Saturday, June 30, 2012

England Day Three: Chips with Curry

Day three was the Stone Roses concert. I'm going to have to blog about that when I get home. Too many pictures to blog on my phone. Before the concert I got chips with curry sauce.

That's my favorite order from a fish and chip shop. It was only £2. That's about $3.10. £1.20 for the chips, £0.80 for the curry sauce. They give you a tiny fork to eat it with.

England Day Two: Train Food

I had to get to Manchester so I took the train. I splurged and got first class. First I want to say how awesome trains are here. They make Acela look like the Little Engine that Could. The trip is 200 miles. It had 4 stops and still only took 2 hours. Also, the cost is pretty good. First class was about $50. Acela first class to NY (roughly the same distance) is, what, $150?

Seats were reserved so I took my seat. Then across the table from me sat a roughly 50 year old guy. The first thing he did was pull a can of beer from his bag and start drinking it. It was 11am. He finished that one, then had another. Beer is free in first class so he had two more before the end of the train. Near the end he pulled out a tobacco tin that had a marijuana leaf decal on it and started rolling cigarettes. He seemed like a pro. It kept me entertained.

Anyway, the food.

It was a trio of crappy English sandwiches. One was ham and cheese. Another was called chicken mayonnaise. The third was cream cheese and cucumbers. I guess not too bad for free.

I am writing this blog on the train back to London. There's only 15 minutes left and they haven't come around with food. I feel ripped off. I demand crappy sandwiches!

England Day Two: Altrincham

I went to visit my friend Simon in Altrincham. I then met his fiancé Claire and her brother. Ah, what the heck, I will put the first picture of me in this dumb blog.

 I'm the one in the Sox hat, Simon is the tall one, you can figure out the rest. They all got a kick out of me pronouncing Altrincham. First we went to a pub and had these beers. 

They were only £1.99 each. There's no tipping here so that's cheap. I forget what type they were, Simon picked them. They were bitters and quite tasty. While enjoying the beers, a lady came over and gave us free curry. 

Simon was not impressed with the curry, but, hey, free curry. Then we went to get a proper curry as they say. I got the tandoori mixed grill. It had like 5 different tandoori meats. I enjoyed it, my best meal here yet.

Then we went to Claire's parents' house and Simon gave me this Desperado beer.

Beer flavored with tequila. It was so bad I had to take a picture of it. I looked at the ingredients and one ingredient was: flavouring (75% tequila). I thought that was funny because, what does that even mean? Also, they spell flavoring funny.

England Day Two to Three: Cycle Hire

I rented a bike for my time in Manchester. If you look at the pictures you'll see I had a little surprise when I went to go return it this morning. Yup, someone stole my rear wheel.

Now I should point out that I know what I am doing with bikes and I am pretty anal about locking them up. When I went to lock up the bike I looked if the front wheel was quick release and it wasn't. My mistake here was I didn't look at the rear wheel. I just figured the rear wheel wouldn't be quick release if the front wasn't. The thief was nice enough to leave the axel though which was quick release.

I had two options, return the bike or just don't bother. They took £100 for a deposit so I would be out that much if I just left the bike. But I figured the wheel wouldn't cost close to that.

The bike shop guy first didn't believe it was quick release even though I had the axel. Then he started adding up the costs for all the parts and came up with £80. That is close to $130. I said that was ridiculous (he agreed) and to use the wholesale price. He did that and came up with £39. Still pricey I thought but I was ok with that. Then he said he had to call the boss. After that conversation they said it was £60. I said "Don't you think that's too much?" He said yes but nothing he could do. So the total cost was £77 with the rental price.

I "saved" £23 by returning it. Returning it took 45 minutes to walk there carrying the bike, dealing with the bike guys, then walking back. Carrying it, I also got grease on my shorts. In retrospect I wish I had just left the bike and I could have kept the lock, helmet and lights, and I would have clean shorts.

In conclusion, uh I don't know, don't bike?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

England Day Two: Iced Tea! And Beer! Exclamation!

Well I found some iced tea and they were also nice enough to give me a cup of ice too. It was pretty good, though pricey at £2.

Then, hey it's 11am here, but it feels like 6am to me, that's beer time! They had a crappy selection at the train station pub so I ended up with a Fuller's London Pride. It was good but I know there's much better beers out there waiting for me.

England Day Two: Banksy

I saw two Banksy's in 10 minutes.

England Day Two: Full English Breakfast

I'm on record as proving the equation "Lunch > Breakfast", but I have to say a full English breakfast is pretty good. Well except for the giant pile of mushrooms. And the beans aren't so great. So I guess I like bacon and eggs.

Update: My British friend, Simon, pointed out a few things wrong with this breakfast. First, no sausage. Second, no blood pudding. Third, the tomato is raw, it should be grilled. All three things would have vastly improved this breakfast.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

England Day One: Ploughman's Sandwich

Well because of 2 hours in passport control, I didn't get to my hotel until after midnight. So no delicious beer yet. And I had to settle for a crappy sandwich. I went for my favorite crappy English sandwich, the Ploughman's. It is two types of cheese, lettuce, tomato and chutney. So LTC. I'm a vegetarian so far in England. But it was only £2.35. Hey! I figured out where the pound sign is located.

Monday, June 25, 2012

This Dumb Blog News: We're Going International!

I can't believe I'm at the point where this dumb blog has news, but here we are. But, I want to announce in advance to my faithful readers (maybe there's four of you weirdos) that I'll be heading to England on Wednesday for a little vacation. I'm not sure how this will affect the blog, but if I do post, it'll probably be through my phone. I hate typing on my phone, so I imagine any posts will be short and filled with typos, so I want to prepare you for that. I think what I am going to do is post a lot more frequently, since it is easy on the phone, then when I get back I'll probably combine a bunch of posts into daily blogs. Adjust your schedules accordingly.

Hey Jeff, what are you going to England for?
Uh, it's you again, bold imaginary question person. I should have expected you. I am going to England for a concert.

Cool! What band are you seeing, is it One Direction? They are awesome!
You have terrible musical taste BIQP. No, it is not One Direction. Though as an aside, I really have a hard time picking which member of One Direction has the most ridiculous hair:

If you held a gun to my dog's head, I would first say: "Really, you would shoot a dog over One Direction?" but then I think I would pick second from the right.

Screw you. What band is it then?
The Stone Roses

Oh, cool. Wait who?
The Stone Roses.  In this article, their first album was named Best British Album of All Time, just ahead of a little band called the Beatles. NME, a major British music publication, also named it the best album of all time in this article.

That's crazy, it should have been Take That!
That's not a question.

Oh, OK, tell me about this band, are they a boy band?
They are all boys in the band, but they are not a boy band. They came out with the Best British Album Ever in 1989, spent 6 years making the second album, which you won't find on any best album lists (though I still like it). Then they broke up. Last year they announced they were reuniting and playing three shows in their hometown of Manchester.

Lovely story, how did you become a fan of theirs?
Well, their first album came out in 1989, like I said. That was when I was a goofy 14 year old who stayed up to 2am every Sunday to watch 120 Minutes on MTV, and listened to WFNX too much. Also, since CD players were pretty new then, I only had a cassette player and I would make mix tapes of friends' music. Some friend had the Stone Roses album, so I made a copy. I then became a big fan of Britpop.

What the hell is Britpop?
Don't you have google? Britpop on wikipedia.

So you're traveling 4000 miles to see a band with basically one album? 
Yeah. Though if you add in B-Sides and the second album, it's not quite like that. My iTunes library has 131 Stone Roses songs.

Since I've never heard of this band, you must be seeing them in a nice intimate venue, right?
I like how you made that a question with "right?" But, no, I'll be seeing them in a massive park with 80,000 other people. Oasis was the last band that played in the park, here's a picture of what I am expecting:

I'll be the one in a Red Sox hat. I did splurge and get the VIP package, which is a private tent and I get 4 drink credits and 2 food credits. I'm very curious what the drink and food will be like there, so I will at least blog about those.

Whatever, what do they sound like?
They didn't make many videos, but here's probably their best one:

Here in the USA, this is their most popular song, I hear it on good radio stations sometimes:

That's from their second album, not the Best British Album Ever.

Also, if you are really interested, you can buy The Complete Stone Roses, which is their first album with all their singles and B-Sides, here, used for as low as $0.01. Or if you know me personally, I'll make you a copy if you ask nicely.

Whatever, again. I come to this blog for pictures of sandwiches and iced tea. Whatcha going to do about that?
Well, a long aside: When I was in college, I spent one semester abroad at the University of Bradford in Bradford, England. Because of that experience, I like to defend British cuisine whenever someone is making fun of it. I point out that London is one of the culinary capitals of the world. Also, Indian food in England is very good and plentiful, much better than the USA. I think England used to own India or something, ask Ghandi. But, for the purpose of this dumb blog, yeah the cuisine is pretty bleak. Sandwiches there are terrible. They consist of weird fillings, like prawn salad, on crappy bread. Also, for the amount of tea British people drink, it is surprising that they hardly ever put it over ice. At the end of my semester in England, I was traveling around the UK when in Edinburgh I spotted a Snapple. I sprinted over and chugged it in three sips. That was the only iced tea I saw in my four months in the UK. I'm sure the situation is better now, but I won't be doing any BKYA's I imagine. But the one saving grace for this blog is french fries, or chips as they call them. Did you hear I spent a semester in England? Well, I did, and when I was there I got two meals a day at the dorm cafeteria. Every meal they had chips available. So, I would go up to the line, check out the crappy available foods, and probably 2/3 of the time I would have chips as my dinner. Like, oh, liver pie is for dinner, yup, just give me lots of chips. Also, a week into my semester, I made a frantic phone call to my mom to send me some black pepper. The only pepper they had there I not-so-affectionately called "ass pepper." Once I had the black pepper, which took one month since my mom wrote down the wrong post code, people used to congregate to my table to sample the delicious black pepper. So expect lots of blogs about french fries.

While you were busy with that crappy answer, I figured out google. Which guy in this picture has the most ridiculous hair?

Fair enough. That's the Stone Roses. I would say John Squire on the far right. But that was from 1989. I'm sure no one that was of age in 1989 would be happy seeing their hair on a dumb blog. 

Ok, enough about some band, what should we expect on this dumb blog while you are away?
Well here's my itinerary:

Wed. June 27th: Fly to London, arrive late, maybe get a beer at some pub. The beer in England is the best.

Thursday June 28th: Train to Manchester, then I'm meeting a friend in a suburb of Manchester at night. You should probably expect more pubs. 

Friday June 29th: The concert is in the evening. I'll probably try to get a kebab during the day. Kebabs in England are delicious. I should have mentioned that when I was blogging about cuisine.

Saturday June 30th: Back to London. I'm going to try to go to the late session of Wimbledon this day. So expect strawberries and cream or some crap.

Sunday July 1st: This day is open, there's no Wimbledon this day. I'll probably go to the Tate Modern. There's a Damien Hirst exhibit. Yeah, me like art. Then off to check out Olympic Park. I will take a self-portrait then make a joke like "I thought it said 7/1, not 8/1!" So prepare yourself to laugh a lot.

Monday July 2nd: Depending on how my previous trip to Wimbledon went, I might queue for a while to go during the day session. So, more strawberries. Then I don't know what.

Tuesday July 3rd: I fly back at night, but I have no idea what I'll do during the day.

OK. Wait, what band are you seeing again?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Better Know Your Arnie: Mango Non-Arnie

BKYA is a feature on this dumb blog wherein Jeff writes too much about a variety of his favorite beverage, Arnold Palmer Iced Tea Lemonade.

This is very similar to Tropical Non-Arnie, but instead of half tropical, whatever that means, it is half mango. I assume that means half mango juice. Half mango juice for less than $1, why haven't you bought any of these yet? So I call this one Mango Non-Arnie.

I don't have much to say about this one, just read the Tropical Non-Arnie review. Or don't, we're just talking about stupid beverages here. Anyway, this one is good, so I will score it higher than the Tropical Non-Arnie. Who cares though. This has been a depressing review of a delicious iced tea beverage.

Jeff's Score*: 77

Varieties: All
Availability: Very Low
Stores: City Convenience

*Jeff's Score is a weighted score where Regular Arnie is a 90, Redneck Arnie is a 20, the one Skinny Arnie I had that tasted like metal is a 0

Jeff Makes Bad Food: The Italian-American

Hey Jeff, you sure do take lots of pictures of sandwiches, don't you ever make sandwiches yourself? It's not rocket science, loser.

You are getting way too hostile, imaginary question person. But, yeah, I buy bread and put stuff between it occasionally. Here is a picture of one of my favorite home sandwiches, I call it the Italian-American:

It is Genoa Salami, American Cheese, and the toppings I happened to have in the fridge. In this case it was just lettuce, onions, and mustard. LOM. That was not the best combination of toppings, but whatevs, like you care. But, yeah, I love me some Genoa Salami, and any time I start to get snobbish about cheese, I always think, "hey, dummy, your favorite cheese is White American, get over yourself." I am very self-critical. I would get Genoa Salami more often, but Heather is never happy about it, complaining about nitrates and stuff. Because of her complaints, I usually get turkey at the deli, so you can look forward to a crappy turkey sandwich blog later. Oh, and also, nitrates are not a real thing.

In conclusion, I make crappy sandwiches. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


When Adam Yauch passed away, I have to say I was really sad. I watched Good Morning America the day after he died and their story on him was a couple minutes long and consisted solely of clips from the video "Fight for Your Right" and two seconds of a clip from "So Wat'cha Want." It was a really crappy tribute. This blog is just trying to be better than that, and it probably already is.

Better Know Your Arnie: Pommie Arnie

BKYA is a feature on this dumb blog wherein Jeff writes too much about a variety of his favorite beverage, Arnold Palmer Iced Tea Lemonade.

This is, I think, the rarest of the Arnie's, Pomegranate Arnold Palmer Iced Tea Lemonade. I call it Pommie Arnie.  

Jeff's Second Father's Day

I just had my second Father's Day as an actual father. Heather said I could do anything I wanted. Well, thanks a lot for your permission, but that is already my legal Father's Day Right. I immediately thought of the foods I wanted to get, though it didn't go as planned. Lucky for you guys I took a bunch of pictures. Let's start at breakfast:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Better Know Your Arnie: Regular Arnie

BKYA is a feature on this dumb blog wherein Jeff writes too much about a variety of his favorite beverage, Arnold Palmer Iced Tea Lemonade.

I really should have done this review first, as the other BKYA reviews don't make sense without this one. Also, Regular Arnie, or just Arnie, is the original so it should have gone first. Let's start by taking a look at it in it's most common variety, the Can:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jeff Goes to Whole Foods

I'm fairly new to shopping at Whole Foods as I've never lived close to one. Recently two opened near me so I've been easing into shopping there.

Here's how my typical shopping trip to Whole Foods goes: I usually go intending to get some specific item. This is usually beer. They have a good beer selection. But I always figure I'll get some other groceries while I am there. So I start shopping, and then I see something like this:

Fiddlehead Ferns for $7 a pound. It looks like an aggressive garden weed. I wish I could sell my aggressive garden weeds for $7 a pound. Then I start thinking that since this food doesn't exist in the natural world, Whole Foods is creating foods willy nilly. I then just want to leave. I go buy my intended item (beer) and get the rock out of there. 

Last year a Whole Foods opened on my usual biking route. So sometimes I take a break and grab some food and a beverage. I first head to the beverage wall and grab some beverage that is on sale, then check out the prepared food wall looking first at sale items (my wife has me trained well). If there's nothing good I get pizza. Pizza is never bad.

I've been there four times recently. I took pictures so now you have to look at them:


It's the Nantucket Nectars Non-Arnie with a small salami sandwich. Well, I guess I'll have to do a separate Nantucket Nectars Non-Arnie post, but I'll just say it tastes good, but it has almost twice the amount of calories as a Regular Arnie, so who cares, I prefer a Regular Arnie.

The sandwich was pretty good. Too many roasted peppers, they overwhelmed the delicious salami taste. 


It's Whole Food's meat lover's pizza with Organic Non-Arnie. This meat lover's slice was their special of the day. It was really good. The Organic Non-Arnie was also good, but again it has a lot more calories than a Regular Arnie, so no post for you.


Now this was a weird meal for me. I wasn't too hungry so I got some fresh shrimp spring rolls (VALUE ITEM!) and a Watermelon Strawberry beverage. I ate 1.5 spring rolls before I noticed there was a sauce packet underneath. The sauce was surprisingly good, it was pretty spicy too. 


This one was a complete disaster. At the beverage wall, I got drawn to a sign for a beverage for $.69. As I got closer, I noticed the sign was messed up and it was $1.69. I went for it anyway. It is Granny Squibb's Unsweetened Lemon/Mint Tea. I usually avoid unsweetened tea, because I need some sweet, but this one had stuff floating around in it, so I figured it might be OK. It was not. It was marginally better than drinking tap water. I also got the Black Bean and Cheese burrito. It was on sale for $4. It was one of the worst burritos I've ever had, and I've had some bad burritos.  I got it because I thought it was a good deal, then I later remembered at Anna's their vegetarian quesadilla is less than $4. I ate about 1/3 of it and threw the rest away.  

In conclusion, I am the worst Whole Foods shopper, and I should always get a slice of pizza when I go there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anna's Taqueria

Most people who know about this blog, and I think there are now over a dozen of you weirdos, are familiar with Anna's Taqueria. So I am not exposing some hidden jewel here. But what I am about to do is convince you that you have been ordering the wrong thing there. Here we go:

Remember when I said El Pelon Taqueria serves my favorite burrito? No, well see those blue words in the last sentence? Click on those. I was nice enough to make the link and all. Lots of people have said to me, "I'm surprised your favorite burrito isn't Anna's Taqueria." Lots of people are like Heather and some other person. I respond to these lots of people by shrugging. But now that I have a dumb blog I can expand on that shrug.

Although El Pelon Taqueria has my favorite burrito, Anna's has my favorite entree at a burrito shop. It is their modified quesadilla. It is better than the El Pelon Taqueria burrito. And I am sure it will be your next order there if you read the words that follow.

First, here's a picture:

Yummy! So, yeah you know about quesadillas and stuff. Well the secret to creating this perfect Anna's entree is you have to ask for your preferred burrito ingredients. For me this means asking for both beans and rice. By default it just comes with beans and no rice. They sometimes say "that's $.15 extra" for the beans/rice, if that happens just nod or something. As I'll explain later, you can afford it. I get chicken, black beans, rice, lots of salsa, lettuce and hot sauce. Since it is a quesadilla, it has lots of gooey cheese inside and the outside has been grilled with some oil and it is nice and crispy. They usually have a tortilla already on the grill so they make it really fast, it will not slow you down.

Now to the cost. Check out the menu. A regular burrito (which is small and comes with no cheese) is $4.85. A super burrito (which is a little bigger, but comes with cheese) is $5.35. Those are great deals for delicious burritos. However, look at how much a quesadilla is. Well you don't have to look because I will tell you, it is $4.50. I'm not quite sure which size tortilla they use, but let's say it is the regular burrito size. The quesadilla costs $.35 less, and you also get all that cheese and oily tortilla crispiness. I like to think they are paying you to add cheese and crispiness. If they use the super burrito sized tortilla they are paying you $.85 for just a crispy, yummy tortilla. This is what I refer to as Anna's Burrito Arbitrage. This means you could potentially make money getting the quesadilla if there existed a burrito trading market, and there really should be. 

So this all sounds good, and I think I've convinced you, but I need to point out that I don't get this very often when I go to Anna's. 

But, Jeff you just typed a lot of good things, why don't you get it all the time?

Ugh, you again asking me questions. Don't you think I was going to explain why? Well I don't get it because I usually get Anna's to go and bring it home. The quesadillas you have to eat right away or you lose the crispiness and it gets a touch oily. So I only get the quesadilla when I eat there.  However, another benefit to eating there is I get their orange juice. It is a big cup of freshly squeezed oranges, and it is delicious. It is like $2 which is pretty cheap for squeezed oranges. If you add it all together, that meal pictured above was less than $7. Next time you go there, you're getting the quesadilla, aren't you?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mighty Subs: Honey BBQ Chicken Meal

Hey, we have some LTPOH up in here again.

It's the Friday Mighty Subs special. Check this out:

Yeah, that's right, $7.58 for all of that.  Oh, you want some cheese too, let's see $8.14.

This is my favorite of the weekly Mighty Subs specials. It is sliced Honey BBQ chicken, with LTPOH and I also add BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce mixes up nicely with the hots, so it is like a spicy BBQ sauce. Oh, and I add provolone cheese because cheese is good.

I probably bought this meal every Friday for 6 years. If you do the math, that's like 38 times I got this. Math is really hard. I like this one because it is pretty healthy. You got your coke zero, reduced fat Cape Cod potato chips, and the sub which is relatively healthy. Anyways, whatever, Jeff out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lexington BBQ Festival

Aw, yeah, I went to a BBQ festival a few weeks ago. Did you? I think not, loser. First I should say there was an alpaca viewing area right next to the entrance. I made a note to get a picture of Connor with an alpaca later. But let's get some food first. Heather and I got in one vendor's line and she said to me "Hey, get your own food." So I left and went to another line and we regrouped later. Heather got this:

She got two sliders, one pulled pork and one beef brisket, and a corn cob from some vendor we don't even remember. The brisket was really good. The corn was awesome, we told Lillian this, and it sent her on a grand quest to get a corn of cob although the vendor was out of corn. It was like Lord of the Rings, but with corn and no elves. Meanwhile, after hitting the vendor selling Coke Zero for $1, I waited in the long line for Lester's with Big Red. That's Lillian's husband's nickname, not a pack of gum. I should mention this so you don't think I keep referencing a pack of gum. Lillian tried again to get some corn at this point, but no luck. I won't say she was mumbling something about "precious", but I will also not deny it.

In line at Lester's, Red and I were set on definitely getting ribs, so the two options were, two ribs for $8, or 1/3 a rack of ribs for $12. Both came with beans and slaw. I thought, oh, a 1/3 of rack of ribs should be huge, I want that. Red thought the same. They also had 6 wings for $3, 12 for $6. So we decided to get 6 wings each and a 1/3 of a rack of ribs. I thought we might need help carrying the 2/3 rack of ribs back. Since the pack of gum held my place while I bought the Coke Zero, I let him/it go first. He ordered the 1/3 of a rack. They put his order together and it was three ribs. Three. THREE! So like a true BBQ festival pro (this was my first BBQ festival), I just went for the two ribs for value. Here's a crappy picture of the food:

The ribs were really good. The wings were some of the best wings I have ever had. The slaw was pretty good, but the beans were forgettable. Connor had a few beans. He said "Da da blurp, spurzzzzz, aigh!" At this point Lillian finally was rewarded when Red brought her some corn. 

So it was time to leave. We went by the alpaca pen, and the alpacas were all gone. There were signs in the pen that said "All alpacas are for sale." So I just assume some alpaca baron snatched them up. Too bad. After that, we went to get some pepperoni bread, didn't we Lillian?