Wednesday, January 2, 2013

61 Snacks Revisited

I figure there are quite a few of you back at work today, probably all of you not wanting to be there, maybe some still exhausted from New Year's festivities. So my present to you: 61 snacks from the last few months, none of which warrant a whole post, all of them collected here in the largest post I have ever done... 131 photos. So take some time putting off work this morning and enjoy (or don't, as the case may be with some of these). 

When I went down to San Diego at the end of November to hang out with my friend Zach, he gave me the above packet of roasted garlic sea salt that he thought I would like. So one night just after Christmas I decided to make some homemade chips and watch football. But then I figured that was too much effort so I just got a bag of unsalted Kettle Chips. I placed them on a pan and slid them into the 350-degree oven. In five minutes they were hot and sweating oil, so I tossed the salt over them, then put them in a bowl with more salt. They were fantastic.


A scrambled egg, cheese, and bacon breakfast sandwich from down the street. I've never been a big breakfast eater - I probably eat it two or three times per month at most - but I could eat one of these every day. 


I slowed cooked a corned beef one day and ate it on a soft roll with pickles and mustard (though for some reason it looks like mayo in the picture). 

Okay, this is the one item out of the 61 that I didn't actually eat, Elizabeth did, but it's too great not to be included: a bagel stuffed with butter and bacon. Nothing else.


Leftover cheesesteak meat, heated up with Swiss cheese and added to a bun with whole grain mustard. Not quite as good as a cheesesteak, but pretty damn good.

Trader Joe's lavash, topped with marinara sauce and that cheddar cheese containing mustard seed and beer. As always, I make this and then say "Why the hell don't I cook lavash pizzas all the time?"

Hamburger Helper. Elizabeth likes this stuff so every once in a while I make it. It's not my favorite, but as long as you use quality beef, it's not bad.

Sometimes I make custard, and on this occasion I added store-brand "vanilla wafers." It's one of my favorite desserts.


One time Elizabeth said she wanted Funfetti, and I asked if I could make the kind with vanilla frosting. She didn't think it was that good, but I liked it.

Trader Joe's carnitas, a red-cabbage-and-cilantro slaw that I made, and chipotle sauce. A good, quick meal.

I saw a jar of Pace cheese dip with onion and chipotle, so I had to try it. It sounded so bizarre, but I thought the payoff would be great if it actually turned out to be decent. It wasn't decent; I did not enjoy it.


I felt like some fried shrimp but didn't have any tartar sauce, so I decided to make my own. I used Empire Mayonnaise Company's "lime pickle" mayo and McClure's "garlic and dill" relish. It was one of the best tartar sauces I have ever made.

Fried cheese ravioli (from Target) with honey mustard.


The game is fun. The candies suck. So why did I buy them twice? I dunno. Most of the time I'm an idiot.

Another lavash - a much more attractive one if I do say so myself. Fresh pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil.

A few days before Hurricane Sandy - we had four or five days notice - I went to Target and bought a bunch of cans of soup and bottles of water. Enough to live on if we lost power for a few days and none of the stores opened. This one was probably my favorite of the bunch. A little spicy and a good amount of chicken.

I saw this snack at the store, promising the flavor of buffalo wings without the mess, and claiming that the heat is a "5" on a scale of 1-5. Both of those things are untrue. I can't really say these were bad because they were insubstantial. There was pretty much no flavor. Not salt, not heat, nothing. A waste of money. Cool packaging though.

I had gone for a long walk, maybe 7 or 8 miles, and I was starving, but as sometimes happens after exercise, I wanted to eat healthy. So I made myself a protein-style turkey burger. It was fantastic. "I have to start eating these more frequently," I said to myself. (So how many more have I made since then? Zero, of course.)

Some steak fries, deep-fried and dusted with paprika. Always a good snack.

The market across the street from me is absolutely terrible. I have never been to a business in America - not just a market, I mean any business - where the employees are more consistently rude, miserable people. I could write an entire post just about the market, but you would swear I was making things up. (Example: one time I was in there, one of the clerks cut his finger open and instead of covering it, he walked all over the store showing it to fellow employees - all of whom laughed about it. Not once did someone say "You need to wrap that up immediately before you bleed on the produce.") And actually, I don't even go into the market anymore (because of an even more ridiculous anecdote), but the one thing about it that I really liked is they had a small selection of samosas that were delicious. I don't know where they get them, but the one above, the chicken samosa, is great.

Like lavash, English Muffin pizzas are something that I definitely should make more often. This one had leftover short rib, cheese, green onion, and some kind of sauce I do not remember.

This one had chicken and cheese, but again I have no idea what that sauce is. My guess is a Carolina-style barbecue sauce.

One day at the store I noticed a frozen bag of small, processed, breaded chicken patties on sale. So I bought it. They are nothing special, not by any means, but one of them makes a good snack and two makes a meal. Plus, as often happens in these circumstances, the fun is in adding the toppings to each. One of these has whole grain mustard and relish; the other has Trader Joe's corn salsa and chipotle sauce. I would not serve these to guests - I probably wouldn't even make them for Elizabeth - but when I'm at home alone and not wanting to make too much effort, these work. I will buy them again if they're on sale.


More Indian food from that market - vegetable and potato "samosas." (I don't think the one calling itself vegetable is really a samosa, but whatever.) Not as good as the chicken, but not bad.

A Reueben quesadilla? Why not? I had leftover corned beef, so I added it to a tortilla with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, grilled it, then added slaw. It was excellent.

Still more corned beef leftovers, so after a morning workout I cooked some egg whites, added the corned beef and green onions, heated it all up, than ate it in a tortilla.

A flatbread with Damascus's insanely-flavored garlic sauce and red cabbage slaw.

One evening I made Trader Joe's frozen pizzas at home, something we do at least once every couple of weeks, and we wanted some garlic knots, too. So I went to My Little Pizzeria and bought a dozen of them to accompany our frozen pizzas. They were great, as always.

I wanted a vanilla shake one evening so I went to the Haagen-Dazs on my block. I have become relatively numb to prices in this city, but this one still surprised me: eight bucks. It was delicious. But not worth it. 

I picked up a potato salad with roasted red potatoes. I loved it, though I have not found it again at the same store.

Years ago I read about Dinosaur's Roasted Garlic Honey barbecue sauce. So one day I decided to try it on some White Castle burgers. Usually I prefer mustard and/or vinegar-based barbecue sauces, but for a tomato-based sauce, this is really good. Not as good as Rudy's or Gates, but good nonetheless.


I liked the Fruity Pebbles treats that I tried a few months ago, so I thought the Lucky Charms would be enjoyable, too. They were not.

I don't think there was anything memorable about this burger - although it looks like one of Paisanos patties, so I'm sure it was delicious - but the waffle fries were awesome, dusted with paprika and red chile and dipped in Sir Kensington's.

I've had pretty good luck with the Frontera cooking sauces, so I added this one to slow-cooked chicken, then ate it on a bun with slaw, with rice and zucchini on the side. Fantastic.

I took some of that leftover chicken the next day and ate it in a quesadilla with corn salsa and Swiss cheese. I do not remember how it tasted, but probably pretty good.

And I ate one without the corn salsa, but plenty of hot sauce added.

Whenever we go to the Chip Shop, Elizabeth gets the chicken curry served over fries. It is one of the best curries I have ever had, and fortunately there is always some to take home. I try to eat it for breakfast the next day before she gets up. Usually I am successful.

I smelled this cheese at a local market; it was amazing. So even with the $25-per-pound price tag, I decided I needed to try it. It tasted as good as it smelled, the black truffles tasting like butter with each bite.

There was leftover beef from cheesesteaks, so I piled it into a tortilla with queso fresco and sauteed onions, grilled it, and added chipotle sauce. A good snack but not enough for a meal.

One day when I got home from Paisanos, I had in my bag a spice rub for poultry. It had belonged to the guys in front of me. (Although checking my receipt, I saw that I had been charged for it.) So I got some chicken patties, slathered the rub all over, and grilled them. Then I ate them on a bun with mustard and lettuce. There were delicious, though I'm not exactly sure how much I could taste the spice rub.

I think I owe an apology to my friends Zach and Tyler. For years they have extolled the virtues of Celeste frozen pizza. I have always maintained that it's not very good. But I was basing it on microwaving. It turns out when you heat them in the oven, they're not bad at all. (Not as good as the time we cooked one in Tyler's wood-burning pizza oven - and then used a blow-torch - but still good.)

A chorizo empanada from the deli/catering company across the street. Good, not great. I have never seen chorizo as an empanada component before, and I think I understand why.

I could not taste any lobster in this; it was basically just a corn and potato chowder. Which is not a bad thing... unless you have paid five dollars for the can. Which I had. Rip off.

I love turkey bacon most of the time, but when it comes to a potato salad, give me a full-fat bacon. Pork fat tastes wonderful with potatoes. This bacon tasted cardboard-like. And the Caesar dressing was not good.

Another of my post-Sandy soups. This tasted even better than the lobster and corn chowder, and at 1/5 the price, I was pleased.


I don't remember what kind of wiener I used for this hot dog, but I remember the toppings: ketchup, My Friend's Mustard "Jalapeño IPA" mustard, and crispy onion pieces. A very good hot dog. (Although if I ever do this again, I will not be using ketchup. I rarely put ketchup on hot dogs and I cannot figure out why I did here.)

I had this burger from Five Guys one day after I'd made the burger collage. So technically I had 60 burgers in 2012. Whatever. This was the most ambitious burger I have ever ordered from Five Guys: two patties, bacon, cheese, pickles, lettuce, onions, jalapenos, relish, mayo, and A.1. sauce. I wasn't drunk, just really hungry.

I bought this shrimp tempura roll at a market (that had a sushi chef assembling rolls). It claimed to have cucumber and crab in it as well, both of which were bullshit: it had krab - that imitation junk - and instead of cucumber, my hated avocado. What a waste.

Also at the market was this General Tso's chicken. I only spooned out a few pieces, just to give it a try. (It cost me $1.49, so it was probably about 6 ounces.) It actually wasn't bad. Maybe the chicken had just been cooked. I don't think I'll get this again, but considering this was my backup plan in case the sushi sucked - which it did - I have no complaints here.

Elizabeth insisted on getting these at Target. I thought they looked ridiculous. Why would you put sweet stuff on Chex Mix? Still, I ended up trying them. They were not nearly as bad as I expected them to be. (But not anything I would ever buy again on my own.)

These are obviously Trader Joe's chicken drummetes, but I have no idea when I ate them or what the sauces were in the background. Sorry. But they were good, I'm sure.

A McDonald's sausage and egg breakfast burrito. I wouldn't mind getting one again if I were incredibly lazy, but as long as I have the energy to make one at home, I will, because I make them much better than this.

This was back in Pasadena right before we left - I mean like a day or two before. I had a bottle of Carolina Gold barbecue sauce and I slathered it on a McDonald's sausage biscuit. It was yummy.

There are quite a few good pizza places nearby, but sometimes - actually, as I mentioned, at least every week or two - I just want a Trader Joe's frozen pizza. And I love the Margherita: $3.99 and, topped with fresh basil, it's great.

A homemade chili, topped with English cheddar and pepperoncini.

I've written about PF Chang's "Home Menu" before. I don't think their items are all that good, but these pork and leek dumplings were on sale at Target and I was hungry (I really should never go shopping when hungry) so I bought them. They were pretty good: definitely my favorite of the PF Chang's items I have tried so far, though the potstickers they sell at Trader Joe's are better and, not surprisingly, half the price of these.

Another item I saw in the deli section of a local market were these buffalo-style chicken fingers. I was in the mood for something like that so I bought the package and brought it home. I didn't really like them by themselves, though, so I placed one in a hot dog bun, drizzled some Tabasco buffalo sauce over it, and added slaw. It was better that way, but not anything I will purchase again.

Take everything I said about the dumplings - that Trader Joe's makes them cheaper and tastier - and remove the part about them being pretty good, and you will have this orange chicken. I did not enjoy it at all.

I saw something in a magazine - I think it was Men's Health; the odds are good since that and Cat Fancy are all I ever read - that was a strange "recipe" for nachos. It said something along the lines of "take a bag of chips and whatever you have in your fridge and make nachos." I'm paraphrasing slightly. So I did that one day: Cool Ranch Doritos, jerk turkey breast slices, pepperoncini, and cheese. They weren't very good. I won't be doing this again.

There was some leftover lobster from the lobster rolls I made on New Year's Eve, so yesterday I placed it between two tortillas with queso blanco, a little mustard and a squirt of lemon and then grilled it. It was delicious, although I cut the queso too thick and it didn't really melt, it just kind of softened. No big deal.

A lobster dip from Whole Foods with sourdough bread. A little too creamy for me - meaning not enough lobster - but not bad by any means.

Well, that's it... have a good day. 


Anonymous said...

You must have been so angry at the sushi in 48 that you didn't censor. (Not complaining just pointing it out.)

Allison said...

Once again thanks for the awesome spread! Love your blog.

Michelle said...

This is awesome. I'm going to read it all again.

Bekah said...

This seriously made my day.

Emily said...

I have never been so disappointed as when I saw that little 61. I could read this forever.

JustinM said...

Anon: I have no problem with swearing, it's very effective sometimes. But if you do it frequently, it loses its effectiveness.

Allison: No problem, you're welcome.

Michelle: Cool. Read it all day and don't get anything done.

Bekah: You're welcome, too.

Emily: You've had a good life then.

Marianne said...

I had to go back and look for the profanity on #48 ... I guess I use it so often that I am immune.

Anonymous said...

a post for the ages, pp.

Zachary said...

Regarding #41: You left out the best part - that those pizzas are only $1 (or less. I've seen them down as low as $0.75). They are also better when drunk or hungover.

Tanya said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I have to say, I enjoy the hell out of it, and love that it's in NY now! Keep it up, I've found I check it daily for inspiration and food porn.