Monday, December 31, 2007

Miracle cure for a hangover of gargantuan proportions

After a long night of pounding back beers at my favorite dive in D.C., and snacking on chips and salsa, I woke up this morning with the hangover from hell.

After what seemed like hours of struggling to make it out of bed, and trying to reconstruct the puzzle of what last night was, I decided to go get myself a piece of heaven to line my tripes and my arteries this morning. I got myself some Five Guys.

Five Guy's has been voted "Best Burgers" for the past five years in Washingtonian Magazine, were rated number one "Bang for the Buck" in Zagat Survey and The Washington Post calls them "the Willy Wonkas of burgercraft."[Five Guys]

This place keeps it simple and delicious. Burgers and fries are your options on the menu.

Only thing to decide on is the size and the toppings (which are included in the price of your burger). Just a quick glance at the packaging that will surely cure all my ails, is enough to know what I'm about to get into.

And clearly I asked for the perfect combination of toppings to patch up any wear and tear last night's alcohol may have caused and ensure a few ulcers down the line. Finger-lickin' good!

Bacon Cheeseburger

  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Raw Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Fried Mushrooms
  • Fried Onions
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Jalapeños
The final product looks a little something like this:

Another huge plus is the amount of French fries you get. You get enough to feed a group of three or four normal people (or one of me). Cloud nine, if I've ever been there.

If you've never been, you haven't lived.

Tranquila, Mami!

Blabbeando dubs the funniest post of 2007. It's a weenie!! Haha! I said weenie. What's not to love about an Argentinian talking tube meat? What's not to love I ask you?!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Carnivorous Blogging

Red Meat on keeping journals...

I would eat, but...

"I would eat, but I don't have the time or patience to get home and cook!" A pattern-line I've heard from more than a handful of my friends. Working in D.C. and living in suburban Virginia, I spend about a third of my time commuting. Leave early enough to withstand traffic and distance, and make it to work barely, if at all, on time. Drive back home through the same gridlock motorcade to arrive at ungodly hours when all I want is to grab a bowl of cereal and get to bed.

I try my best to keep my pots and pans active as often as possible, yet I too fall victim to the terrors brought by a mixture of fatigue and laziness. I have, however, given up on fast food altogether, scratched it from my routine. The only things I eat out of a can these days are corn and beans. Tortillas, cheese, and beans are a staple in my house and default breakfast, lunch, and dinner ingredients, if not the dinner itself.

I try to make my meals, even when out, as hearty and healthy as possible (with the obligatory exception every now and again when I fall weak at the sight of a gigantic Bacon Cheeseburger and fries), and ideally I would like to eat at home every night.

The best laid plans...

Killing time on the interweb, as I am known to do whilst bearing high and proud my Procrastinator Badge, trying to think of what to eat today, I bumped into an article full of fun eating facts for those of us that lack time, spirit, or even skill around a stove.
Preparing your own nutritionally balanced meals every night of the week does take effort and advanced planning. Naturally making your own is the preferred, but in a pinch, there are helping hands out there for all of us! [Start Cooking]
The post mentions a place by the name of Nutrition DeliverD, which promises to: busy Bostonians who want to cook and eat more healthfully.
I'm trying to find a similar place in the D.C. area, but to no avail. (Any venture-capitalists out there?)

Another place, which I may drop into today, recently opened literally across the street from where I live:
Come in and select an entrée for dinner tonight, or take home a month's worth of hassle-free dinners. We make it or you make it — the choice is yours. [Super Suppers]
Oh man. Makes me miss Chihuahua. Where we had places like these with buffets and a pluthera of choices all in true Mexican form.

There's money to be made in this here land.

There's quite the number of options available for me. Now if only they had a Motivation Delivery for Rainy Days with No Food In the House Service, I think I'd be all set.

Hedonistic Approach to Better Health

I'm always up for quality of life improvements through indulgence.
It appears as though it has been found (for the umpteenth time) that delicious= healthy, drinking red wine, eating dark chocolate, smiling (even when you don't want to), sleeping enough, and having more sex. [Lifehacker]
Sounds like this whole time I'd thought I was shaving years off my life, I've actually been adding to it!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

White or wheat?

Pondering some more on the aspects of racism, I took a second to look back at my growing up in the United States, and the many different times where I've been discriminated against.

Perhaps even not in the conventional way that one would take the term "racism" to be defined. Mainly because the people discriminating were not Americans. It was Hispanics. Most of my time spent working in kitchens ranging from Village Inn to T.G.I. Friday's I grew accustomed to overhearing conversations about me. In Spanish.

Most of my life I've been hearing lines of "Wait. You're Mexican?!!!" or "No way, esé, you look like a güero!". Being probably the fairest-skinned member of my family, and most of my white friends, people are usually surprised and in disbelief of my Hispanic heritage.

To the point where I have to constantly make a strong argument for people to believe me. Even more so now that my features are notably darker than when I first began my career as a human being.

If I hear "Say something in Spanish" one more time, I think I just may go postal on somebody.

I guess you can say I'm a white Mexican. I've often said, I'm probably the whitest Mexican you'll ever meet. In every sense of the word. Product of my environment indeed. Yet not quite sure that I would fall into the complete category of the "White Mexicans"
Did you know that Mexico was invented by White people? And they still have all the power (though none of the English grammatical skills despite their impressive private schooling)? Well we did know that part about the power and the grammar. But not the inventing! Also, if the Indigenous people would stop spitting out papooses, Mexico could go back to being Italian or Mennonite or…oh shit we got bored. [Guanabee]

Tacos of the Sea

I came across a list of the best spots to have fish tacos at in Southern California.

Whether kitschy Mexican restaurant or mini-mall taco chain, the drill is the same. Wrap 'em with foil and love. [Serious Eats]
This reminded me of The Fisherman's Cove, my grandparent's Mexican-style seafood restaurant in El Paso, Texas. The place where I spent some of my most awkward years before, during, and after high-school. Where I learned work. Back-breaking work. Everything from dish-washer to server to line chef to buss boy. I ate some fantastic foods, even when, at the time, seafood was my least favorite type of food.

I grew up around the hot stoves and the steamy kitchen. Peeling shrimp. Chopping up produce. Setting up plates. The whole nine yards. I learned a lot of my current culinary cognition from watching my uncles play around with fire and knives. Showering my palate and dowsing my taste buds with the likes of Camarones a la Diabla, Langosta Veracruzana, Coctél de Pulpo, Ensalada de Cangrejo, amongst a million other deliciouis dishes prepared and served by my family, at what seemed to someone be reasonable prices.
That's me at the far left in a puddle of cousins and a faded uncle at the door.

The story of the restaurant is pretty much as clear as it gets when it comes to analogies to the family history. The Rise and Fall of the House of Gamboa. Of sorts. The story is a long one that I hope to recount and start making sense of through a number of posts, being that it is a long one, with many, many characters, and many, many stories.

My grandparents proudly stand before their successful business, still quite ignorant of it's soon-to-come, pre-mature demise. El Paso Times, 1995

Spill the Milk!

On the bad milk tip, Boston has issued a warning about "possibly contaminated milk". []

It seems the bacteria is a little more than just popular paranoia.
State health authorities tonight urged consumers not to drink milk produced by Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury after an investigation showed it is the likely source of a bacterial illness that killed two elderly men and made two other people sick.
Innocently enough all these symptoms bear a striking resemblance to my 3-weeks-ago experience.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. Most people exposed to the bacterium suffer only mild, flu-like symptoms, but the germ can prove deadly to those with underlying medical conditions.
Good thing I treated it when I did. This no more:

I have yet to understand a parent's need to photograph their children in the toilet. Although I was (am?) quite the congenial pooper, no? Heh.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recall Countdown

It would appear as though our beloved organically grown everything store, Whole Foods, has been having a few mishaps with their distribution of goods, and is now expanding the list of recalls.[FDA]

365 Organic Everyday Value Chocolate Bars to include all 8 varieties, and expanded the Best If Used By date window to any date prior to 11/08/09, because of possible undeclared milk and tree nuts. [Consumerist]

Not more SPAM!

Growing up with my grandfather was an interesting experience. He was always cooking up something qustionable and selling the idea as delicious. One of these things was SPAM. He bought crates of that stuff, or so it seemed, and would cook it up with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He loved that stuff. And what's not to love about meat in a can?! Really.

I came across today something that brought back rushing memories of waking up late on weekends to the pan-seared smell of byproduct fat and the sizzling sounds in all their glory.

SPAM wrote a book. That's right. A book. And it came with a nifty commercial by the name of Toastvertising.

The videos are kind of cool. Check them out.


I love toast for breakfast.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eating Racism

On a previous post I wrote about a certain discomfort I felt in the back of my mind when looking at the Cream of Wheat box. After a friend read this, he kindly pointed me to somewhat of an old post, attacking this very topic. Apparently Uncle Ben got a raise!

A racially charged advertising character, who for decades has been relegated to a minor role in the marketing of the products that still carry his name, is taking center stage in a campaign that gives him a makeover — Madison Avenue style — by promoting him to chairman of the company. [NY Times]

What's that you say? There's racism in our food supply?!?!

...what's amazing about this guy isn't his fake promotion—it's that he still has a job at all. Uncle Ben is a rare survivor in the once-crowded world of racist spokescharacters. Most of his contemporaries were fired a long time ago. []

I guess it's still not as bad as those silly ol' Betty Boop cartoons.

Art Imitates Food?

Amongst a few other things, art is definitely one of my hobbies and something I like to indulge in on occasion, whether it's going out to a gallery showing or sitting down for a few hours to cross-hatch my way to nirvana. It's always something that draws my attention. Food art is something I used to never really think about that much until I took up the kitchen as a serious hobby. Even then I normally only thought of it in terms of presentation. As I've been touring the galleries, I've picked up more and more on classics and moderninst capturing still life with ingredients in manners that I never imagined possible. Giving food a completely new perspective. Today I came accross a slide show put together by one of the oldest periodicals in this country, that is very well-known for their cover art. The New Yorker.

They've complied a slide show of about 21 covers all food-related. [via: Serious Eats]

This cover in particular reminded of how I'm always taken back when I find myself at dinner party engaged in great conversation with friends. Good times.


During winter time (something I only grew accustomed to since I moved to DC and never confronted with in Texas or Mexico) I've learned to appreciate certain things. Scarves, mittens, insulated shoes, my bed. Also, on a cold day, there's nothing better than a steaming bowl of Cream of Wheat (wheat germ). Something that took me a while of getting accustomed to. I mean it doesn't look very appetizing. If anything it reminds me of all the paste in kindergarten I was constantly reminded not to eat. It has, however, grown to hold a dear place in my heart and I now find myself eating a bowl almost every morning with a spoonful of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinammon. I can't help but feel a tinge of politically incorrectness everytime I look at the box though. Yet not as bad as it was years ago.



Nevertheless, it's an amazing discovery that I've learned to appreciate. You should try a bowl sometime. One of my winter favorites for sure.

How do you have yours?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Breakfast Culture

Everybody knows there should be three meals in a day. Not all of us are that disciplined. Everybody knows the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Again.

Although the fact that I don't always take the time out, during my rushed mornings of commute, to have a decent first meal should not, in any way, shape, or form, lead you to believe that breakfast is not my FAVORITEST meal of the day. EVER. In life. I love it. If I had a choice, I would probably eat breakfast three times a day. (Please note I can get quite inventive with breakfast).

I like going out to different places and choosing things that look interestingly delicious, and later on try to imitate them in my own kitchen. With a large percentage of success, this practice has been known to deliver some stomach-turning pieces.

Last item on the menu for Breakfast Imitation Project:

Banana Stuffed Challah French Toast from Ardeo on Connecticut past Cleveland Park.

Their brunch version was presented in fancy plates with not very much effort on the presentation. Then again, how much presentation can you really give French toast.

It was tasty, although I felt it something missing. So I took it upon myself to break it down in the kitchen and see how my duplication skills were working. The only thing I seemed to do differently was that I flambéed the bananas in vanilla extract which added a distinct and rich taste to the concoction. I've never really had Challah bread before these two times, but I can easily say it made great French toast.

It was delicious and it had some fans. Success!

Now, I have an incredibly huge sweet tooth, but I also love my eggs, and clearly my beans. My favorite breakfast ever (and this I could eat 3 times a day if it wasn't a guaranteed heart attack). Fried eggs, bacon, and refried beans with a side of tortillas and salsa verde (green hot sauce) or chipotle peppers. It makes me hungry just thinking about it. Not to say that I don't break a yoke every now and again. (particularly after a long night of drinking)

Nothing like this waking up after a long night of drinking. It'll heal ya right up. Most of the friends I've made up here (most, yet, not all) are a bit apprehensive to the refried beans. For whatever reason. La Sierra is my favorite brand of canned refried beans although not always available in the DC area. My second choice is always Mama Lycha. That's it. It's those two or they have to be made from scratch. Anything else I've tried here makes me want to gag. Nothing compares to just re-fried (like 5 times) beans. Straight from the slow cooker to the frying pan. (!)

I do not know. Maybe people here are afraid of gas. *shrug*

Monday, December 24, 2007


There is a number of traditions around the world when it comes to celebrating Christmas. There are a lot of different ones practiced within Mexico in itself. A lot of these have to do with the fact that Mexico is in itself a very pagan and Roman Catholic country. Yes, both. At the same time.

The Mexican Christmas season extends from mid-December through to Candlemas on February 2nd. Starting with the posadas on December 16th, a series of processions and parties remembering Mary and Joseph's search for shelter, and ending 40 days after Christmas when Mary would have taken baby Jesus to the temple to be blessed. Read more about Mexican Christmas traditions. []
In our house, it has always been the spiced apples. The smell of the sweet syrup wrapping about you. The oven warmed house as they bake inside, steaming the kitchen windows as the cold prevails outside. Stuffed in a medley of dates and dried plums and grapes and figs.

It's traditions such as these that keep the spirit of the holidays alive within us. Reviving vivid memories of winters past in the company of those we love and care about most. Especially in these times of fast living. At least there is one place in the world trying to conserve their local customs, their cuisine in particular. Italy.
Slow Food is an organisation dedicated to counteracting fast food, fast life and the disappearance of local food traditions. Started in 1989 in Italy, its time has come, now that so many people are concerned about where their food originates and how food choices affect the world. []
If anything, you can always count on one thing to alleviate the pressures of holiday cuisine by my favorite answer to most problems. TEQUILA! (!!!)