Monday, March 29, 2010

The Stinking Rose (A garlic restaurant): Silence of the Lamb Shank

I recently found myself on a business adventure to San Francisco, so I relied on my trusty Nate's Plate tipsters for recommendations. The first one was for the Stinking Rose -- The Garlic Restaurant, and it was no bum tip.

I called on the walk over and the pre-recorded cheesy fake Italian voice. was promoting dinner reservations. When we arrived and saw all the people dining, as well as people hanging out in the lobby, I felt like a fool for not getting reservations, but my colleague Jason and I got seated right away.

The placed reeked of garlic upon entry, but I quickly adjusted and felt comfortable knowing I definitely wasn't dining in the vicinity of vampires. I was safe from getting my blood sucked on the way home too, because I caught a whiff of myself immediately upon return to my room. I was sure to use all of the 1.0-oz complimentary shower products the next morning.

But, back to dinner. The Stinking Rose offers a lot of wines, including what was being passed off as garlic wine (which I sadly didn't try), but I got the "large" Peroni. In Michigan, a pint is a large beer, but the large beer here is much larger than a pint, which could also be ordered. After receiving our large beers, Jason and I ordered and were served garlic bread. I went to the bathroom to "freshen up" and dinner -- the cleverly named Silence of the Lamb Shank -- arrived right as I returned to the table.

The dish is named so because it comes with a chianti-based glaze and fava beans ... get it? Any way, the lamb shank was just right -- moist tender and succulent, with no knife needed. The meat fell off the bone so easily that I finished the main course before I finished my beer.

After finishing my entree, I was perfectly, comfortably full and totally forgot all about the garlic ice cream dessert I had been anticipating. Blast! I need to go back for that.

Upon awakening the following morning, I was surprised that my mouth didn't taste like garlicky corpses like it normally would after such a clove-fest. How'd they manage to make garlic dishes so that the taste and odor don't stick to my tongue like white on rice? I did have a moment of panic when I got dressed and began to smell cooking odors, but it turned out to be the restaurant downstairs from the hotel and not me.

Nate's Plate definitely declares the Stinking Rose to be a San Francisco treat.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

$7.99 Ikea ribs dinner combo

Surprisingly normal.

For dessert, I suggest that you ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pacific Shrimp Tacos

Dear Taco Bell,

I got the message. You really didn't have to call me out on national television, but I see how it is. I'll gladly respond to your invitation to eat and then blog the Pacific Shrimp Taco.

I assume you modeled your commercial after my life because you heard about the time I ate 93 shrimp. But, if you're going to spend all that money making a TV commercial can you at least put out a quality product? I wouldn't eat a pacific shrimp taco for $1.19, let alone $2.79! In fact, tonight's dinner consisted of two Pacific Shrimp Tacos and Two Volcano Tacos. The total price of $8.44 was the most I have ever spent on myself at Taco Bell in my life.

If you had played your cards right, this dinner combo could have been known as the Nate's Plate special until the end of days, but no.

You had to wrap the Mexican-seasoned shrimp in a soft shell. And you had to slather it in a tangy white sauce. Cheap seafood and mystery dairy products together?! I can't believe I drove all the way to the ATM just to get money for such a travesty.

I'll give you this, though: When I unwrapped the first Pacific Shrimp Taco, I did catch a whiff of "real" food ... something like Rio Wraps. And when my finger touched some of the orange sauce, it was delightfully spicy.

Captain's orders: If you must try the Pacific Shrimp Taco, pass on the sun-ripened mayo, and be sure to treat yourself to an XL Baja Blast. Otherwise, you can keep this one to yourself.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Grip & Sip. Slow Your Roll. Extreme Relaxation: A guest column

Here's a guest column by Travis, the man who brought us the mystery sandwich.

This is a food blog, so I’m not going to waste your time ranting about the social and cultural consequences of glamorizing the recreational use of cough syrup. There are plenty of articles that do just that and I couldn’t care less if Lil’ Wayne openly drinks codeine. Provided he never tries to make another rock album, he can do whatever he wants (love you, Weezy).

Drank and Sippin Syrup are two relatively new products marketed as ‘the anti-Red Bull,’ a drink to calm and relax an increasingly stressed-out public. Suffering from a bit of anxiety myself, I was excited to find that 7-Eleven stores started carrying Drank. I bought a can on a particularly hungover Sunday morning a couple of months ago. The cashier warned me not to ‘drive on that stuff,’ but a visit to the parents was in order. My initial thought was that the taste was not unlike a light grape soda mixed with a little potpourri. Surprisingly good, actually.

I finished the can in a few minutes, not really considering the possible effects. By the time I arrived at the ‘rents I was overcome by a buzz similar to that of a waning weed high. I stared at the refrigerator at length before realizing the bottle of water I was looking for was right in front of me. I took a three-hour nap. The can promised 'extreme relaxation,' but I might refer to the effect as 'mild anesthesia.'

I’ve had Drank a few times since then. If you’re feeling stressed or looking for a good night’s sleep, it’s a nice occasional treat. I wouldn’t suggest drinking it every night, however, as one of its main ingredients is the same stuff your brain uses to tell your body when it’s nighttime. Probably don’t want to mess around with that too much.

In the other corner we have Sippin Syrup, a ‘beverage’ created in the same vein as Drank—same color, same philosophy, same inextricable link to cough syrup and southern rap. However, the discrepancy in quality between the two products is evident from the second you uncap the Syrup. I was blown away by the stench of bum wine as a good friend pleaded with me not to drink it. ‘IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE,’ I insisted. The night is a bit of a blur after that.

As I write this, a half-empty bottle sits on the table next to me, topped off with vague memories of headache and restlessness. Sippin Syrup tasted exactly how it smelled and it was only consumable small sips. It was more viscous than Drank. It didn’t make me any calmer and I’m pretty sure I forgot how to work the TV at some point.

I was given fair warning and ignored it. ‘Don’t drink that, it has to be full of arsenic. I want to vomit just thinking about it.’ Don’t repeat my mistake. If you want to experiment with these so-called relaxation beverages, make it Drank. Better yet, crush up a couple Benadryl in a glass of grape soda and achieve the same effect.