Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archives for Miscellaneous

10/20/14 | A Fond Farewell

[ Currently Eating: slithy toves ]

Hey theres everyones.

Just a quick note to say that I’m going to be archiving this site indefinitely ASAP. I’ve no idea if anyone from the heyday of Cheap Eats is around, but if so – just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for a lot of fun memories blogging. This site was the first blog I created (way back in 2004, good god egads that is 10 years ago) that actually had some success in terms of popularity, media, massive free food samples, and in bringing in a bit of income. “Blogs” – dang, that’s so old school now isn’t it? The world has kinda sorta moved on…

I hadn’t posted here in over 3 years – originally the idea around 2011 was to try and restart the blog and take advantage of the new 2.0 social media hijinks and whatnot. And connect with old blogging friends. And also to make a massive pile of moola. That didn’t work so well, mainly because I’m stil stuck in the late 90s dotcom mentality as far as web stuff goes, and I’m anti-social what the hey. I gave up and just stopped posting. All the facebooking, redditing, instagramming, vining, And So On.. it’s just beyond me. I’m fricken old, not gold. So I’ll leave it to all the young kids with their pumped up kicks to kick up the Cheap Eats. You know wtf lol lmao how to shiznet this – so get to it! (Also, I am in the feels for all y’alls for the student loans you will be paying off for 10 years to come. Remember that ramen noodles may be kicked up notches many times.)

I actually finally got this wordpress install upgraded to the near-latest version. But I just don’t feel the passion for it anymore, and the thought of continually dealing with teh Upgrades fills me with Dread with a mofo capital Dee. Ah WordPress, you served me well and helped pay my morty-gage, but in the end – fuggle off and suck my Slim Jim.

So, byebye. Bye, and then another bye. Bye squared. Cheap eats out late. And don’t let the bastards get you down. And so on and so forth.

1/8/11 | Whoops

[ Currently Eating: Broken Permalinks ]

Ugh. Sorry for everyone who’s been getting either a blank page, or being redirected to the home page when viewing the Cheap Eats site. I had a bit of a problem with a failed WordPress upgrade, which left files out here and there. I fixed that after some grief last week, but neglected to re-do the permalinks – so everything was redirecting to the main page! I only discovered that this morning and fixed it.

I’m not very familiar with how search engines take that kind of mistake – a week’s worth of redirecting all indexed pages to the home page. But, I guess we’ll see how it goes. Supposedly, a website like ours that’s been up and running for 5 plus years should have some sort of “forgiveness” factor for major screwups like that. But we’ll see – if it turns out the site goes back down to very low traffic, I guess I’ll revisit the concerns from my previous post.

OK, go back to your lunch of bologna on bread…

Also – sorry this post was so serious and contained no inflammatory puns, science fiction wankling or Vonnegut/PKD inside jokes. I will try to make up for it in the next post.

[ Currently Eating: Yummy Chowda ]


Just because I don’t post in a few months doesn’t mean the blog is dead.

Does it?

I dunno. This is the kind of quandary (def: a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation. origin: late 16th century, perhaps partly from Latin quando ‘when’ ) you get when you have a 6 year old formerly extremely popular blog that is struggling to make posts every 2 weeks.

Yes, yes, yes. I know it should be easy. But it’s not. And I don’t want to hear a PEEP from those johnny-come-lately bloggers who’ve started a food blog in the last 2 years who keep writing in to say, “Man, how hard is it to come up with a Cheap Eats post twice a week?”

Man, I’m in a salty mood. Mutha f…

This has become my bread and buttah, if you will. Complaining about the millions of food blogs started last year by bored housewives (I love you, housewives, but I’ve chosen Facebook) who have nothing better to do than provide Google with deliciousy content to chew upon.

Hold on, I have to pee.

Done. Well, you should be happy to note that I did bake a half ham the other day. I baked it offhandedley and capriciously, while doing the whimsical laundry, with a mustard-honey glaze. The whimsical laundry turned out the nice, according to my thesaurus. The capricious ham turned out well too, though not exactically (Alice in Wonderlandly) capricious.

So then, we had about 3 weeks worth of ham sitting around. I decided to transmogrify the ham in a Philip K. Dickensian manner into several different dishes including, but not limited to, ham and eggs, ham fried rice, ham steak, and chowda with some ham.

The latter is the subject in the photo. Preety, isn’t it? The chowda turned out nice actually, but this ham (Smithfield) wasn’t really a flavorful, smoky ham. So I had to add a few drops of artificial smoke into the mix. Incidentally, I’m thinking of starting up a business selling artificial smoke. What I think I’ll do is run around burning down various houses of ill repute, collecting the sexy artificial smoke in various vast glass globes. Then we’ll distill that down into various bottles of sexy ill reputed smoke that I’ll sell on the internet for fifty dollars a pop.

Man, I’ve certainly got a plan. And so it goes, Panama!

Seriously though, the chowder turned out fine and all was well with the world. Until I discovered I hadn’t posted on Cheap Eats for a few months. Thusly, and hencely, this post.

I’ve come to accept that there are very, very few people who understand the direction that this blog has shuddered toward. I would like to thank you personally, fondly, solicitously, lovingly, amorously (what!) and affectionately, but I would also like to say that I completely understand if you decide to slink away Gollum-like from this blog because of its demented, defective bent. Bollocks, I forgive you, and all that jazz. No problemo!

The new year is coming up, and I’ve been considering calling it quits. However, this blog just has too much traffic still to let it rest in peace. I’ll never understand blog advertisers who don’t actually read posts – but I love you anyhow. I love you personally, fondly, solicitously, lovingly and somewhat amorously. Somehow, through thick and thin and somewhat inbetween, I’ve managed to still attract a middling number of advertisers. And that’s money in my poor pocket that can’t be ignored.

Therefore, Cheap Eats will continue to make lovingly concocted food related posts every now and again.

Yasss, yass, yass as Dean would say.

11/16/10 | JITB 2 Free Tacos

[ Currently Eating: Quixotic Quinoa ]

As a measure of how out of touch this blog is, I didn’t even know about the Jack in the Box two free tacos until just a few days ago. And I had to find out about it the same way that a normal shmuck would – through one of their TV commercials.

After 2:00 pm today, on Tuesday November 16, 2010 you can get two free tacos at Jack in the Box.

Back in “The Day” (bloggin circa 2005), fast food companies like Jack in the Box were beating a path to my email inbox. They would’ve probably sent me a notice about the free tacos 2 months ago. It was all I could do to keep up with the amount of submissions, press, free food and beg letters coming in.

I am SO glad that’s over with.

Even spammers have left, seeking fresh blogging morsels elsewhere. I only got 28 fake comments last week, all saying “nice job, how come your blog doesn’t work on the new google browser.”

Though I found out about it awhile ago, I just decided to post it the DAY of, like 20 minutes before it’s about to go into effect. Because, I like to procrastinate. And you probably shouldn’t be eating too many JITB tacos. I’ve sworn off them myself.

But once every 3 months or so, in a moment of great hangry weakness, I will schlep my way through the drive through and stun my stomach with Grade QuestionMark ground beef mishmash ladled into oil-drenched corn shells, sprinkled with warm shreds of lettuce.

I just can’t help myself.

[ Currently Eating: Portagee Sausage ]

Hello. Howzit.

To be honest – and when am I not honest – I’ve had a hard time reverting back to non-Hawaiian-vacation mode. Sitting on a beach in a tropical paradise will do that to you.

To be completely honest – I was trying to think of what kind of post would take the least amount of effort and brainpower. I’m still on Hawaii-time and the old bastard brain is not really functionallying correctly.

To be completely, absolutely honest – I would like to end this post right now and run back to the islands. I would set up a shack selling Cheap Eats of Hawaii.

To tell you the absolute, unequivocal, daring, honest truthfully truth – I have run out of ideas. What, you no like?

So here are some words and pictures of fish from Hawaii, and their resulting crispification (this is probably not a word, but I honestly challenge you to refrain from googling it with your itchy trigger finger).

I’ve been a fisherman since birth, and come from a long line of ancient mariner fisherpeoples (Gramps was a well-known handline angler in Hawaii – picture Hemingway’s Old Farking Man and Da Sea). So when I say that catching your own fish for food qualifies as Cheap Eats material, you should believe me.

Honestly, would I tell one lie? Cherry trees, I goin chop ‘em.

There is a large, large issue with catching your own fish – and that is, in most states you’ll need an (expensive) license to fish. Then there are all sorts of boring regulations and limits and size requirements to follow. I’m not even going to tell you how much the California DFG regulation book weighs. Holy crap, I can’t believe the amount of restrictions there are.

And trust me, DO NOT take above the limit and please follow all the farking regulations. Speaking from experience, would you like to know how much the fine is for not having a license or taking more than your limit?

Let me tell you, it is quite a bit more than a speeding ticket.

But in Hawaii – there is no license (no marine license, that is – I believe you need a freshwater license). The limits and regulations are nowhere near as restrictive as the mainland. (By the way, a lot of residents moonlight as commercial fisherman – you just need a $50 commercial license, and you’re ready to go. Sign me up.) And there are obvious “pollution” aspects from chemical factories here in Cali that don’t really exist in Hawaii (well, ciguatera was an issue for awhile.)

It’s a farking fisherman’s paradise. No bulai.

And it makes “subsistence fishing” very, very attractive. My uncle in Hawaii, who is a retired semi-famous chef (no, not Sam Bok Choy), actually says that nowadays, he’ll just go down to the beach in the morning and catch a few fish for dinner. I think a lot of people do that, or if not, damn they should.

Everything is expensive in Hawaii, especially if you’re a tourist. But if you live there, you can get by just catching your dinner and picking fruit.

Trust me, would I lie or exaggerate greatly to da max?

We actually went down to the beach twice to fish – once to try catch some hagi (triggerfish), and the other time it was at night for delicious upapalu (a type of cardinalfish). No luck on the hagis, but we did catch some moana (goatfish) shown in the photo at top.

But then, our nice neighbor brought over some menpachi (u’u, or soldierfish) that were leftover from his commercial fishing venture. Nice guy. Menpachi are a pretty popular fish around here.

Menpachi have a distinct smell, so you really gotta fry ‘em. No boil or steam the buggahs. Also, try watch the bones. But ho, they ono.

We fried em up outside the house fo’ prevent da kine stink. Ono, with light beer and smiles all around. Uncles and aunts, all talking story.

[Editor's Note: This post was brought to you by honesty and Hawaii. Much Mahalo-ness to you. I am sure that I've over-simpified fishing in Hawaii versus fishing in California. I'm sure there are other ramifications and hidden cost of living issues. I'm sure the grass is always da kine greener. However, I just want to say that if you gave me a choice, I'd choose fishing in Hawaii. One of my fondest memories is handlining uku with dad and grandpa from a small boat off the Kona coast. I don't even know if that's possible any more.]

9/12/10 | Chicken Meatballs

[ Currently Eating: The Big Island ]

Well, seeing as I have to skedaddle (and just try looking up where that word came from), let me leave you here with a picture of chicken meatballs on sticks. I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for them, along with a non-sweet sauce to dip them in, so let me know if you know of one.

Actually, wait a couple weeks to send your recipe. That’s cause we’re skedaddling off on vacation. Where we’ll go, no one will know. Or actually: try wait we going go. I come back bumbye. I would elaborate, but I’m afraid of further butchering the language.

We’re hitting the mothership. Well, one of the motherships. Perhaps a half or quarter mothership, or just an adoptive mothership in theory, but one that has a special meaning anyhow.

This post has been brought to you by the words “skedaddle” and “mothership“.

What, pau already.

8/24/10 | Yellowtail Sashimi

[ Currently Eating: Non-Salmonellized Omlette ]

Breaking news flash: Over the past couple weeks, I’ve finally started to slightly enjoy sashimi, i.e. raw fish.

And it only took me 38 years.

This will certainly help with my J credibility. I’m sort of an “egg” – or is it a banana? Still heavily anti-wasabi but I’ve slowly come around on the raw fish thing. I guess it doesn’t hurt that this is probably the freshest yellowtail sashimi I’ve ever had – it was probably swimming (minding its own fishy business) around 2 days ago. I know, because my dad caught it – or rather, caught like 15 of them.

This is not an isolated incident.

Maybe I took it for granted, but we’ve always had this kind of fresh fish. If it wasn’t my dad or relatives, it was his friends. I still live with this crazy fish-flinging culture that’s always been more the rule than the exception. “Oh, you’ve been a great friend – here, have a whole albacore tuna.”

I still remember high school friends being bug-eyed at an enormous 7 pound plate of sashimi. Oh, I understood how much it would cost if you bought it at a sushi shop. Probably hundreds of dollars. I could only smile and nod, while secretly wishing for a big plate of fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese instead .

Hard knock life, eh?

I mean, I could eat a piece if I was forced to. I just didn’t see why it was so great. Since it was so expensive, I felt it was my sacred duty to abstain from eating as much of it as I could so that other people could enjoy it. More for them. Imagine your parents own a saffron farm, but you really don’t like the taste of saffron. Now replace “saffron” with “sashimi”, “farm” with “catch”, and re-order the words around variously and welcome to my world.

I know: sux to be me.

Something in my brain, maybe an anti-sashimi brain slug, has caused me to take a pass on raw fish for all these years. I don’t know what it is, but suddenly I’m sort of OK with a few pieces. Maybe all the Jack Daniels we’ve been sampling at Friday night’s dinner-with-the-folks has finally neutralized (or pickled) the anti-sashimi brain slug.

In any case, I’m also sorta proud that I actually sliced up the sashimi shown above from a huge slab of the yellowtail. Just call me Morimoto.

Nothing else to report today.

Move along.

[Editor's Note: No anti-sashimi brain slugs were hurt in the making of this post. Some slabs of yellowtail, however, were slightly mangled.]



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