Washington Avenue: A Long Day’s Journey Into Tacos

AIEEEEE!  It’s finally posted!  Go to Houstonist and check out my latest Urbanist article (with lots of photos), which took far too long to write than it should have.  Topics covered include:

  • the new Benjy’s (not to replace or be confused with the old Benjy’s)
  • El Rey Taqueria
  • The Daily Grind
  • Max’s Wine Dive
  • Pearl Bar
  • Guadalajara Bakery
  • …and more

And here’s a link for your browsing pleasure:  Urbanist: Washington Avenue.

/self-promoting off

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Sushi: Not For You

You’ll notice that I’ve removed the Houstonist link below to the “almost all-night sushi” place.  I’ve also removed mention of its name.  If you go to Houstonist, the article is still there because I will not (and also cannot) take it down.  But, seriously, don’t even bother reading it.

And that’s pretty much all I have to say about this.

A Big Girl Question

I honestly don’t know if I’m classified as a “big girl” or not.  I hadn’t given it much thought until this very second, when I decided to post this awesome question from one of my favorite websites: Manolo for the Big Girl.

Perhaps I toe the line between “average girl” and “big girl.”  Perhaps it’s all a matter of perception: I shop in the “regular sized” stores and clothing departments, but I’m sure that society probably views me as a “big girl.”  Perhaps clothing designers think that if you’re five-foot-nothing, then you must also be 100 pounds with no discernable breasts, making shopping for clothes more difficult than it really ought to be.  All I know is that I’m not a stick insect, I like to eat, and I’m happy with both of these things.

So, back to my original intent here.  Plumcake and Francesca have such a wonderfully witty way with words (ack!  that’s a lot of alliteration!) and reading Manolo for the Big Girl every morning jump-starts and invigorates me.  Take Plumcake’s excellent description of her lunch a few days ago:

  • Two sliced-up Braeburn apples.
  • One red plum with only most of the sticker removed. Rest of sticker to be discovered between teeth at later date.
  • Odiously hateful organic peanut butter. Technically peanut butter the same way my best friend from college is technically a virgin.
  • One cup peach-flavored probiotic kefir (yogurt’s smug, Nader-voting cousin) mixed with some crunchy sprouted-grain cereal that tastes like angry sweater.
  • And her later description of her coworker’s lunch:

    Is it because she was hauling some sad, Dickensian-looking microwaved meal and wanted to show solidarity?

    Love, people.  Anyway, Plumcake asks an interesting question at the end of her post, which I think merits a read and an answer.  Check it out for yourselves…

    The Big Question: You’re Eating THAT?!

    Thursday Answers…Slightly Delayed

    I apologize for the delay…  I’ve been hard at work on both real, Day Job things and on Houstonist things.  One of those things is scheduled to post today at 4pm on Houstonist, so keep an eye out for it!  I worked my little tail off writing it, editing it, taking pictures for it and formatting it, and am just super excited to finally get it out there!

    Anyway, onto our Thursday answers!  This week’s winner will be announced after the jump:

    1. The cocoa press was the development that led to the possibility and mass production of chocolate in the candy bar form that we all know and love today.  The Dutch chocolatier Conrad van Houten developed the modern cocoa press in an effor to find a way to make his chocolate less oily, so that the beverages would be lighter and easier to drink.  He ended up creating a screw press in 1828 that separated the cocoa butter from the bean itself and creating cocoa powder, both of which we use today!
    2. True, and it created quite a falling out between the two researchers who shared the lab.  Constantin Falberg, a student, was working in the lab of chemist Ira Remsen at Johns Hopkins; the two of them were studying organic chemicals.  One day, Falberg was eating a piece of bread and noticed that it was overpoweringly sweet.  Tracing the sweetness back to the chemicals from the lab, he realized that they’d inadvertently created an artificial sweetner.  Falbert patented the sweetner (which he called saccharin) without the knowledge of his professor, Remsen, which created a lifelong rivalry and rift between them.
    3. Samp and hominy, at various points, been used to refer to grits.  Samp is actually dried corn kernels, which have been broken down but not to a fine meal.  Hominy is actually dried corn which has been soaked in lye to remove the hulls and soften the corn until it’s palatable.  And grits are the greatest food mankind has ever known.
    4. Believe it or not, there was a citywide epidemic of rickets among the children of Dublin when the city was restricted to eating whole-grain bread.  Why?  The whole-grain bread contained such low amounts of calcium and such high amounts of bran (which further blocks calcium absorption by the body), that the children developed rickets as a result of exaggerated calcium deficiency.  Just goes to show that too much of anything — even a good thing — can be a bad thing.
    5. Both wheat and barley were domesticated before any other cereal grain, including rice and corn (4500 B.C.), millet and sorghum (4000 B.C.) and oats (circa 100 A.D.).  Although wheat and barley were both of great importance to ancient civilizations, only wheat has retained that popularity.  In the west, barley is used primarily as animal feed and for producing beer.  It’s a shame, because there’s nothing like a big bowl of hot barley with stewed tomatoes, onions and garlic.  Ask my mother sometime; she’ll make you a bowl.
    6. BONUS:  Wheat and barley were both originally cultivated around 7000 B.C.  Around the same time, humans were also finally figuring out that they could domesticate animals, including goats, pigs and camels.

    So, who won?  Find out after the jump…

    Continue reading Thursday Answers…Slightly Delayed