Friday, November 2, 2007

Chompsky Goes West

I’ve been whisked away for a bit of vacation on the West Coast – San Francisco, to be exact. I’m looking forward to getting back to my brothers, but have been enjoying my time here in the gastrognomic capital of the U.S.

The Golden Gate Bridge (which is actually as red as my hat!) is beautiful, the weather is foggy (I’ve had to invest in a number of gnome scarves – they’re hard to come by), but I’ve had some of my favorite experiences as I’ve eaten my way across the city.

One of my favorites is Jimi-san’s Sushi Bistro, in the Inner Sunset neighborhood. Now, I have to tell you that I was a little skeptical, never having had sushi, that Japanese concoction of rice and raw fish. However, my worries were soon put to rest.

There are many sushi restaurants in this city (which has one of the largest Asian populations in the country), and all cater to different palates and budget. Jimi-san’s is cosy, casual and affordable. What can be better than that?

Feeling adventurous, I tried a number of rolls and found them all tasty. The eternity roll featured tuna topped with fresh, delicate onions and bean sprouts. The blizzard roll was finished with raspberry sauce (of all things), and was delicious! I also snacked on edamame once I figured out I shouldn’t eat the pods.

I finished it all off with a swig of Asahi, a popular Japanese beer (the bottle was bigger than I was!). I’ll definitely have a lot to tell my brothers when I get back home. Kampai!

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Crusty, Old Gnome Goes to Crust

I know, I know – you’re thinkin’, what the hell is he doing drinking a sissy drink like that? Well, I tell you, after one of these concoctions and a beer, I was face down in my pizza before I knew what hit me. But I did manage to get a bite in before my embarrassing demise, and damn, it was good. The crust was buttery, pillowy and crispy on the bottom. I ordered the Flammkuchen – it sounded like the kind of pizza a gnome would like. I had to be kind of a pain in the arse though – I ordered it without caraway seeds. As many of you know, the brother gastrognomes lack the enzyme to properly digest caraway seeds, so we must endure life without them. But, the pizza was still delicious, even sans the seeds – caramelized onion, b├ęchamel sauce, slab bacon and cracked black pepper. And as for the drink that knocked me on my arse – Strawberry Fields (strawberry & sweet woodruff vodka, strawberry juice and cava).

Now before you think I’m some kind of a lightweight, you have to put the size of Old Chomp into perspective – me having two drinks is the equivalent of a full size human drinking four bottles of wine, two six-packs and a bloody mary to boot. Next time I’m starting with the food and ending with the drinks so I can at least remember what I ate.

Crust is located at 2056 W. Division at the corner of Hoyne and Division.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Drunk Diving

What do I, the noble Gnome Chompski, have in common with a slimy slug? Depending on who ya ask, you might hear “well, he’s a little pudgy and pretty slow”, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Slugs happen to like the drink as much as I do – specifically beer. Our intentions start off the same – we’re both drawn to the magical, amber liquid like the pied piper of pints. The slugs like it so much, that they will literally dive into a pool of the stuff if you leave a dish out in your yard. Taking a bath in beer sounds like a damn good spa service to me, but the slugs don’t fare so well – they end up dissolving. Dissolving! So, sneaky gardeners take advantage of the slugs’ weakness for beer and they trap the poor suckers. I feel kind a bad for my fellow beer guzzlers, but a couple more hours in my Guinness bath will wash away any guilty feeling I have...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fruit vs. Vegetable

For as long as I can remember, Leopold and I have been buttin’ heads on the subject of the tomato – is it a vegetable or a fruit? Chompski doesn’t give a damn one way or another as long as it makes a decent Bloody Mary. But I had to get to the bottom of this, for my own piece of mind (and to prove my hard-headed brother wrong).

I did some digging and found out that botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit. What makes a fruit a fruit? – if it has seeds. So, since the tomato has seeds, it’s classified as a fruit – which also makes cucumbers, squash, green beans and walnuts fruits as well.

But legally speaking, the tomato is a vegetable. Legally? You heard me right. In 1893, the little bugger made it all the way to the Supreme Court. In a nutshell: back then imported vegetables were subject to tariffs. The case originated in 1887 when the Nix Family sued a tax collector to recover back duties that had been collected on their tomatoes – which the Nix Family considered to be a fruit and therefore not subject to taxes. Fast forward to 1893 and the Supreme Court finally ruled that, in the eyes of the law, tomatoes were vegetables:

“Botanically, tomatoes are considered a fruit of the vine.... But in common language of people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not like fruits generally, as dessert.”

So there you have it. Next time you’re at a loss for interesting small talk at a party, you can throw our your bit of tomato trivia to impress the ladies.

Oh, and by the way, I was right – legally. But Leopold was right, too. Damn.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Color Me Blind

It’s spring in the meadow and, being that I like to cook seasonally, I chose some beautiful asparagus for our dinner that night. I got up to the check out and the bloke asked me “is this the green or the white asparagus kind?”. Well, now I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, but come on lad – is doesn’t take a junior high diploma to know the difference between green and white asparagus. So, I looked at him, dumbfounded for a bit, and then simply said “green”. He punched in his produce numbers and went along with his business.

So I’ve put together a little quiz here – see if you can name which of the following are purple, green and white asparagus. We’ll call it “Are you smarter than a Grocery Checkout Lad?”:
The answers are below – but they’re not upside-down or anything fancy like that – I’m smart enough to know the difference between green and white, but to make the damn HTML code rotate 180 degrees, well, I haven’t quite mastered that yet.

I’d love to hear if you’ve ever encountered a bloke like this or, if you’re brave enough, tell me your most embarrassing food story. We won’t laugh. Well, we will, but we won’t post the actual laughin’.

a. purple; b. white; c. green