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Archives for ME SO HUNGRY – FOOD BLOG & REVIEWS

BXL Zoute’s Lunch Prix Fixe

Went to BXL Zoute for their $17 lunch pre fixe. Seems like a pretty good deal.

Choice of:
Soup of the Day, House Salad or Terrine Maison

And Choice Of:
1Lb Moules, Sandwich of the Day or Omelette

And
1 Stella Artois, House Wine or Soft Drink

I got the Terrine Maison. Here’s a tip. Get that if you are on the fence with that or a salad. Because it comes with salad! I saw a guy next to me order the house salad and it looked like mine minus the Terrine Maison.

The Mussels were good, but the broth wasn’t as drinkable on its own like I expected.

The fries were great!

They have All You Can Eat Mussels on Sundays and Mondays by the way.

BXL Zoute – 50 W 22nd St (btwn 5th & 6th Ave) New York, NY 10010

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Tio Wally Eats America: Jack’s Links

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Nowhere, Oklahoma.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck Tio Wally Eats America: Jack’s Links

Greetings from Nowhere, Oklahoma
N 35° 9.5535’ W 098° 26.5368’ Elev. 1345 ft.

It was shortly after 3 a.m. when Skippy came unglued: “Stop! STOP!!

The blood-curdling panic in his voice was more than a bit disconcerting, erupting as unexpectedly as he did. Prior to this explosive outburst he’d been mindlessly fumbling with his sextant and quietly mumbling to himself for hours, stuff like “I think it’s …” and “Maybe it’s …” and — always a bad sign — “If north is up ….”

My first thought was that I’d suffered yet another momentary lapse in concentration and the SS Me So Hungry had flattened yet another parish van piloted by yet another elderly nun ferrying yet another group of preschoolers on yet another outing to yet another Children’s Museum. I always think that. But we hadn’t seen another vehicle for hours.

“Do you know where we are?” he asked. Yes, Skippy, I do. Thanks to your breathtakingly incompetent navigational skills we’re lost, again, and now we’re in the middle of freakin’ nowhere. “Exactly!” he said, cheerfully. “We’re in Nowhere.”

All I had to do was peer out the bridge windows into the impenetrable darkness to see that. Hell, a lot of Oklahoma looks like nowhere, even in daylight. In fact, much of Oklahoma could be fairly described as nowhere, as in “the middle of.”

“Look,” he said. And damned if it wasn’t true. We were actually in Nowhere. Nowhere, Oklahoma. I would’ve thought “What the hell are the chances?” but, well, it was the SSMSH’s crack lead navigator Skippy who got us here.

So what does one do in Nowhere? Well, not much. Somebody really pegged it when they named the place. There’s nothing in Nowhere. And the nearest somewhere, the big city of Chickasha, is nearly 40 miles away.

Being in Nowhere elicited only one thought: What’s up with Jack’s Links?

I guess I should explain: I had a Facebook chat recently with my faux nephew-in-law, husband of my not-niece. He had one pressing question for me: “Where’re the beef sticks?”

My adoptive nephew-in-law is in the Army. When he was deployed to Iraq a few years back I sent him a couple of 2.1 lbs. bags of Jack’s Links .93-oz. Beef Sticks. His missus and I also included various other goodies in his “care” package, like Mike and Ike candy, a couple of puzzles, and whatnot.

Now he’s deployed again, this time to the nowhere of nowheres that’s so nowhere no one can know. It’s Top Secret. The only thing I can divulge about his exact whereabouts without running afoul of military intelligence, the State Secrets Protection Act and über-masochistic rock hounds is that he’s in a real nowhere. Nowhere, Oklahoma is a verdant paradise by comparison. So let’s just say he’s overseas. And he wants the Jack’s Links Beef Sticks I promised him.

Jack’s Links Beef Sticks are available on counters next to the cash register in many convenience stores. They’re found in plexiglass display boxes with a pull-out, one-stick-at-a-time drawer that doesn’t always work; if desperate, open the top.

They regularly sell for 59¢ each or 2 for $1. I kind of like them. The 6-inch sticks have a satisfying “snap” when you bite into them, a mildly smokey flavor, and go great with Cheese Nips, the far superior competitor of the markedly less-cheesy tasting and pricier Cheese-It® crackers. The best part of that pairing, by the way, is that both the Beef Sticks and the Cheese Nips are easy to hold while blissfully barreling through traffic in, say, a 40-ton land yacht.

When I first bought Jack’s Links Beef Sticks for export to Iraq they were pricey; about $25 per 2.1 lbs. bag, plus shipping. Jack’s Links didn’t sell direct to the public at the time and you could only buy them in bulk on Amazon. All told the adventure ended up costing somewhere around $60-plus, and that was without the additional shipping cost to Iraq; the seller wouldn’t ship to FPOs (Field Post Office), the military mail network.

When I ordered the Jack’s Links Beef Sticks this time (directly from Jack’s website) they were on sale for $10.44 a bag (36 count) and $4.99 for shipping, regardless of the weight/order. I bought 3 bags — two for him, one for me. With shipping it was $36.31 or 29¢ per stick.

It was such a great deal that a week later I decided to get some more. But now they wanted $19.99 a bag. Add $4.99 for shipping and each stick is now 69¢ apiece (if you buy one bag). That’s more than Apu Nahasapeemapetilon charges for them at the Kwik-E-Mart! What’s up with that? Is it Minong marketing? Some peculiarly Wisconsin thing? Seriously. What’s up with that, Jack?

I called Link Snacks Inc., the makers of Jack’s Links, and talked to Brian in Customer Development. He told me that I got the bags of beef sticks so cheap because the product was nearing its expiration date. “It’s a perishable product,” he explained. Bummer, man. So does Jack give military discounts?

“Link Snacks is the largest supplier of snack foods to the military,” he said. I could feel where this was going. “We don’t give discounts because we don’t want to undercut our retailers. Your best bet [for discounts] is to go to CostCo or Sam’s Club. Or you can watch our website.”

In short, the incredible deal on the Jack’s Links Beef Sticks was a fluke.

Although I’d rather grant Sgt. Grant’s wish to come home where he belongs, I’m glad I was able to fulfill at least one soldier’s meager request. The Jack’s Links Beef Sticks and a boatload of theatre-size boxes of assorted flavors of Mike and Ike are on the way to his super-secret undisclosed location. I also threw in a box of both Red Hots and Hot Tamales for good measure.

I hope the sugar rush he gets from all the candy won’t cause him to engage in any aberrant behavior(s) that could lead to “misunderstandings” with whatever short-tempered corporate mascots that may be lurking thereabouts.

If life (read: the military) fails us and his deployment is extended, I think I’ll next try to get Sarge off the cow and onto the fowl. It’s healthier, right? Maybe send him some Imam-approved poultry that “Contains no pork.” Of course, that’s just an idea straight out of Nowhere.

08 Jacks turke w no pork Tio Wally Eats America: Jack’s Links

And so we roll.

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Biblio’s Burger

Had the burger at Biblio near the Bedford stop. I added a fried egg on it for $2 extra. Nice tasty burger. Although, I’m still trying to figure out how I paid $40 after tax and tip for a burger and two beers.

Biblio – 149 N 6th St (btwn Berry & Bedford) Brooklyn, NY 11211

Northside Bakery (Greenpoint)

My friend Jody told me a few months ago that he found a place that has awesome Polish food in his neighborhood of Greenpoint. He thought it was called Nassau Diner and it was on Nassau Ave at Humboldt St. I was I like I don’t think those street intersect. But turns out they do. Todd sent me this list of Greenpoint cheap eats on Brokelyn.com and it had this place, but really called Northside Bakery (Division of Old Poland Foods LLC). Then when I was going to check it out, Todd was already there just finishing up his meal. LOL.

I tasted their White Borscht soup that had gotten cold. It was meh. But I went on their recommendation and got the red stuffed cabbage (Guwumpkis) that were only $2.50 or $3.00. Really cheap. Then I added a side of beets and cucumber salad. The total jumped up to $5.99. Still a good deal.

04 Guwumpkis and beet salad and cucumber salad Northside Bakery Greenpoint Northside Bakery (Greenpoint)

The Guwumpkis was pretty darn good. I ate it all up. Also, there seems like a lot more hot Polish girls in the area.

Northside Bakery – 190 Nassau Ave (at Humboldt St) Brooklyn, NY 11222

Tio Wally Eats America: Cheddar’s

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck Tio Wally Eats America: Cheddar’s

Greetings from Clarksville, Tennessee
N 36° 34.9175’ W 087° 17.8449’ Elev. 519 ft.

I had never been to a Cheddar’s before. I’d stopped in Clarksville to visit my quasi-niece — I’m the uncle she never wanted — and her two children, and she suggested we go.

The only thing I knew about Cheddar’s was that they are always busy. The only other chain restaurant I’ve ever seen that is consistently busy day in and day out like that is Cracker Barrel; I’ve been meaning to go there to find out what the attraction is. Now I know why at least one of them, Cheddar’s, is always busy: The food is very good and quite the value, with extremely generous portions.

When we showed up the host took my name — I always use the name “Zorro” because Rumpelstiltskin is just too hard for them to spell — and then told us there would be “about a 26-minute wait” for a table. Twenty six? How did you come up with that number, I asked? “It’s a mnemonic device,” he said. “That way people don’t misunderstand us. Like, if we tell them 15 minutes they won’t think we said fifty.” Okay. I’m not sure that really qualifies as a mnemonic device but … whatever. Besides, what I really want to know is why mnemonic is spelled with a silent M. I should have asked him. Now I’ll probably never know.

On the way to our table I was checking out what everyone else was having. There were a lot of chicken and a lot of ribs on the plates. And I must say, all of the food coming out of that kitchen looked really, really good.

Cheddar’s menu is fairly standard stuff. There were a number of unusual offerings, however, like Baked Spasagna® ($8.99), “Spaghetti layered with cheeses and spices, baked and then topped with homemade meat or marinara sauce. Served with garlic bread.” I like spaghetti and I like lasagna, so combining the two couldn’t possibly be bad.

Another was the New Orleans Pasta ($10.29), “Shrimp, chicken, smoked sausage and penne pasta are tossed in our homemade creamy Cajun Alfredo sauce and served with garlic bread.” A fellow sitting at the table behind me was eating it and I asked him how it was. “It’s pretty good,” he said, “but it’s kind of cheesy.” I later wondered exactly what he meant by “cheesy.” Did he mean too much cheese? Or that it was kind of bogus, like not spicy enough or something?

His daughters(?) were having another of the unusual menu items, this one from the Kids Meals menu: Monte Dogs ($4.99), two “All beef hot dogs dipped in Cheddar’s Monte Cristo batter and lightly fried until golden brown.” Served on a stick, they resembled high-quality corn dogs. I don’t know if they’re as good as the corn dogs you get at a county fair — the best in the world! — but they sure looked it.

07 Cheddars onion rings Tio Wally Eats America: Cheddar’s

We started with Homemade Onion Rings ($4.29), a “Generous portion of our hand-battered, thin cut made fresh onion rings, served with homemade creamy ranch dressing and our own Cajun dipping sauce.” It was indeed a “generous portion” just as advertised. They were served with the rings intermeshed and stacked on the plate, towering about a foot high. Cool presentation, I thought. And they were the real thing, lightly battered and crispy, and very, very tasty. I didn’t care for the Cajun dipping sauce too much, which tasted of a mix of cayenne and horseradish. I’m sure the sauce probably looked good on paper, but I got a side of Thousand Island dressing instead, which was a great accompaniment.

The finickiest among us, her son, ordered a Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($3.99), “Made with American cheese and grilled until golden, served with your choice of one kids side below.” It was pretty standard, made with white bread. I’m guessing the sandwich met his persnickety standards as he ate the whole thing. For his side he chose the Fresh Apple & Yogurt Medley, diced Granny Smith apple and golden raisins in a light yogurt sauce. I tasted it and it wasn’t bad, although the apples were a little on the mushy side. I kind of expected it to be more like a Waldorf salad but it wasn’t nearly as sweet. If it were he probably would’ve wolfed it down, too.

10 Cheddars kids chicken Tio Wally Eats America: Cheddar’s

The weest among us had Chicken Tenders ($4.99), “A smaller portion of our famous hand-breaded chicken tenders, or if preferred, grilled tenders ….” As her side she got Steamed Vegetables (broccoli and “baby” carrots); the other “Kids Side” offered is French Fries. She didn’t touch a thing. I thought perhaps she was kind of intimidated by it. It was a hell of a lot of chicken — three giant half-breast-sized pieces — for being a “Kids Meal.” Then again, she also wasn’t feeling well. Plus, she doesn’t take a cotton to me at all. All I have to do is look at her and she recoils in abject horror. Her mother says it’s because I’m a stranger and I have facial hair. I think it’s because she’s simply an impeccable judge of character.

I was convinced that our server, Michael, had made a mistake, that he’d brought us an adult order of Chicken Tenders. “No,” he said. “That’s the kid’s plate. The regular Chicken Tender Platter ($8.99) has over twice that much. It’s like a whole chicken’s worth of chicken. It’s also a different batter; the regular version is a beer batter.” I was dumbfounded by the size of the portion. I kept wondering: If this is a kid’s portion, whose kid is it? Seriously. Exactly how large is this alleged “kid”?

My not-niece had the Hawaiian Chicken Salad ($7.59), “Sliced marinated chicken breast with island flavors, served on a bed of fresh salad greens with pineapple, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and honey lime dressing.” I meant to ask her how it was, how the “island flavors” were, and how tortillas had migrated to Hawaii only to be “stripped,” but I was too distracted by the Paul Bunyan-size order of Chicken Tenders. I ended up taking one of the Tenders with me. I was very impressed when I ate it later. The batter is light and nicely seasoned, the chicken moist and tender. Thus the name, I guess.

After seeing so many others having them I decided to have a full rack of the Fork Tender Baby Back Ribs ($14.89). They come in two flavors: Hickory Smoked and Honey BBQ. I wasn’t sure which to get so I asked Michael to make the call. He suggested the Honey BBQ so I went with it. The menu describes them as “Slow cooked until tender, grilled and finished with our homemade honey BBQ glaze. Served with fries and cole slaw.”

When I ordered them Michael then asked what I would like for my two sides. Wow, I thought, I get fries and slaw and two more sides! Score. So I ordered Homemade Red Beans & Rice and, at Michael’s suggestion, the Broccoli Cheese Casserole. It turned out that I had unwittingly substituted the sides. Bummer, man.

The Broccoli Cheese Casserole was pretty good, with plenty of big pieces of broccoli. The Red Beans & Rice, however, were some of the best I’ve ever eaten. It could’ve had a little more rice in the mix, but it was seasoned perfectly and incredibly delicious. They really ought to offer them as a soup or a meal and serve it with corn bread. They are truly extraordinary.

11 Cheddars rib plate Tio Wally Eats America: Cheddar’s

The ribs were likewise very good and fall-off-the-bone tender. They elicited a bit of nostalgia from my faux niece, though. “One of the things I really miss about California,” she said, “is my Dad’s ribs.” I had to agree. Her dad’s ribs — lovingly referred to by all as “Ruderibs” (pronounced Rude-a-ribs) — are out of this world. In addition to his culinary prowess, he’s also a talented graphic artist; he did the truck-graphic header for the TWEA posts.

In all it was a really great meal. And as a special bonus we got to see one of the other server’s hair. The gracious and indulgent Dominic was most assuredly deserving of some sort of award for his extraordinary coiffure. It was truly an impressive, awe-inspiring ‘do. I just wish he wouldn’t have been so busy and I could’ve gotten a better picture. Maybe next time.

And so we roll.

Cheddar’s, 2697 Wilma Rudolph Blvd., Clarksville, Tennessee
and 129 other locations in 23 states

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

Surprise Japanese Candy

Sam got these Japanese Candies (Hida No Warubobo Wanted). I don’t know if that’s an anime/manga/cartoon. I couldn’t find any info. But the bag of candy is interesting. There are five pieces of hard candy …one of which is spicy. So I guess it’s kind of like a Russian Roulette style of eating candy. We all took a piece and ate it at the same time. Surprise! Sam got the spicy one.

Barn Joo Korean Restaurant

I was invited to dinner at Barn Joo, because chef Chef David Lee just competed in the Culinary Battles cooking competition. I feel like I usually don’t come to things like this, but if Bill Murray taught me anything –it’s to say yes and just be there. And I’m glad I did. It was a lot of fun.

There were a couple of people at the table that looked familiar. I thought one guy was like my brother-in-law or some guy I met last week when I was wasted. Turned out he was on Hell’s Kitchen (the show on FOX with Gordon Ramsey) …and so was the other girl. I like that show. They were cool and funny. And I kept hearing the guy say “I’m not a bitch!” I think he did that on the show too. Anyway, that was cool.

There was a lot of good Korean food and alcohol. I’m can’t even remember what I liked best. But if I can pick out a few things off the top of my head… the sushi thing, baby octopus and the tacos.

Somehow, things turned into multiple bottles of soju, which I think I’m partly to be blamed …and soju bombs and oysters shooters. Drinky time.

They look like they have some good lunch specials that’s a little above $10 …which ain’t bad, considering I just paid $40 for lunch today in Williamsburg. When did a burger and two beers cost forty dollars? Anyway, I work close by Barn Joo, so looks like a new option.

Oh, I knew of Barn Joo before, because I do a lot of searching for “chicken wings” at work. And they have BJ wings (Korean soy/garlic). Pretty dang good and good name too.

Barn Joo – 893 Broadway (btwn 19th & 20th St) New York, NY 10003

The Hatch Chile Store

I just received $90 worth of chiles from The Hatch Chile Store. That’s a lot of peppers. Thanks, but now I gotta figure out what I’m going to do with them. Chili Cook-off?

5 pounds of frozen chiles The Hatch Chile Store

Stay tuned…