moda vivendi

I'm just talking to myself. We do that sometimes, me and myself.


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“You’re single because you can’t caramelize onions.”

Very few things strike me as being a “too low blow.”  This weekend, however, Victoria’s husband hit where it really hurt.  While sitting around at Affogato, someone asked if you need to add sugar when caramelizing onions.  I say no.  AC (Vic’s husband) says yes.  He says that  adding sugar makes them sweet and that without sugar, you’re just going to get fried onions.  Long story short, we got into a heated discussion.  And then he threw that little gem my way.

Now, to work at (or even patronize) Affogato, you have to put up with a lot.  I’m regularly made fun of for my height, the crazy stories about my other job, my luck (or lackthereof) with guys…it’s all fair game.  And it usually doesn’t bother me.  Not even when someone told me he’s seen better legs on a pool table.  Good thing I don’t have a complex about my body or anything.

But when AC looked at me and said that I was single because I can’t property caramelize onions…..that was it.  NO one calls into question my culinary expertise.

So, once and for all…you put oil (or you can Julia Child the crap out of it and use butter.. I prefer butter) into a pan.  Let it heat up.  Toss in the onions on medium-low heat.  And watch them like a hawk.  Keep them moving and sure enough, the NATUAL SUGARS in the vegetable will be released, the edges will get nice and golden, and the centers will be translucent, all without the addition of MORE sugar.  Sheesh.


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When you get a chance….

…delete this phrase from your vocabulary.

It’s possibly my second biggest pet peeve (after the espresso/expresso thing) about working at Affogato.  When someone says that to me, I feel like they’re trying to be low maintenance and “it’s cool, do your thing, you’ll get to me when you get to me,” but it in fact says the opposite.  Said in the right tone, it smacks of passive-aggressiveness.  It says, “Oh no, clearly your life is more important than serving me..don’t let me interrupt..I’m fine.”  It also intensifies the feeling of urgency.  I feel like I need to hop to and put aside whatever it is that I’m doing, which usually is corralling rogue coffee beans; this results in me either not hearing them or being surprised and hitting my head on the underside of the counter.

Allow me to play devil’s advocate for a second..  What if I don’t like you?  What if I don’t feel like serving you or don’t want to put my book down?  This “when you get a chance” moment may be hours from now.

So, to expedite the refill process and not piss off your server, conder simply saying, “May I have a refill,” or, as a favorite regular of mine says, “Can I get a heater?”  That’s all I ask.


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Then my car broke down

This weekend was the big Central PA Arts Festival (hereby known as “Arts Fest”).  I have been looking forward to this for AGES, especially because I’ve been working like crazy and needed a break like you wouldn’t believe.  The weekend didn’t quite go as planned…

~My one friend (who is as plan-oriented as I am) couldn’t come (tres sad) so I spent the days leading up to Arts Fest and the weekend frantically texting people in a last-ditch effort to make new plans.  Didn’t quite pan out as expected.

~The a/c in my car (which I thought was fixed) is still broken.  It wasn’t an issue until I sat in traffic for a good 45 minutes.  And this wasn’t your ordinary traffic.  This was traffic on a highway in the middle of PA.  I ask you, how does that happen!?

~I didn’t make an idiot out of myself while playing frat-boy inspired drinking games.  This is a highlight in an otherwise fail-ridden weekend.  And, as it turns out, I’m pretty damn good at flip cup.  Basically it’s a race to see which team can drink fastest and who has the best hand/table/cup/eye coordination.

~Most of Saturday was wasted because people wanted to sleep in.  It felt nice, don’t get me wrong, but I’m used to being up and about at 7 AM, not 12:30 PM.  Also didn’t get to meet up with one friend because she goes, “Just keep walking, we’ll run into each other.”  Did I mention I’m a planner and I don’t handle “We’ll meet up somewhere sometime maybe” situations that well?

~Babysat some drunk people and in the process of carting their lit-up asses home, a passing frat boy bro-dude said I looked like a “pregnant slut.”  Then I got beer thrown at me.  Not making that junk up.  Also, did I mention it’s not fun to be the most sober one in a group full of people who are so drunk they’re mumbling incoherently in something that resembles baby-talk?

~Lastly, woke up at 6:30 AM so I could make it back home to be at work at 10:30 AM.  I was late, however, because this ended up being my transportation back home:

At least I saved gas on the way back?


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Awkward and Awesome Fri–Er, Thursday

Awkward things that happened:

  • My mom’s gazpacho.  The title of the recipe said “cucumber,” so you would think that it would taste like cucumber, right?  Wrong.  It included a mix of cucumber, chicken broth, and onion, but it definitely tasted like pureed onions.
  • I kicked over a fan at Affogato and it overheated the deli case.  Thought I broke the damn thing.
  • Pulling a double–working mornings at the coffee shop and afternoon at my first/other job.  Gahhh!

Awesome things that happened:

  • We had a catered lunch at my other job.  It was delish.  Especially after the Bowl o’ Onion.
  • The regulars at Affogato who helped me get everything set up in record time.  (Vic texted me saying she wasn’t feeling well, so I went in to open but I was later than usual.  God bless nice, easy customers.)


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It’s eSpresso. Get it right.

Yesterday must have been a full moon because people did some crazy shiz at the coffee shop.  <shameless plug> (Anyone want to buy a coffee shop, by the way?) </shameless plug>

One lady ordered an triple shot americano without water.  Let me explain: an americano is espresso and hot water.  I looked at her and said, “So you want three shots of espresso?” just to make sure I was understanding her.  She says, “No, I want an americano without the water.”  Mmkay then….  Then she wanted an iced latte without foam.  I didn’t even bother to explain that iced lattes don’t have foam in the fist place.  She was just a peach to serve.

Then some hipsters came in and, well, how about we won’t go there.  Moving along…

A little while later, someone ordered an eXpresso.  Now, to my knowledge, we do not serve eXpresso.  We do, however, offer eSpresso.  Maybe I’m a word nazi or a coffee snob, but come on!  There’s no x, k, or even c in the damn word.  The next time someone orders an expresso, I’m going to look at them and say, “I’m sorry, we’re fresh out of that today.  Maybe you’d like to try some espresso, though?”  Biggest.  Coffee.  Pet.  Peeve.  EvAr.

On that same vein, let’s discuss macchiatos.  According to the handy-dandy employee handbook at Affogato, a real macchiato is a single shot of espresso (with an s) and a dollop of foam on top.  If you want the Starbucks version, order a caramel latte.  One of my first memories of that place is when my friend ordered a macchiato and the guy behind the counter (who shall remain nameless, though if you’re familiar with the barista history there, you know exactly who I’m talking about…) snaps, rather snottily, I might add, “The real kind or the Starbucks kind?”  Love it.

Moral of the story, don’t be a moron about these things.  This isn’t as high-pressure as Starbucks (if you order incorrectly there, I’m pretty sure they take you out back and whip you until you get it right or they shun you the next time you dare set foot in the store), but at least have some familiarity with what you’re purchasing, be it coffee or a washing machine.  I understand that some people don’t have the same love for caffeine as I do, but come on, it isn’t that hard to pronounce words correctly!


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Death of a cupcake

Dozen Bake Shop closed today.  Tres sad, let me tell you.  So, like a good Pittsburgh sugar addict, I dragged (or maybe he came along willingly, although, it was 9am and he had a hangover, so I’m not sure which one it is) a friend of mine to get our last cupcake fix.  Usually we make a pilgrimage to the one in Oakland every few months when I’m home from school and we were going to go there this week anyway, but they were having A/C problems, so we never made it.  Guess they had bigger fish to fry (bake?) anyway.

So we got there are 9:15-ish and there was a huge line already (did I mention it opened at 9am? Did I also mention that us Pittsburghers apparently have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning?)  Most of the line was comprised of hipsters.  When we left, there was an even longer line, and even more hipsters.  I love the Lawrenceville area, but come on!  There was a guy that looked like he commandeered his pants from Jack Sparrow.  There was another guy whose hair..I can’t even talk about it.  It looked like he had severe bedhead but then he turned around and it was clear that he spent hours trying to get it to look that way.  Oh–and a Pittsburgh radio personality was in line in front of us, which was kinda cool.  And we tweeted obnoxiously about it.

All in all, I spent $11, got quite a pastry haul, and my friend and I snagged the last cupcakes at Dozen.  And we didn’t feel bad.  I know, because we tweeted about it the second it happened.  We did quite a lot of cupcake-related tweeting actually, which goes to show even more just how lame we are, I mean, how devoted to cupcakes we are.  (That didn’t make it any less lame, did it?  No.  I thought so.)

Dozen (washed out) Bake Shop

Pastry Haul/Food Porn

(top, lr) Homemade cherry poptart, chocolate peanut butter thingy, red velvet cupcake, (bottom, lr) brownie, choc. chip cookies

If I had a real camera, this would be much art-y-er

Aaaand more

Okay, okay.  I’m done.  I’m going to go for a long run….and then get very fat (actually, I’m going to try to stretch this out as long as possible.  I’m definitely eating the cupcake last).