Tags: food

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Wiscon 36 Con Report - Food Edition

On the way to Wiscon, I bought a hummus sandwich at the Cosi in the airport. It has leaves of basil on it, which was odd. I would've preferred spinach. I also bought a bagel at DD. The fate of the hummus sandwich -- I ate most of it on the bus, discarded the rest eventually. The fate of the bagel -- turned hard and got thrown out, but I used the cream cheese on a later Starbucks bagel.

I got off at Memorial Union and walked down State Street with my luggage. So to reward myself, I stopped into Noodles & Co and got a pad thai with tofu and a fizzy peach drink. I thought I'd get back to Noodles & Co later, but I didn't. These got consumed in their entirety once I reached the room.

Had a fancy local root beer in the bar that night. Then went up to the Governor's Club lounge for desserts. A strawberry cupcake that was hard and dry and not very good, and a chocolate coffee trifle that was very good. (The con hotel does better with chocolate than other types of dessert.)

Breakfast was also in the Governor's Club lounge. Scrambled eggs (sometimes these seemed to have cheese, other times not), fruit that's mostly melon and pineapple, and various breakfast pastries. (They also have yogurt, cereal, bagels, english muffins, etc.)

I may forget the order of things after this point.

Restaurants

Mirch Masala(?) It's sort of around back of the hotel. I think I ate there last year, but if so, they've remodeled and might be under new management. Ate here with Kimberly, who reminded me we had the ASL dinner together last year, and with people she'd gathered. Some of them were new to Wiscon.

Decided I like (* is a wildcard):
paneer *
* korma
* pakoor (if that's the chick pea batter)
samosas are okay

They serve a buffet earlier in the day, so that might be a good option for some. Someday I will try Indian drinks, such as lassi.

The Fountain

For the gender variant dinner, we ate here. It's really close to the hotel and is probably new this year. It's a burger and sandwiches place, but it has not only one veggie burger option, but two! I had a portobello mushroom, but I could've had a black bean burger. They were a little slow. Our party was about a half a dozen, so not so terribly large. Fortunately its proximity to the hotel meant I didn't miss the start of the Tiptree Auction. Also had sweet potato fries.

Got a smoothie from the farmer's market. Pineapple. Mmm.
Had a free piece of Ian's mac and cheese pizza at the appdev meeting. So I never got into Ian's on my own and got my card punched for another year. Woe. Also, they moved across the street.
Bought a cheesecake chocolate brownie thingee from the Tiptree bakesale. Yum.
Lucked into a fresh batch of popcorn at the consuite once. Got soda and water there on other occasions.

Never had dessert again in the governor's club lounge. Did have breakfast most every day there. Had hors d'oeuvres once. Tortilla chips and black bean dip, veggies and bleu cheese dip, and veggie dumpling things that I didn't very much. Also a Shirley Temple.

Various chocolates from the reg desk or parties. Really knew better than to stick any in my pocket, but did it anyway. I had to throw my mp3 player's earbuds out (they were old anyway) and clean the player as best I could.

Looked at the pasty shop's veggie options, decided I wasn't interested. Failed to find the food cart at the farmer's market that last year had great Thai wraps.

Dessert salon, I had the chocolate mousse, because that's consistently good. Had the wrong shaped spoon for it. The pecan pie thing had a hard crust that wouldn't cut with my fork, so I just ate the topping off of it. Went back later for a chocolate decadent cake thing that gave me a good shot of sugar and caffeine. Not sure if it had coffee in it or not.

I think that was everything. Never enough opportunities to eat at all the cool places. Plus I felt I should eat in the governor's club lounge when I could, since I was paying a premium for the privilege.
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Wiscon 35 - Food Report

I have a tooth that's bothering me and I'm vegetarian. So you may notice a trend of softer foods, and vegetarian ones.

Cinnamon and Sugar soft pretzel in O'Hare while waiting 3 hours for my next flight.

Cheese and fruit at AROOO reception.

Pad thai with tofu from Noodles & Co. In retrospect, a smaller bowl would've been better. But I did eat most of it later that night. Right before bed, which I usually do NOT do. It turns out if you want a fridge at the Concourse (and you're not in the Governor's Club), there are specific rooms with fridges. They won't deliver one. And I'd already changed rooms once at that point.

Spinach, tomato and feta pizza and a nice salad with chick peas and beats from Ian's Pizza. Got another punch on my card! How many Wiscons will it take for me to get a free slice? Also orange Fanta. Not enough places around here have Fanta. (Domino's shows it on their website, but they liiiiiie. It's actually Sunkist. Which has caffeine, so it's actually a difference that matters!)

Veggie dog from consuite (Smartdog). Also popcorn.

I may have had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich later that night.

The best wrap EVER! from a food cart at the farmer's market. It was Sweet Thai Chili with basil tofu. I asked for light on the chili and no onions. Excellent, excellent, excellent. I'm sad it was a food cart, because they might not be there next year! And then only on Saturday!

I believe I also ate 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this day.

What was Sunday lunch? Hrrrm. Oh yes, der. The ASL Lunch I organized was Sunday lunch. We went to Hawk's Bar & Grill and I had the portobella sandwich. I didn't like whatever they'd marinated the mushrooms in. So I won't be having that again. They did have a veggie burger and other vegetarian options though, so I won't write them off entirely.

Sunday dinner was Flavor of India. I believe I had.. aloo chana. Very mild. It has chick peas and potatoes. I probably wouldn't get it again. Mostly because there's so many other Indian options that are vegetarian, I'm sure there are other things I'd enjoy more.

Then malt something something ice cream from Chocolate something. Reportedly the best ice cream place in Madison. And I can't exactly disagree. It was quite good.

Then the dessert salon, previously reported on.

So it was a shame that at that point I'd had several different desserts. There was plenty of cake left when I popped into the Broad Universe party. But I did not need more sugar! Diversicon also had lots of vegetarian food at their party. I didn't have any though.

Monday I didn't eat anything but a few pretzels until I got home, where I ordered Papa Gino's right before they closed. Ravioli if you're interested. :)

And I think that was it. I'm kind of kicking myself for not trying a Cornish pasty or getting over to the crepe place. Goals for next year!

And I can't praise the consuite enough. Fresh made popcorn is awesome by itself, but they have hot dogs! Veggie hot dogs even! With wheat buns! Also the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I made myself were also wheat buns. They also have fruit, veggie, hummus, pita. Some of the other usual things you'd expect in a consuite. Wiscon has the best consuite ever and puts all the others to shame. Which is kind of redundant, since the con is so close to so many awesome restaurants of varying price ranges.

READERCON, I'm looking at you!!! You could learn a thing or two!!!!
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On Food

In the past 2 days, 3 men have given me unsolicited advice about my eating habits.

According to them, I should be eating less frequently. I should be drinking soda sweetened with stevia instead of high fructose corn syrup. And I should be eating cheeseburgers and pancakes. As a nod to my stated vegetarianism, they can be turkey burgers.
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Benjamin Franklin on Food

"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals."

"Dine with little, sup with less,
Do better still – sleep supperless."

"A full belly makes a dull brain."

"Eat to live, and not live to eat."

"Three good meals a day is bad living."

That last one is ambiguous. Should you be eating less often or more often than three meals a day?

If this was Franklin's diet plan, I don't think it worked very well. Though he did live to be 84, so clearly he was doing something right.

In other news, Ben Franklin was also a polymath. A word which has become en vogue recently.

What does Ben Franklin have to do with anything? I dunno. I was Googling sayings for no particular reason and happened across these.
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Commercials That Make Me Never Want to Use the Product Again

Here's some commercials that stand out for me -- some recent, some older -- that really, really disturbed me to the extent that I was turned off to their product. Call them anti-advertising if you like.

Chronologically:

Quizno's dead hamster commercials -- They were supposed to be cool and edgy and all internet video-y, but they had nothing to do with the product, and looked like.. dead rodents. Yea, I like to ponder dead rodents when I'm thinking about where to have lunch. And no, I don't think I ever have gone to a Quizno's since then.

Burger King's sexist meatist crap -- A whole slew of commercials, most of them featuring this King guy who disturbs me just looking at him. If they're not trying to tell you that men are carnivores and men like huge burgers full of meat and they should come to Burger King to eat them, they're telling you that sex sells burgers and a giant plastic creep will get lots of hot chicks and give you lots of hot chicks if you eat his meat. I will admit to having gone to BK since and still. DESPITE being a chick (some of the time anyway) and DESPITE being vegetarian. Because they serve freaking VEGGIE BURGERS. Of course I have other issues with their Icee machines never working or having the flavor I want, and their usual confusion that I might want a veggie patty in a Whopper, because the Whopper has different components than their Veggie Burger. But, seriously dudes, the commercials have got to go. And don't even get me started on the giant inflatable Spongebobs.

Go Daddy -- GoDaddy's logo, icon dude does not offend me. He looks like some hip, geeky dude, who may or may not be mixing chemicals in his garage. So what's up with this latest string of commercials? They're designed as pornos. Where you're supposed to expect the next step is bare breasts and two (or more) women making out. Is the next step indeed that? Or is it something that redeems the rest of the commercial? Well, we'll never know, because they want you to actually go online and find out the end. So, no redemption. I'll certainly take my business elsewhere next time I buy a new domain. Because, hey, clearly I'm not their target market.

Skittles Korean-Scots are a 'contradiction' -- What?! Well, sorry you've never seen a kid of Korean ancestry raise up his sword and shout in a Scottish accent, "There can be only one!" But, hey, I'm pretty sure they exist. Probably even one or two with swords. Just what is it contradicting again? Am I supposed to think Skittles taste like kimchee-stuffed haggis? I'm not a Skittles fan. Now I'm an anti-fan.
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Wiscon 33 - Food

Breaking with my tradition of going chronologically.. I'm afraid I didn't take enough notes to possibly remember what all I did exactly when. I was very bad about notes this year compared to last year. Though I did take some. Weird, really, considering I had my netbook with me most of the time. But anyway, breaking with tradition, here's a post about Wiscon food.

(I've decided to only slightly anonymize the names of people I ate with. And sorry if I forgot your name. Wiscon's already a blur! Feel free to drop me a comment or Email with your name if you want and I'll edit. I'll also edit if you'd rather be removed from this entry.)

First restaurant I ate at was Ian's pizza, all by my lonesome. I had pesto pizza with mushrooms and some spinach and feta that I believe I already posted about. And a salad with mixed greens, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and craisins, with ranch dressing. The guy talked me into getting a stamp card, so now I have to remember to bring it to Wiscon 34. Oh, and key-lime Stewarts, also already discussed.

Then after the reading, I went to Husnus's with Keyan B, Ellen K, Karen F, Ted C, and here's a name I blanked on.. M, I think. I had the hummus appetizer, which was a lot of hummus, but was good. And Sprecher's Root Beer.. If I got that name right. I probably don't. Which was local and had honey in it.

Jeesh, I'm already blanking on where I ate and when! Oh yes..

Next day, a stale bagel I had bought in the Boston airport at the Starbucks. Don't buy your bagels at Starbucks if you can help it. DD is much better. Then a cookie at The Gathering. Then Keyan B, Kater C, and I went to the Spanish tapas place. Not sure I can remember what all I had there, but it included stuffed mushrooms, baked goat cheese, and artichoke flatbread. Not so keen on the goat cheese, but all edible and most very good.

I believe that night I grabbed fresh popcorn from the consuite as well. Good, because I'd been eyeing people on the street with popcorn. Mmm, popcorn.

Are we on Saturday already? Ack, so confused...

I think Saturday lunch was Ian's again with Keyan B and Kater C. This time I had the lasagna pizza with a mixed green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, chick peas and honey mustard. The chick peas tasted funny, so I mostly didn't end up eating those. And orange cream Stewart's this time. I got more punches on my card, and then the credit card wasn't going through because their connection went down, and he gave it all to me free. Score.

Saturday night, Keyan and Kater and I met up with Karen F and Kate M and we went to the Spanish tapas place. All different things this time. I had the mushroom soup, which was very rich and slightly spicy. Eating it slowly, I made my way through most of it. It came with bleu cheese on little pieces of bread, but I didn't care for the bleu cheese. Stuffed flatbread.. I think with spinach and mushrooms? And some sort of salad which I've already forgotten the main ingredients of. But anyway, all very good, and I still haven't tried all the vegetarian options there.

So.. Sunday.. oh, this was my panel day. I should've eaten in the green room, as they had fresh fruit and stuff, but I just had water. Then for lunch, I went to the consuite and nibbled on various things. Veggies, crackers, cheese, a donut, some popcorn.

Then Keyan and Kater and I met up with Keffy K, Eugene F, and Cat er.. something. (I would look it up, but my bus is about to arrive and I don't want lj to lose this post!) We went to Dotty Dumpling's Dowry? If I have that name right. I had a veggie burger, fries, one deep fried mac and cheese wedge, and one deep fried cheese curd (so wrong!) that someone tossed into my mouth with great skill. (Play at home: Guess who it was.)

And then the Dessert Salon. I had the chocolate mousse with strawberries and chocolate cake. Yummy.

After that, my food was mostly gotten from the consuite. Bagels and hot dogs among the list. (Some may or may not have been after this point, some may have been on previous days.) Veggie dogs were Smart Dogs and passably edible. I did have two. Other people had worse experiences with them.

And I did eat some party food at various points. Missed out on the LJ party cake though. (Sadness.)

And I'd better wrap it up and call my cab! And then I can get home and eat dinner. :)
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Stuff and Nonsense

I've somehow frittered away most of the day without being very productive at all.

A bunch of us went to see Harry Potter. The movie was better than the book and only 2 things bugged me. One a holdover from the previous movie. And a bit at the end just made me believe my own theory about book 7 more.

It's been a good food day in the cafeteria. There were vegetarian ribs for lunch. I would've eaten more of them, but I was reasonably certain they were high in sodium. They gave me two (two blocks of four) when normally I'd only eat one. I ate 1.5. Dinner was Mexican and after telling them I wouldn't ask if the refried beans were vegetarian or not, so I could live in ignorance as I ate them anyway, I was informed I could eat them with a clear conscience. And I keep going back for more of the fresh cherries. They're like crack. Only good for you!

Now if I could stop going back for cookies and cake, I'd be moving a step in the right direction.

Seriously, it's not all about food. Most of it is about reading, reading, reading, and more reading.
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On, um, Stuff

I'm afraid this entry may be a bit stream of consciousness and disorganized and jumbled.

First of all, when people tell you you won't have time to do anything. They're right. You have no idea how right they are. I'm borrowing time from reading stories, which means I'll later have to borrow time from sleeping, just to write this.

Sleep? Ha. I got five hours last night. Then stole an hour and a half nap this afternoon. Starting out this entire six weeks already sleep deprived is not a good sign. My brain is going to be mush. I'm afraid it's already oatmeal.

Writing is almost as elusive as sleep. Oh, not writer's block or anything like that, but I mean.. when's the time to do it? I don't want to be half-asleep while I'm doing it. I feel like my priority should be reading other people's stuff and critiquing it. So by the time I do that, attend classes and other get-togethers, and maybe eat and sleep, what's left for the writing? Well, I squeezed in about an hour this morning and did it. Then wasted another hour printing it. Isn't technology wonderful?

(I'm an IT person saying that, not an English major saying that. Or maybe it's a bit of both.)

The food has already gotten repetitive. We sometimes share the place with other random groups. ResNet Symposium was here. Various orientation sessions. And just some random people and groups sometimes. Sometimes we're alone. I think the orientation sessions may have been dictating the menu a few times. Sometimes entire meals are duplicated. Potatoes remain a near-steady constant. I think there was maybe one meal without any. But then breakfast had 2 kinds to make up for it.

Here's a sample from lunch today:

Fried chicken (vegetarian, didn't eat)
Mashed potatoes (potatoes!)
Mac & cheese (starch, and very weird cheese choice. Didn't eat much)
Biscuits (more starch)
Corn on the cob (vegetable! But.. not the healthiest of vegetables)
Salad (with ranch and cheese)

We were talking at lunch about how vegans would have a hard time, and it's true. Unless you trust the mashed potatoes to be milk-free, which isn't too likely, then you're left with.... well, soda and a banana, maybe. Oh, and the corn, plain. Yum, yum.

So any future Clarion attendees who're vegans, be sure to emphasize it on your application form.

In contrast, we had a lovely spread at the reception yesterday. No.. day before yesterday. I'm losing track of days already. Lots of vegetarian and vegan choices. I can't even remember it all. Cheese and crackers and wine was just the start. Sushi, tofu on a stick, some sort of Asian chicken (I think) on a stick. Dips. Someone said hummus. Some things I couldn't identify, but looked good. Nice desserty things. Fruit. Good.

Jeesh, now I look obsessed with food. Maybe because it's about time for dinner. Always an adventure going to the dining hall.

I have 3 stories to read tonight after dinner. But since I wrote something this morning, I feel a little of the pressure of that off now. I do intend to submit a story a week, and now I've done it 1/6th of the time at least.

I find myself wondering what the Clarion West people are up to and if they're going through some of the same things we are.
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On Food

This is my last entry before watching Dr. Who and trying to sleep. I expect the Symposium people to end their party or whatever it is in about half an hour.

The dining hall is sometimes going to be open only for us, as we'll be the only group here. That seems so wasteful, as there's only about 20 of us usually. The website promises fresh sushi. Don't believe it! Haven't seen any yet.

Parts of the cafeteria are, well, not exactly shut down, but not stocked. I rather expected a salad bar and grill, but nope.

We get 3 meals a day, but only have 1 hour windows in which to go eat. We just walk in and tell them what group we're with and then we can get whatever food we want. So far the only really portable food has been fruit and bottled/cartoned juice at breakfast.

For our first meal, they offered.. let's see if I can remember.. turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli/carrots, salad. Then you could have cake for dessert. The mashed potatoes were flavored and were okay. There was too much broccoli in the broccoli/carrots and not enough carrots. The stuffing had too many onions for me, but was claimed to be vegetarian. The salad had a lot of dressing on it and included walnuts and, I think, cranberries. The cake was good.

Breakfast included scrambled eggs, french toast, bacon, sausage (including veggie sausage), and potatoes. The maple syrup was fake, not that I expected differently. You could also have cereal, toast, bagels, muffins, fruit. Oh yes, they had a fruit salad this time with melons, pineapple, grapes.

Lunch was salad again (minus the walnuts, in mine anyway), tortellini or penne pasta with a couple different kinds of sauce, red potatoes (again with the potatoes!), some sort of zucchini/tomato/yellow squash mixture that was flavored somehow. Some people got garlic bread, but I missed that somehow. I could've gone back and got some, but didn't bother. Cake and cookies. The cookies are good.

Dinner provided the first real opportunity for vegetarian choices. There was tofu stir fry, rice, veggie burgers, regular burgers, pizza, french fries (potatoes, of course), and possibly some other things I'm forgetting. I ate the tofu out of the stir fry and had some rice. I hope they have veggie burgers again when I'm more in the mood for them.

So there aren't as many options as I expected, but vegetarians won't starve. Vegans might have a slightly harder time, but there's no reason you have to eat solely out of the dining hall.

Except that, despite the presence of a kitchen (minus microwave) in all of the apartments, we're not allowed to cook.