Monday, July 21, 2014

A Collage of Gordon Ramsay Expressions

You'd think with the way he wrinkles his face in some of these expressions that his skin is made from that super elastic rubber material that's used in those stretchy action figures. Here's a compilation of some of the stills that I've taken over the past two seasons of Hell's Kitchen that I used for my nightly recaps. Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The All American Dessert, What Else?

The All-American Dessert has become a 4th of July tradition, like the Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Twilight Zone Marathon. Its layer after layer of sugary goodness can give you cavities just by looking at it. Just the presence of it in a room inspires staunch patriotism. My friends...the All American Dessert:

I guess this isn't a good post to follow up my cavity questioning post with

This was probably one of the more tastier versions of "The Dessert" recent years. I found a useful trick is using Jello brand gelatin rather than the store brand. For whatever reason the store brand doesn't settle as firm so you get a much softer product. Jello firms very well and as a result it holds things together. 

The assembly line

In the past I've taken pictures of the step-by-step procedure, but here's what all of the ingredients look like together. Two big boxes of Jello (red and blue coloring), a pound cake, two pounds of strawberries, one thing a piece of raspberries, blue berries, and maraschino cherries, and three things of whipped cream just to be safe. You may be able to get away with two but I like to be generous. 

This dessert and I go back years when I was a kid and my mom made it. It was always the hit of the party. In recent years I've tried applying the dessert for different holidays but have had varying success:

All American Dessert - Thanksgiving Edition

The Thanksgiving Edition has worked decently the two times I've made it. Instead of red and blue Jello I went with orange and black (black cherry) and for fruit I went with blackberries, bananas, and kiwis. I might consider trying this combination again. 

All American Dessert - Christmas Edition

The Christmas Edition completely flunked. It looks gorgeous and the green and red Jello is an attractive combo, but the complementary fruit of grapes, canned cherries, and kiwis just didn't work. Like at all. I think the leftover of this guy rested in the fridge for about a week before being thrown out and as far as I can tell it's the only version of "The Dessert" to be thrown out. It just lacked the sweetness and cohesiveness of the other two. 

I was looking through the Greg's Gourmet archives and found that I also made a Christmas Edition dessert one year prior and was also disappointed primarily due to the ingredients:

All American Dessert - Another Christmas Edition

In this version I actually forgot the grapes, which you think would have helped the dessert's cause but unfortunately I also used a sub-par poundcake which didn't absorb the cake well at all, so basically this thing turned into one big giant mess when trying to scoop it out. 

Maybe I'll try a red, white, and blue version at the holidays and just gamble on finding decent berries. If I recall correctly, the blackberries for Thanksgiving actually worked out nicely. Maybe use them against the blue Jello? I don't know. But I'm sure you'll be hearing about it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Can Cavities Disappear?

I went to the dentist yesterday. Obviously being a huge foodie as well as maintaining a massive sweet tooth, the checkups every six months are integral to good oral hygiene. Being a 90s kid, oral hygiene was bestowed upon my peers and I as if it were the Holy Grail. Getting a cavity was the equivalent of shooting up heroin and if you didn't have to get braces then you were like Bruce Willis from Unbreakable - the only guy who survived the train wreck that is teenage orthodontics. I've always managed to get good reports from my dentists over the years. Never had a cavity as a kid and clean checkups have been routine. But that wasn't always so.

This picture has nothing to do with the story, but I wanted to include it to let you know that this is serious business

In the summer of 2005 I went to my dentist in Rocklin. It was my second visit to him and he found one or two cavities. I was crushed as they were the first blemishes on an otherwise perfect oral career. How could this have happened? It could have been all the Jones Soda I was drinking at the time but I always took care of my teeth. Finally I relented and figured these things just happen, so I went in to get them drilled. Six months later I go in for my next checkup and this time he finds THREE cavities. THREE!! WTF!?!?! He takes a picture of one of the teeth and shows it off on the big screen. Let me tell you, seeing a tooth up close is really disgusting even if it is pearly white. Sure enough there was a tiny hole on one of my back molars but it still didn't make sense to me. I was even MORE careful with my oral hygiene following the first cavities. After having anything with sugar I would rinse my mouth out with water. And now I have three more of these things?

Cavities aside, I didn't really like this dentist or the office. Didn't like their approach, didn't like their bedside manner, and I didn't like how they told my sister during her checkup that "oooh, your brother has some cavities!" HELLO, DOCTOR-PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY!!! Why don't you gossip about the stench coming out of my ass while you're at it? Anyway, my whole family switched dentists because we just didn't like them so, needless to say, I did not go back to get those three cavities drilled. I figured I'd just let the next guy find them.

But it never happened.

I've been to three dentists since the three cavity exam and NONE of them have spotted anything. I purposely don't say anything because part of me is curious to see if they can even spot them, but lo and behold it has been eight years and not a thing has been heard of from those cavities. I've had my wisdoms out, I've had retainers built, I've had about 16 exams since 2006 and nothing has surfaced. It leads me to wonder if the cavities were so tiny that good oral hygiene was simply enough to close them up.

That being said, if that's all it takes to close up a tiny cavity, then why was the dentist so insistent that we drill them? I figure it's been long enough to determine that if these cavities were a threat then they'd mobilize by now, and surely one of the three dentists since then would have spotted something. But instead it's been all quiet on the oral front. I've had no issues, no pain, no nothing. It also makes me question the validity of getting those first cavities drilled. Was it necessary? Were they the same size as the others? I really don't know. Maybe that particular dentist was applying some kind of tooth decay formula onto my teeth which was causing the cavities to form, thus a way to line his pockets with all of our hard earned money. I mean, my first checkup with him went fine, no cavities there. It was the second and third checkups where the cavities were found.

Eh. Doubtful. But it's a cool storyline anyway.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gold Plated Doritos?

Here's a bizarre promotion I came across at Albertsons that I'm sure others have wondered about as well. So you buy a bag of Doritos and then you have a chance to win...a gold plated Dorito? What the hell? Check it out:

More like "You Could WTF a gold-plated Doritos limited edition chip replica" I the only one asking WTF is going on here? This isn't a promotion to win money or a trip or even a new lawnmower. No, this is a promotion to win...a gold chip replica? What the hell is a gold chip replica? You mean, like, a gold potato chip? But it's a replica of a potato chip? Why would anyone want to win a replica potato chip? What butthole walks into the market and says "WHOA! I COULD WIN A GOLD REPLICA POTATO CHIP! HEY, I GOTTA HAVE THIS!!!"

It's almost like someone in the marketing department was doing someone else a favor. It's like the company president told marketing "My eight year old daughter came up with this idea so make it happen." 

One winning bag per display and probably a billion displays in the about limited

I like how the bags say "Jacked" on them. Yeah, this is a jacked up promotion all right. And if it's a replcia of a 24K gold-plated Dorito, then does that mean it's not real gold? It has to mean that. It's a replica of gold. So it's fake...whatever the prize actually is. 

Just think, somewhere in this display is a winning Jacked bag for a "limited edition" gold chip replica!

I don't know, man. This promotion is just weird since my first thought when looking at this is just wtf. Doritos usually has great promotions and creative marketing. Either the president's eight year old daughter is now head of the marketing department or someone was sniffing the powdered cheese when putting this idea together. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Promiscuous Fork (Pacific Beach)

THE PROMISCUOUS FORK - Oh, I had such high hopes for this place. With such an orgasmic name you'd hope this joint would deliver the goods but unfortunately it falls short. First of all, this is the "sequel" to the main location in La Jolla which, according to Yelp reviews, is like a staple to the area. Second, this location just opened up within the past couple of months so it's understandable that there may be a few kinks to work out. Possibly. Maybe. I'm not sure. But let's get right into it.

The menu is interesting. Pork quesadillas, lamb lollipops, and jalapeno poppers highlighted the appetizer section while a jalapeno burger and crab/pastrami sandwich highlighted the entrees. Naturally I went with neither and instead selected "Just a Forkin' Burger" because I wasn't feeling adventurous and was sitting with a bunch of girls, so I couldn't risk a jalapeno burger in the event that it was too hot, otherwise I'd look like a wuss. Yes, if you order jalapenos and can't down them then you're a wuss. Just sayin'.

Anyway, the burger was good and looks just as impressive:

I know, you see the macaroni salad and think I'm turning into a loser for the not ordering fries but the odd thing about this place is THEY DON'T HAVE ANY!!! In fact, they have no fried food. In rumor, the owner doesn't believe in fried foods, hence the restaurant does not have a fryer, therefore there are no fries. But what are you really sacrificing in terms of calories with a burger this size? It actually seems kind of pretentious that they'd serve a burger this big with jalapenos covered in cream cheese, bacon, and grease yet refuse to give us fries. More like the Pretentious Fork, am I right? For that same non-fried food belief, there are no desserts on the menu which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Not even ice cream. I mean, you don't need a fryer for desserts...come to think of it you don't need a fryer for some kind of potato side either. I don't get it.

Anyway, the macaroni salad tasted like shit. Seriously, some of the worst I've ever had. It tasted as if the noodles had been simmering in a pool of tepid water and then lightly seasoned with the crap stuck beneath my shoe. It was absurd how awful this stuff was but the other sides of coconut jalapeno rice and quinoa weren't anything to get excited about. YEAH! MY HALF POUND BURGER AND GREASY JALAPENO POPPERS COME WITH A SIDE OF QUINOA! #EXXXCITED!!!

The actual layout of the restaurant is pretty horrible. It's one of those places where you order at the counter and then they give you a number and bring the food to your table. So to do this they have a line forming right down the middle of the restaurant, which means if you're seated at any of those middle-quadrant tables, you're gonna have people standing next to you as they wait to order food. Dude, who the hell designed this? I could only imagine how miserable it would be sitting there in the event that Sammy Shitty Pants decides to stop by for some grub. Oh yeah, when you pay they have a section on the receipt for a tip. I love that, asking for a tip before any service has been provided whatsoever. Real cool. 

So yeah. The burgers are good but there's not much else going on that would make me want to return. Like at all. I'd say change the ordering format and get over your grudge of fried foods (or perhaps explore new ideas) as a way to improve. And the macaroni salad? Flush it down the toilet cause that's the only mouth that'll be willing to down it. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

I Pissed Off Purina

Well, maybe in the smallest of senses I managed to tick them off. I came across the below bag of Beggin' Strips on the clearance shelf at Albertsons last week.

The most important thing when purchasing dog treats is to know where the bag was printed

Obviously the "Printed in the USA" is the most important piece of information here since, you know, the bag is what our dogs are going to be consuming.

So anyway, these were on the clearance rack. Not sure why. Maybe they weren't selling. We've all been hearing about the dog food and treat recalls of products that are either made in China or utilize ingredients from China, so pet owners are becoming much more observant of what they're feeding their four legged friends. Unfortunately there's a lot of grey in what the FDA requires pet food companies to put on their labels in relation to where the ingredients come from. Sure, it can be manufactured in St. Louis, but where are the ingredients originating? There aren't any regulations to list that on the package, though I do believe there are regulations that state if the company is asked, they have to be truthful.

I took this "Printed in USA" bag to Twitter. Keep in mind that Beggin' Strips are produced by Purina which is owned by Nestle, so this is big business we're talking here. What happened next...kind of ticked me off. Here is the brief yet informational exchange with some of my added commentary:

wyld_stallyn (me): #purina #begginstrips manufactured in US, bag printed in US, but where are the ingredients from? @Purina @Beggin #huh
Beggin (them): Most ingredients are sourced near our plants and a limited amount from other countries. Chat us: - BT
PS: After each of their tweets they become more and more adamant about chatting with them. Since they're trying to avoid admitting where their ingredients come from, it's pretty obvious why.
emilie80 (another girl who decided to chime in): @wyld_stallyn @Purina @Beggin I would stick strictly to USA products. These were making dogs sick.
wyld_stallyn: Cool, which countries?
Beggin: @emilie80 All Beggin products are made in the USA. Please chat us with questions: Thanks so much - B/T
Beggin: @wyld_stallyn We'd love to assist you further. Please chat us here: We look forward to chatting with you. - B/T.
PS: See what just happened here? They want to get us off their Twitter as quickly and quietly as possible. The only problem, however, is that Beggin already set themselves up by saying in the beginning that they get some ingredients from other countries, which obviously means the person I'm talking to knows exactly where they're coming from but has been trained to avoid saying "China" wherever possible.
wyld_stallyn: That's nice of you but all I really wanna know is which countries you previously mentioned that your ingredients come from.
PS: Checkmate. I suppose I could have said "Cool, like Germany, England, or the Falkland Islands?"
Beggin: We do source a limited amount from other countries including China. Thank you. - B/T.
PS: I think I ruined his day. Notice he didn't want to chat with me anymore. But Purina had to try and save face here.
Purina: @emilie80 This isn't true. Our products are 100% safe to feed. Chat us here for more info  -
PS: Purina is referencing emilie80's above comment, not refuting what Beggin said, nor bothering to address anything I had said. 
wyld_stallyn: @Beggin thank you for the information :)
wyld_stallyn: @Purina @emilie80 As long as ingredients are coming from China then that's what people are going to believe.

So there you have it. Now, let me be clear: I realize it's difficult to get pet food products that don't contain ingredients from China because A) these big pet food companies are so deceiving and B) the stuff that's not from these big companies can sometimes be more expensive and harder to find. But when you ask a company where their ingredients come from, they should be confident in giving you an answer and it's pretty clear here that this guy was trained to avoid using the C word and try to get me off the Twitter waves. His goal was to get me to chat with them, not to answer my question, but he clearly set himself up from the beginning when he mentioned the importing of ingredients from other countries.

Always know what you're feeding your pet. In fact, if you check out a non-chain pet store you're gonna find food and treats that are far superior in quality to the kind you'd find at Petsmart or Petco. The reality is you CAN make a pet food without importing ingredients from China or basing the entire production of them there, and whichever multi-billion dollar company decides to finally invest some money will get a HUGE PR bump.

Thanks Purina. Great customer service skills you got there. Just kidding. It was horrible. Bad customer service = bad press.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blame Gordon Ramsay

Yes, I'm still here. Yes, I still check this website daily. A couple points I want to bring up:

*There were two reasons I got burned out on maintaining this blog. The first was the daily recaps of Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef in 2012 and 2013. Specifically with Hell's Bitchin', the episodes just got so bad that it was almost unbearable to watch. Pair that with the fact that I had to watch each episode twice in order to get a recap out, it just became more of an annoyance than a fun side hobby. The second reason is that when it came to food pictures, I found myself being really repetitive with what I was posting, so, yeah...

*I've been quietly watching Hell's Bitchin' this season and it is an improvement over the last two seasons. There's been only one To Be Continued episode whereas at this time last season there had been about five. And believe me, the one TBC episode thus far was probably one of the worst Hell's Bitchin' episodes ever. And seriously, To Be Continued? It's a damn reality show, new episodes every week. Of course it's gonna be continued. The concept of a TBC for a reality show is so damn dumb that only Gordon Ramsay would be so blind as to its idiocy.

*Graham Norton has lost a crapload of weight.

*The Purge is a horrible movie - I still get comments about this.

*If you're gonna send me an e-mail pitching your online marketing services to me, it's probably best not to start said e-mail with "Dear Team".

As always, thanks for reading!