meal twenty-six: red rocker margarita chicken, bomb bakers

Chris: It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong. A big, smart, handsome, well-liked man. And ladies and gentlemen, I am that man. We had been dreading these two recipes for a while for different reasons, but they were both really solid. Neither were the best, but when you set yourself up to expect to have to eat a turd, but then that turd turns out to actually be chocolate, it's a lot better than the reverse. This was just basically a pleasant experience from start to finish. The recipes were really easy to make, didn't require much prep, and were tasty. I really don't know what Guy was thinking. He probably knew these posts are way harder to write when you actually enjoyed the food.

Usually, we try to make at least three meals a night as not to fall further behind pace, which brings us to our one big road block for the night. I tried to buy the ingredients for Rhode Island Calamari, which I know sounds like the street name for SUPERMETH, but was unsuccessful. Surprisingly, there is no fresh calamari in Chicago in November. This was probably for the best because my High School Reunion is this weekend and I can't let my life sink much lower or I'll have to just start pulling my pants down for money on the L.

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Chris: First, we made the Red Rocker Margarita Chicken. This recipe had all the building blocks of a classic Fieri Blandwich #FlavorFrown. It started with a page-long story about a time he met Sammy Hagar? Steven Tyler? Chuck E Cheese from the Pizza Time Players? I honestly can't remember and ALLIE STOLE THE COOKBOOK [Allie: this is... not correct]. Anyway, STRIKE ONE. It also required us to marinate chicken breasts in the world's cheapest tequila. Like, when you open this tequila, it smells like you're going to sterilize before a medical procedure. STRIKE TWO. It also required me to deep-fry roasted red peppers, and despite what my LinkedIn profile says, that is not one of my skills, so I was constantly being splashed by hot oil. STRIKE THREE. Also, Guy topped this sandwich with cabbage instead of lettuce, which was really the final insult. Like when your boss calls you into her office to yell at you, and she doesn't just yell at you, but also makes you eat cabbage. STRIKE FOUR. And you know how the saying goes, four strikes, and you have indigestion.

But, but...this was good. We grilled it up, and the meat was tender, if not particularly flavorful. The red peppers were crispy and added good texture. Really, this whole sandwich wasn't really remarkable, but it tasted like a good grilled chicken sandwich. Also, we are almost out of terrible tequila, so double win. Chris's rating: 4 out of 5 members of the Pizza Time players (Chuck E., Mr. Munch, Jasper T. Jowls, Pasqually E. Pieplate, but not Helen Henny because this is a FOUR OUT OF FIVE).

Allie: Yeah, this sandwich was pretty good. Tequila-drenched chicken definitely sounds like something you'd fish out of a Florida swamp, or maybe even find holding elected office in Florida, but the chicken was bland enough that the tequila wasn't an issue, which was good for my taste buds but bad for the tight five I'm trying to write about Florida. The red peppers were good and added a nice touch of sweetness, but I thought that deep-frying them was pretty labor-intensive for a weeknight chicken sandwich. Then again, I have been known to eat my meals directly over the sink so I don't have to wash an extra plate, so I might not be the best barometer of what is and isn't labor-intensive. My biggest issue with this sandwich was the cabbage, which was hard like knives. Guy insists on putting cabbage in everything and it is BAFFLING why he refuses to use lettuce, which is pleasantly crunchy and bland, in favor of using cabbage, which, again, is HARD LIKE KNIVES. Anyway, this was the best sandwich I've ever had that was inspired by a man's friendship with Sammy Hagar; make of that what you will. Allie's rating: 4 out of 5 red flags that Chris knows all the Chuck E. Cheese robots

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Chris: Then we made Bomb Bakers, which I've been calling "Lil' Poop Nuggets", to everyone's, including my, confusion. As you may recall for you all you Brimstone heads, we have tried to make this recipe before. They are baked potatoes in everything but name. But despite baked potatoes generally being a recipe you make when you need a quick weeknight side, these take SIX TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS of brining before they can be cooked. So, I had to come home from work at lunch and soak potatoes in water and spices like I was performing the world's saddest third grade science project. Anyway, I had to cook these for like an hour and I was pretty annoyed when I took these out of the oven. But honestly, they were basically the best baked potatoes I have ever had. That's a pretty low bar, because baked potatoes are generally terrible, and need toppings to make them good, but these were good. The inside was super soft. The skin was super flaky and delicious. Honestly, I might make these again. I won't, because I have PTSD, but maybe after sufficient therapy... Chris's rating: 4.5 out of 5 Lil' Point Nuggets.

Allie: One thing I've learned as an adult is that people who like cooking get really touchy about brining and everything they make has to be drowned in salty water for 24 hours before it's cooked, like it's not Thanksgiving until you've re-enacted The Poseidon Adventure with your turkey starring as Gene Hackman. I mean, it's good, but calm down, folks. Brining these potatoes made them nice and moist, but I didn't feel like I was roaring through Flavortown in a red Camaro. Instead, I kind of felt like I was peddling through Flavorville (a suburb of Flavortown; it's mostly commuters and angry teens) on a child's bicycle. I am struggling to find any more ways to describe these potatoes, which were fine. In order to write this paragraph, I had to google "movies where people drown", which felt pretty dark and is probably going to give me weird targeted ads for lifejackets and rowboats on Facebook, so thanks, Guy Fieri (yes this is his fault)!!! Allie's rating: 3.5 out of 5 swimfans (swimsfan?)

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Final Summary

Total dishes made: 73/157

Worst sentence in one of these recipes: "I commented, 'I'm going to be forty, and I can't believe it; it doesn't make mathematical sense to me.' He responded, 'Listen to me, Guy.' (Everything he says sounds like a rocker.) 'There's no way you thought you'd be rolling into forty like you're rolling now.' Which is, of course, so true."

Number of showings of Titantic on AMC I watched while writing this post: 1.25

Chris: That's two meals in a row that we basically liked. A turning point? Or just a pit stop on the way to the glue factory?

Allie: Yes, by the time this blog is over, my body will only be useful for being turned into glue and toothbrush bristles

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