Rooster vs. Rooster

I love hot sauces.  Mexican, Asian, Southern, thick, thin, red, green, brown.  I'm not picky.  I love them all.  Los Angeles' own Sriracha Thai-style hot sauce is one of my personal favorites. It has a white rooster and green screwcap on a backdrop of bright red deliciousness that is recognizable from 50 yards away.  For those who have some difficulty pronouncing Sriracha, they just call it Rooster-sauce.

A Louisiana-style hot sauce is also always a staple in our house.  Usually these are watery, vinegary, and often have a backbone of paprika and black pepper notes.  Tobasco took the Louisiana-style to the moon and back.  Even celebrity chefs like Jaques Pepin use it; like advocating the addition of a squirt or two into his French onion soup.

I'm not a big fan of Tobasco. Although I'll sprinkle it, I feel like it lacks much flavor.  Maybe I'm just too used to it.  Maybe your average bottle at the diner has been sitting next to the sugar, salt, and maple syrup for 6 or 7 years.  In any case, for Louisiana I prefer Crystal and Red Rooster.

I decided to put Sriracha and Red Rooster into a Title Bout, pitting them in a no holds barred battle of the heat...


In the first corner with the little green cap, hailing from Los Angeles, at 31 years of age and weighing 17 ounces, fighting in a Muay Thai style, from Huy Fong Foods, SRIRACHA!!!

In the second corner with the bright yellow shirt, from New Iberia Louisiana, 83 years young and weighing 12 ounces, fighting in a Southern Preying Mantis style and from Bruce's Foods, RED ROOSTER!!!

Round 1

Round 1: Trader Joe's Toaster Oven Gorditas

Trader Joe's Toaster Oven Gorditas

Both levels of heat were appropriate and necessary, the Gorditas are pretty bland on their own.  Although neither sauce was anything like a Mexican picante sauce, they both worked well.  The dry corn pupusa-like shells absorbed the sauces almost completely.

The Result:  A Draw!

Both were good and I couldn't eat these things without hot sauce.


Round 2

Round 2: Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

We opted for a layer of spicy Giardiniera on this and it was a load hotter than either of us expected.  My face and neck sweated profusely as I pounded out this battle but I prevailed in determining a winner.  I can't say I entered the fight without prejudice, I fully expected Red Rooster to win.  I have been putting Louisiana hot sauces on my pizza since before I learned how to use a fork.

The Result: Sriracha!

I liked the strategic placement the squirt bottle top provided and how the thicker Sriracha stayed where it was placed.  It also has a little sweetness which may have given me that extra edge against the heat to continue judging.


Round 3

Round 3: Tin Roof Sundae

Tin Roof Sundae

Oh no he didn't!  Oh yes he did! This half gallon of Tin Roof Sundae kept taunting me every time I went into the freezer, haranguing me, challenging me.  Well, with great power comes great responsibility and I couldn't let anyone down in case they were looking for a hot sauce comparison with ice cream.

The Result: Sriracha!

Again, I came in with prejudice.  I thought the garlic in Sriracha would make it an unbearable mix with the fudge swirls but when I hit a peanut, it reminded me of Pad Thai. The Red Rooster has no distant cousins on tin roofs.


Round 4

Round 4: Taco night!

Taco Night!

This was a tough decision.  I wonder if I did this battle with Taco Night 10 times what the end result would be.  The sharp vinegary-ness of Red Rooster was strong and held its own against the seasoning of the ground beef.  

The Result:  Sriracha!

Again, both sauces worked well but it was the smart-bomb delivery system that comes from the magic green squirt top.  I was able to place the exact amount on each bite right where I wanted it to hit my tongue.  This was a close, hard-fought battle.


Round 5

Round 5: Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast Sandwiches

Eggs, cheese, English Muffins - a staple around here.  Having a good hot sauce makes a good thing wonderful and this was another fight I was especially interested in the outcome.  The paprika and black pepper notes in the Red Rooster aided their cause well, the garlic and catsup-y consistency of Sriracha benefited their camp.

The Result: Sriracha!

I think it came down to our American association of eggs with catsup.  Sriracha is like catsup's bigger, more worldly older brother that spent time abroad and came back kissing women on the cheek and saying things like, "Ciao." 


Round 6

Round 6: Thai Food

Thai Food

This battle was in Sriracha's back yard.  We had some Pad Thai and some Eggplant in Green Curry.  The squirt bottle top was playing in the Thai fighter's favor but the piquant acidity of the Red Rooster put up a solid defence.

The Result: Red Rooster!

Well, if you bet on Sriracha winning this one, you lost.  I'm not exactly sure what it was that I liked so much in the Red Rooster; maybe it added some flavors that were not already present in the Thai dishes that gave it a little more depth.  Who knows?  


Round 7

Round 7: Chicken Tacos and Homemade Black Beans

Chicken Tacos and Homemade Black Beans

This was another close one.  The Red Rooster had an early lead, that Sriracha closed in on.  Both faired well.  Although either would suffice in lieu of a real Mexican hot sauce, I would have much rather had some Tapatio, Pico Pica, or Valentina (mmm, Valentina).  

The Result: Sriracha!

In the end, it came down to delivery again.  With a finger-food, like a taco, precise delivery is the key to success.



Round 8

Round 8: Stouffer's Frozen Lasagne

Stouffer's Frozen Lasagne

The Stouffer's product is a good one as is, and especially with some homemade garlic bread and a salad - but it could still use a little pick me up.  I tend to touch this up with a dash of hot sauce so this was another result I was curious about.

The Result: Sriracha!

Again I thought Red Rooster would take the cake, again I was made a fool.  The garlic melded well with the Italian fare.  That little green squirt top is like a flavor laser, it goes right where you want it.


The Final Countdown: Sriracha wins with a 6-1-1 record.  I didn't think it would be the landslide that it was.  I love my Louisiana-style hot sauce and I especially love Red Rooster.  There are always 4-6 hot sauces in the rotation at any given point in our fridge.  It's not as if I am going to put Sriracha on everything and it does surprise me a bit that it won so many close battles.  It is one heck of a condiment however, and there's good reason why Huy Fong Foods is now building a brand new $40 million, 655,000 square foot facility to keep up with demand.

Long live sauces with roosters on them!

Authordavid koch

Halloween Costume FAIL

The idea of slapping the term "FAIL" onto the title of something whenever someone does something wrong, nonsensical, or outright stupid is now a meme.  A FAIL is usually funny, sometimes humiliating, and often painful.  

A meme is a unit of culture.  A meme can be nearly anything; a phrase, a jingle, a logo, a practice.  They propagate, survive, spread, are imitated, mutate, and sometimes find themselves extinct.  Memes are the units by which ideas are transfered from one person to another; when they spread rapidly, it is said they turn viral. 

The FAIL Blog was created in January 2008 to document these FAILs and has quite the monopoly on those pictures and videos which exemplify the FAIL at its best.  If you haven't heard of them, check out their blog and/or download their iPhone app.


Here is our list of the Top 10 Food and Cooking-Related FAIL Videos, sante.


10. Cooking FAILs! - from OriginalNakedChef

"We're going to make mashed potato, one of the simplest things in the world to do."  Unfortunately, it takes 30 takes and a whole hard drive of digital memory.  This is why we haven't posted many videos on Papawow.


9. Cooking Show FAIL - from failblog (picking on Sarah Lee)

[pulls meatloaf out of oven] "Look at that," says Sarah.  Yea Sarah?  It looks like you cleaned the elephant cage at the Los Angeles Zoo.  Don't tell me you're going to serve that.


8. McDonald's FAIL - from failblog

Mmm, Deep Fried Chicken Head.  Well, maybe it did come from the McDonalds in Chinatown.  I like how it had the comb and the wattles intact.  Delicious.


7. Baking FAIL - from meatwadisemo

Note to burgeoning Food Network Star.  Next time you try and batter your hair, use a stand mixer... that would be far more hilarious.


6. Pizza Delivery Fail - from failblog

I doubt this is real, but we have all been miffed in one way or another by having our pizza delivered.  Maybe not this bad though.


5. Chef Rage FAIL - from failblog

This is pretty gangsta.  We've all had bosses we wished someone would have lit up like that.


4. Food Critic FAIL - from failblog

Just goes to show that being a guest judge on a cooking show does not alow you to make up your own words.  Having a lot of peas does not make something have "much pea-ness going on."


3. BBQ FAIL - from TheDarkSoldier09

Rule #1 about BBQ:  Don't use a gas can to stoke the fire.  There are better ways to get it going when it smolders.


2. Food Network nuts FAIL - from thebigflashbomb

"Everyone's going to love snacking on my nuts."



1. Three Sheets with Zane Lamprey - from FineLivingNetwork (not a FAIL unto itself, but there are several fails inside and who doesn't like Zane Lamprey and all his nonsense?)

Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Videos

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.

Authordavid koch

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

Authordavid koch
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.”


Authordavid koch
CategoriesHumor, Science
16 CommentsPost a comment
Authordavid koch

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."

Authordavid koch

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.

Authordavid koch

"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

Authordavid koch

We made some "Joe's Specials" a la Joe Jost.  Joe Jost's is the likely the oldest and definitely the most iconic bar in Long Beach California.  The place has been around since 1924 and about they only thing they serve besides beer are peanuts, pickled eggs, and Joe's Specials - A Polish Sausage, a slice of Swiss cheese a pickle, and mustard on rye bread.

We also made a trip to Stone Brewery, one day we'll do the tour, but this time we just ate and Amy did a tasting flight.  Their duck tacos are pretty good.

A trip to the farmer's market yielded some fresh vegetables especially some amazing red bell peppers.  We made a curry and we put some turnip greens in with the rice.  This is a technique I will be sticking with, they came out magnificent.

I was tipped off to Antonelli's Deli in El Cajon where I fell in love with an Italian sandwich, the #1.  I also caved once and got a McMuffin at McDonalds, although I could have easily eaten two.

Authordavid koch


Highlights of the week included a fun-filled trip to Vancouver.  Many thanks to Eric and Anderson for putting everything together.  There some great meals there where, unfortunately, camera-phone pictures didn't turn out so well in the dimly lit restaurants.

I may have filled up my memory card taking pictures of all the beers we drank; I just hope we put some bar owner's daughter through college.  And, after a long weekend with the boys, there's nothing like a carton of chocolate milk to settle the stomach for an airplane ride home.  

There were also some oysters to spice things up and some amazing halibut tacos at a not-so-secret spot in Carlsbad.  There was Salmon Jerky, heaps of berries, Crunchy Snack Mix with 46 ingredients, and another batch of Potica

This week was brought to you by the phenomenal Stone Brewery, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Curtis Winery, and Pannikin Coffee Roasters.

Chicken Taco with Cabbage, Sour Cream, and Avocado

Authordavid koch

Burritos, coffee, some Russian food, and a triathlon of sorts where the biking has been replaced by drinking beer.  Perfect for me because I don't even own a road bike but even if I did, I'm not a big fan of road bike seats.  The event was hosted by a Navy Seal, god bless 'em, those boys sure know how to host a BBQ.

We grilled a whole turkey, compliments of Honeysuckle White, after brining it for several hours in a Chelada brine (recipe to come) - and it came out fantastic.  I had my doubts about grilling turkey but now I think that's the way to go.

I made some homemade Seasoned Salt with paprika and a couple of odd spices I don't run into often, sumac and filé.  Sumac is most comonly used on salads and kabob; filé is generally associated with gumbo.  This mixture makes for a close relative to a Lawry's-style seasoned salt but with a je ne sais quoi.

Fueling up for the big race

This week was brought to you by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Tekate.

Authordavid koch

Oh boy.  I've been slacking on Papawow but I have some good excuses; moving to Carlsbad, having a one month old baby, and most recently, spending the long Memorial Day weekend at a most amazing wedding in Santa Barbara.  

I have; however, been keeping up with the photographs - I just haven't had time to post anything, cook anything, read much, or eat many fun things besides picking up take-out.

Some of the highlights this last (long) week included discovering a legit Italian restaurant in an industrial warehouse in a commercial district of Gardena, CA.  You would never know it from the outside but they make a fantastic thin-crust pizza, their own gelato, and they have maybe $50,000 of Parmesan cheese lining one wall.

The drive to Santa Barbara and back consisted of a stop at our favorite Del Taco in Camarillo, a Montecito at Jack's Bistro (Bagel with Lox, Cream Cheese, onions, and Capers), a lunch of oysters, clams, and ceviche at Brophy Brothers, and breakfast at the last remaining Sambo's.

If you are under the age of 40, you may not know that Sambo's was a chain of more than 1,200 restaurants throughout the US.  It was started in 1957 by Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett who embraced the story "The Little Black Sambo" which was about an east Indian boy who turned a tiger into butter to put on his pancakes.

They had no idea that in the 1970's the term Sambo would become such a charged racial slur.  

Although they tried renaming many of the restaurants to, "The Jolly Tiger," "No Place Like Sam's," and "Seasons," they all ended up failing but the very first one, the one in Santa Barbara.  Someone in the early 2000's even climbed the sign and painted over "Cracka's."

Learn the history, get over the name, order the Huevos Rancheros, and have a mimosa.

I had my first cerveza preparada in the form of Budweiser's Chelada; Bud, salt, lime, and Clamato.  I was hesitant at first because the thought of clam juice in a can, in a truck, coming from Anheuser-Busch from lord-knows-where kind of scares me.  

But then I saw the color.  It's this fluorescent pink-orange that seems to call you like a siren.  It tastes like cheap salty beer but it is quite refreshing on a hot day.  I think I would prefer it over ice (as a man, can I say that?).

Bud's CheladaThere's a penumbra about how much I'm going going to like these but I'm still planning a Chelada tasting, more to come...

This week was brought to you by Tecate, Anheuser-Busch, Hoppy Brewing Company, Sapporo, Modelo, and the wineries of: Gato Negro (?), Veuve de Vernay, Bridlewood, and Roshambo.

Authordavid koch

What began as an absurdly busy week at work, parlayed into moving 60.7 miles into a new home.  I had quite a few sandwiches and I'm tired.  There were a few nice lunches, one buffet where I ate way too much, and a new toaster oven that came with a staunch warning, "Caution: This oven gets hot."

Thanks for that.

I invented a homemade Redeye (normally a cup of coffee with a shot of espresso in it) when there isn't time to wait for the barista.  You just drop a stick of Starbuck's VIA instant in your coffee and Whamo!  You're going to get to the meeting in time now.

You're welcome.

This week was brought to you by Folie a Deux Menage a Trois, "J" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Screw Kappa Napa Sauvignon Blanc, and of course, Sam Adams.

Authordavid koch

With the baby my caffeine intake has been upped by about 50%.  One tablespoon has turned into two tablespoons, medium coffees have turned into larges, large coffees have turned into red eyes. 

I had a work dinner at Buca di Beppo, in the Pope's Room no less, and I liked the food.  I didn't think I would, but I did - and I liked the cake too!  I don't like cake, so, good job BDB.  Dinner for 22 was $1400 but telling dirty jokes in front of a bust of Pope John Paul II was priceless.

I scored some amazing waves at a secret spot near some train tracks in South Orange County.  My friend Rick keeps a plastic sword, a sombrero, and a 1980s briefcase in his truck just in case there is a photo shoot.  Bravo Rick.  Bravo.

I was tempted to buy some malanga but I didn't, some haupia pudding but I didn't, and some Sparks but I didn't.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to prepare malanga, let me know.  They're not supposed to be squishy, are they?  If anyone has any suggestions on drinking Sparks, keep them to yourself.

This week was brought to you by Samuel Adams, Coors Light, Kirkland Signature "Winery" (don't scoff, you snob), Bridlewood Winery, and Ridge Winery.

Authordavid koch

I'm not a big flower person but I can easily say that I like tulips.  Mother's Day warranted a brunch of ham, potato salad, fruit, and cole slaw.  My mother in-law makes some good cole slaw and I'm a total slaw snob, so there's something to be said about that.

I attempted to improvise a Watergate Salad with pistachio pudding.  I ran out of ideas and ended up just putting pistachios in the pistachio pudding.  Nothing really to write home about.  It came out such a freakish green however, that I will attempt this again.

My black Starbucks Gold Card was transitioned to the gold Starbucks Gold Card and I'm not happy with the changes at this point.  They won't let me accrue free crap if I don't pay with the card itself. 

I realize how futile my argument is and that there are likely only 45 other people out there who agree with me, but I might write a letter anyways.

This week was brought to you by Samuel Adams, Kirin, and Amstel Light.

Starbuck's black Gold Card and Starbuck's gold Gold Card


Authordavid koch

Another 1000 miles and a 6 foot burrito.  Among assorted snacks and road food, the stand-outs included a batch of homemade Cincinnati Chili.  Not the packets of Gold Star, but the real deal from scratch.  A luxury most Midwesterners likely have even indulged in.  The leftovers became Cincinnati Chili Dogs, how appropriate.

I had another eye-opening trip to Peet's, the location in North Irvine may be an anomaly but Tim and Wes there REALLY know their coffee.  I picked up a gold filter, because A) I'm tired of buying paper filters all the time, and B) trying to save the Earth you know, one paper filter at a time.

I ate McDonald's for the first time in months and... it was good.  I know, I know.  There's something about their Cheeseburger that reminds me of innocence.  The most unusual thing on the menu? -> Why does the Double Cheeseburger cost less than the Cheeseburger?

Shortly after my trip became aware of The Elusive Mc10:35.  Only available in that fast food limbo between McDonalds' breakfast and lunch, it is the amalgamation of a McMuffin and a McDouble.  I tried once this week but was told they were out of McMuffins.  I must have come at 10:36.

If anyone gets one, SEND ME A PICTURE!  These are the things legends are made of.

At home and in the kitchen we made some Almond Avocado Cookies, some Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Crepes, Strawberry Shortcake, a Pork Loin with Sauerkraut, an Ice Cream Cake and Oat Bran Banana Nut Muffins (recipes will follow). 

Lastly, I found an incredible Italian sandwich shop by asking the locals.  I could have driven by Agrusa's Submarine Sandwiches in Escondito, CA a thousand times and never stopped in but I asked a local and they sent me in.  The "Classic" is killer.

Authordavid koch

Another week, another 1000 miles, another box of wine.  I found myself trying to eat less meat and in doing so getting an amazing sandwich and a sub-par burrito.  Easter rolled around and we made some little bunnies out of deviled eggs and had a blast doing them.

We also made some of Cooks Illustrated's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, scored some tasty waves in San Diego, and found some houses in Enicinitas made from boats.

We made a trip to Stone Brewery, quite possibly my favorite brewery in the whole-wide-world, and if you like beer and come within 50 miles of the place, I highly suggest going.  Not only did I have an Oaked Arrogant Bastard, I found an Arrogant Bastard Onesie, had a soft pretzel and a salad - but we also got their triple Crème brûlée .  It came in citrus, green tea, and chocolate ginger.

Easter brunch came with a side of 7.2 on the Richter Scale, right in the middle of my second mimosa.  We made an amazing Spiced Rum Banana Bread (recipe to come).  We also had a ham which we doctored up with a tangerine glaze, potato and cucumber salads, and a lemon meringue pie.

I finally managed to finish off the Tagalongs Ice Cream after we made the leftover ham into an au gratin and served it with Brussels Sprouts.  We've been loving these, "Just Mango Slices" from Trader Joes recently; that's exactly what they are, no salt, no sugar, just dried mango.  We wrapped up with a batch of homemade Cincinnati Chili (recipe to come).


Authordavid koch

Coffee, cardamom gum, and the meatiest Cobb Salad I've ever had; a Pulled Pork Cobb nonetheless.  Easter candy is also here and Palmer's Peanut Butter Eggs, although not as good as Reese's, are tough to pass on.

I found a Vietnamese place called Pho "T" - I wonder if they intended the malt liquor reference, I didn't ask.  My co-worker asked for something unique and they served us a very sweet drink with lychee, dried cherries (?) and some seaweed-looking stuff.  Not unpleasant, but definitely something I've never had before.  I wish I wrote down what is was called.

I had one of my favorite Starbucks concoction, the veritable Green Tea Latte with No Syrup and Extra Matcha.  It's a mouthful, get it?  Mouthful?  Never mind.  I also found Top Gun Street in San Diego as well as some tasty waves.

I attended the Food Blog Forum Seminar in LA along with a ton of other friendly like-minded writers.  What started as a BYO Brown Bag Lunch turned into a potluck and delivery by Baby Blue BBQ and Next Door Pizza - I stuffed myself silly!  Praise the Lord too because all I brought was a handful of almonds!

The World Fare Bustaurant came by which is a full double-decker bus with dining on the roof and Haute Cuisine coming out the side.  I had several of their dishes and everything was mouth watering and delicious.  They're putting a new twist on the Roach Coach, find them @worldfare.  Did I mention that I think I got a photo of the Teenage Glutster's Vespa?

Wrapping things up, I am trying out another box of wine, Pinot Evil.  Cute name, environmentally-friendly packaging, and the sauce is pretty good too.  Check them out.  There was another food-related Wheel of Fortune answer, "Seared Scallops with Snow Peas."  Lastly, I've now dubbed my morning shake of psyllium husks and yogurt, "Mugurt," pronounced myoo-gert.  It fits.


Authordavid koch