The Double Down By KFC: A Sandwich NOT!

I enjoy a good chicken sandwich as much as the next guy. In fact I generally won’t order grilled chicken at a restaurant because they’ve usually been on the grill for several hours and taste more like warmed over shoe leather than anything resembling meat.

The new Double Down by KFC though, while I have not tried it, quite frankly repulses me. The “sandwich” consists of two breaded chicken fillet patties in place of bread or a bun, filled with cheese, bacon and the Colonel’s sauce. I freely admit that I’m not much of a KFC fan to begin with. They use way too much MSG in their food so when I eat it I end up with an insatiable thirst, a headache and sometimes my hands break out in a rash.

This entry to me is not a sandwich though. Sandwiches start with bread and good sandwiches start with good bread. One of my favorite chicken sandwiches used to come from the old Wolf’s Deli in downtown Manhattan. It had a breaded chicken breast on a kaiser roll, with bacon and swiss cheese and barbecue sauce. Not too different from the entry above in terms of ingredients, but in my mind far more appetizing and attractive than that greasy monstrosity above.

[Tags: KFC, Chicken, Sandwich, Food, Restaurants]

Gelsosomo’s Pizza

Well, we’re on the road, on our way to our new home in Upstate NY. We haven’t had much of a chance to eat at independent restaurants along the way (a bit hard to find along interstates although occasionally we luck out), but tonight we did, when we stopped in Chesterton, Indiana! We ordered pizza from a place called Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria (the other two choices were Pizza Hut and Little Caesars) – and it’s delicious! We got a simple sausage pizza and although the round pizza was cut into a grid pattern instead of the classic slice formation, it’s still extremely tasty. It arrived hot, and in fact, I’m going to get another slice now and stop writing this post. Tah!
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Winey Words

We picked up a California Chardonnay (blend) the other day because I realized that we hadn’t tried one in a LONG time. So we chose one more or less at random at Trader Joes, just by reading the descriptions on the labels. (We like to live in the fast lane – LOL.) Here’s a snip of the lucious text: “Opens with the intense, signature tropical fruit and citrus aromas typical of our terroir. Flavors of pineapple, fresh peach, lemon zest, and mango are augmented by good weight and perfect acidity.” Yes, just because it’s on the label doesn’t mean it’s TRUE – we know this – at least we didn’t choose it because the logo was cool – ha! (Although it was rather nice.)

So… Well… the ACIDITY was good. But otherwise, despite our best efforts, we couldn’t make out any distinct flavors. It just tasted like a basic “Chardonnay”. No peach, or zest or this or that. Yes, it was a blend, but we’ve had blends before that were more “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” rather than a homogenous mix.

Oh, well – win some, lose some! And no, we’re not mentioning any names. 😉 We just wanted to discuss the disparity between the description and the actual taste, which we haven’t actually experienced much of until now, which is, overall, a credit to the wine industry.

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Pessagno Pinot Noir (California)

After watching the movie Sideways I decided that I had to try a Pinot Noir and see what all the fuss was about. We picked one from Pessagno Wines because it came from a local winery and they actually differentiated between the various vineyards the grapes were grown in. Ours was from the Central Avenue Vineyard, vintage 2006.

We weren’t disappointed. Now I understand why in the movie Sideways, Miles was so crazy about it. The wine was very rich with a complex taste that really challenged the tastebuds to define it. There was a subtle cherry flavor followed by a bit of pepper that left the tip of your tongue feeling slightly hot.

We had the wine with some smoked gouda and they paired very well together. At first I thought the smoky flavor of the cheese would overwhelm the wine’s flavor, but they complemented each other nicely. We’re definitely going to have to include Pinot Noirs in our regular wine rotation.

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Papa Murphy’s Cinnamon Buns

Our favorite pizza is Papa Murphy’s Take-n-Bake Chicken Garlic Pizza. It’s got their homemade white garlic sauce, white meat chicken, green onions, diced tomatoes, and lots of gooey cheese. And the last time we went to Papa Murphy’s we had a coupon for a free tray of their cinnamon buns.

They came out looking terrific, as you can see in the delicious photo above. The cream cheese frosting was a bit thin and whipped, but tasted fine. But overall, the buns were a bit doughy, and just not as tasty as we’d hoped. A might flavorless, actually – could just be a slightly old batch or could be the norm. In any case, we probably won’t be getting a tin of these next time we go back for the chicken garlic pizza, but we won’t hold it against them.
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Spanish Sausages and Nun Cookies

Some other exotic foods our previously mentioned globetrotting friend bestowed upon us involved specialties from Spain, including Spanish sausages, and breadsticks:

And these delicate square cookies made by nuns:

The sausage had a fantastic flavor and texture, the bread sticks were excellently crunchy, and the ‘nun cookies’ finished things off with a sort of fig-newtony type flair, but with a fruit that was lighter in color and taste. We ate them all like a snack, and washed them down with a bottle of fruity white wine, which complimented things well. All around it was a night of fantastic food tastery!

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Baobab Fruit Spread

A globetrotting friend of ours recently presented us with a jar of genuine baobab jam (I think it’s jam – or fruit spread – either way) from Africa (Senegal, to be specific)! It’s got a luscious taste – almost like a marmelade or honey, and we just dove into it and started eating it on crackers:

We ate half the jar in one sitting – I wonder if it’s addictive? Just kidding! I don’t think this is something you can readily get in the United States, if at all, so we were excited to be able to try something that seems to exotic.

Our friend also gave us some other exotic goodies, but you’ll have to wait for another post for those.

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Spare Ribs with Country Bob Sauce

We hit a great sale on pork spare ribs the other day and decided to do a little barbeque with Country Bob’s Sauce.

It was a success! We could have actually used MORE of the sauce as it came out a bit more subtle than anticipated, but dipping is good too.

The interesting part of this is that when I was growing up, my mother never used BBQ sauce on her pork roasts or ribs – she only rubbed it with salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder, which is delicious, but I’ve had to get more accustomed to BBQ sauce over the years. The best thing about using the Country Bobs is that it didn’t overwhelm the flavor of the pork, which is always my biggest complaint about BBQ. It complimented it nicely with a subtle sweet flavor, which always does well on pork.

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Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce

When Al Malekovic from Country Bob’s contacted us and offered us a free sample of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce, I was dubious. I had pretty much given up on commercial barbecue sauces and marinades because they all contain MSG and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup. Al assured me that the sauce had neither of these ingredients, so I agreed to give it a try. I was pleased to see that the ingredients were very basic, Tomato puree, vinegar, molasses etc… there were no ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce.

On first taste, I liked the sauce right away. It’s somewhere between a barbecue sauce and a steak sauce, and as it’s name implies it will work well for both. Of course, we decided to be more creative with our first outing, and used it as a marinade for some boneless pork chops along with a little crushed garlic. We coated the chops in flour, onion powder, salt and pepper, and naturally tossed them into a pan of hot vegetable oil.

The finished chops held the flavor of the sauce nicely. They added a bit of sweetness under the coating which really complimented the flavor of the pork chops nicely.

Not to be outdone though, the following week we were having chicken burritos. The salsa we had bought lacked zing, even though it was a medium. Kristen suggested we put some Country Bob’s on them, which gave them a whole new flavor, more Tex than Mex I guess but they tasted great!

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Joey & Eddie’s Italian Restaurant in San Francisco

Recently, I was up in San Francisco for a day of meetings with a bunch of compadres and we had the pleasure of being treated to a night out in the private upstairs dining room at a fantastic Italian restaurant called “Joey & Eddie’s”.

(Pardon the photo – I forgot to take a picture until the very end when we were getting back on the bus that was rented for us – but you get the idea.)

It was one of those amazing multi-course, choice of wines type events. We had terrific bread with butter or olive oil, fantastic salad with all kinds of greens, crab bisque (or white bean soup), spaghetti topped with a cherry tomato concoction, white fish, chicken cacciatore, and then a big finish with a fabulous chocolate and hazelnut torte with pannecota served in these fancy dishes that looked like hubcaps – LOL! I wanted to eat so much more of each course, but knew I’d regret it later, so I managed to space out my samplings.

So if you’re ever in San Francisco and have a hankering for some tasty tasty Italian, check out Joey and Eddie’s. And as an additional bonus, on the way out we walked through the front room and saw Sammy Hagar sitting there at the bar enjoying a meal – he seemed to be with a tall blond, so no one bothered him – LOL.
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