Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dog Food Recall AKA Really Frickin' Angry Gourmet

Hey, this is a food blog, regardless of the species.

But seriously - this is gonna be a frickin' angry blog tonight and you can probably tell from the title why that is.

So I receive an e-mail this morning from someone at one of the local shelters regarding Blue Buffalo dog food and how a number of dogs in her circle have become ill and they all had two things in common: they all ate Blue Buffalo dog food and the second I'll mention in a second.

Steak 1: Absolutely gorgeous

That was to hold your attention.  Anyway, this person did some research and found that Blue Buffalo did a voluntary recall of their October...because there was too much Vitamin D in it.  What I'm ticked off about is why in the name of Newt Gingrich didn't I know about this?!?!?  Why wasn't this all over the news?!?!?!  I guess it's because the media would rather tell me how supposedly dangerous pit bulls are rather than tainted dog food on the market.

Anyway, I typed in "Blue Buffalo recall" into the Google and found the announcement on their website and became even more ticked off, cause obviously whoever wrote this is a butthead.  Here are some excerpts with my moderately witty commentary:

Actually wait, here's another steak for you:

Steak 2

Ok, so, here are some fine excerpts from their press release:
At Blue Buffalo, nothing is more important than the health and well being of our dogs and cats, so it’s consistent with this guiding principle that we are voluntarily recalling specific production runs of our Wilderness Chicken-Dog, Basics Salmon-Dog and Large Breed Adult Dog products, as we have reason to believe that the products from these runs may contain a higher level of Vitamin D than is called for in our product specifications.
Okay - that's cool.  I appreciate voluntary.  Let's continue:
We came to this conclusion after discovering that our ingredient supplier had made a scheduling error and produced a Vitamin D supplement immediately prior to preparing the ingredients for the BLUE products that are in question. We believe that some of the Vitamin D supplement may have been carried over into our products, resulting in more Vitamin D than is called for in our formulas.
This is where I start to get frickin' angry - the phrase "our ingredient supplier" which says to me that Blue Buffalo is defusing responsibility onto someone else.  "It's not OUR fault, it's THEIR fault."  Am I overreacting?  Maybe.  I realize errors happen but this one seems kind of sloppy.  Whose their ingredient supplier that's making these errors anyway?  While it wasn't YOU who did it what does this say about YOU as a company because YOU choose to have them as your supplier.  Just sayin'.  
While the potential of increased Vitamin D presents no serious health risk, and any negative reaction to these products has been confined to a very small segment of the canine population who appear to be sensitive to higher levels of Vitamin D...
... If your dog has shown any adverse reaction to the recalled products, have him checked by your veterinarian. Typical symptoms might include excessive water intake and/or excessive urination, and in some cases vomiting. 
So there's no serious health risks...except that very small segment...because excessive water intake/urination has nothing to do with the kidneys/bladder.  

Look, Blue Buffalo is a good product.  It's a solid canine diet and they did the right thing by voluntarily removing it and even go on to say this:
Blue Buffalo will reimburse any veterinary or testing expenses related to illness caused by these products.
The thing is, when an e-mail goes around from a shelter, they take a very serious tone and tell you the worst things that can happen.  The company putting this out will naturally sugarcoat it, leaving me to think the end result is somewhere in the middle - some dogs will and have gotten very sick.  

What really hit hard for me is that Cara began treatment for an ear infection a couple weeks ago and was put on this medication thing that included a steroid and the vet said she may drink/urinate more (one of the main symptoms that all the dogs I mentioned earlier had in common) than usual and indeed she did, including a couple nights when her water bowl was bone dry.  She finished her treatment a few days ago and appears to be better so she thankfully wasn't affected by this.

The reality is probably that Petco/Petsmart would remove any recalled products from the shelf and I doubt she would begin to show symptoms now as opposed to October.  It's more than likely a very big coincidence but it's troubling nevertheless.  AND WHERE IN ROD BLAGOJEVICH'S TOUPEE-LIKE HAIR WAS THE MEDIA DURING ALL OF THIS???  Seriously, major pet food recall - why didn't I know?  Please, if you saw this in your local newspaper or something (I actually did find it in an online USA Today article but nothing came up when I searched SD Tribune and LA Times) do let me know.

So I'm not as angry as I was but I'm still ticked at Blue Buffalo, their supplier, the media, and Blogspot for deciding to act like a jerk halfway through this post.  I kind of feel like this right now toward all these companies:

Onto more serious food matters, I had the $11.75 All-You-Can-Eat Prime Rib Buffet today from the Oceanview Room in Point Loma, CA.  Here's the third steak:

Steak 3

Cake and cherry cobbler

Ice cream with a little bit of everything

Chocolate mint

If you have Blue Buffalo, please do check to see if your products fall under the ones that were recalled.  And as always, thanks for reading!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dinner With Stephen Baldwin

On Sunday I had the pleasure and honor of dining with the great Stephen Baldwin at the Great Plaza Buffet in Pacific Beach, CA.  While I frequently dine with Stephen Baldwin, I decided to share this experience with the Gourmet readers since the whole family was there, it's a buffet, and we all need our fix of pictures of really unhealthy foods.

It was mostly the usual suspects for Stephen Baldwin and myself with a few specials thrown in:

Stephen Baldwin plate 1: fried chicken, noodles, rice, egg roll, and fries; American, French, and Chinese Gourmet all on one plate!

My plate 1: A variety of chicken, rice, and fries.  It's a really good combo

Stephen Baldwin plate 2: More noodles, more chicken, and New York Steak

My plate 2: New York Steak and potatoes and garlic bread

Usually I start off with the steak but opted to go chicken instead.  The result was that most of the steak was gone by the time I got to it which means it had been sitting a while...which means it wasn't very good.  Sitting out that long made it taste kind of half baked.  But why should that stop us?

Stephen Baldwin plate 3: Orange chicken, egg roll, noodles, and rice

My plate 3: Pork ribs, pizza, strawberries, and fries

Stephen Baldwin plate 4: a bio dome of ice cream and a slab of carrot cake

My plate 4: fruit and a salad

My plate 5: dessert of cake, cream puffs, and fruit

Overall it was a great dinner.  Another delicious buffet in the books!

And in case you're interested in checking out the new Gourmet line of products, click the "Gourmet Store!" tab or simply click here:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Greg's Gourmet - The Store!

It's true - for the two people who must have an animated double cheeseburger or my animated likeness on their clothing; the Greg's Gourmet store is officially open!  Gourmet Gear! CLICK HERE!

Greg's Gourmet - The Women's T-shirt!

Greg's Gourmet - the Men's T-shirt!

A couple weeks ago I received an e-mail from a Greg's Gourmet reader:

Dear Greg,

Love the site.  Big fan of food and all of your food adventures.  Your logo is also really cool.  Any chance we're gonna see it on a shirt soon?

Greg Craig

My friends on Facebook saw Shirt#1 a couple weeks ago.  I made some modifications to the actual art file, redid the shirt designs, and ordered Shirt#2 and it looks even better than the first, so I'm officially opening the store, Gourmet Gear, for the two people who absolutely must have a shirt with my animated likeness printed on it.  There are three designs to choose from for any product; the logo with the black shirt, logo with the alternate Hawaiian blue, and the double cheeseburger.  Light-colored shirts look best, but if you'd like a shirt in a darker color where the text doesn't look as clear, special arrangements can be made. 


We're experimenting with a slew of other products, such as:

Greg's Gourmet - the mug!

Greg's Gourmet - the baseball jersey!

Want to impress your significant other?  Nothing says "I love you" (or "I can't stand you" for that matter) than:

Greg's Gourmet - the teddy bear!

FYI there's barely any money to be made from this, so it's really more for publicity, marketing, and funny stories than anything else. 

Greg's Gourmet - Truly Stylish

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Gourmet and I Ate a Goat

A special shout-out to my father, Stephen Baldwin, on this great Father's Day.  I appreciate all you've done for me and love you very much.

It's always interesting to hear of the unusual foods that people tell me they've eaten; elk, deer, frog, scorpion, water bottle, etc.  Never have I heard anyone say they've eaten goat which is what made it all the more unique on Friday when I ate at Rangoli Taste of India in Valencia, CA.  I saw the goat on the menu and knew I had to try it:

Goat curry

Goat and lamb

Gulab Jammon

Goat tastes like a very rich lamb.  You don't need a lot to fill you up but it tastes pretty good.  This place also has a lunch buffet for $8.95, so you know I'm going back.

Onto the rest of the weekend!

First up is lunch with The World According to Suz at the Fuji Grill in Orange, CA:

Chicken and Tokyo Steak

Pretty good stuff.  Doesn't have the overpowering help-me-I'm-gonna-vomit aftereffect like similar fast food restaurants, so that's appreciated.  

Then, along with 3-time Emmy Award Winner World According to Rich, it was off to Baja Fresh in Valencia, CA:

Steak quesadillas with hot salsa

I think I've only been to Baja Fresh a handful of times in my life and I gotta say, this stuff is good.  It tastes fresh and tastes of quality.  The first places that come to mind when I think of Mexican food are Taco Bell and Del Taco (see Top 5 Most Overrated Fast Food Restaurants) and that would be fine if I wanted a violent stomach ache whenever I ate there.  Baja Fresh, though, I gotta say - I'm impressed.  

So the last three meals were Japanese, Indian, and Mexican.  Naturally we gotta get a mandatory American dish in there, which came from Islands in Valencia, CA:

The Pipeline; a burger covered with chili

Islands is always solid.  I kinda wish they'd go back to their In-N-Out style fries, though.  Just in case their CEO is a regular view of my blog.  

Another fine meal come from Dink's Deli & Bagel Bakery in Valencia, CA:

Three eggs, potatoes, bacon, and toast

Oh, and this:


Yoohoo is a chocolate flavored drink (not chocolate milk, just chocolate flavored) that you can find in select stores, gas stations, and in this case at Dink's.  It's refreshing, non-carbonated, and makes you look really cool when you're drinking it because people want to know what it is.  Give it a try.  


Here's some special Father's Day Gourmet:

A special sauce featuring marshmallow puff

An army of pigs in a blanket

Deviled eggs

Macaroni salad

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Good Idea, Just Okay Product

Today I went to this place called Taste of China, in Clairemont, CA.  I wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised with a nicely decorated restaurant, well presented food, and nice service:

Orange chicken

Hot and sour soup.  To my surprise it was hot and sour.

What are these things called anyway?  I don't know but they're good

For the sushi lovers out there

It wasn't the best orange chicken I've ever had but it was good.  Maybe a little too much syrup.  The soup was actually really good.  Perfect amount of heat to provide just enough zest.  

In other news: here's a really good candy idea but didn't meet up to its standards:

Soda Poppers

You know those cola flavored gummies that have been around for years?  This takes that a little further and gives you five flavors; cola, cherry cola, root beer, orange soda, and lemon lime.  Again - really good idea.  But in actuality this stuff is just okay.  Pretty basic flavor.  At first I thought there would be either actual carbonation or something liquid inside, but it's basically just regular gummies.

And here's a big marketing error brought to you by CVS:

At Greg's Gourmet, we fully encourage good oral hygiene habits

So...I can pay $6.79...but it's like I'm paying $4.79?  Whoa! I've always wanted to pay more but have it feel like I'm paying less?

Also for your enjoyment:

Open faced turkey sandwich...there is bread under there.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dick's Liquor - Funniest Store Name Ever?

No kidding.  There's a place in La Jolla called Dick's Liquor:

The sign

The intersection

Every time I see this place I laugh.  Either this Dick guy has a really good sense of humor or has a really bad sense of humor.  The only thing funnier would be if the "'S" fell off or didn't light up at night.  

In an effort to keep this blog PG, I'll refrain from the list of dirty jokes I have about this place...though this is probably where Congressman Anthony Wiener goes to get his booz...ok, seriously now I'm done. 

Time for some food!  Here are some pics from my latest buffet adventure at the Great Plaza Buffet in Pacific Beach, CA:

New York Steak, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and strawberries

Orange chicken, hot pepper chicken, honey chicken, teriyaki chicken

"Chicken leg", more potatoes, and salad.  More on this "chicken leg" below

Decided to combine the transitional plate with the dessert:

Watermelon, strawberries, Jello, a mango-flavored cake and a cream puff

About that chicken...I swear...that was not real chicken.  It didn't even taste like real meat.  It tasted...fake.  It just didn't taste real.  It was weird.  I've never had chicken that had that kind of weird flavor.  The other weird thing about it was how cleanly it was sliced at the bone.  Check it out:

The "chicken leg"

Ok, so obviously this came from some mass packaging and processing facility, but I have never before seen a leg cut like this and so cleanly.  Maybe it was an octo-chicken bred to have 8 legs for mass production.  I dunno.

Also, you know Klondike Bars?  Last year they started making Neapolitan flavored bars and I was yet to find them anywhere...until today:

Neapolitan - the three best ice cream flavors combined into one.  Perfect.

Thanks for reading!