Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vicious Rumor or God's Honest Truth?

Inspired by the How I Became the Bomb/ Velcro Stars/ Coral Castles show....

You decide if the statement is true or false:

1. Rick from HIBTB consumed one too many test tube shots and ended up on the stripper pole.

2. Shane from VS likes to drink his beer outside and he'll fuck you up if you try to stop him.

3. John Burr from HIBTB was visibly aroused by the dancing ladies projected on the screen beside the stage.

4. The drummer from VS smells bad.

5. The singer from Coral Castles is also in American Bang.

Now for the food-related part of the evening. So after the show we made our way to Dodge's Chicken on Broad Street. If you have a couple of beers in your stomach then you NEED Dodges! They've got these things called jojos and oh lordy are they tasty. The jojo is a potato log that is breaded in delciously seasoned batter and then deep fried until golden brown. Behold....

So if you find yourself in Murfreesboro and need a tasty and not at all nutritious snack then check out Dodge's. They've also got a plethora of other fried treats including chicken, egg rolls, and fruit pies!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Guilty As Charged


#71 Being the Only White Person Around

This concept ties heavily into post #7 Diversity and post #19 Travelling, but is important that you fully understand how white people view authenticity and experience.

In most situations, white people are very comforted by seeing their own kind. However, when they are eating at a new ethnic restaurant or traveling to a foreign nation, nothing spoils their fun more than seeing another white person.

Many white people will look into the window of an ethnic restaurant to see if there are other white people in there. It is determined to be an acceptable restaurant if the white people in there are accompanied by ethnic friends. But if there is a table occupied entirely by white people, it is deemed unacceptable.

The arrival of the “other white people” to either restaurants or vacation spots instantly means that lines will grow, authenticity will be lost, and the euphoria of being a cultural pioneer will be over.

Being aware of this can be extremely valuable in your efforts to gain the trust of white friends and co-workers. If you bring a white person to an ethnic restaurant and another white person (or group of white people) shows up, you can lose all respect and trust that you have worked so hard to acquire. Do your best to find a table with a divider, or ask the waiter to put future white people out of sight.

Note: This does not apply to night clubs.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Leonel's Cheesecake-Murfreesboro, TN

If you have ever lived in Murfreesboro, you've undoubtedly (and perhaps unknowingly) cruised by this tiny sweets shack on your way to Outreach Thrift or the Premiere 6 theater (the Jan Brady of movie joints in Rutherford county). Every time I drive by, my heart says "Yes!" but the clock always says "No!" Well, I finally told that clock to get lost while I got lost in a tasty dessert island paradise! Seriously, it was like a slice of heaven. It was totally sweet. What? Too cheesey? Too cheesecakey?!
I promise not to do that ever again.

Leonel's cheesecakes are one of a kind. They are homemade on site with no preservatives. They are also crustless, butterless, flourless and are low in sugar? I know, gross. But they're totally good! If you don't believe me, go in for yourself. My dining crew and I were offered very generous free samples so that we could be sure that we made the correct confection selection. And boy did we!

I admit to having a questionable obsession with both cinnamon and pumpkin, so imagine my surprise when our extremely kind waiter listed a cinnamon pumpkin cheesecake as one of that day's options! I was a little skeptical of the whole "crustless" thing, but I really did not miss it at all. The texture of the cake was smooth and not overly dense. The sweetness was perfect: definitely enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, but not crazy sugary (I judge this by whether or not you can feel the sugar granules when you grind your teeth). Also, shortly after we were seated, the aformentioned waiter provided us with complimentary, freshly-made hot fudge, followed by a free (huge) sample of another cheesecake for us to share...just because. He was seriously the nicest waiter/possible business owner?/dude that there was or ever will be. And I, for one, greatly appreciate the appreciation of my business. But, really, you don't have to be that nice when what you serve looks like this:

To to the left of mine is the Irish cream, and to the right is pistachio chocolate chip. Other interesting Leonel's flavors include banana, guava, cappuccino, and chunky peanut butter with nutter butter cookies. Really, their menu offers over 25 flavor combos! Got the betes? No sweat! They also offer a completely sugar free variety of their classic-style cheesecake. And at $3.25 per slice and $16.00 for a 6 " ($28.00 for a 9"), their prices are very fair.

Or you could just come to see this weird statue. I may look uncomfortable, but on the inside I am super happy to be there!

Bonus Challenge: Visit this place and write an Eat to the Beat guest-writer entry on the "& BBQ Chicken" portion of the restaurant!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Herbed Buttermilk Popcorn

A few weeks ago a close friend of mine celebrated his birthday with an intimate potluck and party. I get a little too excited by the thought of picking new recipes for such occasions and usually end up going way overboard. I started thinking about what to make at the beginning of the week and by the time Friday rolled around I had about ten recipes gathered from various food blogs and websites. I ended up choosing four things:

The standout amongst all the things I made was definitely the herbed buttermilk popcorn. I found this recipe on 101 cookbooks, one of my absolute favorite food blogs. I'd never made my own popcorn before and felt sure that I was gonna screw it up. I have a horrible habit of burning everything- even things you think would be impossible to burn. I was pleasantly surprised when I got it right on the first try. The recipe calls for powdered buttermilk which I am admittedly not fimiliar with. Luckily, it didn't require a trip across the river to Whole Foods- it's available at Kroger near the evaporated milk. Just pop the popcorn as directed in the recipe, mix up your toppings, melt some butter, and toss it all together. In about 5 minutes you have popcorn that kicks the shit out of any of that microwave stuff. Look how happy it made me...

Herbed Buttermilk Popcorn

1 tablespoon powdered buttermilk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon or kosher salt
1 tablespoon corn oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernals
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon pepper, dill weed, and chicken bouillon in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the popcorn and cover with a lid (hs note: I leave a little crack in the lid to let a bit of hot air out and prevent condensation in the pot). Shake the pan frequently. Remove from the heat when the poppin subsides. Pour the popcorn into a bowl. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Melt the butter in the pan. Pour the butter over the popcorn, tossing to distribute evenly. Sprinkle with the flavoring mixture and toss to coat.

Makes 8 cups; serves 4.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Carmen's Taqueria-Murfreesboro, TN

If you have a mouth and a stomach, you must go here!
Carmen’s Taqueria offers a considerable variety of delicious, authentic-style Mexican foods at affordable prices, which made ordering about as stressful as choosing my favorite chapter of R. Kelly’s "Trapped in the Closet" (Impossible!). I started with the horchata, a cinnamon/almond flavored rice milk drink. I love horchata, but I’ve found that some restaurants make it a little too rich, leaving you with something reminiscent of a melted milkshake. Sweet but still light, Carmen’s mix was flawless. The perfect compliment to the fresh flavors in their salsa.

After agonizing over the menu for what seemed like 4 hours, I finally decided that I should take advantage of its uniqueness. I began with hĂșaraches. What the hell is that, right? Right. It’s a gigantic piece of flatbread piled high with refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and plenty of queso fresco. Also included in the price of the dish is your choice of meat (a concept to be expanded upon later), which I skipped in order to save room for a taco. This dish was simple, warm, filling and comforting. And at 5.99, the portion size is more than enough to constitute a whole meal. Our friendly waitress also provided us with our choice of condiment: salsa verde or a spicy red sauce.

Next, I had the funnest taco-ordering experience ever. I never want to be asked "Beef or chicken?" again. Carmen’s tacos roll in style. Along with asada (steak) and pollo (chicken), diners may choose to fill their tacos (and bellies) with chorizo (mexican sausage), barbacoa (slow-cooked over an open fire-style), carnitas (fried pork), pastor (pork broiled with pineapple), lengua (tongue), cabeza (head meat), and tripa (tripe... you know, stomach lining). I’m still learning to be an adventurous eater, so this time I went with the pastor. The tacos are small. Their white corn tortillas are maybe half the size of one you might find at another Mexican restaurant, and at 1.25 a piece, they are perfect for sampling. Topped with fresh cilantro and onion and served with lime, the presentation was really quite charming. The flavor was incredible. The pork was tender, but not at all fatty. And the sweetness of the pineapple really balanced whatever was in the mystery marinade. My fellow dining divas (I give the best nicknames EVER) also wound up with some tasty vittles. Crisi (left) had a chicken torta (Mexican-style sandwich). Her thumbs were definitely way up. Nicole had a cheese empanada, a sope (a smaller version of the hĂșaraches), and some very tasty and very fresh-to-order guacamole. Her thumbs were doing something similar to Crisi’s. I really cannot wait to go back. I grabbed a menu on the way out in order to plan my future Carmen’s dining endeavors. Items that grabbed my eye? Mojarra Frita (fried queen tilapia), Camarones A La Diabla (shrimp in a spicy sauce), and Pozole (soup made of hominy and pork). And don't worry, vegetarian friends, there're plenty of choices for you, too!

Carmen’s Taqueria is located on Northfield Boulevard directly next to All Things Possible Bargain Center. They have daily lunch specials on pretty much everything from 11am-1pm. Girlfriend, you know that burrito is so tired! And, boyfriend, those nachos are extra faded! Give Carmen’s a shot. It’s nothing short of a fiesta in your tummy.