Sunday, January 6, 2013

Making Mustard Part 1

Last week I decided to make my own mustard. I thought it would be kind of fun. Mixing it up is pretty easy. Just add a little liquid at a time to the powder. If you know how to mix pancake batter, you can mix anything, and mustard is no different.

I think I should have started off with a simple white wine and mustard powder recipe, but of course I over complicated it. I used regular yellow mustard powder and rice wine vinegar as the base liquid agent. I added ginger and lemon juice because I tend to add those to everything. I was planning on adding some horse radish to give it a kick, but after some sample tastes I realized the mustard powder already supplied a pretty solid kick. So I decided to counter that and sweeten it up with some brown sugar.

Straight off, my first batch didn't taste that great at all. It was horrible. It tasted way too vinegary, but I didn't throw it away. Since some recipes I found online aged their mustard for 20 days, I capped it and threw it in the fridge.

My second batch I thought I would just do Honey, Water and Yellow Mustard Powder. The problem I encountered was my own lack of paying attention when I purchased the honey. I tend to take after my mom and grab items off the shelf without looking. I purchased an “Organic” honey substitute. I didn't feel like going back to the store. So I used it.

The honey substitute’s flavor lacks depth. It tasted watered down and that watered down taste made its way to my honey mustard. Like the first batch, I capped it and placed it in the fridge in hopes that maybe it will taste better down the road. I would check both batches in a week.

This morning, a week later, I woke to the urge of making mustard using just sauvignon blanc and mustard powder. I want to keep it simple. Once I get the basic mix down, then I’ll started adding items.

Before I started making it though, I wanted to try out last week’s batches. Surprisingly, the first batch tasted really good. It still had an insanely strong kick, but the vinegar has subsided a bit. The ginger is more present, and backs up that kick. The second batch still lacks depth. Again, I am going to leave them both in for another week to see what happens.

Like I wanted to do this morning, I made the third batch with just wine and mustard powder. It tasted pretty nice from the get go. We’ll see what happens with it next week. Hopefully it gets better.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Have a Swiener with your beer.(Warning: This is very phallic.)

Swieners on Urbanspoon
In my arduous search for a good sausage sandwich in San Diego, I discovered the Swiener. Okay, stop. I’m not being totally up front. I really wasn’t looking for a sausage sandwich. There was no arduous search for sausage. It’s a lie. I was actually looking for beer. The sausage or Swiener just happened to be there. In my blog about San Diego’s Finest Pork Sausage Sandwich, I talked about the Salumi Company’s (Now MeatMen) sausage sandwich and how good it was. It’s still a delicious sandwich, and I highly recommend it. However, the Swiener takes the sausage sandwich to a whole new level of yummy goodness.

Now what exactly is a Swiener? Well, let me break it down for you. It’s a Swiss take on a sausage sandwich, being a Swiss Wiener, or a Swiener. The sausage itself isn’t Swiss, that cultural distinction belongs to the cheese it’s drenched in. It’s a Swiss cheese called Raclette, and it melts beautifully. First the Swiener People take half a baguette and work a hole into it with a heating rod that also makes the bun warm up quite nice and toasty. Next they warm up the Raclatte cheese on this interesting broiling contraption. When the cheese is rich and melty, they ooze it down the opening made in the bun. Then they add the condiments you request. Lastly, they shove a hot-off-the-griddle sausage into the bun and hand it to you in a crisp white paper bag.

They offer a variety of sausages to choose from, such as German Brat, Spice Pork or even a Vegan Sausage (I recommend the vegan with bacon and cheese). The Swiener People also offer a sausage that has cheddar infused into it for people like me who can’t get enough cheese. I must offer a warning about this one. It burned my upper lip after I bit into it. The pressure from the heated cheese within the sausage shot some hot cheese onto my top lip, and it burned. So be careful when you bite into the cheddar cheese sausage or, as my heterosexual life partner dubbed it, The Porndog, because it might get you in the face.

Unlike the Salumi Company, you probably won’t find the Swiener touring San Diego’s Farmer’s Market circuit anymore. The owners grew tired of it and found a new outlet: San Diego’s brewery circuit. They post their whereabouts daily on Facebook, so do a search for “Swiener” and it’ll come up.

I know when you think of San Diego, you probably don’t think of beer. However, after living in San Diego for some time I’ve come to know what most San Diegans have known for quite a while. San Diego is a beer Mecca! And what goes great with beer besides Pizza? Sausage!

Beer and Sausage go hand in hand and, with the Swiener, you can literally have a beer in one hand and your Swiener in the other. The tiny paper bag that it comes in makes it easy to work your Swiener up out of the bag cleanly with one hand after every bite. So you never have to put your beer down. It does take a little practice, but once you get it, you’ll be working your Swiener up like a pro.

Lastly is the price. To get everything on your Sweiner costs $9.00. That does seem a little steep for a sausage sandwich, but it’s worth the money. So give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Greek Style Chicken - Serves A Mighty Fine Burger

955 E Main St., El Cajon, CA 92021

On my lazy quest for a good burger in San Diego, my wife mentioned a place in El Cajon that seemed to match the main characteristic of the great burger places of The San Gabriel Valley such as Alpha Omega, Michael's Superburger, P & G and Tops. These places all have a Greek influence to them. The place my wife mentioned is called Greek Style Chicken. So on a day where we happened to be in El Cajon, we decided to stop by Greek Style Chicken.

Upon arrival, I was skeptical due to the fact that the word “Chicken” is in their name. Also I didn’t want to keep my hopes up, because most of the smaller burger joints in San Diego have really disappointed me. When I looked at the menu, something popped right out. It wasn’t the burger. It was the picture of their “Pastrami Burger” on the menu. It looked just like one of those awesome pastrami sandwiches that I would enjoy at The Hat, Michael's Superburger, P & G and Alpha Omega. I really wanted to order it, but I opted not to, because I was here to try a burger not a pastrami sandwich. I would have to come in another time to try it.

My wife and I ordered two cheeseburgers some fries and two drinks. The drinks came in these disposable cups that had Greek markings and a drawing of The Parthenon on it, which again reminded me of home, the cup that is not the Parthenon.

When we got the burgers, they looked about right to me. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one. Once I did, I thought of Alpha Omega. It’s very close to that taste. It’s a solid burger. I was in burger heaven. This place has it. If you are from the San Gabriel Valley area, and miss those burgers, I highly recommend going to Greek Style Chicken. Their burgers are not the ridiculously dressed up gourmet types of burgers that have lost all touch with what a burger is supposed to be. Their burgers are basic, solid and delicious.

Go there and enjoy!

Greek Style Chicken on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 6, 2011

Summer is Coming. So Give your thirst a Squirt…arita!

When the weather starts getting hot, I start craving drinks that will hit the spot and cool me off. I’m a seasonal drinker. No, it doesn’t mean I only drink during certain seasons. It means for every season there are drinks that do it and those that don’t. For example, sipping a shot of Drambuie on a 95 degree summer’s day doesn’t feel right, however on 30 degree winter’s evening, it’s quite warming to the soul. So basically, I like to enjoy drinks that are in season, and the Squirtarita is a fantastic summer drink, made for easy livin.

So what the hell is a Squirtarita? Well, my wife’s uncle Jorge turned me on to it a couple of years ago, and I haven’t stopped drinking these since. They’re easier to make than Margaritas and in my opinion taste a hell of a lot better. One interesting thing about this drink is, I really haven’t had too many hangovers from it, and I’ve pretty much used Jose Cuervo Gold. So you can use a lesser quality Tequila and the risk of a hangover is still pretty low. That being said, I prefer Cazadores (The one with a deer on it), because the better the tequila the better the taste.

The Squirtarita is roughly one part Tequila to two parts Squirt. Take a margarita glass and fill it up with ice. I prefer a large Glass Chalice for my Squirtarita, because I’m a Reverend and I like it big. Add two shots of Tequila and watch it slowly melt a little bit of the ice. Then top it off with Squirt. Pop in a cute little straw, suck away and savor that cool sweetness in your mouth.

I like my Squirtarita simple and on the rocks. So I usually don’t doctor it up with salt on the rim or lime wedges. However, nothing is stopping you from doing that. It usually takes about a half a can of Squirt. So you can split a can with your significant other while taking in a nice summer afternoon relaxin, listening to Suavecito in the patio or by the pool enjoying each other’s company and Squirtaritas. Or, you can do what I do. Play dominos with the family and impersonate Sean Connery for the whole night. Either way, Salud!

Next up: mixing Cactus Cooler with Cazadores.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Elemental Pilsner - Lightning Brewery, Poway, CA

Elemental Pilsner - Lightning Brewery: This is a premium example of the classic German Pilsner. Clean, crisp and refreshing, the Elemental Pilsner is pleasantly full-bodied. Generous use of German noble hops provides this beer with a complex hop presence with a dry and slightly bitter finish. A bright white, lacey head tops off this award-winning session beer. – Description from Website

There is definitely a generous use of hops in this beer, because it is quite hoppy. If you like IPA’s you’d probably like this brew. I’m not into the whole IPA thing, so this didn’t do much for me. When I drink a Pilsner, I don’t want to think I’m drinking an IPA. So, it really depends on your taste.

While drinking it, I found myself not reaching for the glass. So it took me a while to finish. Basically, I really wanted to like it, being that it's local, but I didn’t care for it.

Friday, November 12, 2010


5650 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111, (858) 571-1550

Every once in awhile, I find myself in the Clairemont area of San Diego. On one particular evening I was a bit on the hungry side and stopped by a pizza joint by the name of Voltero’s. What attracted me to Voltero’s, was a $4.95 Slice of Pizza, with a Salad and Fountain drink deal. From looking at the outside and then going inside, it really didn’t look like anything special. I ordered that deal, and added a couple of toppings (Pepperoni and Onions) for .50 cents apiece and skipped the salad. I don’t like salads, and I love onions on my pizza. Minus the salad, the total came to 5.05 plus tax. The cashier handed me my cup and I filled it up with Orange Fanta. I then sat down and waited for my slice of pizza. When I really thought about it, that amount seemed a little steep for a slice of pizza and a drink.

“Number 15, your order is up” said the man behind the counter. I then went over to the counter to pick of my order, and was struck by how huge the slice of pizza was. It was freakin gigantic! It was easily 12 inches long. It mocked the flimsy paper plate it was on with its size.

“How the hell am I going to eat this thing?” I thought. I looked over, and saw some plastic forks and knives. I grabbed a set, took my slice of pizza, and sat down. Like I always do, I shook some red peppers and parmesan cheese over it. However, I normally don’t eat pizza with a fork and knife, but I had to with this one. I was thinking that I had to just start if off with a fork and knife then eat the rest with my hands, but before I cut into it, I had second thoughts. Why not just try to eat the whole thing with my hands? If I fail, I'll just switch to the fork and knife. So I attempted it, and considering the size of the slice, I was surprisingly successful at it.

The Pizza was freaking delicious. The crust was perfect, and the sauce, cheese, pepperoni and onions complemented each other well. It was a little greasy, but then every good pizza has to have a little grease.

After devouring this slice, two thoughts came into my head. One was, even if I did like salad, there was no way my stomach would have been able to take it all in and have room for a salad. I would have been bloated big time. Second, 5 bucks was really not a bad price at all for this slice of this pizza, two toppings and a drink. It was pretty much the size of a small pizza at a regular pizza joint.

If you are ever in the Clairemont area of San Diego near Target and Home Depot, and you are a little hungry for some pizza. Stop by Voltero’s. They’ll take care of you. On a side note, I saw some guy order a Philly Cheese steak from them. It was huge and looked really good.

Voltero's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Caribbean Flavor

11385 Poway Rd - Suite 106, San Diego, CA 92128

CLOSED - (This is too bad, because they were really good)

There is this little place in Poway called Caribbean Flavor. It’s a Venezuelan nook that like Iron Maiden, will rock your world. It’s owned by former Dodger and Padre Catcher, Carlos Hernandez. The woman who seems to run the place and is always behind the counter when I go there is very sweet and helpful. I believe she is also Carlos’s wife, but I’m not sure. I’ve never asked. Either way, she is very excited about the food they serve there, and I always find that to be a good sign.

She educated me a little on Venezuelan cuisine. Burritos, Tacos and Quesadillas are not Venezuelan, so please don’t ask them to make that for you. Even though Burritos and Quesadillas are on the menu, it would be like going to a Thai restaurant and asking for Sushi. It doesn’t make sense. Instead look over the menu and see what looks appetizing. If you are not sure, ask the woman behind the counter, because that’s what I does. She will fill you in on everything.

She recommended to me an Arepa and a Cachapa. Let’s go over the Aprepa first. From what I can tell, Arepas are pretty much hot cornbread sandwiches. I ordered the Pollo Mechado (Marinated Shredded Chicken) Aprepa. The Arepas also come with two different types of dressing, a green one and a reddish pink one. Since I like spice, I went for the reddish pink first and loved it. It had a bit of a chipotle taste to it, and it went well with the marinated shredded chicken and cornbread. The Green one was even better. I don’t know how they could top the pink one, but they did.

I’ve been back few times and ordered the Carne Machado (Marinated Shredded Beef) Aprepa and it is equally as delicious as the Chicken. It can be a little messy to eat, but it’s well worth the napkins that you’re going to use up at an affordable price of $4.00. That’s right, they are only $4.00, and they are quite filling. You can feed the whole family for about 16 bucks. I don’t know if it would be a healthy diet for the family, but who cares? It’s yummy!

The second item she recommended was the Cachapa. Cachapa is an empanada stuffed with cheese. It was quite sweet and filling and really yummy. The next time I go there, I’m really going to have to start trying out some new stuff. It’s just that when I find something I love, I can’t stop ordering it. I love those Arepas! However, if the quality of the Arepas and the Cachapa are any indication, then the other items are probably pretty damn good too.

My thoughts are that if you go there, don’t order anything that looks Mexican. Only order the stuff, which you have no idea what it is, because then you probably won’t be disappointed. However, be prepared to wait, because there food is made fresh and takes a bit to be made. An alternative route would be to go online to look at their menu and call in an order. Then you won’t have to wait as long. Even if you do wait, it’s worth it.

Caribbean Flavor on Urbanspoon