Monday, July 6, 2009

boozing on the cheap

This article is cool for people who want to save money on their liquor without having to drink swill. I haven't tried most of these out myself but this seemed like a good place to post this find.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sellout Buyout this Sat

@ Bows and Arrows / 1712 L st. Midtown Sacramento

Sellout Buyout is a multi vendor art/fashion bazaar with lots of independent artists and designers selling their stuff. There is a large amount of hand made / hand altered stuff and most of it is pretty affordable. It's free to get in so it's definitely worth checking out if you're out and about during Second Saturday.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Structurally Sound

Does anyone know how long sale prices at Raley's last?

I'm not really sure, but I stopped by yesterday and found eggs for a dollar a dozen. Just sayin'.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Simpler Times

Are you familiar with Simpler Times? Are you at least familiar with the excitement of finding an extremely cheap beer that is worth drinking?

I know you are.

Here's the deal: Trader Joe's is selling six-packs of Simpler Times for an honestly outrageous $2.99 each. To give you some kind of scale, at one point last night there were 48 cans of beer in my apartment, and those cans only cost $26. The fear among insiders is that cans of Simpler Times are going away, only to be replaced by unfortunately much more expensive bottles of the same stuff.

You have the information. You know what to do.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shuffle, Kick, Hummus a Tune

Hey, do you guys ever make your own hummus?

I don't really have a recipe for you, so you'll kind of have to go on intuition, but here are some guidelines to get you started if you're sick of paying five bucks a pop for little tubs of oily goop that almost never taste the way you expect them to.

The basic ingredients are chickpeas (garbanzos), tahini, olive oil, salt, lemon juice and garlic. You can make great hummus with either canned or dried chickpeas; the tradeoff is that although going canned is much more convenient, dried generally has a better flavor and sometimes a better texture.* If you really really dislike tahini, I've heard you can omit it without much trouble, and of course you can get rid of the garlic, but why would you?

Now the main goal here is to get all these things to emulsify so that the hummus ends up smooth, light, and creamy rather than grainy or heavy on the tongue. Food processors are best for this, but a blender will work too as long as you're okay with constantly stirring stuff around to get it all down toward the blades. So now we've got all our stuff together, let's get to work.

First in are the chickpeas, garlic, and a little bit of salt. I usually start with one good-sized clove of garlic for every can's worth of chickpeas. Use the pulse button on your machine to get things relatively finely ground and uniform. You'll still be grinding as you add everything, so don't worry too much about it. Next, you'll add some tahini, maybe 1-1 1/2 tablespoons per chickpea can, and mix it in by hand a little before you process it.

At this point, your hummus should be ALMOST smooth and closer to a paste than a nice spread. Now you add the olive oil, extra virgin if you've got it, just a little bit at a time or in a slow stream. Food processors usually have holes in the top specifically so that you can drizzle in oils for emulsification. Blenders are less conveniently designed, but sometimes you can leave the blades going, open up the top, and if you see a little tornado going down into the center of your hummus, you can just drip the oil in from there. Once the hummus reaches a consistency you like, stop and taste it. It will be a little bitter because you haven't added the lemon juice yet, but tasting will give you an idea as to how you want it flavored. Adding lemon juice will take the bitter edge off and make it lively in your mouth. If it seems a little bland, adding a little more salt will enhance all of the flavors. You can also add more garlic, but be careful because a little bit of raw garlic goes a long way.

After you've got the flavor where you want it, you can absolutely be creative with it. One of the things that makes hummus so much fun is that it's a great base for other flavors. Try adding some fresh herbs or spices (parsley and cumin are the most common), olives, tomatoes, capers, fruits or nuts. Go wild. It makes a cheap snack/meal with some tortillas or pita bread, and because there are so many possibilities it's pretty difficult to get sick of it.

Anyway, I've got some chickpeas waiting for me in the kitchen AS I TYPE. Remember it's only five days 'til Armistice Day. Invite your enemies over and get them fed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

30 Chairs 30 Days

Actually I meant to upload this to my other blog, but some shameless self promotion absolutely never hurt.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Must Love Dawgs

Hey do you like hot dogs? Do you like Sacramento? WHO DOESN'T!?

Even before you walk into Capitol Dawg on 20th and Capitol in midtown Sacramento, it's a little shocking to see how devotedly local it is. Everything from the hot-dog-themed portrait of the city displayed on the patio to a menu packed with local names and references screams Sacramento. There is even a "tube of fame" running across the ceiling with messages written from regional celebrities like the Deftones. Maybe all of this is sounds like more of a warning to you than a recommendation, but I personally like to see businesses that are clearly dedicated to their location and clientele.

The real question here, though, is what does Capitol Dawg mean to your mouth, or perhaps more importantly, your wallet? Well let's just say that Capitol Dawg serves hot dogs the way they should be served: hot, delicious, and pretty darn cheap. Menu items will run you anywhere from $1.89 for a corn dog (I just had one today and the total works out to $2.04, which is way better than the $3.00 you might pay at Hot Dog on a Stick for what I consider an inferior product) to $4.39 for the Solons Double Dawg, which is two hot dogs stuffed into a sesame seed roll. There is also, and this is an important point, no charge for a VEGAN dog substitution. I've had a lot of meatless hot dogs in my life and believe me, these ones are the good ones.

The variety of specialty dogs is impressive, two of my favorites being the (BB) Kings Dawg (barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, and onions) and the Prop. 51 (mustard relish, tomatoes, onions, peppers, a whole pickle spear, and celery salt). Mea combos go for around $6 or $7 and include a heap of crisp french fries and a fountain drink.

Not to be seen as simple a hot dog joint, Capitol Dawg also offers some other items that are pretty tempting. As summer comes to an end, you might want to grab a couple scoops of ice cream, a root beer float, or a fruit slushy, or if you're excited for fall, you can now get yourself a helping of vegetarian chili. It seems like every time I go in, there's a new item or option posted underneath the standard menu, which I'll admit is something I've seen backfire on other businesses, but it seems like these guys have it under control.

Their official website can be found HERE, and contains information about happy hours and specials such as $2 Tuesdays ($2 hot dogs, Pabst, and ice cream), as well as a full menu, hours, and contact information.

Happy dogging!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Support Your Local Cafe

As convenient as it is to just run into Starbucks to get your quick caffeine fix (because there is one on every corner downtown), it can be much more rewarding - and delicious - to try other places that are a little less famous.

My favorite cafe happens to only be 5 blocks from my house. It's called "N Street Cafe"... and it's on N St. between 20th and 21st. Not only do they have yummy lattes, they make a (vegan) falafel pita that's to die for. I get my pita with their cilantro jalapeno hummus, which they make there, and it's pretty much the best thing I've ever had.

They also have tea, smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and fruit, so even if you don't like coffee, you can find something tasty to eat/drink. And there's free WiFi!

Here's a link to a site with their address, hours, phone number, and some reviews.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cowabunga duuuuuuuudes! How to couchsurf with nomads!

We've all been stranded places. 

In fact, I'm sure many of us have had to rely on complete strangers for directions, information or maybe even a place to stay and/or a lift home. Hell, when I was in Europe, strangers opened their homes to me left and right when I was lost with no place to go. It was amazing!

However, I've always felt like we're less hospitable in the states. I mean, have you ever been the one doing the helping? Have you ever picked up a hitch-hiker? Have you ever let a complete stranger stay at your house?

Besides letting "friends of friends" crash at my place, the closest I ever came to helping out a stranded traveler was when I was working at a restaurant in Ventura a few years ago. I happened to find a sleeping person (dressed like a gypsy!) in the women's restroom near the end of my shift. When I woke her up to see what was going on with her, she began to tell me how she needed money, because some guys she came to Ventura with from San Luis Obispo (2 1/2 hours away!) had just ditched her. So, I told her to wait for me to finish my shift, and then I gave her a lift to the train station all the way across town. I also gave her $5. Not much, but I figured it was a start. It was pretty scary, but also pretty eye-opening. The woman was obviously fucked up on some kind of drug, but I felt bad for her and wanted to do something. Perhaps it's because I kept picturing some asshole guys laughing about totally using her, getting her all fucked up and then leaving her in a town far away. (I'm like tooootally a feminist.) So, she didn't try to kill me or rob me. Instead, she thanked me the whole way, said some spacy things, offered me some pot (which I refused), and stunk up my car with patchouli oil.

You've gotta love those transient hippies.

Anyhow, here are just a few resources for those who want to help poor travelers, and for those who need a little help from strangers. This way, you don't have to go to sleep in the bathroom of a Greek restaurant. 

The Couch Surfing Project:
The name gives it away, but here's their hippified mission statement -- 
As a community we strive to do our individual and collective parts to make the world a better place, and we believe that the surfing of couches is a means to accomplish this goal. CouchSurfing isn't about the furniture- it's not just about finding free accommodations around the world- it's about participating in creating a better world. We strive to make a better world by opening our homes, our hearts, and our lives. We open our minds and welcome the knowledge that cultural exchange makes available. We create deep and meaningful connections that cross oceans, continents and cultures. CouchSurfing wants to change not only the way we travel, but how we relate to the world!
(SN&R's write-up about the Web site)

A similar mission statement --
Our aim is to bring people together - hosts and guests, travelers and locals. Thousands of Hospitality Club members around the world help each other when they are traveling - be it with a roof for the night or a guided tour through town. Joining is free, takes just a minute and everyone is welcome. Members can look at each other's profiles, send messages and post comments about their experience on the website.
Craigslist Ride Share:
I'm a little scared of Craigslist stuff sometimes. Here's a sample post that kind of creeps me out, just because it's so nice... also, he uses the phrase "velvet-bellied"  --
Hi there! Tomorrow morning I am headed to the beautiful land of north and could use some company for the long drive. From Sacramento on out, there will be room to comfortably seat 4 adults (or children masquerading as adults), 5 if we put an extra in the front middle bench seat. I'd be willing to drop you off in whatever town you wish along the way, be it Yuba City, Chico, Redding, Mt Shasta, Ashland, Medford, Grant's Pass, Roseburg... The plush, spacious, velvet-bellied boat of a car I'll be driving is a purple air-ride Lincoln Town Car- very comfortable and cushy for such a long venture, but unfortunately not equipped with A/C. I also have a bike rack on the back with room for one more bike!! I will be coming from Berkeley and am shooting for about an 11 am departure from Sacramento. Let me know who you are and where you need to go. You can reach me on my cell phone, any time, at XXXXXXX. Thanks very much for reading and I hope you have an excellent day. Happy travels!

This online guidebook may or may not have been started by a certain awesome musician named Tom Thumb, but I'm not sure if it's the same one. Either way, here's what this gang is all about. They get extra points for their stellar use of a certain (commonly masculine) default pronoun --
Road Junky Travel Guides are by no means the authority on the world. They are instead written to make you think, laugh and get a rough feel for a country. We go the extra step and tell you things other guides don’t and won’t dare to discuss. We’re for the inspired, independent traveler. The person who can just get up and go. The person who is moved by what she sees. The dreamers.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

"...And underneath that, write 'We will miss you'. Got it?"

My current blog obsession is Cake Wrecks where disastrous and hilarious cakes are documented. In terms of sites you go to out of complete boredom, it's almost as good (and pointless) as ManBabies.