For the second year in a row, we hosted Thanksgiving at our place for our families and I think it was a success. Unfortunately, my mom was unable to make it this year, but good times were had and good food was eaten. And of course, I had the camera out all day.
My fiancée and I had a BBQ this weekend for our wedding party. I snapped a few pictures…
Many that know me know that I’m into spicy foods. I’m not like my co-worker who has been known to put sriracha in his cereal, but I do like spice. When I get Thai at the place near my job, I ask for the spice level at a 6. The scale only goes to a 5. To be fair, their spice is little less than some other places, for example, the place near my fiancée’s parents’ house is so spicy that I struggled through a “medium” the first time I went there.
At any given time, we have fresh jalapenos, pickled jalapenos, sriracha, an assortment of hot sauces, chili powder, chipotles, and more available in our kitchen and we make great use of them. And I’m always looking to try something new, I have a friend that is often giving me bottles of Indonesian hot sauces, most of which are delicious.
Anyway, last night, I ate the spiciest dish I’ve ever had. My fiancée made a curry stir-fry with udon noodles. This thing was intense. The recipe called for red chilies, but the grocery store didn’t have any so we got a bag of Jamaican hot peppers instead. These things are supposedly 100,000-350,000 on the Scoville scale– for reference, a jalapeno is 2,500-8,000. So yeah, these guys were hot. She just threw one of the red ones in and that was enough to whip us around a bit. The meal was absolutely delicious, but my mouth was on fire. For the first time ever, I needed to drink a bit of milk to save myself.
It was awesome.
I’m definitely hoping that she’ll make it again, but that was a seriously intense meal. I’m actually pretty sure that I farted flames earlier this morning.
You can read more and get the recipe over at her foodie blog, FoodosaurusRex.com. The photos above and on her blog are mine.
I’ve been really light on the posting lately, I’m hoping I’ll be able to change that soon, but it’s not looking too likely. Oh well. Anyway, here are a couple shots I took today that I liked.
I can’t believe I did it again, but I followed up last year’s Rita’s tour with an even bigger and better tour this year. I’m not going to lie, it was intense. Last year was tough and mistakes were made, but we aimed higher this year. We hit four locations last time, but we wanted ten this year.
We couldn’t make it. Time wasn’t on our side. We were only able to make it to eight total locations over the course of nine hours. However, those nine hours did include a trip to a wedding venue hopeful that the fiance and I had already made an appointment with and a trip to Stuff Yer Face to get some food into us. I think we could have pulled off all ten locations still, but the one in Morristown didn’t exist anymore–damn Google for saying it was there–and another location was a few miles away from where we thought it was. But all-in-all, I think our efforts were quite impressive.
We improved on some of last year’s mistakes. This time, we made sure to eat real food beforehand and include a food stop later on in the trip. We also brought water and took advantage of sugar-free flavors at some locations to keep the sugar intake down. Additionally, we used self-control to not finish any serving. A regular sized ice at Rita’s is a pretty decent size, but trying to have eight of those in a day is enough to give you diabetes on the spot. I only consumed a third to a half of each one and in a couple locations requested just a kids size instead. And one last thing that I think may have helped was that my fiance and I went for a five-mile run in the morning.
Unfortunately, we got tempted by a random cupcake place we drove by in Denville, NJ. We saw Sugar Mommy’s Cupcakes and had to stop. Three of the four of us got cupcakes there which was not good for our sugar levels.
Ultimately, 21 flavors were tried by the group. Pretty impressive, I think. I also experienced flavors that I never even knew existed like RitaBerrious and Strawberry Margarita. The flavors that I tried myself were:
- Alex’s Lemonade – A standard, but always delicious.
- Green Apple – One of my favorites.
- Swedish Fish – I’m really glad that they kept this flavor after last year, it was only supposed to be a limited time thing. They got this impressively accurate.
- Georgia Peach – This was surprisingly amazing.
- Florida Orange – I only had a few spoonfuls of my fiance’s, but this was very good.
- Sugar-Free Cherry – Almost no flavor at all. Really disappointing.
- RitaBerrious – This wasn’t very good. I’m not even sure that it was supposed to be.
- Strawberry Margarita – Extremely good and very accurate tasting.
- Caramel Apple – Incredibly awesome.
- Peeps – This is a new flavor for this year. I only tried the sample, but it was good. About as gratuitously sugary as real Peeps.
- Island Fusion – I only sampled this one and had it not been only at the same location as the Caramel Apple, I would have ordered it.
- Pistachio – I only had a few bites of this since it was my fiance’s, but it was very, very good. I didn’t think I’d like it.
I’d like to think that this is a pretty impressive list, much better than last year. Last time around, we didn’t have a lot of choice at most of the locations, but I was very impressed this year to find that every location was pretty well stocked with flavors. Also, while most locations had lines 20-30 people deep at any given time, they moved quickly. Impressive.
Overall, I’d consider this to be a success this year. Much better than last time. I didn’t feel sick at all or over sugared really. Still, I think even more improvements could be made for next year and we could hit up to twelve stops. What probably killed us the most was the time it took to check out the wedding venue. That also kept us from staying more local. We ended up having to make a huge loop around instead of hitting a bunch of locations all within about 20 minutes of our apartment. To the right, is the map of the locations that we hit and below are a few pictures that I took. Also, for another account of the tour, check out Foodosaurus Rex. Enjoy!
Unfortunately for everyone, there was no edition of The Playlist this week. I was suffering from what I’m willing to say was the worst allergy day of my life and couldn’t make it to the station. I could barely open my eyes. Though, it at least prompted me to finally make a doctor’s appointment so that I can get the ball rolling on determining whether or not the suffering I’ve been going through lately is because of a newly developed cat allergy or something else.
Anyway, I finally made my first t-shirt purchase of the year last night. I can’t remember that last time I went this long, but I’ve been trying to save money for the wedding and such. Plus, I really have no where to store these damn things anymore. However, Threadless is running a $10 sale that’s good an all shirts. It’s a pretty awesome sale, actually. I had to take advantage. I’ll post pictures of the shirts when I get them.
I’ve been listening to the Against Me! album a bit more and it’s definitely growing on me. There are a lot of parts that I like a lot, but I’m still not digging about half of it. There are few bands that could put out an album that I’d put this kind of effort into liking, but I really want to like this.
Lastly, Saturday is free Rita’s day and I’m planning on doing the tour again this year. But I plan on correcting the mistakes that were made last year. We’ll spread it out of a larger portion of the day, eat a real meal in the middle, and get sugar-free flavors at a few of the stops to help ease the sugar overload. It’s going to be intense though. We’ve been swapping proposed maps back and forth and it looks like we’re shooting to double the amount of locations we hit last year. I’m sure I’ll post about it all afterwards, but I’m a little scared!
PS: Yes, I called it “water ice.”
My fiance and I had a can of chipotles left over from the chipotle chocolate cupcakes she made yesterday that we were trying to figure out what to do with when it hit us that we should chop them up and mix them into some ground beef for some burgers. So we got a full pound of ground beef, chopped up a chipotle, and mixed it all in. We made two eight-ounce burgers from this and instead of cooking them in a pan, on a grill, or any other way that most people do, we steamed them, which is something that I’ve been all about lately.
We discovered the idea of steaming burgers after watching an episode of Man vs. Food a couple of months ago and we haven’t looked back since. I knew that steaming would end up coming out great if we tried it, but I did not expect the actual results we got. It was incredible. All of the juice and moistness stuck with the burger. The burger cooked the same way all the way through. As much as I like the taste of a grilled burger, it just can’t compete. A slight char that I used to love just can’t compare with a burger that is the same on the inside as it is on the outside. And the only flavor in the burger is from the burger itself instead of being a mix from the grill, the flame, and the meat. It’s just simply incredible the taste you get.
So this was our first time with chipotles mixed in and I was blown away from the first bite. I have never tasted a burger with this much flavor before. It was juicy and spicy. Everything I could have hoped for. And it was huge. Steaming the burger helps it retain more without shrinking so these burgers were as big after being cooked as they were before. What is even more incredible about the amazing level of flavor is that it was achieved with just ground beef, chipotle, and cheese. Nothing else. Even the gourmet burgers that you get at most restaurants that have various rubs, spices, and toppings can’t compete with this. The difference is that most of these places just treat the outside of the burger and don’t get the flavor all the way through. Or they rely on piling a bunch of, albeit delicious, toppings on. Our burgers didn’t need any of them, they spoke for themselves.
Bottom line, if you’re not steaming your burgers at home, you’re missing out.
Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs is completely outrageous and seriously hilarious! I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, but it was pretty much perfect. There are a lot of really good laughs to be had from this flick. They’re mostly cheesy and cliché, but they work every time. At the same time, the movie keeps a nice pace with some action spread around and nothing getting too slow for too long. And I’d say that the animation for this one is slightly above average for a non-Pixar CGI flick. It’s very good and definitely included a super cute and nerdy animated chick that I may or may not have a crush on now.
As with a lot of these CGI movies lately, the voice cast is pretty damn stacked. You’ve got Bill Hader, Anna Farris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce friggn’ Campbell, Mr. T (yup), Bobb’e J. Thompson (that kid from Role Models. I love this kid), NPH, Al Roker, and Will Forte. That’s a lot of great names right there! Loved it!
One of the best things about this movie is the disaster movie parody aspect of it. There were some very clear influences from and references to real disaster movies like Twister, Armageddon, Dante’s Peak, and The Day After Tomorrow. But the it’s done very well and not at all like what I’m sure Disaster Movie, which I haven’t actually seen, was. Instead of just throwing things in just for the sake of being funny, they use a collection of parodies that work together to create the “perfect food storm” which I promise you looked as delicious as it sounds.
Something that I got out of this movie that I didn’t expect though was the realization that I definitely prefer for movies that are based on books, even children’s books, to keep things very different. With a few exceptions, I prefer when movies take the basic idea of a book and then do something different with it. There isn’t much of a point to following the book exactly or even trying to get real close to it. A film will never be exactly the same as the book and when you try to get close, it’s those little differences that tend to take away from the film rather than add to it. And besides, if it’s exactly the same, what’s the point? To reach out to people who are too lazy to read? But if you just take that basic idea and sort of re-imagine it or simply use it as your inspiration, you have many more possibilities. You get to do something different and run less of a risk of completely ruining the book. You get to pay homage while still maintaining your own creativity.
First of all, Rita’s now has Swedish Fish flavored ice. It is amazing. I’m not sure how, but they somehow got the taste exactly right. Plus, they give a pack of Swedish Fish with it! This is probably not standard, but just something they are doing while the flavor is new. Either way, try the damn thing! It’s no secret that I am slightly obsessed with Rita’s, but this just upped the ante a bit.
And second, I saw this car yesterday on the way home from New Hope. Now, I’m glad that the person voted for Obama and all, but why wouldn’t they take that W sticker off the back of their car? I mean, I just don’t get it. If you voted for Obama, wasn’t that saying that you wanted something different than the last eight years? Wouldn’t you want to not advertise that you were pro-Bush in the previous election? Come on, the two stand for completely different things. Regardless of what you think of Obama after his first six months in office and despite the fact that on more than one issue he’s following in Bush’s footsteps, liking Bush enough to have a sticker on your car does not at all fit with the idea of putting an Obama sticker on your car. Just doesn’t make sense.
What New Brunswick’s Stuff Yer Face is saying on their menu here is that only the second chicken option is worth ordering.
Little Italy pizza: not delicious
Peppered pork pizza: not delicious
Barbecue chicken pizza: not delicious
Please make sure that you order accordingly.