Anger Burger

It’s Coffee! KA-POW is Made Out of Coffee!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Yeah, buddy!

So, my favorite part of the internet is that it fulfills this totally 12-year-old part of me that wanted a foreign pen pal but got stuck with a letter bully¹ I met through my Breyer Horse catalog.  Except now!  Now I have actual pen pals!  Case in point!

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PACKAGES!  Oh my god packages.  Now, I already knew what this was because I’d asked for it, but Alice at bread & honey is still the hero of my week for pretty much totally mailing me a partially-eaten bar of candy.  True.  Maybe I should explain.

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So she takes a photograph of this bar of coffee and I lose my mind.  Not coffee-flavored chocolate, but coffee.  A bar.  Of coffee.

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Even the maker, Sahagun, has a difficult time explaining it, though I think they nail it on the head by saying: it’s like chocolate, but without the chocolate.  Before I show you my photograph of the bar, I want to show you their photograph from their own website, because theirs is lovely and hyper-crisp and architectural:

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Mine, however, was the victim of a postal carrier that decided that actually folding the package into my mail box — which is tiny, and is why there’s a large shelf thing to place oversized items — was the best method of delivering my mail.

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Despite this mangling, I was still excited to get a piece of candy that a stranger gave me into my piehole.

To the fingers it feels like chocolate, and melted in my fingers like chocolate before I’d even had a chance to take a nibble.  However, immediately taking a bite it’s clear that it’s something else; too easy to bite into, a little grainy, and somehow lacking the dense mouthfeel of good dark chocolate, despite having a base of cocoa butter.  The flavor of coffee is immediate but not as complex as I’d hoped.  In fact, the low sugar content and lack of milk or vanilla gives the distinct impression of eating, well, coffee grounds.

It’s a product that a coffee lover would immediately enjoy, but I think Sahagun and I both are doing it a real disservice by making comparisons to chocolate.  I mean, it’s unavoidable given the appearance of the product, but the textures, flavors and overall experience are just too dissimilar.  I gave a piece to my coffee-addicted live-in Viking, Mike, and his review wasn’t entirely one of thrill.  “It needs more sugar!” he told me, though he appeared to have no trouble finishing what I’d given him.  We agreed: maybe something more than just sugar is needed to bring this experience away from licking the inside of your french press.  But I’m still intrigued and find myself nibbling on the bar despite what I’ve said here and despite my ears ringing and how much caffeine do you think is in one of these are those sparkles on the screen or in my eyeballs do you hear that?

¹We immediately shared exactly which models we had in our collections, and apparently mine were unsatisfactory. I wrote back and told her she was stuck-up and received a letter back from her mother telling me I was a brat.  Like that’s news.

4 Posted in Food Rant

Peanut Butter Cookie Trick

Posted by on Mar 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Don’t get too excited, it’s pretty boring.

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It is: don’t bother with forking the top.  I have a large, round old-school meat mallet I got at a thrift store for a dollar, and one whack of it after patting it in sugar and BAM!  Next cookie.  BAM!  Next cookie.

I warned you it was boring.

4 Posted in Obsessed

Hawaiian Breakfast Sandwiches

Posted by on Mar 28, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I think Spam is an unfairly maligned creature.  It’s certainly no worse than bologna (that’s baloney for those of you that are visiting from Huntington, Virginia after Googling yourselves in the wake of Jamie Oliver’s show).  It’s salty.  It’s hammy.  I’m unclear as to where we all decided that what was great for Hawaiians wasn’t any good for the rest of us.  LOOK AT THEM.  They live in paradise!  You could learn something.

Apropos of nothing other than just being a man, my man-partner Mike posed this query to me: can you make me a Spam breakfast sandwich?

CAN I?!

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My first big tip is to use Spam Lite.  I know, but just listen: it’s the exact same product but made with chicken and pork instead of just pork, and with half as much salt — the low salt part is going to become clear in a moment here.  It actually doesn’t taste any different and I feel like it cooks up a little better than regular Spam.  You’re not doing your arteries any favors either way, but use the Lite.  Anyway, one large can cuts up nicely into six slices, though Spam also makes these convenient little half cans if you’re not willing to commit.

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The other big hint with no matter what you’re using Spam for is to fry it.  It’s already cooked straight from the can and everything, but in a dry, nonstick pan over medium heat, put a golden crust on it.  Two things happen: the first is that the texture that might potentially put folks off is changed into a familiar crispy-exterior-soft-interior meat product.  The other weird thing is that as it cooks, it kind of gets porous.  See up there?  It gets these fissures in it.  Those fissures are gonna come in handy in a moment when you want the Spam to soak up some teriyaki sauce.  And here is where full-salt Spam might make your eyeballs desiccate; salt on salt action!

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And lo, the magic of scrambled seaweed egg.  It’s a homage to the lovely Spam masubi, but also the briny, clean seaweed taste goes a ways toward lightening what is a fairly rich little nibble.

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Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie!) is where it is at.  If you absorb nothing else from this post, you should at least buy some Kewpie.  I know it has a small amount of MSG in it, but I’m fairly sensitive to MSG and Kewpie doesn’t bother me one bit.

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Everything goes on Hawaiian sweet bread –  I’d like to draw your attention to the news that King’s Hawaiian brand has started making “Snacker Rolls” which are suspiciously almost precisely the size of a slice of Spam.  Hmm?  Nudge?  Wink?  Do I detect a little Spam pride, King’s?  I thought so.

Mike’s Hawaiian Breakfast Spammiches

just like hot dogs, a tin of Spam will make six perfect slices but a package of Snacker Rolls contains only four rolls.  it’s like a Professor Layton puzzle!  here’s the answer: get extra rolls, you’ll eat the spares.  also as a quick aside: I wanted to make these with a thin slice of fresh pan-fried pineapple on them, too, but I forgot to get the pineapple.  I still think it’d be good.

1 regular can Spam Lite
2 packages King’s Hawaiian Snacker Rolls
1/2 C. teriyaki sauce (see my recipe below)
6 eggs
2 Tbs. aonori (you can substitute 1 finely cut up sheet of sushi seaweed)
Kewpie mayonnaise to taste

  • Get everything all prepped, because these will be best when still warm and they come together really quickly.  So, line up your rolls, have a plate with a shallow layer of teriyaki sauce in it, and have the eggs and seaweed at hand.
  • Saute the Spam slices in a dry nonstick pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes each side, or until the slices are golden, crispy brown and have begun to form a multitude of little fissures.  When they are done frying, transfer the hot slices directly to the plate of teriyaki sauce.  Let them sit there soakin’ in it while you do the eggs.
  • In the same pan (turn it down to medium-low) with a little tiny dab of oil or butter, loosely scramble the eggs straight on the hot pan.  Just break the eggs in there and then bust the yolks up with your spatula.  Working with a little speed, quickly add the aonori and stir it up into the eggs before they start to cook too much.  Don’t worry about mixing it too well, just get it distributed around.  It’s a Spam breakfast sandwich, for christ’s sake.  Quickly shape the egg into a long rectangle approximately the size of six of those rolls side-by-side.  (Now would be a good time to flip the Spam slices in the teriyaki sauce to make sure the other side gets a nice soak, too.)  When the egg cooks a little more, the carefully cut the long rectangle into six individual rectangles that are about the shape of the rolls.  Is this making any sense?  Maybe I should have taken more explanatory photos.
  • Put everything together on a bun.  One slice of Spam, one rectangle of egg, a little mayo and a little extra teriyaki sauce if you want it.  Serve to eagerly hovering significant other.

Basic Teriyaki Sauce

1 C. soy sauce
3/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. sake

  • Simmer on low in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved and the sauce thickens ever-so-slightly, about 7 minutes.  Keep in fridge for forever, as near as I can tell.
6 Posted in Make It So

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Posted by on Mar 27, 2010 at 12:35 pm

A few short thoughts on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution that aired last night (available to view free online at ABC for at least a little while, as I watched it).  None of my thoughts are actually short, but I’m going to make an effort.  Bullet points will assist that illusion.

First and foremost, the reason I rarely watch reality TV is that it makes me anxious.  I don’t like being anxious.  My anxiety box is redlining already, I don’t need some manufactured faux-drama to top it off.  But I like food, I like change montages (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for the win!), so Food Revolution should please me, yes?  Hmm.

  • The show immediately sets up an unfriendly confrontation between Jamie and a radio DJ as well as with the rest of the town.  I’m totally irritated already and we haven’t gotten past the intro.
  • To be a little more serious, I expected and hoped there would be an immediate exposure of the incredibly fucked-up American public school system food program.    But again, we’re already setting up what is clearly going to be the theme of this show: Jamie Oliver, Poofter Crumpet-Eater VS. People of Virginia, Fat Retards.  I am assuming that the Americans have been coached to behave this way, of course.  It wouldn’t be a show if everyone was all, “Yay, Jamie Oliver!  Thank god you’ve come to reform our terrifying school lunch system.”
  • Ugh, I don’t know.  There’s a scene where Jamie is confronting the lunch cooks about how they can be so lax in feeding children things like instant mashed potatoes made with hydrogenated oils, and I’m totally with him.  He’s basically asking them, aren’t you concerned?  And the women answer, no, we’re not.  And then the lunch ladies (who don’t want to be called lunch ladies, but for christ’s sake, they’re lunch ladies) let him have it: how can they possibly give a shit when they are feeding children who A) get all this food at home anyway and B) just receive the food from a government system that tells them to cook it, and I’m all, Jamie?  I’m on their side.  I get that you’re trying to convert them to a way of thinking, but the whole thing comes off with them as villains.
  • Finally some levity.  The mom who deep fries “biscuit donuts with chocolate icing” at home for breakfast?  Oh lord, destroy us.
  • Well!  When Jamie is showing the Edwards family how to cook a meal without processed foods, they prepare and serve a chopped green salad straight off a big cutting board.  This is a really good idea!
  • Wait, okay, back to the school lunch.  You’re challenging children to choose between Jamie’s healthy meal or pizza?  This is so staged I bet the children pay Screen Actor’s Guild dues.  You know what would have happened if they’d just served all the kids Jamie’s lovely-looking chicken legs?  They would have eaten them.  But we need shots of smug lunch ladies and sad Jamie so later, when we show triumphant Jamie and converted lunch ladies, it’ll be all that much more poignant.
  • Oh for fuck’s sake.  The episode ends with the local paper claiming that Jamie Oliver has slagged on them, calling their knowledge of food is “anemic” which a radio DJ then translates to listeners “means ‘weak and stupid’.”   So let me get this straight: the town’s own newspaper paints Jamie as a condescending foreigner and he has to then run around stammering corrections and apologies?  Come on you guys, this is clumsy storytelling at it’s clumsiest.

(Moving on to episode 2, which aired together with the first episode.)

  • And we’re still slogging away through the apologies and corrections.  The music is dramatic.
  • No.  No.  No.  Immediately we have a scene where Jamie Oliver, in an attempt to teach some kids that processed foods are made from “bits you don’t love,” makes chicken nuggets from the carcass of a perfectly good chicken.  This is done with intentional drama and violence.    He repeatedly refers to “horrible bits” in the carcass and makes definitions between “horrible meat” and “good meat”.  But the thing is:  the carcass is good meat.  This is a wretched thing to indoctrinate children against!  If you’d eat the breast of a chicken, you better goddamn feel as good eating the carcass.  I mean, if the chicken is raised healthy and processed safely, it’s all good meat.  Follow?  And implying that throwing that carcass in the trash is the best thing for it, you’ve now got kids who don’t know how chicken broth is made.  RARR, SUNDAY ANGRY.
  • I admit to being freaked out at the scene where he shows kids some tomatoes and asks “What is this?”  And none of them know.  When he finally hints “Do you know where tomato ketchup comes from?” and a kid answers  Tomato ketchup?  I’ve never heard of that.” “Oh tomato ketchup, I’ve heard of that one.”   How do you get kids to this place?  It has a picture of a tomato on the plastic goddamn bottle.  I have to confess, I think this town might be mentally challenged.
  • More of the same.  Drama.  Statistics.  Food shown heaped in disgusting piles to intimidate people.
  • I enjoyed the scene cooking with the young man.  Jamie is weird, the kid is shy and charming, they made good-looking food together.

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“Knife and forks?  Next you’re going to tell us they need shoes.”

  • I’ve reversed my siding with the lunch ladies.  They’re a bunch of hags.  There’s a scene where they are discussing how to put out silverware for the kids to eat with, and Jamie and I are shocked to discover that from grades K to 10, these kids are never given anything but a spoon.  All food is either fingerfood or soft enough for a spoon.  When Jamie starts to protest that school is a place where kids learn life skills — including how to eat with utensils — lunch lady Alice starts in on him all bitchy and sarcastic, “Oh, and your kindergartners eat with a knife and fork?”  (“your” being England) and when he says “Yes,” she says “Right, and you have documentation of that?”  Jamie’s incredulity and sadness is genuine.  He keeps asking “Are you serious?”  This woman is so fundamentally pigheaded that she not only doesn’t believe this man telling her to her face “Children in other places eat with a knife and fork without incident,” but she’s asking him for proof.   This scene is intense and makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

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Jamie’s reaction to being asked for “documentation” that children can use a knife and fork.

So!  In conclusion: this is predictable claptrap.  I wish it had been prepared with just a modicum of self-respect, but it wasn’t.  I mean, the first episode ended with Jamie crying and saying “They just don’t understand me!”  The thing that sucks is that I believe his intentions are good and genuine.  He’s worked tirelessly in England to reform food in schools, to educate youth, to encourage healthier, more pleasurable eating habits and to do what Rachel Ray only dreams she can do: to deftly demonstrate that cooking is, at its essence, a satisfying act.  Instead we get The Hills for food reform.

By the way, I had Red Bull and jellybeans for breakfast.  True story.

9 Posted in Drama!

Pork, Beef and Lamb, Oh My!

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

It’s been a weird week.  So weird I can’t even discuss it here, but rest assured that it was nothing a lot of pork fat couldn’t fix¹.

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Dear, dear Hakata Ramen Shin-sen-gumi.  There is truly nothing that your bowl of pork broth and a pound of your soft, perfect noodles cannot fix.  With egg.

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And cod roe, don’t forget the cod roe.  This ramen joint in Gardena is maybe a 20 minute drive from LAX, and provided you are ever in the area, I strongly suggest you pork it up.  We insisted that out-of-town friend Anne (hi Anne!  hope your presentation not-literally knocked their pants off!) eat a bowl before heading out in her rental car and hopefully she didn’t end up asleep on the side of the 405 like Mike and I nearly did afterwards.  Hey, is that Compton? Zzzzz…

Earlier in the week there was a doner kebab incident:

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One that we intend to repeat.  We’ve eaten kebabs everywhere from Cincinnati to New Zealand, and TastyMeat’s Bamwich ranked up at the top.  I kinda wish they had the wider range of toppings as traditional in New Zealand in the UK (beet slaw! hummus!), but that is a serious nitpick for something that is already 99% perfect.

That reminds me of a ‘joke’ a friend once told me about the UK: how can you tell it’s Saturday morning?  Because the gutters are full of kebab puke!  Ha – ugh.

Excuse me, I gotta get back to this bizarre week.

¹While typing that sentence I knocked a beverage over on my desk.  It didn’t hurt anything.  This is a metaphor for my week, slowpoke.

1 Posted in Eatin' Fancy

You’re Traveling Through Another Dimension, a Dimension Not Only of Sight and Sound, but of Taste

Posted by on Mar 24, 2010 at 8:58 am

My sister, Layla, is a good person to know around the holidays.  Aside from being a reliable source of pigs-inna-blanket, she’s a consummate gift-giver as well.  She’s also as much of a Japanophile as I am, which I think makes for some slightly unhealthy sororital competition.  Case in point: this years’ Christmas gifts.  I feel I’ve won this round since she wouldn’t even taste them after giving them to me.

Now, traditionally, Sakuma drops were fruit flavored.  And still are, I think.  But a while back they started making, well, other flavors.  Let me show you.

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Here we have takoyaki (fried octopus balls¹) and Kumamoto ramen flavors.  What you’re probably wondering is what I was wondering: but are they sweet?  I don’t understand.  Both takoyaki and ramen (by whatever region, but in this instance from Kumamoto) are salty.  How can this be candy?  The answer is, it can’t.  Or, it sort of can.  It’s complicated.

I tried takoyaki first, totally unsure what flavor to expect.  I was surprised to find the dominant flavor, other than a pure, straight sugary kick, was of okonomiyaki sauce, which is probably more well known in the US as tonkatsu sauce — a kind of brown sauce not entirely unlike a milder, sweet American steak sauce.  So, it didn’t taste like the fried dough or the octopus, but the condiment served with it.  This was pretty good!  And then the green onion flavor start to kick in.  About halfway through the drop, the flavor profile changed.  It was definitely getting onionier, and saltier.  It was still not unpleasant, exactly, but less familiar and safe.

The Kumamoto ramen drops, on the other hand, were too much.  A strong, clear note of salty pork came barreling through the sugar like a football team through one of those giant pieces of paper.  I had to throw the piece away before I could finish it.

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Yaki-kaki.  Fun to say.  Maybe less fun to make into candy.  It’s grilled oysters, in case you can’t tell from the package.  I reluctantly popped one in my mouth, not really wanting to ruin one of my favorite foods.  The flavor was mild but curiously and unmistakably oyster.  I was worried it was going to taste artificially smokey (a flavor I cannot tolerate), but there was no grilled or smoked element at all, just a straight-up briny oyster.  It was almost pleasant, and the longer I ate it the less I could tell I was eating something oyster flavored.

The chankonabe concerned me, too.  First, I’d never heard of it.  Turns out it’s maybe for sumo-wrestlers? Still, Wikipedia wasn’t giving me much to work with: it’s kind of like saying it was “pasta-flavored.”  What kind of pasta?  So I was surprised and delighted to discover it tasted mostly like shrimp-chips.  You know what I’m talking about?  They sell them in almost any kind of Asian market, a snack chip with shrimp on the label somewhere, and they almost always taste the same, a kind of creamy, sweet, pleasant flavor that doesn’t taste like shrimp so much as kettlecorn.  And for whatever reason, the chankonabe drops did, too.

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Lastly, there were the shochu drops.  I knew these were going to be genuinely tasty, and it was a nice finish.  Shochu is somewhat like sake, but the flavor is mild and lovely as a hard candy.

If I were going to order a round of these for someone else, I’d probably the following from Jbox:

I really do find these sorts of things painfully entertaining.  None of the ones Layla gave to me were gross, exactly, and I can see ordering six or eight tins to bring to a party as a form of entertainment.  I also appreciate the weird factor of discovering that certain flavors – like oyster – do translate to sweet.  You know how when you’re watching Iron Chef and someone makes something like, oh, say pizza ice cream, and you’re thinking, what the fuck, dude?  Are you trying to lose? Well, I can now fathom trying pizza ice cream and liking it.  Really!  Besides, at about $4 a tin, it’s cheap fun.

¹ Yes, yes they do.

0 Posted in Food Rant

Burger Loafer

Posted by on Mar 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

Well!  What have we here!  My college nickname, that’s what.  Just kidding, they called me Bitchface Von Poorhouse.

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This episode of Respect Your Elders is a beaut.  I want to jump straight to the MSG and say: there’s nothing a little excitotoxin can’t fix!  Let’s look at this as a whole, though.

Burger Loafer

1 long loaf of French bread

1 14oz can evaporated milk
1 lb ground beef
1/3 C. minced onion
1/3 C. finely diced green pepper
1 egg
1/2 tsp. MSG
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. pepper

  • Cut a thin slice lengthwise from loaf of bread and hollow out the loaf.  Measure two cups of the bread guts from the loaf and in a large bowl, soak it in the can of evaporated milk for 10 minutes.
  • Add everything else to the bowl and mix.
  • Pack this raw meat (which is now what we’d refer to as “meatloaf”) into the bread, cover with the bread lid you removed and then wrap the whole thing in foil and bake for about an hour and fifteen minutes at 350°.
  • Remove from foil and serve slices with hot tomato sauce we failed to mention that you’d need in the ingredient list.

So, okay.  Wait.  Do I want to try this?  Maybe I do.  The thing is, I make meatloaf fairly regularly, and I use a mixture of beef, pork and lamb to build up the right ratios of fat and flavor.  I kind of have a thing against plain ground beef.  But ignoring that, I know how much fat comes off a meatloaf, and I’m not sure I want to be eating that soaked into a what is certainly now soggy loaf of French bread.  Or do I?  It has a strange appeal.  Like, what if you did a small quantity?  With a higher ratio of a tougher bread, like taking one of those sourdough boules and putting in less than half of this recipe?

Holy shit, I think I actually want to make this.

Typical Sunday Morning

Posted by on Mar 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

You know, you try and catch a bus to the Hollywood farmer’s market, but there’s some silly contest happening and you end up walking the entire 3 miles in flipflops.   However!  Aside from the blisters and sunburned nose, there was this:

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I can’t imagine what I want less, to meet David Hasselhoff or to eat one of Pink’s terminally mediocre hotdogs.

0 Posted in Totally Unrelated

Now If They Just Make a Vicodin Truck, My Life Will Be Complete

Posted by on Mar 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm

A girl never forgets her first chicken foot.

It was my birthday, 2002.  Somehow I’d made it to my twenties without ever putting a chicken foot into my mouth.  But, I was at a dim sum joint in Seattle and chicken feet soon appeared.  Now, I’m white, right?  So yeah, I got through one before admitting that I’m too Caucasian — still! — to enjoy chicken feet.  Luckily, I was surrounded by a thousand delicious dumplings and buns and tentacles and plates and balls and all the mystery and majesty that is dim sum.  And I fell in love.

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When I heard about the Dim Sum Truck my first reaction was, well how’s that going to work? The joy of dim sum is in large part the frenetic puzzle of roving food, language barriers and the ever-present challenge of how to fit three hundred dumplings into your abdominal cavity.  And then a giant, blinding lightbulb appeared over my head and then exploded in a shower of glass.  What if I didn’t have to order a whole plate of everything?  What if I could just casually grab one or two of my favorites?

Enter Dim Sum Truck.

Uh, again.

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Ranking way up there in my list of favorites is the above, a sesame ball with lotus seed paste.  They’re often filled with red bean paste, but I prefer the lotus seed.  If you’ve never had one, you should try one; greasy, chewy, nutty, sweet – you might feel pressure to refer to them as a “Chinese donut” but you’ll need to restrain yourself.  They’re nothing like a donut.  They’re not like anything else on Earth.  They are simply sesame balls, and they are singularly magical.

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And here’s an interesting thing.  You see, like all Americans, I first had an egg tart thinking the same thing every other American thinks: lemon!  And then you bite into one and find this hard, stale, rubbery egg thing and set the rest of it down, focusing while you attempt to python-swallow the chunk in your mouth down without having to chew or taste the rest of the bite.  Perhaps unlike you, I never learn my lesson and get them over and over again, every time disappointed and angry.  I know Chinese people have taste buds, so what is this shit?

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Until now.   What is this delicious, flaky, tender, custardy delight?  It’s like flan in a pie shell.  It’s like a working-class creme brulee.  I finally grok it: this is an egg tart.  Woe is all that other garbage I’ve been eating.  Dim Sum Truck, stop!  I already have a boyfriend.  Okay, you can touch me there.  But just once!

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Oddly, what should have been the easiest home run was the biggest miss: the pork bun was merely adequate.  Too much jelly in the filling.  It wasn’t bad, but I suppose in light of the rest of the meal it was a stinker.

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But this is what we came for, soldiers.  Sticky rice.  Good god, look at it.  So demure.  So tidy and unassuming.

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Right away I have a good feeling.  It’s hard to explain, but the combination of stickiness, odor and immediate presence of inter-rice vittles had my ears perked.

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This is terrible food photography, and at this point I no longer cared.  This is sticky rice.  This is what I was hoping that the Dim Sum Truck would pull off, and I could tell just by looking at it that they did.  There’s Chinese sausage, fatty pork, big pieces of mushroom, shrimp, maybe even chicken?  And all in an aggregate of sticky, fatty, salty-sweet, delicious rice.  Some of the rice around the exterior had even crusted and caramelized a little, and my hands shook a little as I picked up my chopsticks.

It’s the little things.

2 Posted in Eatin' Fancy

Checking In

Posted by on Mar 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

No recipes today, just ramblings.

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Canned tart cherries are getting difficult to find, a development that concerns me.  I can’t abide by the glop of canned cherry pie filling, but the lifespan of a fresh tart cherry is like a mayfly.  Which is why Tesla invented canning: tart, unsugared cherries all year round.  In the Northwest, a brand called Oregon makes an excellent product, but they’re unavailable in Los Angeles.  Luckily, a random stop in a random grocery store uncovered some generic tart cherries that work in a pinch.

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They made a lovely pie, too, thickened with half corn starch and half tapioca pearls, and using the infamous Cook’s Illustrated vodka pie crust recipe.  Look at that natural red color!  So strange that the manufactured pie filling is so luridly red when the natural stuff is such a warm, pleasant shade all on its own.

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I’ve been craving beets again.  This used to happen to me a lot when I was sick from Crohn’s disease more regularly (some kind of nutrient seeking, maybe?), but less in recent years.  I mean, I’ve always been a beet junkie – as a kid, one of my favorite meals was my mom’s spinach and gruyere quiche that she’d serve with canned pickled beets, and I wanted my own can.  These days I roast my own and marinate them in vinaigrette, top them with goat cheese and feta and kumquats stolen from a Hollywood bar’s topiary.   True!

5 Posted in Food Rant