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    Let’s Overanalyze: The Hubbell & Hudson Lobster Club Sandwich


    2012 - 06.19

    It’s no secret that I’m a fiend for an esoteric sandwich.  I’ve been a regular sandwich-devotee my whole life and eventually you just get to a point where something out of the ordinary seems appealing.  Some of the more atypical combinations I’ve enjoyed would include a turkey-gorgonzola-pear, a chicken-apples-honey-mustard, and a turkey-brie-blackberry-jam.  That’s right.  I gets down on those funky combinations.

    There’s a great grocery store/bistro north of Houston called Hubbell & Hudson where we’ve been frequenting the weekend brunch for quite some time now.  Their menu runs the gamut between ‘items and pricing that might be appealing to any schmoe who walks in the door’ and totally goes out into the netherworld of ‘items and pricing that you’d need to be ultrasnooty and/or ultrarich to do anything but laugh at’.  Somewhere in the middle of this spectrum lies the entree in question here, one “lobster club” sandwich for $18.

    You may be thinking, jeez, eighteen bucks for a sandwich, that’s kind of a lot.  Yes.  Yes it is.  You’d totally be right to think that.  I’ve been eyeing this thing up for the better part of a year now, wondering what it might be like.  The sandwich pedant in me was thoroughly intrigued.  Yet every Saturday that finds us in a booth listening to the horn sections of the Rat Pack, I can never resist breakfast: french toast with bananas & blueberries in a sweet rum sauce, or the traditional eggs/bacon/potatoes done-up food-geek style.  It’s a masterfully crafted breakfast that comes in at around $30 for two people, which is next-to-impossible to pass up.

    However last weekend my girl and I went out to a Saturday morning matinee showing of the Beatles Yellow Submarine movie, which as an aside was super-duper-badass to see in a movie theater.  They had the sound thumping and the quality was great-to-excellent.  Seeing the newly-remastered version in high-def on a theater screen was worth about 5 to 10 times the $5 matinee ticket price.  I think this may be a blu-ray purchase in the future–but I digress back to the sandwiches–we thusly arrived at Hubbell & Hudson having been awake for a few hours already, as opposed to my usual wake-up, roll-over, drive to breakfast routine.  “This is it, it’s today or never,” I said.

     

    The sandwich arrived panini-style pressed, built out of bacon, avocado, arugula, and maine lobster meat.  Spread onto opposing halves of the bakery bread there was both “plugra butter” whatever that is, and also chipotle aioli.  Those two sauces blended together as a pleasing duet.  As accoutrements, there was a stack of what I’d call “seasoned potatoe wedges”, but the menu opaquely listed as “frites”.  From the waiter I requested either mayo or ranch for frite dippin duty and happily received both.  In the presence of both choices I typically go for ranch, but their mayo was mighty tasty.  In typical H&H fashion, I think it was not plain-old-mayo but probably like “dijon-scallion-reduction-mayonaise” or something.  They can never just leave well enough alone, and that’s part of why we like them.

    I’m not sure I can even recall the last time I had lobster, so that in itself was something of a treat.  I ate the sandwich slow, savoring this outlandish, impractical creation.  It only took a few bites to reach an assessment: this is what a full $18 tastes like.  H&H does bacon correct; crisp and smokey, just crunchy but not burnt.  The avocado, a fruit notoriously fickle and often bland, had flavor.  The arugula broke the boring mold of lettuce–that sandwich equivalent of celery (flavorless, pointless stuff that makes noise when you eat it).  And the lobster itself was quite excellent.  Still cold too, in spite of the hot panini imprint on the loaf surrounding it.  Two long toothpicks thankfully held this whole affair together as I methodically devoured.

    image

    So it was an expensive sandwich, sure, but not an overpriced one–there was genuinely $18 worth of ingredients and flavor present and accounted for here.  That’s unlike what that you get from say, Murphy’s Deli or Schlotzkis or any of those so-called “premium” shops, where you end up paying like $9-12 for lunch and yeah the sandwich is good, but be real; there’s no way it’s $12 of goodness.  That, and it really wouldn’t be tough at all to hit up the grocery store and craft a sandwich at home that could blow the doors off those, probably for much less money if you calculated the cost of ingredients-per-sandwich.

    The lobster club, on the other hand, sits in a different category.  If you tried to reproduce this configuration at home, it’s doubtful you could do it for an equivalent price OR even with equivalent quality, which is the true measure of its worth.  Would I get it again?  Possibly in a few months if I could resist the allure of H&H breakfast.  Would I recommend it?  Unequivocally.  While ostensibly intended for aristocracy, it’s not out of reach for the working man who’s craving something special, and having thusly invested his funds, none shall be disappointed in the craftsmanship and component quality behind this superb meal.

    Verdict: 9/10

    Playing the Mario banner


    2012 - 04.09

    So as some of you may have noticed, there’s a new banner which randomly appears on the desktop version of this site with a mario theme. I built it using the level editor in Super Mario X, and oh man, it’s actually really hard. Have a look at the below video of me dying once, then trying again and beating it. What you don’t see are the 10 takes before this one where I screwed up and died repeatedly. SHEESH!

    Yet more super sweet search terms


    2012 - 02.27

    As written about previously, I enjoy checking the search terms to see what brings people to my site. A few months back google started encrypting their searches for people who are logged in (aka any who uses gmail). This had the highly annoying side effect of giving me a huge number of “encrypted_search_terms” results on my blog dashboard. LAME!! I finally got around to creating a google webmaster account and checked out what people have been searching for. Here’s an awesome and amusing list of why you’d come to Microcosmologist:

    What Would Carl Sagan Do?
    cosmic wonderment
    old tape recorders with dust
    psychedelic pony
    alien obstacles for horses
    desk fan with blue propellor
    Leonardo Da Vinci interstella traveler
    looks like we got a badass over here (w/ MANY variations… my fav is “juicy badass”)
    dropout bear
    deep 360 waves
    planets blowing up
    not cool man
    find cat in junk pile
    the sleep of reason brings forth monsters
    biggest steak in the world
    why stop now remix
    if you have blue eyes what does it mean
    caught in the hustle
    moon butt
    i love dreaming
    just kick it
    types of jamming
    pizza flute
    the eh team
    inspire me
    i’m a shark
    hell of a good dip
    when i get sad i stop being sad and be awesome instead
    surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher
    all i wanna see is a sky full of lighters

     And so just like last time, you ask for something obscure and I deliver:

     

    Also, my overall #2 top search term: Handlebar Mustache. For serious. Really, guys?!?
          also, with the bonus variations:
    sexy handlebar mustache
    sophisticated facial hair
    moustache fashion
    this mustache had its own mustache
    where did the mustache craze come from?

    Angering The Fan Gods?


    2012 - 01.31

    Every once and a while some older post will suddenly get a lot of clicks for no apparent reason. Once and I while I can trace this to search terms or referrers, which I find interesting just for the sake of learning how and/or why people walk through the door around here. Today I noticed that the top viewed post for the last 7 days is this one, talking about obsessive-compulsive fan collecting from last spring. I checked out the referrers list and found out that someone on a fan-collecting forum had linked to the post and brought a lot of their friends through the door. To that I say:

    Welcome, esteemed connoisseurs of fine blades and stylized means of airflow generation!

    I am down with the fan collectors.

    What’s definitely making me laugh though, is the fact that the guy who posted the link is mocking me, saying essentially that I’m an idiot for thinking that plastic fans are cool, and that metal fans are where it’s at. Oh the embarrassment! I had no idea that real fan collectors have to make the jump up to metal! This whole time I’ve been nothing but a poser!  Gasp!! I guess you ain’t hardcore unless you rock the METAL.

    \nn/ \nn/   WEEEEWWWW!!!!! (that’s me doing air guitar)

    Okay, any of you metal fan fiends, I wanna see some example pictures in the comments, because I’m just not convinced that it’s all about the metal. What if you dig like 60’s or 70’s design, are there sweet metal fans like that? You come to my website for ‘ignorance at its finest’ and the cup overfloweth.

    Actually, I think it’s pretty awesome that someone is getting bent out of shape over what I thought looked cool. I mean, that’s part of the nature of design–what looks hip to one person will inevitably seem passé to another. I’m imagning this guy in his secret lair of glimmering display cases filled with ALL METAL fans, at the moment that his google searching brought him to my blog and erupting in a righteous fury of indignance “Oh my god dude, oh my god. You totally have no clue what you’re talking about here, oh my god. Good fans are METAL fans?! Hello? Everyone knows that, I mean, oh my god, everyone knows that!! Duh duh duh duh duhduhhh! Oh my god, clear my afternoon I need to rant about this right. now.”

    Oh my god.

    I guess this solidifies my cred as a wannabe, armchair fan collector, never to join the ranks of the hip’n’with-it Collectors with a capital C. I think I can live with that. Speaking of air guitar, I recently watched a very over-the-top documentary about the World Air Guitar Championships (yes, this is really a thing) which sort of reinforced the idea that with esoteric, niche hobbies there’s a fine line between kickass and laughably ridiculous. I’m content to sit on the sidelines and watch other people walk that tightrope.

    I’m also content to continue basking in my ignorance (okay that deserves it’s own tag on the blog from now on) when it comes to plastic versus metal. There was a salient comment on the original post when it comes to ‘hoarders with more money than brains’ in the hobby of fan collecting… oh man that comment applies SO DAMN HARD when it comes to model trains as well. Probably applies to telescopes and amateur astronomy too. Sweaty-keyboard-elitists aside (every hobby’s got em!) the model railroaders I have met, and the amateur astronomers I have met, have been by and large a swell group of people whom I greatly enjoyed chatting with. I’m sure fan collectors are swell people too.

    Do they have like meet ups for this kind of thing? Or conventions? Is this the first step on my way to an eventual 12-step recovery program for metal fan addiction? Tune in next time to find out! This is JB on the fans tag, signing out for now.

    It Begins with Cheap Binoculars…


    2011 - 12.19

    Ah, like the first snowflake of an avalanche-to-be, I have spent $25 on astronomy. This is surely the start of a costly and destructive addiction.

    This week in the mail, a pair of el-cheapo Tasco 7×35 binoculars arrived. I had been watching the binos classified on astromart.com, waiting for an awesome pair to show up, hopefully made by some telescope maker. A couple weeks ago there were some 10×50 Celestrons and I got all excited, thinking, ooh, this is it! Then I searched for reviews on them and found out that everyone was bad mouthing these binoculars. So much for patience and diligence paying off! Buried in one of the threads on the cloudynights forums, I found someone who said that they have several pairs of pricey binos but that these Tasco 7x35s were just so comfortable and easy to use that they did all of their observing with them. The guy even went on to say that they had tried like thousand dollar binoculars (seriously, there is such a thing?!) and that these cheapo Tascos felt just as good. Okay, screw it, I’m just getting these then.

    The other night I busted them out and checked out the full moon, which was pretty sweet.  You can see plenty of detail on it, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many stars reveal themselves, even from a light-polluted backyard.  There’s a nice double star just above Vega that jumped out at me.  Sweet…

    Also, binos, like rhinos and dinos is my new favorite word.

    Style Points: Eddie Roberts & his handlebar moustache


    2011 - 11.29

    “Style Points” is an idea I love: that in any activity involving a numerical score, additional points are awarded not just for accomplishing the stated objectives, but doing them with panache.  I think this notion applies here.

    In preparing my photos for the upcoming post on The New Mastersounds show(s) at Bear Creek, I felt this one deserved its own post.  Man, every time I see this guy it seems like he’s moved on to the latest new facial hair fashion.

     

    Priceless.

    Get Fired UP: GTA5 trailer one.


    2011 - 11.04

    There’s a NEW Grand Theft Auto! And it’s going to have stuff in it that’s never been in those other GTAs before! OMG!

    Alright, but seriously. Wait… I’m still not over it yet–Oh. My. God.

    Just check out this trailer.

     

    Aw man, GTA, how I adore thee.

    One thing I definitely look forward to is the launch night. For the past two releases in the series me and my buddy Roberto have made an occasion out of this with an all-night GTA binge. Last time this happened, we were so excited to go pick up the game that on the way out, I forgot to grab my keys… which I then realized after we were locked outside of my apartment building. And my apartment was on the 2nd floor. Rob was like, did you lock your balcony door? Answer: No!–and a high five! Boosted him up with my hands and he climbed over the railing, then came running down the stairs roaring triumphantly. I asked, “So did you get the keys?” and he was like, “Ummm, actually no. I thought I just had to let you back in the building door??” (my apartment door locks behind you!) Solid laughs right here. “So rinse and repeat on the infilitration routine, then?” Good times.

    Another amusing thing that we did was to set our own goals and just forget about the game storyline. For example, when San Andreas came out, the first place we wanted to go on the map was Las Vegas (aka Las Venturas). Sadly, this area is locked at the beginning of the game, inaccessible to even the most obsessed motorist due to barricaded bridges. Hmmm, what to do? Undeterred, we hatched a plan so crazy it just might work: find a tall truck, park it next to the barbed wire fence at the airport, climb the truck, jump the fence, and steal a learjet which we could then fly to Vegas!

    It took many tries. Every step of this process turned out to be more difficult than we’d anticipated. Including the unexpected twist that there were fighter jets that will shoot you down if you stray into locked parts of the map, which we had to evade! But lo and behold, after hours of trying and against the handicap of inebriation, we totally crashed a learjet into the Vegas strip. And it was pretty amazing really.

    It made me pretty excited to see the learjet at the end of the first GTA V trailer, just because it makes me remember our crazy, successful plot to cheat our way into places we weren’t supposed to go. And I also know that stealing this jet is also going to be one of the very top objectives when we get set loose in GTA V!

     

    If this article interested you, check out my winding yarn about what makes GTA so great.

    Only ONE more week until Bear Creek!


    2011 - 11.03

    Oh man. I am fired. Up. Fired up for the FUNK.

    Fired up for the press access, fired up over maybe getting to meet some of these musicians backstage, fired up to take a boatload of pictures, and fired up for the music festival atmosphere.

    As a recap, check out this post with the discussion of Soulive’s performance last year.  AWWW GIT IT!

    Something about giant ape rampages in NYC?


    2011 - 10.31

    So in the near future there will be some time-lapse movies on here of various places in NYC that I shot whilst visiting my brother, along with my lovely lady.  I knew I wanted to do some time-lapse of crowds in motion, but how to steady the camera?  Carrying a tripod around the whole trip would be very tedious, and plus it takes up a lot of room on the sidewalk.  Solution: one of those gorillapods–you can even wrap it around a signpost and put it above head-level!  I bought a gorillapod with ball head expressly for this purpose, and you can see it in action in the photo here.  I think it performed admirably well, although it is definitely way more susceptible to wind gusts than a normal tripod.

    For anyone curious, the gorillapod actually did stay right in position as it is shown here, except for when a gust of wind would blow the signpost, or my hand went up there to fiddle with it.

    Pretty neat.

    I might have to start a new series of posts showing the gorillapod in extreme action poses.

    Entry #1.

    UPDATE: The Video HERE.

    Ooh, ooh, this is righteously cool!


    2011 - 10.21

    Tomorrow I’m going to go do a little stargazing and hopefully come back with some new timelapse, startrails images, and maybe a little knowledge of telescopes depending on who all ends up at the Orionids Meteor Shower Star Party.

    I found this free program called Stellarium that basically loads up an Ultrasweet 3D Ultramap of the sky… which you can do tons of helpful stuff with: you can enable/disable things like constallations (lines or drawings!), labels, satellite orbits, see through the Earth, or remove the atmospheric haze. You can zoom in on anything, you can click on anything and it tells you what it is, you can sort objects by type (planets/nebula/galaxies), and there’s a night mode so everything turns red (to save your nightvision if you’re using it outdoors at night). You can advance (or rewind) the time to anytime you like, and reposition yourself anywhere on Earth to see how the sky looks. Man! That’s just, like, badass!

    It’s like Google Earth, for the sky. I’m pretty amazed that you can zoom way, way in and click on ANY star. I don’t know the last time you checked, but there are A LOT OF STARS in the sky.

    I think I’ll be using this a bunch to learn more about the heavens. Seriously this is mondo-helpful. If you’re into the sky, even just a little bit, you gotsta check this out.