Chow Avenue Review

The Grub Street Diet is my new favorite online discovery. I love reading my favorite comedians muse about food, especially when they have a grasp of what good food is and what comedy is!

I used to do stand-up, and I believe that if I had kept going with it, I’d probably have been offered a thirty-second special on Snapchat by now.

Lots of other types of people write Grub Street Diet pieces, like authors and chefs, but they aren’t comedians, who I place myself in the “community” with, because I’m not friends with any other types of people. Why do I keep insisting professions are a “type” of person? In case you were wondering, at the moment, I’m an unemployed type of person.

Based on the fact that I don’t think I will ever get offered the chance to do a Grub Street Diet (at least until I get published and whisked off onto an international press tour and suddenly the public discovers I’m a delight and should just be handed jobs) I decided to do one myself.

The joke of this whole thing is I pretty much eat the same thing every day, but because it’s a Grub Street Diet, I’m going to make it a point to go to different places this week and try new things! (Also, I’ll lie a little bit and probably include meals I’ve had at other times because I try not to eat out more than twice a week because money.)

So… is this copyright infringement? From now on, I will refer to it as the “Chow Avenue Review.”

Saturday, October 20th

I wake up at six, which is early for me. If I have too much to drink the night before, I wake up early. It’s kind of the opposite of what you’d expect. A lot of people get drunk and then sleep until ten or eleven because they stayed up late and their bodies are staying in the restorative process of sleep to undo the damage they did by drinking so much (this is perfect science). My body recognizes alcohol as a nutrient and the mornings after imbibing I feel rejuvenated and renewed.

After reading some articles on my phone via the failing New York Times, I make coffee. It’s a new coffee I bought from Trader Joe’s. It is from Cameroon which is annoying because they stole my name and added a vowel to it. Every month or two months, Trader Joe’s comes out with a new “Small Lot” coffee. They are specialty coffees from different regions around the world. The last one they came out with before this one was from Thailand and came in a blue bag and was really good. I don’t know how Trader Joe’s manages to sell specialty coffees for $8.99 for twelve ounces but I think it’s because the coffee quality isn’t the best.

I watched this video a while ago of a coffee expert discerning between “good” and “bad” (read: expensive and cheap) coffees, and one of the markers of high-quality coffee is a consistent bean size, as well as a consistent roast and no broken little nubby beans. Trader Joe’s coffee has the opposite of all these qualities, so I know it’s not that great.

I make my Cameroon coffee in an Aeropress (I used to make my coffee in a ceramic pour-over until I broke it, and then bought a glass one and broke that one. Aeropress is rubber and plastic and so probably really healthy to make hot beverages in.) I waited too long after brewing it to drink it, which I know because it’s not hot enough, but it’s pretty good. The colder it gets, the more I can taste the burnt notes, and then as I drink more of it, I stop thinking about it as much because I decide that instead of engaging with the world, I will turn on my television and watch the Netflix Original Film Apostle, a film I didn’t know existed until I was scrolling through my phone and saw an ad for it. (Ads work, y’all! Keep em’ comin’!)

The movie is weird and tries really hard to be smart and complex. I painstakingly search for it on Rotten Tomatoes and find one review that agrees with me, which allows me to justify my decision to find something else to watch. I decide to watch the second episode of the Netflix Original Series Maniac. I don’t enjoy binge watching television as much as I used to. The most I can watch is two episodes of something at a time. I’ve recognized that binge-viewing makes me feel much the same as binge-eating, something I am also prone to, but slowly growing out of. (Keep reading, babe.)

The whole episode of the show is dedicated to Emma Stone’s character, which is cool, because I am fascinated by Emma Stone. I think she’s a very talented actress who makes bold career choices and she’s from Arizona, where I live, and anytime someone successful is connected to Arizona in any way, I feel soothed by my decision to not move somewhere better and less environmentally damaging (we have no water, so we steal it from other places and then in the summer when it’s 112 degrees, we blast our A/Cs in our poorly-insulated homes and in our cars as we’re stuck on the freeway, spewing out carbon like it’s nothin’) I get bummed out when Justin Theroux appears on a screen within the screen, and does a farcical performance of someone who isn’t used to being on camera self-consciously and poorly executing a demo video. Please stop telling actors they are funny, because they’ll believe it!

I’m done with my coffee and I’m immediately tired. I guess my theory about alcohol is wrong! I decide to go back to bed and set my alarm for 11:05, the time I normally wake up (just kidding if that seems awful to you.) I listen to a podcast I’ve already listened to because I can’t be alone with my thoughts and lie there, my blood pumping and my jaw clenched from caffeine-induced tenseness. I finally fall asleep after like an hour of wondering if I should just get back up and be tired all day, then wake up exactly one second before my alarm goes off out of a panicky nightmare. I turn off my alarm and wonder what it’s all about. Then I get dressed and because it’s Saturday, I’m allowed to treat myself with donuts.

I walk to Dunkin’ Donuts, listening to another podcast on the way. As I’m walking, I try to convince myself that donuts are probably all vegan and when certain places offer vegan donuts, it’s probably just as a marketing tactic. What would even be in a donut that would make it non-vegan? Eggs? Milk? Yeast??? (I’m a mostly plant-based eater, but I eat pasture-raised eggs and use organic, pasture-raised cream in my coffee because plant-based substitutes either alter the flavor too much or are full of gunk that makes you bloated.)

When I get there, I decide I should get half a dozen. A whole dozen is too much for one person, but I don’t like when I order two or three donuts and they put them in a paper bag instead of a box. I need my donuts to lie flat and to be able to open the box and pretend like it’s a present I got myself. I order two chocolate glazed, two pumpkin donuts, one double chocolate donut, and a sour cream donut. (The sour cream one definitely has dairy in it, fam.)

I walk home, self-conscious the whole time of the box I’m carrying. No one knows you live alone. You could have a family, I tell myself as I walk so fast I’m almost running, until I can turn off onto a less busy street and walk at a more reasonable pace. The podcast I’m listening to takes a sentimental turn and I feel touched (It’s called “We Need to Talk About Britney” and I am a die-hard Britney Spears fan).

When I get to my apartment, I walk through the door, immediately plop down at my desk and wager I will eat one donut, then make another cup of coffee, and then eat one more donut. Instead, I eat one (pumpkin), then decide I don’t think I can deal with more coffee, and eat a second (chocolate glazed.) Because it’s weird to not eat exactly half of my donuts, so I eat another (sour cream.) I eat it one half at a time, because it’s super dense and sweet. I wait a little bit and then eat the second half, and leave the rest of the donuts for tomorrow. I know three donuts sounds like a lot, but I’m at a time in my life where it is GROWTH for me to save food for later.

I climb back onto my bed, research the ingredients in Dunkin’ Donuts donuts (contains milk and eggs), scroll through Twitter, and stumble on a Grub Street Diet piece by John Early that someone has tweeted out. I devour it, and then immediately read it again, and then read two more GSD pieces by other comics.

I decide that I need to be involved somehow, so I immediately pull out my laptop and go to town writing this piece that you’re reading now. The present tense I’ve been using has actually caught up with real-life present tense and now I’m just writing words that don’t have any meaning because nothing else is happening other than me writing this. I have a bout of existential panic and decide I’m done writing this piece for now, and I guess I should get back to writing the novel I’m working on that will probably never get published.

Cameron HarrieComment