9/9/10 - Red Velvet Cupcakes Win Me Over Every Time

The opening salvo of lunch was a plate of Rosie’s Vermont Hickory Smoked Beef Jerky and the remaining Salt ‘n Pepper Baked Pop Chips.

This was followed by a delicious salad featuring baby spinach, green beans, yellow bell pepper, and Sungold cherry tomatoes with my homemade herb-Dijon vinaigrette.

A little later that afternoon, I had a nice hunk of that wonderful Parmesan-Reggiano.

The Phillies were squaring off against their rival New York Mets that night, so I went to Shorty’s to DJ before and after the game, as well as during the commercials.  Now I never visit Shorty’s without eating, so on this night, I opted for what they call Rondon’s Crab Cake with Crab Fries. 

Some crabcakes are loaded with filler, but that ain’t the case here.  I honestly have no idea how the cake stays together because it tastes as though it’s nothing but crabmeat.  Spread on a little tartar sauce, add a couple dashes of Tabasco, put that baby on a soft bun that feels as though it’s been buttered, and we are in business!

Crab Fries are a regional specialty that seems to stretch from the Chesapeake Bay to Philly.  Shorty’s already has damn good fries, but these are loaded with Old Bay.  I confess that I’m not the world’s biggest Old Bay fan, but if you like powerful seasoning with a salty kick, Crab Fries are just the thing for you.

A friend of mine was visiting from LA, so a couple of our college buddies agreed to meet at Shorty’s for a few beers.  Later, his girlfriend joined us, and bless her heart, she brought some Red Velvet Cupcakes, which we cut into fourths and shared.

Ladies, I’ll say it now.  If you really want to win over your man’s friends, bring them Red Velvet Cupcakes.  After one bite, this woman could do no wrong in my eyes.  I was sold.  I’m ready to greenlight a marriage!

9/8/10 - Happy Jew Year!

It was Rosh Hashanah!

The Jewish New Year!

Fuck yeah!

Tradition says that people are supposed to eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah.  However, my family wasn’t very traditional, so I never had that experience outside of Sunday School, and I had no desire to revisit Sunday School traditions because Sunday School was a torturous ordeal that kept me from watching football as a child.  However, on this day, I happened to have some apples on hand from the C.S.A., as well as some organic honey that a friend gave to me.  Why not give it a try and see what all the fuss is about?

I have to admit that those traditional Jews were on to something.  This was a tasty combination, although I think that was mostly because the honey was excellent.  It was neither cloying nor dull; it had just the right amount of sweetness.  I don’t think I’ve ever tasted honey this good.

For a late lunch around 4:00, I grilled up a couple of those All Natural Al Fresco Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausages and applied a little Camp Skyler Hot Yellow Sauce.  I also had some cucumber and green beans with Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.

There were also a couple of baked Pop Chips:

This was a delightful and nutritious lunch that served to tide me over until the main event: dinner with Louis and Carrie.

Louis and Carrie are two very cool people whom I met a few years ago when I was working the box office for MoMA’s film series.  Louis was wearing a Jazz Fest t-shirt, and when I asked him about it, he told me that he always stays in a friend’s house in New Orleans, and right there on the spot, he offered me a free place to stay.  Yes, the man knew me for all of 30 seconds and was offering me vacation lodgings!  That gives you some idea of how generous Louis and Carrie are.

Louis is an accountant, and Carrie works for him.  Seeing one another all the time would likely drive most married couples insane, but Louis and Carrie solved that problem by living in different apartments in different parts of Manhattan.  I thought this was a brilliant move on their part, and it’s probably a big reason why their marriage has endured for 30 years.  I once had a girlfriend who wanted me to move in with her, so I told her about Louis and Carrie’s unique living situation.

Within minutes, our entire relationship was over.

Anyway, Louis and Carrie have always treated me like a son, and we will occasionally have one another over for dinner, wine, single malt scotch, and mojitos.  They’ve been hosting me for Rosh Hashanah dinner for a few years running now, dating back to the time when Louis duped me into attending services at an Orthodox synagogue. After sitting through an insanely long service without ever knowing when I was supposed to stand up, sit down, beat my chest, sing, or do a box step with jazz hands, I vowed never to return.  Louis remains a good soldier, bravely attending services each year, while Carrie and I would burn in Hell if either of us believed in it.

The meal began with some unsalted almonds.

And per tradition, there were apples and honey, albeit displayed in a much more fancy way than I did it.

For the main event, Carrie grilled some nice steaks, smothered in onions and mushrooms, served alongside some perfectly cooked green beans, roasted potatoes, and kugel, a traditional Jewish egg noodle-based pudding/casserole.

,

Everyone makes kugel differently. My Mom makes kugel with cream cheese and golden raisins, and it is fantastic.  That’s not to say that other kugels are not very good, but my Mom reads this blog, and if I were to praise someone else’s kugel, well, let’s just say there could be financial repercussions come Hanukkah.  I’ve learned to just eat other kugels without issuing my opinion.

In the French style, I had my salad after the main course.

And I had bread, too.

And when a Jewish mother offers you more food, you don’t turn down a second plate.

Cheesecake for dessert!

And the meal concluded with a little piece of Ritter Sport chocolate.

I’ve always wondered why these things are called Ritter Sport.  As far as I can tell, there’s nothing particularly sporty about a chocolate bar.

9/7/10 - Selling Italy By The Pound

I was running a little behind, and I needed to get something in my stomach quickly, so I grabbed a can of Progresso Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup with Penne and heated it up in the microwave.

For years, I lived off of canned soup, although I haven’t really had it in a long time, partly because it’s been hot outside and partly because these sodium-heavy soups probably aren’t all that healthy.

Soup wasn’t going to be enough to fill me up, so I had a few Cracked Black Pepper Pop Chips.

I like baked chips.  I’ve been eating potato chips since shortly after being weaned off of breast milk, and I think I got into the whole baked chip thing about 11 or 12 years ago.  Are they particularly good for me?  Probably not, but I don’t think they’re catastrophically unhealthy, either.

After finishing the chips, I had a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola Bar.

I think these things are the perfect example of how food companies mask unhealthy foods.  Are they as harmful as eating a Big Mac?  No, but don’t let the words “Quaker Granola Bar” fool you.  They may be low in fat, but there’s plenty of sugar in there.

But you know what?  I really like ‘em, and everybody needs some sugar.  If you don’t like it, go piss up a rope.

Apparently, I was trying to set some sort of record for most number of items consumed during a fast lunch, so I topped it off with these three plums.

I really need to get back to eating plums again.  If they’re ripe and juicy, they can’t be beat.

I was going to my first commercial voiceover class with a new instructor, which went very well.  However, it was a little weird because the class was all guys (we’d get one woman joining us the following week), and I was the only one with any real professional acting experience.  Most of these guys were in their late 20s, and the class ended with a whole lot of extraneous handshaking. I think guys obsessively shake hands when they’re nervous.  My primary memory of my senior prom was all of the guys continually shaking hands.  I have no idea why everyone was doing this.  We all knew each other, and we never greeted each other this way.  I guess someone felt as though wearing a tuxedo was a real accomplishment, and he began shaking other guys’ hands as a means of congratulating them for wearing something other than jeans and a flannel shirt.  It’s weird, but this sort of thing still happens with men who are not used to playing dress-up.  Look for it the next time you see men at a wedding or an uncomfortable corporate party.  I guarantee you it will be a out of control handshake-a-thon.

Anyway, when class ended, everyone stood around shaking this hand and that hand for no apparent reason.  There were also tons of superfluous compliments paid to everyone’s voices and lots of talk about how we were all going to be successful (after one class!).  It was really hard to stomach.  I’d gone through this naive phase of my life many years ago, and I’d already been beaten down by the harsh realities of the business.  I tried to be pleasant and smile, but I couldn’t share in their enthusiasm because I knew better.  I would imagine that they probably thought I felt as though I was superior to them, but that wasn’t true.  I really just didn’t give a shit about any of these people.

Well, acting as if I cared about their precious little hopes and dreams made me hungry, and lo and behold, I found a nearby pizza place called Pie By the Pound.  You’ll never believe this, but this place serves pizza pies…wait for it…by the pound.  It sounded like a novel concept, albeit one that was surely designed to ripoff the customer.  However, it was new to me, and I thought, “My three readers would want me to eat here.”  More importantly, I thought, “Mother of God, I’m fucking starving!  MUST HAVE PIZZA NOW!”

Since I was new to the concept of weighing pizza, the girl behind the counter explained the easy process and offered me a sample of their best-selling Fresh Cubed Pie.  It was good enough to hook me in, so I got a couple of inches of that, and in need of some vegetables, I had a larger piece of some sort of Garden Veggie Pie.

The whole thing cost me $7.05, which wasn’t terrible, although it was still probably more expensive than regular slices would be at most places.  The pizza was flat with a crisp crust.  I liked the texture of the Fresh Cubed Pie, and the fresh tomatoes added a little tang.  I’m typically a little disappointed in veggie pies because different types of veggies take different amounts of time to cook, so some bites are crisp while others are soggy.  That was somewhat true here, although I appreciated the fact that there was an ample amount of vegetables on board, which was good enough for me.  If I were hungry in the area, I’d probably return to Pie By the Pound to try some of their other wares.

About four hours later, I decided to have what I guess you could call dinner, so I grilled up a couple of those all natural Al Fresco Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausages with some Cochon Abita Beer Whole Grain Mustard on the side.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

I followed it up with a salad featuring Sungold cherry tomatoes from my garden with green beans from the C.S.A., along with red pepper and organic spinach, topped by my homemade Dijon-herb vinaigrette.

It was a nice healthy way to get back to normal, and for the first time in what seemed like forever, I was finished eating by 9:00PM.  Maybe I was finally learning some discipline! 


Nah.

9/6/10 - I’m Going Home

I got on the shuttle bus to White River Junction and found myself dead tired, crammed into an uncomfortable seat with the sun beating down on my face.  It was somewhat chilly outside, so the heat was on in the van, but with the sun blazing through the windows, I felt like I was soup.  We were riding in a microwave on four wheels, and it was bloody awful.  Everyone else was managing to sleep by leaning against the window or each other, but I was stuck in a tough spot on the right side of the bench seat, unable to lean on the window because of the aisle and unable to lay in the aisle because of the wheel well.  Admittedly, I could have just leaned over to my left and slept on Neal, but he and I had just met that week and we weren’t yet on using-each-other-as-a-human-pillow terms. I had no choice but to just sit there, stewing in my own juices.

It felt as though it took forever to get to the White River Junction rest stop, where we boarded the Greyhound for New York.  Never in my entire life have I been so excited to get on a Greyhound bus.

Once on board, I ate a couple of peanut butter cookies for breakfast.  They came from the rest stop, so I guess they had some sort of special Vermont jazz in them. I don’t know.  I’m not really picky when it comes to peanut butter cookies.  I tend to like ‘em all.

For what I guess you would call lunch, I had some Rosie’s Vermont Beef Jerky. This was the sweet ‘n spicy flavor, and as you can see from the crushed red pepper, it was more on the spicy side.

I also had a peanut butter chocolate chip granola bar…

…and a Granny Smith apple.

The ride home was much smoother than the ride to Vermont, thanks in large part to the fact that I was so brutally exhausted that I had no choice but to fall asleep.  It was wonderful to finally disembark in New York.  I made it home with all of my stuff, and I conked out for a nice nap.  When I got up, I looked in my pantry and saw this pre-cooked Indian Vegetable Biriyani meal in a box, so I heated it up in the microwave and ate it.

I’d only had Vegetable Biriyani one other time in my life, and I didn’t like it, so I was giving it a second chance.  Well, I still didn’t like it.  It was too damn starchy with not enough vegetables.  Maybe by “vegetable” they really just mean Biriyani without meat.  A little while later, I paid a visit to the Natural Market buffet, which is half-price after 8PM.

Let’s see…Starting in the upper left corner and moving clockwise that’s whole wheat rotini with tofu, tomatoes, and onions in a balsamic vinaigrette, chickpea salad, grilled vegetables in an apple cider vinaigrette, shredded cabbage and carrot slaw, new potato salad with turkey bacon and tomatoes, roasted beets, and black beans and rice with cilantro.  You can never really go wrong on this buffet.

And then a little later I had some of those damned Tostitos with a Hint of Lime and Brad’s Organic Roasted Garlic Salsa.

Happy friggin’ Labor Day.

9/5/10 - Fueling and Surviving an All-Night Dance Marathon

A rough morning began with a peanut butter chocolate chip granola bar…

…as well as an apple.

About a half an hour later, I reported to my first class in the dining hall.  I was still pretty groggy, and I noticed that they had peanut butter and jelly sitting out, so I made myself a sandwich on a piece of white bread.

Yeah, I like to go heavy on the jelly.

By the time lunch hit, I was a fading fast.  I made the assumption that carbs would help, so I had some leftover jambalaya.

I also made a big ol’ salad topped with Greek dressing.

Everyone was raving about these sandwiches, but as someone from the Philly area, I can tell you that they were nothing to write home about, so I did not write home about them.  As a matter of fact, I did not write home about anything.  Sorry, Mom.  I don’t even think I finished this sandwich because the bread was so crappy.

I was able to squeeze in a short afternoon nap, but I was still in rough shape at dinner.  I went for some mashed potatoes, stir fry, and a steak.

The steak had the consistency of shoe leather.  Your jaw could get a nice workout while chewing on this sucker.

Holy crap!  Tofu snuck into my stir fry!

I also had a salad with Italian dressing.

Your eyes do not deceive you— my friend tortellini was able to work his way in there.

Dessert was a little vanilla cake and a little chocolate cake.  I don’t recall liking either one because I think they were a little dry.

After another brief nap, I showered and got ready for the grand finale of camp.  The final dance began around 9PM, and I had every intention of staying until the bitter end.  I’d made it to the end of every dance each night, with the exception of the one night when I left 20 minutes before a dance ended at 3:30AM, so tired as I may have felt, I was bound and determined to make it to the bitter end.  We had to perform choreographed dances to start, and while the choreography wasn’t difficult, earlier in the day I was having a hard time remembering it because my brain was so exhausted.  Thankfully, I remembered everything, and the routine went off without hitch.  After that was done, I was able to relax.

The band played until about 12:30, and then they brought out some pizza and S’mores.

I don’t remember if I had two slices of sausage pepperoni pizza and two S’mores or if I just took multiple shots of them.  Knowing me, I probably had two of each.

When the band stopped, the DJs took over.  Between about 2:30AM and 4:30AM, nothing but soul music was played, which was right in my power alley.  I was having an absolute blast.

I took a brief break around 3:30AM for refueling purposes.

Maybe I was just totally exhausted, but this pizza tasted great.  (As a New Yorker, I feel guilty even typing that.)

At this point, I was over six hours into the dance at the end of a long an exhausting week.  Something crazy happens when you’re dancing this late in a room full of tired people: everyone relaxes and stops caring.  No one tries to impress anyone else, and no one judges.  I felt totally free to try new things, making up moves on the spot and leading things I’d never even thought of before.  If you’re still dancing at four in the morning, chances are, you only care about having fun…and even though my legs felt like jelly, I was having a shitload of fun!

Unfortunately, I also needed to pack to go home, so I had to leave the dance a little before 5AM to run back to my cabin to pack.  I slammed all of my crap into bags and then carted them down to the dining hall, where I had one final S’more at 5:30AM.

We had a shuttle bus waiting for a 6AM departure to take us to White River Junction, Vermont, where we’d board our dreaded Greyhound Bus back to New York.

I danced a couple more very sloppy, very fun dances and did one final swingout before racing out the door to the awaiting van.

Yes, I danced for nine freakin’ hours before bidding adieu to Swing Out New Hampshire.  At that point, I was all swung out.

9/4/10 - Day Four of Camp: LOBSTAH!

Breakfast in the cabin began with a one-two punch:

A peanut butter chocolate chip granola bar and…

…an apple that I smuggled out of the dining hall.

They went to great lengths to warn us that we should not have food in our cabins or we might be attacked by bears, raccoons, and snakes, so I went to great lengths to keep food in my cabin without fear.  When the entire camp smelled like barbecue as they were cooking ribs in the dining hall, I couldn’t foresee a bear breaking into my cabin to get an apple or a granola bar.

Lunch had some sort of Mexican theme.

Instead of wrapping my chicken fajitas, I just ate them naked with a couple of chips on the side.

This salad was topped with a little Greek dressing.

And I grabbed a little ratatouille on the side.  Yup, that’s a cube of tofu you see in there.

I had a cookie for dessert…but it was no ordinary cookie…

It had magical powers!…or at least a chocolate filled center.

Later on that afternoon, I snacked on one of those little tastes of Vermont I had purchased at the rest stop.

You know, I tried taking pictures of this thing in a few different ways, but there was no way I could make it look more appealing than a puddle of vomit.  However, looks are very deceiving because this cookie was fantastic.  It contained granola, chocolate, peanuts, and Vermont maple syrup. SCORE!

On the day we checked into camp, they asked us if we wanted lobster or steak for the “special dinner.”  Where I’m from, lobster ain’t cheap, so this was a no-brainer for me.

I had it with a side of pesto pasta salad and pureed butternut squash, the latter of which was quite good with little hints of ginger.  Now I believe this was only the second time in my life that I’ve eaten a whole lobster.  The previous time was in Maine, and I had a few experts to guide me through the process.  My family had a boat on the Chesapeake Bay when I way young, so I grew up eating hardshell crabs, and thanks to my trips to New Orleans, I practically have a PhD in dismantling crawfish, but lobster is a much larger, much more daunting crustacean.  Thankfully, there were a couple of native New Englanders at my table who were more than willing to educate me on the proper way to dismember this beast of the sea.  I wanted to take more pictures, but it was messy as all Hell, with water squirting everywhere.  (I think I accidentally shot someone in the face at some point.) 

I don’t know if it’s because of my experience eating hardshell crabs or if it’s because I have an aversion to wasting food, but I did my best to get as much knuckle and leg meat out of that monster as possible.  I did notice that the claw meat was sweeter and more tender than the tail meat, but I didn’t get enough knuckle or leg meat to detect any distinguishing characteristics.

I really enjoyed this lobster, although I’m an admitted lobster novice, so my opinion is far from the final word on this dish.  But let’s be honest, if you dipped nuclear waste in drawn butter, it would probably taste pretty good to me.

I also had a salad with olive oil and vinegar.  BOR-ING!

I’m not sure what this dessert was called, so I’m labeling it an Apple Brown Betty.  It had a little ginger and spice along with the apples.

Oh, but I wasn’t done with that Brown Betty quite yet.  During the late night dance, they had more of it out, and this time I had topped it with some French Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and some whipped cream…from a can!  Yeah, baby!

That’ll keep you dancing, at least until the sugar crash, which began to occur at precisely 2:48AM.  So how does one counteract a sugar crash?

Eat more Brown Betty, of course!

This worked and helped me power through until about 4AM.  Of course, the next day was going to be brutally exhausting.

9/3/10 - Day Three of Camp

Well, one day of breakfast at the dining hall was more than enough for me.  I could see how my “last man standing on the dancefloor in the wee hours of the morning” routine wasn’t going to work out well if I were going to wake up early every morning for breakfast.  By the grace of God, the people in my level of classes had a “free period” scheduled after breakfast, which meant “Brian gets to sleep in.”

Of course, I needed to eat something, and thankfully, I’d stocked up on Vermont goodies at that rest stop, and I also brought some granola bars from home for good measure.

This thing was called a Millionaire Pie.  It was big baked square comprised of marshmallows, coconut, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and seven tons of sugar.  Sugar— it does a body good!  Yeah, this thing was pretty awesome.

Of course, by the time lunch arrived, I was in desperate need of substantial food.

I attempted to go vegetarian to counteract the extremely unhealthy breakfast of the morning (I know that you can’t really counteract an unhealthy meal, but I like to believe that I can because it helps alleviate guilt), so I had a bread bowl filled with ratatouille, a piece of cardboard pizza, and a salad with olive oil and vinegar.  Yes, you eyes do not deceive you.  That’s tofu in that there breadbowl!  The ratatouille wasn’t bad, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t eat that massive breadbowl.

I believe this was a sort of Key Lime pie/bar kinda thing.

And I liked it so much that I had seconds.  So much for eating healthy.  Oh wait.  I had a piece of watermelon, so I was in the clear.

Later on that afternoon, I snacked on a peanut butter chocolate chip granola bar (just to make sure my sugar levels didn’t drop).

Dinner had a New Orleans theme, which typically spells disaster.

On this plate you can see a combination of the dishes the camp called Jambalaya and Red Beans & Rice.  While neither were anything close to authentic, they tasted alright for what they were.  Some Sriracha hot sauce certainly helped.

I also had a salad with olive oil and vinegar.

I know this will be hard to believe, but I ate dessert, too.  This was a combination of pecan pie and key lime pie.

But wait— there’s more!  I went back for seconds, purely to get some of the vegetarian gumbo because I love okra.  I remember liking this quite a bit.

Later on that night, we had the big dance, and there was no way in Hell that I’d refuse another piece of key lime pie.

I think I lasted until 4AM, thanks to the miracle of sugar.

9/2/10 - Day Two of Camp

Whoa.  What on Earth is this?

Yup.  That’s an actual breakfast, and I ate it…at a normal time!  The French Toast was sound, and shock of shocks, I liked the bacon.  The oatmeal was…well, let’s just say that I’m only 25% Irish, so the remaining 75% of me likes food with flavor, and the oatmeal was way too bland for my tastes.

Normally, temperatures are in the high 70s at this time of year in Hebron, New Hampshire.  However, we were in the midst of a big heatwave, with several days in the low-to-mid 90s.  While the classes were great, the heat really made them quite exhausting.  I drank several liters of water per day, and I was famished by the time each meal rolled around.

They served “pizza” for lunch.  These little slices ranked somewhere between awful and crap, but I was so hungry that I didn’t care.

There was always a salad bar at lunch and dinner.  Oh, hello there, Imitation Bacon Bits!

I could not remember the last time I had a freezepop, and I was damn excited when I saw a cooler full of these.  You bet your ass I rummaged through that cooler for a while until I found a green one, which immediately evoked memories of fighting my brother for the green ones throughout my entire childhood.  My poor mother would always try to find a box of nothing but lime freezepops, but such a thing did not exist in those days, so my brother and I would fight over the lime one, and the loser would get the blue raspberry consolation prize.  After that, neither of us gave a shit about the orange, grape, or cherry that was leftover.

In all honesty, this particular freezepop was pretty lame and lacking in flavor, but at the end of the day, it was green and it was all mine because my brother was nowhere in sight.  Finally, a victory for the first born!

Dinner arrived, and I was starving, so I loaded up for the long haul.

I had burger that was not noteworthy, pork ribs that were not noteworthy, and some tortellini marinara that was not noteworthy.  On the other hand, all of it was filling.

When it came time for me to choose a dressing for this salad, I realized I hadn’t had ranch dressing on a salad in a few years, so I took the plunge.

And here was our friend, that crazy cake that was loaded with coffee.  Yum.

Once again, the late night dance featured cookies, and once again, I rocked the peanut butter and the unimpressive looking but flavorful chocolate chip.  It was enough to get me through the late night dance, and I finally retired with the last of the dancers around 2:30AM.  Good night, John-Boy.

9/1/10 - Heading to Fancy Jazz Hands Camp

On the night before vacations and big trips, I like to wait until the last minute to get caught up from all of the procrastinating I’ve done, and I prefer to avoid sleeping.  I find it’s very healthy to start a vacation when you’re dead tired, so on this night, I got a grand total of 45 minutes of sleep before racing off to the Greyhound terminal to board my 6:00AM bus to White River Junction, VT.  Of course, in the process of my overpacking, I managed to destroy the zipper on one bag and severely damage the zipper on the other.  All of this drama necessitated 30 panicked minutes in which I sat on bags, struggled with zippers, unpacked and repacked, and made executive decisions to ditch superfluous items, such as my pillow (I opted for a pillow case stuffed with sweatshirts, which actually worked well).  With the clock ticking down, the entire misadventure was quite stressful, and since I was running so far behind, I had no choice but to call a car to take me to the Greyhound station.  The car arrived, and the driver apparently was incredibly sleepy, as evidenced by the fact that he unwittingly ran a red light at Madison Ave. (thankfully, there isn’t much traffic at 5:30AM) and then nearly ran over a cop standing in the middle of the street.  As if that were not enough, my Greyhound ticket didn’t clearly state the gate I needed, so I found myself running around Port Authority, desperately hoping to find an employee who could help me.  For those of you who don’t know, Greyhound’s motto is “Fuck you, we don’t care,” so this was a lot of fun.

Finally, I made it on my bus, and I settled into my uncomfortable seat for a nice 6.5 hour ride alongside the dregs of humanity.  I was somehow able to get a little bit of sleep here and there, but for the most part, I was just miserable.

I didn’t have much faith in the culinary diversity of Greyhound stations across the Atlantic seaboard, so I brought along a Balsamic Grilled Chicken Artichoke Sun-Dried Tomato Wrap, which served as breakfast.

Eventually, we arrived in White River Junction, where we were met by our shuttle bus driver, who informed us that we had a few minutes to grab lunch before heading to camp.  She suggested we go to McDonald’s, which resulted in astonished cries for help from the liberal elite New Yorkers.  Taken aback, she also mentioned that a nearby Subway was an alternative.

Neither of those places interested me, primarily because I prefer to take in a local, unique establishment when I travel.  Obviously, there was no restaurant in the vicinity, but there was a travel plaza selling food items from Vermont.  BINGO!  I stocked up for the week.

I bought a variety of different flavored beef jerkies from Rosie’s Vermont Beef Jerky, and I opted to have the Cajun flavored one for lunch.

For some reason, people seem to believe that beef jerky is bad for you.  Nay, I say. Naaaaaaay!  While the sodium levels in beef jerky are not the greatest, beef jerky is incredibly low in fat and rich in protein.  It’s also quite delicious, and this particular one was rather spicy.

As if it wasn’t spicy enough, I also opted for a small bag of Deep River Zesty Jalapeno Kettle Cooked Chips.  

Ain’t nothing healthy about those chips, but they were rather tasty.

So then we took the shuttle bus to Camp Wicosuta, home of Swing Out New Hampshire.  Many of my non-dancing friends derisively referred to this place as “Fancy Jazz Hands Camp,” primarily because they were doing anything possible to dissuade me from going, as my attendance at Swing Out New Hampshire would prevent me from throwing my annual Labor Day party.  Tough shit for them, I was going to camp, regardless of what they called it.

Meals were provided at the camp dining hall, and because this was a gathering of dancers, great care was taken to insure that the meals were as healthy as possible.  To my surprise, most of the food was actually pretty good.

It had been years since I’d eaten pasta, but I knew I was going to need the carbs for energy.  I had some rotini and ravioli with meat sauce, along with some garlic bread, steamed broccoli, and a side salad (barely pictured).  

I guess my meager beef jerky and chips dinner wasn’t very filling, so I grabbed some more broccoli and a little baked tortellini.  Pasta is pasta, and I don’t know why I have such an affinity for tortellini, but whenever I see it, whether it’s in salads, baked, or just covered in sauce, I need to have it.

For dessert, they served this great cake that had coffee in the batter, as well as inside the icing.  I’m not a caffeine drinker, and I’m not a coffee drinker, but I loved this cake. 

Every night at Swing Out New Hampshire features a dance, and some sort of treats are routinely served to perk up the dancers.  On this night, they had a couple of cookies.

I’m a peanut butter junkie, so the peanut butter one on the right was a no-brainer for me, but the chocolate chip cookie on the left was an unexpected hit.  I normally don’t dig those flat, crispy kind of cookies, but this one must have had a pound of butter in the batter because it was super tasty.

I was already beat, and the dance was winding down around 1:30AM, so I decided to retire early and call it a night.

8/31/10 - A Day of Small Portions

I don’t know if I was consciously trying to eat less or if I just forgot to eat, but I didn’t have my first “meal” until 2:00, when I ate some Tostitos with a Hint of Lime.

Ten minutes later, I opted for something more substantial in the form of green beans with Athenos Roasted Garlic Hummus.

I have to admit that this was not much in the way of food.  However, I rectified that two hours later, when I ate a mint while riding the subway.

The mint came from my hairdresser.  It was not that great because it tasted kind of chalky.  Hairdressers really have shitty candy.  Barbers seem to know what’s what, or at least they did back in the days when I’d get a haircut as a 7 year-old and the barber would give me a huge Charms lollipop as an overt bribe to keep coming back, despite my mother’s repeated complaints that he cropped the Hell out of my hair again.  Now that I go to hairdressers, they do a slightly better job of cutting my hair, but their candy is weak.

Well, this mint wasn’t quite as filling as I’d hoped, so three hours later, I ate a yellow cherry tomato from my garden. 

Hmmm…this one tomato wasn’t very filling either.  I’ve often heard that you should never eat a meal that’s larger than the size of your fist, and whenever I’ve tried that, I would look very weird eating with huge, bulky mittens on my hands, but I had to do something to get those portions up to a human-sized level.  Not surprisingly, my new diet of not eating meals larger than a quarter wasn’t quite panning out as I’d hoped.

It was time for something more substantial, so I got a Grilled Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Wrap from the Natural Market.

Okay, that was more like it.

I spent most of the night doing laundry and packing to go away to Swing Out New Hampshire, which I will talk more about tomorrow.  I used my trip to the Natural Market to buy preparations for this journey because I’d be boarding a 6:15AM Greyhound Bus to White River Junction, and I needed to be ready.

In the meantime, I needed something to eat to stay fueled throughout the all night packing process, so I settled on a few organic plums.

About an hour later, I ate the Spinach Pie I’d been saving for breakfast.

Breakfast is supposed to take place in the morning, so who says you can’t eat breakfast at 2:33AM?