Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Curse You, DiGiorno's Microwaveable Rising Crust Pizza

... you have burned my tongue and failed to quench my hunger. And although your crust DID rise, you failed to meet my exceedingly high expectations. But don't come whining to me -- you brought this on yourself. You're the one who advertised yourself as that sexy pie indistinguishable from freshly baked delivery pizza. But your crust was puffy and tasteless and the middle stayed a melted blob of doughy goo.

So a pox upon thee, DiGiorno's Microwaveable Rising Crust Pizza. May you fester in the bowels of culinary hell.

And curse you, Mollie Stone's, for tempting me to buy a 99c canteloupe, only to have it blossom in a glorious explosion of fungus in just FOUR DAYS.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I grew up watching classic James Bond movies with my dad, much to the disapproval of my mother (she wasn't a big fan of the sex and violence). Now, after having seen the Austin Powers movies, it's pretty amusing to see the original movies again, which are pretty much self-parodying to begin with.

Earlier today, You Only Live Twice was playing on AMC Classics. Maybe it was the Thai curry talking, but I know I'm not the only one who noticed that one of the ninjas rappelling down the volcano into Blofeld's lair had something like 7 gunshot wounds to the back, further proof that ninjas are invincible.

On another note, my first attempt at Thai curry went OK. Things I learned:
  1. Flap meat != flank steak
  2. With lower-quality cuts of meat, baking soda is your friend... works well as a tenderizer
  3. Shallots make a huge difference
  4. Coconut milk != coconut cream ... save the thick stuff for candies and cakes.
  5. It's hard to do metric to British conversions late at night with 5 hours of sleep
  6. Burning through 4 quarts of Thai Beef Curry is easier said than done.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

That shiny-eyed luster

... seems to have disappeared sometime between August 7th and the 15th. I'm not just talking about myself - the rest of the class seems to be suffering from a general increase in stress level. I don't blame them - we have 4 tests/projects this week, and had 4 tests/projects the week before. From this point on, our schedules just get more and more hectic. I'm learning to be a great crammer.

One of our lecturers came back from vacation a few days ago. Today, he had this to say:

"I can look around right now and see that the pace has really started to pick up. I can tell because everyone has lost that 'I'm so excited to be here' look, and it's been replaced by stressed out faces."

He got that right.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Windy City Chocolate Milkshake Remix

Last night's trip to Rosamunde's Sausage Grill on Haight St reminded me of another place specializing in luncheon meats of the grilled elongated variety.

My first meal in Chicago (not counting the late night snack of Cantonese Style Tomato Onion Beef my sister-in-law whipped up for me when I arrived from the airport) was a Chicago style hot dog. No ketchup, just mustard, relish, onions, 'kraut, tomato, pickles, and celery salt. The place: The Wiener's Circle, a tiny little wiener shack off Diversey Parkway, and one of the few places (if not the only place) that char-grills their dogs to add that little bit of extra flavor and crunch.

I once read an interview with Mario Batali, who said that his favorite meal in Chicago was a Chicago-style hot dog, but that he always requests his grilled crispy to make the texture more interesting. He was right. A few days after my Wiener's Circle experience, I had another hot dog at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This one was not butterflied and char-grilled; it was boiled whole. Sure, the dog was nearly twice the size of the one I had at Wiener's circle, but at the first bite, I knew it missing something: the crisp crackle as your teeth start to cut through the charred, flaky skin; the aroma and slightly bitter, salty flavor spreading over your tongue, then washing away in a sea of fixin's.

At Wiener's Circle, all types of people came in for their thrice-weekly fix: businesswomen in their pressed suits, construction workers, a janitor, rich people, poor people, white people, black people... An old black gentleman in jeans and a collared shirt sat between a well-heeled businessman and a chunky construction worker at the counter inside. No one cared about their pride, their job, or what their colleagues would think about visiting such a dingy little joint. Why? The food. It was soooo good.

So after hearing so much about this place, I went. Wiener's Circle... was good. Cheap, too. $2.35 for a char-dog, $1.50 for fries. My brother and I didn't even break the $10 mark. A few days later when I told my friend Tony (whom I mentioned before) where we went, he gave me a funny half smile and took a sudden interest in my choice of venue.

"Wiener's Circle, eh? What was your impression of the place?"

"Oh, a good little hole in the wall, good food. Seemed like a place the locals knew about and everyone likes."

"Who did you go with?"

"My brother," I replied.

"Were you drunk?"

"Huh? No."

"Did you go at lunch or at night?"

"Lunch. " I was starting to get confused. "What's the difference?"

"Ah. I see. You had a fundamentally different experience, going in the daytime. Wiener's Circle is where we go when we're piss drunk and coming back from clubbing..."

Tony began explaining why Wiener's Circle was so well known among the denizens of the Windy City. Apparently, the restaurant is notorious for the foul-mouthed women working the grill, taking orders. "You have to cuss out everyone to get anything done," he explained. Think Soup Nazi, except hot dogs instead of soup, sassy black woman instead of enraged Armenian man, and 12 of them instead of one. If you don't have your order ready, they will cuss at you. If you don't return the abuse, they will ignore you. And if they ignore you, you will go hungry.

One time, Tony and his friends were wrapping up a long night of clubbing with a trip to Wiener's Circle. One of their buddies had never been there, so they told him to order a chocolate milkshake. "Whatever you do, you HAVE to order a chocolate milkshake, even if they start screaming at you. You have to get it."

It wasn't on the menu. And it cost twenty dollars. And, the conversation went a little bit like this:

"Twenty dollars? The f--k? The F--K? What the hell kind of - f--k you, I'm not paying twenty dollars for a chocolate milkshake. Three at most. Three dollars."

"Twenty dollars! And if you don't give me the goddamn twenty dollars, you ain't gettin' no f--kin' milkshake!"

"Come on man, just get the milkshake."

A few choice expletives later, fingers grabbed cash, and a twenty dollar bill slid across the counter.

He said, "Alright, now where's my goddamn milkshake?"

Whereupon the woman's top came off and she gave him a chocolate milkshake.


He was traumatized.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Excerpts from The Book of Dave

Chapter 25
1. And then Rabbi Murphy saith unto them, "Behold the wonders of the body. Are not amino acids glorious?
2. "For the buffer that is bicarbonate doth preserve our lives in a wondrous state
3. "Yea, for without we should not live."
4. But the Israelites did not hear, for lo, many had fallen asleep.
5. And then Rabbi Anderson saith unto them, "Behold the wonders of the cell. Are they not a wondrous thing?
6. "For the filaments doth anchor each cell to each other, yea, unto every little thing, from the largest hemidesmosome to the tightest junction
7. "Yea, for without we should not live."
8. And the cell was wondrous indeed, but many Israelites did not hear, for lo, many had fallen asleep.
9. Among those was a man named David. Now David was a shepherd of the tooth, and a follower of Incisor.
10. And he cried out loudly, saying, "Lo, for these lectures have become unto us a pain to our nether regions, even more so than that which is alginate."
11. And he resolved to rest his eyes and return to the temple to cast his gypsum idol and carve a wax idol to bow down to it.
12. But the LORD sent to David a deep sleep, and he slept for 120 minutes.
13. And when he awoke, he ran to the Temple of Incisor and found no one there, for the High Priest of Carving had already left, and many of the Israelites had left as well.
14. And he despaired, saying, "Alas, that I need to carve the wax by the morrow! For though this idol is not yet due, I must strive to discipline my soul in the ways of virtue! For when the time shall come that my knowledge be examined and my insight judged, I shall not be totally hosed."
15. And as he stood there, he hungered mightily.
16. But lo, there remained two faithful disciples of Incisor by the names of Jennifer and Cynthia, and Rico was with them.
17. For Jennifer and Cynthia had been carving and casting their idols of wax and gypsum while David remained asleep.
18. Rico, Jennifer's faithful companion, was just there.
19. And it came to pass that the three of them hungered mightily for the flesh of animals and the grains of the earth and they resolved to eat at D&A Cafe.

20. And when they saw David in despair, they said to themselves, "Lo, here is another whose eyes are fogged and belly cries out. It is good that he join our group to feast.
21. "For then there shall be no third wheel."
22. So they rode in Cynthia's chariot to the Richmond, to the D&A Cafe.
23. And they feasted on tofu and rice, and prawns of the honey walnut variety, and on fish and vegetables and all manner of good things of the earth, for the price of thirty shekels. And they were amazed at the quality and price of the food.
24. And there was laughter and conversation and all had a great time.
25. Then they said to one another, "Behold, we are in a foreign place. What manner of tchotchkes lie in the freaky shops around us?"
26. So they went to a place down the street, where there were all manner of things.
27. And they found a cup, that which was carved in the likeness of a skull, and they laughed mightily, for all 38 of its teeth were maxillary central incisors.

28. And in this store they saw a wall of shaded spectacles, all of which were Chanel and Gucci, but which were false.
29. And they said to themselves, "Are not these shades ridonkulous? For Lo, though they say Chanel and Gucci, they are but tacky ripoffs."
30. And they said to themselves, "We must take pictures."
31. And so they took several pictures in ridiculous poses and the like, which pissed off the storeowners mightily.

32. And after all had come to pass, they again boarded the chariot of Cynthia to return home.
33. And as they passed along the Road of Geary, they saw a wondrous sight, a four wheeled chariot in the shape of a ginormous sausage.

34. And they were amazed, for this was the Wienermobile. And though the four disciples had heard of its glory, they had not seen it for themselves.

35. And there was much rejoicing.

36. And they said to themselves, "Lo, although we are completely hosed for the morrow, we can retire with joy and thanksgiving, for we have seen the Wienermobile and yea, the face of God himself.
37. "And we have mocked the false idol for its complete disregard for dental anatomy."
38. And they resolved to see each other in the morning at the Temple of Incisor, of which they had no real choice in the matter.
39. And there was evening, and there was morning, the next day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Chez Nous

I've finally figured out how to post photos from my mobile phone to this blog. So, without further ado, I give you pictures from dinner at Chez Nous, about a week or two ago. I don't remember exactly - time flies while you're in dental school.

Spinakopita - spinach and feta in phyllo dough. Awesome.

Were these the Lamb Chops with Lavender Sea Salt? I don't remember.

Duck Confit, encrusted with Moroccan Spices

A pot of Chocolate. Very good. Decadent.

This creme brulee was one of the best I've ever had. Top 3 for sure.

French cake-things in creme anglaise. I don't remember what they were called.

There were also pommes frites with red pepper aioli ... i.e., fancy fries with fancy-pants mayo. Thanks again to Dr. and Mrs. Grafton for treating us to dinner that night.