Thursday, August 31, 2006

Recapturing childhood one burrito at a time...

Oh yeah, that's the sweet, sweet stuff of heaven...

One of the world's greatest secrets has been kept from me, apparently. A friend/former co-worker stopped by the store today. He moved to Portland, Oregon months ago and is visiting the Detroit area for a couple weeks. I grew up in Salem, Oregon but moved to Michigan during the summer of 1987. Don't think any worse of me for getting excited about fast food, but I asked him if he ever visited a Taco Time or an Arctic Circle restaurant. He's never heard of Arctic Circle (there aren't any Portland locations), but he said that he loved Taco Time. He also said, "Um, dude, there's a Taco Time in Canton on Ford Rd." WTF?!?! The Taco Time? I went online and sure enough there's a Taco Time in Canton and also one in Ecorse (???). You'd have to be a local to realize that the whole Ecorse thing is a headscratcher. Anyhoo, I got really excited and checked the online menu to see if they still sell the Crisp Meat Burrito and sure enough they still do. I'm mega-excited at this point. I know that it sounds silly, but I LOVED Taco Time Crisp Meat Burritos when I was a kid and haven't had one in almost 20 years. It's actually one of the things I miss most about Oregon other than the coast, the forests, the mountains, the deserts, the rivers, the farmland, and everything else stunningly beautiful. I've had a hankerin' for a Taco Time Crisp Meat Burrito for a very long time and now I have a chance to satiate my desire for heavenly fried goodness.

I got out of work a little late and had to run an errand, but it was my definite intention to drive down Ford Rd. and go to Taco Time. I finally found it (it's in a strip mall, no drive-thru), parked my car, and hopped out giddily. I see a man sweeping up around the outside tables and I ask if they're still open (it's 9:30PM). He said they were closed. I asked if they closed at 9:00 and he said they indeed closed at 9:00. I said "thanks" and turned toward my car. I was at least happy to find the place and to verify its glorious existence. He then called back to me and asked "What do you want?" I said that all that I wanted were some Crisp Meat Burritos. He signaled to me to come inside...they could make them for me. YES!!! He was a small-statured Indian man and I think that he and his wife are the proprietors/managers. The fryers were still on and they very kindly dropped some burritos into the oil. About 5 minutes later I thanked them profusely and walked out with a hot bag of happiness. I had mentioned that I grew up in Oregon (Taco Time is based in Eugene, Oregon) and I haven't had any Taco Time in almost 20 years and the manager smiled.

They're bigger than I recall. They were also too hot directly out of the fryer to eat for several minutes, but I did manage to eat 3 of them on the drive home. They were frickin' great. Just like I remember them. I didn't even eat them with Taco Time hot sauce on the drive home. They're even better that way. I had to save that til' I got home. The expression may be "heaven on a bun", but it really should be "heaven in a crispy, flaky, fried tortilla".

It's really just a fast food fried burrito, but it's a slice of heaven to me. It's one of those very distinct tastes from my childhood that I've been longing for. It's simple, but damn good. It's insanely bad for you, but damn good. It's Taco Time! We always went to Taco Time instead of Taco Bell as it was a helluva lot better and I think it may have even been cheaper at the time. There are about 50 locations in Oregon, a bunch in Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, northern California and oodles in Canada. It's really amazing how many franchises there are. But there are two frickin' locations in Michigan (within reasonable driving distance) and I didn't even know about them! Why didn't I know about this??? I'll definitely be going back and trying some of my other old faves soon. It's unfortunate that I'll probably never be able to taste another Arctic Circle burger, shake, or their infamous French fry sauce again...

Aww, memories...
I miss the perks of childhood.

Yesterday at work one of the cashiers paged me. I answered the phone and she said, "Jason...there's the biggest, ugliest, grossest, scariest, nastiest bug I've ever seen by the front door...". I told her that I'd check it out. I thought that maybe it would be a cicada that didn't know how to tell time or something. I walk toward the front door and the cashier follows me. I step through the doors as she watches from inside. "HOLY SHIT!!!" It was indeed the biggest, nastiest, scariest looking thing I've ever seen. It was a giant mega-wasp or something. It was bigger than the biggest hornet I've ever seen, but it had the yellow and black markings on the thorax of a wasp. It was bigger than Blackie Lawless! It was honestly almost two inches in length. It looked like it was injured so I didn't feel as bad when I covered it with a piece of scrap cardboard and stomped it with my right Blundstone. That was the scariest looking insect I've ever seen. I hope that PETA won't get on my ass for stomping on something that could kill an elephant...

Below are a couple of picks taken at "The Shack" where I stayed for a few days on my vacation last week that I couldn't get to post earlier...

Random poll- What was your favorite childhood fast food treat?


Monday, August 28, 2006


Veraison, in vinuous terms, is the point in the ripening process in which the grapes begin to soften and change color. The grapes above are in veraison. These are from the vineyards of Chateau Fontaine in the Leelanau Peninsula.

Hey kids! I got back from "Up North" last night and ran some errands today. Tomorrow, regretfully, I go back to work. I really, really don't want to. Really. I haven't thought about work once on my vacation. It's a shame that I'm not independently wealthy. Working for a living is so overrated. Vacation was pretty good. Over half of it was spent at home running errands and being generally lazy. I went up with friends on Thursday to a wonderful house on Grand Traverse Bay between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix. Unfortunately the weather sucked most of the trip. There was a downpour shortly after I left my house. The sun ended up coming out on Sunday...the day we drove back. It was a pretty relaxing trip and that's most important.

On Thursday we stopped at a New Orleans style restaurant called Pearls. It was pretty good. It had a nice, lively atmosphere and they made a pretty good margarita and chicory coffee. After dinner we made it to the house and simply chilled and drank some wine. On Friday we drove to the Leelanau Peninsula to Chateau Fontaine winery. I've known the owner for years and he's a really great guy. We tasted through his wines in the tasting room and then he gave us a bottle of wine and some glasses to enjoy in the vineyards. Since we had a 4-wheel drive vehicle he gave us a map and let us drive around his vineyard property. It was very pretty, it's just too bad that it was overcast. There were some pretty great views. We drove up to the top of a hill by the deer stand and drank some of his chardonnay walking around in the vineyards. It was pretty neat to be there at veraison. We really enjoyed ourselves at the winery but we had to depart to catch a dinner reservation at Stella in Traverse City.

I had met the owner of Stella about a year ago judging at a wine competition. I've been wanting to go there since she told me about her menu and philosophy. I've also heard very good things from others about the place and they were also recently written up in a recent Wine Spectator. The meal was sensational! I started with a soup of rabbit, potato, and saffron. It was made with a rich rabbit stock and it was accented with perfectly ripe, pierced grape tomatoes. The grape tomatoes gently accented and enriched the broth with a subtle, sweet flavor. Absolutely delicious! I also enjoyed a course of seared scallops with light tomato sauce and potato gnocchi accented with a lemon zabaglione. The zabaglione added a magical touch and the gnocchi were as fluffy as clouds. Truly stunning! For my entree I enjoyed roast pork loin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, garlic and chanterelle risotto, and carrot jus. The pork was perfectly cooked. It was just slightly pink in the center and the risotto was spot-on with generous portions of chanterelle mushroom. Divine! For dessert I enjoyed a gianduja tart with whipped cream. I love gianduja (praline) and it was wonderfully rich. The whipped cream was made with a local dairy's cream and I must say that it was almost as good as the tart. Damn good! A double espresso was the perfect accompaniment. Through the meal I was able to taste from my dining companions' plates. I tasted a wonderful stuffed squash blossom appetizer, a great filet with gorgonzola, and a stunning duck plate which consisted of seared duck breast, confit of duck leg, gnocchi, and pesto. Fan-flippin'-tastic! But then again duck confit is one of my favorite things on the planet. I must say that Stella is one of the best meals I've had in years. I very highly recommend it! If you're ever in the Traverse City you won't regret it.

We returned to the house and enjoyed some more great wine, movies, and company. Most of Saturday was spent vegetating. We watched some DVDs and I read a bit. Eventually we did leave to grab a drink and some appetizers at Latitude in Bayport, only to come back to the house to make dinner. The home owners' friend had caught a beautiful Chinook salmon. I made a glaze of apricot and ginger and he grilled it as I made my famous mashed potatoes. We also had some wonderful sweet corn. And more wine of course...

The sun was finally out on Sunday and we could actually see across the bay pretty well. I read some more and just relaxed on the upper deck and eventually we all walked down to the lower deck on the beach and enjoyed the sun. Due to the weather we weren't able to see a sunrise (on Torch Lake) or a sunset on Grand Traverse Bay. Too bad, but we still had a very relaxing time. I'm very thankful to our hosts and their hospitality. The house was sensational!

Vacation is over... :(

I just saw a commercial for John Tesh playing at Freedom Hill on Thursday. Rock on! I am so there...not.

I tried posting some more pics but I was having some issues...

Hope you had a good week!



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Zoinks! Wine geeks only...

Pierre Rovani and Daniel Thomases may be leaving the Wine Advocate. Read here.


3rd place...

Although Detroit didn't make number one, we are ranked as the third angriest city in America. Read here. F*ck off! Please.


Burn those textbooks...

Pluto is no longer a planet. Read here. I wonder if this will have a huge impact on the sale of styrofoam balls (for solar system science projects)?


Monday, August 21, 2006

An accidental Emmy?

I just finished watching Anthony Bourdain in Beirut on the Travel Channel and I must say that it was pretty intense. It began normally enough to be a regular episode of No Reservations but evolved into something else. Anthony Bourdain, my favorite celebrity chef and one of my favorite writers, was set to film a Beirut edition of No Reservations in July (2006). He had one meal in Beirut before things took a turn for the worse. Not long after his lunch the sounds of machine guns in the distance could be heard and Hezbollah flags were being waved from cars. He and his crew were safe and still went out to film a little bit of the night life. Things were still relatively calm, but things would get worse. The next day the airport was bombed by Israeli planes and he and his crew were trapped in Beirut. They were evacuated to a different hotel where they were stuck for about a week. I won't go into should see it for yourself. Mr. Bourdain and his crew were stuck at a hotel waiting for word of evacuation. It was obvious that the No Reservations epidode would never come to be, but they pieced together a special in about a month that is honestly very well done. It's scary, humbling, thoughtful, and intense. In being in the wrong place at the wrong time I think that they have put together an Emmy-worthy piece that everyone should see. Luckily Mr. Bourdain and his crew were eventually evacuated by the Marines. Go to the Travel Channel website and see if/when they will re-air the episode. It's worth watching. Luckily, living in Dearborn, Michigan, I have abundant access to Lebanese/Middle Eastern food. As much as I would love to travel to a peaceful Beirut, I'll settle for some fantastic food here in the Motor City.

I haven't really commented on the current situation between Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel. And I'm really not going to. I've got friends on every side. I have Muslim, Jewish, Lebanese, and Israeli friends. I have friends/acquaintances from practically every Middle Eastern nation. They're ALL my friends. They're all good people. I believe that mankind is mostly good and doing the best with what they've got. I'm not going to get into Middle Eastern politics. It's not a subject I'd like to openly discuss in this forum. All I can and will say is that I wish that strides are being taken to resolve conflict. Peace in the Middle East seems like an unrealistic goal, but let's all be hopeful. Pray or do whatever it is that you do and be hopeful of peace. Let's get our troops out if Iraq while we're at it.

Also, I am very happy that my friends have returned safely from their travels in Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. They left before the alleged terrorist attempts in London so this made their travels a bit more difficult and their return challenging. But they're safe and that's all that matters.

I did a bit of junk food and wine shopping today for my trip "Up North". That was alright. I'm going to make a batch of my "Chocolate Skullf*ck Brownies" (I embellish by adding a genache and cocoa nibs) and bring them along. They're a crowd pleaser. I use really crystal meth... Just kidding, but I do use Valrhona 71% chocolate, Scharffen Berger unsweetened chocolate, organic free-range eggs, organic sugar, Calder Brothers heavy cream, Normandy butter, Scharffen Berger cocoa nibs, and Ghirardelli bittersweet chips. They're pretty awesome brownies. I could skimp, but why? Using the best ingredients makes them that much better. Is it worth it to make a batch of brownies that costs more than $30.00 to make, compared to brownies out of a box? Hell yes!

Did anyone see the roast of William Shatner on Comedy Central last night? HILARIOUS!!! It was absolutely filthy and depraved and George Takei made it even dirtier. It was funnier than Dubya choking on a pretzel...

I don't know if I'll post again before or during my trip "Up North". Be kind and live peacefully while I'm gone.




Vegetative Vacation- A Springboard for Apathy

Hey kids!

I'm not at work and it feels so good. I'm on vacation until next Tuesday and that's a darn good thing. I've been pretty low-key and exercising my "vegetate" muscles. There were a few times in the last few days that I wanted to post about something, but I've since forgotten what it was that I wanted to post about. Oh well. I'm pretty sure that I didn't come up with a new theory of relativity or anything. Pretty sure...

On Saturday I went to Comerica Park for the very first time to see the Tigers take on the Texas Rangers. It was part of Kat's b-day celebration. It was a lot of fun in spite of the fact that the super-hot Tigers lost 3-1. Of course I wanted the Tigers to win, but I doubly wanted the Rangers to lose for the mere fact that Dubya once owned them. I have to admit that the park is very nice. It's big too. I had the obligatory hot dogs and beer to make it official-like. I certainly do miss the old Tiger Stadium, but I guess I understand modernization happens. Comerica Park is an impressive stadium right in the heart of downtown Detroit and the fact that Ford Field (Detroit Lions) is right next to it is kind of neat. Hopefully it won't be several years before I make it to another Tigers game. The Lions lost their pre-season game to Cleveland on Friday, but it was pretty close and winnable. I'm going to hold out just a bit of hope for them this season. I think I like the new coach. The QB's are stepping up and performing moderately well. I think that Harrington's time here was just a waste. He certainly has a talent, but he never unleashed it here. I'm hoping to get some tickets this season from my favorite gigantic defensive guys. That'll be cool.

The Tigers have been playing very well and the games have been selling out. I couldn't believe the amount of people down there. My proposal to get the city of Detroit out of despair is to have winning teams. It's as simple as that. If the Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings play really well and sell out every game (barring strikes) I think that Detroit could start to get back on its feet. I know that there's lots of exciting things going on in the Motor City. There are little pockets of hip all over the place with lots of cool restaurants and clubs, but these serve a niche of the suburban and Detroit population. Baseball, football, and hockey bring people downtown and they spend a lot of money. Not only do they spend at concessions, but they hit the restaurants, stores, and bars. They're slowly rebuilding the infrastructure of a tattered city. Condos are going up and some neighborhoods are becoming cool. Detroit suffered from a burst of "white flight" after the riots, but there is also a slower, more gradual "black flight from the city as well as residents are moving out to the suburbs. This is leaving the city with a residency that really CAN'T leave. They don't have much of a choice. People are starting to move back to Detroit albeit very slowly. It's going to be very interesting to witness the intermingling of assorted folk. Detroit is a LONG way from being a bustling metropolitan model of greatness, but it is a great model of hope. It's going to be a very slow transformation (especially with Kwame in office), but I'm excited about Detroit's future. Like the next ice age, Detroit's emergence as a shining star may not happen in my lifetime, but it's coming soon (in geological terms). Be hopeful. And may the Tigers, Lions, and Redwings win every game and save Detroit. The Pistons can win too, but they don't count with their fancy schmancy Palace of Auburn Hills. They just don't count until they come to the D.

Yesterday I went to see Little Miss Sunshine with a friend. She hated it (predictable), but I loved it. It's a very funny movie. I pretty much like anything with Alan Arkin in it. He plays "grandpa". "Grandpa" is a heroin snortin', porn loving, foul-mouthed guy. The performances from Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, and Steve Carell are pretty spot- on too. Although the movie shows a family that is just about as dysfunctional as can be, they are probably the most realistic family I've ever seen on film. The movie is a little dark, but it's great fun. It's probably the most accurate presentation of young girls' beauty pagents that I've ever seen too. Uncomfortably hilarious!

I'm going "Up North" on Thursday somewhere between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix. I've got some packing to do and some errands to run, but I think there's a Battlestar Galactica marathon (the original) on Sci-Fi today...



Friday, August 18, 2006

Your Taste in Music:

80's Alternative: Highest Influence
Punk: Highest Influence
80's Pop: Medium Influence
90's Alternative: Medium Influence
80's R&B: Low Influence

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Your Career Personality: Original, Devoted, and Service Oriented

Your Ideal Careers:

Art director
Book editor
College professor
Film director
Graphic designer
Stage actor

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Short and sour...

Thanks to Kat I found this link to donate to the United Nations Foundation to help eradicate malaria by issuing insecticide-treated mosquito nets to pregnant African women and young children. Please consider a donation. An irritable bump or the small chance of West Nile Virus is nothing compared to malaria. Donate what you can...

That's really about it...
Heather, the girl that I hated slightly less than Virginia on Hell's Kitchen, ended up winning the Vegas restaurant. Ummmm...good for her I guess.

Actor Bruno Kirby died at the age of 57 due to complications related to leukemia. I didn't even know he was sick. That's too bad. He was pretty funny.

Two more work days until my vacation starts. Two very long days...


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vacations and dirty jokes...

It's been a relatively uneventful week. Not a lot to report. Of course I spent the majority of it at work and that was a veritable suckfest. My life is so dull that the History Channel was the highlight of my week. I discovered a little late that the History Channel was airing a Band of Brothers marathon nightly. Awesome! As far as I'm concerned Band of Brothers is one of the finest works about war ever put to film if not the best. It's right up there with Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, and Stalag 17. I've seen it before and I own the complete DVD set, but whenever it's on TV it's like a train wreck...I've got to watch it. It's so well done it's unbelievable...and it's a frickin' 10-part miniseries! Thank you History Channel for giving me something to look forward to when I got home from work this week! If you're a history buff or even just curious I highly recommend you rent/Netflix the series a disc at a time.

I did go out with some friends on Friday and we ended up going to the Traffic Jam and Snug on my recommendation. It's been a little while since I've been there. Still good as ever. The soup of the day was a carrot dill and it was quite good as was my crabcake appetizer. I went for the vegetarian Sante Fe Burrito for my entree (very nice). I really wanted to the get the two berry crisp, but I ended up getting the fantastic Carlotta Chocolatta out of habit. Fan-diddly-tastic! It was actually very slow on Friday night and our service was the best I've had there in some time. The fact that it was so slow was very helpful. My only complaint is of there red wine bottle storage. The two bottles we went through were obviously kept in too warm an environment for some time. Although the wines weren't completely flawed, there was an obvious "cooked" character to them. It's really too bad because they have some decent wines at decent prices. Next time I'll stick with beer...they do make their own.

I went out today with friends and finally saw Clerks II. Hilarious!!! It's filthy-raunchy-dirty-perverse...and that's the way I like it. When Jay mimics Buffalo Bill's dance to "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus from Silence of the Lambs I almost sharted it was so funny. Dear God Jason Mewes is funny when he's clean and sober!!! The fact that Rosario Dawson was in the film didn't hurt. I think she is HOT!!! I feel a little dirty but I commented to myself years ago that a girl in the movie Kids was pretty beautiful and that she'd grow up to be something pretty amazing. Turns out she did. It was Rosario Dawson. I just found that out recently. Yum! You've got to be in a pretty perverse mindset to enjoy Clerks II and it would be best if you also enjoy Clerks and other Kevin Smith films, but I think it's pretty f'in funny! What's your opinion of "ass to mouth"? Sorry...

We ended up going to Bennigans to eat after the movie. Certainly not my first choice, but it's been a long time. When the server asked "Is everything delicious?" I wanted to say, "No. It's Bennigans. It's good enough...I guess. I tried. It's as good as it's ever gonna get here, which is marginal. I guess that's good enough. Thanks for playing."
My Guinness tasted like dishwashing solution, my soup was okay, the app was acceptable, the salad was warm, limp, and drenched. The chicken breast in the Asian salad could have been gerbil. The pre-fab Death by Chocolate was admittedly as good as a decent pre-fab dessert can be. Now I remember why I don't make it to Bennigans very often. The things I'll do for friends...

My landlord made a delicious batch of pico di gallo and tomatillo salsa. Yum! I hope she feels like making beans soon. ;) She makes the best damn beans!!!

My vacation starts on Friday. I'm really looking forward to it! I'm spending about half of it doing nothing and the other half going "Up North" for a while. I'll be going to a Tigers game for a friend's birthday and that should be a lot of fun. Can you believe that I still haven't been to Comerica Park yet? It's true. (I have been to Ford Field though...) I'll be staying at a house on the water somewhere between Elk Rapids and Charlevoix. I was there once about 14 years ago (long story) for a night and it's really beautiful. I look forward to chilling, reading, watching sunsets, drinking good wine, and watching sunsets while drinking good wine. I already have some good bottles lined up to bring up. I REALLY need this vacation. I haven't taken any time off since October. I'm taking a few more days off in September around my birthday. These are going to be the longest 4 days EVER!

Speaking of Ford Field...
The Lions won their pre-season game against Denver on Friday. I'm hopeful of a respectable season. I especially wish Cory Redding and Marcus Bell the best. They're really great guys that can issue a world of hurt. We'll see how things go with the new coach/quarterbacks. Let's be hopeful. I'm also hopeful of getting some free tickets thrown my way again... Go Lions!

Jokes come and go. I forget most of them. Some of them are good for a week and some of them even last for months. Eventually though they fade to obscurity and usually resurface about 5 years later. There is one joke, however, that I always remember. I consider it my "Trademark Joke". I heard it initially about 10 years ago from a trucker-mouth girl that I used to work with. I remember it because it's so vile and wrong. It sometimes gets a laugh but it always gets a cringe or a groan. That's good enough for me. The dirtiest-minded folks that I encounter always seem to enjoy it. I figured that I'd share it with you...


There's a man and a woman sitting separately at a bar just drowning their sorrows. It's pretty obvious that they're depressed. The man decides to break the silence and speaks up,
"You know...I'm really depressed. My girfriend just left me. She left me because I like kinky sex."
"You're kidding," she says. "My boyfriend left me because I like kinky sex!"
They look at each other with shared intrigue. She says, "Look. We're both adults here. We both like kinky sex. Let's go to my place and have some fun!"
"Sure!" he says.
They both go to her place and she lets him in and says, "Give me a few minutes to slip into something more comfortable."
A few minutes later she comes out wearing thigh high leather boots, a black leather bustier, and a gimp mask. She has a riding crop and a ball-gag in her hand. The man, however, is putting his hat and coat on and walking out the door.
The woman says, "Hey! Where are you going?!? I thought that we were going to have some kinky sex."
The man says, "I already fucked your dog and shit in your purse...I'm leaving."

Sorry kids...I warned you not to read it. It's the first time that I've ever written it out. I'm used to just telling it. Seeing Clerks II just made me think of that joke I guess. That's my "Trademark Joke". Please don't think of it as a reflection of my character, however I do think it's pretty damn funny.

Random poll- How's your summer been so far?

Random poll #2- What (alcoholic) drink would you like RIGHT NOW?

Random poll #3- What's your favorite popsicle flavor?

Random poll #4- What are you looking forward to the most about autumn?

Random poll #5- Are your tomatoes ripe yet? (Our assorted peppers are popping like crazy, but the tomatoes aren't quite there yet. It'll be bountiful when they do ripen though.)


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vote early, vote often...

...Chicago style.

Today was an election day and of course I did my part once again. It was a primary election, but there was also a district judicial election to consider. I did have a favorite candidate (that I actually know), but more importantly there was a candidate that I despise whose family roots are deep and ugly in this town. The biggest problem is that there are six candidates and that spreads the votes out a bit. I just hope that there are enough forward thinking minds in this town to stop this demon from becoming our district judge. No results are in fact there really aren't any reports from Wayne County coming in at all yet...

Another note on voting...
I got up early and went to my polling place and the turnout seemed even lower than usual (I realize that it's only a primary). Most concerning though is the average age of the volunteer election officials. The average age of the volunteers on hand was probably about 90. No joke. I am not trying to belittle or question the ability of the older generation, but there is a lot of confusion. The volunteers understandably are generally older, but they never seem to get replaced. They just keep going and going. The problem with the geriatric officials is that there seems to be much confusion. I find that they often can't answer voter questions and they seem to have great difficulty explaining things or operating the voter machines. I really appreciate their efforts, but it seems that there needs to be better supervision. I wonder if this phenomonon has thrown off any election results??? I hope that you did your civic duty...

It's down to the two finalists of Hell's Kitchen... Heather and Virginia. It's the "Battle of the Bitches". I am NOT saying this because the finalists are two women. I don't think that either of these people deserve a restaurant. I don't think that anyone this season does. Although last years finalists were both men, I think that both of them were far more deserving to make it to the end and win a restaurant. I'm calling it the "Battle of the Bitches" simply because both of these girls are bitches. On a technical basis I think that Heather deserves to win, but her attitude and general whiny attitude only rivals Virginia. They're both whiny, bitchy, underhanded wrecks. I wouln't entrust a restaurant to either of these miserable candidates. Early on in the season I actually favored Heather until she opened her damn mouth. I don't know if I can watch the last episode...

I saw Talladega Nights last week and it was HILARIOUS!!! I was actually most impressed with Sacha Baron Cohen's performance (Ali G., Borat). Stupid, but funny as hell! There was a hilarious trailer for a Borat movie coming in the Fall. Looks like I'll get to see Clerks II this weekend. I'm also hoping to catch Little Miss Sunshine soon... "Shake and bake!" Sometimes I need a change-up from Kurosawa, Kieslowski, or Truffault and need some good old fashioned stupidity...

I am so glad that the Dearborn Homecoming festival is over. Good riddance for another year!

My vacation starts in about a week and a half. I can't wait! I'll be laying low for most of it, but I will be going "Up North" for a few days with a good friend. I'm bringing some good wine and hope to hit a couple of restaurants (Stella and Lulu's) and one winery while I'm up there (Chateau Fontaine). Something tells me that this is going to be a long-ass week.

Work is not cool. Not cool at all. I'm not sure what the future holds. Can't really talk about it...

I watched Syriana last night. Pretty good. There isn't a bed big enough to hold both big oil and our administration.

Here's a neat anti-Bush site with a countdown and everything.

If you haven't already...
VERY FUNNY! Go to google and type "failure" and then click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. It's worth it!

Although I think that movies with Will Farrell about NASCAR are funny, I do not dig NASCAR! I'm very disappointed... Superstar chef Mario Batali, one of the very few celebrity chefs that I truly admire and respect, is admittedly a big fan of NASCAR. That so sucks! Not only is he a fan, but he's released a NASCAR-themed tailgating cookbook. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Even worse is that it's his fastest selling cookbook yet. He may be one of the best cooks on this planet, and he may be married into the Coach family, but a NASCAR lover? That's just sad. I wonder if there's a recipe for blood orange and fennel risotto with Skoal drippin's and BBQ pork rinds?

I'm so upset about this Mario Batali thing that I've got to sign off. I think mayble I'll burn my autographed cookbook...


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Your Travel Profile:

You Are Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (50%)

You Are Well Traveled in the Northeastern United States (43%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Australia (38%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Western United States (32%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in Western Europe (14%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in the United Kingdom (13%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in the Southern United States (8%)

You Are Untraveled in Africa (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Asia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Canada (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Eastern Europe (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Latin America (0%)

You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Southern Europe (0%)

You Are Untraveled in the Middle East (0%)

Time to make dinner. This quiz is making me hungry...

I stole this from Kat who borrowed it from someone else. Stealing memes is part of the life cycle. It's about food so you know I'm game...

The Food Meme

How do you like your eggs?

Any style really...just not over hard. Scrambled soft with heavy cream and organic free-range eggs (I don't order scrambled in a restaurant unless I'm at Bill's Cafe in Sydney, Australia where they know how to scramble them correctly) are probably my fave. Sunny-side up, over-easy, poached, 3-minute, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, or coddled will do just fine. Eggs rule!

How do you take your coffee/tea?

Black coffee and tea.

Favorite breakfast foods:

Bacon, bacon, bacon, eggs, and bacon. Thick toasted crusty bread with Normandy butter and preserves.

Peanut butter: smooth or crunchy?


What kind of dressing on your salad?

Homemade vinaigrette at home (Whatever vinegar I'm in the mood for, EVOO, S+P, shallots, Dijon mustard...maybe a little sugar or honey. The possibilities are endless. It depends on what's in my salad.) I usually order a vinaigrette/balsamic vinaigrette in restaurants unless they have an interesting house dressing. No creamy dressings...

Coke or Pepsi?

I grew up in a Pepsi house, but I'm a Coke man now.

You're feeling lazy. What do you make?

Sandwiches, re-heat leftovers, or frozen dinners.

You're feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order?

Bacon, onion, and mushroom with garlic crust if available.

You feel like cooking.

I love to cook. It depends on what I'm in the mood for, how much time I have, what's seasonally available, etc. I make a fair amount of pasta. I can stretch leftovers for a while.

Do any foods bring back good memories?

Taco Time Crisp Meat Burritos, Arctic Circle Mushroom and Swiss burgers, Ramke (a potato dish with bacon that my mom would make), my mom's homemade pizza, pretty much anything my mom would make. She's a great cook! Mo's New England clam chowder and onion rings (Lincoln City, Oregon), crab legs (Northern California in the Redwoods near Crescent City), anything my Oma (grandma) would make in Switzerland, Bill's scrambled eggs in Sydney, still-warm croissants from the Central Market in Adelaide...
I have so many fond food memories...

Do any foods bring back bad memories?

Not really...

Do any foods remind you of someone?

Sure...too many to list.

Is there a food you refuse to eat?

Not really, although I really don't understand the fascination with sea urchin.

What was your favorite food as a child?


Is there a food that you hated as a child but now love?

Raw tomatoes, but they have to be RIPE!

Is there a food that you loved as a child but now hate?


Favorite fruit?

Cherimoya, but a simple juicy orange will do. Blackberries, marionberries, loganberries, raspberries, blueberries, WILD strawberries, pears, mango, the list goes on...

Favorite vegetable?

Asparagus...and fennel

Favorite junk food?


Favorite between meal snack?


Do you have any weird food habits?

Not really, but when I was a kid I used to poke one piece of macaroni onto each tine of the fork (through the hole) and then eat it.

You're on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?

Veggies, fish, pasta (screw the low/no-carb crap)

You're off your diet. Now what would you like?

Flourless chocolate torte please...

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?

Medium to hot depending on the restaurant. I know enough not to order "Thai hot" or "Indian hot"...I've learned my lesson.

Can I get you a drink?

Yes please! How about a margarita made with Herradura or Centenario Anejo, Countreau, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup on the rocks? No salt!

Red wine or white?

Yes please! Red if I must pick one, shiraz if I must pick one varietal, Australian if I must choose country, McLaren Vale or Barossa if I must choose appelation. Thanks for asking.

We only have beer:

Depends on the weather and the food I'm having. Guinness will always do (room temperature), a spicy IPA in the summer, a Coopers Ale always does the trick, or a Belgian Lambic if I'm feeling naughty.

Favorite dessert?

All of them on one plate please. Flourless chocolate cake is always great, good key lime pie, blackberry cobbler, great carrot cake (Traffic Jam & Snug), Carlotta Chocolatta (Traffic Jam & Snug), the chocolate trio at Cuisine (especially the chocolate ice cream with habanero), the donut sundae at Zingerman's Roadhouse, Toll House chocolate chip cookies, the apple tart at Les Halles, assorted cheeses, Pavlova. They're all good.

The perfect nightcap?

B&B, Grand Marnier, Armagnac, grappa, Kirsch. Depends on the night.

Your Geek Profile:

Academic Geekiness: Moderate
Movie Geekiness: Moderate
Fashion Geekiness: Low
Geekiness in Love: Low
Music Geekiness: Low
SciFi Geekiness: Low
Gamer Geekiness: None
General Geekiness: None
Internet Geekiness: None
You Belong in Brooklyn

Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.
And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Can you believe that it's been one year since The Tactometer last posted on his blog. Everybody be sure to congratulate him! Keep up the good work!

Go to and type in "failure" and then click on I'm Feeling Lucky.

It's supposed to drop down to 86 degrees or so tomorrow. That'll be nice. Nicer than this bowl of hot chowder we're in right now anyway...

I'm actually off tomorrow (and Friday) but working the weekend. I have a wine trade-tasting to go to on Thursday and the list looks pretty sweet. They're showing North by Northwest at The Redford Theatre on Friay, but I'd also like to see Talledega Nights. I still need to see Clerks II too. Chances are I won't see any of them, but hopefully I can find someone to go with me to one of them...

That article I was in a few months ago in the local Detroit paper has indeed been republished in Tuscon and it can also be found on at least 3 websites now. Now I can scare people all over the place...


Air like pudding and hotter than a popcorn fart...

Luzern, Switzerland- October 2005

The beastly weather continues. However, I'm SOOOOOO thankful we didn't lose power at work or home today. Several of our employees and customers lost power today. Most just a few blocks away. My power grid usually sucks. I'm VERY thankful this time around. I'm not sexy when I'm sweaty...

Happy Independence Day! In Switzerland that is. August 1st is essentially Swiss Independence Day. They celebrate their independence from Austrian rule in 1291. Prior to that they were essentially ruled by the Romans, but that goes back a little further. I wish I were with my family in Switzerland tonight at a bonfire on a hill with singing, food, and fireworks. It's truly a wonderful country and I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Funny enough, a former coworker of mine is now studying culinary arts in Vitznau, Switzerland. I was there in October. It's a tiny little town with an absolutely beautiful setting. I'm enjoying his e-mails and pictures. He's only been there a short time now, but he is loving it. Switzerland is a dang fine country.

Where the boat stops and the tram to Rigi-Kulm begins. Vitznau, Switzerland

I just read that CBGB is moving to Las Vegas. WTF?!? NOOOOOOO!!!! That is so wrong! Apparently their moving every grimey piece to recreate it, but it's still very wrong. I went to CBGB in 1994 to see a show, but they were at capacity and wouldn't let me in. Fascists! They wouldn't even let me in to buy a T-shirt. They close on September 30 so I doubt I'll ever have a chance to visit the classic club. I will NOT go to CBCG in Vegas! No f'in way! That's just stooopid.

To celebrate Swiss Independence day I'm going to do a snort of Kirsch and call it a night.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Are you f'ing kidding me???



This weather SUCKS! I don't remember giving anyone permission to move Detroit to Equatorial Guinea. WTF?!?! I've heard reports today saying that Detroit hit 109 degrees F and 111 degrees F with the "Heat Index". That means that it "feels" like 111 because of the high humidity. F' this shit! It feels like I've been smothered by a beached manatee. That or I've been bathing in St. Bernard slobber. I can't wait until it snows. Those people that walked out of the theater still not believing in global warming after watching An Inconvient Truth are paying their dues now. Looks like Al Gore gets the last laugh. It's supposed to be hotter tomorrow! Luckily I'll be at work most of the day. When I locked up the store today and went outside it felt like I was walking into steaming hot egg drop soup. This sucks! Bring on Michigan winter! This is why I don't like summer. It would be fine if it were in the 70's and got cool at night, but this shit is ridiculous. Does anybody have a freezer that I can live in for a while?
(I Google Imaged "sauna" for a pic, but they were all naked people. Don't ask me what came up with "dripping".)

I've been spending my time working or complaining about the weather. I ended up staying in on my days off as I couldn't find anything to do and it was too frickin' ass-nasty outside. I did end up watching one of my fave Hitchcock films, Notorious. Great movie! I also made a huge pot of Bolognese sauce and froze about half of it. Lots of pasta this week, but it's a little heavy in this heat to eat much of it. I made some pretty kickin' garlicky meatballs too. They're all gone now. I like meatballs. What can I say?

Mel Gibson was arrested on suspicion of DUI and apparently he made a bunch of anti-Semitic remarks. That's not cool. I've never really been a fan. The more I hear about his personal life the more I dislike him.

Apparently Raul Castro will be in charge of Cuba while Fidel goes in for surgery. Prank calls anyone?

I'm really not happy with the final three competitors on Hell's Kitchen. I don't like any of them.

I was going to post about something, but the heat seems to have fried my brain. I can't bloody remember what I was going to post about. Crap! Sorry.

Excuse me while I jump into a kiddie-pool filled with frozen peas...

Random poll- What's your favorite summer drink? Non-alcoholic and alcoholic?
(Coke Slurpee/Icee for me thank you very much. I'd kill for a margarita on the rocks made with Herradura Anejo, Cointreau, simple syrup, and fresh lime salt. I'd go to Agave, but apparently they've closed. I'd make my own, but I'm out of tequila...GASP!)