Saturday, March 6, 2021

The French Dip Of The Taco World

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| Subject: OG Birrieria Taco Truck | Date: 03/04/2021 | Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester |  Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
| Subject: OG Birrieria's Menu | Date: 03/04/2021 | Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester | Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
My best friend, Dani, is, hands down, the pickiest eater I know. She has no qualms about sniffing her restaurant order when it arrives at the table, “just to make sure.” Thus, when she told me about some outrageously delicious tacos, she’d come across, from a new taco truck I had to give them a try.

Parked on first street in Hillsboro, Oregon (Next to the KFC), sits the bright red OG Birrieria Taco Truck . Adjacent to the truck is a makeshift wooden shelter, complete with tables, chairs, and a tall cylindrical space heater.

| Subject: Taco Box from OG Birrieria's Taco Truck | Date: 03/04/2021 | Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester | Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
When I say, “tacos,” you shouldn't be thinking about hamburger and refried beans in a bright yellow shell. OG Birrieria begins by marinating beef in a spiced consommé overnight. The meat is then stuffed into a corn tortilla along with a helping of Cotija cheese. The taco is then dipped into the consommé and fried to order on an electric griddle.

This isn’t fast food, but it only took, roughly, ten minutes for my number to be called once I’d ordered. For $12.00 I received a box with; four tacos, some lime wedges, a mixture of cilantro & onion, a small cup of orange hot sauce paste, a small cup of guacamole, and a generous disposable ramekin of the consommé to serve an au jus of sorts; which is the reason I nicknamed it, “the French dip of the taco world.”

The hot sauce paste was over the top hot, and I wasn't in a guacamole mood. However, I added the; lime juice, onions, and cilantro; to balance the rich meat and cheese with some freshness. Dipping the tacos, before taking each bite, delivered a gamut of salty, spicy, and herbaceous flavors all working together to produce a superb eating experience.

I have nothing bad to say about OG Birrieria’s tacos. 10 out of 10 stars.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Did Taco Bell Need To Resurrect Their Loaded Nacho Taco?

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I was looking for a way to get back into my food blogging groove (if you follow me regularly you know why I've been off my blogging game), when I heard Taco Bell had re-released their Loaded Nacho Taco for just $1.00.  Tempted by the price, I ordered one from my local Taco Bell at 19275 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, in Aloha, Oregon.  

| Subject: Taco Bell's Loaded Nacho Taco |
| Date: 01/21/2021 |
| Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester |
| Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
The Loaded Nacho Taco consists of lettuce, cheddar cheese, nacho cheese sauce, seasoned beef-like substance (Oh, what? You've had the same thought.), and red corn chip strips for added crunch.

As you can see from the photograph, the taco had a lot of lettuce and meat mixture with a little bit of everything else.  The cheese sauce added a bit of spice, otherwise it tasted just like a Soft Taco Supreme minus the sour cream.

As for added crunch, the few strips that were present provided a minimal crunch above & beyond the crunch of the lettuce.  Honestly, if you want a soft taco with crunch you're better off with a Double Decker Taco Supreme. 

Don't get me wrong, Taco Bell's Loaded Nacho Taco is a tasty $1.00 taco.  It's simply only worth what I paid for it. 7 out of 10 stars

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hospital Food's Saving Grace

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I haven't posted in some time for the simple reason that I've been in the hospital. No, it wasn’t COVID-19 related, but the problem with my innards was nasty enough to knock me down for the count, requiring emergency surgery.

Hospital food isn't what you think it is. It's a hundred times worse than your worst culinary imaginings. I'm still having nightmares about their meatloaf and, so called, "mashed potatoes."

While I was initially tempted to chalk this house of epicurean horrors up to sadism, the reason for the bland flavors and funky textures is far more mundane.  A single kitchen has to produce the healthiest possible food (low salt, low fat, etc...) for hundreds of patients, each with their own dietary needs and restrictions.  Frankly, it's a miracle hospital kitchens do as well as they do.   Being aware of this fact didn't make the crispy chunks of mashed potatoes or the grey chicken based sausage any easier to eat though.

| Subject: Orange Sherbet |
| Date: 01/16/2021 | Photographers: Shelby Hester & James Kiester |
| Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |

Just as all hope seemed lost, I found a single purse among the proverbial pigs ears.  I am, of course, speaking of the sweet confection known as sherbet (or sometimes sherbert).  According to TheFreeDictionary.com, Sherbet is "a frozen dessert made mainly of fruit juice or fruit purée, usually with sugar and milk or cream."

As the cups of creamy sweet tart deliciousness were keeping me sane, I suspected the hospital served it for its non-dairy properties.  Turns out, I wasn’t entirely correct.  Like sorbet, sherbet is made of fruit juice and sugar.  What sets sherbet apart from its fruity cousin is the 1% to 2% inclusion of milk or cream in order to produce the creamy texture sherbet is known for.

Sherbet is perfectly balanced between juiciness & creaminess, and sweetness & tartness.  Yet, the confection is almost entirely associated with grade schools and/or hospitals.  I'd be willing to wager that most people reading this blog haven't even thought about sherbet since eating it with a little wooden spoon during a sixth grade field trip.   Once I was released from the hospital, I corrected the error of my ways by treating myself to a gallon of sherbet to keep in my freezer.   It's become my new favorite dessert.   

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Downsizing Thanksgiving

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I haven't posted a food blog since August 10th.  Between watching people politicize the pandemic, and a truly weird election, I've been feeling too blah to care about who's putting prime rib on a cheeseburger.  And honestly, I've done so many Thanksgiving food blogs, that I told myself I'd never write another one.  I simply couldn't imagine having anything else to say about the traditionally glutinous holiday meal.  Thus, it's ironic that I'm breaking my dry spell to write about said meal. 

Of course, as we're being asked to limit the size of our gatherings, this year, to avoid infection, this won't be a traditional Thanksgiving for many of us.  My house is no exception. 

Since it will be just two of us, we've decided to forgo the turkey, and roast a small game hen.  It doesn't make sense to work all day on a big turkey, only to be stuck with two weeks worth of leftovers.  And frankly, I think game hen has more flavor than turkey. 

However, I wanted to maintain that same holiday sage flavor profile.  I did some research and FOUND the following recipe for Cornish Game Hen With Sage Butter at Food.com

Cornish Game Hens With Sage Butter:

Recipe found at Food.com
READY IN: 1hr 5mins, SERVES: 2 

Ingredients:

 1 Cornish hen, split into halves|
 4 tablespoons butter, softened|
 2 tablespoons fresh sage (or 3 tsp dried sage), chopped|
 1 garlic clove (or more to taste), minced|
 Zest of half a lemon, grated|
 0.25 teaspoon paprika|
 salt and pepper to taste| 

Directions:

Blend 3 tablespoons of butter with the sage, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Separate breast and leg skin from hens. Press the mixture under the skins and spread evenly. Melt remaining butter and add paprika Brush this butter over the hen. 

 Place hens in single layer in shallow oiled pan. Roast at 400 F, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes. Baste twice with pan drippings.
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Keep in mind, this isn't my recipe.  Nevertheless, if executed well, it should provide a taste of Thanksgiving without all the work of a turkey. 

Likewise, we feel no need to make every side dish either.  Some dressing with gravy, cranberry sauce, a few *deviled eggs, and a nice Riesling will make a good holiday meal.  Some pumpkin pie with coffee afterwards and you’re all set.

Of course, you could always go the popcorn and toast route. 





*=Recipe from prior Thanksgiving blog.