Monday, February 17, 2014

Fish Tacos

And now, fish tacos.

I'm currently on a fish taco kick. Actually, it's more of an obsession. I really love fish tacos. All of the elements are so fresh: Lightly grilled white fish. Red leafy cabbage. Creamy sauce. Yep, they rock. I would take a balanced fish taco over a stand-alone piece of baked cod any day. Plus, quality fish tacos can be found everywhere: From a food truck to a five-star restaurant. They whisper a whimsical rhyme, “I'm delicious, I'm nutritious, and some might even call me pretentious.”

A fish taco isn't meant to be intimidating. It is meant to be embraced by the masses. It's sort of like Jennifer Lawrence. (I can only assume she is the kind of person who could drink Coors Light by the pool with you and your friends, and attend the Primetime Emmy's the same night.) A classless delicacy re: the tacos, not J-Lawrence.

I'm not completely sure I can pinpoint when my obsession with fish tacos began. I think it was about a year ago, in Houston, and had to do with Lent. But, to spare you guys the long back story, I'll summarize the memorable parts.

So here you go: A brown-eyed girl (ME!) walks into a restaurant called Canyon Cafe for lunch, wearing stone-washed shorts, a loose cotton-shirt, black pleather strappy sandals, and over-sized Marc Jacobs sunglasses, inspired by most female Houstonians during spring.

I was hungry, obvi. A young hostess led me to a table on the perimeter of the patio. Sunlight filtered on my face, promising yet another, scorching day in H-town. I scanned the menu, looking for a Friday friendly Catholic dish. After a quick internal debate, I decided on the grilled fish tacos, but passed on a“Limit-2” Margarita. (After an hour, I would have had no recollection of the fish taco taste if I would have ordered the drink. Hashtag, lightweight.)

The waitress wrote down my order, took the menu, and placed a basket of tortilla chips in the center of the table. As she walked away, I dipped a spice-coated chip in red salsa and twisted uncomfortably in my chair. The hunger had me antsy. I grasped my water and took several sips, flipping through my Twitter feed. Ten minutes later, the waitress put a hot plate of tacos, beans, and rice on my table.

She eyed me, amused, “Was there anything else you needed?”
I felt like she was judging me for my inability to sit still, but I smiled cheerfully, “No, thanks.”

The tacos were sickeningly amazing. The fish was perfectly cooked and the corn tortillas were warm. They had a magical taste; they were healthy with the indulgent flavor of a delectable carbohydrate. I knew this was the beginning of our soul-baring friendship.

Ever since that lunch, I've been acquiring “favorite” fish taco places like Americans acquire diabetes. I'm on a mission to find the best fish taco, like ever! The crème-de-la-crème of tacos de pescado. The Lucy meets Ricky pairing of Mexican cuisine.

Operation: Find the holy zeitgeist of fish tacos. Accepted. 

Current Rankings Thus Far
I am accepting, any and all, suggestions

Best Fish Tacos: (Worth It.) 
1.Canyon Cafe: Houston, Texas 
2.Gloria's Restaurant: Dallas, Texas 
3.Mi Cocina: Dallas, Texas 
4.Berryhill Baja Grill: Houston, Texas 
5.Irma's: Houston, Texas

Decent Fish Tacos: (But Not Really Worth It) 
1.Escalante's: Houston, Texas 
2.Manny's Uptown: Dallas, Texas 
3.Cafe Herrera: Dallas, Texas 
4.The Taco Joint: Dallas, Texas 
5.Urban Taco: Dallas, Texas

P.S. I do have my own recipe for homemade tacos. It involves Schwan's frozen fish, Mission Soft and Fluffy Tortillas, pre-chopped ingredients and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. Just put the seasoning on the frozen white fish and place in a convection oven for 30 or so min. I'm very proud of my fish taco recipe. I should be on Food Network.


My birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Send Diet Dr. Pepper and Hot Tamales.

Ari is heartwrenchingly adorable.

If they aren't laughing, it doesn't mean they aren't thinking. BECAUSE THEY ARE!

 I love smiling. :)

Disclaimer: The first photo is from Berryhill Baja Grill. The second is from Gloria's restaurant.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Diet Soda Battle

(Here's the deal: I really like diet soda. Which is sort of ironic because I don't particularly enjoy any diet food. But, in the world of carbonated beverages, I prefer aspartame over full-on, viscous-quantifying sugar.)

I went to CVS late last night, in search of some new hair plumping products. This is the type of thing I do after I see someone with great hair. In this case, Sophia Bush on Chicago PD. I sent a text to my friend Natalie, who has hair that rivals that of Officer Erin Lindsay, and she recommended a mousse and root booster. But, the brands she suggested are only available at Ulta and Sephora.

So, after unsuccessfully searching the haircare aisle, I decided to get a soda and milk chocolate M&M's before returning home. I walked over to the refrigerated lockers and nonchalantly perused the partitioned-off units for my diet drink of choice.

After a few seconds, I involuntarily grabbed a Diet Dr. Pepper. Then I paused. I started thinking. What is it about Diet Dr. Pepper that had me drawn to it? Usually, I am Mystique by palate and prefer variety and change. I look for things that appeal to my metamorphism of taste. So, why do I always go with Diet DP?

I was living the exact opposite of the Michele Mackay lesson in D2, I wasn't changing it up. (I can't go back on a mantra like that.) Therefore, in an attempt to justify my choice, I decided to buy two other soda brands and compare. I had to figure it out. Was my staple purchase of Diet Dr. Pepper actually satisfying my cola fix or was I merely comforted by Dr. Pepper's familiarity?

I placed a 16 oz of Diet DP, Diet Coke, and Diet Pepsi into my handheld shopping basket. I was now on a mission. I straightened my grip on the shopping tote and made my way to the center of the store.


Yep, I still want candy, I thought to myself, as I pivoted toward the seasonal Valentine's Day section.

I turned down the pink and red colored aisle. There were no hot guys shopping for their significant others, so my single relationship status wasn't bruised. I only spotted a frail, older woman whose dainty arms were propped against her red shopping cart. She smiled a peach-pie grin as I squeezed gingerly between the shelf and her buggy. I plopped a rosy bag of Valentine's Day M&M's on top of the chilled soda bottles and headed to the register. Candy fix satisfied. Back to my mission. 

Diet Dr. Pepper vs Diet Coke vs Diet Pepsi 
"Allez cuisine!"

When it comes to the packaging, I pick Pepsi. The bottle is more sophisticated. The minimalist logo pairs well with the bold faced font, and the slender bottle height has more of a resemblance to smart water i.e. that healthy life. The quirky calligraphy writing of the other two are slightly annoying. So, in terms of sleek savoir faire, team Pepsi. 

On the taste: Even though they are cut from the same artificially sweetened cloth, all diet sodas do not taste the same.

Spectrum of Sweetness: 
Diet Dr. Pepper > Diet Pepsi > Diet Coke 

Diet Coke: This is honestly my least favorite. DC has salty nuances with interspersed aspartame flavor. If you take a sip of Diet Coke then Diet DP, it is like drinking an Americano before a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks, minus the extra calories. Plus, I think it is infused with more carbon dioxide; the coke bubbles and froths in your mouth more than the others. Not bad. Just not great.  

Diet Pepsi: Pepsi falls in the middle on the totem of sweetness. I forgot how much I enjoy Diet Pepsi! It has a sugary flavor but is balanced by tang and citric undertones. As far as carbonation, it is hard to determine, as this bottle seems somewhat flat. I had to shake it like an artesania painted maraca for fizz to perforate at the top.
Diet Dr. Pepper: I untwisted the Diet DP and began sipping it with the pleasure of a teenager sneaking a swig of Strawberry Hill Boone's Farm. I love how Diet DP maintains an authentic sweet flavor while still coexisting in perfect harmony with the artificial non-saccharine. Additional gulps provide hints of cherry and vanilla finished with a foamy soda taste.

Winner: Diet Dr. Pepper
(I'm not, in fact, muted by the habitual taste of my go-to soda, or swayed by an allegiance toward a Texas made product.)

All in all, I think it depends on which side of the sugary spectrum you swing. To each his own. I just prefer the taste of Diet DP. It's probably because I'm so sweet. xx.

P.S. This caffeine overload has me acting dumb. I'm trying to reenact a Newsies number with my cat, Ari. Much love from our “Seize the Day” production. Big smiles. muah!  

REVENGE FANS: I'm ready for Emily to quit being a fool this season.

*Spoiler Alert*

Dearest Emily Rebecca Thorne-Grayson,

I understand you got shot by your husband and everything. So, I'm going to chalk up your current state as an inappropriate physical reaction to becoming barren at 27 via GSW to the abdomen. But, I think is it time to bring back the plucky persona. Ninja time, girl!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sour Patch Kid Chewing Gum

Write something. 


Is National Cheese Puff day a real thing?

Any ideas in general. 

Eating garlic makes my sweat stink. 

You have nothing.

And that sums up my writing life right about now. Down from 1,000 words a day to, like 1. 

I apologize for the absentee-ness of this blog lately. And by lately, I mean since I fell off the face of the earth and went to PA school. Which accounts for oh, I don't know, the past 27 months. Bazinga.

Before I was a PA, there was so much downtime. I could sit and eat for three hours (Thai-style) and observe so many things. I used to have those creative juices constantly flowing. I loved writing! Now I think I've transferred that innovative mania into (energetic) medical professionalism. My creativity got the full priapism treatment. Not up anymore, folks.  

So, to reawaken my shifted imagination, I decided to start writing shorter blogs more frequently. 

Nothing gets me going like a Sour Patch Kid. It's my top 5 candy, easy. And, lemme tell you, I think I am the only person who could eat an entire bowl of this tooth-eroding product as a meal replacement. IMPORTANT: I said this exact statement before Kyle XY ever decided it was his ideal (read: alien) breakfast cereal. So, to those producers, if you are going to rip off my ideas, you are going to have to be more subtle. I feel this is why your show got the shaft.

Anyways, whilst getting French Vanilla flavored coffee, Fiji Water, and Peach O's gummi rings at a Shell station yesterday, I noticed a bright yellow pack of gum waving at me. At first I thought it was a hallucination from my lack of sleep, but then I looked again. Yep, confirmed. A Sour Patch Kid was indeed waving. Oh. Em. Gee. That's right. Sour Patch Kids are now available as gum. I'm as shocked as you!

The little guy's box was nestled neatly under the Wrigley's Big Red and Doublemint. I picked it up immediately and made a point-of-register purchase. I asked the nondescript cashier when Sour Patch Kids started making gum but he didn't know. He eyeballed me weirdly as I took my receipt. “Usually the kids buy those peach candies.” the man declared, handing me my plastic sack of items. I smiled. “Kid at heart, sir. Have a good day!”  

It is unseasonably cold in Texas, so before I braved the pinprick hair inducing weather outside, I took a sip of my flavored coffee and leafed through my purse for my keys. I threw my plastic bag over my wrist and tugged my black Yale jacket tight. I scampered to my little civic like a tabby cat seeking warmth during a storm. When I got in my car, I placed my purse in the passenger seat and turned up the heat and music. I rifled through the plastic bag for the gum, as if I was looking for treasure in a sea of junk food.

Ok, the packaging of the gum is adorable. The Stride mnemonic S is scribbled in a sea of Chartreuse yellow while a trio of red Sour Patch Kids are playfully playing peek-a-boo around the iconic emblem. The top left-hand corner features the classic Sour Patch Kid stamp, I assume this has something to do with business rights or whatever. Obvi, it costs 1.49.

On the taste: When the gum touches your tongue, it's like an atomic Sour Patch Kid on caffeine. I kinda liked it. The second chew intensifies the tart of the berry. While the third bite triggers your amylase gates; this saliva balances off the tang. Subsequent chews turn the glycerin wedge slightly sweet but, quite frankly, hard to chew and disintegrate-y. And, like all gum, the stick becomes tasteless.

It's Gumby and his sidekick Pokey running from the Blockheads, and they all fall into a pool of sour Fun Dip. That's this commercial. Tagline: Sour then sweet then stiff.

Overall: Meh. I'll stick to the original Patch kids.

*At first, this review was just going to be a text message to my friends Rebecca and soon-to-be Dr. Deke. But since no one (besides them) will see that message, I decided to repurpose it into a review. Circle of writing life! Oh, and so I don't leave anything out from the message. I did, in fact, send them a picture of me pretending to be the pink power ranger. Not any of the new rangers. Those are dumb. Pink ranger circa 1990's. Sit. Down. Kimberly.

In other news, I'm totally obsessed with Rizzoli and Isles.

I might be enjoying Katy Perry's “Dark Horse” a little too much when I run. I'm Phoebe Buffay jogging around my neighborhood while breathlessly singing the chorus. THERE'S NO GOING BACK!