On Local Cubans

Marc (@Sorryless) loves Cuban sandwiches so much, he’s on infinite quest to find his favorite Cuban. As part of his mission, he is willing to travel miles and miles – and even posts about his ventures.

Whether I suggested or it, he was interested in my thoughts about his beloved sandwich in my area, I decided to jump into the fray. Locating nearby establishments was easy – so was trying them – but getting around to writing a post about them was difficult.  With all due respect to Marc, I had to do something!

I present the candidates.

Sharonville Depot Deli

Grilled Cuban – Ham & smoked grilled pork with bread and butter pickles, Muenster cheese, and Dijon mustard on Ciabatta

Lyle’s Trailside

Lyle’s BBQ Cuban – Pulled pork topped with shaved ham, melted provolone, mustard and pickles

Oasis Golf & Conference Center

Cuban Panini – Shaved ham and sliced pork loin with  brown mustard, pickles & pepper jack  cheese. Served in a grilled panini

 

Final Word

Each of the Cubans have positives and negatives, so it comes down to personal preferences

  • The most-fresh tasting – Depot Deli
  • The most hearty – Oasis
  • Most BBQ tasting – Lyle’s Trailside
  • Best presentation – Depot Deli
  • Best accompanying side – Lyle’s Trailside
  • Most surprising – Oasis
  • If I had to pick just one – Depot Deli

For me, given the range of flavors in a Cuban, it’s about balance. One has to be able to taste all the flavors without one particular flavor being too dominant.

On a Beach Walk: #62 (Food)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Looking across the water is a reminder that life lives below surface. A large variety of fish, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, and more. Of course the listed ones are commonly available food for us to eat. So I wonder, “What’s for dinner?”

Is an ongoing question for you? We ask it, but also laugh about this seemingly eternal question. Although our time at the beach is away from the normal routine of home, “What’s for dinner?” ever looms in our midst. So, why not, I’ll think about food today.

All of us have a variety of likes and dislikes. Some of us are risk takers when it comes to trying different foods, others have a limited menu of preferences. So food: What is it? Why do we need it? When it comes to food, what do living things have in common with each other?

Food – that basic need for all life forms. All the organisms of the sea and the beach need food for the same reasons as people – for nourishment – for the nutrients that either provide energy, act as a building block, or assists in a process. Yes – that’s what carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals are all about.

Food – think of all the cookbooks available – let alone online resources of recipes – all forming a collective of bountiful offerings of culinary delights. Yet, most people limit themselves to a rotation of less than 20 recipes.

Food – Think of the times of our settlers when most ingredients were grown in their own gardens or by other locals. The farmer’s markets of today carry on the tradition of locally grown products, which also seems to carry a greater importance outside North America.

I think of today’s large grocery stores – endless aisles of canned and packaged products that are complete with preservatives, fat, sodium , sugar, and more. Therefore, much of today’s cooking is an act of combining various boxes and cans into a final product.

On the other hand, the food industry today provides fresh fruits and vegetables from throughout the world – a luxury less available during my youth – oranges from South Africa – grapes from Chile – after all, bananas are not grown everywhere.

I think of a time when families ate an evening meal together – and even a more grand meal on Sunday afternoon – whereas today our lives are more on-the-run causing us to yield our food preferences to frozen and packaged products or a wide variety of fast-food establishments.

Today’s life offers many restaurants of a variety of styles and prices without a messy kitchen – well, at least not ours. I find it interesting how cuisines differ not only from country to country, but also from region to region within a country. The fried plate of everything and anything is more common in the US South and the US North. The dishes of northern Italy are different from those of the south.

I think of the abundance of natural food in nature – the corn with its husk but without a label because corn is corn. Let us not forget that corn is a plant – a living thing that also needs food just like we do and for the same reasons. Green plants make their own food by photosynthesis because they can’t catch it or kill it. Animals hunt for food because (and unlike the green plants) they can’t make their own. Whether an organism catches food or makes its own, food’s end result is the same.

Light from the sun is the initial energy source driving photosynthesis, but there are also organisms living in the darkness of the deep sea that can make their own food without the presence of light – but they use the sulfur gases venting into the water from Earth’s core as the energy driving their food production process. Nature’s design is so grand.

It seems food is more complex than many realize, but thinking about food makes me hungry. Besides, it’s lunchtime.  But for now , I continue moving toward the condo because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Buying Food

The story below is true – a story that an English Second Language student wrote and I helped edit. The story touched me enough to want to tell others. The words below are a blend of mine and his because I continued working on this story with hopes of posting it here with the original author’s permission.

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The Real Truth about Buying Food in Venezuela

Today is Friday – the day that I can buy food. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – today – Friday.

The government uses the last number of our National ID to set the day of the week citizens can buy food. My number is 27654328, so Fridays are my day, and today is Friday. I requested and received a day off from work for this day – the day I’m able to buy food.

It’s 3 AM. Time to get up to find the shortest line. Yes, some people will arrive earlier than me. Others will spend the night in line. I must be careful because a short line could mean that nobody knows if the store will have any food to sell. I don’t want to take that chance.

I’m going early because the lines will be longer after 5:30 AM, the time the public buses start operating. Some people arrive very early because they own a car. I’m lucky to ride with a friend.

It’s 4 AM. I get in a line at a store that I think will sell food. I count the people and determine I’m 225th in line. There is another line with about the same number of people who are pregnant, disabled, or older than 60 – but that’s not me. This store won’t open until 9 AM

It’s 6 AM. The trucks with foods begin to arrive. I feel lucky and grateful, but realize the grocery store may be empty. I know two other grocery stores are 6 blocks from where I now stand. I wonder if I can get a position in another line? I better walk to them to see.

Success! I’m going to walk back and forth to try to maintain my place in line for both stores.

It’s 7 AM. The second store will open in 30 minutes. Oh no, I’m wasting my time because they have no food.

I immediately return to my first line. I count the food packs from each truck, and then recount my position in line. Yes, there is enough food for 700 people and I’m 225. Even with the second line for special needs, I’m in a good place.

It’s 9 AM. The store opens. Security controls the line by letting 20 people into the store. Soon, people start organizing in groups of 20 with one person collecting all the identification cards in the group. Time passes as I wait my turn with my group, but I still think we’re fine.

It’s 12 noon. Just one group is ahead of mine, so I remain hopeful. Then I hear, “The food purchase is over. There is enough left for 10 people.” I’m stunned.

I don’t know what happened because I counted the food packs and the people. I suspect the store employees and security guards got the first chance to buy food. Some of the food was probably taken for the black market. My 8 hours in line today was a waste of time. I took a day off from work with hopes of buying food.

A lot of things came to my mind with many emotions. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or yell!

How can I survive? Should I not waste my time? Should I eat more often in restaurants? Should I spend money to find food on the Black Market? As I walk away from the grocery store, I thank God because I am luckier than many others, and returned to my house for some rest.

It’s 4 PM. I awaken, but hungry. I am calm because my salary of $30 a month is much better than the minimum wage of $10 a month minimum wage.I can eat 3 times a day at a restaurant where the average meal costs $1.50.

I organize my money I have so I can eat until next Friday – the day I might be able to buy again. Maybe I’ll go earlier next week.

This is my story from 2016. I’m no longer a computer systems analyst in Venezuela. I received a tourist visa to come to the United States, a place where I wash dishes. I am happy here in the United states, but I want others to know that this is still happening to Venezuelans today.

On a Burger Trail

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It was about 2003 as I was working on a long-term project for an upstart company. A retired friend and I would talk about him coming down to my work area for lunch. Our target was a nearby establishment having a local reputation for good hamburgers.

He came, we went, had a good time, and even discussed the burger. He returned a month later, but we went to a different place for a burger – discussed and compared. Another time, a third place, a third burger, and then ranking the three. Little did we know about the road ahead.

My project ended, but we continued trying different places – especially ones with a positive reputation or recommendations. I’m not sure of the timeline, but a third friend joined us after he unexpectedly lost his job; thus more comparisons, rankings, and notes.

In July 2005 I decided to start a blog to post reviews of our ventures. I hustled to get local readers by commenting at various local blogs and bulletin boards … then a major (and unexpected) break … a high-profile writer at the Cincinnati Enquirer contact me, and he wanted to have lunch with us. With a photographer and his notepad, we met at the place of our choosing.

I was in Abilene, Texas the day the Enquirer published. Emails were flying into our mailbox, but I didn’t respond because the link to the article was malfunctioning. I did my morning presentation in Abilene, and I was anxious during my flight to Cincinnati. I returned home to discover a call from a local radio station whose powerful signal reaches most of the country, let alone a feature article in the paper’s Life section that extended to an inside page, and many comments on the blog. Yep – the next night we were on the radio for about an hour.

Receiving burger recommendations was one of the benefits from the publicity … thus the reviews chronicling of the adventures of Bucky, Freddie, and Wolfie continued. Eventually, we were also featured in the Enquirer’s weekly entertainment paper – CinWeekly. A local food personality also invited us to her radio show. An upstart podcast company also did a 30-minute interview.

Our journey continued for a few more years. Jobs, projects, or health issues caused us to fade away. Nonetheless, a touch of pride still remains for being one of the Cincinnati Burger Guys … so, Happy Hamburger Week.

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From the top down: Freddie, Bucky, and Wolfie

 

Meals: The Musical – Act 3: Sides

The Story
Meals: The Musical is an original aFa production is about an important aspect of daily life – eating.

Whether it is snack, something on the run, a glorious sit-down feast, or something in between and regardless of the time of day, food is a life necessity. There are three aspects to a truly fantastic meal: the food, the occasion, and the company. We know Meals: The Musical is a festive occasion where friends to gather to share wonderful music – thus the acts will focus on what the dining friends will encounter.

MealsPlaybillProgram (Past Posts)

Act 3: Side Dishes
Meals have side dishes to accompany the main course by providing balance and variety to the meal. Sides could be vegetables (including tomatoes and beans), grains & their products, pastas, soups and others. So, there are numerous appropriate words that must be included in your song title.

Producer’s Note of Caution: This act has flexibility, but fruits, meats, desserts, beverages, or ingredients as herbs, spices, flavoring, and any other item stretching the producer’s broad boundaries.

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
Ladies and gentleman, this is a vintage song for me because I remember it will when I owned the vinyl album with this song back in the day. Their hits were big and numerous – Cherish, Windy, Along Comes Mary, Never My Love, The Time It Is Today, Everything That Touches You, No Fair at All, Time For Livin’, and more – but on this day, we proudly welcome The Association singing Broccoli.

Flashbacks: On Food and Recipes

Whether eating in a restaurant, a special dinner at home, getting that special treat, or time in the kitchen, we enjoy many aspects of a meal. Here are some selections for my archival vault that may capture your interest. Enjoy, visit as many as you wish, and hopefully you will comment on the post you visited. Are you going to make any of these?

On Hot Sauces

Original Source Unknown

Original Source Unknown

A local grocery offers many oddities for shoppers. It’s a large store with many imports and hard-to-find items. I’m not one who enjoys serious heat with my food, but a trip to the hot sauce display is a source of cheap entertainment and a test for my content organizing skills.

Some name sauces after people as Crazy Jerry, Mountain Man, Captain Redbeard, Papa Jack, Melinda, Susie, and Dave.

Some sauces seek emotions for their names as Fear, Envy, Measure & Pain, Tropical Tears, Pain is Good, and Squeal Like a Pig.

Some sauces seek names from the dark side as Beyond Death, Sweet Death, The Ghost, Ghost Deadly, Red Ghost, After Life, Tortured Soul, Devil’s Lightning, The Reaper, Reaper Sling Blade, Liquid Lucifer, Pure Passion, Hot Sauce from Hell, Hell’s Passion, and Hell Sauce.

Some sauces seek fiery names as Fatal Fire, Ring of Fire, Jamaican Hell Fire, Hell’s Inferno, Mad Dog Inferno, Pyromania, See Jane on Fire, and Hot as Shit Hot Sauce.

Some sauces seek backside names as Ass Kickin’, Megasoreass, Asbirin, Ass in Space, Ass in Hell, Ass in Tub, Ass in Antarctica, JackAss, LazyAss, Hog’s Ass, Buttpucker, Butt Twister, and Brand New Asshole.

Some sauces seek names with results as Fiery Fart, Flamin’ Flatulence, Sir Fartalot, Queen of Farts, Old Fart, Red Rectum, Rectal Rocket Fuel, Rectal Ripper, Colon Blow, Holy Shit, and Screaming Sphincter.

Some sauces seek other sources for their names as Liquid Stooped, Hot Buns on the Beach, Pecker Power, Angry Cock, Peppers Hurt So Good, Sergeant Peppers, Bite Me, Crazy Mother Pucker’s, Sauce Bitch, and my favorite – Smack My Sweet Ass and Call Me Sally.

Which of these is your favorite? Viveka, did you find any potential remedies?