Friday, December 07, 2012

tako korean bbq truck

the food truck scene in fresno is growing, and that's nice.  one of the newer trucks has taken a spot in my heart, err... stomach... something like that.  tako korean bbq truck is becoming a regular visit for me.  and like a lot of the new wave of food trucks, they're on twitter and tweet out their locations, although they frequent the same regular spots, so you probably can figure out where they'll be each week.

i first tried their burrito, and liked the mix of korean spices, flavors and such.  it was like your average taco truck burrito in size, but that spice and sauce was great.  next time i tried their philly. it was good, but wasn't my favorite.  i went back for the burrito and eventually made my way to their korta, which is a korean style torta.  that thing is amazing.  they use great bread, which really does matter.  awesome meat on great bread makes a good sandwich.  and, it's rather filling.  i like the sandwich and the food enough that i've been back for it the last two fridays in a row, when they're at the manchester mall farmer's market.  i've even tried their spicy spam taco.

today, they had a takodog on their menu - a 1/4lb hebrew national dog, grilled, served with their bulgogi beef and cheese.  as soon as i saw that, i knew i would be eating it.  and, i had the korta as well, because i'm a big boy.  6 hours later, i'm still full.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

fellowship of the ringwraiths

yes, it's about LOTR and not the hobbit, but still, it'll help us get ready for the hobbit.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

punctuation woes

saw this sign the other day, and it made me wonder...







what should i tell 9 pm? something other than you'll be open late after 5 pm? or perhaps that you do gift wrapping?

Friday, November 09, 2012

mumford & sons lover of the light

idris elba teams up with mumford & sons for a video. very nice way to get my friday further underway



Friday, November 02, 2012

so you're saying we're in trouble






i saw the above car on october 31st, 2012.  the date doesn't really matter, but the stickers sort of do.  what am i talking about, the stickers are about 75% of why i took the photo.

on the driver side of the car, a sticker that reads omg (obama logo for the o), obama must go.
on the passenger side of the car, a romney/ryan sticker.

these aren't that surprising or noteworthy to me, especially living in the valley, which is largely conservative.  and although i didn't get a great look at the guys in the car, they looked working class, white, middle aged.

what really got me was the sticker in the middle.  you see, that's an upside american flag.  from usflag.org, "It is flown upside down only as a distress signal."

now, i know that.  in fact, i used to delight in annoying my dormmates that hung a flag in our lobby because i'd always flip the flag upside down when they weren't paying attention.  it was my little protest to them pushing it on us all, i was a little punk, and i got a kick out of poking them.  i did it enough that they took the flag down.

so, when i saw the combo of these three stickers, i knew that these gents, or at least whomever owns the car, was trying to protest the direction of our country under president obama.  that's cool, you can do that. i disagree with you, i don't think out country is under distress due to presidential direction. however, i wondered how they would have felt if they'd seen something similar under the last president.  or his daddy.  or reagan.  or whatever other president that they liked?  would they have called me unpatriotic?  would they be angered by such a demonstration?  would they told me to love america or leave it?  would it go beyond all that?

obviously, we'll never know.  but, back to the date of the photo.  i'm hoping that on november 7 that these guys will be feeling the blues of another 4 years of president obama -  a president that has turned around the economy, that has produced a housing market that is better than four years ago, a president that is leading our nation out of it's wars, a president that isn't sabre rattling his way into another war, a president that is working to improve the infrastructure of the country, a president that has fought for equality for all americans.  hopefully, these guys will get another 4 years of improvement, even if they won't acknowledge it.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

movember

call it no shave november, movember, novembeard or whatever else, it's here again.  yes, my face is shaved close, and my sideburns are trimmed down to better accessorize whatever pops up.

for the second year, i am taking part in movember, which is a time of not shaving your mustache along with raising money for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancers.  although it's focused on men's health, it's not like cancer cares about gender.  any work towards a cure helps us all.

so, over the next month, if you'd like to check out my mospace, please do.  you can track my mustache's growth, and if you're willing, donate to the cause. every bit helps.

me, freshly shorn.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween

hope you have an enjoyable evening. stay safe, eat too much candy, and be nice.

\


also, i spent over $50 on candy.  got somewhere over 500 pieces of candy.  hard to say exactly, because several bags were labelled by weight not pieces.  i'm guessing close to 750+ pieces. bring it on, kiddies.

5:45, first trick or treater. 7:45, out of candy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

it's the same without the i

quick post: is it any less offensive to type sh*t or f*ck?  i mean, we all know what you're saying. wouldn't the people upset by the i or u be just as put off by the neutered version?

Friday, October 05, 2012

$9 dusty bun

has dusty buns gone too far?

am i about to commit fresno suicide?

hopefully, the answer to both of those questions is no.  but let's discuss at least the first of those questions.

let's get a few things out of the way before i go too far.  i have been a dusty buns apologist.  i took a bit of time to try the sandwiches, mainly because the line was always long at the bus, and i hated standing in the sun on some of those hot days.  but once i tried the eggman is was in.  i tried le grilled, and i loved it, too.  soups, yep.  granola, definitely.  (i've never had the veg out.)  i know and appreciate that their product is locally sourced, handmade and very good tasting.  these things matter to me.

about 10 days ago i was defending dusty buns with a few friends on facebook. one had the dusty bun for the first time and wasn't completely sold.  he said it was good, but not great.  the other friend had never had any of their food, mainly because she felt that the lines were too long, the sandwiches too small and too expensive (@ $7).  also, she said that, and i'm paraphrasing here, this is fresno, and they're trying to charge bay area prices and should get over themselves.  i can't argue too much with the first friend.  he tried it, thought it was okay but had some reservations.  totally fine, we all have our owns tastes.  the second friend i really argued with, as much as i'm willing to via facebook, that the sandwiches are very filling, and that frequently i eat one of the sandwiches and about 1/2 my order of fries and i'm very full.  the food is very high quality and is local.  i'm not sure if it's all organic, but many of their ingredients are organic - for those that this matters to.  the chicken, duck, peanut butter, everything, all come from farms in the area and are seasonal. and, they make their own bread.  all of this will cause the product to be a little more expensive than a product from a bigger chain, or from a local place that is buying their foodstuffs from a bigger market or a distributor like sysco.  and, in our current economy, everything is more expensive.  a point that i made to both was that a sandwich at lunch or dinner at most places will run you about the same.  i'll stand by all that.  if i go to dinner at a sit down place, a burger is generally $9-$10 and something like a steak sandwch easily runs $14.  but, i also have to admit that i had a bit of sticker shock last time i ate there at the dusty buns shop when i saw that the sandwiches had gone up to $9.  that night i had the duck confit slider, so it was only $5, and i thought the food was very good, was full from my meal, but it got me thinking.

cut to this last wednesday, a friend asked me if i was still going to dusty buns.  i said yes, but i hadn't been in a few weeks.  i mean, it's not like i went every week, anyway.  i probably hit them up about every 4-6 weeks, so i'm not surprised that i hadn't been in a few weeks.  i asked why, and he mentioned the increase in price.  he and his lady would go a bit more often, and they were both feeling like they couldn't afford to go their regularly.  he felt that dusty buns may be pricing themselves out of customers, or at least pushing into less than regular customers.

cut to today when i went over to the manchester marketplace for lunch with a few friends.  i was hoping that summertime pies would be there, but they weren't.  i knew there would still be some good options for lunch though, so i was alright.  there were two of your regular fresno taco trucks, dusty buns, and tako bbq.  i had seen that dusty buns was doing a lula burger special, and so was thinking that, but then decided i wanted a spicy pork burrito from tako.  i jump in line, and i bump into fresno bites. first and foremost, we joke about harmswaychad from that social media blog.  we're all in a blogger fantasy football league, and it's chad's first year so we're giving him plenty of grief.  but then, we move on to the $9 sandwich that we're not standing in line for.  we're both getting tako.  we talk about the price point, some other small talk, and by then we were at the front of the line.  he ordered the torta ($6 and a taco - $2). i ordered a burrito ($6) and a taco.  now, i'm not reviewing those here, but i had the burrito, taco and a soda (mexican coke in a glass bottle) for $10.  i sat with two friends that ordered a veg out and a dusty bun.  we all enjoyed our meals.  fresno bites was down the table, and when we were all about done, he says to me, "ed, $6 for all this torta.  it's not a hand made bun, but it's good." or something like that.  i nodded as i worked at the last few bites of my burrito.  (on a side note, i've seen people rant about places like dusty buns or tako for charging $2-$3 for a taco compared to the taco trucks where you can get 2 tacos for like $1.50 or $2, but maybe that's another discussion.  maybe.)  as i sat there, i looked again at the menu for dusty buns.  $9 for a sandwich.  $4 for sides.  $2 for a tea (12 oz.).  if i ordered a sandwich, fries and a drink, i would've been out an additional $5.

is it worth it?  i think it's still a great sandwich.  i love le grilled cheese, and when i think about it and ask them to make it an eggman, wowza.  i know that they're doing quality product.  i stand behind the idea that a quality product requires an appropriate price.  also, i've never made one of these, don't know what the cost is.  i don't know what their overhead is.  i admit all of these things because i imagine that they go into their pricing.  but things are only worth what the market will bear.  or, as my dad used to tell me, they're only worth what you're willing to pay for it, no matter what they're selling it for.  so, what do you think?  is it too much?  has dusty buns gone too far with the $9 sandwich?

UPDATE - after i wrote this blog, dusty buns switched things up a bit.  now, they do a slightly smaller sized sandwich for $5, 2 for $9.  it's a really good deal.  we went there not too long ago and i had a sandwich & soup, and it was quite a filling meal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

amanda palmer theatre is evil

the new amanda palmer album came out recently, and after being barraged by her tweets and retweets, i picked it up. (to be fair, i follow her, and if i don't want to deal with the volume of tweets that she does i should unfollow instead of complaining.)  i've been a fan of her music since the dresden dolls, and have a bunch of her cover stuff as well.  i don't know what it is, but i just enjoy the music that she does.  sometimes piano driven, sometimes a more basic rock, but it's just good music.

i'm not going to review songs all the songs or anything like that, but i did want to hit on a few tracks.
  • the killing type was is the first to really jump out at me.  i saw the video and it didn't do too much for me, but with the headphones on it just really stood out.  they lyrics are this interesting piece about not being able/willing to kill but having those sort of urges, carrying a knife, getting angry but knowing you couldn't/wouldn't do it.
  • do it with a rock star - "do you want to see all my cavities."  that's a damn fine line, great double entendre
  • want it back - really reminds me off dresden dolls stuff, in a good way.  but also has this nice, 80's synth feel to it.
  • melody dean - man, this sounds so much like 'my sharona' that i have to imagine that it's intentional.  okay, she even says my sharona at one point in the song.  having said that, it's awesome.  this song rocks, will get you moving.  the drum break down is effing awesome.
  • berlin - this really has that old melodramatic dresden dolls feel to it.  the song builds along what seems like a pretty simple piano riff, but mixed in with what sounds like a old striptease.  or, i guess a cabaret.
Overall, the album is a departure from the dresden dolls, which is fine, because it's not the same band.  obviously, when you have a band like the dolls that is only two people, and now the front person is in another band, there will be a lot of shared sound.  it's unmistakably amanda palmer.  i enjoyed the whole album.  obviously, some songs will speak out more to you than me.  the bed song is definitely one that will rip your heart out, and as exhibited by the amount of tweets palmer gets about it, people love it.  (i'm not sure why i didn't write about that one.)  i also really like the amount of the synth sound on it, which i am hearing & enjoying in a lot of current stuff.

On a related note, palmer has created a minor (?) controversy by asking for volunteer musicians to play at her shows as part of the grand theft orchestra (here's a good summary post).  she's asked for essentially semi-pros that would be willing to play, and would get to hang out with the rest of the band, get free beer/food in the green room.  she has been taken to task for this because some people feel that she should pay those musicians.  she is devaluing what musicians do because she's not hiring actual musicians, or paying musicians at the scale they might receive.  there is also a devaluing of live music because everyone should get paid for what they do.  i think that's most of the argument.  now, some of it has also been a bit nasty toward her personally, but that's dismissible for the argument.  if you're going to attack a person rather than their argument, well, you lose.  palmer's argument back is that the people are volunteering.  they're choosing to do this, they're having a good time, and they're getting a form of payment.

to be honest, i think i see both sides.  i've always been surprised when i talk to friends in bands that play for free.  i get it if you're getting some exposure from a really big touring act, but even then, shouldn't you see a little bit of the door?  also, it seems like some bands may also get the rep of being willing to play for free, and so venues/bars will put them on the bill all the time or frequently because they know they can get them for free.  that seems pretty bad, and i wouldn't want to be in that position.  i mean, i'm not going to do a painting at your house for free.

then again, when i was playing music regularly, i was doing it for free, as a volunteer.   sure, i was playing at church, and so it had some other meaning attached to it for me.  but, deep down, i did it because i wanted to play and provide a service.  if people want to get on stage, help out another musician, even one that is making pretty good money, and play for free/beer & high fives, that's fine with me.  i probably lean a little more this way in this particular argument about amanda palmer.  i still wouldn't play regularly as a band/in a club/in concert for free.

Monday, September 17, 2012

california calliope spectacle

saturday night was the california calliope spectacle at fulton 55.  what's that?  well, realistically it was the cd release show for the local country band back in the valley.  they just recently finished recording their debut album and wanted to put on a release show that was more than just your average show.  so, they came up with the idea of the california calliope spectacle.  they encouraged attendees to get dressed up in crazy outfits of whatever era.  they had go go dancers.  they had belly dancers.  they had a lady on stilts wandering through the crowd.  i heard there was a fire juggler, but didn't see it.  and, they had the music.  we were lucky enough to score some tickets from chris, the lead singer of back in the valley.

the first band was the psychadelic homeboys.  they played rock versions of a lot of 90's r&b songs.  bobby brown, montell jordan, and beyond.  they also did some hendrix and other classics.  it was pretty fun stuff.

back in the valley actually went on second.  they wanted to be able to play the show, and then hang out and enjoy themselves.  they do mostly originals, and overall it's pretty likeable stuff.  chris sings well, and the fiddle player was very good and had a nice voice as well.  one really funny moment (to me) from their set was when they were about to play the title track of the new album.  chris was explaining the concept of the album being about california, and it was conceptualized in the metaphor of a woman.  as he's saying this, the guitar play chimes in that it could be a metaphor about whatever you like.  umm, not really a good idea to contradict the lead singer while he's actually speaking.

the westerns went on last, and they play rock.  i think you could effectively call it screaming classic rock & roll.  i don't mean that in a bad way.  they play it well, and generally have a good energy about their performances.

overall, it was a good show, and we had a fun time.  it got crowded enough in fulton 55 that they opened up the top as well, which they don't do unless they pass a certain number of people in the venue.

two last notes about the night & venue - drinks are not cheap at fulton 55.  i had to do a double take on our bill at the end of the evening for the two of us.  i'm not complaining (too much), but it seems like as a venue they could charge a little less per beverage.   the last thing, one bartender was working his but off.  seriously, he was scrambling and getting drinks out quick.  i actually tipped him straight up at one point because he was working so much.  the other bartender, not so much.  very busy talking to people, socializing, and didn't seem all there by the end of the night.  not very good.

Friday, September 14, 2012

lies romney told me

in one of my classes, the students consider the leadership of kings, specifically king david from the bible and some of his failings.  in it all, there is a question about moral failings of leaders, and the unwillingness to admit fault.  in the context, students frequently make connection to bill clinton, and his lying about the lewinski scandal.  fair point.  some will throw out nixon & watergate.  okay.  a rare few will throw out jfk and the alleged affairs he had.  i'm sure they could go on further, mainly because our leaders continue to demonstrate the ability to screw up.

this brings us to this week and some of the political situation our world is in.  let's look @ facts:
  • a strange film promo pops up online, and it's some sort of film that defames islam.  at the time, no one really knows who made this low budget film.
  • people in the islamic world react with displeasure to the promo, speaking out against it
  • the u.s. embassy in cairo tweeted that it was displeased with the film, that the u.s. was against mocking anyone's religion, and so on.  their tweets, although not the official u.s. government response, were almost identical to the statements released by the bush administration when muslims were upset by a cartoon in a dutch paper.  yep, very similar statement, but not the official u.s. response.  as it should be noted, this statement was made on twitter, before any protests in cairo or libya.  the embassy later deleted these tweets.
  • protests began in several countries.
  • the  u.s. embassy in libya was attacked.  many credible sources say that this was a preplanned attack.  the snafu over the movie trailer was used as cover for the attack.  it had nothing to do with film, or the tweets, or really the muslim protests over insults to their religion.  the attacks resulted in the deaths of several u.s. citizens at the embassy, including an ambassador.
that's the timeline.  it's clear, it's verifiable.  but, willard romney and his campaign are going to ignore that.  romney's campaign claimed that the obama administration was apologizing for the film, apologizing after the attack, and that obama's foreign policy was weak.  willard romney is willfully ignoring the fact that it wasn't any official statement by the administration.  nope, the official words from the president's office completely condemned the attacks, the loss of life.  when this has been pointed out to willard romney, he refuses to accept it.  he maintains his stance.  he stubbornly refuses, almost childishly, digging in his heels about what he sees as obama's foreign policy, which he clearly is wrong about.  he says that the president shouldn't apologize ever for america.  well, he didn't here.  but, i disagree with that statement anyway.  if our country does something wrong, we should admit it.  in fact, i have no problem with the fact that our president has apologized for the actions of the u.s. gov't in central america during the 40's and 50's.  now, we haven't admitted or apologized for everything we did, but last year we did admit that we did medical experiments on people.  it was unethical, although not illegal.  so, we apologized for our participation.  but, in the situations of this week, no apologies were issued, or needed.

all willard romney needs to do is admit that they were wrong.  they were misinformed about the timeline of events, and that under their initial understanding of the situation, it looked different.  upon being given the correct order of events, the full situation, they have a better understanding, and respond appropriately.  nope, not going to do it.  days later, with tons of time, with a political isht-storm swirling about, willard romney continues to stand his ground.  he is defiant in his interviews about it.

frankly, i'm mystified.  willard as seen as strong, full of resolve in the situation.  he's sticking to his guns.  well, he's also wrong.  who would celebrate his stick-to-itedness when you're completely wrong about a situation?  i guess it's one of those things that you never want to let facts get in the way of a good argument.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the sleepover disaster

will there be a sleepover disaster show before the end of this year? rumors circulating.

rumors already circulating about a new album, but the chance of a new show has got me excited.

Monday, September 03, 2012

fresno blogger bowl 5






kiss the ring.  or, in this case, my laptop or my trophy. tonight, our group of fresno bloggers had our fantasy football draft, and at said draft, i also was awarded my trophy from last year's win (blogger bowl 4).  we had a little bit of turnover in the league, and a couple of folks had to step out, but we were able to secure 10 teams for the league this year.

as last year's winner, i was awarde the first draw for draft order.  i grabbed 5 from the pitcher.  honestly, i wasn't all that happy with 5.  with 5, there's a good chance you'll miss your desired first pick.  and, in snake draft fashion, that 5 pick is also 15, which probably means you won't get the guy you would have wanted to get at your second pick either. so when michael of weird fresno threw out he was willing to trade the #1, i jumped at it.  i offered him my pick in round 4 & the 5 spot and we switched it up.  this did not work to his benefit in round one, but he was happy with the move.  so, here's how it went, in order for me (you don't care, but wev, this is my blog).

aaron rodgers, green bay qb - this pick was super funny to me, because michael instantly was upset, as he hoped to get rodgers with his recently acquired #5 pick.  sorry, brother, he was the #1 you coulda had.
rob gronkowski, new england te
marshawn lynch, seattle rb
fred jackson, buffalo rb
dez bryant, dallas wr
steve johnson, buffalo wr
willis mcgahee, denver rb
c.j. spiller, buffalo rb
ben tate, houston rb
donald brown, indianapolis rb
ben roethlesberger, pittsburg qb
laurent robinson, jacksonville wr
ny jets defense/special teams
rashad jennings, jacksonville, rb

i'm actually a player short since i traded my fourth rounder away completely.  so, i need to still pick up a kicker before wednesday's first game, but whatever.

looking over my team, i admit i'm a little worried having 3 buffalo guys and 2 jacksonville guys.  one of the buffalo guys is just a handcuff for the starting rb, so that's okay, i guess.  rashad jennings is jacksonville's top ranked rb, but only technically because maurice jones drew held out during the preseason.  if he's not on par, or gets hurt, jennings could be worth it.

some funny highlights from the draft - i think people tried to pick demarco murray three times.  malcolm floyd was picked in back to back rounds...by the same team.  tim tebow was picked, but mark sanchez wasn't.  and oh yeah, people tried to pick randy moss twice, which it was joked that ours was probably the only league where that happened.  good night overall.

and, btw, we had our draft over @ swigg's.  first time i've been there.  good burger, local beers on tap,  wings were good, too.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

tri tip hamburgers

i've had an idea in my mind for a little while.  i think a part of it goes back to the book fast food nation, and the idea that a burger at a restaurant or ground beef at the market could have meat from 100 cows in it.  i realize the claim wasn't intended to be a fact, but it did get me thinking, and sorta stopped me from eating burgers fro a while.  in time, and after watching a lot of food network, i started to think about grinding meat and making my own hamburgers.  this lead me to thinking about burgers made from high quality cuts of meat.  this isn't that crazy of an idea, so i bought a meat grinder.

but we live in central california, where tri tip is king.  it seems like a local law that bbq places must serve tri tip in some form.  sliced tri tip, tri tip steaks, tri tip sandwiches, even tri tip salads.  but for the life of me, i've never seen a tri tip burger.  i started floating the idea out there among friends and everyone thought it sounded like a fabulous idea.  one friend did bring up the idea that it might be dry, as tri tip isn't the fattiest of cuts.  but, i solved this issue by getting a cut of tri tip that was untrimmed (i usually buy it this way, it's a little cheaper and i can trim the fat and decide how much i want to leave on for flavor in cooking).  i trimmed of the silver skin and away we went.



before grinding meat, it's suggested that you chill it in the freezer for a while.  this definitely made it easier to cut the meat into small chunks.  they also recommend you put the parts of the grinder in the freezer as well, although i'm not really sure why.  i still did it though.  speaking of the grinder, i considered a grinder attachment for our kitchen aid stand mixer.  however,  i eventually purchased a standard, hand crank grinder.  it was a little cheaper, but also bigger.  i'm not sure which i will prefer in the long run, but the grinder was easy to use, and fairly easy to clean up afterwards.  while grinding the meat, i added a few cloves of garlic.  that was pretty cool, just drop in a clove every so often while your grinding and it's in the mix.  i didn't add any other seasoning to this point.  after the meat was all ground i added a bit of pepper that i folded into the meat before shaping into patties.  here's the meat as i was finishing up grinding:


now, here's the part where i'm a bad blogger.  i didn't take pictures of the patties.  i was going to do it after they chilled and before i put them on the grill.  didn't.  then, i was going to take some pictures of the cooked patties. didn't.  nor did i take a shot of the finished burger.  lame, lame, lame.  what i can let you know is that they looked nice.  i made most of the patties about 4" across, with a bit of a dimple in the middle.  they cooked up rather well and at the normal rate for most burgers.  i also grilled a bit of romaine lettuce to go on the burgers.

to the flavor: the burgers tasted good.  i slightly overcooked them, which was my own fault, but they still stayed juicy enough.  i'm not sure that you could really taste that it was tri tip, but i still like the idea of a higher quality cut of meat.  overall, the process was worth it and i'll be grinding more meat in the future.

Friday, August 24, 2012

edstewart.net

for a long time, i've had another blog that had my artwork on it.  it's still hanging around the internet, but now i'm proud to let you all know that i have a proper website for my art.  i've updated my sidebar link, and am promoting the site through my social media contacts.

edstewart.net is my new art home.  i'm really excited for you to check it out.

jared jurcak did the work. he's local, he's talented, and yes, he's for hire.  so get at him.

the site currently has 24 of my paintings on it, but it's also got room to grow, so hopefully this will be a little bit of drive to get to work.  i have 2 paintings in progress, that have been in progress for a while.  they need to get done, and i need to get showing (& selling).


and maybe, just maybe, i will finally find a suitable wall w/creative fresno for a mural.  and at that time that sort of stuff can get there, too.

Friday, August 17, 2012

watts' grill chicken & waffles

i'm a fan of watts family grill.  i love their bbq, their sides, and they run a pretty good ship over there.  shoot, the other night, we went there to watch the historic 1-0 u.s. victory over mexico from azteca stadium.  today, i was craving fried chicken, and was thinking about going over to rudy jr.'s chicken man.  but, when we were @ watts the other night, we saw someone having the chicken & waffles, which i haven't had there.

i love chicken and waffles.  the spicing of fried chicken mixed with the sweet of waffle & syrup really does it.  so, i decided to hit up watts instead of chicken man.






this is the 2 piece, one waffle combo from watts.  it's $8.  i had wanted legs or thighs, but they were out so i had to go with just wings.  that's fine.  oh, yeah, that picture is also before i put on syrup.

upon ordering, they let you know that it'll take a little extra time because the fresh fry all their stuff - no sitting around.  the chicken comes out super hot, so i waited and worked on my waffle for a bit.  the waffle is pretty dang good.  i seemed lie a multi-grain type waffle mix, not just your typical waffle batter used to make a fresh waffle.  i liked the powdered sugar, but of course, i also used syrup.  when the wings cooled a bit, a dug in to them, too.  good stuff.  this is actually the 2nd time i've had the fried chicken here, and it's good stuff.

overall, i thought the chicken & waffle combo was a good mix.  it is definitely worth ordering if you want chicken & waffles, or if you want something different than your usual bbq order.

now, here's the real test in my mind: how do they stack up to Roscoe's?  the waffles are a bit different. roscoe's is a little more basic of a waffle, but they also give you a good amount of butter.  i think i actually like watts' waffle better.  but the chicken, man, roscoe's has them beat.  their chicken is ridiculous.  and, i love the gravy option at roscoe's.  this is no slight on watts at all.  it's just, roscoe's is my gold standard for chicken and waffles, and to dethrone the king you've got to really bring it.

chevron trick pricing

so, today i needed to get some gas, and i was in north fresno, away from the gas stations i usually go to.  i was heading south on north blackstone and saw that i could get to a 76 or a chevron.  i scanned the signs, and the cash price was about the same, or so i thought.  chevron was going to be a little easier to get to, so i pulled in, went inside, and gave the attendant my cash for the fill up.

and then, i realized i had been duped.


you see, on my experiences, and i'm sure yours as well, gas stations advertise their cash and credit prices.  so, in the picture above, i saw that the cash prices were $4.25, $4.17, and $4.25, with the credit prices 20 cents more at each level.

nope, at this station, those lower prices are for a gallon with a car wash.  with a car wash?  w.t.f.?

yes, it is my own fault for not being able to read that with car wash element when i was going by and eyeballing the prices.  i understand that.  but that is some chicanery by chevron, setting up their pricing advertisement just like every other station, but swapping in a variation of car wash instead of cash.

to be honest, i have no idea what it would have cost me had i been using plastic instead of cash.  i dread the thought that it would've been another 20 cents on top of the non-car wash price.  it's pretty devious to trick your patrons in that manner, especially at 20 cents a gallon.  since i ride a motorcycle, the car wash wasn't even an option, so i'm not sure what it would have actually cost in addition to the gas for the car wash.

today's lesson: i should have gone to 76.  and, never assume that the standard formatting is what you're getting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

stringer bell raps

i can't say i know the band milk.  i can't say that i'm particularly fond of their maroon fivesque sound.

but i can say that when i heard that stringer bell (idris elba) was rapping on a track, i was like, yes please.


not exactly the best bars i've ever heard spit.  i really like the confused looks on the faces of some of the band.

btw, i know that mr. elba does some dj-ing.  i think i'll try and see if i can find some footage of that next.

Monday, August 13, 2012

pinot wine bar

so, i'm not a big wine person, so i've sort of stayed away from pinot even though it's in my neighborhood and i always like to find good, local food.  i also didn't think their menu was all that extensive.  anyway, a good friend had told me that they had been recently and that we should check it out, and that they dinner menu had changed a little.

i stopped by on a wednesday evening and it was crazy hot outside.  inside, very pleasant.  clean, cool atmosphere greeted us, and we sat with our friends who had gotten there before us.  the waiter brought out waters and menus, and gave us some time to look over things.

when he came back, i ordered a spatten off their beer menu - even though they're a wine bar they have a very nice beer menu.  not sure if they have much on tap, but have a good bottle selection and most are very reasonably priced.

anyway, my wife ordered one of the cheese plates and a dessert for dinner. she really liked it - the cheese was up to her expectations and it also came with fruit and nuts.  yeah, i know, this is basic cheese plate stuff, but it was still good.  i ordered the burger & fries.  the burger comes with fresh lettuce, tomato and choice of cheese. you can also add bacon or an egg for an additional charge. i wanted to taste their burger as is, so i just went with the standard order. i was impressed that it was cooked to order, and the chef actually cooked it right.  sounds simple, again, but often a cooked to order burger is still well done, which isn't my taste.  the burger had a very good taste. the fries were some simple shoe strings, but the tasted nice, and were finished with a sea or kosher salt.

i will certainly be going back for the burger again, but this time i'll be adding the egg for sure because eggs on burgers are the business.  probably the bacon as well.  the food menu isn't super large, and the other items seemed interesting and worth trying.  i have no idea about the wines.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

doughnuts 2 go review

i was looking for something different for lunch, and remembered that a little place down olive had bierocks.  That place: doughnuts 2 go (or maybe it's donuts 2 go, i can't remember).  for those that remember, this locale used to be a chinese food, burgers & donuts place, but a few months back it became Doughnuts 2 Go.  they still do multiple things, as exhibited by the fact that i went in and had 2 bierocks.  they were pretty basic (ground beef & cabbage) but good tasting and cheap - $1.99 each.  i was rather pleased with the taste.  i'm not sure if they make them on the premises or are buying them from someone else, but i'd guess they pre-make them and then heat them up.  anyway, they tasted good.

i also wanted to try out the doughnuts, so i bought a apple fritter to eat later.  the doughnuts seem reasonably priced, and i think the fritter was $1.75 - but your average doughnut was under $1.  i'm not sure when they made the fritter (i'm assuming it was in the morning) but i ate it about 5 hours after buying it, and it still tasted really fresh and good.

they also do burgers & fries, and the prices seemed good, so i think i'll have to go back at some point and check out the burgers, too.

601 E. Olive
Fresno, CA 93728
(559) 443-1730

Friday, August 10, 2012

please help stop crime in the tower district: facebook folly?

i once was a part of a group on facebook.  it seemed like a pretty good idea.  neighbors wanted to help each other out.  they wanted to be able to let people what was going on, and help find solutions.  i don't know if this can ever really work, but i thought it was a good idea.  eventually, i took myself out of the group.

yes, i left the "please help stop crime in the tower district" group on facebook.

why?  well, despite the best intentions of the founders of the group*, it became a place to bitch and moan about the things that certain people didn't like.  i admit, i wasn't fond of some of these things as well, but i also didn't think that these gripes really met the purpose of the group.  yes, the tower community garden had become a mess, a nuisance, and some minor criminal activity was happening there, but overall, was that the problem of crime in the neighborhood?  and the voluntarily homeless that loitered around some of the businesses were bad, but again, were they the major problem around?  it was these sorts of frequent posts and ensuing comment threads that drove me out of the group, which, since it's a facebook group leaving was pretty easy.

the group continues on, as it should.  and, as i would expect, it has just gotten worse.  there are still some beneficial posts, stuff that actually alerts people about crime happening, but there is soooo much more.  somebody thinks they heard a gun shot.  someone saw some guy that looks "suspicious" in their neighborhood.  the cops arrested someone in fresno with a gun so i'm posting a photo.  i saw the cops, anyone know why?  little ceasars is a nuisance.  and the comments on most post, ugh.  they range from racist to threats of violence to the occasionally helpful.

i mean, i understand if you just saw someone committing a crime, and you're giving people the heads up.  but when there are continual comments and posts advocating open violence, i'm not sure you're helping to end crime in the neighborhood.  i'm pretty sure that advocating crime isn't going to stop crime.

here's a few actual comments from recent threads:  
"Forget the police. It's time to shoot a thief when they try to rob your place. Maybe if a few gang mutts were hung in front of the Tower they'd get the message and move on."

"Text me from now on since PD's "too busy", besides there's only one thing these guys understand and it isnt cell phone pics or threats to call the cops. Remember they didnt grow up like you and me, their moral compasses are off, the threat of the cops doesnt strike fear in them anymore because they know they'll be out within the hour... so maybe a 6'5" 235lb tattoo covered Marine confronting them would be the best medicine from now on"

"mark my words everyone, there will be a day in the near future when we will have to rise up and protect ourselves. Depending on a non existent police presence is not going to protect you or your belongings anymore. We have to watch out for each other, protect each other and stand up against this criminal element who is preying on us like we are baby gazelle. If we ALL stand up, If we all confront them in unison regardless of personal belief about how to go about it, then they will stop. We cant stand idly by anymore because we are too afraid to confront someone, we cannot let these people take our possessions so freely. Please meditate on my words friends. Because I will be standing with you should this be the case when I am out, I will be emphasis to your voice and strength behind your strength and courage. I hope that after reading this that we will start making a difference, and not allowing people to stand alone as victims any longer."

now, those last two comments are from the same guy.  who is he, bane?  

here's one from someone else
"it's typical entitlement society behavior. These street people think they can harass and intimidate people. Then when challenged they want to play the "homeless", "mentally ill' ,or "race card". It's time to teach them to stop messing with people. This cavepest makes the mistake of sitting on the ground in front of the post office in the afternoon. A good quick kick from a steel boot might teach him some manners. Old ladies might be scared of him but he better watch out. I's how they operate they target people they think are weak or they can intimidate."

yep, this is going to stop crime in the tower.
 
my favorite part of the page, though, has to be the post about cafe corazon not opening until 10 a.m., and all of these people that "love" the tower attacking a successful business family for their decision to keep the hours that work for them.  effing brilliant.  

*please understand that this post is in no way intended as a slight to the founders or their intentions. the idea may be good, but i'm critiquing what the page has become and expressing the why i've left & stay away.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

show review: the mallard

"The Mallard, Strawberry Jam, Ornery Ones were fantastic last night! The Mallard sounds super cool as a four piece!" - Luke Giffen, via facebook


last night i went out to see the mallard play at audie's olympic.  fortunately, heather is on vacation so she was able to go as well.  i like the mallard, and really like them live.  for those that don't know, the lead singer of the mallard is greer, formerly of rademacher, but it's a much, much different sound than the old days of rad.  i dig it.  the first time i saw the mallard it was a two piece. then, heather and i saw them as a three piece. now, it's a four piece and sounds really good.  the music is more densely constructed, but still has a very light, energetic and loud feel to it.

the first band of the night was a project featuring james brittain gore on guitar & singing, benji mcentee (of the fay rays) on bass, and another guy on drums.  they had a nice sound, but it didn't blow me away.

the second band of the night was strawberry jam.  i'd never heard of them, but they're from the area.  and they freakin rock.  both heather & i were astonished by the bass player especially.  she laid down some seriously good bass lines on the night.  i shot two videos of them to share with the world:





finally, the mallard was up.  i could see them over and over.  the energy.  the talent.  the awesome noise.  the videos don't do them justice.








so, i'd agree with luke.  awesome show last night.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

paterno statue removed


this weekend this famous statue was removed.  and it should have been.

some would say that joe paterno was a great coach, and we should honor his accomplishments.  the statue should stay.  while i understand the sentiment, and agree that he was a great football coach, we can not deny what he also did: cover up a horrendous crime.

joe paterno tarnished his own legacy.  he could have done things differently.  he could have reported his dear friend to the police as soon as he was aware.  he could have made sure that a great university would not be brought down by such a heinous scandal.  i realize paterno was not alone in this.  everyone complicit in this scenario should be brought to light.

but football is not as important as life.  football, wins, and paterno are not as important as those children's lives that were ruined.  i know there are many that still would love to worship at the altar of paterno, but they should not.  and the university needed to take down the statue as a way of closing the door on that part of their history.  as long as that statue remained it would be a reminder of the shame paterno brought on himself and the university.

i wonder if the school's ice cream shop will still sell peachy paterno? (yep)

btw, the photo above is me in 2008. i visited happy valley on our way to a friend's bachelor party.  i respected paterno as a coach, even though i wasn't a penn state fan or from the area.  i thought it would be cool to take a picture with the statue.  here's another one i took:


in case you can't make out the words, it says "they ask me what i what i'd like written about me when i'm gone. i hope the write i made penn state a better place not just that i was a good football coach."

sadly, that's not what is being written any more.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

lela's dinner review

it's restaurant week in fresno. that means a lot of local restaurants have fixed price menus going, and you all should get out and try some place new.  you don't have to go to one of the participating restaurant, but you should go to something local and new to you, in my opinion.  for us, the stars aligned and we decided to go to lela's.

you see, the other night i was talking to nolan, a guy i've talked to a few times before, but i wouldn't say i know him really well.  i know him, he knows me, in the sense of we've got some shared friends, we've chatted at bars, and we'd definitely say hi to each other in passing.  well, the other day we ran into each other and he told me all about the new ventures in his life.  he had been cooking in restaurants, but has stopped, and is now a part of tower urban family farm.  he and his brothers have converted some property around one (maybe more) of their houses into farm, and are growing vegetables.  they're selling it every weekend from the urban farm.  they're also in the process of getting certified as a farm, something that's a little tricky when you're in the city limits.  once they are certified, nolan felt they could really be sustainable as a business because they could sell more openly to restaurants and such.  in fact, he said he had at least two places that specifically will be using their vegetables as soon as they are certified, but aren't able to take the risk before.  one place that is willing to go out on a limb is lela's.

lela's is out at herndon and marks, which is pretty far out there for us.  it's not that we won't go to different parts of town for food or entertainment, but this is any area of town that we don't spend much time in.  lela's is tucked away in a less than scenic shopping center, but that doesn't really matter for the dining experience once you're inside.  the decor is nice and clean, fairly modern and there's a window that allows you to see the chefs at work.  they have a few booths and mostly tables.  i'd guess the place seats around 50 to 60 people.

the menu is standard american cuisine, and i don't say that in any sort of pejorative manner.  in a recent fresno bee article it was referred to as lighter, traditional fare.  for starters, we had the cheese & fruit plate and the crab cakes.  my wife really enjoyed the cheeses. (admittedly, we love cheese, and will get cheese plate appetizers at a lot of restaurants. if it's on the menu, we'll probably order one.) i had the crab cakes, which were a dungeneus crab mix, coated in panko. they're served on a bed of greens with a light sauce.  they were amazing.  you get 3, i could have foolishly eaten like 30.  maybe that's just me.  for our mains, we ordered the grilled salmon and the ribeye.  the salmon comes with quinoa, which had a texture like maybe it had been fried a little, and that was pretty nice. it also had a nice sweetness to it.  my wife said if quinoa was always like this she would love it.  it also comes with some root vegetables and arugula.  the salmon was well prepared, but overall was pretty normal.  the ribeye comes portabella mushroom potato croquet, spinach and asparagus.  i liked the veggies, but whatever, i was focused on the ribeye.  the ribeye was everything i expected: tender, juicy, flavorful. it had a simple seasoning to it, which allowed the meat flavor to stand out on it's own.  yes, there is a glaze that went over the food, but it added to the flavor and didn't dominate the plate.  i was also pleased that the ribeye was trimmed of most of the fat but still had a little on the edge along with the juicy amounts in the cut.  honestly, sometimes at restaurants you get a ribeye that has a crazy amount of fat and can be a bit overwhelming.  for dessert, we had the new york cheesecake which was good, and their take on the drumstick - the deconstructed drumstick, which is a scoop of ice cream with a waffle cone peace on it, chocolate sauce w/peanuts and some cashews.  both desserts were good, but we were pretty full from our meal and neither of us finished dessert (again, we were just full, both tasted good).

as for the staff, we found our waiter very nice.  he and the other staff seemed pretty knowledgeable and willing to serve.  it seems strange to say that about wait staff, but sometimes they just want to talk your ear off, or aren't around.  we were checked on a reasonable amount of times, and the waiter actually asked my opinion on how they do their coffee - they bring out a french press to your table.  i was honest, and said it was alright but not great.  i liked the presentation of it, but the coffee itself wasn't that great, and with french pressed coffee it always seems a bit silty.  it was also nice that the executive chef come out and was checking on patrons, and stopped by.  i wanted to ask him some questions, but was busy with my ribeye when he came to our table.

overall, we had a very nice experience, would recommend lela's to other's, and would go back again.

lela's
7089 marks avenue, ste 101
432-9900

btw, i recommend reservations, and the dress seems like dress casual.

Friday, June 29, 2012

spiral cut hot dog

i saw a video, specifically this video from chow.com, the other day on the internet about spiral cutting a hot dog before cooking it.



i thought i would have to try that technique the next time i cooked up dogs.  for anyone that knows me, i love hot dogs.  i realize that they aren't the pinnacle of culinary creation.  but, they are handy, and offer a lot of variety in preparation technique and condiments afterward.  i like to try different combos to really make hot dogs interesting.

this spiral cut technique works well.  i didn't use a skewer so the cuts weren't as deep as in the video, but it still worked.  and, like they mention in the video it does allow for more crispy deliciousness.  i'm sold, i think this may be the way for me in the future.

this also made me miss tower dogs and their options on dogs.

finally, i recommend checking out chew's youtube channel. lots of good ideas there.

UPDATE: i didn't realize heather mclane of the beehive blogged this yesterday.  granted, we wrote different stuff, but just wanted to point it out in case people were thinking i was biting another local site w/o credit.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

fierce creatures changing

if you're on the fresno internets, or have seen indie rock in fresno over the past few years you have to have heard of the band fierce creatures. in fact, we had a few members of the band on looksgoodfresno.com. currently, they are gearing up to release a new album, and put out a video for the first song off the record.
 

but here's where it gets interesting. rumors are circulating that the band is breaking up. well, maybe breaking up is the wrong word. several members are leaving, three from what i heard. some will stay with the band through the release and some upcoming shows, but then are out. while i don't want to name my source, it is veeeerrrrrrrry reliable. things could change, and it's possible the leaving members don't, but it didn't sound like that would be the case. so what does that mean for fresno's up and coming musical darlings? i don't know. i hope they're able to fill in the holes with good replacements. they're a band with a lot of potential. speaking of rumors, enjoy this:

Friday, June 22, 2012

master of doin' it

what is this, a blog that just post videos? shhhh, i know, i know. but i loves to share that vids that i enjoy. so today, here's my latest find & share:

i grew up loving a variety of music, and was blessed with an older brother with good taste in music. i got to experience in brit music, college rock, and rap all before a lot of my peers. but metal, that was all my own. and i loved metallica. had the shirts, the music, everything i could get my hands on. for a class project we had to write a letter to someone famous, i chose them. i actually got a signed photo in return, which was awesome to junior high me. as an adult, i'm not as much into metal, but throw on an old metallica album and i'm there. i've also grown in my appreciation of music, especially funk, from the 70's. seriously, i think stevie wonder's songs in the key of life may be one of the best albums ever made. while i can't say i've listened to a lot of herbie hancock beyond rockit (that video scared the shit out of me as a kid), i enjoy this mashup and what he lays down on it. i think i may need to dig into his catalog a bit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

news reporter prank

pranks for all! so, what this really reminds me of is beauty pageant contestant answers. people put on the spot will try to answer about anything. and if they really don't know, they'll adlib. some of these adlibs are kinda funny and true, but others just, well, dumb.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

shake weight prank

i don't mind pranks, especially when they're not making someone else look bad, or really at their expense. so, this shake weight prank works well for me. i mean, it's obvious what everyone is thinking, and their reactions are pretty normal. 'what is this guy doing on the street?' and then to see their reactions, and frequent laughter when they see the gag, i can appreciate it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

prometheus plot holes

and now for prometheus spoilers and plot holes, provided by red letter media i still enjoyed the movie, and wouldn't mind seeing it again, but some of the holes they point out are quite interesting.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

prometheus review

this is just a brief review, mainly because i don't want to spoil the movie for anyone. so,we want to see prometheus today. i'm probably blogging about it too soon, because i'm still digesting the film. what i will say is that i liked the film. i'm not sure why people think it's going to be scary, because i didn't find that to be the case at all. really, i didn't even think that it was all that suspenseful either. it's an interesting story, to me, and i like how it was told. but what's got me wondering is why david does many of his actions. his actions seem malicious at times, and this doesn't make sense to me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

nba conference championships

so, i like basketball.  i mean, i like it enough to watch it occasionally.  there are teams i follow, and i would actually say i've been a bulls fan most of my life. (yes, i started like basketball and the bulls after they got jordan, but what kid my age didn't? so shut up.)  anyway, i haven't watched much basketball this post season, especially after derrick rose went down at the beginning of the playoffs due to injury. i was glad the bulls played scrappy and hung around in their series even though i figured they couldn't win without rose (& later noah).

but this week, as the nba moved into the conference championships, and it finally got interesting. the spurs went up 2-0 only to have the thunder figure them out.  the celtics looked verrrrrrrrrry tired and went down 0-2 to the heat, and have since stormed back.  i've actually watched the fourth quarters of each game five because the games were actually interesting, close, and mattered.

so, last night i was watching the celtics put it on the heat in quarter 4, and as they finished the game i was treated to this awesomeness:



"good job! good effort!"

how awesome is that kid yelling! it cracked me up last night, and it was no surprise to me that today it had taken off as an internet meme.  it's on the sports radio (i've heard it about a dozen times on this morning's jim rome), i'm sure espn is talking about it, and sports websites are running with it.  in these internet days, who knows how long "good job! good effort!" will last, but i love it.

btw, i continue to say kudos to the nba.  unlike most leagues, they love it for you to upload clips to youtube.  most sports leagues quickly take down clips you put up and claim the content.  that stops the spread of the product. stupid. the nba realizes that people putting it out there is good, it's free advert for them, and the product grows.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

grilled chz - dinner review

went last night to check out this restaurant. i really enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches at home, and thought it would be nice to see the concoctions that there were making at this spot.

my wife ordered the double cream brie sandwich that came with turkey in it.  she enjoyed the sandwich and saved half for later.  (she may have made the mistake of leaving it in the frig, in which case it'll be my lunch!)  along with that, she had the tomato bisque, which was sorta weak. i mean, we both tasted it, and i didn't taste any difference from your average tomato soup (which they also have on the menu).

i had the borderbob, which is pepperjack with chili in it on a spicy potato bread.  very good tasting, nice spice to the sandwich.  i was actually a bit taken back because i often read descriptions and they claim to be spicy and this one actually was.  along with my combo i had the mac n cheese.  it was sorta bland.

i saw fries coming out on other orders & thought i'd add on a side of fries just to try them out as well.  they were darn good.  the size of an individual fry is close to steak fries, and they were well prepared - hot & cooked to the right firmness, which is somewhere between hard & mush - they hit it right.  very little salt on them, so if you want them salty you can control that, which is nice.

overall, we liked the sandwiches and fries.  the other sides we had were lackluster.  i'd go back again. for some, it may be a bit pricey but i didn't feel it was unreasonable.

the wire: the musical!

funny or die did something to help celebrate the 10 year anniversary of one of the best shows ever, the wire.  they made a musical parody trailer




i love that they got a lot of the original cast to show up in play parts.  of course, nothing would be possible without omar (michael kenneth williams aka bkbmg) starring in it.  this doesn't surprise me as he is a trained dancer & choreographer, but it's fun to see his talents showcased.

and yes, snoop's part is ridiculous, strange, but i like it.  i wonder how her legal issues are going?

since it's the 10 year anniversary of the wire, other things have been happening on the web around the show.  many of the actors are on twitter, and so they've been tweeting about the show. (i personally follow omar, bunk, bubbles. i've seen twitter for slim charles & a few others.)  there is also a massive project starting.  Peter Honig is doing a breakdown of the show, writing multiple in depth posts on each episode.  Great idea, although it seems way more to keep up with than i'm willing.

me, i've just been watching the show via hbogo while i hit the elliptical.  nothing says gritty baltimore drug deals more than me working out.  i started there, but have also been watching episodes at home. it's hard to not just burn through episode after episode like some sort of burner bought from bubble's shopping cart.

UPDATE: david simon, creator of the wire, has seen it and loves it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

tetris the movie

forget battleshit, i might actually see this* bastardizing of something i once enjoyed.



well done, people.

*i realize this isn't real, but a parody trailer for a fake movie.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

robert glasper experiment smells like teen spirit

rather interesting video of smells like teen spirit.



i don't know much about jazz hip hop fusion, but i'm almost willing to try it out while i paint.

Monday, April 30, 2012

stak shak lunch review

a few weeks back, i'm not exactly sure when, i saw that a couple of new places had opened up along my drive to and from work.  one, a taco stand that used to be open years ago had new life breathed into it.  the other, a strange little building that i never really noticed until the new sign went up and lights were on.  this oddly shaped place: the stak shak.

today, i had the chance to drop in on the stak shak for some lunch.  they have a decent sized menu that is centered around the idea of sandwiches, hot dogs and more.  they have both hot and cold sandwiches, a variety of dogs, and some special offers as well.  the interior of the restaurant is pleasant, and has a "home-y" feel to it.

since it was my first time, and i knew i'd be writing about the meal, i wanted to try a few things.  i also hoped they had pastrami since i love pastrami, and it's something i've had all over and can compare.  they did have pastrami, which i ordered. you can get it on a variety of breads, and i went with sourdough.  i also love hot dogs, and so i ordered the western dog as well.  they have several drink options, some bottle, some not.  i went basic and had a bottled root beer.

i ate the dog first. the western dog comes with bbq sauce, shredded cheese and onions.  i should have ordered without the onions, as they're not a favorite of mine, but i was able to knock them off fairly easy and enjoy the dog.  the bbq sauce was a sweet bbq, and worked well with the cheese & dog.  the dog itself was an average dog, but fine.  the whole thing comes with a pickle side.  i liked the dog, and my only beef with it was the price.  all the dogs cost $5.50, which is a little more than they're worth in my opinion.

after devouring my dog, i went to the pastrami.  first, it's a cold pastrami sandwich, which i figured when i saw the menu.  i prefer hot pastrami to cold, but whatever. i chose the sourdough, which was a pretty good, thicker slices of sourdough.  they use a spicy mustard that i really loved.  it's one of those mustards that has the little seed balls in it. great flavor, really worked with the sandwich.  the meat itself was decent, lunch meat style pastrami with a fine flavor.  the lettuce was shredded, and i prefer leaf.  the pastrami sandwich costs $6.

overall, i thought the place was fine. the service was nice, and rather quick in filling orders.  the restaurant was comfortable to be in, and they do have free wifi.  i thought the food was good, not great, and it seems a little pricey, but not exorbitant.  for those that are inclined, you can all or fax in orders in advance.

stak shak
1950 e. divisadero
fresno, 93701
p:559.497.5101
f:550.497.5102
m-f, 7a -3p












Tuesday, April 24, 2012

cabin in the woods film review

it was a combination of friends going to a movie on a saturday afternoon coupled with a heat snap that sent us to watch the new release, cabin in the woods.  going into the film, i had very little idea about it. i had seen a preview, and it sorta looked like your stock slasher film – girls that will in all likelihood get nude and then die, people being brutally tortured and then dying, and a lone survivor.  it was unlikely that i would have gone and seen the film if the previous two conditions didn’t exist.  i actually felt that the movie was a remake of a previous film as it had the feeling of a 70’s b-flick and hollywood has been remaking the crap out of films of that genre.  so, i went in with little or no expectations.
side note – if you were initially headed out to lunch, then decided to join friends for a matinee, the movie theater is a bad place to actually eat a meal.  the options are fairly limited, and because they make so much on concessions, you’re going to spend a lot to get a little.  we knew this, and still did it.  oh well.
the movie centers around five college students who become a trapped, you guessed it, in a cabin in the woods.  i’m not giving anything away by mentioning plot points here because it’s right out in the open. honestly, in the first ten minutes or so you know the whole basis of the movie, the why things are going to happen. five college students have been selected because of their personalities and their youth. they will be sacrificed as a part of a ritual to appease something or someone greater in the world.
overall, i found the film to be pretty good. it’s no masterpiece, but it’s not supposed to be citizen kane. it’s a summer horror flick.  then again, it’s much more than that. while it does have the torture elements mentioned above, it has a lot of wit about it.  there is some decent dialog, and there were points that the whole theater were laughing at what was being said or was happening on screen. these were laughs that the writers intended, not just the comedy that slasher films can be.  there were also a few good “jump” moments that this type of film needs.
few random points: 
  • i was pleasantly surprised that the characters didn’t just behave in stereotypical horror fashion. when they did, it was explained. so, yes, the football guy acts like a dumb jock at points, but it makes sense, and more so than any other typical horror film.
  • i loved the references to other horror films. there were a lot of little winks and nods at other movies.  well done.  at some point i was trying to list all the references but it’s just too many. not in an overwhelming way, but there is a lot of little nods.
  • i can’t say it was perfectly done, but the drug references were better handled than in a lot of movies. i know it’s a strange, small complaint, but it does bug me when people in films take drugs and behave in manners that are unlike actual drug reactions. think about it, how many times have you seen someone in a movie ingest weed in some manner, and then act completely unlike any of your stoner friends. not the case here, so kudos.


the final verdict – cabin in the woods is a fun film.  with movie prices as what they are, i don’t think you have to rush out and see this on a friday night, but maybe catch a matinee. definitely see it on dvd, netflix or cable.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

not good, slash

i enjoy the jimmy kimmel show.  i think he's one of the funnier guys on tv, and i think he's the best in late night tv.  one other reason why i like kimmel is that he does a pretty good job of bringing on upcoming bands, or the new, interesting acts.

i had no pretense that slash would be new or upcoming. i mean, dude helped get guns n roses off the ground 25 years ago.  he's a legend, a great musician.  so, i was intrigued to hear his new band, to hear what was driving slash these days.



yawn.

i mean, really, that was not interesting at all.  it wasn't even good.  seriously, that sounds about as good as a cover band playing at sequoia brewing on a saturday night.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

wall writers

graffiti. i have a love/hate idea about graffiti. there's a part of me that really enjoys good graf art, but there's the other part of me that thinks graf is mostly garbage, and usually is just destructive to the social environment.  then again, maybe a lot of graf pops up in areas that are already blighted and so to have an explosion of color brings new life.  if you see the wavering in this first paragraph, you should know that it continues on in my mind.

so, i came across this trailer for a movie about early graffiti.  it looks pretty interesting. 

   

i like the connection to the vandals.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

victory vegas clutch cables suck

grrrrrr

above my fingers you see a broken clutch cable. let me rephrase that, another broken clutch cable. i have a 2006 victory vegas. i love that bike. it's fun, i've put 20,000 + miles on it. what i don't love is that in the 5 years that i've had it, i've broken 3 clutch cables. w.t.f.? it's not like a ride the clutch or anything stupid like that. seriously, i use the clutch when shifting, and that's it. when i'm at stop lights, i sit in neutral. and yet, i have had three frickin cables brake. two have broken at the connection to the handle, and this one popped down by the transmission. this leads me to believe that their cables are crap. but what can i do? it's not like there are alternate cables i could use (there aren't). victory makes crap clutch cables. i won't even get into their cheap rear brakes they use.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

kids swede movies

so, i was sorta sad to see more people doing swedes, since our fresno boys @ dumb drum have made it so spectacular and it feels like a little bit of "our thing" (i say our like i've done one) is leaving us.  then again, i think they would like more people to do them and to have fun.  (i haven't asked.)

so, here is some kids sweding the fight with the black knight from monty python's holy grail



it seems they have several more, all using kids that don't know the scene/lines/movie and are given them as they go.

Friday, February 24, 2012

brick - restaurant review

i recently read about a new place opening downtown.  remember hero's? austin's? heroes?  well, in that seeming cursed spot a new restaurant has arrived.  it's called brick.  they're no longer a sports bar, instead trying to be a classier joint, with a grand piano, a fresh menu, and suggested upscale attire.  i didn't exactly know when or if i'd head down there, but a friend mentioned on facebook that tonight the restaurant was bringing in a concert pianist, so we headed down for some dinner.

now, this review can go a lot of ways.  and, i think the restaurant could go a lot of ways.  i'll keep it nice, but i'll also try not to pull any punches.

first of all, it looks very nice in there.  they haven't done a ton to change the decor, but it does feel cleaned up, sleek, and not just another sports bar.  they've talked about having classic movies going but i didn't see if they had one going tonight.  what i did notice is that they have tv's, and tonight i saw the food network on one and cnn on another.  honestly, if i think upscale, i don't think tv's.  really, i would pull all the tv's out if it were my place.  i just don't understand why so many places put tv's in restaurants now.

to the menu - they have a decent, smallish menu.  honestly, i appreciate that they have a limited menu instead of pages and pages of crap.  on the menu are a few salads, some wraps and burgers, some pizzas a chicken dish, a steak and a few other items.  however, i wouldn't say that the menu isn't all that upscale.  seems pretty basic to me, at least in writing, but it could still be presented and taste high quality/upscale.  i'm not sure if they have any sort of appetizers.  i didn't see any on the menu, other than soup, but our waitress asked if we wanted any starters, which confused us since we didn't see any, and hadn't been told about any.  the same thing happened with dessert - the waitress asked if we would like any, to which we asked what they had.  it seems that their dessert menu varies at each service, which is fine, but it does make it a little hard to order dessert if you have no idea what they might have.

tonight, i tried out the chicken under a brick and my wife had the spicy thai salmon salad.  i really liked my chicken.  it had a great flavor and seasoning to it.  it came with green beans & potatoes which were both good, but the potatoes were a tad greasy.  my wife's salad looked pretty good, and tasted decent, but she felt it could have been a bit better.  she liked the mix of the salad greens, but some of the items used in the description (cilantro, peanuts) were more of a garnish than actual ingredients integrated into the salad.  we didn't have any wine, but it seemed like they had a decent selection.  their coffee, however, was not good tasting. it tasted like it had been on a burner for a long time.

finally, the service.  this is the third restaurant i've been to at this location, and i've yet to see any of them do a good job on the initial point of service.  you enter, and it seems like you wait and wait for anyone to welcome you or seat you or anything.  still that way, which baffles me because it seems so basic to have someone welcoming patrons, making sure that people know that yes, you will be seated.  this seems to be falling on their wait staff, who is understandably doing something else (their jobs).  our particular waitress seemed pretty nice & helpful, but she also seemed a bit scattered at times.  we didn't see her after getting our meals until we were already done.  that's not terrible, but then again, i would've liked a refill on coffee.

so, would i go back?  probably.  i really do like the idea.  i enjoyed the piano in the background.  i liked my food, and wouldn't mind trying a few other things.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

do i like miley?

okay, i feel like someone should just punch me repeatedly in the head right now.  why, you ask? well, i was catching up on my episodes of jimmy kimmel from the week, and on wednesday night miley cyrus was on the show.  and i liked it.



now, she is doing a bob dylan song, which means it is infinitely better written than any of the songs she has done before.
and, she is doing it country style, which means it won't be poppy screeching or auto-tuned nonsense.

honestly, at the start of the show i heard she was doing an album of dylan songs and thought that it would have to be terrrrrrrrrrrrrrible. right now, i'm not so sure.  if the other songs are like this, it could be worth picking up. furthermore, if she were to shift her career in this direction, she could possibly be a respectable artist.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

god bless america

bobcat goldthwait has a new film out that looks sorta interesting.



on a real level, the idea of just killing anyone that annoys you is a bad idea, but on a cinematic level, i see how the idea could be sort of interesting.  then again, it also sounds a little bit like how this movie turned out.

Monday, February 06, 2012

monday haiku 2/6

uninspired ads
during super bowl left me
wanting less of them