Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cheap Ice Cream for All!!!!

I'm not really a huge fan of ice cream, but I know that I am largely alone in this. So I thought I would pass on this little gem of information for the few of you that actually read this blog.
Baskin Robbins (store locator) is having a 31-cent scoop night tonight, April 28 between 5pm and 10pm local time

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rocket to Venus - Baltimore, MD

I'm not sure where I first heard about Rocket to Venus; a hipster fun restaurant in the Hamden area of Baltimore City, but I do know that as soon as I saw the menu about a year ago, I knew that Kim and I had to try it. We decided to try it on a Monday evening as her birthday was over the previous weekend and her dad was nice enough to take us out. I was delighted to see a nice buzz in the modest dining room and bar, even on what is usually an off night for eateries. From what I have read over the past year online, the menu at Rocket to Venus seems to rotate every few months or so. This means you can go several times over the course of the year and try new foods all the time!

Starting off the meal I decided to have a cocktail. After browsing the menu, how could I possibly turn down a Jalapeno Mojito? Originally thinking it just had to be some sort of clever novelty, the drink was actually surprisingly refreshing with just the right kick of spice.

There are a number of appetizers at Rocket to Venus that I plan on returning to try. One that I HAD to try on this visit was Kimchee Pierogies - Five pan fried pierogies stuffed with housemade kimchee, potato and asiago, served with lime tartar sauce. ($6) You must understand that I live for Kimchee. I keep various types in my fridge throughout the year and eat it with a variety of meals. With cheese and lime though? I am happy to report that the delivered dish was a revelation. The slight spice of the kimchee actually worked very well with the asiago and the lime tartar was the perfect accompaniment.

As our main choices, we decided on Banh Mi - Vietnamese sandwich of country pate, pickled daikon and carrot, jalapeno, lettuce, cilantro, cucumber and mint aoilion baguette. (Also available with grilled chicken, blackened catfish, beef bulgogi,or kimchee and tofu,) ($11) and
Beef Bulgogi - Korean style marinated beef with fried sushi rice ball and assorted sides. ($13) There were plenty of other interesting dishes on the menu, but I am a total sucker for Asian food as is clearly evident in my appetizer selection. I opted to have my sandwich with bulgogi, hoping that the traditional pate would still be included, but alas it was replaced. That isn't to say that It was in anyway bad. The baguette was perfectly crisp on the outside and soft in the middle (something that is painfully missing from supermarket baguettes.) The meat was well marinated and everyone at the table agreed on its deliciousness. The fries that came with my sandwich were spiced nicely, but I was sad that they were a little on the soggy side.

Then we have dessert. As I have said many times before in this blog, it takes a great effort for a dessert to really speak to me. The kind folks at Rocket to Venus have tapped directly in to the pleasure centers of my brain and reconnected me with my fondest childhood memories. All in a deliciously evil way. Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly ($7) is battered in pancake batter and deep fried, then topped with ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. If you plan on ordering this dessert, make sure you have a few people to share it with, this confection, is rich and huge. Melted peanut butter with warm crispy batter may be a new flavor and texture combination that I will be chasing for a good time to come. Clearly this isn't something that anyone should eat on a regular basis, but you definitely have to try it at least once!

Rocket To Venus
3360 Chestnut Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21211

No Reservations via E-Mail

Chef: David Carleton
: Kenny Sanders

Rocket To Venus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bolivian President is Against Gene Mod Food - Not Really For The Right Reasons........

The same genius man who blames capitalism for global warming, now has this to say about genetically modified foods.

TIQUIPAYA, Bolivia — Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday that men should stay away from chicken if they want to maintain their hair and virility.

Morales told an environmental conference that chicken producers inject the birds with female hormones "and because of that, men who consume them have problems being men." He also suggested eating too much chicken for too long could make men go bald.

Morales' warning may be out of date: Chicken producers in Europe, the United States and many other countries say they abandoned the use of hormones in poultry several decades ago and many if not most Western nations ban them outright.

The president also blasted Coca-Cola, saying, "It is harmful. ... Imagine what it contains."

Morales blamed "the west," a reference to industrial countries such as the U.S., which he said "bring us more and more poison."

The secret ingredient in Coca-Cola is widely rumored to be something Morales himself once grew as leader of a coca-producers union — a version of the plant with the psychoactive substances removed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Saigon, Vietnam - Summer 2008

Goooooooooooooooooood Morning.....ummm.......what was the last word in that saying? Oh well I'm sure it will come to me. I landed a few nights ago in Saigon, to say it was a bit of a shock after 4 days in Tokyo, would be a major understatement. These two places may only be a few hours by plane, but they truly are worlds apart. When I exited the airport upon arrival, I was of course flooded by a bunch of guys trying to take me in a taxi. I argued my way down to $6 for a ride to the area of the city where my hostel is located. Well apparently the guy who I was haggling with had absolutely nothing to do with the cab itself, because all he did was flag down a cab for me and start talking to the driver. I'm certainly glad that I hadn't given him any money at this point. The driver was clearly not too happy about the agreed upon price because I was asked to get out of the cab by the driver, then the tout (a word for people who hassle you) told me I could get back in. At which point the driver punched the tout and we were happily on our way. Quite an international introduction.

I spent the first night here wondering if I had made a good choice coming to Saigon. No one at the hotel said a single word to me while I was checking in, and it seemed as though people on the street were only interested in selling me things or ripping me off. I'm certainly happy to say that my experience that first night was most definitely not what I have come to know as the norm. Sure there are people trying to bug you to buy things all over, but if you just ignore them (literally), they will go away. After a few days they just wont even bother with you at all. I think they may have back alley meetings at the end of the day. "The big guy with the funny hair, he no want nothing." The city of Saigon is a vibrant and intriguing place. The constant whizzing by of the moto's, the proud streetside pho vendors who are all to willing to introduce you to the glory of Vietnamese cuisine, and the overall feeling that you get after a couple of days here.

Yesterday I took a bus trip to the Chu Chi tunnels. These are the famous underground passageways that the Vietcong created during the American war. I am quite abject normally to taking organized tours of anything, but I had met a couple of guys at the bia hoi (fresh beer) joint down the street and decided it was better than going at it alone. It truly amazes me when surrounded by other tourists; how hell bent some people seem to be on having a bad time. On the way to the tunnels the bus stopped so we could "see the local crafts people." You would have thought the bus had been hit by a missle and these people had limbs hanging off. Every tour ive ever been on of this nature does the exact same thing every time. Its designed to squeeze money out of you people. You payed 5 bucks for a guided day tour on an AC bus, who cares if you lose an extra 20 minutes!?!? The tour started off with what we will call an instructional video. Anyway, I now know that I am an evil American capitalist pig dog! Horay for the educational benefits of world travel! After going down into the tunnel entrances hidden in the jungle, it was time for a bit of action. This comes in the form of a firing range. They had a wide variety of guns, but I decided to indulge my World War II fantasies and fire ten rounds from an M1 rifle. Quite proud to say that I was the only one in the group to take down the small targets laid about 50 yards down field. The pictures are amazing, and I'll get them online as soon as I can.

Today I wandered around the famous Ben Than Market. Well I say wandered around, but ate my way around is really a much more accurate description. I was on a quest to follow in Tony Bourdain's footsteps and eat Hot Vit Long, or fetal duck egg. I think they call it Balut in the Philippine's. Its basically a duck egg that is matured to the stage of fetus, and then hard boiled. Sounds yummy, no? Well sadly I was out of luck, but there is another market up the street where I may have a better chance tomorrow. I also enjoyed some snake wine at a local watering hole. Any takers?

Tokyo - Shibuya - Summer 2008

So last night I met up with a Gaz, whom I was hooked up with through a mutual friend. He was the best guide I could have possibly hoped for, and a really cool guy. I was given a look around some local spots in Shibuya I would have never seen wandering on my own. It always pays to go out with a local. I only wish that I had taken more photos throughout the night, but I guess that just shows how much fun we were having.

Shibuya at night is pure sensory overload. The sights, the people, it's pure Japan and I loved every minute of it. We started the night out at an Izakaya that was jammed to the gills with Japanese students that seemed to only have the ability to chug whatever was in front of them, then go puke, then repeat. It was loud, disorderly, not at all what I thought I would see in Japan, and an excellent experience. The simple sushi platter we ordered was far and away the best sushi I have ever had, and every sushi experience in the states from now on will pale in comparison. Know one thing. If you eat fish in Japan, any fish; it's better than what you are eating in the rest of the world. Fresh, fresh, fresh.

After this we met up with a few of Gaz's co-workers at an Irish style pub. It had an outdoor balcony that looked out onto Shibuyu, and was quite traditional for a foreign pub. The night finished as most nights out in across Asia do, with karaoke! After butchering some Billy Idol and Meatloaf songs, it was time to head home.

I was just in time to make one of the last running subway trains of the evening, but unfortunately after only a few stops the train came to a halt and I was told it was done for the night. I walked out of the station to reluctantly grab a cab back to the hostel. I certainly didn't have any clue how to get back and I was just praying that I would be able to explain where I was trying to go. Getting back wasn't a problem at all, but the cost of the taxi was shocking. It cost me around $38 US to travel about 4 miles. So if you come to Tokyo, support public transportation.