Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Category

The pizza from Adrienne’s that I’m not eating

May 20, 2010
Pizza from Adrienne's

Pizza from Adrienne's

A little while ago someone sent out an e-mail notifying the floor that there were a few slices of pizza from Adrienne’s up for grabs. Adrienne’s is the amazing pizza place on Stone Street that I’ve mentioned a few times. A month ago I would have run over to grab a slice. Today I ran over to get a picture, and MAN the pizza looked good with those lightly cooked onions and peppers, but a picture is all I walked away with.

I am strong!!!


Day Twenty-Seven

May 16, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today was my eat-whatever-I-want day. After a hike involving some very strenuous trail-clearing with machete and axe, I ate pepperoni and meatball pizza from New York Pizzeria in Sherrill. I drank my coveted bottle of Hennepin and then enjoyed a bowl of ice cream with a three-year-old bottle of Stone Imperial Russian Stout.

More tomorrow. Falling asleep. Good night.

Textbook pathology

May 11, 2010
Leftover pizza from Adrienne's that I wanted to grab

Leftover pizza from Adrienne's that I wanted to grab

Adrienne’s is an amazing pizza place that’s right in the middle of the gauntlet that I have to run to get back and forth from work to the Wi-Fi hotspot down the street. Today, as I was passing Adrienne’s, I saw this leftover pizza on the lower shelf of the dolly used for transfers from the waitstaff to the busboys. I grabbed this shot before it was whisked away so that I could document the freakish stuff that happens in me when I see food.

I observed the following urges well up in me: “It’s untouched! It’ll just go to waste! It’s perfectly fine! Mmmmm, it looks so GOOD!…” I wonder how you will react to hear that there was a part of me that wanted very badly to grab it. Hell, it sounds crazy even to me. It’s freakish to feel these compulsions, so much stronger at times like this when I’m committed to a very sparse diet.

Even if I had been sure that no one would see me, I wouldn’t have actually grabbed it. I’m not quite that compulsive, nor quite that uncouth. And anyway, I’m not having pizza today because it’s not my eat-what-I-want day. But if I had a guarantee that no one would see me and that no one had spit on the pizza, and if I wasn’t on a diet… man, it would’ve been close.

So. Am I crazy or what? Out of curiosity, how many of you would have the same compulsion?

Chili with Khalil at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

April 25, 2010

Khalil enjoying chili at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

I picked up Khalil at 10:00 AM and we rode the subways from his home in the Bronx all the way across the city to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. We had a great time watching squirrels cavorting in a hollow tree, delighting in the smells and sights of the lilac garden, and gamboling through the Cherry Esplanade. Then we headed to the food court for lunch.

I looked on the menu for something healthy. There were some tempting-looking sandwiches. There was pizza, which I ruled right out. Then I saw the chili. I figured that, although it was probably less healthy than a sandwich, it was considerably moreso than pizza. I said “The chili sounds good” and Khalil said that he was thinking that same thing. So that’s what we got.

Even as I was thinking “This is probably a pretty healthy choice” I knew that it was probably not so much. So tonight I did some Googling to get a sense of my gustatory transgression.

First, let’s look at the worst possible choice I could have made. There’s a very good New York Times article from 1994 about the calories and fat in pizza. After reading it, I’d estimate that the pizza I ate yesterday had five or six hundred calories and twenty or twenty-five grams of fat per slice. Since I ate three slices, that was a whopping 1,500 calories and 60 grams of fat.

Now read the articles about chili from The Daily Plate and calorie count. Estimating that the big bowl of chili I ate amounted to about two cups, and taking the average between the two articles, I’d say it contained about 550 calories and 20 grams of fat.

That bowl of chili really satisfied me, which allowed me to make healthier choices later in the day, such as refraining from getting the same thing I got Khalil at Starbucks. If I’d chosen pizza, I never would have been satisfied with a single slice. It would have taken at least two slices to give me the same amount of satiation: that would have been at least 1,000 calories and 40 grams of fat. So, all things considered, I’d estimate that the chili was at least twice as healthy a choice for me as pizza.

Of course that ain’t sayin’ much.

I don’t have any way of estimating the numbers for the sandwiches, but I’d wager they were a heck of a lot healthier than the fat-laden chili. Next time I’ll go with the sandwich.

Brooklyn Brewery Trip

April 24, 2010

Before Grace and I got on the 1:29 train I’d eaten nothing but two Zone Bars all day. We were both hungry by the time we got off the L train in Williamsburg at 2:30, so the falafel place on Bedford drew us in like a gravity well.

Falafel in Williamsburg

Grace got a falafel sandwich and I only needed one bite to decide that I needed one too. It was delicious. As I ate it, I told myself that this was a substantial meal in itself, not some kind of snack. This was important to me because I have a way of downgrading the food I’m eating right now to snack status in order to rationalize my eating the thing I had in mind for later: “That thing I ate since the last meal? That was just a snack. The real meal is yet to come.” So I wanted to impress upon myself that after that falafel sandwich I didn’t need much, if any, of the pizza from Vinnie’s that I’d been anticipating.

Bear Republic Mach 10

We stopped at Mugs Alehouse on Bedford and West 10th for a drink. I was delighted to find Mach 10 on tap. It’s a double IPA from Bear Republic, the same brewery responsible for the masterful Racer 5 IPA and Racer X double IPA. It’s a big, luscious beer, and I enjoyed my pint thoroughly.

Dude with Green Lantern T-shirt who knew nothing about Green Lantern

We got to Brooklyn Brewery, met Grace’s former classmate Amanda, and got some beer. I was starting to feel happy and friendly, so when I saw the dude above wearing a Green Lantern T-shirt I walked up to him and said “Excuse me. I have a question for you. Do you think the Parallax retcon was complete bullshit?” I replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and when I pointed to his shirt he acted like he didn’t even know who Green Lantern was. Total non-starter. Ah well. I got to be geeky and annoying and weird, so… bonus.

Vinnie's Pizza

Pizza from Vinnie's at Brooklyn Brewery

Amanda was hungry, so of course I suggested pizza from Vinnie’s. I used to love getting pizza from Vinnie’s back when Grace and I lived in Park Slope and I came to the Brooklyn Brewery on Friday nights. It may not come as a surprise to you that I failed to restrain myself as much as I’d intended to. I had three slices.

It’s not the raw number that bothers me. For someone who just lost seven or eight pounds since last weekend and exercised for six hours straight today, three slices of pizza on top of a falafel sandwich isn’t the end of the world. The thing that bugs me is that, once again, I was the one who ate the most. I’ve got to stop being that guy. Since I almost certainly have the least sensible eating patterns in any given room, I could do myself a world of good just by observing my companions and keeping my consumption within their limits.

Amanda and Lawrence

The crowd at Brooklyn Brewery

The crowd at Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Brewery was about ten times as crowded as I ever saw it on a Saturday, and three times as crowded as I’ve ever seen it even on a Friday night. There have obviously been some changes in the demographics of Williamsburg and/or the popularity of beer geek culture during the six or seven years since I hung out there on a regular basis.

During the two hours or so we were there I had four glasses of Brooklyn Weiss. Again, this doesn’t bother me in and of itself, but it does bother me that I drank more than anyone else. I’ve got to learn not to be the biggest consumer in the room.

Gourmet ice cream cone

Gourmet ice cream truck

We got very expensive small ice cream cones from this truck that we’d marked earlier. Mmmmmm… chocolatey, hazel-nutty goodness.

Beer menu at Spuyten Duyvil

Fantome Saison

Sharing a bottle of Fantome Saison at Spuyten Duyvil

Sharing a bottle of Fantome Saison at Spuyten Duyvil

We rounded out the trip with a bottle of Fantome Saison at Spuyten Duyvil. It was very expensive but I’d say it was worth it. Most beer geeks, who consider Fantome to be the pinnacle of Belgian brewers, would agree with me.

So. I deserved to celebrate today. And I celebrated a bit more than I wanted to. Not too surprising, but certainly concerning. I need to work on my problem areas.

And I need to remember that today’s celebration does not extend into tomorrow.

Running the Gauntlet

April 23, 2010


Here is the gauntlet* I had to run yesterday in order to get from the spot on Stone Street where I connect to the free public WiFi, back to my office at 85 Broad.

Look at all the happy people with their yummy, yummy beer. Mmmmm. Look on the tables. There are also burgers and fries with ketchup. And…

Excuse me, I need to get a napkin to wipe up all this saliva.

I’m back. Where was I? Ah yes. …and some of the best darned pizza in the city — gosh those people at Adrienne’s really know how to do eggplant right. And chips with sour cream and guacamole.

I have a notable reaction when I see all these people eating all this food. Most of the people look to be in pretty good shape, so a pang of jealousy shudders through me: “Why can’t I eat that stuff? Those people are eating that stuff, and they’re not fat!” Well, those folks don’t have what the kids nowadays with the hair and the music are calling “eating disorders”. And I do.

I don’t eat like other folks. I gorge myself because it feels so damned good. Once, while I was working at the dining hall as a student at Cornell, a co-worker looked at me while I was eating and said “Hugh is the only person I know for whom eating is the next best thing to sex.” I considered for a moment, then nodded my head in agreement.

So when you go out eating with me, it may be a very fun time because you may catch a contact high from my intoxication with food. You might not notice the sheer quantity of food I eat in my exuberance. It seems to me like a Good Idea to eat x, while the average person is happy with y. The ratio of x to y deviates nontrivially from unity. And that is why I can’t eat the same things as those people — at least not right now. Because when I was eating those same things during the last few years, I didn’t stop where they stop. And now I have to pay the piper.

When I regain a level of fitness I can live with, then I can eat the same things as those people — in moderation. Until then I have to remember that there are reasons why I can’t. And even if there are metabolic reasons why those people might genuinely be able to eat more than I… tough. I need to play the cards I was dealt.

*”Gauntlet”, not “gamut” — I mixed my metaphors while speaking in the video.

Scope Creep

April 22, 2010

Interesting. I’m examining what happens in my head when I think about going out to a movie with Grace and friends tonight, and the phenomenon of scope creep is readily apparent.

Yesterday was a typical day: I went to work in the morning, came home at night, and exercised. All my meals were scripted. I had a small handful of peanuts and raisins before leaving work, and I knew that my standard mini-meal would be there for me as soon as my exercises were complete. I had no visions of pizza or any other indulgences.

But just now, when I was envisioning going to meet Grace and her friends for a movie, I started salivating as I saw in my mind’s eye a slice of pizza being handed to me.

I am looking for an excuse.

There is a part of me that wants to gloss over all the ways of eating healthily while I’m out on the town. It wants to blur them so that, conveniently, all it can see is the satisfying option: “Oh, I’m going to a movie in Manhattan — I guess I’ll have to eat junk. Too bad!”

It is possible to see the fallacy of that blurring. It is possible for me to focus on the rational knowledge of what’s best for me. But it takes massive effort, and I’m not talking about raw strength. I’m talking about a power of concentration that’s lasting and finely-tuned.

Have you ever tried to hold onto a pumpkin seed that you just scooped out of the pumpkin? It’s possible to hold it between thumb and forefinger, but it requires constant attention and motor control. That’s what my knowledge of proper eating is like. If I let my attention wander for just a moment, it squirts out from between my fingers. Then my hand falls onto the next closest thing: that blurred image. My fingers close around the lie that it’s OK not to worry about it “for now”.

This is how scope creep happens. This is why every boundary I’ve set on my eating gets stretched by tiny degrees until it bears no resemblance to its original shape. This is why my resolve to indulge in pizza only on my weekly “eat anything I want day” has always melted in the heat of the moment into some rationalization for eating this pizza here in front of me right now.

The only way I can combat that scope creep is through constant vigilance. And that’s what this blog is about.


April 21, 2010

Iron Man Noir #1

Comic books are not fattening – at least not directly.

When I’m going through a transitional period like this, it’s important to allow myself some stimulus that replaces the unseemly food intake to which I’m accustomed, or at least softens the blow of self-restraint. So, while I did not allow myself the normal weekly Caruso’s ritual, I did go to Chameleon Comics for a quick injection of comicy goodness.

Iron Man has been my favorite comic-book hero since 1979 when, at the age of nine, I took issue 122 off the shelf at the Oneida bus terminal. But I’m not one of those completists who buys anything with Iron Man in it; I like to think that I’m a discerning fan. So normally I’d be a little bit more reticent about spending $4 on part of Marvel’s sun-obscuring swarm of Iron Man crap aimed to both generate and monopolize on interest in the upcoming movie. But I say $4 is a small price to pay for a little bit of comfort during a time of change.

The pizza from Caruso’s that I’m not eating

April 21, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Caruso’s on Fulton just east of Broadway is my favorite place in the city to get pizza. Their plain slice is excellent, and I’m very fond of their “Chicago slice”, which is nothing at all like a Chicago slice but is in fact a wedge-shaped Sicilian slice.

I have a ritual of going to Chameleon Comics, picking up the latest issue of Invincible Iron Man or Buffy Season 8 or somesuch, and going over to Caruso’s for a plain slice, a “Chicago slice” and a large orange soda.

But today I got a comic book, got nothing but pictures at Caruso’s, and went back to the cafeteria in my building for a salad. I’m about to have a Minneola for dessert.

I can taste the pizza now. But I can also remember how good it felt to have a firm, lean body. I want that more than the pizza.