Monday, September 27, 2010

One more reason I should have gone to law school

I was watching the news just now and they were talking about the Portland Trailblazers, and something I did not know, and think is quite cool, is that they have the first Asian American GM in NBA history -- Rich Cho.

According to the wikipedia entry, he is an engineer by training (how Asian?!) and then went on to get a law degree (again, how Asian?!) which is when he interned with and was subsequently hired by an NBA team. Very cool. (Although, why the Blazers got rid of his predecessor is a mystery)

I suppose my dream of working in the NFL might work out if I can figure out how to parlay this PhD thing into something with the Seahawks...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Real imposter

I've been in Seattle for about two months now, and I really like this town. I'm still doing some exploring, but we've already found a number of things to like:
  • a local coffee shop
  • a couple of good farmers' markets, and a regular market for those other days
  • a few reliable breakfast joints
  • a couple Asian markets
  • a Chinese pastry shop
  • a decent dim sum restaurant
  • a few good drinking holes
  • a homebrew ingredients shop
  • the goodwill (obviously)
  • and several good pizza joints
Not a bad list, so far.

But as anyone who's lived in the Bay Area for any significant period of time will know, there are bound to be few things that you'll really miss, especially food-wise. The three foods that I miss the most, so far, have been In-n-Out, a good burrito (especially, one from Farolito), and Zachary's pizza.

There is allegedly a good Chicago-style pizza place not too far from us, but we haven't gotten around to trying it. But I'm often skeptical about well-reviewed Chicago-style pizzas because as I've learned and heard, over and over, Zachary's is not authentic Chicago style. A few years ago, I tried "authentic" Chicago style, in Chicago, and it wasn't as good as Zachary's, in my opinion. I would say the same for other more "authentic" Chicago-style, like Little Star or Patxi's. This isn't to say they're not good, I just don't like them as much as I do "fake" Chicago-style. Long story short, I decided to try my hand at making my own Zachary's-style Chicago-style pizza.

I decided to embark on this mission because of a recent string of successful attempts at thin crust pizza. I have been using a slightly modified version of Emeril's pizza dough (I didn't use 1/4 cup of lard... seriously, he calls for 1/4 cup of LARD!!) Anyway, I noticed he had a recipe for deep dish pizza also, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I invite you to follow along this culinary odyssey (for astute followers, you've probably realized this is my first "cooking" blog entry). I went about making the dough and a sauce, and prep the other ingredients for assembly.

Dough boobs!

A concoction of mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes.

Some mozz, spicy Italian sausage, and red bell pepper

As I was reviewing the instructions on how to construct the pizza, something seemed amiss. It was a little different from what I remember from Zachary's. So I did a quick search and realized there is actually a recipe FOR Zachary's-style deep dish... n-Doy! Why didn't I just search for this in the beginning?

Anyway, the way they do it at Zachary's was different, as I suspected (and probably the reason people dismiss them as "authentic" Chicago style...) The main differences between these recipes were the dough prep and pizza construction. I was stuck with the dough I already prepped, but I wanted to try the Zachary's way of segregating the cheese and meats from the sauce (Who says hierarchies are always bad?)

I actually had enough ingredients to make two pizzas, but I am only posting pics of the better looking pizza (i.e., the second one). The pilot pizza was a little messed up because of the ad hoc dough modifications I made, and also I thought using a springform pan would be a good idea (it wasn't a bad idea, but it wasn't my best idea, either - for you kitchen nerds, as you would expect, the springform just doesn't hold enough heat to make for a good deep dish pizza pan). So I placed part of the dough in the bottom of the pan (I used a cast-iron skillet on the good pizza), filled it with the meat, cheese, and peppers.

Rolled out first, of course

Filled it up (yeah, it's starting to sound dirty!)

and did some segregatin'

covered it with some sauce (dirty dirty) and stuffed it in the hotbox for about 30 minutes

And the results....

It looked pretty good, and tasted pretty good. Was it as good as Zachary's? Absolutely not, but I think after this first attempt, I know how I can make it better next time. Basically, I'll prep the dough the way Zachary's does, and instead of mixing the mushrooms and spinach into the sauce (I thought it would be a good idea), I'll just add the spinach and mushrooms in with the cheese, and leave the tomatoes alone.

In conclusion, I think this pizza experiment went pretty well, although it wasn't exactly like "authentic" Zachary's-style Chicago-style... but what is?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where there's 'will, there's a way

One of the things I've enjoyed most, in Seattle, has been their Goodwill stores. I'm no stranger to Goodwill, but I never really spent much time at the ones in the Bay Area. The times I've checked them out (most often the Berkeley location), the offerings are generally mediocre, at best. For me, Goodwill was just a place to either kill a little time between classes or to find wolfshirts (the shirts, not the people) or other costume ideas. That is no longer the case, at least for the Goodwills up here in Seattle, primarily the Ballard location, which is, simply put, AWESOME.

First off, they have a generally excellent selection, and for whatever reason, there are a lot of donations, and a lot of inventory turnover. That means, there are lots of things to find. In the month or so that we've lived here, I have bought a nice shirt, 2 pairs of shorts, a couple books, a paper shredder, a surge protector, a salad spinner, a bathroom cabinet and an awesome Leatherman tool. To top it all off, these probably only cost about a hundred bucks in total. Since then, I've been addicted.

I go at least once a week now, and though I may not find things that I want to buy, there's usually at least one or two things that are just really weird or interesting. My most recent trip probably can't be beaten...

I was sifting through the office supplies, and buried under a pile of greeting cards, there was this...

That, my friends, would be an "Opulent Lacquer Cote Massager"... aka, a vibrator... or as I shall herein refer to as the "Goodwildo".

I'm about to embark on another visit to the Goodwill, partly because I'm curious is this is still there.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Well, Hello there

It's pretty hard to keep track of how many times I've stopped and re-started my numerous blogs over the years, but consider this as notice of my most recent re-start (or reboot, as Hollywood would call it).

So, what's been going on for you since the last time I posted?

Me? A lot! Here are the bullet points:

(1) I moved
(2) I got engaged ( be married. I know, who'da thunk it?)
(3) I finished my bike
(4) I found out what happened to the survivors of Oceanic 815 (sort of)
(5) I went to Costa Rica
(6) I made pizza a couple times
(7) I found an awesome Leatherman at the Goodwill

So now, you're mostly caught up on things.

I'm going to try to write a little bit more now since I have more time on my hands, and if I'm short of interesting ideas, I can always just post a video of Dante like this.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I didn't think this day would come...

First off, congrats to Dr. Richardson on this day for making it official. I think she can prescribe narcotics now or maybe it was dispense valuable public health knowledge, not quite sure...

But that is not the day that I thought wouldn't come. No, today is also the day that I'm putting my foot down and saying this Bacon Resurgence movement has gone too far. It's not cool or hip anymore. It's the fixed gear bikes of the culinary world.

Yes, yes, yes. We all love bacon! (or at least those of us who eat meat or don't keep kosher or halal) Back when bacon was for some reason taboo, bacon love, or rather coming out of the bacon love closet carried a funny-in-an-ironic-sort-of-way coolness. That of course went away the moment everyone was jumping on board left and right. The outpouring of bacon love is pretty ubiquitous and borders on the edge of blatant commercialism, not for the love of bacon, but just for the love of what people think will make money. Bacon shirts? Bacon Salt (although I have to admit this is a funny ad)? Baconnaise?

Again, don't get me wrong, I still love bacon, and always will. But I'm tired of the idea that loving bacon is some hip thing. It's not.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Vamos Los Suns!

In case you haven't heard about it by now, the Phoenix Suns are trying to make a statement about what they think of the Arizona legalized racism law.

Good on them, just another reason to root for them (as if Grant Hill and Steve Nash weren't enough).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Musical Nostalgia

I may not be a real Canadian, by many standards, but I remember and was at Expo 86. which happens to be the new Wolf Parade album.

Gonna be sad to miss their show in Oakland, when I'll most likely, and ironically, be visiting Vancouver.

(see also, Deathcab song)