Monday, September 29, 2008

Dineometer's Financial Suggestion for the United States

Does anyone remember that reverse Robin Hood skit from Monty Python many years ago? Steal from the poor and give to the rich? That's what this whole financial bail out sounds like to me. All I know is that some financial executive's Caribbean retreat is being protected while an increasing number of my non-wealthy friends seem to be losing their jobs.

How are we, the shirtless masses, going to come up with the cash to fund this $700 billion plan? Well, we here at Dineometer have a solution.

Lets have a yard sale.

Yard sales are the traditional American way to raise some quick cash when short on funds. The U.S. has many things that are not being used right now and should be put out on the White House lawn with a big ol' orange price tag on them. I'm not talking about Amy Carter's tricycle from the White House attic, or unused bottles of spray-on-hair from the Reagan administration, we need big ticket items. Here are a few suggestions for underutilized items that could be sold:

1) North Dakota. Trust me on this one. I used to live there and we are not using this state. I suggest we sell it to Canada. It could be like a Florida for them complete with a Polar Disney (don't forget your parkas on the roller coaster kids!) and instead of a Universal Theme Park, how about HGTV World or Home Shopping Land (take a ride on the Hummel figurine-go-round). Apologies to my friend Kathy who lives in North Dakota. Although, I am not sure if they ever did get the internet up in rural NoDak so she might not even see this. Sorry Kathy!

2) Dan Quayle. Did you know he is still alive? No really. Lets pretend he knows a bunch of important security secrets and sell him to China.

3) The Grand Canyon. Judging by activities in my own neighborhood, we seem to be running out of room for high priced condos and really big houses. Given that the average visit to the Grand Canyon is only about 2 hours which is the length of a feature film, why not sell this space to land developers. For once real estate agents wouldn't have to lie about the "great view."

4) I can't think of any others right now. Any suggestions?

I think I'm going to go email this to my congress person.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cuisines of the Axis of Evil

Here's an excerpt from the intriguingly titled Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations.

"While most folks recognize the power of food to bring people together, I notice most its power to divide. Many religions enshrine various forms of commensalisms, or rules that govern with whom you can eat and with whom you
cannot. In Hinduism, high-caste persons can't eat in the presence of those who are low caste, whose very shadow defiles the former. Many religions specify not only the animals that can be eaten but the ways in which those animals must be killed as a precondition for eating them and the means by which they must be prepared. This can seriously limit the number of people one can eat with."

You can listen to the entire excerpt on NPR's website here.
And here is a link to the authors Amazon blog. Not having posted since August 19th, Chris Fair is coming dangerously close to a knitwithcats award.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Jolene!

Jolene Sugarbaker of the famed Trailer Park Cooking Show, internet culinary sensation, and my favorite celebrity chef, has posted some new videos on her website. This one shows how to make peanut brittle in the office microwave. Anything besides burnt popcorn smell is an improvement I say.

Is it just me or does Jolene's bosom look a little larger in this video? Jolene, did you have a little work done honey?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Galveston Hurricane Watch

With hurricane Ike scheduled to hit Texas this coming weekend, evacuations have been ordered for parts of one of my favorite vacation spots, Galveston Island. The Spot restaurant is clearing the deck of all impailable objects. For creepy voyeuristic people like me, you can watch the preparations live via their webcam here:

The surf already looks pretty rough. I wish them all well. Stay safe Galvestonians!

UPDATE: As of 9:45pm Eastern, there is a strongly worded warning from the National Weather Service that anyone remaining in Galveston will face "certain death"! Despite this, people continue to party on the deck of the boarded up, tableless, coastal Spot restaurant.

Update 2: As of Tuesday September 16th, all Galveston webcams eerily remain frozen with images from Friday morning, before the storm hit. The damage is wide spread and catastrophic to Galveston and other coastal areas. Message boards are abuzz with questions from residents and visitors wondering how their homes and businesses faired as access to the area remains limited. No word yet on if The Spot survived the storm.

Update 3: This was just posted on a message board:

The Spot is still there. The ballanese room and pier was destroyed and
pushed onto the road up against it. I think it will be fine though. Mostly
superficial damage as long as the water didnt penatrate the interior

Yeah! The Spot survived! Lets hope residents can get back to their lives quickly.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Filipino Snacks

I had planned to try a few authentic Filipino dishes out in an effort to wow all my Filipino blogging friends. Unfortunately, that was a few months ago and I still have not gotten around to making the recipes and then writing the utterly fascinating post that would include my experiences with Filipino cuisine and a description of some common dishes. The best I could do for now was to purchased some Filipino junk food found at the farmer's market in Atlanta.

We have a crispy melon snack, corn nut type snack, dried fava bean and corn nut mix, chocolate filled mints, and jackfruit candy. Taste test to come.

Here are a few photos from my blogging friends of authentic Filipino street food:

Fish balls from a bicycling vendor on the streets of the Philippines. Jenn Was Here
has some great photos of her vacation in the Philippines that really make me want to visit Calle Crisologo. It looks beautiful!

Filipino Isaw, which is barbecued chicken intestines. This was found at Cooking with Kuting . So for all you people that say you wouldn't ever eat chicken intestines, I say you probably already have, but in McNugget form. So why not just skip the faux chicken shape, breading, and cardboard package and go for the real thing?

This is ice candy which is a popsicle type desert. I found this at Kutsara of Tinador, a great blog about a Filipino family's food encounters. They have lots of photos on their blog of foods that I have not seen before.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Andrew Zimmern Has a Republican Problem

Poor Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods. His adopted home of Minneapolis is overrun with republicans at the moment. He writes on his Minneapolis focused blog:

"I can also tell you that I cannot wait for the RNC to be over. First off, it means I can walk into a restaurant without having to deal with the inevitable CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE PARTY sign that seems to be hanging in every business I stroll into. Secondly, it means I don’t have to wait in line for three hours to get a sausage sandwich at Cossetta. "

Surprising for a number of reasons. First, we have all seen your show Andrew and if there is a three hour line at your favorite sandwich shop, one would assume you would have ample options for improvising. Is there not a live bait and tackle shop near by? I am sure there would be no line for the nightcrawlers and minnows.

Second, I got the impression from watching the news that Sara Palin kills and skins all her food on her own. Thus, no need for a restaurant. And those moose are big enough to feed all the delegates from at least 13 states including Texas. Cindy McCain doesn't look like she eats very much, if at all, so what would she need a restaurant for?

Thirdly, if there is a "Closed" sign on your favorite restaurant, why don't you just grab your camera crew and crash the party? America would love to see a Bizarre Foods Republican Party episode. Please, please find out for us what that sour faced Dick Cheney eats. He always looks like he has gas or something.

So Mr. Zimmern. We are not buying this story of hardship. I think you are just looking for sympathy.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ali Baba's Time Out Deli

Ali Baba's Time Out Deli
Knoxville Tennessee

This is another one of Knoxville's much beloved dining spots. Housed in what looks to be a former roadside motel, with the restaurant in the part of the motel that was the office. The interior is a bit claustrophobic and you will be lucky if you get one of the two tables. Otherwise, you will have to sit on one of the stools by the counter which face the window, giving you a lovely view of the always clogged Kingston Pike traffic. The stools are a bit tall so your feet will dangle uselessly unless you use the one buttock on, one buttock off method with toe touching the floor to ensure stability.

Despite the cramped interior, there always seem to be a constant stream of visitors, chatting with the cook/owner/waiter/etc. behind the counter. After you order your food, you will probably attempt to pay, but we be told to come back when you finish. It's the same man who takes your money as gives you your food, he just refuses let you pay until you have finished eating. So, you sit down, eat, and then go back up to the counter pay. I always find this a bit anxiety provoking. If you have a short attention span and poor memory like me, you will probably spend the entire meal silently reminding yourself to pay before you leave and will have visions of being pulled over by a Knoxville police officer a few blocks down the road. The minute you see the flashing lights, you will think "CRAP! I forgot to pay." Paranoid perhaps but I really would prefer in a restaurant with counter service to get the financial transaction over with so that I can eat with a clear conscience. I think this payment system is a cultural thing as other Middle Eastern restaurants I have been to have a similar set-up.

The menu is full of many deep fried options. But, in addition to hamburgers and fries, are Middle Eastern options such as falafel, hummus, baba ganouj, and the King Solomon Special. They are great at deep frying things and the fast food is good if you are in the mood for that sort of thing. I would suggest trying some of the Middle Eastern options however, because those items are their best work. Not to mention the fact that you can't get things like falafel at other places.

The King Solomon special was a huge portion and enough for leftovers the next night. If I wouldn't have forgotten it in the car for a few days. It wasn't the best dish I have had at Ali Baba's but I did like the tasty marinade on the chicken breast that included jalapenos.

There is also a small selection of groceries available such as tahini, grape leaves, and Mediterranean pickles.

And hookahs!

Dineometer Rating: 70%