the tamale guys.

in a previous post where i listed a few of my chicago discoveries, i lamented missing out on tamales from the famous “tamale guy“.

well, since then, i have drunkenly gorged down on many a $5 bag of piping hot tamales. 

the tamales are the shit.  the tamale guy brings them seat-side service to you while you’re boozing up in your neighborhood watering hole, and out of his plastic cooler, you get six tamales sealed tight in a little ziplog baggie and they save your hungry drunk ass on a cold night with their savory hot goodness. 

for a while, though, i was resenting the tamale guy for gypping me of my non-carniverous queso tamales.  on two separate occasions (one at the hideout, another at the california clipper) have i come across the tamale guy, requested queso tamales, and sloppily scarfed them down only to discover that the dark shreds wrapped inside my tamale were NOT cheese.

for a while after the second incident, i said that i was through with the tamale guy – “never again!” – but that only lasted so long before i got drunk at the charleston and he, of course, made his reliable nightly rounds.

but that time, my queso tamales turned out to be queso tamales, so, for now, im very pro-tamale guy again. 

however, in my tamale guy judgments, i failed to conceive the fact that TWO tamale guys roam chicago (even though it was clearly stated in the news source that i linked to).   perhaps i just took in the “tamale guy” as a single concept serviced by many people.  who knows.

in any case, the two main tamale guys are claudio and julio.  and my tamale guy experiences have clarified who’s who in the tamale guy business and i must submit my loyalties to the one in which i prefer.  i  just noticed this gapers block post today, and it seems that a fellow tamale guy enthusiast has shared a simlar experience with me after all:

Jen asks for a packet of queso tamales — like Claudio’s, they’re sold in packs of six. Julio says he doesn’t have time to talk now. He is even more hurried than Claudio and has less tendency to smile. Once he’s out the door, off to the nearby Inner Town Pub, Jen confirms that the queso is actually puerco.

so there you have it.  claudio if you want queso tamales and julio if you want queso tamales that are acutally meat tamales.

this information has just brought me one step closer to chicago-saavyness.  watch out here i come.


footwear of choice circa 1998:


who the heck didn’t own a pair or two of slinky black slides with the casual-to-dressy 2.5-inch rubber-soled wedge?

i used to sport them with 3/4-length sleeved blue button down and polyester black flared pants from body shop (yes, that’s body shop, yesterday’s skankier equivalent of forever 21…not to be confused with the body shop, makers of the delightful peppermint foot lotion and mandarin orange lip balm that I had back in the 5th grade, before i sold out to bath and body works’s push for overly-fragranced ‘tweens doused in the likenesses of country apple, sun-ripened raspberry and juniper breeze).

srsly though, that outfit was a pretty functional outfit for a 14-year-old.  AND i still see people sporting it today when i shuffle through the rush-hour streets of downtown chicago.  timeless!

lunch review: “exotic” ramen


Samyang Ramen Cup Noodle Soup Original Flavor

ive decided that cup noodles are the best option for a hot lunch in the office for the reason that you dont have to wait in line for the microwave and then dawdle awkwardly around the staff kitchen for the few minutes that it takes for your food to heat up.  all you hafta do with cup noodles is peel back the lid and fill with hot water…a trip to the kitchen that lasts an estimated fifteen seconds.  then, you can let the hot water do the cooking while you situate yourself back at your desk. 

since ive decided to live off crappy ramen for a while, i decided to “spice” things up by getting this fancier “exotic” ramen from a korean grocery store. 

i probably should have already predicted this from the outset, given that i got this at a korean grocery store…but these noodles were SPICY! 

i am only so miffed because i did in fact carefully read the ingredients prior to purchasing this project, which claim that the soup base is made up of “salt, l-glutamate, sugar, garlic, soy sauce” and nothing more.  do those five non-spicy ingredients together produce a spicy, red-peppery substance?  if so, wow. 

if not, then ughh…i dont know if i should trust imported processed food products that blatantly lie in their ingredients lists.

AND…there were also little spongey brown things floating around in there, which I suppose are NOT the “dried welsh onion, dried carrot, dried seaweed” ingredients listed for the dried veggies.  they were, to my best guess, either bits of soy protein or bits of rehydrated processed meat.  gr8.


i then realized there were two additional ingredients listed in the spanish version of the soup base ingredients.  sooo…if you speak spanish, then these cup noodles contain beef flavoring and ginger.  but no matter if the consumer is spanish or english speaking, they are still unexplainably spicy.



is this legal?


will i now die from melamine poisoning? 😦

lunch review: microwaveable “homestyle japanese noodles”

513whpy3qtl__sl500_ss130_Maruchan Chicken Flavor Yakisoba. 

“homestyle japanese noodles”, as the package boasts.

got it “on sale” for $1.25 at dominick’s.  like most items purchased from dominick’s, i think i paid way too much for it.  it tastes nothing like the yakisoba that ive had in japan…but it does taste a lot like the ramen that ive had in america.  while im a little bit disappointed that it doesn’t taste the way i expected, i am, at the same time, a huge fan of such ramen…so i found this lunch to be delicious nevertheless. 

but what compensates for the extra $1.15 in cost? 

a microwavable container and a higher-class packet of dehydrated cabbage, carrots and corn…that’s what.


moc.  if you weren’t a 16-year-old computer nerd on dial-up connection listening to an overdose of “fevers and mirrors” and/or trustkill miscellany in the year 2000, then you probably don’t know that moc is synonymous with makeoutclub, the most wonderfully esoteric pre-myspace/ facebook/ friendster(ughhh)/ linkedin(triple ughhhhhh)/ other bullshit social networking site in the history of social networking sites. 

back then, before the onslaught of profile “frills” (comments, photo albums, applications, glitter layouts, other things to crash my browser), moc allowed each member to have but one small rectangle of a profile – only enough for a low resolution photo, location, AIM screen name and a single open-ended space that could be filled with anything textual.

an open-ended space allowed for whatever the user felt was fitting to fill it with.  while the unseasoned users of moc might have posted unnecessarily long autobio’s, surveys and shoutouts in that undefined space, it was the cases of minimal usage that i found most captivating.  there was something wonderful about the mystery and nuance of few words.  it allowed my mind to drift and imagine all the sweetnesses that i might like to imagine about a person.  that and the fact that you could only upload one carefully-selected photo left so much more to the imagination.  AND the fact that it was also fair to assume that every member of moc was already part of a rather exclusive group of people who shared a default set of common interests, otherwise they wouldn’t have been on moc in the first place. 

of course, you could still supplement your profile with a link to your livejournal or melo.  but that is a different story and what we have still remains: myspace/facebook/etc are doing all they can to make you mass market yourself, to direct you to trivialize your existence to specific facts and to spoon-feed you every detail that you never cared to know about a person.  it is but a commercialized competition, where, in our current world of virtual existences upon virtual existences, new social networking sites are like television and old school moc was like books.  it was like poetry.

yes, my illustrious moc still exists today, but with all the competition in the world of online social networks and pressures to stay up-to-date with trend, it really is not what it used to be.

creativity is gone and subtlety is gone.  i once loved someone from moc who had filled that space with but two lines from the Promise Ring’s “Nothing Feels Good” album along with a blurry photo of himself and that was true charm.

marked-down marc.

m by mj

finally got my long-desired marc by marc jacobs coat and it fits perfectly…now im 1 or 2 degrees less pissy about the oncoming winter.  after i get nice boots and a little black cloche hat, i might even be willing to leave my house here and there.

lunch review: lo-cal soup.


Campbell’s Select Harvest Light Italian-Style Vegetable Soup.

canned barf. 

okay, to be more descriptive: it has the consistency and taste of water mixed with flour.  this soup also allegedly contains carrots, zucchini, celery, green beans and garbanzo beans, but all i found afloat in this can of processed terribleness were scarcely-identifiable little pieces of mush.  yep, canned barf.

just the fact that they couldn’t even name it “minestrone” should have been a giveaway that this was gonna be bad.


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