Friday, July 17, 2015

Movies that Remind Me of Lunch



     The other day I watched the second Harry Potter. My roommates mentioned that one of the actors had voiced a character in The Road to El Dorado. Because of that I remembered that The Road to El Dorado is on Netflix. This ended in me watching The Road to El Dorado.

*In case anyone wondered, like much of our generation, I love movies and really anywhere that takes my imagination to another place. For example, when I'm at work I put in my headphones so that no one has to be subjected to my Disneyland ride que music fetish*

     But you didn't come here to hear about my obsession with the New Orleans Square music, you came for whatever other reason you're here. So, back to The Road to El Dorado. I was thinking about the Mayans and the Aztecs and all the glorious Elton John music and that took me back to lunch yesterday when we had enchiladas.
     To be fair, I know some BYUH seniors will shudder at the thought of the enchiladas here: a few years ago they were notorious for having bits of hard stuff in them or the tortilla being cooked funny. HOWEVER, I am happy to report that as all the food quality has improved, these enchiladas were quite tasty. They were soft throughout and the sauce was really very good (which says a lot because I usually try to get my enchiladas sauce-less).
This stuff. She is delicious. Yes.
     Tortillas are an invention from the Mayan era and enchiladas originate in Mexico. "Enchilada" means "chili filled" and refers to the sauce, which is often chili sauce. The food has progressively become more and more developed over time. Supposedly it started out as the ancient people wrapping fish in tortillas and possibly frying them in oil. Today it comes in many varieties being filled with chicken, beef, pork, or beans. Cheese and spices go inside as well, they're all cooked up in an enchilada sauce (of which there are many kinds) and then the whole thing is bathed in a waterfall of more sauce. All that makes up an amazing Mexican food.
   
    Another random tidbit, today is the 60th birthday of Disneyland. So I vote we all beat the Hawaiian heat, get on a plane and relive opening day. Happy Aloha Friday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What is a Korean Taco?

So we take a taco...
File:Korean cuisine-Kimchi-08.jpg
And we add kim chee

     This is my question. What exactly is a Korean Taco? I have a housemate from Hong Kong named Taco. That makes her a Hong Kong Taco. But I don't know any Koreans named Taco. So, when I saw that on the menu I felt sort of lost and confused. To me, Korean food simply does not sound like it would be good as a taco. But, what do I know, because it's one of our more popular menu items.
     I'm not actually ever here for dinner (the joys of living off-campus) so I've never tried the Korean Tacos. I consulted the cooks and chef answered me with a list of ingredients: kalbi chicken (which is an awesome flavor of BBQ), kim chee, hoisin mayo, and Asian slaw. That's a pretty solid list.
     I grew up in an area where there were mostly Latinos and Caucasians, so I didn't really know any Koreans until I came to BYUH. Therefore, I had never tried kim chee. Then, I moved into a house off-campus where I opened the fridge to find a sketchy looking concoction that appeared to be soggy lettuce soaked in hot sauce. That wasn't far off, it was cabbage and some kind of hot sauce, but either way it was very foreign to me. Luckily, my housemate was always offering me random food when she'd made it for herself and I have never been one to back down from a food I haven't tried. Kim chee, especially warm in my opinion, is quite tasty.
     So, even if you look at that list and ask yourself "how is this thing going to taste?" remember that everyone else likes it (which is always a good reason to like something). Also, remember the beauty of acquired tastes. The first time you bite in your whole mouth questions your food decision making abilities because your taste buds are so surprised by the new flavor. But, as you give them a chance to acclimate by trying a little more, you usually realize you liked it more than you thought you did.
     Stop in at The Caf (Club Dining Facility) Thursday night and you'll find Korean Tacos.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Food Services Goes To Town

   
I came home with some new friends for my desk
     Yesterday in town was the Lodging, Hospitality, and Food Service Expo in town. I got to pack into a van with some of my great coworkers and go see what vendors have to offer.
     Now, I'm sort of like the Big Foot of The Caf (Club Dining Facility). Rumor has it there's this girl that works in the back and updates the menu and runs the facebook page. She's been sighted occasionally leaving her natural habitat at her computer to get a glass of water, hassle students for feedback, or stare intently at the bulletin board. Yup. That's me. Just call me Sass-squatch. So, leaving The Caf for a prolonged period of time was a different experience. And it was awesome.
     There were booths on booths on booths, many of which offered some sort of free sample of the food they were vending or free pens (which any smart college student knows to hoard away in case friends try to "borrow" theirs). I got to talk to a lot of different people who are actually in the field I'm looking into (marketing/eating excessively) and learn a lot about the people who sell to Food Services. We use a lot of local vendors who really appreciate our business.
     I got the opportunity to look for new items that we might be able to start selling at the Seasider and taste some recipes that could possibly fit into our repertoire at The Caf. Personally, I'm not a taro fan unless it's in the form of the rolls from PCC, but I was very impressed by what taro can be made into. I even had someone offer me a job when they found out I was a college student, but I had to decline since it wan't in my field. 
     As an employee, I was grateful for the opportunity to expand my knowledge of my own line of work. As a student, I'm excited for some new things we may see at being sold by Food Services because of the ideas generated by this expo.
     Speaking of new things, Summer Rolls and Chicken Papaya are on the menu again today as we test them out, so be sure to stop in and vote on whether you liked them or not.
     

Monday, July 6, 2015

Better Way To Ramen

     The other day my boss was showing me around the Seasider and explaining some plans for expansion as well as discussing what foods students like there. Eventually we came cross the ramen section where I mentioned that some students had expressed a desire for there to be even more packages of instant noodles stacked on our shelves. I said something about probably needing more of the cheapest kind, and it was then that he corrected me.
     "No, I don't think so" he said, pulling a package of noodles I'd never seen before off a different shelf. "My family loves saimin, and this is our favorite kind. It also happens to be a best seller here. Even more popular than the cheaper ones". To me, noodles are noodles. If I can afford it, I can eat it.
     To combat my skepticism, by boss hands me a package of the noodles and says "Go home and review this. See if you don't think it's way better than any noodles you've tried before."
     Alight, alright, I'm game.
     So, Fourth of July rolls around and I decide to clean. I definitely think that the excessive consumption of both food and drink is very patriotic, but that was going to be done later in the day. At that point I just needed to clear my space so I could find my way to the door and not get diseases by walking barefoot in my house. This, as happens with people, eventually lead to hunger.
     I remembered the little package of Indonesian ramen I had yet to review and decided that this would be a good time to try it.

FIVE flavor packets. So. Much. Power.


     First, I open the package (This is a very important step in your ramen eating experience because I think I saw somewhere on the internet that you're not supposed to eat the wrapper part). Then, I put it in a bowl and microwave it for five minutes. This gave me a chance to examine the flavor packets: chili sauce, garlic powder, french fried onion bits, some sort of soy sauce, and an oily substance with sketchy brown stuff floating in it.
     Once the ramen is done being nuked, I drain it and start cutting open packets. This stuff is more complicated than normal ramen. I can't take the heat so I leave out the chili sauce, and I'm not really into soy sauce so I skimp on that too. Instead I gloriously rain french fried onions into the noodles with garlic powder and the oil. After some swishing, it is finally time to taste.
     Verdict: Delicious. If bacon is the fairy dust of the food world, french fried onions are the baby powder (Not chafing is almost as good as flying, right?). And garlic is amazing on almost anything. Plus, mix in some oil that looks like it might have just been filled with ocean nonsense and you get a winning ramen combination. It helped that the noodles were a little less soggy and held up better than regular ramen. Now I definitely understand why everyone is so into the slightly more expensive noodles: it is worth it for the cusomizablility of the flavor packets.
     Today, there has been made a ramen convert.

Friday, July 3, 2015

July the Fourth

     At this point I'm sure anyone reading is saying "Lyssa, your posts are getting more and more random." Yes, yes they are. This blog is an experiment, but it all ties back to my job in one way or another. It's about enhancing your experience with The Caf (Club Dining Facility) and BYUH. So I hope you feel enhanced. 
     Anyway, back to July 4th, the great all-American holiday. Yet, BYUH is definitely not an all-American university. With students from over 70 different countries we are far from it. While for many it is just a good excuse to get off work and eat excessively, the Fourth of July actually represents something worth celebrating.
     Also known as Independence Day (like the Will Smith movie without the aliens), the Fourth of July is the day that we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Formerly a British colony, we decided to become a sovereign nation. I thought I'd share probably the most quoted part of the United States Declaration with you:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
     There are several very important points here. The thing that always stands out to me is the idea that it should be obvious or "self-evident" that all men are created equal, and that God has granted them the right to live, be free, and try to be happy. The word "self-evident" always gets me because, yes it should be self-evident, but to this day we still do not treat all people equally. It is the constant vision though: always working toward not just acknowledging, but demonstrating we truly believe that.      The Declaration then goes on to talk about how when a government repeatedly infringes on these rights, it ought to be abolished. But not hastily or without proven cause: the Founding Fathers (men like George Washington who helped nurture the United States as an infant country and establish the principles it currently follows) give a list of offenses that England has enacted against them. And then, last they officially state that they are seceding from England to become their own country.
     Independence Day is usually celebrated with lots of firework shows and food. Sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and picnics are very traditional. Tomorrow for dinner there will be BBQ Pork Sliders (a slider is like a mini-burger) which is right in line with what Americans usually would be eating that day. We also have nationalized red velvet cupcakes today in commemoration of the colors of the US flag. 
Even the cupcakes are excited

So, grab some sliders for dinner, go catch a fireworks show, and have a red, white, and blue day during our all-American celebration.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Better Breakfast Ideas

If you're feeling out of ideas for breakfast, here are some great thoughts from Spoon University about how to spice up your toast or oatmeal. Obviously in Hawaii it's kind of hard to find fresh berries, but maybe these articles will get your taste buds looking for some flavor creations to brighten a bland morning.

Tried any great food combinations in The Caf (Club Dining Facility) lately? If you have, send some pictures and we'll post them on the blog.

I bet you could come up with more fruit/oatmeal combinations. I grew up with butter and brown sugar. It is heavenly: http://american.spoonuniversity.com/uncategorized/9-unexpected-combinations-make-you-like-oatmeal/

Bananas on toast. With peanut butter? I think yes: http://spoonuniversity.com/cook/what-you-should-actually-be-putting-on-your-toast-instead-of-avocado/
What You Should Actually Be Putting On Your Toast Instead of Avocado
And just LOOK at the photo they chose
to lure people into their banana toast post
I kind of love Spoon University

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Carnitas

If I could use my time machine to fast forward to the future and
take a picture of tonight's food, that's what you'd get...
my time turner is broken though so the "labeled for re-use" tab
on google made this picture of Carnitas for you.

     

     In doing some in-depth research about Carnitas, I learned from one author that the very most important ingredient is "love". So, if you haven't had a lot of that ingredient lately we'll have to be sure to put some in there, since it is the most vital component. And remember kids, the internet is always right. So put some love in those Carnitas when you make them.
     Other than love, however, Carnitas (or "little meats") are a Mexican dish made with pork that has been cooked in lard (traditionally, but we cook ours in oil and we don't always use pork...but trust me, they're still considered Carnitas). It used to be that every part of the pig was used, but now that just depends on your preferences. Pork shoulder or butt are usually what's used in the US. The meat is cooked for several hours until the inside is tender and juicy while the outside is a little crispy. Then, you can eat it as it is, or it is way good when wrapped lovingly in a warm tortilla and smothered with all sorts of onions, cilantro, tomato, guacamole, or whatever other delicious thing you can think to put on them. Carnitas also taste great enchilada style.
     Supposedly, Carnitas were first developed in an area called Michoacan (which, in my head sounds just like "Michelin") and then is prepared based on whatever vegetables are native to that region. Michoacan itself is special for being a place that monarch butterflies congregate during winter and where more avocados are produced than any other state in Mexico (avocados: butter of the vegetable world).
     So, if you'd like to have some meat originally perfected in the heart of avocado country, feel free to stop by for dinner tonight and try our Carnitas.