Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Groupon Chronicles part one: KON TIKI

Part one: KON TIKI

For most of us here in Tucson, Kon Tiki is that curious Polynesian lounge in some dilapidated strip mall around the corner of Broadway and Swan. It looks cool but, well, the parking probably sucks and I bet it's filled with all sorts of characters from some beat lore drunken rejects from a Hemmingway or Bukowski novel, so I best not bother the regulars and just go to Appleby's for a Bud Light. For the rest of us, it is a curious piece of tiki themed Americana that does cater to a swill tank of bumbling rummys and aging red nosed Jimmy Buffet fans who want to “let loose” all too often in rotten loud printed shirts and sing 'Margaritaville' extremely off key and inventing words as the infusion of booze-a-hol makes one tend to forget that its actually “a woman to blame” not “a worm on my name.” And what the heck does that mean anyway? Having a male ponytail at 60 must make ones brain stretch and pull all pertinent residual information now hovering in a reek sack of bong resin and much too many scorpion bowls.

Kon Tiki, is, indeed, all of the aforementioned bliss: It's dark, it's retro, it's in a bad neighborhood, it's kind of sticky, the fishtank needs a cleaning and for gods sake would that lady please shut up about her cat being diabetic? I mean, for real, another gin fizz and she'll be weeping about Muffin and the fact that he's now on kitty insulin.

My first experience with Kon Tiki was questionable at best. Having recently moved here from San Francisco (which was 7 years ago) I thought going to a Polynesian tiki hut bar would be a great idea because back there, tiki bars were really cool and plentiful and we usually had a great time in them. The Tonga Room was probably the best, with amazing happy hour fare, huge drinks (that were also hugely expensive) and a tropical storm would crackle and rain over you every half hour. Trader Vic's on upper Geary street was a smaller and more tame version and the same one where we got in trouble for playing the first Spice Girls album on the jukebox in constant rotation from front to back. So, when the option to go hang out at Kon Tiki came my way I got kind of excited and promised myself to not drink the Hurricane because last time, I well...let's say I woke up across town next to somebody else with the words “poop here” written in sharpie next to my mouth.

The facade of Kon Tiki was interesting to me, although it felt a bit worn down and shabby. I liked the little bridge leading up to the big red door but the surrounding landscape was mossy, grown over and littered with urban debris. Upkeep here, I thought, must be at a minimum because the interior is the main priority as are the stiff and sweet drinks.

Nope. The interior, although decked out like an early 60's swinging bachelor pad, loomed in a haze of old drunks and yellowed from years of too much cigarette smoke clinging to decades old plastic tiki gods, bamboo screens and black velvet paintings of scantily clad island temptresses. We sat down near the back, in full observance of a huge and, yes, completely filthy aviary behind the squiggly bar, and I was pleased to find that an impromptu taco bar was set up for happy hour. After ordering my drink, I got up to sample the free fare but was not at all shocked to find that the food all but decimated with some sad shredded cheese mix looking up at me and begging me to put it out of its misery. No matter though, the locals were out for taco bar blood and they pushed me aside to devour the sloppily chopped iceburg lettuce, inhale the gray meat flavored from a dusty concoction in a easy to open packet and shove it all in taco shells that only school lunchrooms should deem appropriate and “edible”. There was one woman who actually got upset at me for standing there and deciding if I should indeed grab a small paper plate and join the masses in their free taco eating frenzy.

Well what are you waiting for?” she grumbled. “Let's get going. I've been drinking since noon.”

Forget it, I thought, and went back to my seat and joined my friends. Luckily, they too were hungry and had already started ordering off the menu. They wanted something called “Monkeys on a Stick”, some bbq ribs and crab puffs (although the c in crab was replaced by a k...clever). I felt nervous and hesitant to try anything cooked out of sight in a place like this. Sure, the drinks were big and strong like a Samoan warrior, and hit just as hard, but by the looks of the place, I'm sure the kitchen was twice as bad and filled with sketchy characters that haunted the bar, all trying to sing along to Bob Marley but only barely knew the chorus to “No Woman, No Cry.” 


When the food arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find the potions just as plentiful as the booze, with decent presentation, and it didn't look like cockroaches stuck on skewers. Monkeys on a Stick are cubed pieces of sirloin, marinated and jabbed onto wooden mini-stakes. I tried one. It was good. Really good. Perfect medium rare with a very pleasant and tangy flavor. The bbq ribs actually fell off the bone and were just as flavorful and cooked with precision just as the steak skewers had been. I'm always hesitant to try seafood from places that are far away from any body of water, but, I have to be honest here, those crab puffs, sorry...”krab puffs” were really good, all combined in cream cheese and some spices. Now, I thought, as always, I should never judge a book, or at least a kitchen, by the look of its cover, meaning the outside and interior. Some of my favorite eateries were usually known as “shit holes” by others, only because the central focus was the food and having to weave your way through back alleys, or walk though low ceiling dark dungeon-like dining areas only to come out the other end experiencing some of the greatest food you've ever had felt like an initiation, weeding out the naysayers and the fearful and introducing the brave and always up for anything clan to flavors you really didn't know existed.

Kon Tiki was sort of like that.

Now, we'd go back to Kon Tiki, now and then, but really, if ever, ate off the menu. It was usually a stopping point for visiting friends or a meeting place before we went out to a “respectable” eating establishment. Then we just kind of stopped going there. I mean, it is kind of out of the way for us and, well, after a bit we kind of forgot about Kon Tiki.

Then, quite recently, the place got a facelift. The torches outside of Kon Tiki hadn't been lit in years. In it's heyday, Kon Tiki had those big savage fire torches lit and you could see them from blocks away. Through the years though, with money and the times being an issue, they just stopped lighting them which gave an extra sad element to it's already fading glory. When I arrived for the first time I had to hear tales of long time residents spinning about how glorious and cool those torches were. But, with some new money coming in and some interested parties and investors, the torches outside of Kon Tiki are lit once again making the new coat of paint shine even brighter. 


Then, we got an email from Groupon. “$10 for $20 worth of food at Kon Tiki” it said. If you're not familiar with Groupon, you should be. All you have to do is go to their website (, sign up and you'll soon start getting emails about deals around your town. We have discovered so many badass restaurants because of it, which is the reason behind this series of Homeskillet blogs. So when we got one for Kon Tiki, we were all “Oh yeah. The food really was good there.” Except for that taco bar mess. I mean, was that salsa or...?

So on a pleasant afternoon, one that we both had off together (a Tuesday, another benefit of working in the restaurant industry, weekdays off) after running some errands we decided to give Kon Tiki another shot.

The front entrance was now clean and very un-mossy, the grounds were kept and free of debris and the big red front door looked brand new. When we stepped inside we were now met with a clean fishtank, shined up tiki gods and happy to see that old crappy aviary was gone and replaced by a real patio. Note to all bar and restaurant owners in Tucson: If you do not have a patio in your establishment you are fxxked. Install one now. Have you seen the weather out there? Yeah. Beautiful. And where are your patrons supposed to smoke? By the dumpster? Get the hint here people. Tucson is definitely patio territory. 

 The old terrarium, now a patio...thank the tiki gods!

Of course there were the expected smatterings of some drooling barflys but, that's a given in any dimly lit bar in any town near a methadone clinic. We sat near the back and were warmly greeted by the bartender. The menus were new, our table was clean and it seemed to have a much more open and friendly vibe. Maybe it was because it was a Tuesday afternoon and not Friday night in the middle of the pineapple soaked rum rage puke holocaust that I was so used to in places like this. Still, it smelled a lot better.

She-Ra, of course, got the Monkeys on a Stick and a large house salad while I got the Hawaiian bbq chicken with steamed rice. Our salads came out first accompanied by fresh made banana bread, which literally melted in your mouth. The salads were fresh, the dressing was tangy and so far we were pretty impressed.

Then came the entrees. The Monkeys on a Stick were a lot bigger than I had remembered from trying them so long ago. Huge chunks of marinated sirloin clung to those skewers. She-Ra tried one and her eyes closed. “These literally,” she mewed “are melting in my mouth.” I had to try one. It was true, that meat was so tender and cooked to medium rare perfection. Who's back in the kitchen, I wondered. I was envisioned a large dark skinned man hailing from an island that I had never heard of somewhere in the bright blue pools off of Polynesia. My chicken was amazing. That Hawaiian bbq sauce was packed with flavor, doused over a large pineapple ring and my chicken breast, which was generous, juicy and perfectly cooked. We basically ate in silence. Were we that impressed with the food or were we happy that a Tucson staple had gotten a much needed facelift and planned to come back as soon as possible? It was both. It had to be. Not to mention my side veggies were steamed just enough and seasoned just as well, a perfect accompaniment to a perfect lunch.

We left Kon Tiki satisfied, walking out into the late afternoon sun with smiles on our faces and in our tummies. Not just pleased with our meal but happy to know that people who give a crap and want to maintain a tradition in our city made the effort and gave a quirky institution the attention it deserves. I highly recommend eating at Kon Tiki, now that they have revamped and, obviously, hired a new chef. Let's all hope he looks like that image I hold in my imagination: Grinning a toothy grin as he sharpens curved knives over an open flame of ribs and steak, his ample Maori form a testament to all things great about eating good island inspired fare.

Of course, they still do happy hour and that taco bar is featured on Fridays. And you just read about my experience in tiki lounges on Fridays right? So, yeah, good luck with that one.

Thank you Groupon for re-introducing us to a place we had lost faith in. It's good to know that when you're in the hub of Broadway and Swan, and are craving a tall fruity well hooched drink, such as a (gulp!) Hurricane, Zombie, the famous Scorpion Bowl and something called The Suffering Buster, before the heady death swagger of one sip over the line hits your system, you can order something off the menu that will soak it up and stick to your ribs to boot. You just gotta love Kon Tiki and now that we've been back after all these years, we love it too.

But I will love it less if that crazy cat lady comes back and tells me Muffin has died because of some diabetic coma. C'mon lady. I'm only on my first drink and the surf and turf is to die for.

No offense... 


Friday, May 20, 2011

Homeskillet restaurant review: Monkey Burger!

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know. When I started this here fooder blog I told not only myself but you guys as well that I'd be uploading a Homeskillet blog at least once a week. Well, I'm here to tell you children, between work, trying to gather up ideas, concepts and locations (and $$$) for our still-unnamed bar/restaurant alongside She-Ra's side business of training servers in restaurants known for great food but rotten service and my own culinary training and such, it's tough to take pictures of every meal and every recipe and flop it on up here in the intrawebs for you to read and enjoy. But!, a recent outing has inspired me to set aside a bit of time to work ye olde typer and let you know what's going down with our latest eating adventure.

Now, everybody loves a good burger. Even vegans. That's why they have “vegan option” patties, non dairy cheese and, get this, I found a recipe for vegan bacon using tempeh. Oh yeah. For those that don't like meat....they wanna eat meat. Now, I'm not gonna get on my “just shut up and eat a steak for craps sake” soapbox, but I do wanna say that we found ourselves dining at a relatively new place that has already garnered rave reviews, Best Of and the like.

It's called Monkey Burger.

Here in Tucson, if you follow new and trending restaurants, inventive chefs, outrageous concepts and the “cutting edge” in downtown dining, one thing that always comes up in articles and word of mouth is how amazing the food is at Monkey Burger. Apparently, this is a chef run operation, like a professionally trained culinarian had the idea to make a serious buck, and that's to open up a burger joint so good that the critics and meat fans alike will literally fall at your feet and worship the grease stained clogs that they don on their feet. After some deliberation, a 'just happen to be in the neighborhood' coincidence and, yes, a Groupon, we ate at their flagship set up on Broadway.

Nestled between a ladies boutique and an insurance brokerage, Monkey Burger doesn't seem like the place to collect raves and rants, but more like a bodega style eatery made to rush you in and then rush you out. Mind you, I've had some incredible food, some of the best, located in near invisibility in strip malls so I was totally open to the notion that heaven can lay not only between two buns but faceless businesses on the side of a busy byway.

When we walked in we were hit with the fact that the place is sorta set up like a Chipotle. It was a little stark, no music playing, with a basketball game turned up on the one TV over the “bar”, and when I put bar between parentheses, that means it a few chairs set up under a counter which stands in front of three tap handles and a clear glass kegerator under that TV.

“OK,” I muttered. “So, what do we do here?”, I asked the very bored looking cashier. “Sit down, or...?”

“I can take your order here,” she interjected. And that's all she said. Um, the place was empty. An elderly couple was chomping on what looked like amazing burgers and a guy, most likely a “server” that just got off work (because the cashier, the always-checking-his-Blackberry typical useless manager were talking to him about the day and, yeah, he was in a Monkey Burger tee-shirt) was eating at the bar. I mean, how hard could it have been to ask us to have a seat while we make our selection, take our order and then bring it out? Sure, if it was slammed busy, yeah, I'd stand there studying the super parred down menu and expect shortness in formalities and longness in getting our food to the table. But it was 4pm, post lunch and pre dinner deadness and we stood there like dorks going over a menu we had never seen before. In fact, the cashier (or waitress or whatever she was) looked as if we were kinda taking up her time doing nothing by standing there trying to decide on what to order. So eventually we settled on two that we could split and share.

First one was one called Madness, which features a sliced jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, Tabasco, fajita peppers, a scallion aioli and lettuce. We like it spicy and we hoped this one would deliver. The other was called True Blue which has blue cheese, caramelized onions, grilled tomatoes and Romaine. Some people hate blue cheese, saying it's too stinky, strong in flavor and looks like moldy dust bunnies all squished together. And I say...hell yeah! True blue cheese has to kinda smell like grandma feet and taste like savory and salty tomb morsels. Love it. For the sides we selected housemade chips and their sweet potato waffle fries. Yum.

Even though they have like five beers, the five beers they do have are pretty good. I got a Hazed and Infused hoppy ale on draft and She-Ra got a Session Black Ale in bottle. They also had Tetley's English ale, Murphy's Irish stout and Green Lake Organic Ale. Not bad for a small little establishment. And I do mean small. I'd say maybe a few two seaters, a couple of fours and five or six seats at that bar. Fifty people would make it seem packed. Sixty and they're spilling out onto the street. Which is why we started asking ourselves why that server chick couldn't just have us sit down, walk over and take our order which would make the kind of cold, even with all of the ratty graffiti art on the walls, seem a bit warmer. But, we were hungry, enjoying our post “Bridesmaids” (that movie was awesome!) beers and lunch (I know it was 4pm but we didn’t wake up till noon and have breakfast seeing as it was our day off, so...yeah) and were getting pretty excited about the food that would be arriving shortly.

And, actually, thanks to a kitchen focused establishment, the food came out pretty quick. I got the True Blue which looked like this:

Pretty amazing. Those waffle fries made my heart skip an oh-so happy beat. She-Ra got the Madness:

Which looked equally incredible. So we cut the two burgs in half and set one part on our plates.

I gotta tell ya here, that first bite of the True Blue, since it was right in the center, was fantastic. Perfectly cooked medium rare-ish Harris Ranch ground beef with piles of blue cheese, tomatoes and onions just melted in my mouth. It was incredibly juicy without being greasy, which is important for a burger themed restaurant. She-Ra was impressed as well with the Madness. Good heat, succulent peppers and beef, nice contrast from American comfort to South of the Border influence. Oh yeah, we were pretty happy. And those housemade chips and sweet potato waffle fries? Unreal. Everything was really doing a good job.

But then, as the burgers began to thin out, we kinda noticed a few important flaws. Like the True Blue, it was mostly grilled onions. The small pile of blue cheese was obviously just lumped right there in the center. And the Madness, while it was pretty fun, tasted more like a taco salad between two buns rather than a 1/3 pound burger topped with a fiesta of flavor. The meat just kinda got lost with all of the toppings and those lettuce leaves were kinda of in the way. Mind you, you can upgrade to a ½ pound patty but its gonna cost you. So while that first maybe second bite of our burger impressed us, after a while they just kind of disintegrated into a strange, but kinda tasty, mush.

The buns were good though, so that was a bonus. Light and fluffy, they contoured to the fillings and your hand and were the perfect vessel to get that stuff to yo face. But with all of the recent hoopla and awards, we were really expecting something spectacular. But hey, in a recent poll of Best Ofs here in Tucson, PF fxxking Changs won “Best Chinese Food”. I mean...are you joking? Does the voting public go anywhere else but corporate run restaurants? Apparently not, because I'm always busy. Recently I got word from my old stomping grounds in San Francisco that a U2 cover bad, Zoo Station, won “Best Local Band”. Goes to show you that you really do need to make the effort and get out and vote. Monkey Burger's burgers were good but we were left feeling a little let down. Plus after I took a photo of each burger and She-Ra and I quietly discussing (could a little music hurt you guys?, c'mon!) what we were eating, the manager kept hovering over us making sure everything was alright.

And that's the impression that we got: It was just alright.

Mind you this is just the one up on Broadway, we haven't tried the one downtown. If we are in that neck of the woods and craving a $9 burger, we'll probably pop in and order a completely new set of burgers to try. Who knows? The Chi-Town and the Sonora sound kinda good. But can they get over the fact that too much topping and fillers kinda kills the promise of a juicy and fantastic burger? I hope so. And I always have hope. Which is kinda of a downfall. Especially with overhyped restaurants.

So there you go. My initial impression and take on the ever so (or maybe not so) popular burger shack Monkey Burger. You can check it out online here: If you go there tell me what you think about it. Maybe we ordered the wrong thing at the wrong time. I don’t know. People rave about Empire Pizza downtown and while the food was good, the service was crap. Like absolute garbage. Looks like She-Ra has her work cut out for her and her new Server Solutions gig. And I have my work cut out eating at new places that everyone is squawking about.

Its a rough job but, sigh....somebody's gotta do it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Celebrating our favorite neighborhood bar...Danny's!

I'm going to be honest with you here: When I first went to Danny's...I didn't like it.

It was early 2006. Having moved from San Francisco (my home for 12 years), where I experienced some of the hippest “lounges”, scenester hangouts, upscale b.s. clubs along with a slew of smelly ultra dive crapholes, Danny's didn't do it from me. Mainly, I think, it's because smoking was still allowed in bars and me A) being from California and B) never smoking a cigarette in my life I nearly choked the first time I walked through those doors.

It was a Friday night and it was packed. The ceiling at Danny's is rather low and with one small front door opened the smoke just cultivated in mid air like a choking bog of Marlboro and American Spirits. Once I sat down, next to the front door with my head literally popped out for maximum oxygen, I had a chance to size up the place. It was cool, nothing special really, just a decent bar for decent people where the drinks were decent and everything was decent. Sure. Whatever. But I was still trying to be mister big fish in a new small pond, so I think that with still glazed eyes from my time in CA and SF and a body still reeling from kicking a year long battle with cocaine, I essentially told myself that I wasn't impressed. Kids, I was a much different person six years ago. Basically....I was a turd.

Through time though, things changed, including myself. The smoking ban was initiated and non-smoking drinkers like me rejoiced. The next time I went to Danny's after the smoking ban, which was like the next day I think, the place was much more tolerable. It wasn't busy and I could actually breathe. It was here I began to admire the old style décor, much like your dad's rumpus room from the 70s or your strange uncle's basement bar from the 80s. Worn leather seats, deep captain's booths, vintage Budweiser ads were everywhere giving it a comfortable and familiar feel. Danny's was cool I thought. I like it here.

Then, things got even better. When new owners Richard Snyder and Eric “Chili” Hulten took over, they made Danny's even more awesome. 

 Chili and me at their annual badass Xmas party

The back room, which housed a few old pool tables and broken pinball machines, got a new look, well, an old one, one that matched the retro feel of the main bar, wood paneling and all, was cleaned up and a huge HD TV was installed. The back patio, which didn't exist when I first visited, had tables and chairs installed and even a large chiminea was installed because, you know, it does get cold here in Tucson now and then. The home away from home even felt more like...home. Awesome.

A great feature about Danny's is their Sunday Guest Bartender night where folks and fans of the place sign up and can bartend on a Sunday night from 8pm to close and screen their favorite movies on the back wall. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention they show movies sometimes on the large back wall on the patio. Oh yeah. It's awesome. In fact, She-Ra and I had our 5th anniversary there where we ate pastrami sandwiches and watched The Empire Strikes Back. That's how cool the place is. They totally let us do that.

What was I saying? Oh yeah...guest bartenders. Yeah, it's way cool, a lot of our pals have done it, even She-Ra and myself. I think we screened Snakes On A Plane and Xanadu that night. to torture our friends and guests apparently. So, if you're out and about on a Sunday I suggest stopping by Danny's and you might see a new or familiar face.

So, I guess your wondering what the whole 'Baboquivari' thing is, right? Well, here's the scoop.

The building itself was a bar and restaurant since the 1950s. In fact, when She-Ra and I guest bartended we were surprised to find an old kitchen hidden behind the floppy doors the real bartenders disappear behind to restock or keg beer. It was pretty cool. Old and kinda weird Anyway, it got bought out by some lady in 1977 who re-named it The Baboquivari in honor of the sacred Tohono O'odham site near Sasabe, AZ. Then the infamous Danny bought it in 1982 and apparently couldn't afford to change the sign so he just added his name and …bingo!, the legend was born. 


Danny's has gone through a lot of changes, ups and downs, but now, in its almost 30 years of being a neighborhood bar, it's the place you still wanna hang out with the folks you wanna have a drink with. Heck, I had my 40th birthday party there and She-Ra and I just might have our wedding reception there as well. It's fun, comfortable, great jukebox (when it doesn't skip...I still cant listen to A Tribe Called Quest, fix the disc Chili!), awesome vibe and the drinks are poured according to how awesome you are. You gotta stop by and sit in the naugahyde booths and sip their signature Baboquivari Brew, made especially for Danny's by Nimbus Brewery. How cool is that? Even the owners of a prominent brewery know a good “classy dive” hangout bar when they see one. 

 Some of the gang and me at Danny's for my 40th birthday bash

Here's the info:

Danny's Baboquivari

2910 E. Fort Lowell Road
Tucson, AZ 85716
Did you see who they have in the picture for the review site? That's right. It's us.
See you there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Homeskillet's ode to the 4th Avenue Street Fair

What would modern living be without the proverbial fair? It's been in the fabric of what we do and who we are since the beginning of townships forming, communities coming together and neighbors that just wanna show off their cute dogs and apple pies. Heck, I'm sure there were some cavemen that got together on some regular basis and shared like different ways to prepare Mammoth or had some contest such as “Best Use of Rock as Weapon”. There had to have been. We're human. We like stupid crap like that.

Well kids, I am here to tell you that I am no different in my appreciation and participation in any way, shape or form of fair. Back in California, near my hometown of Carmel, there was the Monterey Squid Festival, the first place I ever ate calamari as a kid and was not even close to being horrified to find out it was octopus. Up north from Monterey, we had the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the Castroville Artichoke Festival, the Watsonville Strawberry Festival, etc, etc, etc. So, as you can see, festivals were a big part of me growing up; and they still are. No matter where you live, be it metropolitan or rural no-wheres-ville, I'll betcha right now they're planning the next fair or festival as we speak.

Deep in the hidden confines of the Ozark outback, I am nervous as to what “affair” they are putting together.

Nevertheless, here in Tucson AZ, my home now for over 6 years, outside of the rodeo (which is a school and state business holiday, I am crapping you negative) and a bunch of other stuff, we have the bi-annual 4th Avenue Street Fair.

4th Avenue is the hip shopping and restaurant district, second only to maybe to Congress Street, which tends to be a bit more upscale. 4th is full of funky shops, casual dining, great bars, tattoo parlors and the like. But, before summer hits and right before the holiday season, the long stretch of road becomes filled with all sorts of vendors and artists all pandering their wares under tents in usually pretty high temps. This spring fair was no different. It reached 100 by 1pm.

Still, they come out every year, sometimes twice a year, to sell their goods, only to pack up and head off to the next street fair or festival. What a life. I couldn't imagine selling Kokopelli decorated crock pots for a living, and that living being one of some new age nomad. Not for me.

(This guy actually has a great product, serving pots that stay cold for hours, but the designs on the side are comical and he's kind of a douche...)

But, seeing as the Homeskillet is my food blog, the main focus of our visit to the 4th Ave Street fair is, of course, eating.

Now, She-Ra and I like art just like the next person but, lemme tell you here, outside of my buddy Josh and his occasional arrival at the fair ( or the stuff that Pop Cycle does to old records and vintage toys ( ) most of the artwork is pretty horrendous. Not to mention, how many times did we have to get harassed about getting DirectTV? Really, a good portion of the 4th Ave Street Fair is kinda dumb...but the mullet count is usually pretty high.

The high point of the fair, for us anyway, is the food. There's always a bevvy of local fare, such as fry bread, Sonoran Mexican food, along with the usual lot of burgers and dogs. We can go to Lindy's anytime ( but it's only at the street fair that we can get our foot long Polish dogs at the Piggy Wiggly. Yep, that's what they call it.

First off, when you approach the stand, you are immediately hit with that wafting grilled aroma of several different kinds of meats and a pile of onions, horseradish and all sorts of slathery goodness.

Sure, just like any other kind of street fair, you-can-only-get-it-once-a-year kind of product, it's a little pricy: $8. BUT!, look at the size of this thing. I mean, it's pretty intimidating.

Our tradition, once we are properly mustard and hot sauced, we sit on the corner, eating our massive sausage (that sounds kinda wrong, right?) and watching the parading lot of fair goers, trying to not only count the mullets but the inappropriate jean shorts (on men!), bad prison tattoos, fannypacks, hairy backs and unattended children. Yessiree, it is always quite the spectacle.

It takes a while to get through the sausage but once you made that thing your lil' food bitch, the end result is not only having to not worry about eating for the next, oh, day, but also the gloppy mess that resonates on your hand afterward.

The rest of the day is usually spent running into friends, considering buying yet another Alice in Wonderland print from Pop Cycle, perhaps buying that sweet but spicy chipotle lime BBQ sauce (which we did) and trying to drink as much water as we can. Otherwise, the only vendor we spend a decent amount of cash on is the guys from the Garlic Festival (

All I gotta tell you is their products are a staple in our kitchen. Sure, we always use a lot of garlic in our cooking as it is but these guys have it down pat, as far as rubs, sauces, shakes and infused oils are concerned. We buy enough to get us through till the next time they arrive but, oh man, I always get excited when the newest street fair arrives because I know the Garlic Festival wizards will be there with their patented garlic gharni and spicy garlic mustard. Holy yum balls!

Usually after the fair we head home, count the loot then take a nap. Walking around 4th Ave for a few hours in the hot sun while avoiding gothy teenagers in Marilyn Manson shirts and 'the end is near' religious freaks can be pretty exhausting. It's always a fun time, if not for a good laugh, but the food is always the star and our corner is always empty, waiting for us to sit down, watch the free show while eating way too much tubed meat.

But, do I really need DirectTV? I mean, those guys were so...insistent. Gosh. 

 RIP Mary's Taco Bar...I was pretty sad to see it all boarded up and closed down. This place was awesome and really helped when drinking at Che's or the Wench went a bit too far. Those tacos were amazing. Cheers!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Saturday Night Special

First off, let me apologize for the recent infrequency of my Homeskillet blogs. Between work, March Madness and culinary school in the morning and studying at night, it just fell by the wayside. Not that we haven't been cooking or coming up with new ideas and recipes its just, well, we've been too tired to write about them.

But now, after another long and arduous 10 day stretch at work, I have 3 days off and some time to chat with you guys and share some recent awesomeness.

Actually I just wanna show you what I did this one night.

Okay, so, She-Ra, who usually works the bar during the day, switched shifts with someone and got a closing shift on a Saturday night. This particular Saturday was my first of three days off, one of which was spent sleeping in, reading and watching bad TV. It was amazing and a well needed day to just be all 'bleh'. But when the time came for She-Ra to head off to work, I cracked open a deserved beer and scanned the fridge and pantry for the night's cooking mischief.

After some deliberation and even considering ordering delivery, I nailed down a fun snack and awesome dinner that I want to share with you know.

Ready? Here's what I did.

First off, I nailed down the ingredients. We had some leftover BBQ chicken, some beets, cilantro, red and green cabbage, feta and Swiss cheese, sweet peppers, fresh sourdough bread and a bunch of other stuff. As you may or may not know, my recent challenge of late was to convince me that beets are great. So far what I did with them (beet chips, threw some in a salad and this new one) convinced me that beets are awesome. Now I'm just down to pretty much hating olives. And that dear readers is something you will never convince me to like. I ate one just the other day during lunch, just to see if they suck as bad as I knew they did.

Yep. Spit it right out.

So here is an amazing recipe for an appetizer, side or just a fun snack. You'll need:

Couple of beets (I had both red and golden)

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Feta cheese

Lemon juice


Dice the beets into little bite size pieces, about ½ or ¼ inches, and toss with a decent amount of olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pre-heat the oven at 450 and toss the beets in there on a baking sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes. Take them out, stir them, and return to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Thinly chop up those scallions and when the beets are done, immediately plate them, drizzle with the lemon juice, add the scallions and top with the feta cheese.

Blammo! This was a fairly healthy, earthy but savory snack. It'd be a great side for a Mediterranean dish or a different option for a cookout. I gobbled this down in no time flat...mainly because I only had 2 small beets of each variety and was on my second beer. Soooo good!

As time passed, watching a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives marathon while uploading music onto my MP3 player, I started to get hungry for a real meal. Basically watching those truck stop wizards concoct dishes that would put any James Beard awarded chef to shame for a few hours, I knew I wanted some serious grub. Not to mention, I was on cocktails now.

For the chicken sandwich I decided to make a tangy BBQ sauce. The chicken was already cooked, on the grill, so if you wanna use this recipe in the future, I suggest a fun dry rub on your chicken (salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder...whatever you prefer) and slather this stuff on a minute or two before plating. Me?, I just heated it up in a small pot before adding the shredded chicken.

Here's that sauce:

½ cup of Ketchup

Tablespoon of honey

Tablespoon of Brown Sugar

Mustard (to taste)

White Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper



Onion and Garlic Powder

Worchestershire Sauce

Squeeze of Lemon

Chili Powder


Some Olive Oil

Basically, those are the components I used and you can use them as liberally or conservatively as you want. I personally like a nice sweetness to my sauce but love a good kick so, this is a pretty good one. After combining everything in a sauce pot, letting the flavors meld and seep into each other, about 5 or 10 minutes on a low heat, I added the chicken and stirred it up and let it sit there on warm for a bit.

Knowing I had some good cabbage left, I decided to make a yummy slaw dressing. Here's what I used:

Mayo (we use the reduced fat olive oil Kraft type, it's the best 'best for you' mayo on the shelves there days)


Red and White Wine Vinegar

Celery Salt

Mustard Powder

Fresh Ground Pepper

Hint of Salt

Dash of Chipotle sauce

Now, if you guys don't have a mandoline (it's a fantastic kitchen tool for getting perfect uniform shreds and slices) then you need to get one. Unless you don't like cooking then...why are you reading this? Using the mandoline, I shredded up the green and red cabbage and used the julienne setting for the carrots. So fast and easy. Man I love our mandoline.

I combined the cabbage and carrots with the dressing in a bowl and set aside. Then I went about making my sandwich.

Luckily I had some organic sweet peppers and a fresh loaf of sourdough bread. So I chopped up the peppers and cut me some bread. Here's a trick: Once you cut the amount of bread you're going to use, what I like to do is scoop out the excess stuff in the middle, this way your sandwich wont be a bready gluteny mess; just a tasty vessel to get the filling into yo face.

I then put the BBQ chicken in the bread, adding the peppers and topped it with some Swiss cheese. Then it went into the broiler for about a minute to melt the cheese. Once it came out, I added some cilantro (which is amazing on BBQ by the way) and plated it with the coleslaw and some leftover potato salad. I don't have a recipe for the potato salad....we bought it at our local deli. And, viola!, a perfect midnight snack. And, yes, it was actually midnight at this point.

Let me tell you, it was beyond tasty and a good base after a night of some light drinking. I know I had pre-cooked chicken but when you do it on your own just make sure it's cooked all the way through and the juices run clear. I suggest using a grill pan in you're gonna do it indoors. Just adds a bit more flavor and it makes the chicken look real nice. You know, those grill marks and crap.

There you have it kids, another fun time in the kitchen and another grubby yet healthy (as much as I can get it) option for the next time you're left alone with a fridge full of food and beer while deciding which version of Iron Maiden's “Running Free” to upload: the Paul Di'Anno one or the Bruce Dickenson version?

I went with Di'Anno.

Stay hungry and keep cooking everyone!

(The pets usually hide when I'm cooking and blasting the Metal. They're smart like that...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leeks is not something your sink does.

Fun recipe with leeks, chicken and a yummy salad.

As you probably guessed from some Homeskillet entries, I tend to glom onto one ingredient or component for a while, literally using that one item in almost everything that I cook. Then I move on. For me, it's sorta like mastering one judo move or skateboard trick, and once you got it down, it's time to move onto the next.

Pretty soon I'll be getting into beets as loads of pals on Facebook and Twitter have given me tons of ideas of what do do with those things. For some reason, I just can seem to get that rough dirty flavor of beets to shake hands with my tastebuds. Maybe its because as a kid, beets were served at this daycare center and they were absolutely hideous. Its sort of like Jimmy Fallon and why he hates mayonnaise. One time as a youngster, he got his head caught in the railing of some stairs and his grandma used mayo to squeeze his lil' Fallon head out of there. Perhaps that's why I don't like beets.

But I don't wanna talk about beets right now. I wanna chat about my new ingredient that I wanna be the master of.

And those are leeks.

Now, leeks belong in the Alliaceae family, which also is home to garlic and onions, so the flavor is similar to those but completely unto its own. Think a mild onion with a earthy scallion scent with a bit of cucumber thrown in for good measure. A lot of people and recipes use them in soups, the most common I suppose it the potato leek soup. And, believe me, I love me some potato leek soup. But I wanted to try a new dish using leeks and I made one that was pretty successful and I wanna share it with you here.

OK, first, you need to clean those leeks. The growing process of leeks means that a lot of dirt gets caught in those rough stalks. So, after you trim off the stalks and base (save the stalks for later use in making stock or you can also use them as a component in your bouquet garni) cut the leeks in the desired fashion and wash them under cool running water.

Then, after those have been rinsed, fill a bowl full of water and place the leeks in the bowl. They will float on top but all the excess dirt will fall to the bottom. This is a great trick to get rid of all that nasty dirt.

After all of the dirt is finally gone, remove the leeks and now you are ready to use them in a recipe.

Here is one that we made recently and was a bit hit. Hopefully it'll be a big hit with you too.

Alright, since She-Ra and I usually cook for just two I am going to give you the recipe for two. Just adjust the recipe for larger parties. I'm sure you can just eyeball the amount. I trust you. Here's what you're going to need:

4 medium or 2 large leeks (cut lengthwise if medium, quartered if large)

1 cup of low sodium chicken broth

4 cloves of garlic

Few sprigs of thyme

2 boneless chicken breasts, about 5 ounces each, trimmed

½ teaspoon of Kosher salt, divided

½ teaspoon of pepper, divided

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

½ cup of heavy cream

Preheat your oven at 450.

After cleaning and slicing the leeks, place them in a single layer in a fairly large baking pan, a 9x13 inch is what we used, getting them good and nestled in and then pour in the broth. Then get the garlic and thyme submerged in between the leeks and bake for about 40 minutes.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and get a griddle pan or skillet ready with a bit of oil in it. After about 30 minutes of the leeks cooking, heat the pan to about medium-high and cook the chicken for about 3 minutes each side getting them a good golden brown, but not cooked all the way through, then remove and set aside. Turn the heat off of the pan or skillet but do not remove from the burner. You'll see why.

Once the leeks have cooked for 40 minutes, remove them from the oven. Now nestle the chicken between the leeks, getting them good and cozy in there. Your skillet should still be kinda hot so we are now going to add the cream and a tad more salt to it and stir it around getting up all the extra browned chicken bits. You don't want the cream to be all boiling. Just enough heat to get it up to temp and help remove the browned meat. Once that's done, pour the cream over the chicken and leeks and return them to the oven. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165.

Once everything is cooked to perfection, plate the chicken with the leeks and spoon over as much sauce as you can or want over them.

Viola! The result should look like this:

We served ours with egg noodles, which provide a good source of soaking up all that excess sauce but not heavy enough like most other pastas to interfere with the main course. On the side there is a salad which, if I might toot my own horn here for a second, was probably one of my most successful.

Here's what I did.

I used a large, well washed and dried, leaf of romaine and filled it with red leaf lettuce, a mix of rocket greens (arugula, petite and artisan), sliced red onion and some grape tomatoes. Here's a good trick to get the most flavor out of tomatoes: Once you washed and cut them into the style that you want, place them in a colander and sprinkle them with Kosher or sea salt. This way that amazing grassy flavor comes out in full throttle and right before serving shake off the excess salt.

Plus, and here's another tip for you, I made a mustard vinaigrette by using the last annoying bits of mustard in the bottle. You know when you're squeezing an almost empty bottle of mustard and you start to get those 'mustard farts', the kind that just splatter all over your bologna? Yeah, you can make a really good dressing out of that.

Using the near empty mustard bottle, add 1/3 cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of red wine vinegar, some salt, black pepper, minced garlic (basically some left over spices from the chicken and leek recipe) and your favorite herbs with a pinch of sugar, put the cap back on the bottle and shake it up real good. The result should be a light yellow mustard vinaigrette but if it tastes too much like mustard, just keep adding oli, vinegar and spices till you get it right.

This salad, and I'm not kidding here, tasted like a burger. It was so weird. It (almost) trumped the main dish because it was so surprising. Give it a shot and tell me what you think.

There you go Homeskillet fans, a fun, delicious and quite healthy dish for the next night you're all “So, what should we eat?” Try this one. Shake hands with your good pal the leek and shake the mustard bottle well when you make that vinaigrette.

Thanks for reading. Now get cooking! 

 "I've got a cure for that baby. And, like...who's Barry?"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"So Mark...when did you become all food and cooking obsessed?"

Homeskillet supplement: A brief tale about the reason for this blog site and my recent culinary obsession.

Look, now, I’m not going to lie to you here because, well, that’s not my usual style and not the focus of this Homeskillet blog page. Why would I lie here? I’m sharing recipes, telling you about our favorite places to eat and drink in Tucson and all sorts of awesome grubby stuff. I’d only be lying if I said that I didn’t like to cook, that I don’t enjoy eating yummy food or that I will refuse another round of drinks from you. But that aint gonna happen.

Here’s the thing kids: It’s taken me a little over three decades to finally simmer down to what I want to do with myself and what I really love to do: And that is cooking and training myself to be better at it and open a fun place with She-Ra. Believe me, I have tried so many different “careers” and “job opportunities” in my time only for them to all, basically, fall by the wayside and be a memory. Fun memories, some of them, but none of them stuck with me like I thought that they would. Why? Because I never felt that intense urge deep down inside of me to make this, whatever gig that was at the time, to be and become the thing that I was meant to do for the rest of my life.

Until recently.

Okay, so, I hope I’m not confusing you or setting you up for some kind of jag about me changing careers (yet again) only for this one to melt away like all the others because I have some form of ADD and can’t commit to anything for more than a year or two. Because that’s not the case here. Sure, I’ll try (almost) anything once, and sorta have, and, yeah, I am a bit spastic when it comes to working and relationships (now that’s a whole different story) but it was a revelation about a year ago that set me ablaze and got me more excited about waking up and getting started with another day than anything else. It’s so freaking cool.

With that, let’s take a brief tour of my career path past and see where I went wrong. Well, not ‘wrong’ but, let’s say find out why most jobs and careers were the wrong fit. How’s that?

Now, I graduated high school a year early, thanks in part to my English teacher, Mrs. Favalora, who knew and saw that I was really struggling with school (not that I am dumb, I just really hated my high school, so instead of going there, I preferred skateboarding and playing D&D) and suggested I take a proficiency test and get me out instead of having me held back. I took the test, passed with flying colors and was enrolled in theater classes at the local community college, Monterey Peninsula College, soon after. Seeing as my dad was an actor and my mom did costumes for years, I figured I had some kind of chance in theater. It was fun, but I quickly found out that actors bug the crap out of me and I felt like an idiot having to “emote” and say stupid lines while wearing a codpiece. Doing backstage work was always fun though. I liked being behind the scenes and making the show a success by setting the actors and show up by doing lighting, sound, rigging, running crew and all that.

 Me at age 14 with a little 'light' reading

Thrash metal and Xmas fanatic theater dork me at 16

By the time I moved to Santa Barbara, following a girlfriend who got into UCSB and some other pals who did the same, I was pretty much over school. But, when in Rome, I took a bunch of classes anyway, ones that interested me at the time like philosophy, psychology, theology, literature, etc. It was during this time that I thought a career in film would be a good idea so, instead of moving to LA and hacking my way out of that nightmarish jungle, I followed the girlfriend and friends to San Francisco where a job doing production work was waiting for me. See, it’s all in who you know. And I guess I knew somebody.

Being a production assistant on films, music videos and commercials is tough. Long hard hours, low pay and having to hustle yourself all the time for more work just didn’t cut it for me. Plus I was pretty bad at it. The relationship was ending with the girlfriend during this time so my head wasn’t in the game most jobs. When the relationship finally ended and job offers came to a halt, I did what I had to do and start working in cafes and restaurants, because, luckily, San Francisco is filled with them.

With the “I’m just passing through till the next awesome opportunity arrives” attitude, I tended to stay at most restaurant jobs the longest. It was fun, the tips were good, and I always liked helping out in the kitchen. But, no!, I was “too cool” for that stuff, so I continued trying my hand at things that I thought, at the time, were cool.

Writing had always come fairly easy to me so when the chance to pen articles for a friend’s up and coming magazine came along, I jumped right in. It was the beginning of my music journalism stint, one that lasted almost a decade, and I really liked it. For a while. Why? Because (just like they say in Almost Famous) I felt cool. I was hanging out with bands, meeting people like Henry Rollins, Bad Brains, The Misfits, Lemmy of Motorhead, all my high school heroes basically. I got into shows for free, CDs came in the mail everyday, so much in fact I had to get a mailbox service to handle the load. At one point, I wrote for over a dozen websites and magazines which soon got me jobs working for dot coms (this was the late 90’s and early 2000’s in San Francisco, dorks like me with a portfolio got work) and marketing firms allowing me to actually make some decent money. Then, boom!, or should I say ‘crash’? The great “dot bomb” hit and jobs just stopped coming in. Even this project I was involved with, one that had me living online in the old SF Real World house with a bunch of other people went up in flames. No really, the house caught fire destroying everything. Most of my portfolio stuff was in ash and I had no real proof anymore that I was who I was. So, it was back to cafes and restaurants while I still wrote for some of the magazines that kept me on.

But there was no pay, or very little of it, being a freelance music journalist, one that specialized in heavy metal, so I had to have “real” jobs while I wrote. I worked as a bartender and host at a popular eatery called Q, which was featured recently on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which was a great gig for a while. Up the street from Q was my favorite bar called the 540 Club, which I hung out there often seeing as it was between Q and my apartment in the Presidio. One night at the 540, a bunch of us were hanging around the bar, listening to some DJ spin bleak and boring indie rock. None of us were having fun, including the owner, the regulars and the bartender. Now, at this point, I had been writing mainly as a heavy metal correspondent and doing work for magazines such as Pit and Metal Maniacs, seeing as I am a longtime fan of the genre, and the CDs, mostly metal, were piling up in my small place. As that DJ continued to bore us to death, an idea hit like lightning bolt.

“Would you guys be interested in doing a Metal night?”, I suggested. Everyone, including the owner, all perked up and said a resounding “YES!”  And that was how Metal Mark was born.

My first night DJing at the 540, a Saturday night none the less, was so massively popular that the fire department had to be called in because the place was so packed. The fog machine I had purchased, one that I hid behind my Castle Grayskull, along with strobe and black lights and skull candle holders, engulfed the crowd as I blasted old and new school metal. Obviously we had hit a nerve and I became a regular DJ at the 540 Club. 

 NILE listening party at the 540 Club sponsored by Metal Maniacs

This lead to a guest spot on KUSF’s “Rampage Radio” where every Saturday (well, Sunday really) from 2am to 8am, they played the most extreme punk and metal music. I was thrilled and honored to be a part of that crew. Unfortunately this lead me to try cocaine which I soon became quite reliant on and even hooked on. Which, of course, increased my drinking. The drug was simply everywhere, at the station, the bar and grill I worked, “friends” always had it on them, not to mention I was pretty lonely and confused since all my real pals moved away and I was stuck taking care of a creaky apartment that belonged to an ex-girlfriend. Luckily, right before I hit rock bottom, I met She-Ra and moved to Tucson to be with her…that and the cheap rent. And Mexican food.

After detoxing and letting what little savings I had run out, I looked for jobs. No DJ work for me, that is unless I wanted to make right above minimum wage and pull graveyard shifts at some crappy ‘new rock’ stations. I did work two nights at a prominent “gentleman’s club” as a DJ but couldn’t do it as blow was being passed out everywhere and when I heard my voice over the house system “Now lets hear it for Sinnamon! C’mon guys, get those dollars out and…” I cracked up and walked out. That eventually lead me a freelance job for a “professional” DJ company doing weddings, proms, etc. It sucked but it was work. I also tried journalism again, but no one would hire me and the only paper I got in with folded six months after I got hired.

Frustrated and impatient, I began looking for something solid, some job that I could enjoy just enough while I try my hand at book writing.

“You could always work in the kitchen at Old Chicago,” She-Ra suggested. It was where she bartended and where I had made a bevy of good friends because of her job there so, after some deliberation, I said why not. I had never worked in a real kitchen before but, hey, how hard could it be?

Yeah. It was pretty rough at first. Even though I was hired as just the pizza guy it was made quite clear very quickly that you have to know every aspect of that kitchen. I had dough making shifts, prep, front line, even dishwashing (which I strangely actually enjoyed, and still do), expo, opening and closing shifts, all of it. Seeing as I was part time then (still DJing weddings and crap and even did fundraising for the Tucson symphony for a while…that’s right, we have a symphony) I was still a floater, but when I went full time, to start my first novel, I was put on the pizza line, mainly because I am real meticulous when it comes to presentation and the front line is just too hot with servers and managers screaming at you.

I wrote my first book “Rabbit Every Tuesday”, a memoir about my tumultuous last year in San Francisco and finding true love, and began sending it out to publishers and agents in hopes of getting published. Nothing. Then I wrote my second book, a children’s novel called “In The Thicket”, which I had hoped to make a series out of, and, again, rejection after rejection after…heck, sometimes they never even bothered to get back to me. So I kept on trying, editing and submitting my work while outlining my third book and continued to think that my kitchen job was just a necessary evil and I’d be out of there soon.

But then, through time, I found myself really enjoying my job. I like how kitchens work. It’s kind of like working backstage at a theater. Making things happen from behind the scenes was a lot of fun. Plus I found myself reading cook books more so than other normal books, I started getting memberships at food and cooking websites, subscribing to cooking magazines, obsessing over shows like Top Chef and No Reservations, watching online instructional videos on knife techniques (I am a bad ass chiffonier by the way, who knew?) and all things culinary. My book writing took a backseat to me wanting to know how to properly braise a chicken, what stock to use in what soup, which herbs to use in what dish, how Thomas Keller came up with his “oysters and pearls” genius entrée, and so on and so forth. I was soon consumed with my love of eating and a new found appreciation of cooking.

Then, one night…it happened.

After a particularly hard day at work, and us just talking about our options of the future as far as jobs are concerned, She-Ra said something that set the wheels in harmonious motion:

“I’ve always wanted to open up my own place,” she quietly said.

I immediately hit the ceiling, jumping up from my seated position on the couch. The sky, literally, opened up. That was it I thought. That was IT! And, to be honest with you, it is all I ever wanted yet never fully accepted. Four decades on planet Earth and I finally know what I really want to do with the rest of my life.

I wanna be a cook. A really, really good cook. And I wanna eat…well. Which, we do, already, for the most part, but I mean really well.

Oh, and I wanna hang out with She-Ra too. Which I’m sure you thought was already a given. Which…it is.

So there you go. That’s the Reader’s Digest version of it all (which is still pretty long for a blog, right?) and why I started this page and who I am all about now and what I have in store for the near future. It’s like I don’t even notice what I did for “careers” in the past; it was all just fun and story makings for the most part. Sure, I love to write and will NEVER give that up, along with being a dedicated lifelong metalhead, but now I have a different way of expressing myself, another medium to make people happy. And that, my dear friends and readers, is to cook for you and share my adventures as I do so, as I self-teach myself in all manners of becoming a real chef, doing the Top Chef University online program (which is pretty amazing by the way) and, eventually, getting certified from a local culinary academy. It’s so much fun and I’m so excited I can’t even explain it to you.

Wait. Maybe I just did.

Thanks for listening. Now I gotta get back in the kitchen. I think my tater-tots are done…