Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eating Out Another Spring

Isn't it amazing how quickly things pick up during springtime?  Days are warmer and the evenings more mild.  The rare days in Fresno where you can decide for yourself whether shorts or pants sound comfy today without fearing some temperature extreme striking you dead before the fun is over. 

So what's been up?  Well for one, I've been Iron Birding it a bit more lately.  Mighty fine coffee, but a little shakey in the sammitch department.  Not only did they get my order wrong, the amount of meat they give you borders on diet food.  I wasn't expecting a half pound of salami or anything, but it's disheartening to almost chip a tooth as your teeth speed through the bread and only meet the resistance of one paltry slice of meat.  On a $7 sandwich, I'm looking for better than I make at home.  Better bread, better cheese, better meat, in some combination.  This did not happen.  Also, a pickle spear is nice.  The coffee was still excellent, if rather tardy and laden with excuses.

Another drop in spot was over at the Lamp Post for a few brews and the most delightful bite of pickled pork skin on a tostada.  I love any place that is serving Tioga-Sequoia brews.  Partially due to loyalty to the superior brews of Butterfield's, but also because that style and quality still shines through.  And the 'Post is a nice mellow spot to relax with a brew and maybe order some old school Chinese food from Lum's.  You'll notice I didn't say "authentic".  No siree Bob!  Fried shrimps in ketchup harken back to the days when the spiciest condiment in the cupboard was black pepper, meatloaf and gravy blue plate specials and nickel coffee.  And I knew then that I could get my favorite off-menu Chinese item...plain pan-fried noodles!! 

I know it's weird and there are other awesome classics that just won't taste the same elsewhere in a more "fusion-y" spot.  But I love what subtle flavors weld themselves into pristine, unflavored noodles.  Just a bit of oil in the pan and from there the noodles soak up anythig and everything that has been seasoning their woks since the MSG days.  And damn it is good!  Crunchy, chewy, a little dry in spots, a little moist in the center.  All I need are chopsticks, no mustard, no bug juice (my Okie family nickname for soysauce), or chili oil.  Just me and my noodles.

Add in to that a little behind the scenes work for the upcoming Fresno Chile Festival, which is looking like it's going to shape up into an extremely exciting celebration of all things capsicum.  If the weather and pests oblige, I might even be able to get some superhots off the vine and into the chile eating contest!  And we had a wee bit of a fundraiser for our dear friend RJ of Dusty's World fame to help out with some medical bills that resulted in a much needed spare hole in his head.  A racously good time was had by all and I was rapidly reminded how quickly their porter can kick your ass when you're not looking.  Much music was made and many laughs had and a good guy got a hearty dose of love from folks who feared for his wellbeing.  And I didn't even vomit!