Healthy or Hungover #13

Nimai Larson

All photos by Nimai Larson

Dating in New York is pretty hilarious. When I was 15 and watching Sex and the City for the first time, I remember saying to myself, “This kind of shit would NEVER happen in real life! How do you like…not know the last name of the dude you're hooking up with?” Well, I'm coming up on my one year mark of being single and let me tell you–ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! I've flirted with a Hot Man at a fancy art auction in Manhattan only to realize he's married. I've travelled to countries where I forgot to notice half way through the night that the TotaL Babe with me in the Sauna doesn't even speak English #voulez-vouscoucheravecmoi!! I've been on a Dreamy Date in Fort Greene while my sister was getting attacked by a rabid raccoon in Central Park. I've stumbled out of Some Guy's apartment on Bedford Ave still wearing pink lipstick from the night before. Most recently, I found myself in the highest high heels and the shortest leather booty shorts above open flames BBQing for over 100 people hoping that the guy I'm crushin' on from my favorite coffee shop would show up and be like “WOW, YOU CAN LIGHT MY FIRE ANYTIME.”

Agreeing to BBQ for that many people is a gamble…just like agreeing to go on a date. You never know if the night will be a ToTaL MeSS or a GreAT SucceSS!!! If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then I intend on cooking my way through this WHOLE CITY until I find Mr. Right!!

A WHOLE LOTTA GRILL FOOD: TACOZ N CAKEZ
(feeds 100)

TEMPEH TACOZ
*Filling*

  • 8 Packages Tempeh
  • 7 Packages Baby Portabello Mushrooms
  • 10 Poblano Peppers
  • 6 Red Bell Peppers
  • 2 White Onions
  • 10 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Jalapenos
  • 1 Very Large can of Black Beans (seriously, enormous)
  • 5 TBS Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 7 TBS Ground Black Pepper
  • 5 TBS Salt
  • 160 Tortillas, 2 Packages Cotija Cheese, Chopped Cilantro

*Marinade*

  • 1 Can Chipotle Peppers in Sauce
  • 15 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 White Onions
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 4 Limes
  • 3 Jalapenos
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 Bottle of Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Stone Ground Mustard
  • 5 TBS Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 TBS Cinnamon
  • 3 TBS each of Allspice, Cumin, Basil Leaves
  • 2 TBS Cayenne

PINEAPPLE GRILL CAKEZ

  • 13 Cans Pineapple (sliced)
  • 10 Pound Cakes
  • 3 Cups Brown Sugar
  • Spices to Taste: Cinnamon, Allspice, Cayenne, Cardamon
  • Coconut Oil Spray

THIS IS A LOT OF FOOD. I was standing in the kitchen like “wait…..whaaaaaaaaaaat am I getting myself into?” I decided to start with the marinade for the Tempeh. Chop your Garlic, Jalapenos, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Limes and Onions. Mix all of the other spices and liquids. Then, put half of the marinade in the blender to liquify. Combine.

I dipped some chips in there to see if my blind “guess-timating” with proportions were On Point or TotaLLy Off. It's Spicy! It's Smokey! It's kinda Sweet! It has a really Strong flavor! In TexXxas, where I'm from, everything is so spicy it burns your mouth. If it doesn't burn your mouth, then it just ain't right and it just ain't worth your time. In keeping true to my roots, I like my sauces like I like my men: HOT.

Cube all of the Tempeh and mix in the marinade. Let it soak over night for the BE$T flavor!

Once you got that marinating in the fridge, start chopping all of the vegetables for the filling.

At this point I started freaking out. I think I need BACK UP!!! I'm getting Carpel Tunnel from all of this chopping!!! Jalapeno juices are burning my eyes and hands!! I need Mas Cervezas!!! I've been listening to The Thong Song on repeat for an hour and my roommate thinks I'm crazZzy!!! What's TWERKING?? Maybe I should bail on the BBQ and just eat ALL OF THE POUND CAKE??! Who cares cuz I HAVE A GYM MEMBERSHIP!! WAIT, WHO ARE MY FRIENDS??!! WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO HELP ME??!

Luckily, my friend came over equipped with sharp knives, cutting boards, and more Tecate. We chopped all of the vegetables together! Fill a big paper bag with your chopped Veggies, Spices and Black Beans, then SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!!!

Fetishes have been coming up in my conversations a lot recently: gettin' with twinz, vacuum-sealing yourself, zentai suits, bein' covered in peanut butter, women eatin' ice-cream conez, naked men carryin' babies, adult babies, STDs (cuz “you gotta catch 'em all!”), cougarz, silver foxes, etc. I don't know if I have any legit fetishes but I sure do have “Kitchen Fantasies.” I fantasize about sipping Prosecco while stirring a fluffy cream cheese and strawberry batter for muffins on a Sunday afternoon and then like *MAGiC* the hoTTest man EVER comes into the kitchen and knocks EVERYTHING over and THROWS me on the counter and…..

Whatever, it's NEVER happened. But I tried to live out this Kitchen Fantasy with a man in Russia named Maxime. He barely spoke English. I met him in Moscow because he was running the soundboard for Prince Rama, the band I'm in. We joked around a little bit, I tried to flirt with him, he would smile and didn't really know what I was talking about. But whatever!!!!! We both understand the LaNGuaGe of LOVE!!!! I was convinced he was SooOOoOOooO INTO ME and we were like, DEFiNiTELY GOiNG TO HOOK UP XXXX The two of us and a few other people went to this all night rave in the city center. It was DARK and the music was LOUD and the Vodka was FLOWING and we were all DANCING!!

In order to totaLLY win him over, I flipped my long, blonde hair and smiled and sang to Maxime!!!

When we all left the rave at 9:30am, he drove my sister, Taraka, and I back to the apartment we were staying in.

I said, “Maxime, you are the most aTTraCTiVe man in the WHOLE world!”

Maxime said nothing but smiled at Taraka and me giggling in the backseat. When we arrived at our apartment he walked us upstairs.

He's in the kitchen!! This is my CHANCE to *maybe* make my Kitchen Fantasy happen!! I'm going to KiSS him!!!! Here goes nothing……!!

IT TOTALLY DIDN'T WORK.

“I've been trying to kiss you ALL night, why don't you want me?!??!?”

Taraka starts laughing at how SA$$Y I get when I drink.

Maxime looks at us and in Perfect English says, “I want you……BOTH.”

Alright, let's get to the SWEETE$T part of the BBQ: the Pineapple GriLL CakeZ!! In a large bowl, mix together the Brown Sugar and Spices. If you like it a little SpiCy, add more Cayenne and Allspice. If you like it a little SweeT, add more Cinnamon and Cardamon. Coat both sides of the Pineapple Rounds with your mixture and let those marinate over night. When you're ready to grill, place one Pineapple Round on a slice of Pound Cake, spritz with Coconut Oil Spray, wrap in an Aluminum foil pouch, throw it on tha flamez and you've got the Be$T tasting griLL cake in tha world!!!

It tastes xTropicaLx like a warm summer breeze and sand beneath your feet. The only place to experience this kind of xTropicaLx atmosphere in Brooklyn is a little place called Surf Bar where they have sand on the floor and open windows for a constant summer breeze. The last time I was there was on a date with a Dude I had met while playing a show with his band. I thought he was HOT but I had a boyfriend at the time. Now that I don't have a boyfriend I decided to text him and be like “YoOOoOOoooOOooo, remember me?!! 😉 ;)” And he was all “Totally, let's get a drink. XO ;)” and I thought to myself WOW I get an 'XO' AND a 'winky-face'??? This Dude is psyched to take me out!

The next night I put on a black leather skirt and a pRoVoCaTiVe crop top and confidentally walked to my Hot Summer Date at Surf Bar.

There he was in the sand with his Corona. We started talking about our respective bands and how much we dig each others music (!) and OoOOoh La La, he definitely dressed up for this date (!!!) and Wow, he's really impressed with what I've been up to (!!!!!) and Cool, I think this date is going reaLLy well (!!!!!!!!) He is telling me about the new album his band is recording (!) and it's just him and this girl in the band (?!), and they write all of the songs together (?!!), and their writing process involves them both reading each others journals (???!!!!!)

“Whoa wait, you guys are close enough that you feel comfortable reading each others journals??” I ask.

Not making eye contact with me, he replies “Well, yeah because we are…uh…kinda seeing each other…”

OHHHHHHH GREAT!

Then he says “She is actually coming here to meet me in a bit with a friend…”

OHHHHHH EVEN BETTER!!!

I slowly sip my vodka tonic through pursed lips. HomeGirl in their band walks into the bar and sits down with us. I'm horrified–I'm the Third Person on this Dude's date with the HomeGirl he is 'kinda seeing'!!!!! To keep from pouring my drink on Dude and kicking sand into HomeGirl's eyes, I decide to RE-APPLY my hot pink lipstick and FLIP my goddamn hair. If I have to be a Third Person on this 'kinda date' at least I'm going to look GOOD!!!! HomeGirl wants to go to another bar and seeing my opportunity to get out of there I say “Oh yeaaaahhh…I'll like…meet y'all there…let me just pop into the bathroom for a second…”

I go into the bathroom thinking yeah yeah yeah, see you guys in a second YEAH RIGHT I can 'kinda see' myself bailing on this date.

I call Taraka.

I'm like “What the fuck!!!!!!”

And she's like “What the fuck?? Get OUTTA there!!”

And I'm like “I'M GOING.”

I feel so sNeAKy leaving the bathroom knowing I'm going to 'kinda slither' right on out of this 'kinda date' and 'kinda hop' on the next train. I would never want to be the girl ANY DUDE is 'kinda seeing'!!! To my surprise, the 'kinda couple' was WAITING FOR ME outside!! DAMN my sNeAKy plan didn't work! But then I noticed there was a *HOT GUY* waiting with them. Doesn't this night keep getting more and more iNTeRe$TinG??! Maybe I WILL go to the other bar!!!

The *Hot Guy* is Brazillian (!) He works in the Arts (!!!) He thinks I'm funny (!!!!!) He asks for my number (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I turn to Dude and HomeGirl and say “This has been 'kinda fun' hanging out with y'all, but I'm leaving with my REAL DATE now!”

And like a warm summer breeze, we floated out of there.

I'M PROUD OF MYSELF. As 4am rolls around at the BBQ, I'm still throwin' the Tempeh Taco Filling into Corn Tortillaz and serving them with Pineapple GriLL Cakez. The guy I'm crushin' on from my favorite coffee shop never shows up to see me totaLLy kiLLing it, but I know that ultimately I'm not doing this to impress dudez. I'm doing this because I LOVE to cook….Making Mr. Right's mouth water is just the ICING on tha CAKE 😉 😉

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