If Professional Athletes were Fruits and Vegetables: Part Two – NFL QBs and Squash

(ed. note – This is part two of a two-part series comparing professional athletes to fruits and vegetables. Part One was about basketball players and citrus. It is here)

Not exactly sure what crossed my friend Lisa’s mind when she thought of comparing NFL quarterbacks to squash, but here it goes; we’re  comparing NFL quarterbacks to squash. I suppose I can see why squash; autumnal, hearty, the backbone of any good cornucopia. Because squash. It’s go time.

  • Russell Wilson = Kabocha – Lisa gets credit for this one. Kabocha has an awesome name. Russell Wilson is awesome. It’s overlooked by the more well-known squash (butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti), but it has its own style and personality, yet can fit in any scheme. Like Russell. And we love both. Added bonus for the underdog status both have. #GoHawks
  • Matthew Stafford = Pattypan – A pattypan squash looks cool; bright yellow, funky shape akin to a flying saucer, fun name, fits in your hand. But it really sucks. No flavor and it just ends up taking space in your CSA. Just like how Matthew Stafford  takes up space on your fantasy football team.
  • Tony Romo = Pumpkin – We know the Tony Romo narrative; brilliance balanced by boneheadedness. There are two camps; Romo Haters and Romo Apologizers. One side thinks he’s the greatest QB ever. The other thinks that he’ll never be good. Just like a pumpkin. And what happens in that fairy tale when the clock strikes midnight? Sorry Romo fans.
  • Colin Kaepernick = Spaghetti – You want to like the idea of spaghetti squash. It’s a vegetable that you can carve out to replicate spaghetti noodles. But you know what? It’s not spaghetti. And it’s barely even a vegetable. Just like Colin Kaepernick is barely a quarterback.
  • Peyton Manning = Butternut – If you look at the word enough, butternut is goofy. But it’s also excellent. Impressive body of work. You can find it in Costco. Best in warm dishes. Ergo, Peyton Manning.
  • Drew Brees = Acorn – Diminutive in size, but more than makes up for it in ability. Adaptable and squeezes every ounce out of its ability. Much respect for Acorn.
  • Aaron Rodgers = Delicata – A near perfect squash. Fine on its own. Yet the rare squash that is complete and comfortable in its skin. Stayed in the background and bided its time while a much more boisterous (and annoying) squash took the limelight; zucchini.

There you have it. A quick rundown comparing NFL quarterbacks to squash. And not to leave out Tom Brady as he’s a buttercup. #GoHawks

If Professional Athletes were Fruits and Vegetables: Part One – NBA players and Citrus

Charlotte Bobcats v Miami Heat

What started out as an innocuous tweet to kill time (as most tweets are wont to do) has morphed into this odd rabbit hole trip down my psyche. And now I’m sharing this with you.

Here is the tweet:

I lost a few followers after this (haters from Cleveland or haters of greatness?), so I naturally wanted to go further down this spiral:

Which led into a talk with my dear friend Lisa Kennelly about citrus and squash and how to place their attributes onto professional athletes. This is that breakdown. Why citrus and squash? Citrus was because I was having a Satsuma mandarin the morning of the Lebron tweet. I started thinking of how great Satsumas are, but they also get pigeonholed with Clementines, which I find inferior (in this scenario, the current Dwyane Wade is a Clementine. Chris Bosh will never be a Clementine). Squash because Lisa suggested it. Here we go. We’ll start with NBA and we’ll do NFL in a couple of days… (ed. note – I don’t even watch the NBA anymore, I tend to follow headlines and the general feel of players from conversations. Why don’t I watch NBA? Because of Howard Schultz. Want the whole story? Watch this.)

  • Lebron James = Satsuma Mandarin – I feel this way because a Satsuma borders on perfection. In the depths of winter, this little dollop of citrus deliciousness is the perfect tonic. Much like Lebron. Instead of delicious, he’s enacting a perfect storm of basketball. No need to say more, it’s Lebron James. Or a Satsuma.
  • Paul George = Meyer Lemon – Paul George doesn’t get enough credit for being awesome. Which he has in common with Meyer Lemons. A touch of sweetness with enough of a pucker punch, Meyer Lemons have such a round acidic flavor that add a ton to any dish. Paul George’s game is so tight, he leads an Indiana Pacers team capable of knocking off a Satsuma. Meyer Lemons are that good.
  • Damian Lillard or Stephen Curry – Key Lime – I’m still not sure who should be Key Lime; Lillard or Curry. Take it this way, both are so sneaky good and hard to find. Both are integral to their team. Imagine making a Key Lime pie without the Keys; it’s just a lime pie. People don’t want a lime pie. People don’t want the Warriors without Curry or the Blazers without Lillard
  • Dwight Howard = Navel Orange – The idea of a Navel Orange is good. It’s an orange. It’s healthy. But it pretty much stops there. It’s really only good for zest. The peel is a pain in the butt. You have no idea if the fruit will taste any good. It’s rather insipid. Which is why it’s Dwight Howard.
  • Kevin Durant = Bergamot – Let’s focus purely on the nose and aroma of a Bergamot. Fragrant, nuanced, amazing. You can be utterly taken with a bergamot. You don’t realize how good a bergamot is. Ladies and Gentlemen, Kevin Durant.
  • Michael Jordan = Sumo – Don’t know the Sumo? You better get on that. It’s the GOAT.

There you have it. A brief rundown of comparing NBA players to citrus. Stay tuned for later this week where we compare NFL Quarterbacks to squash. Bring Back our Supersonics.

My Thanksgiving menu

turkey

Thanksgiving really is the best holiday. While I do love Christmas, Thanksgiving is wonderful in that you’re around friends and family and the centerpiece is food. And not just any level of eating; completely gorging yourself on food to incapacitation. And then you nap. Glorious. Here is what’s new to my Thanksgiving menu this year:

-Herbed Roast Turkey with Lardo – You heard me: Lardo. The fatty and unctuous cured fatback of pork will be used to add flavor and richness to the turkey. How so? You know how it’s suggested to add butter between the layer of skin and the breast meat? Why don’t we do our best Emeril and kick it up a notch with lardo? Butter melts so quickly while lardo will render slowly releasing its fat into the turkey. Yeah, it’s not really French to mix protein sources, but I’m not French. And neither is Thanksgiving. This lardo idea is a tweak from the sausage -laced turkey idea I did last year that I learnt from Michael Symon during an episode of The Chew. We loved this. But the sausage gave up so much of itself during the long cooking process that while the turkey was great, the sausage was less so. Lardo to the rescue.

-Rotisserie Turkey – Yup, another turkey. We’re feeding 12, another turkey is a must. The property where we spend Thanksgiving has a huge outdoor grill with a rotisserie. We’ve never used the rotisserie and figure no time is like the present. I’m looking forward to tending the bird as it does its slow rotation to deliciousness over heat and smoke. Thanks goes to the folks at Serious Eats for the guidance.

-Gluten-free dinner rolls – My friend, the Gluten-Free Girl, recently had this post on Food52 about a gluten-free dinner roll that also happened to be dairy-free and egg-free. I’ve taken this for a spin and it turned out great. Look forward to adding this to Thanksgiving dinner as there are members of our group that have allergies. But we’ll be subbing the almond flour for millet flour as there is also a nut allergy in our numbers.

-Fried crescent rolls – You heard me: fried crescent rolls. The tableside favorite, but with a twist. The inspiration behind this was the famed Cronut ™ (trademarked name to Dominique Ansel) from New York City that was explosively popular when it was first introduced in the spring. The idea for the cronut was to have a croissant-donut hybrid. Take the best of both worlds for each and voila; the Cronut™. But I’m not about to make a laminated dough, so I’m going to take Pillsbury crescent rolls and reshape those to my leisure. Here’s how to do it; par-bake the crescent rolls for six minutes at 375. Pull them out of the oven and drop them into frying oil that’s been heated to 350. Make sure they are golden, brown, and delicious (about 2-3 minutes total) pull them onto a plate lined with a paper towel and there you have it. Feel free to drizzle chocolate, a glaze, or decorate with powdered sugar or a cinnamon sugar sprinkle. You’re welcome.

The menu is still being finalized, but these are the dishes I’m excited about this Thanksgiving. What’s on your menu that you can’t wait start cooking? Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the company of whomever you’re with, and see you around the table.

The calm before the IFBC storm [UPDATE]

International Food Blogger Conference 2013 Seattle 

It’s almost here; IFBC 2013 is this week and I, for one, am giddy to attend. When we last convened about IFBC, final details were in flux. That is no longer the case. The attendees have been finalized, the agenda is set, and the afterparties are awaiting. What’s left from now until then? Order new business cards. Get a haircut (I should look presentable for this, after all. Which reminds me; do laundry) Stretch out my stomach for all the eating by eating. Raise my tolerance for the volume of booze flowing. Reserve transportation to get to the events. Figure which sessions to attend. This should be fun. Look forward to meeting my fellow food bloggers. Cheers to that.

UPDATE – The folks at IFBC have released a conference app. Whee to new media!

If I were Danny Meyer, where would I open a Shake Shack in Seattle?

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First off, this is not to say that the rumor line is purporting that a Shake Shack is in the works for Seattle. Secondly, there isn’t a Shake Shack on the West Coast. Thirdly, this is all speculative and meant to be fun. Lastly, Shake Shack is awesome and would be welcome in Seattle. Where they may open is what we’re pondering.

I first learnt of Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack about four years ago. I was asking my friends for suggestions on places to eat in Manhattan. Amongst the usual suggestions one gets when going to the city (the Momofuku restaurants, Balthazar, Katz’s, etc) was this suggestion of a little burger joint in Madison Square Park. It was called Shake Shack and was one of the many restaurants from Danny Meyer. My knowledge of Danny Meyer (and his Union Square Restaurant Group) was nascent, but I had heard of him; that he was a restaurateur of the highest order, he wrote the book Setting the Table, and that was it. But Shake Shack was the place that I wanted to check. It was a burger stand in Madison Square Park. The lines were legendary. And their burgers and ‘concretes’ (milkshakes) were purported to be delicious. We were staying nearby and knew we had to go.

Of course it was tasty. But it wasn’t just the quality of the food at Shake Shack that made it great; it was the experience. The park setting was idyllic. The lines were long but were part of the experience and was managed well by the Shake Shack staff. The staff itself was professional and courteous. It was that experience that I keep returning to. A lot of people that try Shake Shack often say that they don’t understand what the big deal is. Which is an opinion they’re entitled to, but taken with just the burger is missing the point. When Shake Shack opens up new locations, it’s part of a cultural zeitgeist and can revitalize and energize the area near where it opens. And that is why we’re going to list out places in Seattle that I think would make sense if Danny Meyer would open up a Shake Shack in Seattle.

Let’s talk about the criteria. The first Shake Shack opened up in a park. The recent openings have used existing storefronts. I’d like to take the park formula as there are a few Seattle parks that could use a shake-up. Also consider nearby food options, walking traffic, available parking, and area revitalization. Yeah, we could theorize that Ballard or Capitol Hill would make sense, but that’s too easy. And besides, this is all food nerd make-believe so we’re going the park route and what it would mean for the area. Continue reading

Like riding a bike

If you haven’t noticed, the blog has laid dormant for the past few months. When we last talked, Food 52 had announced their Piglet. And it was decided in dubious fashion. Much has happened in the world of food and pop culture since that last post and I’ve been slippin’.

During this time, I was busy with all of the things that real life brings about. Not enough time to work on the Going for Seconds blog and share thoughts, rants, insights, and information. I fell short of providing fun content to the readers and it’s now my goal to provide fresh reads as long as people still like reading about it.

But talk is cheap and now I need to get back to writing about food with a cheeky smile and a raised eyebrow. To get back to having some fun with food, wine, restaurants, and information. To get back on the bike and see if it’s as natural as I remember.

Jollibee and Chowking coming to Seattle!

If Filipinos are led by their stomachs, then my belly and the rest of me will be finding its way to Southcenter often. Why? Because Jollibee and Chowking are opening up at the new mega-grocery store/eatery, Seafood City Supermarket, coming to the Westfield Southcenter in Tukwila later this summer.

The murmur that Seafood City would be coming along with Jollibee and Chowking (their Manila website) started on their Facebook page this past winter. As soon as I learned that this new grocery destination would have two of my Filipino fast food faves, I was already anticipating going to Tukwila for some Chickenjoy from Jollibee and Halo Halo from Chowking.

I know what you’re thinking; fast food? Wha? Yeah, it’s a little different from my normal food leanings, but for Filipinos local and from afar, this news is exciting. The Filipino population in the Seattle metropolitan area is large and hungry! We love to eat and having the opportunity to have some food that reminds many of home is always welcome.

In the case of Jollibee they’ll have the standards that have made them in the Philippines a quick eatery. Chickenjoy (a plate of fried chicken), Yumburger (their hamburger), Palabok (a Filipino noodle dish that is an amalgamation of flavors and textures), and a bunch of breakfast options. Yup, I’m looking forward to going and dragging my friends along with for the eating. It may remind you of McDonald’s, but would you see Ronald do this?

As for Chowking (which is actually a subsidiary of Jollibee), I am absolutely excited to have their Halo Halo a short drive away. I’ve shared my love for Halo Halo before, and when I eat at Chowking in the Philippines, it’s one of my favorite things to do while I’m there. It is fast food, but something about their combination is divine. Word off the street is that they have a special formula for their ice. This is the key to good Halo Halo. (ed. note – apparently they’ve already opened!)

Seafood City is opening up next week on July 22. Their Facebook page has been dropping all sorts of information and my friend Nancy Leson is planning on visiting Seafood City soon. The market will have all sorts of different eateries and a grocery store that purports to serve unique food, but I’ll most look forward to going to a couple of places that remind me of eating in Manila. (I’m crossing my fingers that their transition to Seattle is as good as what I have had in the islands.) And for this food loving Filipino, that’s a good thing. I think the thousands of other Filipino and Filipinas in the area would agree. See you in Seafood City in the near future.

UPDATE – Jollibee is opening Thursday September 16!

Seafood City Seattle
1368 Southcenter Mall, #100
Tukwila, WA 98188

The first dish I ever called my own

Late last week, my friend the Gluten-Free Girl tweeted this innocuous little question. What followed was a food storm of memories where folks talked about the first meals they ever made, the first dish that stands out in their mind, and the evolution of this first dish from childhood to adulthood. As the tweets came rolling in, the Gluten-Free Girl then asked us to write a post about this memory to share amongst others. Here I am – delving into my memory bank thinking about the dishes that I remember most.

Like many others, “blue box mac ‘n cheese” is definitely a front runner. I always remembered making this when I was younger. And it was so easy. The blue box, for better or worse, is the template for many on what mac ‘n cheese should taste like. This wasn’t my first food dish, but it was definitely one that was a big part of my culinary growth. Although when ‘cooking’ at 10 years old, culinary growth wasn’t my life objective; I mostly wanted to know when Transformers would be on. My first dish that I remember making was this – instant ramen.

Yup, the first dish I remember making on my own was ramen. But it wasn’t just boiling water and throwing the noodles into a pot. You see, I learned how to make my own version of ramen by watching my brother and dad. While my mom was a great cook, she worked a ton and we often made food on our own. So my dad was great with reheating and buying stuff from the local deli. But with instant ramen he’d add cut up vienna sausages (!). My brother would drop in an egg, because he loved egg flower soup and thought this would be similar.

So I took my cues from them and did my own doctoring. I would follow the lead of my dad and see what protein leftovers we might have; shredded chicken, Chinese sausage, steak, I may have added bacon bits once; all of these worked. And I definitely added an egg, it made the broth silkier and gave it more body. My variation also involved tossing in some vegetables. Bear in mind, this only meant adding some green onions. When all was said and done, I’d add a scoop of rice to my bowl and spoon over the broth and noodles. Yes, you read that right; I added even more starch to a starchy dish. What can I say; I love rice. Add it all up and I had a meal that I loved and could say was my own.

There you have it; my first food dish. As I thought about this post, it did create a lot of nostalgia and reminded me of why I loved food. Food is delicious, but when we make our own, it’s ours. This sense of accomplishment is what makes it so comforting and empowering. I was maybe 9 or 10 at the time, but I had the notion of wanting to eat good food. Yes, it was part store bought, but that was just a jumping off point to make something greater than the sum of its parts.

Lastly, thanks Shauna for creating this action amongst food lovers to share what we first remembered when we stepped into a kitchen and first began this magical thing we call cooking.

Photo from Honolulu Star Bulletin

The impressive excessiveness of Williams-Sonoma

I wrote this post, mostly, to get something off my chest, but to also express an appreciation. Every so often, the Williams-Sonoma catalog graces itself in my mailbox. Though I haven’t patterned the timing for when it comes, I look forward to receiving this little food magazine for a couple of reasons: (1) it’s loaded with fun and interesting tidbits of information, and (2) it has some of the most preposterous kitchen items.

  • Fun, food information:

The pages of each catalog are littered with little drops of info that I never knew I wanted to know. In fact, I first learned about grilled chocolate sandwiches in an issue of Williams-Sonoma. They also have an exclusive deal with Thomas Keller to sell his kit detailing how to make Ad Hoc’s fried chicken at home (though it is sold out and no longer available).

As of late, what I have really enjoyed in their recent catalog are their highlights on about a dozen chefs around the country. These chefs are on their career upswing of creativity and style and the catalog gave quick hits of info on each of the chefs, their perspectives, and a recipe to boot. From Gabriel Rucker of Portland’s Le Pigeon, to John Besh of August (amongst others) in New Orleans, to Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Michy’s. I’ve enjoyed reading about all these folks and now I have a few more restaurants to add to my list.

  • The utterly ridiculous kitchen tools:

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Wine Tasting with Stephen Tanzer 2.0

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In late-July I had the fortunate opportunity to drink some of the best wines from Washington with one of the best wine critics in the industry; that’s right, the second year in a row to have an evening of drinking wine with Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellars.

I went to this event last year and loved every minute of it. Last summer it was at the brilliant Art of the Table and I remembered all of those details vividly. The wine, the food, the conversations; at the time, my wine knowledge was just starting to come into its own. I was like a giddy kid on his first day of college; excited to get started with this next chapter, but humbled enough to know I had plenty to learn.

Fast forward a year later, and I know a bit more, but there is still so much I can glean. That’s why I was just as excited for this year’s tasting with Steve. The event was at Tom Douglas’ Palace Ballroom, a bit more spacious and a few more people were able to attend. One of the cool things at this year’s tasting was that four winemakers were invited to the event; Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery, Mike Januik of Januik Winery, Ben Smith of Cadence Winery, and Andrew Rich of Andrew Rich Wines. I thought this was really cool because they were able to share their expertise, insight, and stories as their wines were poured.

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