Eat24

I’ve never been a cook. I almost said that I’ve never been much of a cook, but that’d just be a lie: I don’t cook. I can prepare food, as I proved to myself when I lived alone abroad a couple of times, both times too unwilling to spend my scant cash on eating out regularly. But actual cooking? I simply have no interest.

I have my own suspicions as to why this is SUCH a point of interest for people, and they primarily center around the fact that I’m a woman. In particular, I’m a woman who likes being a married home-owning mother, and also enjoys being creative and crafty. But the thing that always seems to trip people up, that has them saying to me over and over again, “do you maybe just not know how to?” and “I bet you really would enjoy it if you tried” is the fact that I love food. Effing LOOOOOOOOVE eating, including both restaurant meals and home-cooked goodness. I love food so much that I went to a 90-minute lecture once on the current state of Mexican food in Los Angeles even though no food was served at the lecture because even the topic of food is so exciting to me.

But, you guys, I love experiencing lots of things (the whole point of this blog), and that doesn’t mean I have more than a passing interest in creating them. I mean, sure, sometimes I think about how AMAZING it would be to be Mindy Kaling, who gets the opportunity to create in a pure, comprehensive way an environment that’s engaging, relatable, and totally from her vision (oh, and where cute guys are always saying sexy-ass things). But in general, I can separate my enjoyment of the product from any desire to create it.

So one of the points at which people told me that I would start wanting (or, I guess, needing) to cook was when we had Zoe. I can see why: we spend almost every evening after 7:30pm at home these days — if we want to go out to eat, either only one of us goes or we have to call our babysitter. And while we love our babysitter, our current once-a-week routine is quite enough for our bank account! Hence, we don’t eat out every night any more like we used to, just as folks had predicted. So who’s going to save me or Evan from cooking? (I didn’t mention it before, but Evan’s not an avid cook either — though, predictably, he rarely gets the incredulity that I do)

Enter Eat24! Eat24 is a delivery and takeout aggregate site that allows you to easily order online. But these days, there’s a ton of great places to get the same service. What sets Eat24 apart?

First off, they are hilarious. This shouldn’t matter, just like I shouldn’t love my realtor any more for her amazing English accent. Too bad though: both totally matter to me. Eat24 has a GENIUS marketing and communications department, and I’m saying that as a Master of Communication, which is a title that both the University of Washington and I have given to me, so I know of what I speak. Their voice is funny, conversational, helpful, enthusiastic, and sadly, completely unique in their industry.

I get lots of instances to “hear” that voice, because they email me every week… with a coupon! That’s right, the other amazing thing about Eat24 is how they always make you feel like you’re saving a little money, and in such a way that you feel smart and in-the-know, not like the cat-hair covered lady who brings a fistful of cut coupons to the local grocery (sorry, that woman!). Between those emailed coupons and the discount codes they’re constantly passing out to whoever asks on their Facebook or Twitter page, I haven’t ordered from them in the last six months or so without getting a sweet $2 or $3 off my total!

And the last thing that pushes it over the edge for me: they’re constantly adding new features. The most recent one that I use alllllllll the time now is the like/dislike and notes that people can leave on individual menu items. I’m not under any illusion that everything is good at my favorite restaurants (and ps, if the server tells you that, they’re pulling your leg), so I love easily seeing what people really like, especially if the notes they leave have helpful tips, like “get this with beef” or “their medium is REALLY hot.” You can also make your notes private, if you want to just remind yourself next time that the garlic rice may sound good, but remember, they put bamboo slivers in it, grossgrossgross.

So if you’re as cooking-averse and housebound as I am every evening, you need someone in your corner! Eat24 is it — hurry hurry, and don’t forget to let me know how it was!

(Photo courtesy of Someecards)

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Koreatown Dates

This past weekend marked three months since Evan and I moved into our new house! Besides all the excitement/worries that come with the 93-year-old house itself (as I type this, there is hammering and drilling happening all around me, as we’re having central heat and air-conditioning installed this week), it’s been really fun to be in a new neighborhood.

The Larchmont area that we’ve moved into has been a great fit for us, partly because of where it positions us within the city — we’ve only ever lived west of here before, in the Hollywood/Mid-City West/Miracle Mile areas, and while we’re an easy and quick drive from all our old standbys there, we’re also now much closer to one of my favorite neighborhoods in LA: Koreatown. Continue reading

Mini-Obsessions

I grew so accustomed to having an outlet here to indulge my spiraling, detailed thoughts on the ephemera that swirl through my head on a daily basis. When I took a holiday break, things began to build up in my head. Rather than inspire me to let loose with a string of posts come early January, the following would ensue: I’d have an idea of something to work through, and then instantly, I’d think, “oh, but I need to talk about Les Miz first, or that great book I tore through, or maybe it should be my college football postmortem, or hey, that service I used to print Instagram photos.” And then, all of those ideas crowding around the small door of opportunity and patience I have for writing would block each other, and like a putz, I end up saying nothing. And the pressure grows.

So, a bit of a reboot! Making a list lets me down never, so a list of my recent mini-obsessions, to clear the decks, as it were:

  • Nail art: I just bought an assortment of colors that come with teeny skinny brushes, and though I’m starting slow (a single yellow diagonal on dark grey nails), I can’t want to get super-elaborate! One lesson already learned: designs look WAY better on short nails than long.
  • Snow activities: we booked a mountain cabin weekend getaway with close friends today, and I am SO excited! We’ll be in Lake Arrowhead for Presidents Day weekend, which is apparently a great time of year to hope for snow on the ground. While spending most of our holidays in Ohio and Montana means we’re pretty familiar with snow, something tells me that experiencing it with a passel of small children (four under 4!) is going to make it a whole lot crazier, hopefully in a fun way.
  • The Manti Te’o Fake Dead Girlfriend Scandal: Y’all. Y’ALL!!! Maybe the most surreal sports story of the year, and it is MID-JANUARY. And given that it’s a bit of a slow time for news in general, people are jumping all over this, including these tweets.
  • The Africa They Never Show You: I’m guilty of having thought, sure, I’d love to travel more, but not necessarily to Africa. This Tumblr changed my mind in a jiffy. The above photo, showing the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia, is making me weak in the knees!
  • Churro Kettle Corn: From my glorious mecca, the reason I have taste buds. The world is amazing.
  • Safety Not Guaranteed: Now that I’ve seen pretty much all the prestige 2012 Oscar bait that I wanted to, I can confirm my suspicion from six months ago that this quirky indie — ostensibly about a crazy dude who thinks he can time travel, but really about the huge, real, breathtaking risk of real relationships, and the immense pleasures in life available when we drop the veneer of irony — would be my favorite movie of the year. I just rewatched it, and yup — it made me feel all the good tingles all over again… no, not those, you perv. Canadian tuxedos don’t quite do it for me. Trailer: [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82y3OQoPqp0%5D

Ahhhhhhh. It’s good to be back!

(Photo from David Ruiz Luna’s Flickr, via The Africa They Never Show You)

Mint M&Ms

Part of what makes the holiday season so great is the seasonal treats. It’s also something that we can all delight in, regardless of beliefs or crotchetiness (which, wow, is totally a word, huh.) levels. I’m sure there is someone out there who detests gingerbread houses and pumpkin lattes, but our paths have thankfully not yet crossed.

The treat I’m most looking forward to this season is the glorious Mint M&M… or more accurately, 492804325 of them, which is how many I consumed last year. Incredibly, I didn’t even know about their existence before last year, so I’m really just making up for lost time here. I’m pretty sure they’ve begun stocking these in the stores now, so here’s hoping that Evan is really into ladies with an extra 10 pounds and extremely fresh breath!

In a similar mint-chocolate vein, I picked up a box of these gorgeous treats at TJs the other day — no Mint M&M or anything, but they’re still pretty irresistible.

What other holiday indulgences should be on my list?

(Top photo courtesy of The Stephen Mosher Blog, bottom photo courtesy of Chow Chaser)