The problem with not having a kitchen–or a car, for that matter–is that you have to plan your meals somewhat in advance. For breakfast, I usually keep a stock of Fage Greek yogurt in my mini-fridge, which I'll have with a cup of tea. For lunch, I will venture down to town where I'll pop in somewhere for something quick and easy. For dinner, if I'm not catching up with a friend, I have to decide how to make food appear at The Clubhouse. Getting food delivery, while at-times convenient, is not very cost-effective for one person if you consider the food order minimum, delivery fee and tip for the driver. Thank goodness for prepared foods counters, where you can point to what you want, decide how much of it you want, and leave the rest of the work to your trusty ol 'microwave.
Speaking of which, I got caught in a weird tailspin at the prepared foods counter at Joan's on Third the other day. One of their daily specials was sole meunière, sautéed sole filets in lemon butter with capers and parsley–one of my favorite dishes in the world. The price card read $9 per 1/2 lb., which was reasonable enough. I thought it'd make a nice dinner if I added a side of asparagus ($6) and mashed potatoes ($3.25). Half-a-pound of sole filets, though it sounded like a lot, would surely mean leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Half-a-pound, it is, then.
When I got to the front of the line, there were two girls standing behind me–maybe a little too close. For whatever reason, this narrow proximity between us triggered a strange sense of anxiety in me. I felt disoriented, scatterbrained and rushed, even if it was all imagined.
"Hi, can I get half a pound of the sole?" I asked, nervously.
Is it odd for me to order "half a pound" of something? Does that sound like too much food?
"Sure, let me weigh that out for you," said the counter person, as she lifted several filets on a paper plate to be weighed.
I started feeling light-headed and my heart beat faster as I watched her check the food scale.
"OK, that'll be murmurmur five murmurmur..."
Wait, did I hear that right? That doesn't make any sense. The sign clearly says $9 per 1/2 lb. Am I crazy? It's so noisy in here. Did she say "twenty-five dollars"? Or did I completely mishear and she meant that 1/2 lb. is five pieces? Mental hyperventilation taking place now.
"Oh, in that case, I'll just take one piece."
"Are you sure? That's just half of a filet. Do you want two?"
Oh, gosh. Why did I say one piece? That's not going to be enough for dinner. But everyone in L.A. is skinny. I need to go on a diet. Cannot compute. Do not understand. Confusion. Confusion. CONFUSION.
"No, no, one is fine," I said, feeling out of breath, "And a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus, please."
I wanted to get out of there. The room was spinning. I felt an enormous pressure from the girls waiting in line. What's taking so long??? Help!
I still cannot comprehend what unfolded internally, but I walked out with half of a sole fillet and a small side of mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. It was exactly the right amount of food. There were no leftovers. (I did, however, wish I took her up on that second piece of sole. That way, I could have avoided eating the entire container of mashed potatoes.)
*My friend Bill read this post after I'd already told him over the phone what had happened. "I still don't understand what happened. But don't try to explain to me again because it'll only make things more confusing," he said. Oh, good, I was able to, in this post, accurately convey the same level of confusion that I had experienced!