I’ll buy anything that’s got a line drawing of the creator’s head on it. (Not god’s head, in case you were wondering. The cook’s.) Which is why, when I plunged my hand into the frosty clutter of my neighborhood market’s novelty ice cream case, hoping the aforementioned god would divine it toward a Bananas n’ Cream FrozFruit bar (which the aforementioned god won’t make the aforementioned market keep in stock, thus rendering me about 80% atheist), and I pulled out a Mamita’s (Homemade Style) Tamarind Ice with the lovely mug of, I’m assuming, Mamita represented on the label, I snagged it.

Sorry. I just couldn’t say that without a run-on sentence.

I’d never had tamarind ice, “homemade style” or otherwise, and found the contents of the plump Fla-Vor-Ice type squeeze bag to be the unappealing color of an oversucked cola slurpee. (Everybody with a childhood knows y’gotta alternate the slurping with the spooning, to keep the syrup to ice ratio right.) But with reassuringly few ingredients and an Ozone Park manufacturing address, I confidently snipped, squeezed, and sucked.

Requires surgical precision to get into without getting sticky all over ya, but it was tangy and refreshing. I’ll try another. Recommend you maybe do the same. But whatever you do, don’t smell it first. Just hold your nose and suck.

500 Years of Western Art

Awfully cool video of female portrait subjects morphing one into the next. Does it prove constants in the Western beauty ideal? Nah. But it’s pleasantly hypnotizing to watch with the sound off while you’re on the phone.

ID the artists and works here.
The pre-cut salad Dole sells to lazy-ass Americans? I just ate an entire 12-ounce bag of the “Greener Selection” (iceberg, romaine, carrot, red cabbage) in one sitting. Doctored up with some broccoli florets, chow mein noodles, and a bit of Mandarin orange. Why such a psycho display of eat-monster gluttony?

Kraft’s new Asian Toasted Sesame dressing. Hard to find and chock full of high-fructose corn syrup, but well worth the hunt and the premature death. Last night I even dipped a couple of my perfect, big-as-my-head sautéed sea scallops into a dab of the baby diaper brown, and if not for my reluctance to defile such a sea treat, I’d’ve drowned them buggers in the stuff.

Gonna try it on grilled chicken next. And maybe in some gingery rice thingy with loads of cucumbers? And I’ve got one more bag of salad in the fridge…

Pimiento Cheese: Manna of the Booze Gods

Went to a party the other night, and the food was delicious. Planet Thai sushi, calamari, and these pillowy little fried tofu poofs you dip into a thin but ass-kickety pepper sauce. Stellar vittles, but I didn’t get enough of ‘em. It was one of those catching-up-with-peeps-you-haven’t-seen-in-ages shindigs, and after a while, I started no-thank-you-ing the waitstaff when they’d stand next to me with the hors d’oeuvre trays, waiting for me to stop talking. Sometimes I think they head straight for the fat girl, counting on me to lighten their load.

So I got home with an open bar buzz, an empty stomach, and one thing on my mind. Pimiento cheese. Back home in the South, pimiento cheese spread was sold in tubs in the market, but I don’t remember anybody ever whippin’ any up in their kitchen. I fired up the Internets, and sat there like Otis of Mayberry, hiccupping and Googling for a pimiento cheese recipe.

What?!? It’s just cheddar, pimiento, and Hellmann’s? This can’t be. No mysterious “mom” type ingredients? Rather than enduring what’s now been ten years of pimiento cheese deprivation in NYC, I coulda been downin’ this stuff every time I get tipsy?

‘Tis true. And screw the recipes. I’ve made it two or three times over the past few days, and it works better without one. Most recipes I found call for way too much mayo, and others add salt to already salty ingredients. Just eyeball it. Shred whatever cheddary cheese you have on hand (I used white cheddar, extra sharp, and smoked gouda), then add mayonnaise and diced pimiento until it looks right. Optionals include garlic powder, Tabasco, crushed green olives, and a dash or two of chipotle sauce or liquid smoke. I’d skip the lettuce and tomato on a sandwich this subtle, but whatever blows your skirt up.

Pictured above (we’ll see if I can keep up this photo thing), I’ve dollopped some onto a warm, parbaked bretzel roll from FreshDirect. Like a soft baldy pretzel in bun form. These things are impossibly dense and moist, and the combination of flavors is a keeper. Bretzels are also good hot and slathered with honey butter, or piled with ham and Nance’s sharp mustard.

Drunkenness, optional.

JLo Packs on the Pounds!

A celebration of sweet, sweet irony. Dude photoshops celeb faces onto non-celeb bodies. Couple of 'em made me damn near lose my pudding. 'Specially this one...

Hell's Kitchen MILF

Some have asked why I don’t post pictures of the meals about which I write. As much as I enjoy food photos (‘tis my emergency back-up porn), it never occurs to me to shoot any. I’m not thinking “blog” when I’m eating, and even when someone’s camera is pulled out (as above), I just don’t think about pausing to shoot the food. I guess it’s that pausing thing that hinders me. Hungry girls have trouble with the pausing. Maybe I’ll work on this. In the meantime, close your eyes and imagine…

Empanada Mama. Clean. Cute. A brightly colored oasis on a dingyish block in Hell’s Kitchen. Filled up after we got there. A more than welcome respite from the heat, and even when they opened up the front and let in all 89 of the degrees, it never got too warm. Great music overhead. Paolo Conte, Jerry Mulligan, Sugarcubes. Attentive, pretty service.

I’m a corn meal person, but E-Mama’s corn flour empanadas were baked hard, and my carne molida was mostly tasteless, I’m afraid. I’d also skip the Chorizo Colombiano with griddle cake and lemon, from the tapas menu. The arepa was dense but flavor-free, and the sausage was underspiced and gristle-y.

No, the wheat flour empanadas are where all the greasy taste action is. Can’t remember what the beau had, but I enjoyed his, too, and we both ordered repeats. With all the interesting looking selections, I hated to do that, but I had to. The “Viagra” (my mouth was always too full to ask why they’re named that) was a seafood lover’s wet dream. Shrimp, scallops, and crab. I was sure they meant that Barbie Doll crab stuff, and when it arrived, it didn’t look like anything special. But holy mackerel, that’s one tasty tart. So, like a blue-shirt-with-a-white-collar-wearing divorced cokehead Porsche salesman, I gobbled up second Viagra and kept at it.

The hot sauce was of respectable heat and the green sauce was downright drinkable. But I opted for a champagne soda. Next time I’m trying the sangria. Might even try and get fruity drink drunk.

Took home a tasty Belgian Milk Chocolate & Banana dessert empanada, and devoured it for breakfast the next morning. (Oddly, there’s a picture of that, but I ain’t sharin’.)

Empanada Mama
763 Ninth Avenue at 51st Street, Manhattan

Other empanada joints at which I’ve gobbled with glee:

Havana Pies
219 E 23rd Street between Second & Third Aves, Manhattan
Wonderfully saucy Cuban-style empanadas. But there’s a good chance they’ve closed.

1748 First Avenue between 90th & 91st Streets, Manhattan
Argentinean. Most curiously delicious combination: celery and ricotta.

Now if only I could find a place that serves fried Coke without the accompanying aroma of cow manure, I’d be all set for the summer