Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

food slideshow - be careful, some pics maybe xxx rated!

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Super Sunday

Super Cocina Sunday Morning. Yep. We hadn't had it in a while. Very delicioso as always. the FP got the spicy pork stew and the pork adobo stew. The spicy pork is always on the short far side of the case, in case you go there. It's in the middle, I think in a full pan. It's pretty spicy. If you are dehydrated before you eat this, make sure you are close to clean facilities the hour after you eat. I'm just saying... I got the pork adobo stew and the oaxcan style eggs. The pork adobo. The guy gave us a nugget of pork to taste. Smoky, a little sweet, a little spicy, maybe a hint of bitter - reminds me of myself when I used to smoke cigarettes. ha ha ha. The eggs are always so good. It's like a nice tomatoey broth with cilantro and avocado, and the eggs are scrambled in it and it's nice and fluffy eggs that soak up the broth. These are great for hangovers. And we had diet coke. You know, I barely ever drink diet coke these days, and it's really good. Especially when one is hungover and thirsty and it is carbonated properly. When you get fountain drinks, it's always tricky. You know, if you've worked somewhere with a fountain or a soda gun and when the co2 tank is running low no one wants to change it because it's usually busy at the time so everyone waits for everyone else to change it? I mean, I've never done that.....

American Tacos.
There's a place in New Orleans called Taqueria Corona. The FP used to think it was the best Mexican food ever. He'd never been anywhere with good mexican food, of course. Anyway, on the taco menu, American tacos were the ones with crispy shells, ground beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, salsa and guacamole. So that's what we had for dinner. We didn't get the Old El Paso taco shells though. Some other probably lesser quality brand. I have to say. After eating freshly made tortillas all the time, those boxed things suck. I remember I loved taco dinner as a kid. The tortillas just taste like corn flavored cardboard. But the ground beef was good. No taco seasoning packet here. Just cumin, ground arbol, paprika, salt, fresh ground pepper and soy sauce. Yeah, I know, do I put soy sauce in everything? Well, almost... And the guacamole was good. Lime juice, cilantro, salt and 2 $1.50 avocadoes. That was cause we were lazy and went to Albertson's. The salsa was the hot La Salsa Chileana brand. It's really good. I know, I write about it a lot. I was disappointed because I dozed off early in the evening. Probably after I ate. I do that. That seems to be a guy thing. I'm kinda like a dude, anyway. So I woke up and wanted some chips and guac. Yeah, guac. I'm getting lazy. It's New Year's Eve and I have to muster up the energy to go out and face all the amateurs and be nice to them. Anyway, I saw the empty bowl of GUAC on the floor near the FP's spot in our nest. (we lay out sleeping bags against the couch in front of the tv. Doesn't everyone do that?) So no more guac for me. I didn't need it anyway.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

3 very tasty meals

Thursday home cooking. So we ate all the gumbo, all the prime rib, and we had some things left over to cook with. We ate enough for about 10 people in 2 1/2 days - maybe 10 mini meals each. I swear. I should have taken a picture of the dishes we created just from eating. Artichokes, broccoli (someone stole our cart at panch villa's for a while and put it in there), chinese broccoli, mushrooms, shrimp. So the FP made a tasty Asian quick stew. He used oyster sauce and soy. He cut the veggies long and kind of thick so that they still had some texture.

Friday - my birthday! I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to eat. I worked, and then when I came home we went to eat. I was wanting; sushi, Filipino food, chinese - specifically Dumpling Inn, Long John Silver's, Ethiopian (I didn't tell the FP about the last one, because he was getting anxious wondering wht I was going to pick). I really wanted the Dumpling Inn, but I also wanted a different place to write about. So we drove to Convoy Street, and I just felt the magnetic force of the Dumpling Inn.

It was about 3:30 and the place was packed. Okay, so there are only 9 tables and one is really used for family meal at that time of day. (The last time we went there around the same time and the staff was eating at that table) But the interesting thing, is that you can't take the white test here. There is an asterisk next to the Dumpling Inn when talking about if it fails the white test. For those of you who are not familiar, I guess I have to explain. For the faithful readers, bare with me. Or you can skip to the next paragraph. When chosing an ethnic restaurant at which to dine, one wants to take the white test. This will determine whether to go in or not. Of course, the first test is to look at the menu. Is there anything that catches one's eye or eyes. Then one looks inside at the diners. Is the restaurant busy? Depending on time of day, this may not be a good indication, of course. One great thing about a lot of ethnic restaurants is that they tend to be open between lunch and dinner hours. Then one peruses the clientele. What is their nationality? Are there people of the same ethnic background as the cuisine that is served? If everyone in the place is, go ahead, get a table. Are there people of different ethnic backgrounds, but similar to the cuisine? For instance, if there is an asian restaurant - say chinese - and there are vietnamese, thai, indonesians there. Then that is a green light as well. Of course, a lot of you whites may not be able to tell the difference like I can. (Okay, I can't tell all, but I can spot a flip at least) If there are 0 - 25% caucasians, that's a good sign that it may be a good authentic restaurant. Of course if you want a restaurant that caters to American tastebuds, use the percentages in the opposite manner. If there are 25 - 50% caucasians, use proceed if you must with much caution. (I wouldn't though, unless it's the only restaurant around - or the best choice around) If there are 50 - 100% caucasians, get out! Go, do not set foot in the door, do not let them ambush you and seat you and bring the tea (or water). Get out! Get out!

* Another exception though, that I might add, is if the white percentage is between 25 - 50%, but that is mixed race tables, this is acceptable. So if for 10 tables there is one white at each table with 1 or more indigenous peoples - that's a green light. Now if it's the other way - 1 indigenous and 2 or more whites at a majority, I'd cut my losses and go somewhere else.

So as I was writing, you can't take the white test at the Dumpling Inn. If you refer to the previous post about Dumpling Inn - miscellaneous meals - there were whites in the restaurant last time. This time, there were whites. One couple, maybe a family and a guy by himself. That's okay though. It's the Dumpling Inn. It's Chinese, but it doesn't necessarily look Chinese. It has mirrors on one wall so it looks bigger. And it has white lace curtains. But the food. Oh the food. And there were a couple mixed race tables - Indian, white, Chinese - all at one table. That is a big bonus! And then single men can be a good indicator. There was a chinese guy by himself reading. And then a white guy sat by himself next to us. He didn't even look at the menu - regular.

So getting to the food already. I was pissed. I forgot my camera. I was going to make a point to take more pictures. We got the fish and chive boiled dumplings. We wanted to get different food - even though I craved the stuff we got before - pork dumpling, shrimp and chive dumpling, beef curry dumpling, pork and pickled cabbage soup. These sounded like they could be fishy somewhere else, but we trusted in Dumpling Inn. They were perfect. Not fishy. Nicely cooked, good flavor. We also got the pot stickers. They came on one of those long moderny asian plates that are mainly used for pot stickers. And they were all stuck together, prettily browned - a happy potsticker family. These were also perfect. Do I use that word too much? But they were. Great flavor, nicely crunchy and soft. Pot stickers. You know what I mean? And then the "piece de resistance". The pork shank entree. We debated between that and the beef shank soup. We chose right as far as we knew. We got this gigantic pork shank. The top part of the leg. OMG OMG OMG if you could see it, you'd cream your pants - either in fear or excitement. For me it was both. It had this pretty brown sauce all over, and the skin was pretty brown. I like pretty brown things.... It stood on the plate, broad side of the bone planted flat on the surface, skinnier side sticking up. It looked like a little brown glistening Jabba the Hut on a plate. I know this doesn't sound appealing to most. But some of you will appreciate it. So the skin was tender. A lot of times one gets a shank, and the skin is tough, and you can't even chew through it. But this melted in the mouth. And then that pale meat underneath. God it was so good. It was earthy but meaty but delicious. And the sauce was not too thick, and it had a strong 5 spicyness to it. Funnily enough, the rice was kind of crunchy. But I just mixed the sauce and meat into the rice, and it was fine. I could go for some right now. Actually, I think I'm going to heat up the leftover when I'm done writing this. The FP already had dinner - chips and salsa.

Saturday. Long John Silver's. Okay. So I had wanted this yesterday, and we woke up hungry. I had eaten sweet maui onion chips and ranch dip the night before. I ate way too many. I felt kind of sick after that. So I wanted something healthy. Light breakfast. Fish. We called LJS to see what time they opened. 10 am. So we got there at 10:01 am. It's south on the 805 a few exits. No jokes. We were third in line. We both got the L10. He got an extra piece of fish. I subbed more fries for the coleslaw. So we get our diet Pepsis. Then condiments. The pumps weren't set up yet. So we grabbed handsfull of malt vinegar and cocktail sauce packets. And the Cajun Chef brand hot sauce. Then our food was ready. It looked perfect. There's that word again. But it did. Everything was so crunchy. Nicely fried, golden brown. Okay. Wait.

It wasn't perfect. The clams were a little soft, and clumped together. Looked like the clam fryer dumped to many packets of clams in the fryer at once. eaaaaaaah (buzzer noise) You're fired. Okay. They weren't terrible, but not great either. But the fish, the fries, the shrimp, and the hushpuppies - perfect. The hushpuppies were the best I've ever had. So this is my LJS strategy. I move some of the fries out of one of the plastic plate compartments. Then I make a hot sauce and malt vinegar mixture. I get a cocktail sauce dip open next to the hot sauce vinegar mix. I dip the fried object in the vinegar mix, then the cocktail sauce. If it's like a shrimp, then I dip both sides in the vinegar so it all soaks in. I used to sprinkle hot sauce and vinegar all over the plate, but it all gets soggy. All that effort the chefs take to fry it to crispy perfection for naught. So I didn't finish mine. I left a shrimp minus a bite, half the fries (the half that I substituted for coleslaw) and almost half a piece of fish. It was still wonderful. I guess I'm learing a little restraint in my old age. When I was 33 I would have forced myself to eat it all in 4 minutes flat. Now that I'm more mature at 34, I know I don't have to eat it all at a breakneck speed. The experience of savouring the tastes is enough.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day Cooking Frenzy

That's what it was. We cooked (actually, the Food Pimp did pretty much all of it) our asses off. For the two of us. No matter how many people we are cooking for on a holiday, we always cook the same quantity. It's some kind of affliction. Here's what we had, and yes, it was in this order the first round, then we mixed it up on 2nd, 3rd and 4th helpings.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage gumbo

Grit Cakes with shrimp and andouille cream sauce

Prime Rib with mashed potatoes (we bought veg that we never cooked)

Orange panna cotta (it actually didn't set)

So, Gumbo. We went to the store Christmas morning to get like one ingredient, and the FP decided all of a sudden that he wants to make gumbo. I thought he was crazy, but it was just that nasty Starbucks coffee that he likes taking effect. So we were at Ralph's and they actually have andouille. So first thing he did when we got home was put the bird in the oven and start a roux. He made it nice and dark. That roux smell is as intoxicating to me as the smell of bacon. Really. So he decided to screw the roasting of the bird, and he took it out and hacked the carcass into pieces that would fit in the pot, and he let it simmer with all the other stuff. It was delicious.

Grit Cakes with shrimp and andouille cream sauce. This is a strange dish for me to crave, but I have been thinking about it for a while. And then the FP's mom gave me Susan Spicer's cookbook for Christmas. She was so thoughtful with that one. I still don't understand why they gave me (or us, I don't know who it was for, the FP opened all the gifts) that collector's Boyd's teddy bear.

Anyway, I made shrimp broth first. I peeled shrimp shells (no heads unfortunately)and browned them, threw in some onion and celery. I added water, forgot about it and it was at a rolling boil when I went to check on it. Oh well. I threw in a few shrimp, let it go a little more, then I pureed it all in the blender and strained it.

Then I made the grit cakes. The night before I had roasted and peeled a jalapeno. So I diced that up. Then I brought a milk and water mix to a boil. I wisked in the grits (4-1 liquid for grits) and whisked and whisked. When it was almost done, I threw in the jalapeno and some grated parm, a little salt and pepper. I poured that in a half pan and let it set.

Then I made the cream sauce. Just a white roux sauce with onion, celery and andouille. Then I added shrimp broth and a little cream at the end.

So to serve, I did all the steps, cut and seared the grit cakes, Sauteed shrimp, added the sauce, thinned it a little with shrimp broth, seasoned and served with parsley, green onion and a litte peri peri hot sauce. I realized later that I had forgot to use the mixed greens that I had bought. I was going to serve a little salad on the plate with the grit cakes to "contrast". Oh well, it was still pretty good.

Prime Rib. So the FP's Uncle gave us a few different peppercorns, Telicherry, White? and green. So he crusted the meat with a blend of these peppercorns crushed and kosher salt. And he threw it in the oven. We weren't wasted yet, so we didn't really forget about it, but we could have taken it out of the oven about 15 minutes earlier than we did. It still tasted delicious though.

Panna Cotta. Poor panna cotta. In the midst of the tornado that the FP cooked up, the little panna cotta got neglected. The FP simply didn't let the milk scald enough. So it didn't quite set. He did put one in the freezer though, and it was the texture of frozen yogurt. He put zest of 2 oranges in, and it was so fragrant. Really nice, too bad the others didn't set. But we had quite enough to indulge in. And we had alots of akahall too!

Anyway, I feel so fat, I think I'm going to go lay around and watch tv.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Almost caught up!

So what else have we indulged in.....

Zensei Sushi This place is on the corner of 30th and Upas St. It is a great location for a sushi bar. I remember the first time I drove by, I thought, I want to eat there on my birthday. It just looked fun. And we ate there on my birthday with my other soulmate and her husband. It was fun.

Anyway, getting back to present time. We got the usual salmon, octopus and, we also got mackerel. We don't get mackerel every time any more. It's a very strong fish, and if it's old it would probably ring the bell on the strength-o-meter at the fair. Okay, that was stupid. But in my defense, it's Christmas Day and I haven't had a drink yet. Why not? Well, I don't want to pass out at 5 pm like I usually do on a day off with lots of cooking and drinking involved. So maybe I should crack one of those bottles of something open.

Zensei, Zensei. Sorry. So the nigiri was so on. All three. And we got spicy tuna roll. And the appropriately named 30th and Upas roll. It's got tuna and avocado, and this garnish on top of of like shallot and cilantro and lime and it's just yummy. Then we got crazy. We ordered the hamachi kama (yellowtail neck) and the salmon kama (salmon neck). They didn't have the salmon, so we got TWO - that's 2 - yellowtail collars. They came out way too fast. Sadly, it wasn't cooked all the way. This meat is the kind you want cooked, not like sushi. As a result the skin was not really crispy. But it still tasted good and we still ate it all. We were trying to take it easy on the bill and the drinking, so we only had one bottle of Kizakura with lunch.

Emerald Chinese Restaurant or something like that. Saturday morning. We were waiting for the doors to open at 9 am. We were the first in. So we got our food fast. Almost too fast.

I realize now that part of the pleasure of dim sum is the torture of waiting. We almost always go to dim sum the morning after getting shitfaced. We are always dying of thirst. We have to ask for water and it takes forever to get it. And don't even talk to me about refills. At Jasmine we end up sneaking over to the waiters' station and getting our own. Then the food takes forever. We usually get the second class Americans in the restaurant treatment. It's as if they purposely avoid us with the good stuff and they always try to pawn those fried taro dumplings on us.

The night before we went to Emerald, we met our few friends left in town at the Whistle Stop. We had more drinks than expected. So we were not completely hung over, but we didn't feel tiptop. So we sat. They gave us tea. They gave us water. The first cart came over. We got pork and shrimp shumai. They were good. We got our teeny dish of chili paste and hot mustard. We got these shrimp balls that were like shumai. Those sucked. They tasted like old shrimp. We got the rice noodle. We argued back and forth over the pork and the beef rice noodle. I wanted the beef. The Food Pimp wanted the bbq pork. You know which one we got! It was tasty. The sweet soy sauce on it was good. The beef was seasoned nicely. We got the pork knuckle. Loooooove it. Tiny bits of tender pale greasy pork with a little jalapeno in the thin broth. God, you have to try it to understand. It is absolutely delicious and anyone who thinks otherwise is insane or never tried it. We got the rice packets in lotus leaf with shrimp, chicken, pork and egg. It was very good, but I had to give the rest of mine to the FP. We got these curry chicken shumai. Those were eeeah (I don't know how to spell that sound you make when something is so so). We got the bbq pork bun. Interestingly these were on the dessert cart. They had sesame seeds on top, and simple syrup. Really. They made my hand all sticky. Weird. But good. The pork filling was nice. The bun was a nice sweet fluffy texture. Weird. But good.

Home cooking. Sunday. We played a show on Saturday night at SDSC. It went really well. Our sound was good, we didn't fuck up really, which is unusual. Everyone was impressed with our new drummer. But we played last and a lot of people left!!!! Fucking San Diego. Sleepytown, USA. Okay, it's not like there everywhere in the city, just coincidentally the places that we play at. Well A Beautiful Noise booked the show, and they were smart to play 2nd. That's the sweet spot.

Anyway, Sunday we wanted to chill and eat well. So we went to the Vietnamese market. The FP made green Thai curry. Yes, he MADE it. He didn't use the little tin. Garlic, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, ginger, chili. It was delicious. With shrimp. I made chinese broccoli, baby bok choy, oyster mushroom and tofu saute. I used calamansi, soy sauce, ginger, garlic a little sesame oil and coconut caramel. Yeah, coconut caramel. It's like molasses. Only with coconut. It's got that bitter earthy coconut and molasses taste. It's so exotic. I love it. My new product find. Good meal.

I love Asian food. As the Frenchy chef at my work would say, your eyes are becoming slanted. I swear he said something like that. He's a 72 year old French guy though. What do you expect?

Monday, December 24, 2007


The title had to be in all caps. That's because we have been in SD for 25 months now, and we just ate at the Soup Plantation a week ago. We have heard a lot about this place. All good, really. All kinds of people too, not just slaveowners. Rich people, poor people, middleclass. It's soup plantation this, soup plantation that.

So for you peeps not fortunate enough to know what I'm talking about, it's a chain. They sell soup. What else do you need to know?

So you walk in and go through the salad line right away. They have premixed ceaser and a couple other salads like that. Then there's lettuce, romaine, spinach, iceberg.. then toppings, the usual chickpeas, mushrooms, blah, blah, nothing too fancy. Then the bound salads, pasta, potato, maybe some others. Then dressings and stuff. I was very boring, I think I just used oil and vinegar. I didn't like the look of the dressings or something. Plus, I wanted to save room for the main attraction.

So then you pay. You get drink cups and you find your table. So I got fruit punch because i didn't want diet coke because it was already 6 or 7 pm and I didn't want to have trouble sleeping. No I'm not even joking. I still have trouble getting up at 5:30 am, so I need all the sleep I can get. Anyway, we ate our salads. got a dab of potato salad to see what it was like. Pretty much like normal potato salad,which was surprising. I'm used to getting that stuff and it's bland like they just mixed celery and mayo with potatoes. But it was as if they brought it in premade. Maybe they didn't, but that's what it tasted like.

So anyway, there is the pasta bar, the soup bar, the breads, the kinda dessert/fruit bar(with whole delicious apples,oranges red jello and chocolate mousse, and the frozen yogurt machine/bar. The pasta bar looked like shit. Overcooked, and dry. Except for the watery looking mac and cheese. I got a tiny spoonful just to see. It tasted like bechamel. Not really any cheese flavor to speak of. And it was watery.

So we got our first soup. I got vegetable. He got chicken noodle and clam chowder. The clam chowder tasted like cream soup with bacon. Just not good. Of course, he made a big stink about how terrible it was. He didn't eat it. The chicken noodle looked like it would have no flavor, but it tasted like homemade chicken noodle. The chicken surprisingly wasn't overcooked like sometimes it is. And the noodles were thicker so they would hold up in the soup. The veggie soup was okay, but it kinda tasted like progresso, which isn't bad. We eat progresso soup fairly often.

Second round. I got turkey dinner with stuffing. So you put the soup in the bowl and garnish with "stuffing". It's really kind of dry, so it soaks up the soup. It tasted like turkey dinner pureed in a blender, with lots of sage. Interesting. But gross. I took two spoonfuls before I abandoned it. The FP got chili. He liked it. He said it tasted like chili.

Third round. I got chili and chicken noodle soup. I don't know if he got another. I got some focaccia pizza bread. It was okay. The chili I did not like. It was sweet, not very hearty tasting, it did not taste as good as it looked. I think the chicken noodle won though. By that time, the FP was very angry. He couldn't help looking at all the people enjoying their food, and I think he wanted to pummel them all.

So we didn't actually eat much, and we were very unsatisfied, but I wanted something to take that taste out of my mouth. So I got a little frozen yogurt. But it wasn't satisfying. We watched this Japanese looking family. The dad seemed to be lecturing the son. The mom and son sat there quiet. The dad kept eating as he was lecturing about money or something. Hm. Seems familiar for some reason.

As the soup made it's way down to my stomach, I started to feel gross. Maybe it was the disappointment, the bitching that the FP was doing, the families wolfing down the food with utter delight, but I just didn't feel good. Then I went to the bathroom to pee. Two employees were in the first two stalls. I could tell because they were having a conversation and they both had those black work shoes and black pants. So I went into the handi stall. And I came back out. There was fucking corn and peas and other stuff on the toilet rim. Someone threw up in there! Now I wanted to throw up. I didn't feel like waiting for another stall, but I felt nauseous and I didn't know what to do. So I waited, and I wanted to vomit. I peed, we left, and we will never go there again. Shame on all of you who told us it was so good!!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

miscellaneous meals

Frank steak stir fry. With mushrooms, onions, broccoli, the usual.

Corned beef hash breakfast at the Lumberjack grill. I think we almost ordered the same thing. He got eggs smilin' atcha, hashbrowns, sourdough bread. I got eggs over easy, hashbrowns and wheat toast. Very good. Nicely cooked eggs. Nicely crispied crust on the corned beef. They had a bunch of new staff. I wonder if there was a mass walkout or firing.

Ichiban. Sunday before going to the Bluefoot to watch the Steelers. We got a spicy tuna roll, salmon nigiri, yellowtail nigiri, some other special roll - honestly I don't remember. It was good. Kind of small. Not too expensive, but we could have eaten more. Anyone who goes for sushi with us, prepare to go into battle. Actually, we might be polite if we don't really know you.

Lamb sirloin on 30th street. The place we went to before, you know the one. This is the place that I wrote about before. Then I got comments back from anonymous writers defending the place. It made me feel bad that they took it the wrong way, so I apologized. If you don't know about this - read "It's hot" and "Apology"

We got the onion rings and the fried veggies too. Very tasty, perfectly fried, good remeloude. The homemade ketchup was perfect. Cheese plate. Delicious persimmon, good cheese. Drinks - the FP drank a whole bottle of wine but he order individual glasses. I don't know if there was a difference in the price or not. I had this Christmas ale, then I think I had shark bite. I liked the shark bite better. The entree. Lamb was overcooked. I think it was supposed to be midrare, and we got it medium or midwell. Boo. It was a nice piece of meat though. Goat cheese dumplings. I'm sorry. They were heavy and not too goaty. I think these are probably tricky to make. Maybe they needed more baking powder. I don't know, but I wanted them to be more like beignet. Our friends got shepard's pie. It was huge. Nicely baked. The FP thought there was too much cumin for his taste. Great place still. The owner was very friendly, the staff is very friendly. The owner's husband (they knew who we were) didn't look too friendly. Last time he said hi to us. This time I felt like I got an evil look as I was walking to the bathroom. I know I'm a bit paranoid (what, do you think I'm more paranoid than I think I am?) but he definitely was not smiling. Anyway, if you guys think I should name this place so they can read this, comment on this post and tell me your opinions. I'd really like to know.

Pho Ca Dao It was early - 9 am. We were hungry. For whatever reason, Saigon wasn't open yet. We haven't been there in a while. So we kept driving up the boulevard. This place was open. We got spring roll and egg rolls. The spring rolls were weird. I can't remember why, but they tasted sketchy. The egg rolls were good. The pho -to quote the Food Pimp- tasted like" you know when you play touch football in the mud, then you sit in the tub? It tasted like tepid bath water." I don't remember it being that bad, but I have memory loss. Too many chemicals have travelled through my nervous system. There was a market in the shopping center behind this place. I think it was called International Market. We went in. The first thing that happened when we walked in, our nostrils were affronted by the strongest most repugnant fishy smell I've ever smelt in a STORE! So of course, I had to walk back and look at the seafood. It looked ded. It was so vomitous, how did those people work there in those conditions? If you get a chance, go there and tell me if it still smells.

The Dumpling Inn. Wow! It was a rainy day. We had to go to the practice space. Probably to get a stupid cable or mic, or the backpack. So we ate on Convoy st. The mecca of restarant choices. The Dumpling Inn is in the same shopping center as the Korean Market and Jasmine. Good shopping center. So there were some whites in there, but we stayed anyway. They looked like eaters, anyway. There were two bigger old ladies, and also a couple. But they left and Asians came in. We got dumplings. Obviously. I don't recall if they had the soup dumplings or not, but we were pressed to order, so we did. We got pickled cabbage and pork soup. OMG IDK what soup could match this one. Perfect for a rainy day. Sooooo good! I could go for some now! (Note, it is very sunny today, not a cloud in the blue sky). Dumplings. Yum Yum.

Next day, we had sandwiches. Baguette with avocado "paste" mushrooms, roast beef and emmenthaler cheese. Emmenthaler is "swiss" cheese. Stronger than the american version. Ha ha ha, just kidding. Back to dumpling inn. We had pork dumplings, shrimp dumplings and these deep fried curried dumplings. OMG IDK if there is a place more aptly named then the Dumpling Inn. I just want to rent a room at the Dumpling Inn and sleep on dumpling pillas..... So pork dumplings. There were 10-15. A lot. Just in a bowl. Delicious. Pork. Nicely cooked. Shrimp dumplings. Same amount. Also very good. Some places have these dumplings and shu mai,and it tastes like they just puree the shrimp and fill the skin and steam it. These had nice flavor. Curry dumplings. Wait a minute. Was the FP in the kitchen? No, he was sitting at the table acrost from me. These little empanada/samosa things tasted very much like the Food Pimp's ground beef samosas/empanadas. I think the chef at the Dumpling Inn went to Vega when the FP was the chef there. I guess it was the 5 spice in the ground beef that made it taste like his. Anyway, what I'm trying to write is that they were very delicious. And this was cheap eats too.....

Convoy pho house. Or something like that. We just had pho. The FP got the combination beef. I got chicken. Very tasty and homemade. I got this nice nouc mam type sauce - sweet and gingery - that I dumped into my pho. It made it delicious. Nice amount of noodle and meat and broth ratio. Sixteen dolla.

Conching's Cafe. My parents came back from Orange County for a few more days - that's Mr. and Mrs. Food Ho. I didn't take the Food Pimp's name when I took his dirty hand in marriage. Let's see. First night in town, we went back to National City. They loooooooooove that place. I think they want to move there. We went to Conching's Cafe this time. We got some kind of lechon asado and I got this shrimp with long bean and ???? what the hell was the other long thin julienned veggie? Damn me and my brain. Anyway. The pork was soooo tender and fatty delicious. It was bathing in it's own grease. In a good way. I swear. And the shrimp had a curry coconut sauce. It was sooooo good too. Then we went back to that same grocery store next to Tita's Kitchenette. My mommy got bean sprouts and shrimp again. And she got smoked fish, and other stuff.

Philippine Home Cooking. So she made.... Pork Hock Adobo. I swear. OMG. I have to write OMG a lot, because it expresses my exact sentiment. More greasy pork goodness. And the rind of fat around it was so tender and melt in your mouth delicious. And the rice just sopped up the flavor.

And then this shrimp, carrot and napa cabbage saute. My mom just decided to use this cabbage that she had bought last time. We had been eating a lot of meat, so she wanted to have vegetable. It was so good. Damn she can cook. Did I write about when she first moved to the states? Well, if I did, sorry. Anyway, she couldn't cook when they first got married. In the Philippines, the lady of the house cooks. So my parents lived with parents, aunts, whoever, so my mom never cooked. Then my parents moved to Troy, New York. My mom tried to cook her first meal, spaghetti and meat sauce, as far as I know. She burned it. He yelled at her. Nice, huh? Well, to quote Virginia Slims, You've come a long way, baby?

And then shrimp ukoy again. Shrimp fritters with bean sprouts This time she made it with rice flour. It was crispier. And the garlic vinegar goes so good with it. So perfect for street food. I want to open a shrimp ukoy cart somewhere.

That's it for now. The next post will be solely dedicated on one specific restaurant......

Thursday, December 13, 2007

stil more catsup

I'm trying to not miss any important food journal events, but this is getting harder to do as the weeks go by. Basically, we've been doing crap and I never have enough time now to do this. As I sit here typing this, my parents are in the next room. They came back into town yesterday, so I'm feeling like I should spend time with them rather than be antisocial, but I have to write a little or I will never be in present time, or a few days behind at least. So I left off at making ground pork with veggies. We ate that for days. All weekend. Then came Sunday. We bought some tortilla chips, ground beef, salsa...from... I can't remember the name. All this lack of writing and stress is taking a toll on my memory. La Salsa Chileana? Is that right? Yeah. It is. Anyway, I also bought pickled jalapenos. So I made nacho meat with whatever dried ground pepper we had, maybe arbol and new mexico, I don't know. And I threw in the rest of the ground pork to finish it off. It was Sunday night football, so we had nachos. No cheese though. I'm pretty much weening myself off of nonessential cheesiness. No I'm not divorcing the Food Pimp. I said NON-essential. You have to have some cheese in your life, even if it's just fromunda cheese, or whatever.

So, Monday or Tuesday. I don't know which. I wanted veggies. If you've been reading this blog, you know the drill. I have a gift for turning something fairly good for you into something not so good. Well, I got the usual suspects - eggplant, zucchini,yella squarsh, mushrooms?, onion, peas, I think that's it. I got a can of san marzano tomatoes. So we had arborio rice and I made veggie risotto. I just sauteed the onion, eggplant. Then I added the rice, coated and fried for a bit, then I just started adding tomato and water a little at a time, stir, stir, add more liquid etc. Then I started adding the rest of the veggies as it started to cook. I finished it off with extra virgin olive oil, garnish with lots of parsley and basil, and a little sprinkle of (essential) shredded parm. Pretty good for a flip. I guess it's the rice connection. Although I've made bad rice before. I know, it's not plausible. I swear I have though. But my whole inspiration was the bad risotto I had the night we ate at Buon Apetito. So I just wanted it the way I expected it to taste.

So the FP came home. I told him what I made, and he said, you know what would go good with that? Steak. So we went to Albertson's and got a little flank and a little ny strip. They were both really good, even though they didn't look like they would be. Huh, you think you know everything about cooking, and you find out there's one thing you didn't know. Then you know everything. LOL. Actually there's another new thing I don' know about. Mincemeat. Anyone know what it is? What's the story with mincemeat? Okay, it is kind of what I thought, but apparently there are cans of this stuff.

Anyway, I will have to consult with the FP about what else we ate that week. I think there was more meat.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

trudging through the weekend

OK. Sorry it's taking so long.

Sunday after Thanksgiving. We went to Escondido and ate at the Stone Brewery. They opened a bar and restaurant a while ago, and we hadn't gone yet to check it out. Let me just say, that when we first went there, they were just breaking ground on this project. There was just the concrete floor and a hole in the parking lot. When we went on Sunday, the FP and I were blown away. It was a huge wide open space, with these huge windows that opened up like garage doors. Lots of stone architecture, of course...And a beautiful outdoor area with seating, grass and waterfall, and an outdoor bar of course. here's the link http://www.stoneworldbistro.com/
There's some good pictures in there.

Anyway, we were there during brunch. The menu is casual, but kind of international cuisine with good ingredients. So we started off with onion rings. These were just wonderful. They were thick slices,I mean like half the onion, but they were perfectly fried and the arrogant bastard ale batter was really good.

The FP and I got the chimichurri steak and sweet potato hash. On looking at the menu, I should have gone with one of my first choices - mac and cheese, or the sausage plate. Oh well, next time. This hash was kind of weird. It was acidic and spicy, but you could barely see the herb in it or taste it. It wasn't like what we were expecting. It's funny, because I think I told the FP it tasted like something he would make. So it wasn't bad, just not what we wanted.

The others got burgers and BLTs. The burgers looked good, and I guess the sister and brother in law liked them. The BLTs, the mom liked, the dad did not like, although he ate most of it. For some reason, the dad seemed to HATE everything about the place, although he didn't voice his opinion until we left, thank God! I wish I could tell you what kind of beers we got, but it was a while ago,and I have a poor memory. They were really good though.

So after that, we went to the Orfila winery. We tasted some wine, then we got a bottle of Sangiovese and sat in the back patio and drank it. The vines were all bare of course, but it was still a cool view. We could also see the burn area from the wildfires. They said that maybe 1% of the vines were burned, so it wasn't a big deal for them. So we were there til dark, then we went back to San Diego. We had to decide on the last supper. Amazingly, we went to Ruth's Chris. This is very funny, because all week, everyone had been wanting to go there, since it was in the hotel. The dad didn't want to go though, of course because it's very pricey. So on this last night, I guess he felt nostalgic and decided that we should go.

I was pretty excited. I have only been to the Ruth's Chris in New Orleans. The original Ruth's Chris is like an old - old people steakhouse. I'm not trying to be ugly, but you know what I mean. So it was quite different to go to this one that was really fancy and modern and all. The menu was still pretty much the same though. The funny thing about Ruth's Chris, is that the steak comes alone. If you want sides, you order them individually and can share them family style. So anyway, after a long weekend of indulging in all kinds of nonsense, it was nice to just eat steak. The mom and the sis got the chop salad with blue cheese dressing which was really good. Then they got the filet. The dad got salmon,(big surprise)the bro-in-law and FP got the cowboy steak, and I got the ribeye. The cowboy is the ribeye on the bone. The bro- in-law also got the sweet potato casserole and the big spender got shoestring fries. I think everyone immensely enjoyed their steak. I don't know if the dad really liked his salmon. He said he did, but I don't think he finished it. The sweet potato casserole was sooooo sweet, but it was actually really good. It tasted very grandmaey, homestyle. Not that I had a grandma that cooked that kind of stuff. Anyway, that was a very delicious end to a marathon weekend of eating.

And then there was more to come....

Monday. My parents on short notice arrived on Monday morning. Literally, the FP had just taken his mom to the airport and driven home, and there were my parents waiting. So they took a nap, and when the FP left to pick me up at work, he directed them to the grocery store. When we got home, they were there. They didn't find the grocery store, and they didn't want any of the fast food choices, so they decided to wait until I got home. They wanted to go to National City.

So the FP went north to work, and we headed south. It was around 3:30, so it was pretty slow. I got a combo - some chicken dish? and kare kare. Which kare kare is a stew with peanut sauce. Mine was with pork hocks. Very yummy. And I put the hot sauce and the garlic vinegar sauce all over my food and my parents laughed at me. I think my parents got the same thing. They shared theirs and only ate the chicken thing, and I ate half of each. Then I got some for the FP - goat stew and maybe adobo?

After that we went to the store that was in the same center. My mom got some smoked scad, some small bananas, sprouts, some veggies and shrimp and longanisa. At the fish counter, we saw that they will fry your fish for you, no charge. I don't know if I would ever really ask for that, but it was good to know.

So that night, of course we ate leftovers. The FP loved his food, of course. The goat stew was very rich and tasty.

Tuesday. The next day, we had some of that smoked scad, longanisa, leftovers and shrimp ukoy. The scad was delicious. The longanisa was good,but it was mild. Longanisa is Philippine sausage, and it's very fatty and sweet. So I like the spicy kind, because the spice cuts through the richness.

The ukoy.This was one of my favorite childhood foods. It's shrimp fritters made with bean sprouts and batter. You leave the shell on the shrimp. You make a flat patty of the sprout and batter, then you stick the shrimp on one side in the middle. They're pretty and they taste amazing. Fried bean sprout and shrimp are so good together. Man, I'd love to have one right now!

Wednesday. We had stir fry Food Pimp style. Beef, mushroom, broccoli, onion, soy sauce. Very simple, very good.

Thursday.This was a funny day. I came home, and my mom and husband were working on dinner. My husband was chopping veg and asking my mom how she wanted them. So the FP started browning ground pork, and in another pot he was sauteeing onion and garlic. My dad asked my mom about where the FP's dad goes on business. It was South Korea. So the FP sits at the table, and he's fucked. My dad gives one of his long speeches about history, terrorism and such. He was focused on the FP, and my mom and I were free agents. So I got up to check on the food. I ended up having to take over. I just mixed the pork and onion together, then added zucchini and squarsh, a little soy, a little fish sauce, a little vinegar and a teeny bit of oyster sauce. So after an hour, the history lesson was over, and the FP and I went to the practice space to work on our acoustic set.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thanksgiving weekend -con't

saturday. So we got up and the FP went for a run, and I went to get the car washed. I was supposed to bring his clothes to the Holiday Inn. So we get there and we go to Seaport Village. We walk around, and we go in some shops and stuff. Then we try to decide what to eat. We end up at that boathouse looking place on the water. I can't remember the name. It's kind of midrange priced for the area. We are led upstairs to like the attic part that is empty. It looks like they save it for bigger groups. So the menu is simple, seafood, veggie omelette, sandwiches, crab cakes, etc. I get the New England Clam Chowder and a ceaser salad. I really at this point don't remember what everyone else got. I know the FP got the same thing. The salad was good. It tasted like the ceaser dressing that the FP makes. Which is more of a vinaigrette, rather than the emulsified mayonnaisy stuff. The chowder was good too, and it was a good temperature. For some reason, from past experiences, I am always afraid that my clam chowder will be cold.

So that night we went to the Fish Market. Which is a little farther down on the harbor. This is a majorly touristy spot, but it is actually really really good. We got there pretty early, maybe 5:30 and there was already a long line just to put our name in for a table. So we sat at the bar and had drinks while we waited. The dad got a shrimp and crab cocktail. He always gets shrimp cocktail, crab cakes or calamari if any of those are available. So it didn't look too good, but I guess he liked it. I'm not sure what kind of crab it was, but I'm skeptical of crab around here. I have to say, I miss the blue crabs on the east coast. Anyway, we also got 2 dozen oysters I think. They were local, and they were very nice. A little briny, a little sweet, fresh. So the dad got tired, or not feeling well, or one of those things that happens to him from time to time when we go out to eat. Or maybe just sick of our company. Anyway, he left us.

So it was 5. We got our table about an hour later. It was in the glassed in area that has heat lamp and a good view of the harbor, of course. So once again, I can't remember what everyone else got. Once again, the FP and I ordered the same thing. Duckett's Bucket. Except he got the combo with everything, and I got the combo minus New Zealand green lip mussels. And I got french fries. Now these mussels have a bad rep with me from experience. A lot of these babies are sold frozen on the half shell. If you go to the asian market, you'll probably find some in the freezer. Anyway, they are procured live,at the Fish Market, of course. Because Duckett's bucket is just a pot of steamed shellfish in a white wine sauce with garlic and lemon. And the green lipped mussels are good, but I didn't want to waste pot space or stomach space with them, becaue I like the other bivalves much more. So there were manila clams, some smaller clams, cockles, and black mussels. It was so good. Just what I wanted.

A word of advice about the Fish Market. There is an upstairs fancy fanserson, the downstairs dining room, a sushi bar area and the bar and the food bar. I've never been upstairs, but it's basically the same food for more money. The sushi bar, I have no experience with. I'd try it though. The bar only serves appetizers. The restaurant downstairs is huge, and the service is good. The food bar! That is the place to go. There are about 15 stools here, and two cooks work there. They serve you everything. They have a convection oven, a gas stove, a fryer too, I think. And the one older guy is amazing. I think he's been there forever. He's got this like handlebar mustache. He puts on a show, he's friendly and conversational. And the man can cook. OMG so good!

On another topic, I have to say, I'm glad I can eat black mussels. 3 years ago, during the Cure's Curiosa tour, we went to Woodlands, Texas, to see the show. There was nothing around except for a mall, so we ended up eating at PF Chang's! I got some gingered beef, and it was a little sketchy, but I was hungry and I ate most of it. That night, we flew back to New Orleans, and we ate at Martinique. One of the things we had was steamed mussels. I remember the last mussel I ate did not taste right. Later that night, I was throwing up, and it lasted for 3-4 days. Luckily it was only coming out of the one end, but it still wasn't fun. Anyway, I think I got sick from one or both of those meals. I ate the beef, and the FP didn't. I ate a bad mussel and the FP didn't. So I don't know which it was. But I couldn't eat mussels for a year or so after. The smell made me want to vomit. I had to eat PF Chang's once. That was because I was visiting my aunt and didn't have a choice. So anyway, the moral is don't eat PF Chang's, and don't eat shellfish that hasn't opened when steamed, or looks all mutilated, or if it looks fine but tastes bad, don't swallow. Spit that shit out!

Monday, December 3, 2007

long time no blog

Well, there has been a lot going on the last couple of weeks. So, to bring you up to speed some... We left off with a Thanksgiving meal on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We ate that every day for the next few days. We were going to make gumbo, but we didn't have time to.

Wednesday. The Food Pimp's parents came into town on Wednesday night, so we had to go meet them that night. They were staying at the Holiday Inn on the harbor, so we ate at the pub there - the Elephant and Castle. It had a promising menu - pub food. So we ordered drinks first. Jack on the rocks for the dad. Vodka tonic for the mom? Guiness for the FP? I had Smithwick's I think. So The classic move for the FP's dad is to order a starter right when we order drinks. The server is usually not prepared for this. So the dad asks, how are the calamari? The guy says they're good. Or he asks how big it is. And the guy says, big enough for the table to share. So he orders them. They were good. Nicely fried. And there were tentacles too. I like tentacles. A Mexican must have been at the fryer. I'm not kidding. When we first moved here, we got loads of calamari that were pale and rubbery. Apparently, that's how the Caucasians at the restaurants we ate at cooked them, but not the Mexicans. Someone told us this. I don't remember who though. So the mom had shepard's pie. The dad got the fish and chips combo which came with halibut and cod, I got the fish and chips plate, and the FP got the yorkshire pudding. So the shepard's pie was good. Shepard's pie. The fish and chips- they were okay. Well, the fries were good. They were the ones that were a little fatter, but they were crispy. It's funny that so many places have bad or average fries,that it's a big deal to get good ones. The fish was not as crispy as it could be, and it just kind of didn't taste like anything. Except the malt vinegar and hot sauce that I doused it with. The yorkshire pudding was only the bottom half of the pudding and it had a texture like it had been cooked hours ago, and then it was filled with roast beef with gravy that was grey and flavorless. It had mashed potatoes on the side that also were nothing to speak of. Oh well, we tried.

Thursday Thanksgiving. So we had reservations at the Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel on Broadway. They offered a 3 course meal with choices for each. I got there almost an hour early, so I went to the bar and waited. When I walked in, I felt stupid because I didn't think I was snooty enough. So I figured it was a very posh place with good liquor, right? So I wanted a drink with some good dark rum. I'm not sure why, but that's what I wanted. All they had was Meyer's, Mount Gay and Cruzan. I know Cruzan is the worst, but I've never had it and I thought anyway, it's probably cheaper than the other two. I asked for a daquiri on the rocks, and the bartender says, I can't make a daquiri, do you want coke? I didn't understand at first. So anyway, I asked for some fresh lime juice and simple syrup. So she said, I don't have fresh lime, I can squeeze a lime into the glass or use Rose's. So I said, yeah, the fresh lime. She said, do you want me to squeeze the lime into the glass. So I said yes. I can't believe I felt inadequate to be in there. Everyone else was drinking bud light or coors and wearing shorts. Okay, so they probably make 20 times what I make, but still. Anyway, my drink was $10.98.

So the family showed up, but the FP's sis wasn't feeling well. So she ordered a ginger ale for $3.78.

We sat down to dinner, and we got an amuse bouche. Duck proscuitto, red grape and fig paste. It was delicious. The duck was so beautifully thin and proscuitto like. And the FP's sis gave us hers. Next course. Everyone got kuri squash and fennel soup. It was pretty thick, but they all loved it. The FP and I got short rib ravioi. It was pretty perfect. The ravioli were the right texture and thickness, and the short rib filling just tasted like nicely cooked short ribs. And the reduction sauce on the plate was just enough to taste it, not to drown the ravioli. Second course. We all got turkey dinner, except for the FP. He got the pork tenderloin. So the turkey dinner came with white and dark meat, sweet potatoes, kumquat cranberry sauce, and chestnut mash potatoes. So it was cool or room temperature. Which is funny, because how many of you have eaten a hot turkey dinner. If so, please leave a comment, because I really want to know.

Getting back to turkey. The turkey was delicious. The dark meat was falling apart like it had been braised. The cranberry sauce was really sweet, somewhat too sweet. But mix the whole plate together and shove it in my mouth, it was delicious. The FP's sis was out in the lobby at this point taking a snooze. The FP's dinner. Pork tenderloin. Very tender, pink center, flavorful. Lightly sauteed(?) apples, gnocchi and hedgehog mushrooms. Very skillfully executed. He was very pleased with his dinner.

Dessert. The dad got some squash pie. I guess he liked it. The mom and FP and brother in law got panna cotta. I got pear sorbet. It just sounded refreshing. And it was. It just tasted like fresh very ripe pears. Yum. The panna cotta was the best I've ever tasted. I haven't had much, but it's always been like jello custard. But this was much looser. It was just nice. This place was really good, and if we ever have money, I want to go and order off the regular dinner menu.

Friday. We went to Little Italy. What the hell was the name of the restaurant? Buon Appetito. I knew it was a generic name. So we had a 45 minute wait, and we went to the wine bar next door that was owned by the same people. We happened to run into one of the people who live in one of the communities where the FP teaches. So, oh no, good old Dad hears this and talks to the guy the whole time we're in there. We got a bottle of wine. Valipolicella. I don't know what kind. I am not a wine person. I thought I might get more into it here, but I'm less into it. There are so many good beers here, that I like to drink a lot of beer. Getting back to the subject, we wanted 2 appetizers, so the guy recommends the baked goat cheese. We also get an eggplant roll thingy. So the baked goat cheese was a round of goat cheese in the center of the plate. Then a whole lot of pesto was smeared around the base of the plate, and garnished with roasted garlic and caramelized red onion. It was really good and we ate all of it, but the garlic was not really roasted enough. It was still strong. The eggplant thingy was a salad, with eggpant rolled around fresh mozzarella, and basil, I think. It was very good. The eggplant was kind of pickled. So the dad realized maybe it was time to stop blabbing to this guy, so we cut out and went next door. We waited about 5 minutes, then they sat us.

So, I don't know if I remember what everyone got. Let's see. We ordered drinks, and the dad asks, how big is the fried calamari appetizer. The server says, it's a good sized portion for the whole table to share. I don't remember how good it was. I think we squoze a lot of lemon on it and it was thick sliced, but I don't remember any complaints. I got the house salad. The sis got the house salad with goat cheese. Mine was terrible. The house dressing tasted like one of those sweet dressings - catalina - with some balsamic vinegar added - for sweetness. Ugh. The dad got some pasta with seafood, shrimp or scallops or something. Garlic sauce I think. I guess it was fine. The mom and sis got ravioli with shrimp cream champagne sauce. Not my kind of thing, but they really liked it. It looked nice. The bro-in-law got meat lasagna. It was all messily cut out. He liked it. It seemed to have veggies that he didn't really eat, pieces of carrot and zucchini. The FP had osso bucco and saffron rissoto. It was huge portions and the osso bucco was delicious. He liked the rissoto. I had this special seafood rissoto with tomato sauce. It was terrible. Watery bland tomato sauce. It was like the rissoto was boiled(slightly over), then they heated up the tomato sauce in a pan and dropped the arborio rice in it. I used to work somewhere where we boiled the rice for rissoto, but we loaded enough cream and parmesan in it that it tasted good. I know that's not traditional, but hey, people liked it. I think I'll stop here. This is really long, and I don't know if anyone reads these whole blog entries anyway. Except for the FP....