Horribly Expired Strawberry Wafers

The other day we stopped at a gas station. My wife and I were a bit hungry and so we decided to to grab a snack. My wife loves those wafer cookies, you know the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry kind. They used to come in a variety pack that had all three flavors. Unfortunately, all I seem to be able to find are the individual packs.

Anyhow, the gas station had these in stock and they sounded good, so after much debate we settled on the strawberry wafers which were only 75 ¢ which was quite the bargain.

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We bought the wafers and a Frozen Run and a Cherrikee Red, and headed out the door. When we got to the car, my darling wife opened the package. A strong smell of pungent artificial strawberry filled the car (and our nostrils) with its delectable odor.

My wife pulled one out.

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New Soda From Pennsylvania – Frozen Run Review Along With An Accidental Candy Cigarette Retrospective

The last time I was in a play was at a local community theater, in a small suburb of the town that I lived in and we had rehearsals three nights a week. Nearby was a local mom and pop gas station that sold the original Necco candy cigarettes.

I loved these things! I would run over there before rehearsals and stock up. Then I would sit around like a cool kid and suck on the white stick with the pink tip, and my lungs had absolutely no damage. I must have cleared out their entire stock of goods during the three weeks of rehearsals and the four week run of the show.

Now there are many brands of candy cigarettes – more than you might realize unless you are a true candy cigarette aficionado like myself.

Unfortunately, most of these taste like you went to an old, abandoned elementary school, broke out a ground floor window, climbed through, made your way through all the mice and spiderwebs to one of the chalkboards on the far wall of the classroom, and found an old broken piece of Dixon Waltham chalk and stuck it in your mouth.

Oh, but not  Necco candy cigarettes. It’s not the shape, or the idea of edible cigarettes. I don’t like to pretend like I am Nick Nolte from Cape Fear, puffing away at hard sugar like a hefty kid with a Pixie Stick.

To me, it doesn’t really matter if you call them candy stix, candy cigarettes, or candy heroin pipettes. I just like the taste. It’s a kind of a mellow peppermint that is both simple, yet luxurious, and as a bonus, there was always that little pink dot on the end to break up the monotony. Yes, I realize that the dot was there to symbolize the cherry, but it just kind of made  the sticks seem . . . I don’t know . . . cooler . . .

If that wasn’t awesome enough, Necco also perfected the smooth texture. These sticks did not have the crumbly, chalky instability of the “other” brands. These were firm candy sticks with just the right crunchiness to them.

The original Necco Stix or Cigarettes, or whatever had cool names like: Dinosaur, Supersonic, and Hawk and looked like this:

Dinosaurs candy stix

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New Beverages at a Pennsylvania Convenience Store

Yes, they really make something this cool. . .

Yes, they really make something this cool. . .

Can you believe this?

One thing I love about road trips is the chance to sample local cuisine and libation. Recently, we were on a road trip, driving through Pennsylvania and stopped to fill up the ol’ Family Truckster. I walked into the gas station, parched, sweaty, and ready for a refreshing beverage, when I saw this:

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Now I don’t know about you, but I am a pretty big fan of the Choco Taco.

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Did You Know That This Exists?

Visiting your local Cracker Barrel is always a treat. If you do not know what a Cracker Barrel is, or you do not have one near you, then I feel really badly for you. A Cracker Barrel is a treasure trove of kitsch and kitch. It is billed as an “Olde Country Store”. You can tell it is cool because of the extra “e” in Olde. You can usually find everything there from Blackjack chewing gum, to old time, hand carved (or mass produced in Nashville, Tennessee) front porch rocking chairs.

Yesterday, I went to our local Cracker Barrel for some country ham and fried okra, and low and behold, I found this:

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Your eyes are not deceiving you. That is, in fact, an edible UNO game made from Jelly Bellys. How freakin’ cool is that? I love UNO, and I love Jelly Belly. This is like a match made in heaven.

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Bobby’s Burger Palace

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We were tooling through DC recently, when we stumbled upon this little gem.

Now I will readily admit that I am a Food Network fan. I don’t know what it is about the cheesy jargon, the grotesquely over-complicated recipes, and the absolute snobbery that says you should never-ever, under any circumstances used jarred garlic, that gets my pulse racing, my mind all twitterpated, and my salivary glands into hyper-overdrive. There is just something so compelling about telling my relatives that yes, I freakin’ made that Godiva chocolate Crème brûlée from scratch, yo.

The first question I always get asked when I express my love for all things Food Network is: “Have you ever eaten at one of the celebrity restaurants?”

Actually, that is the second question.

The first question is usually more along the lines of, “Are you sure you are not gay?”

Usually I can assure them after about fifteen to twenty minutes of logical argumentation and much muscle flexing, that I am indeed, not gay. Then they move onto the second question, the one about the restaurants.

This brings us to Bobby’s Burger Palace, or BBP for those of us in the know.

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For those of you who are uninitiated in the finer world of Food Network Culinary Magic, Bobby Flay is a celebrity chef who has his own show(s), cookbooks, and restaurant. He has been called a “master of the grill”, and is one of the hosts for “Worst Chef In America”. He has been on Iron Chef America and many other Food Network staples. You can tell how prolific and important he is because of this neat merchandise rack at the front of his burger joint:

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And make no mistake . . . this is not some fancy, schmancy four star designer restaurant. This . . . ? Well, this is a highly overpriced semi-fast food burger joint that serves surprisingly good greasy-joint hamburgers at Red Lobster prices. Nevertheless, there are gems to be found here, if you have the greenbacks.

One of the first things that you’ll notice is the BBP 1-2-3, which has to be one of the most annoying set of instructions I have ever seen in a restaurant. This sign, which adorns the window of every BBP, is the culinary equivalent of the lyrics to the song Boom Boom Pow, which are as follows:

Gotta get-get, gotta get-get Gotta get-get, gotta g-g-g-get-get-get, get-get
Boom boom boom, gotta get-get Boom boom boom, gotta get-get Boom boom boom, gotta get-get Boom boom boom, gotta get-get
Boom boom boom, now Boom boom boom, now Boom boom pow Boom boom

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Upon entering “The Palace”, you’ll notice the modern “foody” trendy decor. Sure to delight hipsters and culinary snobs from around this big blue globe, There is a comfortable, atmosphere, with an easy-to-read menu, which explains just how much a burger and fries are gonna cost you. Five bucks for a milkshake?!? Really? I mean your burgers are only eight to ten bucks, tops. That must be one freakin’ good milkshake, made out of sacred cows from India or something.

The burgers are 8 – 10 bucks and the sides are all 5 bucks. $7.95 doesn’t sound like much for a good burger until you add $5 for onion rings and then $5 for a shake. Ouch.

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The decor is all curvy lines and orange and lime. Yes, I used the word lime as a color.

Yes, I am straight.

Didn’t we cover that in like, paragraph 6, or something?

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Anyhow, it actually is an aesthetically pleasing place to sit and eat a burger.

You go up to the front counter, which for some reason I did not snap a picture of. There, the friendly cashier takes your order. Then you get a number and go and sit at your seat.

As you can see, most of the seating is communal. There are long bar-like tables, where you (and a perfect stranger) can sit and eat dinner together. Every Thursday night, they have the Bobby-Flay-Speed-Dating-and-a-Burger-athon, where you move down the chairs, boys on one side and girls on the other. OK, I made that last part up, but they really should have this. It would be like a mixture of Food Network and MTV. (Bobby, if you use this, I demand credit for the idea).

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Notice the Lime walls and chairs.

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While you are waiting, feel free to explore Bobby’s signature collection of sauces. They come presented in a metal centerpiece of saucy deliciousness.

The burger sauce tasted like a mixture of A-1 and Worcestershire sauce. It was really good and a bit zippy. My suggestion is that if you want a close equivalent, mix some A-1 and Worcestershire and go to town (maybe a smidge of ketchup, just to add a tomato-vinegar tang).

The Chipotle Ketchup tasted smoky and had a nice little zing to it that you could feel even after a pull or two on your $5 milkshake. Quite tasty if you are in to that sort of thing.

The ketchup tasted like mustard.

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The sauce centerpiece keeps giving, though, because when you turn it around, you find two more signature sauces, one of which I am quite convinced is really French’s Mustard cleverly transplanted into a bottle which reads: Yellow Mustard.

The other sauce is the pickley goodness of stadium jarred Jalapeños, only instead of adorning stale yellow tortilla chips, someone had the bright idea of pureeing the stuff and turning it into a sauce. I’m not kidding, it looks and tastes exactly like someone did just that, so if that’s your thing, you’re gonna love this sauce. If you would like to try it and you have no BBP nearby, might I recommend a jar of pickled Jalapeños and a blender.

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While we were investigating the miraculous tempting tastes of Bobby’s signature sauce (all of which I firmly believe I could recreate in my own home), our $5 milkshakes arrived. I ordered Pistachio. My wife ordered Blueberry Pomegranate.

These shakes were awesome, and to be honest, I probably would pay $5 for another of the pistachio. This isn’t the cheap Jello Pudding pistachio flavor we got going on here, folks, this is the real deal. We’re talking real pistachios mixed with a sugary creamy milky beverage into a real drop of nectar from the navel of Venus. That’s how good this was. I imagine that this is what that shining green beverage that Dale Arden drank in Flash Gordon tastes like.

The blueberry pomegranate was good, too. It had just the right sour tang of the pomegranate, but enough of the blueberry to keep it sweet and delicious.

Oh, and did I mention that they came with really big straws?

I hate it when you get a huge shake and a tiny straw and then you suck and suck until your brain starts to feel like it will embolize  and your eyes pop out of your head and you wanna scream and throw the shake across the room. I don’t want to have to wait for my drink to melt into pistachio soup in order to drink it.

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After the shake, our burgers arrived. My wife got the Dallas burger which was spice-crusted, with coleslaw, Monterey Jack cheese, barbecue sauce, and pickles – and more power to her. That sounded gross to me. I think coleslaw should only be eaten on never.

I got Bobby’s Blu Bacon Burger, which freakin’ rocked! It was a quarter pound of amazingly seasoned beef, topped with crisp bacon and blu cheese crumbles, and it was absolutely delectable, and I mean, come on, how often do you get to use the word delectable?  But Bobby is not satisfied with just a tasty burger. No, no, no, he has to plus it by allowing you to have it CRUNCH STYLE. CRUNCH STYLE is the amazingly simple, wonderfully brilliant idea of putting plain Lay’s potato chips ON THE FREAKIN’ BURGER!!! Can you believe it? I thought that sounded horrible, but hey, free chips. I was SOOOOO wrong. CRUNCH STYLE is how I am having all my burgers from now on, because it really rocked.

I am usually kind of a purist. Chips and burgers go on the same plate, but you don’t mix them, silly human. How wrong I was! They demand to be mixed, and devoured. For the first time in my life, I understood what my dad meant when he told me not to worry if my peas and mashed potatoes touched, they were all going to the same place. I should have mixed those buggers and shoveled ’em down!

Really, this is an amazing new concept of culinary perfection. I dug it so much, you may find me mixing all sorts of other foods. What about Captain Crunch on Ebi sushi or Pickled Okra on Captain Crunch? The possibilities are endless!

I scarfed this thing in about a minute and a half, and still wanted more, and the best thing was that the burger only cost $7.95 and the CRUNCH STYLE was absolutely FREE!

It didn’t come with any traditional sides (unless you order it CRUNCH STYLE), but it did come with the biggest frickin’ pickle I’ve ever laid eyes on. Look at this thing:

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Now tell me that’s not a pickle!

We did order fries and onion rings as $5 sides.

The fries were crispy, well-seasoned, and came with the one sauce that I can not reproduce at home, creatively named: Bobby’s Fry Sauce. Bobby’s Fry Sauce may look like Red Robin’s Campfire sauce, which in and of itself is a delicious concoction made entirely of the scrapings of old campfires, but it is a far different animal.

I am still not sure what was in that sauce, but it seemed to be a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, peppers, garlic, and pureed manna. It was really tasty, and complimented the fries perfectly.

The one major disappointment of the night were the onion rings. Bobby may be able to make one heck of a crunch burger, but his onion rings are big, tasteless globs of grease.  They had no seasoning, no flavor, and left your mouth feeling coated and slippery and your stomach feeling bloated and icky.

Below is a picture that shows my wife’s burger – if you care, but I know you don’t because I have already told you how awesome my burger was.

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Anyhow, I ate the whole thing, including all of my pickle, and most of my wife’s. For the same price as a trip to Olive Garden, we got to eat at the restaurant of a grilling legend.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am hungry. I think I’ll go mix up some Jalapeño and burger sauce, then heat up the grill.

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I’m back . . .

Ok. So I took a year off. So sue me. This blog really isn’t about you, anyway, it’s about me. That’s right, I said it, it is about MOI (that’s a French word that is pronounced muah).

I only have, like 3 readers anyway, therefore I will post whenever and whatever I like. In the meantime, I have decided to come back and post semi-regularly.

Part of this decision was made on the basis of the fact that I really like this blog, and I thought to myself, “Self, what would this blog look like today, if you had in fact, kept it up all last year? Would it be chock full of awesome, original, neato content? Would you have more than three readers? Would you be proud of all the crazy cool tricks you learned to perform on the internet?”

This led to the two inevitable conclusions from questions such as these:

1.) If I want more than three friends than this blog must not be entirely about me . . .

2.) I use waaayyy too many commas.

Anyway, I am prepared to load this blog up with random goodies from my past, my present, and my future. I hope you enjoy the adventure.

I leave you with the following to think about:

A Day With Nothing To Do, But Eat Cookies . . .

So, yesterday was kind of a miracle. Other than a financing meeting for one of our producers, and a bit of clean up for one of our scripts, I had the day free.

Wow.

Seriously, this was like the first time I have had a free day in like, six or seven weeks.

I wasn’t sure what to do with myself.

So, I did the only logical thing . . . I watched movies all day, and made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies.

See: https://nostalgicdaydream.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/3-amazing-recipes-from-my-youth-4/

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It was magical. Normally, I run out of chips with this batch. But these ones were chock full of chocolatey goodness.

Anyway, I just want to encourage you to try this recipe. You’ll like it.

I also saw The Amazing Spiderman, yesterday. Review is coming.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Retrospective PART 2

When we last left Henry Jones Jr, he had just landed in India. The scary looking Shaman of the Indian village takes them in and introduces our heroes to the village.  Incidentally, the actor who played him was D.R. Nanayakkara.

D.R. did not speak any English. Steven Spielberg had to say his lines, and Nanayakkara had to mimic him.

The heroes enter into the village and are told about how their children have been stolen, along with a sacred rock that brings life to the village, and taken to Pankot Palace, where a new Maharaja is neck deep . . . in evil . . .

Indiana decides to go after the taken items, much to Willie’s chagrin.

It seems like just about everything in this movie is much to Willie’s chagrin.

I have to admit that although this movie sparks a nostalgic fire in my bosom that is timeless, and I certainly had a few thoughts about Kate Capshaw between this movie and Dreamscape, Willie’s character has not grown on me.

Originally, Sharon Stone was considered for the role. This was obviously well before her leg opening days in Basic Instinct. Willie might have been a very different character if Miss Stone had added her class to the role. . .

Oh, ummm. Nevermind . . .

Anyway, our heroes board elephants, and head off to Pankot.

Along the way Willie complains some more, Shorty bonds with an elephant, and Willie gets dumped into a mud puddle by hers.

Originally, there was a bath scene in the script, where Willie goes and bathes in the river and gets attacked by a snake. Kate Capshaw was not concerned about the nudity as much as she was about the snake.

Here is the excerpt from the script:

EXT. UPRIVER 

Thirty yards upstream, birds and monkeys chatter in a tree. In the shady river beneath, Willie surfaces cooly
and wipes hair from her eyes. She hums contentedly. Indiana wanders up the riverbank in his dripping trousers.
He notices Willie’s wet clothes spread over a tree limb hanging low over the water and then he sees Willie paddling around.

INDIANA 
Hey, Willie -- I think you better get out now.
 WILLIE 
Stark naked? You wish... If you're trying to seduce me, Dr. Jones, this is a very primitive approach.
 INDIANA 
 Me seduce you? Honey, you're the one who took your clothes off. 
(shrugging) 
I just came over to remind you that you 
never know what else might be in the water.  
WILLIE 
Somehow I feel safer in here.

As Indy turns and starts off, Willie reaches up to the tree branch above her head and grabs her underwear. At this moment we notice something awful: A BOA CONSTRICTOR is moving out along the branch, the enormous snake slithering over Willie’s clothes.

Willie watches Indiana walk away as she reaches up for her dress — her hands feel something strange — not the dress and not the tree limb — Willie looks up and sees that she’s pulling on a snake!

She SCREAMS as the boa constrictor falls off the tree on top of her! Indy hears the scream and hears Willie calling to him. He runs back toward the river. Stopping on the riverbank, he sees Willie backing away in the water — Indiana’s already starting to pull his boots off —

  WILLIE 
Indy! Help me!
 INDIANA 
Don't worry, I'm coming in! What is it?
 WILLIE 
A snake!

Suddenly Indiana freezes and a strange look crosses his face —

INDIANA 
 A what...?
 WILLIE  
A snake!! 

He finally sees the boa constrictor thrashing in the water close to Willie. He leaves his boots on.

WILLIE
(Cont'd)
 Hurry, help me out of here! What're you waiting for?!
 INDIANA 
Uh, listen -- Willie -- I got a better idea.
 WILLIE 
What?!
 INDIANA 
First of all -- don't panic!

Willie suddenly screams as the boa constrictor wraps around her arm —

 WILLIE 
 It's got me ! Indy, help me!

Indy runs along the riverbank, trying to get closer to her, but not about to jump into the river (due to his aversion to snakes — see Episode One: “Raiders of the Lost Ark”).

 INDIANA 
Don't let it pull you deeper!
  WILLIE 
It's pulling me deeper!  
INDIANA 
 Don't let it curl around you!
 WILLIE 
 It's curling around me! Stop talking and do something!

The snake is wrapping around her body and neck — her head is barely above water — On the riverbank, Indy reaches
down and grabs a piece of wood. But as he watches the repulsive reptile, he starts to sweat and his fear and loathing overpower him —

WILLIE
(Cont'd)
What's wrong?! Indy please help me!

Indy groans and bolsters his courage — he takes two steps into the water — but the complex is to strong and he can’t go any further. He drops the piece of wood…

 INDIANA 
 Listen, Willie. Do exactly what I tell you now.  
WILLIE 
What?!
  INDIANA 
Can you move your arm?
 WILLIE 
Just one arm!
 INDIANA 
Okay, I want you to lift your hand -- and pet the snake.
 WILLIE  
PET IT??!! 
  INDIANA 
Yes, stroke it right along the maxillary and precaudal vertebrae.  
WILLIE  
The what?!
   INDIANA 
Pet it on the head! Go on, pet it!

In the water, Willie is whimpering as she lifts her hand and starts petting the snake coiling around her pale body.

WILLIE 
Oh -- my -- god -- it's going to crush me!  
INDIANA 
Keep stroking it!

Willie keeps rubbing her hand along the snakes head and back and it slowly stops thrashing in the water.

INDIANA
(Cont'd)
 What's happening?
 WILLIE 
 It's starting to let go!
  INDIANA
  That's good -- you're doing fine.

Grimacing as she stares at the ugly serpent’s head, Willie keeps stroking it.

 WILLIE 
It's letting go. I think it's -- I think it's going to sleep!

Indiana looks relieved. He sees the snake starting to drift away from Willie and she starts paddling back to shore,
collecting her floating clothes along the way. Holding her dripping dress against herself, she walks out of the water
toward Indy who smiles at her weakly.

INDIANA 
See -- I got you out...

She slows and hauls off and punches him in the mouth. Indy holds his jaw as she walks away infuriates.

 WILLIE 
 Thanks for nothing! I hate snakes!  
INDIANA 
(looking at the water)
I know the feeling...

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

So you can see what might have been. Alas, instead Willie freaks out at the campsite while Shorty cheats at cards, which is an amusing scene, but I kind of like the bathing scene. And not just for the hubba hubba,


Alright. That’s enough Indy for tonight. Tomorrow we reach Pankot.

Sleep slight and try not to dream about Sharon Stone spitting in a bit clay pot.