Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Benihana: The Rose Colored Tint of Childhood Memories

The requisite Onion Volcano. Dave nailed it.

Remember how cool Benihana was when you were a kid? Remember coming home with a Polaroid of you and the family destined for a few months' tenure on the fridge, the smell of griddled meats and garlic butter glued to your clothes, and you practicing your knife skills with whatever dull objects happened to be within arm's reach?

No? Well then, your childhood must have been awful. Or maybe you didn't grow up near a Benihana. Either way, I'm here to let you know that as an adult, it's sadly not quite the same. Not that you shouldn't check it out, but if you do, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Pay the extra money for the Hibachi Chicken Rice. This is the undisputed champ of Benihana's menu, primarily because the rice is fried in gobs of garlic butter and doused with soy sauce.

2. Interact with your chef. If you stare at the guy cooking your food like you would a caged animal at the zoo, he'll be sad like a caged animal at the zoo. Give him some props for nailing the Onion Volcano or an "It's cool, bro, Mondays." if he fucks up the Shrimp Tail Toss.

3. If your kid chugs their Dragon Juice too quickly, DO NOT order them a second, unless you want to spend the latter half of your meal trying to keep them from doing a belly flop on the hibachi while your steak/shrimp/chicken gets cold.

4. Always tell them it's your birthday or that of someone in your party. You'll get a free dessert and a pretty terrible picture.

5. Be friendly to fellow diners. If you've got less that eight people in your group, It's rare you'll be the only ones at the table. Don't make it awkward by avoiding eye contact and not drinking. If you're at the receiving end, make sure and talk a bunch of shit on the way home. Those wieners deserve it.

6. If the Sugar Hill Gang shows up, definitely get a picture with them (happened once in New York City, I swear).

Follow these tips and tricks and your first/next visit to Benihana will be a good one. Man, what a terrible post. Buen provecho.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Stupid List About Hangover Food

I got blotto last night and since I'm old as shit I'll be paying for it until Sunday, during which time I'll consume at least triple the amount of calories I average on a daily basis. We've all been there (and we all have yet to learn), so the next time you spend the night alternating between Fireball and Miller Lite for 6 hours, here's a handy list of food to shove in your face the morning after. It probably won't make you feel better, but it's worth a shot.

1. Menudo (or Posole): I blame my dad for a lot of things, but I have to give him credit for taking me to hole-in-the-wall places at a very young age. One of them, Taqueria Piedras Negras in Salt Lake, had menudo on Sundays. Pops knew exactly why. "It's a hangover cure," he said (I didn't really know what a hangover was, or how often I would be getting them later in life). Then he proceeded to tell me that the gelatinous honey combs I was eating used to be a cow's stomach. Then he dumped a shitload of onions and cilantro in my bowl and gave it a generous squeeze of lime. Fuck, I could really go for some menudo right about now.

2. Sausage, Egg, and Cheese croissant from Dunkin' Donuts: Pair it with an iced coffee that's more cream and sugar than actual coffee. If you're feeling especially shitty, order two, because they're kind of small.

3. Spam Musubi: If you have an aversion to Spam, you're dumb. Spam is goddamn delicious, and if you fry it up and glaze it with what is essentially teriyaki sauce, it's even more delicious. Put it on top of a sushi rice brick and wrap it up with nori and you've got a near perfect food.
4. Ultimate Meat & Cheese Breakfast Burrito from Sonic: If you're lucky enough to have a Sonic nearby, this has all of the breakfast meats, a generous ladle of cheese sauce, and TATER TOTS.

5. Five Guys: Put every single topping on their double cheeseburger, douse a giant order of fries with malt vinegar, and don't be shy with the free soda refills.

Alternatively, you can just start drinking again. It's 9am somewhere. Buen provecho.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Rappers Are Cooler Than Your Rappers: Marv Mack's New Single

In case y'all forgot (even after being reminded for a second time), Philadelphia's own Marv Mack is here to let you know that Paula Deen is a human old lady version of the confederate flag.

h/t Eater.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Why Did I Eat This? Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

'tis not a pizza, 'tis a many-headed hydra, sent from the darkest depths of fast food Hades to murder us from the inside.

Perhaps that's a bit dramatic.

It's really just a pizza that was creatively engineered to be equipped with a hot dog crust on some ultra low-brow Ferran AdriĆ  type of shit. But of course I had to try it. And of course it kind of sucked. Admittedly, I was scared at first. I expected Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza to be dripping with grease and redolent with the fragrance of preservatives that cause migraines, but it was actually kind of dry. The crust you normally get from Pizza Hut--the one you can wring the butter out of--was replaced by a thin and wobbly breadlike substance held together by a few pigs in a blanket. I think my mistake was lingering too long at the wine store before picking up the pizza, but how does one choose the perfect white to pair with a Hot Dog Bites Pizza?

In any event, by the time I got the pizza home, filmed a couple failed monologues, took a few shitty pictures, and tried unsuccessfully to get the kids to even look at this pizza, the slices were cold, the sauce congealed, and the bread enveloping the hot dog bites hardened to day-old bagel status. Still, it was no worse than anything on Pizza Hut's regular menu (I have yet to try all of their new crust and topping permutations, however), although it was a bit of a challenge to eat as you approached the hot dog crust. Personally, I think the combination of hot dogs and pizza is worse than Donald Trump at a quinceaƱara, but when sales are down and your job's at stake, any idea is better than no idea.

You may have missed your opportunity to try it (Pizza Hut's website is no longer advertising the Hot Dog Bites Pizza), but count yourself lucky for not having done so. Buen provecho.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mike Solo Fangif

Eater recently answered the question, "Why Philly's Mike Solomonov is the Genius of Modern Jewish Cooking" (go read this, it's really good). In honor of the honor, I made this super sweet bobblehead GIF in my spare time* yesterday of a young Mike at Purim. That is all. Enjoy your Friday, folks.

Oh yeah, and put all of the CookNSolo restaurants on your must eat list. It's no secret that they're all really fuckin' great. Buen provecho.

*By spare time I mean time when I should be doing things that actually benefit society.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Why Did I Eat This? Taco Bell's Cap'n Crunch Delights

If I had a dollar for every dollar I've spent on poor food choices, I might be able to afford the mountain of inevitable medical bills that will result from a life spent eating garbage. My latest questionable digestible? A 2-pack of Taco Bell's Cap'n Crunch Delights, an impulse buy I paired with a Grilled Stuft Nacho that was an impulse buy itself.

Under different circumstances, I may have enjoyed both, but almost missing a train and then having to eat them hunched over a greasy bag while sandwiched between fellow commuters made the experience one I'd like to erase from memory. For starters, the Grilled Stuft Nacho is an inane concept. Whereas the Crunchwrap Supreme maintains its structural integrity, the GSN has no tortilla chip skeleton, only bits and pieces of chips floating in a cumbersome blob of "cheese" sauce and sour cream barely held together by a tortilla triangle. It's impossible to eat on the go without making a mess.

Let's not get off topic, however. We're here to discuss the "delights," a misnomer if there ever was one. They're made to order, which would normally be a good thing, but my local Taco Bell (located at the stabbier end of Suburban Station) doesn't keep their grease hot enough to properly fry them. What I bit into had the texture of gulab jamun. In college, I spent a lot of time on the Indian food buffet circuit, and learned to loathe gulab jamun. Furthermore, any sweetness was overpowered by unmistakably rancid vegetable oil.

Perhaps if cooked at the right temperature and with time enough to eat like a gentleman, my opinion might change, but I'm certainly not willing to make the same mistake twice. If anyone disagrees, I'd love to hear your counterpoint. Buen provecho.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Wawa Employees are Stoners

Duuude. We should put BBQ sauce AND honey mustard on it. And pickles. And jalapenos. And onions. And cheese. Dude. Dude.

It's Hoagiefest, motherfuckers! For the next however many weeks, Wawa--the Philly area's mega-bodega--is offering deeply discounted 10" hoagies. To keep things interesting, the suits and ties at corporate looked to the employees this year to expand hoagie offerings beyond hot and cold and meatball and turkey.

The result is a menu of sandwiches bursting at the seams with every meat, cheese, topping, and condiment available, which is a telling tale of how some Wawa associates spend their free time. I'm not judging here. This is a boon to fat asses like me who appreciate a kitchen sink sandwich daily every now and again.

If you're feeling Colorado (or just plain curious), each creation is already programmed into the touch screen for ease of ordering. I tried the Texas Two-Step (pictured above) yesterday, and I was not at all disappointed with the combination of chicken fingers, jalapenos, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, pickles, and cheddar. Sounds hectic, but it works. Here are a couple more clear examples of recipes that really earn the tie-dye hoagiefest t-shirt:

The Flock: Turkey, Roast Beef, Ranch Dressing, Creamy Chipotle Spread, Spinach, Pepper Jack, Sweet Peppers, Tomato, Jalapeno

Wild Imagination: Cheesesteak Meat, Chicken, Ranch Dressing, Creamy Chipotle Spread, Buffalo Sauce, Provolone, Pepper Jack, Lettuce, Spinach, Tomato, Jalapeno, Pickles 

I forget how long the promo runs, but it's probably the best $4.99 you'll spend all Summer. Oh yeah, and they've got a game called Hoagiequest if you need a break from your first-person shooter. Buen provecho.