Is it noshworthy?

Archive for January, 2010

RIP – Glen Bell

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

This week the world lost a fast-food icon, Glen Bell.

Unlike Ray Kroc, who brought McDonalds to the world, Glen Bell was less well known. When everyone was trying to duplicate the success of McDonalds by opening a myriad of hamburger stands, Glen Bell differentiated himself by opening up a one of the first fast food Mexican restaurants.

Forty-seven years later, they’re one of the most successful fast food companies in history.

When I first bought my condo in Mira Mesa, I knew I had truly moved to suburbia. Every major chain and fast food restaurant was within a mile. Chili’s, El Torito, Red Lobster, Black Angus, McDonalds, Subway and Pizza Hut were blocks away. And of course, no fast food Mecca would be complete without a Taco Bell.

The Mira Mesa Taco Bell was right next to the High School, and was a popular after-school hangout. This mostly had to do with the fact that it was amazingly cheap.

The irony is that in order to chase off loitering kids, they put up a sign saying, “You must spend at least $1.50 to sit at our tables”. Even more ironic is the fact that you could buy a drink and a taco and not reach $1.50.

There are many examples of “Food that is tasty, even though its nothing like its name.” For instance, the apple pie at McDonalds looks almost, but not quite, completely unlike apple pie. If you think of it as apple pie, you’ll be sadly disappointed. If you think of it as a tasty, fried, block of sugar, you’ll be quite happy.

Taco Bell is to Mexican food, what McDonalds is to apple pie. It doesn’t remotely resemble Mexican food, but it’s still really good! Did you know that the “Taco Shell” as we know it was invented by Glen Bell?

Glen Bell leaves behind a legacy of good food at very reasonable prices. He introduced middle America to Mexican food in a way that was delicious and non-threatening.

Thank you Glen for almost five decades of fast food goodness!

Adam Richman: My Personal Hero!

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

If there is any benefit to being stuck home with the flu, it’s catching up on the TiVo.

A while back, Morgan and Audrey introduced me to a television show that changed my life. The show was called Man v. Food. The host is Adam Richman.

The Food Network has long held a virtual monopoly on a wide variety of food shows. The Fox network found it necessarily to turn Gordon Ramsey into a raving lunatic to try and get ratings. A terrible shame, considering how amazing he is on the BBC. Imagine how it would feel if Julia Child started yelling at her guests.

Actually, I would pay to see that. “Be a man! More cooking Sherrie!!!”

The dominance of the Food Network is finally been challenged. The success of Top Chef on Bravo has not only shown that other networks can do food programming, but they can do it well and get great ratings. And unlike Hell’s Kitchen, the show is actually about food.

The latest challenger to the Food Network is The Travel Channel. They started with Anthony Bourdain and his show, “No Reservations”. I’m a huge fan of his books, which started with the classic “Kitchen Confidential”. If you ever want to know what really goes on in a restaurant kitchen, read this book! You may never eat brunch ever again, but read it anyway.

The latest Travel Channel show is called “Man v. Food“, and it follows a simple formula. Each week, Adam Richman flies to an American city, eats their most iconic foods, and then steps up for one of their food challenges.

The thing I love about Adam is that he clearly loves his job, food, and the enthusiasm of a crowd. And he’s clearly grateful to have the greatest gig in the history of television. To paraphrase a tv critic, “Adam Richman is the grown up version of that kid from the ‘Wonder Years’.”

When you think about it, it’s the perfect combination. When you tell your friends that you’re visiting a city, isn’t the first thing they tell you is “I know this great place in Chicago!” or “You can’t go to Boston and not have Legals Clam Chowder!”

Travel and food go hand-in-hand.

If the show was just about the best deep-dish pizza in Chicago, or cheese steak in Philadelphia, it would be worth watching. But each show ends with Adam taking on a local food challenge.

For a guy who claims he’s not a competitive eater, Adam wins an awful lot. And they are not easy challenges. A six-pound burrito in less than 90 minutes in Las Vegas. A two-gallon ice cream sundae in San Francisco. Even a sushi roll challenge, where he ate ten spicy tuna rolls of increasing heat. They start with normal hot sauce, and by roll ten, they’re made with ghost chilis, the hottest pepper on earth!

I want to be Adam Richman when I grow up.

This man has the love of food that I do. He knows that every city has treats unlike anywhere else. And that people and food go together like cake and ice cream.

I woke up this morning, all fluey and cranky. Now after hours of watching Man v. Food, I’m… well I’m still all fluey, but I’m no longer cranky.

Thank you Adam Richman, you’re my hero!

Flu season: Not a big fan

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let you know, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.

I’ve come down with my third, nasty flu in the last year, and in some ways, this is far yuckier than it’s two predecessors. To add insult to injury, it’s taken my voice and comes during a tight work deadline.

I promise I’ll be back soon, with stories of the food stuffs that have made this sickness a little more tolerable. In the meantime, its time for me to say hello to my blankie.

Peter