MY ACTUAL COOKING OF A STEAK

Ugh, I hate that I use “actual” like that now. I’m not an impressionable person, but I guess society has finally broken me. Liter—no. No, not yet. I can still hold on to that modicum of linguistic dignity.

My parents have recently developed the tradition of monthly overnight getaways to various California and California-adjacent points of interest, so I’m left to my own devices for dinner.

During their most recent trip, I was struck at the last minute with a craving for steak. Our closest supermarket, Haggen, is closing, so I had to drive AN ADDITIONAL THREE MINUTES to the next closest store with (hopefully) good-enough steak, Pavilion’s.

Turned out that it was way more than “good enough”!

Turned out that it was way more than “good enough”!

That there prime ribeye was just sitting in the case, so I just had to snap it up. After some quick veg prep…

Melissa’s Dutch yellow potatoes, asparagus plundered during another of my parents’ trips to the North, and a quick wine/cream pan sauce completed my plate.

Melissa’s Dutch yellow potatoes, asparagus plundered during another of my parents’ trips to the North, and a quick wine/cream pan sauce completed my plate.

…I had a great dinner! Firestone 805 to drink with it (and 2013 Firestone Merlot in the pan sauce) made this a pretty Norcal-centric plate.

OK, now back to other people’s food.

California Gogi Grill

No, not Kogi. I know, the whole voiced-unvoiced constant thing confuses me too. I’m surprised that I can keep it all straight with three languages other than English knocking about in my head.

Another long school day, another UTC lunch. My friend Andrew had the good fortune to be free in the UCI area at the same time I was, so he joined me on my now-routine lunchtime UTC walkabout. We settled on Korean fusion joint Gogi.

As if he was trying to out-white me, my friend got the KFC—KOREAN fried chicken—on french fries.

As if he was trying to out-white me, my friend got the KFC—KOREAN fried chicken—on french fries.

The bibimbap combo is a good deal! Eight bucks for a meat (pictured:  spicy chicken), rice, and 7 sides on a salad. Totally portable if necessary, and a better than expected balance of all the components, i.e., I didn’t have a bunch of salad left after eating all the sides.

Huh. Short post. Whatever. This is better suited to the modern attention span anyways.

Anthill Shtoodent Pub

Man, what a place! Beer, food, something else…

What I’m trying to say is what else does one need?

 

As you can tell from this picture, I totally had these two items together and at the same time.

 
I don’t like to say food is “better than it has to be” because there’s never really a time when food doesn’t have to be good, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of and care put into this sandwich—see my sandwich checklist. Aioli, generous bacon, lettuce, and tomato (in a color other than red!). Just a really great BALT. And bonus points for being on sourdough by default. AND special mention or more bonus points or whatever for the excellent potato chips.

This paired excellently with Pizza Port’s Chronic Amber Ale. I always like a bitter and slightly tart (or red-y, as I like to say) beer to go with a richer food.

Le Diplomate Double Album

Led Zeppelin did it, so why can’t I? Said every mediocre musician trying to obfuscate his lack of a basic foundation of talent ever.

Also, something something diplomatic solution.

Eggplant Chicken

Basically a hearty quasi-Italian casserole in a sandwich. I would say Mediterranean, but dammit words have meanings! That are routinely appropriated and bastardized and-

Ahem. Regionally specific descriptors (and regionally specific idiomatic usages of those descriptors) aside, quite a good sandwich. I was not expecting such a rich experience, but I’d never knowingly decline one—though I unknowingly request one all the time.

Eggplant’s always a hit with me (they also offer an eggplant-only sandwich), and the chicken did not overly detract from the eggplant-iness. Good sauce and a bit of tomato rounded out the flavor profile nicely. I did have a bit of a George Costanza moment when a lump of feta fell out during eating, but it quickly passed.

Bành Mìs

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BBQ pork and special with pâté.

Really good! Well balanced, good bread, all that. These are the only bành mì within walking distance of UCI, so I was very glad that they were good.

Good coffee, too.

Studio Session Dinner at El Toro

Santa Ana is one of the more metal places in OC—infinitesimally more so because my band practices and records there—so I’m always glad to have an excuse to hang around.

A Monday night studio session is an excellent occasion to make a quick detour to El Toro Carniceria for yet another lengua burrito and medium tamarindo. This is pretty much the ideal studio fuel (lasted me the whole 6 hours!). Of course, this is also pretty high on my general list of ideal things.

The post won’t count if I don’t put a picture of the food.

Sometimes, I consider skipping salsa to enjoy the wonderfully savory thing, but salsa’s really the thing to do.

After devouring the above, I took the Suburban full of drums around the corner to the studio. An hour and a half later, I was tuned and miced up:

I call her/them/zem/pronoun…”my drums.”

Here’s a rundown of my rig.

Recorded with a nice selection of industry workhorses:  SM57 on the snare, MD-421 IIs, Beta 52A, a nice AKG condenser on the hats, and my AKG D112 in the kick for attack.

Check out what we got!

Mendocino Farms

I used to be one of those people who distrusted people who were (what I considered) overly nice to me. It’s a good thing I grew out of that, because this place has stellar customer service.

Now, for those of you that don’t already know me well, sandwich assembly is one of the few things I get snobby and elitist about. But, it’s not coming from my ego. It’s because I grew up on my mom’s expertly assembled sandwiches, with even distribution to all edges and structural integrity (a favorite term of hers). And of course they are delicious. 

Kurobota Pork Belly Bành Mì

“So what are you doing for lunch today?” “I’m just brown baggin it. With this here $12 sandwich.”


This sandwich was, as you can see, well assembled. That surprised me given how fast it came out after ordering. The overall flavor profile is basically that of a Westernized bành mì, perhaps due to a lighter pickling on the vegetables, but therich and not overly hoisin-y pork belly itself was excellent. The ciabatta proved to be a worthy vehicle for the filling, as well as a neat window into an alternate Italian Indochina history.

A solid 10/10.

As good as this sandwich was, it didn’t really do anything for the curious squirrel. 

 

Mick’s Karma Bar

I was craving a non-In n Out burger, so I had to drive a bit. Still going to file this under “UCI eatin,” though, because this is my blog and even if every single one of my readers got angry about that, I’d only have to deal with 3 angry people.

Mick’s holds the distinction of being the only place where I’ll order something that has basil in it… 

…and that something is their strawberry basil lemonade. I suppose it’s the basil-transmogrifying power of all the fruit that makes this work for me.

The regular Karma Burger with egg and avocado added.

 
An excellent burger! Met all the major requirements right off the bat—balance, juicyness, etc.—and proceeded to exceed them. If you’re one of those people who don’t trust signs, it is readily apparent upon eating that the party is hand formed. The Karma sauce brings the beloved mayonnaise/ketchup/mustard profile, as well as a subtle spice. The added egg was perfectly cooked, even. Completely liquid yolk yet completely cooked white.