The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Spumoni Gardens, other norwegian things, and...other random things

poofy doodle
poofy doodle

I drew that doodle one night after attempting to make waffles last week. It expresses my culinary prowess. Or lack of. Ha...ha. I think "OOGLY MOOG MUTHA!" should be the new catchphrase that everyone hates.

mm, stealing amazon's bandwidth is fun!

Last night I was reading Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson (one of my favorite authors), a book that I started reading a few years ago but haven't finished because I unintentionally entered a contest to see who could leave a book unfinished for the longest period of time. For instance, I bought A Short History of Nearly Everything a few years ago, but I only got through a few pages. Oogly moog mutha, I'm totally going to win this contest.

Err, anyway. Reading anything by Bill Bryson kinda pisses me off because everything he writes sounds so natural and easy, as though no intense thought is needed for humorous anecdotes to spew out. STOP IT! Jeez! If I want to feel inferior, I'll just look in the mirror.

But I continue to read, and maybe learn something. Like. Uh. Stuff. A Walk in the Woods is great if you want to know what not to do when attempting to walk the Appalachian Trail. Which is something I'd never do. Unless I were paid to write a funny book about it. Which is unlikely. Most of it would read, "I wheezed for a while and wanted to die."

I have a bit of a dilemma involving something expensive that I probably shouldn't keep, but I would like to keep despite the lack of cash flow, especially when you consider that I took off almost two weeks of work to do that "vacation" thing everyone's talking about. If any photographers would like to give me their two cents (or maybe ten cents, adjusted for inflation), that'd be great.

I bought a used Sigma 20mm f/1.8 lens at Adorama in search of a nice macro lens. Silly me didn't know how much these babies cost. The modern miracle that is the credit card made it easy for me to fork over $350 for the "as far as I can tell, it's brand new" lens. Uh huh. ...Hm.

A more compact option is the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8, which I think could get for around the same price. I don't know how the lenses compare, it's just, that was the lens the handy Canon catalog-y thing included with my camera suggested for macro shots. I guess the only way for me to see what I like better is to use the Canon lens. I bought the Sigma lens without much hesitation because I know I can return it within 7 business days. I might. Or not. I don't know.

Here's a nice photo I took with the new lens of Diana's ice cream at Spumoni Gardens yesterday afternoon under the sun that threatened to drown us in own own pools of sweat:

ice cream
mm, creamy

Of course, the clarity of the photo depended a lot on nice lighting from the burning, gassy sun. And pretty sprinkles.

hire her!

That's another photo I took of Diana's custom fortune cookies that she gave to prospective employers in need of a talented graphic designer. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY WON'T SOMEONE HIRE HER?

Oh, after stopping by Adorama I went to City Bakery to pick up some goodies to bring home. As I was paying, Jennifer from Slices of Me recognized my sweaty face. WEE!!! My first instance of being recognized where the recognizer came up to me! :) We didn't get to talk for long, but maybe we'll go fooding in the future.

I guess while I'm writing this blog entry, I may as well actually write! That I ate! When can I stop? WHEN?

Spumoni Gardens
Spumoni Gardents

Diana mentioned that she wanted to try Spumoni Gardens, an Italian restaurant primarily known for its pizza (and...spumoni, I guess). It's kind of rare that we both want to check out a restaurant since I'm easily the more food minded one and she tends to express distaste for wheaty blankets dripping in gooey cheese (crazy, I know!). We were still sad about the whole "leaving Norway" thing, wondering what to do with ourselves as we returned to the overly moist and polluted NYC area, and thus had to do something fun to fill the void. Also, I had to return some things that she left in my luggage since she didn't have enough room in hers.

SO! We got pizza.

pizza time! slice

Diana, her brother David and I shared a pie with two slices leftover. While I would've prefered less cheese (a pile of melted mozzerella slid off the first first too-hot slice that I picked up like lava down a churning volcano), the pizza was pretty good. Crust was thin without being too floppy and I didn't find the pizza overly greasy. It's not something I'd go out of my way to eat, but Diana happens to live nearby and it was nice to sit outside surrounded by people who were equally melting from intense solar radiation.


I got a small cup of rainbow (pistachio, vanilla and chocolate) spumoni to offset 0.0001% of the pain inflicted upon me by Mr. Sun. I have to admit that I'm not really sure what spumoni is. Whatever I ate doesn't seem to fit The Food Lover's Companion's definition. It was kind of like less creamy ice cream. The bright green pistachio part had pistachio bits in it and left me burping pistachio fumes for the rest of the day, but the vanilla and chocolate flavors were either not that strong or were masked by the pistachio. Overall, not bad, not great, kind of weird flavors. My god, you really want to try it now, I know it.

pizza time! pizza
pizza with extra sauce

Did I ever talk about Dolly Dimple's pizza? I may as well do it as I'm on the topic of pizza. Dolly Dimple's is a major Norwegian pizza chain (the other huge one being Peppe's Pizza...we saw these ALL OVER THE PLACE) named after fat ladies at freak shows. Yeah, don't ask me how that name came about. We got a pizza the night of our fishing trip since corn and fish weren't really enough to satiate five adults. I don't remember what the toppings on the medium-crust pizza were (it was spicy and full of meats), but I slathered my slices with what I think was sour cream and salsa. Hell, why not? It was good! It was also around midnight, so god knows what that did for my digestion.

brown cheese
a block of norway

If anyone is in need of brown cheese, you can get it at Whole Foods! Or at least the one in Ridgewood, which is a rather small location.

If you want other Norwegian things and live around NYC, check out Nordic Delicacies in Brooklyn. I went there once without any idea what Nordic delicacies existed. After I left, I still wasn't sure. I guess if I went now the fish cakes and waffles would make more sense to me. Also, I could load up on Daim, which despite being like Heath and Skor bars I like more because it's called...DAIM.

Wow, I've done nothing useful today. If anyone's curious enough to know, I made an open faced sandwich of baby greens and smoked makerel for lunch and ate fruit and a home-made zong zi courtesy of Diana's Aunt for dinner. I need to eat more healthily from now on since my lungs have gone into full "I hate you" mode, resulting in the need to use my inhaler ever day since I got back from Norway. I hadn't used my inhaler since last fall until I went to Norway (if you care to do the math, thats more than 6 months), and even then it was at the end of my vacation when my lungs decided that I deserved restricted airflow.

Meh. I hope your day was more productive than mine.


ed / June 19, 2006 9:40 PM

did you say you got the canon rebel xt, and the pictures are from that camera, and not the SD you posted on the right column of your blog? im considering getting the rebel xt, but im asking owners first, before i decide to go ahead and purchase it. how do you like it so far?

anonymous paul / June 19, 2006 10:36 PM

i think the sigma works just fine. nice contrasty colors and a bit wide so you get more room to play with your shots. also its a faster lens at 1.8f. you generally get sharper pics with faster lenses. plus you can work better with relatively low light. all the better to document the glorious food. i have a rebel as well and its a great camera. but basically it all boils down to the shooter, whatever your camera is. i really dont think you need macro. try checking out the canon ef 50mm 1.8. a realatively cheap lens and great for food shots.

Kathy / June 19, 2006 10:50 PM

That picture of Diana's ice cream is awesome (can't think of a better way to phrase it lol)! I really enjoyed all your Norway posts, though am also glad to have you back to nyc food bloooooogging. I have not seen pastries and sandwich porn in too long :)

PS. My day was no more productive than yours, having spent an exciting total of 8 hours in Chemistry lab and Hawaiian Class.

PPS. Random fact "Dessert" in Hawaiian is: Mea'Ono! Mmmmm, lets have a mea'ono feast! lol

Kaitlin Hess / June 19, 2006 11:18 PM

I am mesmerized by that picture of Diana's cone.
I do believe that is the most beautiful food photo i have EVER seen.
You are a really talented photographer.
I am glad you are back home with us fellow Americans! Cuz we luv ya!

jennifer / June 19, 2006 11:30 PM

as a "seasoned" graphic designer please tell diana she is talent but i wouldnt hire her based on the sole fact that her website navigation is clumbsy. what it says to me is that she is more interested in style and surface (it all looks great) but not concerned with how design works or interfaces with the target audience. get a nav bar or some sort, the clicking back and scrolling down to do it is a deal breaker for me.

you my dear are an amazing food writer! thanks for all the fun.

roboppy / June 19, 2006 11:38 PM

ed: All these pictures are taken with the Rebel XT, yup. (Just a note, all my photos on the flickr page say what camera they were taken with on the right hand side under "Additional Information".) I think it's a great camera and would recommend it!

paul: Thanks for your advice! I'd like to have a macro lens that could be something likemy canon sd450, which can take REALLY close shots. I don't need to get as close with my slr, but the Sigma can get really close. (I know there's a real term for that...uh, I don't know what it is.) That 50 mm 1.8 lens sounds nice and it's really cheap.

Gordon: Thanks for the link! After reading it I think I'm more confused as to what I should get,

Kathy: A lot of people really like that ice cream shot, haha! I hope it tasted good.

Ahh, I gotta get back to the pastries and sandwiches?! Hm. Not that I don't want to, but I probably need to cut down on the pastries. :( Arrrgh.

Your day was much more productive! YOU HAD SCHOOL! You learned...stuff!...right? Right.

I'd love a dessert feast! But I don't think my body would. Wah!

Kaitlin: The ice cream has hypnotized you too? Heehee. I'm glad you like it.

I guess I couldn't stay in Norway forever. I'd go broke! ;P

jennifer: Ah, I hadn't thought about that. She isn't into web design as much as...all the other stuff, hehe. Like illustration and branding related things. But I'll let her know that a nav bar is definitely more convenient. You must have a website? :)

jeffrey C / June 20, 2006 1:08 AM

Norway seemed like a great place to visit. But those NY pies are something else. I guess that's what makes NY the best pizza pie place. I look at what's around here and I literally want to hop on a plane and visit NY.
Glad to have you back safe and sound.

roboppy / June 20, 2006 10:14 AM

Jeffrey: Ahh, not all pizza here is great. You gotta be careful. :) Spumoni was good, not the most awesome, but it didn't cost much either. Wee!

Paul: OH NO, NOT MORE PRICEY! It sounds swell, but I can't take that. ;D Thanks for your help! This info isn't boring at all.

Piperita: Oo, I had no idea about the rental service. Thanks for pointing it out!

I guess we don't have real spumoni here. :'(

Backyard Chef / June 20, 2006 10:25 AM

I just love that name "Daim"...I've been walking around saying that to everyone and driving them crazy.

I could not live without my wheat products....good luck to you. I think I may be allergic (to everything....), but that won't keep me from the bready goodness....

Welcome home!

Cat / June 20, 2006 11:51 AM

My house is literally BLOCKS from Spumoni Gardens, BTW, people don't go there for round pie, they go there for the squares. (including Mario Batalli) I am friends with the owners even though they know I don't like spumoni. Glad to see you venturing into the outer bouroughs. (You really need to try World Tong Seafood) My husband's grandparent's friends own it and it's the best anywhere.

jennifer / June 20, 2006 1:08 PM


yes i do have a website, feel free to check it out (included above). like diana i am a proud print designer but do not discount the need for smart web design, especially when im representing my design self. it can be as simple as if she kept the current navigation on the left side up and used the right side for her work. but the navigation has to feel right to her, my idea is just an example not a suggestion. like i said she is talented so in no way is my critique snarkiness.

again, i will take this opportunity to tell you how much i enjoy your site and thank you for the smiles it brings me.

Sera / June 20, 2006 1:35 PM

Awwwhhh! Sorry to hear you're not trying out Starwich anymore. I understand, my diet doesn't really include "sandwitches made by strangers" either. :/

I'm still touched you took the suggestion though. XD

roboppy / June 20, 2006 2:01 PM

Backyard Chef: I don't think I can life long without my wheat products. :( We'll see what happens. I find it funny that everything I'm cutting out probably counts as staples in Paris...which is great...I'LL DIE THERE. I know I'm not immediately allergic to any food, but who knows what'll happen to my organs over time. :|

Cat: Ooh, maybe I should go back and we can meet up for squares? I heard that the square was the thing to get, but...I figured round would be okay too. And it was....okay. Actually, I want to go back for super soft ice cream with pretty sprinkles too. :) The only reason I go to Bensonhurst is because Diana lives there, hehe. I'll ask her about the seafood place; she must know about it too.


Jennifer: Thanks for the link! I tend to not like flash, but I like the way you used it. Flash lite. YEEY for not making me suffer at the hands of bulky flash goop!

I told Diana about updating her navigation and she said she's thought about it...but hasn't done it yet. Maybe she'll get around to it this summer. While searching for a job! :P

I'm glad my site makes you smile! It happens to make me fat. And smile! Sometimes.

Sera: Ohh, I don't mind sandwiches made by strangers. :D They make better sandwiches than I do, hehe. I need to lay off bread for a while, doh. Hopefully I'll try it at some point this summer.

diana / June 20, 2006 9:25 PM

I tried to have a blueberry milky thingie today! Ah. Nostalgia of Norway. Being back at work today for the first time was probably the hardest thing to face.

I'm now more sadder than ever.

PS - I hate websites. And, I purposely made that main page annoying with a scroll bar. Anti-scrollbar, eh? Pff. I'll show you information design.

Lily / June 20, 2006 11:04 PM

I was checking out your poofy doodle and had to muffle the spontaneous giggles that threatened to spurt forth coz I was at work. Hilarious! Doodle more! Please ^^

roboppy / June 21, 2006 11:26 AM

Adalmin: I know. [sniffle]

We'll see how long I last. HAHA! Ha. Crap.

Diana: Ohhh, I have blueberries!>..but no milk. And I'm not supposed to ingest dairy now? Not that I ingest most of it anyway. UGH. Blueberries in milk! Weegie memories!

Lily: I think I have to be in a certain state of brain dead-ness to doodle poofy...let's hope it happens again! :D

ann / June 28, 2006 11:50 AM

L&B is all about the corner slice of the square pie
i haven't been in years, but i maintain, that corner piece, is like, omg, heaven!
and brown cheese, i love brown cheese! its so yummy on toast!

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