Thursday, March 31, 2011

Patiently waiting for April

The next new Gossip Girl won't be on until April 18.  What am I supposed to watch until then?  I'll have to quickly recap the last episode before they took their break.

Chuck auditioned to be the next Doctor Who.

"Maybe you'd feel differently if we could discuss this in the TARDIS."

Ben looked sad while talking to Serena.

"I'm a hardened criminal, but you make me teary-eyed.  Go buy pizza."
Rufus wore skinny jeans and tight rolled them.

"I'm a cool 90s dad."

and Vanessa let everyone know she spent her time away from the UES buying jewelery in New Mexico.

"Have you ever been to New Mexico?"

"I also brought back an 'I heart NM' shirt for you.  It matches the one I'm wearing under this coat."

XOXO Jimbo

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I Don't Bring My Lunch to Work

Someecards is spot on with this card:

I feel like they really know me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'll have the regular - Normal lunch at home, chicken sandwich

As Lils pointed out in her post about lunch, eating lunch out everyday can be expensive, bad for your calorie count, and bad for your career if you have an "asshole boss".  This is sage advice no matter where you live.  Despite the glamorous blogging lifestyle most of my lunches are chicken sandwiches made at home.

The ingredients are simple:  HEB whole wheat bread, mayo, mustard, cheese (normally Monterrey Jack or cheddar), Boar's EverRoast chicken, lettuce, tomato (normally Roma), and avacado.  Most of the time this is eaten with "blue" Chee-tos (puffs) and water.

The sandwich is simple, and tasty enough for me to normally eat it two to three times a week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cherry Creek Catfish - Lenten (and year round) favorites

It was a Friday during Lent and I was craving crunchy fried fish.  I've never been able to quite find a fried catfish that I really like in Austin, but Cherry Creek Catfish does a decent job so we took a trip South to satisfy my crunchy catfish craving.  Honestly the best thing on their menu is their chicken fried chicken which sadly was not going to be an option this Friday night.

I ordered the Regular Catfish Dinner:  Five catfish fillets, French fries, cole slaw, beans, and hushpuppies.  Because of a mix-up when my order first came out I ended up with six pieces of catfish.

Regular catfish dinner (French fries not pictured)

This was the best catfish I've had from Cherry Creek.  The pieces were large, and the coating was very light, crunchy, and not greasy at all.  My previous complaint about the catfish was that it was always heavy and greasy so this was a welcome change.  Also for the first time the beans had flavor and did not seem like an afterthought.  It was a very satisfying meal and they have proved to me that they are the place to go for fried catfish in Austin.

One note, sides of tarter sauce are apparently very expensive.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hank's Oyster Bar

I went to Washington D.C. for a short work trip and while there I figured we had to eat some East Coast Seafood. My Yelp and Urban spoon apps led us to Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle. A cozy little place had simple tables and chairs with a warm ambiance. Now to what this is really about....the food. The first thing they lied on the table was a small bowl of Goldfish crackers which I thought was a great touch. To start I had two varieties of oysters on the half shell. They offered at least 8 different selections of oysters from all over the place. I chose two, Cape May salt oysters from New Jersey and Chincoteague oysters from Virginia. Both were remarkably fresh but the Chincotagues were a little gritty and too briny. The Cape May oysters were excellent had a clean fresh taste with just hint of saltiness but not overwhelming. Next up I ordered the lobster roll and fries. I was a little leary because usually when I've had these before they're mostly filler and not enough meat. It was quite the opposite as there were big pieces of lobster and lots of it. The picture doesnt do it justice but with every bite the lobster squeezed out the end. The lobster was tender and there wasnt so much cabbage and dressing that you couldnt taste the lobster. The fries were...fries. A little soggy but I still finished them since I have a fry addiction. We also split an additional side of mac and cheese. It was absolutely amazing. It didn't taste like standard cheddar mac and cheese so I asked the server and it was a combination of white cheddar and smoked gruyere. The top was crispy and the inside super creamy and loaded with cheese. While enjoying our meal I noticed lots of people ordering the fried oysters which I didn't try, but there's always next time. Overall Hank's was a nice place with good food, fairly priced and better then going to some chain because it's a name you recognize ...worth a stop especially if you enjoy fresh oysters.

Bacon...sometimes better in theory

I love Bacon I really do. So much that I even capitalize it as any proper noun should be. I will try any bacon concoction whether it sweet, savory, or just strange. I think you have to with any food never know when you will find a gem. On a recent trip I found myself on a 1 hour layover at O'Hare National Airport. Close to my gate was a a Vosges Chocolat store. I love them because the chocoalte is good but they also make a variety of bacon treats. My personal favorite is Mo's Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar . The Bacon in it is a perfect compliment. You get the sweetness of the chocolate and then as it melts away in your mouth the saltiness and crisp of the bacon come through. Really a great little sweeet and savory treat. Its very hard to find them in San Antonio for me so I was delighted to see the store. I decided to try Bacon Caramel Toffee, as it combined some of my favorite sweets and Bacon. Now I tend to get a little too excited when anything has Bacon in it, and find myself disappointed. This is one of those times where the theory is better than the realization. To summarize it was like a Heath bar but better quality chocolate. As you can see in the picture you can see the Bacon but the toffee is just too overwhelming that unless it is a big piece of Bacon you dont really taste it. The Bacon is more of a whisper at the end of each bite. I think maybe bigger Bacon pieces mixed with the toffee but I am sure that didnt work....they go for subtlety with the bacon. If you plan to try any Vosges Bacon products I say stick with Mo's Bacon Bar....its delicious! This caramel toffee was like when I tried chicken fried Bacon...better in theory. They was no crisp or richness of the Bacon that it just looked sad in the pile of batter and oil. There are so many other good combinations I have had this just didnt work.

CNN Grill/Max's Wine Dive - Part 3

Because the chicken piece with the bite taken out of it in the Max's Wine Dive post was so poorly received, here is a censored version of the offending photo.

Ready for Top Chef

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frozen Lunches: The Good, Bad and Yummy

Unlike my fellow bloggers, I'm usually stuck eating frozen food lunches. I do this not because I am a masochist, but (and here's a list, because I like lists) because:

  1. In Chicago, buying your lunch every day can set you back $50/week. I like to spend that $50 on my weekend meals.
  2. I see frozen lunches as a way to curb my calorie intake. I figure I should attempt to do that with at least one meal a day.
  3. I work for an asshole and don't normally get to take my federally mandated lunch break. Frozen lunches mean I'm away from my desk for 4 1/2 minutes plus 1 minute of possible extra heating time.

Target often sells Lean Cuisine meals for $2 each. My favorites tend to be ones that are comfort food or have some sort of creamy sauce. Those are usually more filling, as opposed to the rest that I finish and think, "I could sure eat another one of those." I like these:

I also like the new lunch in a bag options. It's less fussy, no ripping of a box (such hard work), no slitting of the plastic cover (so violent), etc.
I find their sandwich options draw attention to me as I "prepare" my lunch. People stare as I prep my food on that stupid silver platform to be heated in the microwave. But I do like these:

I get sick of Lean Cuisine after a while, though. So lately, I've switched to Amy's and Kashi. Kashi's frozen lunches are much more satisfying. It feels sort of decadent for lunch. And Amy's enchiladas remind me of Luby's enchiladas in Texas, which is always a good thing.

So, the moral of the story here is that you should remember us less fortunate people as you're enjoying your cooked-to-order lunch.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CNN Grill - Part 2: Max's Wine Dive

Despite my better judgement I returned to downtown on the last Saturday of SXSW.  After taking the MetroRail and walking to a free show, we found ourselves hungry and tired.  With Thursday's memories of the CNN Grill fresh on our minds we headed back to the Convention Center.  I'll admit I was terrified it would take too long and we would miss the last train back, but the pull of Anderson Cooper 360 quesadillas (you know, because they're round), Piers Morgan fish and chips, Jane Velez-Mitchell nachos, and the Larry King corned beef sandwich was too much to resist.  What did we see as we rounded the corner?

Max's Wine Dive was back.  This article from the Austin Chronicle explains the CNN Grill/Max's switch.

That was fine with me as I had been wanting to eat at Max's for some time.  I just didn't want to go there tired and wearing an Evil Dead shirt.  Max's is known for their fried chicken so that was my clear choice for dinner.

It was an excellent meal, and I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture before we destroyed the plate.  The plate came with three pieces of chicken (breast, thigh, leg), mashed potatoes, collard greens, Texas toast, and a serving of honey.  The coating was outstanding.  It had a very homemade crunch and consistency.  It was like fried chicken you might get at a church picnic.  Even the breast meat was very juicy and it wasn't in a greasy way.  The toast was crunchy, buttery, and all around awesome.  The honey was a nice touch for dipping the chicken.

Drumstick dipped in honey and eaten
The potatoes and greens were really nothing special, and while the chicken was very good, like the potatoes it could have used more salt.  It was a very good meal and a nice enough place to take a date or go be fancy with your friends, but not very economical if you want to feed your family fried chicken.  I would still recommend Bill Miller for that.  I hope to make it back there when I'm not tired and worn out and actually have some wine/drinks with it.

Their fried chicken meal was enough to feed both my wife and me.  I wanted to ask the waitress if people routinely order one dinner for each person, and assure her that we aren't cheap, we just can't eat that much.

Video of the Max's Wine Dive to CNN Grill switch.

Monday, March 21, 2011

CNN Grill - Part 1

Prior to this past week I had never attended anything at SXSW.  However one day last week I was wandering around downtown Austin with my girlfriend in a haze of Coors Light and Lone Star when we stumbled on the CNN SXSW Grill in place of Max's Wine Dive.  We were pretty impressed.  The building had a large, rotating, and seemingly permanent sign.  I thought Austin had really arrived when major news organizations are opening up restaurants in the middle of downtown.  Max's had a good run, but you can't stop the Nancy Grace, you can only hope to contain her (incidentally Nancy is now another person who insists on dressing like Han Solo).

Not really wanting to brave the crowds who were surely inside taking pictures with Bernard Shaw and Wolf Blitzer cardboard cutouts, we headed across the street to a soft drink sponsored party zone knowing we would be back to the CNN Grill on another day.

To be continued.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Long Awaited Return

I've had a hard few blogging months due to The Comida Blog laptop having some problems.  It's missed a trip to a celebrity chef's restaurant, some outstanding BBQ, homemade beef roast, and two meals from a food trailer.

Equipment problems

All of this has been fixed and I should have some new posts soon.  Thanks to TRE for the 2011 contributions, and for all of our readers for riding out the silence.

I Ate at Your Mom's

During SXSW in Austin I decided to venture to East Austin’s Your Mom’s Burger Bar. First impression is that it’s a cute little building with a cute concept – burgers, most stuffed with cheese, named after famous people who tie into the theme of what the burger is topped/stuffed with. For example, the Don Ho is a grilled chicken sandwich marinated in Hawaiian salsa, topped with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on Texas Toast (maybe should’ve been on Hawaiian bread?). The Frida Kahlo is a ½ pound burger stuffed with pepper jack and chorizo topped with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and chipotle lime spread.

Since it was SXSW when I stopped in, they had a limited menu: the Norma Jean burger, hot dogs, wings and fries.

My friend ordered the burger, stuffed with American cheese:

She enjoyed it and was shocked she finished the whole thing.

I opted to get a hot dog ($4.50 and you get to pick three toppings):

I chose to get mine topped with fried pickles and bacon, and they put regular pickles on it too:

I really enjoyed the fact that they split the hot dog when they grilled it (that’s how I make mine at home). I did not however like that it came on a giant piece of bread. The bread tasted very fresh but it seemed better suited for a po-boy and not a hot dog.

As I mentioned before, I got fried pickles on my hot dog which is genius! Other possible options for toppings on your burger or hot dog are: 4 different cheeses, wonton strips, chorizo, mushrooms, French fries, fried egg, avocado, bacon, boudin, onion rings, and jalapeno. I was a little peeved that grilled onions were not an option, but I did notice when looking at the full menu that they come on the Chi Cheng burger so I’m sure they’d be willing to put them on your hot dog too.

The major downside of this place is the size. It’s too small and quite honestly seemed a little dirty inside (I’m gonna blame that on SXSW). The ordering is confusing but it all works out cause you do get your food pretty quickly.

I don’t want to end on a con, so I will add that they use 100% certified black angus beef and claim to use meat with no hormones or antibiotics. That does impact the price a little (burgers range from $7.25 -$7.75) but I would say it’s well worth it. I look forward to going back and getting a burger.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Little (Amazing) Deli

I hesitate to write this post because I love Little Deli. I kinda don't want to share it, but I realized I should be charitable and share this literally little deli. I first found out about Little Deli because of Yelp. It was listed on the top 5 Austin restaurants and my job at the time was within a few mile of it. So I rounded up some coworkers and we ventured off to give it a try. First off, its located in a cute neighborhood next to a grocery store and a locally owned pharmacy. Second, it actually is little (that's what the literal meant). There are only a few tables inside but more seating outside. For some reason, I decided to try the Vegetarian sandwich on my first visit. It - was - amazing.

It consists of: avocado, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted eggplant, mozzarella, swiss provolone, cheddar, thinly sliced onions and tomatoes, lettuce, tapanade and Parmesan all served on a poppy seed roll. Somehow these ingredients meld together to create a sandwich of deliciousness wonder. Am I being dramatic? Maybe a little, but this sandwich deserves all the praise it can get. All their sandwiches come with a pickle spear and most are available as a half sandwich. The first time I ordered this sandwich was over two years ago and until about last month I never ordered anything different. I finally tried the meatball sub which is messy, but also amazing.

There is something about that roll that the meatball sub comes on. It's nice and buttery but doesn't get too soggy from the marinara. The meatballs are nice and moist and are topped with marinara and provolone.

Little Deli also started serving pizza and they usually have a slice of the day deal. I highly recommend Little Deli - just please don't take up all the tables.