Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two Princes

This week's Gossip Girl was so...weird. Blair is in a love triangle with 3 men but I don't buy it. Dan - with whom she recently developed a wonderful, smart, chemistry-filled relationship with, Chuck -who pouts, whored her out to his uncle and treated her like poop, and Prince Louis - a blah blah blah guy from France who is so boring you know the only thing about him she likes is that he's a prince. Seriously, this is him:

I don't buy it. I get the Dan/Chuck decision but this Prince addition is terrible. I kinda wish they had instead have Dan find some secret paper that exposed that Rufus was really a king (and not of rock and roll) so that Dan could be the Prince. Of course, Blair would only find this out after she confessed her true love for him (or something equally Disney-esque).

After the episode I noted that this episode and this storyline would be much more exciting if instead of a French Prince, they got the Fresh Prince:

Little J would totally relate. "You're right! Parents just don't understand!

P.S. I'm totally team Dan.

The Royal Crumpet

I have a few friends who are coming over bright and early in the morning to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate (er, Catherine). Since I usually try and plan my meals with my tv watching, I jokingly said, "We can have tea and crumpets!" That's when I realized I had no idea what crumpets were. Upon doing a google image search, I found out they look almost exactly like English Muffins but later found out that they are not the same thing, nor should you ever get them confused. Here's a website that breaks it down:

My favo(u)rite comment is from Kate in NC: Crumpet is more fun to say.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Fast Food Annoyance

I rarely eat fast food anymore but when I do I have noticed a new trend in drive thru service: the "pull up and we'll take your order out to you" move.

For example, I went to Popeye's chicken not too long ago, ordered my meal, paid, was given my soda and then told to move up. I didn't understand why. There was no one behind me. Then it dawned on me that its because they time how long a car sits at the drive thru window before getting their food. I have a few problems with this.
1) This is not a proper indication of how long you are taking to prepare and serve my food. So, you are lying to your manager.
2) It might be dark and therefore not safe! At the Popeye's I had to pull up next to a DUMPSTER! A stinky dumpster when it was dark outside. Doesn't seem at all safe for your customers or your staff - I could've (but wouldn't)stabbed your employee!
3) How is sending an employee outside of the restaurant make your procedures inside any faster? You are now one man down. That's not going to help speed up the prep on the next order. If you are taking too long, you probably need all hands on deck.

At Popeye's I flat out denied to move. I said: There is no one behind me waiting so I'll wait here thank you very much. The girl said she would get in trouble and I said: then you can have your manager call me. Then I watched carefully to make sure she didn't spit in my food.

Oooh, add number 4 to the list) at the drive thru I can make sure you aren't spitting in my food.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Grocery Find - HEB Almond Milk

I've been buying HEB Lactose Free milk for about three years and while it has been very good, drinking more than a glass would still result in very mild stomach discomfort.  Milk substitutes have always been interesting to me, but I've never tried one.  Soy and rice milk are two popular choices, and recently hemp milk has been getting more publicity.  I would never drink soy milk because of the natural estrogen.  Almond milk is another substitute that I had not given much thought, but about two months ago HEB came out with their own almond milk.  They had a $1 off coupon so I decided to try it.

HEB almond milk

I'm very happy with this product.  I've never really enjoyed the taste of milk and the almond milk has only a hint of almond and vanilla flavor and not much else.  I went with the unsweetened vanilla variety because I don't need extra sugar and the vanilla adds a flavor the almond milk needs.  The drink itself is creamy and goes perfectly with cereal or pastries/desserts.  Strangely enough the package touts that it is 60 calories per serving, but the nutritional information on the side says it is 40 calories per serving.

HEB almond milk is now the milk substitute of choice in my house.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bartlett's - Austin, TX

I've been wanting to eat at Bartlett's for about 14 years (it used to be Houston's).  Within the past five or six years I had read (probably on that they have the best prime rib in Austin.  Having never had prime rib, but always wanting to try it Bartlett's was a logical choice for my wishlist.  We happened to go, without even thinking about it, the Saturday before Valentine's Day.  The restaurant was very crowded and despite a reservation I made online we weren't seated until about 20 minutes after our scheduled time.  The one plus to our timing was that we were able to order from the prix-fixe menu.  We both ordered the prime rib.

The meal started with a salad.  This may in fact be the best restaurant salad I've eaten.  It had lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, bacon, eggs, and a very tasty house dressing.  The lettuce and carrots were fresh and crisp, and the tomatoes were flavorful and juicy.  I would go back to just eat this salad as a meal.  I ordered the prime rib medium rare, and once again I fell victim to my hunger and began eating before I took a picture.

The plate came with a baked potato, with butter, bacon, sour cream, and chives (loaded) as well as a cup of au jus for dipping.  I'll be honest, I didn't really know what to expect when I ordered prime rib, but what arrived was excellent.  It was fattier than I expected it to be, but of course that only made it taste better.  Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, it didn't need anything else.  The prime rib was a welcome change from regular steaks and I look forward to ordering it again.

We don't eat a lot of desserts.  Firstly I don't really like sweets and secondly, desserts aren't very healthy.  Because we ordered from the prix-fixe menu we had dessert.

As desserts go I'm sure this was good, but  just can't get excited about sweet stuff.  This was a brownie with nuts and caramel with ice cream on top.  I would have rather had another cut of prime rib.

Bartlett's was a great choice and had terrific food.  On a non-food note, our waiter did a good job of making sure other servers were taking care of us when he was dealing with another table of his that was difficult.  I'm looking forward to trying more of their menu.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Austin Restaurant Week

It's Restaurant Week again, Austinites!

Go eat, be merry and enjoy the savings. Some places have better deals than others, so take a look at the menus and try something new!

Since I couldn't come up with a good pic for this post, here's a clip of Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais making bacon ice cream:

Bon appetite!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Saucy Balls

I've been kinda watching (basically it's on and I'm doing something else) America's Next Great Restaurant on NBC. It's a show starring Bobby Flay (gross), Curtis Stone (yum), some lady who is supposed to be an expert in something dealing with food but apparently only owns a restaurant in an airport [thanks Food Network Humor - good site, check it out], and the Mad Magazine kid all grown up:

He's really Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle (remember, they put too much guac on stuff) and is a kabillionaire.

This show gives individuals the opportunity to present, tweak and possibly get funding for their Great Idea! restaurant. There's a soul food place, a calorie control place, a grilled cheese place [spoiler alert - he was sent home], some taco joints etc. - and then there is Saucy Balls - a meatball restaurant.

Recently on the show, there's been hooplah over the name. Four weeks in and NOW they think it might not be a good name. Just when I was getting used to it and preparing to say, "Hey guys, I'm craving Saucy Balls!" Bummer.

Now if only I could get used to ordering the Dirty Sanchez from Torchy's.

Some Secrets are Better Left Unsaid - Grocery Find Review

A few months ago HEB had $1.00 off coupons for Duke's mayonnaise.  This made it considerably cheaper than the staple a my house, Hellmann's.  I had read about Duke's before, and the article/webpage/message board (found it) seemed to indicate Duke's was absolutely the best mayo available.  It actually sounded like a regional type brand at the time, and I imagined it as some kind of deep south product not available to the rest of the country.  In fact they claim that Duke's is, "The Secret of Great Southern Cooks".

I grabbed the coupon and bought it.  It was much creamier than Hellmann's which tends to have a clumpier consistency, but flavor-wise it just didn't hit the mark.  It seemed to lack that egg yolk bite that Hellmann's has.  It was probably better than the current Kraft mayo (the Kraft mayo of the 80s was wonderful).  It turned out to be almost a chore to finish it when thinking about how much better the food would be with Hellmann's.

Duke's, not a "Best Food"

Pass up the Duke's even if there is a coupon and go for the Hellmann's.  Then come back here and send the $1 you would have saved to Comida Blog, or you can just thank me in the comments.