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Summer Blockbusters, Artery Blockers and the Art of Turning 50

29 Aug

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Admit it. Jaws best scene comes when a great white’s guts bloody contents slosh onto the dock. We all want to see a limb or two but instead get better: car license plates, a lava lamp, and a bunch of junk that suggests this great white invented the South Beach diet, along with the Hollywood Summer blockbuster.

Some fishermen bring in a fairly large tiger shark. Hooper knows it’s not the shark they’re after, even though the mayor and the rest of the town are convinced their troubles are over.

Summer simmering down to its wet end here – or perhaps those are curt cobain’s tears falling on the Foo Fighters fest @ Wrigley 2night (Rewind: Pearl Jam’s Friendly Confines gig 2013 rain delay also awash in The God Of Grunge) or sweat maybe staged an unlikely play of thoughts starring Jaws, Junk and El Preferrido canned tamales.

 

The tin can tamales I wolfed down back in July. And I felt a responsibility to my loyal readers and family to wait until the test results came in. Over the span btw tamales and The Foos my biological calendar reminded me yo lived to be Fifty:

 

Up until now, I treated mi vida antigua as a series of pop quizzes. At the half-century mark, true standardized testing begins. The format runs from true or false to multiple choice, essay, a greasy finger slid up your butt, to basic arithmetic.

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Me, I performed a modern mid-century durability self-test of sorts with said tin tamales (ahora the alchemy of the meandering metaphor madness) by first cooking up (Cobain reference) the gelatinous BP grease slick floating atop the tamales y the tamales then shot up the red hot sabrosa greasy mess into my maw igniting hallucinatory visages of a cross section of my wax paper arteries clogged up with lava lamp lard (Jaws).

 

We the help of some large cued cottage cheese: aces.

The Verdad La Mexicana Comida Esta Out There….

1 Aug

So these three youthful Midwesterners are at NYC’s La Guardia airport baggage claim abuzz with anticipatory crackish then/Red Bullish ahora pre-embarking adrenaline rush exclusive to both visitors and residents of Gotham and maximum security prisons.

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What today would have been a text and/or tweet shared among friends we the public actually participated – okay eavesdropped – in their animated public discourse.

And what today would have been a Yelp! search actually turned into a lively debate with real opinions shared from real live experience instead of online strangers.

To the dulcet caterwaul – with occasional thud – of a luggage carousel – this husky body politic weighed in on Chicago vs New York pizza: ‘I can’t wait to try Domino’s. I bet it’s way better here.’ ‘No way, ‘Yes way’ ‘No way’ ‘yes way’ ‘Chicago’ ‘New York’ Chicago New York and on and on and on and maybe text might have been less Valley Girly and distracting so the rest of us could focus on our opinions and obvious superior big city sophisticated taste, grab bags, turn up noses, bolt.

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All but yo en verdad. Mi cargo fue returning con yo from Mexico. While the fuerte opinions blogged aqui suggest otrowise. I am still here to tell you the only reason Taco Bell en Mexico is better albeit more authentic than Taco Bell en Esatdos Unidos por que you get to order en Espanol.

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And even though I’ve been called a snob because I refuse to eat @Chipotle – which is to Mexico as Red Lobster is to the sea – you can’t feed a more Catholic, democratic, open and omnivorous maw than mine. Beyond therapy for my PTAzMexSD, the entire purpose of this here blogging a la Marco Pollo is to document my quest for el Cocina Mexicana ultima outside the friendly confines of mi beloved Sonoran desert. I know it exists, even if I have to make it so in mi own cocineria por ejemplo:

 

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I can’t believe you’re not Midwesternican pollo asado y chile verde y cream of chicken y corn tortillas that taste like dumplings y cheese casserolenchiladas

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The chipotle variation (the chile not the chain)

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North Carolina BBQ pork/Trader JoseNM salsa verde/avocado/refried frijoles/Trader Jose flour tort/burro

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Elotes/frijoles/pollo asado tacos con cilantro y radishes from our urban parking garage rooftop garden

Or when I have to burn $5 on some breakfast burrito from Pret-a-Porte labeled ‘Southwestern’ because maybe that’s what Mexican food is like in France?

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Egg Soufflé (Cage free) Refried Black Bean Salsa Red Peppers Cheddar Red Onions Tortilla Wrap

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*To the credit of the Midwesterners who I had no intention of having personify the acronym IOWA (idiots out wandering aimlessly) the very same week I took again to wandering yet again NYC’s sts/aves rather aimlessly, confident enough in my Espanol lengua to order for lunch – much to the delight of the entire diner – a Cubana Torta’ (trans: Cuban Prostitue) and also overheard the following exchange along the way:

Scene: 8th Ave, Times Square, NYC before the greasy window of a Chinese take-out joint tastefully appointed with garlands of Peking Duck.

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Cast: Two young men with Long Island accents sporting Yankees caps – backwards….of, course – studying the menu:

 

‘Peking Duck?’

‘Yeah.’

‘How the fuck they know that duck’s

from Peking?’
And it probably tasted just as good as Long Island duck in Chinatown Chicago.

La Babysitter Chow: New Flavor!

18 Jul

Chef Dinty Moore

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Chef Boy-ar-dee

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Chef Franco American

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Chef Campbells

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If this roll call of classic American seventies canned cooking kings jars loose more than one memory of the dozens wherein mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, mom, dad, mom and the milkman, or dad and the piano teacher closed down the family cocineria for a night and/or days off to ‘play bridge’ or “talk to a man about a horse” and left dinner in the mildly capable hands of a daft teenager, then you too have beheld upon your lengua the sublime glory that be babysitter chow.

Usually pre home economics – therefore befuddled by any kitchen utensil more sophisticated than a can opener time was babysitter chow filled the tummies, hearts and arteries of my gring@ generation (Sandwich) though doubtfully that of Gens X, Y and Z. Always canned, often zesty, made with meat of an unknown origin, ever a treat big time, and offering roughly less than or equal to nutritional value of Alpo: Bow Wow!

Yum si, and yet as El Papa Grande of dos los ninos, speaking for my own family and on behalf of our babysitters, not a single product by these great chefs of yore shall ever pass through the lips and onto the palates of mi children. Not por que yo o mi esposa could ever be accused of not banning such delights from our home, no. We are neither food puritans nor paranoias. Tis por que the kids simply don’t care for it. (Okay, that and for now at least, my love for cooking for and feeding our lot simply won’t allow me to let anyone outside of the family or our local donut shop to make food for the table (and floor).) This of no duh doesn’t mean I won’t continue to feast on the Great Chefs of North America’s finest fixings.

 

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I felt somewhat restricted to exposing my babysitter food fetish on a blog bound to comida Mexicana tipica with so few being of the Mexican persuasion, limiting myself ot a mere espousing  at some length on the glories of Chef Dinty Moore’s tamales, even then within the context of tamales rather than babysitters. (Scroll back if yer so inclined.)  So if you care to, imagine el jig I improvised in aisle 7B at the local Jewel when abracadabra these Beefy TacOs reached out and grabbed mi los ojos:

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Quicker than you can say “Honey, have you been using more glue and brown paper bags than usual? I’ve noticed since babysitter XXXX started we’ve been running out of that and Scotch Guard a lot lately?” I beelined to the cocineria to heat up a saucepan, rock a can opener, grab a tort and sink mi dentes into a spoonful of Chef Campbells appeal to the latin@ vote.

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Esta Good, you betcha. As great as the myriad memories of running wild and free in the house with the parents at the dog track and the babysitter huffed out on Testors and is that Beefaroni I smell burning on the stove top? Hellifiknow, check back with me in about 30 years.

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The Effervescent Influence of Bob’s Burgers, Frozen Burritios y yo.

24 Jun

 

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The esposa y yo spend far too mucho tiempo @ Bob’s Burgers. Because of my latent tendency to distrust anything popular (breathing, eating and breeding practice notwithstanding as well as the use of the word ‘notwithstanding’ and Shakespeare and sure, why not, music, diapers, 501s, reading, erotica, writing and lists and run-on sentences; the parenthetical) BB only recently topped our que. Lucky us, cartoons being cartoons, nothing on the show will age but the cultural references. The Happy Everlasting Animated Video Eternal of Netflix.

Netflix labels Bob’s as ‘cult TV’ which I take to suggest that what it lacks in mass appeal it makes up in mass suicides. I open ahora on Bob’s por que our bingeing is due in no small part thanks to Bob’s charms, hearty hars, parent/child empathy, and for me at least story-lines ripped from my memoirs (teenage son of a local lunch counter proprietor decades before “local” took to meaning “bourgeious”). Por ejemplo: Bob fires his kids from the restaurant who then become (spoiler alert) drug mules. That was me, not once but 7 times: fired by mi madre. (Yo Snowden, I leave the drug running rumors for you to hack out.)

Bob’s art most profoundly imitated mi vida largo in ‘Bad Tina.’ About a third into this fine episode, the neighborhood kid your parents warned you about, Tammy Larsen, shows her truant colors inspiring mi esposa to look over at me and pregunta:

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“Did you have any friends like that growing up? [pause for ill-fitting recollection] I did.”

[Lock-down pause]

“I was that friend growing up.”

“Oh my…I mean, of course.”

“The ring leader, the “bad influence”, everyone said “oh, he’s just trying to get attention” but really what was going on was I was trying to free my peers from the blood-sucking talons of authority, claws sharpened on the rotting corpse of regimented public education, remember how my very first day of kindergarten I talked all the kids at the bus stop to walk back to my house with me because “Who needs school when you have toys?” and then again in junior high because “Who needs school when you have MTV?” and again in high school because “Who needs school when you have Starship Fantasy ?” and when my oppressive authority figure of a mother fired me from the restaurant for the third or maybe it was the fourth time I talked my little sister into getting fired along with me because “Who needs to a job  when you’ve got roller skates?”

“I get it. I get it. You know you can’t ever tell our boys about any of this.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

[authoritative pause of the Roku]

“I swear on my mother’s cremains. I can even get them out of the closet it you like.”

[Satisfactory unpause of Roku]

Because “Who needs to tell anyone anything when you’ve got the Internet?”

“What was that?”

“I love Bob’s…and you.”

Okay, so I made up most of that last conversation from about “of course” on. A slight digression/diatribe may have followed mi esposa’s “Oh my” moment, with me prattling on about my being born with a rebel corazon kicking at my ribcage (Read: angsty adolescent internal hormonal drone warfare) and even setting up a table at my high school organization assembly for an “Anarchists Club” which of course rejected all applications but even before I could finish that spiel mi esposa’d fallen fast asleep not out of boredom – I quite often remind myself – but because unlike the animated universe of Bob’s burgers, raising even two boys, there’s rarely enough time or sleep to go around. And because we don’t run a family restaurant, preparing food for ourselves has become less of a chore or work and more like a special occasion, even when the definition of “cooking” gets broadened to mean unwrapping some frozen thing for the nuker.

For new families and/or because “Who needs a food blog recipe when you have frozen burritos?” let these IMOs be my bad influence on your poor eating habits.

 

PJ’s Organic Traditional Chicken

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Not sure which traditions the organic chicken followed prior to its beheading and karmic destiny to bring a smile to this burros tortilla and – in addition to a light tongue blistering – this consumer’s face. Savory C +

 

Amy’s Burrito Cheddar

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The only bomb of the bunch los ninos have a taste for (along with Cedaphil, sidewalk chalk and library books). Underdeveloped palates not the best judges. A strong stand-by: B

47th Street Pizza Lemonito Burrito

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Organic, Kosher, hormone free, no trans fat, lemon(?)really anything but what I expect in a frozen burrito and the best explanation as to why it tastes like lentil soup. Though the toro-beating tortilla made it worth the purchase. Like they say around my alma mater ASU: ‘D’s get degrees’: C-/D+

 

Good Food Made Simple  – Uncured Canadian Bacon

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There’s no accounting for good tasering and no cure for this sad, soggy, snapless schlub. F

 

Good Food Made Simple – Turkey Sausage

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Frozen burrito trope: the healthier the ingredients the nastier the texture and flavor:F

 

Good Food Made Simple – Southwestern Veggie

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Rhymes with wedgie: F

The Anasazi Burrito

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You know how they named all those Korean SUVs Santa Fe and Tucson when they have about as much to do with Down Yonder as a frozen burrito would the Anasazi? Except of course for the Adobe notes (as in mud not software) slightly better than hospital food: D

 

The evol line

No evol lost on this flight o deliciously packaged bass-ackward sottirrub.

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Shredded Beef: C

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Uncured Bacon (American): C

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Chicken Rice & Beans: C

And let’s not be afraid to call a wrap a wrap instead of racially stereotyping this ‘lean and fit’ (WTF?)  burrito because it’s spicy. This phony’s about a Mexican as Donald Trump:

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Egg White & Spinach: D

 

If you are still with me you may be wondering (like me): How can such healthy burros be a bad influence? All but Amy’s are so thoroughly unappetizing one scalding bite and you’ll be gunning it to the Late Night Taco Bell drive-thru soon as the kids are asleep even if you don’t have a babysitter or a car, not without first pausing Bob’s Burgers and finishing your beer, of course.

Unless you’re blessed enough to get your grubby manos on one of these (I luckily got the last one and have not seen them since. Manna from El Dio indeed):

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A+fckin A+mazing

Holy Weekend! Worshipful Pastrami Tacos got made (thank you J.Dilla act 5)

4 Apr

 


Rarely do yo concoct a dish whose brilliance transcends the words I typically choke up these blog posts with. In the case of these here pastrami tacos, only the brilliance of J. Dilla’s ‘donuts’ (the LP and 33 1/3 book, not some recipe) which just so happens to also be the source de inspiration, the late, great J. Dilla (Detroit Pastrami/comida y beats pastiche/delicious round foods resembling 45s) who moved to SoCal, home to a pastrami taco (@Astro Burger) even before meat hit hot slillet though this one comes from the Middle Coast. Recipe couldn’t be simpler/flava holier than shit. 

 

(Some assembly required)

1. Skillet fry super-fat thick-sliced pastrami (Detroit-smoked/scored in Skokie) 

  

Tong onto skillet warmed corn taco torts

  

Top what you like:

– Sangre del Kojak salsa caliente

– Trad. chopped onions y cilantro 

– Vinegary cole slaw

– Frijoles negros

– Sin queso y always, but always guacamole y squeeze o lime

 Edit   

Serve, chill.

Painting the Joy of Cooking Brown con AzChiNMexi Mac y Cheese

2 Apr

If there is a more all-encompassing gring@ cookbook I dunno it. The revised version of The Joy of Cooking is that of which I blog, not mine. The pre-PC original – on the otro mano – could at least pass for aboriginal. Recipes for vermin, including skinning instructions – IMO – transcend borders and ethnicity.

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Yet like every other cultural icon worth it’s weight in insensitivity – The J o’ C got censored/edited by the PC Orwell wannabes in the PC 80s/90s. (Exception: Speedy Gonzales.) Thank god the copy I inherited escaped a Fahrenheit 451 ending, though the dust jacket lost to a gravy spill and and several fingers of bourbon on the counter of Southeners who may or may not have had slaves in the family were absorbed into its pages and spine.

 

 

So no, this copy’s geneology is anything but PC or artery-friendly. Yet, again, I knew I had to blow the cobwebs off Ye Olde JoC for some non dot.com direction with the culinary kindling left in la casa of late. Being stranded aqui (esposa y dos los ninos viaje en FLA) during Chicago’s final four March Madness Blizzards stirred up a hankering for a casserole as warm and hearty as a sweater mi imagniary abuela might have knitted you, between slurps of beaver tail soup.

 

Fresh out of squirrel and ammo, I deferred to a pollo chi-chis, marinated and grilled, tossed in the obligatory sack ‘o NM chile verde, and got slightly carried away with the Mexican oregano to give an otherwise high gring@ dish some much needed color. The latter resuced the dish when any one of the main ingredients went missing, curiously rounding out each bite should a chicken chunk or green chile slip off the spoon.

 

Mi Imaginary Abeula’s Big Ol’ Feliz Casserole alias

Painting the Joy of Cooking Brown

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El Mac y Cheese y NM Green y Pollo Sweater

 

 

 

Follow the instructions from Pre-PC J o C aqui

 


AZ/NM/Mexify con:

Pollo asado chunks (recipe is your call)

NM Chile Verde

Stir into the milk/egg “batter”

1 tsp Mexican oregano y 1 tsp NM red chile powder

Quatro queso Italiano blend + parmesean

Sprinkled topping: NM red chile powder/crunched up Donkey yellow corn tortilla chips.