Do you know why Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth? Because she speaks from the heart……awwww….She also serves as a strangely unsmiling conduit for your I-Pod or MP3 player. Yep. It’s a little Hello Kitty speaker ($50 on Amazon or…take your chances on eBay), complete with USB plug/charger and almost accurate volume button. She may not speak out loud, but she allows you to use her in indecent musical endeavors like blasting “Return of the Mack,” or anything by Taylor Swift.
How Many Teeny-tiny Lumps Do You Want?
Treat your house-fairies to a spot of tea with the “Teeny-Tiny Tea Set,” ($8.95 at Barnes and Noble.) another of those “little-
Can You Spell "Applesack"?
If you and your loved ones are ripe for some word-sparring fun, this cheap and all-too-adorable X-mas giftette adds a touch of learned intelligence to the sauce. It’s the Scrabble Apple, ($9.95 at Barnes and Noble.) a miniature pile of scrabble tiles and a tiny rule book all smashed into a fuzzy ‘lil bag shaped like an apple. This diminutive fruit sack is great if you are too broke to afford the regulation-sized Scrabble board and, the kicker…it’s portable. And it will look only slightly less stupid than carrying around your Scrabble pieces in a Crown Royal Bag.
Snack Attack No. 26
Brianna’s Ginger Mandarin Dressing
Brianna’s dressings cost a little more than, say, Kroger brand ranch dressing. But trust me when I say the extra pennies are well worth it. A chopped up head of romaine lettuce and a few wedges of tomato are magically transformed into something special when you drip on some of her Chipotle Cheddar or Blush Wine vinaigrette. I managed to impress an entire wine-tasting party of people much cooler than me once by making tiny salads of butter lettuce, shaved fennel and fresh peach slices with a drizzle of Brianna’s Rich Poppy Seed dressing.
Brianna’s has saved my ass on more than one culinary occasion, so of course I immediately bought the new Ginger Mandarin dressing. I opened the top and stuck my finger into the neck of the bottle, and had a good lick (we're the happy hygiene family that drinks out of cartons and puts them back in the fridge). Soy is the predominant flavor, followed by rice wine vinegar and orange. Very tangy, mouth-watering soy, but no ginger. Humph. I love ginger. Warm and seductive, it makes hot monkey love to your tastebuds like Fabio to a bored housewife. This dressing would probably make a perfect sauce to dip pot stickers or pork dumplings in, though. Good chicken marinade, too. Web ’em at [link].
Snack Attack No. 25
I was that freakin’ weird kid that loved my grandparents’ V-8 juice. It tasted like vegetable soup without the noodles or the hot.
I discovered Clamato when I spent a summer in Montana. Rednecks put it in their beer. I still often wonder who thought of marrying clam and tomato juice—that’s a helluva brain fart. So discovering Bolthouse Farms’ new and improved Vedge juice was on my level. I'm a sucker for the packaging—this has big, bright pictures of colorful veggies on a plastic container with a screw top. It sure beats the days of opening cans of tin-flavored tomato juice.
Vedge has an excellent assortment of juices: from tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, watercress and yellow bell peppers. This is like a liquid salad. And it doesn’t taste like ass.
Yep. You heard me. It tastes like super-ripe tomatoes, the kind you get at the end of the summer, straight from the field, still slightly warm from the sun. I made myself a little cocktail with it over ice, garnished with a celery stick, and a light sprinkle of Bell’ Aroma (The Spice Hunter makes it—celery, onion and sea salt blend). And it isn’t chokey salty, either. Some veggie juices are so sodium-laden they taste like licking a sweaty armpit. I’d rather lick a tomato any day of the week. Web ‘em at [link].
Snack Attack No. 24
Kasugai Muscat Gummies
Every once in a while you find a snack so damn good you crave it when you run out. A treat so wonderful that your friends, family and even neighbors ask you if you have any to spare.
These beautiful little candies came to my attention one day when I was making the rounds at Talin Market. I was at the checkout line, and I didn’t have enough stuff to equal $5 (you can only use a card if the amount of purchase is $5 or more) so I grabbed a nearby bag of candy and plopped it down on the rubber belt thingie. I thought the bag was cool because it was a picture of dewy, jade-green grapes. I adore Muscat grapes (the wine ain’t bad either).
I opened the bag in the car, then ripped open a small, green individually-wrapped packet. Out popped a shiny, heart-shaped gummy candy, and also a lovely smell of perfumey grape. This candy smelled so wonderful that I sniffed it for a minute before sliding it into my mouth with an orgasmic exhale. The taste was juicy. Really sweet, grapey and juicy, —so juicy that my mouth was watering. It was watering so much I was drooling. I passed the bag around, and that started everyone asking me for more until they were gone. I was their dealer. Everyone I’ve ever given one of these candies to has fallen deeply in love with them. The kind of love that makes you wanna be alone. All alone, in your room, with the candy. No porn, just candy. And you. Web ‘em at www.cybercandy.co.uk.
Snack Attack No. 23
I could not help myself. I’m such a food lemming. I saw this weird, Darth Vadar bag in the chip aisle, a strange code in lieu of a catchy name, and I was roped in.
Like two minutes after I got home I tore open the bag and crammed a fistful of crunchy, golden triangles into my grill. The flavor of Doritos X-13D is supposed to be a mystery, but I was surprised at how quickly I figured out what it was.
The first taste I detected was ... grilled meat. I then noticed a hint of mustard, ketchup and pickle, then after a few more crunches, I tasted onion and cheese. Delicious, delicious cheeseburger chips.
It could be argued that they are hamburger, not cheeseburger, flavored snacks, but I don’t know anybody (with the exception of the lactose intolerant) who would pick a hamburger over a juicy ground beef patty smothered with supple squares of melted ch-ch-cheese.
Good call by Frito Lay. I have some ideas for other fun chip flavors, too. How about chicken bacon ranch? Or maybe meatloaf and gravy? Ooooohhh, or smoked salmon and cream cheese?
Web ‘em at www.fritolay.com.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
I did the coolest thing last weekend. I was trolling around the net, looking for something, ANYTHING, to do besides go to the f’in bar, and I found this new “Full Moon Tours of Old Town Albuquerque.”
Yeah, I hear you—I absolutely hate going to Old Town during the day because it’s hot, crowded, touristy and makes me wanna break things and say bad words. However, the idea of going on a nighttime tour and hearing stories of ghosts, whorehouses, drunken brawls and more ghosts was quite appealing and hangover-free.
I and my companion, Ike, showed up at 10 p.m., paid about $20 each and spent the next two hours being entertained, and even scared shitless at a couple of points. I won’t spoil it for you, but there is a maxxed, turbo-creepy thing at the end. Anyway, check this thing out, because the tour is fun and the guides, Diana and Mykie, are actual ghost hunters, so they know their stuff. Web ’em at [link] or call 246-TOUR (8687).
Snack Attack No. 22
Just Another Brick in my Craw
I just ate lunch in an elementary school cafeteria, and I have to say I’m disappointed to report that school lunches have not changed one f-ing bit in 20 years.
I'm often intrigued by the school lunch menu that my kid brings home. They seem to contain many more thoughtful, nutritious and carefully prepared items than I can ever remember ingesting. I used to be that kid that loved school lunches, even though I had my very own Strawberry Shortcake lunch box with the matching Thermos. My dad was the master of such bachelor-driven meals-to-go as fried chili dog sandwiches with a side of powdered donuts and a bottle of RC Cola. (Yeah, I’m that old.) But I digress.
My child’s menu produces lunches like “beef teriyaki bites with oriental rice, oriental vegetables, fresh fruit and milk,” or “corn chip pie, mixed green salad with dressing, applesauce, cinnamon twist.” The day I dined at the kiddy café the menu boasted “grilled cheese pocket, oven fries, pickle spear, chilled pears and milk.” No problem. I grabbed a lunch tray, and was immediately annoyed that even though the adult price for lunch was $2.75 (the kids pay $1.40), I didn’t get hooked up with any extra grub. I sat on a tiny, one-
I had a small pile of limp, undercooked crinkle fries, two plastic portion cups, one filled with canned pears, one with pickle chips. But the crowning glory of the meal (drumroll, please) was an “Uncrustables” grilled cheese sandwich, heated up in the wrapper to a level of crisp that you usually find in a car mat that's never been washed.
The eight-ounce carton of 2 percent milk did very little to help me choke down the bites of processed cheese and crouton. The pears were awash with syrup (what about fresh or in juice?). The stuff that was supposed to be hot was cold, and vice-versa.
Outsourcing cafeteria food sucks ass. I wouldn’t want the unenviable task of making grilled cheese for hundreds of kids, but Uncrustables are just plain lazy. I may decide to revisit the cafeteria on a day when they actually prepare the food just to be fair, and have a basis for comparison. I’ll keep you posted.
New Menu Stuff at Flying Star ...
I scored an invite to last night’s swanky soiree honoring the winners of the “hot plate” awards by Albuquerque The Magazine and the 20th anniversary of Flying Star, our annual Best of Burque winners for well ... too much stuff to count.
Tons of cool people were there, there was free eats, free drinks (virgin or otherwise), live music and guided tours of the Flying Star commissary. I stuffed my face at every table I came across, and then went back for seconds of the new menu items that were being introduced. I heard from, like, four people that the pancakes were the shit—so good that there weren’t any left to sample. There were other things, though.
I tried the new “Miami Shrimp Stack” salad, which consisted of shrimp, black beans, hunks of avocado with a nice warm ancho sauce. I loved, loved, loved the “Big Daddy Mack” spin on macaroni and cheese. This was cavatappi pasta (looks like curly fries) in a rich, creamy, mild cheese sauce loaded with sautéed crimini mushrooms and green onions, and topped off with a delicious, hand-breaded and seasoned slice of fried chicken breast. The “2-Tall” BLT had smoke-tastic Applewood bacon and tangy garlic mayo, and the new “Garden Picnic” cold sandwich was so Hollywood with artisan olive bread smeared with Boursin, ripe tomato slices (nicely salted and peppered), peeled cucumbers and spring mix.
And it wouldn’t be Flying Star without baked goods. Their signature decorated butter cookies were decorating mouths all over the building (it was hilarious to watch people try to talk with their maws full of cookie), and there were three gigantor cakes: chocolate layer, carrot with thick cream cheese icing and a refreshing white cake with whipped cream and fresh berries. I wanted to squeal like a piggy and roll around in one of them, but my blue hair was probably weird enough. I frickin’ love free eats. They can fly my star anytime.