Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Blue Plate" lunch or dinner or ...

'Bout three months ago, Mr. Jimmy told me that Blue Plate mayonnaise was the mayo of his childhood. He also told me that he hadn't had it in years. Well ...

Nashville-area Publix stores now sell Blue Plate mayo. Me and Mr. Jimmy gave it a try recently (on white bread with store-bought turkey and cheap individually-sliced cheese), and here's the verdict:

Blue Plate ain't as good as Duke's, but it IS a first-class Southern-style mayonnaise. That is, it ain't fermentedly-tangy like Miracle Whip, and it don't taste like it was spooned from a tup o' cheap crap from Kroger's condiment aisle.

Indeed, Blue Plate's rich o' eggy goodness and, well, that's all you need to know to know that Blue Plate mayo will make excellent burgers, and excellent po' boys, and excellent chicken salad, and excellect anything that involves mayo.

So there.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Can't we all just eat and get along?

The New York Times says parents who insist that their kids can only eat soy hot dogs at kiddy b-day parties eating are creating a legion of "neurotic" health nuts. Oh, my, I couldn't agree more!

Seriously, Slashfood elaborates:

Nutritionists and eating disorder specialists say they're seeing an increasing number of children who are terrified of "bad" foods, whether that means non-organics, trans fats, or just regular old sugar, to such an extent that it disrupts their daily lives. "We're seeing a lot of anxiety in these kids," says Cynthia Bulik, director of the eating disorders program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "They go to birthday parties, and if it's not a granola cake they feel like they can't eat it"

When I was a kid, my main source of protein was cheap-ass hot dogs; and I lived for every chance I could eat birthday cake with lard-based icing. I also played organized baseball nine months out of every twelve from ages 8-18; and I rode my bike five hours a day when I was 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15-years-old. I also raced 'round a BMX for a month, and I was a boxer twice as long as I was BMX racer.

I remain amazed that "childhood obesity" is an endemic problem. When I was a kid, fat kids were the exception, not the rule. Eat less and excercise -- and drop them game-controllers -- that's what today's kids need. Indeed.

The gov'ment nannies need to leave chicken fingers and French fries and Cokes alone. What they need to be doing is encouraging kids - and their friends and siblings - to eat healthy and get off their asses.

Eat less and exercise more ... 'tis guaranteed to keep you thin and healthy. (And it don't require no Obama "stimulus" funds, neither.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can't get enough of that boeuf (and cabbage)!

Last month, the Tennessean published my - actually my Great Aunt Caroline's - recipe for beef 'n' cabbage casserole. I told AMGE readers 'bout it here.

Mr. Mordecai was over to his in-laws house this past weekend. What did he see hangin' on their refrigerator? "My" recipe for beef 'n' cabbage casserole. His mother-in-law vouched for its tastiness, too!

You see the recipe, now see a pic (it's not the best pic 'cause you can't really see any cabbage):

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Me so happy!

Once upon a time, there was a meat-'n'-three on Harding Place called City Cafe. The food served there was pretty good, but it certainly wasn't the best meat-and-taters cuisine I'd ever eaten. The main reason I ate at City Cafe - hell, the only reason I ate at City Cafe - was because I could get there, eat, and get back to my office in about 45 minutes.

Two years ago, give or take a month or two, City Cafe changed hands and became Happy Cafe. I went there once and came pretty damn close to asking for my money back. You see, the fried chicken tasted like TV dinner fried chicken; the green beans tasted like they'd been poured from a can directly into a steam tray; the mashed potatoes were clearly instant mashed potatoes; and the cornbread was so hard and dry it ... let's just say that it was pretty damn hard and dry.

I'm honored to announce that Happy Cafe is now under new ownership. Gone are the unseasoned vegetables, fake mashed potatoes and just-thawed meats. Happy Cafe now serves up juicy meatloaf full o' onions and seasoning; crispy fried chicken; green beans and turnip greens enhanced with just the right amount of smoked pork; creamy macaroni and cheese; and pinto and white beans that are clearly slow-soaked and even more slowly cooked (with just the right amount of salt and bacon).

The one thing that disturbed me about my visit to Happy Cafe was the lack of patrons in the dining room. The old Happy Cafe sucked so bad, maybe folks who live and work in the area are hesitant to spend their hard-earned money there. Well, I'm here to tell you that Happy Cafe don't suck no more. If you're looking for a damn fine meat-and-three in which to have lunch, you need to get your ass over there. You'll be HAPPY you did, indeed!

Happy Cafe
"A Southern Meat and Three"

Harding Place @ I-24
Nashville, Tennessee 37211

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Avec du sucre

Something from

If the rumors we hear on BevReview are true, PepsiCo will be introducing what they're calling "Pepsi Throwback" and "Mountain Dew Throwback," both made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, this spring. While most physicians and scientists believe that high fructose corn syrup is no worse than sugar, health-wise (it's the fact that high fructose corn syrup is added willy-nilly to everything from bread to salad dressing that makes it problematic), many people say they like the taste of regular sugar in soda better. I've even heard of people driving across the border to Mexico to bring back cases of their favorite sugar Coke. I, however, have never noticed an appreciable difference, though admittedly I rarely drink any soda besides Diet Coke.

Can you tell the difference been soda with high fructose corn syrup and soda made with sugar? Which do you like better?

One of the few benefits of having a growing number of Hispanics in Nashville is the availability of "imported" Coca-Cola in various markets and convenience stores. Said imported Coke is made with actual sugar, and boy howdy does it taste good. Oh, and imported Coke comes in glass bottles ... and if you've never had a Coke in a glass bottle, you've been missin' out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Ceci n’est pas une pipe"? Non! C'est une pipe extraordinaire!

I've been smoking a pipe since ... well, let's just say that I've been smoking a pipe for over ten years. The first pipe I ever smoked was a cheapie I bought at a tobacco shop on the Murfreesboro town square. It took me weeks to learn how to pack the bowl properly, and it took me months to learn how to keep my pipe lit. But I learned.

I smoked that cheapie pipe for about four years, maybe five. I then started smoking an Aldo Velani which I bought for five bucks at a garage sale. It'd never been smoked when I bought it, and let's just say that said pipe is worth considerably more than $5.

I bought my current favorite pipe - a very nice Stanwell - at Belle Meade Premium Cigars two years ago (with Christmas bonus money). You'd never know it to be my favorite pipe; indeed, I smoke it so gingerly you'd need a microscope to find the teeth marks.

One of these days, I'll post some pics of my pipes. Maybe I'll post some pics o' me smokin' 'em, too! Stay tuned.

That said, I want you to check out this pipes-are-makin'-a-comeback article from today's Wall Street Journal. 'Tis very interesting, indeed. A sample:

Friday is International Pipe-Smoking Day, when a number of puffers will unite to protest tobacco taxes and smoking bans. They will also engage in slow-smoking competitions to see who can keep a pipe going the longest. Each contestant is given just two matches. Events, which will go on all weekend, are promoted by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. ...

Health advocates may warn of oral cancer, mouth lesions and rotting teeth, but Mr. Nemets and his online brethren are in the vanguard of an unlikely set of smokers taking to the brier -- people in their 20s.

"They're eager to learn," says 71-year-old Vernon E. Vig, president of the New York Pipe Club and the United Pipe Clubs of America. Mr. Vig started smoking a pipe as an undergrad at Carleton College 53 years ago. "Back then, everyone smoked a pipe," Mr. Vig says. His group, which meets monthly in Manhattan, has seen a definite increase in college students and young professionals, he says.

No one tracks how many young men and women are pipe smokers. But sales of pipe tobacco are rising again after years of decline, and many think young smokers are the reason. U.S. sales of pipe tobacco plummeted to 4.9 million pounds in 2006, from 52 million pounds in 1970, says Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America. Sales climbed to 5.3 million pounds in 2008. Pipe tobacco and smokeless tobacco sales are on the rise, offsetting over a decade of decreases in cigarette sales.

Pipe-smoking groups on social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have attracted thousands of members. Questions in the forums include: A bent or straight pipe? Does anyone have a favorite perique Louisiana tobacco blend? What is the consensus on corncob pipes?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A little vino would be keen-o

I've long had a taste for fine wines. My wine-buying budget, however, was stuffed with a mighty big cork last year. Thus, I identify with this very well:

As recession grips the country, drinkers are discovering fine wines on a beer budget. The wine industry is less vulnerable to the downturn than other sectors, but total U.S. wine sales rose less than 1% by volume last year, the slowest rate this decade, according to Jon Fredrikson, an industry consultant with Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates in Woodside, Calif. The downturn is most acute in restaurants, where total wine sales fell 10% to 12% last year as Americans dined out less, Mr. Fredrikson says. "Consumers have reined in their spending and are looking for value," he says.

priced wines are drawing healthy sales. According to market-research firm Information Resources Inc., which tracks wine sales in food, drug and mass-merchandise outlets, sales of wines in the $11-to-$20 range increased 8% in dollar terms in the 52 weeks through Jan. 25. By contrast, sales of wines costing more than $20 rose a mere 1.6%, compared with 11% and 26% in the two previous periods, respectively.

Re-freeze or cook? That's the question

My Granny Ruby always said that you shouldn't re-freeze thawed meat. My Mom's always said that re-freezing meat is OK.

Who's right? Well ...

According to the USDA, when raw meat is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking. For this reason, it's perfectly OK to purchase, say, a previously frozen piece of salmon from Trader Joe's, and then put it in your freezer when you get home.

But if you refreeze thawed poultry or meat, you will be compromising quality of taste and texture. Not only does meat lose water during the defrosting process, but refreezing it also creates ice crystals within the structure of the meat that alter its fibers, leaving an unfortunately dry cut of meat.

Of course, like all raw animal protein, the true safety of the product will depend on whether it's been properly handled. The best ways to defrost raw meat are in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave — not on a room-temperature kitchen counter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Even more Mayberry

As promised, here's my lastest Mayberry's Finest review ...

There ain't no other way to say it ... I #@%&in' love turnip greens!

My Granny Ruby could make a mean - and I mean mean - pot o' turnip greens. She'd clean 6-8 big bunches of greens; she'd put 'em in a pot with some ham meat, salt, pepper and a little sugar; and she'd let 'em cook for 2 or 3 hours. Once the greens were done, the pot would be placed on a table alongside a bottle of homemade peppers and white vinegar, even though her greens were so good they didn't need to be soaked in vinegar.

That said, I've spent the past, oh, five or six years telling folks that Glory Foods produces the best canned turnip greens. "Glory greens are well-seasoned and taste homemade," I said. They are, and I still love 'em, but I've found something better.

I didn't have anything planned for dinner tonight, so I heated me a can of Mayberry's Finest turnip greens and baked a skillet of cornbread ...

Man, oh, man ... lemme tell you something: I will never, ever tell nobody that Glory Foods serves the best canned greens.

Mayberry's Finest turnip greens are not only well-seasoned (with hints of smoked ham and pepper), they're crisp to the point that a feller who didn't know he was eating canned greens would swear that he was eating fresh-cooked greens. Yeah, they're that good. Furthermore, I ate an entire bowl of Mayberry's greens sans vinegar. That in and of itself is saying something: prior to tonight, I'd not eaten an entire bowl of turnip greens without seasoning them with vinegar since I last ate a bowl of my Granny Ruby's greens ... 'bout ten years ago.

If you like turnip greens, pick up a can of Mayberry's Finest turnip greens. You'll be glad you did. I gar-un-damn-tee it.

NOTE: As I mentioned before, each Mayberry's Finest Product features a "Mayberry morel" 'bout a particular episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Cans of MF's turnip greens feature a short synopsis of the "Dogs, Dogs, Dogs" episode, as well as this:

In what has become affectionately known as the "giraffe speech," Barney tries to explain to Opie how the dogs will be safer in a storm than giraffes would be. He's probably right, but he's not able to convice even himself.

If you're a TAGS fan, you're well aware that few scenes in the history of television are as well-written, and funny, as Barney Fife's "giraffe speech."


Monday, February 16, 2009

Les haricots rouges et le riz de ma maison

The last time I was in New Orleans, in 2006, I dined in a restaurant on Bourbon Street in which I ate the best red beans and rice I've ever had in my life. They were so good, in fact, that I'd describe them as groin-grabbingly good (apologies to Homer Simpson).

My traveling companion and I were both a bit tipsy - nay, very tipsy - when we stumbled into the joint; and when we stumbled out, well I just wasn't of a right mind to pay attention to the nom du restaurant. Don't matter, though, 'cause I'm pretty sure I could find the place again -- it was two doors down from a strip joint!

After much experimentation, I've come up with a pretty good recipe for red beans and rice. What I cook ain't groin-grabbingly good like the stuff that comes out of that unnamed restaurant in New Orleans. Let's just say that my red beans and rice are damn good, and let's just leave it at that.

I made a pot o' beans tonight, and I served 'em with some Zatarain's rice. Here's a pic:

It was a bad mistake for me to put slow-cooked red beans in a dark red bowl for picture-takin' purposes. D'oh! That said, here's my recipe:

Joltin' Django's Red Beans & Rice


1.5 lbs red kidney beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bell pepper (diced)
1 large white onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 heaping tablespoons Luzianne Cajun Seasoning
1 lb andouille sausage (sliced into quarter-inch cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste


Soak beans in large heavy-bottomed pot for 6-8 hours. Strain beans and wash in cold water. Set beans aside.

Place pot on stove and heat for 5 minutes on medium head. Add olive oil, bell pepper, and onion, saute until onions are clear. Add garlic and saute for 10-15 seconds. Remove pot from heat.

Pour beans into pot and cover with water. Add Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper and stir well. Place pot on stove and bring beans to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cook for one hour.

Add sausage to beans and add more Cajun seasoning if needed. Cover pot and cook - again, on slow simmer - for 2 1/2-3 hours.

Serve beans over white rice with healthy dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I prefer Tabasco®).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Je suis un Plugger

Check out the Pluggers comic strip in your local paper, or here.

Why did I leave that last porkchop? (redux)

Sometimes you get to eatin'
Lord, and you just can't stop
Makes me wonder to myself
Why, oh, why
Did I leave that last porkchop

-- Hank Williams, Jr., "Last Pork Chop"

I'd hoped to get back over to Uh Wool Lim today, as I promised to do last week. I had family in town today, however, so I decided to grill some pork chops, which I purchased at Compton's Foodland in Priest Lake. To wit:

It was about this time last year when I first told AMGE readers about Compton's outstanding meat department. Here's what I said ...

Once upon a time, butchers bedecked in blood-stained smocks were as ubiquitous in grocery stores as large displays of on-sale canned vegetables. With more and more grocery stores relying on pre-packaged meat, it's getting harder and harder to find supermarkets in which a large staff of expert butchers are employed.

My very favorite grocery store in Nashville is Compton's Foodland (Compton's does b'iness in the Priest Lake 'burb). The main reason why I like Compton's so much is because of the quality of the meat sold there.

Step to the back of Compton's Foodland and its like stepping back into your childhood. Compton's still has a big glass window in the meat department, and you can peer at butchers as they cut and package steaks, chops, country ham, pork and beef roasts, and ground beef.

Not only do I like the fact that Compton's still prepares its own meat, I like the quality and value of the meat sold there, too. I have never - and I mean never - had a complaint with any meat I've purchased there.

Furthermore, I have never been refused a special request at Compton's. A few years back, they took pinwheel steaks out of their meat display. When I complained, I was told that they would make some pinwheels for me -- all I had to do was call and tell 'em ahead of time. ("What's a pinwheel steak?" you ask. Well, it's a foot, foot and a half strip of inch and a half wide steak that's wound and held together with toothpicks. The reason I like pinwheels so much is that they are great served with a red wine sauce. The sauce permeates into the cracks of the steak, if you will, and you get a taste of sauce with every bite of meat.)

All that said, I invited a friend over for dinner tonight. I stopped at Compton's on my way home to pick up something to grill. I couldn't remember the last time I had just a simple grilled pork chop, so I bought me a package of pork chops, some corn on the cob, and some fresh green beans. Got home and started cookin' ...

Now, I want you to take a look at the picture below, and while you're doing that keep in mind that the pork chops you see set me back a whopping $3.70.

Those ain't fatty pork chops, believe me. If'n they had been, I wouldn't have bought 'em -- no matter how inexpensive. They were juicy, flavorful, and ... damn, I wish I hadn't left the last one to sit in the refrigerator overnight. I should've et the thing and enjoyed the pleasure of doing so.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A little cilantro never hurt nobody!

I freakin' love cilantro. Just take a look at my homemade pico:

That's fresh chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, serrano peppers, garlic and a lot of cilantro.

As hard as it is for me to believe, there are some folks in this world who don't like cilantro. Nay, they cannot stand cilantro. The Wall Street Journal tells us 'bout it:

Cilantro lovers say it has a refreshing, lemony or limelike flavor that complements everything from guacamole to curry. It's a key ingredient in a range of ethnic cuisines, including Mexican, Indian and Chinese.

But few foods elicit such heated negative reactions. Many people say it tastes soapy, rotten or just plain vile. Just a whiff of it is enough to make them push away their plates.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My pal Jack's chili

One of the benefits of being an "official" man's who's gotta eat is the number of friends, family members, and colleagues who want me to sample their culinary creations. Today, my bud and co-worker Jacques, aka Jack, brought me a big ol' bowl of his chili ... in a bowl, and on a saucer, he'd brought from home. Hell, he even provided cheddar cheese, sour cream, Tabasco sauce, and a silver spoon. To wit:

I probably should've taken an "after" picture of my bowl of chili 'cause I practically licked the you-know-what clean. Jack's chili had a terrific flavor, both sweet (from the tomato sauce and peppers) and hot (from the serrano peppers and red pepper), and the black olives provided an unexpected, and tasty, tang. (I'm pretty sure I've never had black olives in chili before.)

Jack can sure serve a mean bowl of chili. I begged him for his recipe, and, well, here 'tis (try it, you'll like it ... gar-un-damn-teed):

1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 large can tomato sauce
1 large can tomato puree
2 cans chili hot beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can jumbo pitted black olives
1/2 can beer
1 large green bell pepper (sliced/chopped)
1 large red bell pepper (sliced/chopped)
6-8 sliced serrano peppers
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large handful chili powder
1 medium handful parsley flakes
1 small handful crushed red pepper
Generous pinch of celery seed
Optional: chunks of pepperoni

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I will smoke 'em if I got 'em

This afternoon, I smoked the last Swisher Sweet cigar in my humidor. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't be smokin' no Swisher Sweets ... but lemme tell you how I came about 'em:

A little over a month ago, I spied a box of Swisher Sweet Perfecto cigars in a "clearance" shopping cart at a local chain drug store. It seems that the drug store was ridding itself on all non-cigarette tobacco products. I turned the box over and looked at the clearance price: 11 bucks for a box of 50 cigars. It was a deal I simply could not pass up.

If I'd ever smoked a Swisher Sweet cigar prior to purchasing an entire box of 'em, I certainly don't remember it. I do remember, however, that I once worked with a feller who smoked 8-10 Swisher Sweets a day; and I remember him telling me several times that one of the great pleasures of smoking Swisher Sweets was the fact that the cigars are, well, sweet. And so they are.

The first thing you notice when you place a Swisher Sweet cigar in your mouth is the extremely sweet residue on the puffing end. You might expect that said residue would rub off once the cigar was lit and smoked for a while. Wrong. The cigar stays sweet from the first puff until it becomes a stump that must be discarded. When Swisher said Sweet, they meant it.

So, the cigar is sweet. How does it smoke? I won't lie and say that Swisher Sweets are the best tastin' cigars I've ever smoked. They are quite mild, though; and I can honestly say that they are better than some of the "premium" cigars I've smoked in my life -- which tasted like burnt rubber and left a God-awful aftertaste in my mouth that lasted for hours.

Like I said, Swisher Sweet Perfectos aren't the best cigars in the world. They do, however, provide a mild, somewhat flavorful smoke that one can enjoy whilst mowing the yard, taking a stroll, or to calm one's nerves on traffic-choked roads on the way home from work (as I did today -- see above pic).


I love bacon and salt ... but I would never advertise such like this:

I say that, but if I don't think I'd turn down a free tat of the original Gerst Haus building on my upper left or right arm. Or a can of Falls City Beer.

Now that I think about it, that bacon-salt tattoo ain't so silly after all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whatta burger!

Yours truly walked through the "outpatient" doors of my local hospital this afternoon with a prescription for pain pills ('cause, well, I was an outpatient). I was also pretty hungry when I walked through them doors 'cause I didn't eat nothing prior to my outpatient procedure due to nervousness over what I knew was coming, surgically speaking. Enough with that.

I stopped at Wendy's for dinner this evening, and I got me a $.99 double-stacker. I ate it, I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I passed out on my couch after taking pain pills (with the Nashville Predators-Detroit Red Wings playing on the TV).

Speaking of the $.99 double-stacker ...

I left work this afternoon at 4 p.m. to fetch a close family member who was expected to arrive at Nashville International Airport at 4:15. 'Cause of what happened today, we didn't leave the airport until nearly 6:15. Since my previous dinner plans were kaput at that point, we headed to the nearest Wendy's.

I wasn't real hungry, so I ordered a $.99 double-stacker:

As far as fast food is concerned, Wendy's serves the most homemade-tasting fast food burgers around. When I was 8-years-old, a Wendy's opened about a mile from my house. It quickly became the post-baseball-game haunt for me and my buds for the next ten years.

Wendy's burgers ain't quite as good as homemade burgers, but they're damn close. What I like about Wendy's is that their burgers are made to order, topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions ... as well as the best fast-food pickles known to man.

Like I said, I ain't much on fast food. But that $.99 Wendy's burger may be the best fast food bargain in town. To borrow a line from Jules Winnfield, it is a tasty burger!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Pork 'n' sauce 'n' taters 'n' gravy

Even though I know it'll put me in a precarious position with barbeque purists to say so ... I can make a pretty good pile o' 'que in my kitchen, and it don't require no smoke.

I always cringe whenever I hear someone say that grilling meat on a, well, grill is "barbecuing." To make true barbeque, the meat must be cooked over low and indirect heat.

That said, I still refer to the pulled pork 'n' sauce that I sometimes cook in my Crock-Pot® as "barbeque," mainly 'cause I don't know what else to call it. (I guess I could call it "pulled pork 'n' sauce," but that don't really have much caché, culinarily speaking.)

This is one of my favorite homemade meals ...

... lemme tell you what I did (in this particular case):

I slow-cooked a Boston butt in my Crock-Pot for six hours. It simmered in onions, carrots, garlic, Cavender's Greek Seasoning, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. When it was done, I removed it from the Crock and strained the remaining liqued into a large bowl.

When the meat was cooled enough to touch, I shredded it into large pieces and returned it to the Crock-Pot. I covered it -- this time -- with Nick's mild sauce and a healthy "plop" of Howton's sauce, and I put the Crock on "warm."

Meanwhile, I boiled a half-dozen good-sized taters and mashed 'em with butter, salt and pepper. In a separate pot, I made a roux with two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of flour. I put about three cups of strained pork butt juice (!) into the pot and reduced it until it was a thick gravy.

So, no, I didn't make proper barbeque; but the barbeque I did make was very, very tasty. Try it ... you'll see!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Seoul food

When it's cold outside there's nothing I like more than a big bowl of soup. On Thursday, I enjoyed a bowl of spicy seafood soup at Uh Wool Lim, a new Korean restaurant on Richards Road in Antioch. It had shrimp, mussels, clams, mushrooms, green onions, hot peppers and Korean cabbage in it. Oh, man, was it good -- good 'n' hot!

Unfortunately, I didn't have my digital camera with me when I visited Uh Wool Lim. I cannot pen a quality review of the place without pictures, particularly pics of the colorful spread of banchan served there.

I hope to get back to Uh Wool Lim no later than next weekend. A proper review will then be posted. In the meantime, check out Uh Wool Lim's menu (click each picture for a larger image):

Friday, February 06, 2009

Don't get me started ...!

Slashfood asks:

"[W]hat are the foods that take you back? What smells and tastes feel the most like home?"

Ready. Set. Go!

My Granny Ruby's fried chicken, fried pork steaks, meatloaf, stewed potatoes, green beans and scratch rolls; my Nanny's vinegar slaw, fried eggs, French toast, and baked oysters; my mom's beer bread, beef and chicken casseroles, and brownies.

I could go on and on, mes amis ...!

It is "A Man's Gotta Eat," after all ...

I'm gonna get in trouble for this, I know:

AMGE fan Brian sent this pic ...

... with this message:

Whale tail hunting Glory veggies. She likes em and so should we!

I had to Google "whale tail" to find out ... well, Brian's pic is a keen depiction of a whale tail. Interesting.

Only thing else I'll say at this point is that it warms my heart to see someone actively shopping for Glory Foods canned "stuff." The folks at Glory are sure doing something right (witnessed by the fact that they're atracting a class of customer(s) better-looking than yours truly ...!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Take me back to 2000

First time I went to New Orleans was in 2000 ... October 2000, if memory serves.

During my first trip to the Crecent City, I procured a bottle of Red Rooster Lousiana Hot Sauce. I'm pretty sure I got it at the French Market.

It took me all of two weeks to empty said bottle of sauce, and I looked for it the next time I visited the French Market, some three years later. Not only could I not find it at the French Market, I couldn't find it anywhere in the French Quarter. I pretty much figured that I'd never be able to find it again.

Fast forward to February 2009 ...

Two weeks ago, I got a wild hair and looked for Red Rooster online. I found it, and I ordered me two big bottles (even though I also discovered that Red Roster is distributed by Bruce Foods, maker of the über--salty "Original" Louisiana Hot Sauce). My bottles of Red Rooster arrived today.

Red Rooster ain't at all salty. It is, however, very, very hot. (No wonder I freakin' liked it so much so many years ago!) Red Rooster on chili ... Red Rooster on barbeque ... Red Rooster on hamburgers. Stay tuned for me to tell you about the foodstuffs upon which I'm pouring a hot sauce I ain't et for ten years.

You're excited, right?!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Nick's is pretty slick

Back when I was an undergraduate student, I worked several summers at a trucking company that was located on Foster Avenue. My favorite lunch spot during those years was Nick's BBQ. Nick's was just a quarter-mile down the road on Foster, and on Wednesday's you could get a pulled pork sammich there for a buck. (If you find yourself on or near Foster Avenue, don't go looking for Nick's. It's long gone. And South Nashville being South Nashville, the building in which Nick's was located is now a taco stand.)

The pulled pork served at Nick's certainly wasn't the best in Nashville. However, it had a decent smokiness about it and the price was certainly right. What I always really liked about Nick's were the hot and mild sauces served there. I've never been a big fan of sweet barbeque sauces, and Nick's sauce, with nary a hint of sweetness in either its hot or mild sauce, was right up my alley.

Once upon a time there were a half-dozen different Nick's Barbeque restaurants in Nashville. To the best of my knowledge only one remains, and it's all the way out on the Clarksville Highway. Thus, I hadn't eaten Nick's barbeque in years ... until tonight.

I had to undergo an outpatient procedure today that took a whole hell of a lot longer than I anticipated. It was nearly 5:30 when I left the hospital this evening, so I stopped at a local Kroger to pick up something for dinner. As I was strolling past the cold cuts and hot dogs and such, I passed a small cooler containing small tubs of frozen Nick's barbeque. Atop the cooler were bottles of hot and mild Nick's barbeque sauce. I simply couldn't pass it up. I got me a tub o' 'que and a bottle of hot sauce.

When I got home I thawed a good-sized portion of Nick's 'que and then finished cooking it in the oven over low heat. I made me a sammich with pickles on it - just like the sammiches I used to buy at Nick's years ago - and I gave it a good, and I mean good, dousing of sauce. Here's the verdict:

Nick's sauce is every bit as good as I remember it being. It's a pretty simple sauce, the main ingredients being tomato sauce and vinegar, and it ain't sweet at all. I feel pretty confident in saying that Nick's sauce will remain a staple in my kitchen so long as remains on the shelf in local Kroger stores.

As for the barbeque itself, it was better than I was expecting from frozen meat. It was juicy without being terribly greasy, and it had a wonderful hickory flavor. I'm not so sure that putting it on a bun is the best way to eat it. Next time I cook it I'm just going to serve it alongside some beans and slaw, and maybe some fried cornbread. Hell, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it ...!

Monday, February 02, 2009

10-minute cooking school

I recently picked up the two-disc "collector's edition" of Sin City. Included on one of the discs is a very cool cooking segment in which director Robert Rodriguez makes breakfast tacos using his grandmother's recipe for homemade tortillas. Check it out:

(If you can't see the video, click here)

Here's what Slasfood had to say about Rodriguez's cookin':

If you're a fan of his films, you've surely noticed the cooking segments attached to his DVD releases. If not, check out the clip above, for Sin City Breakfast Tacos. They're easy and incredibly tasty. More importantly -- they showcase what the food world needs more of -- natural shots of men cooking. These aren't guys getting paid to cook, but men who like food and realize the importance of fresh ingredients and the worth of an extra few minutes in the kitchen.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

More Mayberry

I made some white bean chili w/chicken for my neighbor's Super Bowl party tonight. I also baked up a batch of Mayberry's Finest Garlic and Herb biscuits. I promised to alert you whenever I prepared another Mayberry's Finest product, so, well, here's review number two ...

Out of the oven, Mayberry's Finest herb biscuits don't look nothin' like they look on the package. The finished product on the package is all golden and symmetrical; what I took out of the oven were pale and looked just like the cat-head biscuits I used to eat at a greasy spoon on the corner of Murfreesboro Road and Foster Avenue many years ago.

Hey, but don't let looks deceive you. Mayberry herb biscuits are pretty damn good. They were moist and infused with all kinds of herb-taste; and, more importantly, they were a great mop with which to sop (up) the gravy from my white bean chicken chili.

Something else you need to know 'bout Mayberry's Finest products: each and every can and package has printed on it a synopsis of a classic episode of Andy Griffith. "Goober and the Art of Love" is mentioned on the back of garlic-n-herb ... and that's one of my favorite all-time episodes.

Maybe that's why I liked them Mayberry herbed biscuits so much!