I got nuthin’…

…so here’s a nice pair of melons.


Curry Udon target practice

I need to order these for me and my sister, for our next trip to Japan…


Where everybody knows your namedrink

Once upon a time when I shared a house with Doug and Rory, we were all in the habit of drinking one specific flavor of Arizona Iced Tea. Naturally, whenever we went to the grocery, we cleaned them out. Over time, the store we frequented starting stocking more of that flavor, and since there were three of us, we still cleaned them out.

Finally, after several months of this, I happened to be there late at night when only the restocking crew was working, and as I filled the conveyor belt with the distinctive oversized cans, the cashier looked at me and said, “You! You’re the one!”.

Fast-forward 20+ years, and these days my bulk buy is Splenda-sweetened Grapefruit-flavor Refreshe Ice. There are half a dozen different private labels for this bubbly-fruit-water, and I don’t know who actually makes it, but the Safeway and CVS brands seem to taste better than the others.

Naturally, I clean them out. For a while, they responded by upping the stock, but I can’t take credit for the peak period when they had dozens of bottles at the end of multiple rows and stocked it in single-flavor cases (with the Morgan Hill store sometimes having half a dozen cases just inside the front door, which I typically bought two of).

These days, the stock has died down to a more sustainable level, but the stores I frequent generally have twice as much of the Grapefruit as the other flavors.

So it should come as no surprise when on a recent midnight visit to the nearest Safeway (technically, 11:45PM, and a no-prize to someone who correctly guesses why I deliberately arrive at that time), the kid restocking the soft-drink section said, “Oh, hey, I just put some out for you.”

He then offered to see if he could get them by the case again…

Gevalia vs Starbucks

My preferred form of coffee is best described as “liquid pie”. That is, a sweet hot creamy beverage with a mild coffee flavor. Gevalia’s Mocha Latte k-cup with “froth packets” is perfect for this, once I’ve added two Mini-Moos and two or three Splendas. When I stir it all together before hitting the go-button on the Keurig, it looks and smells exactly like cupcake batter.

Suddenly, Safeway stopped carrying this. Coincidentally, Starbucks (which has a mini-store in every Safeway around here), has recently released their own direct competitor.

Since it was there and the Gevalia wasn’t, I tried it. Despite having twice as much sugar and twice as many calories, it wasn’t sweet, or creamy. In fact, it tasted exactly like cheap, gritty dark chocolate powder mixed with burned coffee. Which it is.

Fuck you, Rachael Ray

The award for Most Annoying Verbal Tic On A TV Food Show has to go to Rachael Ray for constantly spelling out “EVOO” and immediately following it with the complete phrase “extra-virgin olive oil”. Made me want to drive a steak through her heart any time I accidentally flipped past one of her shows.

She didn’t invent the acronym, which predates her first cooking show by at least ten years, but she certainly made it trendy, to the point that things like this exist:

Evey oh-oh

Note that my local Safeway didn’t put this stuff with the salad dressings or the olive oils, instead squeezing it in between the cooking sherry and the balsamic vinegar. Probably not a top seller.

Coffee and Wings bathing together

One of the interesting things about sous vide cooking is that if you’ve got the water at a certain temperature for a lengthy cooking session (such as 2-3 days for tough cuts of beef), you can toss in something else that cooks well at that temperature for a few hours (like steak or burgers).

It turns out that buffalo wings and coffee are compatible, although I suspect few hardcore coffee-drinkers are willing to wait two hours. But at least you’d have something to drink while the wings were getting crisped in the deep fryer.

Alternatively, the recipe also recommends one hour at 185°, which allows you to have coffee with your french fries.

Sous Vide and the Accidental Paleo Diet

A couple of weeks ago I bought the Anova Precision sous vide immersion circulator. Then I stopped off at Dong Vinh Restaurant Supply for some large plastic bins to hold the water, and Ikea for a few cheap accessories.

Since then, I’ve made terrific steak, roast beef, burgers, chicken breasts, eggs, and wings, all in convenient single-guy-living-alone serving sizes, and the larger bin will be filled with steaks for friends this weekend.

And, hey, it’s on sale on Amazon today for $140 instead of the usual $180:

Holiday In Review, Food Edition

As I mentioned earlier, it was nice having parents and sister for the holidays. The three weeks of cleaning and maintenance before they arrived were a bit frantic, though. And my fridge, freezer, and pantry are pretty darn stocked for a while; I kept telling them that if they didn’t eat a lot, I wouldn’t have to shop until Valentine’s Day.

Still, even with the place stocked up, we made some outings, in which we discovered such things as Envy apples (tasty, long shelf life, doesn’t brown when left out), Robata Grill Japanese restaurant in Carmel (terrific karaage, and how can you go wrong at a place that sells baconmaki appetizers?), and something I can’t link to, the Stonemill Kitchens Pretzel Bread Ring, which appears to be a Safeway-only item so exclusive that Stonemill’s web site doesn’t acknowledge it yet. And every time I buy one, the clerk is shocked that the store has such an item.

Also, not a new discovery, but we recommend Jamie Oliver’s Beef and Guinness Stew with Dumplings, although you probably want to increase the quantity on the stew; the dumplings absorb a lot of liquid. Also Vicolo Corn Meal Pizza Crusts, which I stocked up on for quick dinners.

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