Free cole slaw, apple and jalapeño, Zep's Epiq Sandwiches


I didn't make this, Zep's did, and it is very good too. It's just the sort of thing I'd think up myself. I have used these ingredients in slaws. You know, jazz it up with something sweet and something hot and with textures like raisins and nuts. 

The new hip Quizno Grill experiment nearby closed and new hip Quizno Grill experiment opened in its place called Zep's Epiq Sandwiches. Menu

I walked in. The place is empty. I took the guy's recommendation without looking at the menu without any fuss or decision making.  

Right then another customer came in. Then another. Then another. My order is up. Then another customer, then another customer. 

I'm waiting right there sitting on a low table right in front of the register and facing the service window. The table is the type that is put at the end of a bed or behind a sofa, 

While waiting I see four employees but only one guy works the register and the orders. He's busy taking orders so my take-out bag sits unattended. So close I could just take it. The last woman comes in with an inordinately wide butt. The place offers menus at entry and a large brightly lit menu board overhead but the woman never looked at those, even looming right over her face, preferring instead to spend a good deal of time scanning her cellphone and calling out to the young man at the register what she wanted one by one as she scrolls her cellphone up and down. I checked my cellphone to see what she's seeing. The information is good but compressed compared to the menu right there over her face. Finally she finishes.

"I think my order is ready." 

The guy twirled briskly showing a bit embarrassment for temporarily neglecting outgoing orders. The last woman threw him off his game. 

"You know, now that I realize the cole slaw has apple and jalapeño I decided to have that too. I already have a mixed salad in the bag. I'm ready to go. I pulled out my wallet again. 

"Here. On the house." 

Another free thing! 

fettuccini


Shhh. The dough is resting.


Look! One is skinner than the rest and right next to one fatter than the rest. Man, I sure hope this insouciant distain for uniformity doesn't ruin everything.


Straight cream would make a decent sauce. 

This has 
* butter
* nutmeg
* chile flakes
* salt/pepper
* mustard powder
* grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. 

My dad used to say "This Parmesan cheese smells like toenails!" 

That never failed to crack us up. Because it did smell like toenails. Maybe. We didn't know. It just seemed hilarious. And we always had that Kraft Parmesan in the green cylinder container on hand always but none of us knew what a poor imitation it is and what the real stuff is intended to taste like. We had no idea what the real stuff does. 

And there was no way a young family could justify the difference in cost without appreciating what the real cheese is and what it does. 

Too bad. And that lasted my parent's lives. So much is forfeited by not knowing. Except for the humor of hearing your dad say that then gleefully sprinkle some over his spaghetti.  

whole chicken, cut, brined, baked





unbaked  ↑
baked  ↓



Un problema menor: no me gusta.

* The chicken is insufficiently overcooked for me. I like chicken overcooked. When the chicken reaches the recommended temperatures for dark and for white the tendons and things in there haven't had time to break down. They're too tough. And I don't like that. The whole thing, this plate, is covered with aluminum foil and returned to the oven, and for a long time too, like forty-five minutes. 

* The brine is too salty. I predicted that and took measures of soaking in clear water for a long time, and that didn't work. The over salting ruins the chicken.

* The panko breading does not contribute. It mostly falls off and that's good because it's not good. Better to not have any breading at all. Plain skin chicken is better.

grilled steak dinner with baked potato, zucchini and tomato







The cast-iron-y smoke flavor imparted into the zucchini is heavenly. Oil from the beef works for half a dressing on the zucchini and a faint drizzle of balsamic vinegar over both tomato and zucchini makes the other half while the faint smoke can not be improved from just sitting there on the pan off the heat while the meat rests. 

Meat cut into cubes as a nursing home benefit. I have the chef's knife and cutting board at hand in the kitchen so might as well use it and save all that scratching on plates. 

A cheeseburger with fries next door, or a full size Philly sandwich and chips from across the street both cost more than this meal. 

commercial Italian sandwich, tomato and red bell pepper soup

This is the kind of sandwich that you buy from a machine. I bought two from the small store across the street. One sandwich was smoked turkey and cheese, and half that sandwich straight out of the package was truly horrible. I thought that if I were sufficiently hungry then anything will taste good, but that is not the case here. One bite sates starvation like swallowing a rock and you're ready to toss the rest. But then the second half was toasted in a pan and that changed the sandwich completely. The cheese melts, the meat heats up and the white bread in both sandwiches is greatly improved by toasting.


Torchy's guacamole and chips


This is what you get when you order guacamole with chips at Torchy's.

It is pureed guacamole with lime and salt. By my perception it tastes bland, one-dimensional. 

How can it be repaired? 

It needs: 

* double its volume and weight with diced tomato, squeezed and de-seeded.
* diced onion
* copious chopped  aromatic cilantro or basil if you are an  anticilantroite.
* cumin (essential for Old World Mexico)
* coriander (the ground seeds of cilantro plant)
* jalapeno peppers
* cayenne powder

I prefer lumps in the guacamole, that is, the avocado not processed to smoothness.  Puree paste is for sissies. Every time that it comes like that I go, "Ooooooh, bummer." 

I like Torchy's quite a lot. I do really like all the people over there. They've got a great thing going on. My experience is they cannot quite get a mixed order straight, an order for there and to-go at the same time. Wrong things bagged. Missing items. It's too much. Too complex to get straight. While they're so obsequious and charming and attentive about correcting the error that they cannot be faulted. Everyone that I've encountered over there is splendid, workers and guests. There's something about the place that has everyone behaving pleasantly and helpfully. 

A guest gave way graciously at the refill area. But I wasn't refreshing a drink. 

"Where's a trash can around here?" 

The woman stopped short. Looked around. Puzzled over the absence of a trash bin. Recalled the large  box concealing two bins near the front door. She veritably insisted on running my trash cup up to the font for me. A customer! She really really REALLY wanted to save me the trouble of walking over to the bin once she assessed the situation with my two canes. It's embarrassing. "That's fine. I'll be going out the front door. Thank you." Still, it's an example of how people are moment to moment right up to the very last moment of being in the place.

Edit: I must mention.

* The bag of chips that they give you is larger than the amount that you get at the table. It is a lot of chips.

* It's also a lot of guacamole. I didn't weigh it, but it is not a small container and it is heavy. It felt like two avocados worth by volume and weight.

* There are lumps in the mixture. Once I dug into it.

* Mine was repaired with generous cayenne and cumin.

pasta shells with chicken and bacon

And with processed cheese dip and regular plain ricotta, and Hatch chiles and with picked jalapeño.


steak sandwich with enhanced jalapeño


The young man at the small city store recommended these chile peppers. He said, "These ones are hot." 

And they are.

But not so much with this sandwich. It's weird, the sandwich with its cheese cloaks the heat of these chiles. 

If you ever see this stuff, you should just buy it.



This is half a sandwich from yesterday. The bread has been refrigerated. And it's never a good idea to microwave bread. Nevertheless this was microwaved for over a minute. Bread abuse.




free milkshake


I'm standing there waiting for my two single cheeseburgers with jalapeño onion and tomato and side of fries while chatting it up with the girl with shaved hair except for the patch gathered into dreadlocks that hang down to her butt when she suddenly realized she prepared the same order twice for strawberry and chocolate milkshake. I'd buy one! But before I could offer to buy one she offered me one of the shakes for free. It's all timing.

But she did say to me, "Always a pleasure to see you come in here." 

She thinks I'm deaf. 

And she didn't say that to anyone else.

rice with pork and various odd vegetables



Rice is cooked a new way; soaked in cold water for thirty minutes then steamed lightly in the same amount of fresh water as rice for thirteen minutes. 

That's it for Tony's bbq pork. That was a bit expensive even on sale but what a great deal that turned out to be. Also frozen pearl onion and pecans. What the heck.

The rice is sweet and sour and steamed with a piece of kombu.

So additional sweet bbq pork and sweet onion and additional vinegary jalapeños and extremely salty olives causes the rice to be flavored overly intensely. It's gross. 

The onions and pecans and a soy sauce fixes it but only a little.

Fail.

duck broth miso with bbq porks



I mixed scant 1/8th teaspoons of selected spices into hot oil dumped too much sake to lift it and that made the broth and everything bitter and I like things mostly sweet so at the table I added honey. A lot of it. Twice. 

beans, rice, pene


I'm clearing out the pantry. And the refrigerator and freezer. And the cabinets. 

potato pancakes, applewood bacon, maple syrup


The potatoes have two types of chiles, pickled jalapeños and dried Hatch, and a lot of horseradish and grated Parmigiano. The combative strong flavors are blanketed by the starchy potato.


Applewood bacon and maple syrup is an insanely good flavor combination. The syrup's gentle sweetness and its flavor separate and elevate and sharpen the smoke flavor in the bacon to an acute intensity so that it seemingly cuts the mouth's palate aggressively while the chile peppers sit by tamed and innocent.

bbq beef short rib, mashed potato, roasted red bell pepper and tomato soup


I didn't so much cook dinner tonight as assemble it.


The potatoes have hot chile flakes and horseradish mixed with them.


While the potatoes themselves are some kind of flake version in a box. 

Turns out, they happen to be very good. Especially with hot red pepper flakes and horseradish sauce mixed in.

The ribs are deboned and honey poured over them before being reheated.

beef short ribs, seasoned rice






Ribs cooked at Tony's Market, frozen, then I had only thaw and re-heat them.

Rice is cooked a different way.

* soaked in cold water for thirty minutes
* steamed for 13 minutes
* 2 X 2 inch piece of kombu included with the steaming water
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar included with the steaming water
* 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar included with the steaming water

spaghetti with spices, whole wheat dinner rolls


Olive oil is heated in a pan with salt and pepper and that right there would be great sauce.

Instead, a lot of other spices are added to the oil that it amounts to an American curry.

Hamburger meat is fried in the oil and slathered with all the spices like a sausage would be.

Pasta water is added and, bam, there's your sauce.

Leftover tomato sauce from a tin was added.  


Bread made the usual careless way except with more whole wheat flour than usual this time. Because I'm almost out of all purpose flour. They're a bit dense.







hamburger with sweet pickle and homemade potato bun


There is a hamburger place, a good one too, just a few yards from our building's front door, maybe more than a few yards, still it's hardly exigent to do this. 



Chosen for its plump pomposity.



Tarragon. It's so bright. And it just sits there waiting to be used and I hardly ever do then finally concede and go, wow this is wonderful.


"I'd like to meat up with you sometime."

     "Ok. Now!" 



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