Saturday, August 9, 2014

Obligatory "Why I've been missing" post

I've been adjusting to my new (old) surroundings.

It's hard for me to talk about the food culture in Green Bay, WI without getting a little upset. I'm not talking about the traditional food culture at all. In point of fact, Wisconsin has a pretty amazing traditional food culture, and almost every community has something that the community next door may not have heard of, which can lead to excellent adventures. However, if I were asked  to name the official restaurant of Green Bay based on the eating habits of the majority of the people who live here, I would say Applebee's. Or, and Applebee's with a McDonald's right next door. Directly adjacent to a large chain grocery store that makes Italian Bread with the consistency of angel food cake (yes, I'm still bitter about that, Festival).

All of that being said, a year ago I wasn't sure what to do with this blog.  Now, I have a little better grip on the local food movement that's started (thank god) slowly but surely, I'm remembering some of the keystones of food culture in the area, and I've been able to find some great places around the state that care about what they put on the plate more than their new nationally syndicated jingle.

It's hard to stick to ingredients that you know are quality here, because it isn't something you can do all in one place.  One needs to pick up old-timey shopping habits to do it. Out of bread? Go to the bakery. Out of meat? Butcher on the other side of town. In the mood for Asian? Spend half a year poking around town looking for a legit Asian market (KIMCHI, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD). It is possible to do. How do you shop or eat out here without getting distracted by neon signs? Research and trial and error.

So, let's talk about that. Let's talk about how you eat well when you don't live in the produce capital of the country, and it's winter 8 months of the year. Let's talk about why Wisconsin cheese will always be better than California cheese and how Michigan blueberries taste more like sunshine than anything on earth. Because, it's not all bad... even though it might seem like it is in January.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What happens when you move to the Midwest:

Things change.  For instance, all your friends are married, trying desperately to be married, or they have 900 kids and god knows they don't have time for your tomfoolery.  Also, meat becomes your primary source of sustenance  because suddenly vegetables are the most expensive and depressing part of the grocery store.  People start to look at you sideways when you eat a whole grapefruit (without sugar? What are you, and animal?).

It's not their fault. It is honestly hard to get healthy food out here... especially if you suddenly make minimum wage.  This town could use an amazing brunch spot... and if anyone wants to fund this little venture, I already have it planned out in my head.

Anyway, a little thing that may have passed over the head of most of the rest of the country (except you, South.  I'm pretty sure at least part of this is completely your fault) has been taking up a fair amount of my Facebook feed lately, and last night my lovely assistant and I did a completely scientific science experiment to examine exactly how much this country was screwed.  I may have hinted at this particular area's love of snack foods in my "home for Christmas" series of photos taken in a grocery store. Behold: the Lay's "Do Us A Flavor" contest.



I've been hugely distracted lately by a number of things, and maybe I'm a bit late to the game on this one. I feel, however, that it's worth my time to tell you that if Chicken and Waffle Lays become a thing, I'm willing to jump off a cliff. I'm willing to lead the caravan of people headed to jump off a cliff.  It's like that time your college roommate put that bullion cube in the shower head... but you had a caramel in your mouth at the time... and also the flu. It's the special cousin of potato chips that no one should ever mention. Ever.  

Garlic bread tastes like straight up garlic. Which... I suppose would be really pleasant smashed into a sandwich.  Alone, it's a bit overwhelming. And also... underwhelming. It's a chip, guys... whatever.

Sriracha tastes like sriracha, so I have to call it for that.  We decided that it wasn't hot enough, however.  Quickly remedied by more sriracha. 



You're welcome.

Really, they should just bring back California Cool Dill and be done with it.

In closing, I feel I should apologize for my lack of posts lately, but I've been really really poor. Like, super poor, and that limits my ability to make food of my own accord.  Luckily, sometimes handsome gentlemen break into your house and make you a frozen pizza with pickles on it... and it's the best thing ever.



Be still my heart.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Would someone please remind me about this next year?

Every Thanksgiving is the same. Every year I don't want it. I swear to god I'm making tacos or ordering a pizza or just ignoring it all together because I don't like it, and It's bland and lame and sad. Every year people start talking about stuffing and mashed potatoes and I get lulled into some kind of fantastical Thanksgiving trance and decide to make the whole freaking dinner, from the recipes my mom made every year and I now know by heart. And every year I am reminded that not only do I not like turkey (especially West Coast turkey... seriously, what are you guys feeding these things?) but I never want to see or hear about Thanksgiving ever, ever again... except that my fridge is full of Thanksgiving... and I can't do anything about it.

...except eat it. Forever.

Seriously you guys... recipes that you've memorized from Thanksgiving past are huge, and you should really take that into account:

From left to right: Deceptive mashed potato pile, turkey breast, stuffing, rolls, cranberries, green bean casserole, food coma.  
Do you see this? Do you? Don't be fooled by that stand mixer, either... cause that bitch is full of mashed potatoes. Full. Of. Mashed. Potatoes.

If I had enough tupperware I'd be standing out on Polk Street tomorrow distributing Thanksgiving leftovers. But I don't. Cause I suck at having any tupperware, ever.

I suppose I'm super grateful I have the means to put together so much food that makes me kinda sad. And the dog was happy. Very, very happy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Bears fan walks into a coffee shop...

A customer came in yesterday with a cup from Noah's Arc, a giant water park in Wisconsin.

I pointed out that I was from Wisconsin. Green Bay, specifically.

Him: "Oh, no! I'm a lifelong bear fan. How does it feel to be at the bottom of the division?"

Me: "New and strange. But there has only been one game."

Him:  "Well, you'll need a new excuse after Thursday."

Me: "Sure, sure. So you'll be having the Bear fan special, then?"

Him: "What's that?"

Me: "A big ol' can of whoop ass?"

Manager: "Boy, that escalated quickly."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Try not to fumigate your house before you go to a coffee tasting.

The flea situation in my house was so bad that I went nuclear. Raid flea spray is amazing, and I don't care if I have involuntary muscle twitches forever, the fleas seem to have died horribly.  The only down side is that I didn't get to watch.

I've been known, from time to time to say something completely insane out loud.  I guess it's endearing... or so I've been told.

This one time, when I was working for Giant Nonprofit Organization, I was at a mixer we were hosting talking to a board member and the board chair.  As the Public Relations Officer, from time to time, I'd be forced to be REALLY REALLY social... which I can be good at... but sometimes, instead, I have the following conversation:

Board chair:  "That's why I have a gun at my house.  To keep my family safe."
Board member: "I don't know, I've never felt safe with a gun around."
Board Chair: "You need to defend yourself. It's like insurance. I keep several of them around."
ME: "I don't want a gun. I want to learn to kill people with my bare hands. Much cooler. You know, like Buffy."
-Blank Stares-
Me "You know... Krav Maga."
Board Chair: "Well, I can certainly see how that would be useful."

...thanks for letting me off the hook, Cliff.

Today was my first day at Big Coffee Shop.  Part of the training is to do a formal coffee tasting with every coffee they have.  A coffee tasting is not at all unlike a wine tasting... you smell it, record. Taste it, record. Swirl, consider regions, blah blah.

I probably did a little damage to my nose yesterday when I was spraying for fleas because I was having a hell of a time identifying any true smells. Except the tire smell on the French Roast. To be fair, I'm not the one that said "tires" first. I am, however, the one that did the following:

Manager: "So, this is the blend that most people take with milk and sugar."
Me: "It smells... really really floral to me. Um. Actually this smells like something specific."
Manager: "What are you getting?"
Me: "So, up until recently, I had a cat... and I should reiterate that I fumigated yesterday... but this smells exactly like Tidy Cat. Clean Tidy cat... but it smells exactly like Tidy Cat."
Manager: "That's... interesting. Now say it in a way that you can tell customers."
Me: "Heh. Um. Floral notes..?"
Manager: "Better..."

In my defense, that shit smelled EXACTLY like Tidy Cat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The possible Comic Sans issue

So. This is awkward.

There's a chance that for some of you, the headings in my blog may or may not be coming out all... Comic Sans.

Gross.

If you see Comic Sans on this blog, please don't panic.  I'm working on the issue.

I hope you haven't lost all respect for me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Indianapolis, revisited

One  of my oldest and dearest friends once decided that she liked Indiana. A lot.

You can't really hold it against her... she did grow up there. And her family is there. But when I say that she liked it, I really mean she decided that she loved it, intensely, in the same way I like cheese, or dislike Anne Coulter.

I grew up in Wisconsin, and I've never really loved the Midwest.  It has its charms (cheese), and lord knows that sometimes I miss the people there with a distinct longing. But insofar as my homeland has never given me what I've asked for, we're on the outs. I mean, how hard is it to be temperate, really?

At any rate... every once in a while I get a pass from my parents on the "If you visit the Midwest, you visit us" rule and I can take some time to visit Indiana and its oddly familiar yet entirely strange way of living.

Indianapolis... what is your deal?  It's like if you took Portland, Green Bay, some small southern town and a sliver of Detroit, put them in a jar, shook it up and dumped it out under Lake Michigan.  It is such a strange mix of random richness and poverty and southern accents and hipsters.

I've been to Indiana enough times that I should have been aware of the local fare.  I really should have.  Turns out that all I really knew was that Orville Redenbacher was from Valparaiso, and that the state is close enough to the South to have grits at most of the breakfast joints.  It's just not widely known what Indiana food is... perhaps because the expansive flat fields that go on FOREVER have a negative effect on the human brain, or the tendency of the entire world to ignore Indianapolis even though the city has a couple thousand people on San Francisco.  It's also possible that the world is pretending not to know what kind of food comes from Indiana in the same way that you don't tell people you dipped the Snickers bar you ate last night in Nutella.  No one needs to know, but you did it anyway, because it was delicious.


Every single place in Indianapolis that is indicative to Indiana food has been visited by either Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or Adam Richman from Man vs. Food. We weren't even trying... we'd just walk in the door, and there was the sign.  "Guy Ate Here."  Super.  God knows he didn't eat anything with eggs in it. Asshat.

Edward's Drive-In is the kind of place where you can order a gallon of chili.  The inside looks like a fast food restaurant, you order like a fast food restaurant, you get your drink like a fast food restaurant... but truly, these guys are not a fast food restaurant.  It is one of the quintessential Indianapolis establishments where you can get a tenderloin sandwich.  "What's so special about a tenderloin sandwich, Lindsay?" you're totally asking yourself.

Well.

Everywhere else on the planet, if you order a tenderloin sandwich, you get a beef steak on a bun.  In Indiana, what you get is a giant, hammered out slice of pork tenderloin that is then battered and deep fried and put on a bun with pickles and mayo.
You want me.

Fricken fried pork, y'all.

And that would be a fast food thing if they didn't slice your fresh pork off the huge loin, pound the hell out of it and deep fry it when the you order it. It is out of this world delicious.

Other Indianapolis delicacies include corned beef hash that isn't so much hash as a huge pile of corned beef covered in egg yolk (did it), biscuits and sausage gravy (did it the same morning) and lots and lots of beer (did it all day long).  There is also a bar downtown where you can get something called Irish nachos - essentially potato chips covered nacho cheese, jalepenos and corned beef... but that's not an Indiana thing. That's just insanely good bar food.