Tuesday, April 21, 2009

i don't know that i'm cool enough...

NOTE TO READER:  In my Feature Writing class, we're talking about blogs, and I'm writing this for an assignment.  I promise I have a post about Pascha in the works.  I'll post it soon.

I have been dating a serious falafel snob for the past two years.  One trip to Jerusalem and he thinks he's an expert.  Brandon loves falafel, and we have made it a quest to find the best offering here in Memphis.   

I have learned quite a bit about the green and delicious balls of chickpea.  Fried up crispy, yet tender, I don't like one that's too crumbly, served with all the fixins.  (Don't know what falafel is?  Read HERE.)

A few of the places I've eaten falafel around Memphis:
  • Sean's Cafe (on Union)
  • Casablanca (Cooper-Young)
  • Kabob Int'l (in Cordova on Dexter Rd.)
  • Mount Olive (also in Cordova on Dexter Rd.  What are the odds?)
  • Jerusalem Market (on Summer)
Add another to the list: The Kwik Check on Madison.  My friend Claire took me there during Lent, falafel is quite the fasting staple when meat and dairy are a no no.  This place is a convenience store.  It's is as much a dive restaurant as any, including the cool hipster kid clientele.  I was terribly skeptical, but trusted her judgment.  (I had good reason, she introduced me to Sean's Cafe last year and I occasionally dream about the hummus they make.)  
The Kwik Check is pretty bare bones, there's a cash register near the door with the usual tobacco offerings, a few refrigerated cases, a couple of rows of grocery items and a long high table with bar stools next to the window facing Molly's La Casita across the street.  It's a fun place to people watch, the Memphis College of Art crowd likes to frequent the restaurant.    

We ordered the falafel and sat down to wait for the cook to notify us it was ready.  Pretty soon we heard "two falafel," grabbed our handheld meals wrapped in white butcher paper, picked out a few bottled waters and took our seats.  I had to get back up and search for napkins, there were none to be found, obviously this is a problem they have on a pretty regular basis, the cashier knew exactly what I was looking for and handed me a stack.   

I opened up my falafel and found a round pita with a small opening cut into it.  They kindly include the small bit of pita that is left over with the the wrapped up sandwich, like it's your sandwich's little hat.  It was stuffed to the brim with hummus, lettuce, tomatoes and my personal favorite falafel condiment bean sprouts.  The actual falafel balls were glorious.  They could never be confused with greasy, the were fried crispy and just tender enough on the inside without being mushy.  It was relatively simple to eat, which you will probably know if you've ever eaten falafel, is no small feat.  The best part?  The sandwich cost only $4.50, no wonder the starving art students love the place.  

I fell in love and notified the falafel snob, Brandon, immediately.  We at there the following Sunday and he was hooked.  I think we've visited at least five times in the past month.  

I highly recommend trying the Kwik Check,  they make great falafel and baklava.  And don't worry, I'm not cool enough to fit in either.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

i found it!...

This will be fast, I promise...

First thing: My comfortable Holy Week shoes arrived today, they're cute... although a bit boat like.  But honestly, they're more for form than function.  

Second thing: I saved $14.80 on Pascha candy last night.  One of the many reasons I'm so happy I'm Orthodox!  (Sadly, we'll be sharing the date with western Easter for the next few years, no more 50% off candy for us until 2013, when Pascha is, I believe, 5 WEEKS later than western Easter!)

In the Church many times people ask for the intercession of certain Saints for assistance with specific tasks.  This post is NOT a post about the theology of praying to Saints.  Just know, as Orthodox Christians we pray asking for the prayers of the Saint, we do not worship the Saint.  It is often said "what protestant Christian wouldn't ask for the prayers of one of their heroes of the faith, such as Billy Graham?"  How different is it for us to ask the intercessions of those who have actually finished the race? 

One Saint that I ask for assistance on a regular basis is St. Phanourios.  He is known for helping people locate things that are lost.  I have not needed to pray to him for help finding anything "big" although his prayers help me find my keys on a very regular basis!  
Here's how the story usually goes: I look, and look, and look... then, rather exasperatedly, I pray "Most Holy St. Phanourious, well pleasing to God, pray to God for me."  And pretty soon, I find whatever I'm looking for.  

So today, I was looking for two somethings in multiple stacks of paper, needles in haystacks.  I looked and looked and looked.  Nothing.  Then I asked for St. Phanourious' prayers, and it was the very next item I look at.  This happened twice, and I found both of the papers I was looking for!

There is a tradition in the Church of baking a St. Phanourious Cake to honor him.  Since it's Holy Week, I will not be baking the cake this week, but plan to make one next week.  It is traditional to share the cake with others in honor of the Saint, I think I'll bring it to church at some point to share!

Thank you for your prayers St. Phanourious!  

Monday, April 13, 2009

so busy...

Here's a list of what's going on this week

  • Yesterday was our Palm Sunday, and we feasted on fish all day.  
  • We made a procession with our palms.
  • Brandon found a great recipe for tuna steaks grilled with tapenade.   It was delicious, especially with some grilled asparagus.  
  • We're now officially out of Lent, and it's Holy Week.  (No the fasting is not over!) It's difficult, but completely worth it!
  • Last night was the first of the three nights of the Bridegroom Orthros, and we will venerate the icon below during this service.  Claire posted about the service last night and talked about this beautiful hymn.  It's one of my favorite (although most of the hymns from this week can be called my favorites.)  I have the unique privilege of singing many of the beautiful and rich hymns for this week many many times since I'm in the choir.  They have so much more meaning now!
"Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching, again unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore oh my soul do not be weighed down with sleep! Lest you be given up to death and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom! But rouse yourself, crying, "Holy! Holy! Holy! art Thou, oh our God! Through the prayers of the Theotokos have mercy on us."
    Other, items, not necessarily Holy Week related:
    • I just met with an old friend who will be designing a logo for The Ruffled Apron. {eek!}  Thanks Ben! 
    • I just had an Oatburger.  I hadn't eaten one since Square Foods closed.  I discovered that the same person who was making it for square foods now creates them for Otherlands.  I discovered it from an Edible Memphis article called "Edgy Burger" pretty fantastic.  (Have we talked about how much I love Edible Memphis Magazine?) 
    • I have some great shoes in the mail.... They should be here very soon.  They're Simple Shoes, and they'll be my awesome shoes for the marathon of services that is Holy Week.  They were $120 shoes that I bought for $29.99!!!  (I got a black pair as well.)
    • Brandon gave me an early Pascha gift, an Icon Shrine, for my soon to be garden. 
    • I'm giddy about my very first garden!  I think it will be called the St. Herman garden, I can't wait to show you the pictures of the produce.  

    • I gave Brandon a Zoo membership (as an early Pascha present, we aren't patient enough to wait for Pascha.)  I am in love with the Zoo these days, (when it isn't raining) and love to watch the polar bears, they're so incredibly graceful. 
      I have very busy week ahead.  Talk to you soon.

      Thursday, April 09, 2009

      one and only...

      Feature/Magazine writing has been my favorite course this semester.  

      I signed up for the class solely for the professor.  About two years ago, in my first Mass Media course, this guy came to speak, his name was Bob Levey.  He had been a columnist for the Washington Post for 30+ years, and had recently retired.  He had chosen to come to my university to teach.

      He was a great speaker, and upon finishing his talk he told the class "my office is up on the third floor, come by any time if you'd like to talk about journalism."  I looked at my friend John and said "let's take this guy out for coffee."  So we did, and we had a wonderful time.  

      So, two years later, when registering for classes I saw Bob's name as an option for one of my classes.  I immediately registered, and have had a fabulous time during this semester.  It's obvious that he is not teaching for the money, he commutes weekly from D.C. to teach, he teaches because he loves journalism.  

      This past Tuesday, we read a magazine story from the Washington Post, and then were given a "quiz" assignment.  (PS- Read the story, it's long, I mean really really long, but a wonderful story!)  Note: these quizzes are not multiple choice deals, they're long essays about style and general journalistic concepts from the stories we study.  So, I wrote my essay and hit "send" and left class, I didn't even proofread, I was feeling a bit ill and wanted to leave as soon as possible. 

      Here's the best part of the story: I got a reply e-mail from Bob yesterday with my graded quiz.  He said, 

      "Superb work... A plus (the first and only one I've ever given at UMemphis- take a bow.)"

      Consider this my BOW.... Thank you very much! 

      I'm pretty excited about this.  Talk to you soon!

      Monday, April 06, 2009

      the ruffled apron...

      There are at least 20 other things I should be doing right now, but Susan made a good point. I left you all hanging after my last post. Here are a few of the details that everyone has been asking about my new endeavor.

      1. The name of the my personal chef business:

      The Ruffled Apron

      It seemed like the best name to describe my concept, I want to cook delicious and healthy meals for people like they wish they could make, but simply don't have the time. Just like mom used to make.

      2. Price lists:

      The prices include the menu planning consultation, grocery shopping, and (of course) cooking. Groceries are and additional cost, since grocery prices vary depending on menu selections.

      Please contact The Ruffled Apron for prices.

      theruffledapron AT g mail DOT com

      I have so much more to write, such as some sample menus, and other details. I absolutely can't wait to get cooking! But for today, I've got to run. Talk to you soon!