Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Animals of Japan: Nihonimals.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

“Oooooo I can’t wait until you do an Animals of Japan post!” said R2 while we were tooling around Tokyo. I remember him saying this quite clearly, and yet when I sat down to compose this post I was like, “Did we see that many animals…?” But then I opened iPhoto and it reminded me that yes, we did see that many animals, and in fact we went to a fucking ZOO you dumbass.

On our recent excursion to the Land of the Rising Sun (btw, thank you Daniel and Tinx for covering with the most excellent posts; Tinky if I die/coma-out just continue posting as if you are me because we are blogstyle soulmates), we went to Tokyo, Izu, and Kyoto, and encountered tons of cuteness along the way. None was more surprising than the capybara., who we saw at the Inokashira Koen Zoo.

Oh man y’all. Capybaras are fucking cute. I was familiar with the species from the capybara Squee Spree but I was unprepared for how hella HUGE capybaras are! Usually, you mini-fy something to make it cuter, but in this instance the fact that this guy was so huge (you cannot tell in this photo, but a capybara is as big as a St. Bernard, but thicker and rounder). Apparently there is a capybara fad going on in Tokyo, which has netted shit like this which, even though they’ve been Japanified, do not quite capture the cuteness of a capybara. It’s something about their pissed-off looking eyes and their teeny prosh front feet that have to hold up the rest of the massive body. And they are massive indeed – capybaras are the largest rodent in the world.

Also at the zoo were fennec foxes. Jeff Corwin, my celebrity crush who I think looks just like Green Lantern, [aaaaaaand I'm back from almost an hour-long Jeff Corwin video watching jag] owns one as a pet. Jealouuuuuszors. Google “baby fennec” and you’ll squee, drool, and curl your toes, I guarantee it. This one was standing with one paw up and we were like “oh noooo is his wittow pawzie hurted?” but then he was like “fuck you tricked you stupids” and sprinted away. Adorbs.

While I was shrieking at the actually cute animals, R2 was busy going gaga over things like elephants.

Don’t get me wrong, I like me some elephants too, espesh since they are allegedly super intelligent despite the nomer Dumbo, but do I find them cute? No. Plus this one was stinky.

R2 also has a bird obsession, so much of the trip was him shouting GIVE ME THE CAMERA! and me frantically digging it out of my purse to throw to him, only to find he was taking pictures of birds:

I mean…ok I guess? I do like how he is marching like a soldier.

Ok that boid is legitimately cool (found outside the aquatic area of the zoo).

Ooooh artistic! This is at the top of Ohmuro-yama in Izu.

EWWWWWWWWW disgusteeeen why why why. Barf and cry. After that one, R2 was no longer allowed to take pictures.

OK, back to the zoo for a mo-mo. This is a super ZOOmed photo of a phone pic of a species that has evolved to camouflage themselves into rocks with a third monkey distractingly photobombing it in the back, so it’s difficult to see. But it’s basically a monkey in a pr0n-ey pose getting its ass picked over by a kind neighbor monkey.

Now, onward to Izu. Izu had a ton of strays. This one was lounging like nobody’s business on sharp gravel, owwch! They don’t seem to be wanting for food, based on the adorable ploppy roundness of this Oreo cat.

In Izu, we went to a heart-stoppingly gorgeous and rugged suspension bridge with giant cliffs and big white waves that crashed up against them extremely dramatically. Everyone was making “sugoi!” noises and taking a million pictures (that’s racist!) and bravely peeking over the edge of the rocky ledges.

Meanwhile, I found this cat hidden under a bush and was squealing at a super high frequency. I made everyone in my group come over and look at it, and was universally met with “….” You can see that even the cat itself was like “What is the big fucking deal.”

I dare anyone to go squee-less in the face of this marmalade stray! I can tell he’s sleepy and hungry at the same time, because his eyes are almost closed and his lil’ pink perfect half moon tongue is out.

I…I don’t understand this. But I want it. Whether it’s -the Barbarian or -O’Brien or just an incredibly awesome dog name, I don’t care. Please take note of the wiggle marks people.

All over Kyoto there were gardens in the middle of houses, restaurants, temples like it was no big thing. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to walk INTO an already gorgeous building and find this in the center. This koi was floating around at an impossibly slow pace which made me think it knew exactly how beautiful it was and was doing it on purpose just to be admired. Asshole.

Next, we went to Nara. From faaaaar away, my animal Spidey sense tingled at a four-legged brown thing off in the distance behind a fence. As I got closer, I realized it was a deer! SHHHH! Don’t scare it! We crept up on it and took a million pictures.

Then we turned a corner into Kohfukuji temple and saw a billion deer roaming around and bothering people. I yelled “IS THIS A THING?” at my mother, who was huffy because she had TOLD me that there were deer all over the place and I didn’t need to do 100x zoom on the first deer I saw. She was right. What was up was tons of deer butt.

This one was sleeping in on a park bench. Look at that moist nose! I wanted to stuff it into my mouth!! Instead, I went up to it, gave it bunny ears, and R2 snapped a photo. I am so hilarious.

This one was walking in the gutter. Stupid.

How’s this for the silliest warning sign ever? My mom and sister both thought this was a warning to humans not to bite, kick, butt, or knock down the deer. Although hilarious, also stupid.

R2 noticed that deer seem to save their fury solely for old ladies and little girls. If my mom and sister were any indication, it’s because they couldn’t correctly comprehend the signage. And if a deer is kicking you, why would you crouch into a ball!

I will conclude this nihonimals post with the gratuitous baby deer shot you knew was coming. And, because I neglected to say it when we were actually leaving Nara, I will fix my blue balls by ending this post by saying Sayonara Nara!

Grilled Cheese Invitational and World’s Cutest Puppy

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

With a title like that, there’s no way you wouldn’t read the whole post. But just to be sure, I am putting the puppy picture at the very end.

R2, Daniel and I went to the Grilled Cheese Invitational in LA last weekend. Their motto is “Bread-Butter-Cheese-VICTORY!” which makes sense to me.

We all got judging tickets, which meant that we could go to the competition arena and judge the entries. It all sounded like a dream, a cheesy dream, and I couldn’t wait!

11:00 am, day of festival, at Tinx’s house:

Janet: [clutching a huge ham sandwich] OM NOM NOM NOM!

Tinx: Aren’t you going to be eating a shitload of grilled cheeses soon?

Janet: Eee! If Daniel asks this is YOUR sandwich OKAY?

Tinx: Why?

Janet: Because he’ll be pissed that I’m ruining my appetite!

Tinx: He’s not gonna care.

Janet: Yes he is.

Knock knock.

Daniel: [Walking in] Tillamooooook!

Tinx: Hi!

R2: Hi!

Janet: Hi!

Janet: [Absentmindedly picks up sandwich and starts eating it again] Snarf snarf.

Daniel: WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN YOUR APPETITE!!

We made it to the festival, in a sort-of-shady part of downtown, by 1:30 pm. Despite my rebellious snacking, I was very low blood sugar, and the three of us were totally cranky.

Then the door checker gave us our judging bracelets, and I perked up. Then he gave us two tickets and said “That’s for your two judging tastings.” Whaaa? Just two? There were over 200 competitors! And…tickets? Does this mean it’s not a cheese-eating free for all?

It did indeed mean that. There were 17 professional stands where you had to purchase samples for anywhere from $2 to $7.50. This made us crankier. Then there was the competition arena, where the 200+ amateurs cooked their grilled cheeses in several heats throughout the day. They handed them out to people with judging tickets as they finished cooking them, often one at a time, so at any given time 1 out of around 50 people would get an actual tasting. Usually it was the person yelling the loudest or the girl with the most prominent boobs. Bogus. This made us the crankiest.

I realized were were in that dangerous headspace where you simultaneously have lost the will to live but are ready to shoot someone in the eyeball. I said, “Let’s just get one into our belly” and lined up for the shortest line, which was the Mendocino Farms stand.

Pictured in the background is the $3 Asian pork belly Cubano with chinese hot mustard, caramelized Kurobuta pork belly, prime honey ham, provolone, house made sweet chili sauce and Asian pickles on a panini grilled ciabatta.

Whoa, right?

Pictured in the foreground is the $2 French Onion Soup Melt with smoked gouda fondue and cave aged gruyere with caramelized onions on panini grilled dolce forno pretzel roll.

Fuckin-A, right??

The former was one of those sammies that start out all weird but in the end all the flavors combine to be something more than the sum of its parts. The Asian mustard POW was the best part. The latter was my favorite of the entire day. The idea itself is so pleasing, and the execution, especially with the exotic bread, was outstanding!

Next, we met the World’s Fucking Cutest Fucking Puppy. But I’m not showing the picture until the end, remember?

Daniel and I had lost R2 at this point, and I worried that he was crouching in the corner in some low-b-sug-induced sulk-seizure, but instead I spied him being fed a grilled cheese sandwich by a huge, bearded dude in a very seductive way. I felt like I was interrupting a private moment so I looked away. Then I looked back and realized it was one of R2′s high school pals, and they’re always doing silly shenans like that.

I was all riled up from the one-two punch of puppy-beard so I forgot to take a picture of our next set of sandwiches, which were from the Mix N’ Munch Grilled Cheese (their apostrophe is in the wrong place, stupid) stand. We got a $2 Mix N’ Munch Breakfast Sammy with cheddar, bacon, fried egg, and tater tots on Shepherd’s bread. I dislike egg and I REALLY dislike tater tots, so this one wasn’t for me. I did appreciate, however, that instead of being a monstrosity that it could easily have been, it was all tidy and compact and looked, for all intents and purposes, like a regular Velveeta grilled cheese. We also got a $3 Char Suit [sic] N’ [we already know this was sic] Cheese, with Chinese barbecued pork, pickled onions and provolone on egg bread. In terms of Asian fusion points, Mendocino wins. Mostly I was distracted by the huge fat chunks in the pork, which on top of the provolone was a lot of white blandness. Oh, we also got the last cantaloupe water, which made many folks in line curse at us.

Everywhere we walked with the above item people ran up and asked where we got it and what it was. We got it from the Cynthia Washburn stand and it was an off-menu arancini. Basically a chunk of mozzarella surrounded by a clump of rice, breaded and deep fried. Heavenly. This one was particularly amazing because it had huge chunks of vegetables inside like spinach and carrots. I also really appreciated that it was so hot we could barely pick it up. Next time I’m super drunk, I hope this will magically appear in my hands, because I can’t imagine anything better and my hands will be numb and won’t hurt quite as much.

This one, also from Cynthia Washburn, wins my gourmet award. It is the$4 Ruby Canard, with duck confit, truffled chevre, and red onion port marmalade on rosemary bread.

There are probably those grilled cheese purists who would scoff at such a concoction. But creative and schmance grilled cheeses have their place too, which is why the Invitational has four categories:

Love, American Style – White bread, butter, orange cheese (American or Cheddar). NOTHING ELSE.

The Missionary Position - Any type of bread, butter and cheese. NO ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS.

The Kama Sutra - A sandwich of the savory nature, with any type of bread, butter and cheese PLUS additional ingredients, and the interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.

The Honey Pot – Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese, and the interior ingredients of the sammich must be at least 60% cheese, PLUS additional ingredients, and with an overall flavor that is sweet and would best be served as dessert.

Click through for outrageously detailed paragraphs describing each category if you are bored.

I expected the Ruby Canard to be over-the-top decadent, but it really wasn’t. R2 and I came away with the same single conclusion, which was that we really like goat cheese.

Winning my decadent award instead was the above-pictured $7.50 Chicken N. [sic - what the hell everyone?] Waffle Melt, with sharp cheddar cheese and fried chicken on two golden waffles. By far the longest line we waited in, but I passed the time by first going to to the First Aid tent to steal some spray-on sunscreen. The paramedics looked super bored. One of them took one bite out of a grilled cheese sandwich and pushed it away. “I don’t really like grilled cheese sandwiches,” he mumbled sadly.

Then I passed the time by bopping to the music of March Fourth, which is this crazy kooky indie scary/creepy/cool awesome marching band, as it came through the main drag. Surprise surprise, they are originally from Portland.

The Chicken N. Waffle Melt was being sold by The Grilled Cheese Truck #2 (there were two and they both sold different things), and came with your choice of syrup or gravy on the side. We, of course, got one of each. I also got a Plain and Simple Melt, with sharp cheddar on French bread.

Yes, the gravy was THAT kind of gravy. The thick, chunky, pale kind that you might mistake for condensed cream of mushroom soup. This one had some cayenne pepper in it, and the fried chicken was very salty and crunchy, and the waffles were sweet and fluffy-soft and the whole shebang was pretty freaking awesome. The regular grilled cheese I got was tossed to the side after one bite, poor thing.

I was bursting at the seams, but we couldn’t leave without getting (a) a free 5-hour Energy that ladies in short shorts and visors were passing out and (b) a $3.25 Bacon Me Crazy from The Feast Truck, with mozzarella, strawberries and bacon coated with brown sugar and cayenne topped with a chocolate balsamic reduction drizzle.

It didn’t taste as weird as it looked (that’s what she said). I think cooked strawberries can sometimes get a gross slimy texture and this bordered on that, but otherwise it was fine. Who knows. Maybe my taste buds were on strike after being overworked.

We felt stupid buying judging passes and not judging a single sammy in the competition arena, so we waddled our way over and pressed ourselves up against the fence. The competitors were on the other side slowly making their sandwiches one by one. Then, festival workers would take a completed sandwich, turn to the crowd, and bask in undeserved attention as we all shrieked and begged for one of the samples. The ticketing system had gone out the window an hour earlier so it was an actual free-fer-all. One of the guys came close to Daniel, and he half-heartedly reached out a hand, but didn’t get one. I looked over at R2 and he was like “enh…” and equally half-assedly waved his hand at another worker.

Clearly we were full and our hearts just weren’t in it. To add insult to injury, there was a grilled cheese poetry contest being broadcast at ear-bleedingly loud decibels just to our left. Beyond the headache this generated, it made me double mad because R2 had composed a poem and not submitted it. I am SURE it would have won, so I am publishing it here:

Shall I compare thee to a grilled cheese sandwich?
Thou art fine and full, but not so satisfying.
Would that I were pampered and rich,
My heart still melts while cheddar’s frying.
Sometime too hot my passion burns,
By blackened char, gold flavors dim’d;
But bite for bite, opinion turns
And sandwich gone, I found I’ve sin’d.
I find fine dining my tongue eschews,
Nor are fair viands my heart’s true wish
‘Tis grilled cheese that I always choose,
Eternally the most delish.

And when I die, when laid to rest,
‘Tis cheese I will have loved the best.

Finally, we had had enough, and without judging a single sammy we wobbled/rolled our way back to the car. When I got back to SF, all those who had seen my Facebook status bragging about it were dying to know who won. First of all, we would have had to stay until SIX pm to find out the results, which would have been the death of us. Second of all, and just mentioned, we did not ourselves judge a single sando. Third of all, the winners and their sandwiches have nonsensical names so it wouldn’t make a difference to tell you. An example – the winning team of the Kama Sutra category was Super Duper Zung Chung and their entry was called the Fromage Connection. Meaningless.

So who cares! Especially when you have made it this far and can reap your just reward: The Fucking World’s Fucking Cutest Fucking Puppy. To get the proper sense of scale, you must realize that this puppy is being held by a child who is herself tiny. It was about the size of a bagel. You might even mistake it for a squirmy bagel and put it in your mouth. In fact, when I asked Daniel “how would you describe the teeniness of the puppy?” he said “Edible! Like literally fit in my mouth maybe.” So, without further ado, here it is, in all its tongue-y squee glory:

 

Pictures of dogs R2 has sent me

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

There are more dogs than children in San Francisco. So, the collection of pictures of dogs that R2 has texted me is a well-curated one. It’s not like any old puppers can make the cut. Since they arrive in my phone without accompanying narration, I have to infer what it is about each pup that has stricken his fancy. I will share my thoughts on what I think his thoughts were with you now.

First, the dog pictured top. Obvy! The dog has two different colored eyes, stupid! Upon closer inspection, though, maybe it’s the fact that if you look at it right, it looks like a weird three-legged species of dog, and also its fuck-you expression is adorbs.

I keep telling him that this breed is called a French Bulldog, and that many famous people have them, like Martha Stewart. But every time R2 sees one he gets all excited like it’s a strange-looking mutt that is very cute and sends me a picture.

R2 is a sucker for dogs that are sitting politely even when it’s obvious that they want to freak out.

This dog looks either very old or very Asian. R2 is also a sucker for wise-soul-looking dogs, and also dogs that look very patient.

Haha awesome. Maybe he was trying to give me material for my dogs-that-should-be-named-Oreo post. Or, maybe he was actually trying to get a picture of its owner, who looks suspiciously Doctor Who-esque in his apparel.

I’m sure it was this pup’s “OK, so what the fuck do you want?” expression that caught R2′s eye. Also, he likes black-muzzled dogs. Also, free dog!

R2 knows I heart heart heart Corgis, and if it is a mutt that has some Corgi in it, even better! This puppy looks like a cross between a Corgi and Patrick Dempsey (see below) so it is ultimate cute.

This is Patrick Dempsey, the charmer that hangs out in the Animal Company pet store. He is a Bernese Mountain Dog, which ranks #2 after Corgis for me. Many a time have I dug both of my hands into his belly and relished his softness. He is extremely lazy and chill and puts up with this for as long as I want.

As a general rule, R2 does not like purebred dogs, so I’m not sure why he sent this to me. Maybe he didn’t have his glasses on and thought it was a Corgi. Dumbass.

Oh, how did this get in here? This is the late Vernon, cat of R2′s late grandpa. RIP. Vernon was both blind and deaf, but somehow he knew when it was 5 am because then he would start meowing SO LOUD like a banshee. I still hearted him, though, and I would say “I heart Vernon!” and R2 would say, “No one hearts Vernon!” but he was just saying that. I know for a fact that Tinx also hearted Vernon.

If it’s a Corgi, he will send me a picture, no matter how far away the photo has to be taken from.

He also really likes boids. The plumper, the better. I like how this one is like, “Yeah what?”

Update: Apparently Tinx sent me this. Sometimes I get them confused, even though it should be easy to tell them apart – one is a ginger with a nice rack, the other is usually practicing karate kicks with a Green Lantern ring on while telling me a really long synopsis of a Doctor Who episode.

This one is a toughie. Why did he center the one dog to the neglect of the other? The one on the left looks much sillier, and I remember that we laughed sooo hard at this post of 22 dogs that look like they’re high. I’m guessing that the dog on the right fell into the “patient-looking” category that he loves so much.

This is just a weird-looking wee dog.

Hee hee he’s so round and fat! R2 has a “fat and at Starbucks” meme with some of his dog photos.

This is another. He particularly loves pugs. He says it is because their faces are so weird but I suspect it also has something to do with Men in Black.

A+ for effort, but fucking F for safety! I do love how this dog is sitting like he’s just a human.

My all-time favorite, and sums up many of R2′s pupperson-love memes. (1) At Starbucks. (2) Old-looking, even though it is clearly a puppy. (3) Round. (4) Patient. (5) Silly.

Slimy the Salad Slug

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Fuck Imma vom writing this post because I have to look at the above picture. Plus it’s going to be on the start page of my Chrome for weeks now.

I was in LA recently, and on Sunday I went with Tinx and DJ Deer and Daniel to the Brentwood Farmer’s Market. We were a hot mess from partying till 4:30 am the night before. But the morning wasn’t going to get any better.

DJ Deer: [fiddling on phone] I’m going to check in for my flight now.

Me: [Hurting from the effort of small talk] Good idea.

DJ Deer: Wait, what’s today’s date?

Me: Sunday.

DJ Deer: I mean the DATE.

Daniel: The 27th.

DJ Deer: I did something really stupid.

So it turns out that he had booked his flight for the following week, which is just silly because that wasn’t even the right MONTH. While he freaked out about that, my eyes were sparkling because the Brentwood farmer’s market is one of those where there are proper food stalls, not just bullshit veggies.

Tinky chose pupusas. Basically a fatty quesadilla, but with the stuff actually incorporated into the masa. Here look:

Superb…looking. I didn’t taste it, since my attention was solely focused on my lamb gyro. Not content with one huge serving of food, I asked Daniel if he wanted to also share a falafel platter. He said yes, of course, and this is precisely why I keep him around.

My gyro was perfection. The lamb shards were crisp on the edges, the tzatziki was cool and creamy, and the whole thing was damn near impossible to pick up, which is the mark of a good gyro. It replenished whatever vitamins and minerals I had lost the night before and I was feelin’ ACE!

Onwards! I flipped open the falafel plate container and handed it to Daniel to hold in his lap (we were plopped down on a curb) so I would have two hands: one to pick up and dip the falafel, the other to make perfect salad bites with proper proportions of olive, feta, lettuce, and onion.

The falafel was a little bit dry, and besides, nothing beats Bella Pita fresh-fried falafel. I ate maybe a fourth of it and said “I’m done with that” to Daniel.

But then I remembered I had to take my Metamucil pills (don’t pretend like travel doesn’t gum up your insides too) which, on account of their horseyness, must be washed down with food. So I re-flipped open the container and started stabbing at it while Daniel held it for me.

Olive, feta, lettuce, onion, eyeball.

Wait, two eyeballs.

Wait, EYEBALLS?

I screamed EEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAEEEEERHHHH and ran fifteen feet away.

Tinky also started screaming out of confusion, and DJ Deer a little bit too.

“There’s A! … BAD! … THING!” I cried.

Daniel started pivoting back and forth, not knowing what to do or what I was talking about.

“DON’T MOVE! DO NOT! DO NOT MOVE! DON’T MOVE!” I shrieked.

Just then, a random man walked through our cluster of chaos, looked into the salad, and said, “Oh that’s not good.”

“You’ll get a refund for sure,” he continued. “Better that they know so they can fix it,” and sauntered off.

WHO CARES MOTHERFUCKER? At that point, the slug had crawled up and over the lip of the container and was hanging by a centimenter of its own slime.

Daniel started moving again, making it swing back and forth like a pendulum.

“DON’T! MOVE! DO NOT! DO NOT!” we all screamed at him.

Finally it plopped down on the ground and DJ Deer ran in like a paparazzo, took a picture, and ran away again.

“Should I…throw this away?” Daniel asked, PTSD-style.

“YES!” I yelled, and experienced the most massive shudder from my toes up to my head.

Ugh. Terrible. How did we not notice it the entire time we were eating it? And did I stab it with my fork, and thus did I imbibe slug fluids? What if I stabbed it through its sexual organs, and what if I imbibed its SEXUAL FLUIDS GAHHHHHH.

These thoughts are not productive nor realistic. I gotta stop.

To wash the slug semen out of our mouths, we went to Cafe Luxxe. It is a legit coffee joint where people come from miles and miles away. Their baristas always win foam competitions and stuff. Indeed, the heart-flower did soothe my horror-struck psyche a little bit.

And then we impulse-shopped Alfajor cookies. They had just 5 ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, cream, and salt.

Just looking at them, you can already tell their texture. Crumbly in the most toe-curling way:

The center was not chocolate like you’d think if you were a dumbass and didn’t read what I just wrote. It was a caramel goo which was doggone outrageous.

So with that, my psychological slug-shaped wounds were healed. But then fucking DJ Deer uploaded the picture to Facebook with the caption “Slimy the Salad Slug” and we looked at it (why!) and were traumatized all over again.

Slug
Hopefully dead and in hell
Otherwise, at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market
Gretna Green Way, Brentwood, LA

Cafe Luxxe
11975 San Vicente Blvd
Brentwood, CA 90049
310.394.2222

Bouchon and Bottega, Yountville

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I have been working on some sort of pun/joke about Yountville fine dining establishments that begin with “Bo” and are owned by chefs whose last names begin with a “k” phoneme, but it’s not quite there yet. So I will just straight up say “I went to Bouchon and Bottega. Both are in Yountville, which is a teeny and adorable town sandwiched between Napa and Sonoma.  The former is owned by noted chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame; the latter by celebrity chef and resident skeeze-despite-being-flaming Michael Chiarello.”

I mean, have you SEEN Michael Chiarello’s show on Food Network? He has a crazy lisp and talks about fluting things. Fellow FoodTV junkie Finni and I were sure he was gay, and then one day he mentioned his “wife and kids” and I fell off my chair, texted Finni from the floor, and then she fell off HER chair! There is NO! WAY!

But when he was on the first season of Top Chef Masters I realized he’s not gay, he’s just a snake, and the lisp is a human form of hissing. Ugh. I wanted to shower after that episode where he was oozing all over the ladies who came to his catering station.

Anyway, for my hatch day, R2 outdid himself and swept me away to wine country, where we stayed in an amazing villa in The Villagio Inn and Spa. It was one of these sprawling places that you can just wander around, marveling at the cute corners and paths lined with strings of fountains. They had tea daily complete with tiny crustless sandwiches, scones, and clotted cream. There was a super old couple at tea on the first day with the KEE-YOOTEST puppersons that was waiting on the outside of the glass door, looking in and making intense eye contact with anyone who would look at him/her. I named it Eye Contact Dog, but then I really wanted to know its proper name, so I sidled up to its owner who was refilling her tea.

Me: [Sweetly] What is your dog’s name?
Her: [Sharply] Any milk?

Confused, I backed away. Did she think I was the help? Did she not even notice me and was talking to herself? Or was her dog’s name Enniemelch?

Ennie-way, that night we went to the dark and romantic Bistro Jeanty. The lighting was untenable, despite the fact that we were seated fireside, so I don’t have any postable pictures, but we had a blogworthy but in the end slightly gross set of appetizers - LANGUE D’AGNEAU: warm lamb tongue and potato salad and TERRINE DE LAPIP: rabbit pâté with a celery root apple salad and mustard dressing. Both were mayo-ey and chunky with a not-unoccasional cartilage crunch which wasn’t great. Our entrees, however, glowed. I got Coq au vin, even though I hate bird, just because I spied Buttered egg noodles under sides, which came with the tagline “Yummy with Coq au vin.” I loved the use of “yummy” on this fine French dining menu so I went with it, and good fucking lord. I think I ate just one hunk of chicken for posterity and then inhaled the egg noodles, dipping just the ends in the gravy of the coq au vin soba-style. When people asked me after the fact how my hatch day was, I just say “buttered egg noo…” and trail off in a drooly daze.

The following day we took an epic walk and laughed at some cows that were grazing. The CHRRUUFF sound of the blades of grass getting ripped off their roots and then the CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP sound! And they just ate all day long! We watched them for a long time and then I heard a frog croaking nearby and I hate frogs so we left.
Lunch was at Bouchon. We were seated at our server’s favorite seat in the house – adjacent to the charming Christmas tree. We had the soupe du jour which was a sunchoke soup with creme fraiche, lemon oil, and toasted walnuts. You can just look at it and guess how awesome it was. I could have gone to the trouble of constructing perfect spoonfuls composed of all elements, but just poking at it willy-nilly netted very different flavor profiles (god have I become a person who uses the term “flavor profiles?”) with each bite. I silently snapped my fingers under the table and mouthed “Garcon I’ll take a vatful” and R2 said “Huh?” and I said “Nothing.”

Then, he had the Croque Madame: grilled ham & cheese sandwich on brioche, fried egg & mornay (Bechamel with parmesan and gruyere cheese added, swoon) sauce served with French fries.

Our server, who we both liked exceedingly, was attentive and peppy but not unctuous. She had no make up on, which fit with her “I’m here to make sure you eat delicious food and that is my only job” demeanor. She cracked jokes that I could see myself making. Anyway, she offered to make R2′s fries black truffle fries for a piddling more, but we decided against it (WHY WHY WHY). Instead of crying, I just dunked the fries in the aioli accompaniment, which ended up being truffle aioli so that was a fucking win. The sammy was rich and light at the same time. R2 slurped it up, even the horrifying-looking yolk-edge slime-tendon that was clinging to the side of the plate at the end.

I had the Quiche du Jour, which was Lorraine. It came out quivering with a crusty top.

More mousse than quiche, utterly reminiscent of Japanese chawanmushi. Silky and soft and hung out in a really nice way at the back of my tongue. I found myself eating around the bacon just to get at the egg. I wanted to have it with a spoon at night with PJs on like women in commercials encouraging other women to indulge by oneself in ice cream.

Then, to the Villagio spa, where it is free to soak for guests. My activity plan was as follows: Shower to get clean, outdoor jacuzzi to get hot, read Nook Doggy Dogg in a lounge chair outside to get cold, steam room to get hot, more reading outside to get cold, sauna to get hot, even more reading outside to get cold again, and jacuzzi again to leave me toasty warm. I was alone basically the entire time, and being nekkid in an outdoor spa is really liberating! I did some attempts at naked synchronized swimming in the jacuzzi but it was tough with the bubbles going.

Then, back to Bistro Jeanty for $1 oysters during happy hour. We ordered 10 (why not a dozen??) and then ordered more – a proper dozen. We washed it down with some bubbly and strolled over to Bottega.

This is the thing about Yountville. The whole town is basically two blocks long, and yet it houses French Laundry, Bouchon, Bottega, Ad Hoc, Redd, étoile – it’s really amazing. So Bistro Jeanty was next door to Bouchon was across the street from Bottega, etc.


There, we were about half an hour early. And despite being warned not to blow R2′s cover (he was going to act confused as to why the reservation was at a “different time” than when we made it for), when he gave our name at the front I yelled “WE ARE SUUUUPER EARLY!” by accident.

No matter. We were promptly seated in the restaurant that was packed despite it being a winter Wednesday in the boonies. I ordered a flight of Chiarello’s own wines, which were fine. For our app, we ordered grilled octopus; specifically wood grilled octopus with olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion, salsa verde. We hoped and hoped and hoped that it would be as delicious as the pulpo a la plancha  we had in Spain, and while it wasn’t THAT good, it was the best octopus we’ve had Stateside.

“This is by far the best pulpo we’ve had Stateside,” I said, obnoxiously. Then I heard myself and looked around, but all I saw were approving smiles and nods. Pretentious Yountville jerks.

For our mains, which came in too low of light to photograph, R2 got the whole fish special. While not as horrifying as this, it came out looking like you’d think a whole dead fish would, and tasted fresh and good but not transcendent or anything. I had the brodetto (Italian version of like a boulliabaisse) for the sole (ha) reason that such stews are usually off limits to me as I am mortally allergic to shrimp, crab, and lobster, but this one was: Adriatic Seafood Brodettomonkfish, mussels, rock cod & fresh Monterey calamari, forno-confit tomato broth, olive oil crouton, and paprika-saffron rouille. It’s a FLAVOR PROFILE that I don’t often get to experience, so it was such a soul-warming treat. I’m pretty sure I was crying when R2 tore me away from the little town of Yountville, back to the food desert that is San Francisco (boo hoo Janet).

They’re all on the same road right next to each other, so just map yourself to Yountville.

Top 10 Posts of TWENTY DIME!

Friday, December 31st, 2010

AHA! Thought you’d sneak by and end the year without hearing from me again? Sorry friend(enemy?), but you’re out of luck. Janet is busy doing important work pertaining to the real world so I’ve been asked to step up and close out the year by rounding up the top 10 posts of 2010. I’m drunk with the sheer power of it! Or you know, just drunk. Anyway, I present to you, our faithful readers, Twenty Dime’s top 10 posts!

1. Bootie: Without a doubt the best post EVAR that fulfills the “More Than” part of MTFB, with probably the best aminal pic skills to date. R2 commented, “It’s a quintessentially creative synthesis of two of my favorite things – MTFB and the Boot – and a reflection of my two favorite ladies.” Well said!

2. Fucking ENCOUNTER restaurant: Because when else were we gonna get the chance to eat there?! Verdict: Go for the free short-term parking… stay if you want to miss your flight.

3. Susiecakes vs. Kara’s: Because we understand that choosing the right cupcakery is serious business, and the last thing we want is for our readers to be paralyzed with indecision. Also, because I am unabashedly proud of my/our first foray into macro food pics.

4. Portland Report(land): A giant crab. A City of Books. Voodoo Doughnut. Baby octopi. And The Beginning of the End. I guess Oregon isn’t just about bowling and Chocobeer.

5. Iguanas Burritozilla: Because it’s a story of the future… and the past! More importantly, it’s proof that I actually contribute to MTFB. And because I ate nearly 3lbs of burrito in one sitting. I hurt just thinking about it.

6. Espana Part II: Toledo: Between the two of them, R2 and Janet nominated almost all the parts of the Spain series for top 10 status. I didn’t go to Spain, so what’s a guy to do but pick the one with castles? Because castles are effing cool, amiright?! Seriously though, you should read all of the Spain posts here. Muy Bueno.

7. Segway Tour of San Francisco: Because you haven’t experienced San Francisco until you’ve seen it from atop a Segway named Special Sauce.

8. Raku: Because you know it’s good when Janet spends an entire paragraph describing just the tofu. And because it’s apparently the first time “Janet = warm & fuzzy & feeling like a real blogger.” Taste the happy!

9. Lemon Blender Pie: Because what good is a food blog if we don’t occasionally throw in a recipe now and then? This one is SUPER easy!

10. Alembic: Because it’s the top post that should have made the top 10 posts of 2009 but was written in 2010. And because not everything goes right in foodie land, no matter how much you love the pink quail eggs.

There you have it! Please remember that today is the last day you can refer to the current year as “Twenty Dime”, so try to drop it into every sentence you use. I’ve found that whispering it creepily at the end has been astoundingly effective. Rumor has it that we’re going to make a push to call next year Twenty Chop (because the 11 looks like a pair of chopsticks), so keep an eye out for that, too. And now Janet and I (and the rest of the MTFB team of contributors) wish you a safe and happy New Year!

O hai.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Well, shit. All of November went by without a single post. My bad. I was traveling to three different cities, was interviewed by over thirty-three people in total, and got a brand new study off the ground. Science waits for no one.

But I have to admit this puts the pressure on me. What could possibly be good enough to serve as a grand re-entrance after an entire MONTH?

I wish I was Allie. She would draw some silly picture that involved an animal and attach a hilarious narrative of her crazy life. IF I were Allie, it’d go a little something like this:

1. Weird, candy-cane shaped limbs.

2. A face and eyes that look like this.

3. I chose these colors because I’m Asian.

4. This is Buttins so I made it a Scottish fold.

5. Her cat eyeballs tend to be like this. See?

But alas, I’m nowhere near her level of genius. So I will stick with nice pictures of food attached to totally non-food related anecdotes, with “fuck” and “balls” and “nom” thrown in liberally.

Many, many of those to come. Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting despite my protracted silence~

Go read the always brilliant Hyperbole and a Half, and fuck YES I am tagging this in the “Art” category.

My Pseudo-Cat Mochi

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Mochi’s Batman shadow is v. cute

There is this cat that hangs out in R2′s neighborhood. Its name, I have decided, is Mochi. I don’t know if it is a he or a she, but it is definitely a Kitler.

Mochi is fucking fascinated by Bootie. I have to admit Bootie is delicious-looking and both R2 and I have caught each other trying to eat her, but Mochi makes this joke a little too often, making me all “Dude. Mochi.”

Like the other day, when R2 left his door open, and lo!

Where the fuck is that chicken finger

I love it when Mochi breaches the homestead because it makes me feel like a cat owner without the accompanying stigma, and up close I can see her lusciously-soft-looking fur which is good mental fodder to fuel my late-night kitteh petting fantasies.

R2 has his own fantasies regarding Mochi. Or, more accurately, fantasies regarding the significance of his own pet.

Me: Ah. Here is an email from R2. I wonder if this email is about that vagrant that is squatting in the apartment near his that is freaking the neighborhood out. *click*

R2: Maybe – just MAYBE - Mochi is a cat from the future, a future where cats have risen to take their rightful place as Masters of the Earth. After years of failed Human stewardship, control of the Earth will finally be taken by those best suited to ensure its thriving survival. Planet of the Cats is better, cuter world – where humans serve their feline rulers. And Mochi is an adventurer-king, sent back in time to help facilitate and influence the very beginnings of this brighter future. He is accompanied by his faithful but eccentric human servant, Daryl. Under the best of circumstances, Daryl’s something of a Renfield, but this is accentuated/exacerbated once they are both stuck back in our time. They are reduced to living meanly on the streets (temporarily, until their mission is complete), and Daryl’s lack of amenities has enhanced his  appearance as a vagrant-type. Mochi, of course, retains his regal dignity, even on the street. His mission: to seek audience with the key to the future, a sage Animal seer who will provide guidance and counsel. But this wise, aged creature – upon whom ALL depends – is kept safely sequestered and protected – even from Mochi’s noble attempts at communication. Try as he might, Mochi has not yet been able to gain audience. And so the adventure continues – with Mochi determined to complete his mission and Daryl focused on honoring his Cat Lord – until such time as they can treat with this Animal Master of the past (our present).

In the future, pretzels are our enemy. That’s why.

At times like these, I really wish my name was Allie and I could illustrate this shit. For now, I will settle on a particularly elaborate kitty fantasy. Thanks R2.

Happy Hatch Day MTFB!

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

We missed it last year but not this year! September 5th is www.morethanafoodblog.com’s hatch day, and we are celebrating by torturing animals, and, failing that, using inanimate objects more amenable to photoshoots.

In case you want to torture your own beloved pets, Daniel has made this downloadable hat! Download it here.

Payback obviously hates it (see top). What about newcomer pet to MTFB, Tinx’s brudder‘s genetically defective (giving him long hair even though he’s a bulldog squeeeee!) puppersons Panda!

I like the four hands/arms and half of a toe that were required to make this photograph happen. Thank you Tinx and your family lol.

Anyway, some new embellishments to MTFB that you might notice and like. First, let’s get them out of the way. Ads. Click ‘em if they strike your fancy. Second. The randnom button! Speaking of Buttins, here she is, with her favorite munch target monkey:

She is SO PROSH she looks just like the How to Train Your Dragon dragooooon!

As you are clicking the randnom buttin, you might be confused. You might happen upon old posts with broken picture links. I’m working on fixing those. Also, you might stumble on references to Consumermachine, which was the old name of this blog. Don’t be scared it’s no big deal.

Another new thing is the tag cloud, to the right. If you are one of my friends, just click on your name and you will be taken to all (or almost all – also working on that) the posts of which you were a part. <3 Mouse over and it will show the number of posts you have been tagged in. Feel free to start wars with people.

Thank you to Daniel for instituting all of these changes.

Happy Second Birthday, MTFB! Happy fourth birthday to my self-indulgent little corner of the interweb, and thank you to all MTFB readers. I better click publish before midnight!

Happy Hatch Day Buttins~!

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Her new go-to pose; the Fuck You I Show You My Balls if I Had Them

It’s a certain kitteh’s one year hatch day toda~y!  Happy Birthday to Buttons aka Buttins aka Buttonia.

Let’s take a look back at her miraculous life with Tinx.

She was so little!

Use this as your iPhone wallpaper

I make my own pellow

Requisite cat in sink photo

Was this in The Last Exorcism?

Haha stupid

HAHA STUPID

At Comic Con we had Katie Cook take this picture and draw her…

Yes

Tuna, egg, and breadcrumb birthday cake awaits you tonight~!