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Project 602 - Food
 
Project 602
(Food, fun, and the bizzare in Arizona)
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The Worlds Most Complicated Cocktail
Posted - Aug 2nd, 2014 11:48am
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Have you ever heard of the Green Rhum Thumb?  If so it means you were probably present at the 2011 Bar Vs Chef competition in Montreal, Canada.  If not, it means your the other 100% of the human population.

I've been on a cocktail kick lately.  Maybe its trending, or maybe I just fell into it by way of a low carb (read no beer) diet.  Either way, for the last few months, I've been reading, experimenting on my willing wife, and generally making a mess of the kitchen as I learn the ins and outs of classic cocktailing.

Its been fun, and I've learned a lot... and this is of course where I should have stopped.  I seem to approach everything at 400mph though, so when I came across a blog post describing the Green Rhum Thumb I knew it had to be recreated.  For what better test of my mixology metal could there be than to recreate the worlds most complicated cocktail!?

Well actually, as it turns out, there's a lot of better tests.  In fact, perfecting and learning about the more simple drinks turns out to be just as - if not more - difficult as concocting this monstrosity.  After all, no one has a clue how this sucker should taste, but there's certain expectations when it comes to something like a mint julep.

Nevertheless, the journey has been fun, and I wanted to share both the recipe, and how it tastes (something woefully left out of the original article).  So here goes.

The Green Rhum Thumb:
  • 1 oz Orange Infused Rum
  • 1 oz Hops Infused Rum
  • 1/4 oz Allspice Gastric
  • 1/2 oz Caramelized Banana Syrup
  • 2 tsp Blue Mountain Coffee Bitters
  • *** Pour all ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and shake for 20 seconds.  Carbonate and serve in a champagne flute.  Decorate with a banana slice, a leaf and your all done!

Did I mention you can't buy most/any of this stuff?  You have to make it all.  Here's the breakdown:


Orange Infused Rum:
  • 750ml of Appleton Reserve Rum
  • 2 Med/Large oranges
  • *** Using a knife, peel the rinds from both oranges (try not to get too much pith) and put that long with the rum in a large mason jar.  Store in a cool dark place (not a fridge) for about 3 weeks, shaking once a day for 10-15 seconds).

Hops Infused Rum:
  • 750ml of Appleton Reserve Rum
  • 1/3 oz Columbus hops
  • *** Using and electric hot plate or burner OUTSIDE - mix the hops into the rum and heat ~160 for at 5-10 minutes.  Filter the the hops out first with a sieve, then with cheese cloth until there are no fine particles left.

Allspice Gastric:
  • 1 1/4 cups of lemon juice (~6-8 med lemons)
  • 1 1/4 cups of water
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar (aka 1 lb)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup allspice berries (crushed)
  • 1 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice (~2 grapefruit)
  • *** Melt the sugar on medium temperature with the water and lemon juice.  Once melted, add the vinegar and allspice, then gradually put in the grapefruit juice.  Keep heat on until most of the bubbles disappear.  Chill and filter twice, once with a regular strainer, and then with a fine mesh tea strainer (or something similar).

Caramelized banana syrup:
  • 6 bananas, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ***Put the butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a pan until it starts caramelizing.  Add the bananas until they start to brown, then add the rest of the sugar along with the water.  Let simmer until the bananas start to fall apart, then chill.  Once cold, strain through a cheesecloth to get a somewhat particle free syrup.

Blue Mountain Coffee Bitters:
  • 1 750ml bottle Appleton Estate V/X Rum
  • 3 teaspoons white cardamom
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons angelic leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 2 cloves, crushed
  • 1 nutmeg, crushed
  • 1 star anise, crushed
  • 1 wormwood stick
  • 1 Tonka bean, crushed
  • 3 teaspoons Allspice
  • 6 teaspoons Blue Mountain Coffee, crushed
  • 6 teaspoons Blue Mountain Coffee, uncrushed
  • Dried peels from one Mandarin, one orange, one lemon, one lime
  • 3/4 cup simple syrup, made with equal parts sugar and water
  • ***Dry the peels of the citrus for 4-5 days in the sun, then put it and the rest of the dry ingredients in a Mason jar with the rum.  Shake at least once a day for 10-15 seconds and keep at room temperature in a dark place.  After 3 weeks, add the simple syrup then refrigerate for a week, always shaking at least once a day.

Still with me????

I suppose I should mention a few things at this point - like the fact that the recipe originally called for cannabis infused rum, not hops infused rum.  On the off chance that marijuana is legal where you live you'll find it adds about $150 to the already costly list of ingredients above.  Meanwhile the hops will cost you only about a $1.99 and per the very excited, card carrying sales clerk who helped me pick out this exact strain of hops - the taste/smell is going to be pretty close.

Additionally, if you live in the good ol' U.S.A - you'll find that Tonka Beans are illegal for non-ceremonial purposes.  Fortunately there's a few wicka/shaman/spiritual stores on amazon that sell them.  So yes, its going to require that you buy special beans over the internet from a witch doctor, but at least they aren't poisonous!?

Lastly, I had to make a few corrections (angelica root instead of angelic leaves), some minor modifications (the original banana syrup recipe came out nearly solid), and fill in a few gaps(there were no instructions on how to make the cannabis rum for example).  I think the end result though should be pretty close to the original, and if you scour the various spice and liquor stores on the interwebs you should be able to find most of this stuff pretty cheap.  In case it helps, I ordered from The Spice House, The Great American Spice Co, and The Monterey Bay Spice Co.

So what does it taste like you ask? Kinda like beer actually.

First off - let me say that most of the individual ingredients are fantastic.  The orange rum is wonderfully aromatic, the banana syrup could go directly on top of pancakes, and the allspice gastric is totally unique.  There's a whole pile of stuff I want to try making with that last one, and since you only need a half ounce per drink I have plenty left over to play with.

The bitters and the hops infused rum are a little more challenging, but each turned out well in their own right.  While the rest of the ingredients are sweet, these both have a bitter edge to them.  I'm still kind of amazed that it called for 2 teaspoons of bitters per drink.  Its a little much in my opinion.  This, however, is partly why the result ends up tasting beer like.  Its some moderately sweet ingredients and some moderately bitter ones all tied together with carbonation that adds a breadiness to the mix.

I tried the drink out on my ever willing wife and my friends Veronica and McCoy.  The only thing I could think of to pair this with was jerk chicken so I found a great recipe and cooked up a batch.  The verdict was unanimous: The chicken was fantastic - the drink was.... not bad.  Its a really challenging beverage.  The alcohol isn't entirely up-front but its in the 2nd row.  Its well balanced from a sweet/bitter perspective, but the banana bread and coffee flavors don't mix all that well with the citrus.  The bitterness also seems to kill off all that wonderful brown sugar flavor the rum brings to the table.  Probably not something I would make again, but its an experience that filled my head with all sorts of neat ideas.

So if your thinking of giving this a try - I'd say go for it.  I learned a lot and have all kinds of fun leftovers to play with.  Not to mention that it finally gave me a good reason to buy a carbonator! Now you'll have to excuse me - my liver needs a rest and I have to go carbonate a bunch of random things in the fridge.
 In case your wondering about the 2 different rums.  The reserve is much smoother, tastes sweeter, and smells wonderfully of brown sugar when compared to the VX  The orange rum was pretty simple.  Made the house smell great too! Now I just have to wait a month before I can try it. No clue if this kind of hops is common or easy to find, but it sure was cheap. I used this poor excuse for a double boiler to infuse the rum. You definitely need cheese cloth for this - even the tea stainer left lots of hops grit. The resulting hop-rum should be particle free and smell like a grateful dead concert.  Another day, another series of random spices from the internets. The Tonka beans tasted bitter, but smelled like a wonderful combination of vanilla and cinnamon.  I thought the wormwood would smell good too.  I was wrong.  Smells like yard clippings, tastes like bitter death. Here's another odd one.  I hadn't even heard of white cardamom before.  They dry it on the coast so its sun bleached, a little salty, and milder than the regular stuff.  No clue why the recipe called for it specifically? Another batch of citrus peels made the house smell wonderful again. Of course they don't amount to much once they are dried out - I have to admit I dried them indoors though.  Not sure if it mattered.  When you finally get everything together for the bitters - this is what it will look like. All the herbs crushed laid out all fancy like.  The fruits of my labor... and about 15 hours of shopping on the internet. Getting the ingredients for the allspice gastric together was easy.  Though I didnt buy enough lemons the first go. Since crushed allspice isnt a thing, I bought whole berries and mashed em up in a mortar. If all goes well, you should end up with a delicious pot of um... this stuff Once its cool enough to handle you can start straining.  A tea strainer works great as a round 2. The original recipe called for a brita filter - I tried this contraption with coffee filters instead.  I highly suggest just straining it as this didn't do much more. The gastric should look like this in the end - mostly clear and nearly oily to the touch. Nearing the finish line - it's time to cook some bananas!  I think I overdid it a bit - the mush kinda soaked up all the water/sugar.  Mmmmm - banana glop Even after modifying the original recipe with more water/sugar and squeezing for almost an hour, I still only managed a measly 5 ounces of banana syrup.  Since pot leaves weren't an option, I made some bad imitations out of bitter leaves from the asian market. Here is what your months worth of work will look like in the end. Its no Perlini, but this carbonator did the trick just fine.  I present to you - the Green Rhum Thumb! Another project completed, it was finally time for a drink.  Cheers everyone!
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Wild N Woody Beerfest
Posted - Jul 28th, 2014 8:13pm
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I recently survived a local beer festival at the Tempe Center for the Arts.  It was something my beer guru Tylar suggested- 'Real, Wild, and Woody'.  You do have a beer guru right?

Real, Wild, and Woody is all about casked beers and specially conditioned ales of any sort.  Fairly common things like stouts aged in Jack Daniels barrels, and less common things like Farmhouse Sours that have rested in oak or old port barrels.  Generally the kind of beer that you will either want to make love to or burn with fire.... or both...beer is complicated like that.

Anyway, this was the first time Tara and I had a chance to use Uber.  If you haven't heard of it yet, its like a taxi only cheaper and with nicer drivers because they are normal people like you and... well like you.  If you haven't signed up yet, use this link and I'll get a free ride just for you signing up.  Either way it was really fantastic.  You select your pickup spot and destination in their phone app, select the kind of car you want (Uber-X is the cheap one) and then you can actually watch the car on the map as it drives to you.  When you get to your destination you just exit the car.  The payment is done automatically and tip is included in the price of the fare.

So with tickets in hand and Pretzel Necklaces all ready to go, Tara and I were Uber'd off to the festival.  We got there just a little before it opened.  This was great as we got in before everyone else, but not so great as it was about 300 degrees outside and there was no shade.  Why we don't build everything in phoenix under giant umbrellas is beyond me?

Once inside, we received a badge with numbers for each beer you use up (you were supposed to get 20 3oz samples), and a small glass to drink out of.  Everyone used the glass - absolutely no one used the badge.  This seemed like a dream at first but despite my best efforts there was simply no way to choke down more than a dozen samples even if you wanted to.   Nothing there was what you might call 'easy drinking' so no one bothered marking anything off.

Between Tara and I we tried a ton of different stuff.  My favorites were a Four Peaks Peach Ale that had been aged in oak and a Pale Ale from Papago Brewing that was so good it gave me goosebumps.  She found a Peach Ale from Hess/Huss? that was equally good but completely different and a wonderful lager from Flagstaff Brewing.  All in all just fantastic stuff with a few exceptions like 'Breakfast Hash' - which actually did taste a lot like someone put luke warm eggs and bacon in your beer.  No clue why someone would want that...

We stayed about 2 hours and had a really great time overall.  The only issue was that it was absurdly crowded in there.  It was billed originally as an 'Intimate' affair and only so many tickets were supposed to be sold.  Intimate my left buttock - there was no elbow room in the main area, and upstairs near the casks it was sardine city.  Still, it was air-conditioned which is a huge step up from the sun-burn fests that we normally get here.

I'm hoping they find a bigger venue for next year as I'd love to go again but don't think I'd attend there.  Simply unreal how many great brewers have sprung up in the Valley over the last few years.  Props to all of them and hopefully I'll be able to get cask aged Four Peaks Peach one of these days at the bar :)
I took this when we first got in - it only got more crowded from there. An inebriated photo of my glass, badge, and the remains of my pretzel necklace.
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Lobbys Burger Challenge
Posted - Feb 28th, 2010 7:49pm
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In an attempt to bring back the challenge Friday's of yore - our group at work headed to Lobbby's Burgers in Tempe to see if we could double our previous efforts and tackle their 2lb burger at lunch.  Of course nothing is that simple in my life....

Lobby's just opened up so don't be surprised if you haven't heard of it.  Its basically a standard Chicago beef/burger/dog place and while nothing really stands out for me there, it does have pretty good food and a nice clean atmosphere.  It also has the 3lb challenge if your feeling up to it.

Almost immediately, our innocent attempt at 2lb burgers got 30% larger due to an added required pound of fries.  Shortly thereafter, the owner (Lobby) informed us that to get the meal for free and put your picture up on the wall of fame/shame/gluttony/insanity you had to add cheese on each patty, toss on all the extras(onions, lettuce tomato) and consume the whole shebang in no more than 10 minutes.

As any good programmer would - I did the math.  I can get down a 1lb burger (sans cheese) in about 4 minutes.  This leaves me 2 minutes for the pound of fries if I'm lucky and don't miss a beat.  I was trying to think positive though, and since Cupp and Dale would also be giving it their best shot I couldn't very well back out now.

When the burgers came out I knew I was in trouble.  There was probably a quarter pound of cheese alone on there and my preparations of running that morning and skipping dinner the night before seemed feeble in front of the tower of beef.  Fearlessly though I surveyed the situation, formulated a plan consisting of alternating fries then burger and asked the waitress to hit the timer.

Cupp and Dale started shortly after I did - they basically took on the same strategy and pace that I did as well.  First the top bun and the toppings, then hammer on the patties and fries.  I had to start dunking fries in my drink almost immediately to keep things moving.  This sucked because the fries were damn good before that.

At 3 minutes I had managed at least a pound of food.  At 6 I was halfway done with the burger and nearly done with the fries.  Unfortunately this is where I fell apart.  The cheese and burger grease was just too much and even though I was on pace to finish - I basically had to stop at 8 minutes after finishing all of my fries to prevent food reversal.  Sure I might have missed anyway with a full pound left at the 2 minute mark, but in hindsight it was probably a good decision as no one wants to hurl in a burger joint.

Cupp did his best to drown his fries in ketchup to maintain pace, but he too succumb about the same time and finished just short of my mark with a few fries left and the same 1lb of burger to go.  Dale opted for the meat route and managed an additional patty.  Unfortunately he had had to sacrifice a lot of fries to do it.  Overall it was a basically a draw and Lobby's was the real winner with our hard earned cash and no need to put us all up on the wall of fame/shame/gluttony/insanity.

Maybe next time... or maybe not.  All I wanted to do after the meal was crawl under my desk and go to sleep.  Definitely not recommended for daytime consumption.
3lbs of failure or glory - its all about perspective. I inspect the target Brian tries the [I own this] approach And go! Time passes... dale senses defeat. Brian appeals for more ketchup No amount of ketchup could help... Brian goes down for the count. Dale sad... Dale love burger... Dale hate fries...  Dale done... Cheeks full of fries I give up and succumb to the fail myself.
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Bacon The Restaurant
Posted - Aug 17th, 2009 4:24pm
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It was bound to happen.  Mainstream America has finally picked up the nets enthusiasm for that loveliest of meats - Bacon.  I submit the Scottsdale eatery called nothing less than "Bacon" as evidence of this transition.  You can be the jury from there.

That's not to say I'm entirely disappointed.  Bacon is actually a really great place to have breakfast or lunch as the food was good, healthy, and they have a cool vibe.  Its just that had this place existed a few years back, the menu would have been completely oriented around someones fascination with bacon's smokey goodness.  As it stands today, bacon is actually an afterthought in most of their dishes.

Jon joined the rest of our group as we headed back from the trip to Flagstaff.  He was actually the one who turned me on to the place as I'd never heard of it.  Bacon is a definite Scottsdale joint with a modern look and the inescapable feeling that your surrounded people who are less than they want to be but more than they think they are.  Its not nearly as pricey as I would expect though and 2 people can get out for a $20 between them with a little care.

We had a good sample of the menu - eggs, french toast, etc.  Kellie had something they call "The Hangover" which is actually a Canadian dish: Poutine - only with eggs.  I was stoked as this was on my list, quite good, and really odd.  True to its moniker, the bacon at Bacon is also really good.  Just be careful if you go on weekends.  Apparently we got there just as the crowd was waning, and as they are still pretty new the service is spotty at best.  Highly recommended though.

I tried to find their website but apparently they don't have one yet?  For now this should help.
Whats in a name.... Some poor bastard was out their cooking in this pig outfit when we arrived. A quick shot of the interior French Toast complete with 100% blueberry syrup Egg in the hole - named for obvious reasons. An absolutely destroyed plate of Poutine
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Deconstructing A Wine Party
Posted - Feb 23rd, 2009 4:11pm
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I am a connoisseur of many things.  Cinema, Music, beer, even video games.  A connoisseur of wine I am not.  In fact, my experience with the substance really comes down to color.  There is white, red, pink and occasionally carbonated wine.  This may not be the depth of my knowledge but it is definitely all that I'm willing to be taxed on in public.

So when a person like myself attends a "wine party" there is only 1 option for determining what amongst the absurd # of wines to bring.  Which wine has the coolest freaking bottle of course! And so me and my wine, homed in a cat shaped vessel of soft orange glass attended and almost instantly derailed Scott and Julie's wine party to the joy of most and the shame of a few.

Here are a list of things that I learned from the wine party:
  • I don't really like white wine.
  • I don't really like good wine.
  • I don't really like desert wine.
  • I really like wine made up of 1/3 cheap red wine, cheap desert wine, and fancy blackberry red wine - henceforth referred to as mo-berry wine.
  • Everyone likes mo-berry wine.
  • Everyone hates to admit they like mo-berry wine.
  • Always bring the most absurd bottle of wine you can to a wine party as it brings nothing but laughter and joy... it also ruins any semblance of a serious evening which is good for everyone.
Another night of fuzzy logic and adults acting like kids.  Another great evening, and another bunch of photos that tell a story all their own.
The omivores delimma Wine does strange things to some people And stranger things to others... Our host and hostess for the evening  - thanks guys :) Amy provided the beer to the seperatists movement Scott's friend supported the brown bagging movment Julie's friend declares her love of opera Amy and Trudy make a clandestine trip to evaluate the neighbors hot tub Gangsters Unite! You guys see that too right? Total hams... the whole lot Cupp finds his new least favorite beverage
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The Horseradish Challenge
Posted - Dec 19th, 2008 2:34pm
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So its Friday, and that means its time for another office challenge: Today its Cupp vs a jar of Inglehoffers's Extra Hot Horseradish.  At stake are $30 bucks and his sinuses.

I should probably stop here and mention that he has never had horseradish before... not on a sandwich, not on a steak, not even as a dip.  This is what I believe contributed in large part to the first 30 seconds of the challenge where he horked down huge spoonful after huge spoonful and made it look briefly like he was going to get our hard earned $$ for himself.

Our awe quickly turned to laughter as the frightful stuff worked its way up into the back of his throat and light fire to his brain.  Tears started to stream down his face and he turned a delightful shade of red.  That was about his limit though.  He spit some out, then tried to force it back down with another spoonful, but it just wasn't going to happen.  Eyes gushing, he chucked the 1/2 empty bottle in the trash with disgust.

We were all proud of his effort so even though he didn't empty the bottle most of us paid up. You just can't watch someone put themselves through that sort of thing without some reparation... or at least I couldn't.  I began to be a little torn at this point though.  Unlike the wings, the horseradish was continuing to punish Cupp for his insolence.  Its funny for a little while but at some point I really started to feel guilty for egging him on.

Things got so bad that after booting twice in his cube the rest of the guys on the team told him just to go home.  He looked okay when he left and I chatted with him a bit as he exited the building but I don't think next week's office challenge will involve anything quite so volatile.   Maybe a half jar of peanut butter in 60 seconds or something?  I just hope he feels better tomorrow and doesn't grow a third eye or anything.
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The Wing Challenge
Posted - Dec 16th, 2008 4:03pm
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While I think that work often tends to slow down around the holidays for everyone, I'm in a real nasty lull right now.  Tedium followed by large waiting periods has driven me to focus myself elsewhere to survive.  So fueled by my new found resistance to all things spicy I've been egging everyone to try the challenge at local wing place.  12 suicide wings in 6 minutes gets you severe indigestion and your picture up on the wall.

Today was d-day or w-day or Tuesday.. or something like that.  Whats important here is that a group of us went down today and attempted the stupid.  I had visions of my name on the short board of folks who have broken the 2 minute barrier but would settle for success in any form.  Unfortunately this time we went to a different Buffalo Wild Wings we hoped would be closer and they had no such wall.  In fact, they had disbanded the challenge at that store entirely due to someone's recent need for a hospital after the challenge.  I would not be deterred.

Making my best attempt to feign confidence I informed the waiter he would need to bring us the dirty dozen anyway.  He thought we were joking but after some prodding and the tale of the recent table who ordered 50 then ate only 3 he accepted our request.  The rest of the group would spectate and ensure the rules would be followed.  All meat and skin would need to be consumed from the bones within 6 minutes - drinking was allowed but not advised.

I was still pretty confident until the manager came over and kept asking why we would want to do this and if we were really sure we wanted to go through with it.  I began chewing on my straw at this point to keep my mind occupied while Sean did the pre-game interview with his phone.

When they did bring the wings they certainly smelled hot but looked kind of dry.  Fear now replaced by stupidity we sent them back for extra sauce.  They returned shortly with an extra dose of what could loosely be defined as sauce, or more realistically be defined as ground chili's held together with a modicum of liquid.  Camera, phones were readied and the timer was started.

Cup took the early lead, I followed closely behind, and Denny picked up the rear.  The wings were hot but nothing like the raw-habaneros we had recently eaten as part of the 100 foods list.  Unfortunately as I picked up speed and passed by Cup at the 1 minute mark I began to get sauce all over my face.  I was glad I had chosen glasses over contacts this morning because if this got in my eyes I was done for.  I was not alone though and as Denny began to turn bright red from the sauce on his face and the stopwatch slipped past 2 minutes I was beginning to regret my choice not to research exactly what capsicum does to the digestive system.  Can I die from this kind of thing?  What happens when I go to the bathroom?  These are not things you want to begin thinking half way through eating a batch of food soaked in hell broth.

The end was in sight though as I put these thoughts behind me.  I finished off the last few wings just over the three minute mark and raised my sauce soaked hands above my head yelling like some sort of Special Olympics champion.  Cup finished about 30 seconds later and poor Denny suffered for another 8 minutes before he finally polished off his last bite.  There was much cheering/jeering and while I didn't get my picture on the wall, the staff made me a personalized "Blazin Challenge Master" card which I shall cherish in the same way one would keep a 3rd place trophy - a symbol of both success and failure.

Next week Cup has agreed to try to eat a jar of Horseradish - I need distraction as much as ever but as I sit here and worry about the digestive aftermath of this silliness I don't believe I will join him.  Something about this place makes us crazy.  I'm glad there are others here to share it with me...
Chewing is for mortals Denny could eat lava... but he'd have to eat it slowly :P Cup does his best impression of a garbage disposal VICTORY IS MINE!!! mmmmm carcas
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Arizona State Fair
Posted - Oct 17th, 2008 5:18pm
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October is such a great month here.  The will of summer weakens, and a cool breeze invades town at night.  Grass stops growing like some sort of drug crazed vegetation, and the State Fair comes to town.

There are a lot of people who don't love the fair here.  Viewed in daylight it certainly has its failings.  But as a provider of free (with admission) concerts, fried food, and the always laughable crap tent its one of my favorite things to do this time of year.  Avoid the rides, keep your expectations low and you can't loose.

This year the Goo Goo Dolls were playing.  They actually played our fair over a decade ago before they became a big deal and I remember being so sad that I missed them.  I'm happy I made it this time with at least a few hundred others.  For a band with a half dozen platinum albums and at least as many hit songs, you'd think they would pack that place with a free concert, but I doubt there were even 2000 people there.  It was a little depressing.  I think they noticed too as the lead singer prefaced probably their biggest hit by saying "I'm trying to pull my head out of my ass and write some new songs.  You gotta be careful with that or you can just disappear."

The concert got off to a slow start but things picked up and it was a great show in the end.  There may have only been a few thousand people there but everyone there was a real fan of their music and it showed.  We quickly peeled out of the concert and continued our festival of fried goods which began earlier in the evening with Indian Fry Bread and a Moon Pie.  The crap tent was next - and it didn't disappoint.  There is something wonderful about a mall filled with things that aren't good enough for the "As Seen On TV" store.  I bought a $10 leather wallet made by the finest child labor I'm sure.

The only letdown of the night was our trip through carney lane.  Prior to this year, the carney's thrust fists filled with small bills at you and offered extra tries, guaranteed wins, and even insults - anything to get you to play.  The wheeling and dealing were part of the experience.  Now though the games were all handled by bar coded tickets and prices were posted in gooneybucks or whatever monetary system they created on a per game basis.  It really sucked the life out of the carneys and it made me sad that I had to visit some dumb booth before wasting my perfectly hard earned cash on a rigged game I had no chance at.  Oh well - times change and we won a stuffed turtle and monkey with our gooneybucks.

As much as I like the fair I never seem to go back twice in 1 year.  Maybe the smell of fry-bread has limited appeal or maybe I just like to leave wanting to go again next year.
Even though it was taken on my pathetic phone camera, this photo sort of captures the picture of the fair that exists in my mind. The obligatory concert photo Ahh yes - the Krustbuster.  A gadget so pointless you can't even buy it on tv for 19.95
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100 Foods to Eat Before You Die
Posted - Sep 11th, 2008 4:42pm
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I've seen a lot of lists about places you have to visit or things you have to do before you kick the proverbial bucket.  While there are always things on those lists I want to do or see, I've never had any urge to try and complete such a venture.  That was until now.

My co-worker and willing foodventurer Dale sent me this list of 100 things you should eat before you die.  I immediately took this as a challenge as did he and we have set about completing this list post-haste.  Afterall, you never know when your next meal will do you in when your eating crap like this.

And for anyone keeping count, I'm currently at 36 items left and counting - sadly I will have to eat horse meat to finish the list but I'll deal with that when I get to 99 down and 1 to go.
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Maple Bacon & Absinthe Lollypops
Posted - Jul 19th, 2008 5:51pm
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As a connoisseur of all things bacon, I had little choice when I ran across Lollyphile.com but to immediately place an order for their maple bacon lollypops.  And because I've never tasted it, I also felt compelled to get some of their absinthe pops.

I'm happy to say they arrived just a few days ago in at least edible condition.  The candy probably would have been in better shape had I ordered them during cooler weather or I hadn't been to lazy to get the mail for the last few days, but I've never been known for my timliness.  Mishapen as they were, I was instantly impressed by their list of ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Absinthe/Bacon/Maple Syrup and cream of tartar.  In these haydays of yellow #5 and artificially flavored everthing, simplicity in food is a rarity and something I much appreciate.

Thats not to say they were perfect.  The bacon maple pops were very mild on the maple front and weren't as salty as I had hoped for.  Really good - yes, but not as good as I had fantasized(don't judge!).  The absinthe pops on the other hand were almost too strong and actually made my mouth numb.  In the end though I'm a happy foodie.  How can you turn down bacon candy after all and I think there is something strangely addictive about the Absinthe pops which taste like high powered licorce.

Their website says they are working on other flavors.  I for one vote Dill Pickle and Jalepeno, but whatever it is I'm probably going to order it anyway (I'm such a sucker).
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