Thursday, October 31, 2019

Stream Scream

Place: Taco John's
Lunch: Sauce-a-Lotta Enchilada platter (beef enchiladas smothered burritos, cilantro lime rice, black beans, a lettuce and tomato mix), Potato Ole's, Pepsi

Taco John's has been running an ad on social media for what they call "Sauce-a-Lotta Enchiladas".  But when you click on it, the link goes to their website, which has absolutely nothing about them posted.  Way to market, Taco John's.  Apparently this is a limited market test offering of some sort because if you go to their social media feed, those ads don't show up there either.  Also, the ads are now counting down the end of availablilty, which must have been all of two weeks at most.  So...yeah.

The store up the street from the Townhouse of Solitude has them, so I tried them for lunch today.  New Counter Girl Melody is learning the register and slowly inputting my order while being coached.  There's less drama than you would imagine.  I am given the option of enchiladas ala carte, or in a platter.

"What's in a platter?" I ask.

"Rice and beans."


Apple Pay ensues after some drama about how to take credit cards.  I get my drink cup and head off.

Looks like an old school TV dinner tray.
The first surprise about the platter is that I expected it to come with refried beans and Spanish rice.  Not so much.  It's cilantro lime rice and black beans.  Plus there's a mini saled lettuce tomato mix thingy going on.

The enchiladas themselves are, of course, not really enchiladas.  Enchiladas should be softened corn tortillas wrapped around some sort of meat or cheese and topped in sauce and cheese.  These are using flour tortillas, so they're disqualified.  Essentially, they're smothered burritos.  These are what Taco Bueno and Taco Casa refer to as "Chiladas".  Even Taco Bell called theirs "Enchrito" when they offered such a thing, even back in the day when they actually made it with a corn tortilla.  There isn't a lot of red sauce on top, but therre's enough.  There's also nacho cheese.

They're okay.  I doubt I'd order them again.

Melody's trainer is taking her through the dining room and introduces us.  "This is Melody.  It's her first day," she says to me.  "This is Sam.  He's one of our regulars," to her.

Thanks, Girl I've Known Forever and yet don't know your name.

So-called cable TV cord cutters are losing an altername streaming option next year.  Sony is pulling the plug on PlaystationVue, their version of a cable TV service.

I've been a seasonal subscriber to PSVue for the past few years.  I fire it up for football season and drop it in January.  I like the convenience factor of it...when I want it, I just fire up my PS4 and turn the subscription on and it's ready to go instantly.  When I'm done, I turn off the subscription.  You can't do that with cable.  They require install appointments, sending you equipment, returning's a big hassle.   Streaming quality has dramatically improved each year.  I have a high-speed pure fiber provider this year and it's been great.  But I guess I'll have to find a new source next year.

Outside of football season, I can pretty well live without it.  I get lots of over-the-air channels between the regular networks and their digital sub-channels.  And my favorite channel (BUZZR, the retro game show network) is available through two completely free streaming services, PlutoTV and STIRR.  If you don't have their apps on your stream box, download them.  You don't even have to sign up for anything.  Just open and start watching their channel lineups.  They don't have major name-brand channels, but they have all sorts of interesting channels with movies, classic TV, and special interest channels (want a channel that does nothing but show internet pet videos all day?  Pluto's got you covered.)

Sorry to see you go, PSVue.  But I won't be hurting for TV.

Even when I'm not paying for TV.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Apple of My Eye

Place: Taco Bueno
Lunch: Big Freaking Taco (no tomato), Mucho Nachos (no tomato), ice water

Since emerging from bankruptcy under new ownership, the rallying cry to Taco Bueno from Buenoheads has been universal on social media...


Fans would argue Bueno’s problems started when they changed their queso.  It apparently led to a sharp (some say 30 percent) drop in sales.  That along with a narrow and precarious financial position (lots of debt) is said to have broken the chain.  Things only got worse as they changed other recipes and even I got to the point where I couldn’t eat that crap.

So fans reacted with precautionary joy recently when Taco Bueno announced they were back to the old recipes, including the queso.  And I’m here to tell you that this was the best meal I’ve had at Bueno in a couple of years.  And that made me very happy.

It's October, my favorite month of the year.  The fall colors arrive, the air is crisp, and so are the apples.  It's apple season, and I tend to embrace it.

But does that mean actual apples?  Or apple flavored stuff?  Well, both really.  I tend to have a supply of Fuji apples on hand.  Good flavor, not too crisp, not too soft.  Reasonably priced.  I used to occasionally get Honey Crisp, but they're a little too crisp for me and quite expensive.

I have fond memories, as do most Portlanders, of the caramel apples at Morrow's Nut House in Lloyd Center.  Made right there in front of you.  Very popular treat.  People still talk fondly about those on the Portland groups.  Morrow's had other locations too, but everybody ties their memories to Lloyd Center.

The newer bigger Aldi stores have a snack pack with apple slices and caramel to dip them in.  Doesn't get much easier than that.  Or cheaper.

There's always apple cider and apple juice.  Everfresh even put out a line of different apple juice flavors based on specific apples.  Fuji, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, and Pink Lady are all available options.  Tree Top has a Honey Crisp in their Pure Pressed line.  I've had the Everfresh Honey Crisp and loved it.

My all-time favorite milkshake is Steak n Shake's Caramel Apple Milkshake.  The milkshake itself is apple flavored with hot caramel infused in it.  It's just amazing.

Have you ever tried Popeyes Cinnamon Apple Pie?  It's actually fried like McDonald's used to do, and it's rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  Heaven.  They gave me one as an apology for a delayed order (my local Popeyes tends to throw free food at any problem...sometimes a completely ridiculous amount of it) and I've been addicted ever since.

There's even the occasional candy.  Cow Tales has a caramel apple flavored version that really does taste very caramel appley.

Enjoy October.

And the apples.