Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Now I’m hungry.

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Does anybody remember the Spaghetti Warehouse?

I only went to the one in Houston a handful of times. There used to be one in Austin that I went to more regularly, but it was downtown: parking was a complete word that rhymes with witch. And then they got rid of some of the menu items I loved, including the spaghetti with cheese sauce. Damn, I miss that. And I haven’t been able to find a copycat version online.

I did find a copycat spaghetti with garlic butter, which sounds good. Maybe if you threw some small mushrooms during the simmering process, you’d have a good replica of another of my favorite dishes. I may have to try that soon.

Not a Spaghetti Warehouse recipe, but I remember having this at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Boise (now closed) when I was there, and loving it. Might have to try that soon as well.

Edited to add: As long as we’re talking about pasta, the Olive Garden never ending pasta bowl is back. Not that I shill for Olive Garden (unlike the mass media, and which is why there are no links here) but this is mildly interesting: for $100, you can get a pass that lets you get “unlimited” servings for eight weeks.

For $200, you can get a pass that lets you get “unlimited” servings for eight weeks plus an eight day, seven night trip to Italy.


Ground transportation
Daily activities

There’s got to be a catch here, but what? They can’t be looking for audiophiles that need blank cassette tapes. If I had to guess, I’d guess those $200 passes are extremely limited. Either that, or you’re flying in aircraft retired by Aeroflot and sleeping in a foxhole you dug yourself.

Random jumbled notes: August 6, 2017.

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

I had no idea Tillman Fertitta could command that kind of money. (Also: the Rockets are worth more than the Clippers? And $85 million to $2.2 billion over 24 years? That’s an APR of about 14.5%, if I ran the numbers right. Anyone want to check me? ETA: Actually, I think I left a “0” off when I was doing the calculation the first time: it looks more like a 26% APR. ETA again: No, I was right the first time. I haven’t had enough coffee this morning.)

Speaking of return on investment, here’s a stock tip from WCD: sell this one short.

Over the past decade, the DNA laboratory in the office of […] chief medical examiner emerged as a pioneer in analyzing the most complicated evidence from crime scenes. It developed two techniques, which went beyond standard practice at the F.B.I. and other public labs, for making identifications from DNA samples that were tiny or that contained a mix of more than one person’s genetic material.

Now these DNA analysis methods are under the microscope, with scientists questioning their validity. In court testimony, a former lab official said she was fired for criticizing one method, and a former member of the […] Commission on Forensic Science said he had been wrong when he approved their use. The first expert witness allowed by a judge to examine the software source code behind one technique recently concluded that its accuracy “should be seriously questioned.”

A coalition of defense lawyers is asking the […] inspector general’s office — the designated watchdog for the state’s crime labs — to launch an inquiry into the use of the disputed analysis methods in thousands of criminal cases. While the inspector general has no jurisdiction over the court system, any finding of flaws with the DNA analysis could prompt an avalanche of litigation. Previous convictions could be revisited if the flawed evidence can be shown to have made a difference in the outcome.

“Oh, man, you’re not writing about the APD crime lab again, are you?” Actually, I’m not: this time, it’s the New York City DNA lab.

I still really would like to read an “explain like I’m five” piece from someone who really knows DNA and DNA testing. On the one hand, nobody (myself included) wants innocent people to go to jail. On the other hand, it increasingly seems to me like a lot of these issues resolve around subtle and sometimes disputed interpretations of statistics and statistical data.

This also points up something that I keep thinking about, and deserves a longer essay: how do we, and how should we, validate scientific investigative techniques used in criminal prosecution? It isn’t just DNA: how did comparative bullet-lead analysis ever become accepted? Or bite-mark analysis?

And what do we currently think we know, that ain’t necessarily so? Is there statistical evidence that supports the use of drug dogs, or is it possible that this is a “Clever Hans” phenomena? Has anybody ever done a controlled study?

The great Cardinals scandal of 2015 was only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to high-tech sports cheating. (I know there’s a lot of biology and chemistry involved, but for some reason I don’t think of doping as “high-tech”.)

I’ve got a vague idea for a book series about a white hat computer security expert who specializes in investigating technological sports cheating: hacking other teams databases, abusing smart watches, maybe drone surveillance of practices, tapping into sideline radio communications…sort of a Myron Bolitar meets hacker riff. If anybody wants to take this idea, feel free.

Tragedy versus comedy.

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Comedy is when your social network sites are down.

Tragedy is when a legendary local barbecue joint catches fire.

Headline of the day.

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Live scorpion reportedly found in bag of Costco bananas

This is ridiculous, and Costco should be ashamed.

Everybody knows that a beautiful bunch of ripe bananas hides the deadly black tarantula, not scorpions. Is this just cost-cutting on Costco’s part? Are scorpions cheaper than tarantulas?

(Sorry. I’m feeling a little punchy. You might even say me wanna go home.)

Headline of the day.

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Fruitcake From Robert Scott Expedition Is ‘Almost’ Edible at 106 Years Old

“almost” edible. So pretty much the same as a regular fruitcake.

(Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try your waitress and remember to tip the veal.)

Quote of the day.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

“The day I sold Joe’s Crab Shack was one of the happiest days of my life,” Fertitta allegedly said. “Good luck.”

Headline of the day.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Restaurant caught serving steaks ‘unsafe for humans’

Mostly so I can use this:

Administrative note.

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

My birthday is coming up soon. As always, I do not expect any of my loyal readers to get me presents.

However, if someone felt inclined: please do not buy this book for me. Thank you.

(Seriously. I have nothing against Jesse Sublett: he seems like a pretty cool guy. But I don’t care much for the food at either Threadgill’s location. And one of the worst aspects of Austin culture is the incessant nostalgia: or, as Lawrence likes to put it, “the burned-out old hippies who constantly talk about how they went to the Armadillo, dropped acid, and saw Shiva’s Headband.” Said it before, I’ll say it again: if the Austin Chronicle and other people had their way, this town would be a 1970s music theme park.)

Obit watch: March 9, 2017.,

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Joseph Rogers, co-founder of Waffle House.

Silly season.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

A few random items, some more silly than others.

  1. “I like pineapples, just not on pizza. I do not have the power to make laws which forbid people to put pineapples on their pizza. I am glad that I do not hold such power. Presidents should not have unlimited power. I would not want to hold this position if I could pass laws forbidding that which I don’t like. I would not want to live in such a country. For pizzas, I recommend seafood.”
    (I don’t have strong feelings about pineapple on pizza, but I like this guy.)
  2. Wayne Shaw is a backup goalkeeper for the Sutton United soccer team. “His own team referred to him as the Roly Poly Goalie. He is 46 years old, 6-foot-2 and somewhere around 322 pounds, or 23 stone as the British papers usually put it.” During their game against Arsenal on Monday, Mr. Shaw ate a meat pie on the sidelines. There was a spot bet that he’d do this, which paid off at 8-1.
    Problem: Mr. Shaw admitted that he was aware of the spot bet; and, while he didn’t bet personally, he was aware of other people who had. This could be considered “spot fixing”.

    On Tuesday, Shaw was forced to resign from the club after the Football Association’s gambling commission said it would investigate if consumption of the pie was a breach of betting regulations.

    (For the record, it was a “meat and potato” pie. The paper of record does not report the pussy content of the meat pie. Also, note that this silly article already has two corrections appended.)

  3. I haven’t been following this story closely (the Atlanta newspapers aren’t part of my nutritious media breakfast) but the NYT has a rundown of the Atlanta city contracting scandal, which includes bricks through windows and dead rodents left on doorsteps.

We are eating Gamera….

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

But when the wildlife officials opened the boxes, prosecutors say, what they found was something very different: dozens of federally protected turtles being smuggled into the country, hidden under bags of candy and noodles.

Subject line hattip:

The story you are about to hear is true.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Today was pretty much a write-off. You know how it is, one of those days where you end up feeling you got nothing productive done, and all you can do is give up on the day and tell yourself you’ll do better tomorrow.

I was at loose ends for dinner, so I went down to the Mandola’s Italian Market in Bee Cave. (They have some good happy hour appetizer specials, and a soup I like. I wasn’t really that hungry, having had a bowl of noodles from DFG Noodles (one of the few bright spots in the day) for lunch, so I figured a cup of soup and some cheese would do me.)

Anyway, guy behind the counter asks me how my day’s been. It’s slow (this is before the dinner rush on a weekday) so I tell him what I just told you about the whole day being a write-off, etc. I pay, they bring my food out to me, I eat…

…and as i’m sitting there sipping my drink, the guy from behind the counter, Jonathan (not 100% on the spelling there) walks up to me, hands me a chocolate eclair, and says, “Here. This is on me. I hope it makes your day a little better.”

Which it did. What can you say to that except, “Thanks, Jonathan.”? Which I did say, just for the hysterical record.

I’ll also be emailing Mandola’s tomorrow morning, but I wanted to get this up tonight.