Monday, August 30, 2010

Two Cheese not one

Ever since the two cheeseburger meal left the McDonalds menu there was a void in my life. No longer could I go get something that would both satisfy my hunger and fond childhood memories. It was an easy to digest happier meal, unlike some of those monsters on sale today. Who would have thought that two cheeseburgers could cause so much happiness. I recall as it flowed through my bowels like happy children roaring down a waterslide. But most of all it made gave me the desire to become successful. Because in life no one person can go at it alone. And just like a person the cheeseburger also needs a companion.
If I was working at McDonalds I wouldn’t be working I would be eating cheeseburgers two at a time just like they were meant to be eaten.
Come on it was a top seller. And compared to its fat brother the double cheeseburger it tastes a lot better. Please help bring back the two cheeseburger meal at McDonalds. Until then my life will not be whole.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a bloomin blueberry.

At first this post was going to be about Subway's Steak and Bacon "Melt" (that I just now realized didn't even have cheese) but after one too many Subway disappointments, I don't think their squishy dusty meat sandwich even deserves any more words. That floppy bacon was ... okay that's enough.

After the sheer boredom of the sandwich above, my desire was not yet quenched by the eternal flame of satisfaction.
As I walked out of the food court, the $13 and 19 cents on my TimCard was burning a hole in my shirt pocket. Something had caught my mind on their digital screen and it looked explosive.
Tim Hortons is by no means my favourite place in the world (I've had donuts from Safeway that sometimes tasted better) but the colour and shape of their new donut reeled me in like a fat carp.

The sprinkles were the first thing I noticed.
Like the outside of a Good Humor Bar, the fruity crunch was like eating a fireworks show for breakfast.
The donut itself was soft and squishy ... like a cloud offering its pillowy body as a bed for those firework ashes to rest on.
But the chemical blueberry goop was the thing that sold me.
Working my way through the donut, the explosion of blueberry slime in the middle was like a revelation to my taste buds. I felt like a lab rat who had just been pumped full of his daily dose of delicious chemical sludge; his belly full and happy while scientists monitered his results.
I will always be thankful to Tim Hortons for this experience. If it wasn't for them, my day may have been ruined by that pale "steak." And I look forward to the $12.26 remaining on my card so I can have this donut 13 more times.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Whole Lotta Sole

Calgary's Sole Korea Restaurant and Karaoke Bar is a hidden gem.
Just having Google Maps will get you nowhere. Sure, you might be in the right location, but getting in the building is another story. But boy, is it worth it.
I was stumbling around 8th Avenue walking back and forth between the Uptown theatre and the fancy building on the corner that looked like a hotel (but wasn't). The closest thing I could find was a dark, locked door with four letters glued on:
Locked. I went to the alley behind the row of buildings. There I saw a secret back entrance with some Korean youths standing outside, smoking. My hunger worked like a radar detector and I knew ... this was the place.
I was led to a private Karaoke room that had been booked for my use. The room was dark, only lit by the glow of a large screen (for Karaoke), dim green light bulbs, and fluorescent blacklights.
The karaoke machine was all in Korean, but I soon figured out how to enter song numbers and which button was "Play."
I ordered what was called "Korean Style Bacon" (that came with "salad"), drank freshly tapped Kokanee, and sang midi-accompanied songs while I waited.
Because of the darkly lit room, when the food arrived, I could hardly see what was served up to me on its metal plate, but my body knew it would enjoy. I chopsticked the bacon and wolfed it down, chewing between a balancing act of chopsticks, pints, and karaoke mics.
The bacon was fantastic. The thick slices had an almost "boiled" sort of tenderness, but was grilled, making it taste something like a juicy pork chop/bacon hybrid.
The "salad" that came with it was like a "spicy coleslaw." Thick slices of cabbage (fresh, not like kimchi) were doused in sesame oil, vinegar and enough chili to bring some alertness to my delirium of food, drink, and blacklit karaoke.
In the six hours I spent in that room, I tasted dumplings, Seafood Ramen, and received a complementary Soju cocktail (Korean alcohol which seemed to be mixed with yogurt drink, aloe juice, guava juice, Gatorade and much more ... my taste buds were befuddled and delighted).
The dumplings were a perfect quick fix for beer and karaoke ... but the Seafood Ramen was what made the experience.
I was immediately transported back to my early days as an amateur food critic with the inventiveness of this dish. It was as if the had taken a page from the Ramen book of Garth J. Hernando and put the kind of love and ingredients that I had talked about in one of my earlier articles ... only so much more.
At Sole Korea, they were not crippled by the simplicity of simply noodles and broth ... NO! They threw every sea creature they could think of in that delicious bowl of flavour! It was so dark in that room that it only heightened the excitement ... it was like swimming in a warm ocean and eating whatever swam in your path. Squid, clams, crabs ... I don't even know what was in that bowl, but I loved every minute of it. It left a burning glow of spice around your lips that made you feel like you were stung by a jellyfish. And as much as I once mentioned that Ramen made the most amazing midnight snack ... well it was equally amazing as a snack for late-night karaoke!
So if you can find it, stop by Sole Korea for a night of entertainment for you and your stomach.
This is Garth J. Hernando saying, "bye for now."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meatball Mania!!!

Never before has the thought of a juicy ball of meat seemed so tasty. It was from one of the most unlikely places nestled in a giant furniture store, IKEA. Department store food has never tasted so good. In what originally started as a journey for furniture, ended up as a delight for my bowels.
The price the taste and the way it rolled down my throat and straight into my gut. If it were not for lack of time I could have managed to burrow one hundred meatballs down my throat.
The first thing I noticed was the spongy texture that bounces off your teeth as you chew. And with every chew comes a fresh burst of flavour as the juices for the meat are released.
After several meatballs there was still room for desert yet I felt satisfied. It was as if I ate the perfect meal. If there is one thing I can truly say about IKEA meatballs is that you can basically eat them like popcorn. In fact movie theatre’s should start selling them. By the time you have read this I hope you have already left to your nearest Ikea to satisfy your hunger. Till next time, my bowels are satisfied.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pizza Chef For a Day, Meal for a Lifetime

Did you ever think when you walked in to get a pizza, you would be the one making it?
I didn't. But then I did.
I must say the experience was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. There were times during the experience when I thought I might die, times when I might get hurt, or might even starve to death. But thankfully I've lived to tell the tale and write another day for you.
I'm sorry but I have come to the decision that the Pizzeria in this story will remain nameless. I thought about it for a while and after the pizzamaker was waving a large pizza cutter at me at one point, I thought it would be best if I kept it anonymous for my own safety. Anyway, the important part is not where the story took place but that it happened.
My stomach was leading me on a journey that night but I didn't know where. It was confused and stupid in it's delirious hungry state. It was angry and I couldn't argue with it.
It first led me to a "Pizza and Sports Bar." Something wasn't right. There were neonazis standing outside with backwards hats and gold chains and I wasn't sure how they would react to my hunger. For all I knew it could end bad. I peered in the window, just in case my first instinct was wrong, but then I agreed with it. This place didn't care about pizza! They only cared about pooltables and neonazis and TVs. I needed something else. I needed a place with passion.
I tuppled down the road and found a place that seemed to care more about the food itself. It even announced itself as "[owner's name]'s [locus] of PIZZA." I could not go wrong.
I pushed through the doors in a cold sweat that was now warming up either because of the rise in temperature or my pounding anticipation of the feast. Two people stared back at me, unsure if I was real. The place was vacant. "Hey you want a beer?" the Pizza Maker asked me. "Yes." I said.
The next two hours were strange. I think it is all too complicated to explain but I will try.
I sat waiting with the beer. It was uncertain whether I should order or not order. I was getting mixed signals and luckily the beer that I had seemed to be fooling my angry stomach while it suckled on the beer that trickled down, like a hungry baby.
The pizzamaker was sitting with me, having a drink and explaining how he shouldn't have been there. He was not in a good state to be working and the boss just left him in charge. While telling me this, another pizzamaker (who was not working) showed up to check on pizzamaker #1. Pizzamaker #1 asked me probably 3 times what I wanted. Each time I said "A pizza with salami and banana peppers (hoping that my stupid stomach would not hear me and get more angry that I had to repeat myself). Pizzamaker #1 told me "Alright, but you have to touch the banana peppers." At first I thought this was a dare but then I realized that he wanted me to put the banana peppers on the pizza before he baked it. I said "Okay."
Pizzamaker #1 went back to the kitchen, leaving pizzamaker #2 talking to me. After a long time, pizzamaker #2 told me "Hey, you gotta remind him about your pizza or he will forget." I went to the kitchen and asked if he was making the pizza. He said, "Hey come around here."
I entered the kitchen, figuring this was the time I should put the banana peppers on, but nothing had been done.
He asked me if I wanted to make the pizza. I said "Okay."
I had never been invited to take part in the creation of my own food in a restaurant and I knew this would be an experience I could not miss. My blood boiled ready to eat my very own pizza.
I opened the door of a refrigerator and got out a pre-rolled dough with pre-spread sauce and cheese. I piled it high with salami that tasted like baloney. I found the jar of banana peppers (the ones that pizzamaker #1 said he was scared of) and piled them on as well. I did not know what to do next and this is the part when pizzamaker #1 started to threaten me with the pizzacutter. Like I said, this experience was hard to explain and I have no idea why that part happened. Luckily, pizzamaker #2 came in to diffuse the situation. I took the pizza and flipped it into the hot oven as instructed by both pizzamakers.
After a short wait, pizzamaker #2 told me my pizza was ready, brought me back to the kitchen and shoveled the pizza out. My stomach was yelling and my bowels were beginning to churn in bipolar excitement as well.
I ate the pizza. It wasn't the most exciting pizza, but there was something extra special about it. The dough was crispy and airy, the cheese hot and melting, the banana peppers sweet and spicy. The sauce was a little dry but I didn't care. I dove into it burning my mouth because I was too impatient to experience my own concoction. I was both food critic and chef, critiquing my own work which like I said was not that exciting but something very exciting at the same time. The oozy grease and crispy-soft crust slithered down comfortingly into my small intestine. My guts were proud of me.
I paid the bill which was the normal amount (which didn't seem quite right since I did all the work) but I didn't care ... it was worth it. If you go to an asian restaurant with a hot pan on the table or some fancy steak place in Banff that has coals for you to cook your own steak on, you have to pay, right? So why not pay to cook your own pizza?
Like I said, there is no point in telling you what the restaurant was, because you will likely not be able to have the same experience I did, anyway. All I am saying is keep your eyes open for a once in a lifetime opportunity like this, and don't let it pass you up. Your bowels will thank you too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Deep Burning Sensation

It was May 1, 2004 when Dairy Queen first unleashed the hounds.
Something new was about to slap the market and unsuspecting America was still sleeping. While the stomachs of millions snored loudly in hunger, an informed sub-culture had discovered the greatest fast food burger known to man, the Flame Thrower.
The government obviously did not want the people of this country to know about it, because after the burger was advertised, everybody’s minds were erased and no one remembered what a Flame Thrower was. I took a recent poll and only nine percent of the people had ever tasted or even heard of the Flame Thrower…and the only person making up that nine percent was myself.
Even Wendy’s is in on the conspiracy. Why do you think in Stebenville, OH they that built that monstrosity on Sunset Blvd., hiding Dairy Queen, when they already have a restaurant just next door in Wintersville, OH? Because Wendy’s had to build the New Berlin wall to keep the hungry zombies that we are from feasting relentlessly in a joyful, spicy frenzy.
So now, even though I am risking my happy life to tell you this, I will inform you why the Flame Thrower hamburger is one part of the best fast food meal you will ever consume. The basic breakdown is this: two all-American, all-beef patties, whole-leaf lettuce, tomato, spicy jalapeño-flavored bacon, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle mayonnaise spiked with cayenne pepper sauce. Order this burger in a meal with a Pepsi and fries (which you can dip in Bullseye Brand BBQ Sauce) and you have the best fast food meal in North America. I am near speechless. First of all “jalapeño-flavored bacon” is a rare delicacy that you will not find on any other restaurant sandwich. It is only obtained from an endangered species of Argentinean pygmy pigs, which have been fed nothing but jalapeños since birth.
Also, the “chipotle mayonnaise spiked with cayenne pepper sauce” is so much a Turkish delight that men have died for its sake. The late Dr. Mcmasters, a Russian scientist and winner of a Nobel Prize, loved this sauce so much that he attempted to recreate it in his laboratory, but mysteriously turned up deceased the morning after he had completed it. Luckily for us, he posted it on an encrypted website before he died. You can see it at The one drawback to this burning nirvana is that most of our bodies are not accustomed to handling this burger. The first time you attempt one, your stomach acids may rage in a torrent from the burn of the elements, and your heart may flame-up like a wooden birdhouse, but after time your body will adapt. In any case, I could go on for another 500 words about why this is the best fast food burger, but I think I would rather end with a quote from the great Scott Lane, long time employee of Dairy Queen: “It’s a good sandwich.” And what Scott Lane says, goes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The Wonders of the Heel

Who could have known that one meatball heel could feed a family of ten? Along with its sidekick, bread, the heel has kicked its way into food history by launching itself into esophagus’ worldwide. Served by many and often ignored, the heel carries the power to transform hunger into gluttony in seconds. Only the bravest of men dare order this robust delicacy.
During my first experience at the Ville Restaurant, in the Fort Steuben mall, I stubbornly refused to order a meal. I claimed to be full and ordered a small plate of fries. I was already finished with my course when I noticed that my acquaintance at the time was happily clamping down on his meatball heel. Feeling an itch of wonder, my arm lunged towards the half-eaten heel, quickly withdrawing so not to be noticed…but it was too late. Everyone stared in amazement and disgust. This time my love for food had gone too far and I knew it. Remember, the number one rule of eating someone else’s food is to ask before you take. Yet out of charity I was offered the rest of the heel. On the outside it all seemed so innocent, yet on the inside I was lavishing in carnal delight. Ferociously devouring the rest of the heel, I fell in love.
Its not just balls of meat stuffed in a big loaf of bread, it’s more. These days I cant get away with manipulating food from acquaintances. I will always remember my first meatball heel at the Ville Restaurant and it didn’t belong to me.
Lately, I’ve had an itch to blast into the past. To rekindle my gurgly feelings of days gone, I felt impelled to revisit the places I had haunted before. So I headed up to Mugsy's Cafe and more, once again returning to that old familiar Pleasureland of colossal, crusty, meat-infused sandwiches. The last time I was here, my taste buds had danced a wild slam-dance of happiness when I ordered the Mugsy’s Philly cheese steak. This time, I ordered my own famous meatball heel. A triplet of acquaintances gathered around the table remembering good times. Who would have known this journey would take me to the famous West Virginia hub? I would have to say without lying that it was the finest heel I have ever had. Its texture soft and crispy as my saliva broke down the sugars in the bread and its insides, the meatballs themselves, needed a little more help from the acids of my stomach. And boy, my bowels boiled in delight. Along with a side of fries and gravy, a meatball heel can fill you up in seconds. And remember you’ll always remember your first one. So if you take the time, I would like each of my readers to write about their first experiences with a meatball heel in the comments section of this blog. Till next time, eat well and live your life like a bull on the run.