Thursday, May 28, 2009

Noise vs. Cool

With the move now complete (just waiting on the return of my security deposit from the distant outpost of Camarillo) I can start re-exploring my old / new neighborhood and pay more attention to this here little corner of the interwebs.

My new apartment is very close to work (8-9 miles, depending on which route I take) but is also very close to LAX and its related noise; witness the view from my balcony in this video clip:

But this morning, I turned on one of the local news shows and they were doing a live remote from LAX as President Obama was getting on Air Force One to leave; he was in town for a big fund raiser yesterday. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "I wonder if I could see the plane." Sure enough, I opened up my sliding balcony door and saw the big 747 taxi down the runway, turn around, and take off. Not having my good camera handy, I managed to grab a quick picture with my cell phone - not great, but enough to see the distinctive blue and white paint scheme.

I've been to enough air shows and museums to see my fair share of cool aircraft - seeing a B-2 stealth bomber come growling out of the fog at the Joint Services Open House at Andrews Air Force Base in D.C. is my favorite, along with clambering about the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian's preservation and restoration facility before it went on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center. But seeing Air Force One in person and knowing the president was aboard ranks pretty high on the cool quotient for a random Thursday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mini Sirloin Burgers

The Dodgers are running an in-stadium promotion that if they win by three runs or more, at the end of the game, every fan gets a coupon for an order of Jack in the Box's new Mini Sirloin Burgers. Last night I decided to make a rare venture into a non-In-N-Out fast food joint, use one of the coupons, and have a cheap meal.

Oh boy.

First off, an order of three Mini Sirloin Burgers costs $4.09, plus tax. So not worth it. More on the burgers in a bit. Second, a SMALL fountain soda is 20 ounces. 20 ounces! No wonder America is overweight . . .

And now the burgers . . . in a word: blech. As my friend Mark correctly predicted when we got the coupons at Dodger Stadium, the burgers are quite dry, both the meat itself, and put together. They're thin on toppings, with a small splotch of ketchup, a sprinkling of chopped raw onions, and processed American cheese food. Oh, and the grilled buns were slightly overcooked along the edges.

But the flavor of the meat was what really struck me as odd. They had a very strong "beef" flavor, like bullion or the beef flavor packet in ramen noodles. It didn't taste like normal hamburgers do, but just . . . strange.

Like I said to the Cupcake Queen earlier today, if I'm going to waste calories on fast food, I'm going to do it at In-N-Out or someplace that has a little bit of quality . . . 'cause it sure ain't at Jack in the Box.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dodger Dogs

It's already a month into the season, and I was able to make it to Dodger Stadium for the first time this year. It was a gorgeous day, the Dodgers won, and I finally can write about ballpark food.

I need to preface this by saying Dodger Stadium is where I learned to watch baseball - it's the home of all of my childhood memories of watching the game in person. With that said, it's certainly not the same place of my youth. My meal was old-school: a couple of Dodger Dogs and a Coke. I certainly can't justify spending $8 on a tepid domestic draft beer, and $5 for a dog and $4 for a soda certainly smacks of highway robbery to me. My friend Mark (who along with his wife Chris - parents of the loverly JS - hosted my ballpark excursion) likened the concession prices to those of a movie theater: outrageous, but we pay 'em anyways.

But back to the food. Dodger Dogs have been made by Farmer John for as long as I can remember, and maybe my tastes have changed, maybe the dogs themselves have changed, but . . . blech. Mushy, no flavor, and barely warm were not how I remember Dodger Dogs. Granted, a 12-year old's palate is a bit less . . . refined, but still. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

Dodger Stadium has certainly expanded its repertoire of food choices in recent years, but I'm on a stricter budget now (thanks pay cut!) and don't feel the need to spend exorbitant amounts of money for glorified munch food, especially when Dodger Stadium allows you to bring your own food in. Which, if we hadn't been pressed for time, we would have done yesterday. Can we say $5 Footlongs?

Anyway, it was a great game, on a picture perfect day, with wonderful friends.

And really, isn't that the point?