Wednesday, September 29, 2010

R&R Deli - Elkridge, MD

I had an intense internal struggle with whether I should share this gem because I didn't want my favorite taco joint to be overrun by the Columbia lunch crowd. Then I realized there's like five people who read this blog, 2/5 of the readership being myself and Nick. So anyways, R&R Deli is a little taqueria attached to a Shell station, that I actually discovered while fueling up one fateful Summer's eve. Imagine that, getting gas before eating tacos! THAT WAS FUNNY. DON'T JUDGE ME.

From what I know of Mexican cuisine (nothing), this place seems totally legit in terms of authenticity. Regardless of your choice of protein, each taco ($2) comes on a corn tortilla, topped with freshly chopped onions and cilantro, with fresh lime slices and chili sauce on the side. My personal favorite is the Taco de Lengua (Tongue) which is always juicy and delicious. They have a variety of meats to choose from, and everything is well seasoned and extremely tasty. I will say that sometimes the meat can be a little overcooked, as it is chopped into small pieces and cooked on the grill in mass quantities. I usually wash everything down with a cold Mexican Coca-Cola (real sugar!). If you're looking for something a little bit more hearty, I'd suggest trying the Carne Asada or Blackened Chicken entrees. The entrees come with a sizable portion of meat, rice & refried beans, grilled onions & peppers, and a few tortillas on the side.

In any case, R&R is dope as hell, which really goes to show you that excellent food can be found anywhere, even in some rando suburban gas station. I hope you don't believe me, because I don't want to wait in line for my damn tacos. R&R gets 125 fictional gold stars, and 20 post consumption deuce points.

R&R Deli on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Love to Get Burned?

An interesting topic came up last night with some friends over an Indian meal. Why do we as humans (some of us anyway) love the pain/pleasure mix that comes from spicy food? An interesting article over at Gizmodo gives a little insight into the process

Original Article:

Why Do Humans Love Spicy Self-Torture?

Only food prudes are afraid to dabble with a little hot sauce occasionally. But why do any of us enjoy it at all? Capsaicin, the chemical behind hotness, causes your brain to literally think your tongue is on fire.

Scientists are at a loss as to why we adore spicy stuff, says The New York Times. Beyond culinary taste, there are verified medical benefits—spicy foods lower blood pressure, potentially knock out other bodily pains, and maybe even help fight microbes. But humans have been pouring hot things on their food since long, long we had any understanding of our bodies—evidence of hot pepper cultivation dates back to 4,000 BC.

Maybe, some scientists think, we're just wired to be gluttons for pain. The University of Pennsylvania's Paul Rozin thinks each time you slater your sausage with some kind of atomic pepper death paste, you're exhibiting what he terms "benign masochism." A recent study of Dr. Rozin's showed that subjects, when consuming an increasingly hot pepper sampler, chose as their favorite the one just bearably hot. Which means people still love getting burned. And we might just be doing it for the quick thrill: "Mind over body. My body thinks I'm in trouble, but I know I'm not," says Rozin.

It may just be one of those strange quirks of being a human. "Man is the only animal that likes Tabasco sauce," quips Yale psychologist Paul Bloom. And Tabasco sauce is the least of it. Typical extreme hot sauces, favorites of benign masochists everywhere, run up into the hundreds of thousands of Scoville heat units—that bottle of Tabasco in your kitchen is only 5000, tops. And radical pain peppers are a huge business in the US, from the hundreds of varieties you can purchase at enthusiast shops to corporate giants like McCormick to issue an annual Flavor Forecast—a report of which spicy trends will grace edibles anywhere from Doritos to the chicest haute cuisine eateries.

The whole red-faced industry may verge on the lunatic at times—I mean, really, some of the sauces can only be sampled on the tip of a toothpick without sending you to the emergency room—but there is something comforting about our uniquely human taste buds. The rest of the animal world either lacks the neurological faculties to experience the burn of a chili, or avoids the stuff altogether. In fact, the presence of capsaicin in peppers might be decidedly anti human, a defense mechanism to keep curious foragers from taking a bite—scientists have found the chemical stings us the exact same way as tarantula venom. But here we are, dumping it in our soup, and daring one another to slurp a spoonful down. It may be a little perverse, but it's our little perversion.

Send an email to the author of this post at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sushi Sono - Columbia, MD

As a welcome to Eric joining the humble Baltimore blogosphere, I thought I would write up a little review of the place he chose to go for his birthday. Be warned, if you offer to take a well traveled, continually educated, but rarely employed person out to lunch, it will not be cheap. Such is the choice Eric made in Sushi Sono.

Everything at Sushi Sono was run of the mill for your standard suburban Sushi place. This isn't knocking the place at all, but being that I live in Towson where we literally have 8 places for sushi within three blocks, I just start to think these restaurateurs buy a package set up. Kimonos and bandannas behind the bar, floor seating in little recreated private rooms, and nothing on the menu that would scare the Gaijin clientele.

The quality of the fish I ate was excellent. Was it the best I have ever had? Not even close, but these people are trying to do the best they can. I have been so overexposed to contemporary suburban sushi that I think I am totally jaded.

The service was almost overbearing. Remember when Babu Bat was waiting for Jerry to take a sip of water so he could promptly refill it? It was like that. This place is fine, it just isn't exceptional. To have lunch, as we did, for the price we paid; I better have something mind blowing, and it just wasn't. To pay $65 before tip for three people to eat a light lunch struck me as wrong. Again, I am spoiled. This place does nothing wrong or even less than satisfactory, but if you are going to be this expensive, I want Tokyo.

Sushi Sono on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Blog Has Been Outsourced to an Asian

So I have been invited to take on some responsibility as a contributor to this blog so I suppose I should introduce myself. The site layout has also been revised so it doesn't look like it was put together by a...insult escapes me...Nick. I'm Asian so please excuse my tentative grasp of the English language (if you smiled you are a racist).

I do not have a particularly discerning palette. In fact, I will eat pretty much anything and enjoy it. Seriously, I've eaten some f'ed up stuff. I could wax poetic about texture and presentation and la-dee-da what have you, but it's not like I actually know what I'm talking about. My friend once called me a foodie so I karate chopped her in the neck, and while she was catching her breath on the floor, I stood over her and proudly said, 'I, good sir, am not a foodie, just a fatty. BWAHAHAHA.' True story (ed. not true at all...also, I don't condone hitting girls). I am, however, very adventurous and consistently eating out at the most random of places. Hopefully I can introduce you to some interesting places in the DMV area. Like I said, I'm not very discerning so my reviews will generally be way too positive, but if it makes you fatter and I look skinny in comparison, then I'm all for it.

First post is coming when I scrounge up enough change to purchase myself a meal. Handouts welcome.