Tag: food

Food Trucks Suck

There. I said it.

Food trucks are as supposed to be as much a part of LA culture as hot dog stands are for New York. Well, New York wins this one. My experience with food trucks is that they: 1. are slow, 2. serve tiny portions, and 3. aren’t any better than a walk-in eatery. Also, lately, they 4. are expensive, and 5. have incredibly long lines because every hipster thinks they’re the greatest food in LA.

I suspect a lot of the older food trucks that serve the neighborhoods actually are very good. Certainly they filled an important niche, since they served food in places and at hours that people otherwise couldn’t get food. They were operated by people who were from the areas they served, had native knowledge of great ethnic foods, and rapport with their customers.

But now that food trunks have become trendy, the experience has become diluted with mediocrity. I’m not saying that trendiness, by itself, leads to medocrity. But in this case the thing that became trendy was a bad way to serve food. Food trucks have tiny inefficient kitchens. They aren’t designed to serve a lot of people quickly, and they aren’t designed to serve a wide variety, but that’s exactly what people are trying to use them for.

For now, people are impressed enough by the “experience” to not notice they’ve stood in line for twenty minutes to get a small portion of food that’s not very good at a high price. If the food was actually good or unique, as with the old neighborhood food trucks of yore, maybe it’d be worth it, but these days most aren’t. So how long will this trend really last?

Mini diets

I have never been on what I would officially call a diet. However, I find that it’s good to have some rule in effect about what I can eat, even if it’s minor. A rule like that forces me to think about what I’m eating, and that alone is very helpful in maintaining decent diet.

Generally I stick to a mini diet for about a month or so, but I’ve done longer and shorter.

Here are some of the rules I put in place at some point:

  • No alcohol: I’ve been a teetotaler my whole life. I believe the most alcohol I’ve ever consumed at once was at The Melting Pot (a restaurant specializing in fondue).
  • Many years ago I tried having different dietary restrictions for different days of the week, so Monday I couldn’t eat this, Tuesday that, and so on. It didn’t work that well, because I’d have to change my shopping/cooking/storing strategies day-to-day. However, it did get me thinking about what I was eating.
  • No fried food. I did this for nearly all of 2007 (mid-January till Thanksgiving). This was prompted by the fact that I’d been living in Georgia for the last year, and anyone who’s lived in the South knows, fried food is a way of life there. (It’s probably that way because it’s pretty much the only thing you can expect Southerners to cook reliably well.) After a year in Georgia I was sick of the fried food, so I just quit eating it. To this day I eat much less fried food than I did before my year off.
  • Various limitations on carbonated beverages, including (at different and sometimes overlapping times): no carbonation at all, no beverages with sugar, no caffeinated beverages, and nothing with aspartame. Once when I was living in Cincinnati I had no sugar/no caffeine/no aspartame in effect, but sucralose (Splenda) was ok. Splenda is a good sweetener for fruity drinks but sucks for cola; nevertheless I would have to grab an RC Zero every once in awhile.
  • No caffeine. I gave it up cold turkey after some precautionary medical checks. I should mention that caffeine does almost nothing to my mental state until I drink enough of it to give me a racing heart, which conversely I seem to be rather sensitive to. After a while (and noting that stopping it had solved my racing hearts) I allowed myself to use it occasionally.
  • Don’t eat out. For me it makes economic sense to eat out. I value time saved more the money lost, though I do like to cook. So every so often I add a rule to eat in for a period of time (usually around a month or so).
  • Only eat out at places I’d never tried before. (This is my current mini diet.)
  • No sugary foods. I’ve tried this a few times a while back, but wasn’t as successful as I’d have liked. I’m planning this for next month, though, and I am more experienced on how to stick to these mini diets now so I think I’ll be successful this time.
  • Once I tried to go a month only eating ethnic food. I thought this would be an easy one. I lasted about one week.

A few future mini diets I have planned are:

  • No meat. I’ve been told it’s not as easy as it sounds.
  • Eat something every day that I wish I ate more of. This includes foods such as fish, sweet potatoes, hot cereals, vegetables in general.
  • Calorie counting. I.e., a “real” diet. I’ve never done it but I’d like to try sometime to see how I cope. Maybe I’ll even try an extreme limited caloric intake.

Fish Tacos

Give someone a boiled peanut and tell them it’s a boiled peanut, they’ll be like, “This is disgusting”. Give that same person a boiled peanut and tell them it’s a bean that tastes peanuty, they’ll be like, “This is pretty good.” It’s sad that people are so mentally jailed by their own expectations.

Fish tacos are good unless:

  1. you don’t like fish
  2. you don’t like tacos
  3. you have mental impediment

We might also note that fish tacos are not the same kind of tacos you eat in a crispy corn shell with ground beef, lettuce, and shredded cheese, in case anyone doesn’t know. (I could see that being a little weird.) Fish tacos are actual Mexican tacos, which means fish, shredded veggies, a squeeze of lemon or lime, and a bit of salsa or avocado maybe, on soft corn tortillas. Lots of people who claim to hate fish tacos would love it if you threw the same ingredients on a bun and called it a fish sandwich, or if you serve it without the tortilla and call it fish slaw. Hell, if you serve you serve it with a tortilla, i.e., the exact same dish, and called it fish slaw.

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