Japadog – Vancouver’s Finest Cuisine?


The #1 ranked restaurant on Urbanspoon for downtown Vancouver is a hot dog stand called Japadog. This happened to be two blocks from my hotel, so making a stop there was a no-brainer.

This place is awesome.

I decided to follow Anthony Bordain’s lead and had a terimayo style dog, which is a beef hot dog with mayo, teriyaki sauce, nori strips, & fried onions. Delicious. Here’s a better picture of this particular dog.

El Norteno Mexican Restaurant – Longfellow’s Top Mexican Food

Judysbook.com has 10 reviews of El Norteno on E Lake St including one from me – their first – from July 12, 2005.

This past spring, someone named foodieem went to El Norteno then ripped the place on CitySearch (syndicated onto Judysbook) under the title “Everything Bad” and gave it a 1-star review.

Here are the stars of reviews to date:

5 Star

5 Star

5 Star

5 Star

5 Star

5 Star

5 Star

4 Star

4 Star

1 Star

The stupid thing about Judysbook.com’s rating system is that foodieem’s review is considered “The Most Helpful Critical Review.” Why? Because it’s the only critical review of the place.

She also accuses other reviewers of being astroturfers: “After eating there, it is 100% obvious that the other reviews were written by the owners themselves.”

I bounced over to CitySearch to see if anyone responded to her review. Sure enough, someone had:

Beemerbike– March 24, 2009 at 18:08:07 PDT
Wow, aren’t you clueless? This place is a Minneapolis cornerstone. Those ladies work their tails off and hardly have time to take a breath much less waste time writing bogus reviews. Perhaps stick to Taco Bell–there’s one down the street.

I couldn’t agree more with Beemerbike’s take on foodieem’s review. If Applebee’s versions of Mexican such as Chevy’s or Don Pablo’s are your frame of reference, El Norteno will seem like it’s in another country since it nearly is. For those who appreciate great, reasonably priced, Mexican food prepared by Longfellow neighbors, El Norteno can’t be beat.

It’s Booyah Season – Where to Go?

It feels like fall outside today, which can only mean one things: it’s booyah season.

Some of you are probably thinking, “WTF is booyah?” Long time St. Paul residents are probably most familiar with it locally. Generally, it’s a stew cooked prepared at community events as a fundraiser for churches, rec. centers and other affinity clubs. For an example of the scale of booyah recipies, take a look at this run-down from the Holy Cross Parish booyah in Green Bay, WI:

450 lbs of potatoes. 200 lbs of carrots. 840 lbs of chicken. 250 lbs of onions. 180 bunches of celery. 150 lbs of cabbage. Six cases of corn and peas.

And here is a 25 gallon recipe from UWGB.

My dad, Ed, happens to be a bit of a booyah connoisseur. To aid the uninitiated, he has compiled ratings of seven booyahs he attended over the past booyah season. The results below are sorted by last year’s (2008-2009) booyah dates:

***** St. Jerome’s, Maplewood. 9-21. Outstanding. Seems consistent with
recipe I remember from the 1940¹s and 50¹s. 500 gallons.
$3 a scoop.

**** B-Dale Club, Roseville. 9-28. Very good. Flavor identical to above.
Meat a bit stringy. Some roots, e.g. potatoes, not cut to bite-size.
$3.50 a scoop.

*** American Legion Club, Roseville. 3-1-09. Good, meat evident. Needs
snap of more seasoning. 55 gallons. It is possible that this entry got an
extra (*) because it is such a surprise and a pleasure to find booya in late
winter or is it early spring?
$3.50 a scoop.

** Roseville Fire Dept., Roseville. 10-5. Good. A bit watery compared to 1 and 2. Leaves an unpleasant, hot after taste. Too much pepper or hot sauce?
$4 a scoop.

** St. Agnes Parish, St. Paul. 10-19. Good. Thin. Meat in short supply.
$4.50 a scoop. Loses a star (*) because of price.

*** Polish American Club, St. Paul. 10-25. Good $4.00 a scoop

*** St. Mary’s, St./ Paul. 10-26. Very good. Nice hunks of beef. Price:
$3.00 a scoop.

Pro-tip for new booyah attendees: experienced booyah diners often bring Tupperware with them so they can take home their favorite booyahs, freeze them, and enjoy them year-round.

Do you have a favorite local booyah? Know of any not mentioned above worth checking out? Drop a comment.

General Mills Likes Cheap Sugar for Processed Foodstuff

Dan Haugen at MinnPost points out (via Reuters) that our local processed food manufacturer, General Mills, is concerned about the recent rise in sugar costs.

General Mills got huffy and suggested that the US may “virtually run out of sugar” which, as far as I can tell, means they’ll run out of sugar at the price they’re used to paying. That’s not exactly running out of sugar. For example, I could “virtually run out of fuel” if I arbitrarily decided that $2.00 per gallon was as much as I wanted to pay. There would still be plenty of fuel available, but I’d “virtually” run out.

Here’s the interesting part: Will rising sugar costs lead to rising prices in the middle aisles of the grocery store where you can find General Mills’ boxes of processed foods after passing by the unprocessed foods generally found along the perimeter of grocery stores? No:

In any event, analysts say, rising sugar costs are unlikely to boost prices of food products because prices for other ingredients such as grains have declined since last year.

Should we sympathize with the circumstance a locally run multinational company finds itself in, seeking discounts on raw materials used for production of processed foodstuff?

First Post-Jail Meal: The Wienery

Jail Wristbands at The Wienery

What’s the first thing you’d want to eat after spending some time in the slammer? Clearly, a hot dog from The Wienery. Check out the wristbands above the counter.

While waiting for my bacon-wrapped Mexican style hot dog to arrive, I noticed that 1981 is a popular year of birth on the wristbands.

At 5’10”, 135, Mr. Strobel could probably use a few dogs.