Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oriental Adventure: Part II

Have you ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where George thinks his parents are avoiding him? After they abruptly hang up the phone on him and make the excuse that their Chinese food had arrived, George gets suspicious. The next day, he sneaks around their house and discovers a distinct lack of leftovers in the fridge, apparently proving his suspicions correct. While recounting the experience with Jerry he says that he knew that were avoiding him because "Where there's Chinese food, there's Chinese food leftovers!!" This was one of the few moments in Seinfeld where I didn't really get the joke...until now.

Feeling adventurous after a thrill-a-minute day of right-angle trigonometry and vector math, I knew it would be difficult to keep my heart rate at such a high level, so I decided I would order something that I had never even heard of and give it a shot. Enter the Dragon...Bowl, that is. Yeah, so there's this Chinese place here called The Dragon Bowl and I figured if there's any place I could get something I couldn't pronounce, this would be the spot. After asking for a takeout menu and browsing for a few minutes, I knew two things for certain: first of all, I had no idea what most of that stuff was, and second, I refused to get my usual side order of fries(my "security blanket"). Eventually, I settled on "beef foo young" and "deep fried wontons", sat down, and had a staring contest with the giant pink fish in the aquarium while I waited.

Now, I had(and still have) absolutely no idea what the heck I ordered, so when I got back to the hotel, it was like unwrapping a Christmas gift. Except after you open a Christmas gift you usually know what you're looking at. Take a look at the picture at the bottom of this entry. Using my advanced, Batman-like powers of deduction, I figured that the item on the left was the deep fried wontons, and by process of elimination, the beef foo young was on the right. There was also some kind of red sauce, which was pretty good, too.

Anyway, the wonton things were kind of like nachos..I might be waaaay off, but it seemed like some sort of deep fried flat bread or something. Very crunchy, and more like something I'd eat as a snack while watching a hockey game, rather than as a meal. Also, and maybe they're supposed to be this way, but they were a little bland, although dipping them in that red stuff fixed that little problem.

As for the beef foo young, it was nothing like I expected. I envisioned some sort of stir-fry type of thing, but when I opened it, it seemed like a bowl with some kind of crust on top(like the delicious mushroom soup I had at a fundraiser with Jenn several months back). I quickly discovered, however, that there were several layers of this crust. In fact, the entire dish was like a stack of pancakes that were stuffed with random things like noodles, vegetables, and of course, beef. At first glance, it seemed like a rather unappetizing combination of breakfast and dinner, but it all blended well. In fact, I couldn't taste any single ingredient above any others, it was more like a food harmony. Definitely something I'd be willing to try at other Chinese places, so I could actually have a point of reference.

Oh, getting back to the little Seinfeld anecdote, I was utterly shocked at how quickly this stuff filled me up. I mean, it's not like it's a huge portion...and anybody who has seen me eat pizza and garlic fingers knows how much I can pack away when I'm hungry, but holy crap, I could barely eat half of this before I felt 30 pounds heavier. Looks like George was right about the leftovers(and about his parents, incidentally, who actually *were* avoiding him). Good old TV, it's never led me astray!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The world's most underqualified food critic!

Guess what? I'm not going to talk about clowns today. That's right, no space clowns, no fast food clowns, no clowns, period! Well, other than this opening spiel, that is...

So, anyway, I'm in currently in the second week out of six in which I'm in a hotel room in another city, doing electrical training for my job. It's a great opportunity for me, and will certainly help me in the long run with career advancement and whatnot, but sweet jumbalaya it is freakin' boring here!! Away from home, my lovely fiance, and awesome, there's nobody here to listen to my rapier wit, clever anecdotes, and humorous observations...AND, I don't even have a kitchen. No kitchen = no cooking. You might be thinking, "Forget this! What's the point in visiting a cooking blog by a guy who doesn't even have a damn kitchen??" Well, that's a cynical point of view, isn't it? Luckily, I can't actually hear you say that, because it might just hurt my feelings.

Since I just started getting back into the groove with this little blog thing, I don't want to wait until the end of September to write about something, so I'm gonna take the easy way out. Instead of finding ways to ruin basic food staples and making a fool of myself, I'm going to judge other people on their cooking skills! Yep, for the next month, I'm gonna do what other, more important people do for a living: be a food critic! With the obvious difference being that I'll have no point of reference to compare anything to. So, join me, won't you, as I stumble from one restaurant to another(on company money, of course), trying things I probably can't pronounce while attempting(likely in vain) to compare it to something..ANYTHING, I've eaten before.

Come to think of it, this will probably be just as humiliating for me as cooking was...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rippin' off Ronald

Clowns are inherently creepy. This is not opinion, this is scientific fact. Don't believe me? Go back to chapter 2 and see for yourself...go ahead, I'll wait. There, you see? Creepy...and Ronald McDonald is no different. He's like the pied piper of fast food, smiling and giggling all the way to the bank as kids(and adults) all over the world follow him through the golden arches into a wonderful world of cheaply made toys and deep fried goodness. I'd probably smile and giggle too if I had the kind of marketing pull he does. That's why I don't feel bad for ripping him off with this entry: homemade Egg McMuffins(with bacon, not sausage). Truth be told, this one was Jenn's idea, and she did the cooking, but now I know how to do it too, so you can wipe that smirk off your face, Ronnie, you've got one less way to get into my wallet!

So, it starts off easy enough, just some good old English muffins, toasted with butter. Easy enough, right? Even I can manage that...most of the time. The next part takes a bit more effort: fried eggs. You may recall my first little experiment involved scrambled eggs, which I now LOVE...and since I'm stubbornly resistant to change, I have yet to make them any other way. Not that frying the eggs seems more difficult; if anything it looks a bit easier, just plop them in the pan with some oil or pam and let the magic happen. Jenn prefers hers slightly runnier than I do, but it's all good. Once you've got the eggs going for a minute, throw a slice of good old processed cheese on top, let it melt, and you're almost ready to go, just one more step: the nearly perfect food, bacon!

While I'm on the subject of bacon, I'm going to tell you something very important: floppy bacon is awful. I mean, really, really awful. Like gnawing on an old raw foot. There's nothing worse than ordering something with bacon on it and getting some flabby, reheated mess instead of the crispy, smokey flavored piece of heaven you had envisioned, so it's just better to stay home and do it yourself.

I gotta say, homemade Egg McMuffins are some of the quickest, easiest, tastiest snacks I know of. And to think...that stupid clown sells millions of them to lazy people everyday despite the fact that you can literally make them in the amount of time it takes to wait for one at McDonalds. know, maybe he's not so dumb after all...