Monday, July 28, 2014

When You're Slidin' Into Home...


They're tiny hamburgers, and they're terribly trendy these days. You can't go anywhere without some snotty "gastropub" serving upscale versions made with some esoteric meat and drizzled in truffle oil, distressed arugula with vinaigrette, or some other dumb shit. Bring a book.

Me, I like my sliders they way I had them growing up - lowbrow. 

Picture it - Chattanooga, Tennessee. My great aunt had entered herself in a "local artists" (yes, the quotation marks are relevant) show at some mall or other, and we were just lucky enough to be visiting while it was still going on. 

So we arrived at this so-called "art show" to peruse the rows and rows of these artists' attempts at dogs, carefully-placed lilies, sunsets, Raggedy Ann dolls resting next to snoozing babies. Each painting was worse than the next, and it made me want to issue a blanket statement that some people - they should just stop trying. 

My great aunt's painting, lucky for us, was one of the least egregious of the group - actually resembling what it was supposed to be. Its only flaw was in the lower right corner, where she had forgotten to fill in the water that was supposed to be lapping lazily at the shores of her island paradise she had committed to canvas. Oh well. 

She won second prize.

Ribbon in hand, she demanded that we perambulate through the seas of overweight southerners to Ye Olde Food Court, where we would celebrate in style.

At Krystal!

Now, for those of you unfamiliar, Krystal is the South's answer to White Castle. They taste the same. They look the same. The difference - White Castle doesn't have the Krystal Kreed. (Oh. And while we don't know the politics of Krystal's owners, we DO know White Castle's - they're Tea Party Fuckups, y'all.)

Naturally, I was excited. I had never tried a slider before, and the concept was intriguing to me. And at the time, I was about as gung-ho about eating meat as anyone could be. So we all got in line at this Kiosk of Wonders. My great  aunt was first. 

My great aunt - she was ample, and she liked to eat. And she had a coupon. "I'll take 20 Krystals," she said to the cashier. Now, my parents and I - we all figured that those 20 Krystals were for ALL of us to share. "What're y'all gonna have?" she said, turning to us. Well, I was baffled. How could anyone eat 20 Krystals? How could that possibly be? 

I couldn't wait to watch her eat those burgers. She sat right down and ate each and every one of those things, along with waffle fries. Bitch was not messing around. "Delish, delish!" she burbled when she was through. 

Me, I had ten. But I was hooked. These things were mm-MMM good. 

So naturally, when I became vegan, I longed for a substitute. Veggie burgers are a dime a dozen. I wanted fucking sliders. 

And then I saw the Sol Cuisine Original Sliders at Ye Olde Purveyor of Fine Alternative Foods. I snatched those fuckers up so fast... the only problem - they don't come with buns. Where the HELL do you find Slider buns? That's right, you don't. So - while these were ok, the rolls I had to use made the experience less than vibrant. 

And then I saw them.

Gardein - the subjects of our Fantasy Fish Fest - had done something miraculous. They had two - yes, two - varieties of Slider available in the Frozen Foods Section. COMPLETE WITH BUNS, y'all.

First we tried the standard variety. They are fine. They are delicious. A dollop of vegenaise on these little bastards, and you've got a meal that will keep you happy for hours.

But the real treat is the Chick'n Sliders, y'all. Holy CRAP are these things good. Crispy, delicious... just plain fabulous. And they only have 180 calories! (Well, each. But the good thing is that, unlike meat sliders that are steamed slabs of goo, these are substantial enough that you really only need two in order to be satisfied.)

So. God. Damn. Good. 

We here at YOPV give these Chick'n Sliders our top honor. Unlike the artists in my great aunt's art competition, the people at Gardein have created a MASTERPIECE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ahoy, Mateys!

I don't know about y'all, but whenever I am in a vegan restaurant and see their "fish" selections, I get a little queasy. "Creamy fish," "sauteed vegan fish," et cetera. The descriptions conjure up images of pasty nastiness that must taste like red tide - or worse. 

So imagine my surprise when a friend actually recommended Gardein's new (and elusive) Fishless Filets. "They taste just like Arthur Treacher's," I was told. Now, I am not a seafood enthusiast by nature. Growing up down south in Floridaar, I was exposed to conch fritters, crab patties, oysters, clams, lobsters, any sort of nonsense one could dredge out of the beleaguered Gulf of Mexico. As a Floridian, I was expected to gobble that crap up with glee. But the taste of all of those things made me want to fucking scream. I hate all of it. HATE IT. The only seafood I could ever manage to get down without wanting to die was the deep-fried whatever-it-is fish they served at Long John Silver's and other purveyors of "fish 'n chips." These restaurants deep-fried any lingering hint of that gross "seafood" essence right out of that fish, and made it fit for a person of my proclivities to gobble up. (Deep-frying anything makes it better - that's what we say down south, y'all.)

Now, Gardein has never let me down. Their turk'y cutlets (with gravy packets) are so god damn good. Their  crispy tenders - DIVINE. And let's not even get into how beyond delicious either variety of their sliders are. Slap a heaping helping of Just Mayo on those jive turkeys and you are set for a one-way trip to heaven. 

Yes - they are THAT good. 

So, I figured, "You know what? I think I'll try that fishless filet, seeing as I like to use any excuse at all to go to as many health food stores as possible in search of esoteric and stupid foods."

I was told they carried it at local (California) Whole Foods, so I visited several. To no avail. Finally, I went to this dinky and precious little health food store in Eagle Rock called Organix - and there that fake fish was, screaming out at me from the frozen foods section like a banshee in the night. 

I whipped open that freezer door and purchased the FUCK out of that fishless filet and then careened my vehicle back toward home with desperate abandon. After making a super-speedy stop at the Whole Foods in Glendale in order to purchase a small bottle of Follow Your Heart tartar sauce, I made it home, cranked up the oven and waited. 

Twenty minutes passed while those little assholes baked to golden perfection in ye olde oven, and the waft of seafood was overwhelming. This shit smells EXACTLY like fish. Maybe a little too close, I said to myself as the minutes counted down. 

But then the time came. I took those crispy bitches out of the oven, let them cool for a minute or so, and then dared to take the first bite. 

Fuck. This shit tastes - and feels - EXACTLY like fish, y'all. FLAKEY. And tasty. And wonderful. 

So - if you enjoy the flavor of deep-fried fast food fish but do NOT want to participate in the continued decimation of our world's oceans - or, for that matter risk imbibing whatever toxic chemicals have been ingested by real fish due to decades worth of dumping every single type of poison imaginable into the water (if we can't see it, it isn't a problem!) - then I recommend you navigate your vehicle to your fine health food kiosk and see if they have this deee-licious product. 

It's not vicious or malicious.

Just deee-lovely and deee-licious.