28.9.16

foxtrot. foxtrot. foxtrot.

This trip is currently being rechristened something grander and more extravagant (ed: redundant?) than Vulture Bait 2016. Whereas Vulture Bait 2015 seemed merely overly ambitious and possibly deadly, this 2016 trip seems more moronically relentless and epic in scope. Thus: not a sequel. It's like it's its very own trilogy. Hey, three "it(')s". "Stay tuned."

+++


WED 12 OCT to MARIETTA til THU 13 OCT
AMS (leaving 13:00) to ATLANTA (arriving 16:45). Pick up the car at the airport and show Cadet Elzer what real traffic is like. Head to O'Neill compound. Crash. This is all about survival, who knows if any of the below things will happen.

Seed. Supposedly the place for a modern bite out in East Cobb. It's in Merchant's Walk, where I hung out as a truant 12-year-old.
Waffle House. You know things are desperate if Waffle House is this high in the culinary pecking order.
Suburban Tap. This would be just to see a slice of my vapid personal history....though I've read you shouldn't eat here anymore.
Mountain Biscuits. I keep hearing that this is the "dead on authentic" place to get a biscuit. Maybe there will be time for a scenic trip out to the Kennesaw Mountain.



FRI 14 OCT to ATLANTA til SAT 15 OCT
Relocating downtown. The goal is moderation and survival, that's two goals but you feel me.

Java Jive. Somewhere I used to eat breakfast kind of often, and supposedly the current possessor of a classic biscuit.
Highland Tap. Possibly the ITP bar where I've spent the most time. It used to be within walking distance, but unfortunately I also went there a lot when it wasn't. Anyway: just one martini. We'll split one.
Clermont Lounge. Just for a peek-a-loo, hope it's not cleaned itself up any now that famous people go there. I once saw a man in assless pants scat-sing the entire Free Bird guitar solo onstage there. And of course Steve's bachelor party spent some rather infamous time here (infamous not for the normal dubious bachelor party reasons, but for the number of people simultaneously vomiting in the parking lot). We'll have One Beer.
The Porter. New and way less of an up-its-own-ass caricature than the Vortex seems to have become. Food looks great, and we'll have our second beer here, then WE'RE DONE. Or maybe we just skip to this slightly more-fun-looking place...
Wrecking Bar. This is a Durian recommendation, for "excellent beer and food." They do have arugula flowers, cashew cheese and goat feta on the menu, so probably worth a look, especially if the weather is nice. THIRD AND LAST BEER HERE.
Alon's. It was a barely-tolerable bonanza of yuppie sophistication even 20 years ago, so I can only imagine what it's like now, especially if their parking situation hasn't changed. But then I do still dream of their poppyseed danishes from time to time. Worth a look for breakfast.
Majestic Diner. O'Neill ate a pork chop off the floor here one time. And it's two steps from the hotel.
Callie's Hot Little Biscuit. Notable for being open from 10pm to 2am Friday and Saturday nights and for having a super restaurant name.

+++

SUN 16 OCT to SAVANNAH 
We're staying just southeast of the city, so getting downtown will probably involve our first Uber ride, which should be "fun".
Tavern at The Olde Pink House. Probably gross but probably a "real Savannah experience." We'll just have something fried and a glass of Planter's Punch.
The Grey. A Chowhound rec.
Crystal Beer Parlor. 80-year old pub that used to be the social nexus of the city, well, according to their press materials.
Green Truck Pub. This just had the kibosh gently placed upon it by Nouf who said it was "like Applebee's after a trip to the beach."
Peg Leg Pete's. Not really a destination, but if we walk past it.


MON 17 OCT to NEW SMYRNA BEACH til TUE 18 OCT, see Marine Discovery Center
Meet Biological Father (booked). We will obviously need sustenance and a briefing room.
Third Wave Cafe. Well, I don't like their font, but they do have professional-looking vegetarian food.
The Breakers. "We'll just have a look."

WED 19 OCT ORLANDO-SALT LAKE CITY
Red Iguana. I kind of think we should go directly from the airport to here, then to the hotel. Kind of seems like a "do-not-miss".

After Red Iguana, everything in my research looks like Disneyland. We know there are interesting people here because of the dangerous-sounding hotel reviews. Here are the current backup plans.

Whiskey Street. Ambitious gastropubby food.
Squatter's Pub. Brewpub within walking distance.


THU 20 OCT Drive to MOAB, Arches National Park, via US-15 to Nephi, then US-28 to Salina, then I-70 to San Rafael Swell and Green River
Ray's Tavern. Lunch stop in Green River before Arches.
Quesadilla Mobilia. The #1 restaurant in Moab is a taco truck.
Moab Brewery. Well, more research necessary. Their menu makes me a bit angry.

FRI 21 OCT Drive to BLUFF, see Monument Valley
There are 7 bars/restaurants in Bluff. None of it reeks of promise, so this would probably be a good night for a homey meal and early bed. Hence:
Comb Ridge. "Charming."


SAT 22 OCT Drive to DURANGO, see Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings, need to figure out a plan of attack there
The Office. The "saloon" in our hotel.
Steamworks Brewing Co. Probably just a beer.
Chimayo. Looks like modern fonts haven't really made it out west, but still, this seems like it could be "above average", plus they seem to know what a vegetable is. Aaaaand, not that it means anything at all, but: TA reviews.
Joel's Bar. Sounds like "the place to meet locals."


SUN 23 OCT Drive to OURAY ("The Switzerland of America!") on Million Dollar Highway, stop at Red Mountain Pass
The most important detail about Ouray after "how much snow there will be" is that everything closes at 21:30. Thus it is of critical importance to arrive well before the dinner hour, and we should probably make a reservation.
Buen Tiempo. "Colorado Mexican."
Ouray Brewery. "Delicious beer" says Nouf.


MON 24 OCT Drive to SALIDA, see Black Canyon 
Victoria Tavern. "The Vic" is a "gritty little bar" where locals hang out. Well I've seen a couple recommendations for it.
Amicas. GF wood-fired thin-crust pizza place. supposed to be great, we'll probably need a break from southwestern food by this point anyway.

TUE 25 OCT Drive to TAOS, see Taos Pueblo
Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn. "The living room of Taos."
The Love Apple. A Zora recommendation, looks great, they only have 13 tables so reserve fucker. Cash only.

From Taos, we take a quick trip to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge via US-64 West. Zora's article will probably prove useful at some point. 

WED 26 OCT Drive to SANTA FE
El Paragua. Possible lunch stop on the way to Santa Fe.
Pasqual's. Nouf insists that we're going here for breakfast and we will be happy to oblige.

THU 27 OCT SANTA FE
FRI 28 OCT Drive to GALLUP, eat in Albuquerque on the way
SAT 29 OCT Drive to PHOENIX
SUN 30 OCT PHOENIX
MON 31 OCT PHOENIX
TUE 01 OCT PHOENIX
WED 02 NOV NE Leaves
THU 10 NOV MEM Leaves

+++

18.9.16

sorry, no thai puns.

Yes, no comment, other than "Hey, here is another pretty successful Thai recipe", one that might perhaps benefit from being strained before re-adding the vegetables.

+++

thai green curry.


10 green Holland peppers
1 green bell pepper
3 stalks lemon grass, bottom part only
2 large shallots
2 heads garlic, peeled (that’s right, heads)
a 1-inch piece of galangal, peeled
1 tsp shrimp paste or vegetarian boullion if you're aiming vegan
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cilantro stems

1 can coconut milk
1 small eggplant
1 courgette
1 tsp fish sauce or 1 tbsp good soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves

+++

15.9.16

spicy basil tofu.

Mm yes, no time for elaboration, this was just a surprisingly authentic-tasting version of Spicy Basil Anything.

+++

spicy basil tofu. 

400g tofu
cornmeal or semolina for making a thin non-stick coating
your favorite frying medium

6 cloves garlic
1 small onion or the equivalent amount of shallots
2 tsp fresh cilantro roots/stems
2 stalks fresh lemongrass (the lower 3 inches of the stalk, tough outer leaves discarded), chopped
2 tsp of fresh galangal root (laos)
2 tbsp peanut or coconut oil
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less, mine were pretty mild...the original recipe calls for 8-10 dried red chiles)
1/2 tsp salt

2 or 3 bell peppers, red or yellow, sliced
1 fresh red Holland chile, sliced
1 small sweet onion, sliced
black pepper

2 tbsp fish sauce or good soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar

one seriously big handful of Thai holy basil, or failing that, reglar ol' basil

+++

6.9.16

i know, let's split up.























After your third horror movie in three nights,, everything you see or do takes on a freshly sinister significance. Last night we'd just finished It Follows, after the previous night's The Babadook, and the (vastly shiittier) Conjuring 2 before that.

So the movie ends and we say "yeah, good one", and I walk to the kitchen and see this knife on the counter. When I'd left it there it was just an (impressive) kitchen knife, but now....well. I said ha ha that's funny, isn't it, normal things are sinister now, and then noticed the back door was open. OK everything is now scary? Boo. I went to lock the back door. Which while I was doing it was even scarier than noticing it was open.























I shared this with Nelson and we laughed and said oh ha ha that's totally true! But also totally stupid isn't it! Then, while still chuckling I sighed and said "OK I'm going to walk the dog." She immediately said, "OK I'm going to take a shower." Jesus, the camera might as well cut directly to the external POV of someone watching us through the window while breathing heavily or growling. Maybe I should grab a useless weapon like a broomstick or a poodle to take with me as I go out into the dark suburban night.

Ha ha ha we said.
Nelson turned on the shower and smiled very sarcastically. I sighed again and picked up the dog leash.
"OK, good luck!!!" we said.

+++

I survived the dog walk but just barely. The streets were (seemed) deserted, but at one point Merle was behind me and his extender leash scraped on the ground in a weird way and I jumped. When we finally made it home of course the back door that I'd carefully locked before I left was open again and the shower was ominously still running.


5.9.16

you, sir, are bogus.























Nelson had to go to De Hallen yesterday, and we made the mistake of being reaallllllly hungry by the time we got there. She also made the mistake of being vegetarian and I made the mistake of eating like one.

When you're in a Blood Sugar Emergency you make decisions that you wouldn't normally. For example the first thing Der Nelsker did was to order four pieces of baklava from Filiz Manti. This was the one ray of sunshine on an otherwise dark and stormy afternoon of eating: after 30 seconds of careful num-numming, the rating was 8/10.

Then she ordered a falafel roll from Maza, who normally make one of the falafel options you see in the supermarket, so it seemed reasonable to expect a serviceable chomp experience. In short, "this thing was not very good" she said, in addition to being "bloody expensive" she said and to add insult to injury their bottled water cost "3 euro each" she said. I wouldn't eat there if I were you.

So to save the day. I decided to fucking spring into action, you know, cheer us up and all by ordering something unusual and exciting! This ended up being a veggie dog from Bulls and Dogs, whose sausage-related concoctions looked like one of the most unusual and exciting! or best and/or most decadent things people were walking around with.

Until you took a flash photo of them that is. OK I admit, these two pictures were taken after we had thoroughly sampled the sandwich and declared it "insultingly bogus", and so we were really just trying to insult the sandwich back with these photos. I think the sausage is even missing by this point. And yes that is fucking popcorn on this hotdog.























I know, it looks gross enough to be good, but since we ate the two thin slivers of sausage out of it already you can't tell that there's just wayyyy too much dry and uninteresting pretzel roll, and that the slaw was cut too thick, plus it didn't complement the sandwich in any way taste-wise. And then whatever that is that was supposed to be a hummus mayo or something? I don't know. Ugh. It wasn't bad, exactly. The sausage itself really was pretty delicious, so, props! but the rest....."just because you have all the ingredients doesn't mean you have to put them all together in one sandwich." Our biggest issue was the pretension.

Today we go back for another round, weirdly enough. Targets are vegetarian sushi at Meneer Temaki and/or banh mi at Việt View.

+++

29.8.16

a tale of two filters.























Above: the "bistro"at the campground where we probably should have eaten. Below: barely-conscious klaverjas; essential naptime; Kaffee Worpswede, where we enjoyed many different shades of oversaturated yellow and had a surprisingly sophisticated and delicious meal; wonderfully salty bread with very good olive oil, more people should make bread this way; desperately unsaturated spaghetti mit sommertrüffel, spinat und parmesan; schnitzel “Wiener Art” auf warmem kartoffel-rucolasalat und pesto (Wiener Art = schnitzel, a big pile of schnitzel).

Not pictured: rucolasalat mit gebackenem ziegenkäse, strauchtomaten und pesto, also full of little surprises like trapezoids of perfectly cooked asparagus and tart spheres of fried goat cheese; the portly waiter who negged me all night long (pretending to have absolutely no idea what my pronounciation of "hefeweizen" could possibly be referring to; smirking and-or tsking when I ordered schnitzel and a bier while my comparatively sophisticated date ordered truffles and wine; coming back after I struggled through 3 of my 4 schnitzels and pointing at the last, saying "what's this here, then?"; offering only Madame Nelson the dessert card because she finished her dinner and I didn't, when in fact it was I who finished her dinner in order to make her plate look clean, I AM NOT BITTER). It was kind of cute after a while.






nein.























More reporting from our Department of Cultural Stereotypes. It's because heyyyyyy, you can't help it, you just notice things, right? When you travel? Meet new "peoples"?

Like for example, you come visit America for the first time....you notice things! Wow, everyone's so polite and friendly all the time, unless they disagree with your politics, or unless you have any kind of opinion about America not being perfect, or unless they're sitting alone at their computer posting violent, misspelled vitriol about things they only barely understand at some vague, inarticulate, primal level of repulsion or attraction! There are TVs everywhere, really loud, all tuned to either CNN or ESPN or something with Guy Fieri in it! And the food, goodness, the food portions are so.....big! The people are so....so....big!

You know what I mean. So, I made some generalizations about France. And ItalyAnd Spain. And now, it's Germany's turn! Well, not really, I only have one and here it is: they sure do like to follow rules!

There was a sign at the entrance to the campground that I saw, but didn't really read, because I don't speak German and sometimes the signs, they just bounce off. This one said something like "Rest Period: 13:00-15:00 and 22:00-07:00".

Great, yes, I'm all for rest. People need rest. We certainly could've used some rest the night in question because we barely slept a fucking wink due to some asshole snoring away like a power saw somewhere nearby.

But I digress. Something that was not explained to us when we checked in was that this signage I almost noticed indicated a mandatory rest period during which no vehicles were supposed to be driven in the campground. So when we got home from Das Sonntag at 11:17pm or something Thursday night, the big metal gate to the campground was closed. "Huh", we said. "Boo."

I got out and looked at the gate, and lo and behold there was a place for a key, I tried the one key I'd been given for the bathroom and showers, and lo and behold it worked. Yay! Why would it work if you weren't supposed to use it? I quietly moved the gate aside, we drove in, I locked it, we parked, we walked to the tent, didn't sleep due to power snoring, etc.

The next morning when Nelson was brushing her teeth one of the campground managers came up to her and gave her a stern lecture about making noise in the campground after 10pm. "Two people complained!!!" How did anyone have any idea that Nelson was the culprit? This we don't know. Nelson replied to the manager (probably with a mouthful of toothpaste), "Yeah, we didn't know, very sorry!" The manager said, well, don't do it again, and Nelson said, yeah, um, sorry (fuck you), we're going to do it again tonight. We have a dinner reservation at 8pm, so I imagine we won't make it back by 10. "Well then you can't park inside the campground." Stare in disbelief. Snarl. Etc.

I missed all this, I was taking a shower or something. When I saw Nelson again there was literally steam rising off of her and she was flushed scarlet a delicate pink with apoplectic rage. Her last coherent word was,"Germans!!!!" before her eyes rolled back and she slipped into a mumbling semi-catatonia (ed. note: catatonia and mumbling? may want to check on this). Eventually I was able to get her eyes to refocus and she gradually turned unpink and she told me what happened and then it was time to go into town for breakfast and Art.























We ended up at Moma Kafehaus and had a helpfully-portioned cup of coffee and a surprisingly tasty and intereresting piece of healthy "Worpswede" chocolate cake, unfortunately I can't find any more info on this, then went to look for Heinrich Vogeler's house and the museum inside. How hard could it be to find?

Wellllll....we didn't have the Wifi or the Google Maps or the any useful technology, and the town had kept signage to an impressively absolute minimum, hopefully due to aesthetic concerns because that's the only valid reason there could be for making your main tourist attractions so goddamn hard to find, and so we eventually gave up and went to the Tourist Center to find a map.

Nelson parked outside with the engine running while I went inside for maybe 4 minutes, and I returned to find Nelson wild-eyed and pink again.

"Did you see that woman?" she said.
"What woman," I said, looking around.
"That woman on the bike."
"Uhh, no..."
"She just came up to me and told me I couldn't park here."
"But you're not parked here. You're waiting."
"Exactly! That's what I said. I said I'm waiting for my boyfriend, he's just in there."
"And?"
"And she said, well you can't wait here,"
"But there's nothing happening here."
"I know! And now...there she is! See her? She's taking a picture of that parked car over there."

Indeed, a totally normal-looking older woman (older than me, maybe 55) was on her bike, stopped, taking a picture of the back of a parked car with her phone. Was she the po-po? No visible indications of that. Was she just crazy? Could be.

Orrrrrrrr......was it just the kind of broken-camel-back behavior you see from rule-following locals in a town besieged by rule-breaking tourists.

28.8.16

recipe break: bayrisches weißkraut.


















I didn't eat anything like this in Germany last week, but I am striving for a week of very simple food and this is pretty much all I felt like eating last night, and, strangely enough, again tonight. You can also un-German-ly add a 1/2 cup of washed quinoa to this when you add the water/broth.....suuuuuuper health time.

+++

german braised cabbage.

2 tbsp lubricant of your choice, I used goat butter last night, tonight I probably use butter butter, but olive oil would also be juuuust dandy
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp raw sugar
1 garlic clove, pummeled
1/2 large green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 cup water or vegetable broth
optionally, 1 tbsp vinegar, I didn't feel like this last night
salt, or possibly smoked salt and pepper to taste

Melt lubricant. Add onions and brown slightly. Add sugar and let caramelize. Add cabbage, garlic, caraway seeds, and water or broth. Bring to boil and simmer, covered, about 1/2 hour or until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary and add vinegar if desired.

Yeah I ripped this off from here, haven't felt like duckifying the whole thing yet.

+++