Category Archives: food

Latkchos

There are only a few days of Hanukkah left, so hurry up and clog your arteries with a plate of freshly made Latckchos, a culinary delight courtesy of Nachos NY. Part latke, part nacho, all delicious. If you thought your fried potato pancakes were good, but could have used a layer of spicy cheese and a few more jalapeno peppers, then this is definitely the recipe for you.

Recipe

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One Drink, Two Cups

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Double cupping is my newest pet peeve. Why are two cups doing a job that is normally reserved for one? Have these cups unionized? There has got to be a better way to guard against the terror of hot liquids than by wasting a perfectly good cup for a couple of minutes of heat protection. I tried to give the protective cup back to barista, but she said she couldn’t reuse it due to health concerns. Science has provided answers to some of mankind’s most pressing problems, surely it could spend a little time figuring out how to make a more insulated paper cup. For now, I’m toughing it out and requesting one cup, and I’ve got the scorched palms to prove it!

Dinner’s Ready…or Not

Just when I thought I had seen all the crazy foods imaginable, I stumbled upon this little gem at a Korean grocery store in Lynnwood, WA. I have no idea what a “bung” is, but it doesn’t sound the least bit appetizing. No sir, none for me, now will you please pass the chicken nuggets? I may not know what’s in those things either, but when it comes to eating questionable animal parts, ignorance is bliss.

Euro Bike Trip: Grub

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Some of the most common questions people ask about the bike trip are about food. I’ve found that people are often more concerned about the things we ate and our cooking methods than the places we actually visited. This is only natural though. After all, food is fuel, and if don’t have any gas in the tank, you certainly won’t be able to ride very far. But food served a far greater role than just mere sustenance, it was also served as our primary way to socialize. Meals gave us a chance to relax and reflect back on a days riding, and of course, meet new people. We met some of the coolest people around a dinner table or at the end of long bar. It seemed that Europeans were always quick to share a bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, and a good story.

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Lidl, with its easy to spot blue and yellow signs, was our shopping center of choice. It’s a huge chain of discount grocery stores that sells generic brand food at ridiculously low prices. Items at a Lidl tended to be 40%-50% off the price at big name groceries. By pooling our money together we were able to take advantage of some of their bulk items and make some pretty cracking meals. At a Lidl can easily eat like a king for 3 Euro. These stores are often at the edge of town or in between cities, so it can be a mission to find them, but for the amount you can save the extra trip is definitely worth it. As I liked to say on the road, “You can get a lot at a Lidl.”

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Meet Musli, the breakfast of champions. It’s granola, corn flakes, yogurt, bananas, and if your feeling fancy, a bit of honey. Mix it all up and feast on a meal that is guaranteed to keep you going until lunchtime, if not longer. Because it’s so thick and dense, it’s the only meal I know of that not only tastes half decent, but can also double as tile grout.

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One of the great things about riding 70 miles a day is that you can pretty much eat whatever you want and not have to worry about gaining any weight. We would often finish off one of our special creations, “The Lidl Bagguette” and then top it off by eating a whole chocolate bar. No Weight Watchers for us. The only drawback was that sometimes we would slip into a food coma and would need a half-hour nap to sleep it off before getting back on the road. That whole thing probably cost around 3 euros.

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Ravioli with bologniase sauce, chopped onions, and basil leaves. The best meal I’ve ever made on top of an electrical box in a municipal park.

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Pesto Pasta and a little bread. Not bad, not bad at all.

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We met a lot of great people through the sharing of food and drink. Above is a guy named Andre, whom we met at a campsite just outside of Sete. He was by far the craziest, most free-spirited person we met on the trip. He said he was 60 years old, but he behaved more like a little kid. He was a retired auto mechanic who, when not making homemade booze in his bathtub, spent his summers hopping from campsite to campsite throughout France. We were at this campsite for two days and the whole time Andre was either drinking, smoking cigarettes, eating cheese, or trying to pick up women. He said he hated American music but the only CD he had – the one he blasted on his car speakers in a continuous loop – was a Bruce Springsteen greatest hits collection. In the picture above he is showing me his homemade concoction he called Pruno, which I think was hard alcohol distilled from prunes, you know, for those who want to get smashed but also need that extra bit of fiber in their diet. It was about 7 in the morning when he took out the bottle and coerced me into trying some. The stuff was absolutely vile. You could probably have stripped paint with it. Andre didn’t seem to mind though. By the end of the day he had finished off the whole bottle, and several others just like it.

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Above is a picture of Dantiza and Alejandro, two students we randomly me who let us crash at their place in Montpellier. They were Chilian natives who were studying business in France. They were fluent in three languages, which made me feel remarkably ignorant for only knowing English and some Spanglish. We spent the night drinking Leffes and eating cheese before heading out into Montpellier’s vibrant bar scene.

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We met Manu and his wife outside a bar in Burjols, a small town in Southern France. Unable to find a campsite after 115 miles of riding, we had pitched our tents in a park and headed into town for one beer. It was about 11pm when we met them. Upon telling our story, Manu, feeling either sympathetic or extremely generous, or probably a little bit of both, immedietly offered to let us stay the night at his house. Not only that, but he and his wife also made us an amazing meal, let us use their showers, and helped us plan our course for the next day. Due to all the wine and cheese and sorbet he offered us, we didn’t get to sleep until around 3am. The next morning he made us breakfast and espresso and gave us a bag to pick cherries off his massive tree in his backyard. We hit the road well rested, well fed, and with 2 pounds of the most amazing cherries strapped the back of our bikes. It’s like the old saying goes, when you travel, “It’s not where you go that matters, but the people you meet along the way.”

Korean Culinary Mishap: Mother’s Finger

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As a kid there was nothing I liked better after a long hard day at school than sitting down at the kitchen counter and chompin’ down on a Mother’s Finger. So good. They are kind of like Butterfingers, except more cannabalistic. Seriously, does this make any sense at all?

Is Conical Pizza Necessary?

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I’ve been seeing these signs around Seosan lately advertising for cone pizza and I must say, I’m not happy about this recent geometric redesign of one of my favorite foods. Why do people feel they can mess with perfection? First someone went and made raspberries blue. Then they took breakfast cereals, subtracted the milk, and condensed all my favorite brands into disgusting bar formations. Now someone has the bright idea to take pizza, which for centuries, if not millenia, has always been round and flat (and delicious btw) and reformatted it to resemble some sort of Baskin & Robbins experiment gone horribly awry. Are people really getting that bored with pizza that they will only eat it if it’s presented to them in a cone? I think not. My message to marketers: please stop screwing with food fundementals. Raspberries should always be red, Cheerios should always be served in milk, and pizza should always be triangular. That’s just the way God wants it.

Kimichi + Tacos = Crazy Delicious

Attention all taco lovers! According to a recent New York Times article by Jennifer Steinhauer, there is a Korean taco vendor riding around the streets of Los Angeles selling tacos…with a twist. Instead of ground beef, cheese, sour cream, and other standard accouterments, owners Roy Choi and Marguera pack their tacos with choices like tofu soaked in red chili flake vinaigrette, short ribs in sesame-chili salsa roja, and my personal favorite, blood sausage sautĂ©ed with kimchi. While taco traditionalists might shake their heads at such combinations, the food coming from Choi and Marguera’s Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go truck has not only been a huge hit in L.A. – people are waiting up to two hours for these bad boys! – but it could also be a sign of big things to come for Korean cuisine.

In the last few years, second-generation Korean Angelenos and more recent immigrants have played their own variations on their traditional cuisine and taken it far beyond the boundaries of Korean-dominated neighborhoods. These chefs and entrepreneurs are fueled in large part by tech-boom money here and in South Korea, culinary-school educations and in some cases, their parents’ shifting perspectives about the profession of cooking. In the last year, new Korean restaurants have popped up on the powerhouse restaurant strips of Washington Boulevard in Culver City and Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood. In an area of West Los Angeles dominated by Japanese restaurants, bibimbop has joined the fray.

Now that I’ve been exposed to the glory of Korean cuisine for the last 11 months, I am all for this new trend. Maybe some ojinga (squid) can make an appearance on the menu soon as well.

Make sure you read the whole article. It’s more of a cultural piece than an actual food review. After your finished, go buy yourself some taco shells and some kimchi and get freaky with it!

– More info on the Korean BBQ Taco from Kogi’s Official Site. Taco Bell ain’t got nothin‘ on this!