a “Lofts for Rent” sign that led us to Contestant #2, our place.  This lovely apartment is smaller, older, more expensive, and unlike the previous abode, has no dishwasher in the kitchen.  It doesn’t even have a separate kitchen!!  And no gym–like we would’ve used it anyway, ha.

But…did I mention the friggin’ view? One wall is all windows, with sliding glass doors leading out to a small balcony.  From the balcony, one can see not only the sparkling bay and all sorts of sailboats, yachts and cruise ships, one can also see planes landing and taking off from the San Diego airport, which fills me with glee.

Even now that we’ve been here three days, I still run to the window when I hear a jet engine, and watch aircraft ascend until they disappear into the sky.  Landings aren’t as noisy, so I don’t see as many of them.

If the sun (or lack thereof) really does affect Andy’s mood, and if I’m ever going to be happy in San Diego–ever–then this lilliputian-yet-light-filled loft was where we needed to be.  So here we are.

Hopefully I’ll stop being such a stick-in-the-mud hermit while I’m here.  I wanna go out, make some new friends, and see what this place has to offer.  Perhaps getting over my general–and completely unfounded–disdain for Californians might help, but baby steps.

And look, I went grocery shopping yesterday and got some fresh herbs to put on the balcony.  PLANTS, PEOPLE!  So now I can continue to find other, more entertaining ways to show what a self-absorbed a-hole I am.

***

After yesterday’s shopping trip, I made my first RECIPE OF THE WEEK since we left Cincinnati.  Now that we’re not living in hotels anymore and I have access to a kitchen (yes!) you’re gonna see a lot more homemade food here and less restaurant bashing–I mean reviews.

This week’s choice comes courtesy of The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, who has always been the vegan Martha Stewart to me, by virtue of, um, having blonde hair and the fact that she enunciates like a mofo in her podcasts.  Does she do crafts, though?  Not to my knowledge.  That would be so awesome, vegan crafts…

Anyway, I enjoyed The Joy of Vegan Baking so much that I got The Vegan Table almost as soon as it came out, but was too scurred to try any of the recipes.  But not anymore!  Last night I made…

Tuscan White Beans with Sundried Tomatoes
adapted from The Vegan Table

1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 zucchini, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced (I really like garlic–the original recipe called for three)
3 cups fresh spinach
3 15-oz cans of small white beans–I couldn’t find cannelini so I used navy
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh basil  (I likes basil!)
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper, to taste
Lemon wedges (optional)

First, I put a cup of sundried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water to let them reconstitute–the recipe says 30-45 minutes but I doubt it was that long.  While the ‘maters were soaking, I washed and chopped up my veggies.

Then I heated some olive oil in the humongous pan my mom gave me and sauteed a large chopped onion until it started to soften.  Next, I added three thinly-sliced zucchini.

I added the garlic and let that soften, then the remaining ingredients.

Andy made me a martini…

And dinner was ready!  Inspired by a blog I read a few weeks ago, I served it with a lemon wedge–lemon juice really made the flavor go POW!

Andrew LOVED this filling, comforting-yet-healthy dish–he said so several times.  It’s a keeper!  Beans ‘n greens always seems to be a good combination, and one I should explore further.

Oh how I wish I’d remembered to get bread at the store–I was seriously craving garlic bread to sop up the juice.  Not that there was much juice, but any excuse for bread will fly with me.

I loved it too, but felt as though it could have used more of everything except beans and zucchini.  How would it have turned out if I’d actually used measuring cups (or a food scale, if I’d had one) instead of my hands?  Sometimes my eyeball measurements aren’t so accurate.  But whatever, it was still good.  Thanks, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!

So that was last night… tonight I sauteed the rest of the spinach and basil, and added “baby bella” mushrooms and store-bought (gasp!) spaghetti sauce.

Regrettably, though we both wolfed down our pasta, I should have skipped the icky jarred sauce–just the ‘shrooms, spinach, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper might have been simply divine.  Hmm…

Tomorrow night, I’m making Indian food for the first time.  I don’t know if it’ll be any good, but IT WILL BE SPICY!

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