Sunday, April 8, 2018

Matchbook Memories: Under the Dome


Houston's pride and joy (or at least it used to be) has been called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" and was home to a legendary Texas Team.  But the Astrodome has been known for a lot more than just the Astros.  Here's a quick look at a few of the times it's popped up in pop culture:

Starman V1 #25 (DC Comics, 1990)

Starman never caught on the way so many other DC characters did.  Every so often the publisher tries to make a go of the guy and when they do they usually create a character to be the "new" Starman.  That's a common practice in comics and is sometimes used to create conflict.

I mention all that because the plot of this issue involves the son of the original Starman getting pissed at the current (at the time) Starman and challenging him to a fight.  Guess where...

Anyway, during the fracas, the new guy takes a pretty good smack which launches him sky high and gives the artist (Dave Hoover) an opportunity to draw a bird's eye view of the Astrodome:

West Coast Avengers V1 Annual #2 (Marvel Comics, 1987)

Yeah, the Avengers are bi-coastal.  Typically the New York team is made up of A-listers like Iron Man, Thor and so forth.  And the L.A. team has...other people...that being said, occasionally the two groups indulge in some good old fashioned team building exercises like an annual softball game!  Guess where...

This has to make the stadium's insurance rates go way up because the whole gang isn't shy at all about using their powers to win the game.  So when Thor uses his hammer to take a swing at Wonder Man's fastball, he sends it flying straight up to the roof.

That thing "comin' back again!" is the Silver Surfer who is heralding some crazy nonsense and as soon as ya know it, the whole gang is whisked away and are forced to fight each other or somesuch.  But since none of that takes place in

The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (Paramount Pictures, 1977)

The sequel is fairly forgettable and really only know for two things: 1. There's no Walter Matthau and 2. The kids play at the Houston Astrodome for some reason.  The film does do a good job of showing off what an impressive structure it was.

If you watch the movie, keep an eye open for cameos from some of the Astros at the time.  If not, then just Google it. 

There's lots more fun that's been had under the dome but it'll have to wait until I track down those particular comics and/or movies.  Once I do, let's meet back here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sandwich Tour of Dallas Part 1

I typically eat sandwiches on a regular basis. I also post stuff on this blog on a regular basis. I'm also in Dallas often. You can probably see where I'm going with this...

Welcome to a Sandwich Tour of Dallas" Part 1! I plan to explore this town via sandwiches so feel free to tag along. Let's start with P.D. Johnson's Dog Day Deli:

Located on McKinney avenue in the uptown area, this place fancies itself the "Kick Ass" deli and plays up the tired "Johnson" angle (spoiler: it means "penis"). Despite the unoriginal marketing they serve up a darn fine sandwich. Behold the "Hot Johnson" (I know, I know...sigh):

It comes with roast beef, turkey, bacon, cheddar, mayo, bbq, "horseymayo", lettuce, tomato, onions, green peppers, pepperoncinis. (I ordered mine sans onions & peppers).

Now sandwich enthusiasts like you and me might be wary of so many ingredients on one dish but this one surprises with an almost harmonious symphony of tastes and textures. Of particular note is the mixture of BBQ sauce and whatever horseymayo is. I may not know what it is but I know it plays well with the other ingredients.

If I have a complaint it is that the roast beef seems to take a back seat to the other ingredients and let's face it, roast beef should always be the star (yeah, that's right bacon, you are a supporting character! How do you like that!)

Next up on our tour is the Great American Hero:

This place has whatever every sandwich place should have: a drive through window! Because, let's face it, sometimes I'm driving around and I want a sandwich but I just don't want to get out of my car. Brilliant! Located on Lemmon Ave., not too far from 75, this place is also "Dallas' First Pennyless Store", meaning they round the prices up or down to the nearest nickel.

But enough non-sandwich content...on to the sandwich content!

Say hello to "The Italian" a.k.a. the #1. It comes with Genoa Salami, Cappicola, Baked Ham & Provolone Cheese and all their sandwiches come with Fresh Shredded Lettuce, Onions, Tomatoes, Blend of Canola & Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Spices & Oregano. The one pictured is, of course, sans onion.

It's a great old school cold sub and the bread (there are several bread choices, this one is sourdough) is very light and tender...flavorful but not attention-seeking. It's a mellow compliment to the sandwich, which is what all great sandwich bread should be. I like to go with their oil, vinegar & spices in lieu of any condiments like mayo or mustard. It adds just the right balances to the spicy cured meats.

Moving on, instead of a sandwich, what if you are in the mood for a "sammich"? Uncle Uber's has you covered:

Located on Commerce St. in Deep Ellum this place specializes strictly in sandwiches, er sammiches. Burgers, salads and desserts are also on the menu but never mind that stuff, this place is a cathedral in the church of sandwich worship. Old favorites like roast beef, grilled cheese and the Cuban abound but they're not afraid to experiment with the genre.

Check out what I got:

Your eyes are currently beholding the Bacon & Goat Cheese Sammich. I'm always reluctant when bacon is the main player in a sandwich (see above) but their crisp, flavorful pig strips are more of a character actor leading a quirky ensemble cast of characters (think Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire).

The goat cheese is a bit restrained (in a good way) but has a great creamy texture and just a touch of sourness that is a great counter balance to the avocado, which is always welcome on my sandwich. And surprise, surprise, the big guest star here is the cucumbers, giving some crunchy texture to the meal. It's a great surprise and a great change of pace.

Hungry for more? Don't worry, I'm in the prime of my sandwich eating days. More Dallas sandwich shops (and other towns and other foods) are coming soon!