Classic Dishes...

I’m Having A Ball

The 2008 Beijing Olympics get underway a week from today, but the media is already getting their coverage underway. Meet Garry Linnell of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, as he pays a visit to Guolizhuang, a Beijing restaurant that specializes in a rather, erm, unique cut of meat:

(Okay, guys, maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “cut” up there. Ouch.)

I’ll get the gag out of the way so you don’t have to: this brings new meaning to the invitation to eat a bag of Dick’s.

(Okay, ladies, maybe I shouldn’t have used the word “gag,” either…)

Daaaa Bears!

I discovered today that Carl’s Jr. now offers a Chili-Cheese (Double or Six-Dollar optional) Burger. And, hey, so long as we’re doing that, let’s dump some on the fries, too! They also now have a Cap’n Crunch milkshake. I remember way back that Planet Hollywood used to use crushed-up Cap’n as a breading for their chicken fingers (in fact, I see they still do), but this was the first time I had seen it as a dessert mix-in.

It’s like they’re basing their entire marketing strategy around how heart-attack-inducing their meals are.

Fun little puzzle (although I did a lot of the work for you above): Go to the Carl’s Jr. Nutritional Calculator. Using only one entree item (burger, breakfast item, or other sammich…you could use a salad if you want, but you won’t want to – keep reading), a single side, a single dessert, and ONLY LOGICAL EXTRAS (you must be able to make a case as to why it would be desirable with that meal), see if you can cobble together a meal that clocks in at over 3000 calories. It CAN be done!

(I am SO going to Fatburger tomorrow night for dinner.)

All The Hebrews In The House Say OYYYY!


(And apologies for not having written much lately. Starting next week I’ll have a lot more free time for a while, and plan to try to get back on a regular schedule of posting.)

At Least I Have Chicken

As I’d mentioned before, last week I was back in California, visiting the ‘rents and taking in the San Jose Sharks‘ first two games of the season. And while I did wax poetic (if briefly) about the best burrito in the world, I’m sure you were hoping I would bring back a truly wacky food story. Well, I’d hate to disappoint, so:

I landed in San Jose on Sunday afternoon, got my rental car, and drove up to Fremont to have dinner with a friend. On the way to this delicious little Chinese cafe in Union City, we passed by this odd little place in a stripmall called Jollibee. I found it curious; it was a chain I’d never heard of before.

After dinner, driving back, we pass by it again, and I ask my dining companion what the heck Jollibee is. And she can’t really tell me, aside from the news that they have “a really weird menu…you can order burgers, but you can also order chicken and spaghetti.” I nod my head, making a mental note to look it up online when I got home, and then promptly forgetting said note. (This is why I carry a PDA. Which I’d also forgotten to make a note in.)

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon, and I’m in San Jose, where I would spend the rest of my trip, getting some cash out of the ATM at my bank. And in driving away, I see another Jollibee. Now I’m doubly curious, and I make a note to Google this when I get to the motel I’d booked with the complimentary wireless Internet.

And the wireless Internet at the motel is down, won’t give me an IP address, and would not work the whole three days I was there. (That’s the fabulous Vagabond Inn, screwing travellers out of advertised ameneties since 1958. Don’t go there.)

So I’m left curious. And now we get to Saturday, and I have a jonesing for Wienerschnitzel, because it’s something I can’t get in Washington. So down we head to Tully Road, and I discover that my Wienerschnitzel has turned into a Hawaiian BBQ. (And I think we all know how painful that can be.) So I get a bright idea: there’s this funky place I keep seeing called Jollibee, all I’ve been told is that the menu is weird, but there must be something edible on it, it’s just down the road, so let’s go there! My companion agrees, and off we go.

You’ll note I haven’t linked to the restaurant’s Web site yet, mainly because I wanted to set up the story and have The Four Of You experience it just as I did, when I first walked in. As it happens, Jollibee is the most popular fast food restaurant in the Philippines, and now you can see what I did…a menu consisting of burgers, fried chicken, a hot dog, spaghetti, a mound of rice, hamburger patties, and gravy not that far afield from what the Hawaiians call locomoco, and something called palabok, which from the picture on the menu (and please remember that this is the picture taken specifically to make me want to eat it) looked not at all unlike what would happen if someone ate ground beef, hard-cooked eggs, and shrimp, and then puked it up onto a pile of rice noodles.

Esoteric enough, right? Well, now we get to the item names: Yumburgers. Jolly Spaghetti. Palabok Fiesta. The Jolly Hotdog. Burger Steak. And, finally, the name that is haunting me to this day…”Chickenjoy”. But I’ll get to that later.

So we order our food, first my dining companion, and then myself. She goes for a Yumburger and fries, and I opt for the Burger Steak, since I had locomoco on the brain since seeing the Hawaiian place. It is delivered to me on the ubiquitous orange fast food tray, and off I go into the dining area.

Upon arrival, my companion alerts me to the yellow Wet Floor sign that we’ve all seen a million times. And I am indeed mindful, and yet the second my feet hit that section of the tile floor, they fly out from under me and I’m on the ground.

Miraculously, I have managed to do all of this without spilling either my Burger Steak or my drink, and I’ve hurt nothing but my pride, but approximately 47 people are there to help me up at this point, despite all attempts on my part to wave them off and reassure them that I was fine…

…and apparently each and every one of those 47 people decide they need to stop by our table while we’re attempting to enjoy our lunch to reconfirm that I am in fact unharmed. In the meantime, I’m looking for a nearby hole to crawl into. I realize now that they’re all petrified that I’m going to sue them…

…and this suspicion is confirmed when the manager shows up with a clipboard, upon which is what must have been a hastily-written and no-way-in-nine-blue-hells-legally-binding release. At first I balk at signing it, irritated at the constant badgering, but then decide that I’d like very much for them to go away and let us finish our lunch, and since I had no intention of pursuing any legal action anyhow, scrawled my name and handed it back.

(Upon retrospect, I realize two things: 1) They had no idea who I was. I could have signed “Fred Smythe”, “Dick Hertz”, or taken some inspiration from our good friend “Mike Litoris“, and they would have been none the wiser. And, 2) I shouldn’t have signed it. They were saying that if I didn’t they would insist on taking me to the hospital, but short of sending out half of the WWE’s tag-team division, they weren’t making me go anywhere that I didn’t want to, and if they did, that would have been the makings of a fine lawsuit unto itself. But I didn’t want to embarrass my companion by making a scene, so no harm, no foul.)

Anyhow, back to our meal, which I think we’re going to be able to finish in peace. But here comes the manager again, and now she wants to give us free food to take with us. Specifically, she wants us to try the “Chickenjoy” and hopefully spread the good word about their restaurant. (I’m guessing she didn’t realize that ship had already sailed when she shoved the pen under my nose in the midst of a forkful of Burger Steak.) And I reassure her that everything is fine and we’d just like to finish our lunch and be on our way, but she’s having none of it.

And that’s how it came to pass that we had two pieces of Original and two pieces of Spicy Chickenjoy in the fridge back at the motel later that day, some of which was consumed the following morning while we were getting our things together to check out.

It wasn’t bad.

Missed It Byyyy……About 1,000 Miles

Strange lunchtime experience today.

I’m driving over to the steam-table Chinese place I frequent to get some food, and I’m totally on autopilot. I park, get out of the car, and walk inside…

…to find myself spang in the middle of what is now a teriyaki joint. I literally had to consciously stop the two-item-combo order from tumbling out of my mouth anyhow.

Apparently they dropped their franchise (the Chinese place was a chain) and decided to go All Japanese, All The Time. Mind, all of the decoration and what not from the previous place was there, but the steam tables and the menu were now changed.

So, teriyaki, what the hell, fine. And I get outside, and turn around, to discover that the logo on the door and the main sign over the place had in fact been replaced by two large signs reading “TERIYAKI”. So I suppose I had fair warning, had I not been lost in my own little dreamworld.

Like I said, strange.

There’s No Bad Pizza

However, I did learn today that the sign of completely mediocre pizza is when it tastes better cold the next day than it did hot out of the oven.


Most of The Four Of You know what cybersquatting is, I think.

The other day I got the 90-day warning from GoDaddy that my domains, including good ol’, are coming up for renewal. I’ve been tossing around some ideas for minor changes to the site anyhow (I really need to implement CSS, I want the archives on their own page instead of on that minimally-useful dropdown above, and does anyone with some artistic ability and a charitable spirit feel like making me a neato logo to stick in the upper left corner? Contact me if you do.), and in doing so I was thinking maybe I would register and direct that here too, just for the hell of it.

Well, this afternoon, during a slow time here at work, I decided on a whim to see if it was available. Imagine my surprise to find that had been squatted by some outfit out of Great Britain. I was amused to find that some Brit thought I was gonna pay a mint for a domain name for two reasons: 1) I don’t HAVE a mint, and 2) I’m nowhere near popular enough that the domain name is worth anything to me anyhow. The only reason I called it Chez Fred in the first place is because the restaurant menu theme was all I could think of at the time when I set it all up; I could yank all of that theme and just call it plain-ol’ and nobody would notice. So I giggled, satisfied that some squatter asshole had wasted their $8 or whatever their domain registrar soaked ’em for.

Then, out of curiosity, I decided to see just how widespread the Chez Fred name is, so I Googled it. This was the first hit. Oops.

That said, there are far worse things to share a name with than a British fish and chip shop, especially one that mentions on their menu: “If you’d like some more chips on your plate, please feel free to ask – there’s no extra charge…”

My kind of people.

Eggs, Seen On TV

I’m watching Millionaire on GSN right now, and I just saw an ad for this.

If you don’t feel like following the link or are reading me via RSS or something, it’s an omelette pan that has a switch in the handle that makes the sides flip over and fold the thing. Valued at $70, yours today on Sale Of The Century for the low low price of just $19.99.

I have something like this in a kitchen drawer. It’s called a SPATULA.

Really, folks, is it that hard to fold a freakin’ omelette? Put in your filling, fold over the right third (with your handy-dandy $3 heat-proofed spatula), cook a little more (if you’re melting cheese or something), then slide the folded half out onto your serving plate and use the pan to fold in the other third. I just did it last night.

Plus, I can just imagine what fun it will be to clean all of the egg that oozes down into the crevices formed by the folding bits.

Going back to the previous post about People Being (Freakin’) Stupid, there must be a market for this crap or else they wouldn’t advertise it.

Schlemeel, Schlemazel

So here’s a neat site that I’m surprised I hadn’t come across sooner: how to brew your own root beer, using simple household equipment.

I’ve always thought the idea of brewing your own beer was really cool, but I don’t drink. I do love root beer, though, so when I saw this, my interest was piqued, and a short trip to the grocery later (alas, I had to make do with McCormick’s root beer extract), I was good to go.

And it worked out pretty much as advertised. Sat on the counter for three days, then I put it in the fridge overnight, and poured some today. It’s…interesting. It tastes a LOT more like regular beer (at least, what I remember beer to taste like), which prolly has to do with the fermenation of the sugar by the yeast. Definitely an acquired taste, but it was pretty easy to acquire, if you get my meaning. It’s not nearly as sweet as the stuff you get at the store, either, enough so that I might increase the sugar by 1/4 cup for the next batch just to see what happens.

I dunno if it’s gonna displace Henry Weinhard’s as the best root beer on the planet, but I finally have my own microbrewery! :)

New And Improved. Really.

A little while back I made one of my occasional trips to Costco to get things you normally get at Costco. One of my purchases was one of those large boxes that contain an Assortment ‘O’ Chips, for to enjoy with lunch. This particular one apparently contains every product Frito-Lay has ever made: Fritos, Lays, Ruffles, Cheetos, Doritos (in not one but two flavors), the whole deal.

Which brings us to today: I prepared lunch, and selected a bag of Nacho Cheesier! (their words, not mine) Doritos to accompany my meal. And emblazoned boldly on the bag was the phrase “Now Better Tasting!”

And it occurred to me: I’ve seen this claim on bags of Doritos at least five separate times over the course of my life. The R&D department at Frito-Lay must be the busiest in the nation. I fully expect to see a bag in a year or two that says “We Swear, We Got It Right This Time.”

I am forced to conclude that Doritos must have tasted like complete ass in the 70’s.