Since yesterday went so well, my boyfriend and I decided to go on an even smaller food tour today—a quick trip to Murray’s Bagels, my favorite bagel shop in NYC. That’s right, H&H, I said it (I’m not saying H&H isn’t great, my boyfriend just gave me shit for giving H&H shit, just saying Murray’s is my fave, but many consider H&H the best in the city).
HE decided to get a LEO (that’s Lox, Eggs & Onions for you non-New Yorkers) on a whole wheat bagel, untoasted (Murray’s doesn’t believe in toasting bagels).
I got lox, cream cheese and red onions on my favorite bagel, a whole wheat everything scooped out.
My favorite all-time combo (until I find a better one) is whole wheat everything scooped out with sun-dried tomato cream cheese.
Got some hot peppermint tea to go with it …
After the trip to Murray’s and a quick stop by the Humane Society of NY (we’re considering adopting a dog), we hit up Whole Foods to buy ingredients for dinner tonight. I decided to make Guacamole, Black Bean soup and Carnitas (basically, pulled pork).
Since I had never made Carnitas or Black Bean Soup before, I e-mailed myself the ingredients from the Williams Sonoma recipe the night before (the Carnitas are from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking). I got the Black Bean soup recipe from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen. Armed with the list of ingredients in an e-mail on my iPhone, I headed to Whole Foods. As I walked downstairs to where all the produce is located, my boyfriend decides to suddenly walk ahead of me as I’m calling out to him to grab a few cans of black beans (he doesn’t hear me, keeps on walking). In the process, I apparently, accidentally left my finger on my e-mail list too long (or something) and deleted the e-mail with my list of ingredients for dinner. But wait—I can still access it via the deleted e-mails or sent e-mails folders, right? WRONG. My boyfriend and I took turns heading upstairs where there was a cell phone signal and both of us couldn’t find this seemingly mythical e-mail with THE list.
Long story short, I ended up winging it at Whole Foods and thus—my pork adventure began. I walked up to the meat counter and scanned the pork choices. I vaguely remember the Williams Sonoma cookbook calling for some kind of pork roast, but couldn’t remember which cut. I look up at the guy at the counter and the following was our conversation (a word of caution before proceeding: this is long and painful):
Nice WF Meat Guy: How can I help you?
Me: I need 3 lbs of the pork boneless center cut roast.
Nice WF Meat Guy: Sure.
Me: Actually, I’m making pulled pork, is that the best cut of meat to use?
Nice WF Meat Guy: Mm, we usually suggest the pork shoulder roast, it has more fat and will be more tender.
Me: Oh, ok. I’ll take that then, I guess. 3 lbs, boneless?
Nice WF Meat Guy: (Checks with fellow Nice WF Meat Guy to see if they have boneless pork shoulder roast in the back). Sure, just have to get it and cut it, be right back.
Me: Ok. (Turns to the boyfriend and starts first round of second guessing). I don’t know, maybe I should get the center roast? I don’t remember the recipe saying anything about a shoulder roast. I wish I had my damn list.
Me: Ugh, I can’t remember. (Turns back to meat counter where a different Nice WF Meat Guy is staring at my confused face). Sir, can you tell that other guy not to get the shoulder roast? I think I’m going to go with the center roast.
Other Nice WF Meat Guy: (Yells at a colleague who gets first Nice WF Meat Guy to come back). Sure, I’ll get you the center roast. How many pounds?
Original Nice WF Meat Guy: Are you sure you don’t want the shoulder?
Me: Yeah, I think I’m going with the center. Why, is it going to be dry?
Nice WF Meat Guy: I don’t know, I’ve never seen anyone cook pulled pork with the center cut though. Let me know how it goes.
Me: Well, if I cook it a long time, it shouldn’t make too big a difference, right? (Obviously seeking affirmation).
Nice WF Meat Guy: (Shrugs) I don’t know. Let me know how it goes.
Me: (Now super unsure of self). Um, ok.
Other Nice WF Meat Guy: (Hands 3 lbs of center cut to me).
Me: Thanks. (Turns to boyfriend with worried look). Do you think I got the wrong cut?
Boyfriend: (Checks price tag of 3 lbs of center cut). That’s a lot of meat, we’re never going to finish it. You should tell him to cut it down to 2 lbs.
Me: Really? I feel bad, don’t want to trouble them again.
Boyfriend: Just do it.
Me: (Feeling a little wary of the price tag as well). Ok. (Turns back to Original Nice WF Meat Guy). Excuse me, so sorry, do you mind cutting this down to 2 lbs.? I think 3 is too much after all.
Nice WF Meat Guy: Sure. (Cuts it, hands it back). Anything else?
Me: Nope, thank you.
Me & Boyfriend: (Walks over to ground meats section and starts to debate about whether the center cut was the right choice).
Me: I’m worried, I don’t want to spend the money and then have the meat turn out all tough. That’s just money down the drain, plus I hate messing up any kind of slow cooking. It’s time wasted, too.
Boyfriend: Well, I think it’s okay. (Spews some logic about the amount of fat in center roast vs. shoulder roast and how since we’re cooking it 2 1/2 hours, it should be fine). I don’t think it will make a difference.
Me: I do. I know for sure the recipe called for cooking the meat for 2 1/2 hours and searing it beforehand. Maybe I should go back and ask how long it takes to cook the center roast vs. the shoulder roast. I don’t want to bother those guys again though. Will you do it, please?!!
Boyfriend: I’m not going back there. YOU do it.
Me & Boyfriend: (More back and forth. More debating.)
Me: Fine, I’ll go and ask about the cooking times, that’ll help me make my decision. They’re going to hate me. (Walks back to meat counter).
Me: (Sees Original Nice WF Meat Guy). Hey, I’m so sorry to do this, but do you know how long it takes to cook down the shoulder roast?
Nice WF Meat Guy: Not sure, let me ask and find out for you.
Me: Thanks. (Waits less than a minute, Guy returns with yet another Nice WF Meat Guy).
Nice WF Meat Guy #3: It takes about 3 hours to cook the shoulder roast for pulled pork.
Me: Yeah? What about the center roast?
Nice WF Meat Guy #3: A lot longer.
Original Nice WF Meat Guy: Yeah, it doesn’t have as much fat so will take longer to break down.
Me: Okay, then, I hate to do this, but can I switch my center roast for 2 lbs. of the shoulder roast?
Original Nice WF Meat Guy. HELL NO. GO AWAY. (Okay, not really).
Original Nice WF Meat Guy (in reality): Sure thing, no problem. (Takes back my center roast).
I have to give props to my Boyfriend and all the Nice Whole Foods Meat Guys for not seriously throwing raw meat at my face after all that. At least I learned a little something about pork today, I guess. My little pork lesson also reaffirmed my love for Whole Foods. As for that mythical e-mail with the list of ingredients, I still never found it on my iPhone—massive failure, Apple!
Anyway, I’m tired and can’t possibly write more about pork or my stupid iPhone e-mail mystery tonight so just enjoy the photos below from our dinner (and I apologize if the Black Bean soup looks like you-know-what).
Orange and lime zest that went into the Creuset w/my pork SHOULDER roast.
All sliced up …
When it was all said and done, totally worth it.
The Black Bean Soup (with cumin and cilantro). Looks kind of gross, I know, but it was actually quite delicious. Almost like a bean dip after I pureed it in my Vita-Mix.