John Stamos Ruined Goat Cheese For Me Or, My Parents Shouldn’t Have Let Me Watch So Much TV As A Kid

I have a bone to pick with Full House.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “The adorable, saccharine-sweet TGIF show about a widowed father raising three daughters with his brother-in-law and best friend? How could you possibly have a bone to pick with that show? Yeah, it was a little glurgey and Michelle was a brat, but come on! What kind of black-hearted wretch hates Full House?”

Allow me to explain.

In the Kissing Cousins episode, Uncle Jesse’s cousin Stavros (played in a dual role by John Stamos – oh, the magic of television!) comes to visit the Tanners.

Stavros is from Greece and basically serves as a massive stereotype of Mediterraneans. He’s rips off Joey (but Joey sucked so I don’t really care about that. Come on, dudes. He was a grown man with a cartoon fetish and a woodchuck puppet. It’s creepy, right?), he hits on Rebecca, he docks Danny with a $65 parking ticket, he has greasy hair and he eats weird food.

Like Goat Cheese and Lamb Pizza.

The Tanners react like a family who routinely eschew deliciousness in favor of things like Cheese Donuts — with revulsion.

Goat cheese! Ew! What kind of freak eats cheese from goats? Gross! Smelly! Things that are different are bad!

And thus, the insidious poison was planted. As far as I was concerned — goat cheese was for jerks.

Well, I’m happy to report that 28-year-old Jaime is a goat cheese seeking missile.

I will clamber over the bodies of the damned to get at some goat cheese (Augs’ mom made this amazing penne with roasted butternut squash and goat cheese and it was one of the most glorious things I’ve ever eaten. I ate it cold the next day and it was still good).

BUT for years, I missed out on its glory because of Full House.

Do you know how much goat cheese I could have eaten during those formative years? Enough to build a bridge between San Francisco and Athens!

I demand reparations for this and Stamos, I’m calling you out.

I’m willing to make peace, though (I’m not completely irrational, as I’m sure is evident by this post) — so, you bring the goat cheese pizza, I bring the Mythos Beer and we consider your egregious sin absolved. Sound like a plan?

P.S. — I wrote the word ‘goat’ too many times in this post and now, it looks funny. Does that ever happen to you?

An Ode To In-N-Out’s Animal Style Fries Or, Working My Way To A Massive Coronary/Making The East Coast A Better Place

Time Magazine did a great photo essay on the last suppers of famous chefs — Gordon Ramsay picked a classic Sunday roast, Adrian Feria picked a Japanese feast and Jose Andreas picked a meal inspired by a Spanish barbecue.

I think about this topic way more than I should and my answer changes constantly — homemade Indian food like Mom makes, a Veggie Diablo with bruschetta from Primo Hoagies, huevos rancheros, a cheese plate the size of my arm — but if you asked me what I’d pick right at this moment, it would be a huge fountain Diet Coke with lots of lemon (yeah, #8 on my 29 Before 29 list failed in a pretty spectacular way) and a giant platter of well-done animal-style fries from In-N-Out.

For the uninitiated, Animal-Style Fries are french fries topped with melty American cheese, grilled onions and a copious amount of Thousand Island dressing.

Yeah, it’s pretty much the most glorious thing ever.

I almost wished I was hungover when I ate it because I’m sure that would have made it taste even better (it’s basic science, dudes. Carb + cheese + salt always tastes better after you’ve been drinking).

If I lived in L.A., I would eat them all the time. Granted, I’d have to change my name to Baroness Triple Chin von Butterpants and end up getting a quadruple bypass by the age of the 32, but it would be worth it.

Unfortunately, I live on the East Coast where we are wit’ Wiz but wit’out Animal-Style – a troubling and utterly perplexing notion considering East-coasters, particularly Philadelphians, would love these things (I have never met a people more enamored with the concept of artificial cheese coupled with fried potatoes).

It is a travesty and I am on a mission to correct it. Animal-Style Fries are not a complicated dish to construct. Especially in a fast-food kitchen — American cheese is a standard as are grilled onions and odds are that if you offer a salad, you’re gonna have Russian/Thousand Island dressing on hand.

So East-Coast burger joints – Five Guys, Jake’s Wayback Burgers, Buddy’s Burgers, Breast and Fries, Elevation Burger, Back Yard Burgers and hell, even Wendy’s — consider this a desperate plea from a desperate girl.  For the love of all things delicious, please hook the East Coast up with a facsimile of Animal-Style Fries.

This year alone, we’ve dealt with record-high heatwaves, snow in October, an earthquake and the Phillies losing to the Cards in the playoffs. The East Coast deserves this.

Hell, the East Coast needs a little fast-food love.

Let’s make it happen, burger barons. For a brighter East Coast and a better America.

P.S. – We will totally hit the treadmill extra hard and double up on our yogi bicycles if you make this happen. Promise.

I Would Have Drownded Pacey In That Creek Or, Don’t Come Between A Man and His Sandwich

I saw James Vanderbeek in an Italian market last weekend

My friend looked over and asked, “Isn’t that the guy from Dawson’s Creek?” and immediately, my head whipped around. Yup. It was him — buying a sandwich and getting the typically surly service associated with old-school South Philly guys who don’t give a shit – “Rye bread?! NO! It comes on a hoagie roll!”

Growing up, I was Team Dawson through and through. Yes, Pacey was quippy with the grand romantic gestures and the hipster lite wardrobe but Dawson would watch movies in bed with you, engage you in passionate, articulate conversations and probably make you pancakes too.

16-year-old Jaime was all about that.

Hell, 28-year-old Jaime is all about that.

Filled with pluck (and by pluck, I mean the interminably strong Pimms Cup I had with brunch), I decided I wanted to say hi, so I marched on over, waiting in line behind him and when in the surly sandwich maker asked what I wanted, I mumbled something about beet salad and slunk away.

Yes, I chickened out, but with good reason.

While waiting in line, I realized that by interjecting myself into the situation — I’d be coming between a man and his sandwich.

Do you know what I would do if someone came between me and my sandwich? Particularly an Italian Market sandwich?

Buildings would be razed! Throats would be punched! By the time I was finished, that place would look like Nero’s Rome.

What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.

As we were leaving, we were clustered in a narrow part of the store. Everyone around us jostled and shoved wordlessly but Vanderbeek politely said, “Excuse me” and walked on by. Nice guy.

Oh and for the record, I would have been polite had I been gutsy enough to speak with him – “Excuse me, sir? I just wanted to say I’m a fan of your work. You were great in Rules of Attraction and I really liked your cameo on Franklin and Bash a few weeks ago. Thanks!”

If America Runs On Dunkin’, She Ain’t Getting Too Far Or, I Am An Ad Exec’s Dream Girl

I hate Dunkin’ Donuts.

I realize that there’s a lot of loyalty regarding this brand and that in certain circles, the aforementioned statement is akin to blasphemy (Boston, for example. They love them some Dunkin’, but what the hell do they know? They support the Pats), but I’m simply not a fan of the company’s products.

Their donuts leave a weird coating in my mouth, their egg flatbreads taste like chewy (yeah, not a flavor. A texture. You just sit there and chew and chew and chew and wait for flavor that never arrives) and their coffee? Their coffee is a sin against caffeine, mankind and the general notion of human decency.

Simply put, their coffee tastes like it’s been filtered through a sweatsock that’s been living in the armpit of a hyperhidrosic pro-wrestler for the past six months.

BUT, I am a sucker and no matter how many times a franchise burns me, if they have a new product that seems remotely interesting — I will trot on over and give it a whirl.

Which is how I ended up grabbing one of these this morning:

Dunkin Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate also known as your yearly nutritional requirement of sugar or what happens when you forget about the Hershey Syrup you stuck in the back of the fridge.

So, I text my sister warning her about this:

Me: Dunkin Donuts Frozen Hot Chocolate tastes exactly how you’d expect it to taste. I don’t know if that’s good or bad…
My Sister: Coming from you, I’m now thinking frozen chocolate sweatsocks.

Not quite, but definitely an experience I won’t be replicating.

If you’re looking for frozen hot chocolate, save your ducats for the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3 in New York City. It’s about three and a half times more expensive than Dunkin, but I’m guessing it also doesn’t taste like a harbinger of diabetes, chemicals made to taste like chocolate and sadness.

29 Before 29 Or, #12 – Dinner and a Movie Night With The Godfather

The first time I watched The Godfather, I was thirteen. My buddy Joey Reale (thanks Joey! I have no idea where you are now, but I hope you’re doing well!) lent me his father’s ancient VHS copy and honestly, I didn’t get it.

Before your inner film nerd has a stroke and decides to Sonny me next time I’m on the turnpike, let me explain:

A) I was thirteen and living in the leafy suburbs of South Florida. Do you know what the average 13-year-old suburbanite knows? Jack with a side of shit. My life was more She’s All That (pre-makeover) than a sagacious epic about crime, honor and family.
B) The VHS copy was dark. I don’t mean thematically, I mean literally dark. As in, I had no idea what Jack Woltz was screaming about. I thought dude had a really bad nightmare or something.

Now that I’m an adult with a cinema studies minor under my belt, I figured it was high time I gave The Godfather another shot.

But I couldn’t just pop on the DVD on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It needed to be more of an event. So,I figured dinner and a movie would be the only acceptable way to watch this classic. I was planning on ordering take-out from our local Italian joint but since it’s both overpriced and mediocre, I figured why not make like a nonni and make my own Italian dinner.

I kept it simple — spaghetti pomodoro. It’s essentially idiot-proof and I found a pretty cool recipe on Tory Burch’s blog (of all places) on which to riff, so I fired up the Dean Martin station on Pandora and got to cooking.

Pomodoro sauce consists of nothing more than tomatoes, basil, garlic, shallots (I prefer them to onions), extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes).

However, if you’re an illiterate dingbat like me, you’ll pay no attention to the fact that the can says ‘Whole Tomatoes’ on it and then, be forced to smoosh them with a potato masher (which was actually kind of fun).

I wanted to slice the garlic with a razorblade, but I figured that would probably lead to bloodshed. Also, I didn’t want to spend my afternoon explaining to the very nice paramedics that this wasn’t so much a suicide attempt as it was an attempt to emulate Paul Sorvino’s character in Goodfellas.

My apartment smelled a-mazing while this was bubbling away on the stove.

I don’t have an immersion blender, I improvised and zsuszhed (what? That’s a word) it in Not Magic Bullet

And then, spent the next fifteen minutes trying to unscrew the damn lid.

At this point, I was staving off the urge to shove my face directly into the pan.

Finish with a little fresh basil and Pecorino Romano and ta-da! A meal worthy of a Medici…or a cinematic classic. Whatever.

Four down, 25 to go.

P.S. – It was delicious

Mom Might Be Sydney Bristow Or, Yogurt! Yogurt! I hate Yogurt! Even with Strawberries.

I’m pretty sure Mom works for the CIA.

I’ve never seen her shoot a gun, wear a black suit with mirrored sunglasses or pull someone’s spine out of their throat but I have my reasons.

1. She’s a polyglot. She speaks five different languages….whereas I can barely handle English (I’ve used, “the thing with the thing” entirely too many times in my life to be considered a fluent speaker of the language).

2. She knows things that she really shouldn’t know

(Upon seeing Chris Brown on TV)
Mom: Oh yeah. The BET Awards were on last night.
Jaime: …

Dudes, Chris Brown’s mother didn’t know he was on the BET Awards.

3. She is a phenomenally good interrogator and straight-up aces at getting people she hasn’t even met to side with her.

Last week, I had a forty five minute long discussion with her about dairy products.

With the exception of cheese, I am not a fan. I hate the taste of milk, I don’t particularly care for ice cream and I hate yogurt. I hate it with fruit. I hate it with granola. I hate smoothies and seriously, PinkBerry/Red Mango/Kiwi? Adorbs, but not for me.

Mom: You like yogurt, Jemmy.
Me: No, I don’t.
Mom: Yes, you do.
Me: Mom, I can promise you that I really don’t.

This went on for a good 45 minutes. For those in the cheap seats, let me reiterate. FORTY FIVE minutes of Mom going through various incarnations of dairy products and me saying that I would not eat them on a train, I would not eat them on a plane, I would not eat them in a box, I would not eat them with a fox.

This conversation made me want to burn down a dairy.

Yesterday at lunch, I mention this fact to my co-workers and as if by some miracle of Black Ops technology, they started channeling Mom and emphasizing the importance of calcium in a well-balanced diet. How my blonde, blue-eyed coworker managed to look exactly like my brunette, green-eyed mother is a mystery I’ll never understand.


Kudos, Mommy. Kudos.

Via Droid


The Greatest Sandwich of All Time: A Primo Veggie Diablo.

Spicy fried eggplant, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone and bruschetta on a crusty sesame seed roll.

This might just be the most delicious thing I’ve eaten all year.

America Still Surprises Me, Or Dude, I Can’t Wait Until Thanksgiving

I’ve been living in the States for 16 years now and the country still manages to surprise me in wonderful ways.

When I first got here in 1994, I thought it was weird.

Your football wasn’t really played with feet, your television wasn’t commercial-free like the BBC and your news seemed to feature nothing but constant updates on this OJ fella who had sliced up his wife.

But I learned to appreciate all these little quirks and now? Well, anyone will tell you that I’m decidedly more American than I am English.

Well, last week I discovered another fabulous bit of Americana that I’d been missing out on.

Pumpkin pie.

I love Thanksgiving and all, but come on. Pumpkin pie? You actually expect me to believe that a pie make from an orange gourd would actually be delicious? Eff off! I’m from the land of Steak-and-Kidney and Eel Pie! I know bad pie when I hear it.

But last week, I went out to lunch with my boss (who is all sorts of an awesome foodie) and I tried pumpkin pie.

And it tasted like magic.

It’s this creamy, comforting hug in the shape of a pie. I love comfort! I love hugs! I love pie!

So, good job America! Your pie of pumpkins? Delightful.

Man, I can’t wait until Thanksgiving….