BlathrWayne Lorentz

Showing blathrs with the tag “Food.”

Toil and trouble

Sunday, October 30th, 2022 Alive 18,814 days

Burrito stuffins simmering on the stove

I decided to make my own frozen burritos. For the filling, I had two choices:

  1. Buy a can of ready-to-go burrito filling from the supermarket for $1.09
  2. Spend $15 following a recipe from the New York Times Cooking section

Naturally, I went the hard route.

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Extra pickles

Friday, October 28th, 2022 Alive 18,812 days

A holy, sacred McRib sammitch

I only rarely go to McDonaldʼs; maybe three or four times a year. So I was surprised and delighted to find itʼs McRib season!

The McRib is the finest fast food sandwich there is. Better than a double Fisch Mac. Better than Starbuckʼs Thanksgiving panini. Yes, better than Chick-fil-a.

Itʼs never McRib season in Las Vegas, so for the seven years I lived there, I had to make my own — Driving three hours across the Mojave Desert to the nearest McDonaldʼs that had them, in Barstow, California. I never did find out why the McDonaldʼs franchises in Vegas donʼt carry McRibs.

Here, in Houston, McRib does exist, so I grabbed a loaf of that sweet, smokey, salty, crunchy, sesame seeded goodness.

Pro tip: Serve the sandwich on top of a pile of fries so that the sauce drips onto the fries, and you donʼt waste any of it on the plate.

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Hope makes you fat

Thursday, October 27th, 2022 Alive 18,811 days

Hope is that human condition that compels us to continue eating barren Cool Ranch Dorito after barren Cool Ranch Dorito, just in case the next chip out of the bag is one of the five lucky chips that are laden with the seasonings promised in the picture on the outside of the bag.

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Itʼs Chik-fil-a

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022 Alive 18,810 days

An unemployed Chick-fil-a menu board

Today I learned that you can get Chick-fil-a to set up shop at your festival in the middle of nowhere.

By the time I got there, the chicken had run out, and all that was left was a folded-up tent, and signs advertising all of the chicken I couldnʼt eat.

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Sweet potato you got there

Thursday, October 20th, 2022 Alive 18,804 days

An out-of-control potato

A neighbor I’ve never met before knocked on my door tonight and gave me this. She’s moving out, and found it in her refrigerator. She’s admired the garden on my balcony, and thought I might take care of it, since she’s leaving.

Over my wife’s objections, I have put it in a pot with some dirt, and we’ll see what happens when it has sunlight to work with, and not just the dim bulb of a refrigerator.

I can’t imagine what the rest of her refrigerator looks like.

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You wrote “cut the cheese”

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 Alive 18,802 days

A pizza vending machine

What kind of a person eats pizza from a vending machine? Well… me.

Thereʼs a pizza ATM across the street from my home now, so I tried it for lunch, and it wasn't bad. It wasn't excellent, but it's pizza from a vending machine, not a bistro in Ischia Porte. I don't think anyone who knowingly buys pizza from a vending machine is in a place to complain about quality. Not even on the internet.

There are seven pizzas to choose from. I went with pepperoni because it's a good basic benchmark.

After three minutes, the machine ejects a pizza, like a 1981 Sanyo VCR. The result is not perfect, but it's perfectly edible.

There wasn't much pepperoni flavor. Perhaps some of the other choices are a little more pronounced. But the crust was quite good. Overall, it reminds me of pizza from the California chain Pieology.

The downside is that all you get is a pizza. If you don't already have a drink, that might be problematic. I happened to have a bottle of water with me, just like I knew what I was doing.

Enjoying a fresh pizza on a bench in an alley surrounded by old lady county employees sucking on Swisher Sweets.

I took my pizza to the Harris County Employee Smoking Lounge (a.k.a. the alley by the sally[port]), and it managed to stay hot and crispy the whole way there.

I suspect the vending machine isnʼt doing too bad. I saw someone leaving with a pizza as I was walking toward it. When I was waiting for the bake, someone asked me about it. And when I was coming back from eating, there was a young couple waiting for their Hawaiian pie to cook. Thatʼs three customers in about 40 minutes. Not bad for an out-of-the-way location with zero advertising.

Protip: There's a slot on the machine that has cello-wrapped plastic knives. Take one. The crust is pre-sliced before the pizza bakes, so the cheese runs across the seams, and you'll have to cut the cheese to get pie-shaped wedges out of it.

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Robble robble

Sunday, October 9th, 2022 Alive 18,793 days

Remember back when McDonaldʼs mascot was a convicted felon? Everyone knew it, and nobody cared.

Societyʼs tolerance and forgiveness has since been replaced by internet outrage.

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Recact-o-matic

Saturday, October 1st, 2022 Alive 18,785 days

H.E.B. notifying me that my groceries will arrive in 17 minutes

When H.E.B. says the grocery delivery person is 17 minutes away, thatʼs how I know he's standing outside my door unloading his cart. It's always exactly 17 minutes. I get the text message, look for the cat acting up, and can see the shadow of the delivery person outside my door.

Consistency is a good thing. And “consistently wrong” is a type of consistency, right?

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“Thanksmas?”

Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 Alive 18,781 days

A package of H.E.B. Holiday Stuffing potato chips

An object can be both well done, and not good at the same time. To wit: “Holiday Stuffing” favor potato chips from H.E.B.

The San Antonio supermarket chain has leapfrogged pumpkin spice season and landed firmly in the fuzzy, nostalgic quagmire of Thanksmas season.

Opening the bag, I took my usual deep breath of snackmosphere to preview what was ahead, and I nearly gagged. It really does smell very much like Stove-Top stuffing. It also tastes more like stuffing than a lot of brandsʼ actual boxed stuffing does these days.

So H.E.B. gets an A+ for execution, because when someone said “make stuffing-flavored potato chips,” someone else made it happen. But as food goes, itʼs just not good, because when you eat it, you expect one thing and get another.

Iʼll still finish the bag, though. And let the “Holiday” term slide because stuffing is traditional for both Christmas and Thanksgiving.

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Sold by weight not number of crackers, blah, blah, blah…

Sunday, September 25th, 2022 Alive 18,779 days

Two sealed sleeves of Ritz crackers from the same box

The delightful thing about the Fresh Stacks version of Ritz crackers isn't that by putting the crackers in smaller sleeves, they stay fresher longer. It's that you never know how many crackers there are going to be in each sleeve.

In the photograph above, you can see that one sleeve has 14 crackers, while the other has 11. It's all the fun of a food lottery, but with a bonus side of vaguely feeling like you're being cheated.

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We named the dog Pepita

Sunday, September 25th, 2022 Alive 18,779 days

Two packages of pumpkin seeds from H.E.B.

I havenʼt lived in Texas long enough to consistently remember that some items in the supermarket are cheaper if theyʼre labeled in Spanish.

For example, here are two packages of bulk pumpkin seeds from H.E.B. The ones I bought on the 17th were the Spanish-labeled ones and cost $6.98 per pound.

A week later, I bought more pumpkin seeds, but accidentally got them from the English-labeled bin, so I ended up paying $7.98 a pound.

I initially noticed this while in the store because the two bins are near one another, which is why I picked the Spanish ones last time.

I suppose there are plenty of ways to get all angry and political about this, but Iʼm not. I find it amusing, and yet another one of the quirks of living Lone Star.

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For your pleasure

Saturday, September 24th, 2022 Alive 18,778 days

Both ridged and wavy potato chips

Today I learned that there are both “ridged” and “wavy” potato chips, and theyʼre not the same thing.

Clearly, there are people who prefer one over the other, or both wouldnʼt be on offer.

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Brain freeze

Thursday, September 15th, 2022 Alive 18,769 days

A package of H.E.B. frozen cheese ravioli

This H.E.B. frozen cheese ravioli is “ready to cook.” Is there another option? Does H.E.B. sell “some assembly required” cheese ravioli?

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Smells like Autumn

Thursday, September 8th, 2022 Alive 18,762 days

Iʼm old enough to have lived in a world before “pumpkin spice” everything.

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Coffee math

Sunday, August 21st, 2022 Alive 18,744 days

After months of research involving 1,0000 Splenda packets, 400 H.E.B. “Sweetener” packets, and 1,640 cups of coffee, I can personally confirm that it takes three H.E.B. packets to do the same job as two Splenda packets. You're welcome.

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Coffee underachiever

Sunday, August 14th, 2022 Alive 18,737 days

A repair guy working on the super-duper high-tech coffee robot machine. Which is almost always broken.

The Costa Coffee machine at Whole Foods is broken. Again. I've been to this particular Whole Foods in Midtown Houston nine times. The coffee machine has only been online and functional once.

It's either bad timing for me, or a bad machine from Costa. Either way, it's bad news for Whole Foods.

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I do not want fries with that

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 Alive 18,733 days

A “Ham Quicke” at the Lavazza cafe inside The Drake Hotel

I used to live in a state where prostitution is legal, and even Iʼm not sure what a “ham quicke” is.

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L of a shop

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 Alive 18,733 days

A boarded up kiosk in the CTA Red Line Monroe station

I was surprised to learn recently that a good number of people in Chicago donʼt know what this is. And many people donʼt even notice that theyʼre there.

Iʼm old enough to remember when these underground kiosks thrived at CTA stations all over Chicago. Some were newsstands. Some were Dunkinʼ Donuts shops. Some sold other kinds of food to passengers. I always thought that was funny, because at the time, you werenʼt allowed to eat or drink on a CTA train. But the CTA was happy to sell you both inside its own stations.

I remember lines at the Dunkinʼ Donuts kiosks would sometimes be long enough to block the turnstiles.

Today, theyʼre all boarded up with stainless steel plates. Some, like this one, are decorated. As if to pretend that they never existed at all.

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Transportation artery

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 Alive 18,733 days

An ad for Butcher Boy cooking oils

If you see an advertisement for cooking oil while on the subway, you might be in the Middle West.

Very wholesome.

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Nibbles

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 Alive 18,733 days

What $18.50 buys at Midway Airport

Big city mayors like to talk about promoting the health and welfare of their people. Then they allow the airport to sell passengers hamburgers for $4.00, while the healthy snacks cost $17.50 plus tax.

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Somethingʼs fishy

Sunday, June 12th, 2022 Alive 18,674 days

My old package of frozen salmon filets, and my new one

The last time I bought Orca Bay salmon fillets, the package weighed a pound. Now it's just ten ounces. Thatʼs 37½% smaller.

Either my supermarket switched to carrying the smaller package and kept the same price, or the fish company is putting fewer fish in the package.

Since thereʼs a different photo on the package, it doesnʼt seem like the fish company is trying to pull a fast one, so I blame the supermarket.

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Me mine

Saturday, May 28th, 2022 Alive 18,659 days

Amtrak chocolate mousse cake thing

Dessert tonight is some sorta chocolate mousse cake. Amtrak makes a fine sorta chocolate mousse cake. If my wife wasnʼt sitting right there, I would ask this sorta chocolate mousse cake to marry me.

Wait, I found the description:

Flourless Chocolate Torte: The perfect paring of bittersweet chocolates, topped with semisweet chocolate truffle ganache and drizzled with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

I donʼt know why it has a hole in. Maybe thatʼs where the calories go.

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Nothing to crab about

Saturday, May 28th, 2022 Alive 18,659 days

Amtrak crab cake

Tonightʼs Amtrak appetizer is going through an identity crisis.

“Lobster crab cake: Pan-roasted lobster crab cake served over a Farro, butternut squash and craisin salad with Sriracha cream.”

So itʼs got lobsters pretending to be crabs, and cranberries pretending to be raisins. Doesnʼt matter — it was really good.

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Since 1840

Thursday, May 26th, 2022 Alive 18,657 days

Creole Andouille Au Gratin at Antoineʼs

I had dinner at Antoineʼs. Because when youʼre in New Orleans, you have Dinner at Antoineʼs.

I am sad to report that time, economy, and pandemic have not been kind to the place. It seems to have lowered its standards in order to bring in more foot traffic.

There are dinner specials. The wait staff is spread thin. Tourists are allowed in all dining rooms not only without a jacket, but in T-shirts and sockless. Any of this would have been absolutely unthinkable not that many years ago.

The food remains solid, if smaller. On the plus side, the baked Alaska remains among the best I've tried, even if it's been tarted up for the Instygram age.

Then again, when Iʼm 182 years old, I will probably make some concessions, too.

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Shut up, I'm listening…

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022 Alive 18,656 days

Chicken creole at Gallatoireʼs: Half a roasted chicken, stewed tomatoes with creole seasoning, and steamed rice

I donʼt know if lunch at Galatoireʼs was the finest meal Iʼve ever eaten, but it is certainly in the top two of all time.

Part of it was the food, which was excellent. But most of it was the people. Both the staff, and the other customers.

The wait staff were the most professional Iʼve ever seen. They have mastered the art of being exactly where they should be at exactly the right time. Of being invisible, yet always on hand. Of being friendly, while being anonymous. Of putting the “serve” into service. And not just the ones attending my table. Watching the others around the dining room, I could see similar attention being given to everyone.

When the entire staff from the butter-and-rolls guy to the manager visits a pair of regulars over the course of an hour and greets them like old friends, it shows why those people keep coming back.

And thatʼs just it — this was a room of regulars. Each part of an individual knot of friends, but in a room full of friends new, old, and not yet met. And everyone so interesting to look at and listen to that my wife were silent with each other as we eagerly devoured multiple conversations from multiple tables at the same time.

  • There was a table of what looked like old school lawyers and politicians discussing local issues in a way I couldn't comprehend.
  • One of them went over to the table behind me to congratulate a debutante who was celebrating becoming a newly minted lawyer with her friend.
  • There was a gaggle of ladies who lunch, celebrating the 70th birthday of a woman who didnʼt look a day over 45 — a good 45.
  • A pair of 30-something gentlemen in subtle but designer clothes with impeccable table manners, looking like a cross between old plantation trust fund babies and rock stars.

Plus a scattering of people who looked like writers, playwrights, bankers, fashion designers, and a 30ish woman eating alone that the staff ensured was never lonely during her meal.

You know a room is stimulating when I donʼt remember anything about the coffee

An in this age when too many American restaurants think “hospitality” means putting a time limit on your visit so they can “turn” the table for a new revenue source, my wife and I never felt rushed. We were there for two-and-a-half hours, and could easily have stayed longer. That was also true for everyone else. Most of the parties were already seated when we arrived, and when we left were still there talking, reminiscing, conspiring, and engaging in fruitful human-to-human contact in a way that has been largely lost elsewhere.

As a restauranteur, when a hundred people gather in your room, and nobody takes out their smartphone, you know youʼve done your job right.

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What about the art?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 Alive 18,655 days

A fried chicken sandwich at NOMA

Museum cafes are almost universally overpriced. I figure that Iʼm paying a premium for the convenience of giving my feet a break, having a snack, and then resuming my mental stimulation with minimal delay.

A lot of museums think their food has to look like art, cater to waifs, and embrace the ”less is more” cliché.

But the New Orleans Museum of Art is different. Portions are large, prices are reasonable, and its fried chicken sandwich is quite good.

Also, thereʼs paintings and stuff in the other rooms of the building.

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A fat-free, salt-free, sugar-free snack

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,654 days

Peeling paint at Saint Louis Cemetery Number One

If you were a child in the 1970ʼs, you may recall the crispy, chewy, vanilla taste of good old-fashioned lead paint chips.

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Camping provisions

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,654 days

The charcuterie board at the Carousel Bar

It doesn't have to be good, but it is.

The bar at the Hotel Monteleone puts out quite a nice meat-and-cheese tray. “Charcuterie” if youʼre trying to be fancy-schmancy.

There are a dozen reasons to waste four to six hours in the Monteleone bar: Watching the people on the carousel; watching the tourists perambulate outside; absorbing the art, music, and food New Orleans proffered throughout the morning. But the smörgås-on-a-board encourages you to linger, to sip your drinks slowly, and to chew as often as youʼre supposed to.

I wonʼt pretend to know or like every item on offer, but thereʼs enough variety for both me and my wife to find things we like, and we have very different tastes.

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Any pork in a storm

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,654 days

A pork chop at The Court of Two SIsters

My wife and I had dinner at The Court of Two Sisters. I got the pork chop, with came with a side of cornbread and a drizzle of pecan syrup.

O.K., maybe not a drizzle. More like a deluge. Perhaps a flood.

There was so much syrup in the dish, that I couldn't taste the pork, so I canʼt even say if it was good. With the cornbread absorbing the syrup puddle, it was more like breakfast than dinner.

I have a rule about meat: The only reason to drown it in sauce is to hide a bad cut of beef. I donʼt know if that applies to pork, as well.

All that said, The Court of Two Sisters deserves credit for at least being open. The pandemic has ruined dining in New Orleans. If you don't want fast food, or to eat in an ear-splitting bar, or something made of alligator, there are startling few options. Of those that remain, very few are open during the week; and even fewer on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.

The Sisters isnʼt excellent, but itʼs open. And when everything else is closed, that makes it the best restaurant in New Orleans that night.

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Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger. No Coke. Pepsi.

Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 Alive 18,653 days

A cheeseburger on Amtrakʼs Sunset Limited

Amtrak makes a better cheeseburger on a train than I can make in my car. Almost as good as I can make on a grill. It's a hefty sammitch, with good char and flavor. Chips, though, not french fries. I guess vats of boiling oil are a bad idea in a moving conveyance.

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Carrot cake is a vegetable, right?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 Alive 18,653 days

Carrot cake on Amtrakʼs Sunset Limited

I donʼt think I have ever turned down an offer of carrot cake. Amtrakʼs is a solid player.

An old family recipe made with raisins, pineapple, and walnuts, frosted with a cream cheese icing and drizzles with white chocolate and caramel sauce

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They sure do grow stubby carrots in Paris

Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 Alive 18,653 days

Steak dinner on Amtrakʼs Sunset Limited

People on the internet like to complain about things. Itʼs an inclination I suffer from, as well. But of the dozens of meals Iʼve had on Amtrak, I havenʼt had one yet that was worthy of complaint.

Here we see “Amtrakʼs Signature Flat Iron Steak.”

8-oz Black Angus steak with a cabernet reduction sauce, served with baby green beans, Parisian carrots, and your choice of cheddar polenta or a baked potato

I went with the polenta. Yummy.

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Amateurs

Saturday, May 21st, 2022 Alive 18,652 days

The Howdy Kolache logo

If I had an Instagram account, I could tell the supposedly Texas-style Howdy Kolache company that saguaro cacti donʼt grow in Texas. They only grow in southwestern Arizona, hundreds of miles away.

Iʼd tell them myself, but like many hobby companies these days, the only way to make contact is via the one random social media app of their choice.

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True grits

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 Alive 18,628 days

Shrimp and grits at the Grand Galvez Hotel

The bowl is deeper than it looks, and submerged beneath the sauce is way more grits than one digestive tract can process.

Shrimp and grits at the Grand Galvez Hotel is Gulf shrimp, smoked cheddar grits, andouille sausage, peppers, and onions under a green chili sauce.

Itʼs food that sticks to your ribs. And your pancreas. And all of the rest of your major organs. A good way to replenish your energy if youʼve just wrestled a shark out of the maw of an alligator while snorkeling off Seawolf Park.

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Dumbo gumbo

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 Alive 18,628 days

Seafood Gumbo at the Grand Galvez Hotel

Me: “I'll start with the seafood gumbo.”

Waitress: “Shrimp, crab, sausage, okra, rice.”

Me: “Shrimp.”

It turns out she wasnʼt asking me what kind of gumbo I wanted, she was listing the ingredients. It has all of those things in it. Lucky for me, she was tactful and didnʼt point out my dumbassery.

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But they made you a lilly

Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,624 days

A lilly made of milk foam

Itʼs always a shame when bad people happen to good coffee. That seems to be whatʼs happening at the Canary Cafe location on Fulton just north of Cavalcade.

The store is nice. Good decoration. Good furniture. Even a cozy backyard in which to savor and chill.

The coffee is good. The sweets are excellent. I had something that was something like a cross between a peanut butter sandwich and baklava. Trés scrummy.

But the people running the place donʼt really seem to know what theyʼre doing. Itʼs like they came from another planet where everything they know about serving coffee came from watching reruns of Friends. As if theyʼve never actually been to a coffee shop, themselves.

Maybe itʼs a new location, and these are just growing pains. The newspapers are full of stories about how restaurants canʼt find quality workers, so maybe this is evidence of that problem.

But Iʼll certainly go back. The coffee is solid, and the pastries would make a firefighter bite a Dalmatian. Hopefully, the people problems will be worked out by then.

Peanut butter, then filo, then peanut butter, then filo, then peanut butter…
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What can brown do for you?

Saturday, April 16th, 2022 Alive 18,617 days

Colored Easter eggs

The egg farmer brought brown eggs this Easter. This is the first year Iʼve died brown eggs. The colors seem richer, but also muddy. It seems to work best with light-colored dyes. Yellow comes out gold, but blue comes out black.

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Stick to your ribs

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 Alive 18,573 days

Pizza on a stick

You know what sounds awful? Pizza on a stick.

You know what is really good? Pizza on a stick!

Carnival food can be really awful, but the pizza on a stick at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is really good. Flavorful, moist, and easy to handle without getting greasy. The amount of pizza you get on a single stick is a full meal, so as carnival food goes, itʼs good value for money.

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Culinary cartography

Friday, February 25th, 2022 Alive 18,567 days

A waffle maker that makes Texas-shaped waffles

This is pretty much the most Texas thing Iʼve seen today.

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Are the beaks “Chicken noses?”

Friday, February 25th, 2022 Alive 18,567 days

“Chicken paws” for sale at H.E.B.

If your local supermarket sells chicken feet labeled “Chicken paws,” you might live in Texas.

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D'lish!

Saturday, February 19th, 2022 Alive 18,561 days

Food D'lite in Houstonʼs Harrisburg neighborhood

After a day at the tree museum, I like to stop at Food D'lite on the way home. Itʼs a combination hamburger stand and Chinese food joint.

Itʼs my understanding that in the early part of the last century, it was common for Chinese immigrants who opened restaurants to serve both Chinese and American cuisine, in order to expand their customer base and to ingratiate themselves with the locals. Iʼve also noticed it in a number of old movies from the 1940ʼs, so it seems to be a little slice of Americana that is fading away as restaurants now strive to pigeonhole themselves into a particular category, rather than attract the largest number of people they can.

As you can tell from the picture, Food D'lite is small, old, and garishly-painted. So, naturally my expectations were high the first time I went here.

I have never gotten a hamburger from this stand, but I am happy to report that the Chinese food is excellent. Itʼs very much in the style of the heavy, muddy East Coast Cantonese I grew up with, and very far from the fresh-crispy-sprouts-and-heat of the West Coast Szechuan Iʼve had to make do with for the last decade.

If the Metro Green Line ran just another 4.8 miles eastward, Iʼd probably have lunch here every other day.

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You got any Chipwiches?

Sunday, December 12th, 2021 Alive 18,492 days

An ice cream truck parked in front of Houston City Hall

If the ice cream man does brisk business in December, you might live in Houston.

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Burning calories

Sunday, November 21st, 2021 Alive 18,471 days

The non-burned cookies

I made cookies today. Truthfully, I made about 40 cookies today, but these are the six that donʼt look awful.

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Thinking is hard

Thursday, November 11th, 2021 Alive 18,461 days

A column in todayʼs newspaper suggests, “Try a plant-based sweetener like Stevia” instead of sugar.

So what exactly to millennials think sugar is made from? Rocks? Oil? The dried, ground up bones of boomers?

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Needs to perk up

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 Alive 18,439 days

The Costa Coffee machine at Whole Foods being repaired again

If you ever want to know what the inside of an automatic barista machine looks like, just head to Whole Foods in Midtown Houston. Thereʼs a good chance itʼs inner mechanism is open and available for you to examine.

Iʼm not sure how many times Iʼve been to this Whole Foods store — maybe a dozen times — and the coffee machine has never been working.

Every time I go, thereʼs a repairman busy tinkering with it. Which seems like quite a coincidence. Either Costa Coffee has an employee whose job is to repair this one machine full-time, or thereʼs something about me going to Whole Foods that causes the machine to kill itself.

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Lactose tolerant

Friday, October 15th, 2021 Alive 18,434 days

Annie bogarting my pizza

Annie likes to pull the green peppers and black olives off of my pizza. But only if itʼs from Frankʼs Pizza. If itʼs any other pizza, she just eats the cheese.

My cat eats a lot of cheese.

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Wrapped attention

Saturday, October 9th, 2021 Alive 18,428 days

My microwave offering to cook precisely one frozen burrito

Today I discovered that my microwave has a frozen burrito function.

Where have you been all my life?

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Tom-foolery

Friday, September 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,392 days

Annie eating peanuts out of a can

I really should stop this tomfoolery. But I also want to find out if sheʼs dumb enough to get her head stuck in a peanut can.

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Coffee cops

Saturday, August 14th, 2021 Alive 18,372 days

A sign advertising free coffee for police officers, firefighters, and hospital workers

Thereʼs a weird kind of hybrid bar -slash- epicurean bodega near my home called District Market that gives free coffee to cops and other essential workers. Thatʼs nice.

People make a lot of jokes about cops and doughnut shops thinking that itʼs nothing more than a lame stereotype, but few understand that thereʼs a historical reason for that association.

America used to be littered with all-night coffee shops. This was because people used to stay out later, as they didnʼt have much entertainment at home. People also used to work later because a lot of once-massive industries demanded it. And more people worked overnight shifts than they do now. Stopping at a coffee shop or a diner on the way home at 2am was a perfectly normal thing to do. People also used to work harder, so in some cities there were 24-hour cheap steak joints, but thatʼs a story for another time.

Because these coffee shops were open in the small hours, they were often the targets of criminals. A clever way to attract police officers to your late-night noshery in order to repel criminals was to offer the badged free coffee, and sometimes free doughnuts.

Whether District Market is giving away free coffee in lieu of paying for improved security doesnʼt really matter, because itʼs still a nice thing to do. And the whole notion of “free coffee” which used to be ubiquitous in American society has almost disappeared today.

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Stock poorly

Friday, August 13th, 2021 Alive 18,371 days

An error message from Stockwell

My apartment building has a Stockwell vending machine in the basement.

Unlike the vending machines of yore, this one is just an open cabinet with a camera that watches what you take off the shelves and uses magic A.I. fairies to send you a bill. That is, if it works. Which it doesnʼt.

I canʼt even get the Stockwell app to acknowledge that the Stockwell machine in my building exists.

I guess Iʼll spend my snack money at the convenience store across the street, instead. Where I can pay by cash, or credit card, or Apple Pay, or even food stamps if I had them. And if something goes wrong, there are intermittently friendly people to help me out, and not some Silicon Valley robot barking, “object has no attribute.”

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On, Dasher

Thursday, August 5th, 2021 Alive 18,363 days

An error message from DoorDash

Not only did DoorDash eat itself, it canʼt even show a legible error message.

Itʼs like the DoubleFail Twins of delivery apps.

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Good enough for owls

Friday, June 18th, 2021 Alive 18,315 days

A bag of Wise potato chips

No beating around the bush. I will just plainly state right here that Wise potato chips are the best potato chips on the planet.

Every once in a long while something goes terribly wrong with the universe and a black hole opens up, depositing Wise potato chips at a store near where I live. They are the potato bomb.

While most other potato chips aspire to be like Layʼs potato chips, these are the chips that Layʼs aspires to emulate.

The only problem is that theyʼre hard to come by if you donʼt live back east. And occasionally youʼll get a weird, shriveled green potato chip. But I eat those, too.

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Youʼve been kicked out of better places

Friday, June 4th, 2021 Alive 18,301 days

Wanna start a fist fight in Whole Foods?

When Rando McFreedumb asks you why youʼre still wearing a mask, look him in the eye and say, “Because Iʼm better than you.”

I donʼt think Iʼm welcome back at that Whole Foods.

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Itʼs half way to cheese

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 Alive 18,285 days

Expired milk from Safeway

Oh, good. The milk I just bought at Safeway is only a week past its expiration date. Safeway is getting better.

Considering that milk has a pretty long shelf life, I wonder how long this carton has been sitting in the cooler. A month? Two months?

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Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 Alive 18,284 days

I used to blame myself and feel bad for not checking the expiration dates more closely when Iʼd end up with expired food from Safeway.

Now Iʼm just mad that Safeway willingly and repeatedly sells me expired food.

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He is from Delaware

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Me: “Hey, #Siri, put Hamburger Helper on my groceries list.”

Siri: “Who is speaking?”

Me: “Joe Biden.”

Siri: “OK, Iʼve added it to your groceries list.”

I sure hope the president likes Hamburger Helper.

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Watch out for Yogi!

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

A hungry Darcie

Hereʼs Darcie sitting in the trunk of the Desert Truckster, waiting for me to set up our picnic lunch.

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Paging Doctor Rorschach

Friday, April 2nd, 2021 Alive 18,238 days

A mess in my sink after dying Easter eggs

Now that Iʼve cleaned up after dying Easter eggs, I have to clean up the clean-up.

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How about some free shipping next time?

Saturday, March 27th, 2021 Alive 18,232 days

A stack of Girl Scout cookies

No Girl Scouts knocked on my door this year. So, thank you, random Girl Scout troop in Utah I found online.

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Whole fools

Monday, March 22nd, 2021 Alive 18,227 days

Dear Whole Foods,

450 Americans died of COVID-19 yesterday. Why has my local store stopped requiring people to wear masks?

Itʼs still the law here. Everything is not better. People are still getting sick and dying. What I saw today is not OK.

Please comply with the law.

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Umlauts make it taste better

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 Alive 18,221 days

Boxes of fondue and fondü

Which should I choose? Fondue, or fondü?

Theyʼre both made in Switzerland. And judging by the date marks, they were made within eight hours of one another.

I wonder if they came over on the same boat, too.

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Saturday, February 20th, 2021 Alive 18,197 days

Why is there a door knob on the inside of my pantry door? Do my Froot Loops and Hamburger Helper get claustrophobic during the night and go out for a walk?

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Up next: Italian chili

Saturday, February 13th, 2021 Alive 18,190 days

A pair of ragged homemade pizzas

Darcie likes when I make her pizza from scratch. I donʼt do it as often as I should because the dough is a lot of work.

But when I do accede to her cravings, I also make myself a “cowboy pizza.” Itʼs made from whatever I happen to find in the refrigerator that is remotely pizza-like. Peppers, onions, tomatoes, bits of random leftover meats and cheeses.

I call it “cowboy” pizza because I cook it in a cast iron skillet, since I only have one pizza pan.

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No shit

Sunday, January 24th, 2021 Alive 18,170 days

Unnecessary instructions on a stick of butter

“Open here?” Thanks for the tip, I was about to drill a hole in the side!

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Shitʼs on fire, yo

Saturday, December 19th, 2020 Alive 18,134 days

I miss having Darcie around to dote on so I can pretend that my real life doesnʼt exist.

Sheʼs still at work, so Iʼm baking her a cake right now. Iʼll probably burn it, like I did with the last cake. And the cupcakes. And the pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. Baking is not my thing.

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Blue mold

Thursday, November 26th, 2020 Alive 18,111 days

Runny Jell-O

Darcie: “You made a Jell-O mold?”

Me: “Yep!”

Darcie: “What flavor?”

Me: “Raspberry failure!”

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Thursday, November 5th, 2020 Alive 18,090 days

A Whole Foods error message

If Amazon.com canʼt keep Whole Foods running, what chance do I have?

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Saturday, October 10th, 2020 Alive 18,064 days

I wonder if it’s easier to track down the source of food poisoning these days since so many people are constantly taking pictures of their meals.

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Whopper of a lunch

Thursday, October 8th, 2020 Alive 18,062 days

A lunch sack filled with Whoppers

Each day for the last month, Iʼve included a piece of Halloween candy when I pack Darcieʼs lunch. And each day I notice that the Whoppers always seem to come back unopened.

I think she hasnʼt really given Whoppers a chance. So I made her an all-Whoppers lunch today.

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Hot pockets

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 Alive 17,837 days

A newspaper article about the heir to the Hot Pockets fortune

In other news, there is a Hot Pockets heiress. And a Hot Pockets fortune.

I wonder if thereʼs a Hot Pockets mansion. Please be called “Ham and Cheese Manor.”

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Bird brain

Thursday, November 28th, 2019 Alive 17,747 days

I think the best recent Thanksgiving invention is the Thanksgiving panini at Starbucks. If you havenʼt had one, try it. Theyʼre a little better this year because they left out the cranberry sauce.

Iʼm so dumb, it only occurred to me yesterday that I can make all of the Thanksgiving paninis I want with my Thanksgiving leftovers!

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You donʼt want to know

Monday, September 23rd, 2019 Alive 17,681 days

The Smithʼs deli case

Only one item in the deli case is labeled “Made in the USA.” So, where are the others made, and why can't know?

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Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 Alive 17,497 days

Spaghetti about to get its ends singed

Someone should invent a tall and skinny, or a short and narrow cooking pot to deliver us from the tyranny of spaghetti-burning overhang.

No, I canʼt just break the spaghetti into pieces. That wonʼt work for Cincinnati chili.

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Saturday, February 16th, 2019 Alive 17,462 days

Cans of Skyline chili

Three day weekend.

Four cans of Skyline chili.

Challenge accepted.

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Do it!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 Alive 17,315 days

A container of sour cream next to a container of vanilla frosting

Every time my wife puts these two items next to each other in the refrigerator, a tiny angel appears on my right shoulder, and a tiny devil on my left.

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Friday, September 21st, 2018 Alive 17,314 days

A frame from WKRP in Cincinnati

I don't remember the bars in Cincinnati serving complimentary apple pies when I lived there.

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Sunday, August 26th, 2018 Alive 17,288 days

Irony: The lady at Whole Foods pontificating about the horrors of genetically modified food, while holding a chorkie.

At least the dog knows it wonʼt get eaten.

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Monday, July 23rd, 2018 Alive 17,254 days

A Tombstone pizza, allegedly sporting five cheeses

How do we really know this is a “5 Cheese Pizza?” All those little shreds look alike.

Has anyone in the history of everything said, “Wow! I can really taste the Asiago on this frozen cardboard plank!”

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You want fries with that?

Thursday, July 12th, 2018 Alive 17,243 days

A screenshot of an Apple News headline

You can tell it’s fake news because there’s no way a hundred Americans have ordered a salad at McDonald’s.

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Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 Alive 17,242 days

They say that Iron Chefs can cook anything.

OK, prove it. Bring on Battle: American Cheese.

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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 Alive 17,234 days

I ate so many Doritos when I was a teen-ager that I may die, but Iʼll never decompose.

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Saturday, June 30th, 2018 Alive 17,231 days

…at least he learned how to make bread in prison.

— Some random person in the bread aisle at Kroger
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Saturday, June 30th, 2018 Alive 17,231 days

Woman: “It’s just bread.”

Man: “You’re just bread.”

— Random couple in the bread aisle at Kroger
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