So you like our food section in this infernal rag? You don't know the half of it. Every day, our Stick a Fork In It blog brings you the best in Orange County dining—snap reviews, insider rants, that-day-only specials, slideshows, listicles and more than you could ever possibly imagine. Unfortunately, we can only squeeze Drink of the Week, On the Line, Eat This Now and the occasional Long Beach Lunch into the print edition, which means if you don't already read our blog at blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforkinit, as well as follow us on Twitter (@ocweeklyfood), you're mean.
Because print is tight as it is, only Edwin Goei and Gustavo Arellano can highlight some of their favorite food stories. If you're not reading SaFII (the inexplicable acronym we have for the blog), then you're missing out on Taco Bell Crime of the Week, in which Gustavo highlights the best and wackiest crimes committed at the Mexican fast-food giant nationwide, such as people who steal toilet piping, employees who hold up their own franchise, and too many drunks or stoners passed out in the drive-thru to mention—oh, and car crashes in the drive-thru by said drunks and stoners. Classy!
You're also missing our Tortilla Tuesday column, in which Dave Lieberman and Gustavo review the county's tortillas, from the great (Northgate González and La Flor de Mexicali for corn, Rubalcava's Bakery for flour) to the disgusting (anything Guerrero or Mission). You would've also missed the huge shitstorm Gustavo caused when he listed the five cities he felt were the most important in the development of Mexican food in the U.S. (in order, they were San Antonio, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco and El Paso) and left Houston off the list; when Texas Monthly interviewed him about the controversy, he dismissed Houstonians as suffering from an “inferiority complex.” Why, right now, they hate him more than Dubya over there.
Finally, if you're not reading Stick a Fork In It (winner of the Orange County Press Club's Best Food Blog award this year), you're also missing what Gustavo has called one of the best food columns in the country: Tijuana Sí!, for which Dave and Bill Esparza take turns highlighting the gastronomic wonders of Baja California. We used to run it in print, but then space constraints . . . you know that same, tired song. But online? The world is our Sonoran dog.
The reviews on the dead-tree edition of this rag allow us to highlight the unique, the mom-'n'-pop, the non-chain. But on our food blog, it's usually the corporate-branded chains that get praise, wrath or attention.
For example: Did you know the corporate outfit whose food Edwin has an unhealthy affinity for is Yoshinoya—especially after he discovered how to hack the beef bowls to make them even fattier and, thus, more delicious?
A few weeks ago, I realized that Yoshinoya would allow me to ask for extra skin on my chicken bowl. This week, I tested Yoshinoya and asked them to put chicken skin on the beef bowl. To my surprise, they obliged me. But then, why wouldn't they? Had it not been for my request, this byproduct of their chicken salad would've been thrown away. Instead, the crispy swatches of rendered poultry epidermis now topped my bowl, making the gyu-don even better than it ever could be—and me, perhaps, the first crazy person to ask for chicken skin to be added to it.
But with every yin, there's a yang. On one blog post you probably didn't read, Edwin complained about Pei Wei's attempt to offer a “free” Sriracha Chicken coupon to its customers:
You first have to “explore” a labyrinth of web pages to get to the page with the coupon link. There are “passports,” faux world maps and what seems like more buttons to push than on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. And once you get through the thing, you realize what you've earned for all the rigmarole they put you through isn't a voucher for a free meal, but rather a measly buy-one-get-one-free coupon—a coupon that, by the way, you have to wait 24 hours for them to send.
But there's nothing that fascinates us more than the strange permutations that chains offer at their overseas branches. Among those highlighted this year: Malaysia Pizza Hut's pizzas that squirt, Japan's endless obsession with anything KFC, and Japan Burger King's squid-ink ketchup Black Burger. What will 2013 bring? Read us online and find out!
This article appeared in print as “Read Our Blog! If you're still not reading Stick a Fork In It, then you're mean.”