I've been getting up really early these last couple of weeks - "and for my next trick I will make an iced coffee and make it disappear in 90 seconds!"  Instant coffee, milk, stir, drink.

I had been using the Starbuck's VIA but recently bought a jar of Folger's instant and it isn't bad; that's my new trick for cutting through the fog of sleep when the sun hasn't yet made its appearance. 

Some highlights, food-wise, were the homemade cauliflower and chickpea curry, a little sushi, [not one but] two trips to Pizza Port, and finishing off the SWAG from the Foodbuzz Festival.

This week was brought to you by the Firestone Winery (which is now owned by Foley), Sebastopol Hills Winery, the Sacred Hill Winery, and New Belgium Brewery.

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I didn't make a slideshow last week so this one is doubly special.  We have been doing more take-out and cereal, and our wine consumption is up.  Highlights included a trip to a Peruvian place in Encinitas called Q'ero, a wine bar in Del Mar called La Tienda, and the Rotary Club's Oktoberfest in Carlsbad.

There has been some tasty waves in San Diego lately and those keep me hungry.  In between meals, I've been grinding on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Olivia's Organic Croutons, and Special K.  You've got to keep your energy up, you know, for riding parallel stance in the tube...

This week was brought to you by New Belgium Brewing Company, the Boston Brewing Company, Cameron Hughes Winery, and two of our favorites (we've been dipping into the cellar lately) Ridge and Curtis.

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Dr. Nammy Patel, the Toothhugger

Green dentistry pioneer, Dr. Nammy Patel is the first dentist to make a serious commitment to green sustainable business practices in San Francisco.  She takes a unique approach to combine dentistry and conserve the environment, using non toxic products, reducing waste and being minimally invasive.

Dr. Nammy conducts research and development to set standards in Green Dentistry and serves as a Enviro-mentor for the San Francisco Environment Agency to help small business become green.

Here is a recent interview we had:

 

1) Why the name Tooth Hugger?  You can't really hug a tooth unless you have really small arms!

It’s metaphoric, you see tree huggers save the trees, and toothhuggers save natural teeth!  That’s why we use small tools rather than arms to "hug" the teeth.



2) I'll bet you get this question all the time.  Do I really have to floss?

Absolutely yes!  Flossing is more important than brushing because it gets the bacteria in the gums and in between the teeth, so it cleans areas a toothbrush cannot reach.



3) By being green, do I have to use hemp floss that tastes like patchouli?

NO!  When it comes to flossing, you have the find the one that feels most comfortable for you. Some times people like thicker floss because they have larger spaces, some like it thin because their contacts are tight.  My personal favorite is Glide.

 

4) Can I use regular toothpaste, or do I have to use Tom's of Maine?

You can use any toothpaste that is SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) free. SLS causes sores in the mouth.



5) What natural things are good for my teeth, is there a secret blend of 13 original herbs and spices?

It’s great to eat foods that wash away easily. For example a apple is great becusec it does not get stuck to your teeth and saliva washes it away quickly.  Almonds are a great source calcium and protein, which helps maintain calcium in the teeth.


6) Can I still eat chocolate?  Coffee?  Marbles?

You can eat whatever food you like as long as you brush and floss!  Avoid the marbles they will crack your teeth!



7) What about mouthwash?  Most mouthwash that I've used in my life is already the color green...  

You technically don't need mouthwash!  The bacteria is removed by mechanical act of brushing and flossing. Mouthwash makes your breath fresh. It is best to avoid  mouthwash that has alcohol because it dries the mouth out.



8) I started using a tongue scraper recently, I'm not scraping my taste buds off am I?

 No, using a tongue scraper is like exfoliating your skin. Your body makes taste buds have a natural exfoliation process. Just don't scrape too hard.  My rule of thumb is scrape ten times.



9) If only do one thing to help my teeth last longer, what would it be?

FLOSS, use an electric toothbrush, and see your dentist

 

 

Thanks Nammy!

sfgreendentist.com
415.433.0119
info@sfgreendentist.com

360 Post St. #704
San Francisco, CA 94108
Map

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A Mocha Fillet Mignon, a amazing Shrimp Cocktail from a Mexican Mariscos spot, and Gyros from another Greek Festival.  I got really sick last week, antibiotics and all, and was craving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and cereal.  That's my comfort food.

I've also been working in the Inland Empire/High Desert and thus have been consuming a lot of froyo.  After baking in 100+ degree heat, nothing sounds better to cool off with before the drive home than a big bowl of Tart covered in Fruity Pebbles and Mochi.

I've also really been enjoying the complimentary/promotional Bora Bora bars they sent us to check out.  They are much more delicious than Power Bars (which are my normal go-to pre surf snack).

This week was brought to you by Bora Bora Foods, the Wine Garage in Calistoga, Hillas Beer, the Bridewood and Four Sisters wineries, and Palm Beer. 

Palm Beer

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Your author, having fun  
This is an entry for Project Foodbuzz, so get out there and ROCK THE VOTE for me!

In high school had a pair of shorts that read on the inside label, “Life is a lot more fun when you're having fun.”  It was written upside down and really, the only time it would have ever been seen was when the person wearing them happened to be on the toilet.  The people who made the shorts knew that oftentimes those moments are spent in reflection, and that mantra has been with me ever since.


There are many ways to have fun while cooking. You can have fun by creating new things: Hibiscus Bubbles, Lemon Verbena Fruit Salad, Spanish Almond Soup, Tomato Martinis, Oven Dried Persimmon, Gaucho Chili Verde, and Chelada Turkey Tacos.  What is more fun however - is making the mundane interesting.

Let me show you some of the fun things we have incorporated into our daily lives.
 


Make your own pepper blendMake your own pepper blends:  Black pepper (Piper nigrum) goes in nearly every savory dish in western cuisine.  Boring.  Make your own pepper blends to "spice things up a bit" - get it?  Never mind.  While green peppercorns are the unripened seeds of the same species, pink peppercorns are not.  Many blends come with those three, black, green, and pink, but have fun by adding more exotic spices that play nice with the black pepper profile.


Grains of Paradise (Afrimomum melegueta) are in the ginger family and taste like a cross between black pepper and nutmeg.  Our current grinder (yes it's a plastic disposable that's earned a second life) currently grinds out a 50/50 black pepper / Grains of Paradise blend.  It’s delicious, and it adds such a delicate nuance, unsuspecting guests cannot tell.  For the next blend I think we’ll introduce some Sichuan pepper.


Make your own Seasoned SaltMake your own Seasoned Salt.  Salt is boring too.  When I was a kid, I became intrigued by the salt alternatives like Accent, Spike, and Mrs. Dash.  I still am.  How could something taste salty if it doesn't have any salt in it?  Lowry's built an empire on their Seasoned Salt and nearly every home in the US has a jar, but that doesn't mean that you can't make your own.  Currently our consists of Kosher salt, paprika, smoked paprika, Tony Chachere’s Cajun blend, and sumac.
 


Try interesting oilsTry interesting oils:  There are other cooking oils besides olive oil.  Of course you should keep some great olive oil on hand, but branch out!  We have been through bottles of Avocado, Walnut, Peanut, Almond, Sunflower, and Grapeseed Oil.  My current oil of choice is Coconut Oil; the poor guy has been accused of being unhealthy but has a ton of healthy lauric acid.  Next on my list is cold-pressed Canola, it is supposed to be much more flavorful than the normal Canola you cook with.


Never buy salad dressing:  At the very least, an acid, an oil, and salt, make dressing.  Use some fun oil (besides olive oil) and mix it up with different citrus fruits and different vinegars.  Tangerines and Grapefruits make excellent dressings, as do Sherry and Champagne Vinegars.  Add some Brewers Yeast, and try adding different mustards.  One of my favorite dressings is with red wine vinegar, brewers yeast, grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and stone ground mustard.  Try it on a Spinach Salad.
 


Make the most amazing cup of coffee every morningMake the most amazing cup of coffee each morning:  Every day brings a new world of possibilities.  Start it off right with the best cup of Joe you can muster.  It has taken me 18 years of making my own coffee each morning, and I’ve got it nearly to a science.  It starts with buying beans from your coffeehouse and I have them grind it on a #2.  This is fine like an espresso grind.  I know what you’re thinking, I ground my own for more than a decade.  If you drink coffee every morning, don't worry, you will easily go through that pound of beans before it gets stale.

 
Next buy a plastic cone and some paper filters.  Boil your water and I add a heaping tablespoon for each mug, maybe a little extra for those mornings when the eye boogers are especially thick.  If you like sugar, add it to the coffee in the filter.  This, I assure you, will be the best cup you’ve ever had.  Mess around with the extras, different sugars, soy, almond, and hemp milks.  There’s no need to mess with the process.

 
When it comes to the kind of coffee, mix it up.  Different regions produce different styles of coffee; the major ones are South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.  Go through each one to become familiar, then start working on blends.  Make them your own.  If your coffeehouse sells loose beans, ask them to mix them for you and grind them up together.  Peet’s sells an excellent blend called Major Dickason’s that was developed by one of their customers.  Maybe one day you’ll have your own blend named after you.



Brew your own beerZymology, brew your own beer:  People have been doing it for thousands of years.  It’s easy and your results will often be better than anything you can find in a store.  I make my own beer and I have been since before I could legally buy it.  They don’t ID for yeast, hops, and malt.  I have been to the edges of good taste and back.  Some of my creations include: Kava Kava Cranberry Mint, Agave Lime beer with Chilies, Mocha Stout, Multigrain Light and Multigrain Dark (they included barley, wheat, oats, rye, and rice), and a Hoppy Hard Cider.  
 

Brewing is easy.  If you drink beer, you should make beer.  Read a book, buy a kit, and make some.  My dad made his own wine when I was growing up and although I’ve taken a home-winemaking class, I don’t have the storage for it right now.


Brew your own vinegarBrew your own vinegar:  A friend gave me a vinegar mother about two years ago and I’ve been brewing my own red wine vinegar ever since.  I started with a bottle of Petit Syrah and, whew, it is intense!  Now, whenever we don’t finish a bottle of red wine, we add it to the jar and it continues.  Call it a cuvee if you will.  This is how the ancients did it.  There is nothing I’ve ever tasted like real red wine vinegar.  It not only makes salad dressings amazing, but a little splash adds that note of acidity that make dishes pop.


Brew your own kombuchaBrew your own kombucha:  I started drinking kombucha with the rest of the masses about two years ago and when I finally read up on it, I realized how simple it is to make.  I ordered a kombucha mother on eBay for about $10 and have been cranking it out.  I have made mint, cranberry, orange, lemon, basil, and pomegranate.  Sipping a kombucha after a good workout really hits the spot.  


So there you have it.  Change up your nuts and bolts routine to make things more interesting and you will have more fun in the kitchen.  Listen to my shorts, “Life is more fun when you’re having fun.”  Or, if you don’t listen to my shorts, listen to Vince from the Slap Chop commercials, “Stop having boring tuna.  Stop having a boring life.”

 

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The week started off with sushi, a forest fire, and froyo.  We received a promotional gift basket of Bora Bora all-natural snack bars and they're delicious!  I don't snack much, but I like to keep things like these in the car.

We went to the Hermosa Beach Fiesta and they wouldn't let the four month-old in the beer garden, I don't blame them, his ID is clearly fake.  We showed Alex a vintage surfboard from 1935, it was hollow and made from wood, although he wasn't nearly as impressed as his father was.

We wrapped up the weekend at the Greek Festival in Long Beach and had not only a Gyro but a Lamb-a-Rama, which is gyro meat in a pita with French fries and a spicy feta sauce.  Not exactly my cup of tea, but still tasty.

This week was brought to you by Samuel Adams, Bud Light, Stone Brewery, the wineries of Sapphire, Ridge, Rias Baixas, A to Z, and Wolf; and the letter "M."

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Salad and Italian food mostly, broken up by an occasional burrito and bagel (reads like a weather forecast).  Rocked an In-N-Out for the first time an at least 6 months and it reaffirmed the fact that I could never be a complete vegetarian.  I played a croquet tournament that had quite the table of grinds at it.  The south swells that lit everything up last week petered out but I still logged about 5 hours in the water anyway.

I found a horn worm (?) eating our tomato plant and it was huge, like 6 inches long!  We recycled 120 pounds of cardboard to the tune of $5.40 and can now see the walls of the garage for the first time since we moved in.

Nothing really out of the ordinary food-wise but some highlights include some Nova Lox on on of my bagels, homemade chicken and dumplings, a Chili Relleno Burrito, and a 2005 Babcock Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills.

This week was brought to you by Sessions Beer, Fat Tire, and the wineries of Tamborine, Westerly, and Babcock.

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"A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting."
- Abraham Maslow

Between coffee and burritos, Chef Amy turned out a Caprese Gazpacho that was amazing.  I found a Danish Bakery in Carlsbad that turns out some fantastic pasty; and by Danish Bakery, I mean the nationality and not that all they bake are danishes.  

The Southern hemisphere turned on some great south swell.

There were tomatoes, including the biggest tomato I've ever seen (sorry, no picture), so we ate more Caprese with a Grilled Corn and Zucchini Salad.  There were peaches, Rasberries, and a big bag of Pluots that were devoured within 2 days.

Since Amy brought together Spain and Italy with her Caprese Gazpacho, I whipped up some Tzatziki Guacamole to unite Mexico with Greece.  It was a veritable World Cup in our house.  Go USA.

This week was brought to you by Seven Terraces, Monte Ducay, and Murdock Wineries. 

Froyo, yo

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Caprese GazpachoOnce again our house was full of beautiful tomatoes.  With the warm summer temperatures lately, I wanted to get away from the stove for the evening but still do something fulfilling with all our fresh vegetables.  
 
I instantly thought of gazpacho, a cold raw vegetable soup from Spain.  I also had all the ingredients on hand to make my favorite salad, Insalata Caprese, made simply with buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.
 
Finally, I realized I could merge the two into one great dish and enjoy all the wonderful flavors from Spain and Italy in one bite.  This recipe would be wonderful served for lunch or as a light supper.  It looks beautiful plated up and would surely impress dinner guests as a first course.  Enjoy!


The Gazpacho Line-up
Caprese Gazpacho (printable recipe)
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes (about 2 lbs), coarsely chopped - reserve 1 cup of the tomatoes, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped - reserve 1/4 cup of the cucumber, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped - reserve 1/4 of the onion and dice fine
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces - reserve 1 tablespoon chiffonade
  • 1 bell pepper (any color you have on hand), coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed then coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 slices of bread, crust removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Caprese Salsa
In a bowl combine, reserved tomato, cucumber, onion, and basil. Fold in mozzarella then season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in refrigerator to stay cool.

Gazpacho
In a large bowl, combine the remaining tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and bread. Working in batches, puree ingredients in a blender while slowly pouring in the olive oil, until it is a smooth consistency.

With a spatula push soup through a fine mesh strainer into a large serving bowl. Stir in red wine vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover soup and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with caprese salsa and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4


The Gazpacho-maker

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The highlight of the week was, by far, celebrating our 5th year anniversary at French 75 in Laguna Beach.  Thanks to grandma and grandpa for babysitting, there were scallops, halibut, mussels, lobster, wine, laughs, and romance was in the air.

Unrelated to food, I surfed the "shark infested" waters off San Onofre and froze my rear end off - really people, it's August, why am I still wearing my 4/3?

There was some P.F.Chang's in the mix somewhere in there, a Lobster Roll, and I discovered the wine section at Oceanside's Grocery Outlet.  The clincher was pulling out a Houghton's 1999 "Jack Mann" Cab/Malbec for $9.99.  It was pretty amazing.

A friend of mine is taking a wine class at UC Davis and met the wine buyer for them.  They have some of the best deals around.  I think he said because many are blemished labels.  Sorry Trader Joe's, but I think I know where I'll be getting all my swill from now on.

This week was brought to you by Duvel Beer, Carhartt, Hogue, and Houghton Wineries.

Garden Fresh Tomatoes

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With all the fresh produce of summertime, we've been eating a lot of salads.  Did I say a lot of salads?  I meant to say almost exclusively salads.  Steak Salad, Greek Salad, Peach Salad, Roasted Potato Salad, Tomato Cucumber and Feta Salad - it's Salad Season.

I also discovered, with some help with my friends, what a real Gordita is.  Don't "Run for the Border" for one of these - the ones at Taco Bell have little to do with bone fide Gorditas.  I am now the Foursquare Mayor at La Gordita in Vista, CA.

Real Gorditas are thick corn cakes that are fried on a skillet, then deep fried so that they puff up; then the pouch is opened and they are stuffed with a multitude of items.  Much like how pita bread has a center that can be stuffed, these come however bearing carne asada, carnitas, or chorizo and potato.

We were given a tomato plant as a gift from the padre and have been enjoying real tomatoes.  There's nothing like a tomato that came right off a vine, we've been eating half of them with just salt and pepper.  I also ate two pulled pork sandwiches in one week, that's OK, right?

This has been brought to you by Trader Joe's Pinot Noir, Odwalla's Superfood, The Yard Semillon, Primo Beer from Hawaii, and Clos LaChance Winery.

Steak Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries

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When Greg at Sippity Sup said about the baby in April, "Congratulations, but I'll leave you to the diaper duties. See ya in 2 1/2 years!" I thought, no way.  I can hold down a full time job, be a father, surf, and write for papawow.com.

But when that south swell rolled in last week I realized - it is either surf or blog.  Sorry blog, but it was good.  Nevertheless, we're back, and although Chef Amy still throws it down in the kitchen, we have little time to post it.  When you top off the little man you've got about an hour before he becomes 3 Mile Island.  Get movin'!

We got a gift basket from my co-workers of wine and snacks, thank you.  We finally opened it and there were some goodies inside!  There's been a more-than-usual amount of fast food, pizza, chocolate ice cream in our lives - comfort foods.  

This week was brought to you by Haagen-Dazs Five,  Stone Brewery, New Belgium Brewery, Tommolo Winery, and Port Brewing Company.

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Coffee and pastries, beer and ice cream, burrito after burrito after burrito.  I had sushi twice in one day, (always a treat) and I made it to two coveted venues, Stone Brewery and 85C Cafe.

The former is like Disneyland for beer-lovers and the latter is a Korean Cafe that's been transplanted to Irvine, CA.  Business is booming at both despite the economic turn-down.  It goes to show how luxury can come in either a frosty mug or a cellophane bag.

Unfortunately, I've never eaten anything at Stone that I've really liked.  This trip we stuck to the hummus.  At 85C however, we grabbed some garlic toast, some sweet rolls and a blueberry roll, and a mocha bun - and a Sea Salt Iced Coffee.  All the pastry was fluffy and the Sea Salt Coffee had just the perfect amount of salt to make it interesting.

The highlight of the week was a Kava Kava session with one of my closest friends, Kris.  He flew in from Fiji where he lives and he brought not only Kava Kava but Fijian snacks like candied plums, Mixed Bhuja, and Salted Peas (Matar?).  

He also brought some of Fiji's new beers.  For the longest time, there's been only one brewery, Carlton Brewery with its iconic brew, Fiji Bitter, "The Sportsman's Beer."  Now a second brewery, Island Brewery, has begun cranking out Vonu.  And in reaction, Carlton began brewing Fiji Premium.  A beer war has begun.

This week was brought to you by the Carlton, Island, and Stone Breweries.

Crazy Coyote Tacos

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Black Bean, Potato, and Soyrizo BurritosBlack beans and potatoes are like Batman and Robin as far as I’m concerned.  These two can fight off the most ferocious noises my stomach can make when it is doing its Rancor impression.  Add cabbage, sour cream, cheese, some faux chorizo and our vegetarian burrito worthy of the Justice League is complete.

This vegetarian dish is inexpensive, easy, hearty, and delicious.  Carnivores won’t even know they’re eating soy-chorizo, I promise.  There is some prep involved, but the beans can be made  a day ahead and the potatoes can be par-baked ahead too.

The crunch of fresh cabbage, the vibrant note of paprika in the chorizo, the pizzazz of cheddar cheese, and the sweet-cool sour cream all balance the earthiness of the burrito’s “meat”.  You have all the components of a fine meal; it’s complemented well with a side salad.

You must plan a few hours ahead; I would highly recommend making your own beans from a bag of dries ones.  They seem to be more flavorful and the texture is far more appealing than canned.  It takes more time than simply opening a tin but in the words of Alton Brown, “Your patience will be rewarded.”

I used the quick-cook method for the beans instead of allowing them to soak overnight.  The potatoes also need to be par-cooked.  They crisp up far better under the broiler so that you get nice golden brown edges and more of that tasty roasted flavor.  Here we go:

Black Bean, Potato, and Soyrizo Burritos (printable recipe)
  • 1 cup of dried black beans, sorted and any rocks removed, rinsed well
  • 1/2 a 14 ounce package of Soyrizo
  • 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sour cream for garnish

For the black bean, onion and Soyrizo mixture:

Sort and rinse your beans, place them in a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch.  Bring them to a boil covered for about 15 minutes then kill the heat and allow them to cool.  Give them an hour to soak.

Once the beans have soaked for an hour, drain and rinse them again.  Place the beans back in the pot, add 3 cups of water, bring them back to a boil, cover, then reduce the heat.  Give them another hour to cook at a simmer.  

Once the beans have had about an hour to cook, taste them to make sure they are soft, kill the heat, then drain and set aside.  

Saute the onions with the Soyrizo in a pan over medium-high heat in a teaspoon of olive oil, add a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Stir the mixture often to break up the Soyrizo; cook just until the onions soften.   Add the beans to the mixture to re-heat them and incorporate well.

For the potatoes:

Set your oven to 350 and put the potatoes in whole, on a sheet pan to bake.  After 30 minutes, remove and set them aside to cool.  Once the potatoes have cooled enough to be handled, quarter them.

Using a large bowl, toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Turn on the broiler and slide the potatoes inside, give them about 15 minutes to crisp up nicely.  Remove the potatoes from the oven once their edges brown.

To assemble:

Warm up some tortillas over the open flame of a gas stove, or wrap up in some dampened paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds.  

Take a warm tortilla and add some of the black beans, onion, and Soyrizo mixture, a few potatoes, some shredded cheddar cheese, shredded cabbage, a dollop of sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.  

Make some sort of futile attempt not to eat too many so that you fall asleep on the couch.  Enjoy!


Soyrizo and Onions
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Work has been in overdrive so the long Independence Day weekend was greatly appreciated.  We got to see some old friends, thanks Spankey and Trish for hosting, you guys are the best.  

Dining in, we've been eating pretty healthy, mostly making big salads.  My favorite meal of the week was our Burritos with Black Beans, Potatoes, and Soyrizo.  That's right, Soyrizo.  Soy + Chorizo, it's vegetarian and dios mio, since there's no guilt involved, I think I like it better than the real thing.

Dining out has been another matter.  Pizza, BBQ, and beer.  A little Wendy's, a little El Pollo Loco.  Those $.99 Menus call to me like sirens.  I'm a cheap bastard, and sometimes I just can't justify spending $10 at the salad bar of Whole Foods when I can grab a hot Spicy Chicken Sandwich and a water with the change sitting in my car's cup holder.

This week has been brought to you by Ridge Winery, Curtis Winery, Tecate, Samuel Adams, and Soyrizo.

Cold Beer, Warm Pizza

 

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