Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sammy Hagar says: There's only one way to, er, grill ...

From today's Tennessean ...

Melanie Campanis, right, uses a solar cooker as her daughter, Sophia, looks on at their home in Nashville.

A ... solar ... cooker?!

With all apologies to Hank Hill, if you're going to cook outdoors, you better by-God use a charcoal-fired grill, in all its smoking glory.

I mean, what's the use of cooking outdoors if'n you don't stink up the neighborhood with your bag of Kingsford® and a pound or three o' well-marinated chicken/pork/beef ...?!

(In the pic above, I betcha Melanie Campanis is cookin' some kind o' soy crap on her solar cooker; and I betcha Ms. Campanis voted for Al "50 Suit" Gore back in '00.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh, good heavens

7-Eleven is branching out from the Big Gulp® to what will no doubt be big gulps of beer-flavored water:

This week, convenience-store chain 7-Eleven announced it would begin carrying its own budget brand of beers, dubbed Game Day. The news made me do a double take, nearly causing me spit out the sublimely hoppy Stone IPA I was drinking. Was 7-Eleven angling to be my low-cost craft-beer salvation?

Mmm...not exactly. As expected, the decision was driven less by a desire to sell great brews than the bottom line. Beer purchases in convenience stores dipped 4 percent last year, according to research group SymphonyIRI -- nearly double domestic beer sales' 2.2 percent decline.

But the silver lining is that purchases of sub-premium beers (Keystone Light, Natural Light) actually ticked up. Customers haven't stopped drinking. They just want to pay less for a buzz.

Look, if 7-Eleven's beer tastes 50 percent better than Keystone or Natural Light, it'll still taste like crap. And I won't be trying it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A tasty treat (and a tasty deal)

When warm spring winds start to blow, there's nothing I like better than a Blizzard from the DQ®. And for the next week, well, check this out ...

Buy any-size Blizzard and get a second one for a quarter at Dairy Queen? That is a delicious deal. DQ locations are celebrating the 25th birthday of the Blizzard starting April 19, 2010.

Fans of this classic soft-serve ice cream treat blended with sundae toppings, pieces of cookies, brownies, or candy can party along with DQ during Blizzard Customer Appreciation Week (April 19 to 25).

For the record, a Heath bar Blizzard is my favorite.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hoo-ray for Ed's Fish House

I first told AMGE readers about Ed's Fish House back in 2007. Here's a bit of what I said:

My favorite hot fish joint is Ed's Fish House in Priest Lake. Ed's does business out of a trailer in the Compton's Foodland parking lot (Smith Springs Road, 'bout a mile and a half south of Bell Road). Ed has been selling fried fish out of his little trailer for over 25 years. That says a lot about the quality of his food.

Ed's fish sandwiches are truly two-hand sandwiches. That is, you'll be using both hands from bite one until all you have left are crumbs. (I guess you could cut the sandwich half, or into quarters, but that's not really a manly thing to do.) The cornmeal Ed uses gives the fish a terrific crunch, and he tops the fish with just enough "stuff" on top to enhance, rather than overpower, the crispy fish underneath.

If you've never had a hot fish sandwich, you can't go wrong by heading to Ed's Fish House for your first.

I'm pleased to announce that Ed is now serving plate lunches and chicken wings. I've yet to have anything from Ed's other than hot fish. However, if his plate lunches and wings are only half as good as his fish sammiches, well, they're pretty damn good.

Ed's Fish House
2808 Smith Springs Road
Nashville, TN 37217

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pizza rules!

Nick Sherman likes pizza ... a lot. So much so that he not only started a pizza blog, but he's eating nothing but pizza throughout the month of April. Let's hope he has a warp-speed metabolism as he continues his culinary adventure.

Check out Sherman's blog here. Here's a pic he took at Lombardi's in Manhattan ... at which I once ate the best pizza pie I've ever had in my life:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You gotta love cilantro. Or maybe not

I don't know how anyone could not not like cilantro. There are a lot of folks who don't, however, and there may be a scientific reason to explain why. The New York Times tells us 'bout it ...

Food partisanship doesn’t usually reach the same heights of animosity as the political variety, except in the case of the anti-cilantro party. The green parts of the plant that gives us coriander seeds seem to inspire a primal revulsion among an outspoken minority of eaters.

Culinary sophistication is no guarantee of immunity from cilantrophobia. In a television interview in 2002, Larry King asked Julia Child which foods she hated. She responded: "Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me."

"So you would never order it?" Mr. King asked.

"Never," she responded. "I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor."

Ms. Child had plenty of company for her feelings about cilantro (arugula seems to be less offensive). The authoritative Oxford Companion to Food notes that the word "coriander" is said to derive from the Greek word for bedbug, that cilantro aroma "has been compared with the smell of bug-infested bedclothes" and that "Europeans often have difficulty in overcoming their initial aversion to this smell." There’s an "I Hate Cilantro" Facebook page with hundreds of fans and an I Hate Cilantro blog.

Yet cilantro is happily consumed by many millions of people around the world, particularly in Asia and Latin America. The Portuguese put fistfuls into soups. What is it about cilantro that makes it so unpleasant for people in cultures that don’t much use it?

Some people may be genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro, according to often-cited studies by Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. But cilantrophobe genetics remain little known and aren’t under systematic investigation. Meanwhile, history, chemistry and neurology have been adding some valuable pieces to the puzzle.

Read the rest here.

Bière au déjeuner? Oui!

European workers make some crazy-ass demands (i.e., 30-hour workweeks, month-long vacations, the right to retire before they get their first gray hair, etc.) and then wonder -- wonder, not worry about -- why their productivity lags behind that of American and Japanese workers.

What's the latest crazy-ass demand made by workers on the Continent? The right to drink on the job, of course! The Wall Street Journal tells us about it ...

Michael Christiansen, a truck driver turned union representative, is fighting hard to preserve one of the last, best perks of the beer industry: the right to drink on the job.

Mr. Christiansen's union brethren are wort boilers, bottlers, packers and drivers at Carlsberg A/S, Denmark's largest brewer. For a century, they've had the right to cool off during a hard day's work with a crisp lager.

But on April 1, the refrigerators were idled and daily beer spoils were capped at three pint-sized plastic cups from a dining hall during lunch hour.

Now that I think about it, three pint-sized cups of beer at lunch would probably hit the spot!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Da best

Men's Health has posted a list of the best and worst" sauces and condiments. You can see it here. I was pleased to see one of my favorite sauces in the "best" list. One of my favorite condiments was on the list, too. And any Web site that favorably name-checks my favorite extra virgin olive oil, well, that's a good thing (sorry Martha).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sad news

Last time I put my legs under a table at the Loveless Cafe was about two years ago. I went there for dinner and I left very underwhelmed. The fried chicken was hard as a rock -- if you've ever had fried chicken that was over-cooked, you know what I mean -- and the green beans had gone from a can to my plate, literally.

My last Loveless experience would've been a total wash-out if not for the place's signature biscuits. Man, those bicuits. (I could live offa Loveless biscuits and red-eye gravy, indeed.)

Fresh, flaky, and full o' buttermilk flavor ... the biscuits served at the Loveless is the only reason folks should vistit the Loveless, indeed.

That said, this really bums me out ...

Carol Fay Ellison, better known as Loveless Cafe's Biscuit Lady, died on Monday after a 3½-week hospitalization. She was 48.

Ellison began her career at Loveless Cafe as a dishwasher when she was a teenager. Owner Tom Morales said she went on to become the face of the restaurant with her made-from-scratch biscuits and preserves. ...

After several years working as a dishwasher, buser and line cook, Ellison started baking biscuits at Loveless in 1987. Ellison — who learned how to make biscuits by watching her mother — fiercely guarded her recipe.

She would say only that the recipe came from previous owners of the Loveless Cafe and that she tweaked it a bit by adding a secret ingredient.

Morales said that secret ingredient was love.

"She put pride in it. She put love in it," Morales said. "That's what made them so good."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Note to AMGE fans

Joltin' Django is workin' at night (and during the day) now. I'm still gettin' used to my new sched-yule, but I'll be back starting Sunday, April 11.

Thanks for reading ...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Joltin' Django's Easter dinner ...

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " Then they remembered his words.

– Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

This here Easter, Joltin' Django put on his plate slices of Honey Baked Ham®, mac-'n' cheese, and Glory-brand green beans.

To wit:

Now, who wants left-overs ...?!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Re: Chess pie

Mr. Jimmy read my post 'bout chess pie, and he purchased for me a made-from-scratch ...

... piece o' chess pie from the Belmont Bi-Rite.

It was very, very (very) good ...

... but Kleer-Vu's chess pie is better.

So there.

Friday, April 02, 2010

What took me so long?

When I was a kid, my grandparents lived in a town which had two fast-food restaurants: Dairy Queen and Hardee's. Whenever I would visit, my grandfather would let me tag along when he went to the cattle auctions. We would always stop at Hardee's on our way home. My grandfather loved Hardee's hamburgers. He got me to likin' 'em too, and for years my go-to place for a quick hamburger was Hardee's.

When Hardee's made their famous switch to "thickburgers" and the like, the CEO of the company took to the airwaves and announced that Hardee's was changing its menu because corporate bigwigs realized their burgers "weren't very good." I sent 'em a letter and told 'em that their our-burgers-suck-so-we-have-to-make-a-change ads were an insult to every person who'd been going out of their way to visit Hardee's ... like me. I told 'em I wouldn't be trading with them any more -- as my grandfather used to say.

Hardee's sent me a bunch of free coupons along with a letter telling me that if I decided to trade with 'em again, I'd like what I saw, er, tasted. I chucked 'em and said to myself, "Thanks, but no thanks." I vowed I'd never darken Hardee's door again. It was a silly vow, I know, but my principles were at stake. The old hamburgers were good enough for my grandfather, and they were good enough for me. And, by God, I wasn't going back.

Well, I did go back. I had to undergo - endure - some painful oral surgery, I ate nothing but chicken broth and a few yolk-free egg noodles for almost five days. Sitting at my desk one day last week, completely famished, I decided that what I needed was a hamburger. And fast. So I stopped at the Hardee's near my office on my way home. (The fact that I had a coupon (!) kind of helped me decide to stop at the restaurant with the big yellow star on its facade.)

Here's what I got ...

That there's a Hardee's Six-Dollar Thickburger, and it might just be the best fast-food hamburger a man who's gotta eat can eat -- even though Hardee's goes a bit crazy with the mustard and ketchup (see above pic).

The burger itself was thick and juicy, and it was dusted with just enough salt and pepper to make it oh-so-tasty. You gotta have mad respect for a fast-food joint that uses red onions, and Hardee's does just that. And I loved the fact that Hardee's uses thick slices of sweet pickles on its big burgers. (Joltin' Django loves him some some sweet pickles.)

I guess what I'm tryin' to say is this: Hardee's Six-Dollar Thickburger is the best fast-food burger around. Period.

Oh, and I'm not boycottin' Hardee's no more. Indeed.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Attention, s'il vous plaît

My people ...

(The late Merle Kilgore was a family friend, and when he'd enter a room full o' people he'd put his arms in the air and say, "My people ...")

Joltin' Django is workin' at night now -- hell, Joltin' Django is workin' day and night now.

Bloggin' has been on my back-burner for the past several days; however, I should be back on a day-to-day bloggin' schedule next week.

Thanks for reading.