Bailar Kon el Diablo

FOUR LOKO—It seems that we’ve reached the tipping point on this vicious caffeine/alcohol hybrid.  By now, we’ve all heard the scare tactic news reports and on the other end of the spectrum the legends of epic loko-fueled nights.  So who should we believe?

Well, there was only one way to find out.  Submitted for your approval—one machine’s dalliance with this soon to be forbidden fruit.  You’ve now entered The Loko-Zone.

(Editor’s Note)

At the time of posting the following scant twitter evidence is all that exists from the loko-filled evening:

Joosetin: #fourloko quest begins. hopefully the Lokator doesn’t steer me wrong

Target Acquired!

Joosetin: Jackpot! #fourloko acquired.

Joosetin: 1st sip–reaction: “um theres alcohol in this?? tastes like capri sun” wow! #fourlokofriday

(minutes later)

Joosetin: Guess the caffeine kicks in first? #fourlokofriday

Joosetin:  and im drunk already. JK but man this stuff tastes like soda. By the way i went with “Orange Blend”

Sin and Juice

(an hour later)

Joosetin: loko2? thinking watermelon or whatever the blue can is. #fourlokofriday

Joosetin:  looking to cut the loko sweetness with something. feel like ive eaten a full candy necklace. #fourlokofriday

Joosetin: orange has the edge over BlueB loko. prob wont be sleeping later. #fourlokofriday

(hours! later)

Joosetin:  Tres loks. #fourlokofriday.

Joosetin: Save the loko! F prohibition. #fourlokofriday

And there we have it.  Clearly, we are dealing with quite a powerful punch that has the ability to both energize and comatize.  My recommendation would be to crack one early in your evening and to ride the wave.  Or if you are really feeling daring perhaps a “Cinco Loko” —a shot of tequila chased by sweet loko juice.  Either way you’ll certainly be feeling the flow, and most likely feeling something else the next morning.

So imbibe with confidence before loko is no more.  However, a word of warning!  Much like the gremlins if consumed too late in your evening you may wind up turning into some kind of unrecognizable monster.  (Cue evil laughter)  Bottoms up!

Quadruple-Loko Rainbow--What Does it Mean!!!!

Welcome to the Machine

What’s up proof readers?
With the Proofmeister out of town expect to see a few posts from me over the next few weeks in what I’d like to call “Proofing for the People.
No noses will be upturned, no plate will be left uncleaned, and no photos will be blurry.
So let’s hear what you’ve got. Post in the comments any recommendations you would like me to try.
Stay tuned—
The Machine

Dim Sum in Flushing

Here are some images from my recent dim sum expedition at Ocean Jewels in Flushing, Queens (13330 39th Ave Flushing, NY 11354).  Those of you outside NYC may only know Flushing from being the home of the Mets and Fran Drescher, and you may not know that it is one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.  This means cheap and authentic eats.  Ocean Jewels Seafood Restaurant is right across from the Flushing Mall in the the heart of town, (which is rumored to have the best soup-dumplings in NYC).

Ocean Jewels dim sum is an experience, buzzing with people, with trays of food flying in and out of the kitchen and carts bumping into each other next to your table.  There was a bit of a wait Sunday morning (about 30 minutes).  Get there early, because the line was still out the door even when I left at 1pm.  One huge bonus about Ocean Jewels is they have valet parking, because finding a spot in central Flushing is next to impossible.

Dim sum is a super fun, loud, and high-energy dining experience that allows the sampling of little tasting plates at your table as the wait-staff pushes carts full of treats past, tempting you to pluck them up.  Each item is stamped on your check and tallied up on your bill.  One thing to keep in mind is to pace yourself.  Fight the impulse to purchase each dish until you see every refreshment tray offered that day.

Enough talk, here are some images of the food.  First of all, we started with some sauteed greens which were very mild and tender. They reminded me of a non-bitter broccoli rabe:

This image depicts just some of the hustle and bustle of the food cart traffic jams:

The image below was my favorite treat of the day, stuffed hot peppers with shrimp paste and pork, how could you go wrong with that combo?

Congee, a traditional rice porridge served at dim sum, sometimes referred to as Chinese oatmeal.  Interesting texture and very digestible with a mild flavor:

Shumai aka pork dumplings, with a side of hot chili sauce and spicy mustard:

I believe this was a stuffed rice noodle roll, pretty delicious:

Green peppers stuffed with shrimp paste:

I don’t know what this stew below was made from, can somebody out in Internet-land please help me identify it?

This fantastic breakfast ended with steamed buns filled with a very sweet egg custard.  Not a bad start to your Sunday, a super fun experience and great eats for a grand total of only 33 dollars for two people.  Proof positive!

Casa Calamari aka House of Squid

Bayridge is one of the best neighborhoods in NYC to acquire some old-school Brooklyn Italian eats.  I visited this wind-swept and sea-salt scented hood this very week to get my red-sauce and fried squid fix.

Casa Calamari is one avenue away from the 86th Street R train subway stop and has always beckoned me from the street with its gaudy red, white, and green lighting and cafeteria-style set up.  Every Italian neighborhood in the city has a local eatery like this.  There is always a bottle of no-name red table wine behind the counter, paper place-mats on with the Italy boot on it, and the Parmesan cheese-shaker on the table at the ready.  Most importantly there’s the Godfather poster on the wall with the quote, “I’m gonna make you a Pizza you can’t refuse.”

Squid Inc.

How was the calamari you ask?  Bada boop bada beep bada boop, it was squid-licious.  For 11 dollars, they give you a gigantic family-sized tray.  It is impossible to finish this serving size between only two people and still have room for a main course.

The eggplant parm hero was no slouch either:

Eggplant Parm

This took the cake though, their version of penne vodka.  It was a super flavorful sauce with peas, carrots and pancetta, not your typical vodka sauce:

A Saucy Rejoinder

Was this the best casual Italian I’ve had in Bayridge?  No- Rocco’s Calamari on 65th Street does it better and has a more diverse menu.  However, for a casual weeknight red-sauce fix you can’t go wrong with the House of Squid.  Proof.

Casa Calamari 8602 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, New York

Spinach Pie

Pie in My Eye

Here’s some lunch-time proof!  I just enjoyed a super-cheap and outrageously massive mid-meal today  from the West Side Market on 7th Avenue and 15th Street  in Chelsea, NYC… all for a grand total of 7 American dollars.

I’m a huge fan of the West Side Market’s  prepared foods section where they have an array of grilled and fried vegetables, baked and broiled meats, chili, pasta, various sauces, and a very nice fresh deli counter.

This Greek classic is a prime example of their prepared perfection.  I definitely wouldn’t recommend finishing it, unless spending the rest of your afternoon in a spinach and feta induced coma is your thing.  Even Hercules would be a fool to conquer this beast in one sitting.

Any casserole dish at the West Side Market gives you a really great bang for the buck.  The lasagna looks like it could feed a family of four and costs about the same amount.  A lunch dish?  Maybe if you are a true masochist.

Here’s a closeup of the cheesey innards:

Not for the Feta of Heart

The Four Loco Map

Sorry Four Loko Fans!  New York State has banned your favorite beverage.  Check out this map courtesy of the Four Loco website.  The highlighted states are banning this caffeine and alcohol infused restorative.  This story is vaguely reminiscent of the Scottish Buckfast Tonic Wine controversy from earlier this year.

Whilst I would never imbibe this firewater, I do not believe that the role of governments is to regulate everything that goes into our bodies.  I do purport that the mistake Four Loco made was in its colorful youth-targeted labeling.  If Joe Camel taught us anything, it is that marketing adult treats to children is something frowned upon in the ole’ USA.  Negative Proof.

Papacitos Brunch

Huevos Rancheros

Brunch from Papacitos in Greenpoint.  The huevos rancheros were tasty, but I question the choice of Spanish rice as a side…  in addition I like my rancheros more rugged and plated diner-style and not stacked up all pretty-like.  Also give me a flour tortilla on the side for dipping and a more generous dollop of beans on the side so I can create my own bean-to-egg ratio.

Papacitos is doubtlessly not legit Mexican, but it was still fun as you might expect from a typical hipster brunching experience in Brooklyn.   However, if you are after authentic Mexican fare in Greenpoint there is a diner named Acapulco across Manhattan Avenue that is worth checking out.  Papacitos is at 999 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn NY