Category: Food

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Grow Your Own

Along the fence of the house from which grapevines draped over the sidewalk (August 2021), today I saw something unexpected and presumably quite new—as the Featured Image and companions reveal. Little lending libraries with books are all over my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights (Examples: One, Two, Three, Four). But this is the first seen sharing seeds. Small supply there may be but hopefully growing. I know. I know.

Vitals: f/4, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:24 p.m. PDT. The trio comes from Leica Q2, and this one is composed as captured. I chose the angled view to diminish glare and reflection off the glass.

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The Unhappy Meal

Before June 17, 2022, I hadn’t been inside a McDonald’s since before SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, on March 11, 2020. My daughter needed a ride, and on on the way back to her residence she asked for fast food. I grumbled and pulled into McD’s.

Whoa, what happened to prices? The current $5.99 for a Quarter Pounder is about a buck less when I last bought a combo meal, which is now $10.49 for a burger, fries, and drink.

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We All Need a Smiley Break

Flashback two years, to May 2, 2020: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns compelled Californians to avoid anyone and to otherwise practice so-called safe social distancing. The seeming hardship would pale compared to racial riots that would erupt weeks later.

One of my neighbors literally put on a happy face—among several encouraging, or funny, street decorations to adorn this University Heights property and/or the sidewalk straddling Meade Avenue. Seems like every time I walked by something different greeted. Thank you.

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The Angry Birds

Somebody is unhappy about all the talk that avian flu will lead to poultry shortages in the worst scenario and soaring selling prices in the better one. Look at those grim faces dominating the Featured Image captured on April 14, 2022 using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, 28mm; 10:39 a.m. PDT.

You can panic, and be sure smug prognosticators of doom are correct, when Costco rotisserie chicken sells for more than the long stable $4.99—or simply is unavailable.

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Killer Branding

For the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, I had planned to go with a nature theme. But plans changed after shopping at Grocery Outlet and seeing the wicked instant brew that my wife discovered during another visit. The company and its coffee are about a decade old but they’re new to me (obviously). The instant variety debuted in 2018.

The connotations of Death Wish, “world’s strongest coffee”, and skull-and-crossbones logo are loaded in all the right ways. It’s killer branding. K-pods are called “death cups”.

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The Con is On

If you’re banging the drum of warning about impending climate doom or advocating essentially destroying Russia to save Ukraine, what will you say when the gasoline price soars past $6, $7, $8 a gallon or you’re hungry for lack of something—anything—to eat? Surely those, ah, causes will be meaningless then—and you lie to yourself if thinking otherwise.

Reason demands that people like you stop prattling emotions, wrapped in crisis, to sway public opinion and political policy. People like you share the critically common characteristics of grifters. Today, in the United States, following the change of administration in Washington, D.C., the con is on.

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Amazing Grace

While walking along Oregon Street in North Park today, my wife and I unexpectedly came upon free food distribution outside Grace Church. Most of the gathered recipients were elderly, and they are a population often hiding in plain sight. There are many somewhat unkempt houses scattered about this San Diego neighborhood and those adjacent. Within may live someone older, or retired, who owns the property but lives on meager fixed-income in an area with rapidly rising cost of living.

Homeownership isn’t wealthiness if you are aged, attached to where you live (meaning not wanting to move), but barely able to manage ongoing expenses, which could include food. Tell you this: I saw no heavyweights waiting in line. This was a lean lot.

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Rudford’s Remembers JFK

For Presidents’ Day 2022, we celebrate with a slice of history. This morning, my wife watched a local TV news story about the John F. Kennedy photo hanging on the outside wall of Rudford’s Restaurant. A high school student shot the portrait as the president’s motorcade passed by the diner on June 6, 1963. I don’t know which early morning news station, and no search results lead me to the source.

In response, Annie and I walked from University Heights to North Park to investigate—and, sure enough, the massively enlarged photo adorns side of the building along Kansas Street. Rudford’s faces El Cajon Blvd, which is where Kennedy rode past 59 years ago.

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Promises, Promises

Who other than perhaps researchers at a Chinese lab could have predicted the global lockdown to combat SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19. Surely, owners of the Red Fox Steak House couldn’t guess when the restaurant and piano bar—long a fixture within the iconic Lafayette Hotellost its lease. Like its crafty namesake animal, the eatery cunningly chose to make a new home directly across El Cajon Blvd in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

But building and opening anew during California’s Coronavirus crackdown, when the governor ordered citizens to stay home and prohibited indoor dining, clearly proved challenging. In January 2021, I shared with you a photo of the then unfinished construction with banner “Opening early Fall 2020”. As you can see from the Featured Image, the place is still outfoxed by the virus—even as mandated restrictions relax. Will we ever eat medium-rare amidst the ambience of live music? I really wonder.

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Pizza Face

D you recall that scene from movie Poltergeist where the dude picks apart his face? I feel kind of the same way about the Featured Image, captured today using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:09 p.m. PST.

Looked at from a different gruesome perspective, how is self-cannibalism an effective way to sell pizza? You tell me. The mural is on the same side of building as yesterday’s two slices but closer to the street and behind a temporary fence; the new eatery isn’t yet open for business—but soon, presumably.

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Inflation Disarms The Bomb

I learned something about cost-creep today that hopefully will benefit you. Don Miguel The Bomb Spicy Red Hot Beef & Bean Burrito is a favorite of mine—available in lots of 12 at my local Costco Business Center. When I first found them, some years ago, a case could be bought for $18.99 or $1.58 per 14-ounce burrito. Later, the price rose to $19.99 before quickly going up to $20.99 and finally $21.99 during the tightest SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns. That’s $1.67, $1.75, and $1.83 per package, respectively.

After nearly exhausting a somewhat stocked supply, I returned with my wife to the warehouse store for more. My mistake: I did not closely inspect the box. Price is higher now: $22.49 for that dozen-filled case. But that 50 cents more is for less. The Bomb now is 12 ounces, a decrease of 14 percent in size for a burrito costing $1.87—15 cents per ounce versus 13 cents previously or 11 cents from what I paid about three years ago; maybe four, I don’t rightly recall.

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Don’t Drive Plastered

Is there some metaphor or deliberate message here? Hodad’s is a popular burger joint in Ocean Beach, Calif.—if the persistent waiting lines are any indication (unless seating is inadequate; I wouldn’t know). As you can see from the Featured Image, the restaurant’s vintage Volkswagen minivan is plastered with stickers, such that anyone sensible shouldn’t drive it. Safety first!

The eatery also sells craft beer. Being plastered is a euphemism for intoxication, in which state no responsible person should be behind the wheel of a vehicle. So is it coincidence that a place that brews beer parks its plastered VW nearby? I should have asked someone when in OB on Nov. 17, 2021 carrying Leica Q2. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 12:30 p.m. PST.