Tuesday, 20 May 2008

There's nothing like a bug in your salad to put you off your lunch

It's true. There I was in a conference room with my client in Philadelphia yesterday – I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve travelled on business so often in the last 2weeks I had started to miss my cube – about to tuck in to a mixed green salad with ginger and garlic marinated tofu, the first thing I'd eaten all day, beyond the large coffee I’d grabbed at Penn Station, when I thought "eh up!! My lettuce is moving." And there it was; a half inch long green and red bug - blending in with the spinach and radicchio - loitering among the leaves. Ugh, it was disgusting. I've never seen a bug like it before. David Attenborough would have been transfixed.

I closed the lid and nonchalantly pushed my salad to one side.

"Not hungry?" asked my client

"Saving it for later" I smiled


Not wanting to offend my client in front of his colleagues by not eating the lunch he’d bought for me I seized my chance to surreptitiously dispose of it later in the afternoon when everyone but me stepped out for a conference call. I was off my food after my insect encounter and couldn’t bring myself to eat a thing until I got to 30th St Station to catch the 4.35pm train back to NYC when I grabbed a Balance Bar and a skim latte, I wasn’t taking my chances on any more salads.

I stopped by the office when I got back into New York to drop off my laptop only to find out that the client I visited in Florida last week had resigned that afternoon. She hadn't given any indication of the decision when I was down there. I was gobsmacked!!


Not good news for us. Not good news at all.

If there was ever a day I deserved a glass of wine it was yesterday so on the walk home I stopped by a liquor store a few blocks from my apartment to see what whites they had in the fridge - now that summer is coming I’m all about the white wines.

What did I see chilling in the fridges??? Only the 2006 Fume Blanc Grgich Hills Estate straight from the Napa Valley. The very same bottle we had carted all the way back to NYC.

'Oh we only sell this wine at the vineyard' they said. My arse they do.


Napa pulled the wool over our eyes readers. We were had, they saw us coming. To add insult to injury the bottle was $35.98 - an odd price I'll grant you, but nevertheless it was still 2cents cheaper than it was at the vineyard and that's without having to lug it across country. Grrrrrr!!! Disgruntled I bought a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc instead ($12). Take that Napa!!

To be honest, at over $30 I'd have never bought the Grgich Hills wine if I hadn’t tasted it in Napa. As a rule I’m not the type of woman that pays $36 for a bottle of wine. I only bought it because I was swept up in the experience of the trip and as a result didn’t think too much about the prices; however the wine from Napa is on the pricey side. I don’t quite understand why. I'd be in a vineyard tasting a wine and they'd be describing it as ‘a chardonnay, in the burgundy style’, for $36 and it would occur to me later that I can buy a burgundy wine all over in New York that's travelled all the way from France for half the price they were charging in California.

The plus side of not eating as much as I usually would – I did of course have a good meal when I got home - was that I felt lovely and skinny all day. I know; that's terrible, I shouldn't even think such things when so many impressionable women have eating disorders, but believe you me not eating is not my problem. In fact I could stand to lose a few pounds. Not many, maybe five. Losing 5lbs would make me more swimming cossie confident for the upcoming summer months. Not that I’m much of a beach person, so chances of my having to pull on a swimsuit are remote, still, should the situation arise, it would be good to feel bikini ready. I was reading the advice of David Kirsch – personal trainer to the stars - in some magazine of Emma's on the way back from California who stated that two of the biggest problems for women trying to lose weight are alcohol and carbs.

I pondered this while raising a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to my lips.

Hmmm, Perhaps I'll give up bread for a bit I thought. Um...I’m sorry what was that you said, give up wine??? Ha ha ha!! Good one!! I would find that harder than giving up bread, and I love bread, although recently I have been putting ice cubes in my white wine to make it go further without packing on the alcohol calories, however I only do that in the comfort of my own home, never in public, so don’t let on okay? My French ancestors would turn in their graves if they knew ;-)


Kitty said...

lol, 'bikini ready'. I love it!

I've been on a diet regime of late, but it's a struggle. I could stand to lose 10 lbs.

I can't imagine withholding alcohol. I can see withholding snacks, fatty foods, etc. but a nice cold bottle of beer??!?!?!

That would be truly tragic!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, dieting sucks. I've probably been trying to lose the last 5lbs for a decade, but it's just not worth giving up alcohol ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yikes, that bug-in-the-salad bit would be enough to put me off my lunch, too! Please know that few restaurants in Philadelphia have those on the menu!

With a mad sweet-tooth, I guess I'm the only one present who'd gladly give up the alcohol if it meant I could eat a dessert without guilt! ;)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Spandrel, no worries, there is no blame laid at the feet of Philly restaurants. This particular salad - complete with bug - came from my client's office canteen. I'm wary of eating there again ;-)

Karen ^..^ said...

Well, I used to want to lose 5 pounds or so, but then I quit smoking. Now I want to lose 15 pounds or so. I joined a gym. I gained 3 more pounds as soon as I did. 42 years old has not been kind to my waistline. It has trounced it, actually.

I have always been naturally slender, and by no means could I be called overweight or even thick, but I am not comfortable at this weight.

So I need to lose it. Or at least lose inches. Since muscle weighs more than fat, supposedly.

Amel said...

Ugh...a bug in your salad? That's nastyyyy!!!

And I don't think I'll ever be able to wear a bikini here in Lapland ha ha ha ha...that's why I HOPE we can visit Singapore when we go back to Indo since THERE I KNOW FOR SURE I can wear my bikini for the first time ever hi hi hi hi...

I can't believe that the wine you bought in the vineyard cost more!!! Unbelievable!!! :-O

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Karen, I know what you mean when you say you are not comfortable. I feel the same. Pilates has always helped my middle, although I really could do to cut back on volume. I need to exercise some portion control ;-)

Hi Amel, it was nasty!!! Ugh, I'm still wary of salads. As for the wine...well it's not just the stuff they sell at the vineyard. California wine seems to be on the pricey side.

KenM said...

I'm sorry you were told that the Fume Blanc is only available at the tasting room—we’ve always sold it nationally, although it can be hard to find, especially in the summer whenever seems to want a crisp, cold wine. If you remember who served you at the tasting room, that would be helpful in correcting misinformation. I’ve also passed along your blog to the tasting room manager to make sure he knows about your problem.

As for the price, we (as do all wineries) sell wholesale to a distributor, who then sells it to the restaurant/wine shop. We cannot legally tell them what to price the wines at but most sell the wine for around what we sell it at the winery. In fact, restaurants/wine shops become upset if we undersell them.

I was surprised at the general comment from one of your readers that California wines are pricy—California, just like France, Italy and Spain, has a wide variety of wines from different regions and prices so its not really fair to dismiss all California wines as pricey.

I enjoy your blog and hope you’ll visit us again. We do offer a few wines that are only sold in the tasting room, but that list has never included the Fume Blanc.

Ken Morris
Grgich Hills Estate

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks for your comment Ken, I honestly don't remember who it was we spoke to at the winery, but I appreciate you stopping by to clarify the availability of the wines. I'm very happy to be able to find the Fume Blanc locally, I very much enjoyed it.


Blur Ting said...

Oh crap, how can the vinyard charge higher than the liquor store? Too much!

I can see you're all excited about summer. it's so hot here everyday,my kids wish we have snow. It's impossible of course but we can dream.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Blur Ting, yes I was a bit surprised by that, but according to the guy at the vineyard their restaurant clients get irritated if the wines are undersold by the vineyard. I'm not sure I believe that excuse. I am always coming across wines I paid an arm and a leg for in restaurants for less than half the price in wine stores. Isn't it a fairly well known fact that there is something like a 250% mark up on wine? No worries anyway, I shall be sticking to <$15 wines from South America in future ;-)

Unknown said...

Ewwww on the bug! LOL at 'bikini ready', I ain't been bikini ready this century!

I am with you on the bread, it's my downfall and last night I ate a chocoltae chip pizza..sniggers!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the stupid stunt to try and get your meal for free *rolls eyes*

You handled it very well, however. Knowing me, I would have just blurted out something along these lines or whatever:

"OMG! Look at this! There's a bug in my salad! Holy shit! Can you BELIEVE THAT?! And it's fucking huge!"

*PA whips salad so far away from her that it flies off the table, all over the floor, ending with dish shattering into 27 shards*

PA would then start laughing and resume conversation with clients.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you. I put one through but didn't get the message will be approved by owner and all of that at the top so if you didn't get it, let me know and I'll re-write it.

Muchos gracias, seniorita.

Anonymous said...

wine, wine, wine. it's driving me crazy reading about it ;)
poland really isn't know for it's wine and alot of places don't even sell it.
i'm back in blighty for the summer so i shall be swapping my beer mug for a wine glass and i'll be all the happier.
not long now.