Oh, Christian Slater ...
... in the wake of 'Dollhouse' ending (in terms of our viewing ... of course the show itself was cancelled years ago) I decided to give Ms. S. something similarly out there but nowhere as good in quality ... the first episode of 'My Own Worst Enemy' ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My
) [9 episode, fall of 2008, thus predating 'Dollhouse', which began in February, 2009, by a few months]).
It's an episode that doesn't really "go" anywhere; it plays with narrative time in its structure, it 'reveals' a it, it provides characters and even some characterization. It shows us an absurdly overqualified cast (hi, Alfre Woodard!). But as Ms. S. wondered aloud, "How did this get made?" It's an idea in search of a story.
The first few episodes of 'Dollhouse' were similar, except that they had that monster-of-the-week feel to them that provided a schema of sorts. We will not, however, return to it, I suspect.
Early to mid-month Ms. S. took us out to one of the local Thai joints. That was our "good" restaurant for the month. As it was the end of the month we were also getting our "cheap" or such restaurant ... our 'treat' for a month of eating and exercising well.
And today it was a buffet.
Ms. S. got us in the car, got the car filled with gas, and got us on the road to Birmingham. We didn't head to Pelham ... so no Steak & Shake today! Instead it was Hoover and Golden Corral.
That mediocre buffet is my aunt's favorite restaurant. On one of my last trips 'home' I ate there with my nephew and his family, and he preferred meat and vegetables to overly sweet dishes. Ms. S. and I rather unironically ate at one in Shreveport; or, rather, we overate at one. Today's visit was likewise unironic (why is that qualification even necessary), but while it was a not-a-diet-day sort of treat, we indulged responsibly.
More or less.
Two words: Chocolate Wonderfall.
And chocolate-dipped marshmallows, strawberries, and rice crispy treats ... but other than that ...
It's such an all-you-can-eat-Cracker-Barrel experience, and in terms of comfort food both the roast and the pulled pork were surprisingly good (tender, moist, flavorful). I focused on salad, vegetables, and meats, avoiding the hefty starches (at least until dessert).
Thereafter there was shopping, there was driving, and so on. Eventually we made it back home, and there I discovered something delightful: Golden Corral may not be home the most low-calorie, low-sodium, organic or vegetarian dishes, but they provide something most other chain sit-down restaurants don't -- detailed nutritional information for just about all their dishes.
You can meal-plan ahead of time!
See: "Menu :: Golden Corral" www.goldencorral.com/men
... serving size, calories, fats, carbs, protein, and a bit more. Of course, as the disclaimer states: " However, because of the handcrafted nature of our menu items, the variety of procedures used in our kitchens and grills, our reliance on our suppliers and the self-service nature of our buffets, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of ingredient information or the possibility that an ingredient might be transferred among food items and must disclaim any liability regarding the accuracy of such information."
Still, that's a lot better than you'll get at a lot of places!
After the buffet we made our way past a few Waffle Houses and up to Organic Harvest, one of three or more decent organically oriented grocery stores in the Birmingham area, Whole Foods and Earth Fare being the others, but Organic Harvest is 'local' and not a 'chain'. They specialize in gluten-free items, which aren't necessary for us, but it's nice to see the variety.
What I do like is the bulk section, and there I deposited myself for a few minutes while I collected steel-cut oats (I was out), wheat berries (they had soft white, hard white, hard red, and another I forgot to write down), bulgur wheat, pearled barley, and a couple other items. At $1.20 to $1.40 per pound, most grains are more than affordable, and all of these were organic to boot.
They had hemp seeds, but only hulled and therefore in the refrigerated section. They were also about $17/lb. There was a small selection of organic beef in refrigerators, but while we had a cooler with us I didn't want to have to make a stop for ice, and we still had a few shopping destinations left. So I left that off. There's one store in our town that has a bulk section and now I feel like stopping there this week; I'd like to add some buckwheat to the pantry.
In any case we returned home on time or even ahead of schedule. We missed the rush-hour traffic. Ms. S. was tired and took a nap this evening, but I'm feeling fine. My dinner is small by necessity.
While Ms. S. slept I revisited old episodes -- that's all there are anymore! -- of 'Good Eats' and began with season 10's second episode, "Just Barley". Now I want to make barley bread. I also want more and better varieties of barley with which to work. "House of the Rising Bun" (cinnamon rolls and their ilk!) and "Cubing the Round" followed. The former is a bit decadent for me these days unless I have enough people I can pass the resulting rolls off to; the latter is meat-centric so me-centric in our household, unless I can get Ms. S.'s father to stop by for a sequence of meals involving Swiss Steak, country style steak, and chicken fried steak.
And the last is a clear lead-in to schnitzel ...
Out with January ... hello, February!