Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Did I Eat This?

It should come as no surprise to the sue-happy consumer that Taco Bell's "Taco Meat Filling" contains less than 40% beef in its composition.  I understand the whole "truth in labeling" thing, but c'mon people, you're eating fast food.  You should already know that it is hyper-processed, pregnant with preservatives, and generally contains little to no "food" at all.  But who gives a shit?  It's cheap (and getting cheaper, even with commodity prices on the rise), fast, and convenient.  So what does my fat ass do with the news?  I immediately make a run for the border to try their latest offering (of course), a collaboration with Frito-Lay (that's a bit of a stretch) that is the textural masterpiece known as the Beefy Crunch Burrito.  Simply put, the sum of Flamin' Hot Fritos and their standard "beef" burrito is greater than the parts.  The sour cream eases the hot-for-hot's sake of the Fritos, and to repay the favor, they give the mushy little burrito some structural integrity.  Beef or no beef, these things are small enough and cheap enough that you may want to eat three or four, and I see nothing wrong with that.  Furthermore, for those of you in favor of this whole lawsuit, know this: if you fuck up Taco Bell for the rest of us, I will personally see to it that a laxative will somehow make its way into each and everyone of your meals until you meet your respective makers from a hopefully non-poop-related death (because I don't want you to think I'm making threats here, just promises of discomfort). Buen provecho.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Bartender is Cooler Than Your Bartender: Ben Miosi of Fork and Barrel

When happy hour gets the best of me, my Friday night typically ends with a poorly chosen movie such as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's latest kid-friendly fartfest, Tooth Fairy. As crappy as it was, however, the Rock's washed-up hockey player character said something that stuck with me as I sidled up to Fork and Barrel's upstairs bar on Saturday.  I won't go into detail, but the gist of it was that you may be at the top of your game, but sooner or later, somebody younger and hungrier will emerge in your rear view mirror and eventually overtake you.  In his case, it was a bad thing, but for the ever expanding population of beer geeks in Philadelphia, Fork and Barrel's arrival on the scene is a boon.  In this town of tremendous tap lists, Fork and Barrel pushes the envelope with the most obscure and interesting beers they can source, each one more complex than Google's search algorithm.  With names like Grado Plato Chocarrubica and Liepziger Porticus, even the names seem daunting, but our bartender, General Manager Ben Miosi, was more than happy to ensure our palates were pleased. Above, he gives us a brief monologue on what it takes to become a beer geek, his favorite beer, and his opinion of the home team craft brewers.  Buen provecho.

Fork and Barrel is located at 4213 Ridge Avenue in East Falls. The 1st floor features European food and European craft beer.  Upstairs, you've got casks, peanuts, and hot dogs.  Happy hour runs Tuesday-Friday from 4-6, when all drafts are $6. Like them on Facebook for updates on draft lists and special events. More excellent reviews here and here.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Pumpkin Ale for My Real Friends, Pumpkin Real for My Ale Friends

A very happy new year, dear readers.  In my quest to become a raging alcoholic beer nerd, I have invested a significant amount of time, brain cells, and money on craft beers with neat labels and myriad uses of the word "hops."  I regret none of this, but it's nice to have a bone thrown your way every now and again, so I'd like to give a nod to reader Matt for saving me a bottle of homebrewed pumpkin ale from a batch he and his friends made back in the fall.  Being raised in the good ol' U-S-of-A, I prefer my beers to be ozone-hole-burning cold and soda-pop-fizzy, and this was a great example of that. 

Typically, homebrews err on the side of flatness, making you feel like you're drinking a beer you poured last night but couldn't finish so you put it in the fridge for consumption today because you are too cheap to toss it out.  But this beer, surviving a week in the fridge, was extra cold and nicely carbonated.  You could taste the nutmeg, but it wasn't so overpowering as to remind you of the time you tried to hallucinate/poison yourself by eating a spice jar of it, and it had a malty finish.  Even Bob, a beer nerd before being a beer nerd was cool, gave it the seal of approval.  Buen provecho.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Very Gastro Christmas

Because you totally care about what I did over the Christmas holiday, here are a few videos of what happens when you drink too much egg nog, including my dear aunt Lynn caroling above, and a 3-part series below I like to call "Christmas Jalapenos":

First, I take a small bite while my unsuspecting brother-in-law eats the whole thing.

Then, after being told I "bitched out," I agree to finish the thing.

Then the heat catches up with me.  Hilarity ensues.  And in case you're curious, that is a woman's cardigan with the sleeves removed (but cuffs preserved) over a woman's turtleneck embroidered with Christmas trees.  Buen provecho.

The Worst Shit I Ate All Year

Typically, the best of/worst of lists are published before the year's done, but I'm going to go ahead and call this one better late than never.  Behold, the worst shit I ate all year.

5. Taco Bell's Bacon Club Chalupa: Mexican-American fusion just led to nuclear waste.
4. KFC's Doublicious: A pathetic follow-up to the Double Down gimmickry.
3. The Angus Snackwrap at McDonald's: This thing sat under the heat lamp way too long.  Acrid was an understatement.
2. The one-and-a-half Four Lokos I drank before the ban: File this under "Shit you shouldn't do past the age of 30."
1. One singular bite of a durian fruit that I couldn't even swallow: I dare you to try it, but careful, you may wind up having to wear jean shorts if you can't eat it.

Happy New Year, and as always, buen provecho.