Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Report: Bonfire of the Vanities

I just finished Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. It took me a couple weeks to get my Krugman post up but I wanted to get through this one is much faster, mostly because I've been reading the book off and on for a few months and I'm sick of it being in my life. Nevertheless, I'm still taking credit for one of my 26 books of 2010 though.

There are a couple reasons this book took so long: it's mammoth (almost 700 pages), the characters are very hard to identify with, and I just can't seem to get into Wolfe's writing style. There are a lot of similarities between the characters in Bonfire and the current mess on Wall Street, which if anything made me like the book less. It would have been better if we had left the Gordon Geckos in the 80's (or Vin Diesel in the Boiler Room?). I also have a dog-eared copy of The Right Stuff that I plan on finishing this year but for the same reason that I decided to read Bonfire: I just want it off my shelf. At least Right Stuff is about some cool historical shit, er, stuff.


Book Report: The Return of Depression Economics

I'm testing a new feature here at Nacho Lovers Anonymous, cataloging the books I read throughout 2010. A friend of mine made a resolution to read 25 books in 2010. I thought that was a good number. I actually like 26 better (a book every 2 weeks) but let's not quibble over details. So in addition to my previous resolutions (which, as it turns out, isn't such a great idea) let's add "read 26 books".

My first book of 2010 was The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. For those who have never heard of him, I apologize. For those who dislike him, I'm not sure I like you. And for those who know and like him this post will be relatively meaningless since I don't have anything of substance to add to any of his topics.

In addition to his work as an economist Paul is a columnist and blogger for the New York Times, with an article entitled Conscience of a Liberal (an interesting sidenote is that while his is very liberal and progressive, Times' policy does not allow him to endorse political candidates). I read the blog regularly and have read a couple of his other books. His writing is clear, concise, and persuasive. He makes the subject of economics extremely interesting (at least for this humble blogger), in addition to offering keen insights to other parts of the political spectrum (especially health care).

Here's a quick book review, another from the UK, and an interesting video of a talk he did recently about the book.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

RLOTW: Indian Summer

Oh yeah, and the coworkers and I did a ROLTW at Indian Summer (in the pouring freaking raining to boot). Yelp already has a ton of reviews so I didn't do anything there but I was pleasantly surprised that they had samosas as part of the buffet. It also seemed like they had a bigger selection than other places. Although all the meat was chicken they did have a big assortment: chicken tikka masala, curry chicken, biryani, and chicken kabob (including some sausage-like pieces). Anyway, I highly recommend.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Maybe New Year's Resolutions aren't such a good idea

Okay, so maybe it's not such a bad idea that I didn't write a post about my New Year's Resolutions. Turns out that they are really hard to keep. One of my favorite bloggers, Penelope Trunk, did all the research here. These are her takeaways:

  1. Start Small
  2. Think in Increments of Three Weeks
  3. Get the Wording Right
  4. Visualize what you will look like
  5. Forget New Year's day. Start now

RLOTW: Fantastic Cafe

Well we didn't do RLOTW last week but my coworkers and I survived the inclement weather and made it out today to Fantastic Cafe in downtown Gundo.

Yelp only had 9 reviews so I added my $0.02:

The aforementioned burger combo is now up to $5.39 but that's still not bad. I almost got the Patty Melt, which is my usual goto at places like this, but the Cheeseburger did me fine. Coworkers got the grilled chicken sandwich and were pleased (especially after adding a dollop of the homemade salsa verde). Unfortunately we all got fries, which were great, but had onion ring envy after we saw a plate walk by.

I've had breakfast here too, which is really where Fantastic shines. The breakfast burrito is dense and delicious and the omelets aren't too shabby (the avo was surprisingly fresh). Solid times.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All your RLOTW are belong to us

Over the holiday break my cousin 'dval' reminded me about his prior blogging experience with the Scary Lunch of The Month (SLOTM). This is the best idea ever and I wanted in. Fortunately I have a couple of adventurous co-workers that I coerced into helping me form the Random Lunch of The Week (RLOTW), which is still tentatively named. Our goal is to randomly eat at every restaurant in downtown El Segundo.

To get RLOTW off the ground I started by compiling a list of all restaurants in downtown Gundo. Then I went through and marked off the places we dined at in 2009 as a group (sorry Big Mike, you will not be part of our Thursday plans). Additionally, prior solo missions do not remove a restaurant from the list. Eventually this list will become its own map.

To pick today's restaurant one coworker picked a number, another picked a direction (either up or down) and the third randomly selected a restaurant on the list. Then from that starting location he moved either up or down by the number selected. I have a feeling like this process will change sporadically, or restaurants will be picked based upon a certain desire for special occasions. Or yearnings for sushi or burritos. Fortunately there are over 30 restaurants on the list so we have a lot to choose from.

View Larger Map

My other goal will be to spread the word about Gundo restaurants on Yelp. Because I'm anal I already went on Yelp to 'help' them with some of their info. I amended the Tavern on Main page to include their website. I informed them that the El Tarasco on Grand closed and has since been reopened as Beach Mex. My other goal will be to write reviews of places we go, but only if they have 10 or less reviews already. In that vein, I wrote a review for the restaurant we dined at today, Melting Pot Rotisserie:

I went there with 2 coworkers. I had the chicken pita, coworker 1 had the half chicken combo, and the other coworker had the brochette (ka-bob) combo with chicken and beef. Really good food all the way around.

The chicken pita was made by sauteing precooked chicken with raw onions and peppers and rolling up in a warm pita. Very good spices and Tzatziki sauce. The half chicken was reheated in one of those Subway cheese melting devices and had a green pesto-ish sauce on it - also very tasty and not dry at all. The beef brochette had a thin vinegar based bbq sauce with a nice tangy flavor although coworker reported that the beef was tough. The chicken brochette had a yellow sauce of unknown origin.

Other amusing notes were that the meals were served with salsa while the menu also included some Indian cuisine (paneer and curry). Gotta love LA.