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Friday, February 14, 2014

You Are the Sriracha to My Pho

You Are the Sriracha to My Pho

Isn't it awesome?

I was admiring the Hong Kong food-inspired Valentine's Day illustrations from Mochachocolata-Rita when it occurred to me to make a Vietnamese one. Well, except my drawing skills are limited to stick figures, and pretty sad stick figures at that.

So I asked Rita if she could draw an illustration for me that said, "You Are the Sriracha to My Pho." She came back in less than an hour with the above. I looove it!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tacos El Gordo de Tijuana B.C. - Chula Vista

Tacos El Gordo de Tijuana B.C. - Chula Vista 1

The Banh Pa Te So Nhan Banh Mi (Vietnamese Pate Chaud (French Hot Pastry Pie) with Sandwich Fillings) and other pastries I brought from Au Coeur de Paris Patisserie & Boulangerie - Westminster (Little Saigon) were great, but by dinner time, we were all hungry. So lil' sis, oldest and second-youngest nephews, their friends, and I all piled into our cars and drove nearly to the Mexican border in Chula Vista.

When we pulled up, the parking lot of Tacos El Gordo de Tijuana B.C. was packed; always a good sign. I was also amused by the signage that said, "Now in California." Tijuana-style tacos for which I don't have to wait hours to pass through border inspection? Score!

The taco selection was pretty awesome too - cabeza (beef cheeks), lengua (tongue), sesos (brains), Asada (steak), tripas (tripe), suadero (brisket), and adobada (spicy pork) and buche (stomach) for about $2 each. The mulas, sopes, and quesadillas were $3.75. The mula was new to me. It's basically another tortilla on top.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Au Coeur de Paris Patisserie & Boulangerie - Westminster (Little Saigon)

Au Coeur De Paris Patisserie & Boulangerie  - Westminster (Little Saigon) 1

This story is a bit rambling, so bear with me. It starts several decades ago, when I was in high school and attended a weekend retreat sponsored by the Rotary Club. Our guest speaker was Bob Farrell, co-founder of Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurants, who sold the chain and became a consultant and motivational speaker. He talked about customer service.

The story goes that a man, who wasn't dressed so finely, walked into a bank to cash a check. He asked the bank to validate his 50-cent parking ticket. The teller refused. He asked to speak to a manager. The manager backed up the teller and also refused to validate the customer's parking ticket. So he said he wanted to withdraw all his money and close out his account.

Sure. Because how much money could this scruffy customer possibly have?

The teller's face paled.

Apologies were rendered.

And refused.

The customer withdrew $1 million.

He promptly took his money and deposited it in the bank across the street.

Decades later, the story stayed with me. I thought it was just a story. Turns out, the story is true -- in October 1988, John Barrier, who made his money renovating houses, went into Old National Bank (now U.S. Bank) in Spokane, Wash. to cash a check and had his 50-cent parking validation refused. So he withrew $1 million. He took his money across the street to Seafirst Bank, who made it a point to treat Barrier well. But whether he had $1 or $1 million, was charging 50 cents for parking worth losing any customer? Farrell's pickle principle is about businesses doing what they can to make things right for the customer. Don't be so tight-fisted about the small stuff, that you lose loyal customers.

Now, my story is on a much, much smaller scale.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Seattle (Cream Cheese) Hot Dog vs. Denver (Omelet) Sandwich

Seattle (Cream Cheese) Hot Dog vs. Denver (Omelette) Sandwich 1

I don't watch football, and don't generally go to Super Bowl parties, so when asked for ideas, I default to my Sriracha Buffalo Wings recipe and call it a day.

But with the Seahawks playing the Broncos, I actually had an idea for the Seattle snack -- hot dogs with cream cheese. Oldest nephew and his best friend, who both went to college in Seattle, introduced the dish to me several years ago during a Memorial Day barbecue.

I admit, the thought of adding cream cheese to my hot dog was weird to me so I didn't try it then. I did now though and thought the creaminess of the cheese paired well with the grilled meat. Huh! Who would have thought?

So that left me brainstorming for what to do for a Denver-based snack. What food is Denver known for? Rocky Mountain oysters? Heh heh. Obviously, I went with a Denver Omelet Sandwich.

Which would you rather eat? Yeah, I meant to blog this before the game, but the outcome of my culinary NFL was the same as the real game -- Seattle all the way.