Fish Taco Sauce for My Spoon U Article

Hello Spoon U readers! I couldn’t find a recipe that was quite to my liking, so I thought I’d finally codify the one I use from memory. Enjoy!

Yields about three quarters of a cup.

Half cup mayonnaise

Quarter cup crema. Alternatives include sour cream, yogurt, 3 tablespoons buttermilk, or 1 teaspoon white vinegar if you’re really hard up.

Juice of half a lime. Hold back on this a bit if you’re using buttermilk, and skip entirely if you’re using vinegar.

  1. Start with this, thoroughly whisk together, and adjust for taste and consistency. I prefer a sauce that’s just barely pourable.
  2. Also, instead of simply dispensing this atop your taco, try tossing the shredded cabbage in this. This ensures that every bite has a taste of every part of the taco.

Response to Criticism of Ina Garten’s Upcoming Book

Someone beat me to the punch on this, but I was quite proud of what I came up with in a late night writing flurry, so here it is.

A perspective from an aspiring male domestic goddess (god?).

You may want to read the article that provoked this article, so here that is.

Or, if tl;dr:  the title of Ina Garten’s upcoming book was not unanimously liked.

A bit of (hopefully) relevant background on me:  Son of a punk (mom) and a hippie (dad). Mom’s the best damn cook this side (and that side) of the Mississippi. People always think we’re super uptight Born Again types, but we’re only all too counterculture-y.

That article took something beautiful – a person cooking the best possible food for the person they love – and fucking ruined it with its uninformed, half-baked pseudo-neo-Feminist attempted takedown of Ina. Ina, it should be noted, is easily one of the most influential players, female or otherwise, in today’s food scene at large. And BEFORE she was even in food, she led an incredible life:  pilot, self-taught cook, MBA from GWU, nuclear budget analyst under Presidents Ford and Carter, hosted weekly dinner parties, house flipper, business owner…at which point she finally got around to mentorships under Eli Zabar and Martha Stewart and putting out TV shows and books.

So yes, let’s have some college student tell us, not to mention her, how she’s failing to keep up the side by dedicating the latest of multiple cookbooks to her loving and supportive husband of 48 years.

I personally plan to do pretty much all the cooking in whatever serious relationship I find myself in eventually because I fucking love cooking (and maybe I have a bit of an ego about it). And hey, guess why Ina does all the cooking in her relationship! Because she likes to! She started teaching herself in the late 60s, for god’s sake.

In today’s world, a variety of phenomena collide when discussing who should do household duties. As societal roles become less regimented, so too do those household duties. In same-sex partnerships, the very phrase “gender roles” is, if such a thing is possible, even more meaningless than in a heterosexual partnership. Anyone in any relationship can be the cook, cleaner, nanny, gardener, handyman, etc., as long as they have the drive and the know-how. At least, that’s what we’re working towards, right?

I ask the following of the author of the offending article:  would you have Ina turn away from an endeavor that is not only her passion, but her business, simply because of a silly thing like traditional gender roles? Or, if that was too blunt, would you have her not title her book as it is, even though it is nothing but adorable and admirable to cook for one’s partner?

Cooking is a beautiful thing, and it is made even more so when it is shared. What better way to show love – platonic, romantic, whatever – than to transform ingredients and make something wonderful with your own two hands?

If this book had been written by a man and dedicated to that man’s wife, the entire fucking internet would collectively swoon. It’s sick that this book drew the ire of the very people who claim to want to help women. Now, I’m more than smart enough not to dig myself into the hole of mansplaining Feminism, but I know I can safely ask this:  how stupid up is it when a group – any group – attacks one of their own who is talking their talk and walking their walk?! A major American political party comes to mind, and it’s not the Democrats.

Super stupid, is the answer to that.

But really, the upshot of all this is just do what you want and love, for whomever you want and love.

And, if you have the will and the way, cook. Cook for your loved ones and friends. Food is beautiful. Don’t let society’s temporary problems soil it.

Update – Spoon U

Man. Busy busy.

Oddly enough, I joined a student organization at UCI. I mean, it’s a food writing organization, so it’s not all that odd.

The organization is UCI’s chapter of Spoon University, a food site by/for college students.

Not your old man’s food site, eh?

So most of what little energy I can spare for things other than school and drumming is devoted to that. I’ll be using this blog to post things that don’t fit with Spoon U.

Which is a good amount of what I come up with.

Mendocino Farms DOUBLE AGAIN

Ugh. Of course my favorite place in UTC is one of the most expensive ones. But, MF is more than worth it. And it’s even more appealing now that I know they have fantastic house-made lemonade!

So this’ll be just a quick one-two punch deal:

“The 8 Hour” Pulled Pork  

The word that came to mind was “righteous.” Haven’t a clue why. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word in conversation, and if I have, it would have been in the sense of “righteous indignation” or something like that. This pulled pork was basically like homemade, in terms of seasoning and fat level. Great balance between the richness of the meat and the bite/tang of the sauce. The requisite slaw imparted the requisite vinegar and vegetable flavors, and the bread was excellent.

Note:  I treated myself to extra meat ($1), but only because I really love pulled pork. I’m sure it would be just about as good without that.

Short Rib Sunday Supper Trencher 

Braised short ribs with Sunday Sauce (red wine-tomato gravy, braised kale, and mirepoix), Mendo’s krispies, and local horseradish ricotta crema on a panini-pressed soft roll.


Could it be?! Is it possible that the trencher is coming back?

I mean, it’s only a name here, but still. I’ve loved trenchers ever since I learned about them in high school AP Euro (and asked my mom to replicate them at home).

The Sunday Sauce was adamantly winey, perhaps augmented by the tomatoes, and combined with the horseradish crema, provided just enough of a balance against the richness of the braise overall.

And such a generous hit of short rib! This isn’t even with extra meat.

Mendocino Farms again

I forgot my lunch, which was a sandwich, at home, so I came here because I’m never in a good mood if I’m promised a sandwich and end up having to eat something else.


Beef BLT. The tomato is roasted! That worked really well with the earthiness of the beef.

Another winner! A nice, meaty sandwich with robust, but still balanced, bread. I added blue cheese crumbles, which are an extra ¢50, and while I could imagine this sandwich still being great without that, but why would anyone purposely deprive themselves like that? This is America, man!
Unfortunately, I ate it in the place, so UCI’s Sociology department (do I even have a sufficient readership to justify a flogged joke?) will have to wait until next time for their next set of data or whatever.

Porto’s Gig Night Dinner

Ah, Downey. One can go from a nice little downtown to a run down strip mall dive bar with a drunk guy looking for a fight in just a couple of minutes! Yup, that’s the life of a foodist/metal drummer. (Disclaimer:  I wasn’t involved in the fight. I was busy unloading my gear. Yup, that’s the life of a drummer.)

Gigging with my band has led to various mini road trips since last November. Downey, Grand Terrace, the still-ungentrified part of 7th Street in Long Beach—I would never have set foot in these places were it not for being in my band.

But, as any foodist knows, most every area holds at least one cool place to eat. Downey has Cuban bakery and restaurant Porto’s, which has additional locations in Glendale, Burbank, and soon West Covina, if the helpful man that was in line with us can be believed. I know next to nothing about Cuban food, so I jumped at this opportunity. It was only a few blocks from the venue!

The only thing that really surprised me was the prices. So cheap! Prepared pastries and such starting at 98 CENTS and sandwiches for only $5-6! I fed myself and brought my parents a couple bites to try for $15 and change.

Cubano sandwich, Potato Balls™, empanadas, rellenitos, and a Mamey smoothie. Pictures taken outside a dive bar can only be so good, so don't start with me.

Cubano sandwich, Potato Balls™, empanadas, rellenitos, and a Mamey smoothie. Pictures taken outside a dive bar can only be so good, so don’t start with me.

Excellent sandwich—something something checklist—and great pastry bites. Potato Balls™, seasoned ground beef wrapped in mashed potato and fried, and are actually printed with the ™ on the menu, are one of those things that can’t help but be good. The same goes for the empanadas as well. The rellenitos are fried plantains stuffed with black bean paste and coated with sugar, yielding a flavor profile not dissimilar to an an pan. The Mamey smoothie was a nice cold, tropical accompaniment.

This was our second time playing this venue, so I hope to come back soon with a larger cooler!

Kochee Kabob House

No Irvine restaurant cluster would be complete without a place that at least pays homage to some form of Middle Eastern cuisine. This place is more than an homage, though, which is, of course, all the better.

The format is simple—kabob/rice/salad, or a gyro—but the components are all great. Both my visits yielded nicely cooked, juicy kabobs (help I can’t stop reading kabob in Nicolai Jakov’s voice).

Beef koobideh, chicken breast kabob, buttery rice, a pleasantly vinegary salad, and a touch of yogurt sauce made a really nice lunch.

Beef koobideh, chicken breast kabob, buttery rice, a pleasantly vinegary salad, and a touch of yogurt sauce made a really nice lunch.

Prices range from $7 to $14. The thing I got was $12, which, with a bottle of water, made my change come out to $6.66. “Lucky number,” the proprietor commented. Didn’t help much in that night’s round of the trivia tournament at Anthill, but maybe I would have got run into by some bro on a power board or something if I hadn’t got that exact meal.