Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten... Sandwiches!


   Building on the last post, I am still thinking about food. Must be the diet.

   All that notwithstanding, I gave a few moments of thought to my favorite sandwiches. For the purpose of this post, I mean any meal consisting of two pieces of bread with some sort of filling between them. Hot, cold, grilled, whatever. Not open-face sandwiches, though - only things you can (at least in theory) pick up and eat. Also, I kept the ubiquitous hamburger and its many variants out. It's my list, and I can set the rules as I want to, thanks!

   I think it will come to very few people's surprise that many of the following are British in origin. Besides my general Anglophilia, the English did actually invent the things, at least 'officially.' Thank you, Lord Sandwich!

   As always, the order in which these are placed is highly subjective, and may, in fact, have changed slightly based on whatever it is I have had most recently, or which I long for most ardently. Let me know what your favorites are in the Comments.

10. Peanut Butter and Jelly

   The king of childhood sandwiches. Peter Pan or Jif Extra Crunchy on white bread with either grape jelly (preferably my grandfather's homemade from wild grapes) or red plum jam. Apple butter is an acceptable substitute for jelly. Crusts on mine, but you may have yours removed. Cut into triangles, never rectangles. That's just wrong.

9. Grilled Cheese

   If anything could beat out the PB&J for 'best kid sandwich' it's this. And none of your fancy pants stuff to 'improve' it. No fancy Gruyere cheese or Brioche bread. The KISS principle is fully in effect here. Bread, butter, American cheese (Kraft Singles, preferably). Grill till brown and melty. Cut diagonally and serve. Served with a mug of hot tomato soup it is a perfect chilly day lunch.

8. Roast Beef

   This is the pub version I mean. Nice red roast beef, some strong horseradish, maybe a slice of sharp cheddar, on a salted hard roll. Man, I'm drooling here. Side it up with a pickle and a bag of Walker's crisps (salt and vinegar or Worcestershire). And a draft.

7. BLT

   Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. The first sandwich with vegetable matter on the list. Combine these three ingredients with a bit of mayo, and you've got a heck of a good sandwich. My favorites come from a Texas convenience store chain called Buccee's. Nice thick bacon (and lots of it!), leafy lettuce, decent tomato, with a homemade spicy mayo and on a big yummy bun. Had one for lunch today.

6. Chick Fil A Sandwich

   The original and still the best fried chicken breast sandwich. I don't care about the politics of the owners. This is one damn fine sandwich. I worked at a Chick Fil A back in the late 80s in high school for two years. I've had their food so many ways I can't even begin to count them, and some of the items are no longer available on the menu. Here's a secret that most people don't know: you should put the coleslaw on the sandwich. But be sure to drain off most of the coleslaw dressing when you do.

5. Schlotzsky's Original

   This is a Texas take on a New Orleans original, the muffaletta. It has smoked ham, Genoa and cotta salami, cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, mustard, red onions, black olives, tomato, and lettuce on a made-in-store sourdough bun that is awesome. And then they grill the meat and cheese before putting the cold ingredients on it. So yummy.

4. Philly Cheesesteak

   I've had the Real Thing on the street from a food trailer in Philly. And imitations elsewhere. So long as the beef is thin and hot, the onions grilled, and the cheese melty, it's pretty good stuff. My favorite is with mushrooms and Provolone, but I can go purist and have it with the Whiz. Texadelphia makes a pretty good one.

3. Chip Butty

   Chips (french fries) on a sandwich. Absolutely British, and absolutely good. It gets a bad rap from a lot of foodies, but they're brilliant. I prefer mine with brown sauce to ketchup.

2. Bacon Bap

   Bacon. Brown sauce. Bap bread (a roll). Breakfast for the gods. I would eat one every day I am in the UK if I didn't sit down for a Full English.

1. Oyster Po'Boy

   Legend has it that this sandwich was created in New Orleans during a strike. The owner of a restaurant that had catered to the men on strike couldn't bear to see them go hungry, and he had more seafood than he was going to sell. Rather than let it go to waste, he fried up some oysters (or maybe it was shrimp), put it on a baguette with some mayo, lettuce, and tomato, and sent it out to the "po' boys out there." I dunno if this is a true story or not. But I do know that these are good sandwiches. 

   Strangely, the best I ever had was from a cafe in a gas station in downtown Houston, right behind the central bus station. Sizzling hot fresh oysters (or shrimp, or crawfish tails), piled so high you had to eat a few before you could pick up the sandwich. I prefer oyster, with some tartar sauce instead of mayo.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Top Ten Gaming Foods


   It has been quite a while since I wrote up a Top Ten list, and right now I have two of them banging around in my head. At least one of them is totally gaming related - food! The question I thought about was what are the best foods to have handy to eat while wargaming? There is only a little bit of rhyme or reason to these rankings, so if you disagree, well... I'd like to hear about it in the Comments. So, without further ado...

10. Cheeseburger

   Cheeseburgers are yummy. But require two hands and a lot of napkin action before handling minis. For this reason, they are fairly low on the list. They make the list for ubiquity and general goodness. No chili burgers, though. Too messy - likely to drip on terrain, get grease on figures, etc.

9. Trail/Snack Mix

   I dunno, I just like the stuff. Even though I agree that a handful of trail mix that lacks an M&M in it is a disappointment. Snack mixes like Chex Mix or Gardetto's would fall in this category as well.

8. Chicken Fingers

   Another commonly available food, these yummy crunchy meaty snacks are much less messy than cheeseburgers. Good stuff, properly done. I like Raising Cane's. Popeye's spicy ones are tasty too.

7. French Fries (Chips)

   Another finger food. Less messy than chicken fingers, even with ketchup dipping. Chili-cheese fries, while delicious, are not included because of the massive mess. Ditto poutine.

6. Corndogs

   I know a lot of people don't like corndogs, but those people are wrong. A properly made corndog is delicious. With mustard. If you put ketchup on your corndog, I place you in the same company as Philistines who speak in the theater or find sheep attractive. Plus, it comes on a stick, which helps keep the hands clean for gaming.

5. Toasted Coconut Donuts

   I like all donuts (or doughnuts, if you prefer). Well, not all, but many of them. My absolute favorites are the Toasted Coconut from Dunkin Donuts. So, if I'm gaming in the AM, I am probably hoping to have a bag with a couple of these in them close by. With some coffee.

4. Hall Pig

   A venerable delicacy obtained from a carving station at the Lancaster Host in Lancaster, PA. Harvested 'back in the day' at Historicon. I have not attended any of the other conventions held in the Host, so I have no idea if it has been available at them.

3. Pizza

   Even though it can be messy, it's available on delivery pretty much anywhere in the civilized world. Or at least in the US. I've honestly never had a pizza delivered in any other country, though I know you can get them in London - adverts in the hotel room. We usually settle on pepperoni, though it's not my favorite, because almost everyone will eat it. My favorite? Probably either a meatball formaggio or margherita with prosciutto. Preferably thin crust.

2. Walker's Crisps (Potato Chips)

   Only had these once while gaming, but I like to have potato chips handy. These just happen to be some of my favorites. Especially the Roast Chicken. And the Smokey Bacon. Prawn Cocktail isn't bad. And Cheese and Onion - those are good.


   Yes, yes, I know. Beer isn't technically 'food.' Unless you're a college student or a medieval monk. Don't care. When in Pennsylvania, I am especially partial to Yuengling Lager, which is not available back home in Texas. At the house, I vary the program. Bocks, hefeweissens, lagers, ales...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

LPL Final Results

   The Lead Painters' League, Season Nine, ended last weekend, after ten weeks of painting frenzy. And the results are in...

   My record at the end was five wins, five losses, no ties. I came in strong at the end and managed 21st place in a field of 32. I'm quite happy with my overall record, though I do wish I had placed a little better. Perhaps next year, if I am mad enough to attempt it.

   As usual, Round 10 was a bonus theme round, the theme being "female." I had some minis on loan, nice 28mm ones, from Zach that are all female. Didn't make much of a team, but that's beside the point, because I didn't get them painted. What I did get painted were five 15mm M3 Stuart light tanks, known in British service as the "Honey."

"Five Desert Honeys"

   I titled this entry as "Five Desert Honeys." I was hoping that the clever (I thought) title would garner me a few votes. I'm pretty sure it did, and I won the round. So while I missed out on the ten bonus points for having actual female figures, I think the thirty points for winning the round more than made up for it.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Epic Gaming

   I'm considering yet another new project: Epic 40K. But not GW's current version. I never owned Space Marine or Titan Legions, the earlier versions of 6mm-scale gaming set in GW's Warhammer Universe, but I did play it and enjoy it a couple of times. So, being totally barking mad, I thought it might be fun to add this into the mix and list of projects.

   Ebay has copies of the rules and boxed sets available, and for moderately reasonable prices (~$100-120), considering all the minis and templates and such included. I am tempted to go that route. But I also found online a fan-produced version of the rules known as NetEPIC. They have rules and army books, and include all the errata as well. I'm quite impressed with their layout and simplicity.

  So this is a new project in the early planning stages. I actually have some of the minis that I bought for other projects already in hand. Not enough to make a coherent force, you see, but perhaps a goodly start? And the minis are easily available on eBay and other sources. Some aren't cheap. But the vast hordes aren't exactly expensive. And, being plastic, an old box will not have suffered from the dreaded lead-rot that has destroyed so many old sealed up metal minis (like that box of Star Frontiers minis I bought a few years back).

   I definitely want Space Marines (both Loyal Chapters and Traitor Legions). I may add Orks, Eldar, and Imperial Guard to that. Maybe some Imperial Fists? Or is that too much yellow? Blood Angels might be cool. NOT Space Wolves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Two Wins! LPL Rounds 8 and 9

   I finally got a couple of more wins in the Lead Painter's League, in Rounds 8 and 9.

Road Hogs: Round 8

   The Road Hogs entry was inspired of course by Fury Road, the latest "Mad Max" film. I put the Mad Max in quotes, because, well... Max isn't the main character. It is, however, a two hour long car chase. Which is pretty cool. The cars are repainted Matchbox, the motorcycles come from Games Workshops' Dark Future game from the 80s. I added some antennas, grill-work armor, and a few wheel blades, a head on a pole, that sort of thing.

FSA Fleet: Round 9

   These are the capital ships of my Federated States fleet for Dystopian Wars. One dreadnought, a battleship, a 'heavy' battleship, and two carriers - one a double-decker!

   So that puts me in at, to date, a total of four wins, five losses, with one week remaining. Out of 32 contestants, I am in 21st place. I think I may win this week as well, with my final entry. That would put me at a respectable 5-5 record. I'll take it!

Monday, June 1, 2015

LPL Round 5, 6, and 7...



Round 5: Red Sun Boyz

   I was up against a very strong entry this round, I admit. But the final score was downright humiliating. A friend tried to console me by mentioning there might be an anti-Games Workshop bias. Which is true, that almost certainly did cost me a few votes. But still. The only thing I can think to have done better on the painting of this one would be to have made the red sun on the banner larger. As it is, it kinda looks like an afro. I did at least get the bonus points for non-horse animals and riders.

Loss: 427 - 17.

Round 6: Mechanized Chuhuac, 15mm

   These are more of the 15mm Chuhuac from Loud Ninja Games. This time it's a trio of scouts on grav bikes and two support units in the form of heavy armored walkers. In the background is their dropship, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a Firefly-class transport.

Loss: 364 - 105

Round 7: The Orcland Raiders (15mm)

   These are figures from the Portaball 15mm fantasy football Kickstarter. The Orc team, obviously. I know that one mistake was that the background overwhelmed the minis. I got killed in the voting, too. Not a strong entry, to be honest, so I'm not as upset about losing this one as some of the others where I thought I had done better.

Loss: 398 - 50

At last check in, I was winning Round 8 by a narrow margin. Wish me luck...