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It all happened when I had to redeem my crappy friend status……..

EL CORTEZ
TEQUILA BAR + KITCHEN
10322 83 Ave NW,
Edmonton, AB

“Ugh, I forgot to phone you back” I texted to her, feeling like a bag of shit. “No worries”, she said ” You can redeem your crappy friend status if you meet me at a new spot tonight that I’ve wanted to try for a while”, Brandy, (my cool, smart, witty friend who is a great foodie as well) bargained. “Hell ya!” I said, after taking a peek at the online menu.  By the way, I need to give a big shout out to restaurants who put their menu’s online. There’s nothing worse than the moment when you realize you hate everything on the menu, and so now you have no choice but to just get drunk because booze is all you can to order. It really cuts on down the awkwardness.

El Cortez is a new spot that’s opened in the old Sweet 69 space on Gateway Blvd Northbound. Now, to be fair, I don’t know a lot about mexican fare, but my girl Brandy does. She spent time traveling around Mexico and the girl can make a wicked taco – not to mention knowing her way around an excellent ceviche.  She would lead the evening in the food selections and I of course, would just be funny, gorgeous entertaining self.

I arrived before her, so I found a comfy seat by the window (picnic table style) and took a look around. Let me tell you, the decor in this place KICKS ASS!! I’ve not seen anything like it, and would hazard a guess that the rest of Edmonton hasn’t either. Brandy said she read somewhere that the decor could be described like an old gangster setup, rough and tough, all grafitti’d up and expectant of dude with a handlebar mustache (think Danny Trejo kinda, in “Machete”) to come in with guns a blazin’,… but then his girlfriend comes in and throws in her girly touch to the mix. (That’s the gist of what she was saying anyway.) Take a look at this awesome decor. It’s literally an exciting sight for bored eyes that are SO done with looking at the same old sleek-clean-lines-wood-steel decorating that tries too hard in that  “I’m trying to be cool” way.

There’s no trying here, El Cortez decor IS cool.

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Oh, our server was super cool too. She did a great job. She had great suggestions  – I wanted a fruity type drink, so she suggested one that was on the menu. Unfortunately, they were out of the alcohol needed to make it. (Ummmmm… On a thursday night, you’re out of booze for certain drinks on your menu??) So, I picked another drink off the menu:

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Wooooeeeeeee!!!! I took a sip, and instantly feared talking in the direction of the burning candle. Flame thrower is not a good look for any girl. Boooooozy!!! If your idea of a cocktail is pure alcohol, then you may like it.  But my inner alchie is a pansy-ass so I didn’t like the drink. Finally, I settled on a glass of white which was again, one of the servers suggestions, and it was fine.

Appetizers:

TAQUITO:  Ahi tuna wrapped in a tortilla with wasabi avocado crema, onion, pickle, tomato and watercress.

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This appetizer was DELISH!! The wrap was warm and crispy, the tuna firm and succulent. The wasabi crema could have been a bit more plentiful on the plate, but what was there added a slightly spicy creaminess that helped tone down the pickle on the crunchy onion. It all worked together wonderfully. Was it worth the 17 dollars for the appetizer?  No. However, it was pretty damn tasty.

 

CEVICHE: Albacore tuna, sweet potato, roasted corn, cilantro, chilies with tortilla chips3
Snoooore. This ceviche limped along, trying to act all ceviche like, but just couldn’t cut it. We even tried to help it by asking for extra lime and salt, but it was just no bueno. It was bland with the occasional hit of sweetness from the corn and… sweet potato. Sweet potato in a ceviche? That was a first for us but we were willing to keep an open mind, and it just didn’t cut it. It was a miss for both of us. However, I have to say, the tableware in this joint is INCREDIBLY gorgeous. Every dish was served on a great piece of pottery that gave it an authentic feel. I want to have it.
 
Now.
 
Ok, moving on……
 
Salad:
 
Watermelon Salad: Squares of watermelon with jalapeno, shallot, water cress, and torched queso with a tequila lime dressing.
 
 
 
 
 
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This salad sounded so delectable in words. I was SO excited because really, I could be a watermelon kingpin. I’d love to have a watermelon empire if I lived somewhere hot, because I simply love watermelon so much. Unfortunately, it almost whispered “sorry” to me when the server brought it our table. Again, cool ass plate, but approximately five pieces of watermelon with barely “torched” (not really even melted) cheese on top. If by saying onion, they meant radish, then that part was good and crispy, but I saw no onion on the plate. The dressing was nice, but I think they put chili oil on the plate as well? Sorry, another let down.
 
Tacos:
 
We ordered three kinds:
1.Fried cheese, jalapeno and mango slaw with bacon bits and crema

2. Beef cheek, poblano mole, queso fresca, guacamole and radish

3. Smoked pulled pork, kale kimchi, fried peppers and crema

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1. The fried cheese (top) – It was not bad. Again, nothing really bad about it, but nothing spectacular either. The mango was nice with it but it just needed something to bring it up a level or two…

2. The beef cheeks (left) – This was very rich. Beef cheeks are luxurious and unctuous to begin with and with a rich guacamole, it was rich on rich. The radish wasn’t enough to cut the richness, but again,
if you like rich on rich, you’ll love them.

3. Pulled pork (right) – Nice! Smoky flavor from the sauce in the pork and a little crunch from the fried peppers. The kale kimchi was a little lost, but this was good in general.

So overall, the food was………. lack luster. It had some really amazing stuff (the taquito) and a dish that really made it stumble (the ceviche). In between all that, were the salad and tacos that were simply average.  El Cortez can’t survive on the decor alone, and I hope that the menu works out the blandish kinks.  Brandy and  I both decided that as it now, it’s a great place to go after work for some drinks and an appetizer, but as a great dining experience… not so much. I think the items on the menu are great, but they just really need to be tweaked in terms of flavor. That being said, if they get the menu right, coupled with that kickass decor and cool ambience, they could have a super popular spot would do really, really well.

El Cortez Tequila Bar and Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Nothing Rhymes with Tutti Frutti for Breakfast.

My BFF and I had tons of catching up to do after my fabuloso trip to AZ, so we thought we’d do that over breakfast. Wanting to try a new spot, she suggested Tutti Frutti.  Hey, I didn’t name it folks and for some reason, it reminds me of a cooler, cuter sister to Cora’s.

Relatively easy to find in a new area of the Park and it wasn’t busy considering it was a sunday morning. Decor is nice, a mixture of booths and tables and we were seated almost immediately upon walking in. The menu is already at  your table, so we could get right to work on ordering our grub. Our waitress was friendly and new, and every question she didn’t know, she went to find out and came back with answers pretty damn quick. This impressed me.

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I ordered the Raspberry Crisp : crunchy french toast topped with english cream & raspberry coulis and Kim ordered “Entre les deux” : french toast sandwich with egg, ham & swiss cheese plus lots of fresh fruit.

So first up, my Raspberry Crisp (and a side of bacon, cuz breakfast is a waste of time without bacon).

Here’s the Raspberry Crisp French Toast pic:

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So at first peep it looks pretty awesome, right? Yeah!….. well, kinda yeah.

One small problemo.

See, Kim and I were sharing our breakfasts so we could both taste what each other ordered. So I gave Kim the first two pieces of toast. Look at the picture again, and imagine it for a second folks with the top two piece of toast missing off the plate. What am I left with? Two pieces of french toast with NO topping… ok, very little topping. The cream and raspberry coulis were decorating only the very top quarter of the toast that was underneath the first layer.

Pas bonne people, pas bonne.

I asked for extra coulis and cream so I could actually get a proper idea of what the breakfast should be like. The toast had a really nice crunch to it (dipped in panko maybe?) and the raspberry coulis was SUPER fresh tasting. The cream added an extra rich touch to it. My biggest complaint about the dish is that the portion size was geared for Godzilla. Honest to God folks, who eats FOUR pieces of TEXAS TOAST for breakfast??????? So, a heads up to you, my dear reader – This dish is EASILY shared between two people.

I asked for crispy bacon on the side:

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It was waaay crispy. Like, crumble apart crispy.

Too crispy for me, but if you think I waved a dismissive hand to it, you’d be wrong. I ate that too crispy bacon because the bacon bible says it would be a sin to leave it uneaten.

Kim’s French Toast Sandwich (with a side of fried bologna):

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If you’re thinking that the “french toast” part of the sandwich doesn’t look very french toasty, you would win the prize. This apparent french toast was not eggy like the french invented it to be. It was like toasted bread with ham and swiss on it.

Oh..Ummm, I think they call that  A TOASTED SANDWICH???

Not impressive.

The fruit on the side was fresh and plentiful and the fried bologna was good as well, according to Kim. Who doesn’t like fried bologna? If you don’t, you should. You really really should.

All in all, the service was great but I found the prices were expensive for the quality of the food, to be honest. I’m cheap, but my breakfast with coffee, tax and tip was almost $21.00. For that money, I expect better quality for BREAKFAST food, folks.

Would we come back? We both agreed that we would, but we wouldn’t stand in line if it was busy and we would definitely share a main breakfast dish with a side order of something to supplement.

Tutti Frutti Breakfast and Lunch on Urbanspoon

Welcome to the PUFFIN.

I successfully married Pork and Stove Top Stuffing into a cute little … muffin.

I know, right?

Pork – meaty, savory, porky, protein rich.
Muffin – bready, sweet, moist, and good with strong coffee.

Separate, they are wonderful. Together? Initially, a conceptually difficult union to wrap your sweet pretty head around. OK.. I’ll speak for myself. It took me a bit to wrap MY sweet head around it. I mean, come on’ – What do you call it?

A Pork Muffin?

A Porkfin?

A Puffin?

Regardless of what one might call it, – it’s strange. But hey, how can you go wrong? Pork, and stuffing. Who doesn’t like that combination, and besides, we ALLL know what strange means to me.

It mean’s I gotta try it.

Plus, they said it was easy, and I like easy.

So… without further adieu, I give you………. a porffin?

Whatever.

Here’s what you need to make this wildly creative, culinary masterpiece:

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That’s right. A muffin tin, two eggs (three, actually. I’ll explain later), ground pork, and a box of good ole’ Stove Top Stuffin’. Try and match the flavors people, k? I mean, if you get ground pork.. use Stove Top Stuffing for pork. If you get ground turkey, (which is perfectly acceptable protein choice in this situation for all you skinny-minnies), use the Stove Top for turkey.

Yessssssssssssssssss, you don’t have to point out the obvious fact that I combined ground pork and turkey Stove Top Stuffing – but ground pork was what my freezer had, and turkey Stove Top was what the store had. No big deal. I’m comfortable flying that kind of flag out there for everyone to see.

You know, the REBEL flag.

So, because I can’t just be normal and go along with direction, I like to “doctor” things up. That would the Stove Top Stuffing that I’m talking about. If you have extra “aromatics” in your fridge folks, doctor that crap up. I started sauteing celery (and lots of it because celery and I have had an intense love / love relationship for many years), and onion with a touch of garlic.

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That particular day, I decided to live on the edge and add some hot chili flakes to the party. I added about a tablespoon and half.

It turns out I’m not as edgy as I thought.

Dial down the chili flakes folks.

Learn by my mistakes. Especially if you’re not too adventurous on the whole spicy thing. Start with half a teaspoon.. you can always add more (One of Mom’s favorite expressions)

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So at this point, when the aromatics are soft, make the Stove Top Stuffing according to the box instructions. Easy Peasy right? Once that’s finished, and slightly cooled, add your pound of ground pork (or chicken, or turkey) and THREE eggs. I realize I had previously said two, and I actually did only use two, but I found the finished product SLIGHTLY crumbly, so an extra egg would hug up all those ingredients and make them stick together much better.

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When the mixture is thoroughly mixed, spoon it into your greased muffin pans. My muffin pan has muffin cups for giants so I got six from the whole lot. However, if you are of the regular human race, I can say that normal muffin pans are acceptable, if not desired over the bigger ones.

Spoon them into the tins at the fullness that you want, as they don’t puff up, obviously, like a cake muffin would.

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Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. (All depending on what size of muffin tin you used. I used a longer cook time because of the muffins for Giants that I was making.) Use your logic okay? We are dealing with ground pork (or any ground meat), so it’s imperative that it’s thoroughly cooked. If in doubt, use a thermometer and cook them till you have an internal temperature of 160 degrees for pork and 165 for turkey or chicken.

FYI – At the very end of cooking time, turn on your blast broiler for a  minute or two. It creates this mildly crunchy top that is FANFRICKENSTASTIC!

I highly suggest you try that.

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These bubba’s are awesome with a side salad for a lunch, or even for a quick breakfast heated up in the microwave. Ok, listen, you can have them for ANY meal because they’re just that good. The batch I made are at the TOP of my spice tolerance so next time, I’ll go a bit kinder on the chilies. Lastly, these freeze like champions!!

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Give them a try and tell me what you think! What changes did you make to “doctor” them up?

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The Blues of Venice

Baby Blues BBQ
444 Lincoln Boulevard
Venice, Ca 90291

Written by Guest Reviewer,
Chris Davis

GOOD DAY MUNCHERS

When you think of Southern California, most think of beaches, Hollywood, blonde chicks, low riders, tacos, surfers, Los Angeles, and weed. The one thing you don’t think of is barbecue. Well let me be the first one to tell you it’s the one thing you’re missing out on.

On my last trip to LA I decided to go scouring for something different in a place you wouldn’t expect it. Well I found just the place. Baby Blues BBQ on Lincoln Blvd in Venice is the spot.  Just 10 minutes from the ocean on what seems like the longest of streets is this blue joint, right on the corner.

Now let me tell you first I’m somewhat of a barbecue fanatic. I’ve had it from The Carolinas, to Georgia, to California, to Portland, to Oakland, and Nevada. So I know what taste I’m looking for and I know what’s good. So whether it’s Korean barbecue, or Hawaiian, to Memphis style, I know it.

And now back to the place in question. On the outside is this very blue exterior with a really cool mural of Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazard with a few chicks; you can’t miss this place when driving up the boulevard.  The awnings are blue, the paint on the walls is blue but let’s get to the food…………it wasn’t blue.

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On walking in to this shabby place you’re greeted with a smile and taken to a table.  I went mid-day so there wasn’t much of a crowd inside. The walls are adorned with country memorabilia posters from native North Carolina as well as other little odds and ends. The menu isn’t too much, which is a good thing when I want to order food and not read War & Peace.

My waitress wasn’t the most attentive in the world and reminded me of something out of Woodstock. I ordered the sweet tea, which is somewhat of a rarity in California because in most cases it’s served UN-sweet. But when there’s barbecue on the menu IT BETTER BE SWEET or shut the doors, never to return. So she brings it out and I was surprised, it was near perfection.  It wasn’t too sweet and just the right amount of tea and lemon,- score one!

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Finally after reading the menu, I decided on “The Porker” which consisted of a 1/3 rack of ribs, a ‘fixin’ of which I settled on coleslaw and this cornbread.  The service was FAST so I ordered and within 5 to 7 minutes it was on my table. There’s a few sauce choices on the table for you to pick from. On one of the bottles pictured, one side says “XXX” and if you turn it around, it says “Porno”. Well in my mind that says that it’s hot but a not too hot. I like porn but I wouldn’t equate it to any kind of sauce………least of all a red one…..ICK.

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So now back to the food. The ribs were as tender as I’ve ever had them. I barely put two fingers to them to take a piece and they just fell apart in my hand. These were well smoked and lightly sauced as not to overpower the food with it. It had a good spice to it and was very mellow with a extra nice taste. The coleslaw wasn’t much of a co-star but had a good consistency; not too sweet with the right amount of mix to cabbage. For me, the better part of the plate was the cornbread. While most cornbread’s have a tendency to be either dry and in need of butter, or  they are crumbly and without real taste, – this stuff was on a different level in the OTHER direction. I thought it had a very dense consistency, and I wasn’t wrong. Once you bite into it you catch little bits of corn and it’s a very wet cake, and JUST AWESOME.

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Before I forget, you’ll notice in most of my blogs I’ll usually try some sort of alcoholic drink just because it compliments the food and hey…….I drink. But in Baby Blues BBQ you’ll sadly be left boozeless as they don’t serve beer nor alcohol, which TOTALLY invalidates the “southern beer can windchime” . Two points in the minus for that.

In the end I was satisfied with the portion size, price, and taste of the food. The service needs some attention and the look of the place could use a little pizazz.

Foodie Rating: 6 forks out of 10.

Enjoy and happy chowing!!

Chris Davis

blueforkinfoodiestamp

Baby Blues BBQ on Urbanspoon

My Lake Chalet

Lake Chalet
Seafood Bar and Grill
1520 Lakeside Drive
Lake Merritt, Oakland

(Guest review for Forkin’ Foodie by Chris Davis)

And good day to you fellow Foodies!!

When you watch a ton of food shows you know they’re
ALWAYS going to end up in the San Francisco Bay area at some point in time and rest assured they always miss a
few gems. Most times it’s because they stick to the pretensions of the slightly snobby places that serve vichyssoise
for $20 per bowl.

Sorry, but there’s no cold potato soup worth that much……….EVER.

Oakland gets a bad wrap with a high crime rate, terrible cops, and the Raiders. But it’s actually a nice place once you open your eyes.
And that brings us to dinner at Lake Chalet.

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Off the bat it sounds like something you’d need a three-week advance
reservation at, but alas you’d be WRONG. Nestled on the newly remodeled section of Lake Merritt
in downtown Oakland you’ll see it. Oh and regarding the MASSIVE oak tree that was blown over
in a storm a few months ago, you may look at it like an eyesore but it actually gives a little character to see
the roots, which then leads to a deeper meaning… (yeah Oakland is kinda like that).

Now onto the location – I’ve come here a few times before to hear a band play on the back deck which is right on the water. There’s
pretty sweet happy hour pricing and they carry a wide variety of booze and wines. The raw bar is stocked with some of the
freshest oysters the coast has to offer and the drinks are excellent.

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I went last night for dinner with some family and decided to get something different, right up until I saw somebody with the same thing a couple of tables away. First was the Buttermilk Calamari with an aioli and wasabi cocktail dipping sauce. I’m not a fan of wasabi so I
nudged it to the side. As a main plate I ordered the Pork Short Ribs (Secret Spice Rub, Sticky Glaze, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds), Parmesan Kennebec Fries, and a house salad. This was all was held down with a bottle of Chimay Red label ale.

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SIDENOTE: As an avid foodie and cook , it seems by what feels like divine reason, I dissect nearly everything I eat. That’s the great
part about eating out. It’s that you have a great dish, and either take it back home to re-create it, or you simply do it from
memory (when it’s JUST that good that a to-go box is not possible). So if you see me with a perplexed look on my face
just know that that’s my inner scientist look, and I’m just trying to figure out what the dish is comprised of, as to reinvent it at home.

Service here for a lightly busy Sunday evening was pretty good. The waitress was a bit flighty and I felt like she was rushing but who
knows what other tables had given her Hell before she got to us, so we were nice.

The calamari comes out and was pretty basic.
A simple buttermilk dredged selection with a dusting of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

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After a few minutes the rest of the food came to the table and here is where I knocked them a point. In any simple situation, the salad, when ordered with a full other plate is treated as an appetizer. Therefore, when I ordered the salad, it should come out along side whatever appetizer was ordered, in this case the calamari. So as everything else is being dished out I’m bombarded with now three plates, as the fries and ribs are plated separately.

The salad is a simple mix of greens tossed in a vinaigrette, with pears and goat cheese.

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The fries were something I was slightly disappointed in, as the description indicated a Kennebec potato and turned out to be something straight out of a bag that I could have gotten at any burger joint, but the parmesan was a nice touch.

Now onto the real shining star of the night:

The Pork Spare Ribs.

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Of all the reviews I normally do it’s generally a barbecue place because it’s my main love. I ordered the starter size because I wasn’t going to sit there and go crazy on a full rack. So the three come out with a nice cilantro garnish with sesame seeds. The smell is AMAZING; it’s a spicy and sweet smell that catches you first, and then you grab one…..

I barely had two fingers on it when it just fell apart at the touch. That’s the sign of a good rib. After the first taste of the glaze I was hooked. Pull-apart-tender, with a spicy, almost Sriracha and hoisin taste  with maybe a hint of honey. These were worth the wait and something to come back for on the return.

Overall this is one of Oakland’s gems and a place that I can call a regular spot. I visit mostly in the spring and summer,
when the freshest produce and seafood is put on display and in the menu.

Happy Chowing folks!!!

Chris Davis

Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Tasty Tom’s still Tasty?

Tasty Tom’s
9965 – 82 Ave
Edmonton, Alberta.

What do you know, it’s GROUPON time again!

My thrifty ass had a Groupon for $20.00 towards a meal at Tasty Tom’s on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton.

Now let me tell you what I know about Tasty Tom’s. Back in the day (the day being like, late ’90’s), I lived just a few blocks from this joint and they had a menu that had a lot of German cuisine on it. Schnitzel, sauerkraut, European wieners, and great beer. When they opened, they gave me my first experience of a Cuban Sandwich. (Yes. Cuban. Who am I to question it?) Anyway, if you don’t know what a Cuban sandwich is, it’s pretty much a menage a trois of sliced pork, sliced ham and awesome swiss cheese on a ciabatta bed with mustard, pickles and other condiments in the mix. Then the whole sandwich was toasted panini style – waaaay before paninis were the shit.

I LOVED this sandwich. They at one point took it off the menu, which made me cry, but they said would still make it on MY request. (well, and probably others’ requests as well, but I like to think I’m special.) That made me happy again.

Anyway, I moved away from the area and stopped going to Tasty Tom’s but always had fond memories of the great times I had there with friends, and the fantastic food. So when the deal showed up in my Groupon email, I took it, anticipating another great meal… and at the back of my mind, the most faintest little itty bitty hope that I might again have my beloved Cuban sandwich. HEY! A girl can dream, right?

Even being under new management since the middle of 2013, (so no Cuban sandwich for me), the decor was about the same that I’d remembered. I wasn’t really sure if that was good or bad, actually. Simple and unassuming, a mishmash of different tables and chairs, but clean. My friend and I were told we could pick our table, so we did, made ourselves comfortable, and service began.

After checking out both menus (breakfast that goes till 3, and lunch that goes til 5………. odd, but ok), I decided upon the Schnitzel Burger (Breaded pork cutlet, Swiss, mustard, mayonnaise). My friend chose The Weiner Schnitzel (Breaded pork cutlet with lemon and potato salad). Those descriptions were taken verbatim, so I had to wonder, did they pay the printer by the word or something? Wouldn’t one want to snazz up those descriptions just a tad??

Anyway.. here’s my Schnitzel Burger:
(sorry for the crappy phone pic!!)

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Sooooo yeah. What can I say about this thing? I had asked her how thick the schnitzel was before ordering and she said it was a thick piece. Well, if by thick she meant really thin, then I believe she was correct. The burger came to the table looking ridiculous. Thin and long, the schnitzel overhung the bun by a few inches on either side – I mean, why not slice that beast (skinny beast) in half, bread both pieces and double-decker it?? Then, just to make it that extra bit worse, they used one slice of barely melted, cheap processed “swiss” cheese on top.

Culinary mastery right there, folks.

Taste? Sigh. It was booking first class on the bland wagon even with all its accompaniments in tow. I actually had to ask for extra mustard because the slight little swipe that was put on the bun was simply a tease. The cutlet was dry as a popcorn fart and simply flavorless,…. oh, unless you wanted to call a bit of old oil taste from the deep-fried breading, flavor.

The home fries on the plate were plentiful and super yummy, but the house brand “ketchup” was like watered down Heinz 57 mixed with weirdness. I didn’t like it.

My friend’s plate:

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My friends meal was basically the exact same schnitzel that was on my burger, but on a plate.  And sadly, tasted the same way as well. Dry, dry, dry. So terribly overcooked. Even the slice of lemon couldn’t save that poor pork cutlet. Now, I understand that schnitzel is not a dish that wins first place at the spice fair, but I’ve had really good schnitzel in the past. The flavor comes from the combination of a fresh-cut piece of meat, nice breading, and clean oil. Oh, and not frying the living crap out of it helps. This little cutlet was tired. VERY tired. The potato salad on the plate was pretty decent though, but not good enough.

Gone are the days of my beloved Cuban sandwich and excellent German food. The whole meal was a huge disappointment and not even close to being the tasty part of Tasty Tom’s.  It seems as though management has given up and don’t care about the quality of food they present. Here’s a great tip: Just down the road a few blocks is K&K Foodliner. A German owned food import store and deli. They have everything you could want to make wicked schnitzel……

the REAL schmackhaft, or, tasty way.

Tasty Tom's on Urbanspoon

Hell’s Cracklins

Hello everyone, my name is Kidfresh and I’m here on a guest review for Forkin’ Foodie. Why was I selected to make this guest review out of the numerous non-Canadians Joanne knows?

Well, the answer is right here:

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I was foolish enough to post this photo on my facebook page because, well, it’s an abomination straight from Hell. But then sweet little Joanne asked me to ingest this labratory experiment and forward my medical records to Forkin’ Foodie.

So, here it goes.

As you can see, I purchased both “flavors” of Lowrey’s Microwave Pork Rinds. Those “flavors” would be:

Original:

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And Hot and Spicy:

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In reality, the flavors are salt and saltier, but we’ll get into that in a minute.

I was quite surprised to find out that the sodium content was indeed fairly low in comparison to what I was tasting. At 310 mg per serving, this package has less than 1 gram of sodium, which I totally don’t believe. But I digress.

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The package looks just like microwave popcorn, but there are some noticeable variations in the instructions.

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First of all, you are instructed to “shake the bag 5-6 times to spread the pork rinds around the bag evenly”. My guess is that if you don’t, the clumped up rinds will heat into one whole wild boar and attack you once you open the package. With this in mind, I shook the bag rigorously. So much so in fact, that I heard some of the rind pieces fly from the bag and hit the floor. But curiously, I never found them.

Hmmmmm.

The other instruction that was a departure from the common microwave popcorn was the insistence to “WATCH”  the bag. “Do NOT leave unattended”. Why? Because “the product does not pop”. In fact, “the bag may not expand like popcorn”. Sounded like an ambush to me. I proceeded with caution.

I placed the bag in the microwave on HIGH for 90 seconds. At the one minute mark, it started to smell like Cup O’ Noodles Soup. That didn’t make me feel any safer than the anticipation of the wild boar. The bag did in fact expand, but there was no popping. Instead, I started to hear the cracklin of dem pork cracklins.

When the 90 seconds were done, I pulled the bag out of the oven and opened it up. To my surprise not only was I not mauled or mutilated, but there seemed to normal pork rinds in the bag.

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They still looked normal on the plate:

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And to my recollection, they tasted normal. And by normal, I mean salty as hell. I haven’t chomped on dese here pork cracklins for over a decade and a half, easily. But they seem to be what I remembered. Crunchy and salty, and just screaming with country fried death.

When I picked up the bag of the Hot and Spicy rinds, I noticed that the bag was really flat. Way too flat to hold the “original” cracklins that were on my plate. So I decided to shake a few out to see what they looked like, pre-atomic blast.

And this is what they looked like:

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I don’t deep fry hogs on a regular basis, so I was surprised to see that these little bits of Satan’s meat turn into these ribbons of rinds. Uneasiness crept into my bones once more. But I popped the Hot and Spicy back into the microwave for another 90 seconds and WALLAH!

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As you can see, that red tinge is the color of “saltier”. There wasn’t much spice, but a whole lot more salt. I only had 2 or 3 cracklins. That was mainly because I didn’t think I would be able to get the action shot of my heart exploding out of my chest with hypertension if I ate any more than that.

The bottom line is this. If you like pork rinds, you will probably really like this because they not only taste like pork rinds, but you get the added pleasure of getting them hot and cracklin right out of the nuke box. And I do mean cracklin! These things are still cracklin as I write this sentence.

You guys enjoy. I”m calling F.E.M.A.