Flavour Revolution – Apricot

Cautious Cuisine

Despite the deliciousness, popularity, and versatility of apricots, it should be noted that the fruit’s pits (or kernels) are actually poisonous and can produce a form of cyanide. Here are some other foods that are alarmingly poisonous and potentially dangerous to your health:

Mushrooms

This one is too easy… I mean, come on, it’s defined as a fungus. That said, mushrooms can be many things, from delicious to deadly, healing to hallucinogenic. With regards to poisonous mushrooms, flat caps are a huge giveaway and toxic shrooms come with names such as death caps, destroying angels and dapperlings. Scarily, it is feared that many European mushrooms may be contaminated thanks to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

chances-with-mushroom

Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts

Sure, many folks out there have severe allergies to nuts, particularly peanuts, but other types, when eaten raw, can be dangerous. Raw almonds, also known as bitter almonds, contain cyanide and can be fatal when consumed in large doses. Regardless, they are still sold in some stores, with risk being handed over to the customer to decide how cautious they want to be. Other countries have outright banned the nuts from being available.

Fruit – Apples, Cherries, Tomatoes

The seeds in apples and pits in cherry, contain cyanide. Cherries have resulted in other deaths non-edible deaths. Lucullus, a Roman general, committed suicide in 56BC, upon learning that he was running out of cherries, a crop he had introduced to Europe years before. Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous by Europeans who didn’t trust the delicious fruit. It took some time for those fears to dissipate and now there’s only the odd salmonella outbreak.

Tuna

The issue with tuna, other than the facts that it smells horrible and doesn’t taste that great either (yes, this is solely according to the Sip Advisor), is that levels of mercury absorbed by the fish before it is caught and killed can be passed on to the consumer. This has given me pause for thought about how much the Sip Family kitties love getting served tuna water. Man, they love that stuff and go nuts whenever the can opener is used!

just-add-tuna

Potatoes

Potatoes are such an integral part of people’s diets that it’s a little scary how dangerous, albeit rare, their consumption can be. My first thought was that someone from the popcorn lobby made this accusation up to spoil the potato chip industry, but I have since learned the charges are true. Basically, what you have to watch out for is when a potato turns green, which if eaten, can result in weakness, coma, and even death.

Blowfish

Consuming blowfish (fugu) can be like playing a round of Russian roulette.  Unless prepared to perfection, it can be very poisonous. As a result, the emperor of Japan is barred from eating the fish, despite it being a cultural delicacy. One famous incident involved kabuki actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, who believed he could tolerate the poison… he was wrong. There is also an episode of The Simpsons where Homer eats Fugu and is told he only has 24 hours to live.

Flavour Revolution: Virgin’s Kiss

  • 1.25 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with an Apricot Slice

This list could also include rhubarb, elderberry, raw meat and eggs, and even underprepared honey. I’ll stick to my artery-clogging potato chips , thank you very much, which will only get me in the long run!

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Spain – First Avenue

I’d Tap That

Without Spain, we wouldn’t have tapas… and without tapas, we would never eat. Okay, that might be a little bit of exaggeration, but we certainly appreciate the invention of the appetizer, for without it, monstrous starter platters could not be devoured! Let’s take a look at some common Spanish tapas (according to Wikipedia – the number one source for online legitimacy) and see whether they pass the Sip Advisor taste test:

Tapas or Tapass

Albóndigas: Meatballs with sauce

Okay, we’re off to a decent start. Who doesn’t like meatballs? Well, I guess vegetarians and vegans, but do they really count?

Tortillitas de Camarones: Battered prawn fritters

Anything described as “battered” can play on my team!

Pimientos de Padrón: Small green peppers fried in olive oil or served raw (most are mild, but a few in each batch are quite spicy)

Finding the spicy green peppers is like locating the toy in a box of cereal. At first, you’re really happy because you found the surprise before anyone else could get to it. Joy turns to disappointment quickly, however, when you realize the toy isn’t that great anyway, much like a spicy green pepper when you’re expecting mild!

Aceitunas: Olives, sometimes with a filling of anchovies or red bell pepper

To me, appies need to be something more than a condiment stuffed with another condiment, but I sadly don’t call the shots in the country of Spain.

fuck-you-tapas

Solomillo al Whisky: Fried pork scallops, marinated using whisky, brandy or white wine and olive oil

Put the pork scallops aside and give me a couple bottles of your best marinade!

Cojonuda (superb female): A slice of Spanish morcilla with a fried quail egg over bread – it can also be prepared with a little strip of red, spicy pepper

Looked up morcilla and it is actually blood sausage, so there’s strike one. Strike two is the fried quail egg although I’m sure somewhere in the world it is a delicacy. While I can’t find anything to call the cojonuda out, I’ve decided to change the rules of baseball to suit my purpose and now all you need is two strike to retire a batter.

Cojonudo (superb male): A slice of Spanish chorizo with a fried quail egg over a slice of bread

So, there are male and female versions of cojonudo… is your sexual orientation decided by which you prefer? What if you like to swing both ways?

Pincho Moruno: A stick with spicy meat, made of pork, lamb or chicken

Nothing beats meat on a stick unless it’s spicy meat!

Appetizers

Empanadillas: Turnovers filled with meats and vegetables

Any food pocket device stuffed with more food will always shoot to the top of my favourite list. The name would have you thinking you’re about to eat a small animal, however.

Gambas: Prawns sauteed in salsa negra (peppercorn sauce), al ajillo (with garlic), or pil-pil (with chopped chili peppers)

Poor prawns… such a small creature and still gets stuffed with any number of items.

Mejillones Rellenos: Stuffed mussels, sometimes called tigres (“tigers”) because of the spicy taste

Mrs. Sip would love her some tiger muscles, but I have to note that tiger ice cream isn’t spicy and I think this calls into the question the process of describing spice levels using animals. I feel calling them dragon muscles would be more apt.

Patatas Bravas or Papas Bravas: Fried potato dices served with salsa brava a spicy tomato sauce – sometimes served also with mayo or aioli

Are these like brave little potatoes… you know, in a similar vein to the Brave Little Toaster?

Tapas Bill

Chorizo a la Sidra: Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in cider

Cider, you say? Not my favourite, but it does have booze in it!

Chorizo al Vino: Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine

See above, but even better!

Calamares or Rabas: Rings of battered squid

I wonder if the Spanish can rival Greek calamari? Perhaps both countries should send me some of their finest product and I will, once and for all, get to the bottom of this ever-deepening mystery.

Zamburiñas: Renowned Galician scallops, often served in a marinera, tomato-based sauce

Renowned??? I’ll be the judge of that. Again, Spain, send some my way and we’ll send out the results as soon as our little feast has concluded!

Spain: First Avenue

First Avenue Martini

  • 1.5 oz Sherry
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of Campari
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

Sometimes I’m into the idea of tapas and other times, I loathe them. While they’re a treasure trove of variety and perfect portion size for the ladies, a dude sometimes wants something he can really sink his teeth into like a fat burger or other hearty meal. The worst is going out with a group and splitting a bunch of appies… you will not have a good time!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes: (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink was pretty good. Even when I subbed in Tonic Water for Club Soda, it wasn’t as bitter as I feared it would be, especially with the splash of Campari there to team up with the Tonic. I guess the Cointreau and Sherry balance out the sweet-bitter war and make for an interesting cocktail.