I have been craving certain foods ever since I stepped on the plane November 30th in San Jose. There are times that I wake out of a dead sleep over these foods in a grease sweat. In 42 days this fire in my belly can be quenched… in no particular order. Just a quick few thoughts dancing in my head.
1. In and Out Burger– Double Double with animal fries.
2. Carl’s jr.- Western Bacon Cheesburger
3. Boars Breath (Oxnard, CA)- Kobe Burger
4. Nations (San Ramon,CA)- Bacon Cheeseburger
5. Fenton’s (Piedmont, CA)- Crab sandwich
6. Peking Inn (Camarillo, CA)- Dim Sum
7. El Pollo Norteno (Oxnard, CA)- Yellow Chicken!
8. Taqueria #4 (Oxnard, CA)- Shrimp cocktail
9. Claim Jumper-
10. Armadillo Willy’s (San Jose, CA)
11. Boudin’s (Walnut Creek, CA)- Sourdough bread
12. Wok ‘n South (Ventura, CA)
13. I Love Sushi (Ventura, CA)- tuna!
14. Snapper Jack’s (Camarillo, CA)- Crispy Steak Tacos
15. Chevy’s (San Ramon,CA)- Fajita’s
16. China Delight’s (San Ramon, CA)- Duck Won Ton Soup
17. Golden Budda (San Jose, CA)- Meat Egg Rolls
18. Jamba Juice- Strawberry Surfrider
19. The Hat (Pasadena, CA)
20. Houston’s (Pasadena, CA)- Prime Rib French Dip Sandwich w/ Eric.
21. Jersey Mike’s (Oxnard, CA)- turkey and roast beef with BACON!
22. Donut Man (Glendora, CA)- Anything…..mmmmm
23. Togo’s- Pastrami or Turkey/ Roast Beef.
Yesterday, I did something stupid. With a bunch of young adults (Mike, Krystal, Jess, Roy (for a bit), and Sean (for a bit) we attempted to clarify a universal question. That question being who has the best fried chicken? If you go to Popeye’s they claim that they are better than KFC, you go to Church’s they say they are better than Popeye’s, and KFC… are just zagat rated. But who truly is better. To make this a greater challenge it was to be done during one afternoon or lunch. You might question our sanity? Why not over a course of time…. simply because we are not the smartest people in the world and it would hurt more. This turned into not a sprint but a marathon.
Our first trip was to Church’s chicken in Lawnside, NJ. I must say that it had to be the most unsanitary of the destinations. With flies and sticky tables, atmosphere was not high on the list. What we decided was at each location to get a family meal with biscuits, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and a drink. The Church’s chicken was good but lacked some flavor. Tasted like chicken. The highlight was the biscuits. As Mike put it… it was a two greasy napkin place. Overall I give it a B- (without deducting points due to sanitation).
After our stop to Church’s we headed to Blackwood, NJ to the new Popeye’s. Since it being new we encountered the complete chaos of people not knowing how to put orders together. The flavor was much better here and the chicken seemed fresher and had more flavor. Even the side dishes were tastier. It was only the mashed potatoes that I did not like with the different flavor. Overall I give it a B.
Finally, in our two hour jaunt we drove through KFC since we were feeling a bit sick. Our plan was to take it to Roy’s house and eat with him. Partially because we felt nauseas and maybe needed a bathroom around. KFC was not what we remembered it to be. We found it to be much saltier and the flavor was overpowering. The crispyness was not nearly what we found at the two prior places. While KFC has been the fried chicken standby it scored much lower. My overall grade was a C+.
What I learned? I am older and cannot handle grease the way I thought I can. As Jess said this morning “I think I still smell like fried chicken”. The amount of grease coming through my pores is immense. But we did it. Challenge complete. Please pass the salad.
In the meantime we are contemplating a french fry challenge, pizza challenge…. or what else.
I was shocked to read that California is banning and fining those that sell shark fins for soup. This has the impact of tripe not being available for menudo or tea for the english. They are cultural staples. The full article from the New York Times is here. While I do love a cup of Shark Fin Soup at a traditional chinese meal it has been years since I have had one. This is due to me seeing a Discovery Channel special on how they are harvested. This does raise an interesting question on when does the government have the right to impose on our cultural norms. Each culture has developed customs and foods that are traditional and have deep meaning in their culture. Our traditions are what we celebrate as being Chinese, French, Hispanic, Irish, or any other culture on our special days. Chinese New Year would not be the same without the tangerines, red envelopes, firecrackers, moon cakes, and more. This applies to each culture. What would your cultural holiday look like without some of its staples?
I do not believe that the government has the right to stop to impose its will on us. With that we lose some of our cultural uniqueness and develop a singular culture. While I don’t agree with the government actions we also need to understand that we are also to take care of our environment. Is there a way that we can protect the environment and culture? I am sure there are. Such as education, levying a special tax on shark fins, or the development of a private “shark farms”. With the technology and minds we have in there must be a satisfactory answer for everyone.