Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy new year!

2007 ended, not with a bang, but with multiple cheesy side dishes. (From left: corn souffle, hash brown casserole, and green bean casserole topped with Cheddar cheese. Not pictured: warm & cheesy bacon dip and green salad with crumbled Gorgonzola.)

I spent part of the final afternoon of 2007 getting my first-ever mammogram. Sorry, I neglected to bring my camera, so no pictures of my mashed bazooms to spice up the ol' blog. Actually, the whole ordeal was hardly an ordeal -- the procedure took barely ten minutes and consisted of a mere four shots, the set-up for only one of which was at all uncomfortable. I've heard that small-breasted women can have a really rough time of it, and, well, let's just say that, in my favor, I have plenty for a mammogram technician to work with. I'll have the results in a week or two, and I don't anticipate any bad news.

Last night I went to dinner at Grand View Palace with Sean, Mary and Norman. (We usually eat Chinese or soul food on New Year's Eve, since rice and black-eyed peas = prosperity in the coming year. Not that we're superstitious or anything.) Before dinner, I made a big deal about how our fortune cookies were going to set the tone for the whole year, so they would be very important. Then I ended up with a lame fortune that said something like, "You are sociable and pleasant." That sounds less like a fortune and more like the result of an online personality quiz -- and a not terribly accurate one, to boot. And Mary got the same fortune I did, which seems like a rip-off. After dinner, we walked along the Rose Parade route, marveling at the unbridled slobbiness of humanity. Granted, the city of Pasadena should put out zillions more trash receptacles on December 31, but it appears that it never occurred to any of the parade-goers to haul away their garbage with them after the festivities ended. When I drove down Colorado Blvd. late this afternoon, it looked like I was seeing the aftermath of a riot.

I'm bad at keeping New Year's resolutions. The only one I've ever kept was to take my vitamins every day, a resolution I've stuck with since 1994. I toyed with a few for 2008, and the only one that appeals to me is the notion of trying new things: when faced with an opportunity to try something unfamiliar, I will push myself to be brave and give it a shot. I have already made it clear, however, that I will never try skydiving. Or bungee jumping. But I will, say, taste peculiar new candies, which I had an opportunity to do last Friday.

Sean and I joined Mary and her daughter Cameron for a trip on the Gold Line to Union Station, where we alighted and then walked the block or so to Olvera Street. For those who have never been, let me tell you that Olvera Street is one of the biggest tourist traps in Los Angeles. Yes, you can find good Mexican food there, but it's no better than the Mexican joint in Pasadena that I visit all the time. There are cheap HECHO EN MEXICO goods to be had, but you'll also find an enormous array of things like Disney princess wallets. Basically, if you live anywhere in Southern California, you can easily find more (and more interesting) Mexican food and wares than you can in Olvera Street. I fail to see its huge attraction to tourists, but even my sister, a lifetime L.A. resident, finds it inexplicably charming, though it may just be the taquitos offered by one of the street's vendors that bring her back again and again.

Anyway, I was drawn to the large selection of unusual candies at one of the booths. Mary had recommended their cocada de horno (coconut candy) and she was right on the money about it -- lightly crisp on the outside, it was sweet and creamy on the inside. I bought a few other, more daring flavors to try later.

At home that night, I sampled calabaza (pumpkin candy), tamarind candy, biznaga (cactus candy), burnt milk candy, and sesame seed candy. I should have taken pictures of all of them, but I was so busy spitting out what I had just put into my mouth that I completely forgot. The tamarind, actually, was the only truly terrible flavor; the others were mostly just overwhelmingly sweet and made my teeth ache. The burnt milk candy turned out to be the tastiest of the bunch, though none of them could hold a candle to the coconut candy I'd eaten earlier in the day. The sesame seed candy wasn't too bad, either, though Norman pointed out that it looked like something you'd leave out for the birds to nibble on, and I kept burping and tasting sesame seeds the rest of the evening. Still, I don't regret trying any of them, and now I never need to again as I will know exactly what I'm missing.


Caveman said...

I've always said mashed bazooms could spice up any ol' blog. The early days of my blog were filled with nothing but mashed bazooms.

Trooperdog said...

Tamarind candy...YUCK!!!! Although, I do like the Mexican drink Tamarindo...the flavor is weaker than the candy.

kb said...

Warm and cheesy bacon dip, mashed bazooms and burnt milk candy. I just love reading your blog! Oh, and I totally remember eating that sesame candy when I was a kid. The taste wasn't bad, but I do remember it getting all stuck in my teeth!