Monday, August 20, 2012

Angels & Demons: Justin and HawkeyeMikeTrout's Bachelor Weekend

Elizabeth made plans to go spend the weekend doing fun stuff with her sister. We've been here four months now, and despite her sister living 90 minutes away, we've only seen her a couple of times for a few hours. And Elizabeth's sister is pregnant now, so they wanted to spend a weekend doing stuff together while they still can. (I was hoping they would go to a club and get denied entry by the bouncer just like in Knocked Up: "You old, she pregnant." But I was informed they would not be going to any clubs.)

So I planned a weekend of eating whatever I wanted and watching a dozen baseball games. The Angels - absolutely horrible in the last month but still with a fighting chance for a Wild Card berth - had a crucial series with Tampa. This will be great, I thought. (Foreshadowing.)

On Friday afternoon I was doing something in Manhattan when Elizabeth let me know that she was going to finish work early, so I decided to wait around and get a late lunch with her. I had an hour to kill, and I took the opportunity to visit Economy Candy. I'd heard about the place but never been. I couldn't take any photos inside - it was packed - but I promise you, they have pretty much every candy you have ever heard of. I loaded up on a bunch of stuff: gummy rat, Chuckles, gummy lobsters, and a few other items. A pack of 1987 Topps baseball cards was by the counter. I haven't bought baseball cards in more than twenty years but they were only a buck. Why not?

This was the top card in the pack. I kid you not. F**k, this can't be a good omen. (More foreshadowing.)

For Friday night's game - Jered Weaver, the AL ERA leader, was taking the mound for the Angels - I was wandering around the market when I noticed a buffalo chicken DiGiorno pizza. Sounded good. The only buffalo chicken pizza I have ever had (that I did not make myself) was from BJ's, and it was great.

The pizza turned out pretty well in the oven, for frozen pizza. 

The crust was, well, frozen pizza crust. Not very good. Overall the pizza was okay. Not as good as almost a dozen places within a half-mile walk of me, but I had no regrets about making it. And I thought of something else that could make it better.

Tabasco buffalo sauce and fresh celery. This was a great idea - I realized one of the things I like most about that BJ's buffalo chicken pizza is the crunch and contrast of the celery, so that was easy to replicate. I would definitely eat this pizza again, which is something it has in common with only a tiny number of frozen pizzas.

And as for the game? Weaver had what was statistically speaking the worst game of his career, allowing nine earned runs. After that performance he dropped from the best ERA to the fifth-best. 

"Oh well," I said to the cat, "at least tomorrow can't be this bad."

(Still more foreshadowing.)

I saw this can of chili at Target. Most of the time I don't enjoy canned chili; chili is not difficult to make and it tastes so much better when homemade. But I'd never tried Campbell's version, and immediately I had an idea: Frito Pie for dinner.

They did not have the chili-flavored Fritos, but they had "BBQ" flavored, so I decided to give them a try.

Every time we've gotten food to-go from Fortune House, we have received it in these heavy-duty plastic bowls. We've kept a few of them. Every once in a while I buy a bagel and make Elizabeth a sandwich; they fit perfectly. Sometime I have to throw out used oil and they work pretty well for that, too. And, I realized, they are a good size for making a Frito Pie.

I tossed in about a cup of Fritos then covered them with hot chili. On top of that I added cheddar cheese, sour cream, and diced Hop-Pickles.

It was really, really good.

The game was not.

I watched the pre-game ceremony. The Angels were honoring their 2002, World Series-winning team. After shaking my head about the fact that it's been a decade (I went to games 1 and 2, and I remember it like it was a month ago) I was able to enjoy seeing everyone again. For obvious reasons - to those of you who are not baseball fans, that is the only championship team in the Angels 50-year existence - that was my favorite Angels team of my life.

The current Angels team, in the presence of that great, gutty team, then blew an 8-run lead to lose 10-8. It was largest blown lead at home in the history of the Angels organization.

"Well," I said to HawkeyeMikeTrout, "at least tomorrow can't be this bad."

(This is not foreshadowing. Sunday's game was bad, but it was not close to being as bad as Saturday night.)

The second post on this blog, almost four years ago - which means that there are probably literally three of you who read it then -  was about jazzed-up White Castle burgers. That sounded like a good lunch, so I cooked three of them in the oven.

Arugula and garlic aioli.

 Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup and Sierra Nevada's Stout & Stoneground mustard.

Balsamic ketchup.

All three pickles received a slice of Brooklyn Brine Company's "Spicy Maple-Bourbon" pickles. And all three of them were quite tasty.

Drunken Cheddar Chipotle Fries. No, I wasn't drunk when I made them, I used Drunken Goat, along with a sharp cheddar (actually, the label claims "Extra Sharp New York Cheddar," whatever that means), pepperoncini, and chipotle sauce.

It wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. But it took my mind off the Sunday afternoon Angels game; yet another loss, this time "only" 8-3, to complete the four game sweep at the hands of the Rays - who had failed to even have a baserunner in their previous game before coming to Anaheim.

Two things HawkeyeMikeTrout has in common with this Angels team: 

1) His hat
2) He doesn't seem to care if they win or lose either

At least I can always count on a gummy rat to make me happy. They didn't have any white ones - my favorite flavor - at Economy, but the black ones are my second-favorite.

Elizabeth got home on Sunday evening while I was watching the Yankees-Red Sox game, and we ate what we often eat on Sunday night - Trader Joe's frozen pizza. You've seen them here many times, I won't go into more details.

I hope you had a good weekend.


Mike N. said...

Those TJ's pizzas look good! (my local TJ is about 20 minutes away, too far to [safely] bring home frozen foods)

Have you be listening to NPR's "Americandy" series on Weekend Edition? I really want to find me some Valomilks now!

P.S.: Never heard of that Mickey guy...

Michelle said...

How old is your kitty?

s said...

I read your blog, but normally just lurk.

Blasphemy doctoring White Castle's. In your defense though they were frozen. I have one a few miles from my house so I get them fresh, which may make a difference.


Bekah said...

Do I spy candy cigarettes? I loved those.

I always have frozen White Castles on hand. I haven't had the real thing in years. I miss them so.

JustinM said...

Mike N: I'd still risk it at least once with the TJ's pizzas. Maybe in the winter so they don't defrost as quickly?

Michelle: He will be five months old on Wednesday. His present? He gets his balls cut off.

S: My only trip to White Castle was six years ago this week, and it was one of the three greatest culinary letdowns of my life. It was really bad. That being said, I am not opposed to another try.

Bekah: Yep, the candy cigarettes were for Liz. I don't like them at all.

Anonymous said...

the fries are reheated 5 guys fries, pp?

JustinM said...

No, those were frozen Alexia "house cut" fries that I baked in the oven for twenty minutes.

Anonymous said...

I took your advice on the 5 Guys fries last night and reheated them just as you suggested. They were so much better! Thanks for that.

JustinM said...

No problem, glad that worked out for you.

SuperLarge said...

The neatest things in this post for me:
Lizzy's going to be an Aunt, that's fantastic!!!!!

JustinM said...

Those things are neater than my gummy rat?

SuperLarge said...

Gummy rat is a close third.

Lindsay said...

I love Hawkeye in his hat! That is the hat your ice cream was served in, no? It's perfect for him!

JustinM said...

That's exactly what it is! It's my ice cream hat from 4th of July weekend!

Unknown said...

Is Hawkeye named for M*A*S*H* or the superhero?

JustinM said...

From the comic book. His brothers were named Thor, Hulk and Loki. (We didn't name him, we adopted him in June when he was less than three months old and he already had the name.)

Jim M said...

There is a version of Frito pie here in TN called Petros. The business was born back during the 1982 World's Fair that was held in Knoxville. They only recently last year began to franchise locations.

JustinM said...

That looks cool, thanks Jim. I spent the night in Knoxville once when I was 21, but that was immediately after six nights in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and I didn't do anything except sleep on my friend's grandmother's couch for about 14 hours straight. So while I've certainly been to the city, I haven't really been there...

(I do remember the Sunsphere, but I was looking out for it after having seen it on the Simpsons.)