:: Life on Planet Dan-E ::

Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Saturday, February 23, 2008 ::

:: Food TV ::
One of the things about being unemployed is that I have all this unintended free time and I'm constantly trying to find ways to fill my day. I'm usually gone during the day pounding the pavement till about four or five but what to do afterwards?

I usually don't watch much TV unless it's sports, news or Food Network related, although I usually have it on when I'm at home. Most of the series I watch like "Lost," "Nip/Tuck," or "Alias" is on DVD. I watched all seven seasons of "West Wing" on DVD. Right now? "Lost" and "Nip/Tuck" are already a few episodes in so there's no point in watching it now. However, I am an avid fan of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern." The Travel Channel usually reruns them after midnight so I catch it when I get home.

So when they ran a "No Reservations/Bizarre Foods" marathon it was perfect. I switched it on after I got home and vegged out. If you were wondering, yes I would actually try some of the stuff that they've had. One of my favorites was the episode in Mexico, where Zimmern went around trying authentic Mexican food, everything from fine dining to street cart fare. Some of the local fare involved crickets and worms and I can't believe it but the way they prepared it, it actually look appetizing. When he started scarfing down a taco made with pig parts, it reminded me of the stuff I used to eat back in Los Angeles. I've had tacos filled beef tongue, tripe, stomach, head, and even brain. Similar stuff from pork. I'm telling you, it's good stuff. The tongue especially would probably be enormously popular in the states if cooks could somehow got around the fact that it's a cow tongue.

Other weird stuff I've eaten is sea cucumber (ugh), various pig parts (good stuff if you cook it right), chicken and duck feet and head and other parts (ditto), 1000-year old egg (yummy), bird's nest soup (okay), chicken hearts (tough and chewy), fried stinky cheese (awesome and not that stinky), chitterlings, and other stuff I can't remember.

(True story: at my last job we sold two fish, a yellowtail snapper and a pompano, that were cooked and served whole. Head, tail, bones and everything. They're excellent. The pompano is my favorite and I eat it regularly. This one time, I was almost done dismantling my lunch and the New Guy dared me to eat the eyeballs. Not only did I eat the eyeballs, I picked up the head and started gnawing away at the meat, much to his disgust. Some people like them but every now and then we get a few who order them but request the head be removed. The cooks do this after the fish has been cooked. If this happens and it's slow I ask the cook to save the head for me, after which I take it in the back and gnaw away. My old manager once caught me doing this and he got angry - not because I was eating during a shift but because he wanted first dibs.)

There were several favorite Bourdain moments. One was in Vietnam, where he ate the local delicacy of whole cobra - still beating heart, blood, bile, innards, and meat - prepared in various ways. I'd be lying if there wasn't a part of me that was thinking "hmm... I wanna try that." He also has an infatuation with "street food." Imagine a hot dog cart or a farmer's market, except with food indigenous to that culture. Having grown up in L.A., where some of the best Mexican, soul food and hot dogs are from glorified stands that stuff hits home. There was also a recent episode in Scotland where he went to a Chip (fries) Shop and ordered deep-fried haggis and something called king rib. King rib is, in a way, kinda like our McDonald's McRib in that it's processed meat shaped to resemble a small rack of ribs. Unlike the Mcrib, where you at least know pork is the main ingredient, they weren't quite sure what goes into king rib, or even it there's any actual meat in there. Yes, I wanted some.

I also like his acerbic wit, whether he's talking about their culture, our culture, or is has misgivings about trying something new and frightening. It's especially fun when he talks shit about some of the more famous Food Network personalities. And I find it amusing that his diction and opinions are such that the network feels the need to lead into every segment of his show with a disclaimer. Good stuff.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 9:32 PM [+] :: | 0 comments

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