Thursday, December 31, 2015

Eating in Iowa

In less than a month, I'll be going to Iowa to volunteer for Bernie Sanders. I don't have a specific assignment yet. I could very well end up at the campaign headquarters in Des Moines. Or, I could be sent to a faraway, rural county, knocking on doors and dropping off lawn signs.

Aside from the importance of helping a campaign I believe in, this will also be fun. The American presidential campaign is entertaining to watch. It is also eye-opening to see life in a different part of the country. I know I learned a lot when I volunteered for Obama in Reno back in 2008. And to top it off, I'll get to eat unfamiliar food.

These two places will be on the top of my list. I've always wanted to try Maid Rite loose meat sandwiches.

And Iowa is famous for its pork. I had a juicy pork chop when I went to a family wedding in northwestern Iowa. The Ox Yoke Inn is famous for their pork entrees, and I'd like to stop by and cross off German food on my Eating the Globe to-do list.

Justin Trudeau's Mercedes

Holy cow. It once belonged to his father. Via a commenter in Jalopnik. Original source here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Eating the Globe: Burma

1. Call me a curmudgeon, but I will always call Burma "Burma". I will never call it Myanmar. Same goes for Reagan National Airport.

2. This photo was not properly lined up because I took it surreptitiously. I sometimes find it obnoxious when people take pictures of their meals at restaurants. Hence, I took a really quick photo and put my phone down.

3. This meal was from William Lue's Orinda outpost. I always get the chicken and potatoes and heap spoonfuls of hot pepper flakes. The article I linked to really shows how dedicated Lue is to introducing authentic Burmese cuisine to the East Bay suburbs.

4. The Orinda restaurant is never packed. I feel like the location is cursed. In the 13 years that I've known that location, it has been an Indian restaurant, a deli, another deli, a pastry shop, and now a Burmese joint. Because there isn't heavy traffic, the food sits around too long. My entree is often not uniform in temperature and my rice is sometimes dry and crunchy. Still, I keep going back for more.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: Burma, China, India, Japan, Philippines, South Korea
Europe: Italy, Sweden
North America: Mexico, USA

Good times, Trump and Clinton edition

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Etymology of California's 58 counties

Driving through one county after another this weekend, I was curious if anyone had set a record for visiting all 58 California counties. Somebody had, in 58 hours. I emailed the guy and asked him the route he took.

I was also curious about the breakdown of the origins of the counties' names. I assumed most are Spanish, and here is a breakdown:


  1. Alameda
  2. Amador
  3. Calaveras
  4. Contra Costa
  5. Del Norte
  6. El Dorado
  7. Fresno
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Madera
  10. Marin (maybe)
  11. Mariposa
  12. Mendocino
  13. Merced
  14. Monterey
  15. Nevada
  16. Placer
  17. Plumas
  18. Sacramento
  19. San Benito
  20. San Bernardino
  21. San Diego
  22. San Francisco
  23. San Joaquin
  24. San Luis Obispo
  25. San Mateo
  26. Santa Barbara
  27. Santa Clara
  28. Santa Cruz
  29. Sierra
  30. Solano
  31. Tulare
  32. Ventura
  33. Yuba

Native American

  1. Colusa
  2. Inyo
  3. Marin (maybe)
  4. Modoc
  5. Mono
  6. Napa
  7. Shasta
  8. Siskiyou (maybe)
  9. Sonoma
  10. Tehama
  11. Tuolumne
  12. Yolo

Non-Spanish European

  1. Alpine
  2. Butte
  3. Glenn
  4. Humboldt
  5. Imperial
  6. Kern
  7. Kings
  8. Lake
  9. Lassen
  10. Orange
  11. Riverside
  12. Siskiyou (maybe)
  13. Stanislaus
  14. Sutter
  15. Trinity

Ramadi belongs to Iraq again

The fall of ISIS may be as quick as its rise. I posted the taking of Ramadi by ISIS in January 2014, when ISIS was a total unknown.

2015 Chevy Impala

Our 1,200-mile road trip was in a rented Impala. The ride was smooth and the trunk space cavernous. My only gripes-- cheap plastic on the rear view mirror and glove compartment door, and uncomfortable seats.

For some reason, the rear end reminded me of the Flying Spur.

Fort Hood Hug Lady

Elizabeth Laird had hugged 500,000 troops leaving for and returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. She passed away today of lung cancer.

Las Vegas, Cooper, and Golden Steer

Just got back from Christmas in Vegas. It was Cooper's first road trip. He had fun playing cards with family and was weirded out by the sub-freezing, windy weather.

We topped off the trip with dinner at Golden Steer. It's the oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas (founded in 1958). Sammy Davis, Jr. wasn't allowed to dine at the casinos he was singing at, so he would go to Golden Steer after work.

Our waiter was a Bulgarian named Venko. He moved to America in 1988 and has been working at the restaurant since 1989. We started with the Caesar salad, which was made table side. The only other place where I've had my Caesar prepared next to me was at the Sage Room in South Lake Tahoe. I had the ribeye and it was tender, juicy, and flavorful. Here is a picture I found on Yelp.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas, everyone! Thanks for another year of your support and fun.

Plans for 2016 include: co-piloting a Citroen XM, finishing my Pan-American bus trip, and F1 at Spa.

Photo source.

Eating the Globe: Sweden

I had to pick up a couple of filing cabinets for my office so I went early this morning to IKEA. Curiously, the store opens at 10 a.m. but the cafe opens at 9:30. So I got some cheap Swedish meatballs. At five dollars, that's a pretty good deal for protein, although its provenance is suspect.

The pea soup was very hearty and could have been a meal by itself.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: China, India, Japan, Philippines, South Korea
Europe: Italy, Sweden
North America: Mexico, USA

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

IROC and E30, 20+ years later

I discovered these videos during a couple hours of insomnia. Both are worth watching today, if you're not busy Christmas shopping.

One-owner, tastefully modified, 1989 Camaro:

200,000+ mile E30, up a Nevada mountain:

Halftime at first Super Bowl

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Buy an Escalade, save on taxes

AKA Hummer Tax Loophole.

Two comedies set in Afghanistan

This first movie, Rock the Kasbah, looked promising and supposedly came out in October. It was panned by critics and lost money. But I still want to see it and I can't find it anywhere.

And here is another one, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which comes out next March.

No love for the 11th generation Thunderbird

These are odd. I don't remember seeing these on the road when they came out in 2002. For some reason, I thought they were only sold through the Neiman Marcus catalog for $70k. But now, I see them everywhere. They are all well taken care of and driven by people between the ages of 55 and 65. Also, I just learned they shared platforms with the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type.

What do you guys think of these?

Opel Euro team

Screw the Opels, I want the Chevy van!

More photos here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chevy SS to replace Saab 9-3?

If the Saab goes kaput, I want to go in the exact opposite direction and get this SS.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chinese poachers destroying coral

Well, this is maddening.

Madonna Like A Prayer Pepsi ad

Andy Cohen has a series called Then & Now. It's sort of like VH1's I Love the 80s series. In the 1989 episode, they showed Madonna's Like A Prayer Pepsi ad. I don't remember this at all. Apparently, it was shown worldwide to an audience of 250 million. Catholics, including the Pope, got pissed, and it was taken off the air.

Amazing cardboard Singapore Airlines jet

More here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Eating the Globe: South Korea

I have a lot to say about this meal. First, don't eat this for lunch right before a noon meeting.

1. Let's talk about Korean food. I rarely eat it alone. It's almost always an affair. We would order a bevy of meats, ringed by platelets of banchan-- those random pickled and other assorted side dishes. My favorites are fish cake and dried anchovies.

On the rare occasion, I would order a dumpling soup.

Today, I ordered kimchi fried rice. For protein, it came with little chunks of beef and SPAM. It was damn tasty, especially with some smokey hot sauce on top. I was not expecting banchan. Unfortunately, they were not as good as the fried rice.

2. Now let's talk about this eatery's location. In America, there is a chain of Chinese supermarkets called Ranch 99. Basically, if there are a lot of Chinese residents in a town, it gets a Ranch 99 market. There's a Ranch 99 in Richmond, and it anchors a strip mall that contains a number of businesses that caters to Chinese people-- restaurants, real estate offices, Chinese medicine stores, fortune tellers, etc. This Korean eatery is in the same strip mall. Even though this Korean place has been around for a few years, I never ate there because I didn't know how good a Korean place would be in a Chinese-dominated strip mall. Now you know what goes on in my bulbous head when I make food decisions.

3. You'll notice that I categorized this as a South Korean eatery. I could have just counted this as "Korean". However, I want to check North Korea off the list only after I have eaten at a restaurant owned and/or operated by the North Korean government.

Here is a video of a North Korean restaurant in Amsterdam. Creepy as hell. Check out the manager whispering to the poor waitresses as they are being interviewed.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: China, India, Japan, Philippines, South Korea
Europe: Italy
North America: Mexico, USA

Beijing 2015

Not Blade Runner Los Angeles 2019.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm going to Iowa!

The first primary of the 2016 presidential season is the Iowa Caucus on February 1 (Monday). I am flying to Des Moines on January 28 (Thursday) to volunteer for the Sanders campaign. Right now, Clinton is in the lead, 51 to 37. This is going to be fun.

Star Wars SNL ad

This is how we are with our die cast cars.

SkyDeck airplane observation deck

Is this even safe?

Man eating rice, 1902


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Eating the Globe: Japan

Since Cooper is still recuperating and we can't leave him alone at home, I ordered takeout

This new Japanese place is the talk of the town. It is packed morning, noon, and night. When I arrived to pick up my order, the line was out the door.

Spinach salad with sesame sauce. 

Kara age fried chicken.

Shio ramen. It tastes better at the restaurant. It's just not the same, eating out of styrofoam containers. The ramen consists of chicken soup, braised pork belly, soft boiled egg, lotus root, fish cake, seasoned bamboo shoot, Tokyo leek, and dried seaweed.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: China, India, Japan, Philippines
Europe: Italy
North America: Mexico, USA

Mark Hamill Star Wars Ram ad

This is getting ridiculous.

More Fiat Chrysler Jeep Star Wars ads here

Borat on Jimmy Kimmel

Apologies to our friends in Kazakhstan for posting this, but there is a Land Rover with Chilean plates and a Tatra in the video.

Will Ferrell/George W. Bush returns to SNL

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Americans fighting against ISIS

It's like the Spanish Civil War. Who is going to be the next Hemingway?

Eating the Globe: India

A little bit of background. There's a sit-down restaurant in town. Think of it as a glorified Denny's/Olive Garden. It caters to senior citizens and the food is sooooo bland. I don't know how it has stayed open for decades. It's owned by an Indian guy.

A couple of years ago, a small deli a mile away closed down. The Indian guy converted the space into a half-deli/half-Indian restaurant. And it's pretty fantastic.

His son runs the place and mans the naan oven. Whenever I come in for a to-go order, I give him a nod and he starts making the naan for me. He puts the dough on a pillow-paddle thing. He then flicks some water on the dough and slaps it on the inside wall of the oven. By the time his assistant spoons the rice, lamb saag, and chicken korma into my plastic tray (and I pay), the bread is ready.

In summary, naan good, spicy fast food good.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: China, India, Philippines
Europe: Italy
North America: Mexico, USA

Freak accident

The driver suffered only minor injuries. Lucky guy. Story here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Eating the Globe: Italy

Finally, some decent ethnic food that won't give me dysentery. A friend and I shared this pizza at Boot & Shoe Service. My only regret was getting too many toppings.

Whenever I go out for Italian, I get anything on the menu (steak, chicken, veal, ravioli, pizza, lasagne) but long noodles. Because I don't want to look like this:

The conversation was fun. My friend lived in Germany for two decades. One of his jobs was working for the BMW-backed Schnitzer team that ran this McLaren F1:

We talked about all things automotive. He was at Le Mans when that infamous Mercedes flip happened:

We also talked about his Ferrari 308 ownership experience (robust engine and transmission, crappy power windows), how he hitchhiked and ended up driving a Ferrari F40 500 yards, and the most impressive car he has ever driven-- an E34 M5 flat out on the autobahn.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: China, Philippines
Europe: Italy
North America: Mexico, USA

Arnold Schwarzenegger video game ad

Mediocre governor, hilarious washed up actor!

Power Wheels Porsche GT3

This TV ad was on repeatedly last night. Always funny to see toys with specific model names/numbers.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Eating the Globe: Mexico

I actually eat decent food. I swear. For dinner, I had a roasted beet salad and a New York steak. I swear!

Now, back to our regular programming. After an 80 minute morning commute, I had to grab a quick breakfast before my appointment. The only place close to the parking garage that was open was Bakery Mexico No. 2. It was something else. Despite being in Downtown San Jose, I felt like I was transported to Mexico. Other than me and a homeless white guy, the entire place was filled with short-statured Mexicans.

The menu on the wall was very rudimentary. There's a ton of stuff that's available that's not on the menu. One guy was eating a huge tamale-looking thing. Others were eating things I couldn't even begin to describe. I didn't have time to figure everything out, so I just ordered a simple breakfast burrito.

Though the restaurant is definitely authentic, I'm not sure about the breakfast burrito. During my three or four trips to Mexico, I don't think I ever saw a burrito on the menu. The $3.81 burrito was pretty good. It wasn't huge, so it didn't weigh me down. There were no fillers like rice, beans, or lettuce. It's just chorizo, egg, Swiss cheese, and avocado.

Countries tried so far:
Asia: China, Philippines
North America: Mexico, USA

Need a Saab diagnosis

Here is what happened to it today:

Here are a couple of possible causes:

Do you have any ideas?

Cars I saw today

I peppered this work day with car sightings. I was doing some Christmas shopping in the Rockridge District in Oakland and saw these two up a residential driveway. That's a 993 with the new black vintage plate. In front of it is an E39 M5.

I then went to Richmond to see what cars we are shipping abroad. Here's a Tempo Matador, which is headed to the United Kingdom.

Fiat Dino coupe.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Wallace Loh, University of Maryland president

At American universities, a recent trend is for schools to change the names of buildings named after racists. This is taking place at the University of Maryland, where the football stadium is named after Harry Byrd, who was university president from 1936 to 1954. He barred black students from enrolling until he was forced by the court to do so. When he ran for governor, he strongly supported segregation.

The current president of the school, Wallace Loh, wants to change the name of the stadium. I was curious about his background and did a bit of googling. He was the only grandson of a wealthy Chinese family. It owned five city blocks in downtown Shanghai. When the Communists took over, his family fled with nothing to Peru. His parents ran a grocery store there and sent him to America to attend college at age 15, even though he spoke no English.

He ended up earning a bachelor's degree from Grinnell (Iowa), a master's from Cornell, a doctorate from the University of Michigan, and a law degree from Yale.

Here he is speaking. Interesting accent.