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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TJ's Es Muy Bonita!

So, I've been wanting to go to the beach, but the FP seems to be over it. I guess summer is almost over, so you can't go to the beach after Labor Day anyway, right? Naaaaaaaht.

Anyhoo, the other day we were trying to figure out where to eat. I felt in the mood for seafood, which is unusual. I have been having acid reflux issues, so I didn't feel like eating anything too fatty or overly spicy. So, ideally I would have wanted to go to the beach and eat, but it might have been busy and the FP didn't seem into it. So I just googled seafood san diego. Of course yelp was one of the first sites, but I looked at it like I often do. Just because I think it can be bullshit doesn't mean I don't use it! So, anyhoo, this place called TJ's Oyster Bar caught my eye, and it wasn't in TJ. It was in Bonita, which I used to think was so far away, but now I realize it is actually really close.

So, the FP was game. He liked the name TJ. So we were driving to Bonita, and he said, I thought you were going to pick somewhere by the beach! Whatever. It was a lovely drive to Bonita. So we exited, and we were rubbernecking bigtime, and there were all these places, a caribbean place, lots of mexican (surprise, surprise), a place that looked spanish tapas, and some other places that all piqued our interest. According to the iphone, we missed TJ's, so we turned around. We didn't see it, so we had to drive all slow and touristy. We found it in the corner of a shopping center. It was very small, so it was easy to miss.

So, it was like a TJ oyster bar. It was this teeny place with mostly counter seating, a couple tables and a counter against the window.  Except it was clean.  You order at the cash register and then sit and wait for your food. So, we ordered, the cashier repeated my order twice, which was good, because she said "8 tacos", and I thought I had heard "a taco". And she said, that's why I repeated it twice. I mean, we've been known to eat a lot, but not quite that much. And actually, I wasn't ready to gorge on a big meal because of my digestive issues.

So we sat at the counter so we could watch them cook. The one guy did all the cooking, and the other guy finished the plates. It was like watching the cooks at Waffle House, all organized and methodical.  As we were waiting, people started piling in.  In a few minutes, there was a line out the door.  Okay, the place was small, so that wouldn't take much, but all the seats were spoken for and there were also people waiting outside as well.  So, we definitely knew this was going to be good.

So, I got three tacos. Whoopee, huh? That's really what I wanted though.

So, here are my shrimp and garlic taco and my grilled fish taco.  Really simple street tacos with a little red onion (thankfully), cilantro and white sauce.  They were a little small, but really good.  The shrimp and fish was seasoned nicely.

And here is my fried fish taco.  This one had some tomato and cabbage and white sauce.  Yeah, I shouldn't eat tomato either, but it wasn't that much.  I liked this one better because of the batter.  Can you say that sentence fast three times?  Probably.  Anyway, the batter was seasoned properly and it had stuff in it, herbs and spices.  So, yeah, I usually like the deep fried fish taco better.

This is not the best picture, but this is the FP's oyster cocktail.  It was so good.  The clam juice and stuff was so fresh and yummy and refreshing.  I loved it.  And yes, there was more tomato and raw onion.  But I barely ate much of it, just a taste, really.  The oysters tasted fresh too.  The FP wanted to get the pulpo cocktail, but since the place had oyster in the name, he felt like he should get something with oysters in it.

This was the FP's 7 mares.  You know, that's been his thing lately.  So, I asked how it compared to the San Clemente place and Ranchos.  He said, it didn't even compare.  It was way better.  Like we were in TJ, with hopefully no food poisoning.  But this place was so clean.  It was nice.  Like going to TJ without the hassle of crossing the border and eating at a dirty place and having people hound me to buy shit.  Anyway, it was very flavorful, with like that clamato mix with extra clam juice and shrimp stock or something.  It was really clean tasting.  We were very happy.  Although, as I watched, I saw what looked like smoked marlin on the grill.  I didn't see it on the menu.  I did see smoked tuna, though.  So either that was off the menu smoked marlin or smoked tuna.  Either way, it looked good.  If the place hadn't been so damn packed and people waiting for our seats, I would have gotten one.  But there's always next time!  Because you better believe, we are definitely going back to Bonita!

TJ Oyster Bar
4246 Bonita Rd.
Bonita, CA.
(619) 267-4577

Monday - Saturday
10am - 8pm

Sunday, August 28, 2011

To The Max

So, one day for lunch, we found ourselves on Convoy Street, with the age old question, what to eat?

It was a little before 11, so we drove around a bit, and then I suggested China Max. We had never been there, but I remember seeing the name a lot through the years. So, we pulled into the parking lot, and they were open, so that's where we went.

It was a little fancy, so I was hoping it wasn't a little too expensive.
We sat down, and were surprised to see dim sum menus. So, that was fine. It wasn't cheap, but not any higher prices than other places for lunch. The dinner menu, on the other hand was pretty pricey. We just ordered a couple of things off the dim sum menu and one dish.

So, they brought us the egg drop soup, and it was a nice surprise to find corn in it. I love corn going in and out! It was very tasty.

Beef rice noodle. I haven't had this in a while. Nicely flavored ground beef and lots of sauce.

Rice in lotus leaf. I forgot to take a picture of the insides. It was all gooey with meat gelatin and some of the egg. Sounds gross, but it really flavored the rice.

Pork rib with black bean sauce. One of my favorites.

Rock cod with black bean sauce. The cod was good, as was the little sauce at the bottom. The big chunks of basically raw bell pepper and onion are really a loathsome ingredient to me. I can only assume, without doing research that this is a thing that developed in the USA because people felt like they weren't getting enough bang for their buck because there were not enough vegetables in their dishes, or they couldn't see the vegetables. So, to spite them, asian restaurants started putting gigantic dice vegetables into dishes and adding them at the last minute so they wouldn't shrink at all. Anyway, the sauce was good to drizzle onto my rice. I enjoyed the fish.

It was good. I would go back, but I would probably read up on the internets to see what one is supposed to get when eating there.

I wonder if one day, assuming the world doesn't end next year, our descendants will see our old blogs and posts and stuff, and say, wow, back then it looks like it was mandatory to take a picture of your food before you ate it! What a weird custom!

China Max
4698 Convoy Street C101
San Diego, CA 92111

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Phocking Pho

So, I bought a chicken from Pancho Villa Market for $6. So, I did what all classic cooks do. I simmered it to make a flavorful chicken broth. Well, I probably would have roasted it, but I decided to simmer it to make Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. No one was sick, I just wanted to cook without doing much work and have enough for more than one meal. This is one of those kinds of things that you think foodies cook all the time, right? I'm not a foodie, though.

Well, I don't know, maybe I am, but I don't like that term. I see foodies as people who would not eat fast food or junk food or profess their love for these foodstuffs. And they know much more than me about cuisine and different ethnic styles and classical techniques, and stuff. I used to be fairly knowledgeable about food, but my mind is becoming a ball of mush. Really. I've been losing IQ points since I was...22ish. I love Popeyes, I am infatuated with Inn and Out Burger, Del Taco is a booty call, Jack in the Box is a desperate void filler, hot dogs and pizza are long term casual affairs. Long John Silver is an old lover, but we still are on speaking terms, and I don't hold any jealousy for his live in relationship with KFC and Taco Bell - oh and Taco Bell was an adolescent love affair. I guess rather than a foodie, I'm more of a..... food ho.

Blah, blah, blah. So, I'm not going to explain in painstaking detail the steps for making chicken soup. Because if you need that, then either you are an inexperienced cook, or maybe you should let someone else cook it for you. I can't write out the recipe and put my loyal readers to sleep - who by the way all can cook, probably better than me, and share intersecting food tastes with me, unless they just read this for my pulitzer prize winning writing style. Okay, I'm really just too lazy to write it. But, you just simmer the chicken until it's nice and cooked, and then you pull the chicken, put other stuff in the soup, season it and put the chicken back in.

Anyhoo, I put sliced onions, mushrooms, and bok choy in it. And I garnished with bean sprouts, lime and some chili and fish sauce on the side. Unfortunately, I didn't have basil, and it defintely could have used some.

The next day, I took some of the chicken that I didn't put in the soup, and I mixed it into a seaweed salad that I made. I love seaweed salad. And it's also good for staving off that nuclear fallout from the Japanese nuclear power plant meltdown that we now hear zero news about because it's completely fixed and cleaned up and no problems there, right? Anyway, I had 3 types of dried seaweed. I'm not a marine biologist or a sea horticulturist, so, I'm not going to go into the kind of seaweed. Today is and anti-informational blog. It's like, if you were reading this for culinary education, you should have stopped at the title. If you're reading this on the shitter, that's probably more appropriate.

Anyway, I mixed all the seaweed together to hydrate, which was a rookie move. This one seaweed clearly was thicker, like kelp strips. Of course, it was a little chewy, while the other seaweed was feathery tenderness. I just made a simple dressing of sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and a little fish sauce, and sesame seeds.

I'm not very prolific when it comes to the asian condiments. Whenever I get crazy and buy a bunch of other stuff, it goes bad, falls out of the fridge door and spills everywhere, or it gets infested with moths or other pests. So, yeah. I liked it. It was delish. In fact, I didn't even eat any chicken soup for lunch, just a few big bowls of seaweed and chicken salad. And it didn't cost $10 for a teeny pile served on a fancy sushi dish by some trendy white person wearing a trendy all black long sleeve uniform complete with long black bistro apron and shiny Danskos in a trendy sushi restaurant owned by a trendy mexican with mexicans working the sushi bar. Not that there's anything wrong with that.....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So, I've been cooking what would be termed pan-asian, which is just a euphemism for the f word - FUSION. It's a hated word. I would hate for people to term my food fusion, but there you have it.
I had some groceries I needed to use, so I went to the the mexican market and bought some thin cut pork chop. I had some chow mein noodle that I would just stir fry with stuff. I guess it was a bastard kung pao.

Pan Asian Fusion Bastard Kung Pao Pork Chop Chow Mein

2 inches ginger peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 oz peanuts
3 T sesame oil
1 lb pork chops bone in sliced
2 bunches green onion sliced into 3 inch pieces
6 heads baby bok choy leaves separated and washed
small handful sezchuan peppers (I had to get these "japanese peppers" from Panchos because I forgot to get sezchuan peppers when I was at the asian market. They were longer and thicker than szechuan peppers, so not as good)
1/2 lb bean sprouts
4 oz soy sauce
3 oz fish sauce (I prefer Rufina Philippine brand, of course)
2 oz rice vinegar
1 oz honey
1 c water
1 pack fresh chow mein noodles blanched

Heat a wok or saute pan until it's hot. Add 2 tablespoons sesame oil, and swirl it around bottom of the pan. Add ginger, garlic, peanuts and peppers. Stir fry quickly, so contents don't burn. Let it cook until everything is nicely toasted. Remove and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. When it's hot, add green onions and cook for one minute. Sprinkle pork chops with a little salt, then add to pan. Let it cook for one minute on high, flip cook another minute. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and water. Let it come up to a boil, then add bok choy. Reduce heat to medium high, and let cook for 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, pepper and peanut mix, sprouts and chow mein noodles. Toss to mix everything. Let it cook another several minutes until noodles are cooked to desired doneness and sauce has reduced some.

I also bought one of those vacuum packs of bamboo shoots. I actually made this first so it would marinate a little.

Yummy Bamboo Shoot Salad
2 T sesame oil
2 szechuan peppers
I pack bamboo shoots cut into thin strips
2 oz fish sauce
1 oz soy sauce
1 oz rice vinegar
juice of 2 key limes

Heat a saute pan or wok. Add sesame oil, swirl around bottom of pan, and let it get hot. Add szechuan peppers and fry until evenly toasted. Turn off heat. Toss in bamboo shoots, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice. Take off heat. Serve warm or cold.

And then, of course, I sliced some fresh chilis and put it in fish sauce with a splash of vinegar for the FP. He can never have enough salt or heat......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Squarshed Baby Tomato

So, I'm just going to post some of the more interesting food we've been eating over the past month.

This is the large oxtail plate at Caribbean Taste on Imperial Avenue. It's very good. I find myself liking it more than Island Spice. The oxtail at Island Spice is so cooked down and thick and rich that it's a little too much. At Caribbean Taste it's "lighter". If you want patties though, get them at Island Spice. All three - veggie, chicken and beef - are really good. I love the pastry, it's nice and flaky.

You know what these are! So, one morning, we woke up and decided we wanted Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I had been craving these for a couple months, so I was excited to go. The Hot Doughnuts sign was not lit, but we went in anyway. I mean, it was Sunday morning, so they had to be fresh, right? Well, the glazerfall was operating, but they were cranking out mini doughnuts. So you can't buy those except for in a box of 20. Boo :( But, the guy at the counter assured me the regular sized doughnuts were done no more than 5 - 10 minutes ago. So, I got two. The Food Pimp got one glazed and one lemon custard filled. We got iced coffee, which sucked. But, I just needed it to drink while I scarfed down my doughnuts. Actually, I consciously took my time to eat them. They were like sweet clouds of sugar and fat, heavenly! We watched all the families trickle in and stare into the windows and enjoying their doughnuts and the company of their families. We thought it was nice, because it's a memory in both of our childhoods that we do not share.

Now, it's not like my childhood was all bad, but when I see a girl climb onto her daddy's lap and give him kisses, that is weird to me.

Anyway, after the Krispy Kreme outing, we had to go do some errands for a bit, and then the FP was already ready for lunch. So, we were driving around Clairemont Mesa when we spotted a place called Village Indian Cuisine. I wasn't really hungry, so it was all the FP's decision, so that's where we went.

We walked in, and it looked like they had just opened. There was a buffet, which looked, okay. But the FP decided to order off the menu. I guess I forgot to take a picture of his food. It was lamb vindaloo. He said it was decent, but there was no need to come running back to the place.

I had ordered what I thought was going to be a little appetizer.
Chana Samosa. The way I read the description, I thought the samosa would be filled with garbanzo beans, not smothered with them! So it was a vegetable samosa with potatoes and peas, and then the stewed garbanzos with yogurt and cilantro on top. The garbanzos were a little al dente. So, kudos to them for actually cooking the beans, but less than kudos for not cooking them quite long enough. The dish itself tasted good, but part of the goodness of samosas for me is that the pastry is crispy fried goodness. So being smothered with the chick peas, the samosas were not crispy anymore. And so much for a little sumpin sumpin....

We went a couple weeks ago up to Anaheim to see our friend's band play a show. So on the way up we stopped in San Clemente for lunch. We were both wanting Mexican, so that was an easy call since the first shopping center we passed had a Mexican joint. The FP got seafood stew,

and I got carnitas tacos.

It was very good. The FP loved his stew. My tacos were good, but the beans were too pureed. I like pinto beans to be a little more... beany. It doesn't have to be whole beans, although I like it that way, but I like to have some texture so it's not so baby foody.

I kinda was on this taco kick, so I made chicken tacos one time at home.

I just kinda cooked the chicken meat with onion, garlic, salsa and canned pinto beans. I think I threw a little butter in at the end.

Then, I was still on a taco kick, but I wanted fish tacos. This is weird because I've never been a huge fan of fish tacos, but I've come to appreciate them. The FP wanted seafood stew because the one he had in San Clemente was good. So we went to Ranchos in North Park. It was strange because it was a Saturday or Sunday around lunchtime, and we hadn't eaten out in North Park, especially on a Saturday or Sunday in ages.

So, the place has been redone since we last went which was probably a couple years ago. I had been relieved that the front patio with all the plants had been removed. While I love foliage especially on patios, there was too much there. I felt the creepy sense that rats probably loved that patio. Anyhoo, the FP got his stew.

Which he really liked, although he preferred the stew in San Clemente.

I got my fish tacos.
So, the obvious criticism I'm going to make is the cheese. We both got cheese on our beans, me on my black beans, the FP on his pintos. We were eating seafood. While I'm not so stringent about the no seafood with cheese rule, I didn't think it was fitting to have cheese with our beans and seafood stew and fish tacos in this case. I probably might have been okay with a little sprinkling of queso cotija, just a little. But not that mozzarella or whatever it was. Anyway, moving past that, the rice was overcooked, which was fine because that's kind of the deal with this preparation of rice - it's more authentic seeming if it's overcooked. The tacos were good. I got one grilled and one fried. I actually liked the crispy fried fish better. The grilled fish was a little more on the dry side, being grilled instead of fried, but I liked both and I gobbled them up.


I like so many fellow Americans love mac and cheese. Not so much the box shit anymore. I like it with a proper cheese sauce. The cheese doesn't have to be fancy though. So, the FP is not a big mac and cheese fan. He's not a fan at all. But, he can appreciate a good mac and cheese. So, he never really made mac and cheese before he started teaching cooking classes. So, he's learned the technique - slowly cooking the bechamel. Anyhoo, he had a kids' cooking class one Saturday afternoon. The property that the class was at had not promoted the class at all. So no one showed up. So, he had the fixins for a huge pan of the stuff. So that's what we had for several meals. It was so fucking delicious, all baked up in the pan and topped with bacon! So good. We ate almost all of it. It was a shame that a bit of it went to waste.

Sinigang. Yum Yum Yum

Sisig. Yum, but Tita's is way better.

Coconut curry crawfish.
Yuck. I mean, the sauce was good to put on the rice, but the crawfish were gross. They tasted like they were those frozen imported crawfish from China or Thailand. They were just dirty tasting. Yuck.

Coconut Chicken Curry
Yum Yum Yum Yum So good!

We also go pancit to eat with the leftovers (not the crawfish though). The pancit was also yum yum yum!

Several days later I made a sinigang. It wasn't as good as Tita's or Conching's, but the FP said it was good if we just didn't think of it as a sinigang. I made it with pork neck, beef shank, ginger, garlic, tamarind, mushrooms and these chinese mustard greens, bau-sin. I cooked rice too, of course. So, it was pretty good, but the chinese mustard greens gave both of us very very bad bloating, which of course was accompanied with very very foul gas. I don't generally have much of a problem with greens while the FP does. But, these greens were stewed for hours in the soup, so I was surprised that they were still very gas inducing!

Monday, August 15, 2011


So, FYI ya'll, I have two other blogs you can read if you so choose. I just have all this time on my hands and I need to occupy myself. One is just general bullshit - Unnecessary Supplement and the other is heavy and depressing about my dad and my childhood, My Personal Story. Don't fret about the Pork Porn Pages, though, I will be as neglectful as ever about this blog. Actually, I should be getting something exciting in the mail soon as fodder for this blog!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

5 Guys and an Overly Sweet Peach

So, this totally sucks, because I was almost done and was about to publish this, when I erased the whole blog entry.

So here we go again.

5 Guys burger - pretty good
5 Guys cajun fries - too salty and too many
5 Guys grilled cheese - really good
Bruster's ice cream - too sweet


Okay, fine. I'll write more.

So, I was in Lakeland, Florida. My hometown. Yup. So, with all the culinary offerings that Lakeland, Florida has to offer, we thought we would go to Five Guys for lunch one day. My oldest sis, Openheart, and I have never been to a Five Guys. So, we cruised on over.

My middle sis, Buffalo Rib, had been to Five Guys before. She ordered a little burger. In disbelief I asked, that's it? I on the other hand am always ravenous when I go to Lakeland. I think the nerves and stress and anxiety cause me to have a huge appetite. So, because I didn't know when the next meal would be, I decided to get a double cheeseburger, regular patties. I wanted fries and Openheart said she'd have some too. So when I was ordering, I think Buffalo Rib was trying to tell me to get the medium fries because they would be plenty. The guy taking my order told me to get the large of course. And, I was listening to my greedy gut, so I got the large.

So, the food came out, and it was a lot. My massive double cheeseburger was like 140% bigger than an Inn N Out double cheeseburger. And the patties were handformed and kind of falling apart, and they were making my bread soggy. Okay, I have no problem with hand made patties, I prefer them of course, but I don't want them breaking up and juicing up my buns! Anyway, the flavor of the burger itself was good.

The fries, were too much. I wish I would have heard/listened to my sis. Especially because she paid for lunch, and she wasn't even eating the fries. So, there was a large cup of fries, and there were also a ton in the paper bag as well. They were cajun fries. There was too much spice on them, making them extra salty. But, of course, being the Food Ho that I am, I kept shovelling them into my piehole.

So, my sisses were done with their burgers. My nephew was still eating, as once he's clamped onto a breast he doesn't let go until a couple birthdays have gone by. I'm joking. He's only 3 months old. He does love his milk though and sucks it down every chance he can get. I was forcing myself to finish as much of my burger as I could so I wouldn't be hungry before dinner, whenever that was going to be, when I remembered that I had been wanting to try the Five Guys grilled cheese. When I mentioned it to my sisses, they decided to order one to share.

So, the deal with the grilled cheese, is they turn the bun inside out and slap mayo on the outside to cook with instead of butter. Sound gross? That's what I thought, but my friend who used to work at Five Guys in San Diego had told me it was delicious. Since, I would never grace the Five Guys of San Diego with my presence, I was glad I got to try it. And it was delicious. So why will I never go to Five Guys here? Said friend who told me about the grilled cheese got the axe basically because he and his boss didn't get along. So, his boss found some lame excuse to fire him.

Later on, we were hot. If you've never had the fortune to visit good old Lakeland, Florida, then let me tell you - it's hot and it's humid. So, we wanted ice cream. We went to this place in the Highlands called Bruster's real ice cream. Sounds good, right, "real" ice cream? Homemade, good quality ingredients, time tested family recipe or something? They had some whimsical flavors, as ice cream shops should, like Jamaican Me Crazy and Purple Dinosaur.

So, Openheart asked what those flavors were. Jamaican Me Crazy was coconut ice cream with almonds and fudge. I don't usually associate almonds and chocolate with Jamaica, but I guess we're to assume that the chocolate and almonds in this ice cream are from there? Anyway, the Purple Dinosaur was just vanilla ice cream with purple dye. So, Openheart got the Jamaican Me Crazy. Which is funny and fitting when you think about it, because she has dreads.

Buffalo Rib got the Turtle ice cream, which is always a classic, but in the heat of the sun, wouldn't be my choice. Chocolate makes me even thirstier when it's hot. Since the turtle ice cream was the meltiest, she got the smallest portion, which was probably good on account that she had to eat it fast.

I already drink an average of 90 oz of water a day, so I got peach. It sounded so refreshing. Mine didn't have any chunks in it, just bits of peach in it, so I got an enormous portion. I thought it was going to break the coveted sugar cone. I guess when I'm in Lakeland I always get large portions of food. I think the stress and anxiety make me voracious, as large quantities of food have always been a comfort. I guess the theme that day was "biting off more than I could chew." It was sweet. Too sweet. Sickly sweet. Oh, but I ate it. It was cold and refreshing. After over half of it, I was over it, though. I just wanted to sugar cone, and I didn't want to get through the last of the ice cream to get to it. Luckily, Openheart said she would eat it. She sucked it clean off my cone, and hurrah! my cone was accessible!

So, it turns out the Bruster's is a chain. So, lucky you, those of you who like supersweet ice cream, you can find a store near you!
Bruster's real ice cream

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No Place Like Other People's Homes

So, it's funny how I am a cook. And I'm unemployed. And I dread cooking at home most of the time. I guess, it's funny when you put all three of those sentences together, not so much each of them alone. Or maybe it's sad and pathetic. But, alas, I do not have a dream kitchen that one might think two cooks or chefs might own. The main problem is that the kitchen is all free reign for the Food Pimp to use for his job. So, you know, things get lost or broken or taken to a cooking class while I'm at home. I much prefer cooking in a professional kitchen where everything is supposed to go back in it's place because the people who are in the kitchen are paid to put things back and clean. At home, I have to be a self-motivated self starter. I mean, look at this blog. I only write it when the inspiration strikes. But, put some monetary incentive behind it (I mean more than the $1 a month I receive from advertising hits) and I could be inspired every day for several hours a day!

Anyhoo, getting back to the topic at hand, homecooking. Isn't this what everyone craves who doesn't get it all the time. And then people who never get to go out to eat and always have to eat homecooking (especially if it's not tasty homecooking or the company is displeasing) abhor the idea.

So, here's some stuff I've cooked in the past month.

This is some kind of mediterranean/middle eastern type of thing I did one night. It was a tomatoey chicken stew, with brown rice, greek yogurt, and a simple romaine salad with chick peas, cucumbers and lemon juice and olive oil dressing. Simple, yet delicious. As Martha Stewart would so famously say, "It's a good thing." Anyway, the FP came home from work to find a surprisingly wonderful healthful unusual home cooked meal.

Now here is a tortilla soup. It was made mostly with leftovers. Onion, garlic, salsa, rice, a can of chickpeas, old tortillas, and maybe some chicken, I really don't remember! When I told the FP there was tortilla soup for dinner, he was not thrilled. When he tasted his first spoonful though, he was pretty blown away. I don't recall him ever having "real" tortilla soup. The brothy stuff with some fried or baked tortilla strips tossed in at the end for garnish is just not quite the same. So, it wasn't anything fancy or even a family recipe handed down. It was using mostly things in the kitchen and added cheap things to make a heartwarming home cooked meal. Which given my aversion to being barefoot in the kitchen (even if the floor was just mopped) is something special since it's kind of an event.

Here is my home notcooked meal. Whenever the FP goes out of town, I eat irregular meals and I eat weird things or cereal. I usually consume a box of cereal when he's gone. So, this time, he had gone home to groundhogdayville in the heat of summer. On one particularly warm day there was no way I felt like turning on the burner and raising the temperature in the apartment another 15 degrees to cook for one. So, I went to Albertson's and gathered ingredients for a cold plate. I felt so very european, even though cheap cheddar is very uneuropean. Anyhoo, I had the sharp cheddar, the water crackers, pickles, some cheap salami, caperberries (which we had) and crystal hot sauce. I ate 2 cans of smoked oysters, 2/3 of the crackers, 1/3 pound of cheddar, and over half of the package of the salami. The caperberries sucked. They were big and the seeds were very large and crunchy. Such a shame.

So, two weeks ago, I went back to my hometown to meet my sisters and check in on my dad. The first night my oldest sister got in town, we had dinner at my mom's friend's house. Being momlike, she has a full stocked freezer. So, we "threw" together a meal composed almost entirely of frozen food and canned food. So, she defrosted "minute steaks" to make pepper steak. So, her idea of pepper steak is totally different than my idea of pepper steak. She dredged the steaks in flour, salt and pepper and cooked them in the pan. We realized that one pack of meat had actually been ground beef, so that meat we just formed into patties and cooked with the rest. She sauteed a little onion and pepper with it and then made a gravy.

She had frozen corn that someone had given her, which she heated on the stove with some evaporated milk for creamed corn.

Then she took stewed tomatoes from her sister, added some onion and bell pepper to it, and heated it on the stove as well.

Being a cook, I was enlisted to cook the rice and "do the zucchini" not in a sexual way of course, she's a nice elderly republican military widow who would never think like that, and you should feel ashamed for thinking like that! Anyway, the zucchini was no doubt from someone's garden, and it was borderline, so I sliced it up and we just cooked it with olive oil and butter, salt and pepper.

My sister had the task of making the bisquick cheese biscuits.

So, it's all very Betty Crockerish sounding. In fact, when I was talking to the FP on the phone at one point in the trip and told him this was the best meal I had so far, he was disappointed and disbelieving. But he wasn't there to eat it. This is the man who was not thrilled about tortilla soup and then raved on and on about it for 24 hours after.

This shit was the bomb. All of it. Well, the zucchini was not exciting by itself, but combined with the rest of the meal, it was the best fucking meal I had eaten in a long ass time. I love corn, but sweet Florida corn lovingly grown in someone's backyard, then shaved fresh and frozen, then thawed and cooked on the stove with evaporated milk, that is some corn, boy! She kept saying how she usually uses half and half, but all she had was evaporated milk. I wouldn't have changed anything about the corn. Except maybe I would have eaten a second helping of corn before I held my baby nephew and smeared poop leaking from his diaper on to my hand and all over his onesie. After that, I was pretty much full.

Two nights later, my mom's other friend cooked for us. Her sister had just arrived from LA, so we all sat down to a nice Pilipino dinner. Pancit, sauteed veggies with beef, sticky rice, black beans and vegetable AND shanghai lumpia.

It was blissful. It was reminiscent of the home cooked meals that my mom will never ever cook for me again. The sauteed veggies and beef suspiciously tasted like my mom's. The flavoring, the doneness to which the sugar snaps were cooked - all just like my mom's. This woman had been one of my mom's dear friends though, in the last several years of my mom's life. They both had stayed with abusive husbands because of Catholicism. Although, my mom's friend had gained the strength and resolve to leave her husband and not subject herself and her children to the hostile environment. My mom got away from my dad, but maybe not in the way she had hoped for. It's nice, though, to understand what a good home cooked meal means to other people. I hope I can keep that in mind, along with my mom's welcoming spirit when I once again get to cook for a living, hopefully in my own restaurant.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I need a new camera!!!

So, a couple weeks ago, this crew of San Diego food bloggers went on a BBQ tour. Sadly, I could not make it. But, of course, because of the mention of BBQ, the Food Pimp was craving BBQ. So, we decided to go to Abbey's Real BBQ. For some reason, possibly brain damage, aging or too many drugs and alcohol in the latter part of my youth, I always call this place The Abbey. The Abbey was this shady bar in New Orleans in the French Quarter which we used to frequent when we first moved there, and randomly on and off through the years. When I say shady, I mean people who were kinda shady would hesitate to go there - unless they were going to transact business, if you know what I mean. You know, buy and sell stocks, complete a short sale, merge corporations, expand operations to a global level, land that new advertising account, deliver an important powerpoint presentation.....

Anyhoo, getting back to Abbey's. We drove down Clairemont Mesa Blvd looking for this place. We had been there twice before, and we couldn't remember where it was. So, we picked up the trusty iphone, and it turns out we were looking for ABBEY'S, not the ABBEY!!! And it was a couple blocks from where we were.

So, it turns out that 2/3 of the very large parking lot was being resurfaced. So, we drove around the congested parking lot a bit, then we decided we could just park on the street, very far away. As we walked through, we were speculating as to whether the restaurant was even open. Luckily, it was. So, we ordered our grub.

We both ordered ribs, because we didn't feel like messin around!

This is where I decided that I need a new camera. Look at the two photos of the same food. I'm not sure what's happening with my camera, maybe it's just kinda cheap, but the picture quality seems to be going downhill. It has held out for the past couple of years and served me well, anyway.

The difference was, the FP got the slaw

and I got the potato salad. The potato salad sucked. It was just potatoes in mayo, yuck. The beans, slaw and ribs were delicious though. Very yummy. The ribs are nice and smokey, Texas style, and they pulled off the bone just right. We usually don't go all anal about that kind of thing, but you had to appreciate it. (Two sexual innuendos, but I'm not even gonna address that, what am I 13?)

Anyhoo, it was delish. And this time, I'm not even going to apologize for my absence the past couple of weeks. I'm sick of apologizing. I realize I had opportunities to write and I didn't. I've been noticing that I can justify not doing things even when I'm not working - it's called laziness, and I suffer from this condition. Is there a medication for this - a legal one, that is? Now I'm all backed up on blogs to write, which is better than not having material to write about because I haven't cooked or eaten anything interesting in a while, right?

Anyway, if you haven't been to Abbey's Real Texas BBQ, you should go.
Abbey's Real BBQ
9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. 92123