Bun Boy Eats LA
BUN BOY EATS LA - Archives for 2012 December

THE BEST THING I EVER ATE – CORN CASSEROLE

  • December 31, 2012 6:13 am

Paula Deen's Corn Casserole

I can’t say that I’m necessarily proud to say that this is the best thing I ever ate.

It’s crazy fattening, lacking any nutrition and created by a woman who is responsible for making obesity fun again.

This dish made me realize that my very favorite flavor is corn. Corn accentuated with some triple dairy action.

This would be my death row meal.

This would be served at my funeral.

It’s that good.

So good that I wanted this it to be my final post of 2012. Happy New Year everyone!!

P.S. – Mrs. Dean didn’t put any jalapenos in her version. Cuz that would be an actual vegetable and would throw off the whole dish.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended Jiffy)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Shredded Medium Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, stir together the two cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with generous amount of cheddar cheese and return to oven for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

BOUCHON

  • December 28, 2012 6:16 am

Croque Madame - Best I've ever had!

I won’t bore anyone with the background on Bouchon. I’ll either oversimplify it or get much of it wrong.

Thomas Keller, owner of the two best restaurants in the US (French Laundry and Per Se), owns Bouchon.

There.

That’s all you need to know.

So, just come here and order exactly what we ordered and you’ll be a happy, well-informed (slightly broke) camper.

235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 271-9910
http://www.bouchonbistro.com

The best bread on the planet....

Le Burger Bouchon - Simple, not too fancy

Marquis au Chocolat

CHOCOLATE DIPPED PEANUT BUTTER SHORTBREAD

  • December 27, 2012 6:21 am

I got this recipe from the Land ‘O Lakes website.

Think they’d be pissed off if I used the cheap butter?

One note, you MUST use Ghiradelli chocolate chips, do not ghetto out on me! I never thought there was a difference before I actually decided not to reach for the bottom-shelf, dusty chocolate rabbit pellets. There IS a difference, people.

SHORTBREAD:

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup mini real semi-sweet chocolate chips

COATING:

1 1/3 cups mini real semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat just until mixture forms a dough. Stir in 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips.

Spread dough evenly into lightly greased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Immediately cut shortbread crosswise into 6 equal pieces; then cut 10 rows lengthwise. Cool completely. Remove from pan.

Place all coating ingredients in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) until almost melted (30 seconds to 1 minute). Stir until smooth. Dip 1 end of each cookie into chocolate coating; place onto wire rack over waxed paper. Let stand until chocolate coating is set (1 hour).

My niece Ava helping out! (well, she did nothing but pose cutely but that's important too!)

Trust me, using Ghiradelli chips makes a difference. Don't use the crappy off brand kind or I'll cut ya!

Using mom's skanky 40 year old hand mixer, an actual gift from her wedding (no joke)

SASSAFRAS SALOON

  • December 26, 2012 5:08 am

Pimms No. 1933

Every once in a while I get the urge to spend an evening at a hot, new Hollywood bar.

Maybe once every ten years?

Tonight, the stars were aligned and me and Taco Belly (sorry TB, I forgot the new nickname you wanted me to call you) spent about five hours at this really fun, ornately decorated new saloon.

The food was surprisingly good. The Jambalaya had a beefy element to it but we finished every drop. The Cajun Cheese Medallions (basically deep fried cheese) hit the spot with a nice bit of spice. The Short Rib Sliders were just what one would expect and appreciate.

But this isn’t a restaurant, it’s a Hollywood bar and it knocks it out of the park with incredible whiskey cocktails and expertly designed vintage New Orleans interiors.

Thankfully the owners chose a creative downtown bar vibe (like Villians or One Eyed Gypsy) rather than strangle you with a velvet rope or drown you in bottle service.

Both Taco Belly and I agreed we wish this place was within stumbling distance from our hood, we’d be regulars in a heartbeat!

(P.S., I apologize for the blurry photos, it was dark as hell in there!)

1233 N Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 467-2800
http://www.sassafrassaloon.com/

Cajun Cheese Medallions

Short Rib Sliders

Jambalaya with Jalapeno Cornbread

An interesting alternative to bar nuts

The facades were from real homes brought in from Louisiana and Georgia

BUN BOY’S FATTY DRUNKY HOLIDAYS

  • December 22, 2012 6:46 am

It's not Christmas without the Abominable Snowman!

I recently catered my friends’ holiday cocktail party and perhaps went a bit overboard with the food. I was trashily inspired, what could I say?

Everyone must have thought I was on crack in the kitchen, whipping out dish after dish at a maddening pace while taking intermittent sips of the pretty tasty and over the top cocktail.

For once, I’ve actually included all the recipes below, in case you’d like to recreate my ghetto fabulous Holiday wonderland.

Happy Holidays, piggies!

Chocolate Peppermint "Martinis"

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT MARTINIS:

Two Parts Vodka
One Part Godiva Liqueur
One Part Baileys
Splash of Peppermint Schnapps
Garnish with holiday crap like candy canes, mini marshmallows and cocoa powder

Adult Chocolate Milk!

Holly Corn Flake Crispie Treats

HOLLY CORN FLAKE CRISPIE TREATS:

1/2 Cup Butter
4 Cups Mini Marshmallows
4 Cups Cornflakes
1 Tsp Green Food Coloring
1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
Cinnamon Red Hot Candies

Microwave marshmallows and butter on High for 2 minutes. Stir, then microwave on High for 2 minutes more. Stir. (This can be done in a double boiler if one doesn’t have a microwave.)
Add and mix quickly the coloring, extracts, then cornflakes. Drop by spoonfuls in clumps on greased wax paper and decorate with 3 red hots each.
Once cool, transfer to lightly greased serving/storage tray with lightly greased fingers.

Rum Balls! Boozy! Balls! (don't eat the red one)

BUN BOY’S RUMMY BALLS:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
2 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup finely chopped, toasted walnuts

Into a large bowl, sift together 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, the cocoa powder and allspice. Stir in the rum and corn syrup. Stir in the vanilla wafers and walnuts, and mix well. Place in the refrigerator to firm up slightly, about 30 minutes. (The mixture may appear crumbly and dry; this is O.K.)

Place the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl or dish.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out portions of the chocolate mixture and press into 1-inch balls. Using your hands, roll the balls in the confectioners’ sugar, coating evenly.

Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, placing waxed paper between the layers to prevent sticking.

Bun Boy's Homemade Cheese Ball (or patty, rather)

PORT WINE CHEESE BALL:

1/4-1/2 cup port wine
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
16 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
1 cup pecans, chopped

In a food processor, combine cheddar cheese and cream cheese. Pulse the food processor on and off until the two are just mixed. Put this cheese mixture into a bowl.

In the food processor, process butter until smooth. While the machine is running, pour in small amounts of Port Wine, processing steadily until well mixed.

Add the port wine/butter mixture to the cheese mixture. Mix together with a spoon.

Form cheese into a ball, roll in chopped pecans, or use walnuts if you’d rather.

Serve with crackers.

Caprese Skewers

UH…FIGURE THIS ONE OUT YOURSELF.

Holiday Crescent Roll Wreath

HOLIDAY CRESCENT ROLL WREATH:

2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbs fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
Celery leaves

Remove crescent dough from packaging (do not unroll). Cut each tube into eight slices. Arrange in an 11-in. circle on an ungreased 14-in. pizza pan.

Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter; cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over wreath; top with broccoli, celery and red pepper. Form a bow garnish with celery leaves

The best thing to fry chicken in is a combo of peanut oil and lard, thankfully I had both!

I applied restraint and didn't buy the crazy spicy buffalo sauce as others would be eating this as well.

Buffalo Chicken Slider on Hawaiian Bun with Blue Cheese Cole Slaw

BUFFALO CHICKEN SLIDERS WITH BLUE CHEESE COLE SLAW:

Blue Cheese Slaw:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, juiced
1 (10-ounce) package cole slaw mix
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Canola oil, to fry

Buffalo Chicken:

1/2 cup buffalo hot sauce, store-bought
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
2 tablespoons smoked paprika, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons hot sauce
Hawaiian Buns

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, crumbled blue cheese, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice until well incorporated. Add cole slaw mix and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, heat enough canola oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 350 degrees F.

Put buffalo sauce in a shallow dish and set aside. Season the chicken with smoked paprika, and salt and pepper, to taste. Put the flour, 2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish add buttermilk and hot sauce and whisk together. Dredge each piece of chicken in the buttermilk mixture and shake off any excess, then dredge into panko mix. Fry until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes and the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an-instant read thermometer. Dip the finished chicken in the buffalo sauce and put them on the Hawaiian rolls. Top the chicken with a liberal amount of slaw and form a sandwich.

LOS BURRITOS

  • December 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Huevos Rancheros

When I first moved to LA and didn’t know many people, I would do a Saturday morning hike at Griffith Park and then gobble down some Huevos Rancheros all by my lonesome at Los Burritos, a slightly run down but very clean local Mexican chain near my home.

I once noticed an actor from the TV show Buffy, sitting one booth away and thought “Oh good, he’s all sad and alone too! And what a shitty car he has!”

What I love about this place is how it manages to stay open for a hundred years without ever being busy or undergoing a remodel. It’s like my own private 70’s restaurant every time I enter and attempt to order in my broken Spanglish.

I’ve only ordered the Huevos and the Posole, so don’t ask me how anything else tastes. Those two items are muy excellente but everything else could potentially suck.

While their salsa bar may be limited (one) they have really tasty pickled carrots that you can pig out on to make up for it.

7300 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 850-9180

MT. KILIMANJARO – TANZANIA, AFRICA #4

  • December 17, 2012 6:57 am

Our iPhone Panorama View of the Summit

Ok, so we’ve been hiking for about 678 days or something. We’re getting tired, mentally and physically.

What we have basically been through is 6.5 days of a hiking boot camp.

1.5 more to go.

This has been the daily routine:

Wake up after an uncomfortable and cold night’s sleep on a wafer thin sleeping pad. Unbathed. Eat breakfast. Try to poop without being fined. Hike uphill for six hours. Uncontrollable nap. Soup. Repeat.

The novelty has worn off, people. This is taking forever.

And we haven’t even touched the actual mountain yet!

Only on the very last day (which we begin at midnight) do we actually climb Mt Kilimanjaro. The other days are spent in the foothills, acclimatizing and circling the mountain like a lion hunting a zebra.

We’re comin’ for ya, Kili!

For each meal, we huddle in the meal tent to escape the cold and talk about important subjects such as when/how/where we last evacuated our bowels.

FYI, they fine you if you poo outdoors anywhere but inside the designated outhouses. Unless you do it at the top of Kili, in front of God and everyone. More on that later.

I don’t know what I expected on that final day of climbing. More of the same, probably.

This was NOT the case.

After a few hour nap, we were awoken around 11 p.m. for tea and our Camelbak’s to be refilled with boiled drinking water (the daily routine).

It was, of course, the coldest we’ve felt so far since we were about 15K feet up.

It was also windy as we began our descent at around midnight.

It was the coldest I had ever experienced, that’s for sure. It affected us all pretty greatly.

One of us lost the feeling in our fingers and a porter had to help drag him/her up the mountain for an hour or so.

One of us had several mini panic attack’s that they weren’t getting enough oxygen and wondered at which point it would run out completely.

None of us took any pictures.

All but one of our group had been taking Diamox for altitude sickness and, for the most part, it worked. I just kept waiting for it to stop working.

At a certain point, my brain stopped working. I was on auto pilot.

These were extreme conditions. We were all moving at a snail’s pace. Everytime I coughed, the porters would slow everyone down.

As I looked up the dark mountain, I could see the eerie trail of headlamps from groups of people ascending just as slowly as we were.

This was a death march.

I never thought I’d turn back but I feared how long I would slow the group down by my constant breaks. I hadn’t trained nearly enough for this shit.

It took about 7 hours to reach what I thought was the summit.

We first reached a false summit.

Now, I knew there was Stella Point before there was the actual tippy top Uhuru Peak.

I figured Uhuru would be around the corner or something.

The entire way up, our guide kept telling us two things: “Pole, Pole” meaning “Slowly, Slowly” and “Almost there”.

Well, when I saw Stella Point, I kinda turned off my engines.

Phew! We made it! All done. Just have to find this blasted Uhuru chic and we can check this crap off the old bucket list.

“How far is Uhuru from here?” I enquire.

“About one hour.”

“WHAT?????????????????” I probably whispered since I had no breath to scream bloody murder with.

This became impossible news to hear for two reasons.

One, I was spent. Done. I had expelled all my energy and resources and was going to need to be wheelbarreled to this damned Uhuru Peak.

Two, I had been holding in some serious bowel cramping for the past 4 hours!!

When I asked “Is there a bathroom at the top?” I was told yes.

Lies.

We were often told lies by our guides throughout the trip. “What’s tomorrow’s hike going to be like?”

“Easy day, mostly flat.”

Lies.

It would be just as tough as the prior day. Mostly uphill.

“Where’s camp, are we almost there?”

“Yes, just around that corner.”

More lies.

That corner takes another two hours to get to, apparently.

So, I shouldn’t have at all been shocked when there wasn’t a pristine porcelain toilet seat waiting for me at the top.

I won’t go into any gory details but I was led to a very shallow rock formation which basically covered my lower half as I squatted and did my thang.

My torso and head, clearly visible and perhaps TWO feet away from passersby.

Streams of people passed, clearly seeing what I was doing and trying very kindly to revert their eyes.

I had no choice. I was an animal at that point.

Thank god I was able to grab some TP from someone beforehand or it was going to be a very uncomfortable 7 hour hike back down.

After that humuliation was over, I continued my slow crawl up to Uhuru Peak, trying to enjoy the insanely beautiful glacier formations on both sides of me. This was so incredible but I couldn’t really look anywhere but ahead.

Due to the altitude, we were all having minor hallucinations. The glaciers were blinking at me. Everyone’s headlamp lights were swimming around their heads and one of our party saw an old friend who was not there.

The rest of my group was at the Uhuru Peak sign for a good 20 minutes before they were about to be forced to leave (so everyone else in line could get their picture taken) when I shuffled up just in time.

“Sander!!” Captain yelled.

That’s how I knew I had made it.

Barely.

Due to health reasons, you can’t stay very long at the top.

After a few pics I dumped my grandmother’s ashes unceremoniously on the ground by the sign.

I didn’t care who saw me.

As Toto’s immortal “Africa” sings “I shat my pants, down in Africa”

After you do that, you just don’t care as much about what people think.

3 hours to the first campsite for a few hour nap. Then 3 or so more to our final campsite. Then we all passed out.

At dinner time, we enjoyed a highly awkward tipping session where we learned we had budgeted for only about HALF of what we were supposed to tip everyone! Very unpleasant, indeed.

The next morning we had several more ENDLESS hours to go before we reached the bottom where eager locals were waiting to hock us their wares.

We signed the book (which we had to sign at the arrival of each day’s campsite) and got on the bus for our 3 hour ride back to our lovely hotel.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and next morning relaxing by the pool, enjoying Fantas, watching soccer and bad African soap operas, dreaming of Subway sandwiches and dreading the 27 hour flight back home.

Well folks, that’s my trip. In a nutshell.

It was the hardest thing any of us had ever done (or perhaps ever will do) and I will never forget all I’ve seen and accomplished and devoured.

“Uh…I don’t know who I would recomend this trip to!?!?”

Over it.

Toilets in the Mist

When will this end??

Ready to pluck our eyes out upon our demise...

A Kili Sunrise

A mysterious mist starts to approach...

A somewhat treacherous portion of the climb.

Captain's favorite meal of the trip

The Samosas were actually delicious and the fries were much appreciated.

Kilimanjaro appears to be smoking.

Oh god, please no more soup...

Pretty trippy, sleeping in the clouds.

A sea of clouds...

Our final dinner before the big ascent. No meat as our systems cannot digest it at these altitudes.

NO PICS TAKEN OF THE ASCENT. TOO COLD. TOO DARK. TOO TIRED…………………

CUT TO:

View of the sunrise from the (fake) summit of Kili!

Stella Point (aka, the fake summit)

Amazing glacier formations at the summit.

The Summit!

The great and wonderful book.

I was dreaming about Fanta....

Ribs and Fries

Asian Noodles with Chicken

Tanzanian beer is fine, just never cold enough.

Our hotel had a pizza bar. They sure like to pile on the toppings!

Dessert! (not that great)

The view of Mt Meru from our hotel room

MT. KILIMANJARO – TANZANIA, AFRICA #3

  • December 12, 2012 10:03 am

The start of our journey along the Lemosho Route. Please ignore my nerd hat. And our guide's lack of photography skills.

Here it is. The big day.

Well, the big 8 days.

There are six main routes up Mt. Kilimanjaro to choose from. Each has their pros and cons.

We chose the route with the highest success rate. Some routes only have a 50% chance of completion! Don’t like those odds at all!

The downside is, our hike would be longer than the other hikes by a few days. But we’d have more time on the mountain to acclimate to the crazy altitude and therefore have a better chance to succeed.

The Lemosho route is also less popular and very scenic; a few other reasons we chose it.

We had an afternoon and evening to relax at the luxurious and beautiful Mount Meru Hote prior. We spent most of this time playing Yahtzee by the pool or in the dining room for various meals.

Unaware of what lay before us….

Going over the big day tomorrow with our guide Charles and..uh...whatshisface (he didn't end up coming with us)

Room at the Mount Meru Hotel. When we asked for a room next to our friends, we were told no because this was the only room with twin beds. And then we're presented with this.

We spent a good deal of time lounging by the pool at the Mount Meru Hotel.

Final meal before our big hike tomorrow! Hangovers all around!

Thai Steak Salad

Steak and Scalloped Potatoes - One of the best meals so far.

17 Porters, 4 Guides, 3 Cooks - All catering to Five People (us). Such opulence! (And lots of tipping required, we'd later find)

Ground Carrots! Finding these on the ground, covered in soil, Captain promptly shoved one in her mouth. Our lovely, feral Captain.

The first two days of hiking would be through lush jungle like forests. And pretty much all uphill.

Technically, these were two person tents. They soon became Cocoons of Madness!

Tea and Popcorn in the Tent! How very civilized!

This was taken at the point of the trip where there were still smiles to be had.

Lunch Break. What wonders will I find in my sack lunch today?

We enjoyed a few days of rain

At each campsite, there were plenty of facilities at our disposal. However...

This is what we had to endure if we wanted to use the toilet.

Please sir, can I have some more?

Omelettes were usually provided for our breakfast each day. They were pretty tasty.

The daily selection of beverages provided at each meal.

A.K. so enjoyed his tent meals. He couldn't get enough!

Oh Kili, you icy behemoth. How you taunt us.

Similar in height to Kili, Patrick thought it wise to scale this monstrocity.

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah hurrah.

Several times a day, the fog/clouds would creep in and envelope us. Kind of cool. Kind of cold.

Enveloped by the fog...or clouds....we were never sure which.

Wherever you go, you'll find stacks of rocks. This one made ominous with the added bones of hikers who never made it.

Taking one of many breaks.

A.K. hesitates before entering his tent for the night - considering the cramped quarters, broken tent zippers, smelly sleeping bag and gassy spouse.

Early morning Kili before the sun rises. I'm sure no one is awake yet. Perfect time to sneak off to use the revolting "bathrooms"

Ugh, yet another day of hiking....

High above the sea of clouds. Pictures can't begin to capture how beautiful it was.

"I hope portions of my fingers don't freeze off"

Mt Kili in the background. Oh boy...

MT KILIMANJARO – TANZANIA, AFRICA #2

  • December 10, 2012 8:30 am

We pretty much had the ultimate safari experience. We spent about ten hours hunting down these amazing creatures and were treated to three separate incredible Lion sightings.

How lucky we were to be part of our own history channel special. Without any graphic killing.

Sad face 🙁

With our safari almost over, we knew the “vacation” portion of our journey had also ended.

Reality set it.

Up next, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kibo. Kili. The highest free standing mountain in the world.

We had no idea what we were in for…

But enough about that. We’re still on safari, dammit.

So lazy, these Lion things.

This lion couldn't be less interested. And might need a dermatologist.

Chillin' at the Hippo pond. Secretly hoping one would try to snap my foot off.

Hippos are fat, dangerous and cute! Like me.

We waited forever for this lazy ass Cheetah to move. This selfish beast simply refused to give me a better shot. As punishment, its currently stuffed on my mantle.

I could watch them for hours

Those tusks would make great book ends or back scratchers. Damn you strict hunting laws!

Oh...well, after you!

Damn you Leopard, show yourself!! I'm sure it was tailing us the entire time, ready to maim us at any moment.

It's refreshing to be able to eat fresh salads without fear of retribution!

African Heritage Beef Stew with Ugali (that white paste to the right, like a rice substitute) Very good!

Pork Chop

Apple Crumble with gross ice cream.

Delicious passion fruit for breakfast

Love spotting random wildlife (and perhaps peeing next to them) on the side of the road!

A bustling market...I think.

The entire trip I was obsessed with taking pics of women with stuff on their heads. I missed countless opportunities with really grand wooden baskets filled with gorgeous produce and instead only caught some of the bottom of the barrel.

Another attempt. I wanted a more exotic headdress...instead, I got a paint bucket and an old I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Container.

Supposedly the center of Africa...After Googling, I'm thinking this is untrue.

Buffet Lunch at The Arusha Hotel

Best Beef Kabobs Ever!

MT KILIMANJARO – TANZANIA, AFRICA #1

  • December 6, 2012 8:53 am

Our first meal in Africa! Half British (Sausage and beans) and half African (Purple Yams and Cassava)

When you envision exotic travel, your mind likely ends up somewhere in Africa. You can’t get much more exotic than that.

Pretty much everything which is the exact opposite of your every day life, happens in Africa.

Rugged, prehistoric landscapes, extreme poverty, tribal life, neck rings, beautiful wildlife, scary diseases, lush countryside and lots of Tse Tse flies.

Oh, and squat toilets.

Having to question where/when you will perform one of your most crucial and routine daily functions can make anyone start to grow homesick.

You’ll never appreciate an actual toilet seat so much until it’s gone and you’re forced to get all Neanderthal just to poop!

Africa also encapsulates two major bucket list items for many people: Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on safari.

Both lofty (and pricey) goals, they are also two of the most memorable things you will ever do in your life (after things like marriage, kids, homicide).

We were lucky enough to recently check both life-changing events off our lists as well as putting ourselves through the ultimate torture.

Let me preface by saying that hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro was the hardest thing all four of us had ever done (and probably ever will do).

It was supremely challenging, both mentally and physically, and it’s hard not to feel a little pride for having reached the top without exploding or something.

But don’t let me get ahead of myself.

First, we went on safari.

Awe, safari…something that rich, white folk do and have done for hundreds of years.

Lemme tell ya, a safari in Africa ain’t cheap. You won’t see backpackers roaming the streets looking for hostels and nights of blacking out on local spirits.

In Africa, you stay at luxurious, 5 star lodges with guilt-inducing pampering including gourmet meals and hot ivory massages.

You don’t grab an empty bed at a motel and try the local street food.

You only leave the compound which is your hotel with an escort or driver, you’re not encouraged to just “walk around”, especially at night.

The odd thing is that I never felt unsafe. Never felt I was on the verge of being pick pocketed.

Maybe because we always had an escort with us? Who knows.

All I know is that Tanzania was one of the most beautiful countrysides I’ve ever laid eyes on and the people were really warm and friendly.

I guess feeling cutoff from the locals was a tradeoff I’d have to accept.

Especially since I usually have an irrational fear of being stared at and wandering around the locals often means I have to feel like I must be completely nude or slathered in my own feces.

Why is everyone staring??

Relax, Bun Boy.

In another world, I’d wander around the planet in a burka, quietly observing.

“Don’t look at me, people!! I’m just here to see stuff and make fun of you all later on my dumb blog”.

Is that so weird?

Shutup.

Please note that I borrowed Captian’s camera, which had a smudge on the lens. So some of the pics may seem to be glowing in the center.

All right people, enjoy our African Safari, part #1!

Bacon, Cheese, French Toast and Cornbread

A lot of the bus taxis were colorfully decorated, like party buses. Usually with pics of Bob Marley or famous rappers.

Tanzanians LOVE Obama! Paintings of him were everywhere!

Slaughtering of goats. Sad face.

Woman selling delicious red bananas.

Red Bananas are the BEST!

Whatchu looking at, dummy?

Entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater National Park. There had better be Rhinos.

Examining the Big Five. A.K. was determined to take each one down with his bare hands.

The Sopa Lodge's beautiful pool overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater

Our first lunch at the Sopa Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.This was a Nicoise Salad

Stuffed Eggplant

Chicken Pesto Spaghetti

I forget...

Pretty decent burger from what I remember....

I'm not a big fan of African ice cream....like reconstituted ice milk powder.

A baboon chillin' at our hotel

A visit to a Maasai village. The Maasai are the most widely known tribe in Kenya/Tanzania and are known for their bright, red outfits and jumping ceremonies. They weren't letting us go without a bit of jumping on our part too!

Do you remember those Pioneer villages you'd visit as a kid on a school trip? Where they'd churn butter and make candles and chop wood? That's what this Maasai village was like. Come, look at us do forced tribal things for $50. And then we'll parade you around our circle of crafts and guilt you into buying something every five seconds.

Does this watch clash with my blanket? I'll know if you're lying.

A.K. you have a fly on your head. I'm not saying a word.

Our first animal sighting of the day is a lion, yay us!

This guy could not care less about our presence. How rude!

The Big Five are: Lions, Leopards, Cape/African Buffalo, Rhinos and Elephants.

Cape Buffalo are the most dangerous of the Big Five (no joke). They just look mean...

Look up ahead! It's a....oh, just a Gazelle. Basically, Chicken Tenders for Lions.

A.K and Captain in our Safari Landcruiser

Wildebeests. So sexy.

Zebby the Zebra

Hyenas are a pain in the ass (according to Captain)

Warthogs

Those sexy, sexy Wildebeests. Ready for the catwalk.

Don't get too close to the Rhinos!

Watching wild animals itch themselves is one of life's greatest pleasures.

These birds know how to hunt foreign food. You'll lose an eye if you're not careful.