Though Rick Steves or Bill Bryson I am not, I do feel called upon to share a few travel tips, pointers, and unsolicited advice that Mark and I have picked up over the last couple of months.
1. When in mid-air and mid-Breaking Bad episode, it is important to remember that you, on account of headphones and cranked up laptop volume, lose complete perspective of how loud your own voice is when you explain to your travel mate, “AND THAT IS HOW YOU MAKE METH.”
3. Always pee as close to boarding time as you can. If you MUST use the onboard lavatory, make sure you push the lock all the way closed. Anything less than that 100% commitment will leave you yipping “OCCUPIED” as the door is frantically slammed shut.
4. When in Houston, or really anywhere for that matter, and a local foodie recommends trying a great little place called Underbelly, don’t let Yelp call an audible on you so that you end up at a different place that has fifteen riffs on the appletini.
5. Arguments over whose turn it is to use the laptop can be decided by a simple game of rock-paper-YOU-FORGOT-TO-CHARGE-YOURS-SO-DEAL-WITH-IT.
6. If you find yourself in Phoenix or Scottsdale then you should find yourself at Pizzeria Bianco, Citizen Public House, Barrio Café (brunch), Blue Hound, Dick’s Hideaway and Bourbon Steak, speaking of which…
7. The pickle ketchup at Bourbon Steak makes everything better. Even if while dunking your perfectly crisped and seasoned fries you are being serenaded by computer programmers on a retreat singing Chumbawumba.
Fries and Pickle Ketchup
Sliced potatoes are boiled for a soft and perfectly seasoned interior and then fried twice to ensure a satisfyingly crunchy exterior.
4 large Russet Potatoes
4 qt Water
¼ C Kosher Salt or 3 T Table Salt
Canola or Peanut oil
Peel and cut potatoes into quarter inch sticks. If you have a mandolin slicer, this is the time to use it. If you don’t, you can do this with a knife, an hour or two and some salty language.
In a large pot bring water and salt to a rolling boil. Add sliced potatoes and boil at a simmer for ten minutes. (It is important that the water NOT return to a rolling boil with the potatoes in, as they will break and turn mushy). Remove gently, using a spatula, from water and place on cooling rack set over flattened brown paper bag.
Fill a large pot with oil and, over high heat, bring to 170F. Carefully place small batch of fries in oil at a time, not letting it fall below 160. Remove fries to cooling rack and let them cool for an hour.
Bring oil back to a 170-175F and re-fry all fries in small batches. Remove from oil and serve immediately.
(recipe based on pickle ketchup served at Bourbon Steak)
½ C Ketchup
3 ½ T Dill Pickle Juice
Combine ingredients and serve with fries. Or with onion rings. Or tater tots…..or on a burger…..