Saturday, September 11, 2021

Man Vs. Fries

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I'm one unlucky foodie.  OK, we all suffered the closure of bars and restaurants together.  As soon as the epicurean world reopened though, my wheelchair went kaput.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'm still stuck.  Yet, let it be known that I'm also a determined foodie.  With a long to explore, and no particular cuisine in mind, I logged onto Grubhub for the purpose of ordering from somewhere I've never ordered from before. 

I surfed until I came across a place called Man vs Fries, which physically exists at 12975 SW Canyon Rd. in Beaverton, Oregon.  I think it first caught my eye because it's an obvious tip of the hat to Adam Richman's old show, Man vs. Food.  

| Subject: The NorCal Burrito | 
| Date: 09/07/2021 | Photographers: Bonnie Kiester & James Kiester | 
| Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
Once I got beyond the name, I took a good look at the menu.  As the name implies, Man vs. Fries is the purveyor of over-the-top French-fry-centric dishes.  Their offerings include; 
  • CBR Fries (chicken, bacon, ranch, cheese, and guacamole loaded onto seasoned shoestring fries for $17.95),
  • SoCal Burrito (hella meat, flamin' hot cheetos, straight-cut fries, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, secret sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla with a side of queso for $16.95),
    and
  • NorCal Asada Fries (French fries, drizzled with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and secret sauce for $16.95).
Not wanting flaming hot anything in my food (maybe 30 years ago, but not today), I settled on the NorCal Burrito, which consists of chopped carne asada (beef) or pollo asado (chicken), straight-cut fries, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and a spicy secret sauce wrapped in a huge flour tortilla, supposedly, with a side of queso for $15.95.

First things first, this isn't some snack burrito from a dollar value menu.  This is the price of a meal, but for that price one receives a burrito the size of a Nerf football containing enough food for two people, or one person with a hefty appetite.  Of course, I have a sneaky suspicion this dish has been designed to be consumed after someone has smoked a bowl, in which case the eater/toker could probably finish it by themselves. 

 went with the beef option,  This bad mamma jamma was loaded with seasoned fries, carna asada, and melted cheese.  Carna asada is steak which has been marinated in lime juice and seasonings, grilled, and then cut into thin strips.  The strips of seasoned steak had been cooked until they were crisp with a bit of char.  The slight bitterness of the char worked well with the savory fries, tangy sour cream & guacamole, chewy cheese, and spicy secret sauce to deliver a series of balanced delicious bites of food.  I was really in Heaven when I got the occasional bite of nothing but chewy gooey cheese (you know how much I like my cheese 🧀😀🧀).

I will say, I was a bit irked that I didn't get my side of queso, which would have added a layer of salty heat to each bite.  All things considered though, the NorCal Burrito deserves 8 out of 10 stars.

Interesting Side Note:
It wasn't until I began writing this review that I realized Man Vs. Fries is a national chain, rather than a solo mom & pop.  What's really interesting though, is that the location I ordered from appears nowhere on the list of restaurants on the chain's website

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar - A Long Overdo Cheese Review

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As you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting many food blogs as I used to.  I'll be honest, I haven't been able to hit my epicurean stride since the pandemic began.  The more I think about it though, the more that excuse seems like bull-pucky.  If we learn anything from this health crisis, other than "science is real," it's that we need to do what we do for as long as we can do it.  With this in mind, I thought I'd dive back in by going back to my roots by writing a cheese review.   

| Subject: Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar |
| Date: 08/29/2021 | Photographers: Shelby Hester & James Kiester |
| Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
Typically, when I  think of Tillamook Cheese I think grade school kids touring the factory of  Oregon's largest cheesemaker.  In my neck of the woods, the brand is best known for mass producing a solid quality everyday Cheddar, much like Kraft and Sargento.   It's relatively inexpensive, so it's always in the fridge waiting to be part of a bologna sandwich. 

I was shopping at Whole Foods, via Amazon.com, when Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar caught my eye.  I was intrigued by the thought of Tillamook Cheese entering the gourmet cheese arena, so I purchased a 7 ounce block for $7.49 ($1.07 per ounce - $17.02 per pound).

To clarify this isn't smoked Cheddar.  Peppercorns have been hickory smoked and added to mild white Cheddar.  I will says, they nailed the balance of flavors.  The use of mild Cheddar allowed the smoky spice of the peppercorns to take center stage.  I tasted the flavor of the pepper first, then was treated to smoky hickory finish.  A very mellow, but pleasant, Cheddar taste served as a omnipresent background flavor.

While I enjoyed the flavor, the cheese's moist spongy texture was a disappointment.  Such a mouth-feel is fine for Junior's sandwich, but a good serious Cheddar should have a much dryer texture, leaning toward, but not quite reaching, crumbly.

Did I like Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar?  Yes, it was tasty.  Did I love Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar?  No, it's moisture content prevents from being added to my list of favorites.  I'd give Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar 7 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Touching Base With My Readers

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To My Readers:

This is a different kind of blog specifically written for my regular readers.  Many of you are aware of new posts via my newsletter.  Nothing is changing for those readers.  They'll still receive my newsletter in their inbox whenever I post an update on any of my three blogs (Blogito Ergo Sum, On My Plate, and Musings From The Christian Left).

However, some of you subscribe through through the feedburner in the navigation column.  At the end of the month, the feedburner will no longer support such subscriptions.  In order to receive future updates, simply subscribe to my newsletter. 

To receive my newsletter when new blogs are posted email me here

Question:

|Subject: Chicken Nuggets | Rights to PNG secured from FAVPNG Premium |
Now, this is a food blog, so let me ask a food question. 

Dark meat chicken is fattier and much more flavorful than white meat chicken.  I don't think that's a debatable statement.  So why, why, why do manufacturers of everything from canned soup to nuggets brag about using "all white meat?"  They’re proud of using the less flavorful option. 

If you have any thoughts, I'll share your response in an upcoming blog. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Flavored Mayonnaise Is Not Aioli

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As one could probably guess, I watch a lot of shows on Food Network.  I was watching Trisha’s Southern Kitchen when host, Trisha was making “Smoky Aioli” for over potatoes.  Her aioli was a combination of  mayonnaise, ketchup, smoked paprika, garlic salt, and hot sauce.  The only problem is, IT'S FLAVORED MAYONNAISE, NOT AIOLI!

Aioli is made from garlic and oil while mayo is made from egg yolks and oil.  Mayonnaise, by definition, contains eggs.  Aioli, by definition, contains no eggs.  This is the reason there's no such thing as “vegan mayonnaise.”  Mayonnaise contains eggs.

It's a simple distinction.  Yet, bizarrely, chefs and restaurants keep making flavored mayonnaises and calling them aioli.  Granted, most of the time there's no harm done.  If a diner is vegan or allergic to eggs, and they think they’re ordering aioli, the results can range from annoying to lethal.

Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Aioli
Photo Courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.
Even products on stores' shelves are misleading. When I typed "aioli" into Amazon's search engine, Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Aioli was the first product to pop up.
Terrapin Farms Avocado Aioli
Photo Courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.
Yet, the first two ingredients listed are Canola Oil and "Whole Salted Eggs." Several other aioli products appeared which either listed eggs or didn't list ingredients on their Amazon page. 

It wasn't until I typed "vegan aioli" that I found Terrapin Farms Avocado Aioli, which fit the definition of aioli. Other products fit the definition, but were calling themselves "Vegan Mayonnaise," which isn't actually a thing.


Many diners won't ask questions about the food they’re ordering for fear looking stupid and/or annoying.  Likewise, a good number of shoppers don't stop to read the backs of jars because they’re in a hurry. 

When you're ordering food, in a restaurant BE ANNOYING!  When you're shopping for groceries READ THE LABELS!  It’s the food you're going to eat.   Shows on Food Network are usually pretty reliable sources of information. When even they’re mislabeling one as the other, you have a right to know everything about your food before you put it in your mouth.