Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rusty Taco: First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions

Rusty Taco
2801 North St

I was trying to figure out what to eat for lunch today and since I have nothing but bare bones in the larder (and have been picking up things from La Michoacana as I need them) I was then stuck trying to remember a place I wanted to go that I don't go to all the damned time.  Then I remembered that a new taco joint opened recently (May 18th) on North Street in that weird location next to Subway that was at one time a hot dog place and another time a smoothie (?) place.  I checked on google maps for their location which places it on North Drive and University which is not even close.  The home site lists the Nacogdoches location as opening in June.  So I called, and not only were they open but they are until 10pm on a Sunday night.  That's pretty awesome.  I checked out the menu.  Yup, tacos, for lunch it is.

The parking lot is still a drive-in layout but there seems to be ample outdoor seating at picnic benches, though I was pleased there was in-door sixty-eight degree indoor seating.  I was grumbling to myself about them not having a bike rack when an employee (a manager) came up and said hello and, "We really need to get a bike rack."  I had to laugh.

Rusty Taco has a fairly simple layout with sit down counters next to the kitchen and a small but comfortable dining room.  Order at the counter, standard stuff.  One potential problem I see for ordering, especially when the place is busy, is managing the flow of traffic and queues.  There's a large upright cooler blocking space where you walk in and order.  It wasn't a problem when I went (after one pm on a Sunday - good luck finding a place that's not packed with church crowd in this town) but as I was eating I noticed a bit o f a bottleneck with people looking at the menu, people walking in, and people trying to get their orders.

The menu consists of a baker's dozen of tacos and there are breakfast tacos!  Booyah!  I went with the #2 Roasted Pork Taco, #3 Beef Fajita Taco, and the #11 BBQ Brisket Taco along with chips & salsa.  With a drink it was the standard lunch price of under ten bucks for one person ($2 a taco).  They have three different sauces (habanero, verde, and standard red) so I gave all of them a try.

The Roasted Pork was solid roast pork.  Moist and tender, with pickled onions and cotija cheese, yup.  Nice work.

I was underwhelmed by the beef fajita.  Not that it was bad in the least but it was just kind of bland and it didn't have the sear/char I like on my beef fajitas.

The BBQ Brisket taco, however, was pretty frickin awesome and more than made up in taste for the fajita.  I was particularly pleased with their lime slaw.  Hell, I would get a side of their lime slaw if they offered it.  The brisket was shredded and plentiful and the BBQ sauce was an accent and didn't overwhelm the meat or the slaw.  I will definitely be getting one of these again.

Of the sauces I liked the habanero the best.  It actually wasn't that hot and had a good citrus note to it.  The verde was standard verde.  The red was just too mild for me (and had a peculiar ketchup-y aftertaste).

The salsa wasn't bad, tastes the same as El Ranchero's, but was cold which was a drag.  I don't mind cold salsa if it's really chunky and more on the pico end of salsa than liquidy but the smooth stuff, gotta be warm.  The flavors blend better.  Cold, you just get tomato flavor.  A minor complaint and one that I'm sure I'm in the minority for having.

The staff was friendly and outgoing, the interior was tidy, tables were clean, there wasn't a huge amount of crap on the walls (I'm starting to get annoyed with restaurants that have too much crap on the walls), the wait wasn't long at all (I think I've waited long in crappy fast food joints), and I was full but not overfull for my bike ride.

Definitely worth checking out.  Let me know when you're going, I want another BBQ Brisket Taco and there are a couple more styles I want to check out (particularly #13 The Texican and the jalapeno sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast taco).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

XBOX One unveiled!

Oh my stars and whiskers!  I'll be able to watch live TV, a movie, Skype, update my NFL Fantasy League in real time and play a game ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  I can even use my TV as a wicked awesome monitor for Internetz!  If I need to take a piss it'll even help me find my zipper!

*dramatic pause*

Oh movie quotes from the 1980s, you help me express myself so well
 (I used to use this sample on my old mix tapes).  

The unveiling, which I watched on ye olde XBOX360, started strong.  No, fuck that.  It was depressing.  The entire event reminded me of a sad Sears photographer trying to make a sad, fat baby happy while a dour looking Mother glares at the photographer and sweats Crisco.

Okay, okay, to be fair, let me take a breath and reign in the snark.  This is not a product that is marketed to me.  None of the features revealed appeal to me (including but not limited to a Kinect that is always on, a Kinect - period, 8G of RAM, live updates to fantasy sports, the ability to watch live television, absurdist levels of multi-tasking, fuck a bunch of HALO, and interfacing with technology I have no inclination of owning).  There was minimal talk of games except for three cash cows (Forza, Madden, and COD) which is to be expected and of course XBOX is gonna save some of the fireworks for E3.

Thinking about it rationally, I realize that my ire comes from feeling discluded.  Reminds me of the time I broke-up with Playstation and started dating 360.  Though, this is different, because before it was a matter of price and other factors.  Now, I just feel as if they don't give a shit about gamers.  And since I've started a relationship with PC gaming a few years ago, she's going to make the most of this opportunity to comfort me in her bosom whilst smirking at consoles and thinking, "He's all mine now and you're never getting him back.  I have been doing all you might promise and more."

I should reserve judgment until the system comes out and games are revealed.  Yeah, fuck that, I'll just save my pennies and buy some shit off of for a fraction of the price of a new console.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Dark Souls - I'm losing the fear. Minor game spoilers and build theory.

Yes, you read that right.  Dark Souls and I have achieved an understanding and if not an understanding than a grudging mutual respect.

I'm not going to give away any plot spoilers or major walk-through info but instead I'm going to tell you a few things that I have picked up through trial and error and bullshit.  I am currently almost level 70 with my fourth character - a Pyromancer/sniper build.

Pyromancer is a beast in combat.  Combined with a 40 Dex and a +10 Black Bow of Pharis and +9 starting armor and 20+ vitality/endurance I can dish out a good amount of dps at long and medium ranges.  Short range still gives me trouble but I've juiced up Combustion and a couple of light melee weapons for those get stuck in moments.  Also dumped a bunch of humanity into the Chaos Servant Covenant for extra boom boom.

I've even developed a kind of love for PvP in Dark Souls.  I know, right?  I've even won a couple of fights though most of the time I dread being invaded, usually because I'm desperately trying to recruit for a boss fight.

Anor Londo is one of my new favorite levels in a game.  Hell, Dark Souls, is rife with a multitude of areas I really dig but Anor Londo is a sniper wet-dream.  Stunning vistas coated in an amber light that provides for an interesting change in scenery from the rest of the first half of the game.  It is a dangerous area if you're not prepared but coming on the heels of Sen's Fortress (a trap laden nightmare that gave me a headache for almost a day on my first run-through) Londo is just stunning.  Plus it's a great place to grind before and after you beat the area boss.  Run a circuit and make 20k souls, bonfire, rinse, repeat.  For ranged attacks, it's brilliant.  I couldn't imagine taking on some of the enemies up close but I reckon if I was built for melee it wouldn't be so bad.

Now that I am at the (I think) halfway point of the game story wise I have to wade into new areas and get out of my grindy comfort zone during my next proper game session.  I plan to grind a bit for humanity and souls so I can be loaded for bear before tackling the unknown.

Dark Souls has turned into less of a nightmare and more of a luxurious challenge.  I am not stomping the game but I feel I have a definite fighting chance backed up with some skills and some inventory and hard won knowledge.  Even crappy one shotter enemies will eat your lunch if you don't pay attention to your actions.  It is a far cry from AFKing a pack of wolves in Skyrim to nerf your armor stats.

Friday, May 03, 2013

"May the Fourth Be With You": Hooligan Youth Cooks edition.

That's right folks I'm serving up some vittles for the 2nd Annual May the etc etc Star Wars party.  This time I'm gonna theme up the main dishes I am working on more than last year.  I started poking wookiepedia with a bantha prodder for cuisine ideas and realized, shit, I already embrace the four tenets of Mandalorian cuisine (I'll get to those later).  As far as main dishes go I wasn't too impressed with a large amount of the glop the humanoids eat.  No way in hell I'm making Huttese or some weird Rodian muck.  I'm doing one dish in the Mandalore tradition and one in the Twi'lek.

Mandalorian cuisine is based on four tenets (thanks to Melyc'inya's awesome forum post from 09) which encompass heturam (mouth burn), hetikleyc (nose burn), yai'yai (richly nourishing), and a fourth that doesn't have a term but seems to be a variation of wok hei.  I'm not going to be making this dish terribly heturam or hetikleyc but I figure a well-rounded flavor with a touch of piquant and just a stab of heat.  Enough to notice the knife behind the smile.

I ended up deciding on roast shatual, a dish based on the fauna of Mandalore.  Being unable to acquire shatual on this backwater planet I am using two ten pound pork butts.  One will be roasted with #42 and the other with a little something I've code named "Order 66".  It's gonna be so good you're gonna slaughter Jedi.

The second dish is something the Twi'lek came up with, mynock.  Yes, I know, the mynocks are chewing through the external power cables.  Instead let us chew through them.  I've decided to go with chicken drumsticks (proper meaty ones not crummy bar food ones) in their stead.  I couldn't find many sources on the style of Twi'lek cuisine but I figured it'd be more a savoury, subtle style.  A mix of roasted coriander, ajwain seeds, and peppercorn blend has given them a light, floral aroma with a slight hint of white pepper heat.

I will also be serving mynock legs as the evening progresses based on what people might be interested in.  You want spicy?  I can do that.  You want smoky?  I can do that too.  You want sweet?  Well, just for you, this once.

It's been kind of fun planning theme dishes.  I'm not as hardcore about Star Wars as I once was but I do love the setting (and AT-ST).  I'll post recipes and fun stuff I come up with as the evening goes on and I promise not to yell at anyone in Huttese, unless they get into my safe zone.

p.s. If you're really nice I'll set you up with something I learned to make on Socorro.

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