Thursday, July 31, 2008



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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome To Moe's

If you live in the North-eastern region of the United States chances are you've passed by a Moe's Southwest Grill. This is one of those "fresh-mex" restaurants where they make burritos, tacos, fajitas and salads in front of you. They started popping up in the Albany area about 3 years ago. At first I was in love with Moe's. My first trip I was overwhelmed with the size of my burrito and how good it tasted. Good ingredients, expertly wrapped, and free chips and salsa came with it. I was instantly hooked. That first time walking through the door I thought the phrase, "welcome to Moe's" was the most inviting I had ever heard, like a hug from a dear friend or a warm fireplace on a cold winters day. It was so wonderful in fact that I began yelling it out during my meal in an attempt to trick the employees into repeating it, which worked numerous times. Now these words haunt my dreams; watch as my worst food nightmare becomes reality.

I'm sure that those of you who live in the southern and western states are thinking to yourself that this garbage barely passes for food let alone mexican food, and you're partly right, but sometimes you need to suspend your disbelief. Think about if you didn't have Mexicans and taco stands on every corner. Sure the right wing isolationists would be happy, and border patrol wouldn't be a big issue but your stomach would be very upset. This "fresh-mex" fad is all we have out here and we'll gladly take it as an alternative to taco bell. Maybe a better analogy is how you deal with pizza in those states: it obviously doesn't compare to the pizza in New York City or the surrounding areas, not by a longshot. You still enjoy it though and eat it on a fairly regular basis because it's similar to the real thing and if you're like me, your stomach is too stupid to care what your brain thinks about the shitty food you're eating.

So I find myself going to Moe's once a week. Every Wednesday, which is payday. It is convenient because the bank and check cashing spot are literally the storefront bread that surrounds the Moe's sandwich (no openface jokes please). I would either get a "joey bag of donuts" which is one of the more basic burritos or the "homewrecker" which has pretty much everything in it. Depending on what looked better that day I would choose between the chicken and the steak for my meat toppings and always picked black beans to accompany it. Something started to irk me about the place though, and it had to do with the owners/managers. They were these always tan meat head bros who had the worst attitude ever. One word out of one of these guys mouth and it could ruin your whole meal. They also charged out the ass for queso which is their melted cheese. Its good cheese, not as good as the queso at Salsarita's but those two places shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. These two John Gotti Jr. wannabes were not enough to keep me away from my burrito fix unfortunately. If they had I might have avoided a terrible tragedy and a huge blow to my self confidence.

Summer 2006. It's Wednesday and it's noon and it is time to cash my paycheck and eat Moe's. I had been going to Moe's regularly for almost 8 months now and was starting to get a little sick of it. As I walk in there is a huge cardboard cutout of a custom motorcycle and sign up sheets for a burrito eating contest. Thinking myself to be quite the fatass I signed up immediately and figured even if I failed at least I get a free meal. About a month later I was gearing up to eat three Moe's burritos as fast as I could. I was stuffing everything in my face and eating shit off other peoples plates as well. I was definitely stretching my stomach out and thought I was doing great training. Soon the day of the contest arrived and I would find out that all my best laid plans were about to turn to shit.

My friend John came and picked me up a quarter after eleven and we rode over to the site of the contest, Moe's in Guilderland. I was decked out with my sleeveless "Just Do It Later" t-shirt and my hundred dollar bill bandanna wrapped around my left arm. The contest didn't start until noon so I got some Camels from the grocery store and smoked a cig. People in the parking lot were looking at me as if some dark disgusting creature had ascended into their world from the very pit of hell below. They hated me. They feared me. I was bulging out from all the food I had been eating over the last two weeks. It was probably the fattest I have ever been in my life and I looked like some over-inflated eating smoking and drinking machine. As the start of the competition drew near I was issued a Moe's Burrito Eating Contest Official T-Shirt (which has it's own substory that is not food related, e-mail me if you're interested in that one.) and told I must wear it if I wanted to participate in the contest. I ripped the sleeves off and spit on the ground in defiance. The contest had not begun and the Bro Brothers were already trying my patience. Just before the contest started I was briefly interviewed by some hack journalist for some shit local newspaper. Unfortunately I never got to see that article because I totally forgot which paper he wrote for.

My fellow competitors were mostly around my age, early 20s, except for a middle aged man who was probably in his late 30s. Most people had family and friends around and I even had a little cheering section of my own, though I think they came mostly to laugh at me instead of cheer me on. One young dude and the older gentleman seemed pretty confident in themselves as the other two contestants claimed only to be in it for the free food. I figured maybe one or two of these jokers could give me a run for my money but I should be able to make it to the second round no problem (the three best finish times qualify).

Noon finally arrives and I'm ready to eat. I had a small breakfast just to stretch my stomach out a little bit and was ready to pound as much food as I could fit in my gut. The test: eat three GROUND BEEF burritos as fast as you can. WHAT A FOOL I HAD BEEN! Had I paid any attention to this detail I would have actually tasted Moe's ground beef before this date. Unfortunately my stomach and brain did not work together and this ultimately led to my downfall. There were some other factors that led to my ultimate demise but I mostly blame the ground beef.

The Bros do their countdown and we begin. I quickly unwrap my first burrito and start taking massive bites, barely chewing, just swallowing the food. This is when I first realize the ground beef at Moe's is more disgusting than the ground beef at Taco Bell or any other mexican type place I had ever been. I'm a trooper though and I plow through the first burrito without even checking out how my opponents are doing. Two of the young guys were on my right. One was eating slow and steady and the other was already into his second burrito. I knew I had to hurry and glanced over to the right. Young guy on my right was also taking his time but old guy was eating like a wild man. This beast was opening up the burrito shells and eating all the crap inside with his hands. He was making a serious mess and making even such terrible noises. To this day, hearing the sounds that man made was one of the most awful experiences of my life.

I decide I needed to pick up the pace and start inhaling my second burrito. After about three quarters I begin to slow down. I realize that trying to win this thing in first place is never going to happen because young guy to my right is already chowing down on burrito number three. It's clear that he trained harder and better than I did and all I could hope to do is best him in the second round. Unphased by this revelation I continued on with my task. I finished up the second burrito and by the time I was digging into the third my rival had outright murdered the rest of us He was the first to finish and the winner by a lot. The man-pig on my right was making even worse noises and was so sloppy. I started to feel a little queasy. I knew I had to get this burrito down to save face. I wasn't able to eat as fast anymore. Every bite felt like it would come back up. I battled not only my burrito, but my senses of disgust and defeat.

I finally made it down to the last bites of the final burrito. I knew I would come in second place if I could choke that last bit down. Weird guy was working on the rest of his slop and still had the scraps of tortillas to eat. My stomach was turning into knots. My friends started to cheer me on harder. People in the crowd had crazed looks on their faces. A news camera was pointed in my face and flashbulbs went off. All the emotion... and food rushed up from the bottom and it was all I could take. I turned my head and puked into a garbage can. Not a lot of puke but vomit nonetheless. I was automatically disqualified though I had felt somewhat better after that I probably could have finished the the last bites. It wouldn't have been worth it even if I had choked down those final morsels.

I never wanted to eat Moe's again after that. I never wanted another burrito in my life. Not only was a crushed that I had been disqualified so close to the end, but I was also extremely sick from the amount of nasty ground beef and rice and beans that had just been jammed down my gullet. I was promptly taken home to lay in my bed and groan for hours on end. I chugged pepto-bismal and ate tums like candy. The ensuing bowel movement was one of the worst things ever. I'll spare you the specifics on that one but I must say, my digestive tract felt like Timothy McVeigh parked a truck in it.

I made the local news that day and the article and video from the report are still online to this day: I learned a great deal about myself that day. For one, although I love to eat, I'm not cut out to eat competitively. Also, ground beef at Moe's is about as good as eating potted meat (aka meat in a can aka spam aka shit). If you ever find yourself at a point in your life where you decide entering an eating contest is a good idea, please reconsider. Or at least attempt to complete the challenge once before the contest date. Save yourself the embarrassment, the shame, and the gastro-intestinal torment you are sure to feel.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today, July 20, 2008 is my 24th birthday, and to celebrate I ate A LOT of food. I did not drink or smoke weed as I usually would to celebrate because I have decided to live clean. Today marks 3 weeks of sober life. It is the longest I have gone without getting drunk or high since I was 15. I enjoyed these pleasures for a while but those times are over. I don't need to fret though because I have other things in my life that keep me happy, and shrimp is the one on my mind today.

If you've ever seen Forrest Gump you remember the famous scene when Bubba is explaining the shrimping business to Forrest. Bubba goes on to list every shrimp dish he can think of.

Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There, uh, shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole... shrimp gumbo, panfried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp... shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich... that's, that's about it.

I think Bubba missed a few: shrimp dumplings, fettuccine alfredo with shrimp, shrimp scampi, popcorn shrimp, cajun shrimp, shrimp wrapped in bacon and probably a lot more I can't think of.

If you are a glutton like me you already know the best time to eat shrimp is in the fall. That is when Red Lobster runs their "ENDLESS SHRIMP" promotion. The first year I found out about it was in 2004 when I moved into my first apartment. I was failing out of college, had no job, and very little money. I returned all the cans and bottles in my house and scrounged enough money to get shrimp with my then roommate Artie. I was very overwhelmed when I got there. We were both starving and foolishly filled up on biscuits, salad, and rice before we even got our 3rd plates of shrimp. Artie was done after four plates and I finished five. It was a moderate showing but nothing special.

The "endless shrimp" promotion started allowing you to choose from 5 different styles of shrimp: fried shrimp, popcorn shrimp, shrimp scampi, coconut shrimp and fettuccine alfredo. Recently they have added a buffalo shrimp dish to that list, though they may or may not have discarded the coconut shrimp from the promotion. The popcorn shrimp and the shrimp scampi are my favorites though I usually try to get one plate of each. I always order the shrimp and pasta dish last, pick at it a little bit and get it to go. If you're going for max shrimp you're not going to get that dish in the middle. If you're some kind of fucking bozo you might order it first or in the middle of your meal loading you up with carbs and creamy cheese sauce which is what they want you to do. Remember, Bozo was a fucking clown and now hes fucking dead.

My finest "endless shrimp" showing was my second year in 2005. I was living with a bunch of whack jobs at 39 Pine and something ridiculous was constantly happening. Dudes railing out nasty girls in beds that didn't belong to them. Near fights with Albert Einstien who lived next door. Getting into fights with drunken roommates wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts and a tired scowl. Shows that turned into beer can throwing wars and kitchen wrestling matches. Wild times.

Anyways fall rolled around and it was once again time to try and induce iodine poisoning at the Wolf Rd. Red Lobster. This time not only was I physically prepared but I was also mentally prepared. I knew all the speed bumps that the restaurant was trying to throw in my way to stop me from eating my max potential of shrimp. I had some help too. A friend of ours showed up and refused to buy anything and was just eating shit off peoples plates so I gave him my salad and rice (but not a single shrimp). I did indulge in a couple of those cheesy biscuits but I definitely got my fill of shrimp. Around the sixth or seventh plate I ordered the waitress, who was feighning friendliness all night, began giving me looks of horror and disgust. By the time I ordered my 9th and final plate (which I didn't finish and took home) she seemed on the verge of throwing up. I was almost ready to vomit myself.

I really packed it in. Eight full plates of shrimp. at least four of them were scampi. That is a lot of butter and oil and it really takes its toll on you when you factor in the rest of the shrimp is fried. I didn't get iodine poisoning as I had hoped but I did acomplish a feat many felt impossible: FOUR POUNDS OF SHRIMP DOWN THE HATCH. I ate more shrimp in one sitting than I had in the last year since my first "endless shrimp" endeavor. It was a proud moment for everyone in my family.

The main motivation for this post is my beautiful friend Miranda decided to grill me up a wonderfull birthday dinner with shrimp included. I never try to make a big deal out of my birthday but she made my day very enjoyable without embarrassing me, which I appreciate. We ate four kinds of shrimp: shrimp cocktail, cajun shrimp, bbq shrimp, and shrimp seasoned with old bay seafood seasoning. Thank you Miranda, you're the best.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Friday through Tuesday I took a vacation from work. A few friends and I spent Friday at Six Flags Great Adventure in Lake George, NY. Not only did I get Dippin' Dots, but I got Dippin' Dots twice. Dippin' Dots are fucking incredible. It's these little balls of ice cream that are super frozen and then melt a little in your mouth. They get stuck to your lips and make anyone around you while eating them very uncomfortable. I forgot to mention, this is ice cream FROM THE FUTURE. I don't know if they have a flux capacitor in the stand or if it's like those ice pops from Duck Tales but there is something good for dessert in the years to come. I started the day with cookies and cream but just kind of dropped all the oreo pieces on the ground. Then on the way home I got banana split which is everyone knows is the superior flavor.

Saturday I packed up my shit and headed to Long Beach, NY where my parents and brother live. It was great to visit them. We ate so much great food while I was there. When I got in my parents took me and my brother out to a great BBQ spot in Seaford. It's called Smokin Al's. We started with a mountain (literally a mountain) of fried onions with some sweet and tangy sauce which I enjoyed. Then came the real meal: a half rack of baby back ribs and a plethora of pulled pork. For my sides I chose garlic mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, as did my mother and brother. I made short work of the ribs which were very tender and juicy. Their original BBQ sauce had a great flavor and I smothered the pulled pork with it. The amount of food that I had ordered turned out to be more than I could handle and I was not at my most gluttonous at this point. The meal also came with a piece of cornbread which was moist and tasty. A friend from work told me there is another location on Long Island but I can't remember which town she said.

[EDIT: OK Smokin Al's is in Bayshore, not Seaford, and I guess there is no other location. -J]

Fast forward to the next day, past my bagel breakfast and leftover lunch to dinner where my Dad fired up the grill. I started off with multiple handfulls of shrimp cocktail and a couple pickles. Then out came the chicken kebobs. Burnt a little on the outside and cooked perfectly on the inside with a sweet teriyaki glaze. Then my brother and I feasted on salmon filets, followed by london broil. The salmon was very fresh and tasted really good with some lemon drizzled on top. The steak was cooked medium-well and was very good. I usually use A1 steak sauce when I eat steak but there was some off-brand at the house so I ate it without sauce but the flavor of the steak more than made up for it.

Dinner the next night was LOBSTER. I love lobster. Jordan's lobster farm is a couple miles away from my parents house in the neighboring town of Island Park. They have lobsters of every size, a fish market, and prepared dishes. They even clean and cook the lobster there for you. We got three lobsters because my father was working late. We also got some baked clams and some lobster bisque for appetizers. Obviously it was good. There was a small dilemma though, we only had one cracker in the house. Luckily we were all able to share the cracker without too much of a hassle. My only real regret of the visit is that I didn't take a trip over to my favorite clamshack: Bigelow's. This place has the best fried clams and new england clam chowder outside of New England.

I drove back home Tuesday night. Since all my awesome meals throughout the trip were free I decided to spend some of my own money. My friend Jesse and I went out to the Taproom restaurant in Troy, NY. I started with some mussels in a hefeweizen cream sauce. These are the best mussels I have eaten in years. For my meal I got salmon with fruit salsa. It sounds kind of weird to mix fish and fruit together but they compliment each other very well. It is light yet full of flavor. It was a great meal to round out what otherwise was a perfect weekend foodwise.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Acts of Senseless Hunger

Today I'm going to try something a little different. Instead of focusing my energy on one topic I'm going to get into a few different things that are great and some other things that have been bothering me lately. I might even delve into some sweet food that I haven't eaten in a while and will ponder consuming in the coming days.


Apparently people in my general vicinity have begun abbreviating the word "pizza" to the repugnant "za." I am against this in every way shape and form. "Pizza" is not a difficult word to pronounce. It has two syllables, and any moron with the typical amount of chromosomes should be able to pronounce the word correctly. Even if you were the type of person who was unable to speak that easy noun correctly, it would probably be the "za" part giving you trouble. Pee is something that comes out of your body a few times a day and most five year olds say the word on a regular basis. However, associating pee and food is only for the most extreme deviants so obviously this most unnecessary abbreviation went to the other end of the spectrum. If you hear someone say "za" do the rest of the English speaking population a favor and slap them in the face. You know I will.

Not a sandwich?

Open Faced Sandwiches-
I went to dinner tonight and ended up ordering a hot roast beef sandwich. I didn't really know what I was ordering because my judgment was cloudy. I'm not exactly sure what I expected but I know what I got: a small amount of beef on two slices of white bread smothered in gravy. I'm not complaining about the taste because the beef was decent and the gravy was good. I AM complaining about the fact that this is somehow called a sandwich. I am under the impression that you need two slices of bread or two similar pieces of matter with meat or a different piece of matter in the middle. I now present to you the Merriam-Webster definition of a sandwich:

\ˈsan(d)-ˌwich, ˈsam-; dialect ˈsaŋ-\
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich died 1792 English diplomat
1 a: two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between b: one slice of bread covered with food
: something resembling a sandwich; especially : composite structural material consisting of layers often of high-strength facings bonded to a low strength central core

There it is, right in front of my stupid face; one slice of bread covered with food equals sandwich. My whole world has been turned upside down. From this point on I completely refuse to eat a sandwich with a fork and knife. Just because some stupid jerk dictionary tells me that is a sandwich does not mean I have to accept it.

The Real

Microwaved bacon. Turkey bacon. Vegetarian bacon.-

Lucky bear

My favorite fish in the whole world. I like salmon cooked any way in any style and even eat it raw. Some of my favorite salmon dishes are sake (salmon sushi), salmon teriyaki, grilled salmon, pan fried salmon with lemon and butter, baked salmon... Any way you could possibly cook salmon is something I would potentially enjoy. I often daydream about what life would be like to live in Washington or some northwestern state and fish for salmon for a living, or at my leisure. I doubt I would make much money if it was my occupation because much of the profits would be consumed, but I think it would be very rewarding.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



Saturday, June 7, 2008. My second Lobstefest ever, or Lobsterpalooza as they called it this year. Much like the year before I started the day out with a drink at Ralph's. Also like the year before I consumed massive quantities of beer in the microbrew tent that accompanies Lobsterfest. However most of that is unimportant at the moment. What's important is seafood. Seafood dipped in liquid butter.

Let's go back to the beginning. Not the beginning of Lobsterfest, which may have started over ten years ago: before I was living in Albany and before I had the courage to escape from my vegetarian mental prison. I want to go back to my first Lobsterfest, which was sometime in early June 2007. I had discovered a advertisement for the event while walking around the streets drunk and decided that it was the only place to be on that date. I convinced a few friends of mine to go and we all loved it. Bibs were worn, lobsters were eaten, beer was consumed (and some of it puked back up) and it started a tradition which will last for eternity (or extinction) .

Last year I was blindsided by the incredible aura of the fest, which is always held Washington Park, in Albany. This year I was going to come prepared. A week before the event another food friend had told me about a deal that upcoming Thursday (three days before Lobsterfest) at a local bar called Sutter's. This was the annual opening of their patio dining area. The deal included 3 dollar Sam Adams pints, 4 dollars for a dozen clams, and the kicker, ten bucks for a pound of alaskan king crab legs.

The next day a couple of co-workers were easily convinced to partake in the celebration of crab legs (though none of those poor saps made it to Lobsterfest). I got 12 clams and a pound of crab legs. While I wasn't expecting to be blown away by the seafood at a bar I frequent for wings I was pleasantly surprised at the taste and freshness of my food. The clams were good and the crab legs were incredible. Some of the best I have had in the area. This was the perfect warm up for Lobsterfest.


As the 7th approached I become more and more excited and antsy for my lobster feast. Although I had considered going with the surf and turf option I chose the twin lobster meal. I spent many hours debating with myself if I had made the right choice. The date arrived and I woke up slightly hung over from the night before. It was early and sunny and I could not stop thinking about the meal to come. The forecast was 90+ degree weather and I was thankful the event is always held in tents. I checked in with a few of my friends who would be eating with me and we met at Ralph's near the park to get a little hair of the dog.

After our pints we walked over to the park across the street and got in line for my food. While waiting on line I realized that the musical act which I was trying to ignore was playing. It was this acoustic guitar playing pansy named Ryan Cabrera who somehow is famous. It was slightly less annoying than the radio rock/emo band that played the year before but I would have much rather done without his obnoxious original songs, his ugly tambourine player, or his terrible cover of Stairway to Heaven.

As fast as humanly possible I got my two lobsters and my small tubs of butter and quickly went to work. I ripped off the tails, arms and claws, disposing of the body and innards which are about as appetizing as a slice of pizza from Little Anthony's. I fervently began cracking the shells and eating the delicious meat held inside. I started with a tail, then ate all four claws. I finally ate the second tail and sucked the remainder of the meat out of the legs. The lobster did not taste as good as the year before but it's fucking lobster and it's fucking delicious no matter what.

Some of my companions were amateurs. None of them got bibs, and most ended up with lobster debris all over their persons. One friend, a recovering vegan trying to redeem himself, even neglected to eat the tail meat (the best meat) until chided and scolded by my friend Jesse and myself. Two of the guys ended up splitting a twin lobster meal due to lack of funds, however one of them showed up as we were ending our meal and I laughed in his face and called him an idiot. I proved to be the supreme eating champion again, leaving no piece of lobster unshelled nor uneaten.


The microbrew tent was not quite as good as last year but they did have roast beef and pastrami sandwiches in the tent. A buddy who does not like roast beef yet bought a sandwich (BECAUSE HE'S STUPID) gave me the remainder (95%) of his sandwich. Towards the end the sandwiches were one sale two for one. I ate my second roast beef sandwich of the day right away and washed it down with a Belgian style white ale. Randomly between beers I would take a bite of the pastrami on rye stuffed into the cargo pocket of my shorts until Lobsterfest was over and my sandwich was completed.

Lobsterfest was a complete success. Even though the lobster wasn't the best, the roast beef and pastrami wasn't New York Jewish deli good, and the weather was hot as I've ever experienced in early June it was still a wonderful day. I ate my fill of Lobster (actually I could have eaten another one but I was most definitely satisfied), drank my fill of beer (and sweat most of it out), and continued one of my new favorite traditions.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wake up. Wake up. It's the first of the month.

In 2004, possibly the most alcoholic year of my life to date, a year before my 21st birthday, I moved into a house in what is known as the 'student ghetto.' It's not that bad of a neighborhood but it is filled with college students and poor families. The streets are covered in trash, on any given night there is a raging party on every block, and there is a pizza place and a bodega on every corner. My block was no different, and my house most certainly accounted for its share of garbage and parties. On the corner was Pine Hills Market, run by Joe and his wife.

Joe and his wife were a lovely couple. Joe would sell me beer underage because he either liked me or liked my regular business, but whatever the case he helped fuel a house which was constantly drinking and eating. We were eating breakfast sandwiches. All the time. Almost every day. My roommates, my friends who were constantly crashing on my couch, and of course my own self.

Sausage, egg and cheese, with hashbrown (think hashbrown patty), salt, pepper, and ketchup on a hard roll. That was the perfect sandwich for the time. It had almost all the ingredients for a good breakfast, it was freshly prepared on the griddle, it was always made with love, it was always handed off with a smile, and it was always heaven on the first bite. Some people may be thinking to themselves, where's the bacon? Well that stayed in the store because I don't like microwaved bacon. You wouldn't microwave a steak would you? No. You wouldn't. And I won't eat microwaved bacon.

All good things must come to an end however, Joe moved to Virginia, I moved uptown into a bigger house with bigger scumbags, and the tradition of hung over breakfast sandwiches was over, but the memory lives on in all our hearts.

In the war between fast food breakfast sandwiches there is one clear winner, McDonald's very own McGriddle. The syrup infused pancake-esque patties on the outside of the sandwich seal the deal and push the sandwich far ahead of the competition. If the McGriddle was a movie character I would compare it with Keyser Soze from the Usual Suspects. Other breakfast sandwiches know of its existence, and fear it. I heard a about a commercial planned for Burger King that involved their very own breakfast sandwich. Unfortunately the commercial had to be canned because of 'complications.'

The plot for the advertisement had the Wopper man, Wopper Jr. boy, and Spicy Chicken Sandwich kid, all on a cross-country trip. Wopper man was to be driving a minivan down a highway with the kids sleeping in back. Wopper man is showing signs of fatigue as the early morning comes and the sun rises. He needs a rest so he pulls over on the side of the road, splashes some water in his face and tries to get himself together. As he goes to pull back onto the road the Burger King breakfast sandwich man is supposed to come out with a cup of coffee to wake him up. It was a cute idea but someone kept killing the actors that were to play breakfast sandwich man. No one knows who committed the murders but I think we all have a good idea a certain competition breakfast sandwich was involved.

Although it is not technically a sandwich and more of a wrap, I still think the Pepperjack's breakfast burrito deserves some mention. Pepperjack's is a sandwich shop a few blocks down from my house in Albany. The breakfast burrito comes with ham, bacon, eggs, cheese, and hash browns in a wrap. I always substitute sausage for ham because canadian bacon just isn't that great. I'm declaring right now that canadian bacon is false breakfast meat and those who claim otherwise shall be tossed into the fire. The breakfast burrito is one of Pepperjack's most popular items and for some reason they will not deliver it, you can only pick it up or eat it there. It's worth the trip for sure.

My new favorite place to get a breakfast sandwich is Cafe 217. I wrote about this lovely place in an earlier entry. I'd like to state again, for the record, that Cafe 217 has perfectly cooked bacon. That is what makes this breakfast sandwich so good. The consistency in the crispiness borderlines OCD, and you have to admire a place that compulsively loves bacon that much. Some nights I wake up in a cold sweat, after a horrible nightmare; the cafe closed and was replaced with a Starbucks. I don't know what I would do if a tragedy like this occurred. Though if asked I would have no qualm with becoming a martyr for the cause and taking out the building in that case, because bacon is my god.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Love Boat

One of my favorite food styles is sushi. Some say sushi is art, and much like bad art, bad sushi can leave you feeling queasy and confused. GOOD sushi however will warm your heart and cleanse your soul, much like the embrace of an 18 year old co-ed. The quality of the sushi is probably 75% freshness of fish and 25% competence of the sushi chef preparing your meal. Do not go to a Chinese food takeout shithole and expect to get any good sushi. Treat yourself right, go to a sushi house run by Japanese people and give them all your money, because it's worth it.

My favorite kind of sushi is salmon, which also happens to be my favorite fish. Almost nothing beats the taste of fresh salmon. Sometimes I lay awake at night staring at my ceiling, and pondering to myself, how much better would this world be if every man woman and child were able to have fresh salmon regularly. I dream about rivers filled with the beautiful fish, rivers that almost seem to be more salmon than water.

Some other kinds of sushi that I enjoy are eel, tuna, and shrimp. I have had many other pieces but rarely get them. I also like rolls a lot. Salmon roll, tuna roll, shrimp tempura roll, dragon roll, tiger roll, salmon lover's roll, spicy salmon roll, spicy tuna roll, california roll, and even a cucumber roll from time to time. Any rolls that have cream cheese in them can fuck off. I don't know if they ever did this in Japan, or if this is something new that americanized sushi chefs decided to implement for a more 'local' flavor, but it's disgusting. When I see one of these rolls on the menu I think about the middle aged man who lives in his moms basement who gets turkey and cream cheese sandwiches brought down to his lair while watching old episodes of Battlestar Gallactica.

One the negative aspects of sushi is that poor people (or fat people) can't get full off of a sushi meal without spending ridiculous amounts of money or filling up on rice instead of fish. This problem has been solved in many areas, including my hometown of Long Beach. When I go to Long Beach to visit my parents there is a mandatory trip to all you can eat sushi at Yummy Yummy. For $25 and a smile you can choose from many varieties of sushi pieces, rolls, and a specialty roll (which usually goes for about $10 alone). One year we had an contest to see who could eat the most sushi. My current roommate Jesse won, and if you count each section of your roll as an individual piece, his total was 67. I only totaled 48 but I think I could have gotten 60. I knew I had been beaten and decided to bow out of the race at that point. What was most impressive about Jesse's feat was not the amount of sushi per say, but the fact that he had done it all, the night after Thanksgiving, and he still had not taken his Thanksgiving dinner shit yet. Incredible.

The idea of all you can eat sushi is groundbreaking, but it lacks something. There is a certain air of gluttony in this nation that seems to be left unaddressed. While you are getting all you can eat, you must make several orders to the waitress and sometimes wait for your next round of sushi to be made. If a restaurant is busy this could take a while. Some say that its good to digest your food and have some space in between but thats not how I, and a multitude of others feel; especially the people at Minado.

It's hard to explain the feeling you get when you walk into this place. It's kind of like a combination of your first blowjob and the scene in Jurrasic Park when they see the dinosaurs for the first time and Dr. Hammond exclaims, "Welcome to Jurrasic Park." The amount of sushi laid out is almost unfathomable. The one that I have been to on a few occasions is in Carle Place. There are a few others in the Northeast, including one in New York City but I have not been to any of them. All their fish is really fresh and it is all prepared with expertise. The seafood and other things that have there are really good too but that's not very important at this moment. I'd say the one thing that really brought a tear to my eye is the huge plate of salmon sashimi they have next to the wasabi and ginger. Seeing that much fresh salmon piled high for anyone to sample or pig out on is heavenly.

My favorite place (and now only place) to get sushi in the Capital District is Sushi-Tei. It is located in Guilderland, next door to a guns and ammo store. The freshest sushi in the area and definitely the best deals. Their wait staff is excellent. My usual waitress Jacki is one of the nicest people I have ever encountered working in food service. If you dine in you can get each piece for a dollar. They have a lunch special called the special rolls box that includes two rolls of your choice, 4 dumplings, miso soup, ginger salad and some fruit and only for $9. At many places you would spend that much on the two rolls themselves. They also have my current favorite specialty roll, the tiger roll. The tiger roll is a tuna roll with a fresh piece of salmon laid over the top. It seems so simple but the two flavors combined are enough to give your tongue an erection.

Some people love to preach about sushi etiquette and claim that if you eat improperly or ignore certain customs it is insulting to your sushi chef. I find this ridiculous. In every sushi place that I have eaten in etiquette is highly ignored and the thing that will gain you respect is being polite and friendly. It might help your case to have some knowledge of sushi but I doubt anyone will look down their nose at you if you are mostly ignorant. Just be willing to try new things without making faces like an 8-year-old.

Sushi gets you high. Eating food that looks that good, that tastes that good, will make you feel good. I wholeheartedly believe that eating sushi can release endorphins in your brain. I have had other people tell me they have gotten high after eating a sushi meal. Maybe its the fish, or maybe its the atmosphere, or maybe its the sake-bombs. Whatever it is, its a great feeling.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Last night I did the greatest thing that a man can do. I wove bacon, and then I ate it. The process of weaving bacon is a very simple one. You get a package of bacon, and then you lay the strips down in an interconnecting pattern. If you can't figure it out then you're probably too simple to enjoy the finer things in life, like running your toes through the sand, the smell of fresh mountain air, or a perfectly woven mat of bacon.

Raw weave.

I have never cooked bacon in the oven before and this scared me because I did not want to burn the bacon. I was also fearful that the bacon would not cook similarly throughout. Some of these fears came to fruition in the form of one side that was partially burned (but not ruined) and the middle being a little bit more on the tender side. Mostly the bacon was crispy and delicious though.

Fresh out the oven.

After the bacon was cooled off and some of the grease dripped off I cut the mat into four triangles so that I could share with my friends.

Its baconinny.

I made myself a bacon sandwich. It was the other two triangles (A LOT OF BACON) on two slices of bread. No vegetables. No condiments. Just bacon. Sweet beautiful bacon.

Happiness is a warm...

Yes the bacon mat was a successful endeavor. It tasted great and the smell lingered throughout the house even until the early morning when I left for work. I had a feeling my vegan roommate was going to complain about the wonderful meat smell and I prepared accordingly. I saved a small vial of bacon grease and awaited his arrival. As soon as he walked in the door his head turned green and spun all the way around. He began to speak in vegan tongues that only other homos might understand. Luckily I was ready for such an occasion and showered him with grease exclaiming, "THE POWER OF BACON COMPELS YOU." The vegan was thus banished to his room to eat spinach and brown shit that vaguely resembles sausage.

"The power of bacon compels you."

While the weaving of the bacon mat was perfect the cooking process still needs to be improved to get that perfect crispy texture throughout. Also it is important to figure out a way to cook the bacon without burning a single millimeter of the sacred strips. All in all I would have to say it was a great idea. Not my idea but a great one. As far as I know the original idea is from If you try this at home please be mindful of your bacon and always remember to share with friends.

A few more photos:

Bacon Presentation.

A little rough around the edges.

Taste the future.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Pizza the Hut (Part 2)

There are some places that claim to make and deliver pizza to your homes. Please be advised that these places do not sell actual pizza and instead manufacture some processed factory meals that somewhat resemble pizza, this is franchise pizzugh (pronounced peet-sugh). Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's, and Little Ceaser's are the main culprits in this giant scam. These places don't make pizza, they reheat frozen trash and put it in a cardboard box and charge you extra it.

Pizza Hut might be the worst of all. Number one they are owned by Pepsi, which means they are under the same umbrella as Taco Bell*, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Long John Silver's. The only redeeming quality Pizza Hut has is the breadsticks, which are decent at best. In the Albany area there are Pizza Hut buffets that serve unlimited pizza during lunch time. I've been to two different Pizza Hut buffets and both restaurants smell like feet, much like the pizza they serve. Every time I leave one of these places I feel sick, like I just ate a block of limestone and washed it down with a cup of grease. Please steer clear of these places unless you are a glutton who is missing their tongue. Even worse is the Pizza Hut express where I believe they use a microwave to reheat the crap instead of a real oven. Pathetic.

Domino's is slightly better than Pizza Hut but only based on the fact that they have cheesy bread. Their pizza also smells like feet. The thin crust pizza is closer to cardboard than it is to food. This is the kind of place that I make the mistake of ordering from because there is either nothing else open or because my good judgment has been impaired by mass amounts of alcohol. Their 555 deal seems like a good idea before you order it but soon you will be laying on your couch crying about your guts being ripped apart like your mother's panties after she meets your new daddy off J-Date.

I haven't eaten Little Ceaser's since I was about 6 or 7 years old and I have never had the displeasure of eating Papa John's but I can only assume that they are as bad if not worse than Pizza Hut and Domino's. Franchise pizza is the bottom of the barrel in the fast food chain. The only thing lower is fast food seafood which should not be eaten by any humans. Franchise pizza is a fucking disgrace. Franchise pizza is a fucking waste. Franchise pizza get out of my face.

*Please do not try to bring up the argument of Taco Bell vs. Mexican food. That is a totally different discussion and has nothing to do with pizza.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Cardinal Sins of Pizza (Part 1)


The best pizza ever comes from New York City. Down there you can walk into almost any random pizza shop and get one of the best slices you've ever had. The farther away from NYC you get the worse the pizza is. Pizza is pretty good on Long Island, in Westchester county, and in parts of New Jersey, but beyond that a major decline in the quality of pizza, and pizza culture in general.

Up here in Albany, NY the pizza is fucking awful. Some of these places try to pass off the most disgusting slop as pizza. The number one offender is Mild Wally's. This place used to have a great deal where after 11pm a slice of cheese pizza (if you can call it that) was 50 cents and you could get two for a dollar. I would get drunk off 40s of Old E and walk down from my dorm (my second year of college) or my friends apartment which was around the street, and buy a slice or two because I had no job and it was cheap food.

Mild Wally's, where the sidewalk is strewn with half eaten slices and paper plates. Mild Wally's, where anyone who has actually lived in the capital district region for more than a few years refuses to eat. Mild Wally's where the delivery men spend more time standing outside smoking cigarettes than delivering food. Mild Wally's where on any given night your pizza will be a slimy, sloppy, soupy, running, tasteless glob of shitty ingredients not cooked long enough for any normal human to enjoy. Mild Wally's: the home of shitty pizza.

This is the first cardinal sin of pizza: a crust that is not crispy.
A crust without crisp is like a bike without wheels. It's useless and it makes small children cry. How is one supposed to enjoy their pizza when it is flopping downwards and dripping the cheesy contents onto your plate/floor/pants? Sometimes I dream about a pizza vigilante that goes around murdering the owners of these establishments and starting grease fires in the kitchens of pizza offenders. If this combination of the Punisher and the food snob inside me were to exist it would probably start at Mild Wally's.

(This is part one of a multi-part series about crimes against pizza and human taste buds in general. It's time we all did our part to improve pizza culture and stop supporting these shithole pizzerias.)