Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Concession food

We're going into the last days of May, and only now has the weather even suggested that it's warm enough to go outside in a short-sleeved shirt.

Spring stinks. It looks like winter's over, the plants look like winter's over, but is winter really over if I'm still plugging in the space heater? **grumble, grumble, Cleveland, grumble**

Anyway, it does look like it starting to truly and forever warm up, which puts me in the mind to maybe go to a baseball game. Watching baseball in the cold and wet is a miserable experience, but a game in the summer heat - classic! Mostly because it's the proper setting for my baseball food - hot dogs and cold sodas, brought to me by a very loud man.

Some foods just don't belong in a baseball concession stand. Some foods, in fact, shouldn't exist at all.

And by "some foods" I mean the Gateway Grizzies new "Baseball’s Best Burger," which consists of a thick, juicy burger topped with sharp cheddar cheese and two slices of bacon.

Doesn't sound so bad, you say? Oh, did I forget to mention that the burger is placed in between each side of a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut?

Eww. What a way to ruin a burger.

The Gateway Grizzlies were better off with their last two unique concession items: The 2004 "Baseball’s Best Hotdog" had a Black Angus Hot Dog, topped with two strips of bacon, sautéed onions, sautéed sauerkraut and cheddar cheese sauce on a fresh baked bun. The 2005 "Swiss Brat" was a bratwurst with a slice of Swiss cheese in the middle, with sauerkraut on top.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Winning her over

Last Saturday (prior to our weekly 24 DVD marathons), Foodgoat and I got the shock of our lives at the West Side Market.

The Cranky Cheese Lady, whose glare has sent us cowering away like the dog from the vacuum cleaner, smiled at us. Then she chatted. Then she actually waved.

What prompted this sudden blossoming of kindness?

Cheese. But not just any cheese: Point Reyes Blue.

Point Reyes, aside from being one of the loveliest places on earth, also produces astonishingly delicious cheese. The Point Reyes Blue is certainly one of, if not the, best cheese we have ever had - a memorable cheese, to say the least. It's more creamy than crumbly, and it's so flavorful - but flavorful in a way that's complex and interesting. I could happily eat it alone, it's so good.

Such excellence does come at a price, but Point Reyes Blue is something to savor.

In any case, it seems that by ordering the Point Reyes Blue from Cranky Cheese Lady, we found the keys to her hardened retail heart, because what followed was a warm conversation about the yumminess of Point Reyes Blue and the prettiness of the California coast.

Fine and tasty food can win over anyone.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunny Dead

I've never had Sunny Delight, or Sunny D as I guess its been rebranded as, because ... I don't know what it is. Is it orange juice? Is it not? Is it fresh? Is it orange food coloring?

It doesn't help their cause when I read about the Sunny D leak in Britain, turning a river a very unnatural-looking yellow, and prompting this news quote:
Dozens of fish were found floating on the surface, poisoned by the lurid mixture.

A flood of Sunny D: not a good way for a fish to go.

What Not to Eat, Kosherly

Growing up, the only Jewish person I knew was my high school English teacher from New York who thought he was the hip and cool teacher but was in fact considered slightly weird because grown-ups aren't supposed to act like that and besides, it makes teenage rebellion not so fun.

But here in the Cleveland area, the Jewish population is (I've been told) the third largest in the United States, and occasionally I have to include kosher food requirements when planning food events. Previously, the only religious food constraints I knew of were Catholic (meat vs. non-meat on Lenten Fridays) and Mormon (caffeinated vs. non-caffeinated).

Kosher seems way more complicated. I thought it was just about pork, but in fact there's a whole list of foods and conditions. At one event the kosher food-checker rejected the bottled fruit juice I bought, which totally confused me, because what could possibly be objectionable about juice?

Fortunately, the Brick Testament provides a LEGO-land view of what not to eat.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nuts about Grape Nuts

If I watched the Apprentice, I might have found out about the new Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch way back in March, but since my lukewarm interest in reality TV suffered a fatal death blow with the The Real Gilligan's Island, it wasn't until last week that I found that my beloved Grape Nuts had come out with a new flavor.

What I like about Grape Nuts is that it doesn't just have crunch, it has CRUNCH. Chewing a mouthful of Grape Nuts can rattle your brain. So the other Grape Nuts versions - Flakes and O's, with their uniform lightness and airiness defeated the whole purpose of Grape-Nuts.

Not so with the new Trail Mix Crunch! I eat it, and it can still drown out the voices in my head. But it also has almonds and raisins and honey oat more flavor too, and the whole thing is downrigh clusters, so there are now levels of crunchiness in every bite. All the other ingredients give itt tasty. It's almost the perfect cereal. In fact, it might be the perfect cereal if I could mix Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in it.

I go to bed at night excited to wake up ... because I can have more Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch in the morning.

Unless that's just another voice in my head.

Friday, May 12, 2006

We are back from vacationing in Tampa, Florida, and sadly, not once (not once!) did we eat roasted alligator.

Oh well, there's always next time. At least we had tasty barbeque and yummy yummy key lime pie (as well as an orange blossom pie that was sooooo goooood).

In other random thoughts of the day ...

The latest South Park episode, where Cartman's mom calls on Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan (watch him use fried chicken to show who's pack leader) is an absolute must-see. It just might make up for that truly awful Oprah episode.

Regarding the latest trend in European spas to soak in barrel of warm lager ... I say, why? Some things are happier inside the belly than outside.

And yay for the Germans! They're using honeybees to test airport air quality. The airports use the honey as gifts on special occasions. Sweet.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Hungry at 3 am in Cleveland and Nowhere to Go

One mark of an Interesting City is being able to find someplace to eat at 3 am. And Denny's doesn't count, because I'd like to leave my Denny's days back where I left scrunchies and beer from plastic cups. And in this regard, Cleveland is lacking. Where are the all-night restaurants? Where do the Interesting People eat in the wee hours of the morning?

I don't even know where the Uninteresting People eat after 10 pm.

The only places I could think of to go to under cover of darkness are Amy Joy Donuts and Giant Eagle supermarket. Not that there's anything wrong with donuts.

It seems like other people have had similarly poor luck finding alternatives -- Tim Ferris' list comes down to ...

• Steve's Kitchen Cleveland
• Common Grounds Cleveland
• Dianna's Deli & Restaurant Lakewood
• Dimitri's Cleveland
• Michaels Family Restaurant Rocky River
• My Friends Deli Cleveland
• New Best Steak and Gyro House Cleveland
• Rapid Stop Cleveland
• Shobbeez Carry-Out Kitchen Bedford
• Shobbeez Carry-Out Kitchen Maple Heights