Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Barfaroni - The Sandwich of Dreams and Nightmares

I grew up in a Chef Boyardee free house. No TV dinners. No Hamburger Helper and no sugary cereals. When my sister and I accompanied our mom to the grocery store, we'd hungrily browse the frozen food aisle like a broke Elizabeth Taylor at Tiffany's.

So when Cathy's boyfriend, Sean, suggested we make grilled Chef Boyardee Ravioli sandwiches, I almost started breakdancing in Winco's canned food aisle. Instead I giddily grabbed a tin of raviolis ($.88!) and impulse bought a can of Beefaroni (my first ever!).

These wife-beater worthy sandwiches would be concocted at an event titled "Beer + Cheese + Whores = Your Perfect Friday Night." It was a Chico friend reunion (the whores, of course, being Cathy, Lisa and me); the perfect excuse to sip a 40 ouncer of Mickey's and bust out the SnackMaster.

Exhibit A:

* Beefaroni on white. Slice of American cheese. Slices of Tilamook Cheddar.

* Peanut butter on white. Slices of banana. Drizzle of honey.Chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Exhibit B:
Clamp that shit shut (Sean's a professional. Note the "I'm concentrating really hard on this important task" tongue maneuver. )

Exhibit C:

That can't be good for the arteries.

Exhibit D:

This is actually the ravioli sandwich.
Aka "the HeartAttackwich" AKA "Little Slice of Heaven."

Exhibit E:
Easy Clean-Up!

It was a white trash dream come true! One hand gripped the Mickey's 40oz. The other held my scorching hot dream sandwich. I nibbled a few bites of the Beefaroniwich. I nibbled a half a ravioliwich. I definitely had a few bites of a gorgonzola/monterey jack/wasabi mayonaise on sourdoughwich. And I sipped that sweet malt liquor. I danced on the counter. I ate a few cold raviolis out of the can. And then...

Readers, I totally barfed. Like, four times.

The moral of the story? Listen to your mutha. When it comes to a Boyardee ban -- she definitely knows best.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Frozen yogurt. Finally!

When I moved from California to the Pacific Northwest, I knew I'd be making some major sacrifices. I'd have to stop being super mega ultra tan and I'd have to give up my totally fave hobby of beach boardwalk rollerblading.

But, readers, what I didn't prepare myself for was the frozen yogurt freeze.

Not only was there a complete and utter lack of frozen yogurt in Seattle, but nobody seemed to give two shits about it.

Obviously I gave three shits, and was constantly on the look out (Ok, I googled "frozen yogurt Seattle" about 10 times and bitched about it a lot) for the tart and tepid treat. Why should people in Los Angeles and New York City get to horde all the trendy PinkBerry bliss?

Well, it seems the frozen yogurt gods heard my prayers! In late Summer, not one, not two, but about 3,000 Pink Berry knockoffs opened in Seattle. Upon hearing the news, I immediately caught a nasty case of brain freeze.

For those of you who don't track frozen yogurt trends (and may I ask why not?) PinkBerry (here in Seattle we have CrazyBerry, YoBerry and my personal favorite, VaginaBerry) took the frozen yogurt world by storm. It caused hysteria! People waited in hour-long lines for the simple, tart Asian-inspired yogurt that only comes in a few flavors: plain, green tea and (at some of the knockoffs) strawberry. You can top it off with fresh fruit or various breakfast cereals.

Of course, there were no yogurt-mania lines in Seattle. All the calm, whatever-dude, cooler-than-frozen-yogurt Seattleites waltzed right on past the clean, white, mod yogurt shops to get their pho.

But not me. I went inside.

If you crave chocolate or toffee or peanut butter flavored frozen yogurt, this is not your bag. I have always exclusively ordered the only tart berry option from frozen yogurt menus. Which is why Crazy/Pink/EnemaBerry is so exciting! They only offer tart, delicate flavors.

The yogurt is creamy, it's cold, it's delicious; and eating it makes me feel just a little bit super mega ultra tan again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Portland, Oregon: The Baron of Brunch

Brunch. It may be my most favorite meal of the day. Not that I eat it every day. Brunch is reserved for weekends. And in case you were wondering, there is a difference between brunch and breakfast.

Breakfast is for responsible people who wear ties and monitor their daily steps with a pedometer. These people actually carve out morning time to nourish their bodies before dutifully flouncing off to work or school.

But brunch, oh sweet disfunctional brunch. Brunch was built for the lazy, late-waking, ravished, bleary eyed set. It's an after-party of sorts. Some of the brunchers will still be slightly drunk, and the rest can replenish with a morning cocktail. But booze banter aside, there is one rule when it comes to brunch:

1.) Thou shalt not shower before brunch. Brunch is a bed-to-table meal. You will most likely be late for brunch because you are too tired (read: hungover) to get out of bed, which means you certainly don't have time to shower. And if you do shower, you are clearly making a mockery of your brunch companions who will feel self conscious about their unruly hair, tobacco scented clothing and alcohol soaked pores.

Every time I make a visit to Portland I look forward to brunch. The city is simply stacked with great spots to have a first meal. Readers, I'm not talking organic over-easy eggs and 12-grain toast. Yawn. These morning meal makers have really thought this through!

Just when I thought I'd found the best of the best, the belle of the brunch ball (Cricket Cafe)... along comes Screen Door. Fancified Southern food. Think Dolly Parton in a solid gold mini dress. Holding a fried chicken leg.

As I skimmed the menu my heart started to race. I hadn't even ordered yet and I was already planning my trip back. I am known to be a chronic take-forever-orderer, but last Saturday the choice was easy: Fried Oyster Benedict.
Crisp, cornmeal crusted oysters teeter atop a crisscross of bacon. Below this holy matrimony, a perfectly poached egg on a toasted English muffin. All of this is topped with just enough sunny yellow Hollandaise sauce. Outside, the oyster has a satisfying crunch, but inside it's all tender, salty ocean. Oy! This could come with a pile of potatoes, but I chose the alternative: a shallow dish of orange, cheddar gritz.

One brunch companion didn't even need to crack his menu. Nothing would keep him from the sweet potato waffle topped with a frikkin' giant tower of fried chicken. Like the oysters, the chicken is magically grease-free and tastes mighty fine paired with a forkful of waffle and a drizzle of syrup.

By the time the biscuits and gravy landed on the table I started to think Screen Door was just getting cocky. If Screen Door was a car it would have a bumper sticker that reads: "My brunch is an honor roll student."

Just look at those biscuits and gravy! I didn't look that good on prom night! One fellow bruncher smartly selected the sausage country gravy, and the other opted for the creamy, mushroomy vegetarian version. The biscuits are unique: they're big, square, squishy and almost like

Everything tastes just a teeny tiny bit better when treated with a small splash of brick-red Louisiana hot sauce. Of course, I do have my loyalties and always prefer Tapatio or Sriracha.

But I guess people who don't take showers can't be too choosy.