Regarding Food

Yumbox Tapas Bento Lunch Box

Recorded on January 24th, 2017

AltTextHere

I usually don’t eat too terribly at lunch at work. Lots of salads, a tuna wrap about once a week, and cheese pizza slices every so often. But if I take the nutritional high road, it’s expensive and a pain to assemble your plate from the same tired salad bar every day. (First world problems, yes, yes. Lots of people don’t know where their next meal will come from, and/or don’t have clean water.) But the temptation to throw money at the lunch problem every day is great, especially when you’re pressed for time.

This has all changed! Sarah discovered the Yumbox, a bento box that comes in all kinds of sizes and configurations. It’s leakproof-ish, with a fancy rubber gasket on the top lid that seals all the food compartments off from each other. It’s expensive (about $30), but it’s made well and if you amortize that cost over all the cheaper lunches you’ll be making at home in advance instead of buying them every day, it quickly saves money.

We got the Tapas “adult-size” model. It looks small, but when you open it up at lunchtime you discover how huge it is and how much food it holds. The little compartments encourage me to pack more healthful food in a bigger variety than I would otherwise, and I end the meal feeling totally full but never bloated.

You have to get one of these. Or not. Again, no affiliate links for me on this one.

Homestead Creamery Eggnog

Recorded on January 3rd, 2017

One of the good parts of Christmas is eggnog. I remember fondly the Richfood eggnog we used to get at Ukrop’s years ago. It came in a non-fancy paper carton and was totally delicious and thick. No other brand has tasted as good since then. Until now.

Right before Christmas, we went to Whole Foods and I saw a beautiful endcap of glass-bottled eggnogs from Homestead Creamery. It looked like the photo above. Old-timey and heavy. We got home and I popped it open and tried it. Sweet, super thick, and fresh like nothing else I’ve ever had. If you look forward to eggnog all year, this is the brand for you. It’s so good on its own that you don’t even need to add alcohol to it. What a treat.

I Will Totally Return to Wong Gonzalez

Recorded on July 13th, 2016

photo of interior of Wong Gonzalez restaurant

My brother once said that he’d love to write movie reviews if all he had to do was see the movie and write one-sentence summaries saying “Sucks” or “Go see it”. This isn’t a review of Wong Gonzalez on Grace St. so much as a direction to “Go eat there” because:

  1. The staff is friendly.
  2. They have a really good but not overwhelming beer selection.
  3. The Wong’s Guac appetizer (with crispy fried shallots and shrimp crackers) that our friends got tonight looked great, and I think they liked them. I was too full to eat anything more than my own entrée.
  4. I can 100% recommend General Wong’s Fried Chicken Burrito. It’s glazed fried chicken with rice and other stuff in a burrito. Delicious!

The photo above was taken tonight (Tuesday) at 9:14, well past their peak hours. It was quite a bit busier an hour before. With all those people eating and drinking well, it can get loud and cavernous. That could be solved with some acoustical treatments on the ceiling, but that’s the only thing I think Wong Gonzalez needs. They’ve only been open a few weeks, so I’m sure that finishing touch is coming eventually.

Go see it!

Dudes: Just be aware that there’s a big-ass Farrah Fawcett print taking up an entire wall of the men’s room. It can startle a person if they’re not expecting it.

photo of bathroom at Wong Gonzalez

Red Lentil Pasta That Tastes Like Pasta

Recorded on June 20th, 2016

photo of Tolerant Red Lentil Penne

The other night, Sarah made a delicious dinner using Tolerant Red Lentil Penne instead of regular gluten-y penne. If you’re gluten-intolerant, or even if you’re just bloat-intolerant, you have to try this stuff. We’ve had other bean-based pastas before and some are ok, but they can be a little rubbery on the tooth. Not with this one. So, so good, with the right al dente feeling, and just fun to eat.

Sarah informed me that the name “Tolerant” is not necessarily because they’re an open-minded company, but because of how your body will be “tolerant” of their no-gluten pasta.

Half-Price Veggie Sushi Tuesday Nights at Sticky ToGoGo

Recorded on June 16th, 2016

Imgur

Sarah and I feel it’s our duty to let all of Richmond know about Sticky ToGoGo’s half-price veggie sushi Tuesday nights. After 6pm, it’s open season, and more than once, we have gotten way too much sushi for two people. We’ve always been able to deal, but it hasn’t been easy.

Here’s what we got last night. For the two of us, it was a bit much. Next time we’ll dial back on at least one of the smaller plates. I doubt we’ll go hungry:

  • 1 Hot Hippy
  • 1 The Silence of the Yams
  • 2 Gardens on Fire
  • 2 South Rolls
  • 2 Avocado Rolls

Be aware that Tuesday nights there are naturally very popular, so it’s best to call your order in and pick it up. If you just drop by and make an order in person, you’re going to have to wait around for 40 minutes.

Mary Angela’s Has the Best Fries in Richmond

Recorded on May 1st, 2016

photo of fries from Mary Angela's Pizza

If you’re looking for the best fries in Richmond, look no further than Mary Angela’s Pizza on Cary St.

Why would a place known for their delicious pizzas have the best fries? I don’t know. Just be grateful that you evolved from a much earlier life form and your parents bumped into each other a few years after the owners of Mary Angela’s did and they opened a business and you moved to Richmond and were hungry one day and ordered fries.

Let me describe the ways in which their fries are the best:

  1. There are no unnecessary bullshit spices on their fries. Who needs that? It would just detract from the taste.
  2. There is no unecessary bullshit skin on their fries. See #1.
  3. The surface area is off the chain. Crinkles. I’m sure if you do some math involving sines, cosines, and tangents, you’ll discover that Mary Angela’s has optimized the angles such that there is a maximum ratio of crispy french fry surface to length of fry. Oscar had a heap of apples, indeed.
  4. The temperature is perfect. Just barely hot enough to be uncomfortable to bite right into. You have to blow on them a little at first. Their fries are never burned, nor are they overcooked.
  5. They come in a basket big enough to share with one other person, but no more than one other person.
  6. They will deliver the basket of fries well in advance of the pizza.

Stop reading this and go get some fries at Mary Angela’s.

Mean Bird’s Chicken Tenders Sandwich

Recorded on April 24th, 2016

This weekend we visited the Mean Bird truck at the RVA Street Art Festival, and I was lucky that they were out of veggie chicken (which I love). Lucky, because all that left me was regular chicken to choose from. The menu had what seemed too good to be true: a chicken tenders + slaw sandwich. I think it was $8, which seems like a lot, until you realize how enormous the Mean Bird portions are. (No sides are necessary with their main dishes.)

Five minutes after ordering, the sandwich was ready. If you’ve read this far, let me say: get this if you ever see them offer it. There are so many giant tenders in the basket that you have to eat some just to get them out of the way before you assemble the remaining ones on the open-faced bun into the form of a sandwich. This is a burden, but someone has to do it.

The tenders: they’re very large, very crispy yet juicy, and tender (thus, the name). Way better than the tenders you’re used to as bar food elsewhere. All other tenders will have a lot to live up to from now on.

I still don’t see the chicken tenders sandwich on the menu on their website, but I hope it makes more appearances. A+++.

Pizza Tonight on Main St.

Recorded on March 19th, 2016

photo from Pizza Tonight restaurant

As soon as I typed the title for this, I started thinking about Bob Seger. Not a bad way to start. At least I didn’t title it, “Tonight We’re Gonna Eat at Pizza Tonight”.

As part of my All-Pizza All-The-Time Treat Yo’self 2016 Birthdaystravaganza, we went to Pizza Tonight’s new permanent home in downtown Richmond tonight (sorry). I’m not much of a restaurant reviewer, but I will say that we will 100% go back when we’re ready for pizza again. If it were up to me, I could return tomorrow, because as I always tell Sarah, “The pizza counter resets to zero every day.”

We’ve been fans of the Pizza Tonight mobile brick oven for years. Their full-on restaurant opened a few months ago and now serves dinner. I assumed we would feel at home before we got there, but once we walked in, I didn’t want to leave, ever (except for when I got sleepy later after eating so much). It has a lot in common with the cozy, dimly-lit, exposed brick at The Hill Cafe. The servers were attentive and friendly, and they have an excellent beer list. I believe I had a Heavy Seas Deep Six English Porter. I know the draught menu at least said “Heavy Seas English Porter”, and the Deep Six is the only one I know of from Heavy Seas. It was like having dessert first – no problem here!

We started with the house-made bread, dipping it in olive oil. That’s when my Homer Simpson yummy noises started. When the pizzas came out, they were just like the delicious ones from their mobile wood-fired brick oven, only now we were sitting in actual chairs at a table in a restaurant. Mine was a margherita pizza, and Sarah’s had thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary, chiles, and Grano Padano. They’re comparable to what you would get at the wonderful Stuzzi, but a little thinner and more cooked. We loved them and put them away easily. (Not because we’re pigs, but because they were great pizzas and we hadn’t eaten much today.) No leftovers to take home!

Go there and write a review on Yelp, or you know, on your own blog or wherever. Or at least just on Google, so you can increase their rating there from its current unjust 3.5 stars. I don’t get it.

Blackstrap Molasses; Matter Out of Place; Basinski’s “The Disintegration Loops”

Recorded on February 29th, 2016

Three things which I don’t know enough about to write separate posts on:

  1. Because I am always looking for an excuse to eat/drink molasses out of a spoon, I am delighted to share this from the University of Maryland Medical Center:

    Blackstrap molasses, also known as pregnancy tea (1 tablespoon per day in a cup of hot water), is a good source of iron, B vitamins, and minerals. Blackstrap molasses is also a very gentle laxative.

  2. Though you would never know it from looking at my desk, I am becoming increasingly obsessed with the idea of “matter out of place” (MOOP). I learned it from Unclutterer, who learned it from Tarin Towers when she wrote:

    MOOP is a term coined by hikers and other ecology-minded people who use phrases like “pack it in, pack it out” and “leave no trace.” It stands for Matter Out of Place. In a state park, it might refer to a bottle cap on a forest floor, a cigarette butt on a footpath, a tent peg neglected when the tent got packed up. In a house, it might be a wet towel on a bedroom floor, a coffee mug on top of the TV.

  3. Tonight on WERA-LP, Butch played a bit of a beautiful track by William Basinski from his incredible work, “The Disintegration Loops”. That I missed out on him for so many years is distressing, because he is right up my alley. I found this on The Quietus | Time Becomes A Loop: William Basinski Interviewed:

    “I’m talking to him about the tenth anniversary of The Disintegration Loops albums which have just been reissued together as a box set. The tracks were created from pre-existing loops as they were transferred to digital masters, made unique by the way the magnetic tape crumbled slowly away, causing unexpectedly beautiful and affecting progressions in the music.

    These new recordings were first created in Brooklyn the day before the attacks on the World Trade Center and since then, for reasons that are relatively obvious after one listens to them, they have become considered by many to be one of the most pre-eminent American artistic statements of the 21st Century so far.”

    That piece, “dlp 1.1”, reminds me of My Bloody Valentine’s hazy, rubato loops on “Loveless”. And I see that it’s available on Amazon Prime Music. A-ha.