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In an effort to appease some who are Travel, Food and People starved, I’ll write about my latest experience in Columbia/Lexington, SC.
I was excited about this trip cause it would give me a chance to get back to an area of the country that I grew up in. Yes, I grew up in the Carolinas and I still have family and friends that live there so any chance to get back to see some actual mountians, hills and trees makes me happy.
Of course on the trip out we were delayed and missed our connection in ATL. When we finally got rebooked, that flight was delayed getting us in way to late to actually work. On top of that they lost our bags. No big deal, I’ll just brush my teeth with soap in the morning. We find the nearest food joint with WIFI and settle in for a long night of phone calls.
The next morning our bags had arrived. Actually they arrived at 2 a.m. and I know this because I got a phone call telling me so at 2 a.m. 🙁 We dine on some Chic-fil-a for breakfast every morning (fyi- chicken biscuits are the breakfast of the gods). The weather is perfect all week. Blue skies, no clouds, 70 degrees, elevation wasn’t too high so I could breath just fine. Mountian air is really good for your lungs…
We had to try some legendary Carolina BBQ (it’s usually shredded pork sandwhich with a Vinegar and brown sugar based BBQ sauce and cole slaw on it) so we asked some locals about good places. One night we went to Maurice’s BBQ. There, in addition to the food, you can also purchase books on how Wal-Mart is taking over the world. Good reading while on the plane :). The second night we had BBQ we went to Hudson’s BBQ. They were in the process of expanding and had only 3 walls and a sheet of plastic but there was a huge line so we figured it would be good enough. Underneath the outdoor propane heater, I had one of the best Carolina BBQ sandwhiches ever. The pork was so juicy it would just explode when you bit into it. The sauce, a near perfect combo of sweet and sour, did a 1, 2 punch on my tongue and the aftertaste was something woody, fruity and smokey. It would cause me to pause longer than normal between bites just to enjoy it a little longer. Also the shoe-string fries left nothing to be desired.
Also, being a quasi-local, I was on a mission to find 2 other things. Both beverages and both hard to come by outside of the Carolinas. One was a black cherry soda called Cheerwine and the other was a ginger-ale made with real minced ginger called Blenheim. Cheerwine was easy enough to find cause it was EVERYWHERE. Blenheim on the other hand was very elusive. It was like tracking down a UFO crash site 50 years after the fact. It could be just over Hobknob hill past Johnson’s farm or was it at the Publix on Starcross RD? Finally we found it at Bill’s Pack n’ Sack by the airport. If you like ginger and aren’t afraid of a little bite in your refreshment, this is what you need. It’s so tasty… and then it burns. It starts with the lips then moves to the tongue, cheeks, and throat. And it burns in only the way Ginger can.
The flights coming back were on time but that’s not saying there wasn’t some shooting rampage moments. The CRJ we took from Columbia to Atlanta decided to pair it’s 2 widest passengers in the same row. Needless to say I was shoulder to shoulder with this gentleman and I was cause for all traffic up and down the isle to pause, turn and suck in. There were many awkward “butt or crotch” moments. And the flight from ATL to OKC is everyone’s greatest nightmare… sitting next to the screaming child. Dameon is the name I came up with. He was sitting on her lap and she did everything but beat him to try and control him. I don’t know what was worse, sitting beside him or sitting in front of him. I think getting my chair kicked and pushed on every minute would be more annoying the just getting kicked in the leg. My ipod was cranked to no avail. I have hearing loss now because of it and I’ve decided to sue Apple. At some point I was going to suggest some corporal punishment be used on the child but then I realized he was just as frustrated with women (his mom) as I was. But with age I’ve learned not to kick, cry, scream and flail around when I get upset over a woman… well maybe not kick anyway.


It’s time to invest… in burritos and tacos.

It’s time to invest… in burritos and tacos. Gourmet burritos and tacos are going to be the first big IPO of 2006. I have reliable information from my insider that Chipotle is very, very near it’s IPO (as proof by yahoo! finance). I’ve been hearing this for about a year now but it’s finally about to happen. It’s my opinion (so not to get anyone in trouble) that the shares will start around the $22 to $25 dollar range and will be available in the next few weeks. Employees bought stock this week for a discount which mean the IPO isn’t far behind.
If you don’t know what Chipotle is… you must live in Oklahoma. I’m addicted. I make the 5 hour round trip drive from OKC to the nearest Chipotle in DFW at least 2 times a month. So I pay about $56 dollars for a burrito. But my mouth and my tummy love me for it.

note: 01-26-06 – in the few days since i wrote this, CNBC reports the estimated value has jumped from the $20 – $25 mark to the $35 to $40 mark. The IPO is happening in about an hour… 10:15. I’m so excited.

It would suck to be allergic to nuts

A 15-year-old girl from Canada, Christina Desforges, died last week after kissing her boyfriend. He had eaten a peanut butter sandwich nine hours earlier and she was allergic to peanuts.

A 15-year-old girl from Canada, Christina Desforges, died last week after kissing her boyfriend. He had eaten a peanut butter sandwich nine hours earlier and she was allergic to peanuts.

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My sympathies go out to Christina’s family… I can’t imagine the pain they are in. But I really feel for the boy friend. This poor, unfortunate kid. Not only does he have to deal with the image of kissing a girl and her dying, but he will now be known for the rest of his life as the KISS OF DEATH. He won’t be able to get a date until he’s 40. He’ll probably have to go to the Prom with his mom or sister. He’ll probably go crazy, grab a rifle, climb a clock tower and start unloading on people on their way to class. This poor guy. I feel really bad for him.

I know you’re wondering about my food/death fixation I have today. Honestly I don’t know what it is but at least it’s killing time my last week in the office.

The Last Supper

TUONG Van Nguyen will be allowed to order a takeaway meal – to the value of $8 – as a last grim treat before he is hanged on Friday.

TUONG Van Nguyen will be allowed to order a takeaway meal – to the value of $8 – as a last grim treat before he is hanged on Friday.

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I don’t know what’s worse, having a last meal that can’t exceede $10 or being hung until dead (I know full well that dying would be worse than a $10 last meal, but humor me). Actually, if I knew I was going to be hung, I’d make sure I ate Taco Bell for the last meal. $10 worth of Taco Hell would make sure that when my neck snapped, I would leave everyone a nice surprise. I’d be dead but I’d have the last laugh.

Shouldn’t food porn, by definition, be enticing?

Sumptuous? Sexy, even? Shouldn’t the cover of cooking magazines make you covet the item depicted, so that you buy the thing in the vain hope that you’ll learn the secret to creating such a delectible and sensuous treat. Isn’t the idea to give you something fantasize about as you head to the kitchen (or dining room)?

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

So what is up with Gourmet Magazine lately? Because all I get from their covers is, “Wow. I’ve made Kraft Maccaroni and Cheese with more sex appeal than that.”

Seriously. Look at the cover of the Thanksgiving issue. So I’ll add to that–I can take a better photo than that with one of those underwater disposable cameras. See how the turkey bleeds into the overexposed window area? See how the turky just looks like, well, like something the average housewife might put out? Where’s the bar I’m supposed to be working toward?

And it’s not just this issue. This whole year, the covers have been, well, uninspiring. While Saveur tantalizes me with images of things I know I could never really pull of in real life, it creates the set for my food fantasies (and yes, I do daydream about cooking lovely things that cause everyone in the room to fall hopelessly in love with me). By way of contrast, look at the latest Saveur cover. See that pretty blue background, bringing out the blueberries in that fluffy stack of pancakes temptingly piled next to the work “FEAST” in large font? Doesn’t that make you want to fall asleep dreaming of waking up to the smell of coffee brewing in the cold morning, stumbling down the stairs in your pajamas to find the table just being set with that lovely treat?

This summer Gourmet also featured blueberries on one of their covers. A pale blue background, with a pale blue bowl, featuring overexposed icecream and a smattering of blueberries. Cold. Stark. Monocrhomatic. Not exactly alluring. Or even pretty.

So what gives with Gourmet? Have the succombed the puritanical fever infecting the country that disdains anything smacking of class or society or basically anything not sold by Walmart? Have they just decided that food should be about taste and not presentation (but then, that doesn’t leave much to recommend their print product until they figure out a way to emit the odors of homecooking when you open the pages?)

I don’t have any answers. I’m just perplexed. I hope the editors of Gourmet will return to covering their editions with luscious images soon. Either that, or Conde Naste starts putting slightly overweight, un-make-uped, cover models wearing last years Old Navy t-shirts on their covers.

Mmm…Bacon Tastes Good

To paraphrase Homer Simpson. “Bacon. Is there anything it can’t do?

I love a food geek. Especially a food geek with a particular speciality, as it were. The Bacon Show, in addition to providing a bacon recipe a day, every day, also provides no end of links to all things bacon–from bacon curers and hogfarmers to literature extolling the joys of cured pig’s bellies to, uhm, resources to purchase bacon bracelets and bandaids.

Though I’m a little disturbed by the Bacon Robots. Specifically, the tagline: “Because the only thing better than bacon is a hot animatronic lady to cook it for you.”

22 Doors

We wandered up to 15th to eat at 22 Doors last night when we couldn’t get a table at Crush on Madison. Short review: The food there is fine, just fine. The appetizers (we had Lemon Prawns and Dungeness and Artichoke Dip) were yummy. The entrees at our table we okay, nothing special really. Not bad, but not worth fawning over. The dessert (Warm Chocolate Cake) was delicious. Go for appetizers and beer and give them a few more weeks to get their game on. It’s nice to have something in that space again.

Courage, Paulette

Oh, how to break this?

Lay’s Potato Chips have launched a Fernan Adriá potato chip in Europe. Apparently this is the “postmodern cuisine” outcome when Slow Food gets rear-ended by high-speed culinary capitalism. My only question: do they come with foam?