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AskTP – The Summer of Sixteen

December 15, 2016

Today I’m bringing you part two of my catch up posts for Ask the Profussor. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like the tone of some of the comments I’ve been getting has taken a darker turn. Certainly, I’ve been feeling a little darker lately, so maybe that’s just part of the package.

This blog was never meant to be a monologue, it’s a dialogue. It’s an ongoing conversation. That is just one reason why I made the commitment early on to answer every question that was asked in the comments section. It may be a long, drawn out, and poorly managed conversation. However, it seems to be working out reasonably well.

So I welcome disagreement, and I welcome contrary opinions. I’m going to ask the following though. Let’s try to get past name calling and outrage, and attempt to hear each other out. Sometimes disagreements can be all about simple misunderstandings.

I think it may be prudent to have a follow up post entirely dedicated to Trusted Commenter’s response on what was admittedly an overreach on my part. But we’ll get to that later. For right now, let’s answer the pile of questions from the summer of 2016, that are much easier to answer.

Burnt My Fingers was curious about my eating itinerary on the trip to California:
Where are you going for the al pastor and bahn mi?

There used to be an al pastor truck on International Avenue in Oakland that was great. My friends told me it went downhill, so we skipped it. And the bahn mi never happened. This just goes to prove the old yiddish proverb that loosely translates to, “man plans, God laughs.”

-R turned out to be the inspiration for a beer glass acquisition:
There’s some nice beer glassware out there as well, though I’m sure you were aware of that: I own a set of the IPA glasses and have to admit, they do make a difference. Beats a mason jar, eh Mr. Dave? ;-)

Dammit. Yeah. So that’s what I bought. I couldn’t remember who planted the seed in my head. But the truth is -R was right and the glasses absolutely make a difference. Buy the set he links to above. It’s well worth it.

Jessica M. Pasko wanted more details about my beverage shopping on the California vacation:
Which beer store did you go to? City Beer?

Nope. It was CRAFT Beer & Wine in Alameda. My friends are all island people.

J was just one of the people to reacting to telling a server, “It’s good” when it’s not good:
It’s the double edged sword of the industry. Do you offend the restaurant to its face? Or do you take to the Internet to do so anonymously?

Man, this is such a big question. But the questions that J poses I think need to be softened. Because it’s not offensive to tell the restaurant there’s a problem. They really want to know. It’s just not always appropriate given the situation. And you don’t have to be anonymous on the Internet to offer constructive criticism. Yelp encourages users to write under their real names using a real picture. Ultimately, the issue is not that the kitchen made a mistake. The bigger problem is that the kitchen made a mistake and decided to serve the food regardless.

Don gave me a little jab based on the “It’s Good” post:
Maybe rename to WUSSYlittleBLOG?

Man, you know you’ve got a problem when the rabbi is giving you grief. But nope. Not going to rename the blog. Maybe I’ll daven a little harder on Yom Kippur and try to be better next year.

enough already! shared an idea for making an amazing corn salad even better:
Corn salad is the best. Have you tried adding some luscious tomatoes? To us that is corn heaven and the high point of summer vegetables!

Dammit. The hardest part about doing these AskTP catch up posts is that reading about summertime foods makes me long for summer. And I don’t even have the heart to count the months until corn season rolls around again.

Mr. Dave asked a question that I can answer, yet reveals something I didn’t know:
You touched upon a current interest of mine… Did you know before citric acid became the go to for tartness in sodas, acid phosphate was the thing? I’ve found a company that makes acid phosphate and I think I’m going to order some and make cherry phosphate…

Yes. I know phosphates were a thing. What I didn’t know was that you could still get it and make your own. Now I’m jealous. But I really still don’t have a sweet tooth and generally choose other sugary pleasures over soda. So making my own phosphates isn’t in my future anyhow.

That said, you know where I live, so if you wanted to drop a few off at my door I wouldn’t mind.

ericscheirerstott asked a question about some kind of monstrosity:
Have you encountered Italian Poutine? :

I’m sure any fat, on fat, on salt dish would be delicious. But I’m not convinced this sould bear the “poutine” name.

Zena, Goddess of Fire seems to be one of the few people who really gets me:
Yep and you put that dirty fork and knife down on the table and then eat with it again??? Ugh.


RogerK wonders about the intersection of technology and practice:
If that industrial dishwasher is so great, why do I still get utensils that have crusted food on them?

My guess is that the operator is rushing the process. Ask any tech support person. The problem is almost always user error.

EPT does not approve of my pungent parsley toast breakfasts:
A bit strange, if you used a decent french baguette and had it as a side dish for lunch or dinner maybe. Breakfast, just wrong. Why not put it all in a blender and have a ‘smoothie’ hopefily with a god dose of..well who the hell knows??

No. No. No. There will be no parsley smoothies. With the exception of beer, wine, cocktails, and the occasional milkshake, I’m no longer in the habit of drinking my calories. There are plenty of cultures where savory breakfasts are the norm. Anyway, this proved to be extra helpful with my stupid diet, getting me whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, olive oil, and garlic into my daily nutritional intake.

Niskymom must have missed the call for nominations on the Tour de Italian Deli 2.0:
What about Cusatos on Altamont st??? How could you have not included them??

This happens every time. People who aren’t regular readers find out about the tours when the results are posted, and offer some suggestions late in the game. Perhaps I need to make a bigger deal of the call for nominations in the early phases of the tour. I’ve been reluctant to do so, because I don’t want to let businesses know we’re coming.

It’s a tough balance, so I’d certainly welcome more input for how to handle such things moving forward.

-R is on the hunt for one of the desserts that I used to make for dinner parties in the 90s:
Have you (or anybody else) ever seen semifreddo anywhere in the area?

As it just so happens, Rascals has a semifreddo on its menu. It’s a bit nontraditional, but it’s also delicious. I’m not sure how you feel about frozen desserts in December, or making a trek out to the mall to get your fix, but it’s there should you need it.

Burnt My Fingers is getting me excited for my upcoming trip to Pennsylvania:
By the way, are you close to scrapple country? Do you have any tips for preparing it? This morning I had some with maple syrup and it was mighty fine.

Oh yeah. Well, I don’t quite know what the geographical boundaries of scrapple are. What I do know is that the meat store outside of Altoona makes its own, and it’s dynamite. How do I prepare it? Having not grown up with the stuff, I can’t tell you about traditional preparations. Presumably, I’m doing it wrong. But I fry it in plenty of butter, over relatively low heat, making sure to get a great crust on each side. Then I too drizzle it with a little bit of the darkest real maple syrup I can find.

There has always been a chunk of scrapple waiting for me when I arrive at the farm. And if for some reason there isn’t, it is always a pleasure to take the short trip to Holland Brothers in Duncansville.

Man, I can’t wait to get my scrapple on over Christmas break.

Don’t forget, if you want to come out and eat with me and a few members of the Yelp Community, we’ll be munching on wings, pizza, and mozz sticks later tonight. Just RSVP over here, so I know how many people to expect.

I promise it’s not creepy to come out from the shadows of the internet. Be brave, try something new, and hang out with fellow humans who love talking about food.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2016 12:33 pm

    This week I did your East Bay bahn mi tour for you. I ventured down International to Little Vietnam to Cam Huong’s outpost there (closed) and then Bahn Mi Ba Le which gets rave reviews on Yelp. I found the latter a charming establishment but the product was only average. Still wavering between Sing Sing and Saigon Sandwich in the Tenderloin as my go to place.

    P.S. And kudos on the scrapple. That’s exactly the way to prepare it, unless you are into Scrapple Croutons:

  2. albanylandlord permalink
    December 20, 2016 3:04 am

    Great Link! I’m buying me some of them hams.

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