A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Repeat Ad Nauseum

Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled. Unbuckled.

Also: Why am I currently obsessed with the crunchy guitars of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing"? Mark Knopfler's riffs are delicious.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

TechnoGrilling



My god. How much do I want one of these?

Steak Retrospective

Sunday afternoon I went to the market to see what they had left. It was just past 3 in the afternoon, so there was a strong possibility that all the good stuff was gone. But, in a pleasant surprise, I saw that Union Meat Co. had a good slection of New York strips remaining. They were a tad pricey -- something like $11.99 a pound -- so I went for the one that looked the smallest. Of course, the eyes failed me and I ended up purchasing a $10 steak.

A delicious $10 steak.

With such a good looking piece of meat (about an inch and a half thick, nicely marbled) I elected to go the simple route. After rubbing on some Kosher salt, some Adobo and massaging the spices in, I dripped on some Worcestershire sauce and let the thing sit for about four hours, turning twice. In the meantime I shucked some corn and made some salad dressing. Simple and summery, that was the goal of the meal.

I fired up one burner of the grill and let the temperature rise to about 250 before dropping on the steak. The cooking was an easy seven minutes on each side -- giving the beef fantastic looking grill marks and cooking the interior to a medium-medium rare. Served it all with some good bi-color corn and an arugula and mesclun salad dressed in a cider vinaigrette.

The weather was sweltering, the corn sweet and crunchy, the steak tender enough to cut with a butter knife. I sat back on the couch and watched the Simpsons, taking my time to savor the pleasure of a simply prepared steak cooked over an open fire.

The perfect summer dinner.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

This is a Public Service Announcement

With guitars...



(and if you're a DC person who reads this, you should know about the party already...)

There will be music at the Black Cat backstage Thursday night. Also, giveaways, and DJ ILB will probably play something by Oasis. We asked ILB if he was willing to perform with a slideshow of Mr. Pink going on in the background, but he declined.

Come on out -- its the official best way to kick off your long weekend.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Something Fishy

A review of Kotobuki on DCist. A reader has already taken exception to my comments about the Palisades. Unfortunately, the reader misinterpretes my intention. Didn't mean to insult the neighborhood, just note that there really ain't much to see up there other than pretty old houses. There are destination spots and then there are nice residential neighborhoods. Both the Palisades and, frankly, my neighborhood fall into the latter category. Unless you're the world's biggest Mary Mcleod Bethune fan, there's no specific reason to head to my little corner of Southeast. Unless you want crack. But I hear that's moved a few blocks east.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Massive Grocery Store Conspiracy

A busy day yesterday... thus I only got to read one of the out of control comment streams on DCist today. I speak of this thread about the new Columbia Heights (or "Tivoli," what I hear those evil gentrifiers are calling it) Giant, which among other things has apparently taken public space for a pick up/drop off point. I haven't seen it myself, so I can't comment on that. However, there's also a thread (dropped midconversation) in there about how, apparently, loyalty cards hurt the poor. No wait, loyalty cards are an invasion of privacy. No wait, stores are planning on rewarding customers that spend more money by giving them discounts. Clearly, this Michael fellow has uncovered the massive supermarket owner cabal that threatens to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The Columbia Heights Giant is just the beginning people. Wait until Target comes, and starts rewarding customers based on whether or not they purchase the $2 or $4 toilet paper. And by reward I mean giving them points on their Target Visa, redeemable after they spend $1000 for a 10% discount. The rich will acheive that ten times faster than the poor and the results will be catastrophic. Pretty soon, the wretched of the Kenyon Road earth will be forced out by such unfair practices, forced to live off grubs and 7-11 taquitos.

Unrelated: I figured out what they did with the Bat-nipples from the first four Batman movies -- they gave them to Katie Holmes for her last few minutes as Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins! Guess Chris Nolan had to get some nipplage in the films. Decent movie, but I walked out disappointed.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Weekend Plan

Tonight: Buffalo (Bison) Burgers, the test run.
Tomorrow: Chorizo sausage with homemade salsa (tentative)
Saturday: A trip to Kotobuki for some sushi, and a possible afternoon trip to College Park's Bagel Place -- my nomination for best bagel shop within 5 miles of metro DC.
Sunday: Sleep, the paper, and a probably a steak on the barbie. Maybe shrimp also.

Today has been a long and busy one... man, I hope I can be lazy tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Things Early Morning TV Has Taught Me

Caught in another insomniacal (word?) maelstrom, I caught some mad crazy TV Friday at 5:30 AM. One show on PBS has an awesome name like "Adventures in Bonzi's Kitchen" or something. The chef, the eponymous Bonzi, led viewers with his odd unplaceable accent through many kitchen basics. I didn't learn much (though of course I still watched) but did pick up one nice tidbit: looking to get that smell of garlic off your fingers? Try rubbing them on a piece of stainless steel. I've done this a couple of times using my sink and it totally works. Very interesting. Anyone know why stainless steel has this property?

Not recommended: chewing on stainless steel to freshen your breath. Trust me, don't do it.

Detoxing, I'm Slipping Under

Since it appears a Pink Floyd reunion (though sans Syd) is actually a go, the title of this post is halfway towards moot. So it's time to do the even more unlikely thing and go on a week long detox. Thank goodness it's this weekend, the last fully open weekend of the summer from the looks of it. I'll be taking the time to sleep and buy some furniture, as well as set up the house some more. Maybe I'll catch a few movies. Thankfully, I also have a new book on the way, and numerous driving-related chores I can take care of Saturday.

Wow. I feel all grown up all of a sudden.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pan Leavings

After a weekend of cooking non-stop, I'm back on a brief culinary hiatus. Too many leftovers to consume, plus a new tutoring gig and the effort to get back on a tighter schedule. A dry run on bison burgers is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

Cooking thought for the day: why don't more people make their own salad dressing? It's so easy, cheaper, probably more healthy, and definitely more satisfying. A base of 3/4 EVOO to 1/4 quality vinegar gives you ample room for experimentation and innovation in the world of vinaigrettes. Try it, you'll like it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Flame On, or Everything's Better When You Do It Outside

1.

I was asked to fast on Thursday evening from 8 PM forward, so I decided to eat a collosal meal around 6-ish. The grill was in full working order, and you best believe I was gonna fire the hopper up for what was in fact going to be my first real cooking in the new place. The Kentucky Ave. Safeway provided a decent piece of salmon steak to enjoy as meal alpha. A salt and lemon rub later, I had the burners burninating and the salmon prepped for an encounter with fire. The one thing I was unprepared for was the heat of the oven; at one point it was getting up to 500 degrees -- not a good temperature for salmon. Some fiddling and tweaking reduced the heat to a steady 350, higher than what I wanted but good enough. At that temperature -- and sans an aluminum foil buffer, which I would have used but conveniently forgot to purchase -- the salmon cooked in a little under ten minutes. I topped the steak with Italian parsley, black pepper, and a fresh squeeze of lemon, and served it all with steamed broccoli and corn. The salmon itself could have been tastier (note to self: do not stray from wild salmon again) but the meal was good. Definitely a nice way to break in the cooking implements of the new apartment.

2.

After being poked and prodded Friday morning (oh, and almost fainting at the sight of my blood being sucked out of me) I decided a run would be a better idea than actually, you know, eating. Here's the catch: like Tom I have the legs of an arthritic old man. Oh, and a back that tends to assert its hatred for me at rather inopportune moments (I think its the psychic energies of one of my many nemeses, holy cow I've been reading too many comics). Oh, and sneakers that I've owned since the summer of 2000. Despite these minor quibbles (did I mention I haven't been running in two years) running seemed like a smart idea.

After torturing my body for three miles, I returned home sweaty and proud. There's probably no better example of Cartesian duality out there than the battle between my mind and my body -- "'Run,' says my conscience, 'Run not!' says the fiend"...

To reward my body in advance for what was sure to be an aching weekend, I grilled up some chicken sausages and topped them with some fresh salsa I'd whipped up -- tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, a touch of champagne vinegar, some salt, and a bit of garlic powder. The salsa was good, but needed (and received) a night settling and some cilantro. The sausages were awesome. I'd forgotten how good a decent sausage is when cooked over an open flame.

3.

I was nervous about Saturday. It was the first time I'd be entertaining in my new house -- as an early Father's Day present, my parents, sister, and boyfriend of the sister were coming down for some grill action. I had steaks and two different kinds of sausage going, as well as some great Italian bread with an herb butter and an awesome mixed salad assembled with ingredients from the organic green grocer at Eastern Market. But everything went off with only slight problems (the gas tank on the grill needed to be refilled). The steaks were good -- marinaded simply in olive oil, a touch of vinegar, salt, and chili powder. The salsa also proved to be popular, but the salad was my personal favorite. I mixed arugula, mesclun greens, some edible flowers, and sorrel in a home made salad dressing (EVOO, vinegar, fresh grated parmesan reggiano, basil, garlic, kosher salt). Dad was very pleased with the steak, and the sister and Mom enjoyed their sausages. They were also really happy with my new place. It was a great afternoon. Post grillfest, Martin and I headed over to the Zunta house for another barbecue, after which I went venue hopping with various DCists. A fun night, if a bit tiring. I was so weighed down by the massive amounts of meat consumed that I slept like a baby on Ambien Saturday night.

4.

Sunday I treated myself to a dose of the usual -- the paper and Tunnicliffs. One of the fellow bar patrons at Tunnis happened to be a chef at Restaurant Eve, and we discussed various things about the business as it relates to D.C.: how José Andres is stretched a bit thin, the superiority of organic meats, and various other topics. The chef also gave me some handy tips for my next grill adventure, beer can chicken.

Beer can chicken is delicious and really easy. Take a can of cheap brew (I used Budweiser), drink a quarter of it, and drop the desired seasonings into the can. Rinse and dry your chicken and dry rub it, stick the can into the chicken's cavity, stand on the grill like a tripod and roast for about an hour at 325. As noted earlier, temperature control on the grill is still an issue, so I watched the chicken pretty carefully and strategically lifted the cover to bring the temperature down when necessary. After an hour, take the chicken off the grill and let it settle for ten minutes, discarding the beer can.

Effectively, what this process does is roast the chicken and baste it from the inside. The spices in the can season the meat and the result is a tender, juicy bird without the dryness you sometimes get from roasting a chicken at a higher temperature. The skin around the bottom of the chicken can get a bit singed, but the burnt bits can actually be very tasty. Martin had a taste of the roast and summed up my feelings: "That's some damn good chicken."

5.

Tonight I am giving the grill a rest and eating leftovers, which I have plenty of. Four days in a row of grilling -- if this trend continues, it's going to be a great summer for food. As cryptically referred to earlier, July 3rd will be the inaugural party for friends at the new apartment. Anyone have menu requests, or tips on how to make good deviled eggs?

Unrelated Aside.

The only thing that excites me about the Fantastic Four movie is Jessica Alba. Please wake me when they actually start a Green Lantern movie. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Shamarind

What's the big deal about Indique's tamarind margarita? Multiple people -- including some gastronauts that are rather picky -- had recommended it to me, but the one I had last night was just disappointing. The flavor of tamarind was there, but it was overwhelmed by the sour mix. And the thing got very gritty at the bottom.

Yeah, okay, it didn't help that I spilled half the contents of my first one all over our table. It was tiny, and tiny tables plus small plates inevitably leads to spillage, droppage, or possibly even death. But next time I drink at Indique I think I'll opt for the pomegranate martini.

Also, the creaking sounds of the Cleveland Park metro escalator? Beats any roaming violinist in a Parisian bistro as truly romantic aural accompaniment to a meal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Considering Joining IFOCE

Saturday afternoon I sat at the bar at the Landry's Seafood House in St. Louis' Union Station around 2:30, starving (sidenote: the rule of no chain restaurants is suspended for office travel lunches, because of the relative paucity of quick non-chains near convention centers. I do, however, eschew chains that can be found near DC for local chains whenever possible.). My breakfast, at 8 AM, was a banana nut muffin and a couple bottles of water; after being on my feet all day, my body was screaming for sustenance. It was already kind of a rough day; Randy Johnson and the Yanks were dominating the Cardinals, I was dead tired, and I had just found a hole in my shirt. So beer was in order, beer and seafood.

The Landry's menu is long on choice but short on variety. You've got your standard choices of seafood, each prepared in eight rather normal styles with sauces of varying degrees of ingenuity. Frankly, I was stuck, exhaustion plus starvation resulting a serious mental slowdown. That's when the bartender stepped in.

"Do you like shrimp?" he said, smiling an alligator smile.

"Yeah, actually, I'm looking at this shrimp and garlic dish."

"That's $12 for 7 shrimp. We've got a special going that's $23 for 22 shrimp -- and they're the same size. Shrimp & garlic on a baguette, chilled shrimp with a spicy chili aioli on salad, and grilled tequila lime shrimp. Want it?"

I paused. Should I do this? I had a dinner meeting at 7:30, and that was a ton of food. Perhaps I could extend the drinks period pre-dinner and ensure my lunch was at least semidigested. "Yes," I said. "I'll go ahead and take that."

What came out a few minutes (and another beer) later was a stand with three plates. Three plates of massive shrimp, prepared a different way on each one. "Dude, where do I start with this?" I asked.

"Just work your way down, I guess," he said with a chuckle.

I looked at myself -- in a shirt and tie, on a Saturday. Crap, I was still wearing my conference nametag. I was a hotel customer, an ideal mark. Upsold. The jerk had upsold me, big time. Good for him. It looked like now it was just me versus the plates. And those little crustaceans were going down, one at a time.

The first plate, the tequila lime shrimp, was good -- if a little overcooked. The hardest part here was getting the buggers out of their shells without going straight for the "screw the utensils" method. Hard enough that I did, indeed, dispense with formalities and start using my fingers. I enjoyed competent shrimp, tasty enough, aided by a generous squeeze of lime.

The second plate was the highlight, shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil, similar to a scampi and served on nice crunchy bits of baguette. It was slightly too oily and too heavy on the garlic, but the shrimp was prepared well. As I was eating I noticed how the bread was absorbing the sauce and started working on the bread as well.

A digression... Is there anything more wonderful than sopping up sauce with bread? Doesn't matter if its the finest French sauce and a crusty baguette, berbere with injera, vindaloo with naan, or maple syrup with pancakes. It's a wonderful feeling.

Back to the shrimp: eating the bread (despite above reverie) was a mistake. I was stuffed and still had the shrimp with chili aioli to work on. I sighed and started in, slower this time. The sauce was.... mayo. Frickin' mayo with some red junk in it. Spicy? No. Cooling, kinda. Gloppy. I'd give this to a three year old with a slice of bologna on Wonder Bread. The shrimp themselves were fine, but the sauce was gross, especially compared to the competently prepared earlier plates. Bah. It was a bad way to end the meal -- so I had another brew. (It was Sam's Summer, and it was hot outside.)

As I finished off the shrimp slowly, I got that food drunk feeling again. Except this time it was to the previous night's food drunk what drunk on good wine was to drunk on Natty Light (that is, not as nice and probably a bad idea). 22 shrimp in one sitting was a bit indulgent. I needed a nap, but unfortunately was stuck back at the exhibit hall.

The bartender looked at me with a smile as I paid up. "So how was it?" he asked.

"Fine, I guess," I thought to myself, not wanting to be that customer and complain about the last dish. "Guess I like things a bit spicier. My belt thanks you for the recommendation."

"No problem. See you at Landry's again some time!"

I nodded and walked out. It was a chain, I'd been to one, and as most conglomerate types, the food was okay. The single bellyful of shrimp experience was enough, and I decided I wouldn't be back. My stomach agreed. 22 shrimp, in a St. Louis chain restaurant located in a mall... what was I thinking?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Hey, That's My Bar

This was written for DCist, but conflicts of interest unrelated to me forced pulling the story. Hence the royal -ist "we" and the background. I couldn't in good conscience not post the story somewhere, so here you are.

Normally we try to stay away from old gossip, but when it hits close to home we can't help but bring it up. So when we heard that someone from the A-plus list stopped by our local tav Friday evening, we were tickled. It's not every day the bar where you drink away your evenings is mobbed by secret service agents.

Tunnicliff's Tavern, according to some holders of the oldest liquor license in D.C., hosted an engagement party Friday night for Tony Rodham, brother of Hilary Clinton. We were unable to track down information on the bride-to-be, but apparently she met Rodham at the Capitol Hill watering hole. Rodham was divorced from his first wife Nicole (daughter of Senator Barbara Boxer (D.-Cal)) in 2000.

For the engagement, Rodham rented out Tunni's and closed it to the public. 96 people were in attendance, stuffing the bar to capacity. Sources report that the former President and his wife were in good spirits, though predictably mobbed by the crowd. Clinton was noticably skinnier than in his presidential years, most likely still recovering from his heart surgery a few months ago. Their retinue also included five secret service agents who were probably not enjoying pints of Pilsner Urquell. Though he may have enjoyed some wine, our source tells us that Clinton drank Diet Coke, at least when ordering from the bar. Though specific figures were unavailable we're told that the Tavern pulled in a tidy sum. The party also explains the bar's massive facelift, with the walls repainted, the back room floors replaced, tres-chic Warhol-esque art on the walls, and the bathrooms remodeled with new ventilation fans. Good thing; we doubt Mr. and Mrs. Clinton would have enjoyed the trademark Tunni's bathroom smell.

StArchy

As predicted, dining in the Gateway City was mediocre. There was one meal, however, that was ridiculously good, mostly due to the price, environs, quantity, and quality. If you're in the mood to horrify your Atkinsy friends and walk around with a distended stomach for a few days, witness the wonder that is Cunetto House of Pasta. See the dinner menu? What the website fails to note is that all entrées come with a complimentary salad, side of homemade pasta, and glass of wine -- for $10-12. Seriously.

I went with the filet of sole Romano. Fish and cheese? A perfectly cromulent combination after my dinner at Cunetto, though I have to say I never imagined that a fish dish could be so heavy. Served with a side of homemade pasta with meat sauce and a tossed salad with a ton of dressing, I slowly began to understand why Missourians are so obese. People, this was a lot lot lot of food. My companions either had absurdly large bowls of pasta (their puttanesca was a hit) or liberal servings of veal, and we washed everything down with a Barbera D'Asti and a CabSav, both selling for under $35. After paying the ridiculously low bill, I tried to stand up a little too quickly and git kind of dizzy. I had that wonderful feeling that real homey Italian restaurants are experts at dishing out: food drunk.

Cunetto is no pretty thing. This is an old school Italian place, a converted rowhouse with family pictures adorning the walls. Service was gruff but competent, dinner served on plates you have in your dining room, stemware about as boring and normal as you can get. But at those prices, there's no real need for pretense. I kind of wish we had that sort of restaurant in DC. I guess Two Amy's comes close, but in the sea of Galileo's and Sette Osteria's, a real down-home Italian restaurant with homemade pasta and awesomely cheap prices would be a welcome addition to DC. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening except perhaps in the suburbs.

More St. Lunatic blogging later. I did have some other meals that were notable for various reasons. Teaser -- toasted ravioli is pretty good, and I found more examples of stupid food.

Also: The title of this entry is my top contender for worst oblique pun ever on this blog.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Hiatal

Taking a brief hiatus from this blog. I've circled the exhaustion track multiple times over the last few days and have had roughly 0% fun and relaxation. Also going away for a work trip (great timing there, folks) to St. Louis, a city that provides toasted ravioli and apparently no other good food -- so the reviews from the road may not be such hot reading. Will probably be throwing some random things up on DCist, but I don't have the time or energy right now to cook anything decent. I have to admit I've been enjoying the Morningstar Farms Griller, an excellent entry into the faux burger market. (But one does wonder: are these purveyors of training wheel vegetarian food Satanists?. Hmm...)

Back to blogging again sometime in the near future, most likely after I decompress from moving and conferences. The calendar clears up pretty well after I get back to DC... but be sure to keep the dates of June 17th, June 30th, and July 3rd open. More details to come in one way, shape, or form.

Smell ya later.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Like Stomped Grapes

Or a side of beef after going toe to toe with Rocky Balboa.

Or Spinks post Tyson.

In any case, that's how the body's feeling after moving yesterday. I have bruises in places I didn't even know existed. The good news: my new room is great and I'm almost totally moved in. The bad news: I've still got to clean the old place up a lot. That shouldn't take too too long, but its still another hassle. The worse news: I have exactly three evenings to settle in, after which I'm off to the midwest for a theology conference. Thinking about purchasing some new clothes for the occasion.

Obligatory food content: like the cajun chicken sandwich, the Caesar pizza at Tunnis is pretty darn good.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Dear God Not Again

I've been trying to go to sleep for four hours.

Time for a beer and a cigarette.

One thought in various formations keeps running through my head.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Blogging Drunk is Great, Blogging Upset is Better

Odd things. I've never cursed on this blog, minus a few "damns" and "hells". I've only gone into depth about feelings once. I've always been vapid in describing life. Perhaps that is just the nature of the medium. Or perhaps there's something more.

I bet on the latter.

In any case.

Yet again, was recruited as grillmaster tonight to cook up subpar quality burgers at a friends house. Played poker statistically well and lost on luck. No big deal; a few dollars that would have otherwise been spent elsewhere were instead lost in games.

Argh. Never mind. The motivation to get deep is gone. I'm just in a bad mood, overall. Hopefully my trip out of town next weekend will help. Things have been worse, but they could certainly be better. Tomorrow I move. Not far, but perhaps far enough to give me perspective on a life that, as of now, is not the way I want to live. Or maybe after the State Dept. medical exams (two weeks from now...) I'll just get shipped far, far away. I'm not upset about that possibility. No reason for me to stick around, that's for sure.

I Ga-rawn-tee

Newsflash: the cajun chicken sandwich at Tunnicliffs is very good. Not passable, like the vast majority of their entrees, or decent (and priced well) like their pizza -- genuinely tasty and worth ordering frequently.

Yeah yeah, I eat there a lot -- which either makes me biased or unbiased, depending on your point of view. That said, the cajun chix was the best thing I've eaten there in years. The chicken breast wasn't overcooked like they usually do it and the spicing was perfect, a contrast to many underspiced cajun chicken sandwiches I've had. It could have been spicier, but I say that about most things.

So wow. Actual high quality bar food at Tunnis. Color me surprised.

Friday, June 03, 2005

SMASH BLOGOSPHERE

Thank you to Pygmalion in a Blanket, who in this post reminded me to check back with one of my all time favorite blogs. The author hasn't posted in a couple of days. I'm betting he's off fighting MODOK or The Abomination. Dude really doesn't have much of a rogue's gallery. Anyway, there's some good reading. You know what would be awesome? If someone crossed that blog with Waiter Rant.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What Lies Beneath the Broccoli

Today I saw... things. Things man should not see. Vegetables of a consistency closer to a thin jelly. What once was onions. Evidence of an aborted attempt for sage and tomatos to mate and unleash their demon spawn on the Earth. Mayonnaise that predates cameraphones. The remnants of meals that never were, menus half completed, overzealous purchases of produce, of cheese. Nose clenched and stomach steeled, I cleaned out my refrigerator of food from eight different roommates over two years...

How nice it would be to use this to transition into some sort of nostaligic reverie. "This peanut butter reminds me of the time..." Nope. All I can think is how nice it is to clean out that damn fridge and how I go overboard on the fresh herb purchasing. Oh and how I wish past roommate were a tad more responsible. Seriously: I remember when roommate 1 went on an organic peanut butter kick. That was September 2003 dude. Seriously. You moved out how long ago?

Of course, I also found said roommates extensive collection of over-the-counter generic weightloss pills. You know, Stacker-2 but cheaper. Around 9 unopened containers of things called "Z-Tetrahydro Beta Max, now with Gumgumguru!" or something. Were I more enterprising and in possession of some basic chemistry knowledge, I would have saved these containers to jump start my long dreamed of home drug lab. Unfortunately, in my zeal to purge home of all non-essential (or cool looking) material objects, the pills went straight into the trash. Damn. Guess I'll just have to keep searching for that third income stream.

The Cupboard is Bare

Pre-moving: the rare time that I don't go out to eat and don't cook. Why increase the number of dirty dishes? Its far easier to go the quick and stupid route; thus my current reliance on veggie burgers and bag salad. Yeah, I know, not usual in any regards. But you have to pick your battles, and this is one of the few times that cooking loses to practicality. And Morningstar Farms burgers are pretty good for a quick fix.

Anyway, I wrote up another Weekly Feed that hasn't garnered anywhere near the reaction as the last one, even though (as Audrey observed) I was kind of snidely re-emphasizing last week's column. Sort of surprised at that. The thing with this feature is that it's mega hard to pick what you want to write about. I wanted to put something in on Spanish Grenache but didn't have the time to fully go into it; bummer since Schneider's is having a pretty good sale on them.

As of now, all of my books and CDs are packed -- the vast majority of my personal belongings. More packing tonight, and more cleaning. I think I'll be fine by Sunday.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

All Good Men Come to the Aid of Their Fellow

As you may or may not know, I'm moving exactly .76 miles south this Sunday to a lovely, tiny apartment with fellow DCist blogger Martin and non-blogger (but we may be able to change that!) slash current roommate Ken. There's no doubt it will be a better move than last time -- if you haven't heard that story, pull me aside when you have twenty minutes free.

This time around movers have not been called. Truck rental and a little sweat seems to be a significantly cheaper option, especially since certain freaking huge items are no longer in my possession. Currently, the Sunday shift is me and Martin all by our lonesomes. But we're not opposed to help!

So: Do you have both arms (or working prostheses)? Are you free Sunday? Are you near enough to DC? Do you like free drinks? If your answer to these questions is yes, you may want to leave a comment, send me an email, or give me a call and help a blogga out. Only a few hands are needed, and luckily there's only one stairwell to conquer and it's downward. Come on -- what better fun on a summer afternoon than moving large objects?

Food Battles

Good god have I eaten a lot of good meals lately. For a basic rundown on Pazo, I direct you hither. My brief and flagrantly incomplete review is at the end of the comment thread.

Last night was dinner at Spices, wherein I consumed probably a ten pounds of sushi in the interest of continuing my ongoing feud with temperance. This latest battle in the feud was a tough one. I ordered a dragon roll (lobster, avocado, random crunchiness, spicy sauce), a fresh crabmeat roll w/avocado, and two pieces of nigiri (steak tartare and yellowtail). Think maki normally comes out in sets of six? So did I. But the Gods of Moderation had a tough challenge in line for me, and the plate that was passed over the sushi station was massive -- with ten pieces of dragon roll, eight crabmeat rolls, the two nigiri pieces, and a mysterious gratis piece of nigiri that I couldn't identify. Many of you have probably had that moment: your eyes are bigger than your stomach, but you refuse to be beaten by the plate. So take a deep breath and go slow -- this is gonna be a tough fight.

Tough, but delicious. The steak tartare nigiri was first piece to go down. Not really tartare -- more like a rare slice of steak atop some rice. Delicious, with a nice oniony accent hidden somewhere in there. The crab roll was good but not great; the flavor of the crab wasn't particularly assertive. The dragon roll, on the other hand was phenomenal. The avocado, wrapped around the exterior, gave everything a richness that mingled with the crunchy filler and the hot sauce well. Unfortunately, by piece number ten I was sweating, the richness getting to be a bit much. The yellowtail was so/so, but the mystery piece (what was that?) was very nice. My sidekick in the fight was a tall and cold Kirin Ichiban, standing stoically at the ready for when I needed him.

With ego in mind I persevered, and eventually was victorious over the plate. Drinking the rest of my Ichiban I glanced at the sushi chef. Was that a slight bow acknowledging my victory? Probably. Really, it's your classic man versus pan-Asian restaurant kind of story. I'm sure you've all heard it before.