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Thursday, 27 July 2006
Topic: Food

Last week I attended, with my companion from Keipopnation, my cousin's wedding in central Pennsylvania. It was great seeing my family, and everyone had a good time. There are many things I could discuss here about our visit, but will instead use this medium to share with my audience our discovery of an unhealthy snack food called Hulless Cheese Puff' N Corn (whose discarded remains [right] have been lying on my floor since July 18).

I am confident that at some point everyone has become frustrated with popcorn's offensive texture. That is, its tendency to disintegrate into an armada of fibrous, undigestible pellets and flakes that lodge themselves in your gums, teeth, throat, and probably digestive tract. Somehow Snyder of Berlin, a snack foods manufacturer based in Pennsylvania, whose product we discovered at a gas station in that state, has created an enjoyable, artificial-cheese-infused snack that boasts the airy, slightly gritty aspect of popcorn without the inedible obstacles.

Suspiciously, Snyder of Berlin (pronounced BER-lin) is located near the location of the better-known/more widely distributed Snyder's of Hanover, though their packaging declares, "We are not connected with Snyder's of Hanover, Inc." In fact, it seems they were once the same company but split in 1981, at which point the Berlin plant became the lesser-known company. However, Snyder's of Hanover does not offer Hulless Cheese flavored puffed corn, giving Berlin a distinct advantage. But you know who does? Utz Quality Foods, located in...Hanover, PA. It seems Pennsylvania is home to an incestuous and overly complex battle of snack foods.

Posted by thenovakids at 11:18 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006 8:24 AM CDT
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Friday, 24 February 2006
Topic: Food

You can keep your "nun-bun" mother teresa cinnamon bun and grilled cheese baby jesus. This secular miracle appeared in my sister's coffee. He's jovial, non-demoninational, and caffeinated.

Posted by thenovakids at 8:11 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006 11:57 PM CDT
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Monday, 2 January 2006
Topic: Food
One of the highlights in quiet Commack, LI, NY was the presence of the Coney Island fast-food icon, Nathan's Famous, known for it's excellent hot dogs. The site, at 6137 Jericho Turnpike, used to be home to Chuck E. Cheese's, but changed over sometime in the late 80s to a large video arcade, The Emporium with a Nathan's attached. My sister and I had birthday parties there, where I mastered the arts of Rampage and Pit-Fighter. I frequented it through high school, and occasionally while home from college, and was sad to see it's recent closure and conversion to an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.

However, my sister, through her cunning, discovered an arcade/Nathan's site in Farmingdale, and you know TAKOTRON made an effort to check it out while home for the holidays. It's called the "Fun Zone," which, based on appearance, seems an exaggeration. But once inside, beyond the games and shoddy rides, it felt great to have that Nathan's hot dog again. The New York hot dog is a different animal from its Chicago cousin. There are a few topping combinations, like peppers and onions, sauerkraut and ketchup, relish and mustard, etc. Chicagoans can be dogmatic about what gets involved, like ketchup being explicitly prohibited from a "Chicago Style" dog, or a bun being steamed but not toasted. Chicago is the historic king of meat processing, the American mecca of tubular meats, so its people are the experts. But there's also something nice about New York's more cosmopolitan interpretation, pairing the hot dog with papaya juice, or kraut, or grilling it, broiling it, boiling it in dirty water on a street corner--and it's all good.

Nathan's/The Fun Zone
229 Rte. 110
Farmingdale 11735
Phone: 631-847-0100

Other New York Hot Dog Specialists
Gray's Papaya
Papaya King
Katz's Deli

Posted by thenovakids at 1:59 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:06 AM CDT
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Friday, 4 November 2005
Topic: Food
Since thenovakids are all working hard fulltime learning how to build future cities, we've neglected our TAKOTRON NEWS page among many other of the often-overlooked pleasantries of our everyday lives, including decent meals.

We will take this brief but precious opportunity to continue our discussion of food. Specifically, a Japanese dish little known stateside, but quite common in its native land: omuraisu (オムライス) is one of those Western dishes that's been reinterpreted beyond recognition. Dishes like this, are apparently called "Youshoku" (洋食)", which just means Western food. Omuraisu is a contraction for "omelette rice," which is pretty much what it is, except for its magic ingredient, KETCHUP. So first you fry up white rice with chopped onion, ham, bits of carrot, and ketchup. You then wrap it in a thin (1 egg) omelette, and dribble ketchup over that. Pretty simple, though there is a definite art to the process. They make rubber molds you stick the omelette in and then jam with rice to shape the thing. Once in Kyoto (on the restaurant level of the big Kyoto station there is a whole omuraisu restaurant) I saw some chefs add the rice to the pan with the egg and do a little flip and form the shape perfectly. And then some people just drape the omelette lazily over the rice. Beauty in Variety

Last weekend some omuraisu was produced (right) and consumed.

Posted by thenovakids at 2:24 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006 12:18 AM CDT
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Monday, 17 October 2005
Topic: Food
Chicago has a bunch of nice restaurants, and all sorts of different foods. But where Chicago cuisine really shines is with junk food--Hot Dogs, Italian Beef, deep dish pizza, fried chicken, ribs, etc etc. Dishing out this greasy cornucopia are legendary joints, stands, and restaurants, like Al's Italian Beef, The Wiener's Circle, Portillo's, Giordano's, and Harold's Chicken Shack. A tier below these local staples are the national chains, which may or may not be familiar to you depending on your locale. If there is an expert navigating the world of fast food chains, it is Joe.

Joe paid a visit to TAKOTRON HQ this past weekend, and we checked out the scene. Our neighborhood here has some unique offerings not normally available to Northsiders.

First, is Checkers, which has an amazing Flash Site, and even more amazing fries. Their other food is pretty standard. I guess they are a southern chain, and according to Joe, who has watched this beloved empire crumble before him, the one on 55th by the Dan Ryan Expressway is the last remaining in the area. This also provides another incentive to come all the way down here. Drive-Thru open till 12.

Next to Checkers, though difficult to see, is a Popeye's at 5401 S wentworth. The reason it is difficult to see stems from it's dimensions. It's about 15 x 25 ft, drive through only. They have wonderful Apple Pies. Similar to McDonald's in format, but 10x superior in quality. And they approach their pseudo-Cajun image conscientiously: POPEYES? CHICKEN & BISCUITS LAUNCHES NATIONAL IN-RESTAURANT DONATION PROGRAM TO SUPPORT HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF .

The parking lot complex featured a man walking around selling "long socks," aka big white tube socks, at 11 pm. A hard sell.

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