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My body is an amusement park 
Greetings from my shed...
I’m still writing up the Hells Nerds 2022 Motorbike trip. Nearly there.
[Trigger warning: For those that do not like the shared documenting of mealtimes look away now. Eight years ago I wrote this blog post after someone complained that I was sharing too many photos of my food. Why do we tweet what we eat? (They’re gonna hate this.)]
Quite looking forward to getting back to the 'usual’ format but also enjoying posting these more random emails. This one is just a quick hello and some pictures of food and drink.
The very same food and drink that undid all the good my cycling achieved before heading to America. And I am still trying to work it off before I need to go back out to the US. Which is looking like it might be happening soon. My body is less of a temple and more of an amusement park.
Obviously this is not all I ingested while in the US. Just some things I consumed and took photos of.
Top left was a can of wine called ‘Nice wine in a can’ that Virgin Atlantic gave me on my flight out. For the record it was not nice. It was pretty nasty.
Top middle was my first meal on US soil after landing. An amazing salmon, bean, salad thing at a Brazilian place.
Top right was an impossible burger. Whenever there was a meatless burger alternative I went for it. I just felt lighter and less bloated after veggie or vegan burgers.
I never know if buying a can is environmentally any better than buying a bottle of water but in the Californian desert you could only buy what the gas stations stock. I bought the drink called Liquid Death (middle left) for Gary as he asked for water. I got a strange look on delivering it.
The food stuff in the middle of the above montage was a corn cob covered in who knows what. Some kind of cream and powder. It was kind of tasty but way over the top. I’ll always choose to take my corn-on-the-cob with a little salt and butter over any exaggerated statement like this.
The three beers should need little explanation. One was for me and much needed. I log most of my beers here.
Bottom left was a breakfast of eggs benedict and way too many potatoes. These, the two cans of beer and the amazing breakfast burrito on the bottom right are just some of the ingestibles featured in my unfolding diary entries listed at the bottom of this page.
“The best stories are like the best burgers: big, juicy, and messy.” ~ A.D. Posey
Shall we continue?
The plate of rice, beans and Mexican vegetables on the top left that is too big for the photo was also too big for my belly. As with many of the US portions.
Top middle was a veggie breakfast roll with fake bacon. That was pretty damn good. Now top right was my first experience of In-N-Out burger. I’m now thinking that this is my new favourite burger joint. I told the staff it was my first time there and they treated me like royalty. Even let me off the small change I was short. Beats Five Guys in my opinion, and a fraction of the price. All they need to do to be perfect is offer a meat-free option. I felt bad for Phil who had to have the gooey animal fries on the left.
Next row down is one of a box of beers branded up as Patagonia. As you can imagine they normally only partner with products that are doing their bit for the planet.
To the right of that is an omelet with a giant hash brown. In my opinion you can never have a hash brown that is too big.
And to the right again is a section of the largest chili shelf I have ever seen. It was in a corner shop in Santa Barbara and although I did not purchase anything from that shelf I’m pretty sure that not a single day in America passed without me having some form of chili. It’s likely that I ingested some of those brands featured.
The last row on the second montage are the last three indulgences I had with the Hells Nerds. Happy hour at the hotel was over but the guy on reception told me I could have any or all of the 30 odd glasses left in the box. I managed one. Yes, I am also disappointed in myself.
The following morning I sampled a piece of delicious gluten free vegan cake that should really not have been that amazing. I think witchcraft was involved. The pretentious coffees were also good.
And then a great finale for the Hells Nerds. A simple little Greek restaurant attached to a shitty hotel under the LAX flightpath. The owner could not do enough to keep us happy. Great food, great company and a lovely farewell.
“Chili is one of the great peasant foods. It is one of the few contributions America has made to world cuisine. Eaten with corn bread, sweet onion, sour cream, it contains all five of the elements deemed essential by the sages of the Orient: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, and bitter.” ~ Rex Stout
Right… Now onto Austin and some of the food based things I experienced there.
Top row features my first experience of pork sliders. Small but tasty. The local Texas beer shiner Bock. (They ran out of IPA). A Hazy IPA I then bought to put in my fridge.
Second row was a chilied egg and avocado thing I was given for breakfast after telling the waitress to surprise me. Once again the potatoes were surplus to requirements but I still ate them all otherwise my Italian Gran would return to haunt me for not cleaning my plate.
In the middle is Jalapeño Cheetos because obviously I hate my insides. The lady in the petrol station said. “You’re English right? Are you sure you want to eat these?” That just made me want them more. They were ok as a snack with the IPA and really not spicy.
Middle right might be the last time I tell the server to ‘surprise me’ as I was delivered three meaty balls in a sweet sauce. Although tasty, they were also quite crunchy. I wondered if they had forgotten to take the bones out. I was too embarrassed to ask so I just sat their imagining I was a Tolkien troll munching on hobbits. Weirdly it got me through. As I finished I spotted ‘whole quails’ on the specials board. They didn’t forget to take the bones out. They very much on purpose left them in.
Bottom row was the famous Mexican cheese dip queso which I’m sure I have had before but never knew it’s name. To me it has always been cheese dip. But it’s much more than that. It’s liquid crack.
Bottom middle is an amazing Raman from Raman Tatsu-ya in Austin. One of the best I have ever had. Expensive too. Finally later that day I ended the day with the free beer I got from reception on checkin.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Ok. Last bunch of photos. Phew.
Top left are the US Wholefoods version of the Eat Real Veggie Straws I buy here in the UK. The British ones are one of the most addictive food stuffs I’ve ever eaten. Unfortunately the US ones taste like a handful of actual straw.
Top middle shows a large delicious can of what I thought was coconut water with pulp, but turned out to be a coconut juice drink with added sugar etc. Lovely but probably not healthy. I bought it in a laundromat from a drinks machine next to another machine selling bitcoin.
Top right was a bottle of wine I bought because I liked the label and on this occasion it paid off.
Middle left is a bad photo of a nacho the size of a large popadom. I approve of this trend, but you do have to break it up it before dipping. And dip I did. Into some amazing guacamole. The best kind. It was free.
The middle image is beef jerky made for the clothing shop Patagonia and its Patagonia Provisions brand. And from the same store the image to its right shows a venison sausage made from a ‘humanely’ culled invasive species of deer.
Bottom left was a late night falafel given to me with a substantial discount because I spoke a few words of Arabic to the refugee with a business degree who served me.
Bottom middle was a pint of Electric Jellyfish and one of the best beers I have had in an airport. Also the most expensive at around £9.
And finally bottom right was not one but two small bottles of Wine given to me onboard my British Airways flight home. I asked the cabin crew to choose for me and the lady serving asked if I could try both wines and report back as she had not sampled them yet. I happily obliged and can safely say that British Airways serves much better wine that Virgin Atlantic. Both wines were more than adequate and eased me into a peacefully sleep.
“I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they’re either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live.” ~ Frank Bruni
So there you go.
Should you have wondered (and you probably didn’t) what I ate in California and Austin, now you know.
Thanks for reading.
If you wanted to read what happened either side of these meals then here are the diary entries I have written up thus far.
The first instalment is free to all, but the rest are for supporting subscribers. Sometimes it’s nice to write to a select few and not the open web. Even more so for the next issue ;-)
Thanks to all those that pay the few quid a month to get access to all the posts, the podcast and the archive. I know I should not have any favourites but… you know.
Later this week I hope to be at the amazing EMF Camp. Expect bonus content to be winging its way to you soon.
See you out there.