Penicillin, Blue Cheese, and You

Want to hear a tragic love story? You’re in luck. First, let me give you a little background on this love triangle.

Me + Penicillin
When I was a young babe, the docs gave me penicillin and I more or less broke out in HELLA hives. My parents said, “OKAY NEVER AGAIN.” Now the only burden I have because of that incident is just writing down ‘PCN’ on my medical forms under “allergies.” [Full disclosure, I can’t spell penicillin without my phone so… there’s that.]

Me + Blue Cheese
Blue cheese and I were not friends for most of my life. In my mind, cheese should not be blue and… is it suppose to smell like that? Needless to say, our love slowly grew. It all started at Hi-Dive Lounge when they concocted their Jalapeño Dusted Potato Chips. It was, something from another dimension and I found myself asking for more blue cheese dressing. What had I become? From there, our love blossomed. Salads, eggs, grilled cheese– we were falling in love. But then I wondered… was it too good to be true?

For those of you that don’t know, blue cheeses are injected with a penicillin culture, creating the blue veins so commonly associated with the cheese. So, could I get sick from my newfound love for blue cheese? DUN DUN DUN.

The answer? No. From my trusty new friend at AsktheAllergist.com, Dr. Douglas Johnston told me that the antibiotic PCN is made of the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum, which is different from blue cheese, which is made from Penicillium roqueforti. SO, it’s all good in the hood! Us PCN allergy folk can gorge ourselves to our heart’s content. HUZZAH!

-C

blue cheese, cheese, blog, penicillin, allergies, allergy

Photo by CookBookMan17/Flickr.com

Taco Bell’s Quesalupa is an edible anticlimax.

One Saturday morning about a month ago, I was enjoying some coffee and suddenly became absolutely overwhelmed with exuberance. This was because a few moments prior, I had been alerted a Honda Element – the perfect Honda Element – was mine for the taking at a dealership in St. Louis. I’d gotten all the info I needed. It was flawless – dent-free, fresh rubbers, highest trim level, EVERYTHING. I’d talked the guy down a few thousand on price, and gotten our trade value increased by a couple grand. Things were great, and when Cate blissfully awoke from her weekend slumber, I informed her we were embarking on a trip to St. Louis to obtain the car of our dreams. The squeal projected from her mouth resembled that of a child who’d just been informed she was inheriting a pony. We packed our shit, made a playlist, and departed.

We sang songs and played games as we cruised – attempting to squeeze as much enjoyment as we could into the final hours of owning our current Element. All was well, friends, as we exchanged smiles, laughs and memories over the course of the trip. All of that ended the moment I laid eyes on the St. Louis Element. Everything the sales guy told me was inaccurate. Paint was missing on the back. The interior was home to a nest of flaws. There was a smell. We had been played by a guy we thought we knew.We felt betrayed. We felt wronged. It hurt, man. It hurt.

Eating Taco Bell’s Quesalupa was roughly the same experience, and nearly too much of a letdown for this gringo to handle.

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Quesalupa review coming soon.

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The hype surrounding the Quesalupa was seemingly unavoidable leading up to its announcement during the SuperBowl, and I’ll admit we both bought in – big time. A delightful mix of fast, Mexican food greatness housed within a cheese-stuffed shell? Seriously, sign me up a thousand times. This blog needed it because of the cheese. I needed it like I need whiskey on Wednesday. So, Cate grabbed us a couple on her way home.

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The Quesalupa was wrapped in foil and hoisted up by a very hype-y paper holder. We bit in, and the texture was not as advertised. No melty cheese strings stretched from your bite to the Quesalupa. Speaking of which, the cheese within the shell was more like a cheese patty. Beyond that, it was really just your basic taco – meat, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.

Much like the visit to Mungenast Honda in St. Louis, the Quesalupa was an excruciating letdown. That said, I think Taco Bell would have been better off if they had just let the Quesalupa sell itself. Sure, it would have still been a bummer, but with the overbearing levels of #hype they shoved down our throats, Taco Bell essentially mass-distributed sadness to the country’s entirety.

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All this aside, it’s important to remember that none of us are perfect. We all have a reliable set of skills, and you can’t blame TBell for reaching for the stars on this one. Taco Bell is a fantastic establishment, and Cate and I will still buy thousands of Crunchwrap Supremes and Cheesy Gordita Crunches in the years ahead. For now, Taco Bell just needs to go back what they do best – serving America delightfully shitty Mexican food.

-D

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Even the dog wanted no part of it.

And a Very Happy National Cheese Lovers Day To All

Cheese Plate Harry's KC

Today is an important day. Some (we) may argue it’s THE MOST important day of the year.

Friends, colleagues, family, and everyone. Today, we come together to celebrate National Cheese Lovers Day.

We wish you the best and hope cheese finds its way to your stomachs very soon.

If you’re in KC, try the plate above from Harry’s Bar and Tables in Westport, or head over to The Farmhouse in the River Market for their plate (we just reviewed it), or do both!

The point is, guys, just get out there and eat some good cheese with some good people. Talk rubbish and memories, share some laughs, and enjoy yourselves.

Yours,

D & C

Cheese Pizza Eno's Dallas

This delicious pie is from Eno’s Pizza Tavern in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District.

Fromage from The Farmhouse

Spontaneity. It takes many forms and is enjoyed best in moderation. For some, it’s dreaded and avoided at all costs. For others, it’s a necessity utilized to combat the fatigue culminated from the work day. It’s likely clear which side I land on.

Friday was nearing with an absence of plans. This being the case, we seized the opportunity to review our first cheese plate. Naturally, I inquired the internet for some guidance, and I found myself conveniently reading This is KC’s brief-but-to-the-point bullet list on great local cheese plates. Cate and I don’t spend near enough time down at the River Market, so the decision was simple: We’d check out The Farmhouse.

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Dimly lit, we entered around 8:15. We were seated towards the back, obviously so we could conduct the intricate process of delicately stuffing our mouths with dairy products and  thinking deeply about each bite. Taylor, our delightful waitress, brought us our menus, but the decision had already been made. We’d be taking their Assorted Local Cheese Plate, priced just right at $13. With no idea what the assortment would entail, we anxiously awaited our plate over their house wine, Farmhouse Red. After a quarter-glass of wine’s time, the plate arrived:

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Four cheeses awaited our review, each beautifully and artistically placed – all surrounded with a wagon circle of sauce. Joining us was also a basket filled with pallet equalizers, which I enjoyed far too much. Following a brief introduction to the four, we dove in. Here’s how they tasted. We’re working from left to right in the picture.

Herbed Goat
I would categorize this one as a spreadable goat. We decorated the crackers with it, adding some crunch to the already powerful flavor. The Herbed Goat packed an addictive punch, suggesting only a few tastes would suffice. Fortunately, the portion was perfect. I would have eaten too much had there been more. Whipped and fluffy, this stuff wasn’t crumbling anywhere.

Tillamook Cheddar
Easy to cut, soft but holds its form. Soft yellow color suggests its a cheddar you’ve met before, and the taste greets you like a drink after a long day. The world would be a better place if more people were like this cheese. Cate says a good cheddar hits the sweet spot – located by taking your pointer fingers and touching  your “jaw joint,” then by moving your fingers towards your chin about one knuckle’s length. That’s the sweet spot. That’s how you KNOW. This one resided here.

Finally, a delicious honey butter enhanced the experience. Fantastic.

Dirt Lover Goat
This one looks like a brie at first until the knife cuts. Eat with the rind – that adds flavor. Dirt lover rind is coated with vegetable ash, giving it an old-world flavor and a unique look. Very easy on the eyes for a cheese platter viewer . Odorless and very soft. Just like cotton candy, it’s there and gone.

Prairie Tom Sheep Cheese
The plate finished with my first-ever sheep cheese experience. The two, small triangles are all you need. This stuff stank, but it stank just right. It’s very odd finding such an odd smell so enticing.

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The Farmhouse won us over. After finishing the plate, we sat back and enjoyed the environment. Art hung haphazardly from the walls, provoking questions and conversation. We found ourselves with another glass of Farmhouse Red. Looking around, you can tell the appreciation The Farmhouse has for it’s local partners. Proudly listed on a large chalkboard on a middle wall, we were able to see the places from which our cheese originated.

Being the first plate we’ve reviewed, The Farmhouse’s Assorted Local Cheese Plate is ranked #1 on our KC-based Cheese Plates. For how long it holds it’s dominance is yet to be seen. We’ll all find out in February, when we hit our next shop’s plate. Location TBD.

We both learned a lot during the experience, including the fact that spontaneity, at least in our lives, takes the the form of a cheese plate. We also need to get over the self-inflicted awkwardness that comes with taking multiple photos of cheese in public.

As always, thanks for taking the time to join us. Until next time.

-D

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Sense of community from farm to table.

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A Casual Cheese Fan

Following in Cate’s footsteps, I, too, would like to borrow a few of your life’s precious moments to introduce myself, and explain exactly what it is I plan to do here.

Medieval Cheese

Girl, you know this pouch is packed with cheese.

My name is Derek. My mom calls me “D.” My dad calls me “DD.” My close friends utilize vague pronouns to attract my attention, as they may have actually forgotten my name. Now that I’m thinking about it, this is of great concern. MOVING ON.

I greet each day with a crippling dose of optimism armed at my…waist – ready to unleash it upon innocent bystanders at a moment’s notice. That may sound merciless, but this is just how I live. THIS IS WHO I AM.

A proud product of Kansas State University, I am literally bursting at the seams with purple. You may think that, considering I’ve exchanged marital vows with a KU graduate, our relationship may be a bit abrasive at times. Well, you’re partially correct, but it’s only so during college basketball’s conference play. Outside the aforementioned times, our marriage consists of nothing but gleeful bliss and, of course, cheese.

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We make it work.

Speaking of which – I’ve always liked cheese. Want some cheese on that burger? Yes, please. Some powdered parm on your lasagna, sir? HOOK IT UP. Shredded, sharp cheddar to accompany your salad, your grace? Wouldn’t eat it without it, bub. You get the idea, gang. Like most folks, I’m a casual fan of cheese. I’d say it most resembles Adele adorers (Adelorors?). Everyone likes Adele a little bit, right? But they’re not, like, counting down the days until the Adele show, ya know? A much better metaphor surely exists here.

This all changed when Cate graced my existence with hers.

Cate’s obsession revealed the key to her heart. When she was en route to Manhattan, one could find me en route to Dillon’s to stock up on all the cheese my Sunglass Hut salary could afford. Following our responsibility-fueled jaunts (greetings to parents and family members, current/future occupational supervisors, and potential voters!) to Aggieville, I would masterfully concoct cheese-based dishes, slowly but surely winning her over. These one-of-a-kind creations would be graced by entry-level cheese products including Cheeze-Itz, American Cheese Slices, bricked cheddar and mozzarella, Squeeze cheese and, I assure you, much, much more.

To me, cheese is much more than a good you consume or adorn other dishes with. It’s become more of an avenue for me. An avenue that’s lead me directly to Cate and her delightful family. This is why, dear reader, I’ve accepted my fate as a cheese Adeloror, and why you’re reading this today. I look forward to discussing cheese and life in-depth as this blog develops, and do hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to the Gouda Life.

– D