Monday, November 30, 2009

1st Annual Turkey "Best Bird" Photo Contest

Turkey #1 (3 Votes T-2nd)

This beauty was submitted from Ingrid and Scott from Chicago. Notice the seasonings have created a nice crust on top, and the even browning screams, "This is not my first rodeo".

Turkey #2 (Winner Winner Chicken Dinner 5 Votes)
Ok this one is a little awkward, and then there is the turkey. This bird submitted by Nathan shows a dedication to a bit.

Turkey #3 (2 Votes)
As if the poor bird hadn't suffered enough before Nate molested it, here is what it looked like before the ugliness.

Turkey #4 (2 Votes)
This delicious bird comes from Lisa in Chicago. You can tell it was delicious as the camera could not beat the hungry onlookers to the bird. It's a plump one.

Turkey #5 (2 Votes)
Being an inaugural photo contest, I didn't post any rules for submission. Therefore this artistic interpretation is of Fred and his birds. At least it has a turkey in it, and even one is edible.

Turkey #6
Like father like daughter. Here is Sara showing off her bird as well. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Turkey #7
Here is the actual bird, a nice juicy specimen that makes me hungry for Thanksgiving all over again.

Turkey #8 (T-2nd 3 Votes)
My Pop actually makes a mean turkey as well. The general rule is that my moms sticks to Indian food, and my pops does the American food. I think his thermometer lied to him, but it's the winner in my book.

I will disqualify myself. This is my turkey from the last time I cooked one. As you can see, eating makes me happy.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to submit a photo of their turkeys this year. Hopefully this contest will only be larger over Christmas or even next Thanksgiving. There will be a prize for the winner, so please vote at the top left of this page and feel free to stuff the ballot box with friends. Good luck to you all and Happy Feasting. Please leave any comments or additional pics below!

It wouldn't be a complete post without some silly links, so here you go. If you have kids to entertain, or for those of you who are kids at heart, here are some Thanksgiving (and Christmas) coloring book templates to color in at home. Maybe you can't draw and don't want to let a piece of paper tell you where you can or can not color, then you can create your own funny turkey right here.

Have fun, and if this is your first stop at this site, please feel free to peruse my previous posts of when this site used to bring you the hard hitting news from the Food Festival circuit.

Monday, November 23, 2009

#18 Roadtrips - New Orleans, LA & Los Angeles, CA

#18 Roadtrips - N'Awlins & LA

No festival this weekend so Best Bird Contest on the site. Send me a pic of your bird if you have a chance, maybe even a prize to the winner!

The festival season seems to be coming to an end. Apparently people don't want outdoor festivities in the Wintertime. Unfortunately this has had a negative impact on this site, as I haven't been able to find any to attend. Yet, I have struggled on in my pursuit to bring you culinary "marvels" from around the Mid-West. I have used my time wisely, and took some road trips to warmer climates to bring you this edition.

One of the best burgers in the country hands down. This is the 1/2 pound cheeseburger at the Port of Call in New Orleans. These behemoths could not be contained by some measly fries, so it comes with a baked potato slathered in butter. Is it healthy? No. Is it flippin' delicious? Yes. A theme revisited here. See the greatness for yourself at the Port's website. It was as if I couldn't stop eating it, and by the end I'm not sure if I could have eaten anymore.

I'm not sure if I was even hungry the next day, but somehow someway I managed to put away this delicious samich. This is the Peacemaker Po' Boy from the Acme Oyster Company in New Orleans. Somehow I steered away from something called a "gumbo poopa" on the menu, and ordered this medley of fried oysters, shrimp, and Tabasco infused mayonnaise on a baguette. Needless to say it was excellent.

I know this picture makes this dish look like heaven on a plate, but I'll have to tell you that it was even better tasting. This is the Hickory smoked duck atop sweet potatoes with candied pecans at Emerill's NOLA Restaurant. The duck was moist and flavorful, the sweet potato a nice sweet counterpart, and the pecans gave a nice textural change. Sadly I had to substitute the sweet potatoes for the intended cornbread pudding which apparently used bacon. Regardless, this dish was excellent and inspiring.

My trip to New Orleans concluded with the iconic N'Awlins breakfast, beignets and chicory coffee from Cafe Dumond. It's really a pretty simple concept: fried dough with powdered sugar and a cup of coffee. Yet, there is something special about having this break in the day on a bench in Jackson Square. Essentially though a beignet is a funnel cake variant, and thus very appropriate here.

Of all the iconic LA food fare, I kept hearing about the In-N-Out burger, so I had to try it the second I got there. Within 30 minutes of my arrival I found myself at an In-N-Out and ate this cheeseburger with fries (Note the extra packet of "spread" I ordered). Although the burger itself was approximately 1/8 of an inch, it was fresh and flavorful for when I could actually taste the meat. The toppings were fresh and overwhelming, and then there is the sauce. The super secret sauce that everyone raves about was good, but I always thought it was called Thousand Island dressing. Don't get me wrong the burger was good, and although the fries were soggier than I like they were fresh cut. Tasty, but nothing to fly 1,000 miles for.

Ahhh...the Churro. I have memories as a child when I was last at Disneyland discovering this treat for the first time. Another version of the funnel cake, it is soft and moist in the middle but crisp and sweet on the outside. Instead of powdered sugar it is coated with granulated sugar and cinnamon. It is delicious but must be eaten quickly, as it gets fairly mediocre when it's cold. Again, another funnel cake variant.

My last meal in Los Angeles was definitely my favorite as we ate at the legendary Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. The chicken was a little greasier than I like and the waffles were soggier than my preference, but the combination was pure Magic. Magic I tell you with a capital "M". The chicken was moist and crispy and the sweetness of the waffle was nice, but the syrup tied everything together. I could eat this dish every day if I knew my arteries wouldn't clog up on my 4th day. As if it needed to get better, the Long Beach location even had a live music lounge on the other side of the entrance. Now that's a Saturday night: chicken, waffles, and MoTown music.

Video of the Week: My brother is a Whack-A-Mole King. Notice his focus, his steely determination, and the hand-eye coordination that makes Mr. Miyagi catching a fly with chopsticks look easy. The man was a machine that fateful night, and the poor kids he beat shouldn't have spent their lunch money trying to take him down.

As I mentioned, festivals have been harder to come by as the weather continues to cool. I already hated winter just because of the cold, now I hate it for taking away my festivals. I will continue to search for festivals and continue to post to this site, but the postings will be longer between so keep checking back for more. Then again, I've paid for this site through next May so I'm sure I'll do something with this site as I sit at home shaking my fist at Ol' Man Winter.

Please feel free to email me any suggestions for where this site should go during this idiocy we call winter. Now that we have cars and the internet, why the heck do those crazy Eskimos, sorry Inuit, decide to live in houses made of ice? I digress. Anyway have a Happy Turkey Day and thanks for the support this year. If you have time submit a picture of your Thanksgiving turkey or meal, and I will gladly make that my next post. It's all about the food and Festive Festival Festivities, and there is nothing more festive than a holiday dedicated to eating. Maybe some reader submitted pictures of food festivals could be interesting as well.Any other ideas? Email your suggestions or photos here.

No festival this weekend so Best Bird Contest on the site. Send me a pic of your bird if you have a chance, maybe even a prize to the winner!