...the only type of marathon I will ever run.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

One for the Vegetarians

Despite my steady diet of legged and finned animals, there are a number of people very close to me that are vegetarians or vegans. As a result Real Food Daily, Vegan _ (insert word here- Plate, Glory, etc...)___ and other similar restaurants are in regular rotation. Daily Candy recently posted about the girls at Spork Foods who seem like they have a good thing going.
I'm really just talking about vegetarians because I wanted to post about Mandler's Sausage Company's Sausage Fondue- a Gruyere and Emmenthal cheese in white wine. Also, this rather gross looking meat house (maybe if they cooked it?) and this man's best friend: Last year was sausage and biltong for the Super Bowl. This year a request for mini sausages was made. Stay tuned for a full report.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Taco Bell Biv DeVoe

Today's food music post is about two things that I liked just as much 18 years ago as I do today: Taco Bell and Bell Biv DeVoe. My post about the time I ate 20 tacos is as much background as you need on my interest in Taco Bell.
As the 90's come back into fashion I nostalgically reminisce about my adolescence. It was a time when I wore three different pieces of Stüssy apparel at once. I wore Cross Colours, not really understanding the intricacies of Afrocentric living, but absorbing it 100% into my white suburban lifestyle. I wanted to do the Buffalo Stance but wasn't exactly sure what it was- something about a gigolo, sucka.
At the time the Wu Tang Clan and NWA were changing the face of music, but my virgin ears were more intrigued by New Jack Swing (and House of Pain .... I was new at music. Forgive me). Artists like New Edition and Bobby Brown, and songs like "Just Got Paid," "Motown Philly" and "Rub You the Right Way" appealed to my pop sensibility and youthful energy. Bell Biv DeVoe was my favorite, with chart topping hits, flashy clothes and singable lyrics.
If I had to compare Taco Bell's food to BBD's songs directly, it probably would break down like this:

Taco - "Poison"
Some people would call a Taco Bell taco poison, but they'd be wrong. Both the Bell Biv DeVoe song and the taco are very popular and very satisfying. Although the taco can be assembled in a matter of seconds (after the ingredients are rehydrated and sorted by their chemically produced colors), they still combine for a complex flavor- one that is very specific to a Taco Bell taco. There's also something to be said for lyrics like "never trust a big butt and smile," which could be most fast food chains' motto.

Burrito - "Do Me"
"Oh yeah" are the lyrics seductively repeated throughout the song. Although they're meant sexually, they could also could be about a simple, delicious burrito. Just beans, cheese, diced onions and hot sauce- the bare essentials oozing together to create a meld of salty flavorfulness.

Chilito (aka Chili Cheese Burrito) - "I Thought It Was Me"
Not as popular but definitely my favorite song and item of all. "I Thought It Was Me" didn't chart as high, but it featured every element of a true new jack swing cut and stood out as one of my favorite songs by Bell Biv DeVoe. The Chilito, which was renamed the Chili Cheese Burrito before disappearing from the menu all together (and causing an online petition demanding its resurrection), was literally a tortilla filled with soft, gooey chili and cheese. The contents could have been mistaken for something found in a diaper, but instead tasted like pure Taco Bell gold.

Also, on a similar subject, check out these Taco Belles. Holy Taco provides photos of the type of girls Bell Biv DeVoe sang about, but probably not the type of girls that eat a lot of Taco Bell.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Matching Game

Below you will find 5 chefs and 5 of their stunning dishes. Can you match each dish with its culinary creator? Visit Just One Plate for the answers.











Monday, January 28, 2008

The Balls are Banana

Another mini vacation to Corona del Mar, this time sans the food marathon and sunshine.
Just two meals at home:
-the first was takeout from Gina's Pizza: Rasta Salad, one pizza with artichoke, basil, pepperoni and mushrooms, one pizza with sausage, mushrooms and olives.
For dessert, despite wanting Häagen-Dazs Bailey's Irish Cream, we got Coffee and Hawaain Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream.
-the second meal was an impressive breakfast of specialty banana pancake balls with fresh banana syrup and bacon.Nothing like a cold, rainy weekend in Newport beside a fire with friends, music and great food.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Hour of Sour

Flavor Tripping is doing something special. They throw food parties surrounding The Miracle Fruit. This intriguing ingredient has made headlines because it numbs your sour tastebuds, making sour foods taste sweet.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Video Game Snacks

Rad... ...and rad.
Do they make T&C Surf cupcakes too?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Big India vs Little India Food Marathon

While one of the original food marathoners was 8,000 miles away in India, I was in Little India in Artesia, California. Besides actually going to India, Little India has been our prized destination for years. We've eaten westside Indian food to the point of exhaustion. It wasn't a fair comparison, as Little India features moderate and inexpensively priced meals for families, while he ate at lavish restaurants at hotels throughout India.

First, some interesting firsthand information about food in India:
- Indians do not eat out at restaurants. The best restaurants in India are typically inside hotels and are filled with tourists, rich Indian businessmen, or politicians.- The best food in India is street food. You can walk one block in India and see several dozen food stalls frying, dicing, blending, boiling, etc everything under the sun. A popular mid morning snack is what is called a "Sweet Lime." You go to a cart where they are squeezing limes in a glass and grinding whole cane sugar. They blend the two together and make a wonderful beverage, more refreshing than lemonade. At lunch, you will see people line up eating curries, naan, nuts, fruit juices, deep fried samosa looking things, etc. Notably BBQ'd corn, roasted until the kernels turned agolden brown, rubbed with lime and salt.
- The food overall has the most amazing and diverse flavors. In one bite, you feel immense spice, and taste 100's of ingredients that are unfamiliar to you:
Chicken Tikka
Chicken Tikka Masala
Homemade Kulfi
- Even the airline food was spicy and delicious.- Most Indians are vegetarians. Lamb is clearly only for tourists. Some Indians eat chicken. Most restaurants are advertised as VEG or NON-VEG
- They serve no beef at McDonald's in India and in fact beef is almost impossible to find to to its holy qualities. The Chicken Maharaja Mac was a spicy, curried, delicious Indian version of the Big Mac.
Back in Los Angeles a handful of restaurants rose to the top of the Little India list, the first being Ambala Dhaba
It's in a strip mall on Pioneer Blvd, a street that resembles Palm Springs in its size, newly landscaped center divider and elaborate street signage. Right off the bat the colorful vision and sound of a high budget Bollywood film playing on two flat screen tv's in each corner of the room set the tone. In another corner is a large indoor fountain that actually runs into a river that lies beneath glass flooring throughout the restaurant. So that was a first for a food marathon- an indoor river. The menu is vast, featuring many dishes that we regularly see and a lot that we don't. As we were on a marathon we went with a the chef's lunch special Dhaba Chicken (sauteed in yogurt, garlic, mint & green chilis) and Channa Masala (chick peas cooked with ginger, mango powder and other spices- their description, not mine). Each came with rice, beans, naan (we got chili naan) and rice pudding.
Moving on to Rasraj, the pinnacle of Indian foods I'd never heard of (phulkas, gujrati daal, dhokla, motichur ladoo). The and were by far the most unique flavor combinations of any food marathon. A crunchy exterior pastry shell was filled with cold, sweet, runny yogurt, a red salsa-type sauce, a green sauce, lentils and cubed potatoes. The balance of liquid to starch was weighing heavy on the juicy side... Without a thicker shell to absorb some of the sauces, the overall consistency was bad. The flavor didn't help- sweet, cold and something else... The flakey, mildly flavored topping didn't bring much to the table either. The mango lassi was very tasty, however.
Our final stop was by far my favorite on the marathon. Tirupathi Bhimas's open floor plan reminded me of Palms Thai and had a large sky painted within the dome on the ceiling. Thalis are a selection of different dishes, served in small bowls on round metal trays- my favorite way to eat. I was full of naan and rice by this point so we didn't order a dosa to accompany our spicy thali.
which featured rice, papadom and naan that were dipped into lentil, eggplant, yogurt, onion and soup-filled dishes (the names our waiter ran through too quickly to remember).
The sauces on the table weren't as tasty or spicy as we often find in Thai restaurants.
Lastly, the marathon could easily have been called the Shah Rukh Khan Food Marathon- he's the Johnny Depp of Bollywood and he was watching over us from televisions and posters throughout Artesia. He's even bigger in India. It should be noted that present-day Shah Rukh Khan looks very similar to Johnny Depp circa his 21 Jump Street days.

And in the final look alike contest, this man who was seen on the streets of India looks strikingly similar to RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan.