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Brick Fight

Food and Putting it in Our Faces

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Bun looks like it's made of rice, green stuff is wasabi (?).

 

 

the whole thing looks like regret and stomach convusions for 3 days. this is coming from a guy who has eaten enough can food to start printing out license plates from the amount of metals that have rubbed off in my guts

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As befitting a member of the Clan of the comieboo, I am having lunch at a place called Proletariat Pizza in my hometown of White Center.

Does it include a side order of the elimination of the bourgeoisie and the triumph of the working classes?

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Honestly? It is mostly staffed by hipsters trying to make a go of it in one of Seattle's legitimate ghettos. More luck to them but the place is pretty good and affordable by Seattle standards. Across the street is an ice cream place called Full Tilt that looks hole-in-the-wall but serves damn good home-made ice cream. And beer.

There was only one crazy person shuffling along 16th Ave which is way below average from when I was a kid. Got the stink eye from a couple car loads of Mexicans patrolling the streets but I grew up there and remember actual shoot-outs along White Center's main drag.

Plus I operate with my Don't Fuck With Me Face and - more important - we were there at 6 pm and not midnight.

And finally, most of the places I ate at as a kid are gone - probably for the better - with a couple notable exception like Taco Time which is a local franchise that's started in Rat City. White Center is called Rat City btw and not because of the rodents.

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One of the stranger things on my resume is a consulting gig. Nothing business official, but there was an Italian guy who had just emigrated to the area, and he really enjoyed our food. Soon, he started asking questions about the town and business and it became apparent he wanted to open a restaurant. I tried to tell him what I knew, why places always closed, why some never open up. He then pulled me, an accountant, and another more traditional chef into a room, and being very open about his finances and plans, asked us for input. The other chef gave him tips about opening a legit restaurant and what it would take, while I was more about the small-time. We pretty much came to the conclusion that his best bet was a paper-plate and pizzeria in a small storefront that was not a restaurant prior to his owning it.

 

It was so fucking nice to be listened to for once. Since I'd been involved in openings, I basically advised him and his accountant to figure out what equipment they'd need for what they wanted to make, then set away the majority of funds for code violations. Whatever was left would be used for bare-bones cosmetic renovations and re-invested or put away. The blindspot for code violations is the biggest killer I've seen. If a place has been approved year after year, new owners believe they'll be grandfathered in. That's never the case. Usually, the health inspectors either get buddy-buddy with the previous owners or just don't want to deal with hassle, but they eventually see new owners as a chance to get some changes to unsafe or unsatisfactory conditions.

 

The two big ones are fireproofing and exhaust. I swear there's a lobby to get a new exhaust code law written every year to benefit contractors, because they get ridiculous. I can always understand fireproofing after seeing places go up in flames, but the amount of shit that exhaust runs into like soundproofing and building height ratios is devious. The smartest people I see usually just sell the old equipment and put in their own, because hand-me-downs are not worth the hassle.

 

He eventually took a lot of my advice, and he's got a fantastic little authentic Italian deal. The one thing he was especially grateful for was my advice on slow seasons: Just close. If you're making good money, then there is no point in eventually spending it all again to keep the place running during the awful summer months we have here. Even if there's that one festival in the summer months where you'll clear a shitload of money, all it's gonna do is pay for more slow days. He tried it one time and just scraped by, whereas from now on, he closes up, pays a stipend to employees to have them come back, hires a guy to patrol the place, and goes back to Italy to visit family. People like Bourdain talk about stuff like literal bean-counting for funds or liquor licenses being a necessity, with this big blindspot of wasted money going to utilities and wages when no customers are coming in.

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Made my own jerky today, it was shabby but still tasted alright. Anyone done any such things before?

Problems I know I had were that I did not trim fat off, marinaded with too much cracked pepper. Problems I think I had were that I think I cut the strips too fat. I used a smoker and a couple of wood chips at the start and end to try and get a light wood flavor in, and I think that turned out well. Guides online weren't clear about how to know if it was properly cooked, and obviously it's difficult to get the meat thermometer in one of the strips. Wish I could provide some photos but my tablet refuses to be recognized by my computer for whatever reason, and I'm too tired to fuck around with android atm.

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I've done it. Took a few tries to get it right. Done deer, pork, and beef. I bought that six tray dehydrator from Cabelas a few years ago, after that it was just a matter of screwing around with various spices. 

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Question time: are tortilla chips a viable snack on their own, or do they exist primarily as a salsa delivery vehicle? I say the latter (provided you have good salsa).

 

Tortilla chips are not primarily a salsa delivery vehicle, but an all purpose tomato/avocado derivative delivery vehicle. They are also tireless bearers of everything kind of mexicanish in the fridge, we're cleaning it out, and that is a noble service indeed.

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I made a shredded cassava dish for a party this weekend.  It was a hit, but I think they liked all the booze I brought even more.

 

Cassava is a root vegetable from Central/South America, but it apparently grows like gangbusters in Central Africa, so it's quickly become a staple there.  Recent archeological discoveries have shown that the ancient Maya ate quite a bit of cassava; earlier investigators had focused on the role of corn as a dietary staple.  However, the ancient Maya cities were pretty damn populous, and you can feed a lot more people with acres of cassava than you can feed with acres of corn.

 

In fact, the entire reason I had decided to make a cassava dish was that the man hosting the party had done a study on wear patterns of obsidian flakes in a cassava shredder of ancient design.  Back in the day when he did this you couldn't easily obtain cassava in the United States, so he'd had to make-do with potatoes.

 

I say "make-do," but while potatoes have only the slightest whiff of native flavor, cassava tastes like even less when cooked.  The varieties in the US (often sold as "yuca root" or "yucca") have a small amount of cyanide-producing chemicals that give them a delicious, roasty almost almond-esque aroma while they are cooking.  Not coincidentally, almonds have cyanogens in them too.  But once the cassava has been sitting in the pan for a bit, it is rendered an almost perfectly tasteless gooey starch.  You know tapioca pudding?  You know those little gelatinous blobs in it?  Those are made of cassava.  They taste exactly like fried cassava.  I.E. nothing.

 

Mislead by the delicious smells the root had emitted when cooking, I decided that this would be a dessert dish.  This turned out to be a good and simple choice.  I simply flavored to taste with coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon and coriander.  It came out roughly the consistency and flavor of walnut pie filling.  Except without the walnuts.  It was actually quite good with whipped cream or ice cream on top.

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It has been decades since I've eaten Spam. In a can or otherwise. But given the sometimes rudimentary nature of the first week at fish camp, I had the foresight to pack up a few cans on the barge to have them waiting for us.

 

Thanks to the power of Spam, I was able to move or fish cabin away from the bank using only my own muscles. And chain. And rollers. And a high lift jack as mechanical advantage. Truly a work of wonder.

 

Afterwards, I felt the urge to fight Nazis.

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Lost,

Tostadas are stand alone in central America, especially when made and not bought. Tostadas are simple to make.

Put water and salt together and stir. Add corn tortillas and let sit for 10 to 30 min. Take strainer and pick up tortillas to place in hot oil. Fry until golden brown. They are neither too salty or dry.

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