El Taco de Oro truck

meter-good-greatThe el Taco de Oro truck is exactly what you’d expect it to be, plus a little something extra. Sure, it’s “just” a taco truck, but the quality of the preparation and flavor of the food are worth noting. If you’re in the mood for some tasty south-of-the-border eats and don’t mind standing on the side of a busy road in the process, look no further.

I love food trucks. There’s no better way to get out of a restaurant rut than to seek out some mobile cuisine; it’s a great way to try something new without having to go very far out of your way. Unfortunately, you can’t just stroll down to the corner and expect the exact truck you want to be waiting for you there, but there’s usually something awesome lurking nearby. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, there are a number of sites that facilitate the process of locating meals on wheels, such as Roaming Hunger and Moveable Feast. It’s like a treasure hunt for your stomach.

” The quesadilla bar has officially been raised “

On this particular day, I just so happened to stumble across the El Taco de Oro truck while out and about running errands. It was parked along El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, and the scent of scratch-made tacos wafting through my sunroof was more than I could bear. I pulled into an adjacent parking lot and tried not to drool as I walked over to where the truck was parked.

Exciting and bizarre multi-culture fusion cuisine is great and all, but sometimes I just want some really good Mexican food. A quick browse of the short-but-sweet El Taco de Oro menu told me I was in the right place. The first thing on the menu that caught my eye, not because it sounded delicious but because it confused me, was “beef cheak”. This is either a mildly amusing typo or a cleverly marketed combination of steak and beef cheek.

The menu seems to be a bit tongue in cheak.

The menu seems to be a bit tongue in cheak.

I wasn’t feeling quite brave enough to give cheak a try regardless of what it turned out to be, so instead I went for a quesadilla with pollo asado. Dee. Flippin. Licious. I normally think of quesadillas as benign and slightly boring, but the magician working the grill managed to coax a huge amount of flavor into the pollo asado. The richly marinated chunks of chicken were tender and perfectly cooked, the cheese was well portioned and melted just-so, and the toppings were all fresh and wonderful. Big thumbs up. The quesadilla bar has officially been raised.

I really and truly had a dream about this quesadilla later that night.

I really and truly had a dream about this quesadilla later that night.

Clearly, more exploration of the menu at this truck is required. For now, though, I have plenty to go by for a review. The quality of the food and outstanding flavor are enough to earn El Taco de Oro a very satisfactory rating of 9 out of 10 pounds of beef cheak. This mobile Mexican masterpiece is well worth taking notice of, and if you find yourself on El Camino in Sunnyvale, definitely do give it a try. Forget the Internet, just roll your car window down and follow your nose.

El Taco de Oro
(408) 502-5202
eltacodeoro-sj.com
El Taco De Oro on Urbanspoon


What a happy little truck.

What a happy little truck.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Danville Station Firehouse Bar & Grill

meter-bleh-okMy experience at Danville Station Firehouse Bar & Grill (henceforth abbreviated as DSFB&G) was ultimately not a very good one. It started out pleasantly and with much promise, but over the course of the meal it became clear that this place unfortunately sucks. It’s too bad too, because the location is prime and the wait people (wait persons?) are great, but I just couldn’t get past the terrible food.

“ Holy flavorless meatsticks, Batman! ”

On a typically lovely Saturday morning in July, my wife Shawn and I took our dogs to well-to-do Danville for a day of strolling about and shopping for random things. After a couple hours’ worth of browsing through old chandeliers and decorative concrete whatnots, we decided it was time for an early lunch. There are a lot of really great places to eat in Danville, so it was with much excitement that we took inventory of our food options along Danville’s main drag. We read through some good looking menus and peeked in a bunch of windows, but ultimately we decided on DSFB&G.

Downtown Danville is as cute as a button.

Downtown Danville is as cute as a button.

DSFB&G has a lovely shaded patio with cozy tables – mostly all filled with happy looking people – and so we figured it had to be pretty good. We were welcomed inside the patio, dogs and all, and were seated immediately. Our waitress quickly brought over a couple menus and a bowl of water for our dogs. Major bonus points there. The menu, as it turns out, was a bit on the short side and included only breakfast items. Strange for 11:30am, but that’s fine. We’ll go with breakfast. We asked our waitress about a couple items on the menu and as it turns out she hadn’t tried either of them, but she did make sure to mention the name of another restaurant where said menu items were really good. Curious. I shrugged it off as nothing and ordered the chicken and waffle with an iced tea, while Shawn opted for a banana buttermilk pancake short stack, side of chicken apple sausage, and a Diet Coke.

This is just like any other chicken and waffle dish you've had, except that it isn't good.

This is just like any other chicken and waffle dish you’ve ever had, except that it isn’t good.

Our food arrived shortly afterwards and it was very… ordinary. It didn’t look unappetizing per se, just ho hum. Upon closer inspection it turned out that the underside of my chicken was very dark, almost burned, and the waffle was dry and sad. At least the eggs were prepared correctly. Shawn’s banana buttermilk pancakes were literally only that – two ordinary buttermilk pancakes with sliced bananas on top. The pancakes, waffle, and chicken were all sub-average and tasted identical to one another. To add insult to injury, we then realized there was no butter anywhere to be found. What the heck, no butter?? If I was governor, I’d make that a class 2 misdemeanor.

Bananas on top of pancakes do not banana pancakes make.

Bananas on top of pancakes do not banana pancakes make.

Just as I was trying to figure out how to choke down my waffle without butter, Shawn said, “This is the worst chicken apple sausage I have ever had.” Being morbidly curious, I tried a piece. Holy flavorless meatsticks, Batman! She wasn’t kidding. Those sausages were the most offensively bland food I have accidentally touched with my tongue in the last 10 years, and I promise you that I’m not exaggerating. They seemed to be nothing more than week-old boiled rooster meat sprayed with apple-scented air freshener. Oh, and they were cold in the middle too. Quadruple yuck.

And what is one supposed to do with disgusting food when they don’t want to make a scene? That’s where the dogs come in. Our fluffy little mutts were thrilled to help and eagerly ate pieces of sausage, which they seemed to enjoy just fine. They also like bully sticks, though, so I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

If there is a Hell, this is what they serve for breakfast.

If there is a Hell, this is what they serve for breakfast.

When we had finished, our waitress brought our bill, commenting how she hadn’t tried the chicken and waffle but there’s this really good waffle joint down the street that is supposed to be killer. Now she tells us. We paid, tipping decently, and left DSFB&G forever with no intention of ever returning. As we walked away, Shawn produced another quotable: “The best part of that meal was the Diet Coke.” Ain’t that the truth.

And just when we thought our disappointing meal experience was wrapped up for the day, one of our dogs barfed up the chicken apple sausage on the drive home. Sigh. It’s a fitting end I suppose. DSFB&G has good ambience and friendly employees, but whoever is running the kitchen has pretty much ruined everything. I’m sad to say that I rate this place a dismal 1 out of 12 bottles of floor mat shampoo, Randomly Edible’s lowest score ever. If you’re considering visiting this restaurant, don’t.

Danville Station Firehouse Bar & Grill
340-348 Hartz Avenue
Danville, CA 94526
(925) 838-8800
www.firehousebarandgrille.com
Danville Station Firehouse Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart toy.


Village California Bistro and Wine Bar

meter-good-greatI recently got the chance to have a quick bite at Village Bistro, and I was pleasantly surprised. This typically Californian bistro is located right in the middle of Santana Row, which also happens to be typically Californian. The menu has surprisingly good variety, and in spite of being a bit overly faux-sophisticated the food is well crafted and not too fancy.

” ‘Bistro’ means ‘we have small tables’ in secret restaurant language “

I dread going to Santana Row. Once I’m there I like it just fine, but trying to find a parking spot is excruciating. Once I finally managed to ditch my car in an unauthorized area, I strolled over to Village Bistro to meet some people for lunch. Ok, so it’s actually called VILLAGE California Bistro and Wine Bar, which is even wordier and more disjointed than one of my restaurant reviews. I have no idea why they insist on stylizing VILLAGE in all caps. There’s no need to yell at me, I believe you that it’s in a village. Just calm down.

In spite of the weekend lunchtime crowd that constantly swarms Santana Row, I and the rest of my party were seated quickly in a fairly cramped booth. I guess “bistro” means “we have small tables” in secret restaurant language. Our waiter and his perfectly sculpted beard stopped by right away and got us set up with drinks. I couldn’t take my eyes off the beard. It was amazing. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to eat, but I eventually settled on a turkey Reuben with fries. We put our order in, pondered the endless stream of beautiful people wandering past the window, and before we knew it our food had arrived.

If you've never seen a turkey Reuben before, now you can say you have.

If you’ve never seen a turkey Reuben before, now you can say you have.

To my surprise and delight, the turkey Reuben was outstanding. I’d put it in the top 20% of the best Reubens I’ve ever had; the turkey was lean, well seasoned, and not the slightest bit dry. The French fries were above average, and the oddly purple sauerkraut was delicious. Directly across the table from me was the world’s juiciest steak “banh mi” sandwich; I was fortunate enough to try a bite of it and it was excellent. I’ve had better Vietnamese-style sandwiches before, but this one was plenty tasty. I’d be happy to order one, and in fact I probably will the next time I visit.

I liked Village… I mean VILLAGE Bistro (and California thingy and whatever else they said they were) and I would enjoy eating here again sometime. I rate this place 20 out of 25 unnecessarily capitalized letters – certainly worth a visit but not quite what I would consider a destination. Their central location within Santana Row is convenient, assuming you are already there, their versions of culinary favorites are different enough to be interesting, and the overall quality of their food is excellent. Nothing can match the quality of that beard though. Nothing.

VILLAGE California Bistro and Wine Bar
378 Santana Row #1035
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 248-9091
www.thevillagebistro.net
Village California Bistro & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


It's just so adorably Californian I could pinch its little cheeks.

It’s just so adorably Californian I could pinch its little cheeks.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Dutchman’s Seafood House – Memorably average

meter-good-My experience at Dutchman’s was a strange one. There were some parts good, some parts bad, and many parts plain old weird. In the end, this restaurant just isn’t as good as I remember it (back when it was called The Flying Dutchman), but it’s still a decent enough place to grab a bite to eat while watching the setting sun.

” It was like watching a rabid woodpecker go to town on a rain gutter “

I love California’s central coast. Some people call it “middle kingdom”, but that’s always sounded silly to me, as though at any moment a hobbit might spring out of a hole in the ground and invite you to tea with Gandalf. The geographic area I’m talking about is San Luis Obispo county, which lies halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are a lot of good places to eat in this region, provided you know where to look.

After only getting lost twice – I have the navigation skills of a heavily medicated toddler – I managed to shuttle a car load of family members to Dutchman’s for an evening meal. We put our name in for a table, and while we waited we enjoyed the spectacular view from the panoramic windows surrounding the dining area. After ten or fifteen minutes we were seated …and then nobody showed up to serve us. We browsed the menus, picked our entrees, discussed appetizers, and still no waiter. All of the tables around us were well attended, but none of the wait staff wanted to make eye contact. Empty tables nearby were seated, people got their drinks, then appetizers, and still we waited. Steam began coming out of my wife’s ears.

Dimly lit shrimp.

Dimly lit shrimp.

Eventually our helpful waiter, I’ll call him Twitch, did a drive-by and said “heysorryforthewaitbethereinaminute”. Okee dokee. After a couple minutes he stopped by again and took our drink orders. “Ok, I’m going to go get your drinks, and then come back and give them to you, and then I’ll take your food orders.” Before we could tell him that we’d been ready to order for a while now, he whisked himself away to a dark corner of the restaurant and began furiously jabbing at a touch screen in an apparent attempt to stick his finger completely through it. It was like watching a rabid woodpecker go to town on a rain gutter. After a few minutes Twitch returned with our drinks, just as he had instructed himself, and began taking our orders.

Years ago, The Flying Dutchman had hushpuppies on the menu that were to die for. Hushpuppies are basically fried balls of cornbread, a staple of any unhealthy diet. The new Dutchman’s menu was a bit different, but I spotted an appetizer called “seafood fritters” that looked like it might have been a version of my beloved hushpuppies. I asked Twitch if they were worth trying and without blinking an eye he said, “No, they aren’t very good.”

Awkward silence. “Oh, haha” I replied lamely. “Uh, so I guess they’re awesome?” Twitch just looked at me and said nothing. Alrighty then.

Dimly lit fish and chips.

Dimly lit fish and chips.

I ordered a bowl of clam chowder instead, we got some shrimp and calamari appetizers for the table, and everyone else ordered fish and chips. The food was brought out promptly by a different, surprisingly normal waitperson, and everything was …average. It certainly wasn’t bad, and in fact I would be happy to return to Dutchman’s for another meal of fried ocean goodies, but there was nothing special about it. Everything had the consistency and flavor of a typical low-to-mid-range chain restaurant, complete with generic tartar and cocktail sauces in little plastic cups.

As far as I’m concerned, any seafood restaurant hoping to be considered decent must first make an acceptable bowl of clam chowder. It is the first and most important test to pass, and I’m sorry to say that Dutchman’s didn’t do very well. The clam chowder was gluey, bland, and almost completely devoid of clams. It was overly thick and mounded up disconcertingly in the middle of the bowl with a flavor somewhere between sausage gravy and wallpaper paste. At least the little baggies of oyster crackers were good.

Dimly lit starchy substance.

Dimly lit starchy substance.

Twitch visited us several more times throughout our meal and continued to give himself precise instructions which he followed diligently. “I’m going to take this water glass and fill it up, then I’ll be back to take those two plates and the dish there and then I’ll come back and ask you about dessert”, and then he would whoosh off before we could get a word in edgewise. He made for an amusing experience if nothing else.

In the end, I have to rate Dutchman’s a mildly disappointing 7 out of 12 buckets of clam paste. The seasoned fries were good and the view of the sunset was amazing, but the mediocre quality of the food and weirdness of our waiter put a bit of a damper of the evening. I’m sure I’ll be back the next time I’m in the area craving fish and chips, but I’ll pass on the chowder. And the fritters too apparently.

Dutchman’s Seafood House
701 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA 93442
www.dutchmansseafoodhouse.com
Dutchman's Seafood House on Urbanspoon


Hey look, a picture that isn't dimly lit.

Hey look, a picture that isn’t dimly lit.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Teeny little cinnamon rolls

This tasty dessert (or breakfast?) is so quick and easy, it can barely be considered a recipe. Because I didn’t think of it myself, I’ll assume you didn’t either. And here we are. There are a multitude of very slightly different versions of this exact recipe everywhere; this is the version I prefer.

” Swearing helps during this step “

One of the other nice things about this recipe is that it can be made normally – in other words, unhealthy – or in a reduced guilt version. Just substitute reduced fat croissant rolls for the regular ones and omit the butter, and just like that you’ve got yourself a low(er) calorie treat that’s equivalent to about one Weight Watcher’s point each.


Ingredients

  • 1 8oz container of crescent rolls
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • a double-wide trailer with an oven
Normal people don't assemble their ingredients ahead of time. Only bloggers are this weird.

Normal people don’t assemble their ingredients ahead of time. Only bloggers are this weird.


Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Sorry about the double-wide remark in the ingredients list… It was out of line. You can bake these cinnamon rolls in a single-wide just as easily. Anyway, open the tube-o-crescent-rolls, unroll the dough, and separate it into two sections as shown below. Using your fingers, seal the perforated seams so that you are left with two solid sheets.

The contents of a pressurized dough tube, known on the street as a 'trailer park stun grenade'.

The contents of a pressurized dough tube, known on the street as a ‘trailer park stun grenade’.

Mix together the cinnamon and granulated sugar in a small bowl. Brush the first section of dough with half the butter and sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture; repeat with the second section of dough, using the other half of the butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll up the sections of dough starting with the long sides, keeping the roll as tight and even as you can. Don’t feel bad if you screw one of them up, because there’s an above average chance you will. I did.

Seal the trailing edge of the dough against the rest of the roll by pinching it into place with your fingers. Cut each roll of dough into 10 sections, making 20 miniature little rolls. Place the miniature rolls on a cookie sheet, standing them on their ends. You may need to smash them down a bit to get them to stay upright. Swearing helps during this step.

Each one of these rolls would be a feast for a leprechaun.

Each one of these rolls would be a feast for a leprechaun.

Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. While we wait for the oven to do its thing, let’s mix up the icing. In another small bowl, slowly add the milk to the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, whisking constantly. Stop adding milk when it looks like it’s supposed to. And what’s that, you ask? Oh come on, you MUST have had a cinnamon roll at some point in your life. Remember what the icing was like? Well, make it look like that.

Mmm, frosting. Or is it icing? I can never keep them straight.

Mmm, icing. Or is it frosting? I can never keep them straight.

Remove the rolls from the oven, place them piping hot on a plate, drizzle some icing on them, and… I’ll let you figure out the rest.


3.. 2.. 1.. Gorge!

3.. 2.. 1.. Gorge!


See also



Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Pappadeaux – See food and eat it

meter-great+I’m glad I don’t live near a Pappadeaux. If I did, I’d be so huge you’d need a forklift and one of those canvas slings for transporting orca whales to get me out of the house. Pappadeaux isn’t exactly the last word when it comes to Louisiana-style cooking, but this restaurant chain based in the Southern U.S. sure does know how to put together a great plate of food.

” I’m going to blow out an O-ring. “

I pretty much grew up in California. This means that I take quality Mexican food for granted, I have no idea what a calzone is, and I think jambalaya is supposed to be made with pasta. One day, many moons ago, I got the chance to visit New Orleans and do some restaurant hopping in the French Quarter. My eyes (er, taste buds) were opened to the world of Creole cooking, and it immediately became one of my very favorite types of food. Although I don’t find myself in New Orleans very often, I do visit Houston regularly with my Texas-sourced better half. Every time we go I beg and plead and whine and grovel until someone drives me to Pappadeaux – my favorite Louisiana style restaurant not actually in Louisiana – just to shut me up.

Pappadeaux, pronounced 'poppa dough'. I think.

Pappadeaux, pronounced ‘poppa dough’. I think.

The menu at Pappadeaux is fairly extensive, but I don’t really care about most of it. It’s all very good indeed (yes, I’ve tried quite a number of dishes), but for me it’s all about the crawfish. Mmmmmmmmmmm, crawfish. Crawdaddies. Mudbugs.

Get. In. My. Belly.

For the sake of my fellow clueless Californians, I’ll explain what crawfish are. They’re small freshwater lobsters with a flavor similar to both prawns and saltwater lobsters, but as far as I’m concerned superior to both. They are less rubbery than regular lobster and more flavorful than prawns – a perfect balance. Pappadeaux prepares their crawfish a few different ways, but my favorites are fried and étouffée. Both of these appear on their “Crawfish Platter” along with a heap of dirty rice. Bingo.

Oh yeah, salad. I guess it's important.

Oh yeah, salad. I guess it’s important.

Shortly after taking my order, the waiter brings over… a salad? Oh, right, someone else at the table must have ordered a Pappas Greek salad. Wait, since when have there been other people at my table? Hm. They were probably the ones that drove me here, so I suppose I should be nice. Ok fine, I’ll play along and eat some green stuff.

Hey, it’s not bad! It’s severely lacking in crawfish of course, but besides that it’s excellent. There’s plenty of olives, peppers, and feta to go digging around for, but not too much. The dressing is tangy and well-portioned, and the lettuce is as fresh and crisp as can be. It’s a nice way to wile away the time until the star of the show arrives. Ah, and here it is.

Crawfish! Just looking at this picture makes me happy, happy, happy.

Crawfish! Just looking at this picture makes me happy, happy, happy.

Finally. I love this dish so much it’s hard to describe. Not because I lack the words – I’m just too busy eating it. The fried crawfish are crispy, light, flavorful, and not the slightest bit greasy. The breading is beautifully spiced and has a bit of a kick to it. The étouffée is creamy, rich, bursting with flavor, and not at all bursting with annoying vegetables or sprouts or any of the other silly things Californians feel obliged to ruin their food with. They know how to do things right around here. Speaking of right, the dirty rice is also very excellent and serves as a perfect complement to both styles of crawfish.

Ok, ok, time out. Take some deep breaths here. I have to slow down on the chowing or I’m going to blow out an O-ring. Pappadeaux is one of those places where I would stuff myself unconscious if I didn’t specifically make an effort to stop eating halfway through the meal and take the rest home for leftovers. As long as you use a gentle hand with the microwave, crawfish will reheat pretty well.

Even taking into consideration my irrational bias for both crawfish and Cajun food, Pappadeaux earns a glorious 28 out of 31 fried mudbugs. They really know what they’re doing in the kitchen at this place, and they are consistently above average – especially for a chain. Pappadeaux is a 100% for sure recommendation, so if you are traveling in the region you really should try and look one up. There’s even a Pappadeaux inside Houston Intercontinental Airport, should you find yourself on a stopover there with a grumbling stomach. As for me, I will definitely be back. Oh yes.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
Multiple locations throughout the U.S.
www.pappadeaux.com
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Urbanspoon


pappadeauxlogo3



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


All Kitchens Great and Small

So, I moved. That’s as close as I’m going to get to providing an excuse for not posting since December. If you’ve ever moved, you know what a soul-eating experience it can be, and if you haven’t I envy your blissful ignorance. Of course I would have been much happier cooking, eating out, and posting about it, but instead I wiled away the months spackling, painting, rewiring, repairing, and doing all sorts of other unpleasant fix-it monkey work that comes with selling a house from the 1920’s. As Tolkien once wrote: “I had many other duties that I did not neglect.”

And that’s what I have to say for myself. Excuse over. Now, back to blogging.

” It’s like our very own miniature convenience store where everything is free. “

My wife and I decided that our old house, although overflowing with charm and history, was also overflowing with our stuff. Combined with a severe case of new house envy, the fact that our garage was turning into a passable representation of the warehouse at the end of Indiana Jones pushed us over the edge. And just like that we decided to get rid of our old house and empty a bucket of cash on a shiny new one. Fast forward a seeming eternity later, and we are finally settling into our new home. Our furniture is all here, we have found most of our clothes, and although there are half-unpacked moving boxes everywhere we seem to be winning the war against chaos. The pantry is full of food, the refrigerator finally works, and the kitchen is all set up and ready to go. Halle-frickin-lujah.

The new fridge is bigger than our old closet.

The new fridge is bigger than our old closet.

As fortune (and our checkbook) would have it, our new kitchen is considerably larger and more fabulous than our old one, and it’s packed to the brim with all the latest and greatest features a slightly competent home chef could want. I have (somewhat arrogantly, I suppose) begun referring to the kitchen as “my office”, because it’s the first place in the new house that began to feel like home. Actually, the couch was probably first, but that’s neither here nor there. Besides, this is a food blog, not a place where I gush about how awesome Sony flatscreen TVs are. They are awesome though, the 3D definition is remarkable.

Sorry, distracted by electronics. Where was I? Ah yes, kitchens.

All of this got me reminiscing about the kitchen in our old house, and the eleven years of cooking, mess-making, dish washing, successes, failures, and quirks that I grew to know and love. There was that back burner that never seemed to want to light, and the unevenly heated oven was always about ten degrees off. The bottom drawer in the island had a cruel sense of humor; it enjoyed suddenly slipping off of its rails in gleeful attempts to crush one’s toes while one was rummaging around in it. And how could I forget about the microwave? That stupid, stupid microwave with only a handful of working buttons was the bane of my existence on more than one occasion; I won’t miss it.

Happiness is an alphabetized spice cupboard.

Happiness is an alphabetized spice cupboard.

In spite of the faults of our old kitchen, I find myself remembering it fondly. It did certainly have character, no doubt about that. I don’t mean to imply that our new kitchen doesn’t have character, it’s just that I don’t know it as well. We are close acquaintances on the way to becoming friends, and I do very much enjoy spending time there. The well-made cabinets have loads of space for all my plates and measuring cups and nerdy kitchen gizmos, and none of the drawers seem interested in playing sadistic games of “This Little Piggy”. The walk-in pantry is a godsend, and honestly I have no idea how I ever lived without one. It’s like our very own miniature convenience store where everything is free.

The image isn't distorted. The walls actually curve like that.

The image isn’t distorted. The walls actually curve like that.

The rock-candy-like countertops look good enough to eat, and they stretch on for what seems like miles. All the better for making messes upon. There is room enough for all of the spices to be in a single cabinet (gasp!), and the gas stove has twice as many functional burners as I’m used to. There are two ovens (three, if you consider the fact that the microwave is also a convection oven), which means both the main course and dessert can be burned to a crisp at the same time.

As much as I’ve waxed poetic about my old kitchen, I’m looking forward to a fresh start in the new one. Here’s to many upcoming evenings and weekends puttering around in the pantry, experimenting with the bevy of different ways my new fangled ovens can become hot, and generally just getting to know my way around. I can see the future, and it looks delicious.



Nothing says elegance like a bouquet of spatulas.

Nothing says elegance like a bouquet of spatulas.