All world problems solved. Time for CripsyCones and Season Shots

The CrispyCone website commands us to introspect:

Isn’t it time to reinvent the way we eat our favorite foods?

Errr… Is it? Where does that pesky favorite food issue resides on the queue of the world’s problems? I can’t deny your logic though:

After all, we do everything differently than we did just a few years ago. The music industry has MP3’s. Cell phones got built-in cameras. Laptops went the wireless internet way.

crispycone.jpgHoly shit! You’re right! Please CrispyCones, tell us how to fix the problems with our favorite foods!

CrispyCones will forever change the way we look at meals on the go, with a new, fun alternative to traditional fast food. Made with nutritious ingredients and delivered in a smart drip-free cone that complements the delicious flavors of the food, the Crispy Cone lets you enjoy your favorite foods in a modern and environmentally-smart new way.

Wait what’s that about smart, drip-free cones? Are the cones intelligent or are they nice looking?

To meet the needs of the healthy, selective and environmentally conscious consumer. Not only is the shape of the cone different than anything else out there, it’s also different in concept: Nutritious. Responsible. Delicious. Prepared with care and thought. Environmentally smart, because it leaves no waste, and uses no utensils.
Prepared with freshly selected ingredients, served in a unique crispy, tasty dough, and filled with lean meats and fresh vegetables, the Crispy Cone caters to the taste buds as well as the needs of the health-conscious diner on the go.

With its easy-to-handle shape, the Crispy Cone is the food you’ll love to eat on the move. Whether in the car, the mall, or walking down the street, the Crispy Cone lets you enjoy its delicious, hassle-free flavors while shuffling through your MP3, driving your car, working at your desk or talking on your cell phone.

Ah yes, flavor is such a freaking hassle. I have to tell your marketing guys something though. DO NOT continue to use those cute pun names like Veggiecone, Chicone, and the hideously named Porcone. It doesn’t work for Burgerpipe and it certainly isn’t going to make your revolting products any easier to take seriously, much less eat. Both product and product name are the punch line to a fifth-grade vomit joke.

I fear for you Arcadia.

On the other hand, maybe the cone menace can be repelled by some Season Shots a.k.a. The Ammo With Flavor. The website copy needs no embellishment:


Season Shot is made of tightly packed seasoning bound by a fully biodegradable food product. The seasoning is actually injected into the bird on impact seasoning the meat from the inside out. When the bird is cooked the seasoning pellets melt into the meat spreading the flavor to the entire bird. Forget worrying about shot breaking your teeth and start wondering about which flavor shot to use!

1. Load your gun with Season Shot and let the hunt begin. Watch as your bird is seasoned on impact leaving no harmful waste behind in the environment.

2. Forget about removing shot, prepare the whole bird for dinner! The Season Shot pellets will melt in the oven seasoning the entire bird.

3. Enjoy! No wasted time, no wasted meat, no waste left behind. Finally there’s a better way!

Unlike the ridiculous conespawn, Season Shot takes their competitors head on:

Season Shot
– Our ammo has flavor
– Seasoning from the field to the stove
– Season Shot is nature friendly leaving no shot to litter our environment
– No shot left in the bird to chip your teeth
– Cook the ENTIRE bird as it’s flavored from the inside out!

Other Brands
– No flavor here
– Seasoning after the bird has been breasted
– Even non-toxic shot clutters our environment with unwanted litter
– Traditional ammo forces you to breast your bird losing time and meat
– With traditional ammo it’s hard enough to cook a whole bird let alone season it from the inside

Season Shot also wins because they have a cute mascot of a shotgun shell with a chef’s hat. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this was a SubGenius prank.

Caffé italiano

Venice coffeeIt wasn’t until the fifth or sixth day in Italy when I noticed something… Since leaving LAX we hadn’t encountered a single Starbucks. No stores, no hotels “proud to exclusively serve Starbucks,” nothing in the airports or train stations.

Apparently, no rioting anarchists are needed to keep back cultural imperialism. There’s no Starbucks in Italy because there’s no way they can compete against non-burned, non-watery coffee that’s served in a real cup (instead of cardboard) for €1.20. I knew that coffee in Italy was good, but I didn’t expect just how thoroughly good it is everywhere. The espresso at the airport (a traditional home of caffinated swill) is just as terrific as the espresso at a local cafe. Even the espresso on the Eurostar was pretty good – just make sure to get it from the dining car and not the mobile cart.

There had to be some news on Starbucks versus Italy, for Cthulhu’s sake it’s a whole country without one, and what I turned up was all good-luckyou’ll-need-it-har-har. Back in 1998, CEO Howard Schultz delusionally claimed that “When talking to people in the coffee business in Italy there is an underground feeling–they won’t say this publicly–that they want us to come. We spur growth.” Today, free free to raise a steaming cup of schadenfreude as Schultz has a Captain Obvious moment:

Starbucks has lost its soul and does not know where to find it.

Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz lamented as much in a recent internal memo to his executives. He wrote that as the world’s largest specialty coffee company has expanded from fewer than 1,000 locations to about 13,000, its stores no longer even smell like coffee because of “flavor-locked packaging.”

His memo grieved, too, over the loss of “the romance and theatre” of traditional Italian espresso makers, which have been replaced by automatic machines. Schultz wrote that the new machines, while more efficient, block customers from watching as coffee drinks are made and sharing what he called an “intimate experience with the barista.”

“One of the results has been stores that no longer have the soul of the past,” he wrote. “Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee.”

The leak of Schultz’s lost-our-soul memo has generated buzz on business pages. But it has occasioned only a shrug from the caffeine cognoscenti in Seattle, which has more coffee shops per capita than any other major U.S. city.

For most Seattleites, what Schultz called “the watering down of the Starbucks experience” is stale news – akin to reports that the Seattle SuperSonics are a losing NBA team or that Seattle winters are wet.

“Like, duh, I have felt that way about Starbucks for 10 years,” said Sean Seery, 36, an acupuncturist who sat one recent morning outside Victrola, a popular independent coffee shop on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, can someone recommend a place in Glendale that can make a cappuccino like that one I had in Venice pictured above? Simulacrums will not be tolerated.

Domo arigato, Mr. Ando

Millions of students around the world raise their bowls in respect.

Momofuku Ando, the Japanese inventor of instant noodles, has died, according to Nissin Food Products Co, the company he founded. He was 96.

Ando died of a heart attack on Friday, Nissin said in a statement today on its corporate website.

He was born in Taiwan in 1910, when the island was under Japanese colonial rule. He moved to Japan in 1933, according to Japan’s daily Mainichi newspaper.

Faced with food shortages in post Second World War Japan, Ando developed the idea that a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses. He founded Nissin in 1948.

In 1958 Chicken Ramen, the first instant noodle product, was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company continued to add innovative products, including Cup Noodle in 1971.

I rent a storage unit across the street from the Nissin plant in Irvine. Always thought it was a good omen…

Billy’s Deli, Glendale

In an utterly synchronistic event, both me and The New Diner independently visited Billy’s Deli in Glendale.

I first ran across Billy’s in the mid-80s when I was busy filling going through the Thomas Guide pages and figuring out where in LA county I hadn’t been yet. On that first trip to Glendale, I had a pretty good corned beef sandwich there and filed it away for further information in case I didn’t want to make the drive to Canter’s or Nate & Al’s. Billy’s has been around since 1948 and I doubt that the inside has changed much since then. Pretty remarkable given all the construction that’s going on in downtown Glendale right now. I suspect that in a couple years, Billy’s is going to be like that Chock Full O’Nuts diner in New York City that held up the completion of One Liberty Plaza for years.

The food at Billy’s is the oldest of the old-school comfort food. I had the corned beef plate with potato pancakes and it had just the right amounts of fat and grease to maintain authenticity. The bread and apple sauce are pretty stock though, and for the price ($13) I’d skip the corned beef plate and go straight for the sandwich instead. Is it good? For the most part. Is it satisfying? Heck yeah!

I can’t wait until the weather cools down enough to order the matzo ball soup (which if memory serves, is pretty outstanding there).

Have A Delicious Corned Beef SandwichBilly's Deli - Corned Beef PlateInside Billy's DeliThe Wall Of Billy's Deli

Diedrich coffee gives up

Holy cow!

Irvine-based Diedrich Coffee, conceding defeat in the coffee shop duel with Starbucks, agreed to sell 40 stores it owns to its Seattle rival for $13.5 million.

The local company will remain in business as a roaster and wholesaler of coffee beans. The sale includes all company-owned Diedrich and Coffee People locations. Franchise stores aren’t included in the sale.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but I thought that the coffee bar cold war wasn’t in danger of heating up anytime soon. The most irritating side-effect of this for us itinerant IT workers that Diedrich’s free Wi-Fi will disappear for Starbucks’ pay system.

The Official Beer Of Global Warming

When you’re in Sisimiut and you’ve finished up your lovely Chinese dinner, don’t forget to pick up some Greenlandic beer on the way home.

A brewery in Greenland is producing beer using water melted from the ice cap of the vast Arctic island. The brewers claim that the water is at least 2,000 years old and free of minerals and pollutants.

The first 66,000 litres of the new dark and pale ales are on their way to the Danish market.

The beer from Greenland – a semi-autonomous Danish territory – costs 37 kroner (£3.40; five euros) per half-litre bottle.

It is the first ever Inuit microbrewery – located in Narsaq, a hamlet 625km (390 miles) south of the Arctic Circle.

It is claimed that the Greenland beer, officially launched in Copenhagen on Monday, has a softer, cleaner taste than other beers, because of the ice cap water.

Cable Airport cafe

Welcome to Cable AirportThe tour of airport cafes continues…

I actually have a past with the Cable Airport cafe. I went to a private high school in Claremont in the very early 80s and when I could get off campus on the weekends, I’d spend the day on my bike and make my usual rounds to one or more of the following: a video arcade – Two-Bit Arcade on Foothill Blvd. and the Montclair Plaza arcade (before it became a Sega Center), a used book store (Adobe Used Books on the corner of Garey and Foothill), Rhino Records in the Claremont Village (the only place to buy records!), the Blue Dragon game shop in Ontario, and the Claremont Computer Center – pretty much the only place in town that had Apple II software and didn’t complain if you hung around talking about the particulars of

Somewhere in the middle of all that I’d stop for lunch somewhere and if I was biking east towards Montclair Plaza or Ontario I’d stop for a burger at the Cable Airport cafe in Upland. Pretty much your straight-up honest diner burger but as with any airport cafe the taste is substantially improved by the buzz of light plane traffic and the other customers gabbing about airplanes.

I hadn’t been back to Cable Airport since then and not surprising at all, it hasn’t changed much at all. Cable Airport is still privately-owned and the cafe, now called Maniac Mike’s, still makes terrific diner food. I opted for the “Cropduster Breakfast” with french toast, bacon, and eggs and a cheerfully infinite cup of coffee. Maybe I just had that look of “you need more coffee” or something. Completely unpretentious, terrific and the real deal. Now I just need to find a set of vintage dishes like what they have.

Breakfast at Cable Airport Caution! Moving Aircraft Cable Airport terminal Cable Airport planes

AirNav on KCCB. Previous blog entries for El Monte Airport, Long Beach Airport, Fullerton Airport, and Hawthorne Airport.

Aero Market

There are two different kinds of bar-be-que in the world. I’m not talking about regional differences, dry rub versus vinegar, or ribs versus chop, but gourmet versus gritty – the difference between a champion bar-be-que that’s been worked over with hickory and a couple dozen spice combos and something that was grilled over an old split drum split in a parking lot. Both are terrific but think of it this way, sometimes you want a cappuccino and other times you just want a cup of joe.

There used to be an auto parts store on Victory Blvd. in Burbank that had terrific bar-be-que. No joke, you would walk in and in between the stacks of part manuals and engine innards was a bar-be-que menu. The guy at the counter took your order for piston rings or tri tip and then disappeared out the back door, returning with some fantastic bar-be-que. Couple weeks ago I was driving on Victory Blvd. and got to thinking about bar-be-que again and immediately see a “Special BBQ Beef” sandwich board on the sidewalk in front of a liquor store and a grill in the side parking lot. So what the hell?

Ummm… Wow! I got the bar-be-que tri tip sandwich and it was just outstanding – just enough sauce without overpowering and some great bread that stands up to the meat.

Aero MarketAero Market BBQ

Who knew that anonymous liquor store I’ve been driving past hid such great food? I was enjoying my sandwich too much to check out the decorations of old airplane parts and vintage photos of Valley aviation. Anyway, I dug around a bit and it turns out the Aero Market has been around since 1947 when Grand Central Airport, Los Angeles Airport, and the Lockheed plant were all active.

Aero Market
1609 Victory Blvd., Glendale (just north of the 134 freeway and Riverside Dr.)