Saturday, May 18, 2013
If you've read my blog consistently - which admittedly is probably pretty difficult lately given my ass-clown posting frequency - you probably realize I have no real love lost for Philadelphia. Most of my memories about the city are pretty shitty. Philly drivers are entirely assholes towards cyclists, and while the riding is absolutely sick - I had more than a few close encounters with cars, the 'subway' system smells like cat pee and weird handsoap, and the city all-in-all shuts down at 10 pm unless you plan on getting hammered as if you were stuck in colonial times. Freakin' Quakers. That said, to be entirely fair - it's also home to a dope-ass Korean-Japanese food truck that pimps a bulgogi cheesesteak (with the nicest old couple running shit ever) and a couple of the best burgers I've eaten in my short cholesterol-laden life (which is actually serious praise considering how many burgers I put away thus far)... but most of it is shitty. That said, one area that Philly absolutely killed at was sandwiches. Maybe it's all the old-fashioned Italian delis... or maybe it's all fo the old-fashioned Italian bakeries churning out some seriously sensual bread fumes... but mash those two components together and you have something absolutely magical. One of the few things I legitimately miss about Philadelphia: Italian roast pork sandwiches.
Look at that rod of hot Italian pork. Not unlike Gary Oak - this is a sandwich where you "can't ignore its girth." Don't be deceived by the generic deli look here - the amount of meat packed inside the core of the baguette is unbelievable - it's almost as if someone hollowed out the bread beforehand to violate the center pocket with an additional quantity of pork. I don't remember how much it was (it has been over a year since I've eaten one of thes fuckers), but I would most certainly pay a bounty of gold to taste that sweet porcine folded meat right now. Goddamn.
There's something distinctly indescribable about the flavor combination in these sandwiches. Roast pork au jus, a very distinctively sharp provolone, garlicy olive-oil laden broccoli rabe, and a seeded hoagie - there's absolutely no complexity in the construction, but the depth of flavor it brings is like getting punched in the face while wearing braces. Except in a good way. Less painful, more delicious. Taylor's Gourmet manages to deliver on nostalgia like a boss. Their roast pork is as moist as my pants just thinking about it, the bread softer and fluffier than Jigglypuff. Shit... that's soft. Despite the their location in Washington DC, they've forgotten absolutely nothing about the OG roots that make this sandwich the crown tit's of Philadelphia (honestly, it deserves to be held in higher regard than the cheesesteak). Good on ya' bros.
tl;dr - writing this post reminded me of how much I think Philadelphia sucks. Except for the food, they got that shit locked down. In spite of how much their subway system smells like a delightfully pungent combination of homeless pee and cheap handsoap, I think they're really good at making roast pork sandwiches. Taylor Gourmet makes them pretty good.
485 K St NW Washington, DC 20001
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Last April, I had a chance to visit DC on a business trip (how's that for backlogged!) and instead of focusing on what I was supposed to actually accomplish for work, my mind drifted instead to what I wanted to eat. The only thing that actually came to mind was Ben's Chili Bowl, a joint made famous by President Obama for something called the "half smoke." While I never really expect any hot dog to transcend all culinary achievement, I was definitely intrigued when I saw Danny's photo of it - noting that it looks like a poo covered hot dog. Going by my faithful doctrine, that meant one thing: it had to be good. Also I'm a huge fan of processed meat and chili, so there really wasn't much that could go wrong here. Plus, look at that line! While that would normally be a deterrent in Chinatown, for non-Asian cuisine? That many people crowding a single establishment gives me a food-stiffy. What glory does this pseudo-shit covered meat amalgam hide? Is it as wonderful as our dear leader say it is?
That shit is so cash.
That said, I'm also the type of guy who's okay with NYC hot dog carts (not with the price, but with the taste), questionable street meat, and weird deli sandwiches - so take whatever I say about the half smoke with a grain of salt, but shit... they've got their chili and hot dog knowledge down. Sure, NYC has Crif Dog, which for all intents and purposes is 'okay,' and we have Japadog, which I think is insanely overpriced for what it is, but is still good, but whoever Ben is... he basically shits on them when it comes to dog tech.
THIS IS 'MERICUH. Look at this All-American meal - an order of a half smoke, a giant bowl of perfectly golden fries, and a huge-ass chocolate shake. I'd be unpatriotic if I didn't eat it all. And you know what? It was wonderful. Surrounded by freedom, I hugged my arteries with the love of thousands of calories. The delicious sweetness of hearty chili, whose consistency was halfway between lentil and meat, combined with a saltiness unmistakably associated with heavily processed meats bundled oh-so-tight in a snappy casing overwhelmed my tasted buds with flavor (and my heart with imminent pain). Past that... it was inevitable, Ben's half smoke would surely deliver freedom to my bowels in a way that hasn't been seen since we signed the Declaration of Independence. Just kidding, it wasn't that monumental, but it was damn good. At the end of the day, it's just a hot dog covered with chili, but me saying that alone should be good enough. Both those things are fucking fantastic and should need no further endorsement.
tl;dr - I found more food that looks like poo, this time it's a chili dog that some dude named Obama fucking loves. It tastes like Freedom, and will likely liberate your asshole the next day.
Ben's Chili Bowl
1213 U Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20009
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Aside from bullets, they are my only weakness. Actually that's not true, I also have a debilitating fear of cockroaches, swimming, and public speaking... but Girl Scout cookies are definitely up there when it comes to things that scare the living shit out of me. I know, you're probably thinking - "you asshat! How can you be scared of delicious delicious baked goods sold by smiling little girls covered in flair pins?" That's a very good question. Superficially, Girl Scouts are innocent and harmless creatures who are learning about life skills and philanthropy by selling boxes of buttery delights, but underneath that perfect image of civility is the devil in disguise. They are harbingers of evil! Every year around this time, they storm around the suburbs and they terrorize every former fat person's dreams. These beret-toting crusaders go out peddling $4 boxes of heart-disease and poverty, leaving strong men broken and crying in their wake. Do I hate them? Oh yes I do. They deserve a special place in Hell for the torment they bring me... yet, I also have inexplicable love for the overpriced bites of shame they deliver. I swear... Girl Scout cookies must be laced with crack.
See that girl on the right wearing the fireman's helmet? She could burn down your house and no one would even know. That girl on the left in the tire swing? You think she's smiling because she's having fun? No, she's smiling because she knows she can jack up your cholesterol and there's nothing you can do to stop her. When was the last time you had a Thin Mint and stopped at one? Maybe one box. You never just have one. You know how many calories are in that box? Doesn't matter. While the amount of shame you gain by crushing an entire box of cookies in 10 minutes is certainly significant, it's also proportional to how goddamn addictive those motherfuckers are.
And her! In her little kayak, smiling fiendishly. She could drown you in that lake and no one would be the wiser, but instead - she delivers boxes of death to your doorstep and you gladly give her money to do so. The sudden realization that Girl Scout cookies are like cigarettes feelsbadman.jpg.
Eat cat shit Tagalongs. There are few things in the world I like more than peanut butter. Back in college, I'd routinely go ape shit on jars of Peanut Butter & Co's 'Chocolate Dreams,' crushing a single container and a loaf of Wonderbread (RIP) in a single sitting. Tagalongs are basically the same thing as 'Chocolate Dreams,' but instead of bread, now you have vanilla shortbread. It's like some sort of sick twist of a peanut butter sandwich invented by Paula Deen. Seriously, how much more sadistic can you get? You might as well inject butter into my veins and call it a day.
Have you ever had a Samoa? Caramel, coconut, chocolate, and pure sex. There's no separation of flavors, there's no subtlety, there's just thick and overpowering sweetness with a hint of texture from the coconut. Mashing one up in your mouth is about the most gratifying experience you can have, but you know what's better? Going at it twenty times in a row. The problem? The serving size is two. Two freakin' cookies. What sort of Herculean asshat are you if you can stop after two?! This shit probably stands at the top of my list of great sins, but I can easily throw down 2+ boxes at once. I think that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 30+ grams of sweet sweet saturated fats in an hour. Like I said, Girl Scouts - biggest scumbag Steves in the world.
What's the point of this post? I want everyone to see the evil that is the Girl Scouts of America. Sure, it's a wonderful program for youth that focuses on building character, but at what cost? I know I'm powerless against their devilishly delicious campaigning, and you all are too... I just wanted to bring to light the real life horror story that are: Tagalongs, Thin Mints, Samoas, and a cadre of other death biscuits.
tl;dr - Girl Scouts are secretly assholes. Assholes who peddle death one $4 box of cookies at a time. Beware, they are everywhere.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Note to self (and all): do not get the desiccated soup dumplings here
I think something that's come with me having a job, and by association not being a broke-as-shit graduate student, is that my perception of value has become skewed. When I first started writing 'My Inner Fatty,' I think there were few things that made it ever slightly more palatable than every other food blog on the internet. First - I was (and still am) a relatively huge idiot and this is kind of like one of those nature shows where you just know the gazelle is going to get fucked, but you keep watching thinking that maybe it'll outrun the lion... but it never does. Second - I was raised in an Asian household that valued holding onto money tighter than a sphincter during a Korean horror movie (hint hint... that's tight) so instead of being a mega douche-nozzle getting off sucking off the likes of Per Se and Daniel, I wrote about stupid shit like 5 for $1 dumplings. The last thing I had going for me was my stunning good looks, but only a select few of you know me well enough for that to be reason to read my blog. Kidding on that last one, sadly. Anyway, I feel like I should apologize. Back to the original point, I feel like my value per dollar is really messed up now that I have a job. I'm no longer championing sketchy ass sandwiches from drug-dealing delis, I'm taking fancy pants pictures of legit restaurants with grades like 'B,' sometimes even 'A.' Shit. That's messed up.
When I first started writing this post, I was going to talk about how pimp Red Egg's dim sum is - it takes a tried-and-true concept of classic Chinese afternoon dishes and combines that with booze, complete with a pseudo-fusion feel - but then I realized that, no... I don't like the model that they're trying to sell. They're trying too hard. I think most of it has to do with the fact that it feels out of place in Chinatown (with how modern the decor is...) and its location is kind of out of the way too, undoubtedly so the old school Asians don't flip a shit. Counter-intuitively, I give mad props to any restaurant that can stay afloat while dancing gently along the fine line that is hygiene, looking like absolute shit and mocking the DOH - Red Egg is basically the opposite of that. It feels as if they're selling me ambiance, not food. Regardless of how true that might be, first impressions are big, and that shiz don't gel with me. Plus I like the fact that those other places have old women that yell at me in Cantonese while pushing around little carts in those little apron numbers - that's kinda my thing. It makes it feel more homely and hectic (and erotic). You ain't gonna find that kind of sensual atmosphere at Red Egg. There will be no one yelling at you angrily to take their 'chicken feet' while eye-fucking you with the intensity of 1000 suns.
With all that said, it's pretty clear that I'm biased against this place. With that said, they do make pretty bitchin' cuisine. Since I'm something of a Chinese food connoisseur/moron - it's probably for the best for you to make up your own mind on whether or not you want to go.
Oh hai! It's shumai. Admittedly, it is hard to fuck up shumai, but theirs were tight. Sometimes you find places with pushcarts that keep their steamers on top of low heat for so damn long that the shumai skins get mushy, the meat starts sweating, and weird flavors from other dishes leech onto the small delicate flower of pork. While mixing of dim sum flavors sounds like an absolutely heavenly premise, it actually sucks - and their shumai suck. Not Red Egg's. Theirs are springy like an rubber band (but without the chemical taste!), with each squishy bite carrying unadulterated pork porn (at this point, I guess I should have realized why my blog keeps getting flagged for adult content, but I never seem to learn).
I actually have no clue what the fuck these things are. While they look like boring bricks of lightly browned rice cake, the glistening skin really hides a center of pork. I think a good rule of thumb in an Asian restaurant is - "if you have no clue what something is, the center is probably some combination of pork, shrimp, msg, and other shit you don't want to think about." Anyway, these discs of oil and meat are basically dumplings with uber thick rice flour skins flattened into a short and stout cylinder. The filling is as you would expect - that is to say, porcine - but the skin is actually pretty special. There's a certain snappiness to the texture, and a very deliberate sweetness that you don't get with the 'dead flour' you normally use for wonton or dumpling skins. Long story short, while these things look all pasty and white like Newt Gingrich, they taste all dark and sensual like a Barry White. That's not racist, you're racist if you think that's racist.
I'm not going to justify why I got these. Shit, I got two orders of this. Why? Because every roast pork bun is a good roast pork bun (and because I finished one of them myself). Admittedly, some are better than others, but Red Egg does pretty well here. The bun is pillowy soft and the roast pork is crispy, yet moist. Add in a generous helping of maltose syrup and it's pretty much game over. Know all those stupid Snickers commercials where they say people get cranky when they don't have a Snickers? Well I feel like if you gave Kim-Jong Un a roast pork bun from Red Egg, he'd mellow the fuck out too.
Cheung fun is another one of those dishes that you can't really go wrong with. You steam rice noodles, you wrap some delicious-ass junk inside, and boom - you have a culinary masterpiece that delights on texture and also flavor. Sometimes I wonder if I actually like eating rice noodle wraps, or if I just use it as an excuse to drink the sweetened soy sauce mixture that they bring out to the table. Then I realize it doesn't really matter. That last bit was a good story, I'm sure.
These fuckers are so good they don't even need to be filled with meat. That's coming from me, so you know that's gotta be true. Some people don't like cilantro (I've been told it's because it shares the same active chemical as is used in modern soap production) - that's totally cool. If you don't, this shit probably isn't your jam, but if you enjoy munching on bars of Irish Spring as much as I do, you'll fucking love this dish.
My friend showed up with a vegan. I'm sorry, but if you're vegan - dim sum is basically a huge Jackie Chan "mind is full of fuck" kind of thing. Why would you even bother rolling out of bed to go to a place where everything is probably rolled in pork fat before being brought to the table? Seriously. If you're curious how these tasted - the honest to god answer I can give you is, I have no freakin' clue. I go to dim sum to eat pork, not steamed grass. Anyway, I think what you should probably take away from this post is - Red Egg makes good food, that is undeniable. I hate the premise on which Red Egg operates - that it's hip, caters to non-Asians, and tries way too hard to be modern... and has good hygienic practices. You should go if you want to drink with your dim sum. You will never find me there. The End.
tl;dr - Red Egg is a dim sum restaurant that serves booze and is clean. That feels wrong, weird, and counter-intuitively... dirty to me. Their food is pretty sick though. Also, don't invite vegans to dim sum. It really brings down the mood all around.
202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013