Posts Tagged ‘daniel’

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.


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:


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.


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.


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.

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

MTFB goes bicoastal

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Hooo now that I’m recovered from the dizziness from that effing cheese skirt photo, I has an announcement to make! The extreme busyness to which Daniel is referring was a series of interviews for faculty positions in universities all over North America. After a grueling three months of these shenanigans, I’ve finally decided on a top-notch university in the lovely and beautiful… New Jersey!

Look at me, I’m all growed up! I’m gonna teach undergrads (and obsessively check! I’m gonna have a lab and a lab website that starts with my last name and ends in! I’m gonna stay up nights worrying about tenure!

Ahhh twill be the life.

I’ll also be within striking distance of New York City and all the glorious eats contained therein! Fuck. Yeah.

Ut oh this means I have a giant fucking backlog that I have to clear. This means: HAIKUS!

So so so much hype

Meatballs should be decadent

These were just meh, yo

OMG that’s fish!

Tuna with spaghetti, WHAT?

Chewy crunchy NOMS

Burninated kale

Puffy crust, umami blast

Well done, A16

A16 | 2355 Chestnut Street SF | 415.771.2216

So hungry at 5

Happy hour half price – heart!

Truffled popcorn, fuck

Flatbread half price too

Ham, Burratta, broccoli

Nectar Wine Lounge mmm

Nectar | 3330 Steiner Street SF | 415.345.1377

Tea leaf salad, god

Haunts me in my dreams, oh god

God almighty yum

Some sort of noodle

Should have ordered two Tea Leafs

Nice eggy-ness though

Poodi is curry

Funny name so we got it

Burma Superstar

Burma Superstar | 309 Clement St SF | 415.387.2147

This is Croque Madame

I got a yucky club, shit

R2 wins this one

Chouquet’s | 2500 Washington SF | 415.359.0075

Now I’m in LA

Watermelon apple juice

“Everything Nice” gulp!

I love jicama

No mayo tuna salad

Too healthy bad choice

Wrong one delivered

Worth the wait Havarti nom

Crunchy mouth-roof ouch!

What is this sammy?

Tinky got it – Caprese?

Look at that baguette!

Coral Tree Cafe | 11645 San Vicente Blvd LA | 310.979.8733

Deep fried chickpea app

Spicy crunchy addictive

Eat them with Beano

Embarras de richess

Brown Bear Ale was my fav’rite

Taste all beers for 10

Veggie paella

Just as good as fishy kind

Wait I miss sausage

Grilled Bistro filet

Chimichurri sauce and blood

Carnivore hard-on

Thirsty Bear | 661 Howard St SF | 415.974.0905

Oh Mamacita

Duck tacos be still my heart

Way too pricey, loud

Mamacita | 2317 Chestnut St SF | 415.346.8494

Lamb meatballs, sauces

A16’s can suck it dude

What are smaller balls?

Words cannot explain

Egg and cheese and meaty bliss

Ristobar my love

Ristobar | 2300 Chestnut St SF | 415.923.6464

Sebo sashimi

Anthony Bourdain went there

No Reservations

Only dab the soy!

Sushi platter broke the bank

Blackboard Eats thank god

Sebo | 517 Hayes St SF | 415.864-2181

Yay it’s Sharisa

Tacolicious Paloma

Festive red sugar

Top one was the best

Middle not spicy don’t fret

Bottom is mango

Fish and carnitas

I’ll miss these in Jersey, sigh

More, more cilantro!

Tacolicious | 2031 Chestnut St SF | 415.346.1966

Miso-glazed black cod

Tempura maitake

Thrillingly scrumptious

Butterfish special

So good but made me vomit

Got on R2’s sock

Umami | 2909 Webster St SF | 415.346.3431

Back in LA now

Pre-dinner snack of fried squid

Slurped up all the sauce

Deep fried corn fritters

Just like Cornell Chariot’s

Sweet, crispy, fatty

Three cheeses, goat too

Came with tomato soup shot

Eyes roll back in head

They’re famous for this

Braised short rib so soft, silky

Eat it with a spoon

Mini ice cream cones

Of course I did not eat it

People loved it though

Upper West | 3321 Pico Blvd LA | 415.586.1111

Where did I eat this?

Somewhere in Noe I know

Breakfast burrito

???? | 24th St SF | ????

Fresh shucked on the Wharf

Sliding down my throat oh yeah

Oysters are my crack

One of the stands | Fisherman’s Wharf, SF

New Years Resolutions: Twenty Chop

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Happy New Year! As Daniel mentioned, I’m gonna try hard to push Twenty Chop (11 <– chopsticks) instead of the horrible five-syllabic Twenty-Eleven. A second option that I will accept is simply “eleven” like when we said “ninety-seven” to tell people when we graduated from high sch– I mean kindergarten?

Anywayanyway. Thank you to Daniel at the end of 2010 for covering my ass. January in Twenty Chop is also crazay but I am pausing to put out my resolutions to hold myself accountable.

But first, let’s check back on how I did for Twenty Dime.

1. Finish Dogs That Should Be Named Oreo Post. Hurm. [Shifty eyes] Welp. I did a teeny bit of work on this in the 365 days I had. See above. This is Bella, a.k.a. Bella-Bee –> Bella Bean –> Beano. R2 and I dogsat her right before Christmas and I LOVED it. Although she is an Oreo dog, I can’t help but devote an entire post to her. Forthcoming.

2. Wake up when the alarm goes off. I think I did just EXCELLENT on this! In fact, I had a series of interviews for faculty positions on the east coast, so I prepped for it by getting on east coast time. Every week for a month I woke up an hour earlier. So by X minus 1 week I was going to bed at 8:30 and waking up at 4:30. Waking up early was exciting! First – so many extra hours to work! Then! The extreme sense of superiority as you see others’ lights turn on one by one. To the point where I was like, “Goddamnit sun you need to set your ass  I’m enjoying this.”

50% success is still an F in academia, so…fail.

I’ll try better on my TWENTY CHOP ones:

1. Start reading the print version of the New York Times. [PRINT version I’m not even going to hyperlink to the online version so there.] Dave Eggers once referenced a study that I can’t find showing that print media compared to online media engages our stress system less, and when it comes down to Dave Eggers vs. my scientific skepticism (even if I am an actual stress researcher), I go with the Staggering Genius. SO. This is part of my grownupification. If a dozen trees have to die and be only partially recycled for it, so be it.

2. Use ten exposures theory to learn to like the following foods: (1) ice cream; (2) cooked salmon; (3) Israeli couscous. Shudder. My strategy with ice cream is to gateway with salty-sweet. Salted caramel maybe. The final goal will be chocolate ice cream – my nemesis. Cooked salmon should be easy in theory, because I looove love love salmon sushi and smoked salmon. It’s the cooked shit though that gives me the willies. And Israeli couscous – I love regular couscous and I like boba. Israeli couscous is just one step along that continuum. But like teenagers, the medium-ness of it is horrifying.

3. Be the first to pick up things that people drop. This is a self-bettering type of resolution, inspired by R2. He is so nice and is exactly that kind of guy that will pick up, for example, a piece of paper that a stranger has dropped, even if a gust of wind blows right as the paper is dropped and blows it down the street into the path of an oncoming car, up all the way to the top of Divisadero, and then out to sea where there are both sharks and horny sea lions.

5. Get my faux squishable onto their website. I don’t want to link to it because I don’t want them to see the trackback, but for my hatchday Daniel HAND SEWED (!) me a giraffe Squishable. The giraffe is my favorite Squishable, because by virtue of making it into a Squishable you have negated the identifying characteristic of a giraffe. My giraffe is actually called a Girmath because of the extreme math that it took for Daniel to figure out how to sew a sphere. Note: Sometimes he is called Girmouth or Girmouf because Daniel had to teach himself how to embroider to do the mouth area. Anyway, on the Squishables site is an area where consumers can submit pics of themselves with their new squishables, so I’m going to take a picture of me with my Girmath and submit it. Heh heh. Fools.

6. Finish Dogs That Should Be Named Oreo Post.

Fucking ENCOUNTER restaurant

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Are you from the LA area? Then you know about Encounters restaurant – that thingie in the middle of LAX that looks like a spaceship. The only other people I know who have been there are my parents, when the went to UCLA before I was born. So…late 1990’s? jkjkjk like the SEVENTIES!?

It was closed a couple years ago, I thought for renovations, but seeing the multitude of lava lamps in there (honest to goodness – if you dare to go to their terrible terrible website, you will believe me) I looked it up and it turns out that a THOUSAND POUND CHUNK fell off the top. Jeez. Scary as that is, I don’t think that warranted a 12.3 MEELYON dollars pumped into it.

Anyway. I was in LA for 24 hours so Daniel and I decided to do the most blogworthy meal ever. Bonus that it ended up being next door to mine and every other LAX traveler’s terminal. We pulled up in front and parked in one of the four parking spots that had absolutely no restrictions posted. So, in the future if you want to park for a short time at LAX and not pay, you might as well sneak into one of these spots.

Then, we went into a very early-80s looking lobby into the elevator…

…where the lights dimmed and crazy old school space music blasted at us for the duration of our lift. “oh. Em. EFF. GEEEEEEE!” I said in a crescendo.

We got out and saw the aforementioned lava lamps everywhere, and it was very empty. We were led to a perfectly fine 2-top and opened the menu. Whooooo. Pricey. I guess that’s what FIVE fucking dollar signs means, but still, the sticker shock! I had $64 to spend thanks to my per diem, so we got lemon parmesan french fries to start, and then he got the Flame Broiled Prime Flat Iron Steak served on garlic whipped potatoes, sauteed broccolini, and topped with a black diamond truffle and chive butter [$27] and I had some sort of lamb chop thingie, also served over the whipped potatoes.

The french fries were fine. I don’t know that I would pair fries with lemon, but whatevs. Twas preceded by nice, warm bread. Carbovores.

My lamb chop thingie was fine, I guess. Very tender. But it was suuuch white people food! Brown gravy, breading on the chop. And – fucking MASHED POTATOES OUT OF THE MOTHERFUCKING BOX what the fuck? I did NOT spend $27 plus tax and tip to have fucking box potatoes.

However, every single review online said this exact same thing about how it was NOT worth the outrageous prices for this insanely mediocre food and sadness-inducing decor, so I wasn’t surprised. My favorite part  was the side broccolini of Daniel’s and also my asparagus which stank up my urine and the plane bathroom later.

The carrot cake we got as a dessert was my second favorite part (see top). It looked like it was secreting goopy blood eyeballs but the cake was moist and the cream cheese frosting totally passable.

With two glasses of wine, our total bill was $120. OMGWTFBBQDONK1EBALLS.

God, the whole thing was so half-assed! The decor, the service, the food, even the continuity of the space theme. The sides are titled “The Sides of the Moon” but the appetizers were just called appetizers, and the entrees were just called entrees, and the salad section was just “salads.” The only other themey thing we noticed was “Any Spacecrafts with an Interstellar Crew of Six or More shall have an Automatic Docking Fee of 18% (In other words, an 18% gratuity will be added to parties of 6 or more).” Neato. Not. I’m really glad I downloaded and installed Evernote solely to take notes on this meal but then transcribing that one sentence from the menu tired me out so I have no good notes on our dinner. Not.

Oh, and I’m REALLY glad I missed my flight. Not. I was lulled into complacency by my proximity to the gate, but when my mobile phone boarding pass link didn’t work and I went to the kiosk to print my pass it was already within the 45-minute limit (at this point: I had 25 minutes to departure time). So they made me wait in another line until it was TEN minutes to departure time, at which point the guy was like, “You should try making it! RUN! RUN!” So I ran just until he couldn’t see me anymore and then I slowed down. Because there was no way in hell I was getting through security and onto the plane in 9 minutes. The United lady at the re-ticketing booth seemed amazed at my lack of annoyance/upsetness but at the point when I cajoled Daniel into going to fucking Encounter I gave up all complaining rights.

Except this – why is there no “S” at the end of Encounters? Unacceptable and weird!

Why would you ever go? OK fine here’s the address:
In the middle of LAX, LA.
Phone: [wait, why would you ever CALL them?? OK FINE!]

Nopalito & Humphrey Slocombe

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

“Janet, what is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?” people always ask. I usually respond “HA! HA! Yeah, did you know how funny lolcats are?” Or, if that fails to change the subject, “HEY! Well! My favorite part in Elf is when Narwhal says ‘Bye, Buddy! Hope you find yer dad!'” and the one-two punch randomness of those statements usually buys me time.

Because there are SOOO many restaurants, great ones, in SF. I recently posed this question to R2 and he said King Foot Subs. I have mocked him for this but (don’t tell him) good god, they do make a mean motherfucking meatball sub.

I don’t even LIKE meatball subs but this one keeps me up at night with lust. The bread is stellar, and the meatballs are SO soft. And, it doesn’t even need to be saucey to be juicy. GOD it’s good. Good choice R2. [Note: don’t get seduced by the kalbi sub, which sounds great but is mediocre.]

But anyway, I would like to announce that I now have a go-to “favorite,” even though that is WAY too difficult of a question. If I had unlimited funds, it would be Fleur de Lys. Bang for buck would be Saigon Sandwich at $3 a pop. But the resto that (a) is consistently awesome; (b) reeks of foodie cred; (c) could ostensibly be any SF-ite’s favorite  is Nopa. I just checked our search field and apparently I have not yet blogged it. That should be remedied!

This is not that post.

This post is about Nopalito, Nopa’s offshoot that opened in the past year. When Daniel was visiting, the two of us with R2 went for lunch. I had very. very. high expectations, because people all over the place were saying they liked Nopalito more than Nopa.

I realize now that these people were just saying that to be hipster cool, and that objectively there is no way that anyone can actually think that.

Because what Nopalito is is: a cute place that serves above-average, very fresh Mexican food. Pictured top is the seasonal Gazpacho Estilo Morelia – a salad of late summer melons, orange juice, queso fresco, chile, and hot sauce. Not sure if it counts as cooking, but I really liked the contrasting sweet/salty/sour/spicy thing that was happening. But any fool with a melon baller could make this (though, perhaps, not conceive of it).

Along with my gazpacho, I had one Taco de Pescado al Pastorseared fish in adobo, chile ancho, orange, onion, cilantro and salsa de morita y tomatillo. Such a fresh, simple three bites! I loved it. The Pac-man looking thing in the back is a Gordita Campechana – a fried tortilla pocket, braised grass fed brisket, chorizo, cabbage, onion, cilantro and salsa taquera de tomatillos. I was a bit concerned when, instead of shattering under my knife like I expected it to, it squishily bent and oozed out oil. When I took a bite, however, it was not stale-oily but satisfyingly meaty and brightened like the sun with a hit of lime. Yum!

Note: When you are there, you must go to the bathroom. Don’t be sketched by the fact that you have to go out of the restaurant and halfway down the block to get to it. It’s the nicest bathroom evar, and hanging above is a cool sculptural piece made of dozens of chocolate stirrers for the mole (you rub the stick end in your palms).

Next, we went next door to the schmancy grocery store, the back of which was DeLessio’s Market and Bakery, which carried Humphrey Slocombe ice cream. I always know when I am catching a cold because I start to crave sweets. I was on the tail end of the cold I caught in Minneapolis, and ice cream sounded amazing to me (!) not to mention blogworthy, so I sidled up to the counter and got the weirdest flavor I could find.

This moody-looking ice cream is LEGIT. It’s called Secret Breakfast. I thought I was being all foodie-brave and cool by getting it, as it contains cornflakes, bourbon, and butter, but apparently it is their most popular flavor. Being-counter-culture fail on my part.

The little gristly, gritty bits of stuff in the almost gelato-ey melty (bc of the alcohol perchance?) were just! so! scrumptious! I thanked the billions of virus/bacteria that were staging a coup in my body for letting me, for once, appreciate ice cream – normally a food that makes me shudder. The coolness soothed my throat, the flakes made it seem more healthy, and the bourbon provided a nice buzz as I drove myself home, sick, in a teeny car, in the rain.

Nopalito & DeLessio
306 Broderick | SF

Happy Hatch Day MTFB!

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

We missed it last year but not this year! September 5th is’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!

Susiecakes vs Kara’s

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Daniel visited me a couple weeks ago, and I was like, “I has a Daniel nao wat i do wit it?”

We already had plans to do a super schmance dinner (Michael Mina) and we already had plans to dress up like we were in a dance krew and go to Step Up 3-D, so I was at a loss.

Then – inspiration.

“Do you want to has a cupcake-off between Kara’s and Susiecakes?”


So we went to Kara’s first, and decided we needed to taste-off the basics for sure, so we got a regular with vanilla frosting. Specifically, the fancy name: Sweet Vanilla – vanilla cupcake with sweet madagascar bourbon vanilla frosting. We also got a passion fruit one – vanilla cupcake with passion fruit filling and vanilla buttercream.

We carried the box down the street to Susiecakes, where the chick eyed our pink package but didn’t say anything. There, we got vanilla, Luscious Lemon, red velvet, and mint chocolate. I am not sure why we got four here as opposed to two there.

Oh, an important note: Daniel is now the proud owner of a fatty macro lens. Yessss. Now MTFB can be a legit depth-of-field-ey type blog! I mean, LOOK what he did with Payback’s ears!

And our mimosa at Squat and Gobble!

So yeah. We were as excited to photograph our new purchases as we were to eat them. I knew that they would look smashing on my kitchen table, which is ice-green/blue and reflective.

Oh, Daniel is now explaining that we chose the vanilla and red velvet first, and then he wanted to try the chocolate mint as a mini, but they didn’t have any, so he got the big one, and then I was like you should get another to fill the box, so we got the lemon one for Tinx (who was driving up from LA later that night). [Note: Apparently she never ate it, as when I asked her for comments for this post she said “I liked the Kara’s one but I only had one bite I don’t even remember what kind it was.” Kara’s – ie not the lemon one we got her. Fail.]

[in Heidi voice] Let’s start the show.

Not bad, Daniel.

As for the competition-

Box: Kara’s wins, because (a) it is a cuter color; (b) the sticker is used strategically to close the box; (c) the box is designed better – the flaps fold into itself, whereas Susiecakes the flaps stick out and they use janky scotch tape to keep the box closed; and (d) –

Cuppycake holsters so they’ll stay upright. Susiecakes just rolled around – ugh a pet peeve of mine.

Selection: Although both Kara’s and Susiecakes’ have t-shirts and big cakes, Susiecakes also has whoopie pies, silky and rich-looking puddings, mini cupcakes, and  cheesecakes. So Susie wins.

Cake: Kara’s wins. Moist yet light and vanilla-ey; neither of these described Susie, though “buttery” did.

Frosting: Susiecakes pulled this one out, though it could have been because we tasted four rather than two. So, not a fair matchup. But the Luscious Lemon frosting hit that perfect note of tart and sweet and toe-tingly.

Store decor: Kara’s is cute and sleek, not to mention they have a sweet-ass van that rolls around the neighborhood, frustratedly looking for parking all the time. Susiecakes is all pastels and whites, which is fine I guess.

Convenience: Kara’s has the aforementioned van, not to mention curbside service, and they are open for more hours. Derr.

Yumminess when drunk: Based on the carnage the following day, perhaps a draw.

Lasting power: But the next morning, we thought that Kara’s tasted almost as lovely as they had the day before – not so with the dried out Susiecakes.

Overall taste: Kara’s.

Overall weeeeener~! Kara’s!

I will leave you with Daniel’s master shot of the day - this gratuitous picture of a single sprinkle in focus~


2109 Chestnut St
SF CA 94123

Kara’s Cupcakes [thank you for not making your name “Kupkakes”]
3249 Scott St
SF CA 94123
[Note: I do approve of you calling it your “Karavan.”]

McDonald’s Mac Wrap

Monday, April 19th, 2010

As long as we’re on the subject of disgusting fast food, here’s a snack-sized post for the new McDonald’s Mac Wrap.  I’ve long been a fan of their chicken snack wrap.  Don’t get me wrong – the reason I like the chicken snack wraps is not because they are [relatively] healthy; I get them as a backup second “entree” when I worry that my two cheeseburger value meal  isn’t enough food but McNubs sound too effortful (with the sauce and dipping and whatnot).

In this instance, I got a Filet-o-Fish (because it was Friday!  Alliteration!) and fries (more!) and sat down excitedly with Daniel, who was visiting.  I looked down, however, and saw this:

Why was it wrapped in a sausage McGriddle wrapper?  No matter.  I tore it open and was psyched when I got a gander at the shredded iceberg; common denominators to both the beloved Big Mac and Snack Wrap.

But.  Wait.  The Mac Wrap in my head was supposed to be a beef version of a snack wrap.  It is not a beef version of a snack wrap.  It’s like a shitty version of a Big Mac stuck in a tortilla.  I mean, the thing could NOT have been more phoned in.  Literally it’s just a hamburger patty cut in half, which made me sad.  I wanted a mini-fied and oblong (and to mix metaphors) hash-brown-shaped patty peeking out at me (in my fantasies, with edible googly eyes – hey that’s a good idea make it and market it!) like a swaddled infant so I could say “Imma eatchoo bebeh” and nom it like a monster.

I nommed it like a monster anyway.  And…I must admit it was great.  A tiny Big Mac punch!  When prompted to offer his thoughts, Daniel said “Ummm just that it is perfect for when you want the Big Mac taste without feeling like you should kill yourself after?”  Well said, my friend.

And well-played, my McDonald’s.  In the end, I must admit that the Mac Wrap is exactly what McDonald’s wanted it to be.

Andersen’s Pea Soup

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

I love split pea soup.  It is salty and hearty and re-hee-ally tasty, particularly on the back half of one’s tongue (that’s what she said).  So, eight years on the West Coast, drivin’ up and down that stupid 5, with tempting Andersen’s Pea Soup signs showing up as early as fucking BAKERSFIELD, and never to Andersen’s!?  Travesty.

A true travesty indeed, since my not-knowingness caused me to enter into a bet where I wagered (incorrectly) that Andersen’s was on the 101, not the 5.  I lost 200 points on that bet, but it was a strange game where no one ever told me what 1 point meant, so la-dee-dah~

Another pea soup memory: When I was but a wee girl in Girl Scouts (Brownie stage), I had to cook an entire meal to get my “cooking” badge.  It was a big deal because until then I wasn’t allowed to use the stove for fear of burning myself.  My mom, in a rare American-Mommy-type moment (rather than Japanese And On Top Of That Busy Doctoral Student Mommy) helped me earn my badge by helping me cook split pea and ham soup (out of a can lol) and a sandwich.

Yet another pea soup memory: When I was living with my ex-ex-ex roomie, I remember him cutting out an article from the LA Times Magazine about fairy camp and posting it on our fridge.  I remember us standing in the kitchen and him reading the article out loud to me, kindergarten-style.  I particularly remember a boy fairy, impersonated very cutely by my roommate, who was quoted as saying, “Pea soup. I’m the fairy that likes pea soup.”  In fact, I just googled “I’m the fairy that likes pea soup” and found the article!  Read it it’s awesome. It’s from 2002; 7 years ago! The shit that gets stored in our memories, sometimes. Wow.

OK so Andersen’s is a crazy throwback to I don’t know what era of decor.  A huge windmill (powered by a motor; thus negating the whole point of a windmill said Simon) on the outside, a million billion tchotchkes inside.  I sampled some cheese spread, which was appropriately nasty/yum, and we got two soups to go; one with “the works” topping, for a mere $1.50 more, which netted us green onions, ham, cheese, croutons, AND BACON!

We heated it up later in my bare apartment in the middle of the night and ate it on the floor.  Totally lived up to the hype.  Salty – check!  Hearty – check!  Re-hee-ally tasty – check! Particularly on the back half of my tongue – check!  I liked mine plain; Simon preferred his with all the toppings but NOT the bacon!??!  I sampled it and had to agree – the bacon was super crunchy and salty and totally disrupted the experience.

But even better was the experience the following morning, when the soup was cold and had gelatinized/solidified somewhat into something inexplicably delicious.  I guess it was like the texture of…hummus?  Pea hummus, eaten straight with a spoon.  A superb first and second meal in the new apartment~!

Andersen’s Pea Soup
376 Avenue of the Flags
Buellton, California 93427