Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Dozen Orphans In Autumn

I'm at the point now where I take pictures of pretty much everything I eat. Since I only write five, sometimes six posts in a week, the majority of the things I eat aren't documented. Most of those things I just don't find interesting enough to write about. Sometimes I do they think they're interesting... but not enough to fill a whole post. So today I will present to you twelve things from the last month that never got their own posts. (Plus it's always fun to title a blog post like it's a Tom Waits song.)

Let's do this in reverse chronological order:
For dinner last night, we were just trying to clean out the fridge. I sauteed some diced pancetta and then cooked a remaining half of a box of rotini, combining the two when they were done. To my pasta I added spicy tomato and basil sauce - I pour the bottle of sauce into the blender then puree it and pour it back into the jar so I don't have to deal with those damn chunky tomatoes - and topped it all with Parmesan. It was a very simple dinner, but that's what I was going for. 

The other day I went by my dad's office to do something for him, and it turned out they'd had Pie 'n Burger delivered. He said that pretty much everyone had eaten and there were lots of leftover burgers, so I ate one. It has been a while since I've had one of their burgers - I'd forgotten how much I like them. (But I like the ones I make more.)

Okay, this isn't really something that I ate, but I love guest posts - even though hardly any of my friends take me up on the offer to write them. My friend Mick is in Europe right now - he spends at least two months of the year there - and he just emailed me a picture of his dinner the other night at a restaurant in Tours, France: "pig trotters spring rolls." He said they were delicious.

Last weekend Tracie went to a baby shower at the Grove, and she parked at the LA Farmers Market. She had to buy something to get her parking validated, so she went to the hot sauce shop and bought me this bottle of spicy garlic sauce. Because she's awesome. I immediately poured some into a spoon and tasted it. It was fantastic. I began thinking about what to do with it.

I decided to get some of the Trader Joe's tempura chicken that I love and, instead of using their much-too-sweet sauce that comes in a pouch with the chicken (to which I always add hot sauce and garlic anyway) I left that in the freezer. When the chicken was ready I tossed it in a bowl with the garlic sauce and ate it with jasmine rice and broccoli. It was amazing. I'm not sure I can go back to eating TJ's chicken with the provided sauce.

It is my opinion that any sandwich, no matter how simple, can be greatly improved by throwing it on the panini press for a few minutes. Last week I needed a snack so I placed some rosemary ham, Swiss cheese, Maille mustard and sliced pickles on two slices of bread. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the sandwich if I'd eaten it that way... but after three minutes of grilling, with the bread crisping, the cheese melting and the whole thing getting hot, I loved it. 

There were many cereals I really liked when I was a kid: Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms (especially the one time I emptied an entire box, separated out the marshmallows, and ate them in a bowl of milk), Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Frosted Wheat. But there was nothing I ever liked more than Fruity Pebbles.

Almost a quarter-century later, at CVS, I spied a box of "Fruity Pebbles Treats." The price tag could have been anything and I would have had to try them at least once. Thankfully, the box was just over two dollars.

I have not had Fruity Pebbles in I don't know how long - maybe fifteen years? I don't think I've had cereal of any kind in years. But it was like I'd never left. The taste was instantly recognizable. I'm not sure I want to go back and buy any more of these - I could see myself getting into trouble here - but I really enjoyed the ten I ate. Within an hour.

In January of 2010 I tried the McDonald's Mac Snack Wrap and proclaimed it "horrible, the worst thing I have tried in quite a while." So a couple of weeks ago, for some reason I can't remember, I tried the Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon Snack Wrap. The only compliment I can give is this: it was not as bad as the Mac Snack Wrap.

But man, was it bad. 
Bristol Farms has several varities of ravioli from a company called New York Ravioli. They're a little bit pricey but every once in a while they go on sale and I buy a box or two and stick them in the freezer. Because I really like them. This time, I cooked the "five cheese" flavor and added a spicy-tomato/basil sauce to mine. (Elizabeth never adds red sauce to her pasta.)

I really liked them; Elizabeth absolutely hated them. She ate one and gave me the rest of hers. I don't remember why she disliked it so much, but I do remember that the ricotta flavor was very strong. If you don't like ricotta, you should stay far away from these. (I don't think I'll ever get this kind again; I will stick with my two favorite flavors: the wonderfully vague-namd "meat" and "goat cheese and herb.")

Last month, Tim had a couple friends-of-a-friend visiting him from the UK, and he brought them over to my place the night I made meatballs. The next day he took them to La Cabanita and sent me a pic of the mole he was eating. (The previous day, before they'd hooked up with Tim but after they'd picked up their rental car at the airport, they ate at Denny's. This was their first-ever day in America and they thought that looked like a good place to have their first American meal. I won't write anything snarky, but I'll just say that they didn't think much of Denny's and Tim wanted to take them someplace a little more enjoyable the next day.) I made some kind of comment about the mole along the lines of "I would pay fifty dollars to have that in front of me right now."

One of the Europeans, to thank me for making meatballs the night before, surprised me by bringing back a chicken enchilada with green mole sauce for me. (Tim knew exactly what I wanted.) It was, of course, fantastic. ("I've got fifty bucks for you upstairs," I said to her jokingly, before she blurted out "No, no, that's a gift." And I realized it was only her second day in America and she might not have known what a buck is or that fifty of them is enough to buy a dozen of these enchiladas.)

Over the years, on our various excursions to Wendy's, Elizabeth has frequently ordered a Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe. So recently I figured I'd give one a try. It was okay. I'm not a big fan of Wendy's burgers, so I actually appreciated the fact that there not very much meat here. And at around one dollar, it's a decent deal. But nowhere near as good as their chicken sandwiches, in my opinion. 

I planned to make a scramble of eggs and sausage one morning, but I overestimated how much sausage I needed. (Not that I cared - I like sausage much more than eggs.) So I ended up with pieces of sausage with just a tiny amount of egg. I topped it with cilantro, goat cheese, and chili paste. It was a good breakfast, though the whole was less than the sum of its parts. 

I'll never forget my first trip to Catalina Island. I was a freshman in high school and the basketball team took the boat over on a Friday morning to play Avalon High School that night, then we stayed until Sunday. For our first meal a few of us walked down to Antonio's - one of my buddies had been there before - and started with a bucket of homemade potato chips with warm barbecue sauce. It was one of the most amazing things I'd ever tried. (And then I had a barbecue chicken pizza and probably half a dozen Cherry Cokes before playing in a basketball game four hours later, where I recorded five blocks in a victory. Oh to be 14 again.)

One Sunday evening, Tim came over to my patio for dinner and he was telling me about a warm barbecue dip he'd recently eaten. I said "Hell, I can make that, that sounds good." So I went upstairs and got a bag of chips and "made" a barbecue dip - I put the quotes around made because all I really did was mix a bottle of apple cider barbecue sauce with a little extra vinegar and pinch of hot sauce.

We devoured them.

And then I grilled hot dogs. Taylor's wieners, of course. On my dog I added cole slaw, potato chips, and E. Waldo Ward's mustard relish. And ate it with potato salad. This was just as the summer was ending and it seemed like the perfect meal.


Nosh Gnostic said...

In case the "Europeans" are reading, 50 bucks = 32 quid.

mindful mule said...

Yummy roundup. I like the pickle sandwich.

Fritos and Foie Gras said...

Is it wrong that this is like my 3rd favorite post you have ever done? Love hodge-podges of good looking food. By the way...LOVE the bbq sauce and chip idea. Brilliant.

Michelle said...

I love this too. Especially the title and the celebration of all the different meals.

Anonymous said...

why was the game on catalina island?

JustinM said...

Nosh: F**k, I can't even get Elizabeth to read this most of the time... I seriously doubt that I have European followers.

Mindful: I could make it for you without the ham.

Fritos: Out of curiosity, what are the top 2?

Michelle: Thanks. Every meal should me a celebration.

Anon: Because that's where Avalon High School is located.

Adam said...

When I was younger, I used to eat Fruity Pebbles right out of the box because I did not "do" milk with cereal. At some point, I discovered Fruity Pebbles mixed with Cool Whip.

Never before have harmful chemicals been so addictingly tasty.

JustinM said...

My brother would only eat cereal with apple juice in it. One time I switched my cup of milk with his cup of apple juice and he took a drink and ran into the bathroom screaming "I've been poisoned!"

Anonymous said...

I wish I was able to post only 5-6 days out of the week. It might be more manageable for you if you skipped blog posts that cover Flintstone Pebbles cereal, LoL!

JustinM said...

But those are the pebbles upon which my empire is built...