Archive for the Obituaries Category

I ate a Double Down, somehow survived

Posted in Obituaries, Reviews with tags , , on October 21, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

What madness has wrapped its feverish grip around our frozen bastion of cool austerity? Canada is not normally known for being aggressively single minded about stuff, but the announcement of the KFC Double Down seems to have provoked somewhat of a fervour. People attempting to get them have told me some locations sold out on the first day, others just seemed incredibly curious. I ranked in the 3rd category-I haven’t updated my blog in ages, and felt like sickening myself for a post, rather than post about any far more interesting food-related matters I’ve attended to lately. SO AWAY WE GO!

What prompted me? Well, when I saw all the press it was getting in the US, I thought it looked stomach-churningly terribad, something designed to cause intestinal discomfort. When I heard it was coming to Canada, I was aghast-c’mon, we’re totally supposed to be above this level of chicanery, right? Then morbid curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to make a lunch-event out of it today at work, rather than saving it for a time when my evening productivity wasn’t reliant on having a well-balanced midday meal.

Foolishly steadfast in my quest, I proceeded to the KFC/Taco Bell near my work (so strange that the song is about Pizza Hut , and not KFC…). I was almost gleeful in my anticipation of the horrors I was going to wreak upon my stomach-after all, if it was so baddd, could they legally sell them? Walking up to the register, I had a big, smug grin on my face when I ordered it, as if somehow paying way more than is reasonable for a lark is a credible venture on my part (FYI, the sandwich alone is $7). The cashier smiled at me, and walked over to the heatlamp counter, and grabbed a pre assembled box from a large, large stack-They’re clearly moving a number of these suckers out the door (and into the sewer, with a few intervening steps).


They had the sick sense of humour to proudly display this above the cash.


As I clutched my wretched bounty on my way back to work, I kept an eye on everyone I passed, wondering if they knew what foul thing I was carrying around in that paper sack. Or conversely, if they’d be so jealous of my lunch savvy, that they’d roll me for a Double Down-that’d certainly make the news.


When I was finally seated in the lunch area at work, I finally opened the proverbial Pandora’s box…and was kind of repulsed.

Seriously, I realize even in the ads these things are ugly, but damn, I must’ve stared at it for a good 2 minutes before feeling adventurous enough to take a bite. The chicken is lumpily coated and weird. The cheese resembles industrial adhesives, and the bacon just looked sad. Emo bacon.



I took a deep breath, and bit into it. And my initial reaction was overwhelming disappointment-SHIT, This just tastes like what it advertises itself as-2 pieces of boneless, crispy KFC chicken stacked on top of eachother! It was overwhelmingly underwhelming in just how average it was; I WANTED to be able to rail about what I had gone through. FUCK Morgan Spurlock, I had eaten a Double Down, and that was damn near equivalent in caloric content and fat to a month worth of Mickey Ds.

And then by my third bite, I hit the cheese, bacon, and whatever-the-hellapeno sauce. And winced. The sauce was fairly noxiously odorous to begin with, but it was unfairly hindered by a completely artificial flavour, which further didn’t help the slimy bacon, or over-processed cheese. They all kind of flopped damply onto my tastebuds, and then oozed. Oozed flavour? I guess, in the same way that bad music is still music.

I wasn’t able to finish it. I still had a small chunk left, but had hit a chewy bit, and gagged a little. I tossed it, and finished my orange pop (sadly, by far my favourite element of nearly any fast food offering), and my fries. I felt somewhat gross, but otherwise fine. I had survived.


And then within twenty minutes felt nauseous, within ten minutes after that was wondering  if my Double Down was tainted, and I was going to die of the worst case of food poisoning ever had. I didn’t, obviously, but it was pretty chancy there for a little while. I remained full feeling for at least another 6-7 hours, but that might just have been my body trying to defend itself from any further attacks.

So, what did we all learn from this? Don’t eat it. Please. I’d assume most reading this are already possessed of enough intelligence or self-worth to avoid inflicting catastrophic gastronomical damage upon oneself, but just in case, I took that bullet for you guys.


El Bulli-I didn’t know ye.

Posted in Obituaries with tags , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

Now, I won’t go into histrionics here, but most people will admit, there’s been some celebrity death or something that has touched them in a personal way. Whether some musician had a song or album that reminds them of a special child memory, or an actor had a role that always brings a smile to ones face, most (or many, I shant speak for the majority, just the majority of that majority) create ‘relationships’ that are almost entirely one way. A restaurant you visited regularly could even strike at something deeper-bonds formed with staff, favourite dishes and what have you. Now, what if you’ve only heard of the restaurant, and its only connection to you is tenuous at best?

As I said, I’m not hysterical over the bombshell that El Bulli, the  “greatest restaurant in the world” would be closing. Still, it does give one pause-a restaurant with a waiting list in the millions (hot damn!), has been operating at a loss for the last decade. Apparently, ten years of losing money finally overcomes whatever artistic statement Ferran Adrià has been making. Fair enough-I’m not enough of an idealist to believe art can exist entirely divided from commerce.

What do I know of molecular gastronomy (or avant-garde cooking, or experimental cuisine, or whatever genre you’d classify it as, as molecular gastronomy is considered something of a misnomer)? Well, sadly, not as much as I wish-yes, I’ve had some flavoured foams on desserts, and tried some food that looked like other food, and I’ve read extensively on the subject. What I do know, is that it seems damn entertaining, and that with El Bulli closing, I’ll have to check out The Fat Duck, Alinea, or one of the other restaraunts of repute that mess around with liquid nitrogen and thematic deconstructions of staple meals, or whatever individual wild stuff they get up to.

Why? Well, I know a lot of people who cluck their tongues at the thought of it, but if I’m paying several hundred dollars for a meal, I don’t care how scintillating the conversation is. I expect atmosphere, and entertainment-make me remember every element of that meal, so I can spend the following nights, and weeks going over it in exquisite detail in my head (trust me, a sushi train restaurant can provide me with hours of entertainment, so something like this would be a bit of a step up). Taking such a unique approach to food nearly guarantees that result.  And also, LIQUID GODDAMN NITROGEN. Seriously, all my boyhood endeavours failed due to a lack of it (I was a weird kid. Now I’m a weird adult. Go figure).  Now, I can play around with it…in the name of furthering my culinary horizons…>_>.

In all fairness, it may be some time before I actually attempt anything so esoteric, as I’m still working on many of the fundamentals (eg. my pan reduction sauces still generally lack something). As well, this isn’t something I’d bust out for a monday night dinner or somesuch-good home cooking is still preferable to something someone else cooked the majority of the time.

Oh well, imaginary experimental food is nearly as good, for the moment-I never said I gave up those boyhood endeavours.