Robataya’s Uni and Salmon Roe Don

I don’t know why Uni (Sea Urchin) intrigues me so. The aroma of Uni reminds me of my childhood –our old VCR in the 80’s in Winter Park, FL. It has like a smokey metallic taste that emanated from that early model VCR. Why I keep ordering it? I don’t know.

05 Uni and Salmon Roe Don - Robataya

This time I tried a big bowl of Uni and Salmon Roe over rice ($22 at Robataya in the East Village). Sounds kind of awesome. It was really good for the first bites at least. Although, I don’t know why anyone would really want to that much Uni and Salmon Roe. I don’t love my old VCR that much. I finished it though.

Robataya – 231 E 9th St (btwn Stuyvesant St & 2nd Ave) New York, NY 10003


Tio Wally Eats America: Miner’s Drive-In

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 Yakima, Washington.

Greetings from Yakima, Washington
N 46° 33.9885′ W 120° 28.9558′ Elev. 988 feet

I first visited Miner’s Drive-In shortly after midnight. I presumed they’d already closed and the lights were just about to be turned off. As it happened the dining room didn’t close until 1:30 a.m. that night; 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

02 Miner's_bldg

I’d never been here before and was charmed by it’s well-kept funkiness. The place as been here in various forms since it opened in 1948, and is still owned and operated by it namesakes, the Miner family.

I was sort of taken aback by the prices at first. It seemed a little pricey for a hamburger even though they’re actually priced about the same as Five Guys. There wasn’t much else open so I figured I’d bite the bullet and see how the burgers were. I ordered a Cheese Burger ($5.85) with everything. Much to my surprise Miners’ burgers are whoppers — bigger than a Whopper®!

It seemed to be a half-pound patty, served on a sesame seed bun with two slices of cheese, lettuce and onion, dressed with mayonnaise and a touch of ketchup. Not only are the burgers weighty, they’re also bigger around than my face. It must be eight inches around. It’s huge.

The first one I got came with three slices of tomato. The last one, however, didn’t; tomatoes can be added for 75¢. Quite frankly I don’t remember if I had them add tomato to the first one or not. Maybe they just screwed up … or liked my visage. I may have ordered them as I was pretty tired, extremely hungry and incapable of caring.

In retrospect I wish I’d added tomatoes to the second one because they really enhanced the homeyness of the burger. Although I put some of their 1000 Island Dressing-ish french fry sauce on the second one, it wasn’t quite as good as the first. Still, it was a hell of a meal for the price.

I went back the next day (after the second one) because I wanted to try their Bar-B-Q Beef. I was hoping it would be in the style of the now-defunct Spike’s Shack of Ritzville, Washington and, hopefully, just as good. Sadly, it wasn’t the nostalgic wet dream of Spike’s I was hoping for.

19 Miner's_BBQ beef 3

By the way, previously unbeknownst to moi Spike’s is still there but it’s now called “Spike’s Deli & Pizza,” and is located inside the Cow Creek Mercantile. I discovered this through the miracle that is the InterTubes. My gut feeling is that it was better before, when it was still in a poorly painted shack at the edge of an unpaved parking lot at the crossroads to There and The Other There (also recognizable as Interstate 80 and US 395). But who’s to know?

The Bar-B-Q Beef from Miner’s, while quite good, didn’t have the same humble funk and pizzazz as the ones from the early ‘80s Spike’s. Miner’s Bar-B-Q Beef ($6.70) consisted of a couple of slices of roast beef, warmed on the griddle, served on one of their mammoth sesame seed buns, with lettuce and onion and, in addition to the requisite barbecue sauce, mayonnaise. I’m recognizing a Miner’s pattern here: shredded iceberg lettuce, white onion, mayonnaise ….

They cut the sandwich in half and tuck each portion in what looks like coffee filters. I wondered about this at first. After biting into it, however, it made perfect sense. It was a smart move that saved much laundering.

I haven’t quite figured this place out. They must make something that will set my soul afire. I suspect I’ll find what it is eventually as I’ll be coming here a lot.

A couple of curious things about the place: One is that it was originally called Miner’s In-N-Out Hamburgers. Miner’s was founded the same year as In•N•Out Burgers. I wonder if trademark lawsuits ensued? Miner’s dropped the In-N-Out from its signage for whatever reason.

Another is that Miner’s signage used to tout “On A Sesame Seed Bun.” Being as Miner’s and McDonald’s were also both founded in 1948, I wonder: Did they run afoul of Ray Kroc and his legal-minded minions? Miner’s doesn’t flog sesame seed buns anymore.

These and many other questions remain unanswered. Like, Why the hell is Yakima billed as the Palm Springs of Washington? And, Why is it spelled “Yakima” while the Native American tribe from which it’s name is derived spell it “Yakama”? Inquiring minds want to know.

And so we roll.

Miner’s Drive-In, 2415 S. 1st Street, Yakima, Washington

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.

Root Beer Float Flavored Oreos

This week’s Taste Test Tuesdays in Sam’s office were these Limited Edition Root Beer Float Flavored Oreos. There were two layers of cream –one brown and the other white. It really tasted like Root Beer flavoring! Like how Root Beer flavored Jelly Bellys taste.

Are McDonald’s Burgers Made of Horse Meat?

When I was a kid, my older sister told me that McDonald’s burgers were made of horse meat. I didn’t believe her, but she said her high school classmate/friend who works at McDonald’s said it was true. Then somehow when you’re a kid, that adds credibility. But I don’t think I really believe it.

And now over twenty years later, McDonald’s finally puts out these YouTube videos to prove me right. Their burgers are made of 100% beef (cow). I was right all along and that 17-year-old friend of my sister’s was just being a dumbass.

Now that I’m an adult and think I understand the world better, I guess it doesn’t matter if it was horse meat in there. Heck, cow, horse, dog, who cares. As long as it tastes good. But I gotta say, this McRib video is more interesting, because I didn’t realize that it was all just made out of pork shoulders.

So apparently, the McD’s campaign right now is to interact and have dialogue with their customers. Ask them a question on Twitter or Facebook and hopefully they’ll answer or make a video. I really want them to answer my question… Why can’t they sell Egg McMuffins all day long? That’s their best thing. I would eat them all the time if I woke up early enough. Make a video about this. It could be educational –about the cost effectiveness or how maybe the griddles have to be on a different heat setting for daytime burgers. The answer might not be favorable, but at least it would ease my mind.

The Anchored Inn

Went over to Sam Jayne’s old place to check out the aftermath of Scumfest, the scummiest music fest in Brooklyn. Do you have what it takes?

02 Scumfest aftermath

That was a crazy two-night party. Anyway, we headed over to The Anchored Inn for some food. Really cool bar with black velvet paintings all over in an area that seems so desolate.

06 Chili Lime Roasted Peanuts - The Anchored Inn

Had some really good food there. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Brussel Sprouts, Chili-Lime Roasted Peanuts, Beef Chili. I love this place. I wish I knew about this place when I lived a little closer.

The Anchored Inn – 57 Waterbury St (btwn Scholes & Meserole St) Brooklyn, NY 11206

Takashi Murakami’s New Exhibit and The Bodega (Bushwick)’s Sausage

The night before Veteran’s Day was pretty eventful. I know I drank a lot, but what I can remember is that I went to the opening reception of Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami’s new exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery. I’ve never seen so many hipsters and Asians in one place since I looked in the mirror.

01 Takashi Murakami NYC 2014

I love Murakami’s work and this was some awesome stuff. Now I have a question. If it’s free to see his art, how do they make money? Murakami or the gallery? Do they sell this stuff? And who has the space in their NY apartment to hold these gigantic sculptures?

Then I went to Housing Works to check out the Night School: Lowbrow Lectures, where they talked about things like “The Quantum Mechanics of Time Travel in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Hello Kitty is a Cat: A Polemic,” “The Ron Swanson of the 18th Century,” and “The Complete History of Cats on the Internet.” I remembered getting pissed off at the guy who made fun of Tim Tebow with an animated GIF of the football bouncing off Tebow’s head to make a point about time travel. What a dick.

Then I headed back to Bushwick and hung out at Cobra Club for quarter of Monday Night Football. Then ended up at The Bodega where there was more football. I got a the Basic German Sausage (Grilled Krainerwurst from Ridgewood’s Karl Ehmer, served on pretzel roll with sauerkraut and chips $8). It was really good. Cam Newton wasn’t.

06 The Basic Sausage - The Bodega Bushwick

The Bodega – 24 St Nicholas Ave (@ Troutman St) Brooklyn 11237

Tio Wally Eats America: Rolling Hills Redux

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 Corning, California.

Greetings from Corning, California
N 39° 52.4549’ W 122° 12.1464’ Elev. 289 feet

When I wrote about the Rolling Hills Casino buffet recently I noted that on Tuesdays and Thursdays the over 50 set get 50% off, and that they serve great prime rib every night. Well, I finally made it on a Tuesday. It was great as expected … and absurdly cheap. Almost Virgin River cheap!

The dinner buffet is regularly priced at $16.95. But there is a catch to getting 50% off for simply being upright and over age 50 — you have to have a Shasta Card, the card the house uses to track your gambling habits.

01a RH2_card

I’d gone in shortly after the buffet opened at 4 p.m. and stood in a long line for about 20 minutes or so. It was almost as if I was not the only person over 50 within a reasonable driving distance who was aware of this spectacular deal. Figure that!

It wasn’t until I got to the register that I learned you also had to have a Shasta Card. Starving and slightly miffed, I begrudgingly steeled myself for the inevitable ordeal of getting a card, but not before asking: Am I going to have to stand in line again? “No,” the nice lady said. “Go get the card and then just come back to the front of the line.” So I trudged over to the Shasta Club Card International Card Service Center Desk and signed up. It turned out to be pretty quick and painless. When I returned to the buffet they let me “jump the line” as promised.

They had all kinds of really great stuff besides prime rib that night. Unfortunately, I’d left the camera on the yacht.

One of the real standouts was Mediterranean Swordfish. I’m not sure what made it Mediterranean but the baked swordfish was quite good. In addition to the nightly offering of fried shrimp, they also had an Artichoke Encrusted Cod. It seemed a bit heavy-handed creamy sauce-wise, yet the fillets were still a little too crunchy for my taste. Cod is such a great fish that, well, it really needs to be beer-battered, deep-fried and served on a piece of newspaper with some malt vinegar and a snappy tarter sauce.

Another great delight was Stuffed Cabbage. I think RH’s stuffed cabbage is better than Chompie’s. Then again, Chompie’s serves sweet-and-sour cabbage rolls and that’s a whole ‘nother creature. Rolling Hills’ had a more traditional Italian sauce, a marinara basically. The cabbage was super tender and the meat-rice filling was exceptional.

Other unusual offerings that night were Deep Fried Zucchini (very good) and Deep Fried String Beans (stringy and rubbery).


Hoping to take advantage of my newfound find, I visited again late on a Sunday morning. It was disastrous. I went in and the throngs of people wanted to endlessly queue, like sheeple. I could almost hear the Seinfeld Soup Nazi exclaim: “No Eggs Benedict for you!” Curiously, there was no line for the omelette station. I got a spinach, bacon, mushroom and cheese omelette that was, well, sadly executed, flat.

The secret to making a great omelette is water. Water! Scramble the eggs with water, keep your pan at medium heat, pull the coagulating egg to the middle, then either cover it or flip and fold it. The water will evaporate. This makes for fluffy scrambles eggs too. Trust me.


I was there again the next Saturday. This time I had the camera but the battery failed after two pictures. D’oh!

I paid full price for the buffet minus the $1 off for being old and in the way. It was Mexican night that night, which was kind of disappointing. Not because it was bad but because I didn’t want Mexican food. They did, however, have Chili Rellenos which surprised the hell out of me. They were decent but, well, once you’ve had the good fortune to eat truly great rellenos from Lisa’s or Mariscos Uruapan all all other chili rellenos have a very high bar to reach.

To my delight they also had Pumpkin Pie — my favorite — that night. Unfortunately, they didn’t have real whipped cream, just that phony Cool Whip psuedo-whipped psuedo-topping psuedo-stuff in a giant tray on the strawberry shortcake station. Lord knows what that stuff is. It’s WRONG regardless. Geez, would it break the casino’s bank to spring for a can of Reddi-wip?

Pumpkin pie is divine. It shouldn’t be messed with. It doesn’t have to be homemade. A frozen pumpkin pie will do. But you must have real whipped cream. The perfect pumpkin pie is made by my sister, of course. She got the recipe from the back of a can of pumpkin pie filling. And she actually whips the cream. She’s a great cook and baker (two separate animals). She’s also very generous and very gracious. I think I heard her say “All devout TWEA readers on California’s Central Coast are cordially invited for slice of pumpkin and/or pecan pie on Thanksgiving.” With real whipped cream! Seriously.


Last Tuesday I hit the buffet again on half-off senior night with a Shasta Card! Twas $8.47!

05 RH2_plate

The prime rib was better than ever. And I was smart this time. I didn’t overeat and was wise enough to mix the creamed horseradish with the minced horseradish; the creamed is way too mild. Moreover, the prime rib was cooked perfectly rare. It was enough to make a Canadian James Brown scream: “Good gawd, y’all! Eh?” It was so tender and succulent and the au jus was perfect (not salty).

They also had scalloped potatoes. I thought they looked kind of suspicious in the chafing dish. They turned out to be really, really good. Rolling Hills also has mashed spuds and gravy daily which are really good, too.

I screwed up though. You see, they have this program where, if you have a commercial driver’s license, they will comp you $10 dollars cash or a ($10) shower credit if you play 100 points. I’ve talked to them a number of times but failed to ask basic questions, like “What is a point? Is it a penny? A dime?” So don’t ask me how it all works. Ask Uncle Russ.

They gave me $10 credit when I got the card. But the card is only good for slot play. I can’t play slots. I don’t like the noise or the mindlessness. More so I hate the people who play slots. They stare at the machines, the flashing lights, the spinning icons. They’re the glassy-eyed living brain dead.

I played Blackjack to earn my required play; one hour to earn the credit. Thanks to my prowess as a world-renowned card counter, I’ve lost $35 so far. If I were smarter I’d know that the reimbursements are somewhat less than my outlays. But I’m not that smart.

One day I’ll hire a mathematician to figure out how much Rolling Hills Casino’s freebies are costing me.

And so we roll.

Rolling Hills Casino, 2655 Everett Freeman Way, Corning, California

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.

Northern Bell’s Smoked Dry-Rubbed Wings

Sometimes it’s hard to find a place in a hipster neighborhood to watch football. Northern Bell (see brunch) has the NFL Sunday Ticket with lots of TVs, cheap pitchers of beer deal and these really good smoked/dry-rubbed wings. We ordered it with the chipotle aioli sauce on the side. We did have the option to have the wings sauced up, but I realized that would look pretty gross with the yellow/orange/pink sauce. But dang, these wings are great!

Northern Bell's Wings

Northern Bell – 612 Metropolitan Ave (btwn Lorimer St & Leonard St) Brooklyn, NY 11211