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you ate WHAT?

We met a group of friends for dinner last night. We were hoping for Vietnamese food, but two of the friends were visiting from California and wanted to do something “New York” style that they couldn’t get in California. Really, that doesn’t leave much. You can get anything in California. Not saying it’s going to be good, but they do have pizza and deli food there.

By the time we met up with them, the group had already made reservations at a noodle place in Chinatown. Really? Noodles? I’m pretty sure you can get that in California and I had lo mein for dinner the night before but hey, you’re the guests. So noodles it was. Supposedly this was one of the best noodle places ever.

It was, in a word, a dive. The kind of place where I wouldn’t use the bathroom. And this is coming from a person who has used every bathroom in Penn Station without hesitation. They had full body roasted pigs and ducks hanging in the window, which was really nice for the vegetarian dining with us.

I glanced at the menu, knowing full well there would be nothing that would grab me. I was suddenly craving a burger. A pastrami sandwich. Sushi. Anything that wasn’t noodles in a claustrophobic dive. I found a soup that looked good; shrimp dumplings with noodles. But everyone else was ordering a main course as well as a soup, so I scanned the menu trying to find something that didn’t say tripe or fish ball. There was jellyfish with thousand egg and pork stomach porridge and a whole bunch of stuff that was exactly what I had for dinner the previous night. I was stuck. And the waiter was headed our way.

“What do you think beef muscle is?”
“I think all beef you eat is muscle unless it’s tripe/”
“Yea, muscle is like, regular beef. Like you would get in stew.”
“Probably just beef strips.”
“Try it.”
“Try it.”
“Order it, how bad could it be?”

Ok. I ordered my soup. I ordered the noodles with beef muscle. The waiter repeated the order back to me with raised eyebrow. That should have been a sign. “Beef muscle? Ok.”

The soup came and it was very good. The dinners came. Duck. Chicken. Some mushroom thing. Lo mein. Beef muscle.

That was my beef muscle. The plate hadn’t even hit the table before I determined that I was not going to eat that. I wasn’t even going to pretend to eat it.

We all began to poke and prod it with our forks. We stared at it. We giggled. We guessed as to what part of what animal this could possibly be.

I finished my soup and had some duck and dug into Todd’s Lo mein, but there was no way that gelatinous, alien form on those noodles was going anywhere near my mouth. Leave it to the guys to try it.

Nelson went first. Then Todd. Then Greg. I guess it was the manly man thing to do, to try the strange meat that was making everyone gag on sight. They all said the same thing; the flavor wasn’t horrible, but the texture was weird. And then Lorraine poked at it a bit more. She turned over one piece of meat and gasped.

“Oh my god. That looks like a urethra!”

And it did. We poked some more and moved the pieces of meat around and sort of formed a shape that looked remarkably like a flaccid penis.

“It’s…it’s….cow cock!”

I had to remind them that it was not my choice to order the cow cock for dinner. I was rushed into it. It’s just muscle, they said. It’s just regular beef.

“Uh guys. You ate cock.”

No, we are not twelve years old. But, c’mon. If you just realized that the three guys at your table accidentally ate penis for dinner, you’d be laughing, too. Because it wasn’t really the fact that it was penis. I mean, Andrew Zimmern eats penis all the time. Animal penis, too. It was the way it looked. Just cut up and slopped there on the plate, all mangled and rubbery, like a joke the Chinese play on white people who think they are being hip by ordering questionable food. In fact, I’m pretty sure the whole staff was in the back room laughing at us as we gawked at the hunks of meat in the plate.

Of course, the whole subway ride back was spent making “dick breath” jokes at the guys. This was the first time I met three of the people we were with. And now I will forever be known to them as the girl who ordered cow’s dick. At least I’m not the person who ate it.

Short review of the restuarant: The food was mediocre, the dick was too soft. But the company was really good. Which makes any meal a four star meal.

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100 things to eat before you die

It’s not my list – I found it at Very Good Taste blog. But I thought I’d go over it and see how many of the things I have already eaten, how many I would consider trying, and those I wouldn’t eat if I was starving to death.

Foodproof went to the trouble of taking this list and explaining all the food, with links. VGT also has a FAQ about the list.

Instructions from VGT:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

So, here you go, with commentary.

1. Venison Freshly killed, too.
2. Nettle tea – For some reason, this sounds to me like something sharp and painful.
3. Huevos rancheros – Perfect for a breakfast when you know you aren’t going to eat again til later that night.
4. Steak tartare – Had it at a wedding once. Spit it into my napkin.
5. Crocodile – Who could eat such a cute, dumb animal?
6. Black pudding “sausage made by cooking blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled” – I don’t think so. Also, it looks like a large penis taken off a rotted corpse. You know, something Andrew Zimmerman would eat.
7. Cheese fondue Fondue was all the rage in the 70’s. I think my mother still has her olive green fondue set.
8. Carp – It’s…fish.
9. Borscht – It always seemed like something you would have to force someone to eat. Like mush or coconut pie.
10. Baba ghanoush – not averse to trying it, I like eggplant.
11. Calamari – one of my favorite foods. Stuffed, fried, served with pasta, I could eat it (and cook it) every day.
12. Pho – I have recently discovered the goodness of Vietnamese food. Too bad we have to go into the city to get it.
13. PB&J sandwich – one of the best comfort foods in the world, and one of the few things that make me crave a glass of milk to go with it.
14. Aloo gobi – I don’t do curry.
15. Hot dog from a street cart – one of the great pleasures of New York City. The only dog that comes close to its awesomeness is a dirty water dog from Yankee Stadium.
16. Epoisses – “a cheese so smelly it was banned from being taken on public transportation.” No thanks.
17. Black truffle I don’t care how good it may taste, I will never have enough expendable cash to justify spending that kind of money on fungi.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes. Wait, does Boones Farm count?
19. Steamed pork buns – Dim Sum is the food of the gods.
20. Pistachio ice cream – It’s ok, as far as ice cream goes. I prefer my ice cream to have peanut butter in it.
21. Heirloom tomatoes – Worth driving out east for.
22. Fresh wild berries – strawberries picked upstate, blackberries picked in my childhood backyard.
23. Foie gras that whole force feeding thing turns me off. Yea, I’ll eat slaughtered cows and pigs, but somehow force feeding ducks is off limits. Don’t ask.
24. Rice and beans – a favorite quick meal. Throw in a bit of shredded cheese and hot sauce (Rooster Sauce preferred. Yum.
25. Brawn, or head cheese – I worked in a deli for many years. I marked down every person who ever ordered head cheese and crossed them off my “people to trust” list. Head cheese is evil.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper – I like hot. I like spicy. But I don’t like hot for hot’s sake. I wouldn’t mind trying this in a flavorful dish, but on it’s own, eating it just an “I’m more hardcore than you” exercise. And I’m not.
27. Dulce de leche – aka milk candy. I need to try some of this.
28. Oysters – I love oysters. But I love all slimy shellfish.
29. Baklava – I go to Greek fairs just for the baklava.
30. Bagna cauda – vegetables dipped in garlic, butter and oil? Count me in.
31. Wasabi peas – I’ll eat anything wasabi. My favorite thing about it is the “wasabi rush” as I call it – that moment when it sears your sinus cavities.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl – Made by my father. I won’t have it any other way. Oh, and New England only. Manhattan clam chowder sucks.
33. Salted lassi – this sounds pretty interesting.
34. Sauerkraut – with hot dogs, pork, kielbasa, or on its own. Just don’t sleep next to me after I’ve eaten it.
35. Root beer float – A&W for the win.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do ya do?
37. Clotted cream tea – I’m not eating anything with the word clot in its name.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O – oh, the stories I could tell.
39. Gumbo – It’s been years since I’ve had gumbo. Good stuff.
40. Oxtail – the butcher next door to my office sells oxtail and I always wanted to buy some just to see what it’s like. Herbert the butcher says I should use it make soup.
41. Curried goat – Again, I don’t do curry.
42. Whole insects – I’m sure I would try a chocolate covered ant given the opportunity, but don’t ask me to put anything live in my mouth.
43. Phaal – I hate curry so much I erased half of the early MTV days from my mind. (bad joke)
44. Goat’s milk – I’ve had goat cheese….
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more – I’m more of a malt liquor kind of gal.
46. Fugu – pufferfish. Maybe he should have put this at 100, seeing as its potentially lethal.
47. Chicken tikka masala – Ok, the guy who made this list has a curry obsession.
48. Eel – I’ve had eel a few times with my sushi, but I’m not a big fan.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – when Krispy Kreme opened up here, there were lines out the door waiting for a chance to try the sweet, mouth melting donuts. The first couple of times you have one, they are like a delicacy. But then you get tired of eating what amounts to deep fried sugar. All the KKs here have closed down.
50. Sea urchin – We eat sushi twice a week. Each time, Todd tries to get me to try the urchin (uni). I have an acute aversion to this food I never tried. Maybe it has to do with this: “It is the gonads of this hermaphrodite sea creature that are scooped out of the urchin’s spiny shell in five custard-like, golden sections. Known in Japan as “uni” and traditionally considered an aphrodisiac, gonads are the only edible part of the urchin.” Yea.
51. Prickly pear – nothing with potentially painful spines is worth the trouble of eating.
52. Umeboshi – if I ever get to Japan, I’ll try one.
53. Abalone – after looking at the description, I’ll call this “snob food” and move on.
54. Paneer – a non melting cheese? But how will I spread it on my french fries?
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – eating a Big Mac meal is no big deal. Eating a Big Mac meal while driving and stoned, and not dropping any in your lap, is feat to be (and was) commended. (*I was stupid and 17. Do not try this at home).
56. Spaetzle – It’s pasta. How could you go wrong?
57. Dirty gin martini – I used to drink these every night. Eventually I discarded the olives and vermouth and drank the gin straight out of the bottle. Which is why I don’t drink anymore.
58. Beer above 8% ABV – In the US, you can’t call it beer if it’s above 6%, so technically, no.
59. Poutine The best thing about Canada besides hockey.
60. Carob chips – There was a brief carob craze in the 80’s. No matter what they tell you, carob chip cookies do not taste in any way like chocolate chip cookies.
61. S’mores – I’d like to meet the person who has not tried a S’more. They’re probably communist.
62. Sweetbreads – pass.
63. Kaolin “This is some sort of edible clay, though I am unable to find out much more.” Well, I looked it up and if you like eating rocks, go for it.
64. Currywurst – *glare*
65. Durian – So in order to eat these 100 things before I die, I’d have to have enough money to travel the world. Screw the Durian. I hereby make #65 Cheese Whiz.
one froggy night66. Frogs’ legs – had my first taste of frog’s legs last month and yep, they taste like chicken. I actually ate frog legs, pho and a street vendor hot dog all on the same day.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – do not underestimate the wonders of deep fried dough. Or deep fried anything with dough. He also forgot to include zeppoles on the list.
68. Haggis – they look like the testicles of a diseased man.
69. Fried plantain – the Spanish restaurant across from work serves fried plantains with everything. They are delicious.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette – I’ll eat it as long as you don’t call it pig intestine.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini – I’ve had caviar, but not with blini, so this is only like, half bold.
73. Louche absinthe – Absinthe is a drink, not a food. So it doesn’t count. It’s also the name of one of the most awesome songs ever.
74. Gjetost, or brunost – from what I see, looks to be goat’s cheese.
75. Roadkill – While the idea of a squished squirrel kabob seems amusing, it’s highly unlikely I would eat anything that had tread marks on its back.
76. Baijiu Again, – not food.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie – I lived on these things when I was young. I thought they counted toward my daily fruit requirement.
78. Snail – “Look at that S car go!” I can’t be the only one who remembers that joke.
79. Lapsang souchong – Putting tea on your list of things to have before you die is questionable, unless that tea has psychotropic capabilities.
80. Bellini – What’s with the drinks? Shouldn’t he have made a separate drink list? How hard was it to come up with 100 foods? I mean, where’s the fried peanut butter sandwiches and cheese in a can?
81. Tom yum – This actually sounds delicious.
82. Eggs Benedict – I have one every once in a while when we go out to breakfast. As unhealthy as it is, it’s certainly a better than this.
83. Pocky – I get so confused by the Pocky display at the Asian supermarket. So many flavors, all the pretty colors…
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. – I’m guessing that’s something English and expensive.
85. Kobe beef10 oz Kobe beef filet mignon – $199. I really think that no matter how much money I had, I would never be so smug as to spend 200 bucks on 10 oz of steak.
86. Hare – After eating frog legs and duck in the same weekend last month, I put a moratorium on eating cute animals.
87. Goulash – A friend’s grandmother made this for us in tenth grade. Every weekend. For an entire school year.
88. Flowers – My grandma would make baked eggplant with some kind of flowers in it. Also, when I was about ten, I went through a phase where I ate flowers, straight out of the garden.
89. Horse – Why, oh why do I have no problem eating cows and chickens but some animals just seem off limits?
90. Criollo chocolate – I hate to say it, but all chocolate tastes the same to me. Godiva, Hershey, Ghiardelli, some crap from the dollar store – I wouldn’t go to any great lengths to procure chocolate from some other country when it’s just going to taste like everything else (to me).
91. Spam – My aunt forced me to eat spam AND deviled ham one summer. I never forgave her.
92. Soft shell crab – This was probably the most disgusting, stomach churning thing I’ve ever had in a sushi restaurant. It left a taste in my mouth that could only be washed out by swallowing an entire mountain of wasabi.
93. Rose harissa – Harissa, schmarissa. Give me Rooster Sauce or give me death.
94. Catfish – They’re bottom feeders. And ugly. Ask Todd about his catfish story.
95. Mole poblano – One word: mmmmmmm. But it must be done right. Don’t ever try anything “mole” at a chain restaurant.
96. Bagel and lox – One of my favorite breakfast foods (or lunch, even). At our local diner, it’s called a Bagel All The Way: bagel, lox, cream cheese, red onion, tomato, olives.
97. Lobster Thermidor – I did not like it. It was too heavy, too creamy, too…much. Side note: I have discovered over the years that I don’t like lobster as much as I like the drawn butter you dip it in.
98. Polenta – One of my favorite comfort foods, but I haven’t had it since Grandma died. It just wouldn’t be the same.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee – While I love my coffee – and one can go as far as to call me addicted – I’m not a coffee snob. I stick to Peet’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.
100. Snake – I’ve heard it tastes like chicken. Which is what people always say when they don’t know how to describe how something tastes. I bet the snake would be insulted if he knew you compared him to a chicken.

welcome to der wienerschnitzel (365-78)Things I would add to this list:

1. Tres Lech cake
2. Tamales, from an authentic Mexican restaurant.
3. Pecan Pie
4. Breakfast at a dive restaurant (in this case, Lil’ Joes in Sacramento)
5. Chili dog from Weinerschnitzel.
6. Burger Deluxe from a Long Island diner.

As you can see, I am totally a fine diner.

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100 things to eat before you die

It’s not my list – I found it at Very Good Taste blog. But I thought I’d go over it and see how many of the things I have already eaten, how many I would consider trying, and those I wouldn’t eat if I was starving to death.

Foodproof went to the trouble of taking this list and explaining all the food, with links. VGT also has a FAQ about the list.

Instructions from VGT:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

So, here you go, with commentary.

1. Venison Freshly killed, too.
2. Nettle tea – For some reason, this sounds to me like something sharp and painful.
3. Huevos rancheros – Perfect for a breakfast when you know you aren’t going to eat again til later that night.
4. Steak tartare – Had it at a wedding once. Spit it into my napkin.
5. Crocodile – Who could eat such a cute, dumb animal?
6. Black pudding “sausage made by cooking blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled” – I don’t think so. Also, it looks like a large penis taken off a rotted corpse. You know, something Andrew Zimmerman would eat.
7. Cheese fondue Fondue was all the rage in the 70’s. I think my mother still has her olive green fondue set.
8. Carp – It’s…fish.
9. Borscht – It always seemed like something you would have to force someone to eat. Like mush or coconut pie.
10. Baba ghanoush – not averse to trying it, I like eggplant.
11. Calamari – one of my favorite foods. Stuffed, fried, served with pasta, I could eat it (and cook it) every day.
12. Pho – I have recently discovered the goodness of Vietnamese food. Too bad we have to go into the city to get it.
13. PB&J sandwich – one of the best comfort foods in the world, and one of the few things that make me crave a glass of milk to go with it.
14. Aloo gobi – I don’t do curry.
15. Hot dog from a street cart – one of the great pleasures of New York City. The only dog that comes close to its awesomeness is a dirty water dog from Yankee Stadium.
16. Epoisses – “a cheese so smelly it was banned from being taken on public transportation.” No thanks.
17. Black truffle I don’t care how good it may taste, I will never have enough expendable cash to justify spending that kind of money on fungi.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes. Wait, does Boones Farm count?
19. Steamed pork buns – Dim Sum is the food of the gods.
20. Pistachio ice cream – It’s ok, as far as ice cream goes. I prefer my ice cream to have peanut butter in it.
21. Heirloom tomatoes – Worth driving out east for.
22. Fresh wild berries – strawberries picked upstate, blackberries picked in my childhood backyard.
23. Foie gras that whole force feeding thing turns me off. Yea, I’ll eat slaughtered cows and pigs, but somehow force feeding ducks is off limits. Don’t ask.
24. Rice and beans – a favorite quick meal. Throw in a bit of shredded cheese and hot sauce (Rooster Sauce preferred. Yum.
25. Brawn, or head cheese – I worked in a deli for many years. I marked down every person who ever ordered head cheese and crossed them off my “people to trust” list. Head cheese is evil.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper – I like hot. I like spicy. But I don’t like hot for hot’s sake. I wouldn’t mind trying this in a flavorful dish, but on it’s own, eating it just an “I’m more hardcore than you” exercise. And I’m not.
27. Dulce de leche – aka milk candy. I need to try some of this.
28. Oysters – I love oysters. But I love all slimy shellfish.
29. Baklava – I go to Greek fairs just for the baklava.
30. Bagna cauda – vegetables dipped in garlic, butter and oil? Count me in.
31. Wasabi peas – I’ll eat anything wasabi. My favorite thing about it is the “wasabi rush” as I call it – that moment when it sears your sinus cavities.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl – Made by my father. I won’t have it any other way. Oh, and New England only. Manhattan clam chowder sucks.
33. Salted lassi – this sounds pretty interesting.
34. Sauerkraut – with hot dogs, pork, kielbasa, or on its own. Just don’t sleep next to me after I’ve eaten it.
35. Root beer float – A&W for the win.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do ya do?
37. Clotted cream tea – I’m not eating anything with the word clot in its name.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O – oh, the stories I could tell.
39. Gumbo – It’s been years since I’ve had gumbo. Good stuff.
40. Oxtail – the butcher next door to my office sells oxtail and I always wanted to buy some just to see what it’s like. Herbert the butcher says I should use it make soup.
41. Curried goat – Again, I don’t do curry.
42. Whole insects – I’m sure I would try a chocolate covered ant given the opportunity, but don’t ask me to put anything live in my mouth.
43. Phaal – I hate curry so much I erased half of the early MTV days from my mind. (bad joke)
44. Goat’s milk – I’ve had goat cheese….
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more – I’m more of a malt liquor kind of gal.
46. Fugu – pufferfish. Maybe he should have put this at 100, seeing as its potentially lethal.
47. Chicken tikka masala – Ok, the guy who made this list has a curry obsession.
48. Eel – I’ve had eel a few times with my sushi, but I’m not a big fan.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – when Krispy Kreme opened up here, there were lines out the door waiting for a chance to try the sweet, mouth melting donuts. The first couple of times you have one, they are like a delicacy. But then you get tired of eating what amounts to deep fried sugar. All the KKs here have closed down.
50. Sea urchin – We eat sushi twice a week. Each time, Todd tries to get me to try the urchin (uni). I have an acute aversion to this food I never tried. Maybe it has to do with this: “It is the gonads of this hermaphrodite sea creature that are scooped out of the urchin’s spiny shell in five custard-like, golden sections. Known in Japan as “uni” and traditionally considered an aphrodisiac, gonads are the only edible part of the urchin.” Yea.
51. Prickly pear – nothing with potentially painful spines is worth the trouble of eating.
52. Umeboshi – if I ever get to Japan, I’ll try one.
53. Abalone – after looking at the description, I’ll call this “snob food” and move on.
54. Paneer – a non melting cheese? But how will I spread it on my french fries?
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – eating a Big Mac meal is no big deal. Eating a Big Mac meal while driving and stoned, and not dropping any in your lap, is feat to be (and was) commended. (*I was stupid and 17. Do not try this at home).
56. Spaetzle – It’s pasta. How could you go wrong?
57. Dirty gin martini – I used to drink these every night. Eventually I discarded the olives and vermouth and drank the gin straight out of the bottle. Which is why I don’t drink anymore.
58. Beer above 8% ABV – In the US, you can’t call it beer if it’s above 6%, so technically, no.
59. Poutine The best thing about Canada besides hockey.
60. Carob chips – There was a brief carob craze in the 80’s. No matter what they tell you, carob chip cookies do not taste in any way like chocolate chip cookies.
61. S’mores – I’d like to meet the person who has not tried a S’more. They’re probably communist.
62. Sweetbreads – pass.
63. Kaolin “This is some sort of edible clay, though I am unable to find out much more.” Well, I looked it up and if you like eating rocks, go for it.
64. Currywurst – *glare*
65. Durian – So in order to eat these 100 things before I die, I’d have to have enough money to travel the world. Screw the Durian. I hereby make #65 Cheese Whiz.
one froggy night66. Frogs’ legs – had my first taste of frog’s legs last month and yep, they taste like chicken. I actually ate frog legs, pho and a street vendor hot dog all on the same day.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – do not underestimate the wonders of deep fried dough. Or deep fried anything with dough. He also forgot to include zeppoles on the list.
68. Haggis – they look like the testicles of a diseased man.
69. Fried plantain – the Spanish restaurant across from work serves fried plantains with everything. They are delicious.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette – I’ll eat it as long as you don’t call it pig intestine.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini – I’ve had caviar, but not with blini, so this is only like, half bold.
73. Louche absinthe – Absinthe is a drink, not a food. So it doesn’t count. It’s also the name of one of the most awesome songs ever.
74. Gjetost, or brunost – from what I see, looks to be goat’s cheese.
75. Roadkill – While the idea of a squished squirrel kabob seems amusing, it’s highly unlikely I would eat anything that had tread marks on its back.
76. Baijiu Again, – not food.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie – I lived on these things when I was young. I thought they counted toward my daily fruit requirement.
78. Snail – “Look at that S car go!” I can’t be the only one who remembers that joke.
79. Lapsang souchong – Putting tea on your list of things to have before you die is questionable, unless that tea has psychotropic capabilities.
80. Bellini – What’s with the drinks? Shouldn’t he have made a separate drink list? How hard was it to come up with 100 foods? I mean, where’s the fried peanut butter sandwiches and cheese in a can?
81. Tom yum – This actually sounds delicious.
82. Eggs Benedict – I have one every once in a while when we go out to breakfast. As unhealthy as it is, it’s certainly a better than this.
83. Pocky – I get so confused by the Pocky display at the Asian supermarket. So many flavors, all the pretty colors…
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. – I’m guessing that’s something English and expensive.
85. Kobe beef10 oz Kobe beef filet mignon – $199. I really think that no matter how much money I had, I would never be so smug as to spend 200 bucks on 10 oz of steak.
86. Hare – After eating frog legs and duck in the same weekend last month, I put a moratorium on eating cute animals.
87. Goulash – A friend’s grandmother made this for us in tenth grade. Every weekend. For an entire school year.
88. Flowers – My grandma would make baked eggplant with some kind of flowers in it. Also, when I was about ten, I went through a phase where I ate flowers, straight out of the garden.
89. Horse – Why, oh why do I have no problem eating cows and chickens but some animals just seem off limits?
90. Criollo chocolate – I hate to say it, but all chocolate tastes the same to me. Godiva, Hershey, Ghiardelli, some crap from the dollar store – I wouldn’t go to any great lengths to procure chocolate from some other country when it’s just going to taste like everything else (to me).
91. Spam – My aunt forced me to eat spam AND deviled ham one summer. I never forgave her.
92. Soft shell crab – This was probably the most disgusting, stomach churning thing I’ve ever had in a sushi restaurant. It left a taste in my mouth that could only be washed out by swallowing an entire mountain of wasabi.
93. Rose harissa – Harissa, schmarissa. Give me Rooster Sauce or give me death.
94. Catfish – They’re bottom feeders. And ugly. Ask Todd about his catfish story.
95. Mole poblano – One word: mmmmmmm. But it must be done right. Don’t ever try anything “mole” at a chain restaurant.
96. Bagel and lox – One of my favorite breakfast foods (or lunch, even). At our local diner, it’s called a Bagel All The Way: bagel, lox, cream cheese, red onion, tomato, olives.
97. Lobster Thermidor – I did not like it. It was too heavy, too creamy, too…much. Side note: I have discovered over the years that I don’t like lobster as much as I like the drawn butter you dip it in.
98. Polenta – One of my favorite comfort foods, but I haven’t had it since Grandma died. It just wouldn’t be the same.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee – While I love my coffee – and one can go as far as to call me addicted – I’m not a coffee snob. I stick to Peet’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.
100. Snake – I’ve heard it tastes like chicken. Which is what people always say when they don’t know how to describe how something tastes. I bet the snake would be insulted if he knew you compared him to a chicken.

welcome to der wienerschnitzel (365-78)Things I would add to this list:

1. Tres Lech cake
2. Tamales, from an authentic Mexican restaurant.
3. Pecan Pie
4. Breakfast at a dive restaurant (in this case, Lil’ Joes in Sacramento)
5. Chili dog from Weinerschnitzel.
6. Burger Deluxe from a Long Island diner.

As you can see, I am totally a fine diner.

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i ate this so you don’t have to

i ate them so you don't have to

If you ever thought to yourself “Gee, how good could a tamale bought in the frozen food section at Target be?”, wonder no more.

The answer is: not very.

Now, I’ve only had tamales twice before, both times at authentic Mexican restaurants, one of them where the owner/chef who learned how to make tamales from her great grandmother back in Mexico. They were so awesome, we got six more to go and ate them the rest of the weekend. You know what happens when you eat about five tamales over the course of two days? Just hope you have enough toilet paper and crossword puzzle books in the bathroom to get you through the aftermath. But they were worth it, man. I did learn my lesson and only ate one tamale in California.

About the Target tamales. I know what you’re thinking. Who the hell buys tamales at Target? And since when does Target have food? Well, our Target has this giant supermarket section. I don’t know if they all do. And I saw these tamales and I missed that cute little Mexican restaurant in Sacramento and I certainly wasn’t going to drive 40 minutes to here so I figured, what the hell. How bad can they be?

You know the answer. Pretty bad. The only thing about them resembling a real tamale was the corn husk, and I’m even questioning if that was real. The filling was a mess of melted cheese and chilies that tasted like three day old vanilla pudding licked off a leather couch where an old, sweaty drunk man laid down his back sweat.

Don’t ask how I know this.

Anyhow, if we didn’t already have sushi plans for tonight, I’d take the 40 minute drive to Fonda Coyoacan just to get some real tamales and wash the taste of drunk man sweat leather pudding out of my mouth.

I’m sure the wasabi will take care of that tonight, though.

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waffling

this isn't what it looks like

I took this picture the other day, maybe for posterity. I didn’t do anything with it.

I just read this article about what a family of four in 1950 ate for a full year. You have to see the picture with it.

I would love to see this next to the same thing for a 2007 family. You can tell from what’s listed that the 1950 mom cooked everything fresh; the sheer amount of flour, sugar and eggs means that she did a lot of cooking. I’m sure today’s families would have a lot more frozen and prepared foods on their list.

My freezer doesn’t always look like this (we have a freezer in the garage where we keep the meat, frozen veggies and spare body parts). The waffles were on sale 10 boxes for 10 dollars. It was a bargain I couldn’t resist. For that kind of money, I will find a way to incorporate those waffles into every meal. Even if it means waffles and ice cream for dinner.

Those banquet tv dinners? They’ve been in the freezer for about three months. I have no idea why I bought them.

And just for the record, I cook, on the average, 5 out of 7 nights a week.

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art every day – 11/11/07

i'm going to turn dining back into eating

Day 11 of art every day:

“I’m going to turn eating back into dining”

Inspired by The Descendents, I Like Food. Also semi-inspired by Sunday dinner at Mom’s.

Let me tell you a little food story, a simple story about Sunday dinner at Grandma’s, a tradition we are carrying on in our family to this day. Well, this one isn’t so much about the dinner, as it is about how it got on my plate.

When I was little and spent most of my summers in upstate New York, we’d go fishing a lot. Apparently Roscoe, New York is the trout fishing capital of the world. Or of upstate New York. Trout fishing in America. Wasn’t that the name of an album? I vaguely remember that. Anyhow, I’d sit in the boat, crying that I wanted to go back to shore because I hate being in the water. My cousins would rock the boat to make me cry harder. And then they’d catch a fish and shove it in my face. The fish would be squirming and wriggling and I’d cry even harder. Well, what do you want from me? I was about eight. Maybe nine. Ok, it could have happened when I was 14, too. But staring a flopping fish in the face? A fish that was my eventual dinner? I’d look at the hook stuck in the corner of the fishie’s mouth. The look of abject terror on its face. Cry some more. This is why I can’t watch that Faith No More video. The flopping fish. It’s a post traumatic thing. Brings back memories of being on Lake Muskoday with a smelly, dying trout staring at me, pleading with me to save it, send it back to its family in the lake, and the echoes of my cousins’ laughter bouncing off the mountains.

Later on I’d go in the kitchen and see Grandma standing there with a leaver, chopping the heads off the fish. I’d cry some more (yea, I cried a lot as a kid). Then I would tell everyone how cruel they are. Think of the poor fish families who lost loved ones today. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE FISH CHILDREN?

Then dinner time would come. Fish! Straight from the barbecue! Lemon, butter, garlic. Corn on the cob. The bulging eyes, the hooked mouth, the face of the fish turning into Mr. Limpet as I watch it flopped around….all that disappeared as I shoveled in mouthfuls of delicious fish.

I guess my noble feelings for fish and all edible animals only goes so far. I’ll be happy to eat the animals. Just don’t make me watch you go in for the kill.

Another food product that came by way of upstate was deer. The first time I was asked to taste venison, I had visions of Donder and Blitzen in my head. I thought Santa would be really pissed off if I started eating reindeer. So my uncle explained that these weren’t exactly reindeer. Then my cousin explained how there was no Santa Claus. Well, thanks a lot you son of a bitch. Guess what I did? Yea, I cried. And then my aunt shoved a plate of venison in front of me to shut me up. I tried it. It was pretty damn good. So I came to look forward to the winters when my uncles would bring deer meat home from upstate.

Because that’s what they did, right? They brought the deer meat home. In neat little packages. I never gave much though to the fact that they actually shot the deer and dragged the deer back to the car and then drove home with the deer tied to the roof rack like some carnival prize, other hunters beeping their horns and giving the thumbs up when they saw how many antlers your prize had. I never gave much though to how the deer went from being a whole, albeit dead, animal to being pieces of meat covered in onions and mushrooms on my dinner plate. Who needs to know that? I don’t ask how my cows or chickens are killed. I don’t care what Wilbur had to go through to become my bacon sandwich. I just want to eat. I am carnivore, hear me roar.

One night pretty close to Christmas – I was about ten – I was sitting on Grandma’s porch with my cousins. The same cousins who shoved fish in my face and killed Santa for me. I think Grandma kicked us out of the house because we were making fun of Pat Sajak. So we sat out in the cold talking about Christmas. One cousin says to me that he knows where my parents hide my Christmas presents. No shit? Now, I’m a pretty impatient person when it comes to things like presents. I’m all about instant gratification. So when my cousin says he knows where the presents are, I get curious. I just want to feel a few boxes. Shake a few. Figure out how many boxes are clothes as opposed to toys. This way I know how much fake joy I have to put out on Christmas morning. Oh. Yay. A pair of bellbottoms. You shouldn’t have. Really. So, my cousin tells me: Presents. In the garage. He points to the door right behind him. Well, it kind of makes sense. They’ve stored stuff in Grandma’s garage before. This wasn’t so out there. He says we should go look. Just for a few minutes. Someone else would play lookout. I stupidly agree. We stand in front of the door. I’m anxious, I hurry him up. He turns the knob slowly. It’s completely dark out now, and pitch black in the garage. I fumble for the light. Flick it on.

Holy.
Fucking.
Shit.

Deer. Dead. Deer. Hanging from the rafters of the garage like some suicide scene straight of The Far Side. There were two. I think one was hanging by its neck. The scene kind of morphed in my head into something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre III: The Deerhunter, so I’m not sure. All I know is one was whole, except for a bullet wound. The other one was….well. Open. Slit open. Gutted.

I swayed on my feet. Sucked in my breath. My cousins were hysterical laughing but their voices seemed to be coming from far, far away.

I stared. I couldn’t take my eyes off those deer. The guts. The bullet wound. The eyes. Donder. Blitzen. I wasn’t aware that I was screaming until my uncle came running into the garage to see what was going on. He grabbed me by my waist, turned off the light and brought me back outside. I was crying. I called my cousins a whole bunch of words that would normally get me some soap in the mouth. No one yelled at me. Let’s face it, that was a mean thing to do. I spent that whole night trying to fight off nightmares about deer with guts hanging out of them chasing me through the woods. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Dasher and Dancer hanging from the rafters.

The next day was Sunday, which meant dinner at Grandma’s. Besides the usual heaps of pasta, there was deer meat. A plate was pushed in front of me. My cousins were staring at me, watching, waiting for me to cry or scream or puke. My mind flashed for one second on the hanging deer. Those two dead guys whose insides were now sitting in my plate.

Smothered in onions and mushrooms.

Dinner time!

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dessert blogging: no bake pumpkin cheesecake

pumpkin cheesecake

This is the filling. I don’t have a pic of it in the actual pie shell, but that doesn’t matter. I just wanted to get the recipe out here in case you were looking for something quick, easy and delicious to make for tomorrow.

This recipe written by my friend Josh:

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake (it rhymes, see what I did there?)

1 9" premade graham cracker pie crust (fuck it, make your own if you want, but I’m way too lazy)
1 lb cream cheese that you’ve let come to room temperature
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/3 c sugar
2 t lemon juice
1 1/2 c (12 oz) pumpkin pie mix

I’m going easy this week. Seriously. This pie is so awesome and no one needs to know how easy it really is. In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and the sugar. Beat these two together for a couple of minutes, until the cream cheese is light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and stir to incorporate. When that’s all mixed in, add the cream and beat till the mixture is nice and stiff (huhuhuhuh, I said stiff).

Take a quarter or so of the mixture, and put it to one side. Add the pumpkin pie mix to the remaining 3/4 of the batter. In the pie crust, add the plain batter and tap the pan lightly on the counter. This will even out the batter and get rid of any air bubbles. GENTLY pour the pumpkin batter on top of that, and do the tap trick again. This creates a nice multi-layered effect. Put this in the fridge overnight to let it set, and you’re done.

——–

The recipe made more filling than I needed. So I proceeded to eat the remains with a spoon. It was delicious.

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breakfast of champions

A cool site: what breakfast is to different people.

Yay, I get to write about breakfast!

Breakfast is my favorite meal. So much so that sometimes I eat breakfast for lunch. Or dinner. That’s what diners are made for. You can eat breakfast any time you want. Hell, sometimes I will get tired of cooking the same old thing for dinner and I’ll just whip up a batch of my world famous (ok, house-famous) pancakes and some scrambled eggs and bacon and everyone’s happy.

But there’s something about breakfast out. Especially on a Sunday morning. It’s like Sunday mornings were meant for huge, greasy, high cholesterol, fatty, starchy artery clogging meals. You owe it to yourself. Your week was hard. The weekend sucked cause it rained the whole time. Monday is coming up. Let’s kill this bad week karma with food. Lots of it.

You might be thinking, well then you should go to the the All You Can Eat And Not Pass Out Buffet. But come on. Have you ever been to a Sunday morning breakfast buffet? I have. And I spent all my time just gawking at the people rather than eating. It’s not like I could get near the food, anyhow. I would have needed a tank and a small army to move those gluttons away from the biscuits and gravy. So I just had chocolate milk and jello and watched in horror as some 800 lb woman piled her plate up with bacon, sausage and ham and then poured white gravy and syrup all over it. It was Mount Heart Attack and she was about to climb it. Some little kid came up to her crying something about “mamma I need some orange juice,” but I think she ate him. Either that or he got swallowed up in the folds of her enormous house dress. Because he just disappeared. And I swore off buffets after that.

No, when I want a good breakfast, I go a good old New York Diner. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Never closed, not even on holidays. And they serve breakfast all the time. 3am on a Thursday and you’re dying for blueberry waffles or a Greek omelette? Hit the diner.

Diners have the usual stuff. Omelettes. Eggs. Bacon. Pancakes. Waffles. French Toast. Nothing too fancy. I usually get two eggs over easy, home fries, rye toast and well done bacon. Really, I don’t vary much. It’s what I like. Fortunately for me, I don’t go to the diner every day. I certainly don’t eat breakfast like that every day. It’s a compromise I made with myself. I can eat a really unhealthy breakfast on the weekend if I’m good during the week. Which works out anyhow, as who the hell has time for breakfast on a weekday? Usually, I wolf down a South Beach bar while I’m driving and supplement that with seven 20 oz coffees and, later, a handful of wasabi almonds that I hide in my desk drawer. Sure, what I really want is five an Egg McMuffin and six hash browns, but being face down on my desk at 8:30 am is not in my game plan.

If only the FDA didn’t constantly remind me what is bad for me. Ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is also 800 lbs and uses a Lark to get around, but it tastes so good. If life were perfect, the food pyramid would be the food pentagram and it would look like this:

https://i2.wp.com/fasterthantheworld.com/fpentagram.jpg

I made that a long time ago when Dunkin Donuts still had scones. Damn DD for taking those off the menu. Now that was a breakfast. And honestly, I wouldn’t eat half the stuff on that pentagram. I mean, McDonald’s breakfast? Please. If I’m going to go all out I’m going to serve up my heart attack IHOP style. International House of Pancakes for the uninformed.

An IHOP breakfast is like a smörgåsbord of every fatty, unhealthy, artery clogging, delicious, orgasmic meal you will ever need. Your whole day is taken care of. Country griddle pancakes. Crab meat omelette. Swedish crepes. Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity. Yea, I know. I think the people at IHOP just get a kick out of making you say that. But…eggs. Bacon. Sausage. Pancakes with fruit. WITH FRUIT! And whipped cream. You’re getting like every single food group there. How can it be unhealthy? You are following the official food guidelines of the FDA!

Then there’s the stuffed French Toast. FOODGASM! Your mouth explodes in sensual, orgasmic pleasure when swallow a load of French Toast with cream cheese filling, sugar and whipped cream. Add a bunch of meat on the side – sausage, bacon, ham – and how the hell can you go wrong with this? Sure you’ll want to sleep the sleep of the dead about 30 minutes later and there will be fat leaking from your pores and your heart will feel like a fist is clenching it tight, but sweet jesus does it taste good. Wash it all down with an entire carafe of coffee a giant chocolate milk and you’ve had food that spanned the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one. You go home satisfied, fulfilled and bloated. You take off your pants and get back into bed and let your stomach expand with all the salt and fat you just filled it with. Sleep it off and dream about pigs and chickens chasing you through a field of blueberry bushes. When you wake up, it’s late Sunday afternoon and you need Tums and about six gallons of water, a magazine and the bathroom. But wasn’t it worth it?

Ah, 7:15am. Time for a yummy South Beach breakfast bar. I think I’ll live dangerously and have the peanut butter flavor today.

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food flashback

I don’t know why this popped in my head this morning, but I had a flashback to these boil-in-a-bag dinners my mother used to make. Slices of meat product and gravy in a plastic pouch, that you dropped in a pot of boiling water to warm up. Talk about gourmet cooking skills. Boil bag, cut open, dump foodstuff on plate. Serve with some kind of canned vegetable. Or just drop it all on a piece of bread and call it a hot open sandwich.

I don’t know who made these meals (maybe Birds Eye?) and I can’t seem to find anything about them, but I know they existed. I’m pretty sure one was a salisbury steak. One might have been some kind of sliced beef.

My mother was apparently a lazy cook. It’s not like she worked all day. She stayed at home playing Yahtzee and Pinochle and smoking cigarettes with her other jobless friends. Come dinner time, she was stop shaking her dice long enough to throw a couple of plastic bags in a pot and call it a meal, then prepare for a hard night of drinking fancy-named cocktails at the bowling alley.

Maybe that’s just the way people cooked in the 70’s. In a time when people thought a hot dog/bacon/beans casserole was a perfectly healthy dinner, I suppose a little boiled meat was downright nutritious.

Like I said, no idea why that popped into my head. But I am swearing right now in front of all of you that I will never make anything that disgusting and/or lazy for dinner.

Hamburger Helper doesn’t count, right? That stuff is food of the gods.

my dinner with spidey

Even Spidey knows.

(please note: these are not the same boil in a bag dinners that hikers use these days, or MREs. These are not dehydrated meals meant for survival. They were pieces of meatstuff soaked in glutenous gravy)

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