Friday, October 21, 2011


Petra Mediterranean Pizza and Grill

There's some things to be said about the fact that I've been to this restaurant 6 weeks in a row, including,

    1) I'm a fat ass
    2) The food here is seriously freaking good 

Every week I go here determined to order something else.  As I walk through the now very familiar doors a nagging instinct in the back of my mind urges me to do order something different.  How about I try a slice of pizza... or maybe even a falafel plate?  But by the time I walk up to the counter, the ravenous, bloated psychopathic animal that is my stomach takes over and I blurt out "Can I have a gyro sandwich?"  

As you wait for your order, a friendly staff member will give you a sample of homemade freshly baked pita, steaming hot.  Slightly crisp but pliable on the outside, but warm, soft, steamy, and perfectly textured on the inside, with a subtle nutty taste.


The sandwich ($7.49) arrives, with a side of cucumber yogurt dressing- way more refreshing and preferable to top your sandwich with as it isn't the globby, heavy mess that is tzatziki.  You'll notice that the meat isn't cut into skimpy little strips- instead the sandwich is positively stuffed full of hefty chunks of gyro meat, that have been browned on the outside so every bite includes the euphoric taste of perfectly browned lamb.  Cushioned by lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with an addictive (and therefore most likely drugged) garlic sauce, the sizzling meat has the perfect bouncy quality of a good sausage.  The luxuriant heaviness is offset by the veggies and occasional drizzles of the dressing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

From Days Gone By, Part 3

Mac & Cheese + A Note on Lighting


Part 1 here.
Parte dos aqui

How do you even begin to describe macaroni and cheese?  Not just the fact that it's just noodles and cheddar, but how it's managed to shape the childhood of basically everyone, including me.  Back before I became a snobby asshole about food, from-the-box mac and cheese was my go to request when the ever-pressing question of "What do you want for dinner?" came up. 

the kiddies

Back in the day my sister, brother, and I went through stages of mac and cheese making.  Of course, everyone had their first taste of it from Kraft's blue box.  Every Sunday Mom would break out the pot she always made mac and cheese in.  When we saw that pot go out we all knew what was being made and so the three of us instantly turned into dogs and ran around the stove, watching her first boil the macaroni, add the almost fluorescent powder, and finally the milk and butter.  To make it special she would sometimes add sliced up hot dogs, or would snip in some turkey.  

When we were finally old enough to be able to use the stove for basic things (like boiling water for instant ramen), I remember our world being turned upside down when we discovered Kraft "Deluxe" Mac and Cheese.  You boil and drain pasta, but now you take a squishy foil packet and squeeze as much of the gloopy, cheeze-whiz like sauce as you can into the pot.  To any sane person it was pure sodium overload, but for us, it was something magical.  We would sometimes follow the "recipes" on the back of the box, and would proudly present on Sunday night to our parents a dinner of mac and cheese with chicken and broccoli.  I remember our mom forbidding us to do so because of how much salt there was in this version, but on Saturday afternoons when she wasn't home we would secretly add some sliced hot dogs like she used to do to our Deluxe mac and cheese.

For years I've always wondered why my homemade mac and cheese turned grainy.  I stupidly just finally figured out the answer when I made this batch.  Besides not using a aged sharp cheddar, adding the cheese slowly, and doing so off the heat, it was as simple as thinking of, "Why do I always use skim milk?".  As I pulled the pan out of the oven to dismay I discovered that the outside edges had curdled, though the center was still nice and creamy.  So lesson of the day, when you make mac and cheese, don't use skim milk. 
awww yeah

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The College Dining Journal- 10/10/11 - 10/11/11


Sometimes, I either a) am too busy to go to the dining hall, or b) need to ration out my weekly dining credits.  That's where Costco's frozen chicken sandwiches come in.  Yes, it's not the most healthy thing to eat, but damn is it convenient.  I'll usually round off the "meal" with a bag of pop chips or some dried mango, and always a bottle of water to wash out the day's worth of sodium I feel like I'm consuming at every meal.

As an afternoon snack I picked up a pita snack pack.  The hummus was pleasantly garlicky, though the bread provided definitely was not pita.  A satisfying snack nonetheless.  I ended up eating everything with the exception of one of the dried out carrot sticks.

For dinner I went the other cafeteria-style dining area that instead of using mail credits uses dollars that you put on your student card.  I had another bowl of vegetarian chili (the same exact one from the buffet-style hall), and to satiate my intense need for the 2% chocolate milk they offer I instead compromised with chocolate soy milk.  Holy s#!t is this my new favorite drink, mainly because it's not overly sweet and is actually quite refreshing without being too creamy.  I ended up eating everything, and the total cost was about $4.50.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The College Dining Journal- 10/5-6/11


One of the problems with having only 4 spots on campus that accept dining credits is that during rush meal times they attract hoards of other students trying to use up their credits before the week ends.  In no mood to stand in line for hot "made to order" food, I went to the cafeteria style dining hall to pick up some premade items. 

First a Caesar wrap: Deceptively healthy-ish looking, but the tortilla adds a clusterfuck of calories.  I also purchased an overpriced fruit cup ($3.25) and 2 peanut-chocolate chip granola bars.  

The caesar wrap was surprisingly good!  There was a good amount of well seasoned chicken, with lettuce that still had some crunch and an appropriate amount of dressing.  On the side, I ate a bag of pop chips that someone sent in a care package, and then I had one of the granola bars for dessert.  I ate most of the wrap except for the two butt-ends that were basically just pure tortilla.  My beverage was just plain water.  

 healthy eating fail


I had a fat test this morning, so a quick breakfast consisting of the fruit cup I bought with yesterday's meal plan, and the other Odwalla granola bar was all I had.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The College Dining Diary- 10/5/2011

Lunch: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Because I'm finding it frequently hard to find time to write full on blog posts, I thought I'd start a journal of the food I eat on a daily basis....

And while I do have an actual kitchen at my disposal, the way dining works on campus is that you're given a set number of dining credits (8 in my case) to use per week, that don't roll over.  Each one is valued between 7-10 dollars depending if it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, so if you don't use let's say 3 of them before the end of the week, you've potentially wasted $30.

I had a quick lunch today at the dining hall that serves food buffet style.  Here's what I ate, in all of it's raw, unedited glory.

A bowl of vegetarian chili that I meat-ified by adding grilled chicken breast from the salad bar.  To be honest, the soup was pretty decent as far as college food goes.  My attempt at eating relatively healthy however went out the door with some fries (which I assume to be frozen but tasty nonetheless), some chow mein (mediocre but not bad per se), and a veggie egg roll (fast food quality with a doughy skin).  I ended up eating all of the soup, the fries, but left half an egg roll and some noodles.  My beverage of choice was a glass of ice water.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A 5 for 1 Deal


Growing up I had (and still have) a family consisting of two siblings, 10 cousins, 4 aunts, and 3 uncles.  Count in the fact that we're close to my grandma's brother's family as well (I can't think of the term, they're all too damn confusing), you can chuck in 7 second-cousins, and 7 of their aunts, and 3 of their uncles, not to mention grandma and grandpa.  So in total we have three 1st generation members, nineteen 2nd generation adults, and twenty 3rd generation kiddos (me included).  That's a lotta birthdays to celebrate, so ever since I was a kid we would have joint birthday extravaganzas.  I remember when I was turning 7 my mom having to relight the candle 5 times, and then everyone would have to sing "Happy Birthday" five times just so everyone who had a birthday in September could have the spotlight.

because all buckets of fried chicken should have your face on it when it's your

mini-pie eating contests (though it slightly resembles planking)

rollin, rollin, rollin

Street food.  Hand held items.  Kenji's perfect french fries? Mini corn dogs?  Chicken tenders?  I literally spent hours thinking of what to make but the only things that ever popped into my head involved deep frying, which I abhor doing because of the mess it makes.  Why are all the good things in life deep-fried damn it?!  As I sat there in frustration with the image of delicately crisp french fries engrained in my mind, taunting me, I ran into a recipe for fried ravioli.  Could I get away with baking it?  Trying to bake things that should be fried to begin with never measure up.  I then suddenly remembered browsing through White on Rice's puff pastry "ravioli" and found my answer...

Calzone + Ravioli = Calzonioli

Mini calzones it shall be!

These were actually a bit tricky to make, as you definitely want to add more filling than you think is necessary, as the underfilled ones tasted a tad bit bland.