Wanderlust chicken sandwich

Grilled chicken, maple glazed bacon, apple jalapeño slaw, pickles, chipotle ranch, BBQ sauce, cilantro on a baguette.


The baguette is only eight inches but it's packed and I mean packed.

It already has the coleslaw on it, but I ordered two sides of the slaw because one side is not enough.

The sandwiches are awesome but not epic. That's just a bit of hyperbole. And they say epiq, not epic.

Zeps Epiq sandwich

And coleslaw

The sandwich is very good. I don't know why I don't walk over there more often.

The coleslaw is the best that I've tasted. 

The sandwich is filled to the maximum with beef and wet with melted cheese. It is a very good sandwich but rather small compared with Taste of Philly across Broadway.

The coleslaw has the distinctly sweet unexpected but welcome taste of apple. Then later the surprise of jalapeño. Psych! Just when you thought the whole thing will be sweet.

The lad working is thin and tall as Herman Munster. A bit of a mess. He walked to the back behind the cashier setup and the "done" counter to assist the cook in order preparation. So he works front at the tables and soda dispensers, center as cashier, and back as order preparer. He's all over the place whereas the cook stays put in the back.

He looks Asian. 

Except very tall. 

He returns to the front where I'm waiting. 

"What is your biggest sandwich?"

     "The chicken one. That's our most popular." 

"How tall are you?"

     "Six-four. I think." 

"Why don't you know for sure, haven't you measured yourself?"

     "Not for awhile. The last time I was measured I was 6-4." 

"You look like a regular guy who was pulled upward and stretched like taffy." 

He laughed. The idea is ridiculous.

"My mum used to mark our growth on a door jamb. But that was stupid because we moved so often. Still it was fun seeing how quickly we grew. I bet you blew your parent's minds." 

     "My dad is six-six so they were expecting it."

Oh my God. Can you imagine having a dad that tall looming all over you the whole time you're growing up?

Then outside another teen taller than myself. (I'm six feet tall.) I turn the corner and yet another teen taller than myself. Then on the sidewalk on my way home 1/2 block down the street another teen passes me who is taller than myself and I'm all what? Am I suddenly in the land of giants? Four males in a row all exceedingly tall and thin. 

I wonder where they buy pants. It must be a problem. 

Year after year, Colorado has the least percentage of obesity of all other states. And it shows. Even so, we do have a share of incredibly overweight people. Sometimes I hang out in front and watch people pass and it seems the overweight people are the majority. For an in-shape state, there sure are a lot of out of shape people. 

One time a friend was visiting from Washington D.C.. A group of ten of us were staying in various rooms in Aspen. My Washington friend was blown away. The percentage of beautifully built people is definitely not representative of the whole country. He couldn't get over it. 

But that's Aspen, not Denver. 

I asked my dad why everyone on the slopes skiing all look so gorgeous. Everyone looks like they model. What is it about skiing that attracts great looking people? Is it the parkas or what? Do people look great in ski clothes? The ski boots give them height? Does everyone look great in ski pants? If they take off their clothes would they all suddenly be ugly? 

My dad said, "It's money. Skiing takes money. They all fly in for the most part. A couple times each year. Just to go skiing. The condos are expensive, the travel expensive, the meals expensive, the gear is expensive. They have money for things like having their teeth fixed. They have money to take care of themselves." 


I did not know that. 

Chicken salad

I totally made this salad. 

By opening the package and removing half the contents. 

And sprinkling salt and pepper all over it just so.

And drizzling it with honey/mustard dressing that somebody else made. 

This is 1/2 a chicken salad from Taste of Philly across the street from my apartment. 

I had to walk all the way over there and get it. 

Then walk all the way back.

Along the way a woman yelled at me from the crosswalk.

She was crossing the street as I was approaching the crosswalk.

I was walking more slowly than usual in order to miss the light. 

I didn't want to stand in the sun and wait for it to change.

She mistook my ultra slowness for having more difficulty walking than usual. 

And she asked me if I'd like her to accompany me across. 

The women around here. I'm telling you, they do their best to take care of me. 

But it's hardly worth the effort of crossing Broadway three times. I can step up the pace when required. 

She asked, "Are you the one with all the plants on the balcony?"

I said, "Yes." 

She goes, "I'm in the back all the time. Yell down at me and say 'Hi' when you see me out there." 

"Okay. When I do you'll know where to look." 

When someone yells at you from a balcony it's almost impossible to pinpoint. You have to look at all the balconies for some sign of a person. 

Cinnamon rolls

The dough starts with 1.5 cups water. Everything follows from that.

* A few tablespoons of powdered potato flakes to make the dough soft.
* 1 teaspoon yeast
* 2 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* A few tablespoons of milk powder
* flour by the tablespoonful until the dough becomes sufficiently stiff.

I don't have enough eggs around here right now so I didn't add any of those.

I neglected to show there are handfuls of whole pecans that I broke up to pieces while distributing them throughout. Then pressed them all into the dough. The dough is literally covered with raisins and pecans bits. 

The bench scraper has a ruler on it. 

The dough was very close to 18" so I stretched it to match.

Each segment is 6"

Each segment is divided into 3 X 2: 

I have a bag of sugar that is not fully refined. It melted  into caramel fairly rapidly but instantly dark. It did not behave as regular white sugar. It's disappointingly bitter. I'm thinking of adding another layer of proper sweet topping, but actually it's not that bad.

MAMA instant noodles

Thai President Foods PCL is based in Bangkok. Established in 1972. It makes the instant noodle brand MAMA. It is the largest instant noodle manufacturer in Thailand with 53% of the market in 2015.

The company has a sordid history due to Thailand politics. The name changed, the ownership changed, the laws changed, the government changed along the way all leading to suppressed sales.

The company has factories in Lamphun, Si Racha, Rayong with two factories in Ratchaburi in Thailand with additional factories in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Hungary with two production lines. The company is building additional factories in Myanmar and in Cambodia.

They had 15.8 billion baht in sales in 2015. They also sell parboiled rice, baked products, confectionery, wheat flour, dry vegetables, noodles and seasonings, soft drinks, fruit juice, herbal juice and dairy products.  1 Thai bat = 3¢. It turns out about 511 million US dollars in sales. I think.

These packages were ordered through Amazon marketed as Mama Rare 9 Flavors Instant Noodles Best Sellers. Come on. They're either best sellers or they are rare. Maybe they're rare for Amazon in America and best sellers elsewhere.

These took so long to be delivered I forgot that I ordered them. Ordered on June 21 delivered July 26. Amazon doesn't even know they've been delivered. They're still expecting them to be delivered by August 2. They were $15.10 for 8 packages, that's $1.89 each.

The packaging has no English. The translator app is virtually useless except in rare cases such as "fried prawns" for example and "hot and spicy" for another. The rest says "instant noodles" and the like with other words in a foreign language switching around. We have to guess by the photos on the package.

Other Mama products are labeled in English.

Burger Fi, cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate shake

"I'm taking your picture."

"I'm a star!" 

Two single cheeseburgers; lettuce, tomato, pickles, fried onions, jalapeños, your sauce.

I cannot taste the jalapeños, the fried onions nor the house sauce.

What? Did you rip me off?


     "Yes, Bo?"

"Are you a manager here?"


"I was siting at home thinking about where to go to score something to eat. I thought of this place and pictured you. Then I bet myself they made you manager because you are pure manager material. So, I won the bet. But, myself whom I was betting with also bet they made you manager so odds were 2 against 0. 

    "Oh, Bo, thank you for saying that. Thank you. That's the nicest most perfect thing for me to hear right now. I was having a tough time today and you just now made my whole day worth it. Thank you. You lifted my spirit. Thank you, Bo. That means a lot to me. Thank you."

Wow. I'm glad I told her that. It was a bit stupid but I'm glad that I said it.

Kelly is not pictured. She's a slight thin young woman with extremely shortly cropped hair. With a patch of long hair grown to a single ponytail. It used to be a patch of dreadlocks. Maybe she changed it to be more managerial.

The Magnificent 7, Denver Pizza Co.

Salami, pepperoni, sausage, basil, mushrooms, bacon and sun dried tomatoes.

Denver Pizza Co. menu.

Size medium, 6" cost: $1,000,000.00

Not really.

But all the sizes are smaller than you think, medium is actually quite small and x-large isn't so big after all, and the cost is always more than you're used to spending for pizza.

Come on. It's bread with stuff sprinkled on top.

And when you make them yourself you load the toppings on liberally, but Denver Pizza Co is always so reasonable, so cautious, so conservative, so balanced.

And everything is already right there, already prepared. They reach into a container and grab the cheese already grated and sprinkle it on, then reach into a container and grab some sausage and sprinkle it on, then reach into a container and grab some prepared bacon bits and sprinkle them on, and so on, whereas at home each element must be grated, sliced, chopped, opened, peeled, just for one pizza. And it's a huge mess. Fun. But a mess.

But is all that really worth $16.00 for a medium/small pizza or $24.00 for a slightly large XL-in name only pizza? Yes!

Because they're totally ace.

When you order online they charge $2.00 for delivery but honestly I don't know what that goes to. It's not enough tip for a delivery person.

So I add $10.00 tip to the driver.

On an order totaling $21.00 with tax and delivery surcharge and two Coca-Colas.

So then, $31.00 for a small/medium pizza. Two meals for me.

And it is pizza perfection.

The pizza box fit inside my little cart.

OMG, I love young people so much I could squeeze their guts out.

I love their energy. Their optimism. I love observing them facing their challenges. I love being allowed to participate. Even in such a small way.

Our front door security has been down for a month and the call-box out of order. The door doesn't work. It's always such a drag anyway. So I went down to the street to meet the delivery in the front intending to take up through the back.

Denver Pizza always underpromises and over-delivers. They say allow sixty minutes then they deliver within fifteen minutes.

I hastened downstairs with my little old man cart to bring the pizza up to my apartment. I cannot walk and hold a pizza. Maybe I can. I never tried it. Yes, in fact I can. But it would be unsteady.  I met the delivery person downstairs outside.

As it turns out, the door and call box are repaired so that wasn't necessary.

A small young man with dark skin and very long dark hair parked right in front. I greeted him as he exited his car. A mini Jesus dressed in drab browns emerging from a dark little car. "Good," he's thinking, he doesn't have to buzz in, ride up the elevator and find the apartment. It's a lot easier.

I handed him the $10.00 bill and his mood elevated noticeably immediately. Suddenly from drably overworked to cheerful. A small thing like that makes a big difference for young people working in service industries. It signifies that we understand each other. They remind me of myself at that age. And I remind them of someone in their life who is magnanimous toward them. There is an instant affection. An instant change. When they smile their eyes and their teeth literally light up the darkness of night and a connection of fondness is made between generations.

However minimal, evanescent and brief. Poof. Gone.

Nongshim, shin black noodle soup

Nongshim, "Farmer's heart" is a South Korean beverage and food company headquartered in Seoul. Their logo is a seed; a red horizontal oval containing a smaller white vertical oval inside the red oval at top center, somewhat like a cartoon eye.

Founded in 1965 by the end of 2015 Nongshim had 2.57 trillion in assets and 2.81 trillion in sales, running 11 factories worldwide and operating in 100 countries. It is the largest ramyun (ramen) company in South Korea. They invested heavily in equipment and they sell a lot of snacks. 

Ramen Ruler gives an interesting review. He notes the higher price than the original red version while insisting it's worth it. 

Amazon reviews are quite good. 1,000+ reviews averaging 4.5 stars. The one-star reviewers complain about the usual things, MSG, same as super cheap brands, smells like chemicals, contains HFC, seaweed is overpowering, smells like dead fish, coworkers all hate the smell, too expensive, palm oil, what a bunch of losers. 

The noodles are thick and the amount is hearty. There is a packet of scant vegetables and two packets of soup flavoring. One of the packets is beef broth the other packet is soup seasoning. 

It's very good. I could live off these things. 

Hey wait. I have been living off these things. They're impressive. And they hit the spot of avoiding starvation while missing the mark of true greatness. If I were designing these things I'd triple or quadruple the vegetable packets. I'd design one with kombu powder and bonito flake powder to imitate Japanese dashi. I'd include dehydrated tofu and larger chunks of dehydrated protein. I'd fortify them considerably, and I'd use broth reduced from real sources. I suppose my versions would be a lot more expensive. Maybe that's why they hint at possibilities of greatness while leaving the fulfillment of greatness to users. 

Nothing is stopping us from buying the noodles and the various forms of broth and various proteins and vegetables separately and constructing our own versions at home. But then there we are cooking, and these things are offered in avoidance of that. And they're worth it. Except when I have to clean up a bowl. What a drag.

I'm exceedingly lazy right now. And these things are perfect. These are for lazy people with zero cooking skills. So to read the reviews as if the products are intended for connoisseurs is actually a bit funny. For what they are, they are actually quite good. I'm interested in discovering the national varieties. Other countries have their own unique visions; combinations we wouldn't think of. 

The noodles are not black and neither is the soup. The label is black to distinguish it from the original red. 

Amazon shin ramyum red $17.34 for 20.  Clearly the much better deal.

Nongshim shrimp crackers $20.50 for 12. They look like crinkle French fries. 

Amazon Nongshim, see their various products. They're tripping me out. 

Haricot Tarbais

These are the beans used in French cassoulets. They're ridiculously expensive compared to other beans available in America.

I bought them to plant. Their germination rate is pathetic.

A whole jar soaked as bean sprouts failed to germinate.

I checked to make sure they were not imported to lessen the likelihood of being irradiated but they were inert. The seed bought from seed stores failed to germinate.

Out of hundreds of seeds planted there is only one good plant. It's grown up a trellis and then a up a bamboo pole from a large pot to the roof of my terrace. It's now curling around at the tip of the bamboo pole.

The leaves that get partial sun burn in  Colorado direct sun for part of the day. The leaves that stay in the shade do better. A few other plants germinated too but they are not growing so well as that one.

I still have the whole bag, I still have room in some pots and I still have time in the season to keep trying. I might try to germinate them inside and possibly keep them inside at the windows. I don't know yet. I'd like them to fill out the trellis. They're very discouraging for beans. I planted them three times.

One time I bought a bag of grocery store pinto beans and planted the whole 1lb bag at my parents home. They ALL germinated into a fantastic little bean patch. It was pure joy to watch grow. I didn't have a clue what I was doing but they grew very well as small bushes. Even the rabbits liked hanging out in the bean patch.

I should have cooked more.

These are delicious. 

The cooking liquid has top smoked thick cut Applewood bacon, tarragon, pepper and more liquid smoke.

After they pressure cooked on low for one hour, frozen pearl onions were added along with two tablespoons of brown sugar and one tablespoon of cider vinegar. These are sweet/sour with smoke.

Regular white navy beans are not as good. Regular white lima beans are not as good. 

I'm going to be sad when these beans are gone. But $11.00 a pound is a bit much. I'll try the same thing with regular American white beans.

And I'll keep trying to grow these. There must be a secret.

BBQ beef sandwich

This is the beef and the sauce that George made.

It's small. I should have told them to give me a lot more. 

They picked up my habit of buying temporary storage containers such as Glad for party doggy bags.   I should have told them to give me two and fill them up and give me more buns. Like six. 

See? They're actually very cautious, naturally self-constrained and conservative.

Indomie Mi Goreng instant noodles

Indomie is a brand produced by an Indonesian company Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk with manufacturing plants in Indonesia and Nigeria. Indo stands for Indonesia and mia is the Indonesian word for noodles. So Indomie means Indonesian noodles.

Indomie goreng is fried noodles without soup. There are several varieties; Indomie kuah with soup, Indomie Jumbo,  Mi Keriting premium curly noodle and Taste of Asia among others.

This type contains two sachets of flavorings. One sachet has three segments that hold sweet soy sauce, chili sauce and seasoned oil with fried onion flakes. The other sachet has two segments of dry ingredients, one with dry seasoning powder and the other with flake of fried shallot.

The packages are not filling. If you're hungry then prepare two.

In some areas a jumbo package is available.

The packages contain phenylalanine and monosodium glutamate. The flavor enhance 631 might be prepared from meat or from dried sardines. And flavor enhancer is isolated from sardines or yeast extract. The inclusion of these flavor enhancers means they might not be suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

This Indomie Mi Goreng is on most of the top 10 favorite lists online. Some YouTube videos show preparers using only a few of the flavor sachets.

And that's just insane.

Birthday cake

Apologies. It's all I got.

Two friends hosted a party for me and another friend for our birthdays being two days apart. That's okay, we claim the whole month. Birthmonth, not birthday.

A few years ago I gave them a Big Green Egg and they used it yesterday to smoke some kind of beef. It was a lower-end cut but they cooked it so long that it tenderized beautifully. I brought some home.

I also bought them a bag of Fogo wood charcoal so they used that too. Very convenient, just had Amazon send it to them.

The beef was shredded and mixed with homemade bbq sauce. So each person had a bbq beef sandwich.

They also made two salads that were very good, one is jicama with other vegetables and a sweet dressing, the other was fruit salad. Both excellent.

So, a simple meal of three things. Plus I drank 3 Coca-Colas.

Somebody else drank 1oz of vodka, and that's it.

My, how we've matured. Can you imagine a party that served only 1oz of vodka?

And several beers?

It rained like mad.

And I mean mad. Downpour, actually. Heavy. It caused floods and people got stuck all over the place.

Apologies. I forgot to take pictures until the end.

Apparently my camera didn't focus.

I changed the settings and the focus was supposed to be automatic.

It's a small cake. Red. With chocolate ice cream.

They joked about not bothering with candles because it would take too many.


They could have had each candle count for ten, and have room to spare.

It was a nice party. Small. It was very nice of friends to take the time for it. 

Beef burgundy, mashed potatoes

Instant mashed potatoes.

Frozen beef burgundy.

It's like NASA up in here.

Good Lord, it's delicious. I must be starving. 

The Woods

Their home-brewed Belgian style beer.

The black stripes are the frame for the Plexiglas.

The train to the airport runs every fifteen minutes. 

I was locked into a time-warp. 

It seemed like every five minutes to me. 

Japanese beetle. An invasive species introduced to Colorado in 1900. Coloradans hate them. But I think it's adorable.

It makes me want to tie a thread around its leg and fly it around like a kite.

No wait. That was a flashback to kindergarten in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Nevermind. 

The strip of tar-covered area appears to be parking for the stadium. It's incredibly long. They must have shuttle service or people would pass out in the heat.

The view gives a bit of a look behind the bare-bones Bauhaus architecture you see along the way. We're thinking there must be a pool in the middle. Certainly a garden.

Too bad my photo didn't focus properly. 

You must walk past this from the elevator to the restaurant. 

I said to my friend, "I bet they're empty." 

He goes, "Huh-uh. I bet they're filled. It's what they're about." He tapped one. Tap, tap, tap. Hollow sound. 

PSYCH! There's no beer in the barrels. They're empty! They're mere decoration. 

What a f'k'n ripoff! 

You're gonna hafta wake up pret-ty early in the morning to pull one off old Chip. 

Downstairs first level away from the restaurant. Their homemade beer is very good. 

The staff is like all the young people in Colorado. They're exceedingly helpful and alert. Coming in, throughout, going out, they leap ahead to open doors. The hostess does not outpace us. They're so fast that they stand there with the door open as doormen. They're patient. They are amazing. As people, not necessarily as staff. They do this all over the state. 

The place gets mixed reviews on Yelp. 

Reviewers say the food is okay but the view is spectacular. 

They complain about the cost of drinks and of food items. 

They complain about service being slow. 

We found everything excellent. I think the food is a bit pricy but I didn't pay. My friend thought the cost was very reasonable. He thought the view is better than I found it. He was fascinated, and he travels the entire world quite extensively. It's his raison d'être. He has better view on his own roof at Cheeseman. It's hard to tell when he's genuinely impressed and when he's just being nice. But he kept saying the view is spectacular. Mind, he's been skiing all his life. He knows the difference between truly spectacular and just okay. He confounds me sometimes. The view is of the low-level unadorned Bauhaus architecture all around, and the back of the train station and the urban residential area on the outskirts of Denver with the city behind them, and of the mountain range. You see the low-level grit of the city. The back of the stadium and the back of the train station, the back of buildings grown up in the back side of Denver.

They get spectacular sunsets. 

But so do I. 

Reviewers rave about the view. But I don't know why. It's only 8 floors up. It's nice, yes, interesting, yes, but that's all. In my humble opinion. 

We enjoyed being outside protected from the sun.

I had a very nice time.

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