#465: The Hazelnut Shot

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When I go to Dunkin Donuts, I usually order an extra-large hot coffee with almond milk and a hazelnut shot. It’s been my go-to order for awhile now, although sometimes I get in the mood for a different type of drink, maybe one with espresso or whatever else is available. The reason I’m writing this blog post more specifically about the hazelnut shot is because there are times when I’m ordering coffee when the order doesn’t come out right, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell when that is. The flavor is more syrupy, more sugary, and it’s not as tasty. In situations like that, I usually still end up drinking the coffee anyway, but I do so a bit begrudgingly. The syrupy taste isn’t pleasant and definitely lessens the enjoyment of drinking the coffee. Plus, I have to know how many sugars are probably polluting the drink. Overall, it’s not great and I have trouble justifying spending money on coffee that’s like that.

That’s why I always make sure to say, while ordering, that I’m looking for a coffee with “unsweetened hazelnut.” If you say “hazelnut shot,” generally that’s supposed to mean unsweetened versus when it’s a “hazelnut swirl.” But not all the people working at Dunkin recognize that immediately, and that’s not an insult towards the people working there, it’s just the reality of things. You just have to be extra specific while ordering to make sure you get exactly what it is you’re looking for. There’s always a chance it blows up in your face regardless, as it has happened to me before, but it’s a more likely hit than saying hazelnut shot.

I know this was probably a really specific and uninteresting blog, but it came to mind as I’m staring at my coffee across the desk from me. It’s just how it is.

#425: The Bits

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As I wait for Final Fantasy XIV to finish redownloading, it’s time to discuss an issue that’s very pertinent to me right now, and that involves pretzels. Wetzel Bits are the best snack known to mankind.

I kid a little bit, but they’re seriously so good. I could eat so many of those little bites and just stuff my face with them until my belly is full with buttered, salted pretzel bites. It’s obviously not good for me at all, and I shouldn’t eat a lot of it, but whenever we go to the mall, I hanker back to the times in which Alex got me pretzel bites. It’s impossible to resist going there when the time is right. Or even when the time isn’t right, it’s still such a good spot to go to. Whenever we go to the mall with Bella, my little sister, she picks up the cinnamon flavored pretzel bites, which I have still yet to try, but I’m interested regardless. I prefer just the regularly flavored, normal ones, and so does Alex. We’re not interested in the crazy flavors, although I might want to try one eventually.

I would be remiss not to talk a little bit about Final Fantasy XIV while I have the chance, and while this blog post isn’t entirely devoted to this topic, it’s currently at the forefront of my mind. I haven’t exactly been playing it recently, instead devoting time to Monster Hunter World and other games like that, but it’s still been a blast to think about, mostly because I know how exciting some of the raids and dungeons end up being over time. I hope the game is as good as it was back when I first started, even though I haven’t finished the expansion storylines yet. I’ve heard the most recent expansion is very good, named Shadowbringers.

#395: The Delivery

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When we get a delivery, we usually get an email notification that addresses what’s going on. It tells us in advance when to expect the package, which I appreciate, although the service has been a little spotty recently after the apartment opened up a new system for doing things. It happens, and we’re not super angry about it, just frustrated.

But today, I’m not going to be talking about delivery in that sense. I want to talk about delivering food, an age-old classic since the days of pizza delivery boys. Who hasn’t ordered pizza and gotten it delivered to the house before? Before Grubhub, before Ubereats and Doordash and whatever else exists, there were pizza guys, and they did everything themselves. I feel for them just as I do retail workers, so I always make sure to tip whenever I order out. I appreciate the people who actually put themselves out there to do this thing for me, a service that I’m too lazy to get for myself. It’s like I’m sitting there in my apartment, writing blog posts while food is currently being prepared and delivered to me from somewhere else. It’s nice to have that option, but it’s still lazy of me to do this. And yet I do it sometimes anyway, in spite of the laziness.

Getting food delivered is a nice convenience. I like Taco Bell, obviously, as many of you who read this know, and sometimes all it takes is a craving for tacos for me to order some and have them sent my way. When it’s time to order, I’ll usually go onto Grubhub and see what they’re offering, even though they don’t have coupons for people who are existing members most of the time. I’m appreciative of everything they do for me, whenever I decide to order food.

#390: The Turkey

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I’ve never been a huge fan of eating turkey, even though it’s such a staple of Thanksgiving dinners. Today I’ll be writing a little bit about maybe why that is, and how that came to be.

Turkey to me is the same as other meats, like chicken, beef, pork, etc., in that I have difficulty sometimes fully eating and digesting them. It’s not a digestive problem; it’s a mental impasse between myself and the food. I can’t fully describe the feeling, but it’s like when you have to try a new food, and you’re not sure how it’s going to taste, and you can tell it’s going to taste poorly as you put the food in your mouth but you have to swallow it anyway. That’s kind of the feeling I get when eating regular old meat, even though I like the taste of it. Food, to me, is difficult to talk about because as someone who’s overweight currently, food is obviously a part of my body. It’s defined my body, just as it’s defined everyone’s to some extent. But when people look at overweight people, they usually think, wow that person’s had a lot of food and should probably chill out on it. It’s never that easy, but people will assume whatever they want rather than listen to the truth sometimes.

Turkey reminds me of what it’s like to eat food for the first time, and it reminds me of when I was young and we had Thanksgiving dinners at my dad’s family and my grandpa would turn to me and make remarks about the different foods I had on my plate, the assortment of them, and whether they were healthy or not. It was a constant feeling, that someone is always watching what I have on my plate and is judging it to some degree, and that’s what I feel when I eat turkey.

#356: The Peanut Butter

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Peanut butter is fantastic. It’s gooey and tasty and has all the right types of flavors in it. It makes a great companion in smoothies, for example in the AB&J smoothie that Alex makes from time to time, and it complements the other flavors in it so well. I love all the types of peanut butter RX bars that we get, whether it’s just the basic peanut butter bar, the peanut butter and berries bar, the peanut butter and chocolate bar, or more. There’s so much peanut butter out there to appreciate.

For lunch every day, I eat apples with peanut butter on them. It’s a nice bit of protein with some fruit in the middle of the day to get me energized again, and it’s dependable. It has a low chance of being unable to wow me. Even though it’s pretty basic and it’s always there, I still love eating it, is what I mean. Sometimes it’s hard to find a dependable staple like that.

I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I went to lunch with everyone in the same lunch room and talked with them normally about things. Off-topic, I know, but the thoughts just entered my mind. Would I have stayed at my old teaching job?

As you can tell, I’m continuing my trend of talking about small things at large, by devoting whole blog posts to their discussion. Today, I feel especially motivated to churn out as many blogs as possible about small things, as a way of filling up my backlog so I don’t have to worry about writing them as much during the hectic and ridiculous week I have planned ahead. Perhaps I’ll share more about that on the next blog post. (Spoiler alert: I did, it’s a two-parter and it’s going up on Thursday and Friday to end the week with.)

#345: The Lunch

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For the past year, I’ve had a sandwich, pretzels, and apples with peanut butter for lunch. It’s proven to be a reliable staple, and I don’t deviate from it, pretty much ever. I’m the kind of person who likes to stick to one plan with some basic expectations that it will be staying the same throughout time, without having to worry about finding a new meal the next day. I like keeping things the same, and I like when things stay the same for me.

Lunch fills that void for me, although sometimes I go out for lunch to some local places because I don’t really feel like my lunch is fulfilling enough. That’s a contradiction, isn’t it? That I love when my lunch stays the same, but I don’t love having to deal with the same lunch over and over again. I like change and diversity of options, but also, I don’t like when I have too many options. That limits the amount of freedom I feel over a given situation. It’s the paradox of having too many options, where it feels suffocating. As a teacher, we learn about this paradox when giving students options for projects or essays. If you inundate students with options to the point where they feel like they can’t choose from what they’ve been given, then you run the risk of them feeling overwhelmed by it all and eventually choosing nothing. That runs counter to everything you wanted from them in the first place. You end up having to give the student an option they probably don’t want, which defeats the purpose of what you were doing by giving them options.

In short, this is basically what it’s like when I eat lunch. Sometimes I like varied lunches, sometimes I don’t. It all depends.

#342: The Zam

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Zzaam, as I think it’s called, is a Korean BBQ place in Hamden that is absolutely fantastic. It’s like Subway or Chipotle but for Korean BBQ, and the options are plentiful and tasty. I usually get the Korean tacos while I’m there, filled with spicy chicken, pork, and beef. Alex got a kimchi burrito last time, even though it goes against her diet, because we just love zzaam so much and don’t get the chance to eat there often. It’s one of the few downsides to living in Stamford. There are some great Korean BBQ places around us, it’s just they don’t have the same ease of access and convenience that this one has. Nothing else around us has the same Chipote-like fast convenience and affordability.

One time, Alex and I went to a Korean BBQ place around us and it was super fancy. Even though we both weren’t exactly dressed for the occasion, it still was a great experience. I think back to it whenever we get Korean. There’s also the place we went to whose name I can’t remember. It was in the same town as the massage place we used to go to more regularly, when it was in its first location. I think back to that whenever we go to get a massage, how great the food was right nearby. When your back is totally aligned and perfected, and you get to sit down with some spicy beef. What’s a better experience than that?

Hopefully, by writing this blog post, I’ve convinced Alex (who reads this blog) to go to Korean BBQ again with me. It would be excellent, and I know she won’t take too much convincing because she loves it too. It’s just a matter of time, but hopefully it’s coming sooner than later.

#335: The Pepper

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Sometimes I like to eat peppers. Not like, raw peppers but some green peppers on my sandwich can go a really long way towards improving the flavor profile. (Did I just use the term flavor profile unironically? I’ve never done that before…) Peppers are a fantastic addition to a sandwich, along with jalapenos, to boost its spicy, crunchy taste. Realistically, I don’t eat peppers that often, and the last time I had one was probably the last time I went to Subway or the last time I ate stuffed peppers for dinner, whichever comes first. My taste in peppers comes mostly from my taste in spicy foods in general. I just love anything that has a buffalo scent to it. It’s how I’ve been introduced to a lot of foods for the first time, through buffalo or hot variants of them. For a long time, I’ve been kind of a picky eater, so to try a hamburger for the first time in years, for example, was huge. I remember my cousins bought hot sauce from their local Trader Joe’s for me because they knew I loved it. It was very sweet of them.

I love peppers mostly for the heat they bring to a meal, but in reality I do also enjoy the other aspects of them. The crunch when you bite in, how natural and juicy it tastes. It’s unlike the other fruits in that I wouldn’t eat it alone, but I’m fine eating it with other things as an addition, as I talked about earlier in this. Peppers allow for interesting combinations of flavors in foods that might need the addition.

Did I make you hungry all of a sudden? Sorry about that, that wasn’t exactly my intent in writing this. I just wanted to discuss a topic I’ve never really talked much about before!

#299: The Kombucha

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I love Kevita’s Master Brew Kombucha. I could drink it pretty much every day. The flavor is fizzy and tart, sometimes bitter, but more often than not it tastes great. It depends on which brand you buy from and which flavor you buy from that brand, but I think I’ve found the jackpot with Kevita. Unfortunately, their kombuchas have added sugars, so they’re not great for when I’m dieting, but right now, I feel great drinking these.

When I used to be a full-time teacher, I would take bottles of the kombucha into work with me and sometimes leave them around my desk. Students would ask me about them and say how they love kombucha as well, though I never asked what kind they drank. I probably could’ve solicited great feedback from them if I tried to. I still have memories of drinking it during class, while students were writing their midterm exams, and enjoying the energizing feeling. I’ve been bringing it to work more frequently, too, as a way of keeping me energized during lunchtime. I need that extra kick to get my day moving, when coffee isn’t enough to do the trick on its own.

Kombucha, and all of its fizzy probiotics inside, is fantastic at helping my stomach digest food. Sometimes I have trouble digesting, for whatever reason, and I need something to fill up the acidic waste that is my stomach. Kombucha fills that void well.

Of course, kombucha is technically fermented. One of my friends and I have been really interested in this new brew called Kombrewcha. Though I’m not much of a drinker, I still love this one. It’s tangy, tasty, and all kinds of good. I might need to pick some more up this weekend to make sure we don’t run out any time soon.

#233: The Jerky

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Here’s a chicken. You know what this is about.

Time to discuss one of my absolute favorite snacks, one that I’m currently munching on while I type: jerky. Whether it’s beef jerky, turkey jerky, salmon jerky, whatever is out there, I’ll probably eat it. Preferably without much sugar used, though I know that’s asking a lot sometimes. My biggest pet peeve when it comes to jerky is the amount of sucralose or excess, unneeded sugars sprinkled all over the dried meat to give it a sweeter taste. It doesn’t need that! It tastes perfectly great on its own, I’ll have you know! Seriously, I could just eat dried meat without any added shit whenever and wherever. It’s not difficult to imagine what that would be like, bringing some jerky to school with me or on the way to work. It’s a great morning, afternoon, and evening snack; no matter the time of the day, chow down on some tasty jerky without regret. That’s how I do it.

When it comes to memories of jerky, I have a distinct memory of driving to Trader Joe’s with Alex while we were still in Boston, picking up some salmon jerky, and leaving it in my backpack for months after we got back from there. I still had the salmon jerky in my backpack when I went to work one day, and after feeling especially busy and tired and famished, I ate it. It didn’t taste bad at all. In fact, I think it tasted good enough that I would recommend having it again. It was just that good.

Jerky, no matter what shape or size it comes in, is always special to me. So much protein, so much tasty goodness. Nothing really more to say about it than what I’ve already mentioned, I guess.