Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Do What I Want.

Before I begin, I would like to advise you all to never buy Belvedere vodka. I have never tried it and never will due to a recnt ad of theirs which portrays a grinning guy grabbing a woman from behind as she looks surprised and distressed. The ad reads: "Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly." (I am NOT posting that on my blog, you can google it if you want.) Yeah. These are people looked at the fact that the majority of reported rapes happen when at least one party is intoxicated and decided that it was an untapped potential for advertising. I understand no one has suggested that cattle cars in 1940's Germany would have been a lot less awful if the people on them had been drunk on Belvedere vodka prior to arriving at the concentration camps. Go to it, fellas! Stay classy and please kill yourselves you irresponsible, repugnant shitbags. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

I like most kinds of booze but my absolute favorite alcohol, my special occasion booze, my comfort booze, the thing all my friends know as the perfect default gift for me, is vodka. I love vodka. It seems like every time I tell someone that they say they can’t drink vodka because it makes them get angry. That’s a damn shame but more for me so whatever. You can mix it with anything, it’s one of the least fattening alcohols, and the sound of the word is just classy. Straight or mixed, vodka is my top booze pick. I’ll order a vodka cocktail that less enticing than another cocktail just because it has vodka. I don’t get to have vodka very often. Partly it’s because I’m poor, partly it’s because I have responsibilities that keep me from having it that often, but that just makes it extra wonderful when I do get to indulge. So I’d like to give you a quick rundown on some of the more memorable vodkas in my life. For those of you who may not know, really good vodka is flavorless (aside from the kick) and odorless unless it has flavoring. It’s supposed to be like alcoholic water. I’ve never had vodka that good but I have had a large variety. These are ordered in worst to best so far. If I jump order or you disagree then just keep in mind: It’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want. 


I couldn't find a stock photo because nobody likes Dubra. The only time I had Dubra was when a friend of mine gave me some because she had gotten way too drunk on it and was not interested in the rest of the bottle. One Crow T. Robot put forth the question: "Is there any vodka cheaper than Popov?" Well, guess what? I did the math and, per ounce, Dubra was actually cheaper than Popov. I know, right? How bad was it? It froze. Seriously, it froze. I think it had the nastiest kick I’ve ever tasted in a vodka. It tasted like dishwater and it just tasted dirty. Mixing it with tomato juice and hot sauce made it palatable. Avoid at all costs.


This was fucking vile. I only put it between Dubrav and Popov because I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that the other flavors are less disgusting. I posted about the sloe berry flavor earlier. Tasted like cough syrup.


The vodka most know for being the cheapest shit you can buy (or so I thought, prior to discovering the truth behind Dubra). There was a liquor store near my college where you could buy a small bottle for 2.50. Not kidding. I think it was like 5 oz. The kick is nasty but what do you expect? It’s still better than Dubrav. Tastes less like dishwater, more like working class pride and shattered dreams. Mixing it with tomato juice and hot sauce is actually nice. The trick is just to drown out the kick as much as you can. If ever you want to get a kid way too drunk to prove to them that underage drinking is bad I think you might as well use Popov. Saves money, less cruel than Dubra, and it’s an accurate portrayal of what most underage kids would get anyway. I didn’t party in high school but I never heard anybody bragging about having a keg of Magic Hat and a case of Tanqueray for the weekend. If my life goes really downhill this will probably be my vodka of choice. Popov is for failures and people who are still in school.


Bluuuugh. It’s marginally better than Popov but it’s more expensive so you get less bang for your buck. Don’t fucking bother. Either get something better or an assload of Popov. I NEVER buy Svedka. The bottle isn’t even pretty. All of the flavors are disappointments too. Next!


A considerable step up from the earlier vodkas. Comes in a wide variety of flavors that I generally like. Top shelf? Nope. It’s pretty ok though. You can drink it straight really easily and people generally appreciate it when you bring it to a party. Smirnoff is the middle class of vodka. Perfectly respectable, although their plain vodka isn’t that great. Get a flavored variety unless you want to make bloody marys or something.

Grey Goose

I almost never have Grey Goose because it’s fucking expensive. It goes down smooth, it mixes well, and it’s classier than the aforementioned vodkas. The bottle is also pretty. Here’s a little shorthand for vodka quality that a friend of mine taught me: 

If the bottle just has a label on the front, it’s really shitty.
If it has a wrap around label or one on the front and the back it’s generally ok. 
If the bottle doesn’t have a label because the detail is in the glass itself and it has designs and pictures and so on, it’s good. 

Grey Goose is good. But my favorite vodka? The one I covet the most? Well that’d be

Van Gogh

Look at how pretty those bottles are! You can't argue with that!

Lemme tell you a story. My best friend helped edit one of my personal statements to get into grad school. Prior to this we had gone through some terrible drama that resulted in us not speaking for 3 months. Our friendship had only recently rekindled. The only school that accepted me was the one she helped me with. I was elated when I found out. I didn’t want to brag so I sent her a quick text to nonchalantly tell her the news. She responded by texting me hearty congratulations, followed by a call. She shouted about how excited she was for me and told me to stay where I was. About an hour later she told me to look outside. I walked out and saw a 12 pack of woodchuck hard cider, 3 Cadbury creme eggs, a card depicting a bunch of kittens getting drunk (Besty sends the awesome cards), and a bottle of Van Gogh vanilla vodka. Vanilla vodka’s my favorite. We spent the day with some of my other friends, watching movies, getting drunk, and being silly. That was my first time trying Van Gogh. Don’t think that this memory is the only reason why Van Gogh rules though. It’s incredibly smooth. It’s the sort of vodka you should sip and savor. It tastes wonderful. The flavored varieties are exceptionally good. If you get vanilla vodka, it tastes like real vanilla. If you get caramel vodka, it really tastes like a liquid caramel candy and their blueberry acai really tastes like blueberries with a hint of acai. It’s the best vodka I’ve ever tasted. I’m not sure what could top it at this point. I still have the bottle that Besty gave me, and I hope I always do. Go out and make informed vodka decisions, but more importantly stay queer!

Friday, April 13, 2012


I was in a Pakistani/Indian grocery store at one point during my jaunt to Philly. Besty and I stopped in so she could get some stuff to make kombucha, which may get its own post in the future. I noticed that the majority of the products were vegetarian and flour-based. I hadn’t really expected that but I don’t know much about Indian food and almost nothing about Pakistani food. Naturally, I had to try at least one thing there. I had a hard time picking a snack food because it seemed like all of them were essentially flour in a variety of different shapes. Flour twists, flour wheels, flour wads, etc. They were actually kind of cool looking but they didn't seem very distinct from one another. It wasn’t like there were barbecue flour wads and sour cream and onion flour wads and buffalo flour wads.  When I found one that advertised itself as made of flour and spicy I went for it. The real clincher is that the packaging reads “Nutritious & Hygienic!!!” on the top, with “SPICY STUFFED BALLS” across the front, which made me think fondly on my first post.

Cost: $1 - $10

I was kind of expecting it to be crunchy but it’s actually soft. The outside is flakey layer of pastry. It’s spicy in that it tastes like someone mixed together the contents of an entire spice rack with some water and molded it into a wad. The most prominent flavor is fennel, which is generally not a flavor I like to be prominent. Not that it’s bad, it’s just kind of bland and disappointingly fattening. The bag is about the size of a small bag of chips, the bag has 10 servings, and each serving is 110 calories. Damn. If you though I was exaggerating the “wad o’ spices” aspect, the ingredients are: refined wheat flour, gram pulse flour, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, tamarind, red chili powder, fennel, coriander, sesame seeds, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, and asafetida. Eating it reminds me of potpourri or a shop in one of those stupid colonial recreation towns where every place that sells anything has a bunch of dried herbs on the walls. I guess the take away message is that hippies, hipsters, and sad bastards who pretend to be worldly to get tail should take note. Stay queer!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tyson Bees Food Truck - Kimchi Dog

Last week I took a much needed trip to Philadelphia to visit my best friend. Ample opportunities for queerness awaited me there. The day after I arrived, my friend introduced me to the glory that is Tyson Bees Food Truck. It’s nestled lovingly between several of U Penn’s buildings in University City. According the internet, the official address is 33rd and Spruce Street. It’s a popular Korean food truck and there's usually a small crowd of students around it. To keep track of orders, they hand you a playing card after you order your food and call out the card when it’s done. I thought that was charming. I was 9 of clubs. I ordered a kimchi dog on the suggestion of my friend, who has rarely steered me wrong when it comes to books, food, and internet silliness. I expected a regular hot dog with kimchi on it. What I got was this:

This was 3 dollars. Yes, that’s red cabbage, and what I think is spicy mayonnaise. The hot dog is cut in half lengthwise, which seemed odd at first, but I soon realized that this just meant there was more surface area exposed to the wonderful, wonderful toppings. I was afraid that the kimchi would be overpowering, (for those of you who are unfamiliar, kimchi is really spicy pickled cabbage) but Tyson Bees hit some marvelous sweet spot! The red cabbage may seem like a weird choice but the texture and color are a really nice touch. The bun is gigantic and soft, and not a millimeter is wasted because they really cram those toppings on there. It’s filling, spicy, reasonably priced and delicious. I wholly recommend it to anyone who’s going to be in University City for any length of time. The only downside is that this food truck is only open on weekdays. Hopefully I’ll get to review more of their food in the future. Stay queer!