Namaste ladies and gentleman — we’ve made it 12 days no caffeine, no alcohol, and I have to say my body feels a little less laser party, a lot more Steel Pulse, and Dave Mathews Band still makes me want to punch someone in the face. Life is good.
A natural brand of joy washes over the soul when it isn’t see-sawing back and forth from one stimulant to the next, though replacements did have to be found for the ones taken away. Milk, even though it has the opposite effect, has stepped in for caffeine and I bought a pack of Parliament Lights on day 5. Also, my syrup intake has gone up considerably. Heeeeeeeeee.
Here are a few memorable moments from this week:
Day 8: Had there been a petting zoo blocking the front door of The Hot Bagel Shop I would have shoved past the llamas, the bunnies, the piglets, and the calves to get to that hot crispy bagel, and fast. It was noon, I was pissed off for other reasons, and heaven help my brake pads if I did not get sustenance soon. Jalapeño cream cheese and strawberry jelly smashed together between a dark-toasted sesame bun: Sounds a lot like a wild end-of-year Parent-Teacher Association party minus squirt guns filled with pinot grigio, am I right?
Later that evening many questions ping ponged in my brain amongst the orders. Did that guest make the bar top sticky or was it sticky before they sat down? Should I cut off the Spanish immersion club? The pinot noir and random pan flute music had loosened them up considerably as they slipped back into English, bar stools screeched closer and the topic of conversation changed to zodiac signs. Ah, should have dropped an autograt but, all in all, 'twas a cordial night indeed. I was just short of sending every guest home with a loving boop on their nose. Boop.
After service, co-workers proceeded to party at the Marriott Marquis in a room won by a colleague in a wine selling competition. Meanwhile, the only things entering my body that night were a few slices of gluten free pizza.
The Hot Bagel Shop, 2015 South Shepherd, is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekends.
Day 9: Halfway through a morning interview for Inside the Glass, and the Wings & Waffle dish from The Breakfast Klub began to sing its siren song. The Klub has customer service down—don’t let that line scare you away. Though it snaked around the side of the building the whole visit was 40 minutes from start to finish with different line ambassadors helping to facilitate menus and seating before reaching the quick service counter.
Empty packets of Land O’Lakes butter began to accumulate as the gaping holes of crisp Belgian waffle were filled, hot syrup slip-sliding into each crevasse before every bite. The chicken wings did sing as they were pulled from the fresh fryer oil and garnished alongside. Between the waffle and the fry mix breading, the flavor haunted me for a whole day, their secret ingredient whispering quietly and then louder upon enjoying leftovers. Shot in the dark. Had to be. Fortune Cookies. Which made perfect sense seeing as Wonton Food Inc. is located less than a mile away and happens to specialize in the treat.
The Breakfast Klub, 3711 Travis, is open Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Day 10, aka the day I took an Adderall to get a bunch of work done: The recycling bin clinked from the tribute of another La Croix and I was out the door on the way to work. Fortunately, upon arriving, my boss Brian Brossa needed a chauffeur and 15 minutes later, at approximately 4:20 p.m., breakfast was served at Sushi Wabi.
Clop-clop-clop. The sound of a vacuum cleaner that just rolled over a sack of marbles resonated with the bowl of edamame that went down in record speed. Warm unagi nigiri, hamachi and tuna sashimi, the Spicy Dynamic Roll, seaweed and crab salad. Women’s softball played overhead as we fell headlong into a debate on how players didn’t have the pressure of making it to “the big leagues.”
Later that night, Gary Jarvis of Favorite Brands brought in like 25 bottles of Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux and more. It was the worst day to not be drinking. Hint of pear wafted from the effervescence as I resigned myself to studying the pricing sheet, trying to pick out the most delicious bottle by cru and varietal blend. And then the, “you HAVE to try this,” bottle came along, the Luli syrah from Santa Lucia Highlands in California. I swished it around, tannins and terroir tickling my gums, washing my mouth in robust flavor. Brian was right, this wine was a total panty dropper. I spit it out and walked away.
The focusing agent still working its magic, my table charm either fell flat or soared off the charts — I even dipped my toe into a Joe Biden for president conversation, made a quick joke and then got the hell out of there.
Sushi Wabi, 3953 Richmond, is open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
Luli syrah from Santa Lucia Highlands is distributed through Favorite Brands LLC.
Day 11: Hung out at the bar after work and, what’s this—more softball on the screen, which was now accompanied by fart sounds followed by additional debate on the sport. It’s amazing how bathroom humor still holds power even without alcohol.
Fast forward to leftover pasta in bed, which marks the second Friday in a row enjoying this category of food in this way. The best meal to eat in bed is, in fact, any meal. A Tortellini Mac and Cheese reheat from La Sicilia—the bakery that, as first recommended by Houston Press contributor Erika Kwee, is off the charts. The pastries, among other things, are a must for any fan of laminated butter.
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La Sicilia, 515 Westheimer, is open Tuesday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed on Mondays.
My body is a temple — that just so happened to pop up in the middle of a carnival for a month. And yet, as positive of an outlook I can take on this exercise, milk and cigarettes aren’t exactly carbon copy replacements for a tight, creamy pull of roast or a button-popping syrah from Santa Lucia Highlands.
Now successfully 14 days in and I don’t want to do this anymore, I don’t want to be positive namaste, I want a boomerang and a glass house to throw it in. I don’t want a fucking Sonic Drive-In Cake Batter Shake like the one from the commercial to make me forget for just a few minutes that — wait, yes I do.
To be continued…