Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where to Buy The Lamb of God in Greensboro

Shannon with her bag of lamb.
A certain, quite popular demi-God once said eat me, my flesh, my blood and rejoice in me. (John 6:53-55) No problem for me, I love the Lamb of God. Hell, I love all lambs, because they're very, very delicious. However having a little sacrificial lamb for dinner is easier said than done, because lamb is either hard to find or very expensive when you do (Harris Teeter has some great lamb-chops though). So where to buy lamb in Greensboro? Nazareth's Bakery on Market Street sells 5 lb vacumn-sealed bundles of lamb for $25. 

I suppose we could call this true "soul food".
Perfect, I think as I plan my last supper of the day. Better yet, the lamb is halal. What's halal? It's lawful meat, meaning it was slaughtered under the rules of Islamic law (but likely works with any religion). It's actually a very humane way of slaughtering animals. They must be dead before slaughter, fed a healthy diet, and God's name must be shouted during the processing. 

It's sometimes so difficult to get such holy meat even in Europe (let-alone Greensboro) so those who require  legally blessed meat, or just want some super delicious lamb, are often forced to butcher their own in bath-tubs of their home, hanging in the shower. I was this close to doing it, but one day when I went to go get a Shawarma at Nazareth's, I noticed their sign for lamb @ $5.99 a LB.  No more bloody shower curtain for me.

So tonight I'm going make some crepes, and make some very delicious durums. You should too.  

Of course now that I have the physical actual flesh of the lamb of God, where do I get the blood?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Returning to UNCG

Graham Building, not made out of graham-crackers..
It's been interesting coming back to UNCG, a university, though one of the cheapest in the state, charges me more per semester to park than the state run university of Belgium,  for an entire year. Not that this is a post to complain. In fact, I love UNCG. Indeed, of all the many faults of Greensboro, and North Carolina, UNCG is not one of them. If I could bloody live in the Starbucks, carve myself out a little room next to the cappuccino machine for me, my family, and my stupid labrador, I would. The place is precious to me. Make no doubts, I'd rather be abroad, but if I have to be here, have to work my way out of this world of compromise- then there's really no place I'd rather be attending than UNCG.

Returning though has had it's laughs. When I left campus in May of last year, I said goodbye to the ancient old Graham building, and its leaky toilets. I was certain when I returned, and went to the toilet, this semester, it would be fixed. Sure enough a puddle lay on the floor my first day back. Some things never change. Definitely a W.C., I laughed. I don't suppose it speaks loads to the international students, I now observe in my tourism class, as I sit there staring, trying to find that part of me in them I've now lost. They remind me of the distant shores I once roamed  as one of them sits there doodling a dress as our tourism professor went on about Mecca. He's made the reference several times, and though I find it oddly endearing that he's English but sounds southern, the combination of him saying "pilgrimage" to a class of students who sat stunned at the word Benelux, till I answered the question, makes me long to be back in Spain with a pack on my back, walking those Spanish mountains.

In European History, the professor, who is quite proud of her dual citizenship, but speaks again so oddly, with her American accent, confuses me as a student led presentation of Napoleon spiraled down to "Napoleon was an Atheist and ripped the heads off Christian statues". I can just hear Madam Delsemme's (my art history professor in Belgium) voice in my head commanding me to stand up and yell "Iconoclasm you fool!" while in reality, I slumped down in my seat, closed my eyes, and prayed to God the endless Power Point presentations accidentally deleted themselves just so I could watch the blank stares of the presenters as they resort to name calling of one of the greatest Frenchmen to ever live. "Vive la France", I mumble.

Here I am, a descendant of the great Roman empire, living in the midst of the modern version of it, as a Spartan, as a UNCG student who came back from her warrior days to find the place she left very much the same. A place where every moment lost pondering toilets, presentations, or queuing in Starbucks earns me a future to one day leave and find my glory once again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Natty Greene's Southern Beer Culture.

A true corner bar.
It's rather weird trying to merge two lives into one. Spending four month in Belgium and spending every Wednesday with friends drinking and socializing was something I knew I was going to miss Stateside. It's not the alcoholic, "let us get smashed" outing, but more of a, "let us have a few drinks and chat" sort of deal. Of course this confuses North Carolinians beyond their comprehension. "You mean we're going to drink, and the point is not to get drunk?" my friends asked. Many of the more prudish amies said "8:00 PM, why so late?" It started to become apparent to me as I tried to instigate the first American version of Afterwork Drinks, that it was going to be a grudge match to the end simply to have it occur. "Wednesday, why Wednesday?" I remembered why I left Greensboro in the first place, cynicism and constant complaining. It's amazing to me, anyone, ever manages a social function here in Greensboro.

Of course I was reminded once I actually arrived at Natty Greene's, on a Wednesday, at eight PM, of how I was supposed to act as Lisa and Carson shared a YouTube video of What Southern Women Say. Which according to the video, contends that it's okay to be snickery towards someone, as long as you say "bless your heart" afterwards. This arrival back into southern society is thwart with culture shock.

So despite inviting fifty odd friends, we had a small group who did manage to show up. Coincidentally  I had never been to Natty Greene's before. I've been to countless other pubs in Greensboro, but never Natty's. I guess it's because it's the place that EVERYONE goes to, and clamors about, that made me save it for now (or reluctant to be like everyone). Considering I was trying to force myself back into this southern existence, it seemed fitting this is where I chose.

It of course is odd for me that a bar and a restaurant, which Natty's is both, is so partitioned. More odd is that the restaurant is prominently in front, and set-up like an Olive Garden or a Cracker Barrel.  I felt like I was in Waffle House as I asked the hostess where the bar was (like a deviant drunk) and crept into the back like some prohibition era lady of the night.

Coats off, orders up, and what do I see on the menu? Belgian beer! I'm happy. It's good, and exactly what I wanted. Friends arrive, and I begin my usual parade into screwdrivers and sex-on-the-beach. We had a good time, though while different than what I was accustomed to, it was nice. The mixed drinks were a bit weak, and the experience though far-different, proved to be an entertaining two hours.

We developed the "North Face" game, which came about proving Greensboro's attachment with name-brand clothing (despite never doing anything extreme enough to buy the equipment [disclosure: I now own a North Face backpack {yes I'm a hypocrite}]). Every time you see someone wearing North Face, you take a drink. Considering the number of jug carrying (yes you can buy jugs of beer here), North Face wearing individuals we saw that night, we were forced to end the game prematurely, or sleep in Center City Park.

Which of course is the main problem of drinking in Greensboro: D.U.I.s. I miss taking the Metro home, and never having to worry about driving. Unfortunately our baby-sitters were in Asheboro that night which meant a 1+ hour commute, in foggy, rainy conditions. Needless to say, after a run for French-fries at 11 PM, and a rather chaotic drive home, I did not overly enjoy the satisfaction of my drinks.

So that's it... Natty Greene's. Good beer, okay drinks, a rather dull atmosphere, and great service.  Remind me next time to make friends with a couch within walking distance, and I'll go back.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nothing says "community" like a Longhorn Tow War.

Golden Dragon no like you eating the Longhorn.
Nothing says community like businesses in a parking lot war, with a Chinese lady hiding behind the wall, sneaking out to tag your car with a a Post-It note that says "tow" while you're eating in the neighboring establishment. That's right, if you're not eating at Golden Dragon then you're likely getting your car towed.

I was lucky enough to have moved my car before hand while waiting on a table. But I didn't notice the Post-It note till we came out of dinner at Longhorn on Battleground Avenue. That's when we decided to figure things out. We hid in the car waiting till this crazy Chinese woman jumped out from behind the wall and ran over to people's cars marking them for tow.

I decided to confront her. Then I ripped off the stickers of my co-Longhorn-patrons and felt vindicated.

Tow, Tow, Tow!
I realize she's upset that people aren't coming to eat her Chinese food. I get that, but it's not very neighborly and definitely doesn't send a very nice community message during a time when lots of people are visiting from out of town.

She says injustice, I say it's a tragedy of the parking lot commons. Either way, I'll be certain not to eat her Chinese food anytime soon.

Considering I just returned from four months abroad, nothing feels more like home than greed, vengeance,  and people towing other people. Tis the reason for the season, eh?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Best Take-Out in Greensboro?

Lamb and cheese with lettuce, tomato, pepper and onion.
Now bare with me for a moment because some of you are either going to think this is very cool, or likely be disgusted by the fact I'm suggesting you eat lamb. In the later of the two cases, it's probably a mental hurdle that I recommend to jump in order to enjoy one of the world's greatest pleasures: spit roasted lamb, otherwise known as shawarma in the Middle-East or Doner in Greece. A hugely popular meat that's catching on like wild-fire here in the U.S. Either way it tastes, in my opinion, better than beef or chicken, and is completely halal (prepared according to religious law), meaning it's not only delicious, but also divine. I've been eating kebobs and durums like they've been going out of style, but today I tried something new at Nazareth's today (a restaurant and bakery on West Market Street). I asked to combine the shawarma meet (the lamb) in place of the steak on their Steak and Cheese Sandwich. Then I ordered some fries, and stuffed them in the sandwich (held over from my time in Belgium [we put frites on everything!]). What I ended up was the most awesome take-out sandwich I've ever had. Technically it would be a shwarma/doner mitraillete with cheese (fromage), and frites (fries), but all you have to do it you want one is call Nazareth's and order a "steak and cheese sandwich with shawarma instead of steak and a side of fries". Put the taters where they suit you best and enjoy the best take-out in all of Greensboro hands-down.

Yes, I'm a genius for thinking of it and you'll be beyond cool for impressing your co-workers when they ask what you ordered for lunch.