Archive for March 2nd, 2007|Daily archive page

Eye Candy

 Eye CandyEye Candy

Literally. Check out some of this great candy photography over at Rock Made.

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Food has feelings, too.

Whopperettes

The geniuses over at AdFreak have posted their top 10 ads with people dressed up as food. Great list, but I’d have to put the BK spots in the top 5 for production value and hilarity. The Whopperettes are just great, and the Whopper Jr. ads are quickly becoming a classic. I’d also move the Eclipse ad down a bit due to the annoyance after watching it numerous times.

Check the list for yourself.

Sports & Food

I have yet to make it to every sports venue in America, but luckily the folks at ESPN Travel have done it for me.

Here’s what they came up with for the 10 best stadium foods as well as the 10 best hot dogs in sports.

Discussion is open.

TOP DOGS

1. Miller’s Dog – McAfee Coliseum, Oakland
So juicy and snappy you’ll swear it has natural casing.

2. The Fenway Frank – Fenway Park, Boston
A supple dog that always leaves you wanting one more.

3. Nathan’s Hot Dog – Yankee Stadium, New York
Hate the Yankees, love their hot dog.

4. Hebrew National Dog – Safeco Field, Seattle
Good enough for the Rabbi, good enough for us.

5. Met Jumbo Dog – The Metrodome, Minneapolis
The biggest, baddest dog in MLB makes arena-ball almost tolerable.

6. Aaron’s Hot Dog – Shea Stadium, New York
Lastings Milledge isn’t the only hot dog making headlines in Queens these days.

7. The Hunter’s Dog – New Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Spicy, juicy, and firm. This Hunter’s dog was so good we expected it to roll over in its bun.

8. Grilled Blue Jay Dog – Rogers Center, Toronto
An all-beef frank slit several times during grilling and served on a poppy seed roll. And once you factor in the exchange rate, it only costs 40 cents.

9. Schweigert Hot Dog – Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Not sure if we got the spelling right, but we know good pork by-product when we taste it.

10. Hot Dog Heaven – Turner Field, Atlanta
Of the 21 different dogs served at “The Ted,” our favorite is the Bison Dog. Our pal Jane prefers the Jumbo Georgia Dog… at least she used to.

Note: The Dodger Dog receives an abundance of press — usually from points west — hailing it as the greatest ballpark dog in the majors. We’ve found it to be the most controversial food item in the big leagues, right after Rocky Mountain Oysters in Denver. Most stands in Dodger Stadium sell their dogs boiled, not grilled — a sin that confines this City of Angels’ weenie to the lower circles of ballpark food hell. To be fair to the legions of Dodger Dogs’ faithful we also sampled a grilled Dodger Dog and found it bland, far too skinny, and pre-wrapped. That’s strike four, by our count.

TOP FOOD

1. Boog’s Barbecue, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
Boog Powell smacked 339 home runs during a playing career that spanned 17 years. He also played in four World Series and made four All-Star teams. With all due respect to Mr. Powell and his exploits on the field, we think his best contributions to baseball are the ones he’s making right now at his barbecue pit in Baltimore. Boog’s delicious offerings include hickory-smoked beef, pork, and turkey, all slathered in savory barbecue sauce. The smoke from the pit wafts into the crowd all night long, beckoning and scintillating the senses. And yes, it is pretty cool when a former big leaguer asks you if you’d like a side of beans or slaw with your order. Best of all, just as Camden began the retro trend in ballpark design, Boog began the barbecue trend in ballpark cuisine. Since Boog opened his stand in 1993, Greg Luzinski has opened one in Philly, Gorman Thomas in Milwaukee, Manny Sanguillen in Pittsburgh, and Randy Jones in San Diego.

2. BBQ Stuffed Baked Potato, Minute Maid Park, Houston
Get this. A ginormous baked potato buried in cheese, loaded down with sweet pulled pork meat, doused in barbecue sauce, smothered in onions, and topped with jalapeno peppers. No, this did not come to Kevin in a dream, it’s a true ballpark delicacy that can only be had at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Add another “B” to the list of Houston greats: Biggio, Bagwell, and Berkman — and now, the BBQ Baker. The only caveat: you’ll need an open seat to either side of you to get this job done right. Luckily, those seats are available.

3. Old Style Beer, Wrigley Field, Chicago
Think beer doesn’t qualify as a food? Try telling that to Ronnie Woo Woo and the rest of the bleacher creatures at Wrigley. Fine lager this is not, but when the sun is shining, the Cubbies are playing, and the young ladies are flashing, you’ll understand what Ernie Banks meant when he said, “let’s play two.” Seriously, Old Style might be your grandfather’s favorite brew — or maybe your great-grandfather’s — but on a summer’s afternoon in the humid city of big and sweaty shoulders, nothing hits the spot quite like an Old Style.

4. Gilroy Garlic Fries, AT&T Park, San Francisco
Gordon Biersch’s now-classic creation of ground garlic, herbs, and parmesan cheese served over French fries has been imitated but not yet duplicated at ballparks across the country. Hot, spicy, and chock full of flavor, garlic fries are just the thing to ward off the chill of a nippy night or to give a chilly post-game “boo-ya!” to an opposing pitcher heading for his car. At one time, Gordon Biersch used fresh garlic cloves exclusively and if you couldn’t handle the zing — tough luck for you. But the fries left patrons with breath worse than Thurman Munson’s after a three-day bender, so out of necessity, Gordon Biersch replaced the fresh garlic with minced. But believe us, these fries are still plenty strong.

5. Fenway Sausages, Ted Williams Way, Boston
On game day, Lansdowne Street behind the Green Monster is home to a small fleet of private vendors who serve sweet Italian sausages to the ravenous Fenway faithful. The flat griddles these folks use create sausages that are actually more fried than grilled. Order your sandwich “loaded” with sautéed peppers and onions and top it off with a generous portion of ketchup or barbecue sauce, and you’re sure to destroy your Trot Nixon jersey after about three bites… but it’s well worth it. Our favorite vendor is the Sausage Guy, as much for the succulence of the sausages he peddles as for the logo on his cart. You’ll know what we mean when you see it.

6. Ivar’s Grilled Salmon Sandwich, Safeco Field, Seattle
In the Pacific Northwest, fresh wild-caught salmon is about as good as eating gets. Ivar’s salmon sandwich boasts a ½-pound plank of lightly seasoned grilled salmon, served with cole slaw on a freshly baked organic roll. It’s delicious and the salmon is wild-caught, which means that it’s also friendly for the environment. How’s that for the perfect marriage of a ballpark food with the local culture of eco-seamheads? Some folks put tartar sauce on top, but we don’t. A good salmon plank is firm, pinkish, and has a delightfully mellow taste that’s not, well… too fishy. It’s a great ballpark sandwich that you can eat with one hand while you keep score with the other.

Josh: Hand me a napkin so I can get this fish oil off my hands.
Kevin: Why don’t you rub it into you mitt instead and you’ll field like Ichiro.

7. Rick’s Steaks, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
The debate continues to rage at Ninth and Passyunk in Philly, where Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks have treated local connoisseurs to delicious sliced rib-eye hoagies topped with Cheese Whiz or provolone for decades at their stands on opposing corners of the intersection. But the fact is Pat’s steaks are cut a little thicker and fried a little juicier than Geno’s. The Phillies offered their own quiet endorsement of Pat’s when Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, awarding the stadium steak deal to one of Pat’s grandkids, Rick Olivieri. Since then, we make sure to visit Rick’s Steaks whenever we’re in town for a Phillies game, and you should too.

8. Shrimp Tacos, Petco Park, San Diego
Like, we hear you skeptics out there, dude. But Rubio’s is an authentic San Diego eatery that brought the recipe for its fish tacos to the U.S. from Baja, Mexico way back in 1983. And the shrimp tacos only improve on the original. Though the price of these shrimp delights covered in garlic sauce, cabbage and salsa will run you about twice what it does at a Rubio’s restaurant, the quality suffers little. And these babies will have you hanging loose and looking for the next set of worthy waves.

Kevin: Dude, wanna go ride some tubes.
Josh: Gnarly idea, but it’s only the fourth inning.
Kevin: Oh yeah, the game… like, totally.

9. Ybor City Cuban, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Visiting Tampa Bay and not going to Ybor City would be akin to visiting Las Vegas and not stopping by the Eiffel Tower. Or something like that. Ybor City, the home of Lou Piniella and a proud cigar-making history, is a neat old part of town made up of Cuban, Italian, Spanish, and German immigrants and their descendants. The Columbia restaurant, an Ybor City landmark, also has a stand at Tropicana Field, where it offers baseball fans a taste of the old neighborhood. The Columbia’s Cuban Sandwich is made with spicy ham, gooey cheese, pickles, and sweet peppers, all grilled into a flat sandwich that is so delicious it will leave you hankering for cigar rolled by Fidel himself.

10. Bratwurst with Secret Sauce, Miller Park, Milwaukee
Leave the fried chicken, pizza and nachos to the other ballparks and enjoy the festival of sausages that is a trip to Miller Park. In this land also famous for its cheeses and beers, the bratwurst and spicy Italian sausage at “The House That Bud Built” are clearly a cut above the cased meats you’ll find at other ballparks. Both delicious links are firm and flavorful and made all the more delicious by a generous topping of the Brewers’ Secret Sauce, which tastes a lot like Arby’s Secret Sauce to us. For Josh, who has been trying to replicate Arby’s similarly “secret” blend in his kitchen since about the eighth grade, this is a match made in heaven. After a few innings of gorging yourself silly, sit back and root for your favorite piece of meat to finish first in the nightly Sausage Race.

Josh Pahigian and Kevin O’Connell are the authors of “The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan’s Guide to Major League Stadiums,” which can be ordered at Amazon.com.

Speaking of spices…

Salt & Pepper Phone

Charles & Marie always has some pretty cool products, and this one is no exception. It makes great use of the once popular “wired” telephone, but using the speaker end and the hearing end for salt and pepper. For $22, this isn’t a bad deal.

BUT…if you do happen to have one of those old telephone receivers at home, the one with the round ends that can screw off, you can easily make your own.

  1. unscrew each end
  2. gut out the wires on the inside
  3. clean
  4. fill with salt and pepper

The only problem is that you need to cover one end while shaking, but hey, it works and it’ll save you $22 bucks.

Low Cal Fast Food

After that last post on extreme eating, it got me wondering if it’s possible to eat healthy at fast food restaurants. Well it is. You just have to be smart about it. I decided to check out this site, and after doing so you’ll probably take away a few pointers that’ll have you eating much smarter.

Is it possible to eat healthfully at a fast food restaurant? The big name chains, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell want you to think so. All of these restaurants offer some type of “healthy” alternative on the menu to entice those who are watching their weight or simply wanting better options. But how healthy are these options? It depends on what you order, of course.

Aside from some options that can be quite healthy, such as salads, other options that may seem like wise choices may not be as great as they seem. Also avoid ordering anything in a large size, as this quickly adds extra calories and fat. Many foods also include extra sugars that quickly add calories.

McDonalds

Salads and salad dressings at McDonalds are quite low in calories and fat. A salad with dressing can go as high as 500 or more calories, but this is much lower than other choices. Salads do not necessarily mean that the nutritional value is high, however. Many salads are made with iceberg lettuce, which is primarily water. However, if you’re trying to watch your weight, and find yourself with no other options, a salad can be a good choice. It won’t likely make you feel full, so snacking ahead of time may be a good option to avoid other temptations while there.

Other options that seem like healthy alternatives can be deceiving. Whether a food is fried or grilled will also have a huge effect. But simply choosing between beef and chicken, for example, may not be enough. The Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich has 680 calories compared to the Big Mac’s 560. The key is to look for grilled alternatives and avoid the tempting sides, such as fries or desserts.

Wendy’s

If you’re opting for a salad, choose wisely. Just because a menu item includes the word “salad” does not mean it’s healthy. Wendy’s Taco Salad, for example, comes with almost 400 calories if you only look at the basic salad ingredients; add in the extras that come with it, and the total is nearly 700 calories. This is about a third of a day’s totals on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Even a seemingly healthy broccoli and cheese baked potato comes with 340 calories.

If you’re hungry, it can be very difficult to avoid the temptations of the fast food restaurant. This can be dangerous from the sense of added fat and calories. Should you give into temptation at Wendy’s and order a “biggie” fries, you’ll be taking in an extra 590 calories and 28 grams of fat.

What about alternatives such as the low fat strawberry flavored yogurt? The yogurt itself is 200 calories, and the granola topping that comes with it is an extra 110 calories. In comparison, an average cup of low fat yogurt from the grocery store will have around 100 calories.

Burger King

Burger King provides an array of eating options through its website for those who are watching carbs, fats, or calories. Many salads listed have from between 10 and 13 grams of fat, or 90 to 117 calories from fat. Salads fall in the 400 total calorie range. The dressings will add another 70 to 270 calories, for a total of up to almost 700 calories. Again, this is almost a third of a day’s total caloric intake. The original Whopper sandwich with everything on it has about the same amount of calories. Depending on the salad and dressing chosen, the salad option can actually have more total fat than the Whopper. In other words, eating a “healthy” salad instead of a sandwich may not provide you with the benefits you’re looking for.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell offers “Fresco Style” options that have fewer than ten grams of fat per serving. This translates into the cheeses and sauces being removed from the item. This style can reduce total fat and caloric intake. Many items on the Fresco Style menu are under 400 calories. The key to ordering through this method is to know which items are available Fresco Style and which are not. Most items offer this option, but many do not. Ask prior to ordering.

One final word of caution when it comes to fast food: even when the options are low fat and low calorie, many are still very high in sodium content and low in fiber content. The total nutritional value is an issue. Cooking methods, such as deep-frying or leaving foods under hot lamps for extended periods can dramatically reduce a food’s nutritional value. So what’s the bottom line? While the occasional visit to a fast food restaurant can be enjoyable and will not create too many negative side affects, the idea that ‘healthy’ alternatives at fast food chains are in fact ‘healthy’ is questionable.

Extreme Eating

Straight from The Consumerist, I bring you food with over 2,000 calories from everyday restaurants. CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) did their research, direct from the restaurants themselves. I’m getting nauseous just reading about it. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.Here’s a sampling of the research they did.

  • Ruby Tuesday’s “Colossal Burger.” Ruby Tuesday actually became the first big chain to put nutrition information on its menus. Unfortunately it scrapped that initiative, presumably because it meant the sale of fewer Colossal Burgers. With 1,940 calories and 141 grams of fat (more than two days’ worth!), one of these megaburgers is equivalent to about five McDonald’s Quarter Pounders.
  • Uno Chicago Grill’s “Pizza Skins.” “We start with our famous deep dish crust, add mozzarella and red bliss mashed potatoes, and top it off with crispy bacon, cheddar, and sour cream,” says the menu. The menu doesn’t disclose that this fusion of pizza and potato skins—which is meant to precede a meal of pizza—packs 2,050 calories, 48 grams of saturated fat, and 3,140 milligrams of sodium (more than a day’s worth). “Even if you split it with two other people, it’s like eating dinner before your dinner even hits the table,” Jacobson said.
  • Ruby Tuesday’s “Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta.” Pity the poor diner who thinks this healthy sounding entrée is on the light side: Thanks to its parmesan cream sauce and layer of melted cheese, the 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat make it the equivalent of two 12-ounce sirloin steaks, two buttered baked potatoes, and two Caesar salads. (CSPI calls this dish “Angioplasta.”)
  • Cheesecake Factory’s “Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake.” There’s room enough on Cheesecake Factory’s sprawling menu for advertisements, but evidently no room for nutrition information. If one is undecided among brownie, pie, or cheesecake for dessert, this 1,380-calorie menu item helpfully provides all of the above. It’s the equivalent of eating two Quarter Pounders plus a large fries—for dessert.
  • Though fast-food chains or coffee shops typically serve much smaller portions than these and other major table-service restaurants, they too can provide some startlingly high-calorie items. A venti-sized White Chocolate Mocha and a blueberry scone from Starbucks would provide 1,100 calories—or about as much as one would find in a Burger King bacon double cheeseburger, medium fries, and medium Coke.

I’m no doctor, but if the average person should eat about 1,500 calories a day (give or take), then some people are possibly eating well over 4,000 calories in one sitting? That’s quite disgusting.