Monday, June 27, 2005

Beef Jerky

A week ago I was having a discussion with my friend Ben. It centered on a topic vital to the interests of mankind - Which is the best beef jerky? These days there certainly are a myriad of choices. Just walk in any convenience store or gas station and you are immediately assualted by about 20 different brands. They come in stick form, vaccuum packed pouch, wrinkled shreds, oil smothered cubes, etc. Most of the formats are relatively disgusting. What's really sickening is the smell that permeates your vehicle when you open a slim jim.
Anyway, we agreed that it all comes down to 2 choices - Wild Bills or Lonestar. All the others suck. I have always been a major proponent of Wild Bills. I even went on their website and purchased a Wild Bills t-shirt (this could be the first t-shirt I've purchased in 4 years or so). I refuse to buy one of those slick Old Navy or American Eagle t-shirts. After all, wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt is not exactly a beacon for individuality. However, it does go well with your personalized license plate that says ERIC7 (that's because numbers 1-6 were already taken). I digress.
Here are some pros and cons:

Wild Bills is from Lancaster, PA. Lonestar is from Fairmont, WV. I'm not exactly sure which state is superior. I do know one thing. When I have discussions with West Coast strangers, I usually tell the I'm from Pittsburgh. Here's why - if I say I'm from West Virginia, they'll usually respond, "Oh, where in Virginia?" or "You don't sound like you've got much of a southern accent." If I tell them Pittsburgh, they seem less confused. Every once in a while, I'll get the response "Where in Pittsburgh?" I'll blatantly lie and respond "Canonsburg" - if they inquire further and tell me they know the area, I'll admit the lie and explain that I'm from Wheeling. On this side-note, Wild Bills gets the nod.
Wild Bills is a bit more on the smoky side. Lonestar on the tangy side. I'd have to vote for Wild Bills.
Wild Bills comes in a re-sealable large bag and is better suited for consumption while golfing. Lonestar comes in this tedious vaccuum packed pouch. Wild Bills gets the sonofsaf award for packaging superiority.
Wild Bills comes in large strips, Lonestar in tiny shredded pieces. This one is closer to a toss-up. It basically depends on ones preference. I would tend to steer towards Wild Bills.
Wild Bills is all about being wild or knowing someone Bill. Either of these are ok. Lonestar sounds too Texas-oriented. And let's face the facts, Texas sucks. Whether it's George Bush Jr., the Dallas Cowboys, or the idiots who name their children after every city in the state of Texas (Dallas, Houston, Austin, Tyler, the list goes on and on with the exception of Rio Grande), everything that is wrong with America can usually be associated with Texas.
All in all, Wild Bills is the resounding winner. You can purchase it at the former Mull's grocery store near Oglebay Village apts. or the Exxon in Center Wheeling. Other than those 2 places, it's very difficult to find it in the correct format.
Make sure it comes in the large bag. It costs $5.99 so be prepared to splurge. It's worth it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hospital food

My old friend Ken Dague used to beseech us to go eat lunch at the local hospital. His claims were straight-forward. Good food, great price. Affirmative on these 2 points. After making a lengthy production about it, one day a bunch of us had lunch at OVMC. I think this took place in 1997. I remember that it was pretty much standard cafeteria-like fare. A little less greasy. I'm pretty sure I had some whitefish and rice and possibly a salad. I guess all in all, it wasn't bad.
There's something strange about dining in a hospital cafeteria. Everyone wears their specific uniforms - different colored smocks depending on your rank and position. It lends itself to feeling like you're in a pychiatric institution. Usually, people tend to go through the line in groups. These groups of people generally have the same colored smocks. Then they proceed to the same tables based on the color of their respective smock. Seems like something out of an upbeat North Korean detention camp. Despite the relatively mundane atmosphere, I'm willing to give it another shot. Just something to keep in mind since there's always this never-ending discussion based on the question "Alright, where do you wanna eat lunch?"

Monday, June 06, 2005

Annual Wheeling Chili Cook-Off

Heather and I went to the annual Chili Cook-off thing in downtown Wheeling. Believe it or not, this is a really high end event. Aspiring Chili artisans come from as far as Cincinnati to compete. I usually stick with the samples from the out of towners. My reasoning being that if they travel more than an hour, their chili must be decent. For the most part, it's a safe assumption.
When I arrived I tried some salsa and was admonished by Heather. "You can't do that. That's not for you." I explained that it was a free sample. After about 5 minutes of repeated explanations, she reluctantly agreed. I consumed about 12 different samples. The best ones are usually the green chili concoctions. They should start serving a green vegetarian version of chili at Wendy's. I think it would be a big hit. Well, maybe not. After the finger controversy, the last thing you'd probably want to do is kick off a new chili promotional campaign.
Danno was one of the judges this year. I asked him who won the thing and he had no idea. The best way to win a chili cook-off is to LIE about where you're from. For example, Devil's Kitchen, Nebraska or Hot Springs, Arkansas or Firepit, Indiana. Well, you get the drift. Some of the Wheeling judges would easily be duped.
Anyway, for those that did not attend, I highly recommend it. A great time was had by all. And by the way, wear a dark shirt so if you accidentally spill some chili on yourself, you don't look like a fuckin' retard.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


My mother and father recently went on a peach picking expedition. Since peaches qualify as food, it's an easy review. Just copy and paste....

Pass the Peaches, Please

Tomorrow Shnepf Farm’s Peach Festival will be done.
Lets go pick some peaches today, sounds like fun.

We had no idea when we started to go
It was almost halfway to New Mexico.

And who would have thought that on this Saturday
A traffic jam on the Superstition Freeway.

Well we finally arrived there just in time
To take our place in a slow moving line.

The cost of admission was just five bucks each
And that did not include even one damn free peach.

We climbed onto a wagon that was pulled by a tractor.
The wind and the dust was a most unpleasant factor.

We each grabbed a box and took off to the trees.
There were lots of ripe peaches that we both picked with ease.

We picked only the ripe ones and were less than amused
When we noticed how easily they would get bruised.

We filled those two boxes I’m sorry to say
And we now have no doubt we got carried away.

Next we went to the scales and were shocked when we found
How much they all weighed at a dollar a pound.

It seemed for those peaches we had spent too much dough,
But we planned to gift peaches to some people we know.

We had plans to use peaches in cobblers and pies,
Stewed peaches, peach jam and perhaps peach surprise.

Peach ice cream and smoothies we’d make if we could.
But the problem is that they were not very good.

Some did not have much flavor and their skins were too tough,
And most of those peaches were not sweet enough.

Yes, the peaches were lousy, I am sorry to say,
Not as good as the ones at Fry’s or Safeway.

And the sun was so hot that I took off my shirt
And my eye glasses fell silently to the dirt.

The admission, the trip and the glasses I lost
Made five dollars a peach the approximate cost.

So please call our psychiatrist any time when
We head out to Shnepf Farms to pick peaches again!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Well, Heather and I went to the place called Sandscrest out GC&P road for lunch today. As I expected, it's really not suitable for a group of rowdies. There were a group of 19 post-menapausal women with a median age of 67. I was the only male. It felt comparable to a bible study group. "Saf, how do you know what a bible study group is like?" Well, I do. One of my old-school drinking buddies has an older brother who would host weekely bible study meetings at his home. I'd come in and rant about atheism and get all the churchies pissed off. Then we'd bolt to go out drinking before any of them had a chance to counter. This is slowly becoming my favortie hobby - whip the prospective "John Ashcroft-like-churchie" into a rage and then make a hasty exit. They are left fuming in the distance, while simultaneously it gets a good party-mood atmosphere going for the impending night of debauchery.
Anyway, Sandscrest is a really spectacular place. It's kind of a spiritual/quasi-religious retreat. Very peaceful. Nice rolling hills and a great place to meditate. I don't meditate very often; however, I do consume food. Lunch today was a standard buffet. Prime Rib, summer vegetables and banana cream pie. Everything was exceptional. They had a woman stand up and speak about the history of the place. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate her performance a 4. But she meant well.
I was really gung-ho about making this a weekly event for lunch on Wednesday, but having been there, I just don't think it's appropriate.
Anyway, lunch was 10 bucks (about right). They also have dinner on Wednesdays - 15 bucks. Maybe dinner would be a better choice, but I kind of doubt it. So all in all, my recommendation is mixed. Great food, service and atmosphere, but regrettably, just not the right choice for the hardcore non-believer.

PS - Lots of Jesus fishes on the cars in the parking lot. That pretty much set the tone from the git-go.