Hot Sauce

[Testing the WordPress iPhone app]

I stayed up late last night, and I’ve been feeling a little MEH all morning. I put some of this hot sauce on my lunch (leftover shrimp and grits courtesy of the Geester) and now I feel like I could kick a moose over a minivan. A full-sized, adult moose. Not the little mascot under my monitor. Don’t be ridiculous.

20110729-122110.jpg

Post-publish edit: The WordPress iPhone app works pretty well. It allows you to assign categories and tags, add images, videos and other attachments, preview and save drafts, and schedule specific publish dates and times. It doesn’t have any built in text-formatting features, but you can always just add the html tags yourself. Same goes for adding links, etc. It also doesn’t support any of the post-editing features made available by this fancy-ass theme I’m using. So I had to come back to the desktop version and do quite a but of tweaking. Still, I approve. WILL EBAY AGAIN.

Anatomy of your new favorite sandwich

July, 2001 – Somewhere speeding through the scorching desert of Arizona, or New Mexico, or Southern Colorado, a young man grew restless. This restlessness had grown from the seeds of endless Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches with tortilla chips. The goal of saving time and money by eating sandwiches in the van instead of stopping for meals had long been accomplished. Something had to give. There had to be a better way. From this combination of swirling desperation and 115° heat, a new sandwich was born and has thrived ever since. Behold.

Step 1: Place two slices of Sprouted Grain bread on a plate. Place a jar of peanut butter and a bottle of hot sauce behind the plate. Take a picture.

Step 2: Make a sandwich.

Step 3: Let me do it.

Step 4: Garnish!

Critical comments posted by people who have never tried the above stroke of geniosity will be met with deserved ridicule and then forwarded to Brazilian death squads. Basically, eat peanut butter and hot sauce sandwiches or die like a dog in the street.

Ready. Set. Chili.

Another Gerogia / Florida weekend. Another chili cookoff on the books. This year was the largest yet. 13 chili entries. 35 or so attendees with 25 completing at least part of a scoresheet. As has already been blogged / bragged, Alison took first with her Timberlake-inspired I’m Bringing Chiliback. This is a double kick in the pants for the rest of us because Alison hates cooking, admits that the chili-making process was decidedly sub-enjoyable, and has vowed not to attempt a repeat next year. At least we know the secret ingredient wasn’t love. If she really does not intend to defend her title, she should at least ready herself for cries of “Fluke!” And, not to take anything away from Alison’s much-deserved victory (her chili really was very good), it is worth pointing out (below) that she got the same number of first place votes (4) as Homegrown (Kevin & Maxine), Chiliapocolyptico (Jay & Amy), and Mother Puncher (Moi). But points are points and in the end she took it in a landslide. I ended up in third place, BARELY edging out Homegrown with more second place votes. In a head-to-head taste-off, I think Homegrown would have taken it. Here are the final vote tallies for all 13 entries. They are presented in the following order:

1st place votes : 2nd place votes : 3rd place votes : Hottest votes : Most Original votes

1. I’m Bringing Chiliback – 4 : 9 : 2 : 2 : 0
2. Chili Fantastico – 0 : 0 : 0 : 2 : 0
3. Aunt Anne – 0 : 0 : 2 : 0 : 0
4. Honky Chili With A Twist – 3 : 0 : 1 : 0 : 9
5. Bitch Please – 2 : 0 : 1 : 0 : 0
6. Funwoody Poblano Beano Chili – 1 : 3 : 3 : 0 : 0
7. Mother Puncher – 4 : 3 : 2 : 16 : 0
8. C-Note – 0 : 2 : 1 : 0 : 0
9. The Great While Hype – 3 : 2 : 1 : 0 : 9
10. Chiliapocolyptico – 4 : 4 : 2 : 0 : 7
11. Homegrown – 4 : 1 : 6 : 1 : 0
12. Chili Non Carne – 0 : 0 : 1 : 1 : 0
13. Lucky Seven – 0 : 1 : 3 : 3 : 0

I went through the judges’ sheets and pulled what I think are the choicest comments. Side note: I’m glad the judges’ sheets were anonymous. Some of you have clear, elegant handwriting, but many of you I fear are barely literate. I hope everyone was drunker than they seemed. Most of these comments are negative in nature, but I think that’s just a rule of humor. A blow to the nards is funnier than a pat on the back. Anyway:

Yuck but colorful.

Ketchup.

Eww – not the winner.

Food.

Had me until I ate a seed.

Too pasty, a little funky. Olives? Again?

Canned chili?

Least spice, but go potato!

Wendy’s.

Tastes like the pot it was cooked in.

Nothing!

All Meat. Is there ass in this? Great heat.

I will pretend to be sour about all this until preparations begin in earnest for Fancy Paul and myself to take Mother Puncher to the Cabbagetown Chomp & Stomp this Saturday, which is to say, I’m already over it. If you don’t come to this, you are failure at life. Saturday is supposed to be sunny and crisp. It’s $5 for all the chili you can eat. Sweetwater will be pouring beers for $3 each. Live bluegrass. Seriously. Don’t fuck this up.

Tomorrow: Ear Candles. With Pictures. Viewer Discretion is advised.

Domestic Champions

For those of you who don’t like cute, long-winded explanations of how I spent my weekend … you’ve been warned.

The weekend that just ended was one of suburban domestic bliss, the likes of which you could all aspire but never hope to attain, as the Geester and I simply don’t fuck around.

After work on Friday, we met halfway between our respective office buildings for an early dinner at Shout! on Peachtree. It was okay. We had a spicy yellowtail roll and a bowl of edamame to start, and then shared a pizza wearing spinach, chicken, bannana peppers and onions. Shiraz to drink. Out of ten I give it a 7.5. After dinner, we hit Green’s for some delicious adult beverages. It is hard for Gia and I to go to Green’s together. I could stand around for an hour or more comparing labels and reading reviews and authoring a days-long beer strategy in my head. Gia, on the other hand, wants to grab something from the shelf and go drink the shit out of it. I can’t say I blame her, but our differing strategies can be cause for turmoil while at the store.

Continue reading

The Tweener – Day Seven: Strangely Busy

Yesterday was busy considering I don’t really have shit to do. I slathered some more primer on the closet doors. Ben and I “did lunch” and talked about chili. I attempted, unsuccessfully, to fix Gia’s grandmother’s printer. I trekked 75 miles to Alpharetta to teach drumline. And I watched the Durty Burds beat the Iggles on Monday Night Football, which didn’t end until after midnight.

Perhaps one of these days I will make the first practice batch of chili for the season. I’m going to change it up a little this year, but not because the usual recipe doesn’t rule. Obviously the usual recipe rules (see: wall of chili cookoff trophies/ribbons). I’m going to change it because it’s a very recognizable recipe, and there is a large demographic (read: sore losers) who will vote against it purely on principle. A little change up will be especially important this year as there has been talk of incorporating blind judging, which, for the record, I wholeheartedly support.

Today: Probably more spray-painting. Probably some lawn-mowing. Probably some drumline-teaching. I was hoping, somwhere in this two-week hiatus, that I would start getting antsy to rejoin the productive half of our capitalist society. I think it may be happening.

Twist & Shout

Blorgy ’05 is still in effect! This is Paul, and Tony is on Alenda Lux. Yeah, sorry. If you’re not one of the people swapping blogs, apparently it’s not that fun for you. Suck it up. The status quo will be back in effect before you know it.

Okay, you’ve noticed I haven’t been the best about posting this week. Sorry. I’ve been really busy. It’s not like it’s Tony posting anyway, so what do you care? There will be another tomorrow, about what I learned this week at Trial Techniques. Should be a real thriller. As for this restaurant review, credit must be given to my evil twin sister, who wrote most of it…

Who thinks this is a good idea? No, really, as an entrepreneur, a restauranteur, who decided this was a promising business venture? “Twist”: Gel-smeared Audi driving wanna-a-be trendy-New York/Miami restaurant, but mind you—in Atlanta (opened in 2002 at Phipps Plaza), followed by “Shout”: Even worse. restaurant sequel, trying to be way trendier than Twist (just opened in 2005 in Midtown). Get it? Twist and Shout? Dumb and dumber? Both terrible. Featuring tapas, sushi and overpriced fruity drinks with names like “Peartini” and “Rassiati”. But whatever, we knew the business plan before we arrived. We were forewarned. We knew better. For fuck’s sake the slogan is “Food! Fun! Flirt!” (Ironically there is not one member of the staff anyone would want to flirt with and and the clientele is pathetically middle-aged) We were seated on the terrace, where we tried to ignore the obvious and entirely ubiquitous Midtown Mix (um-psh um-psh um-psh) blaring through the outside speakers, the girls in tube tops, the couples feeding each other California rolls between sips of $10 watered down cosmopolitans. It should only get better in ’07. Later this fall, you can add socially awkward, type-A megalomaniacs in bad suits when King and Spalding sets up shop across the street. But hey, fifty bucks for cheeseburgers and beer is a pretty good deal! Thanks for nothing, fuckers.

Additional horrible business idea: charging for parking when the piece of shit sushi restaurant upstairs validates it for you. Hey, but if you ask the maitre d’ of Shout about validated parking, he’ll convince you it’s actually in your favor that parking isn’t validated, because Valet is only $5. Right. A bargain!

Nava Nagila: A Review

I am good enough. I’m smart enough. And gosh darnit, I am capable of writing a favorable restaurant review.

For Christmas last year, the owners of my company gave everyone a $75 gift card to use at any one of the eleven restaurants that make up the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group. With Gia going out of town on Sunday for what could end up being over three weeks, we decided to use the card and go on a proper date Saturday evening. Nava has come highly reccommended from some friends so I made us a reservation. I called on Friday morning and the only available times were 6:00pm or after 9:00pm. I took it as a good sign that they were so busy and had them put us down for 6:00. For those of you who don’t know, the Geester and I are VERY good at eating out. Between us we have almost a decade of table-waiting experience, and, as a result, we are a dream to wait on. We ask educated questions. We offer valuable feedback. We tip generously. In fact, I would highly reccommend taking us out to dinner sometime because the sheer enjoyment you get out of dining with us will vastly outweigh the cost of our meals.

Continue reading

Fightin' Food

As I was leaving a comment over at Scrivenings about cooking, I suddenly remembered a funny from a couple weeks ago that had slipped my mind until just now. Does everyone remember last fall’s chili cookoff? For those of you who don’t, it was the one where I annihilated everyone for the second year in a row. That’s right, that one. Those of you who were there remember that our stove burned the shit out of Jay and Kaycee’s vegetarian creation, ultimately rendering it briquette-flavored. I still feel bad about this and all it’s implications (cookoff hosted at my house = my stove ruins one of the entries = I win the cookoff = shady?). We have since discovered that the right rear eye on our electric stove has only two seetings … off and high. Even when it is set at LO, the eye glows red like the fires of hail. To buy: new stove.

Anyhoo … a week or so after the cookoff, Kaycee and Jay invited us to dinner at their house. They remade their chili entry and they also recreated my Mother Puncherer recipe based on my web instructions. They toned back the heat a little bit, but everything else was authentic. The recipe replicated rather well if I don’t say so myself, which I usually do. Also in attendance was Jay’s younger sister and some of their other friends whose names I don’t recall because it was 5 months ago and I am an incredible asshole. We all ate chili and had a grand old time.

Fast forward to the weekend before last. We were back at Jay and Kaycee’s for another wonderful dinner. They cooked buffalo steaks AND salmon and made it seem like they were simply cleaning out the fridge. Not too shabby. Jay’s sister was again in attendance, but before she got there, it slipped out that she had gone to the hospital the day after the the last time we saw her.

“Beg pardon?”

“Yeah, she tried some of the Mother Puncherer and the next day she felt bad enough that she had to go to the hospital.”

Oh, sweet, glorious triumph. I would never intend Jay’s sister any harm, but there are few things more rewarding than having your own spicy cooking put someone in the hospital. Better yet, it wasn’t even my cooking but someone cooking something they learned about on this website. HA!!1 I have only put one other person in the hospital. It was with wing sauce while I was cooking at Gus’ in college. Some jackass said, “Tell the cook to make them as hot as he can.” Sometimes I think back and I feel bad for that guy the same way I feel bad for the possum that tries to cross the freeway. “Poor, stupid bastard.”

Weepend

While Gia and I were living in Portland, we spent any and all significant periods of free time travelling back to Atlanta to visit with family and friends. During these trips back to the durty durty, we grew accustomed to breakneck social schedules that would make presidential candidates whimper with exhaustion. We would return to Portland from “vacation” much more tired than when we left. One of the great things about living back in Atlanta is that we no longer feel that not-so-subtle pressure to squeeze every drop of potential face time out of every possible minute of the day.

Somehow this weekend’s scheduling got away from us and we were almost crushed by the weight of our own list of engagements. And as of Thursday, it looked like it was going to be a pretty quiet weekend. That’ll teach us to let our guard down.

On Friday, after I ate lunch with the Duke, I went home and tended to the yard. It was NOT a good day for me and machines. First, my iPod earphones piss me off more and more every time I use them. I love the iPod, but those stupid-ass little ear buds can go straight to hail. Maybe they aren’t designed for my ears. Maybe I’m putting them in wrong. Probably the latter. Regardless, they hurt while I’m wearing them and if I smile wrong they both come flying out like some cheek-activated ejector button was pressed. Solution: add another line to the “to buy” list.

The next inanimate object to eat my lunch was the nature eraser. I carried it to the end of the driveway, started it up, erased about 3 feet of edge and then, click, one of the trimmer cords ran out. For those of you who have never rewrapped the double cutting cord on a gas-powered trimmer, you have yet to be challenged. Law School? The Olympics? Cancer? Psshht. Trimmer cord. The great motor skills equalizer. After a half hour of wrapping and snagging and wrapping and slipping and wrapping and cussing and kicking air and wrapping and fuming and wrapping, I finished edging with little fanfare. This anticlimax led me straight to the lawnmower. Actually, the mower behaved normally, but it’s normal quirks coupled with my preexisting level of extreme frustration almost caused me to deteriorate into a teary-eyed mess. I’ll try to keep this simple:

One of the welds on the mower bag has broken, so the bag frame is not as solid as it one was. I’ve tried securing it with wire, but it’s not the same. The main symptom of the broken weld is that, when the bag is empty or near empty, it takes very little jostling to cause the bag to fall off. When the bag falls off, two things happen. First, the clippings spill, obviously. Second, for the couple of seconds until I kill the engine, the blade sprays clippings right into my eyeballs at 600mph.

Talk about infuriating. I’m getting mad just thinking about it. The yard desperately needs about 30 lbs of weed ‘n feed, but I knew it was supposed to rain this weekend, so I managed to hold off.

On Friday night we ate dinner with Ben and Alison. Ben grilled meat wrapped in meat and there were potatoes and salad as well. Most importantly, we watched Napoleon Dynamite, which the Geester and I had somehow missed up until then. We both enjoyed it thoroughly and, not surprisingly, have been quoting it incessantly ever since.

On Saturday morning, I loaded up the truck with the last two years’ rotting firewood scraps and took them to the Cobb County Vegetative Waste facility. It felt good to get all that crap out of the yard since most of it had turned into termite farms anyway. Saturday was also my mom’s birthday, so we headed out to their house and proceeded to whoop it up enough that we ended up sleeping there. Nice work.

We returned home Sunday, did some weekly cleaning, and then it was off to Brunch for Jeebus at Gia’s Aunt and Uncle’s house. Following a delicious and festive brunch (thanks, Jeebus!), Pam and Paul came over and we hung out for a couple hours. It was nice because the both of us together hadn’t seen the both of them together since … New Years … I think. We drank wine and ate snacks like some group of adults or something. I didn’t even pee my name on anything. After Pam and Paul left we went to Gia’s parents’ for dinner, from which we returned at 9:45, exhausted. And being exhausted is a horrible feeling to have on Sunday night. Despite going to bed right away, we are both very tired and cranky today. Weep for us. Our lives are so hard. WEEP!