I never tried Pepsi Clear.
Also, I'm hooked on Peppermint Bark.
I never tried Pepsi Clear.
Also, I'm hooked on Peppermint Bark.
Despite my hope it would be THE accessory of the summer, I just got word from a man who knows chewing gum, Wrigley's COBALT still has him undecided on the goodness of the product. It is "oddly cooling" but possibly sore throat inducing. So much for the "definitely sharp" packaging delivering the goods. Perhaps we'll need to get our man at the counters to check out RAIN ("a tingling spearmint flavor") or FLARE ("warming cinnamon flavor").
I like miniature Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies more than Mini Chips Ahoy!
the mistake i made today was not saving any coookies for my return home. i just got back from the annual hoiliday party thrown by the guys from st. marks. they've now dispersed but tonight's activities were held at the former treehouse full of boys. as per usual, i made chocolate chip cookies from scratch. this year i finally upgraded to bringing them in a tin instead of showing up with them wrapped in aluminium foil. don't say i'm not high class now that i'm in my 30's. but, let's be honest, i fucked up. i ate three cookies before i left and packed the other 45. these are chocolate chip cookies with a hint of cinamon. i know - two n's or two m's. you'd think after decades of eating the "toast crunch" cereal i'd know. but i don't. live with it. anyway, they're awesome tasting cookies. i douse the top with cinnamon so there's a dark draping of flavor sitting atop these cookies. it's fantastic. i report that without fail. you would eat these cookies - and more than one, if you had the chance. it's the straight up toll house recipe. it works. i add a tiny bit more vanilla extract. that's it. and i upgarde the chocolate. anyway, what i'm driving at here is that i didn't save any cookies for my return home. i get back before midnight and i would fucking love the most delicious choc. chip coookie in the world right now. but are there any here? NO. is the scent still lingering from this afternoon? YES. i now see the error or my ways. always save a cookie for just before bedtime.
It's been a few years since I've updated balgavy.com with photos. In a semi-return to the way things used to be around here, I've posted some snapshots from this past weekend. It was Mike's birthday and he hosted a group of friends in his backyard.
The birthday fellow takes charge of the grill.
One cool cat. I dig those zippers on his jacket.
yL confirms the number of strips for the bacon-o-meter.
I couldn't resist taking a photo of the delicious bacon Mike prepared. How awesome is it to make that much bacon available for backyard burgers?
yL prepares a cheese stuffed treat for the China-Latina Chowhound.
The China-Latina Chowhound. Check out that fork! Talk about preparedness!
That's me with the slightly bemused grin.
Does the bocce talk ever stop? It started to get cold, but a few of these guys stuck it out for many additional hours.
i'm exhausted. got home a bit ago from adam's place. an afternoon of grilled burgers and double dates (bourbon and orange soda).
adam at the grill. he had bacon as a topping. fantastic.
the grilled mini-burger is a delight.
UPDATE (6/13/05) - A few more of the photos I took:
Last night before seeing Star Wars in Prospect Park, some friends and I dropped by the Maggie Moo's Ice Cream Treatery (a Great Franchise Opportunity!) in Park Slope.
I chose an item on the menu, rather than creating my own concoction of ice cream and mix-ins. Better Batter was the flavor of ice cream selected (just like Duncan Hines yellow cake, I swear) to be the base for mix-ins which included choc. chip cookie dough and twix bars. Going to Maggie Moo's and ordering an ice cream cone is like visiting City Sub. Anyone who has been to City Sub on Bergen Street in Brooklyn knows what it's like to watch artists prepare your meal. Everything at City Sub is done right in front of you with the care of someone preparing more than just a sandwich. The process is similar at Maggie Moo's, but with high school kids who don't seem to care quite as much. It's really strange to see someone putting five scoops of ice cream down on a table and filling it with verious ingredients, then mixing it up with special tools and dropping the whole thing in a waffle cone.
In summary, it was too much ice cream. I couldn't even finish my delicious evening snack. I'm not one known to pass on the opportunity to finish eating an ice cream treat. And I think I was still a little weirded out by watching someone do so much preparation with my ice cream. It sort of took the fun away from being a kid and making your own crazy ice cream sundae. Of course, I'm thinking I might walk over there around lunchtime today to try the grape bubblegum flavor.
early this afternoon i stopped by schnack in brooklyn to watch the hot dog eating contest. how fast could someone eat one of the 30" dogs (with bun)? one minute thirty seconds.
borough president marty markowitz stopped by.
alex waited in line for a free hot dog (not the 30" stahl-meyer dog, though).
when those dogs came out, there was an audible gasp among the crowd. the competition dogs put your middle school footlongs to shame.
and then the eating began (no splitting up of bun and dog allowed).
apparently, there is only so much a person can eat before starting to feel sick and questioning his motives.
marty congratulates joe, the winner.
i had a damn fine burger at donovan's in woodside last thursday.
i like my burgers plain. or with mushrooms and bacon.
i had a burger with bacon at hill diner on court street almost two weeks ago. it was more bacon than it was burger. and the bacon was delicious. no complaints.
Yesterday I received this email:
From: John G.
Subj: Pressed Sandwiches
Hey my name is John and I saw your blog online. Funny stuff -even funnier pictures! You have a cool group of friends.
Anyways I am starting a fast-casual chain of Pressed Sandwich lunch places in Manhattan in September, and saw that you guys were enjoying some at
one of your get togethers. I'm curious for your opinions on them. Where do you get them? Do you think if there was actually a cool lunch place serving them
you would go? What do you like in them? I know this is random but it's worth a try, especially as you guys are exactly the type of laid-back good times people I
want to come into my place.
(you like that? Laid Back Good Times People (LBGTP). You can have that one I don't mind)
In regards to seeing talk of pressed sandwiches, he's referring to photos from happy hours in spring 2003.
Needless to say, I have already adopted Laid Back Good Times People as the name of one of my fantasy baseball teams (yes, there are multiple teams this year).
I'll admit that I am not the best demographic for a pressed sandwich. As has been well documented, I only like beef & bread (with maybe a dash of black pepper). That is my preferred sandwich - on some kind of not good for you bread. Making it hot is good. Making it flat and a little crispy is also good.
Because I like providing free market research services, I've posted John's letter here. I also sent out a preview to a few friends who are contributing some great ideas.
Slightly snark Jim chimes in:
"Tell him we'll go there if they have a sandwich called The Pressed Ham. And another one called Freedom of the Press. Lame puns are what it's all about in the casual good times fun lunch business."
Handwashings then suggests:
"How about a sandwich featuring all possible ingredients on the menu called Press Your Luck?"
And Apes realizes a good idea when he hears one. Upon reading The Wash's email he adds:
"that might be the best idea of all time. certain to get a blurb in Time Out
New York at the least."
Anyone have anything to add?
in a few days i'm joining dan and jamie for their annual baseball trip. we're jumping in a car and ultimately heading to the twin cities. i just plugged the final destination into the chick-fil-a supercomputer and learned that there are only FOUR LOCATIONS between here and there. this is seriously troubling news.
popcorn makes my stomach hurt.
i'm in the midst of drinking a 12 oz. coca-cola from an aluminum can. the taste is absolutely perfect. it's easily the best coca-cola i've had in years. i can't explain why it's so good. i think it's because i just had a good slice of pizza and i still have a bit of the flour on my hands and inbetween my fingers. my taste buds are ready for something sharp and refreshing and this dust on my fingers sort of removes me from the work in front of me. and then i sip from that can. it's hot outside and i think about the cold soda i'm drinking. it just puts me in a happy mood and reminds me of when i used to travel decades ago and stop at various welcome centers that greeted visitors with small cups of pepsi (i think it was always pepsi when i was traveling). that splash of soda is just that unexpected thrill to the afternoon. and there's something about the metal-ness of the can that makes this soda taste much better than if it had been delivered to my lips via plastic.
it's time to continue with our occasional happy hour getting together. tonight it's a trip to the gate on 5th avenue in brooklyn (@ 3rd street). around 7pm or so. show up so you can find someone else to be on your trivia team when you try to take on the neuticles this coming monday night.
jamie of whatever-whenever just put herself through taco hell and lives to tell about it. she and a friend had a taco eating contest. her report is filled with photos and a good summary of the positives and negatives of hard and soft tacos.
i'm now working in a different buliding. same company. same job. but now we have free bottles of water. rumor has it they don't show up that often, but they arrived yesterday and i procured a bottle of glaceau smartwater. it tastes like water and it looks like water. the little pint bottles are cute and comfortable in my hand. the packaging is clean. but here's the thing - i'm drinking water with electrolytes! it's like gatorade without all the color and flavor. and it's freaking me out. where are those electrolytes hiding? why can't i see or taste them? i can't even feel them on the back of my tongue. my body is just absorbing them. and what if i start drinking five pints of "vapor distilled + electrolytes" enhanced water every day? can a person suffer from an electrolyte overdose? i think i'm about to find out.
One month ago Jamie and Kaci arrived at balgavy.com headquarters with armloads of orange soda. Jeremy was visiting from Vermont and Jim had stopped by for the evening's big taste test. The sodas were arranged, the little plastic cups were filled and the drinking began!
Jamie has the full scoop on February's ORANGE SODA TASTE TEST.
(Partly inspired by The Knowledge for Thirst)
in honor of the exciting baseball playoff season, i am now enjoying a few shreds of big league chew. it's pretty fantastic and brings back memories of the mid-80s when i played parks & rec. baseball. being allowed to have a pouch of big league chew then was a rare thing due to the packaging resembling pouches of tobacco. i was always disgusted by the grape. this original flavor is as fine as silk, though.
sometime friday is the perfect time to enjoy a few milk chocolate m&m's (how long until these things are called m&m's classics?) and read the hometown newspaper.
it really is time to learn how to use sunblock. i spent a good deal of time in the bright sun yesterday afternoon. when i looked in the mirror today i could see the wrinkles on my nose. my red nose. it's sunburned. crispy like a fry? i'm not sure about that. it's sunburned to the point of almost hurting, but not really. my skin will start peeling in a matter of days. i also sunburned my lips - so much so that someone noticed saturday night. a saturday night spent in astoria at the famous bohemian hall and beer garden. as expected, i drank a fair amount of beer in a less than fair amount of time. because of my recent goings out and the day spent in the sun, i had to leave early. leaving in just enough time to stumble a few blocks away and into a nearby burger king. i know i've written a lot about fries in the past few days - but what in the world is going on with the fries at burger king? they're french fries (emphasis on the fries). i don't think there is any potato in those fries at all. and don't worry, i'm about to start reading 'fast food nation' soon.
i guess they're called classic french fries. i'm not really sure. it's only been during the adult part of my life that i've been aware of their existence. when i think of them now, i think of arby's and their "homestyle" brand of french fries. they're thicker than the shoestring and these fries have a bit of the potato skin left on - for authenticity!
of course, these fries really stood out while i was in college. the mixture of sitting in the frying vats for however many minutes and then being bunched together into a big cup and placed under a heating lamp made them a must have item. i'm talking of what were called 'dukes' fries.' i think that heat lamp is the trick to making fries really work - it sort of seals in all the grease and adds just a tiny layer of crispness. sprinkled with salt and eaten alongside a chicken sandwich, i feasted on these potato creations for four years. just the mention of them makes my mind spin and my mouth drool.
these classic french fries are real fries. they're of a size where you can imagine the potato actually being cut. while eating them you spend your time enjoying the taste and not thinking about how they got all twisted or cut into such a weird waffle shape. and classic french fries work for all those french fry stands. because they're so good, they don't need to be paired with any other foods. the classic french fry can stand alone (and it makes a fine, fine snack).
the name of the game with steak fries is volume. when i'm at a meal and half of my plate is covered with steak fries, i know i'm going to have a full belly upon leaving the table. heck, having four or five steak fries is like eating an entire potato! of course, the naming of these long, wide fries is brilliant. they compliment a steak dinner perfectly. what better way to sop up the juices of the steak than using a crispy on the outside, supersoft on the inside french fry? and that's where steak fries can go horribly wrong. finding the balance of crispiness to softness seems to be something a lot of restaurants can't achieve. and as much as i loved growing up with ore-ida french fries from the oven, the thought of having those steak fries, with their never perfect outer shell, frightens me. too often steak fries end up being a gooey mess - all the smushiness of a baked potato with none of the taste. whenever i encounter what i like to think of as water logged steak fries i always try to compensate by adding too much salt and pepper. the brilliance of steak fries - when they're done right - is they're an ideal fry for an adult dinner. there's nothing silly about them. no fake flavors added. no silly "curly" shapes. just a big fry with the right proportion of crispiness and potato-ness.
waffle fries have two great things going for them - amazing texture and maximum surface area. when i think about having waffle fries as part of my fast food meal, i think of chick-fil-a. how can i not? their waffle fries are the prefect compliment to their chicken sandwiches. i love how the fries are served in those heat-retaining foil lined bags. sadly, i can't remember the last time i had waffle fries. they were certainly never available at the college dining hall's 'fry bar.' only one place in my college town had them - and i only discovered that place during my senior year. it was a sort of diner like place tucked between a hotel and a home depot. or between a motel and a lowe's. i only ate there once or twice - but just the discovery of waffle fries at a place other than chick-fil-a was great. it gave me hope for the future. a restaurant in brooklyn used to serve waffle fries (and you never knew if you were going to get waffle fries or curly fries), but they went out of business. oh, i miss waffle cut french fries.
during the fall of 1989 (or was it 1990?) i first encountered 'curly fries.' it was thanksgiving and i was at a family gathering in columbus, oh. after visiting the recently opened wexner center for the arts at ohio state university we stopped at rax for lunch. rax is that ohio valley chain akin to arby's. arby's is one of those fast food special delights that i only enjoyed every few months while growing up. anyway, i think rax had recently introduced the curly fry. being the shy, overly picky eater that i still am today, i was hesitant to order this new variation on the traditional fast food string cut french fry. columbus is, of course, a hotbed of fast food activity. someone in our party ordered the 'curly fries' and i was bold enough to try one or two. i won't say that i've been hooked ever since, but during the next few years i enjoyed my share of special occasion curly fries. with their tight curls and special blend of seasonings, curly fries 'pop' in your mouth. they're crispy on the outside with just the right amount of potato content on the inside. by the time i turned 18, curly fries were everywhere - it was such a delight visiting the 'fry bar' during those trips to the college dining hall. i find that five or six curly fries mixed with other fries are a brilliant addition to the french fry food group.
so i'm on a somewhat new sleep schedule. after four or five (or maybe nine)
years of going to bed between one and three a.m., i've decided my life would
be improved by trying to fall asleep by 12:30am. sometimes, if i'm feeling
especially tired i can be asleep by 11:30pm. i am becoming one of the
people whom i found deserving of my laughter and scorn. and i'm not
especially sad about it. i still feel like the a relatively young guy,
inexperienced with many of the ways of the world. i watched a movie earlier
today that i should have found deep and profound. i had very little
reaction at all. i'm young, inexperienced and still brandishing the
callousness of youth. whoo-hoo. i guess. probably not. maybe i should
have a slurpee.
it is one of those extremely hot days that seems to require refreshment in
some form of ice. during the summer of 1995 i had a lot of time to think.
walking around. sitting around. eating lunch. working at the chain
pharmacy. a lot of time to think. one day after returning from 7-11 i
looked at my slurpee cup, found a phone number and made a call. i was ready
to find out if 7-11 had ever published a 'history of the slurpee.' i could
picture this coffee table book - light and frivolous, yet filled with
amazing pictures and novel references to trinkets from my past. i can't
remember if i made it past the automated voice response system. and i
haven't looked on the internet yet for a history of the slurpee, but one of
these days i expect to find myself at the virgin megastore, waiting to meet
a friend and coming upon the slurpee book on the shelf. i'm curious to know
when that domed lid made its first appearance.
Chicken Rings! What the hell are chicken rings? And why did I just eat a small order? Breaded, fried - chicken RINGS!!!! What the hell was I thinking? What were the marketers at White Castle thinking? CHICKEN RINGS - can you imagine something so not natural? Onion rings, I get. Onions suggest, at least, a 'ring' shape. Chicken? I don't get it. But at 3am they sure hit the spot!
I was out at a birthday party for a friend I kind of know from college. Half a dozen alumni were in town and at the party. I skipped the after party on some Canal Street loft to give directions to these old friends. I rode with them in their breaking down van (we were at the parking garage for twenty minutes trying to get it jump started) to their friend's place in Brooklyn. My plan was to get them there and then find a cab on fourth avenue. No luck. Two available cabs sped by. I gave in to my urges and raced across the street to the open White Castle. Mini-burgers and chicken rings! It was like I was in Queens, circa 1996. Out dancing (who knows why!) at the local Irish pub (a basement with smoke machines), my roommate and I would stumble across the street and find ourselves in White Castle. I can't ever remember a trip to that dive-y fast food joint that didn't result in a stomach ache the following morning.
Maybe a large glass of water will help.