Friday, September 26, 2014

Adventures of Fried Chicken and Pork Fat in The City of Roses.


Portland Oregon is delicious. This past weekend my bestie Lucille and I took a kamikaze road trip to the lovely city of Portland for Rose City Comic Con. There was lots of cosplay and comics and oh yes, lots of tasty food. We packed up the rental Mini Coup with our costumes and beef jerky and headed out bright and early (so frickin' early) Sunday morning. Before we even made it to the highway I decided I need Mcdonalds breakfast (my addiction to fast food is my business) consisting of sausage and cheese biscuit sandwiches and an ungodly amount of their crack filled hashbrowns. I was fueled up and ready to rock (perhaps it was the gallon of Coke I drank). After a couple of hours of driving and singing Cure and Sisters of Mercy songs at the top of our lungs we finally arrived. We changed in a parking lot and stormed the convention center. I was dolled up as Death and Lucille was Dream, both from Neil Gaiman's Sandman. It was super fun.

After the con we checked into our fancy room at The Hotel Deluxe (one of my fave hotels). A quick fancy cocktail in their cute lounge the Driftwood Room (it was awesome until we got swarmed with a wedding party). Then off to dinner. I was famished.


Lardo: Sandwiches and pints of beer. Perfection. We both got the Porchetta sandwich. One of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. It was so simple: porchetta, caper mayo, gremolata, crusty bread. I took a bite as the grease ran down my arm and I squealed like a kitten. OMFG. Fatty porky goodness with salty caper and acidic herbs. I contemplated buying a few more to bring back to the hotel room but by the end I was so full I thought I had died and gone to pork fat heaven. I don't think Lucille and I spoke the entire time except for the occasional "mmmmm" and "Oh my god so good". The people next to us probably thought we were creepy as hell but I really didn't care. I was having a moment. There was only sandwich. I have now changed my religion to The Church of Sandwich. Oh yeah, we got some yummy pints of cider to wash it down. I dreamt of that thing all night long. Life will never be the same. I wonder if the kind folks at Lardo will mail me sandwiches? I must have them.



Pine State Biscuits: The next morning we headed out to Alberta street and lined up for one of my favorite breakfasts anywhere. The Reggie Deluxe is perfection on a plate and since I was still on my Gravy & Fried Meat Diet™ I could not come to Portland without eating at least one of these heavenly creatures. It starts with a perfect buttermilk biscuits sandwiched around deliciously moist and crunchy fried chicken, gooey cheese, salty fried egg, and a creamy and sausagey country gravy. We also ordered a side of more gravy to pour over the top which was a total win for us. "Goddamn that's fucking delicious!" Lucille exclaimed. She then yelled to the dudes cooking behind the counter "You guys are wizards!" They appreciated the comment. I fully agree. There must be some kind of black magic involved in such a perfect breakfast sandwich. Somebody's soul was sold for sure.



After drinking off the remaining gravy we went for a walk down Alberta and came across one the cutest little candy shoppes ever called Candy Babel. The lovely owner Amani Greer was so cheerful and sweet to us. We chatted and tried candy and had a brief but wonderful time. You must go there, she will definitely put a smile on even the saddest of goth faces and make you feel like the world is not completely lost. I got a bag of mixed gummi candies including grapefruits, peaches, chicken feet, brains, and worms. Lucille got a cute vintage tin and she threw in a free chocolate. So amazing. This place is so rad and needs to exist forever.


Portland was awesome as usual but as all fun things have to end so did our little mini-vacation. Besides, I was severely missing my adorables wife. We hopped in the car, blasted Birthday Massacre, drank energy drinks, and sped home. On the way we watched a car exploded into flames on the side of the road, made friends with a motorcycle guy who tailed us forever (we named him Derick), and most importantly, we stopped off at the strange little army base town of Lakewood, WA for some chicken.

Popeyes, Louisiana Kitchen is the bomb. Southern fast food at it's best. I had been craving Popeyes since the last time I stopped to get some over 10 years ago. Why did I wait so long? What the hell is wrong with me? So good. Spicy chicken strips, Cajun fries, buttery biscuits, and tons of different sauces. Oh yeah. It was as good as I remember it being. We finished up and rolled out the door tired and full. Mission accomplished. We safely arrived home and that night I dreamt about fried chicken and pork fat. Ya know, life aint' so bad sometimes. xoxo


Oh yeah, at one point during the trip we drank lots of hard ciders and ate a stale bag of Sabroso Pork Cracklings that came with a salsa packet. The guy from the minimart said he just watched a guy leave with a case of beer but he couldn't do anything about it. I said "That sucks, I'm sorry that happened". He said "It's okay, at least it's better than the other day when some mean guy came in and punched me in the face." Fair enough dude. I hope your week get's better. 




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Beef is Better Than Your Beef.


Every culture has it's own version of barbecued meat. In the states, pretty much every city (especially in the south) claims to have invented the meaty practice (I'm pretty sure Captain Caveman and the like figured it out long before that). Let's see, what kinds of BBQ are there:

Texas is BOLD with their smoked beef ribs and steers, beers, and brisket.
The Carolinas brings in the tangy pulled pork with vinegary dosed, nasal clearing sauce.
Memphis has the spicier ribs and sandwiches serve up on a Mystery Train.
Kansas City's got some sweet, saucy rib tips. Am I the only one who felt uncomfortable just now?
California smokes it's chickens and makes briskets on the Santa Maria.
Washington smokes salmon and trout on wooden planks. It also legally smokes other things.
Hawaii roasts whole pigs wrapped in banana leaves. Sometimes, they eat fire too.
etc... Don't cry because I left you out. I'm sure your BBQ is nice. Take a Valium and relax.

As far as other countries, let's see:

Canada: Just kidding, I love you but you're not known for your barbecue. You invented poutine though and for that you are my hero. (Also, I just wanted to give a shout out to my Québécois peeps.) xoxo

Mexico: Barbacoa and Adobada and all the other delicious things that are perfect in a taco. Damn I need some tacos now. Damn you tacos, stop taunting me!

Japan: Yakitori is perfect. Roasting meaty things like chicken skin and hearts over charcoal on little sticks. Yum. Skin. Hearts. Sometimes, I like to make chicken skin lamps and dresses. Oh, haha just kidding. Yeah. Oishii!

Lebanon (and many other Middle Eastern countries): Shawarma and kofta and other delicious fire roasted beasts. Even The Avengers love shawarma.

Greece: Souvlaki and gyros. Food of the gods. Especially Hades. He loves gyros.

Korea: Bulgogi. Sweet and spicy marinated beef seared off to delicious perfection. Sometimes at restaurants, they let you grill it yourself on a fiery pit in the middle of the table. It is dangerous and fun. The danger makes it taste even better.

Okay, you get my point. There are lots of variations on meat + fire = tasty in my mouth. Everybody has a version (yes, even you Canada). When people claim they have the best this dish or that dish it annoys the crap out of me. You can't really compare it. It's all preference. I like pretty much all food. Except for the food I don't like. Catch my drift? You know.

So yeah, anyways, I made some Bulgogi 불고기. Korean grilled marinated beef served with grilled onions, kimchi, and steamed rice. Simple. Tasty. Aside from the marination time it only takes about 2ne1 minutes to prep and about 4Minute to cook. Wink wink.


Bulgogi 불고기

1lb thinly slice sirloin

4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Gochujang, Korean chili paste (or use Sriracha or something similar)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh Asian pear juice (put peeled/seeded pear in a blender and strain)
1 Tbsp Mirin, rice wine
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced on bias
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Thoroughly mix all of the marinade ingredients. Thinly slice the beef against the grain. Marinate overnight.

On an outdoor grill or grill pan over high heat. Sear the beef for 2-4 minutes or until fully cooked. Serve with rice and kimchi and listen to K-Pop and drink a few Hite beers. Oh yeah. xoxo