Thursday, April 30, 2015

Golpari (unedited demo version)

This is the latest and greatest song I wrote called "Golpari". Although this is unedited, it is a demo version of the song. Part English, part Persian. There is no song on earth like it. I hope you all enjoy this and like it. Listen with headphones. This will be produced better soon. This is just a general idea and rough cut of the song. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Casa Jaramillo Restaurant in Ontario, Oregon

One thing I have discovered about living in Idaho is how close the potato state is to the Oregon border. I live about 45 minutes from Ontario, Oregon, even though Google maps says there is a 50+ minute drive from Meridian to Ontario. Every time I pass through I find myself exploring the culture osmosis and essence of the culture, especially the Mexican culture. 

A friend of mine told me great things about a Mexican joint on 157 SE 2nd Street called Casa Jaramillo which serves wonderful food. She insisted they were authentic and offered some of the best. I decided to take a chance and eat there tonight. 

The place had only a few people in it, with only myself sitting at a table and the rest at the bar. As I witnessed my waitress socializing with the customers at the bar, I felt like she forgot about me. I think I waited 30 minutes just for her to take my order. And the sad part was, I had to approach the bar where she was socializing just to get her attention. She was even a bit rude to me, as if I was interrupting her. 

I waited so long that I just didn't feel like leaving because I wanted some authentic Mexican food. I knew what I wanted so, I proceeded to order the enchilada rancheras meal without the meat sauce and asked for a substitute followed by the chimichanga. I also decided to order a fajita. I told them that I am a vegetarian, so I would like a substitute. I also ordered dessert as I feared I would have to wait even longer. I went with the Casa's Crispy Sopapillas. 

Instead of keeping the enchilada rancheras on a separate place with the rice, the cook and/or waitress placed the chimichanga with it, drenched in sauce. The food was warm, but was not really hot so I felt like I was eating something that sat for at least 20 minutes before reaching the table. The flavor was fantastic in spite of these tribulations. 

I think I waited almost an hour for my food. And when it arrived, I honestly raised my expectations hoping the food would make up for the terrible service. The food had amazing flavor, but I felt like it wasn't warm. With barely anyone in the restaurant, I was starting to wonder why. The Casa's Crispy Sopapillas were fantastic and proved the best was definitely saved for last. In all honesty, I think they saved the meal. 

Casa Jaramillo was good, but was not great nor amazing. It wasn't terrible nor horrible, but could have been better than what it was. The waitress; however, was not good. She wasn't attentive, she was not swift, and I had to wait a long time for food which was just okay at best. 

So, would I recommend this place? I think I would if you are hungry and you are on that street and don't feel like driving around looking for a place to eat, but even then, I don't think I could recommend this place to anyone. The food was cold and the waitress was terrible. It is 2015. Not 1915. The waitress should not be ignoring customers, especially if they expect a big tip. 

But the real question is; however, would I eat here again? To be honest, probably not. Although if they decide to get better staff working for them, I may just eat here again in five years if I am still living here in Idaho just to see if the food and service is any better. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

5 Amazing Vegetarian Substitutes For Bacon

As a vegetarian of many years, I am always discovering new alternatives to some of the greatest carnivore classics. Whether it be chicken or fish or beef, etc. And in this case, bacon. So, is it possible to enjoy bacon while not eating it? Absolutely. In fact, continue reading as I share with you 5 amazing vegetarian substitutes for bacon.

5. Lightlife Smoky Tempeh Strips. The reality is that not all amazing things are actually the real thing and this fantastic Lightlife addition is proof. Not only are the Smoky Tempeh Strips delicious, they are GMO free too.

4. May Wah Healthy Vegetarian Bacon. May Wah offers quite a few delicious vegetarian alternatives, however; when it comes to creating faux bacon they know exactly what they are doing. This bacon alternative is also non GMO.

3. Yves Meatless Canadian Bacon. Out of the many vegetarian substitutes for bacon I have tried, I definitely think that this one is a winner. This is "Facon" at it's finest. This amazing Yves addition is free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

2. Lightlife Smart Bacon. You just can't get any better than this wonderful Lightlife addition. Not only is Smart Bacon the perfect alternative to real bacon, it's better tasting too. This healthy yet delectable bacon substitute is also GMO-free.

1. Turtle Island Foods Smoky Maple Bacon Tempeh. Brought to you by the creators of Tofurky, this vegetarian substitute for bacon is the best alternative around. This incredible Turtle Island Foods additon is not only delicious, it's also free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

Sunday, April 5, 2015

RIP Dr. Brandt

Today I am deeply saddened by the passing of my great friend Dr. Brandt. As the founder of Dr. Brandt skin care and one of the first physicians to ever administer botox and fillers, he was a real visionary in dermatology and always believed everyone deserved great skin. He always saw the beauty in everything and had one of the nicest hearts. 

I am very upset today. Not just because he is no longer with us, but because of how he actually died. He was depressed for quite sometime, but didn't have the strength to fight. He committed suicide. It really makes my heart hurt today.

I worked with Dr. Brandt several years ago when I interviewed him for Yahoo! Voices. He was one of the nicest people I ever spoke with. He could tell you everything about your skin and was extremely passionate about beauty, including his line work. 

He will be forever missed.

Rest in Peace Frederic Brandt. (1949-2015)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Vegetarian Recipes: Facon

Bacon is popular pork speciality around the world. As a vegetarian, I find myself discovering new ways to recreate this carnivore classic. And in my quest, I found various ways to make facon involving some of my favorite herbs and vegetables.

As a foodie, I am always in the kitchen. Whether it is trying a new recipe that I found on Yahoo! Shine or simply creating my own. In this case, I decided to create and try a new facon recipe.

For this facon recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

1 Cup of Dried Adzuki Beans (You can also use soy beans and/or mung beans)

1 Cup of Raw Buckwheat Groats

3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil

3 Tablespoons of Grade B Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder

2 Tablespoons of Onion Powder

2 Tablespoons of Paprika

2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper

2 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon of Dry Mustard

1 Tablespoon of Molasses

1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider

First and foremost, it is key to soak the Adzuki beans with the Buckwheat groats in the same bowl. You don't need to season water, as fresh water works perfectly. The key is soaking them until they become relatively soft, but not mushy. Soak for 3-4 hours.

Once the beans and the groats have soaked, you want to drain them. It is key to make sure they are fully drained because the water will create a lot of mush (which is what you want to avoid).

As you continue, you want to add and combine all of your ingredients that are remaining into the same bowl with the Adzuki beans and Buckwheat groats. Blend until it forms a paste-like consistency. The texture should not be slimy nor should it be mushy.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In order to create amazing Facon, it is key to use a flat pan. If you don't have one, use a baking sheet or a pan that has somewhat of a flatter service. You will also need baking paper and before you apply your mixture, you are going to want to add a little more oil. For this particular recipe, I love using coconut oil.

Now you are going to want to start spreading the entire mixture out onto the flat pan. You want to spread it out thin. After you are done spreading this all out, you want to bake for 15 minutes. It is important to check sporadically. You want the top to be dry and/or brown, but not burnt.

Are you having fun yet? Once 15 minutes have lapsed, you want to cool for about 15-20 minutes. As you continue, it is important to remove the pan from the baking paper and lay on a flat surface. When I created my facon, I chopped it into 20 pieces, however; some people like to cut more and sometimes even less.

Congratulations! Your facon is done. And although it is done, it will still be a little soft. This is normal. You will want to take your pieces and put them in an airtight container and put them in the fridge or freezer. I like to take half of the facon and store it in the freezer, with the other half remaining in the fridge.