The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Tristan Week: Day 2 (Israeli Sandwiches and Mild Tipsiness)

On day two of Tristan's stay (January 3rd), he slept in late while I left home at 8:30 as usual to get to work on time. Tristan had what top sleep deprivation specialists refer to as "mega-sleepies."

But he eventually made his way into the city some time after noon. And he had one thing on his mind: falafel. Not just any falafel, but the best kind: falafel from Taim.

ginger carrot soup
Ginger carrot soup

But first, ginger carrot soup. When the weather is ass/brain/organ-freezing cold, few things are as comforting as hot liquid dripping into your belly, the liquid being purréd carrot with a spike of ginger. I had a few large spoonfuls of Tristan's soup to mellow out my innards.

Bring it on
I haz a fry

We continued preparing our stomachs for the impending falafel feast with Taim's homemade French fries with saffron aioli sauce. These are some of my most favorite fries ever—they're freshly fried to a golden crisp, somewhat on the skinny side for a large crust-to-non-crust potato ratio, well-salted, and come with what is basically a tastier version of mayonnaise. The portion is a bit too large for one person to eat on their own, unless they're especially hungry (I mean, I could eat it all if I absolutely had to), so this is best shared between two or three people who will inevitably grab for the last dregs of fried potato matter at the bottom of the bowl. You shouldn't have trouble convincing your friends to partake in the French fry goodness. If you do, find new friends.

Tristan's falafel sammich
Tristan haz falafel

If you didn't get fries or soup, you would still be satisfied by just one falafel pita. They stuff the crap out of that fluffy pita, shoving in a seemingly endless number of falafels among chopped cabbage, Israeli salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley in a lemon mint dressing), hummus, and Tahini (sesame seed) sauce. Even though Taim's falafels are exceptionally light (with just the right level of crisp in the crust) compared to those found in other falafel-ries, you'll probably feel the stomach bludgeoning effects of fullness halfway through the pita. I think Tristan ordered the harissa falafel, aka "the somewhat spicy one." That's my favorite out of the three choices, green and red being the others.

sabich pita
I haz no falafel!
nom nom
nom nom

I resisted the falafel for once to indulge in what I would call one of the best sandwich-like inventions of all time: sabich, a pita stuffed with fried eggplant, sliced hard boiled egg, hummus, Israeli salad, tahini and amba (mango pickle) sauce. Fried eggplant—like chomping into a hearty, savory, vegetarian-friendly pudding—and hard boiled eggs are two of my most favorite foods in the world, and the sabich makes them even tastier with the addition of creamy, nutty sauces and crunchy chopped vegetables all tucked away in a fresh pita. I'd want to eat this every day if I could. I should probably just learn how to make it myself.

Instead of staying in the city for dinner, we decided it'd be more relaxing (in addition to being cheaper) to go back to NJ and cook our own dinner. Tristan came to my office shortly before it was time to leave with a few gifts in tow: one was Anthony Bourdain's latest book, No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, perfect for the 'Boppy, and something a little less in line with my interests...

"I know I'll appreciate this more than you, but we can both enjoy it!"

And then he whipped out a bottle of Hogue Reisling. Haha. Hahaha.

"By the way," he added, "you have to drink half of it."


Well, you'll see what happened in a bit.

In order to not destroy Tristan's stomach with a constant barrage of meat-based things, we made mapo tofu for dinner. Not exactly from scratch.

mapo tofu sauce + veggies
Veggies and stuff

We cooked chopped carrots and onions (and later added frozen peas) with mapo tofu mix...

mapo tofu is coming

...Added chunks of tofu....

...Yeah, that's it. It tasted pretty good, but way too mild. I have to find spicier sauce next time, the kind that gets the dear ducts a-flowin'.

hello, drunkery

And then came the bitter, fermented extraction of the crushed souls of grapes. Some people have the impression that I would like Reisling because it's quite fruity, somewhat sweet (this one, at least), sparkly, and not tannic. It's far from being the most offensive member of the wine world, pretty much. But it still tasted like brain-shriveling alcohol to me and in my attempt to pack away half of the bottle to say, "Thanks for the awesome gift!" I chased down heavy gulps with tofu or pieces of milk chocolate. No, this isn't the optimal way to enjoy wine, but I can't say I relished the taste. Not yet, at least.

Despite the protests from my taste buds, I drank half the bottle. Yes. All I could do after that was wait for the effects to settle in.

...And settle they did, at about the time that we sat on my couch in front of the TV to watch Castle in the Sky, my favorite Miyazaki movie. Even though I felt like my mind was clear (god knows, really), my motor skills were below normal capabilities. I mean, they were kind of fucked. When I tried to walk just a few feet to the bathroom, my legs stumbled and all my appendages mildly lurched in the wrong directions. It was like being dizzy without the nausea. My head felt a little lighter, probably because it had emptied itself of extraneous brain cells. If I concentrated hard enough I could walk and talk normally, but without trying I was inclined to stumble. Admittedly, I was really glad that my mum had miraculously decided to go to bed early that night so that she couldn't see what was going on (she usually goes to bed after 2 AM).

Tristan said that I was more chatting in my mildly alcohol-poisoned state. I don't think it was a direct result of the alcohol, but a secondary consequence of my sub-par motor skills. Most of my comments were probably along the lines of, "AHH WHAT THE HELL WHY CAN'T MY LEGS WALK STRAIGHT, HAHAHA, OH CRAP."

After that experience, I can't say I'd want to get drunk in any situation outside of my home with anyone who wasn't a close friend. And even in that situation, I don't feel the pull to do it again. Not that I was unhappy after drinking half a bottle of wine, but on a regular basis I'm quite happy in a non-alcoholed state. Alcohol doesn't give me enough enjoyment to consider spending money on it. So. Eh.

Tristan made a good effort and now I know what alcohol can do to me. I would thank him for that.

Update (1/28/08): I wanted to clarify that Tristan is my ultimate brosef and when he "makes" me drink wine it's all in good fun, not to get me drunkzorz or anything bad! Not that anyone here is calling him the anti-Christ, but he only has good intentions and we have ULTIMATE FUN TIMES together. Feel love for the T-Man—I do and my life is better because of it.


222 Waverly Pl
New York, NY 10014


santos. / January 26, 2008 5:28 PM

what the hell? sadly, i have not been keeping up on your posts, so is there a reason why you were asked to drink half the bottle? just say no.

love that falafel.

G / January 26, 2008 5:46 PM

Food's looking amazing as usual. Can't go wrong with soup and fried stuff! Even the tofu looks kinda tasty ;)

Laputa is definitely one of Miyazaki's better films. Have you tried My Neighbor Totoro?

Angeline / January 26, 2008 5:59 PM

Late Harvest Riesling is one of my FAVORITE wines, really it is. Its so sweet and syrupy!! I've never had a sparkling Riesling though. I'm jealous.

roboppy / January 27, 2008 12:10 AM


Nah, just cos Tristan asked me to.

Not much of a reason, is it?

G: Oh my god I used to watch TOTORO ALL THE TIME, and I have (er, had) a plush toy of every totoro. :) :) :) Oh childhood, what a fun time that was...

Angeline: Sweet and syrupy? Lordy! What did I drink? Waaah.

John: OMG EAT IT, you'll love it, or else we can't be friends.

Julie / January 27, 2008 2:35 AM

Mapo Tofu is one of a few spicy spicy dishes I'll eat, and coincidentally, I ate a big lot of it tonight from my favorite delivery joint. Your version looks like awesome!

I'm all about the skinny fries ... especially skinny sweet potato fries ...

Also: Miyakazi!!!

mike / January 27, 2008 11:38 AM

Damn Castle in the Sky is my favorite Miyazaki movie too! I used to have all the Ghibli classics on chinese subbed bootleg dvd. Laputa, Nausicca....I should really replace those with the legit versions so Miyazaki gets some of my money and just that old dude in Elizabeth center in Ctown.

Tina / January 27, 2008 12:34 PM

I still haven't tried Taim's fries!! I want some now since I've been deprived of any tasty falafel or fry ever since... *sniffles*

Ah, I know what you mean about not wanting to go drunk. I drunk nearly half a bottle of Korbel Brut several years ago for New Year's Eve when it's only my dad and myself who's willing to drink (from the entire family at home) and well...I got a headache afterwards then passed out on my bed. Tipsy or getting drunk ain't fun...for me at least.

roboppy / January 27, 2008 11:02 PM

Julie: I love spicy EVERYTHING! Almost. Definitely makes tofu taste awesomer.


Jaden: HAHAHA. I have a big mouth.

Mike: When I was little I just watched the movies in Japanese. Didn't really make a diff to me, I guess. You should definitely get the DVDs! I was so happy when Disney released em, even if I'm not a big fan of the Castle in the Sky dub.

Tina: You got a headache and passed out? That sounds like the opposite of fun. :( No alcohol for you! Let's be SOBER!!!

Clare / January 28, 2008 12:37 PM

Hey Robyn, I think your (and your well-intentioned friends) whole approach to drinking is wrong. Wine is supposed to be enjoyed, not chugged in an effort to get drunk (that is, unless you are drinking Boonsfarm Strawberry Hill or the like). Maybe you should start off with a frou-frou drink like a Mai Tai, which tastes exactly like Hawaiian Punch. Sip it, enjoy it and just have one and see how you like it. But wine is definitely not good for those who dislike the taste of alcohol. Neither is a rum and Coke.

Think Mai Tais, Cosmpolitans, Lemon Drops, something creamy and chocolatey with Kahula, etc.

Good luck!


roboppy / January 28, 2008 12:45 PM

Clare: Oh, I don't think anyone expected me to like drinking after chugging something. I don't! However, I don't expect to like alcohol from drinking frou-frou drinks either. :\ I pretty much dislike anything that has any trace of alcohol, including chocolates and desserts. I recently drank something that my friend said he couldn't even taste the alcohol in, but to me it tasted just of...alcohol. Haha. I think my tastebuds are uber sensitive or something. :(

On that note, I would try a frou-frou drink if someone bought me one. There's no way I'm going to spend money on that! Oh, in my beverages class in junior year we tasted some cocktails and I didn't like any of them, but maybe they weren't sweet enough. I might be a lost cause, really. Wine is what I've drank the most in my life, from childhood, then my beverages class, and then when I was in France. -__- FAIL.

Clare / January 28, 2008 3:43 PM

Well okay. You can always try hard drugs.

I kid, I kid!!!

If I'm ever in NYC, I will buy you a frou-frou drink!


JasonP / February 4, 2008 3:24 PM

I'd have to go with Spirited Away as my favorite Miyazaki movie, though Castle in the Sky is quite excellent.

From your description of buzzed/drunkenness, I don't blame you for not drinking. It is also one of the most vivid descriptions of such an impaired state that I have read, thanks for that.

roboppy / February 4, 2008 9:12 PM

JasonP: I think I might be attached to the older Miyazaki movies just because those are the ones I watched when I was little. I also love My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. :)

I have to admit I'm kind of interested in getting the little buzz again, but only in a certain situation ...where I'm cozy on a sofa and watching a movie. I wouldn't wanna use it to loosen up at a party or anything.

May / February 5, 2008 10:37 PM

Hi! I just started reading your blog and the title Castle in the Sky jumped out at me! I absolutely love Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki anime films and I just finished watching a bunch of them (my 2 favourites are Howl's Moving Castle and Kiki's Delivery Service). Sorry, I know I sound nerdy and...creepy here. Anyways, I love your pics (*drool*) and blog!

roboppy / February 7, 2008 12:06 PM

May: Noo you don't sound nerdy and creepy. Or no more nerdy/creepy than how I sound.



I need more Miyazaki movies.

serena / February 8, 2008 6:02 AM

oh robyn, it's been SO LONG since i've read your blog (i've been travelling). have missed it & NY!

(actually, looks like i'm not that far behind anyway)

completely empathise with your non-alcoholism: i'm such a lightweight that i don't even bother now. like i tell people, i don't need to get drunk to be interesting - i AM interesting! & ditto for you.

roboppy / February 9, 2008 2:05 AM

Serena: You're alive, wee!!! :)

I guess I am interesting when non-drunkified, but I wonder if being drunk would multiply my interestingness to a great degree. IT WOULD BE CRRAAZZYY!

Or I'd throw up, I'm not sure.

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