Friday, January 30, 2009


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is the best piece of 1930's psychedelia I've seen.

Almost too weird.

Not much new on this side. New job has been keeping me plenty busy, what with all the meetings, phone calls, and running around. We had a little neighborhood meet/greet last night that went off without a hitch.

The restaurant is in the corner of a famously dilapidated building in Chinatown, which is also, wholly dilapidated. To say that the neighboring businesses, property owners, and other interested parties are happy to have us there would be understating the case. Many smiling faces for us.

I haven't checked in here much, since I've kind of been getting my ya-ya's out over at the SALTS blog. Must have something to do with winter (it's snowing again), but all I want to do is taste stuff, and then talk about it.
I have been eating at least one can of sardines a day, and I feel fucking great. Those little bastards with all their omega-3, calcium, and iron are doing the trick.

Anyway, check it out, if you don't mind a bunch of fish nerds boring one-another to death with the minutiae of eating what amounts to the dog turds of the culinary world.

Even Berg is disgusted by the whole mess.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I got a new job.

Before we went to Idaho I interviewed for a lead-bar position for media-darling and ass-kicker AR's new Spot in Chinatown.

Came home to a phone call, a bunch of meetings, an ass-high stack of paperwork, and a restaurant on the verge of greatness.

You can call me Mr. Assistant General Manger.

I believe in the Vision, and am wholly committed to its Success.

Weird, right?
Hey SALTY's, here's a little something from the BELA-Olhao blog I thought I might share with you.


Hamachi thinks we should start a separate blog for SALTy business, and I'm beginning to think he's right. Those of you who are interested, please submit a review.

Another thing I'd like to accomplish is at least the beginnings of a sardine brands archive/wish list.

Yes, I'm fucking obsessive. So sue me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

Think about it. Just take a minute today, and really think about what this means.

What's your part? How are you going to contribute?

Let's go for a ride.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hot Stuff is Good for Your Innards.

Shuck the tomatillos. It helps to put them in lukewarm water for a bit to soften up the husks. Put them in a roasting pan with a little water and into a 400 degree oven until they're soft. Then you want to get them into the broiler until the skins blacken. They're done when they smell done.

Roast a couple of cloves of galic in a hot, dry pan. They should be good and Black on most parts.

The clever among you buy hot peppers during the summer when they are cheap and abundant, roast them in batches, and freeze them so that they are on hand when you want to mix up a bowl of something smoky/spicy.

All of it into the food processor, plus some lime juice, salt, and a bit of vinegar to make the flavors pop.

What's that in the quart jar? Oh, nothing.

Actually, it's Cascade brewing's "Mouton Rouge." A wee bit of Flanders-style sour red ale.

Fucking unbelievable is what it is, but there are only a dozen 1/4 barrels out, and at nearly $200 for one of those, this is one for the bucket list.

And yes, that's me in the background.

The Rev posted this the other day, and I was shocked to find that I'd nearly forgotten the words to one of my all-time favorite songs.

A bit of dickering about led me to this:

I've been singing both of these to myself all day, and I have not been called "Faggot" by one single Camaro-driver. Times do change...

Mr. Chris is right. King Oscar "tiny-tots" brisling sardines represent the pinnacle of easily-sourced domestic brands.

I just took a spin out to 122nd ave to spend my last $80 on groceries, and since I know that they carry the fish in the yellow package, I grabbed up a can.

I have typically been interested in tinned sardines of the rarer sort, but have fallen back on King Oscar in many a time of need. It is a soft landing.

If memory serves, these were at one time marked, "Norway", but the can I purchased was packed in Poland, and I have a feeling, that since the company is now owned by Bumble-Bee, they probably source their fish from many different ports, worldwide.

Medium fishy odor, relatively firm, and packed in a low-quality olive oil. Mouthfeel is good, if a bit on the soft side, and flavor is nice and easy, with a sort of bland fishiness.

At $2.49 a can, not the best value out there, but again, an excellent quality standby sardine.

Eaten today, just now, with Tillamook sharp cheddar and pepper jack, Chef Paul's Magic pepper sauce (courtesy of Hamachi), saltines, and a bottle of Deschute's Obsidian Stout.

3 out of 5 tins.

Sunday, January 18, 2009



Another Fubonn purchase. I've never had good luck with sardines packed in round cans. Most of the ones I have tried have been of Mexican origin, too big and/or mushy and typically in some kind of sauce.

I'm sort of a purist when it comes to these things, but every once in a while I'll be intrigued by a bit of cool or weird labeling and take the plunge.

I brought a tin of these Thai "Smiling Fish" brand sardines out to Les Bois for Mr. Chris to help me test. They are fried and packed in yellow curry. That is about the best thing I can say about them. Certainly the first time I've put Sriracha sauce on tinned fish, but it seemed appropriate here, considering their origin, and the vileness of the product. Mr. Chris and 'Ningo polished off the can and seemed happy about it. I had two crackers worth and threw in the towel.

Cool packaging and an intriguing idea, but poorly executed.
Two Tins out of five.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Peter Davis is currently my favorite poet.

Grafting Failures

I have never been good
at grafting the skin
from my own chest so as
to totally cover the burned legs.
But, within reason, you have
to admit that I've been hygienic.
Sure, you look terrific
and you move with
the sideways wind when
everyone assumes nothing
can move. But, Tina,
you understand stuff that is
deep down. When I was painting
my panorama for the contest,
I was thinking of you.
Even eating stew, Tina, you're
something special. I'm like
the broth is good, but I'm more
like, really, baby, you're so hot!
It seems that everyone is in the same boat lately. Laid off, broke, waiting for spring and the wheels to start turning again.

Idaho is always a trip. Sort of great and sort of a bummer. Coming home out of the eastern Oregon tule fog and seeing the sun bouncing around in the Gorge was a welcome sight indeed. It is truly wonderful to be back in Portland.

Anyway, we killed some fish.



Brother-in-law brought in a pair of Mallards who ended up as a late, but satisfying dinner for the whole family.

And we drove a couple of thousand miles with two two-year-old boys.

They like rivers, trains, big trucks, lonesome mountains, and fried trout.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More Fish

Gunnar over at 1410 Oakwood has lately inspired me to look pastways for things of interest.

My Great-Grandfather, Clyde Pike, grew up on and around the Uintah Ute Indian reservation east of Salt Lake City.

He was my fishing buddy.
Crowther's Reservoir, 1979

This will be my last post for a bit. Check back in a week or so. I got business.

We Got the Keys

The Snus' Coronet resting quietly in the new shop.

Mopars are GO!


Monday, January 5, 2009


I have always loved to eat fish. Mostly the kind of fish that I kill myself. Cutthroat or Brook trout from alpine lakes in Idaho being my favorite.
Curried rainbow trout. Malad City, Idaho, 2006.

I have caught Dorado off the tip of Baja and grilled it on beach fires. I have picked mussels and dug clams and scooped snails out of the Pacific to be put in lime juice and eaten with warm beer and saltines. I have surf-cast for perch, gone out at midnight on a full moon to sweep poor Grunion into a pail, and spent probably 1000 slow hours sitting next to my grandfather in his little aluminum boat, trolling the reservoirs for stocked rainbow, and jigging the reeds for smallmouth bass.
Butter Lip Perch. Rancho Conejo, Baja California. 2005

Of course there is much more. Ceviche de pulpo at Mariscos "La Costa" in Oakland, the langostas eaten in an illegal backyard restaraunt in Trinidad, Cuba, the boquerones and razor clams of Barcelona's tapas bars, the perfect flesh of the halibut my brother-in-law brings back from Alaska, and the empty sushi plates regularly stacked to the sneeze-guard.

I remember all of this fish fondly and well.


My grandfather is with me. His cap on the side of his head and his box of farm cheddar and head cheese and a can of Bud in a blue styrofoam coozie. And a tin of sardines. Real Man food to share with me.

It's still a part of how I keep him close. His Starrett machinist square, his lump hammer with the grease-blackened handle, and always those sardines.


Here we will be reviewing cans of fish from around the world, both for my own joy and the edification of my readership. Welcome to the Society for the Appreciation of the Lowly Tinned Sardine or SALTS.

Let's start with El Amir Moroccan Sardines in olive oil.

I scored these on a trip to Fubonn
last week where I was in search of the Japanese sardines in the white oval can that thus far I have had to drive to Uwajimaya to get. No luck, but I stumbled upon these babies and they are wonderful. Three medium-sized fish packed very tightly. Dense flesh, mild flavor and a sweet, fresh fish aroma. Eaten with saltines, Tillamook sharp cheddar, Frank's RedHot sauce and a bottle of Taiwan Gold Medal beer.

4 out of 5 tins.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Lads and I very much like this.

And this.

Happy birthday sons.

You beauties.

You lights of your father's eyes.