Thursday, April 23, 2009

Caldron of Beef

Even this die-hard Mexican food fan can grow a little tired of masa and beans. Such had happened over the past few months; the luster of tacos and even tortas had begun to tarnish in my mind. But, for whatever reason, I decided to hit up my secretish spot in Waukegan for lunch today.

I could not have made a better decision. In fact, I think this rates as one of the best choices in my life, although I pretty much always feel that way when I go to this place. I decided to get something different, rather than the usual gordita or taco, and let the home-style cooking of the little taqueria shine through. That made all the difference.

I ordered caldo de res, which for those not in the know is beef stew. Man, alive, it was good. Imagine a huge bowl brimming with spicy green beef broth, two huge chunks of braised beef with fat on, green beans, potatoes, and Mexican summer squash, served with fresh masa tortillas and lime wedges. From the first bite, two things were immediately apparent: this was going to be the best meal I'd had in a long time, and I would die if I ate all of it. In the end, I left a few bites of beef, some green beans and broth, and a single tortilla.

I may still die.

On a side note, I flipped on the Cubs game as I drove back to work. Now, much has been said about the decline in advertising revenue and the desperate measures to which newspapers and television are going (like going out of business). But I don't think it had really sunk in until about twenty minutes ago. The last commercial break before the game started began with one of those old school used car dealership commercials, complete with echo effects and an over-the-top reader.

I know these commercials never really went away, since I'd hear them occasionally on 670 or 890 on non-prime times, and they are alive and well in all their glory on the Spanish stations, but the pre-game WGN broadcast for a day game starting during the construction workday can probably be described as the primest of prime advertising spots, up there with the morning commute hours. For WGN to accept such a trashy commercial strikes me as a big deal. But maybe I'm reading too much into this.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meat Musing

I've never been a big fan of the rather bland succulence of pork.

For me, beef, lamb or venison are infinitely "superior" meats, regardless of what the Euro-centric foodie culture prevalent in America claims.

French cookery relies on the pig because their beef is horrible! American grass-fed beef, whether from the western Great Plains or from the eastern Gaucho, may be less useful as a tool in the kitchen, but it is ten times more interesting as an ingredient.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ice Girls

I've now been to three Hawks games, with a fourth coming up in about a week, and I can say with no uncertainty in my opinion that Ice Girls are a stupid attempt to bring cheerleaders into a sports setting which has no tradition of cheerleaders.

Are hockey fans so desperate to see attractive women during an hour-long game that they needed to invent a reason for bikini-clad skaters to appear?