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Monday, January 31, 2011

food truck FAIL

and not just once, but twice.  ugh.

although i suppose the first one wasn't a complete failure.  my friend lilcee told me about a free event at the toyota speedway in nearby irwindale on thursday evening.  i had a meeting to attend at 7:30, but i figured if we went early enough, i could still make it.  i'd seen that the baconmania truck was going to be there, as well as ludobites, so i wasn't going to miss it - besides, this was pretty darn close to home.  it'd be a shame not to at least drop by, right?

oh, and on the way to taking the teen to volleyball practice, we saw this.  awwwww.

we pulled up here at 5:30, a half hour into the 'fest.

i was giddy when i saw the truck i was dying to try out, right in front.  not quite ready to serve, but that was okay.  i'm patient when i need to be.

plus, there were lots of other trucks to visit first.

and right at the end, i saw it:

MIL and i decided to share an order of the pepittes - basically fried chicken balls.  but DELICIOUS balls.

plus, the guy at the window was super friendly.  after giving us a sample, we fell in love with and ordered two basil blood orange juices.  SO good.

by then, lilcee & co. had found us and placed an order of their own.

they had one of these, and i had to try it for myself.

the honey glaze was delicious.  the biscuit itself - well, let's just say that i've had better.  but the rest of the grub from the ludotruck was quite lovely.  i'd like to have it again someday soon.

and then we headed back towards the baconmania truck - the main event for most of us - and were shocked to find that it was gone.  nowhere in sight.  and i couldn't find anyone to ask, so i checked my twitterfeed and found these:

gah!  i could not believe it.  so depressed.  i was really looking forward to getting my grub on at that damn truck.  instead, MIL and i hit up the white rabbit truck.

and then capped it off with a cold, frosty treat.

before we left, i took the bean to the restroom and then we peeked at the goings-on at the track.

"i wanna drive that car, mommy," she said loudly, and everyone around us cracked up.

a couple of days later, after the teen's volleyball game, we hopped in the car and headed over to santa anita race track for their food truck festival.  at first, i wasn't a huge fan of going to this as there was a $10 entry fee.  i hate paying to get in to spend more cash on food trucks.  but MIL made a good point:  "i only have so much longer to visit these trucks, and i'd really like to have another one of those yummy lobster rolls from your friend's truck."

well, how was i supposed to argue with that?  i didn't.  heh.  i guess i wasn't that hard to convince.  plus, i hadn't been to the horse races since i was little, and i thought it might be something fun for the girls to see.

but as it turned out, it was indeed a total waste of cash and time.  from the moment we pulled into the parking lot and found ourselves parking the car a country freaking mile away from the entrance, i knew we weren't in for a great time.  and the chick who took our ticket and handed us our wristbands was pretty much the opposite of friendly and helpful.  bitch.

we walked through the tunnel that connects the parking lot to the infield, followed the signs, and my worst fears were confirmed:

there were so many freaking people there, we couldn't even get a good look at what trucks were present. this is the closest we got to the lobsta truck:

can't even tell it's back there, can ya?  blah.  and as we talked to the people standing in various lines that wove around the lawn into unrecognizable snarls, they were increasingly irritated:  "we've been standing here for an hour, the line is moving really slowly, and the trucks are starting to run out of food."  yikes.

so we stayed long enough to watch one race:

and then we were outta there.  on our way back to the tunnel, we saw the starting gate being positioned for the next race.

this poor horse was standing around as people crowded around him to take pictures.

and there was a really long line here for kiddie pony rides.  although here, unlike other crappy petting zoo-type pony rides, the animals aren't tethered to a pole and forced to walk in circles.  there's a small trail that they follow, assisted by a handler to keep them from bolting with a frightened, screaming kid in the saddle.  there were so many people that i couldn't get a clear shot, but i know the bean would've loved it had the line not been a mile long.

back through the tunnel we went.

i managed to make a wrong turn trying to get out of the parking lot and found a great view of the track, right behind what looked like a live-in caretaker's house.

so, yeah - we ended up grabbing lunch here:

moral of the story:  food truck festivals on a weekend?  don't do it.  EVER.

Friday, January 28, 2011


so you know i'm not much of a drinker.  sure, i did my share back in the day - i had this great fake ID that worked like a charm.  a friend of a friend had an aunt who worked at the DMV and had access to some of the official paper that they printed the temporary driver's licenses on, and...well, you get it.  i had a student ID from a local community college (a legit one!), and i was actually just a few months away from my 21st birthday anyway.  heh.

i was really only a social drinker anyway, mostly at parties and weddings and the occasional night out.  as i got older, the hangovers were killer, and it wasn't worth it anyway.  and i never got into the taste of beer or wine, so whenever you see a drink in my hand, it's usually soda or water.  besides, i'm a party all on my own without any alcoholic enhancement!

but i digress.

i was browsing through one pretty thing - it's a fun site that does a roundup of all sorts of posts across the blogosphere of crafty, creative things people do.  there are holiday-related items, jewelry making, free printables, foodie stuff.  i came across a link to a post for blow pop martini jello shots, and they looked so pretty that i was intrigued.  i had a junior league meeting where we were going to be sitting around stuffing roughly 800 invitations, and i thought those lushes might enjoy something to liven things up a little.  haha, sorry, JLPers.  you know it's true.

and then i learned that there's a bubble gum-flavored vodka.  whee!  sounded like fun.  i googled it and found a link to someone else who had made their own, simply chopping up pieces of bubble gum and soaking it in alcohol - one piece per shot.

i had to do it.  the very next day, i picked up a pack of bubble yum and a pack of half-pint mason jars (i'll use them for something else fun, i'm sure).  i knew we had a bottle of ketel one somewhere, and i chopped up enough pieces of pink, sugary goodness and tossed it into the jar.  for good measure, i added an extra piece of gum.

it looks cloudy because the vodka was ice-cold.  we keep it in the freezer so it's always nice and chilled.  you know, for all that unplanned drinking we do around here.  heh.

i found the "real" bubble vodka at bevmo while i was picking up the other ingredients for those jello shots.  it was $19 for the bottle, which is pretty typical anyway i thought, and on sale for $17.  i debated and inspected it and debated it some more, and then decided to skip it.  at least i knew where to find it if i really wanted it.

but then at the grocery store - a local neighborhood-type one, not even one of the big chains - i saw it again.  and here it was on sale for $15!  so i said "screw it" (i literally said it out loud and got a weird look from a shopper passing by) and stuck it in my cart.

mixing up the concoction was pretty easy, and i got to use the cute heart-shaped silicone ice cube trays i picked up at the target dollar spot.

i didn't love the color after i split it in half and added the apple and watermelon puckers to it.  i used a few drops of red food color and got the pretty shade i was going for, but i don't have green.  so the apple ones ended up looking kind of clear-ish.

meanwhile, my homemade vodka was fermenting and taking on the color of the gum.  i'm guessing that when the pieces start floating to the top, that means the alcohol has sucked all the life out of 'em, don'tcha think?

the next day, i flipped the shots out of the tray and put them into little candy cups for presentation.  i didn't have the time or patience to stick lollipop sticks in them, but i figured no one would care.  they were pretty and came out perfectly.

i tasted one and good god a'mighty, they are STRONG.  really took me back to the old days.  felt like i was 20 again.  haha!  but i knew the girls would love 'em.

when i got there, all of the innards for the invitations we were stuffing were ready to go.

one of the girls got started right away, signing the cover letters for the packages we were sending.  i made her have a jello shot first, though, to cheer her ass up.

and there was pizza!

ooh, and homemade california rolls.

by the time i left, there were about three jello shots and two homemade oreos left.  success!

now, what to do with all that leftover pucker and bubble vodka.  not to mention, my own homemade stuff!  i hear it's fantastic when served with some lemonade or sprite.  anybody else have good ideas for what i can do with it - and not martinis, because i don't love being able to actually taste the alcohol.

i've become quite a lightweight in my old age, you know.

squeezing in all the sightseeing

this was our NYC home for a whole week: it was one of only a few hotels that i could find that offered two beds in a room rather than, say, ...