National Waffle Day | Roscoe’s Chicken n’ Waffles

It’s National Waffle Day!

I’m going to point out that I was down with Roscoe’s House of Chicken n’ Waffles before everyone on the internet knew about Chicken n’ Waffles. Here’s an old-school internet page I created back around 1996 about Roscoe’s and it was pretty much the only online reference to Roscoe’s anywhere.  Now, in these days of modern times, everyone has chicken and waffles; even IHOP (although these look nasty.)

Here’s a commercial for Roscoe’s. I don’t understand this commercial. It’s weird. But you DO get to see some real chicken n’ waffles. I’ve eaten them from coast to coast. From the Al Sharpton at Amy Ruth’s in Harlem to Gladys and Ron’s in Atlanta to the Quail n’ Waffles at The Public House in Las Vegas to the fake Roscoe’s in Oakland — and the real Roscoe’s is still the best.

Cold Brew Coffee

Cold Brew Coffee

Lauren and I have gone through four distinct phases of coffee consumption in the past few years.

  1. Let Starbucks make the coffee (easy once you leave home / expensive)
  2. We’ll make espresso at home (messy / labor intensive)
  3. K-Cups (clean & easy but weak / watery / expensive)
  4. Cold Brew (easy, mostly neat, relatively cheap AND GOOD)

We have entered the Cold Brew era.

Cold Brew is the process of brewing coffee by letting it soak for about 12 hours and then filtering it. You end up with coffee concentrate, which you can then store in your fridge for up to three weeks. Ours usually lasts about three days, because we drink it like fiends.[pullquote align=”left”]Trivia: Did you know 1950s novelists Ayn Rand & Jack Kerouac both used “diet pills” to boost productivity?[/pullquote]It really makes a GREAT cuppa Joe, too — strong but without being acidic. You start with the concentrate and add water or milk and other fixings. I like it iced, Lauren heats it up in the microwave. It’s also buzzy. Very highly caffeinated. It’ll make you want to drive a tractor trailer rig across country while writing On The Road and Atlas Shrugged. Zoooom!

Cold Brewing

We’ve been brewing our own using the Toddy T2N Cold Brew System which works great. We buy fresh coffee beans, grind them at the store and brew overnight. We’ve tried different beans, such as using a hazelnut bean blend. That’s pretty awesome. I’m also partisal to whatever is on sale. My theory is that since the cold brew is so concentrated this is like cooking wine; the cheap stuff works just as well. So far, I can’t tell much diffeence. We’ve been using dark roasts for the most part but will probably experiment with lighter roasts, too.

Give These Dudes Some Coffee

There are also a few ready-to-rock, pre-made cold brews out there that are available either via mail order or on your foodie grocer’s shelf. These are super easy and worth trying PLUS with some of them you get a cool /useful glass bottle to put your own brew in. At our local Central Market, we can get Austin made Chameleon Cold-Brew – good stuff and a nice clear glass bottle in two sizes.  The Chameleon website also a photo of people who look they came fresh of an Occupy tent but I don’t hold that against them. It’s Austin! Speaking of hipster, straight outta Brooklyn there’s also Grady’s Cold Brew. Excellent and a cool brown bottle. Bought it mail order via Fab but they sell through their website, too; it arrived all packaged up safe and sound. We have N.O. Brew at our local Whole Foods in a variety of flavors. The Hazelnut is Lauren’s favorite off-the-shelf cold brew coffee. Don’t buy N.O. for the bottle — it’s plastic, as is the bottle for Kohana Cold Brew.

So there’s your Cold Brew roundup and I’ll leave you with one last hint: try tossing in a tablespoon or so of cold brew coffee concentrate in your next batch of chili to add a nice smokiness. If you’re worried about the caffeine, do what I do and balance out the high by also adding some beer.

Homemade Bacon

Oh, you heard me right. Bacon. Made at home.

Brandon Darby was telling me a few shows back on our podcast how he’d made his own bacon from a pig he had on his central Texas homestead and how damn good it was. Well, I came across this article called Cure and simple: How to make your own bacon and charcuterie where Merideth Bethune talks about how she overcame her fear and made some homemade bacon and more. She writes:

Even some of the most adventurous home cooks hesitate to make their own charcuterie — meats processed for preservation in the European tradition. (Bacon, pâté, pancetta, salami, sausages, and prosciutto are all good examples.)

I was no different; before I started learning the craft, thanks in part to a food blogging challenge called Charcutepalooza, I thought charcuterie involved boiling pig heads for hours and hanging moldy salamis in my home.

But it’s not like that, as you’ll see. Go read the whole article because she talks about where to get ingredients and also has a delish sounding green chile sausage.

Homemade Bacon
Recipe by Meredith Bethune, Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing

3 pounds slab pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite), optional
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 bay leaves, crumbled

1. Combine the sugar and salts in a bowl to make a dry cure. Rub it into all sides of the meat. Combine the herbs and spices in another bowl, and then press them into the pork belly as well.

2. Place the pork belly in a large Ziploc bag, and leave it in the fridge for about seven to 10 days, or until it is convenient to smoke it. Turn it about every other day and rub the salt and seasonings into the flesh.

3. After the time period has passed, rinse the dry cure off of the pork belly and pat it dry with paper towels. Smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

4. Allow the bacon to cool to room temperature, and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by wattpublishing

Banana Creme Pie Milkshake

I’m diabetic which means if you make this recipe from The Kitchen, I really don’t want to hear about it. Just look at the ingredients.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 ripe banana
3 tablespoons – 1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream, to top

That’s right. Butter. I assume this is to die for. Literally.

Read the whole recipe here. 

What You Can Learn From Trader Joe

Lauren and I LOVE Trader Joe’s — a chain of small grocery stores that are in 25 states plus D.C. If you’ve shopped at TJ’s, chances are good you love themm too.

So I found this article from the Fortune really interesting. Some of it relates to my Essentials Project, too.

One example — Trader Joe is twice as profitable as Whole Foods Market per square foot and their secret isn’t more but less selection.

With the greater turnover on a smaller number of items, Trader Joe’s can buy large quantities and secure deep discounts. And it makes the whole business — from stocking shelves to checking out customers — much simpler.

Swapping selection for value turns out not to be much of a tradeoff. Customers may think they want variety, but in reality too many options can lead to shopping paralysis. “People are worried they’ll regret the choice they made,” says Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore professor and author of TheParadox of Choice. “People don’t want to feel they made a mistake.” Studies have found that buyers enjoy purchases more if they know the pool of options isn’t quite so large. Trader Joe’s organic creamy unsalted peanut butter will be more satisfying if there are only nine other peanut butters a shopper might have purchased instead of 39. Having a wide selection may help get customers in the store, but it won’t increase the chances they’ll buy.

My Quiet McRevolution

(crossposted at

I know that there are million reasons not to frequent McDonald’s restaurants. There are nutritional reasons. There are political reasons. There are environmental, ethical, and anti-corporate reasons.

I have stopped going because their customer service has become the suck.