Monday, December 20, 2010

Christamas Caroling, The Legend of the Beer Wagon Revisited, and Random Weekend Eats

Saturday, I was running errands all morning, Christmas shopping mostly, and stopped by my parents' house. We'd talked about possibly going to lunch, but after dealing with traffic and the number of inconsiderate people at all the stores, I had no desire to go out. I stopped by Taylor's and bought stuff to make burgers.

My burger had garlic pickles, Provolone cheese, thick-cut bacon, and grilled red onions. It was fantastic.

In my early 20s I lived with a couple of my good friends from high school. The grandmother of one of them is English, and she had given him a can of spotted dick (a suet pudding popular in the UK). We kept it in the pantry for two reasons: 1) it was always hilarious to ask guests if they wanted some spotted dick, and 2) no matter what, we would always have something to eat.

I had told Elizabeth that story before but I think she thought I was joking, just making up the name of the product. But sure enough, we saw it at Fresh & Easy on Saturday afternoon.

For a couple weeks I have been thinking of making Reuben egg rolls. It has been years since I've had them - at the Forge in the Forest in Carmel, one of my favorite restaurants in the state - and I don't know what has been making me crave them, but I picked up ingredients at Fresh & Easy to make them.

I got pastrami instead of corned beef, and layered it on top of a piece of Swiss cheese on an egg roll wrapper. I put some sauerkraut on top of that, rolled up the wrappers, and fried them for a couple minutes. Elizabeth mixed up a sour cream/mustard concoction and I made a basic Russian dressing.

They were very tasty.

I grilled three pizzas for dinner. I have written about grilled pizza many times here so I will not write much here: one was barbecue chicken, one was basil, one was cheese and sausage. 

This was Elizabeth's breakfast Sunday morning: a slice of funfetti cake and a fried piece of thick bacon. Yep, she's all mine.

I wrote about this one year ago, but I will repeat it here. My friend Zach's parents have a Christmas caroling party every year. For many years, when we walked around the neighborhood caroling, we would stuff our pockets with flasks of whiskey and bottles of beer. If you preferred the latter, as I always have, you had to run back to the house every once in a while and pick up more beer.

One morning in 2002, Zach and I were looking at ads in the paper, and we came across one for Harbor Freight Tools featuring a wagon for a very low price. We decided it would make a great wagon for the Caroling party. That first year, we just dumped ice in the wagon and filled it with beers. The next year it had a thermos of cider attached to the back. In the years since, it has constantly been renovated, sometimes in ways that don't even make sense. Like the Winchester Mystery House for drunks.

This cooler contained the "Corona & Lite beer," as if those are two separate things.

Zach's dad, Jack, said he had a problem: someone had given him a bottle of Glenlivet and he wasn't sure if it was still good. We had to try it to make sure.

It was still good.

Q: What's the only thing better than a giant wheel of cheese at a party?

A: A giant leg of prosciutto. 

There was lots of food. I made myself a plate with Caesar salad, spaghetti, bread, and mac & cheese. All of it was great.

There were plenty of desserts, too, but all I could manage to eat was a mini cupcake. 

As I was leaving the party I sent Elizabeth a text, asking if she wanted me to get any food for her. She wanted an Original Chicken Sandwich from Burger King. As I have written before, I do not like BK. But, as you have seen, I had just eaten dinner, so I didn't care. When I got to BK, I saw a promotion: buy one chicken sandwich, get one free. So I got a sandwich all to myself. I ate a couple bites but did not think much of it. 

I may not eat again until next weekend.


Cafe Observer said...

Me & your eLIZ think The Original chicken sandwich is one of the best CS's from a fast-food joint! Especially when they give u one free.

I think this post may have the most photos in it!

1 last thing about inconsiderate people/shoppers: to put it mildly! They are a brunch of self-centered mofo's. Get out of the mall & into a church at Christmas time - maybe it will help them.

JustinM said...

No mall this weekend, that was the last one... but we did Old Navy, Target, and Burlington Coat Factory. There are three kinds of people who annoy me:

1) People who bump into you because they're not looking where they're going. This is not terrible per se, because we've all done that. But the acceptable thing to say is "excuse me" or "sorry." It is not acceptable to say nothing.

2) The people who bump into you because they're not looking where they're going and talking on their cell phones. If you're walking around talking on your phone, you look like a jackass. But you need to at least look where you're going or you're a rude jackass.

3) The people who let their kids run around because they can't be bothered to watch them and feel like every store is a giant babysitting service. I'm 6'2", 200 pounds. When your kid runs into me, he or she is going to fall down, not me. How about, instead of giving ME a dirty look, you take the opportunity to explain to your kid that that's what happens when they run around a store? Or would that require too much effort on your part?

Nosh Gnostic said...

Nice rant - agreed on all counts. There is nothing more distracting or annoying than ill-mannered shoppers and their uncivilized offspring.

Oh, BTW, I'll have a Glenlivet with Redi-Whip.

Liz said...

First of all, I'm amazing for having cake and bacon for breakfast. I want to do that every day. And second, what I don't like even more than kids running around unsupervised is the fact that half of them are playing with a bouncy ball in the stores. Really?! Have them play outside, you're not watching them anyway.

Anonymous said...

Was the egg roll stuff from Fresh & Easy too?

JustinM said...

The pastrami, cheese and kraut was from F&E. I loaded up for several meals worth of things. (The leftover pizza was good for at least a few meals.) But they don't have the wrappers, I had to get them elsewhere.

Fritos and Foie Gras said...

Reuben. Egg. Rolls. Once I taste those, I can die a happy woman.

o0angie0o said...

Everything looked amazing! I haven't gotten a chance to get my blog fix for awhile so hopefully I can get through it all. I took a picture with a can of spotted dick when I was in Santa Barbara, the bf would not let me buy it.

Visited Vegas this weekend and my co-workers dragged me over to the Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay. It was good kobe beef burger I guess but I wish I did not get it medium rare and got it medium, I did enjoy the jalapeno bacon and discovered I enjoy ketchup mixed with ranch dressing.

Your pizza's look super yummy, I don't have a grill big enough to try this but it looks like a winner as does the egg rolls.

Tyler said...

While I have enjoyed reading your blog over the years, I can't help but express my disappointment about the inaccurate accounting of the origins of the beer wagon. As I understand it, Zach's brother had a large impact on making the beer wagon the robust juggernaut of alcoholic pleasure it is today. While wrongfully accused of "nancying around" during the creation of similar alcohol-delivering vehicles, I feel his role in the beer wagon was integral, dare I say visionary. It needs to be acknowledged. Just saying.

JustinM said...

Zach's brother - also name Tyler, coincidentally - has certainly made it fancier, but has he made it better than the first year when it was just ice and beer? Each person must decide that themselves.