Archive for the 'Food Porn' Category

Buy Me Some Garlic Fries and Dodger Dogs…

Dodgers vs. Cardinals

I avoided eating a Dodger Dog last season out of fear that doing so would cause The Astronomer’s beloved St. Louis Cardinals to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the Dodgers swept the Cards in the Division Series with me consuming only team-neutral concessions, I vowed to eat whatever my heart desired the following season. Superstitions be damned.

Dodgers vs. Cardinals

We returned to the ballpark last week to witness some regular season play between the Dodgers and the Cards. With the sun slowly setting in the distance and cheery fans sporting their brilliant Dodger blue, my appetite was piqued for greasy stadium fare.

Dodgers vs. Cardinals

During the first inning, The Astronomer and I shared an order of Gordon Biersch garlic fries ($5.75). What makes these spuds super special is the abundance of minced garlic and parsley bits coating each shoestring. Every bite delivers an intense garlicky hit that’s dreadful for one’s breath, but oh so good for one’s soul. I’m not much of a sports fan, but I will gladly tag along to any event where these fries are served.

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Apocalypse Now – Ho Chi Minh City

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While I’m pretty familiar with Saigon’s dining scene—street and luxe—when it comes to nightlife, I haven’t the foggiest. In fact, I can count the number of times I frequented a club or bar during my year in Vietnam on one hand. Okay, maybe two. Even though I only go out once every blue moon, I always seem to end up at the same shady, yet strangely fun joint—Apocalypse Now. Unlike the wannabe hipster scenes at clubs Lush and Bounce, Apocalypse Now is refreshingly unpretentious. The crowd here is diverse—we’re talking dirty old men accompanied by transvestites (I told you it was wiener time), ladies of the night and regular folks having a good time. While I wouldn’t say the music selection is rockin’, I would say that the wieners are!

The wiener stand, which is located in the courtyard near the back of the club, is almost always busy because the griller takes his sweet sweet time making sure the skin on each dog is nice and crispy and the buns are perfectly toasted. On a Saturday night, expect to wait upwards of 20 minutes for a wiener. To pass the time, I highly recommend people watching.

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Hawkins is muy excited for wiener time to arrive. Truly, who wouldn’t be?

The wieners are served with ketchup and mustard inside a classic Vietnamese banh mi, which is worlds superior to ordinary hot dog buns. While I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way for one of these babies, there’s definitely a time and a place for wieners. Say, after midnight when you’ve had one Tiger too many? This greasy, salty and satisfying creation will soak up the booze nicely. R. Kelly was right, “after the party IS the after party.”

Apocalypse Now
2D Thi Sach Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Mũi Né II

Mui Ne is like crack. Once you start, it’s difficult to stop. Or so I’ve heard. The Astronomer and I had our first Mui Ne hit a couple weeks back and we had such a bloody blast that we returned this past weekend. The occasion? Hawk‘s 27th.

This time around we rented a sweet mini-bus to get us there. We left Saigon at six in the evening and arrived in Mui Ne at half past ten. Definitely far speedier than a tour bus. We stayed at our favorite hotel Sunshine Beach.

The next morning started off with a giant strawberry pancake. I love the pancakes at Sunshine Beach so much that I had another one for dinner. It’s been so long since I’ve had real maple syrup that I find Aunt Jemima palatable. Sadness.

The Astronomer had some mighty fine French toast. No brioche, but still very lovely. I ate his bananas. Score. After breakfast, Hawk, The Astronomer and I walked along the beach collecting sea shells and jumping over mysteriously warm “rivers” draining into the beach. And before we knew it, it was time for lunch.

The boys at Jibes.

Food porn alert! The Astronomer ordered fresh tagliatelle with pesto. The pasta was al dente and the sauce tasted wonderfully fresh.

Hawk ordered a cheeseburger. The meat was pan-fried rather than grilled, which resulted in a most satisfactory burger. EDIT: By “most satisfactory” I meant plain ‘ol satisfactory. English wasn’t my first language.

I grabbed some Vietnamese food next door at a restaurant named Lam Tong (92 Nguyen Dinh Chieu) and took it back to Jibes to eat with the boys. I ordered some bun gao (rice noodles with tofu and vegetables), which was just what I was in the mood for. Deep-fried tofu has a wonderful way of soaking up seasonings.

I also procured some cha gio to share. They were supposed to be stuffed with seafood, but all I could taste was pork. Following lunch, we all went to our rooms and crashed even though we had good intentions of kayaking. After napping, The Astronomer and I went for a run. Afterwards, I had a mango pancake for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite things.

The next morning started off with another run, which was followed by a dip in the ocean and breakfast. I wish I could have breakfast here every morning. The ambiance is just unbeatable.

Here’s The Astronomer eating toast with jam in his sopping running shorts.

For his main, The Astronomer ordered a croque-monsieur that was made with Laughing Cow cheese rather than gruyère. Regardless, it was still a great melted cheese sandwich.

I had my third pancake of the weekend. It was a delightful pineapple number.

After breakfast we read on the beach, while Hawk played golf at the Novatel.

When Hawk came back from the greens, we jammed over to Lam Tong for a Vietnamese lunch.

Hawkins requested that we order tofu, which was cool by me because I love the stuff. We settled on the sweet and sour variety.

We also ordered some vegetables in curry. It turned out that vegetables meant scallions and onions, which was a bit disappointing.

The ca kho was the best of the bunch. I can’t tell you what fish it was, but I can tell you that it was super-fatty. The caramelized sauce was nearly too sweet, but there was just enough fish sauce to keep it from tasting like candy. After lunch, we headed to the red sand dunes a couple kilometers up the road.

Hawk was pulling a Michael Jackson and walked around with an umbrella to protect himself from the sun

Hawk trying to snowboard upon the peaceful patterns in the sand.

The boys on the dunes.

The Astronomer sledding down the hill with a little assistance from a small boy who later beat the crap out of all of us. Note to self: make sure to negotiate sledding price before partaking!

Hawk getting in a killer work out in between sledding.

Exhausted. Happy Birthday, man.

Siamese Bananas

A treat. A real treat. But a different kind of treat all together.

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