Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Bacon Fun Facts

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Everybody loves bacon! Jersey Joe has some fun and interesting facts about our favorite breakfast food.

THE 411

What: Bacon

For what: food, side dish, or sandwich add on


Who doesn’t love bacon?  Enjoy these bacon fun facts!


[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] 13 Foods Cardiologists Never Eat

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Jersey Joe explores 13 common foods that cardiologists avoid.  Are some of your favorites on the list?

THE 411

What: 13 foods cardiologists never eat

For: lunch, dinner, breakfast, snacks

Why: harmful to the human body in large quantities


It’s always good to cut back on the bad foods in our diet.  Some of these really hit home, though.  Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not – at least this list gives us all something to think about.

fried chicken pieces

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Taco Bell’s Cap’n Crunch Bites Taste Test

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Taco Bell has taken a popular breakfast cereal and turned it into a warm, gooey dessert. So, is it worth you cash? See the unexpected surprise Jersey Joe got when he ordered his.

THE 411

Name: Cap’n Crunch Bites

What: dessert menu item

Where sold: Taco Bell restaurantsIMG_7046.MOV.00_00_07_02.Still001


These are great!  Very succulent!  Why not give them a try?

The price structure is very affordable to add on as a menu item.  I spent $1.89 for 4.  They are sold in packs of 2, 4, or 6.   They are kind of like eating a bowl of cereal.  You can definitely taste the fruity Cap’n Crunch in concert with the warm, icing filling is a perfect match.

I just wish they would have remembered mine with my order… and at least offered me something for a second wait in line for them.

[Citizen Filter] Is It The Apocalypse Yet, Because It’s Too Hot And There’d Better Be A Good Reason For It

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It’s been a hot summer here in lil ol’ Los Angeles, and like many Angelenos, I live in a crappy shoebox without air conditioning and surrounded by concrete that does nothing but soak up and reflect back the horrible, horrible heat.

For a couple of my summers here, one of my jobs was at a small business that didn’t have a/c, so the temperature relative to home was much hotter and made my place seem livable. The last summer I was there, we got a/c, and all hell broke loose. Last year I was unemployed and living on frozen slices of watermelon and not wearing pants. This year, employment means pants and pants mean uncomfortable transfer heat, not to mention laundry and assorted household chores done during the horrendous peaks of midday sun exposure. (At least I live on the Westside and not in Silverlake–it’s a well-known fact that hipsters raise temperatures by an average of 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit, because they are attracting the fires of hell.)

Her t-shirt is wrong. Hell is all around us now, if all around us refers to east of the 101, north of downtown and west of the ‘denas.

There a number of transplants to this area, like myself, who can’t cope with temperatures above 75F, and also like myself, refuse to buy a window a/c unit because the second you buy it the temperature will drop to 35 and we’ll all look like idiots, and you can’t return things to craigslist. I tried. It gets weird, and everyone you email ends up being a sex worker. Which is fine, but they don’t take returns either. Ba da da da dum! I’ll be here all week, try the veal.

So we cope, and we pray for rain because a) megadrout that will kill us all but also does not prevent bottled water companies from tapping into public reservoirs, and b) sweet, sweet relief for the thirty seconds it takes the rain to evaporate from the sidewalk. We also do stupid things, like make pancakes. “But why is that stupid, Sarah?” you ask, hungry for pancakes and angry that this is the internet and they are not available. Why, indeed, angry hungry stranger. Why indeed.

Like many Angelenos, my apartment came with a stove-oven combo. It is a gas stove-oven combo. So far, so good. Like many Angelenos, my stove-oven is white enameled metal with zero insulation and an overactive pilot light that makes the kitchen uncomfortably warm even when it’s off. When it’s on, it’s like you’ve got a hipster in the kitchen. So this morning, I’m sending off my friend after a lovely visit, and thinking, “hey, homemade pancakes are a wonderful way to end a trip and also walking is hard”. I make the batter, I heat up the pan (“oh, god, it’s so hot in here already”) and I start making my usual 2” pancakes. I like to stack them, like a tower of Babel, so high as to be an affront to the will of any god paying attention to breakfast food. By the time those little pancakes are done, I’m sweating bourbon from last Friday into them and I hate everything in the whole world, including my friend and breakfast. But I’m adaptable, I cope. “Why, self,” I say, “you just need to make bigger pancakes! that mean you can turn the stove off sooner and eat your own pancakes, too!”

This is how you make an enemy of the lord. A sweet, sweet enemy.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s not breakfast if you’re not building that pancake tower and offending the good and might lord with the lightning bolts and such, but this is Los Angeles. We get confused when we get nice things.

To this end, I developed a theory right now to fill out the word count of this piece and also explain traffic. You’d think after several decades of polluting our own corner of the world and torturing ourselves for a million hours a day in awful awful commutes, our rich and powerful corporate overlords would have come up with some sort of workable transit system, or hovercars. Traffic discriminates against no man, and if polled, would actually tell you it hates rich people. (Worst traffic in the city: West Side. Highest concentration of wealth in the city: West Side. Coincidence? Absolutely not, poor people have to get to and from there to provides services for the rich people.) But the reality is that we all remember or currently live in places that have no climate control, and so we prefer to run to our shiny shiny cars (how do they stay so shiny in a megadrought and none of us are washing our cars? OH WAIT) and bask in the unlimited whoosh of cool air that wastes all the gas we should be using on idling on the 110 as motorcyclists zoom by at terrifying speeds. Why would we want to speed up? I don’t want to be inside my house, or worse, outside my house on days like today. I also don’t want to be at work because I’m an American and work is for foreigners stealing our jobs. The car is our space to be free.

This a real picture of a reservoir in California. Seriously, stop washing your car.

This theory is also supported by the number of people who drive to the beach on holiday weekends and don’t leave the house until noon. How else can you spend $20 on parking, walk across miles of blistering sand to a crowded coastal spot, fight off a herd of mutant seagull-lions for blanket space, and then swim in waters guaranteed to give you some sort of flesh-eating disease? It’s absolutely worth living in the least affordable city in the country just for that privilege.

I would finish this off with a witty timeline, but it’s 8pm and I’m about two seconds away from mopping up the brains that have melted out of my ears, so I’ll leave you with this:

Winter is coming, and someday we’ll see a 60 degree day and complain about how cold it is. Take heart, and go drive around aimlessly somewhere.


[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Everybody Loves Pancakes!

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Growing up, my grandmother would cook me her own spin on pancakes called a palacinki.  Instead of a traditional pancake, it was rolled up on a plate, served in groups of three, and filled with jelly, then topped with syrup, and sometimes chocolate.  She told me that she learned to make that from her mother, who from Slovakia.  (Yes, I know they’re basically a crepe.)  When I was home a few months ago, she again whipped up her mouthwatering treat and it had me wondering: what are pancakes like in other countries around the world?


A palacinke, or palacinki (there are numerous spellings) for this succulent treat!

Pancakes, the delicious fluffy treats we all scarf down by the millions at breakfast.  They are a cheap breakfast to cook in the home and a big money maker for restaurants.  Made with just a few ingredients, they can start your day off right and their history dates back to before Christ.


American Pancakes are flat and thin round cakes prepared in a pan or on a griddle.  We generally eat them for breakfast with fruit, syrup, or butter.  Here pancakes usually use a baking agent to make them rise, but many other countries eat them flat as a crepe.  The basic shape and serving of pancakes varies around the world.


Buttermilk pancakes.

Classic buttermilk pancakes.

The history of pancakes dates back to a previous millennium.  The Ancient Greeks first served pancakes as early as 5 BC and were made the same basic way as they are prepared today with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk.


But, some places really have a unique spin on the recipe.




In Africa, most countries eat the pancake as more of a flatbread with a meal.  Here, they do not use yeast, which keeps the pastry as flat as possible.  It is also served with most meals as side bread.  In Ethiopia, pancakes serve as both a plate and a side dish.  Known as injera, the pancake holds a stew (or salad where they don’t eat meat) and soaks up the juices.  The meal does not end until the entire injera is consumed.


In China, pancakes are made with dough, instead of a batter.  In Japan, they are made from egg, flour, and cabbage.


In India, pancakes are made without any rising agents and are prepared either sweet or salty.  The salty version is served with cottage cheese.


In Indonesia, they are made with rice flour and coconut milk.


In Malaysia and Singapore, you can find pancakes that include sweet corn!


In Denmark, pancakes are served in the shape of a sphere.  In parts of Germany, they are also served with soup.


Icelandic pancakes

Icelandic pancakes

Iceland has an unusual way of preparing pancakes.  There, they try to get the cake as thin as possible and will use the same pan over and over to prepare them.  It is strongly encouraged not to wash the pan.  They will also use pancakes as bread for a sandwich.


In Spain, the ingredients for a pancake can include flour, milk, eggs, or blood!  Yes, blood!  The blood style is served during a pig slaughter feast.


Pancake restaurants in the Netherlands are extremely popular.  They will serve giant pancakes with bacon, sausage, ham, cheese, or apples baked inside.


In many countries, pancakes even have their own day!  Shrove Tuesday, is the day before Lent where the faithful can gorge themselves all they want and to use up the fatty ingredients.  The celebration is similar to Mardi Gras and is celebrated in Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia.  It is also known as Pancake Tuesday or Fat Tuesday… doesn’t the last one sound familiar?

An International House of Pancakes restaurant, in S. Portland, Maine as pictured in the 1970's.

An International House of Pancakes restaurant, in S. Portland, Maine as pictured in the 1970’s.

Pancake runs are also part of the Shove Tuesday celebrations.  Usually held for charity, most of these runs feature women who must toss their pancake in the air and catch it in a frying pan as they run.  This all started back in 1444, when an English housewife heard the bells of her local church and she ran out of the house with her apron on and a frying pan still cooking the pancake to get to the service.


Cooking up pancakes on a stove top griddle.

Cooking up pancakes on a stove top griddle.

THE 411


Name: pancakes


What: soft, cake style pastries served for breakfast in the US, but served as part of meal worldwide




I absolutely love pancakes.  Besides, my grandmother’s awesome home cooking, Café Metro, a restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side, has some of the best.  Their recipe uses a hint of lemon flavoring in the batter.


Pancakes with a hint of lemon, served with bacon at Cafe Metro, New York City.

Pancakes with a hint of lemon, served with bacon at Cafe Metro, New York City.

Another favorite is Hash House a Go Go, with three locations in Las Vegas.  Their pancakes are massive and have a great flavor to cure your Vegas hangover.  It’s almost impossible to finish a serving in one sitting.  If I were local, I would probably take mine in a To Go box, but being a tourist, I don’t think they would sit well in a hotel room.  Hash House a Go Go has a location in The Quad hotel and casino on the Strip and another in The Plaza hotel and casino downtown on Fremont Street.  They also have restaurants in San Diego, Chicago, Orlando, suburban Las Vegas, Reno, and at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.


Image credits – Martin, Davide e Paola, Addison Berry, Caleb SconosciutoSnugg LePup, chotda, Allen, Dvortygirl

[Desert Droppings] Basketball, Bad News, and Breakfast: ABQ Marches On

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To start off, we’re taking a cue from mega- pharmacy, Walgreens,  purveyor of prescriptions,plus many of life’s pre-packaged necessities from Maalox to mac and cheese mix. Walgreens markets itself as being cozily located “at the corner of happy and healthy.” ABQ has, these past few weeks, been firmly parked at the corner of hapless and hellish.

First March Madness turned to March Sadness as the ABQ-based Lobos men’s basketball team from the University of NM lost to Desert--040214--journallobolower seeded Stanford in Round1 of the NCAA Tournament, a repeat of last year’s tortuous tangle with the Ivy League when the Lobos lost to underdog Harvard. Now, I don’t know a bracket from a brisket, but I follow the Lobos’ seasonal rollercoaster because they’re ABQ’s own and because unlike  neighboring UT, AZ, CO, and TX, NM has no NBA team (or NFL, or NHL, or MLB team). So the Lobos are all-around sports surrogates and they really, really, really try.  Local businesses add “Go Lobos!” to their outdoor billboards and the ABQ Journal relishes reporting their victories and (sigh) the other stuff.
According to the Journal, this year was going to be different. The Lobos had “learned their lessons,” and had a “better mindset,” and had “size and girth.”  This year, the Lobos would take care of “unfinished business”. This year, the Sweet 16. This year…turned out to be just like last year. Lobos 53. Stanford 58. It was Harvard déjà vu.  First year Lobos coach, Craig Neal summed it up- “not a lot of fun, and we’ve been here before.”

Ok. So big basketball bummer there.
And in other news, APD shot yet another questionably dangerous, deranged, disoriented Albuquerquean.  APS proudly announced that 73% of its students graduate from high school. (And that leaves the other 14 uh…35 uh…27% with what- a list of local bus stops near McDonald’s?)
And how about this cheery insert which flew out of the Sunday Journal? The dour faces and profiles of 30 “Most Wanted Property Crime Offenders,” a “paid legal advertisement” from the city of ABQ.  Gee, thanks for the heads-up. I’ll tape it to the fridge. Hmmmm  They don’t look any different from my neighborhood Walgreens customers.

Whew! As Julius Caesar said, ” March is a tough month!”
Even after watching hours and hours of Shoot! Stomp! Stab! In The Walking Dead‘s  Season 4 weekend marathon, the zombie apocalypse still seemed like an exercise in community building compared to the recent grim goings on in ABQ.

Then, Halellujah! I found hope at the supermarket checkout- hefty, glossy wrapped-in-cellophane like a brand new tin of Desert--040214--abqmag2peppermint Altoids,  the April issue of Albuquerque The Magazine. ABQTHEMAG.COM.  YES! SAVED!  Good bye grimy March! Helloooooo daffodilly, marshmallow eggy, bouncy bunny, syrupy sweet April.
Syrup- that’s just what’s dripping off the plump berries atop the huge stack of pancakes on the cover of  Albuquerque The Magazine with its lead article, ” How to Build the Perfect ABQ Breakfast.” That’s my ABQ! Who cares about crime scenes and crushed dreams, when we can immerse ourselves in breakfast! And, look, look! This is just too good. An extra bonus wrapped up with Albuquerque The Magazine- a mini-mag, “New To  ABQ, The Most Unique & Valuable Resource For New
Albuquerqueans.” Is this a gift from the blog gods or what?!

Time to dump those gritty ABQ Journals into the  recycling bin for my zoo docent neighbor to bring to the BioPark for cage liners. Let the critters poop on all that negative news. We’re skipping off to discover “38 Ways to Know You’re an Albuquerquean” and ” Going Organic-Top Tips for Doing It Yourself.”

BTW, Walgreens doesn’t carry Albuquerque The Magazine. Walgreens only carries things that come on the truck.  Whenever I ask Desert- 040214- truckwhy something isn’t in stock at Walgreens, the store people tell me, “It wasn’t on the truck.” It seems that although there is a Walgreens on every major intersection in ABQ, all the merchandise comes on “the truck,” which, if the stars are aligned correctly, arrives on Thursdays or maybe only on the Thursday after Groundhog’s Day. Apparently, in the Walgreens Empire, we are Albuquerquestan- remote, isolated, exotic and worthy only of whatever happens to be on the truck after it’s made its Colorado deliveries.
Walgreens, are you at the corner of clueless and couldn’t- care-less? That’s no way to be an Albuquerquean!  No perfect breakfast for you!

And what does ABQ The Magazine say about about the perfect breakfast?  ABQ chefs and food bloggers share recipes for such morning treats as carnitas omelet, huevos rellenos, and the pancakes featured on the cover which turn out to be cottage cheese latkes! Who knew? “Going Organic…” includes Skarsgard Farms, my favorite organic veggie farm and delivery service. Not a single one of the “38 Ways to Know You’re an Albuquerquean” refers to being shot by police or being a high school drop-out. Even the numerous ads which dot the slick, bright pages are upbeat and tempting including one recruiting candidates for the APD Bomb Desert--040214--bombsquadSquad with Bomb Squad members posing like fashionistas in their protective gear.

All 272 shiny pages of look-how-great-it-is-to-live-here articles make ABQ feel like a dry, high altitude Garden of Eden.
Smile! It’s April! Let’s share some Breakfast Green Chile at the corner of the Bosque Bike Trail and the Rio Grande (That’s “Rhee-yo Grohn-deh” to you newcomers.)