Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Whole Bunch Of Holiday Eats

I suggested my parents get some cheese for Christmas Eve. They went a little overboard.

But apparently they did not remember that I wrote about these Whole Foods pork buns just a couple of weeks ago, calling them the worst pork buns I have ever had. They got a package of four. I cooked them and all four of us tried them. All four of us hated them. These are really just awful.

To get the taste of the pork buns out of my mouth, I cooked a bag of mini egg rolls. It comes with a sweet & sour sauce and I made some hot mustard (out of mustard powder, vinegar and water) and a green onion soy sauce. These egg rolls were nothing too special, but they weren't bad.

My brother wanted to have shabu-shabu for Christmas Eve, but instead of going to one of the Japanese markets like my parents usually do, they went to Taylor's and got several pounds of top sirloin steak and asked the butcher to slice it very thin.

The accoutrements.

Even though there were only four of us, my brother decided he wanted to have two burners going on the table. Whatever.

The meat still wasn't as thin as shabu-shabu beef normally is, but it was still pretty.

I have no idea what this is. I assume some kind of dipping sauce. But it was pretty so I took a picture.

My dad's tofu. He mentioned something about tofu staving off brain decline and promoting a healthy prostate, but to be honest I wasn't really listening.

Beer makes it easier to watch the Lakers, so that's my health food.

Shabu-shabu is fun to cook, no doubt about that.

And it's colorful.

And delicious.

In one of our stockings were gummy bears made with agave. I had a few of them; they were quite tasty.

For Christmas dinner it was again just the four of us, so we decided to make homemade pizza. Nothing too fancy. The above pie I made with sweet Italian sausage and roasted garlic.

This was cheese and roasted garlic.

There was only a small amount of dough left after making those two pies, so I made a mini pizza with pepperoni.

Something in my stocking: a root beer candy cane. It's hard to tell from the picture but it was almost a foot long.

In October, I wrote that I was no longer going to visit the Church's Chicken in Pasadena, that they never get my order correct. In that post I wrote about attempting to try the Spicy Southern Style Chicken Sandwich and, even though I told the employee what I wanted four times, she gave me the wrong sandwich, one covered in buffalo sauce.

But the other day I was talking with an acquaintance who told me I had to try the version of the sandwich with the spicy mayo on it. And I didn't feel like driving to Monrovia - especially since at the time I was only about five blocks away from the Pasadena location. So I went there.

"I want the spicy sandwich," I said, pointing at the poster of it, "with this spicy mayo. I do not want the sandwich with buffalo sauce on it. I want this sandwich here. With the spicy mayo."

"Oh, we don't even have buffalo sauce right now," the woman told me.

So I waited six minutes, received my sandwich, and took it to the car. It had buffalo sauce on it. Of course it did. I mean... I can't even get mad, right? I know they are incapable of giving me what I order and yet I still went back. Fool me ten times, shame on me.

I met up with Murph for a late lunch at Bar Celona. He got his usual flatbread but I opted for the short rib sandwich. It was a little greasy but overall I thought it was pretty good. I didn't have my camera with me so I used my phone.

I went to lunch with my friend Zach the other day. He'd just been in Texas and he brought me back this 32-ounce bottle of Rudy's barbecue "sause." I am unable to decide whether this or Gates is my favorite tomato-based barbecue sauce in America, but it's definitely one of the two. However, unlike Gates, I do not know of any stores around here that sell Rudy's. So I had not had any in at least a couple of years.

The other evening while some friends were over at my place drinking wine, I heated up some of the Rudy's sauce and put in in this mini fondue pot. We dunked barbecue-flavor potato chips into the sauce, annihilating the entire bag within just a few minutes.

When I heard that Taco Bell was coming out with their 99-cent Beefy Crunch Burritos once again, I had to get another. It had the consistency of baby food with the crunch of Fritos, it didn't have a whole lot of flavor and it looked weird.... but I still enjoyed it.

Sometimes you eat something that is neither overpriced nor a good deal. You say "You know, that costs exactly what it should." This $1 pizza from Ralph's fits right into that category. 

On the afternoon of New Year's Eve I went over to my parents' to watch the UCLA bowl game. I cooked some of Taylor's meatloaf - the best I have ever had - in the oven for just over an hour.

The Humboldt Fog from Christmas Eve was still in the fridge.

So I topped each piece of meatloaf with a dollop of the cheese.

Supermarket mustard potato salad and "baked" potato salad. Perfectly acceptable, nothing special.
Some of Taylor's beef and pork meatballs, dusted with parmesan.

After the meatloaf pieces with cheese had been in the oven for a few extra minutes, I removed them and added pickled red onion and arugula.

And placed them on white dinner rolls.

They were awesome, if I do say so myself. To one of them I added some Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup, which took it to another level. UCLA lost the game, but that's no surprise.

"Maybe this is why teams with losing records shouldn't be allowed in bowl games?" I wondered aloud.

I hope you all had a nice time over the holidays.


Anonymous said...

pp u brought sir kensingtons over to your parents place?

Emily said...

The only criticism I have is this - you can NEVER go overboard on cheese. Fab post otherwise!

Matt T said...

I lol'ed so hard on the church's comments.

If we had a Chick fil a near by you would be in heaven.....I think.

JustinM said...

Anon: I keep a bottle of it there, too! If it wasn't comprised of fresh ingredients I would keep one in both Elizabeth's and my cars as well.

Emily: That's constructive criticism. I like that.

Matt T: I went to one in the South 11 years ago but don't remember much about it. Funny, I was going to go to one last week, too, but something came up that necessitated me staying close to home all week.

JustinM said...

BTW the Church's sandwich, even with the buffalo sauce, is still a delicious, plump, juicy/crispy chicken breast. And it's only $1.99. (Similar but inferior sandwiches at Jack and Wendy's are $4.99.) So it's not like I was all that upset.

Adam said...


Sorry about UCLA. The Fired Coaches Bowl of America didn't seem to enticing, so I was watching the others games. But my Aggies lost against Ohio, so I'm one to talk.

Have you ever tried the Seriouseats recipe for homemade neapolitan pizzas? I made them for my family on New Year's eve. My dad always makes pizza and thinks he's great at it, but mine put him to shame. Highly reccomend the method if you've never tried it; 1-day proof in the fridge for the dough (amazingly uses no oil) then alternating high heat in stovetop and broiler for char on both sides.

A belated Merry Christmas to you, and thanks for the link love!