I Am Salivating

My efforts toward lowering my cholesterol have really improved my diet from a health standpoint. I've also lost some weight, which is nice. But, man, I have been thinking about food more or less constantly for the last couple of months.

Tonight as I was making my oatmeal--I make a big batch on Sunday night which I can then put in the fridge and reheat for breakfast for the next several days--I was having visions of a burger. But not just any burger. This burger is going to be haunting my dreams.

Start with a nice hamburger patty, cooked to maybe just a hair below medium. Add a healthy portion of hot pastrami. Then three strips of bacon. Then throw on some Swiss cheese and let it melt a little. Now deli mustard, dill pickle slices, and shredded iceberg lettuce. I toyed with the idea of adding avocado, just to make it completely ridiculous, but I figured that wouldn't work well with the mustard.

Are you hungry? This is how I've been feeling every day for the past two months. Yeah, I know: first world problems.

No, I Can't Get It Out of My Head

This is what I'm thinking about right now:

  • A porterhouse steak, medium rare with a perfectly seared crust on the outside
  • A California burrito from Roberto's
  • Two scoops of Rocky Road ice cream
  • My old favorite sandwich from Rinaldi's: pastrami, melted mozzarella, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and pepperoncini on a freshly baked soft roll
  • Falafel
  • A steaming bowl of kakuni ramen from Tajima
  • A Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, with barbecue pork filling
  • Sesame balls
  • Chashu bao
  • Spam musubi
  • Funnel cake
  • Pretty much every cholesterol-laden food that I'm not supposed to be eating.

I had plans to write something insightful tonight, but clearly that's out the window.

My Latest at Life As A Human: What's Your Perfect Lunch?

"What's Your Perfect Lunch?":

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I got together for our final summer lunch together for the year. She’s a teacher, you see, so during the summer she has a lot more time to do things like take our son on fun outings, work on projects around the house, and meet up with me for lunch. As always, though, the summer has wound down, and she’s back to work again, which means no more weekday lunch dates for us.

Dippedy Doodle

We ate dinner out on the patio on Saturday evening, the weather being nice and Juliette's family--in town for his birthday party--being partial to al fresco dining. The menu was pretty simple: grilled steaks, steamed broccoli, corn on the cob, and salad. We cleared the plates as usual afterwards, then brought out some leftover cupcakes from the party.

Jason was, as you might imagine, pleased to have more sweets, though he took and then rejected three different cupcakes before settling on the one he actually wanted. "Want red!" he'd say. Then, when presented with a red-frosted cupcake: "No. Blue one." Then, "That one," pointing at the yellow cupcake.

Finally settling on, I think, a blue one, Jason only took a couple of bites before something else caught his attention. "Dip! Dip! That one!" he shouted, pointing insistently. It happened that we had left the little bowl of what Juliette's dad calls "Sakasegawa Sauce"--a mixture of mayonnaise and soy sauce that we sometimes use for dipping with steamed vegetables. Her dad likes it a lot, so he mixed up a little batch for the meal, and had a lot of fun introducing it to Jason, calling it "dippedy doodle" and laughing.

"Jason," we tried to explain, "that doesn't go on cupcakes."

He was, of course, having none of that. "Dip! Dip!"

"No, that's yucky! Not on the cupcakes. Yuck!"

"Diiiiip! That one!"

We went back and forth for a while, but eventually we just gave up and dipped the cupcake into the mayo mixture for him. After all, it's not like it would actually hurt him, and finding out for himself that the two tastes were gross when put together would be much more convincing than anything we could say.

Jason took a bite of the mayo-and-soy-covered corner of the cupcake. We waited for the reaction. He chewed, swallowed, then turned to us and held out the cupcake. "More?" he asked.

Well, who were we to argue with that? He happily ate the rest of his vanilla cupcake with each bite dipped in mayo and soy sauce. He didn't know it was supposed to taste bad, so it didn't.

The rest of us kept our own council, though, and just stuck with the normal frosting.

Light Meat, Dark Meat, or No Meat

A bit over a year ago, I managed to convince Juliette that we should try out our local Jollibee. It turned out not to have been a particularly good decision on my part, but, in my defense, I was just too overcome with curiosity when faced with this sign:

I mean, seriously, if you saw a sign like that, wouldn't you just have to go in and see what was up with the Crispy Chickenjoy? OK, well, probably not if you have good sense, which I don't. In any case, the chicken was actually not bad, though the burger was more strange than yummy.

My poor judgment isn't really the point of the story, though. See, I had this idea while I was eating, and maybe it's just the fact that I've been on a diet for the last couple of months, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that this is a million-dollar idea. I'll lay it on you in four words: bucket of chicken skin.

OK, so maybe if you actually called it that, it wouldn't sell so well. But everybody knows that the best part of a piece of fried chicken is the skin. About 90% (a number I freely admit I've completely made up) of the flavor is in the skin, not to mention the crispy texture.

I even have the perfect candidate for this idea: KFC. Not only is KFC practically synonomous with fried chicken, but this idea dovetails perfectly with their new Kentucky Grilled Chicken menu. You know all about that, I'm sure--in order to try to appeal to a more health-conscious audience, KFC has for a while now been offering a skinless, non-fried version of their chicken. You see where I'm going, right? For every piece of skinless chicken they sell, there's the skin they had to remove and throw away. The best part of the whole fried chicken experience--in fact, I would say the integral, the canonical part--and they are just throwing it away.

I'm telling you, KFC, you are sitting on a gold mine here.

Things I Highly Recommend




  • Getting married in Big Sur, CA. Not only one of the most naturally beautiful places I've ever seen, but also very special to me because that's where my wife grew up as well as where I lived for a while in my childhood.


  • Breakfast at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn. Some of the best Eggs Benedict I've ever had.


  • Lunch at the Big Sur River Inn. Sure, the burger is kind of expensive, but it's mighty tasty (and still the cheapest in Big Sur). Plenty of good stuff apart from the burger, too; it's my favorite restaurant for lunch. And, for dessert, the apple pie is my second favorite in this world (I have to give my mom's the number one spot).


  • Dinner at Ventana. They have a filet mignon that just melts in your mouth, and if you go right around sunset you have a spectacular view of the sun going down over the ocean.


  • The bathrooms in the Salt Lake City Airport. Cleanest airport bathrooms ever.


  • Renting a convertible in Hawaii. Yeah, it immediately marks you as a tourist, but it's so nice to feel the wind in your hair.


  • The Hotel Hana Maui. Hands down the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. The road to Hana is very twisty and a bit stressful (since all of the other people on the road are also tourists), but as soon as you get there it all just melts away. The staff was amazingly friendly and helpful. It's also very close to Hamoa Beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. And if you're into horseback riding, the hotel runs tours on a couple of trails that offer some amazing views.


  • Tony and Tina's Wedding. A very interesting off-Broadway production that makes you feel like you really are a wedding guest. It takes interactive theater to a level I've never experienced before.


  • Breakfast at the Sea House Restaurant. About six or seven miles outside of Lahaina, it overlooks a beautiful bay and has a great view of Molokai (or maybe it was Lanai, I can't remember) and the food is excellent.


  • The Koloa Fish Market. In Koloa, on Kaua'i, there is this tiny, hole-in-the-wall fish market that sells lunch plates that are to die for. There are no seats, indeed there's barely enough room to turn around, but the fish is so fresh and the prices are extremely reasonable.


  • Air Kaua'i Helicopter Tours. Not for those who are afraid of heights, but for everyone else, it's amazing. Even the locals on Kaua'i say the helicopter tours are great, and with good reason. Such a beautiful place, and seeing it from a bird's-eye view is even better. And the Air Kaua'i helicopters have huge windows, which makes for a great viewing experience.


  • Brick Oven Pizza, in Kalaheo. Also on Kaua'i. They have good pizza. Really good pizza.


  • Marrying the one you love. My wedding was the best day of my life. We've been together for almost seven years, since high school. In that time we've had a lot of experiences. We've grown, and grown up, together. I can think of nothing better than knowing that this is the person that I'm going to grow old with, share my life with. I can't wait to see what the future will bring.