Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tacos make it all better?

If you really have to, you might want to get some gas for your car today rather than tomorrow. Maybe two free tacos from Jack in the Box will stop your sobbing? Just show them your reciept.

Here's Jack (who's voice I absolutely hate, by the way) to explain:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This is what your ramen looks like on drugs?

Addicting and dirt-cheap, ramen is kinda like crack... but safe. When all else fails, break open a pack of that noodle block and you'll be a-okay, budget buddies. I usually crack (no pun intended) an egg into my boiling ramen and add frozen veggies, fresh sliced mushrooms and sometimes bean sprouts and chives (best with Oriental flavor). Add a little soy and maybe some hot sauce and you're good to go.

But today I discovered a Web site dedicated to giving the barren noodles crazy makeovers. Most ask you to ditch the flavor packet (good advice), and many are just frightening in general. Recipe ideas range from the safe Ramen Shrimp Salad and a yummy-looking Ramen Vegetable Soup to the questionable Beef Pie (with the also questionable tag-line "Now that's a real man meal!") and iffy desserts like Ramen Pudding.

Here's one of the weirdest recipes from that I plan on trying, because I bet it's delicious (and unhealthy). I'll let you know how it is after I make it:
Doritos Ramen Salad

  • 1 package of ramen noodles
  • 1 bag of Doritos
  • 1/2 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Taco seasoning (optional)
  1. Cook ramen noodles (On the Web site, it actually had instructions on how to do this. Ha!)
  2. Cook the ground beef in a cooking pan and place in bowl.
  3. Add the ramen noodles and mix it with the beef.
  4. Place the Doritos chips around the beef like on the picture ("It looks like a flower!" - Recipe Creator)
  5. Break into small pieces the Doritos you have left and put them on top of the beef.
  6. Add the shredded cheese and taco seasoning (optional)
Oh, and here is a ramen recipe care of Strung Out guitarist Jake Kiley from one of my favorite cookbooks ever (shown below):

Rock 'n' Ramen

  • 1 package of Creamy Chicken Ramen
  • 1 package of Roast Chicken Ramen
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Butter
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Make the Ramen and drain.
  2. Add the two seasoning packs, 2 spashes Tobasco, some butter, pepper, garlic powder and Parmesan. (Kiley says "How much of these ingredients you add is at your own discretion, but I put in a lot!!")
  3. "Mix it up and you will notice it becomes a very dry, clingy clump of ramen. That's where I add in about a 1/4 cup of milk to give this ramen it's creamy, exotic texture."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bummin' around on

I just spent way too long creating psychedelic art online. With Safari and Firefox, you can "paint" and print your work here.

I can't really figure out how to control the paintbrushes that fly around, but isn't that the fun thing about it?

If you make something cool, post it as a comment.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

All I'm saying is give P.C. a chance.

If you've never been to Pancake Circus, the clown-themed breakfast house at 2101 Broadway in Sac, you've never lived.

Well, that may be a stretch. But, seriously, check it out. As most people feel about clowns, you'll either be scared to death or filled with joy and laughter upon entering the retro diner.

Really, besides the pancakes, the food is pretty average and the prices are decent -- $5 to $12 per person. Still, because I love to make lists, here are some reasons why Starving Artists should visit Pancake Circus.

1. The Ambiance. The place is decked out in orange, brown and yellow with "knock-off" Winnie-the-Pooh pictures, circus animals and lots and lots of clowns in both painting and doll form (the spookiest). They even have some type of glass case with bizarre flea market-esque clown toys as if they are all worth a fortune. This shelf is next to the huge lottery ticket dispenser. Yep. You can gamble at breakfast. There are bingo screens too. To sum, Pancake Circus feels like you've either been transported to the '70s or some dinky town in Arizona… today.

2. The Staff. Think “Napoleon Dynamite.” On Sunday, the host was some 14-year-old who looked like he might grow up to be Kip. All he needed was a ‘stache and an Internet girlfriend (which he may already have… I hope!) The busboys bring forth a necessary inmate-chic aesthetic and the cooks all wear those tall chef hats you'd expect to see at some high-end French fusion restaurant, which is both ironic and adorable considering this is a place that takes pride in its senior meal discounts. Oh, and the service is quick and perfect. We went in on an extremely busy Sunday and our waitress made it her mission to make sure we never saw the bottom of our coffee mugs.

3. The Menu. I've only ventured in for breakfast, obviously. Pancakes are important, which is why four plate-sized cakes come with nearly every meal here. Don't want something sweet? Substitute them for country potatoes and toast for no extra charge. For a basic combo, try the "Circus Special," for $7.75. It comes with a choice of ham, bacon, sausage or beef patty with two eggs and four pancakes. (You can also replace eggs with "egg beaters" for an extra 75 cents). Other items: French toast, waffles, omelets, crepes, eggs benedict and veggie benedict (with sliced avocado, tomato and onion), biscuits 'n' gravy, chicken-fried steak, hot links, pork chops and more.

They've also got the basic diner lunch food. You can replace the beef with chicken on any of their burgers. (The Teriyaki Mushroom sounded good to me.) Some of the more unique options include breaded veal served with mashed potatoes and gravy and the Denver Sandwich (ham, bell pepper, onion and egg on a French roll).

The clown on the menu exclaims via a word bubble that Pancake Circus recently converted to zero trans-fat frying oils. Wait, so does that lower my chances of a heart attack after eating here? Score!

Pancake Circus
(916) 452-3322

Open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
(Crummy hours, right? This would be fun on a silly drunken evening on the town.)

Craft Idea #1: Boxer Bird

While my buddy Craig tried to fashion a realistic-looking bird out of fabric and a soda bottle for an avian behavior experiment, I made this little guy out of a pair of boxers too tattered to even wear around the house.

It's stuffed with leftover Build-a-Bear stuffing, but you can also use rice, lentils, or chopped up fabric scraps. There's wire sewn into the feet so you can bend them around (and sometimes stand him up).

I'm not skilled enough to actually lay out diagrams or explain each step of making your own stuffed doodad, you just have to wing it. Har har.

The point is this: You can recycle any old fabric! Take old clothes that are too dirty or holey or out of style and give them new life!

(While I'm at it, I started an Etsy store.)