Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lunch Ladies: Cafe Aion

It has been a while since Laura and I had lunch at Cafe Aion, so I'll try to remember all the important details.

When we walked in, the host greeted us, and we were taken aback by how snappily he was dressed. Laura thought maybe we weren't in Boulder anymore. It was a double visual fashion assault though, because someone leaving the restaurant was wearing some sort of (static) clingy satin/silk dress and fishnets. We were seated in sort of a window seat, which was nice for about 2 minutes until my core temperature rivaled that of the sun's. Fortunately, at that point the shady table next to us opened up, and we scooted over.

I already knew I was going to order the Butternut Squash Soup with wild rice, almonds and Parmesan. I had had a taste at Andrea's house, and it was so good, I wanted more. (Cafe Aion posts some of their recipes on their blog!) Also it had been a long, cold winter and I had been craving a lot of soup. I decided to ignore the fact that it was 70 degrees that day and I was wearing way too many clothes to be sitting in a window. (That doesn't sound right.) Laura got the soup too, and we split the Aion Fried Cauliflower with saffron yogurt, cumin and lemon.

I had also had the cauliflower before and I thought it was delicious. Not as delicious as the chicken wings, but I couldn't convince Laura to order chicken wings because she thinks they are disgusting. (Also - I do not see chicken wings on the Day Menu.) When the cauliflower came out, I immediately started devouring it. Fried=yummy. That's my policy. But Laura said the overall browness of the dish made it seem sort of yucky to her. She said at Cafe Aion, she had more of a "Yum, I'll try this!" attitude than if her husband served her a plate of brown cauliflower. I do have to admit, it isn't pretty, but I thought it was good. Later in the afternoon though, it made me feel sort of stomach-achy.

But on to the soup. It is so so so good. I was going to say that it is also incredibly filling, but maybe the fried cauliflower had something to do with my overall full stomach. Laura was surprised that the soup had chunks of butternut squash, since a lot of squash soups are more of a puree. Good point Laura! It is a soup with a lot of good textures, and flavors, and it came with a lot of soft yummy bread.

We were both happy with our meal, but we also had food envy from staring at some neighboring tables, so we will be back. I will just make sure to dress (fashionably) in layers.

How about the new title? Lunch Ladies, get it? Or should I go back to Ladies Who Lunch?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Eventually, I will blog about our awesome vacation, but first I want to talk about the McDonald's PlayPlace. (We went twice, so the kids could get exercise during the road trip. And so that we could eat.) Say what you want about the evils of McDonalds, but it's a great place to run around and burn off some energy when you have been in the car forever. That is, until some gigantic family swarms, swarms, swarms. With their giant kids, and brothers and sisters and cousins, with the yelling and the blocking of the slide, and chasing, and general roughhousing. This same thing happened at both McDonalds stops. And both times Luke retreated to another area, while Jack got trapped somewhere by the swarm. In Kayenta, Arizona, I just sent Luke in after Jack and we left when things got out of hand. But in Albequerque, New Mexico, I guess Jack had learned a thing or two. We were ready to leave, and Luke was avoiding the swarm, and Jack was trapped at the end of the line for the slide, three stories up, behind a never-ending line of cutters. I was about to send Luke after him, but first I just yelled up there, "Jack! Just come down the slide!" Next thing I knew, he had pushed to the front of the line, and as he slid down, this is what echoed out both ends of that tubular slide: "BUH BYE SUCKAS!!!" Other Jack vacation moments: I filmed an interview with him, asking what his favorite part of vacation was. Pointing to himself he said, "This guy." Speaking of Jack pointing to himself, a few weeks ago, on the way home from Eldora, he pointed at each person in the car and said the following, "You're a skier, you're a snowboarder, you're a snowboarder, and I'm a skier." Still pointing to himself and looking down at his finger, and nodding vigorously he said, "Yeah! That's right, finger!'

Monday, March 28, 2011

Reach For The Sky!

Before we went on vacation, we had been watching a lot of Toy Story 3. And by that I mean, I think I (we) watched it 3 times in 2 days. Jack was horribly ill with cough that sometimes made him throw up, and there was a lot of snuggling and TV watching going on. I cried the first time, but managed to hold it together during the ending the last 2 times I watched it.

Long intro to say, that I just realized I watched a lot of TV as a child. And by, "just realized" I mean, "I have always known". There were a lot of movies that we had on tape, once I was in high school and we had a VCR. So that explains why I know all the words to some random movies that we happened to record. But why, (really, why??) would I have an episode of Laverne and Shirley memorized? I am sure we didn't have it on tape? But I know it was something that I used to quote all the time with my brother and sister. (Even though, in my preliminary blog post research today, they both had no idea what I was talking about.)

Short story long, when Jack started quoting Woody, of Toy Story 3 fame, by saying, "Reach for the sky!" I couldn't stop myself from saying, "You wouldn't dare....!"

I tried to get Dave to help me remember the origin of that famous quote, but he ignored me. I was able to place the quote into a Laverne and Shirley episode, and when I googled "Laverne and Shirley Reach for the Sky" I came up with the following.

I probably saw this episode when? 25 years ago? And it stuck in my head for what reason? I'll tell, you. It's comic gold. I can even remember being disappointed that when the cousin says, "You wouldn't dare" he doesn't say it with the right inflection. But now, 25 years later, I think it's perfect. And the best part is, when I showed it to the boys, they laughed and laughed. And now whenever one of them says, "Reach for the sky," I know the other will answer with "You wouldn't dare."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Black Swan Parenting

At some point during Black Swan, I asked myself, "At what point does a child need to start cutting their own fingernails?" So far I have narrowed it down to somewhere between 3 and when they become a prima ballerina. In the meantime, it's a weekly struggle between Jack and me. We recently came to the agreement that after every bath, I can cut one toe's worth of toe nails. But the deal has to be renegotiated every time.

After tonight's bath, Jack was running around the house in his towel pretending that it was a cape, as 3 year olds are wont to do. I could tell he was stalling, but I wasn't in a hurry so I let it play out. He finally came back into the bathroom and said, "Oh. I realize why I was tricking you by running around. It's because I don't want my nails to be cut."

Thanks for sharing that bit of self-discovery Jack.

Then, when I was promising it wouldn't hurt, he said, "It WILL hurt. Because of gravity. Gravity makes things fall down. I learned that on Sesame Street yesterday. See? Gravity, I told you."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little Old Man

Poor baby Jack is quite ill, with a terrible cough, runny nose, headache and fever. I tried twice to put Dr. Burts Res-Q ointment on his nose, which I have always found to be amazingly effective in the past for reducing pain and redness and clearing up the sinuses.

The first time he wouldn't let me come near him, but the second time, he was more resigned. I put the ointment on his nose and with a sigh, and a shrug, he said,

"See? I knew it wouldn't work."

I said, "When did you become such a pessimist?"

With another shrug, he said, "When I growed up."

My poor little baby is all growed up, and he growed up to be a pessimist. Sigh.


There was more to his story after that, but since he has laryngitis and a tendency to ramble on and on, I didn't catch it all. I know there was something in there about how he growed up to be a gentleman, and isn't Darth a really weird first name? How do you get to be named Darth?

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Day it All Fell Apart

Just need to record this conversation in case I ever wonder, "Where did I go wrong?"

I am working, and I am burned out, and Jack is home with me, and he doesn't want to nap. An hour after I put him down, I heard the garage door open, and I though it was Dave. Then I heard the sound of little feet running from room to room. Contrary to the to implications of the High School Varsity Cross Country Jacket that I can see from where I am sitting right now, Dave is not a runner, so I got up to investigate.

It was Jack, and we had the following conversation:

Jack: I don't want to nap.
Me: You have to
Jack: I promise I won't be grouchy
Me: You said that last time.
Jack: If I am grouchy, you can just get me a class of water and I will not be grouchy.
Me: OK, You don't have to nap, but you have to go to your room for quiet time.
Jack: OK.
Jack: Can I be loud?
Me: Sure.

And scene.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch: Dish

Today was scheduled to be the much anticipated Cafe Aion, but the forces of darkness worked against me. The first problem was that I only blocked an hour off my calendar and ended up with meetings scheduled right up to noon and starting again at 1:00. Not enough time to speed across town, park, order, eat and get back. The second force of darkness was what we in the IT field call a TOTAL NIGHTMARE. That's the technical term for when you finally get a bunch of users in your new system and everything crashes, and 50 people send you a message about it, and 49 of those messages say, "I am seeing the same problem, can you email me when it's fixed?" If Bill Gates were to do one thing for humanity, it would be do remove the Reply All button from Microsoft Outlook.

Fortunately, I used my mad troubleshooting skillz to determine that the DATA disk group wasn't mounted on RAC02, and it was operator error (not mine) and it was fixed around 12:15 (as my 11-12 meeting ended) at which point I sent an email that all was well and was shortly seen fleeing from the building.

What to do, what to do, when you have Cafe Aion on the brain and 30 minutes for lunch? Well, we just went to the next place on the illustrious list of places where Ladies want to Lunch.


Of course, we didn't decide that on the spot, I had plan B in my back pocket all along, and I instructed Laura to study the menu and plan ahead so as not to waste time in line. But I couldn't decide what I wanted. The Piglet? Cute/horrifying name. BLAT? So predictable/delicious? Salad? Too diet friendly. I was a little amped up on caffeine and Laura suggested that maybe I needed a trip to the ladies room, but I insisted it was just stress and coffee that was making me so annoyingly jittery. I decided to get half an Italian sandwich, and made a spur of the moment decision to upgrade from chips to a side salad.

My sandwich was really good, especially the mozz and pepperoni part. The ambiance, on the other hand, was terrible. But that was probably because we went back to work and ate in the break room. Dish has a few places to sit, but we didn't have time to linger, and if we did, people waiting for their to-go lunch would have been standing right by our table talking about RAC02, and being jittery. But we enjoyed eating together even when Randy Randoms walked through the break room and bugged us. I was a little worried because with 2 bites of my half sandwich to go, I was still starving. But by the time I finished my salad, I felt like I might live. Then I ate a random muffin from the break room leftover table, so I can't say for sure if the lunch was filling enough.

Laura had the Bloody Good Salad, which looked good, if you are the type of person who likes hard boiled eggs, and an M&M cookie, which she said was gooey and had lots of sugar and almond extract, and was sooo good. I have to admit, I am sort of fantasizing about that cookie right now.