Archive for June, 2007

Hour of the CHIPwreck

June 29, 2007

New to the blog is a section focusing on chips, because everyone loves chips. The name comes from the band Hour of the Shipwreck.
I read about Popchips recently and came across them at Bristol Farms today. There were only three bags left, as I was told they sold very quickly. Their gimmick is that instead of frying or baking the chips, they actually “pop” them.“Popping is a way of making our all-natural chips without oil. We start with the finest ingredients, like organic corn, wholesome potatoes, and whole grain brown rice. Then we apply heat and pressure, along with a little snack magic. And pop! It’s a chip.” Hardly a scientific explanation, but if they can pop corn and pop tarts, why not chips…
They only had original potato chip flavor, which were pretty salty and reminiscent of real potato chips. I say reminiscent because the consistency was quite different. They’re airy in the healthy-ish Trader Joes Veggie Sticks way, resembling a baked chip much more than a fried one. I’m gonna try other flavors and report back. Like their Trader Joe’s competitors, I imagine that these chips are good with ketchup as well.Numbers-wise (120 Calories, 4.6g of fat), Popchips are slightly healthier than Doritos (140 Calories, 7g of fat) or the other chip that pops, Pringles (160 Calories, 11.0g of fat).

Summer Starts

June 22, 2007

With the first day of summer comes the first “Summer of Sushi” post. It’s a simple start to ease into the season. I didn’t take pictures as I didn’t think I’d post about it and I’d already been to Hirozen many times.
Like so many others, Hirozen is located in a strip mall. It’s close to my house, affordable and always has good-sized portions of high quality fish. It’s not the best sushi in LA but it’s consistently very good. We ordered basics like tuna, yellowtail and salmon. From the specials menu we had Ankimo (monkfish liver), scallops, Japanese sea bass and Tai (red snapper with lemon and salt). The scallops were the highlight.

Doritos

June 18, 2007

After reading about the new Doritos flavor on an excellent chip-centric website last month I was intrigued. As a snack, Doritos are at the top of my list (although I rarely eat them these days).
There is a defined pickle smell and the taste is reminiscent of a burger. The question is if you’re eating chips with your burger do you want the chips to taste like the burger?

Just Drink Water

June 15, 2007

This reminded me that I was gonna post about idiotic beverage names a while ago. When a soda has six words in the name, isn’t it time to ditch the test marketing and make some executive decisions. You need a decoder to figure out what these Gatorade flavors mean: Fierce, Rain, Extremo and X-Factor.
Do people really say “I love that Gatorade Fierce, it’s WAY better than Gatorade Extremo? Do the 7-Eleven’s get a tutorial with each new product to describe the chemical advantages of one flavor over another? Gatorade has footnotes with their ingredients, to prove that their product enhances performance.
1 Wilk, B. and Bar-Or, O. J Appl Physiol, 80:1112-1117, 1996.
2 Meyer, F. et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 24:776-781, 1992.
3 Vrijens, D.M.J. and Rehrer, N.J. J Appl Physiol, 86:1847-1851, 1999.
4 Passe, D.H. et al. Appetite 35:219-229, 2000.
5 Murray, R. et al. Int J Sports Nutr 9:263-274, 1999.
6 Ryan, A.J. et al. J Appl Physiol, 84: 1581-1588, 1998.
7 Shi, X. et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 27: 1607-1615, 1995.
8 Adolpho, et al. J Appl Physiol 76:1014-1019, 1994.
9 Schedl, H.P. et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 26:267-280, 1994.
10 Casa, DJ, et al. NATA Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes. J Athl Training 35:212-224, 2000.

The theory is that it’s scientifically proven to taste better when you’re thirsty.
How far will it go? Diet Caffeine Free Uber-Force Tank Breaker Passion Punch Sierra Mist?

Cow, Chicken, Duck, Horse?

June 15, 2007

After trying duck fat french fries at Stripsteak, then starting The Bucket List, I came across this post on horse fat french fries. It’s a lengthy post about eating horse, which I’m not averse to. The USDA says it’s ok. Not exactly sure where to get them locally…

It’s Just the Truth

June 13, 2007

The Counter sucks, either because of or despite Oprahs’ approval.
We went last summer and I had no intention of going back until I read this.Can it redeem itself?

The Bucket List Food Marathon

June 12, 2007

We scheduled a food marathon for Saturday- mostly just places we’ve been wanting to try. In the works are a few others including “The Bucket List Food Marathon” (things to eat before you kick-the-bucket) as inspired by this article. An excellent choice from that article is Scallop roe: Oyster bars sometimes serve scallops on the half-shell. Pounce. When raw, their briny sweetness is intensified. The fat, orange comma of coral attached ā€“ as hermaphrodites, both sexes contain roe ā€“ is even better, like caviar but more delicate.
My list includes brain- not necessarily monkey brain despite the fame of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Another one on my list is sushi from somewhere comparable to Urasawa (in Japan, New York or LA). An added bonus would be the Simpson’s famed Fugu.It’s gonna take some research to get this marathon planned… and from the looks of it, television and films will play a large role in the brainstorming. That said, I’ll stay away from Fear Factor.

B&B and Stripsteak

June 11, 2007

Two weekends ago in Vegas I had the privilege of eating two terrific meals. We followed the leater to B&B for our first dinner, and it was terrific. The pre-dinner scotch started things off strong, followed by terrific service and a great table. I didn’t take pictures so I’ll just note that the beef cheek ravioli and the grilled octopus were the best. A lot of the food was actually too salty. The Mint Love Letters got mixed reviews for being too overwhelmingly minty- closer to mouthwash than mouthwatering.

Moving on to the extravaganza that was dinner number two. Stripsteak is Michael Mina’s Mandalay Bay steak house. It’s pure Vegas decadence, with trendy decor and flawless service… to give it perspective, Miss America, Miss Vegas and Miss Universe were seated next to us.

To continue the theme of indulgence, instead of bread, paprika and truffle-seasoned duck fat french fries with a variety of dipping sauce were brought out to start. Before we could even finish the fries four huge ice-filled bowls overflowing with crab, lobster, clams, oysters and shrimp were set before us. A trio of sauces accompanied these as well.
Appetizers included Tuna Sashimi (Albacore, Bigeye, Bluefin Toro), American Kobe Beef Carpaccio w/ Thai Tomato Salad, Foie Gras Skewers with Scallops, Mango and Habanero Chutney.
The night before we passed on Batali’s steak (Grilled Ribeye for Two with Roasted Potatoes and Aceto Manodori) knowing we’d have terrific steak from Mina. We had no idea what we were in for with rib eye caps of both American and Japanese kobe. The top of the rib eye is surrounded by fat. When trimmed, the meat in the middle is called the cap.
Richness abounded in the sides of Truffled Mac nā€™ Cheese, Creamed Spinach with bacon, Sauteed Rapini, and Blue Cheese Potato Au Gratin.
Endless wine and one of the most outrageous bills I’ve ever seen made it a dinner to remember.

The 20 Taco Challenge

June 4, 2007

I like Taco Bell, but my friend Peter likes it more. At our high school (which skewed towards the artsy liberal side) each senior got a page in the yearbook to do with what they wanted. Many students posted pictures of their ‘best friends forever’ (friends that they didn’t speak to four months into college), inside jokes and prom pictures. Some students used it to express themselves in a more artistic and/or humorous fashion. Peter had pictures of taco bell wrappers, hot sauce packets, himself eating taco bell, and quotes from teachers about Peter’s fondness of Taco Bell.That said I boasted about my ability to eat many hard shell tacos. August before my senior year of college, I had moved into my apartment and was waiting for the school year to start. We were eating lunch at around 2 o’clock. I guess I said something about Taco Bell and I was challenged to eat 20 Tacos in one hour. If I failed I would pay for the tacos. If I won my friends would pay for the tacos and I would forever bask in the glory of my taco triumph. At 8 o’clock pm the challenge would commence.
Right off the bat this was a stupid idea. Not because of the 3,300 calories or 7,000mg of sodium or 300% of the daily recommended fat consumption. Not because tacos get cold and stale when sitting for 45 minutes in their box. No, the stupidity is actually because it is too close to the time that I would go to bed. But we’ll get back to that shortly.
The tacos were purchased, 20 at once- 5 tacos per box, and brought back to the apartment. Armed only with water and a will to succeed, I began eating. The first ten were not a problem, easily going down in the first 15 minutes. The next five were harder, taking another 15 minutes. The last five were nearly impossible. My stomach was full, I wasn’t able to salivate enough to breakdown the food in my mouth, the tacos were cold and things were not looking good. The shells presented the most problem so I began breaking off little pieces and building a pile which I would eventually eat at the end.
I finished 18 tacos and a half tacos and the equivalent of half a taco’s worth of shells left. In a totally anti-climactic moment it was over. An hour passed, I didn’t want to puke up sharp tortilla shards, so I surrendered. I didn’t win, I felt sick, my friends were bored and disappointed and the night ended.
My body was struggling to digest the copious amount of food in my system. Water wasn’t helping. Nothing was moving. I decided to just try to go to bed. That was a terrible idea and I tossed and turned for hours as my body, overloaded with salt and cholesterol, spent every moment working overtime to digest the tacos.The main question after was “did you ever eat Taco Bell again?” And the answer is “of course.” Even after watching Supersize Me, after the e-coli, nothing will stop me from loving Taco Bell. This was before the rise in popularity of the IFOCE (International Federation of Competitive Eating) but it certainly made me appreciate competitive eating. The next challenge is the 50 Chicken McNugget Challenge from McDonalds. That battle has been on the table for a while, but I think I might be too old to do that to my body anymore. Still, it’s nothing compared to 105 lb Sonya the Black Widow’s feat of 80 chicken nuggets in five minutes. She is pictured here, my hero, after eating 48 tacos in eleven minutes.

Me

June 1, 2007

Today worked out perfectly as all my posts this week have started with the letter “M.” As Eat, Drink & Be Merry tagged me a while ago and he posted today about the number of Asian food bloggers, it’s the right time to tell you about myself. I’m not Asian. I’m a Jewish food blogger:

1. My grandparents are holocaust survivors and it has had a direct impact on how I eat today. They are still alive and live in Los Angeles. They have numbers tattooed on their arms (the Nazi’s version of serial numbers to keep track of everyone). Although they made it through hells like Auschwitz, they lost their entire families (parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, etc.) minus my grandma’s sister who is also still alive. Possibly because they went through treacherous years of starvation and despair, they currently cook immense amounts of food when we’re all together for dinner. It’s probably the same with other families, but we’re talking enough food for twenty people when there are only six of us eating. They also eat fast and thoroughly- probably in the eight to ten thousand calorie department. Speed eating to the point of nausea is a trait that they passed on to my dad and uncle and ultimately to me. Although these are not healthy eating habits, I’m saying this in adoration. The holocaust affected them in ways that I couldn’t imagine. Their will to survive is still with them today. I partially credit my love of food to them.

2. So I’m not sure how much my grandparents have to do with this, but sometimes I eat very lazily prepared meals. ‘Meals’ is actually a strong word… I eat cans of garbanzo beans. I’ll eat spaghetti with ketchup. On a dare I ate wasabi peas in milk (like cereal). For every plate of miso eggplant or dish of chicken tikka masala or bowl of spicy Thai soup, I’ve eaten five ghetto meals at home. I am extremely lazy when it comes to cooking, and I am totally content eating the most random assortment of items left in my apartment. I do plan on learning to cook soon though… really, I do.

3. Continuing on the lazy eating habits, I’m fine with supermarket sushi (rolls only). I recognize the difference between restaurant sushi and supermarket sushi (like the difference between Mastros and McDonalds). I plan on posting a comprehensive supermarket sushi comparison soon.

4. I’m slowly building up my tolerance to spicy food. Chichen Itza’s salsa still floors me. Yucateco does too. There is definitely a painful high associated with it, even addictive properties. Either way, I’m working on it…

5. The 20 Taco Challenge: 20 Tacos from Taco Bell in one hour. This is a long story and will require its own post.


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