Friday, August 24, 2007

The California Taco, the Mission Burrito, and Please, Easy on the Rice

Burrito in el Toro
Originally uploaded by GavinBell
Jason Horn's bio on his stories is one place that mentions it, but nearly everyone who leaves the Bay Area or California laments the lack of Mission-style burritos. Oddly enough, the first time I heard about Mission-style burritos was when I lived in Portland and the nearest place to eat a cheap lunch indoors (a key thing to know when you live in a rainy city) was Taco del Mar.

I thought one of the funny things about this post on Emdashes was that tacos were cited as a reason to visit California back in the 1970s. Is that our culinary heritage?

So what is a Mission-style burrito? I think, for most of the world, it's a non-Taco Bell burrito wrapped in tin foil. This Chowhound thread seems to say that the difference is rice, which my friend Prentice would take issue with. She points out -- rightly, I think -- that the rice is just really filler. Yes, it does absorb the liquid of the salsa, tomatoes, etc., but the quantity of rice in most burritos leaves me feeling that, even for a $5 burrito, I'm paying for more than I'm getting.

Of course, Wikipedia weighs in on the subject. My favorite section is the culture and politics. Only in San Francisco would a burrito become politicized.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Why does my beer smell like skunk?

My most recent article for, on why beer gets skunked, was just posted here. Check it out.

And, according to my research, pilsners in and of themselves are not more susceptible to skunking (that was added in the edit). Charlie Bamforth, professor of brewing science and chair of the Food Sciences and Technology dept. at UC-Davis, indicated that there aren't any particular hops or types of beer that skunk more easily. It really just boils down to the color of glass used in the bottle. Although I'd guess that since pilsners and lagers have a more delicate taste, it's easier to detect the skunked flavor in them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

BYO Bon Jovi

As I was perusing the online store (hey, I'm from New Jersey, what can I say), I came across their Collectible Wine section. Somehow, I don't see Bon Jovi fans paying $100 for a commemorative Have a Nice Day zinfandel. But maybe I'm wrong. I also think the Slippery When Wet commemorative Chardonnay was Richie Sambora's idea. He seems like he'd enjoy the innuendo.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Novel Drinks

I was just reading about a Lemon-Thyme Gimlet, on Slashfood, and the author mentioned that he started drinking gimlets after reading about them in Raymond Chandler novels. That's why I did, too. Philip Marlowe made them sound so damn cool. I prefer mine like Marlowe's--Rose's lime juice, not fresh. It made me wonder what other food and drinks I've tried just because I've read about them in a novel.

(By the way, The Big Lebowski is based, in part, on Chandler's novel The Big Sleep. The Dude's Caucasians are his version of Marlowe's gimlets.)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Why are we doing this?

Kerry and Nicole
Originally uploaded by commamommas.
Kerry (the blonde, in the mink) and Nicole (the brunette, in the beaver--no jokes, please) have been friends ever since we met in home room our freshman year in high school. In the intervening years, our friendship has sustained the slings and arrows of nominally being on the field hockey team, attending Catholic colleges in eastern Massachusetts, and moving to various parts of the great United States, ultimately landing us both in California--Kerry in the sunny, warm part and Nicole in the cold, foggy part.

Throughout it all, we've shared a passion for fine things (such as our mothers' fur jackets), although we have also shared an income that forces us to be creative in the enjoyment of those things. After taking an online food writing class together, we decided to start this blog to chronicle the culinary adventures of two South Jersey girls in California who love to cook and eat.