Pinterest for the win!

if you follow my ‘that looks good’ board on Pinterest you will mostly find things that appeal to me for two reasons.  The ingredients and the photo.  Of course the photo.  If the picture is bad and there is a total lack of styling and there is ugly text you can just forget it. So, really the fact that I pinned this at all is a total laugh.  I pinned a recipe for a Big Mac.  That’s right.  Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.  I used to torment my parents from the back of our VW Rabbit singing this song as they drove my friends and I to camp.  TORMENT.  We didn’t even go to McDonalds often-only the occasional burger if my parents were going out for dinner somewhere fancy or we’d pick up nuggets on the way out of town in our motorhome.  twoallbeefpattiesspecialsauceBut, the reality is this.  For all the finer foods that I love I also really like some of the dodgiest ones too.  Home. Made. Big. Macs.   We usually use turkey but I went ahead with beef.  Delicious.  I don’t like sesame seeds and I figured we didn’t need ten buns of bread so I chose slider buns and used two bottoms-one for the bottom and one for the middle to get that authentic Big Mac thing going on.  I made the special sauce too instead of picking up some thousand island dressing.  It was just so good.  Sharp cheddar instead of American cheese.  Pulling out all the stops here.  Sliced spicy McClure’s dills I got in a pickler bucket from my sister for Christmas. That’s another story.  Z insisted on wrapping one up so it would come out of the paper all squashy and real.  That was the picture I liked best.  I baked some restaurant style fries in the oven and we just went to town on that stuff.  Seriously, I’d make this for guests and they wouldn’t be sad about it.  Pinterest for the win on this one.  Accessible things because you have a veritable encyclopedia at your fingertips.

Yellow Dog Eats

*I have started and stopped writing this post 3 or 4 times.  I just need to push through the block.  I know what the block is.  How to live when people around you have passed away.

I am not sure where to take this post at all.  We have been going through a prolonged season of grief at work and then Saturday we went to a memorial service for one of our close friend and  colleagues mother and then in the midst of that another colleague passed away last Thursday.  And as these things are they were both expected and shocking at the same time for the speed with which they happened.  I was actually surprised to watch myself walk through Thursdays events in a way that I hadn’t expected.  I could in no way convince myself that what I had heard and repeated was actually real and repeatedly found myself going to Facebook to hope that I would find out that I was wrong.  I watched myself do this in a detached kind of way and kind of marvelled at my own actions as they happened because they seemed to come from someone other than me.  A friend wrote a great post about hope in mourning that I resonate with.   This same friend has a great way of keeping it real and suggested we all go out for lunch after the service on Saturday.  So, that’s where we are.  Life goes on for us as we contemplate the loss of life in another.  It’s interesting how I feel sad or loss but those weird moments of joy too.  Laughing feels wrong and right at the same time.   Life is funny that way.

The service was on the west side of Orlando so we went to a place we had all heard about and no one had been to-unusual for a party of 6 in a town where one had grown up and the rest have lived between 5 and 15 years.  Yellow Dog Eats.  A really REALLY casual place (for two of us in heels and a couple of suits and a few more in  ties and the fact they allowed dogs inside—incidentally not my favorite.)   We tried to dissect the decor and found it could easily be dropped in a beach town or in my mind Breckenridge -it sort of had a surf shack/mountain bar vibe of casual thing.  Lots of writing on the wall, a faux biggie fish, and in general a weird over-packedness.    It’s an order at the counter and find a table spot and was really crowded over Saturday lunch.  I would definitely recommend scoping the menu online before you go to avoid problem of a long menu and a short time to think about it.  They have two general lines of food, deli type sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches and all are sort of cheffy over the top towers of food.  Prices in general are 8-12 for a sandwich with chips which is slightly high maybe but the portions are big.  We could have easily shared something if we weren’t both so happy to eat lunch.yellowdogeats

Z ordered the Fire Pig which is savory pulled pork, pecan-smoked bacon, Gouda cheese, tangy coleslaw and Sriracha, topped with Fish’s Gold BBQ sauce and fried onions, served in a southwest chipotle wrap.    I was surprised to see him order a wrap and he offered me a bite.  A sweetish bbq pork with a bit of heat and crunch from the slaw.  I had the Mr Smokey which is pulled pork topped with smoked pineapple slices, fried onions, pecan- smoked bacon and Fish’s Gold BBQ sauce on a fun-fluffy bun.  I used their text there and yes, the bun was fun and fluffy.  It was a sweet handheld and I loved the addition of the pineapple.  It could definitely become something I would crave.  Bags of Miss Vickies chips and nice big dill pickles were served on the side.  I liked the addition of the pickle for the acidic cut through the sweet sandwich fillings.

The food was good.  Actually go back good.  The atmosphere I didn’t love and would likely try to sit outside next time on the patio and definitely in casual clothes.  The company though – that was the best part.  This life is too short not to enjoy and adventure through with good people.  We have another service this weekend for our beloved co-worker.  It will be hard  but I know that I should go into it looking for the joy in life.


gott’s roadside

IMG_20130725_115058our first real stop in San Francisco was at Gott’s Roadside, a micro chain with three locations (SF, Napa and St Helena).  The first time I ate there, five years ago, it was still known as Taylor’s Refresher, as it had been for 50+ years and has since changed over to Gott’s Roadside, who leased the original property from the Taylor Family.  This actually caused a bit of a feud/legal issue.  But, feuding aside, we homed in after dropping our bags and making the mile or two walk from our hotel down to the Ferry Plaza where the only San Francisco location is housed.  We arrived close to noon and we just beat the rush and walked right up to the register and by the time our food arrived a line snaked out the door-this place felt mostly populated by locals but I have found that most tourists don’t gauge their eating right and tend to eat late and hangry.  We ordered and chose seats at the big communal style high top tables.  Our food took a little bit to be prepared and while we waited I people watched.

A few observations.  Locals here are convivial.  Over the course of our visit I can’t say how many people we saw, jump up, embrace, welcome, greet and eat together.  It was so refreshing to see people take time out of their day to eat, chat,  have a cup of coffee.  The color palate is a study of neutrals and everyone wears a scarf.  Oatmeal, greige, and charcoal are the business in the general color scheme of clothing and everyone seemed to wrap their neck in a scarf.  I have never seen so many coats in July no matter where I’ve been.  The weather was brisk but the sun decidedly came out every day.IMG_20130725_115311

Our food arrived and we dug in.  I had a bacon cheeseburger and Z had the Wisconsin Sourdough.  I’m not sure why it would be Wisconsin in this city that has a Boudin Sourdough sandwich shop every 1/2 mile but his was a burger with roasted mushrooms and cheese all melted together.  My burger was juicy and hefty and had the most delicious ‘special sauce’ sticking it together.  Kind of one of those ketchupy mayo pickle type sauces.  Z had an espresso bean shake, which was just, ok-not bad but not over the top either. We also ordered a side of garlic fries to split. They come out speckly green with parsley, garlic and butter.  The flavor of these fries is bold bold bold.  If you don’t like garlic they aren’t for you.  Over the weekend Gilroy, CA (an outlier burb of SF) held it’s annual garlic festival and they were invented by this guy. They are definitely bring a friend and you should both eat them so you can share the garlic breath and have someone to check your smile before you head back out into the world.IMG_20130725_120902

botham burger

jamie oliver calls all burgers botham because his dad called them that in the pub they own.  Here is a botham burger I made from pinterest from a blog called cherry on a cake (right.)  It is loaded up with curry mayo, caramelised onions and a fresh tomato.  I didn’t really follow the recipe for the burger – fail for me.  But the curry mayo was fun and I loved it.  I’ll use it as a dip for future potato-based things when it fits with what we are eating.  I could totally see using it for roasted Spanish-style potatoes.  Anyhow, we served this with Colmans curry sauce for roasted garlic Alexia tots.  The British are coming!IMG_3515

there are obscenities in here.

cheezewizwell, sort of.  I made a burger last night and it was ridiculous bordering on obscene.  Here’s why.  I got an iSi thingie for my birthday.  I’m celebrating my birthday this week in general.  Lots of years I haven’t been all that excited about it.  In fact when I was turning thirty I had negative birthdays for a few years until my sister said it had to stop.  This year I can lean in to tell you that I’m just not that fussed about it.  It’s not a milestone year where I feel like I haven’t achieved something and in that, I’ve achieved everything.  I don’t have to worry about the haves or have nots, the I have it and you don’ts or the don’t you wish yous.  I’m just me and I’m pretty great.  Anyway, Z is a total joy to have buying me loot because he gets so excited about it that he can’t not give me whatever comes in the mail and a few days ago a household sized iSi cream dispenser and charges came to our doorstep.  So, what to do other than pull out Richard Blais’ cookbook, Try This At Home and make a modified cheddar cheese version of this Cheese Wizard to put on sherry braised onion and bacon burgers.  So, basically the long and short of it is I melted cheddar in heavy cream, chilled it and charged it with nitrous oxide into foam which I sprayed on a BURGER.  Obscene.  No one needs that-but it was fun and I’ll probably do it again and add cayenne so it is more like pimiento cheese because that would be awesome.  Happy birthday to me!