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International/Exotic

It’s all out-of-country and junk…

Bissli Falafel Flavored Wheat Party Snacks

You know what I freakin’ love?

Wheat party snacks from Israel that are flavored like fried chickpeas… AND ARE FUCKING VAMPIRES.

Seriously. So good.

Oh. AND VAMPIRE-ISH. Like, you know, as in the blood-sucking dudes who get killed by Blade? (Or Buffy, pick your poison). I’m talking real, hardcore, honest to jeebus vampiric Tel Aviv-sourced party snacks here, people. None of this Twilight crap. REAL. VAMPIRE. WHEAT. SNACKS.

Oh, and they’re cholesterol free too. Which is always nice, because the last thing you want when you’re dying by the hands of a Falafel-flavored Nosferatu is high cholesterol. No one wants that combo.

Oh, the photographical tour of bla bla bla whatever is in order, I reckon.

Peep this. It’s a bag of the crap I’m fixin’ to eat.

Bag O' Falafel... thingers.  AND DEATH.

Bag O' Falafel... thingers. AND DEATH.

The individual harbringers of doom and blood-suckiness are individually pretty small. Sorta like FUCKING VAMPIRE BATS. DON’T THINK IT’S A COINCIDENCE.

Aw, so cute and innocent and blood-sucky.

Aw, so cute and innocent and blood-sucky.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking now. I’ll even put it in presumptuous quotes. Check it.

“Oh, but JK, why ever do you declare these seemingly normal and delicious-looking snacks to be of the blood-sucking variety, by chance?”

Simple, my fair… uh, I guess southern-belle-talking-person in my head..

Peep it.

A WITCH!  er... A VAMPIRE!  BURN IT!

A WITCH! er... A VAMPIRE! BURN IT!

There you have it. Indisputable evidence that these snacks are undead and “vant your blaaad.”

Or, alternatively, I’m an idiot and was reaching desperately for some hook/premise after looking at these damn things in my pantry for a couple months trying to figure out some angle to work.

Take your pick.

Texture: Definitely on the crunchy side, and kinda dense. But to be fair, these came from flippin’ Israel, sat on a store shelf for who-knows-how-the-hell long, and then in my pantry for another 6 months. So they’re probably just stale. Lucky for me, they don’t believe in expiration dates in Israel. So we’ll never know.

Taste: It took me a while to figure this one out. Starts off as a very, very bland Funyun , and kinda lingers and hangs out for a bit, then tastes like a bit like Falafel at the very end.

JK Score: 7/10 I’m basing this on the fact that I like Funyuns and Flalfel, your mileage may vary. I’ll disregard the vampire aspect for the sake of keeping scores fair across the board. I’d eat these again.

Reindeer Paté

It’s like Christmas in December… On the 25th. It’s CRAAAAZY!

The stockings were all hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that I’d get some screwball tin of mashed meat made of parts of Rudolph and his buddies. Which was apparently made in Sweden. Nothing is more traditional, really. I’m sure killing/packaging/eating Santa’s sleigh crew is probably illegal in other countries. Or at least immoral. If there’s one things the Swedes are known for, it’s killing reindeer and subsequently making children cry.

The one apparently very good thing about Reindeer Paté is it’s long shelf life. In Swedish. This particular sample is “BÄST FÖRE 24 MAY 2011”. If that’s not hardcore AND Swedish, I don’t know what is.

bork bork bork

bork bork bork

This stuff comes from the UK food joint edible.com, the same place where the Chocolate Covered Ants came from.

The packaging is a little awesome and sadistic:

hardcore

hardcore

Click through for the vid of the unveiling.

The smell is weird… We ultimately decided it smelled like a pineapple-glazed ham. Which makes zero sense, but fits in with the theme of the day appropriately.

squishy.  kinda.

squishy. kinda.

The can suggest that it’s “Best served spread on hot buttered toast with a glass of mulled wine or a shot of gold vodka!”

I’ve got some crispy buttered baguette wafer thingies and beer. Close enough.

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

And of course, Boris was interested.

dogfood?

dogfood?

Texture: My best approximation is Braunschweiger, which really is the poor man’s paté. Nothing too bad, really. A little less whipped than the poor man’s version, with appropo tiny chunks of Blitzen, etc throughout. Also, kinda dry.

Taste: Oddly sweet, very salty, but still that same Braunschweiger-esque flavor, but a little bland and more reindeer-ish. Which to my Midwest-raised taste buds, taste like regular deer.

JK Score: 3/10 Oddly un-eventful. Not bad, just not as awesome as I’d expect magical, flying mammals to taste.

Wasabi Green Peas

Forgive me father, it has been… *checks* Crap. Almost two months since my last entry.

Stupid life, always getting in the way. Also, bears on tricycles. They get in the way too. I never really understood why, either. They just seem to have this uncanny ability to always be directly in front of where I’m trying to go:

Trying to go to work? Freaking’ bear-on-a-tricycle parade crossing the street.
Tried going to Taco Bell a few weeks ago. Place was closed because a drunk bear on a tricycle drove through the front window. Thought the brake was the gas or something.
On my way to the bathroom? Freakin’ bear on a tricycle. I’m not even sure how it got in the house, but there it was. I still have to pee.

Pee.

Oh! Yah. Food.

I grabbed some sushi for lunch at the store, so I figured I’d complete my Japanese bi-fecta(?) with a side treat of these bad boys. Fairly non-descript packaging, just says what’s up on the front, and then a bunch of Japanese, which I know nothing of, which either probably says “Roasted Wasabi Green Peas” or “Here’s some Crap, Eat it”. Hoping it’s the former.

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Opening up the bag and taking whiff, there’s a very familiar smell, but I can’t place it. Kinda dirty, kinda fishy for some reason. A peek at the back of the bag reveals Shrimp Powder as an ingredient. Dammit. Now that’s all I smell, and am reminded of my last foray into Asian snack food

Here’s the little guys, loose in the wild:

20081021-img030 (Custom)

And I think this is the part where I eat em. It’s been a while.

Texture: Very crunchy. Probably because they’re roasted. It actually reminds me of ants. Not sure why. Once you get past the crunchy pea-shell (not sure if that’s even a thing), things get a little mushy, but… they’re peas. Weird.

Taste: WASABI. Shocker, I know, but there’s hella wasabi going down here. Myself, I love the crap, and anything else derived from horseradish, so I’m all over these. In small amounts. They’re super-loaded. It’s neat. Then, there’s a bit of a residual pea flavor. But I think the peas are mostly just a carrier for the wasabi, kinda how we use celery as a Ranch Dressing shovel on this side of the ocean. And, of course, the ever-present slight hint of shrimp. Which I only noticed after reading the ingredient list, so that may be mostly in my head.

JK Score: 6/10 If I wasn’t such a fiend for having my sinsues cleared out during a snack, I’d rate these much lower, but I think that kind of thing is neat. Yay, snot!

Preserved (1000 Year Old) Duck Eggs

… Ugh.

You’re tuned into another very special entry on TJE, one that’s mostly videos, without a lot of witty commentary, because the videos speak volumes. A picture being worth a thousand words, I have a total of 7 minutes and 54 seconds with of video below. Assuming 25 frames per second or so, that works out to roughly 474,000 words. That’s a lot to take in, so I’ll save you the banter and get to the back story.

I was in Champaign-Urbana last weekend for my friend Jim‘s going away party. Also present were Chris, Cari, Ryan, and Chef Benjamin. Ben brought me back these “treats” from his trip to SF a while back. The 1,000 Year Egg (also known as the Century Egg, and less awesomely known as the Preserved Egg) is basically a chemically ‘pickled’ egg. Wikipedia has a whole nice entry on the background of the beast.

Here’s a vid of the unveiling, and the smelling by various people.

*NOTE* The vids below were taken after a night of drinking, so there’s plenty of language, may not be completely work-safe.

Also, half-lit is the only way to ever approach these things.

In short, they smelled like ass.

After this was shot, we moved outside, since it was the safest spot in case of regurgitation, and to keep the smell out of the house.

Again, there’s a strong language warning on here. Also, if you don’t like seeing nasty things that have been chewed up and spit back out, you may want to avoid. Otherwise, it’s a good watch.

The thing that shocked me the most was the smell. Just so STRONG. It embeds itself in your skin, and I literally had the taste in my mouth the next day. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to eat/smell regular eggs for a while as a result. I have a generally strong gag reflex, and these just put me over the top. I still get a little queasy thinking about the taste/smell.

Ugh.

Anyway.

Texture: Um. You saw in the video. The outside is kind of a gelatinous kind-of-egg vibe. It’s just like a regular egg white, only a little chewier. The inside? It’s unholy death. You have a thin membrane of hard boiled egg yolk, with this gooey center. It’s bizarre.

Taste: As I said in the video, it tastes exactly how it smells. How does it smell? Like ass. Aquarium. (Because of the sulfer). Rotten eggs. Dirt. Poop. Just… Horrible.

JK Score: -10/10 I’m setting the bottom of my scale at -10 now officially, by the way. This is the most unholy, god-awful thing I’ve ever put in my body. Ever. I’d rather eat a dried squid sandwich with a side of shrimp chips any day of the week. I don’t feel horrible not making it through this, as Andrew Zimmern couldn’t do it either. And now I know why.

UGH.

Chocolate Covered Giant Ants

Not since 1957’s Beginning of the End (Which, by the way, starts out in my hometowns) have giant insects ever looked so threatening… and… tasty?

I dunno. If you’re afraid of chocolate, these guys might induce a fair amount of terror. They’re HUUUUUUUGEE!!! (In relation to other ants I’ve seen, which were neither chocolate-covered, nor purportedly giant).

20080403-TJE 002 [tje]

Luckily, we don’t have to worry about these giant insects running rampant across Ludlow and Paxton, IL and making their way up to Chicago to terrorize an entire metropolitan populous. I mean, if you’re the kind that like to worry about impossible, but potentially tasty tragedies, I guess you can worry about it, but you really shouldn’t. We’re coming up on summer in the Midwest, which means they’d just melt once they got outside anyway.

I’d like to make a note for those playing at home; I’m not intentionally trying to follow directly in the footsteps of The Onion’s AV Club. Seriously. I had these bastards on order for about 3 days when their taste test came out. Plus, their insects weren’t chocolate-covered, so I feel kinda vindicated there. Plus, they were Crickets on top of it all. Completely different. Screw you.

If nothing else, I’m also a big pansy too. I was at edible.com, a boutique-ish UK f’ed up food store getting something else (amaze in the mystery), and figured I’d pad my order with something from the insect category. These seemed to be the most pedestrian item, and were voted “least likely to contain a scorpion”. Seriously. They even counted Florida and Michigan during the vote.

As I tend to do with most things that are chocolate-covered in nature, (and really, there should be more things that fall into this category) I busted out the trusty knife of wonder (read: butter knife) and cut one of the ant-filled bastards up just to verify the ant…y…ness of said chocolate-covered ants:

20080403-TJE 005 [tje]

… Wow. That’s a whole lot of ant. As you can see above, there’s really a lot of ant in there, and not as much chocolate as I’d… Hoped. Also, in doing the dissection, I realized just how crunchy ants are. “Very” is the correct amount. Crap.

Oh, and the product shot, the one that makes you go “damn, I needs me some ants”.

20080403-edible [tje]

Texture: Wow. Just as crunchy as I’d hoped. (Right). The outer choco-layer is actually pretty nice, melts quickly, and then you take that first big, crunchy bite. Kinda plow through the exoskeleton, into the kinda-smooshy abdomen, then the other end of the exoskeleton. And as a bonus, that exoskeleton flakes off and gets stuck in your teeth, so you have a treat for later! Yay!

This video is about as close as I can get to really expressing the texture. Turn up your sound at the halfway point.

Taste: That chocolate outside isn’t bad at all. It’s pretty nice. The ant itself? Oddly, it’s very meaty, but very bitter/salty. It’s definitely weird, and not like anything I’ve ever had before. All the flavor is down in the abdomen, the head is just all crunchy exoskeleton. Wow. That was interesting. I feel very worldly. They’re Columbian ants, shipped to, and sold from London. Gur. Flavor is still there.

JK Score: 0/10 Don’t eat ants. I know bugs are supposedly full of protein and all that good stuff. If I was stranded in the Columbian jungle, I’d obviously resort to eating these. Really, they weren’t gut-wrenching, just VERY strong, and very “different”. Granted, I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I put a giant-ass ant in my mouth, but what I got was definitely not on the list of things I could expect. That texture didn’t help at all either. 10 minutes later, I’ve still got that taste in my mouth, and I’m still picking ant-shell out of my teeth. Maybe if I got over the stigma of eating bugs, it’d be different, but as it stands, this is definitely something I’d have to get used to before I really appreciated it.

Trekking Mahlzeiten Cheeseburger In Der Dose (Cheeseburger in a can)

Achtung, baby!

The Internet is completely freaking awesome. And full of stupid crap.

But, let’s face it. Even the most stupid crap available on the interweb is still pretty freaking awesome.

Case in point: the first time I saw a mentioning of a Cheeseburger in a freaking can.

I’d been working my contacts (all 2 of them) in the land of Germans trying to figure out a psuedo-legal non-pain-in-the-ass way to get one into my grubby little hands to no avail. In the process, I was scooped by The Onion, who was able to snag one on eBay from a military-type person. I had failed. But eventually, prevailed, and got reamed in the pooper on eBay in order to actually follow through with my original goal of eating this monstrosity.

So, while I will be far from the first, I will obviously not be the last person in the US with a dumb food blog to experience this fine piece of German Engineering. 85th percentile, here I come!!!

Just as an aside, it should be known that this is really supposed to be a camping/MRE-type item, not something you’d just stock to grab for a snack. This is a hardcore, outdoors-y bomb shelter-style cheeseburger. In a can.

Here it is in its natural state; the can was actually bigger than I thought it would be, which was nice:

20080324-009 [tje]

In shaking it around a bit, you can hear things kinda shuffle around. Seems like it’s actually dry inside, which is a good thing for our purposes. Well, mine anyway. I’m sure you’d prefer if it was all squishy-sounding, because you’re sick like that and take pleasure in my pain. Bastards.

If you can’t make it out, the prep directions are as follows: Heat the unopened can in a bain-marie for approx. 10 minutes or take the cold cheeseburger out of the can and heat it in a cooking pot/pan. The cheeseburger may be consumed cold or hot. Once opened, please don’t leave the product in the can.

I’m curious as to what kind of time-frame I’m actually looking at for getting the burger out of the can once opened, and also what would happen if I just threw caution to the wind and left the burger in the can? These are questions that really need answered, but due to the nature (freaking expensive) of the test subject, we’ll just have to leave those questions unanswered.

Also, I guess another good question would be: what the hell is a bain-marie?

Thanks to Wikipedia (it’s on the completely awesome list, by the way, not the stupid crap), I now know that’s it’s just a double boiler. Which gives me a leg up on the competition who have incorrectly just been boiling the whole can. Ah-ha! Exclusivity!

Obviously, this is going to make my sample taste completely awesome and not suck.

One thing I’m going to start trying to do with these “special” (read: awesome) items is do some video coverage. Yes, I have just that much free time on my hands. We’ll see how that pans out.

Here is apparently the proper (although kinda Swedish) method to prepare the Cheeseburger In A Can. Kinda. I’m improvising a bit.

I have to show you the obligatory glamour shot, which in this case is obviously WAY off-base…

20080324-canburgerpress [tje]

Then a video of the unveiling:

Finally an innard shot after being partially eaten:

20080324-canburgerinside[tje]

And, what is probably supposed to be a pickle. A tiny, tiny pickle.

20080324-canburgerpickle [tje]

Texture: It’s completely wrong on so many levels. The buns are on the mushy side, and kinda soak up the canned-cheeseburger cheese and canned-cheeseburger ketchup/mustard/pickle. The patty itself is less like a burger, and more like a tough summer sausage, which was really weird on the first bite. You really gotta tear into it.

Taste: Oddly, much, much better than I expected. My wife even took a bite out of sheer morbid curiosity (after asking if it would make her puke, of course) and gave a resounding “that’s not that bad”. Not to say it’s good though. Again, the majority of it actually tastes kinda like a burger. The bun is very bun-like, the cheese and condiments are all represented, even the tiny, tiny pickle tastes like a pickle. But my wife summed up the taste of the patty best: “It tastes like a Chef Boyardee Meatball”. Again, not horrible by any means, just not quite… Right. Then there’s the slightly metallic aftertaste, that, you know, most likely comes from existing in a can. Nothing horrible, just not a normal cheeseburger thing.

JK Score: 3.5/10 I’m basing this on the fact that it’s a flippin’ canned cheeseburger. It really wasn’t that bad. In terms of things that could go wrong, I think it held up fairly well. If I was stranded with a bunch of lost hikers, and they were all busting out their granola and sticks and leaves after 8 days, I’d be very proud to pop open one of these bad boys and eat it in front of them and piss them all off royally. As a testament to how much it didn’t actually suck, (but more to how much I paid for the damn thing), I did actually finish it. And I’m flying tomorrow, so I’m putting a lot of faith in the product staying inside of my body. Also, I’m officially introducing half-points into the system. It’s a new day here at TJE. An new, glorious day filled with canned cheeseburgers, videos, and half points.

I’m very easily amused.

Grant’s Canned Haggis

This one’s for you, Nate.

I’m not even going to take the time to write anything witty or remotely intentionally funny, because this is canned flippin’ Haggis. I mean, really. It’s Haggis. In a can.

Nate actually requested “canned meats”. I was really hoping to get a hold of the infamous German Canned Cheeseburger, but The Onion beat me to it (damn their impeccable eBay timing, and budget and stuff).

So, knowing their source, I just took to looking for canned crap on eBay. Lo and behold, after a quick search, I had a myriad of canned exotic crap in front of me. Being the dumbass I am, I went for the Haggis, which oddly was in Scotland. Funny, that.

So, $11 and 6 days later (random fact, it takes 5 days for a can of Haggis to make its way from Scotland, through customs, and to Illinois) I was in possession of my prized winnings.

20080303-haggiscan

Per the unpacking directions, I open both ends (their bolding, not mine, it seems important though) and “carefully pushed through”. The net result was:

20080303-haggisloaf

The ever-faithful TJE mascot, Boris was quick to investigate, since I’m pretty sure he assumed I’d opened the can for him. I see how he could be confused. It definitely was more similar to his food than mine.

20080303-haggisdog

The smell out of the can was immediately “spoiled Dinty Moore beef stew with a LOT of pepper”. I’m not sure if this is possible to re-create in actuality though, since Dinty Moore has what amounts to an indefinite shelf life. And we all know how hard pepper is to come by. Or something.

For those who aren’t privy to this culinary wonder of the land of Scots, Haggis, traditionally, according to Wikipedia is:
There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours.

“In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.”

That theory is sound.

In this case, the ingredients are listed as the following:
Lamb Lungs (45%), Oatmeal (19%), Lamb Suet, Scottish Water, Onion, Salt, Spices

I’m assuming the missing 36% is love, or the souls of children, since nothing else is numbered out.

As far as prep goes, instead of taking the easy route, like I usually do, I figured I’d give this internationally-traveled dish the proper preparation it deserved. Plus, I didn’t feel I needed to give canned Haggis any reason to be nastier than it could be.

So, I skipped over the microwave instructions (yes, they were there), and moved onto the Traditional Method:
Empty contents into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally until warmed through. For a real Scottish flavour, add a “wee dram” of whiskey before serving.

NOW we’re talking. Anything I can cook and add whiskey to, as part of the recommended prep method? I’m on board. I dumped the can into my trusty saucepan (I had to have the wife tell me which thingy that was), warmed ‘er up, and added an ounce or so of Macallan 12 Year just before serving it up. I’m assuming an ounce is a wee dram.
20080303-haggispan

Dumped it onto the plate, and headed into the belly (lungs, and suet) of the beast.

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Texture: Squishy. It makes a squishy sound coming out of the can. It makes a squishy sound when you’re cooking it. It makes a squishy sound when you’re putting it on the plate. It makes a squishy sound when you dig into it, and while you chew it. The biggest texture in this one is the oatmeal, which is nice and meat-soggy. The actual chunks of assorted meat are pretty tough and chewy, but they’re ground up enough that there’s nothing too huge meat-wise to get caught up on. Thankfully.

Taste: I really can’t fully describe it. My mouth can’t get beyond the texture. This particular specimen is very heavy on pepper-type spices, that’s the first thing you get. And a lot of onion. And cinnamon. Which I’m sure is there to mask the fact that you’re eating frikkin’ haggis. Beyond that, it’s really kinda bland, honestly. it leaves a funky aftertaste, but one that’s easily covered by beer (I’m killing it with Staropramen from Prague, getting all international in this bitch). I’ve literally taken 5-6 good-sized bites while writing this. Not because I particularly love it, just because I can’t figure out any coherent way to describe the taste. I went through a similar quandary the last time I had a haggis-type dish (Haggis Fritters at the Scottish Arms in St. Louis). I couldn’t figure out if I liked it or not, so I kept trying them until they were gone. In that case, they were fried, so it covered up a lot of the “essence” of the Haggis.

Let’s just say this; it tastes exactly how it smells. If you get close enough to smell it, you’re pretty much there.

JK Score: 2/10 Since I can’t really make up my mind on this, I’d probably try it again, given the chance. Am I going to seek it out? No. I was able to successfully keep it in my stomach for the duration of this article, and I didn’t gag at all during the process. I could see myself actually being OK with this as an actual food item if I was raised on it.

Calbee Shrimp Flavored Chips / Saki Ika Prepared Squid HOT

Get ready for some hard hitting journalism from the road, Jack Kerouac style. I’m in the Bay Area for a little vacation. Our trip took us into Chinatown, where I figured I was sure to find something… interesting to take a look at. In the basement of some shop, I ran across a mini-grocery, and found these gems. Since I’m really tired and recovering from a nice massive New Years hangover (Happy New Year, btw), I’m offering a 2008 seafood-related 2-for-1 review special.

First up: Calbee Shrimp Flavored Chips

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Upon seeing these, I thought to myself, “Self, these are going to suck. But you owe it to your readers to try this.” Of course, I did.

The product description on the bag quite innocently stated: “A toasted light snack, with a touch of shrimp.”

Awesome. I’m all for light snacks, and I like shrimp. Granted, I generally like my shrimp in, well… shrimp form. I’ve never in my life considered using shrimp as a flavoring. Obviously, this is why I don’t create awesome Chinese snacks.

Opening the bag, I took a wiff, as I usually do when encountering something as potentially screwed up as shrimp-flavored-anything. I was greeted with the wonderful odors of ass, butt, and hiney. Actually, it instantly reminded me of my aquarium-keeping days, when I used to get my fish dried krill as a treat. Just a very strong, very nasty old fishy smell.

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The “Chips” themselves were obviously more fry-like, with a nice little spiral pattern to them.

Texture: Not bad, pretty standard puffed potato-type snack. Light, and crunchy.

Flavor: One of those things that are just completely impossible to describe. Horrible. Immediately nasty. I don’t even see how this could be an acquired taste. It tasted exactly like it smelled, and since I can’t completely describe the smell, it’s pretty hard to describe the taste with today’s technology. Seriously, just take my word for it, they be nasty.

JK Score: 0/10 Yeah, they’re flipping bad. They make me want to re-scale my whole scoring system, because I need to figure out a way to effectively convey that I’d rather eat Dwight Yokam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire for every meal than ever put these in my mouth again.


Next!! Saki Ika Prepared Squid: HOT

20080102-squidbag

These bad boys were on the rack right next to the Shrimp Chips. Figured it’d make for a nice themed entry. This is a little bit more out there and straightforward with what you’re getting. It’s squid, it’s prepared, and it’s hot. Hell, there’s even a picture of a creepy, happy squid on the bag, and a see-through portion so you can revel in the quality of your snack.

Speaking of the bag, there’s a great little blurb on the back:

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“Enjoy Wel-Pac Prepared Squid at anytime and any place. Just open the bag and serve at parties. Make sure you have enough! It’s also a convenient snack to take on picnics.”

Oh hell yes. It’s the great portable party snack, Prepared Squid! And, apparently, it’s good for picnics. And parties. That’s it, though. Don’t even think about serving Wel-Pac Prepared Squid at your next business meeting. So, my final conclusion is that China rocks because it’s always a squid party/picnic.

Ain’t no party like a prepped-squid party, cuz a prepped-squid party won’t stop…

…stop vomiting, that is. Somehow, pulling the bag open and sticking my nose in yielded the exact same smell as the Shrimp Chips. And that scares me. It was seriously exactly the same.

Dumping out a bit, and you’ll see… well… prepared squid. Not a lot to look at. Looks and feels a bit like stringy beef jerky.

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Texture: Starts off with a weird beef jerky-like texture that dissolves into a almost-familiar calamari chewiness as you get into it.

Flavor: Same as the shrimp chips. Again, I don’t know how two things are this nasty in the same store, much less the same country. Combine that with the fact that despite being based on two different animals, they taste exactly the same… And, yah. Holycrap. Oh, there’s no hotness to speak of, either. Just a lot of salt.

JK Score 0/10: See above. Seriously. It’s just the chewy-nasty-non-chip version of the Shrimp Chips. Either that, or the Shrimp Chips are the airy, crunchy version of the Prepared Squid. It should be worth noting that about 2 hours later I still have the taste of both of these evil snacks in my mouth. I’ll probably have nightmares about John Tesh tonight too. Not because of the squid, but just because John Tesh scares me.

Of course, this leads to the obvious question:
Which came first, the Prepared Squid or the Shrimp Chip?

Bacana Brazil Churrascaria (aka House of Meat Death)

Let me paint a picture for ya, Bob Ross style. Let’s put a happy little cloud up here on the right. He’s happy. Now let’s put a little happy harbinger of meat-based-coma-death-glory-joy over here. Yah, that’s nice.

Let’s call that place Bacana Brazil, in Chesterfield, MO. You know, make-believe, it’s art, it’s not set in stone, be creative. In your painting, you can call yours Frederico Rojo or something. Mine is called Bacana.

Artist's rendition.  Forgot my camera.

Artist's rendition. Forgot my camera.

Now, let’s move inside.

Let’s paint a nice, semi-upscale resturaunt, with a great booze selection, and an incredible Brazilian wait staff who is the friendliest bunch of dudes and chicks this side of the Mississippi. Oh, paint some neat accents on them, too. Not really sure how you go about doing that, but it’s worth including in our work here. So do it, before I cut you.

Yah, that’s nice. They’re happy.

The name of the game here is Churrascaria. My Portuguese is horrible, but I think it roughly translates into “Feed all the over-eating Americans awesome meats and shit until they explode”.

It works like this: you walk in, get seated and order your drinks. You get pointed to a nice big salad/side buffet spread. Our waiter gave us the tip of grabbing a spare plate, you know, for meat. At your table is a magical toggle. One side being red, the other, green.

20071202-meatflipper

I’m not sure what the red side that said “NO” actually looked like, as we never used it. What I do know, is that as long as that guy stays green, some dude in the back will work his butt off grilling countless cuts of meat, rotisserie style over a pit. Then he’ll send out the meat minions out with highly-sharpened big-ass knives and the aforementioned skewers of meat around to all the tables, where you’re consequently barraged with endless chunks of top sirloin, garlic steak, bacon-wrapped chicken, salmon, beef shoulder, shrimp, pork, lamb, even grilled bananas and cinnamon-pineapple.

And that’s it. You eat until your completely stuffed, and then the sadistic waiter comes back and offers you deserts, which were also awesome.

In keeping with the whole painting analogy, let’s paint a happy over-stuffed bigass dude who just ate his weight in meat for $33.

Artist's rendering, I'm much more sexy.

Artist's rendering, I'm much more sexy.

Must Try: The Spicy Beef Salad. Best stuff on earth if you’re into hot stuff. The beef shoulder. The top sirloin. The garlic steak. The roasted banana. The grilled cinnamon-crusted pineapple.

Avoid: The red side of that meat flipper thinger.

JK Score: 9/10 There’s nothing more awesome than all-you-can-eat meat, and swords.

Bacana Brasil
16123 Chesterfield Pkwy West
Chesterfield, MO 63017
636.532.6969
http://www.bacanabrasil.com