Friday, January 2, 2009

Random Holiday Eats

My brother and I were doing some errands the day after Christmas and we stopped into Zankou Chicken to get a quick bite. He ordered a chicken tarna wrap with no garlic sauce. This blew my mind. To me, that is the main reason to eat at Zankou. Their chicken is good but there are dozens of Armenian/Lebanese restaurants that do a better job for less money. But their garlic sauce is sublime. I asked the girl behind the register if other people order their wraps without sauce. She said "Well... yeah... a couple people." I took a picture of my brother's wrap because I knew nobody would believe me.
One night I had zero desire to leave the house, and very little in the fridge. So I decided to see what I could come up with. I cooked a chili-lime chicken burger from Trader Joe's, then put it on some bread with pickles, cheese, barbecue sauce, fried onion pieces, and basil. I grilled the sandwich in the panini press. For some reason I put parmesan goldfish on top. This was just a strange sandwich.
Before my friend Elizabeth and I went out looking at Christmas lights on the coldest night of the year, we stopped into Philly's Best for dinner. I got the cheesesteak and added a handful of hot peppers. It was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. I only ate half my sandwich at the time. About halfway through looking at the lights, I got hungry again, and until we got home all I could think about was the delicious sandwich in my center console.
While watching football with a bunch of friends in our local pub - the Eagles epic 44-6 slaughter of the Cowboys - one of the regulars came in, just back from Canada for Christmas, carrying a bag of ketchup flavored Lays. This sounded horrible to me, but I was assured they were delicious, so I tried a couple. They certainly were not "delicious," but they weren't bad at all. I suppose it might be one of those tastes you grow up with that you would never like as much if you came to it as an adult. (I used to dip cheddar cheese into Worcestershire sauce when I was a kid and every once in a while I still get a craving for that.)

For Christmas my brother gave me a kit to make my own hot sauce (my parents gave me a new Global cleaver, next to the kit in the first picture.) I thought this was a great gift, as I love hot sauce. It came with several packets of spices and several recipes, although the three sauces I made are basically the same: a random selection of spices and a healthy amount of chopped garlic.
My parents also got me a set of infused olive oils from St. Helena Kitchens: Tuscan dipping oil, fig balsamic vinegar, garlic olive oil, wild berry balsamic vinegar, and Mediterranean dipping oil. I have not yet tried any of them.


Mike said...

I've only eaten at Zankou once and remember ordering some sort of chicken plate. When we sat down and began eating I felt deflated. It did not meet expectations.

Then I realized the problem. They forgot the garlic sauce! Once asked for and on the plate I did enjoy it more, although I still didn't think it was worth all the hubbub. Even so I could never imagine ANYONE preferring it without the garlic sauce. To me it's just plain old garden variety that way. I suppose to each their own... know matter how crazy they are.

As for your "creation" I'd give it a try but I don't think it would work either. Something about the consistency of the fish and the lack of intensity in parmesan flavor would just be off putting. Now if you put those ketchup chips on the burger now you've got something!

By the way I've had the chips in Canada and in LA. You can usually find them in Kosher markets. I enjoy them but I also love ketchup. If you love ketchup you'll love the chips. If you are against, well, you eating them is your own fault. It said exactly what it was on the package before you ate it.

le w said...

The best Ketchup chips we have here in Canada are these and better still, a huge bag is 99 cents at my local grocery chain:

I don't even really like ketchup, but hand to god they put heroin powder in this recipe.

(great writing on your blog, btw.)

PulledPorker said...

Well, I didn't think too much of the ketchup chips, but if I ever saw the Heinz flavor I would give them a try, I guess. (Especially if they have heroin in them.)

I've only been to Canada twice, though (and once was a drive between Buffalo and Michigan; I only got out of the car to eat at Subway, which isn't exactly a journey Homer would have written about.) So unless I find those chips down in California, I don't see them in my future.

And thanks for the compliment.