Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Park Slope Gastronome #16 - West Coast Baseball Trip Day 4

Day Four finds us in Las Vegas, NV. It is 800 degrees and surprise, surprise, we are only among another 100 or so 51s' fans to brave an early afternoon game. Mitch buys a fishing cap and Marc, a visor at the team store. I believe both their purchases are festooned with the 51s' mascot, which happens to be a bald, inverse teardrop shaped alien head with big, shiny black almond shaped eyes. At the game I ate a Johnsonville Brat at the sausage factory stand (it may have been called Brat-ville) and for dessert got me shave ice, flavored with black cherry syrup. Shave ice is a frozen treat indigenous to Hawaii. It is NOT the same as a sno-cone. And no, it is not SHAVED ice, past tense. It begins with a huge bock of ice that is finely cut into flakes, rather than chips. The process produces a light, snowy product that is way more delicate than your average state fair sno cone. Somehow Jamie peer pressured himself to drink the leftover syrup from my shave ice. Did he even win a dollar for doing that?

That evening before the boys went off to Sam's Town for a night of 5 cent bets at the craps table, we feted ourselves at the MGM Grand Buffet - a lavish feast of gluttony and mediocrity. I think Mitch ate 20 snow crab legs and Marc only slices of prime rib, washed down with Cokes. We did have a wonderful waiter, whose name I didn't write down, but he was from an exotic land (according to his name tag) and he was very prompt with the beverage refills and very generous with the wet-naps. My favorite part of the meal was a grilled "baked" potato. Basically you get a portion of mashed potatoes, and the grill master adds a variety of toppings, including bacon bits (and we're not talking bac-os!), scallions and cheese. She covers it up with a metal bowl to steam it up and then plates up the oozing gooey scrumptious tuberlicious mess.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

can't get you out of my head

these songs have become squatters in my head. i will use all my concentration to focus on these and not the salsa bass throbbing from the floor below.

• irma thomas - "two winters long"
• the new pornographers - "ballad of a comeback kid"
• sparrow - "this is how it's done"

and while we are talking about songs, DF has a new radio show on WRFU, 104.5 FM in Urbana. that's a town somewhere in the middle. we tuned in to hear the refrain of "ARE YOU FREEEEEDOM MAN?" off "drugunaut" by one of listmaker and i's favorite new bands, black mountain. jagjaguwar continues to release quality stuff.

so for the last two and a half years i've was drowning in music and as mentioned before, i can't swim. i'm hoping this job change will make me remember that i really love music.

off to nap or watch degrassi on the DVR.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

that's the end?

oh my god, i think gilmore jumped the shark tonight.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Park Slope Gastronome #15 - West Coast Baseball Trip Day 3

Calling this Day 3 of the WCBT may be a bit misleading. So let me offer this disclaimer. Team Brooklyn arrived in Hollywood very late in the evening on Thursday. This post is about what we ate on Saturday, which if you count Thursday as Day 1, makes this our third day.

Saturday morning we awoke to the delicious smell of donuts. While I was still sleeping (I can't vouch for anyone else), Dave had made the trip out to Westwood to Stan's Doughnuts. Stan's is this little corner shop that has been making amazing variations on the fried cake for nearly 40 years now. I had first heard of Stan's on where else but the Food Channel, and remembered telling myself, "I need to file this away for future use." But I should know by now that if I don't write something down, it's as good as lost. When I saw the pink boxes in Dave and Jen's kitchen though, I had a memory jog and immediately pictured Stan, showing off his cakey creations behind a glass case and couldn't wait to stuff my face.

Dave had brought us a true assortment. There were cake donuts and buttermilk donuts, twisted and covered ones, crumby and chocolatey types. It's not easy to admit negative things about yourself, but one problem I've had my entire life is that if presented with a dozen varieties that are all new to me, I need to try all 12 different types. I don't care if there are other people; I need a taste of every single one. So when there are two boxes of donuts in front of your greedy mug and there are only one or two repeating variations, it causes a big problem for you. Knowing that I could take a bite out of each one, I had to make the perfect choice or I would really regret it for the rest of my life. I chose a banana cake donut that was drizzled with chocolate. It was moist and chewy. The banana and chocolate created a beautiful harmony in my mouth. A perfect way to start the morning. Rumor has it that New York restauranteur Danny Meyer sent one of his sous chefs out to LA to apprentice with Stan to learn how to make these treats for his Shake Shack in Madison Park.

Later that day, we hit up a Lebanese chicken shack called Zankou. Apparently it's a mini-chain in LA, and even immortalized in a Beck song. Jen had been raving about this place, especially the white garlic sauce and I was ready to give it a try. I think she ate an entire chicken! I was in awe of her appetite the entire trip since I suffer from eyes bigger than stomach syndrome.

This branch of Zankou was located in a strip mall. The menu was posted above the counter and the space had exactly the ambiance of a restaurant located in a strip mall. I ordered a quarter white chicken plate, which came with a little plastic container of the infamous white garlic sauce, which actually looked more like the pastey stuff you got in kindergarten during art class. My chicken was served in an elegant white styrofoam container; it's brown crispy skin glistening under the artificial lights. Along with the garlic paste, you get a bunch of pita, some hummus and a salad consisting of tomatoes, pepperoncinis and bright fuschia pickled daikon. I would have preferred a crisper daikon (the strips were pretty limp, but that was probably the only downside to a fantastic fast and cheap meal. I couldn't get enough of the garlic paste - I would put it on anything and everything. Dan, being averse to eating anything that includes a bone*, opted for a shawarma wrap, but I gave him some of my food because he really would have regretted missing out on such tastiness.

That evening on the way to Barstow after a High Desert Mavericks game (where I think I had some nasty nachos after standing on line for way too long), we hit up the first In-N-Out on the trip. I don't think I was really hungry, but just seeing that red and yellow sign made my mouth water and I made a request for a stop. While the shakes were nice and thick and the burger topped with some really fresh produce, I was a bit disappointed in the hand-cut fries which were a bit undercooked. Still, I'd kill for an In-N-Out in New York.

*This doesn't apply to buffalo wings - he seems to have made an exception for anything drenched in Frank's hot sauce.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

still here, yes.

i can't believe it's been nearly a month since my last post. i promise to be back soon to finish up the West Coast Gastronome series and more. til then, the last month in review:
1) hooray for the white sox! i love that ozzie kisses his players.
2) hooray for bobby valentine! hooray for the chiba lotte marines! these guys know how to party! who's up for a road trip to celebrate?



3) delicious eatings at blue ribbon sushi to celebrate new job. deliciousness includes some of the most amazing freshwater eel ever. dan saved his piece for dessert. also the mix in your miso to your own tastes miso soup gets a big thumb's up.
4) i got a new job, hooray for me!
5) the go! team, sparrow, calexico/iron&wine, king khan and bbq show, other titles i can't remember
6) i ordered an ipod but it wasn't for me. booooo!
7) latest japanese toy obsession = lilliputlivins. if anyone out there has a lead on the elusive animal set, hook a sister up.
8) slip on vans - not so much last month, but my red and black checkered vans have allowed me to sleep an extra 5 hours total since i got them.