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Mad Taco

Posted on Friday, January 2nd, 2004

Dave!Interesting how mad cow disease comes home to roost and all of a sudden restaurants are falling all over themselves to show non-meat options on the menu. Burger King has the BK Veggie that's right up front (too bad it sucks) and now Taco Bell has a "Cheesy Rice & Bean Burrito" that's in full-panel glory on their menu. All I can hope is that McDonalds gets in on the act and finally rolls out their McVeggie Deluxe nation-wide (I've only ever seen it at the Times Square location). Sad that it takes a horrid disease to turn people on to the dangers of meat, but there you have it.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

SuperSize

Posted on Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

Dave!I read on Fox News today that McDonalds is phasing out the "SuperSize" menu items, and will have eliminated them entirely by the end of the year. Since I have never once purchased anything SuperSized, I can't say this affects me much. Heck, since McDonalds refuses to sell thier McVeggie Deluxe burger outside of their Times Square restaurant, it's not like I eat there often anyway.

I never really understood the concept of "SuperSizing" in the first place. Who can eat such a huge amount of food? Even if you can eat that much food... is it really healthy to eat so much of this food?

Dave Super Size It!

Maybe the idea is for the people who SuperSize to grow into the food they're eating... that way the SuperSize foods will eventually seem normal sized by comparison?

SuperSize Dave!

Here's the burning question that's been on my mind for years... at McDonalds you can SuperSize fat-drenched potatoes, you can SuperSize carbonated sugar syrup... but you can't SuperSize a salad or an orange juice? Why is it that the healthier the food is, the more it costs and the less of it you get? How can people afford to eat healthy when crap foods at fast food joints are so ridiculously cheap?

I suppose when you have a heart attack and end up in the hospital, or end up taking drugs for high cholesterol, that you end up paying more for a bad diet after all. If that's the choice, I think I'll go ahead and pay more up front rather than letting doctors and drug companies collect it on the back-end.

UPDATE: I got an e-mail telling me about a movie called "Super Size Me" about a filmmaker who are nothing but McDonalds food for an entire month. As a result, he gained 24 pounds, and had his cholesterol level rise 65 points(!). That's cool... I want to see this film!

Categories: DaveToons 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Strut the Rooster

Posted on Friday, March 19th, 2004

McHappy!Today is the 25th anniversary of McDonald's "Happy Meal" which, for those of your fortunate enough to live in a McDonald's-Free zone, is a meal for kids that includes a hamburger, fries, cookies, a drink, and a toy surprise. I'm sure I ate a few Happy Meals when I was a kid, but don't much remember them growing up. I became a vegetarian in 1987, so the only time I run into a Happy Meal now-a-days is when I am with kids who are eating them or buying them for somebody else who is collecting the toys.

The current blog meme running around the internet is "What's your favorite Happy Meal Toy," which is an easy one for me. About 5 years ago I was at a photo shoot in Seattle when I got a call from my mother who was trying to collect all of the "Mini Beanie Baby" toys that were in the meals at the time. She wanted a "Strut the Rooster" toy, and the local branch had sold out. Since there was a McDonalds around the corner from my hotel, I told her I'd give it a shot (the irony being that you could get a cute chicken toy along with your dead chicken McNuggets!).

Whenever I had done this for somebody in the past, I always just pay for the meal and tell them to keep the food. But this time was a little different...

On my way to the restaurant, I came across a homeless gentleman who asked if I could spare some change so he could get something to eat. I explained that I am unable to hand out money (I cannot be party to them using it to harm themselves or other people), but I would be happy to buy him something from McDonalds if he cared to wait for it. He looked pretty miserable, so along with the Happy Meal, I went ahead and bought him a cup of coffee, a few bottles of orange juice, and an extra hamburger. I then made my way back to the guy, handed him the food, and turned to leave after he had said his thanks.

That's when he stopped me and asked "didn't you get anything for yourself to eat?" I explained that no, I had already eaten, I just needed to go to McDonalds so I could get the toy for my mom. This puzzled him greatly, and he asked to see it...

McChicken

He took one look at "Strut the Rooster," neatly sealed in a plastic bag, and said something that has forever haunted me to this day... "It looks like it costs more money to make the toy than the food." It was a simple observation of such insight and clarity that I was stunned it had never occurred to me before. Probably because I am fortunate enough to have never gone hungry.

When I got home a week later, somebody had already found a "Strut the Rooster" for my mom, and so I kept the one I got. He sits on top of my computer at work as a constant reminder that there are people in the world who go hungry every day, and I should be forever grateful that I am not one of them.

I try to be.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FANTAstic!

Posted on Sunday, March 21st, 2004

Dave!I try not to drink pop very often because it's just not good for you. On the rare occasion that I do imbibe, it's usually because I am really tired and need caffeine and sugar to help wake me up or because Jones Soda is on sale, and you know it's impossible to resist Blue Bubblegum Jones Soda (I keep hoping I'll run across their M.F. Grape soda, but haven't seen it yet). Anyway, I am watching television late last night and a commercial for Fanta comes on looking like this:

Fantanas

These retro bundles of sugary hotness are called "The Fantanas," and are named Capri, Lola, Sophia, and Kiki. Damn those Madison Avenue marketing geniuses! Now I find myself needing a Fanta pretty bad.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Meat-free

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2004

Dave!Today I got an e-mail asking if I wanted to register for an upcoming conference, which had an option for a meet-n-greet dinner with the speakers. This was not unusual in itself... I get dozens of conference invitations like this. What was bizarre is the menu. You had your choice of beef, chicken, or the vegetarian option of salmon. Uhhhh... anybody got a clue as to whether salmon is a fruit or a vegetable?

Disturbing.

But, then again, we've now got Pizza Hut commercials featuring the Muppets where Miss Piggy is eating Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizza. I wonder who the brilliant marketing genius was who decided to make her a cannibal? All we need now is Kermit digging into a big plate of frog's legs and my trauma will be complete.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Jones!

Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2004

Dave!While walking down the aisle of the local mini-mart here in town, I spied a bottle of Jones Soda "Naturals" with the very cool name of "D'Peach Mode" which is an obvious nod to my favorite band ever, Depeche Mode. Naturally, I just had to buy a bottle and see if the juice lives up to the name. As with all things from Jones Soda, this lovely blend of Natural Peach and Tangelo juices is terrific! Highly recommended... if you see a bottle, you should give it a try.

Jones D'Peach Mode!Jones Soda Bananaberry!Jones Soda Dave!

Also on the rack was "Bananaberry" (Banana & Strawberry) and "Dave" (Green Tea & Ginseng), so I'll have to grab a bottle of those next time.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Stracciatella

Posted on Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

Dave!I've decided to purchase an ice cream maker. It's not because I like to eat a lot of ice cream... dairy and me don't get along as well as we used to... but every once in a while I have a flashback to eating stracciatella gelato in Rome and have a very hard time letting go. I've tried buying the "gelato" they sell here in the States, but it is not the same. I figure the only way I'm going to fulfill my frozen longings is to create my own stracciatella recipe and keep working until I get it right. I had tried to do this a few years ago, but my crappy $60 ice cream maker wouldn't cooperate.

So this time I am buying a real Italian gelato machine that has a built-in freezer compressor. It's obscene how much money you can end up spending on one of these things (there are models costing thousands of dollars), but eventually I found a highly recommended machine that was under $200. It's called the "Lello Gelato Junior."

Gelato Machine

Can you believe that little machine weighs 40 pounds? Can you believe that I am probably going to end up weighing 400 pounds by the time I perfect my stracciatella gelato recipe? Wish me luck...

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Carb Awareness Day

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Dave!Today has been declared "Carb Awareness Day" by the Amateur Gormet, and I am doing my best to celebrate. Of course, I think the entire anti-carb paranoia movement is complete and total bullshit so every day is carb appreciation day to me. My most favorite foods are loaded with carbohydrates, and I seem to suffer no ill effects. Last night I had pasta for dinner... somehow, I am still alive this morning. For breakfast I tried to order as many carbs as possible... potatoes, toast, a flour tortilla wrap on my eggs...

Carb Breakfast

Delicious! There is probably thousand carbs on that plate, and I savored each and every one of them!

Which brings me to my rant of the day: THE ATKINS DIET IS STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! Any diet that tells you to avoid fruits and vegetables and eat loads of fat and steroid-riddled dead animals is STUPID. Want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more. It's not rocket science. Carbs don't make you fat... eating more calories than you burn makes you fat. Everything else is window dressing. Why not eat a normal HEALTHY diet (that includes fruits and vegetables), but smaller portions? Why do these wacky fad diets force people to think they need to suffer to lose weight?

Moderation. Balance. Two words that seem to be lost on the world today. Why is it that everything is in absolutes now? Everywhere you turn it's "all or nothing" and it's out of control. I can only hope that common sense will prevail in the end.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

I (heart) NYC

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Dave!Alrighty then... pop quiz hot shot... You are in New York City, home to some of the greatest restaurants the world has ever known. You are vegetarian, and know that some of the most creative veggie cuisine on earth can be found within a 10-block radius of your hotel. You are hungry for dinner, and are here for one night only... the world is waiting outside your door... where do you go to eat?

NYC McVeggie Deluxe!

Well, if you are me, you go to McDonalds at Times Square! The only place in the world (that I know of anyway) where you can get the amazing McVeggie Deluxe Burger!! Delicious! I had two of them. If I was staying another day, I'd eat two more for dinner tomorrow (after probably having had another for lunch). Why in the hell McDonalds doesn't roll these out to the rest of the chain I will never know. It's not the best veggie burger in the world, but it tastes great and would be a welcome option for fast-food seeking vegetarians.

As I was leaving, I see this on the front of the restaurant...

Veggie Back!

AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! What do you mean "it's back?!?" Where did it go? Why would you ever remove it? All I can say is that it is a darn good thing you brought it back for my visit or I probably would have freaked out... badly.

Of course, no trip to New York is complete for me unless I drop by and see what new pins they've got at the Hard Rock...

NYC HRC

And, naturally, there's always a stop at Pick-A-Bagel, my favorite New York City bagel shop (which I blogged about previously)...

Pick-A-Bagel

Boy don't I wish I had a couple more days here. One night in NYC is definitely not enough!

Categories: Food 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Everglades

Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2004

Dave!The route I took to Tampa this morning was across "Alligator Alley" through the Everglades. About a third of the way through, I thought I would stop at a rest center and take a look around. There were two other people there as I walked up to the muck-covered water...

Woman: Where are the everglades?
Man: You're looking at it.
Woman: I don't get it. It's just a big swamp!
Man: Uhhh... yeah.

I am still trying to figure out what she was expecting to find. I think it's kind of nice... croaking frogs, dragonflies, and all...

Everglades

Everglades

Of course, this being Florida, there is a "Waffle House" at every exit. I remember them for having passable food at cheap prices. This time when I stopped, they had passable food at typical prices... no better than Denny's or something. Still, you just can't beat the cheesy atmosphere! I found a good one this time...

Waffle House

Onward to Tampa!

Categories: Food 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Fast

Posted on Monday, June 7th, 2004

Dave!A few people e-mailed me about my previous post where I mentioned I would be preparing for a fast this week. I wasn't joking, this is something I actually do, and have been doing roughly every nine months for the past five years. The process forces your body to work out toxins and burn through fat reserves that stores up all kinds of nasty stuff that accumulates from the junk we eat (this is especially true if you eat meat), so I guess you could say it's a health thing.

But mainly I do it because I feel so much better after it's all over. I have more energy, don't feel as sluggish, and (most of all) have an entirely new appreciation for the food I eat. Because a couple of people were curious, I will post my fasting regime below. But, before I do, the necessary legal disclaimer:

I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I have no medical training. I certainly do not recommend anybody make radical changes in their diet (even temporary ones, like fasting) without consulting their doctor first. This information is posted for entertainment only, and should not be constituted as medical advice.

That being said, I can say that I have been fine-tuning this process for several years and it works wonders for me. When I first started, I could never stay on a fast for more than a day or two... eventually, through trial and error, I found I had much better success if I "ramped up" and "ramped down" from the fasting period. It works kind of like this:

Dave Fast

Dave Fast

Lemon Water: The juice of half a lemon (organic is best) mixed with water (warm is best) four times a day... it is important to stay hydrated, so drinking plenty of plain water as often as you can throughout the day is highly recommended. Cayenne Pepper: I add a tincture to my warm lemon water each morning, then take the cayenne in pill-form at "lunch" and "dinner." The cayenne stimulates your body to eliminate toxins that have built up (or so I am told). Fruits: Raw and organic is best (no sense adding toxins back into your system that you are trying to eliminate!). Vegetables: Ditto on the raw and organic. If I am feeling a bit weak coming off the fast, I sometimes add brown rice to my diet on days 11 & 12 in the mornings.

NOTE: When I first started, I was only fasting for 2 days in the middle... I then worked my way up to 3 and then 4 days. I've gone as long as 6 days, but didn't find any additional benefits from it, so eventually settled on 4 days. I do take vitamin supplements while fasting, which some people tell me is wrong, but that's just me.

And that's it. It's really not as bad as it sounds... sure on day 6 you are pretty hungry, but days 7 and 8 are not so bad as your body adjusts and starts going into ketosis. I can honestly say that the first piece of fruit you eat on day 10 will be the best tasting thing you've ever eaten in your life! I usually start easy (no skins and half-servings) and try to make it a real treat... like mango or something exotic like that.

Oh, one more thing... I found that it is much easier to eliminate certain "bad foods" you are addicted to after a fast. You simply don't eat/drink them anymore when you begin eating again. I was able to give up my soda-pop (i.e., "death nectar") habit years ago (I drink it only rarely now, but used to drink 4 to 8 cans a day) and it was a piece of cake (mmmm... cake!).

So, if I am a bit cranky in my posts this week and the next, it's only because I can't have candy and ice cream! I'll be back to "normal" (well, normal for me anyways) on the 18th.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  8 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Stop

Posted on Sunday, June 13th, 2004

Dave!A little over three hours ago I posted a "Sunday Rant" because I woke up in a not-so-great mood. Since then I have gotten out of bed, done a half our of yoga and meditation, got cleaned up, went for a ride in the rain (of course it's raining... I washed my motorcycle yesterday!), stopped at the hardware store for some brackets to install some shelving, and now I am at work for a while. I fire up my Macintosh (it's not just a computer, it's a Mac!) so I can get started, and this is waiting for me in my in-box:

"I AM SICK OF YOU BADMOUTHING THE ATKINS DIET IN YOUR JOURNAL!!!! LOW CARB DIETS ARE SAVING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE FROM OBEESITY AND IF YOU HAD A WEIGHT PROBLEM YOU'D BE ON YOUR KNEES THANKING GOD FOR DR. ATKINS BECAUSE HIS DIET WORKS!!!!!!! THE REASON RESTAURANTS SELL LOW CARB FOODS IS BECAUSE PEOPLE KNOW IT'S THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!! IT'S BEEN PROVEN BY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SO SHUTUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Now, normally, I'd hit the "delete" button before I was six words into the e-mail because I just don't care enough to read this crap. But I'm still in a bit of a bad mood so, what the heck. I am going to do something I never do and waste valuable web storage space by actually replying in my blog...

ONE. Do you realize what a complete moron you look like when you don't have the sense to turn off the caps-lock key? Though I must admit I am a bit surprised that you only had one misspelling in your e-mail, so I guess that's something. Most people who write screeching e-mails like this don't bother to even attempt spelling the words properly.

TWO. For the last time... This is my blog and I will say whatever I want in it. If you don't like what you find here, then please stop reading it!

THREE. The reason restaurants sell low-carb foods is not because it's the best way to lose weight, it's because people are buying it. If a new diet of cougar urine became a hot fad for weight loss, McDonalds would put "Cougar Urine McFrosties" on their menu simply because people would buy it... that's how they make their money.

FOUR. Yes, millions of people are losing weight on the Atkins Diet. But at what cost? The diet is so new that there have been no studies done to see what the long-term affects might be. A diet that's loaded with fatty foods like cheese and chemical-altered, steroid-filled foods like meat just can't be good for you in the long run. I love cheese, but being told to eat it instead of an apple so you can lose weight is insane.

FIVE. While it's true I am lucky enough not to have a weight problem, there is no way I would ever be "THANKING GOD FOR DR. ATKINS" if I did. I'd have to give up being a vegetarian since fruits and vegetables are loaded with carbs, and I wouldn't do that (they are the healthiest foods you can eat!). Millions of people may be losing weight on the Atkins Diet, but billions have found out the hard way that diets don't work! Diets are a temporary solution to a long-term problem that requires a lifestyle change, not a bogus "miracle cure."

Now, for anybody who might write me yet another moronic diatribe about being a hypocrite for passing judgment on a solution to a problem I don't have... don't waste the effort because I just don't care to hear it. I am not at all against people trying to lose weight, I just don't want to be faced with a ridiculous "low-carb" lifestyle everywhere I go because it's a popular fad. If there has to be a fad for weight loss, why can't it be one that is healthy and makes sense? Why can't we bring back the one person who had it all figured out...

Where is Susan Powter?

Susan Powter

Yes, she's the same hyperactive woman with blonde spikey hair that had those annoying "STOP THE INSANITY" infomercials years ago. Yes, she's the same man-hating freak who holds the entire male gender responsible for everything wrong in the world. Yes, yes, and yes... she's a loon, I know. But if it were her book that were all the rage right now, I wouldn't have to be bombarded with "net carbs" and "Atkins-friendly" crap wherever I go. Instead it would be all "low fat" and "vegetarian-friendly" crap! Now, that's something I wouldn't mind seeing.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Eat

Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2004

Dave!Hmmm... I can eat again now that my fast has ended, but I don't really feel like it for some reason. That's never happened before.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Yoo-Hoo

Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2004

Dave!Why is it so hard to find a store that sells Yoo-Hoo anymore? I mean, I just don't get it. It's chocolate milk which doesn't require refrigeration... that's pretty much magic in a freakin' bottle... so you would think that all stores would carry it. And why in the hell isn't everybody drinking it? Yoo-Hoo tastes awesome. Yoo-Hoo is cool. Yoo-Hoo sponsors motorcycle racing, which kicks ass...

Yoo-Hoo Racing

Yoo-Hoo is endorsed by The Simpsons. Yes, Bart Simpson drinks Yoo-Hoo...

Yoo-Hoo Bart

And if Bart Simpson isn't bad-ass enough for you, Jesse James drinks Yoo-Hoo...

YooHooJesse

Forget about Jesse James... Jesse James' DOG drinks Yoo-Hoo. Why in the hell can a dog get Yoo-Hoo, but I can't find it? This sucks ass. I need to move to a real city. Yoo-hoo rules the earth!

Categories: Food 2004, MotorcyclesClick To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Taters

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2004

Dave!Taco Bell is one of those places that you should never eat at, but inevitably do because they have pretty decent grub for a fast food joint and, even more importantly, it's cheap.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Today I had to run to Wenatchee so that I could purchase an International Driving Permit for an upcoming trip...

International Permit

The relevant bit here is not that I look like a terrorist in my photo. The relevant bit is that I had to have the photo taken in the first place. You see, I was planning on spending $10 for the permit... that's how much I was told it cost. But, because I had to have my photo taken, that added another $6.50 to the bill. The $20 I had allocated for the permit and my lunch was now almost gone.

So, I now have just $3.50 for lunch... where do I go?

Taco Bell Taters

Yes, Taco Bell. Thanks for keeping up. Anyway, I am now in love with Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. They taste like cheese and sour cream covered bits of heaven on a spork. The problem is that anything tasting this good is bound to be horrendously bad for your health... over half the calories come from fat and each bowl contains 30% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Eating enough of these suckers could kill you.

But what a way to go.

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bellissima

Posted on Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Dave!There's a restaurant in Piccadilly Circus (here in London) that I like called Biagio Ristorante Pizzeria (on Rupert). Sure it's got great authentic Italian food and the atmosphere is top-notch, but the real reason I eat there is because it reminds me of the infamous Kirstie Alley "Bellisima" sketch from Saturday Night Live.

Waiter: "You like-a the small salad with-a you pizza no?"
Dave: "Um, no thanks."
Waiter: "It's-a very very good the small salad."
Dave: "I'm fine thanks."
Waiter: "I bring-a you the small salad!"
Dave: "Uh, okay."
Waiter: (Here is where I expect him to say...) "Bellissima seniore!" (and then lick my face).

Naturally, he doesn't, but I brace myself just in case!

Of course, if you haven't seen the SNL sketch, all of the above makes absolutely no sense to you. If you have seen the sketch, you will understand the supreme effort it takes to keep from laughing while placing my order at this restaurant (if you are really wanting to know what I am talking about, rent the The Best of Adam Sandler: Saturday Night Live DVD and you can see it for yourself).

Ciao bella!

Categories: Food 2004, Travel 2004Click To It: Permalink  1 Comment: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Julia

Posted on Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Dave!I was saddened to learn that Julia Child had died yesterday. It's not that I was a huge fan of her cooking shows or books (as a vegetarian, it's not like I could eat very much of it anyway)... but I am a big fan of her fascinating life and remarkable personality. There's something cool about a woman who starting as an advertising executive, became a spy(!) during World War II, and eventually (against all odds) became one of the world's foremost cooking authorities.

I'd imagine that being a woman chef was not easy ground to break back then. Her mother was the first woman in the US to get a driver's license, so perhaps she was destined to be a revolutionary? And who could ever forget that classic Dan Aykroyd SNL parody? Julia is a personality that will definitely be missed.

This week's FridayQ will be food-related in her honor... save the livers!

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

FridayQ: Culinary

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2004

Dave!In addition to the dearly departed Julia Child, who is your favorite food personality? I'm a big fan of Iron Chef French: Hiroyuki Sakai. He seems a very capable and hard working chef in the kitchen, and both a respectful winner and gracious loser in Iron Chef food battles.

What meal would you have this culinary genius prepare for you if they asked? Well, since he's an expert in French cooking, probably something French? Problem is, French dishes don't tend to be the most vegetarian-friendly cuisine around (though their pastry is the best in the world, so it's probably a fair trade-off?). How about a vegetable bisque soup with French bread and a nice wine, followed by a large assortment of pastries for dessert.

If they refused, and you could eat at any restaurant you wanted as a consolation, which one would you choose? A plate of Fettucini Alfredo at Alfredo alla Scrofa in Rome would do nicely. It's a restaurant that doesn't rank high in atmosphere, but their pasta is the best I have ever tasted.

Alfredo's

FQ Kitchen: Share with us a favorite recipe or cooking tip. I'm not much of a cook, so any recipe I might offer would involve combining two frozen foods in a microwave. I do, however, have a few tips which somebody might enjoy...

  • Substitute a Mexican rice mix (my favorite brand being Farmhouse) for ground beef in Mexican recipes. I use it in tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and anything else that would normally use meat as the filler.
  • Top mashed potatoes or potato salad with crisp-fried grated potatoes, which adds a new crunchy dimension to their creamy texture. If I'm too lazy to fry some up, I'll use crushed potato chips instead (don't knock it 'til you've tried it!).
  • Chocolate chip cookies are even more special when you eat them frozen.
  • If you're not worried about the extra fat calories, add a packet of powdered creamer to your instant cocoa mix to make it taste more like fresh-made.
  • Everything is better with cheese on top.

Eat your heart out at the FridayQ.

Categories: Food 2004, Memes 2004Click To It: Permalink  6 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Dave Approved: Enchiladas

Posted on Saturday, September 4th, 2004

Dave!It's Saturday, which means it's time to whore myself out by endorsing a product, person, or service that I'm currently enamored with! Since I'm hungry, I think I'll pick a food I'm fixated on just now: El Monterey Cheese Enchiladas.

When you are a vegetarian, finding good Mexican food is tough. Most of the time, you just have to ignore the fact that the food you're eating probably has chicken fat or bouillon or some other dead animal-related product in it. There's not much you can do about it in a restaurant but, when buying frozen foods, I do look at the ingredients. Odds are the cheese is going to have rennet in it, but I can at least rule out more obvious animal products.

The problem is that when you finally do find an elusive frozen Mexican entree without chicken juice in it, the stuff usually tastes like ass. I think I've tried just about everything out there, and none of it has merited a repeat purchase (especially the designated "vegan" crap which is the worst of the lot). That's why I wasn't holding out much hope when I saw the local Fred Meyer had started carrying "El Monterey" brand foods that appeared to be dead-chicken free...

El Monterey!

Wow. I mean, WOW. These are the best enchiladas I have ever eaten. They are so good that they seem more like dessert than an entree... deliciously light and fluffy filling that's not a pile of grease, and a sauce that's to die for (well, not for me to die for, but it's certainly worth somebody else dying over!).

There is a catch, however. These things are horrible for your health. The "serving size" on the Nutrition Facts is "one enchilada" and looks pretty scary. Multiply that by the four-enchilada serving you would actually eat and it's downright tragic, with recommended daily values off the chart: 80% of your total fat, 144% of your saturated fat, 44% of your cholesterol, and 100% of your sodium. Yikes. I would probably eat these every day if they weren't death-inducing, but figure once a week won't kill me.

But what a way to go.

Categories: Dave Approved, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  0 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Barney’s

Posted on Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Dave!Nine-Eleven is a day of profound sadness for me. I'm sad because two thousand, seven hundred and twenty-seven people were killed in a senseless act three years ago... but mostly I am sad because of what this tragic loss means to all of humanity: If things keep going like this, we're not going to make it. That's not to say I've lost hope, but such a visual symbol of how truly far away we are from living together in peace is hard to ignore. I realize that terrorism is not new. I understand that the horrifying events at the World Trade Center in 2001 are just a blip on the terrorism radar that claim untold thousands of innocent lives every year. But it all solidifies for me on this day and I continue to be dumbfounded that people just can't seem to get along.

On the one-year anniversary of 9-11 two years ago, I said in my then-blog "Dave Spot" that I could not bring myself to write about the subject because no words could possibly express how I feel (that blog died a few weeks later). On the two-year anniversary last year, I again was at a loss for words and decided to instead write about the new Fall television season and the discoloration on the exhaust pipes of my motorcycle (thinking that writing about mundane events would somehow make me feel better, I guess).

This year is not any easier. It would seem that time does not heal all wounds, because I feel more sickened by 9-11 with every passing year. It's the date that things started going Terribly Wrong. We're now in a war where over a thousand American soldiers have been lost, and heaven only knows how many other people... from innocent civilians, to reporters, to soldiers from other nations, to Al-Qaeda... and everybody in-between. Terrorism is a constant threat and shows no signs of letting up. The America I know is slowly eroding. Peace seems further and further away.

To try and lift myself out of a lingering depression that such thoughts inevitably bring, I decided to do something truly American today: shoot handguns and eat a McDonalds hamburger! But then I realized that my Buddhist philosophies prohibit such things, and had to come up with something else: breakfast at Barney's!

Barneys

Saturday mornings at this eclectic Cashmere eatery are truly a slice of American life, and I wanted to be a part of it today. Barney's started as a tavern, but is slowly being re-imagined as a family restaurant... with attitude. Today was especially fun because tourists over from "The Coast" (i.e., Seattle and the surrounds) were popping in on their way to the fairgrounds. Nothing is more amusing than watching city-folk try to make sense of us rednecks here in hicksville. The people at the table across from me were greatly amused while reading the menu, which I found funny because it was written with people just like them in mind. A few of my favorite selections:

Notice: Annoying the Cook will result in smaller portions.
PRICES subject to Change according to customer's attitude.

We are not a "Fast Food" outlet, please be patient, we have only one deep fryer and a small grill. You can ask how long your order may take. If you don't have time to wait, then please don't order. We are not a 5 star Restaurant. We can tell when you walk in if we will be able to please you or if you are one of those people that no one can please and you should not eat out. We have been in business since 1980, We lost our patience in 1981.

Two Eggs cooked, served with fried potatoes & toast................$3.75 {Poached, scrambled, basted, over med-well, over hard, over easy — extra $12.50}. Crisp Potatoes $15.00 extra. We will also ask you to stand while we announce that you are the reason everyone else has to wait for their breakfast because you want crisp potatoes!

And so on.

You probably think that they are just joking around, and they are... but not really. Gary and Virginia (the owners, cooks, bartenders, and janitors of this fine establishment) are two of the nicest people you will ever meet, but they seriously will not put up with any bullshit or big-city attitude (and neither will the staff). There are moments here at Barney's that are priceless. I love it when some ignorant Redmond socialite decides to "rough it" in our section of the State and comes here to "experience" a small-town rustic restaurant... then asks if they can have a glass of white wine to go with their Barney Burger because they're "just not finding it on the menu." The result of such an action is always entertaining, and there's been more than one time I've been eating here that I wish I had my video-camera.

I know it sounds bizarre, but knowing that places like this exist makes me feel better on a day like today. No matter how horrible world events may seem, no matter what mess our government has gotten us into, America will go on (and the folks at Barney's will get around to serving you when they damn well feel like it).

Categories: DaveLife 2004, Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Kiwi

Posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

Dave!Ooooh look! It's time for a kiwi and pineapple break! The odd thing about kiwi is that they are fairly normal-looking on the outisde. It's not until you look inside that you find out where their true beauty can be found...

Kiwi.jpg

I'm pretty sure there's a life lesson in here somewhere, but I just can't put my finger on it right now.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  2 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Tatercrack

Posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Dave!While I've never actually experienced crack cocaine, I continue to imagine that it must be very much like eating a bowl of "Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes" from Taco Bell. For the past six months, I have been physically unable to drive past a Taco Bell without stopping and buying a bowl (or three). On occasion, I've even been known to make a special trip into Wenatchee with the sole intent of purchasing Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and nothing more (that's a 40-minute round-trip). I've written about this before, but right now I am on a Cheesy Fiesta Potato high, and felt the need to share (share my being high, not my taters, so keep your hands to yourself).

A pity that they're so horrendously bad for your health.

But hopefully a bit better than crack cocaine.

I guess when I start holding up convenience stores and selling myself on the street to pay for my Cheesy Fiesta Potato fix, I'll know for sure.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Security

Posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Dave!Today was a rather interesting and eventful day. Just when I thought I had a handle on things, something shocking, surprising, or otherwise strange would come along to mess with my head.

The end of my work day was no exception. I get out of a meeting, go back to my office to grab my coat and notice a package sitting on my desk. Ordinarily, this would not be unusual, as I get dozens of packages every week. What made this one unique is the fact that it was plastered with US Customs inspection stickers. What the-?

The return address was partially obscured but I did figure out it was from England, which made me think: "ENGLAND?!? That's odd, I get all my cocaine imported directly from COLUMBIA! (or Taco Bell, via their Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes)." Oh well, I figure if it's cleared from Customs, it must be safe to open. So I open it only to find that an interior envelope had also been inspected...

Customs

Curiouser and curiouser... what could possibly be so astoundingly interesting to US Customs that an X-ray of an envelope could cause such scrutiny? Drugs? Fresh fruit? Animal feces? LIVE KILLER BEES?!? My curiosity gets the best of my and I bravely open the envelope...

Customs

Uhhh... it's postcards, a gift card, and delicious MARS DELIGHTS CANDY BARS!!! Apparently my good friend (and fellow Hard-Rock fanatic) "The Ref" has decided to deter my current addiction to "Fiesta Cheesy Potatoes" by getting me re-addicted to one of the most fabulous candy bars on the planet!

But wait, there's more... Customs opened one of the candy bars as well. Hungry perhaps? Err... no, they didn't take a bite, just verified that chocolatey goodness was indeed inside. And that's when I noticed that the Customs stickers plastered all over everything are actually from Homeland Security.

What the-??

Isn't Homeland Security there to protect us against terrorist threats? What in the heck did they think was in there? I can't even guess. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly appreciative of Homeland Security's astoundingly difficult fight to protect us from harm, but don't they have scanning equipment and stuff? How do they know that the Weapons of Mass Destruction they're looking for in my candy wrapper weren't chocolate-covered?

Bizarre. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm long overdue for a sugar coma.

Categories: Food 2004Click To It: Permalink  5 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

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