Tag Archives: Starbucks

April 15, 2010 – Capriotti’s Bobbie Sandwich

15 Apr

10 am

1 bowl of Frosted Flakes

2 pm

Capriotti’s

medium “The Bobbie” sandwich

medium Coke Zero

There are only three things I know about Delaware; it was our first state, unibrowed Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco played college football there and they have a sandwich chain called Capriotti’s that inspires a cultish devotion among some East Coast transplants. What In-N-Out is to us on the West Coast, Capriotti’s is to the Delaware shores. But while In-N-Out will probably never make it east of Arizona and Utah, Capriotti’s is expanding west as if on a Manifest Destiny, sans the Indian genocide. For some reason, there are now 30 Capriotti’s in Las Vegas. This might’ve been the most creative way to settle a gambling debt. Outside of Delaware and Las Vegas though, there are only a smattering of stores in random states. So if you ever wanted to try a Capriotti’s sandwich to see what the hype was about, the odds are that you were shit out of luck.

Lucky for me, two Capriotti’s opened in Los Angeles this past month, so it was high times for me to see what the hype was about. Their signature sandwich is called “The Bobbie,” and it’s essentially Thanksgiving in a hoagie roll. It consists of turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry and mayo and it’s EXACTLY what I eat for three days in a row after Thanksgiving. The only difference between Capriotti’s sandwich and mine is that I use sliced bread instead of a roll, and I sometimes like to drench mine with gravy. But most of the times, I also just stick to turkey, stuffing, cranberries and mayo. I could see why people like this place. They actually roast a whole turkey as opposed to buying a packaged enlarged breast that’s been injected with saline solution. The shreds of turkey at Capriotti’s is exactly the same as the one your dad butchered because of his inability to use the electric carver. That instantly makes Capriotti’s meat better than other sandwich chains. I enjoyed my sandwich, considering Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches are one of my favorite things to eat. At the same time, I didn’t love the Bobbie because it’s something I could and did replicate. The only difference is that I could eat this turkey sandwich at any time of the year. I heard Capriotti’s makes a mean roast beef though, and their cheese steak is supposed to be awesome. I also saw someone eating an eggplant parmigiana while ordering and I almost jacked it from him, a la Air Jordans circa 1990. I’m actually impressed by Capriotti’s ability to perfectly replicate a homemade turkey sandwich and I’m willing to give the other ones a try. Even if what they recreated is essentially leftovers.

3:30

Starbucks

1 cup of coffee

1 petite vanilla scone

I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks coffee. It’s too acidic for me. What I am a fan of is free coffee, and that’s what Starbucks gave out on Tax Day if you brought a recyclable container. I used my red E! mug from my previous job that I’ve used for almost two years now. I also haven’t cleaned it in almost a year. There’s a lot of history in that mug. It means a lot to me.

10 pm

2 roast chicken breasts

side of white rice

1 glass of water

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March 15, 2010

15 Mar

9 am

2 S’mores Pop Tarts

12:30 pm

Portillo’s

Italian Beef Sandwich

1 bottle of Snapple Kiwi Strawberry

Anytime I craved a latte, I know that a Starbucks is within a mile radius of me. I now take it for granted as a necessary sustenance for life. Water, oxygen and Starbucks lattes are infinite resources that will provide for us when oil eventually runs out. We don’t think about our consumption of these resources. But if you’re being strangled by a mob hitman, then you might miss oxygen. If you’re in a desert and get thirsty, you might miss water. And if you’re stuck in a Godforsaken place like Laguna, New Mexico, a town of 428 people that I was stuck in for eight hours several years ago, then you miss Starbucks. I don’t even like their coffee. But the years of being weened on them geared my tastes for their burnt and acidic coffee. It’s insidious really. I never realized how ubiquitous Starbucks was to my life until it was forcibly removed from me in a 428-person town. After a while, if a drug lord offered me a Starbucks latte in exchange for smuggling condom-wrapped cocaines in my stomach a la “Maria Full of Grace,” I would’ve thought about it. If I had to go even longer, I would have gone gay for condom-wrapped cocaine for a latte.

Portillo’s, a hot dog chain, is like Starbucks in the Chicago. While Starbucks insures that most of America (except Laguna, NM) go about their days with their regular coffee fix, Portillo’s makes sure Chicagoans don’t go more than five miles without a helping of hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. Like Starbucks, Portillo’s isn’t the best example of their chosen cuisine. But it is good enough to be a regular stop if a craving for an Italian beef came along. When I lived in Chicago, I took Portillo’s for granted. One can only eat so many beef sandwiches piled into an Italian roll, dipped in seasoned gravy and topped with oily hot peppers. Plus, there were better options (I was fond of Mario’s in Northbrook, which was four blocks from where I lived). But once I moved to LA, the Chicago-style hot dog and Italian beef sandwich were the two things I missed the most. Whenever I went back home, I’d load up on as many Italian beefs and hot dogs as I could. I understood why Oprah, another Chicagoan, struggled with her weight. You HAVE to eat when you’re home.

Lucky for me, the only Portillo’s outside of Chicago is located within driving distance of Los Angeles. One is in Moreno Valley in Riverside, the other is by Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. It takes about an hours drive to get to either locations, an hour of excruciating, torturous LA traffic (and there is always traffic). So Portillo’s sits just close enough to think about, but far enough to taunt me regularly. Whenever I am in Orange County though, I always make it a point to go. I once went right after a dinner party and I last went after downing two hot dogs at an Angels game, thereby eating two meals, 5,000 calories, 8,000 grams of fat and an entire salt licks worth of sodium in three hours. It’s not just me who’ll go to great lengths. My brother met a former Chicagoan who drove two hours from Ontario to go there. And another Chicago native I met a couple of weeks ago would pick up giant bags of food for her family whenever she was around. I also bought $25 worth of food for myself, family and friends. Thankfully, Portillo’s never adjusted their prices for inflation. Everything on the menu is under $5, except the large Italian beef, and that should not be eaten by one person.

There is another Chicago eatery in LA, Taste Chicago in Burbank which is owned by actor Joe Mantegna. Their Italian beef is credible, their hot dogs less so. I went there regularly after it opened, but it couldn’t cure my homesickness completely. Portillo’s on the other hand, does. It’s the only proper Chicago hot dog in LA: Vienna beef sausage, mustard, green relish, onions, pickles, tomato, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt nestled into a poppyseed bun. Their Italian beef is a bit dry, but it’s my usual order from Portillo’s. It’s the only place west of the Mississippi (the Uno pizza chain pales to the original in Chicago) that can offer an honest taste of my hometown.

6 pm

1 tuna melt on wheat

bag of potato crisps

1 bottle of Tazo iced tea

9 pm

handful of potato crisps

1 bottle of blackberry soda

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Dec. 14, 2009

14 Dec

9:30 am

1 red bean paste pastry

1 cup milk

1:15 pm

Pho Cafe

1 bowl of pho

1 bottle of Coke

My lunch plan with a friend fell through and I ended up at my neighborhood pho spot in hopes of calming the last lingering cough I have. I was originally introduced to Pho Cafe by a former neighbor, of Vietnamese descent who gave the following glowing recommendation, “It’s OK. Better than Gingergrass.” And so it is. The broth is mild with barely a trace of lemongrass, but there is a discerning beef flavor. The primary draw for me to this place is that it’s in my neighborhood. Pho here might not be as good as the ones in San Gabriel Valley, but it’s also a lot easier to get to. The main features for today’s lunch crowd was that every customer (except me) was white and sported a tattoo, flannel shirt, or horned-rimmed glasses. They offer meatballs and tendons, but most of the clientele will stick to steak slices or the tofu and mushroom veggie version. The place doesn’t even have a sign or identifiable marking. You either know it’s whereabout or you don’t. In other words, Pho Cafe is very “Silver Lake.” I will say that my hair was appropriately tousled for the atmosphere.

2 pm

Starbucks

1 tall eggnog latte

You know the holidays are coming up when Starbucks start selling awfully sweet coffee drinks. I’m not a fan of overly-sweet stuff, yet I regularly get them, just to fit into the Christmas spirit. I usually dislike Mariah Carey, but around Christmas, her voice is as calming as a castrato angel. Although I will stab a Santa Claus impersonator if I hear “All I Want for Christmas is You” again. Anyway, egg nog is my favorite of Starbucks’ holiday offering, but I even find that one heavy and overly sweet. But this year is different. Thanks to a tip from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, I found out that the egg nog latte is made with skim milk this year. It’s a lot lighter, less cloying and much easier to drink. And that was my best Peter King-coffeenerdness impersonation.

6:30 pm

bibimbap

2 cans of Diet Coke

I wish I took a picture of this dish because it can be visually striking. Oh well. I eat it fairly regularly, so I’ll write more about it next time.

Instead, I’m going to rant about the Arizona Cardinals’ awful seven-turnover performance against the San Francisco 49ers. Really? Seven-turnovers? Five sacks? I HOPE YOUR “GOD” DISOWNS YOU AND DAMNS YOU TO HELL, KURT WARNER! And that goes for everyone on Arizona’s offense. BTW, I’m actually a Bears fan. I just had a “friendly” bet on the over/under. Just because it’s a “friendly” outcome doesn’t mean that I can’t wish unpleasant, bleeding diarrhea to strike every member of the Cardinals’ offensive line tonight. I blame Peter King for convincing me that this game would be a shootout. Fuck you, coffeenerd.

9 pm

4 Oreo cookies

1 cup milk

Cookies helped me forget my troubles.

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