Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Movies

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is snuggling up with a snack and watching holiday movies. Here are a few of my all-time favorites.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph and it's hokey clay-mation have always been my favorite Christmas movie. I love Hermey and his dental ambitions, and I think Yukon Cornelius and his assortment of sled dogs are hilarious. As a kid, the Island of Misfit Toys really got to me. I would subsequently pile all of my stuffed animals on my bed to sleep with me so that they would know that I loved them all and they didn't need to be exiled. I can see why other people may not like it, but, to me, this movie is the essence of "classic Christmas."

What I love about Elf is Buddy's infectious joy. You can't listen to him talk about how much he loves Christmas and not start to think about how you love it too. I love the idea that we need to try to see Christmas the way that we did as kids. The truth is kids have a lot more fun, and, they often see important things more clearly than adults do.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Simple and sweet, A Charlie Brown Christmas is another classic. The Peanuts cast of characters and their Christmas plights are still relevant to the struggles we each face. Linus' voice-of-reason speech is touching and memorable. What's not to love?

The Muppet Christmas Carol
I love muppets so very much. If I had one wish, I might use it to wish that muppets were real. I also love classic literature, and this is hands down the most amusing adaptation of Dickens well-known and much-adapted story. The musical score is catchy and fun, and, of course, so are the asides by narrators Rizzo and Gonzo. Considering how great this movie is, and how great Muppet Treasure Island is, I would submit that there should be many, many more muppet literary adaptations in the world!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Taco Tour: Part 2

To continue our Taco Tour, we re-visited a new favorite with my mom, who had never been.

We discovered Taqueria 27 a few months ago. I had heard of it from coworkers who knew what they were talking about when it came to food. This is an important discovery because this is the place where I had a taco that made me care about tacos.

The thing about Taqueria 27 is that they have tacos with really cool twists. The ingredients are high-quality and put together in combinations that you wouldn't usually associate with Mexican food: duck confit, pork belly, Wagyu beef, bleu cheese... Definitely not traditional, but incredibly tasty. 

The taco that made me care about tacos is the Citrus Pork Carnitas taco. The ingredients are "slow roasted and shredded, charred tomatillo salsa, pickled red onion..." (which I skip) "... cilantro and chicharones." What I love about this taco is that it's not just a glob of meet with some stuff on it. There's a very subtle flavor because of the citrus. The chicharones give this taco an incredible texture. It's basically amazing. Also, it made me interested in trying other tacos, which is what led us to begin a taco tour! Here it is in all it's glory!
On our most recent trip, Mike tried the PBLTA (Pork Belly Lettuce Tomato Avocado) taco. Ingredients: "pork belly, lettuce, tomato and avacado with jalapeno mayo in flour tortillas." I didn't really branch out, but I was still happy with my choice! Here's a picture of Mike's taco. 

This was a very tasty taco. The pork belly was that cut and it was kind of amazing even though you knew it was not good for you. Avocado and tomato or really fresh and really counterbalance the fatty pork.

We found this restaurant about three months ago, and we've been at least five times. Go once, and you'll want to go again!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Taco Tour: Part 1

As a local exploration experiment, Mike and I are in the process of executing a taco tour. The goal of a taco tour is to visit as many fine, taco-serving establishments as possible and sample many (hopefully) delightful fare. We started our adventure last week.

Stop #1: Chow Truck

The first part of this stop was not getting run over by ecologically conscious and parking lot negligent REI shoppers. While our tacos cooked, we tried the root chips, a mixture of golden potatoes, purple potatoes, carrots, yams, beets, and lotus root. There were some subtle flavor differences, but they were fairly mild overall. We ordered two different tacos to share.

Calamari with Asian Spice
These were unanimously the favorite taco of the night. The calamari was tender and the seasoning was perfect. Calamari tacos seemed like a stretch, but the execution was spot on. We'll definitely go back for these!

Spicy Beef with Cilantro-Chile Pesto
Mike's second favorite and my third. The beef was tender and the sauce, though a bit on the juicy side, gave it a satisfying kick.

Stop #2: Luna Blanca Taqueria
Beautiful chalk art added to the funky artistic/Southwestern blend of this restaurant. The service was great, and we heard four Johnny Cash songs while we were there, so that's +10 points in my book. Again, we ordered two tacos to share.

Chicken with Avocado Crema
While completely good, this taco came in last for both of us. It was nice, but, just friends nice, you know? What we determined is that you either need dark meat or a really interesting sauce to make the chicken flavorful enough to be memorable. With a mild sauce and shredded breast meat, this taco just didn't leave an impression.

Seared Shrimp Taco with Avocado Crema
This was my second favorite and Mike's third. Another seafood win. The shrimp was chopped and very tender. The citrus marinade gave it a very fresh feeling. In the case of this taco, the avocado crema nicely accentuated the flavorful star of the show. Eating this shrimp taco reminded me of the kind of high quality seafood dishes that you generally only get when you're near the ocean.