starting the new year hangry

"Don't even talk to me! I'll bite your head off!", I snap and glare at my husband as he rattles on about shoestring fries and starts to ask me if I think special equipment is needed to make them.

I was sitting reluctantly at a dive this afternoon after driving around for over an hour looking for a decent restaurant that was open on New Year's Day. We ended up at a smelly sports bar on Sixth Street about two blocks from Whole Foods. How I would have preferred those black beans with cilantro rice tacos from Whole Foods just about now. Instead, I sat there, my head averted, hoping it would be over soon. I don't eat out often - a handful times a year - and we never order food to be delivered, no matter how desperate. My husband eats out much more frequently, mostly due to his business travels.

The plan was to eat breakfast before going downtown to BookPeople to buy Saffi a journal and the kids some unique books. Then we were going to enjoy coffee at The Hideout. BookPeople is a special, one-of-a-kind bookstore and I found out yesterday that they were having a customer appreciation day...20% off everything in the store. I could have simply bought Saffi her special New Year's present the day before when I was there. Instead, I wanted her to be able to choose something on her own. I also got myself a new journal to jot down my new baking/cooking endeavors for the year. The younger two also picked out a journal for themselves...something with an elephant on the cover for Sagey, of course.

I could spend all day in bookstores. Today, however, the kids were impossible! Sagey was screaming at one point, wanting to hold my hand, not Papa's. I was already on my way to the cookbook section and watched from a distance as Stefan carried Sagey down the stairs. "He's your son", replies my husband. The girls were running around touching any and every book or interesting thing being sold. It was time to leave.

We were hungry. No...we were hangry. My husband was craving fries but had first suggested we eat at The Clay Pit - a delicious Indian restaurant we've been to only once due to their obscure hours. I would have loved some chicken curry. Since they weren't open until 5pm (it was around 2pm at the time), I suggested Zax. We drove there and found out they were closed. We then sat in the parking lot for what seemed like an eternity while my husband Googled "best fries in Austin". That's how we ended up at that place with the word "divine" in it's name. Oh, it was far from anything divine!

I sat there glaring at my husband as he ordered three baskets of fries for himself and the kids. I imagined the heart attacks that would ensue if one actually managed to eat so much grease laden food. I was hangry but refused to eat even one fry. One fry alone would have cost at least 5 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym. So I sat there wishing I could run the two blocks to Whole Foods and stand in line waiting for a flour tortilla with black beans, cilantro rice, lettuce, and Dragon salsa. Occasionally I would glance at the kids and Stefan to see if they were anywhere near done so we could get out of that horrid place.

Had the fries been as described on that Google search he found, "the best fries in Austin", my husband would have been devouring the fries in the kids' baskets. Strangely, he did not finish his own fries and did not argue with me about taking all three kids to wash their greasy hands while I waited outside on the front patio of the establishment. Sagey looked at me, having eaten a mere ten fries from the pile that still awaited, and said he wasn't done. "You're done", I told him firmly. When we finally got in the car, my husband simply stated "those were gross". Rarely does he say anything is "gross". He apologized for taking us there and we drove home where I quickly heated up the leftover chili I made for dinner last night. That with tortilla chips and hot adobo salsa made for a much better meal.

The moral of the story? Pack some healthy snacks in a small cooler whenever you leave the house (even if you don't think you'll be gone too long) and you won't be faced with being hangry and desperate enough to trust restaurant reviews. Also, stay home on New Year's Day and enjoy the time off.

Happy new year!