Anger Burger

We Are Unaffected by the Tsunami

Posted by on Sep 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm

If anyone is concerned about us regarding the earthquake off the coast of Samoa that has tragically killed several many people there, don’t worry.  We didn’t even feel the quake this morning, and we’re on the wrong side of the island to see any effects of the water even if it were higher than the 40cm or whatever was recorded.  Anyway, we’re fine, and send your thoughts out to those affected in Samoa.

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0 Posted in Uncategorized

Brain Food/Food Brain

Posted by on Sep 29, 2009 at 3:18 pm

This trip has been a real eye-opener for me: I’m a moron.  What I thought was soggy travel brain is clearly something deeper.  I fear I have developed a serious case of Crohn’s Brain.


Anyone with a chronic illness knows what I’m talking about, and even those of you with one of those lingering flus that leave you feeling 100 I.Q. points short knows precisely what I’m talking about.  There’s only so much energy the body can devote to one thing, and the first part of the body to get the pink slip is the higher brain function.  Oh sure, we keep the automatic breathing and the heart beating and a little bit of the fight or flight, but the navigation and the remembering how to use the TV remote skills?  Total loss.  It’s rather humbling to realize how short of a full scoop of chips1 one is, and I’m repeatedly made thankful that I have Mike with me and that we can stay at a friends house.  It makes things much, much easier.

But let’s talk about better things.  First, a breakfast of creamed mushrooms over toast.  Its rather a thing here, the mushrooms over toast, and I found it to be an ideal breakfast.  Not too heavy but still substantial.  This one claimed to be in a port wine reduction cream sauce, but all I tasted was cream.  It was exactly as though one had made a thick gravy of cream of mushroom soup (imagine!) and then served it over sauteed mushrooms and thick slices of chewy bread.  In fact, it’s not “as though” at all, it is is.


We stopped by a bulk grocer and I renewed my appreciation for the lewd catcall “NICE BISCUITS!” which of course Mike then endured for the remainder of the day.  As an aside, there was a kind of Arnott’s biscuit I was addicted to about five years ago, from their Snack Right line.  You can still get the sultana (raisin) version, but they used to make a tropical flavor with dried passionfruit and I believe mango in it and I must have eaten a dozen packs back in the day.  No such danger now, as they appear to have discontinued them. I’ll have to make do with several pounds of  the world’s best Cadbury chocolate instead.


But at least I can get De Winkel yogurt.  Again, five years ago there was a passionfruit and feijoa flavor that I must have eaten gallons of, but it doesn’t seem to be an available flavor anymore.  Still, rhubarb!  I love rhubarb and it’s thrilling to be in a country that likes it almost as much as me.  New Zealand yogurt tends to be less sweet than US yogurt, which is a tremendous improvement if you ask me, and it is as popular as a topping for pastry as whipping cream is.  Our host, Marika, passionately extolled the singular delights of having a slice of lemon cake with a hearty scoop of rich, unflavored yogurt on the side and I almost fainted.


This sweet fellow here makes me happy, and not just because it looks like Mr. Burns when he was an alien.  The real reason is because they mr-burnsare still called Eskimos.  Earlier this year, an Inuit visiting New Zealand was offended and complained to the parent company, Pascall.  My first reaction was, thank god this happens in other countries.  My second reaction was, well yeah, I think it might be time to rename them.  When a native peoples come forward and says, “Hi, your name for us?  Is not our name for us,” is the point where you have to go, “Okay, sorry.”  And my final reaction is, maybe everyone should just let it go.  I strongly feel that the longer you allow words to have power, the longer you’re allowing them to hurt (or help) you.  The Inuit may not have forgotten the insult of being called Eskimo, but the practical matter is that the rest of us have.  In New Zealand you have a whole nation of people to whom asking “Fancy an Eskimo?” will result in them holding out their hand for a piece of candy.  It’s not a happy medium, but it’s a medium, and sometimes that’s all you can ask for.

1Little bit of Kiwiana for you there.  Chips are, of course, french fries and in real chip shops you get either a whole or a half scoop (and lots of places won’t serve a half scoop) serving.

Curiously, “Fish-Flavored Savory Doughnut” Doesn’t Sound That Appealing

Posted by on Sep 27, 2009 at 8:45 am

It feels 200% different to be in another country with a car and a local.  Five years ago I was 25, alone, and for the most part just winging it.  I was staying in Wellington, a city uniquely friendly to travelers and foot-traffic, but I was 10,000 miles away from home and celebrating Christmas and New Years with near-total strangers.  Still, it was formative and critically important in my development as an adult; I don’t think you can know yourself well at all until you’ve traveled alone.

Compare this to arriving, getting into a car, having a local say, “Want to eat the best fish and chips around?” and then be off for it, and, well, there is no comparison.  It feels a little like cheating.  Scrumptious, scrumptious cheating.


Mike ‘s “dinner” portion of fish, which translated from Kiwi means “dinner plate sized fillet”.

But right she was, and I’m here to tell you: Americans?  We rarely do fish and chips right, and I’ve even bragged about places.    Plimmerton Fish Supply in (surprise!) Plimmerton soundly kicked the asses of any chips places I’ve been to in the last few years.  I mean, brutally murdered the asses of any other chips places.  The fish was incredibly fresh and flaky with a disgustingly delightful batter that tasted like a savory doughnut.  They do their frying in 100% rice bran oil, which is not only a relatively healthy oil, but has almost no real flavor of its own.


I ordered kumara (what locals call sweet potato) instead of potato chips and moaned my way through the pile.  They were, in a word, fuckingdelicious. I didn’t eat a drop of ketchup or tartar with my meal, it was so good.  Also up there, to the upper left of the kumara chips, was a single battered mussel ordered ala carte.  It was mediocre — oversized mussels can be hard to eat, and this one was no exception.  Normally I really like mussels and New Zealand is home to some of the best in the world, but if you can’t bite through a piece it takes a little bit of the fun out of eating.  I’ll try their oysters next time.  The cole slaw was also excellent, but aggravated my Crohn’s the next day enough that I won’t be risking it again.


Another attempt was made at a meat pie, this time a lamb curry and clearly inferior to yesterday’s lovely handmade specimens.  However, still fantastic.  Still buttery flaky pastry, still well-flavored meat and gravy.  This one suffered only in filling texture, being faintly too gelatinous to respect entirely.  And yet another reason to appreciate having Mike along: since we can share meatpies, I can sample twice as many.


And, quickly now before I am off to do something else: some hot nutz for your pleasure.

The Days, They Blur

Posted by on Sep 26, 2009 at 12:44 pm

“Give me a flagon of your finest ale, and I want it served by a Hobbit!”

And that, folks, is why I wanted Mike to come along this trip with me.  The instigator was a rather bitchy bitch of a barista who disgustedly snapped at me that they didn’t accept credit cards and moreover that “hardly anyone” in NZ accepted credit cards and that I had “better start carrying cash.”  This is, of course, patently bullshit.

The best part was that my friend Marika, also an American by birth but as of late a resident Kiwi, had just moments before used her card to pay for her coffee.  And further better yet, I was staring directly at the credit card reader which was modern and, apparently, functional.

Not wanting to start any trouble, I glared at her, paid with cash and went to sit down with Marika and Mike, with whom I discussed that various possibilities of her cuntiness.  Did she hate all Americans, or just us?  To help her prejudices along Mike loudly made the above statement in his best Ugly American accent.

You should know that the experience was entirely uncommon and because of this, sort of hilarious for us.  Kiwis are by nature friendly and accommodating, and the entirety of our two days had so far been grand in every way.  In fact, it had been a whirlwind of incredible food and mesmerizing countryside, despite being the worst weather in months (it was near-freezing and pissing rain when we arrived, which as of this writing has become painfully sunny) and despite a less-than-stellar plane trip (the AC stopped working on the plane, which then heated up to about 90° leading me to wonder if we were flying into the sun, because shouldn’t the plane’s natural state at that altitude be freezing?).


Immediately after arriving Marika fairly demanded I order a plate of corn fritters with egg and Hollandaise from Ruby’s Cafe in Mana.  It was without question what made me begin to feel human again, even though I’d have foggy travel-brain for another two days yet.


Later yet, a return to my beloved meatpie.  Meatpies will have to be their own story, but know this now: my mindless food of choice is without question a meatpie.  Whereas some eat happily hamburgers when left to their own devices, meatpies are my drug.  But, as I am already about two days behind reporting on our trip, we’ll let it go at that for now.

1 Posted in New Zealand

The Non-Combustion Club

Posted by on Sep 22, 2009 at 8:22 am

“I don’t mean to sound funny, but I feel like this is the future.  I mean it.  I feel like in 2020 everyone is going to be smoking electronic cigarettes.”

— Mike

One of the decisions that we1 made for the trip was Mike’s transition to an electronic cigarette.  The long story is that he’s spent the last 30 days researching and deciding on whether they were something he would use, how safe they were and what brand he’d purchase.  Between him and his friend Sean (who also did a hefty share of research and experimentation), I feel they’ve come to some excellent and educational conclusions.  I’ll go ahead and get to the end of the story now: Mike couldn’t be happier with his purchase, and hasn’t smoked a old-style cigarette since he got his e-cigarette.

Since we both wanted to share with people the things he’s learned, here’s a breakdown of the whole shebang.

1)  E-cigarettes are way, way safer than old cigarettes.

In 2008 the pharmaceutical industry (and surprisingly to a lesser extent the tobacco industry) started to get pretty worried about the mass-production of the first viable electronic cigarettes and wasted no time calling up their buddies over at the FDA who promptly issued a string of “studies” and warnings about e-cigarettes, most of which still persist in the form of rumor.  Unsurprisingly, FDA has withheld the practical interpretations of their studies.  For example, they grimly point out that e-cigarettes contain nitrosamines, a known carcinogen.  Well, guess what?  It is the same amount found in Nicorette gum, and approximately 1000% less than is found in tobacco smoke.  Another big warning is the dread diethylene glycol, or anti-freeze.  However, your toothpaste probably has diethylene glycol in it, let alone the question of how much diethylene glycol is in an old cigarette (answer = a lot).  Did you know there’s a maximum safety standard for diethylene glycol’s use as a food additive?  It’s not much (.2%) but it’s some.  And to be sure: we’re not claiming e-cigarettes are totally safe, only that they are incalculably safer than old cigarettes.  The key is to question who is opposed to the use of e-cigs, and then things start to become clear: how can Big Pharma wean you off cigarettes 8 times (the average number of serious tries it takes a person to quit) with their expensive Chantix if you’re happily puffing away?  (EDIT: Additional comment at bottom)


This was right around the time we realized there was not going to be a ‘cool’ smoking shot.  It’s pretty much all pen fellatio.

2) E-cigarettes are cheaper than old cigarettes.

This one is easily demonstrable: a set-up kit from a generic importer will run you about $40 – that’s for the base atomizer and a recharging pack, along with a few nicotine refill cartridges.  The cartridges, on the other hand, run about 40¢ each – and each one is equivalent to 1/2 a pack of cigarettes.  That’s 80¢ for a pack of cigarettes. Some quick math shows that the average smoker will have the e-cigarette paying for itself in about a month, and after will be saving about $1500 a year.  Dang, yo!  Of course, there are accessories (if you get the mini e-cigs, which are closer in size to an old cigarette, you’ll most definitely want a portable charger to take with you every day) and they are an electronic device that can break.  However, replacement parts for the atomizer and the rechargeable batteries are still about the cost of a single pack of old cigarettes.  Lastly, you can save even more by refilling the nicotine cartridges yourself with “E-Juice” (blech, those guys need some copywriters).

3) The e-cigarette is often marketed as a way to quit smoking, but you might find you smoke less with the e-cigarette even if you don’t intend to.

Everyone knows there’s a lot of psychology to smoking.  There are the physical motions, the stepping outside, the social aspect.  The strange thing that Mike noted is that once he no longer needed to go outside, his smoking habits immediately rearranged themselves.  Now he finds he smokes much less, but more frequently.  One or two puffs is enough to sate him for about an hour, whereas before he’d finish an entire old cigarette, and why not — you’re already outside, you’re smoking, you finish your smoke.  If you are trying to quit, early studies are showing incredible results, something like 80% success rates versus the 5% standard of nicotine gum.

4) There is no danger to others.

The second-hand smoke factor for e-cigarettes is almost nill.  The nicotine is carried in water vapor that rarely gets past the smoker’s own mouth, something I can attest to directly.  Even more, many people on the forums note that “courtesy” e-smoking makes even less vapor – they discretely draw in, hold their breath and exhale nothing at all.


This was with the vapor totally uninhaled, just immediately expressed into the air.  For science.

5) There is no flavor/odor unless you want there to be.

The manufacturers for the e-cigarettes boast just under 50 flavors (!) for their refills, a fact that those against the e-cigarette have latched onto as a factor in the potential appeal to children.  I admit that the e-cigarette will be more appealing to young people for a multitude of reasons — not the least of which is that a lack of odor means no detection from teachers and parents — and that perhaps making peanut-butter flavor isn’t entirely moral (or tasty?).  But kids will be kids, and if they’re sneaking smokes I for one would much, much rather they were sneaking e-cigs.  As a note about the flavors, Mike didn’t realize he ordered “Marlboro” flavor until afterward, he believed he had ordered “tobacco.”   For the first time the other day I smelled it when some of the vapor wafted under my nose as we sat outside together and it smelled good, like a fresh cigarette pack smells (I’m not a smoker myself).  I’d be interested to know if the different “brands” of flavor (Camel, Marlboro, Turkish, etc.) do actually taste different.  As a more personal and gross note, Mike and I made out like teenagers the other day in large part for me because his mouth tasted spring clean.  Sean already reports a having better sense of smell.


The 510 manual e-cigarette compared to his obsolete bretheren.

6) The e-cigarettes may nor may not be allowed indoors and on airplanes.

This one is constantly changing.  Most airlines, it appears, do not directly forbid the smoking of e-cigarettes on planes, though there are lots of anecdotal reports that individual flights have asked users to stop.  The reason for stopping people is entirely one of confusion; there is vapor, it is an electronic device, what the hell is it?  Some e-cig fans encourage open, vocal use by referring to them as “nicotine inhalers” and covering the LED light as they smoke.  Still, Mike and I wonder why one wouldn’t just smoke in the plane’s restroom, as it eliminates the weirdness factor altogether.  I think of it almost like an insulin shot – you can do it in the open, but it seems easier for everyone if you can find a more discrete way.  A similar condition is indoors, in a restaurant or a store.  Because the technology is so new, it seems you are inviting confrontation.  On the other hand, people have to get educated sometime, right?


LED end.  Sort of silly, sort of Logan’s Run.  And they sell “crystal” versions!  TOTALLY Logan’s Run!

Lastly, the devices themselves.  There are a lot to choose from, and a to keep a long story short less long, Mike chose the 510.  Do your own research on size and automatic vs. manual, and feel free to ask us questions here.  The biggest tip we can give is to order from a place called Heaven Gifts.  They are well-rated by other users, and Mike and Sean had excellent service with them.  They provide everything you could ever need for your e-cigs, including the refill fluid should you choose to save even more money (we’ve yet to experiment with this, it might be a pain in the ass).  Also note that Heaven Gifts will be closed for 8 days starting October 1st, and until then are offering double reward points on orders.  Mike, Sean and myself are not associated with Heaven Gifts at all, just happy customers.

So those are the basic facts as regurgitated by us.  You are, as always, encouraged to do your own research.  Pretty much all you’d ever want to know can be read over at the electronic cigarette forums and also gives an idea of how big this thing has gotten already.

1By which I mean Mike made all by himself.

EDIT: Leesa pointed out something very poignant, which is that states get about 80% of the price of a pack of cigarettes you purchase in the form of taxes and e-cigarettes are totally untaxed.  It is very likely that states are going to either ban or tax the e-cigarettes as they gain popularity, and know that if they ban them?  They’ll claim it is for health reasons.  Sure.  And not that $5 you used to make off every single pack of old cigarettes sold.

6 Posted in Totally Unrelated

And Now For a Very Special Month of Anger Burger

Posted by on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I have to precede this whole thing with a side note: I was just reading an article about Henry Nicholas, the CEO of Broadcom (it was interesting!  he had sex caverns under his mansion!) and it mentioned that Nicholas was a rare “Mastermind” in the Myers-Briggs Jungian personality profile.  Since I had a little time to kill this morning (I was waiting for moneybags to wake up and write me a check) I took the test online myself.  AND GUESS WHO ELSE IS A MASTERMIND? That’s right, yours truly, which proves that there’s something wrong with the test.

But now the business.  For the next 5 weeks, things are going to be a little off-kilter here at Anger Burger.  A little upside down.  A little mirror-world.  A little… kiwi?

We’re going to New Zealand!


Oh, how cute is 25 year-old me?  Also: nice grease-face, kid. (2004)

We’re going to be visiting (and house-sitting) for an old friend of mine1 in a town outside of Wellington. In 2004-2005 I spent some time in NZ by myself and must have gotten a chunk of tree-fern stuck in my heart or something, because it has been on my mind ever since.


Much of my time was spent huddled over a pile of fish and chips such as this one. (2004)

Unsurprisingly, its the food that I keep thinking about.  For a long time I suspected I was secretly English (I say Asian in a past life because, well, look at my features, but I could conceivably be secretly English in this life), at least until I went to New Zealand.  And discovered the holy grail of all foods:


It’s like a nation of food specifically designed for people staying in hostels. (2004)

Behold, the meatpie.  Delightfully tasty, eminently portable meatpies.  The government even has a minimum meat-content standard for them to ensure you get the meat you are paying for. Can you imagine?  If the government made taco trucks in Los Angeles comply to a minimum meat standard?  Hilarity!

And the countryside!  Somehow New Zealand has a spectrum of green that we don’t even have in America.

All of this is to say: I’m delighted and awed that I get to go back, and Anger Burger is going to serve as more of a travel blog than a food repository for the next month.  Well, I think we all know it’ll mostly be about food anyway, but you get my drift.  Starting tomorrow, sit back and enjoy the hijinks.  You don’t have to sit back, though.  I mean, you can stand if you want.  Or lie down.  Whatever’s comfortable for you.

1 She’s not old, our friendship is.


Posted by on Sep 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I’ve been busy packing and sorting and cleaning for the upcoming secret, for which I feel compelled to give a large hint: it’s more travel.  The downside is that we’ve been on an all-sandwich-all-the-time diet lately and it’s starting to wear on both of us.  Combined with the classic Los Angeles summer (read: late) I suspect we’ve got a few more days of it.  I want to cook, I really do, but the last few times I’ve been in the kitchen I’ve crawled back out again.


This ham sandwich would have been delightful if the bread weren’t disgusting.  Is it just me, or is all storebought sandwich bread totally fucking wrong?  I’ve tried the expensive stuff (Pepperidge Farm — dry and fragile) and the cheap shit (pita bread – dry and fragile) and everything in between.  About the only thing that works are croissants, and I just can’t eat a sandwich made out of butter in this heat.  The above bread, Orowheat Buttermilk, was so gummy that we were scraping bread dough from our teeth the entire time we ate.

The upside is the discovery that Trader Joe’s Cilantro & Chive Yogurt Dip (in the cold case with the hummus and fresh salsa) makes a fantastic sandwich spread.  I can’t taste any cilantro in it, so it tastes like a cleaner, fresher version of garlic-n-chive cream cheese and went wonderful with ham and butter lettuce.  It reminds me of a revelation I had when I was a kid.  A good friend of mine, Jessica, was making turkey sandwiches for us when she asked if I wanted ranch on mine.  Ranch?  Ranch what?  I thought we were having sandwiches.  I watched as she spread a thick layer of ranch dressing on the bread before stacking the turkey and lettuce and thought, this is madness! Of course, it’s totally normal and every Subway in America sells a turkey and ranch sub, but at the time it was like someone had pulled a feather out of their ear and asked if I wanted a backrub.  I’m confused and attracted.  In the 20 years since then I’ve noticed any number of salad dressings that work better as a sandwich spread, like my personal favorite, Litehouse Honey Mustard.  Goes with everything.  Trust.

Something I want to get off my chest: I realize that, from this blog, it appears we don’t have jobs and we buy new electronics and take expensive trips all the time.  Which is sort of true.  The thing is, it is not our choice not to be working and it terrifies us both knowing that we’ll be dead broke sooner rather than later.  We don’t have any major financial obligations other than rent, so in that we are very lucky.  No car payments.  No kids.  No pets, even.  The upcoming secret trip was arranged before we’d both lost our jobs, and even then at such an inconceivable discount (thanks again, Oliver!) that I’m still suspicious we’ll be riding in the cargo bay.  Nevertheless, there is a pall over the Anger Burger household.  We’re worried.  A little, and on the backburger  (<– REAL TYPO!), but its there.  This is our last hurrah.  Maybe.  Welcome to the recession.

2 Posted in Food Rant

Do As I Do, Not As I Say

Posted by on Sep 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Well, the neighbors are chanting again, which means it’s… Thursday morning?  What?  Though, it birthed a new theory: it’s a transcendental meditation teacher who is getting more and more students.  But it presupposes that transcendental meditation sounds really, really annoying.  Which it might.

To continue my overwhelming influence from reader Amy and my ensuing discovery of Cooking with Dog, I decided to make something that looked easy, like gyudon:

Admittedly two beefs in one week was… maybe too much.  But I knew that my resident beefaholic would be happy and I wanted to make the recipe exactly as the woman in the video makes it before I started changing things around.

I’m a habitual recipe changer.  I never make things exactly as they are supposed to be made, never. I mean, sometimes for no reason I’ll change something, just to be contrary.  But this time I bit the damn bullet.  The other part of the story is that I have heard of “onsen eggs” a few times in recipes.  Onsen means “hot spring” and refers to the way that they’d cook eggs in the springs while the people also marinated.  I always sort of scowled and thought, it’s just a soft-boiled egg, just call it a soft-boiled egg! But in the gyudon video when she cracks the egg – WHAT IS THAT?  That’s not a soft-boiled egg!  It’s all cooked but still… soft.  I DON’T GET IT.

So I made it.


I like how I couldn’t be bothered to rotate the bowl so that the chip didn’t show in the photograph.

And it was FUCKING AWESOME.  Basically you make a poached egg inside the shell.  It takes virtually no intelligence or skill, which is clearly where the appeal lies for me.  If you google making an onsen egg, you’re flooded with unnecessarily complicated methods that involve heating water to 160 degrees and then slowly raising the temp to 170 and monitoring it the whole time and I’M JUST GOING TO MCDONALDS NOW.  But on Cooking With Dog the woman pours boiling water over two room temp eggs in a small clay pot, covers them, and then retrieves them 20 minutes later.  And hers are gorgeous.

I don’t have a small clay pot, so I made a lot of boiling water and covered two eggs in a huge dutch oven, covered it, and retrieved the eggs 20 minutes later.  And guess what?  They were totally rad.  They might be too soft for some, but the egg white is, despite its texture, cooked through.  You know how boiled egg whites get that distinct egg flavor?  I know I sound silly, but bear with me.  Raw egg has almost no flavor, in particular the whites.  I detect a kind of mineral taste I suspect is just “protein”, but certainly none of the rich sulfur that makes eggs so distinct.  These onsen egg taste like a cooked egg, but do not develop the rubbery texture.  And the yolk!  Oh the yolk.  A miracle.  A singularity.  The yolk is also cooked through, but is still translucent and the texture of fine fruit preserves, silken and thick.  A more perfect egg could not have been matched with that bowl of rice and beef.  If you have any strength left in your world-weary corpse I suggest you make one for yourself this instant.

2 Posted in Food Rant

Well, When You Put It That Way

Posted by on Sep 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm

me: “For my birthday my mom got me boiled cider and steel portion cups.”

Mike: “It’s like you’re starting your own prison.”

0 Posted in Food Rant

Rice, the Other White Rice

Posted by on Sep 16, 2009 at 12:28 am

Exciting times.  Have a surprise to tell ya’ll next week.  Sorry, I know seven days is too soon to start teasing about something, but this is a game I’m not particularly good at.

Unrelated, or peripherally related: I have some neighbors that are of a religion (I’m guessing) that requires them to chant loudly and frenetically multiple times a week for sometimes hours.  I have no idea.  I live in Hollywood, what do you want?  Anyway, another neighbor theorized the chanters were Orthodox Jews, but as far as I know even Orthodox Jews don’t have a reason to chant for 2 straight hours on a Tuesday afternoon.  Mike theorizes they are Hare Krishnas, but I think I would have noticed Hare Krishnas walking around my neighborhood before now.  But it doesn’t matter what they are, because I don’t care; what I care about is how incredibly fucking annoying it is.  As mentioned, the chanting isn’t soothing, it’s maniacal and demented.  It sounds a lot like:


And until recently I’ve been able to shut windows or listen to music or something, but today I could do neither and as a treat got to hear some lady in the chanters go completely rogue with a shrill, unhinged warble.  She was still chanting along with the rest of them, but one of those kids was doin’ her own thing, if you catch my drift. Kudos for the own drum and all, but if you could keep it down?  I can barely hear the car alarms and the gunshots.

However!  I made takikomi gohan from the packet that Amy gave to me.


Straight out of the foil bag it was a little peculiar.  It smelled good, sort of earthy.  Still, bottoms up and whatnot.  Into the pot of rice it goes.

In the meantime I had been to the butcher to buy my favorite cut of meat, the flat iron.  Flat iron was traditionally a part of a chuck roast but is now often found cut off and offered separately.  It’s a well-marbled, tender, flavorful cut of meat that until recently was quite cheap.  Popularity for it has slowly driven the price up, and at my local butcher the New York cut was cheaper than the flat iron.  Insane.  Still, it’s usually $8/lb. or less, and within my budget.


As you can see, it’s a nice piece of meat, har-d-har.  It has a lot of “beefy” flavor (surprising, I know, but if you eat beef regularly it is surprising which cuts are sort of bland and not worth the money) (I’m looking at you, tenderloin) but it comes in pancake-like filets never more than 1.5 inches thick.  It’s just the way the meat works.  When I first discovered these steaks in Cincinnati the butcher would for some totally bizarre reason cut them into long strips, like I’ve done above.  I was infuriated.  Why did he keep doing that?  However, it led to a reluctant discovery: they were easier to marinate and cook in those strips.  And while I still don’t know what the fuck he was thinking, I’ve cut them that way ever since I left.  I buy three steaks, cut them into four strips and then bag four individual sets of three strips.  Confused?  Me too.


I marinate the steaks with garlic powder, pepper (my peppermill has still not yet been replaced, don’t judge the box of pepper) (UGH, JUDGE IT, I HATE IT, I AM ASHAMED), Worcestershire and soy sauce.  Ratio is whatever you want, but I go light on the Worcestershire since it can have too identifiable a flavor for me.


Once in the bag I give them a might squish to make sure they’re all loose and getting juice between them.


And off they go into the freezer.  You’ll notice I’m short one bag here because it was staying thawed for tonight’s dinner.  When thawed, the steaks will be perfectly marinated and ready to fry.  Or grill.  Or whatever.  I fry.  My mom broils, but broiling is a dying art and I never took a shine to it.


Since they fry on all sides, the steak pieces cook fast.  For dinner we had the takikomi gohan and some tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet).  It was my riff on steak-n-eggs.  <– Did you see that?  See me get all Iron Chef on that shit?  That’s right.


I actually served mine to myself in a bowl since I wanted more rice and eggs than meat.  And how was the rice, you ask?  Well, it was pretty fantastic.  Cooked perfectly with my haiga rice (which, if you ever see it, get it) and really reminded us of a kind of low-key, nutritious fried rice.  In flavor, of course.  I mean, it wasn’t fried.  Very, very good.

Ah, they’ve stopped chanting.  I’m going to eat a bottle of Excedrin and call it a day.

4 Posted in Food Rant