Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Eats

Elizabeth had a half day on Friday and we had a lot of errands to do, but first we needed some grub. It was a hot day and eating tacos outside sounded good. We went by Los Tacos on Fair Oaks - not the best tacos in town by any means, but traffic was terrible and we were both famished, and Los Tacos is the closest - and returned home. I got three al pastor and Elizabeth got three carnitas. They wrote the contents on each bag, I guess helpfully, if somewhat unnecessarily. 

All three of my tacos had onions and cilantro on them, as I requested. I added some pickled onions, jalapeno, and carrots to one taco - it was fine, but not really any improvement.

Elizabeth loved the carnitas tacos, as usual. 

I sent a text to a friend: "On a hot summer day, I will put three pork tacos and a cold Pacifico up against any restaurant in the world."

Wanting a simple dinner - it was that time of year again for the Angels and Dodgers to play, meaning I got to hear Vin Scully call the Angels - I just steamed two Trader Joe's pork buns. I ate them with a sauce I mixed of ponzu and mustard that, while tasty, was not quite as good as I expected it to be. But it was still a great, simple dinner.

I had two mini sausage biscuits for breakfast on Saturday morning. I added some hot mustard to them. They were completely forgettable in every way, but I'm still including them here.

After a visit to Target in the early afternoon, we turned our attention to lunch. Elizabeth suggested burgers, which is like asking me if I want to go to a bookstore or watch Wild Hogs: the answer is always yes. One of my suggestions was Fatburger and Elizabeth immediately agreed. 

There was a bottle of chipotle Tabasco sauce on the table so I mixed some with ketchup - something I used to do frequently but have not done for years. (As years go by I realize that I much prefer mustards and aiolis with my fries, not ketchup.)

I got my usual turkey burger and I gave Elizabeth a bite. "That's good," she said. "That's really good."

She got the "small" Fatburger - a little 2.5 ounce burger. I could probably eat one of these in one bite. In fact, I may try that next time.

Saturday afternoon, we were hanging out on our patio when Tracie sent a text asking if she and her dad could come by. They had been planning to go to The Boat but hanging out on our patio sounded better to them. I said sure. We had a few beers and decided what to do for dinner. 

I used to make quesadillas a lot. Hardly a week ever went by without me making one. But I rarely do anymore. No reason why, just one of those things. A couple months ago, Tracie mentioned that she missed them, that I should make quesadillas again. So this night I said I would. 

I got a marinated chicken breast at the store, along with three sausages called "French pork garlic." I grilled them and chopped them up.

I added the sausage to tortillas with roasted pepper and goat cheese. The chicken was paired with mozzarella, cilantro, and pickled red onion. I grilled the tortillas for about three minutes on each side.

Some of the wedges broke apart when I sliced them. They certainly were not the prettiest quesadillas I've ever made. I borrowed my line from the other night when my grilled pizza fell apart: "It's rustic!" I'm definitely going to say that from now on whenever I something turns out less attractive than I had planned.

But nobody really cared how they looked, because they were absolutely delicious. The sausage and goat cheese were good...

... but the BBQ chicken was definitely my favorite.

Wait a second... has it really been a year and a half since I've written anything about Porta Via? That can't be right, can it?

Sunday afternoon, we were driving up Fair Oaks on our way to get lunch somewhere. I don't want to say what our destination was. "It's so nice out," Elizabeth said.

"Do you want to eat on the patio at Porta Via?" I asked, although I knew what the answer was going to be.

I had a can of Limonata; Elizabeth had Orangina. 

I tried something I'd never had before: the turkey dip, with turkey, Dijon mustard, caramelized onions and Swiss cheese. It was delicious. Perhaps a little bit smaller than I'd expected, but the turkey tasted so fresh and moist. I could not detect any mustard; so sweet were the caramelized onions, that was the only thing I tasted other than the turkey. I wish I'd had some of the tear-inducing Philippe's mustard, but I don't carry that with me (uh, anymore).

Still, I finished the sandwich and spooned up all the onions that had fallen onto my plate. I would have no problem eating this sandwich again, although I imagine I will ask for extra mustard next time.

Elizabeth ordered what has become her favorite sandwich at Porta Via: the Italian BLT, with crispy pancetta, arugula, tomatoes, and basil aioli. The bacon is always very crisp and the arugula has that nice, peppery flavor of fresh arugula. Elizabeth is always nice enough to give me a couple of bites; on this occasion she gave me an entire quarter of the sandwich.

She also got some pasta with feta cheese and I helped her finish it. It, too, was very tasty.

Hopefully I won't let another 19 months go by before I write about Porta Via again.

We had been invited to a get-together on Sunday evening at which fried chicken was on the menu, and that sounded great. But I was as exhausted on Sunday as I have been in as long as I can remember. So I opted to do nothing but sit on the couch. Still, fried chicken sounded really good, so I decided to do a lazy man's substitute: I went to Vons and got fried chicken to make sandwiches.

I've mentioned this before: sometimes the deli at Vons has some of the best fried chicken tenders you will ever eat. (I've had them fresh out of the fryer before at Vons that might have actually been the single best order of tenders I have ever had.) But not at 7PM on a Sunday night. I had been so exhausted that, although I hate naps and take one less than once per year, I'd actually slept for two hours in the afternoon.

By the time I got to Vons, there were only four pieces of chicken left. I took them, but they were not very good. They were dense and overcooked and probably the worst chicken I have ever had from Vons. It might be unreasonable of me to expect the last chicken of the day on Sunday - while they were busy closing up the deli - to be good, but still, I didn't expect them to be this tough.

I tried to improve them as best I could: I put them on a bun with Bull's Eye's Carolina sauce, a homemade cole slaw that I had made on Friday, and pickles. All things considered, it wasn't too bad. I ate it with mustard potato salad and it was a nice way to wrap up the weekend.


Anonymous said...

i know all about the burgers and fries you like but do you have fave chicken tenders in pasadena?

Anonymous said...

"2 in the afternoon, got the fat burger" -ice cube in his 40s

mindful mule said...

I always forget to go to Porta Via. Those pastas look great. And I didn’t know they had a patio. So thanks for the reminder. Plus if murphamania says it holds the #2 spot behind The Cheese Shop then I really need to go.

Glad to hear The Boat is back in port, too! Let’s go get pitchers!