What The Hell Are You Eating?

Logo Wars May 28, 2008

Filed under: Logo Wars — whatthehellareyoueating @ 3:27 pm
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It’s surprisingly difficult to find a full body shot of the Cap’n on the internet. I’m not sure why, to all of us who spent a good deal of our time being parented by the television in the 1980’s he’s an iconic figure. Yet questions abound regarding his military service. He called himself a Cap’n though we might conclude that he only allowed himself to be called Cap’n, an important distinction. He was typically seen in the company of strange children whom may have been orphaned or kidnapped, we’re never told, or a Crunch Berry Beast (which, I shit you not, looks like a penis with syphilis) which doesn’t lend much credibility to which ever fighting force he supposedly played a major role in. His main adversary is a French pirate named Jean Le Foot, who may or may not have been a child molester, but definitely had a penchant for kid’s cereal. If his antagonist is a perverted French pirate, why does the Cap’n sound like a drunk at a New Hampshire dinner party? Questions abound friends, but we can’t deny the beauty and mystique of Cap’n Crunch as a logo.

I also found this while searching for images. It’s Seinfeld, or maybe Andre the Giant, in Crunchberries and a few other terrible cereals.

 

Bachelor Special

Filed under: Pizza — whatthehellareyoueating @ 6:15 am

Tonight I had a “Bachelor Special” for dinner:  A Kashi frozen pizza and a 22 oz Sapporo.  A definite step up from my old Bachelor Special: A Totinos and a Coors tall boy.

 

Taco Tiempo May 26, 2008

Filed under: tacos — whatthehellareyoueating @ 5:47 pm
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Valarie and I unveiled Taco Tiempo at my graduation party.  It went off without a hitch.  Valarie and I bought most of the food late the night before at the Food City on Fort Lowell.  If you don’t spend much time near closing at Food City, I urge you to keep up that practice.  We had to make a second stop at Scary Fry’s (1st and Grant) though it wasn’t as scary as it used to be, to buy the ingredients for the ceviche.

We spent the rest of the night doing the prep work for the party the next day. The ceviche came together very nicely.  It’s a secret recipe that we developed on the spot.  All I can tell you is that it has scallops, shrimp and tilapia and it looks like this.

We forgot to put the avocado on top but it was forgivable since I also made a guacamole that knocked a couple of socks off.  But seriously folks, the real star of the night was Taco Tiempo’s specialty the potato tacos.  Valarie did all of the potato work, the boiling, the smashing, the loving.  I don’t know what it is about the way she makes the potatoes but I swear ordinary people can’t do it.  She did the potatoes the night before and I started folding them when I came over the next afternoon.  I don’t know how many of those tasty bastards I folded. They looked like little pillows that you could curl up on, burrow down in or fall asleep in.

I brought a camp stove so we could fry them outside since frying them inside makes the whole house plus Valarie’s hair smell like grease.  I was a little worried that the stove wouldn’t get hot enough but it got hot as hell as soon as I turned it up.  It was perfect, thanks Coleman.

People started filing in around six.  We had a spread laid out with the ceviche and the tacos plus Josh brought some really tasty salsa that he put together.  He used the usual tomatoes, cilantro, chiles, onions, but plus carrots which added a nice little orange pop of color and a little sweetness.  Everyone started cruising through the tacos.  I heard a lot of people saying things like, “Dude, I think I just ate seven of these things.”

It was a completely successful combo graduation party / Taco Tiempo opening.  Here’s the proof:

It’s Taco Time MotherFuckers

 

Eclectic Pizza

Filed under: Pizza — whatthehellareyoueating @ 4:45 pm
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Valarie, Cal and I checked out Eclectic Pizza last week.  At first, Cal was pushing for Mama Louisa’s which I had never heard of but Valarie nixed right away due to the food being, “disgusting.”  We drove over to the East side and pulled into a parking spot right in front.  There was no one there.  Usually when you’re eating somewhere at six o’clock and there isn’t anyone else in the restaurant, there’s a good reason.

The interior of Eclectic Pizza was hardly eclectic.  It appears to have been decorated from a sale bin at World Market.  They had a fair beer selection, Cal had a few Morettis but V and I opted for soda.  We also ordered an appetizer of wings which proved to be a mistake.  They were baked, slimy, and lacked any really flavor or punch of heat.  A lot of their pizzas looked really tasty on paper.  Valarie ordered the Yucatan which came with mixed greens, olives, black beans, chedder, jalapenos, and avocado.  The ingredients were fresh and well distributed across the pie but I found it lacking something.  Plus it seemed a little too peppery.  Cal ordered the Everything which came with a whole bunch of shit on it.  I didn’t even bother counting or identifying all the toppings.  I went with a chicken, tomato, and spinach pizza.

According to their website, “Eclectic Pizza wants you to feel good about what you eat.”  I did feel good while I was eating it.  It was soft and doughy with a firm crust and had many of the hallmarks of a truly fine pizza.  I try and avoid including information like this on What the Hell Are You Eating? but this pizza gave me the fucking trots.  Cal and Valarie also noted intestinal discomfort but I won’t go so far as to say they suffered the same malady as myself that isn’t fair, but I’m sure if you ask them they’ll tell you all about it.

So I’m giving Eclectic a pretty mixed review.  There’s potential there but something about how there was no one else in the restaurant told me it might not be much.  Though just because a restaurant makes my stomach hurt doesn’t mean I don’t like it.  In this case, however, it certainly played a part.  I give Eclectic Pizza 5 random pizza toppings.

It looks worse in person.

 

Caffe Diva by Mittens May 23, 2008

Filed under: Coffee Shop — whatthehellareyoueating @ 4:05 am
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One Saturday my daughter and I were somewhere between her ballet lesson and a trip to Target for birthday party supplies. We needed small items of processed sugar and/or plastic to shove inside the piñata that would be destroyed in our front yard the following afternoon. And we needed a stick and a Twister game. It was shaping up to be a hectic weekend and before I could face the teeming humanity of Target, I needed some coffee bad. 

Sizing up the options quickly I thought of all the places on nearby Campbell Avenue that might do the trick. Beyond Bread has a nice organic option, but they’re always insanely busy on weekends. Raging Sage is awesome, but on the wrong side of a daunting part of the street. There’s CoffeeXChange, but I really hate the preppie baristas at CoffeeXChange. How about Caffe Diva? I think I’ve been there before and it’s an easy right turn. 

My daughter wasn’t too excited about stopping for coffee, but she was easily persuaded by the promise of some kind of baked good. 

We went inside the place, a late 90’s retrofit of a late 70’s Dunkin’ Donuts. But the Dunkin’Donuts never had that fake rock cave entrance by the restrooms, did it? And didn’t Dunkin’ Donuts used to smell a lot more like coffee this place does now? 

I felt a bit wary, but I knew that with a six year old in tow, cutting and running without a scone or a cookie in hand would be highly problematic. Besides, it wasn’t her fault this place was going to suck. 

We approach the counter and order from a college girl who had nowhere near the proper surl or disaffected nature of a competent barista. Hot chocolate formy daughter and a large coffee for me. The kid and I were discussing the options in the bakery case. The blueberry muffins looked adequate, but hey, how about the scone? “She probably would like the muffin better,” said the barista. Weird bathroom cave was strike one, this was strike two. What the hell does this little college girl, who has no idea what it was like to spend childhood under the constant cloud of Reagan Era immanent mutual assured nuclear destruction, know about what kind of baked good my daughter would like? We might live in Tucson now, but that little girl cut her teeth on blueberry scones in fantastic coffee shops all over Portland, OR. 

You don’t know what six year olds like.  Don’t pretend that you do.

 

 

“I want the muffin,” my daughter said, her voice just above a whisper. Fine. Let the college girl have this one. At least I was getting coffee, good old fashioned proletarian drip coffee. 

The college girl’s cohort, another college girl, served up our drinks. My daughter’s hot chocolate had whipped cream on it and she found the spoons, so she was happy. I, on the other hand, felt my waryiness plunge into full blown skepticism upon the presentation of my 20 oz Dixie cup full of a hot, dark amber liquid. My zombie-like reflexes had me pouring the half ‘n’ half already, so I took a taste. 

Let’s say it reminded me of my common morning desperation at home when I pour another round of hot water over the spent grinds at the bottom of my French press. Only less satisfying. 

“Excuse me, but there’s something wrong with this coffee,” I said. “It’s very weak.” 

“Oh, we use a very light roast,” she says, and this is crap. I can see behind her that the coffee pots have Arbuckle stickers on them. Arbuckle is the same local roaster that supplies Beyond Bread across the street, and I really like Beyond Bread’s drip coffee. I was familiar enough with Arbuckle to know that their beans were better than this. It wasn’t the roast. 

“No, really,” I say. “It’s like the grounds got double brewed. Maybe old grounds got left in the filter.” 

She apologized, saying sometimes mix ups happen ‘during the rush’ and she started a fresh pot. 

When my replacement coffee came up, I noticed it was a little darker, a little more coffee like, but still crap. I’d rather drink Folgers. I found myself wishing that the establishment was still a Dunkin’ Donuts.  

“Sorry about the mix up,” the girl said. “I wouldn’t want people thinking we had bad coffee.” And what I’m thinking is you don’t even drink coffee, do you?  

I give Caffe Diva one and a half soggy packets of Splenda on the floor by the condiment bar. 
 
 

What people on the internet are saying: 

“The worst customer service in the world!” –A diner from Tucson, AZ 

“Up unitl(sp) now I have been a faithful customer of Cafe Diva. This despite frequently slow service and luke warm coffee.” – Michael N. 

“talking to those cute girls with raggedy black hair and pierced everything makes me feel young again!” – Momma of 2 

 

Jessica’s Take on the Great American Steakburger May 19, 2008

Filed under: Burgers,Meat — whatthehellareyoueating @ 5:50 pm

The decor is of Great American Steakburger is a little bit creepy, kind of Old West Saloon meets Old Folks Home.  Although, to be fair, my assessment may have been influenced by the fact that we were pretty much the only clientele without someone with white hair in our party.  The seats were vinyl with little cowboys on them, and the table was vaguely sticky.  There also seemed to be a bizarrely large staff for the small number of people seated.  The menu seemed to offer a fairly big selection though (well, a big selection of meat.  I don’t think there were any non-meat options), and was reasonably priced.  Sneakily, however, you had to order sides separately–no fries to accompany burgers here.  I ordered a side salad, and a well-done Steakburger Tampiquena (tampiquena apparently the Spanish word for jack cheese + onions + green chiles).

The salad came first, and was ok; fresh, but nothing spectacular.  Pretty much the same ingredients that would appear in any bagged salad.  My biggest irritation with the salad is that it was a medium-sized salad in a ridiculously small bowl.  Every time I attempted to stab a piece of lettuce or carrot with my ginormous and tine-lacking fork a different piece of tomato or lettuce would take a dive out of the other side of the bowl onto the aforementioned vaguely sticky table.  Since I wasn’t about to eat anything that had touched the table, that meant that part of my salad ended up being inedible, but it may have added to the entertainment factor for Marshall and Noel, not sure, I didn’t ask.

The burger was decent, but totally tasted like it was just a frozen patty with some good grill seasoning on it, and the “tampiquena” topping.  Upon further reflection I think that probably all the burgers at the restaurant were the same frozen patty, with various different toppings.  I did like the tampiquena part though, it added a nice little kick to the burger, and the bun was pretty good, although it was of the very squish-able variety, meaning that it was nice and thick my first few bites, but by the time I got to the end of my burger it was about 1/8 of an inch thick.  My biggest complaint with the burger is that I ordered it well-done, and it was definitely pink in the middle, which is completely annoying.  I hate pink meat, so I nibbled around the edges of the burger, and left the middle icky part.

All in all I’d probably have to agree with Marshall and give Great American Steakburger (whose initials are GAS by the way) a five.  Noel said he would’ve given the food a six (he got a burger with bacon and cheese, and a side of beans) but he agreed that the ambience of the restaurant was a little strange, so that probably an all-around five is a good assessment. 

 

Condiment Spotlight: Sriracha

Filed under: Condiments — whatthehellareyoueating @ 4:19 am
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I’ve tried putting sriracha on almost everything. It is one of the more versatile condiments regularly available. It’s pretty much just Thai hot sauce made out of chilies, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt which lends to its application to just about every food group. You can put it on anything from eggs to pizza to burgers to spinach and it still gives your palate a sweet jolt of heat without overpowering your taste buds. For years, I’ve called it Rooster Sauce based on the rooster on the logo and it’s hard to say sriracha. Just like horseradish, my brother doesn’t really care for sriracha. “It could be good on some things,” he says. Which is about as good a recommendation you can get from him.

Shine on you crazy hot sauce diamond.