If life (and your bread) are feeling a bit stale, make Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding!

Want a different way to get your pumpkin spice fill? Try this bread pudding recipe.

Tis the season to pumpkin spice just about everything. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I’m not too extreme about it, but I’m definitely more on the side of “pumpkin spice all sorts of things” side compared to that raging “I hate pumpkin spice” movement that seems to surface at the same time.

In case you want to move beyond the Pumpkin Spice Latte options at the coffee shops, I present a more “solid” dessert option, Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding.

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Big Bad Recap 2015: My Time at Big Bad Con!

Cooking for a Cause, Charity, Food Truck reviews, and oh yes GAMING!

What a weekend I just had! I’m still coming down from the high that was Big Bad Con, and it just gets better and better every time I ago. Run by Sean Nittner (possibly more known for his work at Evil Hat Productions) and supported by a host of support staff, it is the event I look forward to most in the year.

First and foremost, while the focus is quite a bit on RPGs and related activities, it is important to note that Big Bad Con gives back. Proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders, there are bins for donating food to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, and Endgame donates 10% of all profits made at the con to Child’s Play.

So if you haven’t been, I recommend you go, and know that not only will you have a great time and meet great people, you will also be giving to great causes.

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Now for what my Friday through Sunday looked like. Actually my Thursday night through Sunday, as Sean had asked me to join the crew filling the Little Red Basket’s for some Kickstarter backers. I was thrilled to participate, due to the good causes mentioned above. My only complaints is my own lack of planning which led to a marathon night of cooking, which started at 10pm on account of an unexpected work emergency. Enough complaining though!

I made maple syrup roasted almonds, seasoned with cayenne pepper, Himalayan pink salt, and smoked paprika. These were a smash hit at the con.

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I also made a heap ton of bread that I slashed a “B” into (for either Big or Bad, depending on your likes).

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And a big batch of Jalapeno hummus, which I didn’t take a picture of due to it being around 5 am when I finished.

I’ll share recipes in the future!

Brian sleep count: 3 hours, and heading to Big Bad Con.

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Cocktail Hour: Steve Beets Adversity – Making the Most of Malört

A Cook and a Geek’s Custom Cocktail, featuring Malört

Steve Beets Adversity

Consider this post a sign of good faith that I’m doing my best to not let this blog lay fallow too long!

Since the posting of my second custom cocktail which was inspired by a Facebook Post of my friend Meagan, the Bacon Van Schmidt, a certain mutual friend of ours has been perhaps a tiny bit jealous and definitely nudging me to make a cocktail after him.

That friend, is Steve.

Cook Geek Steve Beets Adversity 5013

Given that Steve is from Chicago and gave me my first taste of Malört (a distilled beverage I believe to be associated with hazing new people in Chicago), I decided the right thing to do was make a cocktail involving that rather challenging liquor. While plying his fiancée for ideas, she suggested that I make the use of beets, since even though she thought beets were icky, Steve might like them. With that, I resolved to make a cocktail involving Malört and make my own beet shrub, and hope for the best.

And I resolved to make it a triumph of beet over evil Malört, so that I could call the cocktail the Steve Beets Adversity. Steve, because Steve. Beets, because beet shrub. And adversity? It’s pretty clear what the adversity was here.

Also because puns.

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The Over Half a Year Gone By Update

Another 6 months, another update. I won’t make any promises, but I did want to share what other things have been going on. I can’t say it has been “everything is nuts” (even though it is) because about half of what’s on my plate has been thrust upon me…. by myself.

I mean, work at the startup is pretty busy, but it isn’t so insane that it’s taking up all my time.

I’ll get the two big projects which I don’t want to let interfere with my food stuff too much, and then we’ll get back to the real update.

I’ve been publishing twice a week for maybe a month now on my Chronicles of Frank Dieselwang blog, a ludicrous, satirical take on the terrible erotica that has really captured the public eye in recent years. I’d kind of like to cash in on that someday.

If you’re into that and a healthy dose of social justice undertones, this might be the blog for you.


The other project I’ve found myself in is the blogger in residence for Hunny Bunny Burlesque (aka Hunny Bunny & her Hot Toddies). So far I’ve interviewed three burlesque dancers, as well as the Skylark’s bartender. It was pretty awesome being able to geek out over cocktails. And hanging out with gorgeous ladies is pretty nice too.

Yeah, it’s a rough life.


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Hanging Out with Sean Nittner, Founder of Big Bad Con & Project Manager at Evil Hat Productions

Hey fellow cooks and geeks. Time for one more interview, then it will be back to cooking for a stretch.

Last February I had a chat with Sean Nittner over Google Hangouts (yes this is very delayed post). Sean is the Founder of Big Bad Con and a Project Manager at Evil Hat Productions. I’ve been meaning to talk with Sean for some time now, having met him in 2012 at Big Bad Con, and I was struck by his confidence in running a convention, and his ease at joining into conversations and relating with new people.

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Sean being embarrassed by an unexpected question!


For the interview, we spent a lot of time talking about an array of issues, but basically the four things we focused on were:

  • Conventions
  • Gaming
  • Food
  • Evil Hat

Not so coincidentally, the videos have been separated into four parts that match up pretty neatly on those lines.

Part 1: Introduction and Gaming Conventions

Highlight quote:

Brian: So When people hear the name Sean Nittner, What do you want them to think?

Sean: That is a very big vague question I’ve been looking at that and thinking about that and… my first thought was gaming evangelist but I realize that evangelist isn’t really the right word because I’m not reaching out to non gamers, at least not exclusively. [I’m not looking]to bring people into the fold, but what I want to do is make games accessible to other people.

I want more people playing more different games, and trying out new things. So I think gaming advocate is probably the best word, I don’t know if it completely captures it.

Whether … it is from writing an actual play report to recap our game and show people examples of play or whether its putting on conventions or working with Evil Hat, they all set around the idea.

…When I sit in a room of people all playing a game and having a good time, that’s like the best time of my life, that’s when I’m my happiest, I feel like I’ve reached Nirvana then, is when I’m sitting around and all of these people having a great time playing games together, and that’s great, and I want to make that happen as much as I can whether it’s through my personal interactions just gaming with people or by producing content, or putting on a con. or doing things online. Just whatever I can do to foster that in general.

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Geekonomic Stimulus: Kitsune Hoodie by Jamie Noguchi


Model: Zehra Fazal / Photographer: Johnny Shryock

For your consideration, you should back this awesome Kitsune Hoodie on Kickstarter, which is currently a bit over $5,500 of its $6,500 goal. There’s a week left as of this writing, and it’s very much a deserving project!

One of favorite webcomics is Yellow Peril, and described by the author as “an office romance comic that follows the humorous exploits of Kane, Bodie and Julie as they struggle on the path for creative and financial freedom.”

That author is Jamie Noguchi, is a Japanese/Chinese-American artist. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him once before, and we had a great talk about what it means to be Asian-American, the state of Western Media, and just really had a great free ranging conversation.

After having delivering on two previous Kickstarters, Jamie has turned towards the world of clothing. I was glad that I could get him to take a quick break to answer some questions about this new undertaking.

Brian: How long have you wanted to make a hoodie? How does one find a hoodie making company?

Jamie: I’ve wanted to do hoodies and just other types of apparel besides the typical screen printed shirt ever since I started making shirts with my art. But regular t-shirts are still the most economical apparel/canvas to work with so I hadn’t really done much research into it until now.
There are actually quite a few places that do hoodies. Any screen printing shop or print-on-demand service will have hoodie options. But for full sublimated printing, you have to go looking a bit harder. I actually found the company I’m working with on Alibaba so they’re in China.
Brian: I know you’ve already have a shirt with the Kitsune, and now you’re working on the hoodie, why a Kitsune exactly?
Jamie: There’s something about the trickster spirit that really appeals to me. Their sinister playfulness entraps you. You know it’s a bad idea, but you just can’t help falling into a kitsune scheme.
From a visual standpoint, using large swaths of red contrasted with a stark white make designing kitsune hard to ignore. They visually draw you in and you kind of get lost.
Brian: Is the world of clothing very different from the previous kickstarters you’ve gone through?
Jamie: The apparel space is completely different from what I’m used to. I know how to sell comics and I have a fanbase to draw from. But I’m not really known for clothing so it’s a whole new market. I think professional photography is an absolute must for fashion which is completely different than comics.
buy buy buy

Model: Zehra Fazal / Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Brian: If this goes through well, do you have any future plans for clothing focused kickstarters?
Jamie: I do have ideas for other hoodies or sublimated designs that I’d like to try, but I’ll have to take stock and see what might work. Since I’m not just printing funny phrases or mashups, there are many more unknowns to tackle. I’d like to do more in this space, I just have to do more research.
Brian: Last question here, any big projects or plans on the horizon that you want to boost the signal for?
Jamie: Not right now. Book 3 is in the works for later this year.
Brian: Well, you’ve certainly got a lot on your plate. Hope you get this Kickstarter banged out as successfully as the other two!
Jamie: Thanks!!
(end of interview)
And if it wasn’t clear already, in full disclosure I’m a backer.
Other links you may like:

Out on the Town: Marié Digby @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall

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Last Thursday night, I made a point to go to Marié Digby’s show at Brick & Mortar Music Hall. I’ve been a huge fan of Marié’s work since her cover of Umbrella brought her to public attention. I actually stumbled upon it accidentally when I was trying to find the Mandy Moore cover of Umbrella, and I just fell in love with Marié’s take on it. So I was incredibly excited to see she was coming to San Francisco, since she doesn’t tour up this way that much.

She had two opening acts that night, Kate Lamont and Peter Chung, and it would be my first time hearing them perform.


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Cocktail Time: The Bacon Van Schmidt

A margarita with a couple twists

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One night, I was browsing Facebook and noticed my friend Meagan Van Schmidt was celebrating the extremely adult decision to have margaritas and eat bacon for her dinner that evening. Inspiration struck almost immediately to develop a new cocktail, with a standard cocktail to base it on, a novel ingredient, and a name that rhymed with that ingredient.

I know that cocktails with bacon is not an entirely original thing, but still, the idea grasped me so firmly that I had to make it a reality. That and I’m not one to crush a friend’s dreams once I’ve uttered it aloud.

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Geekonomic Stimulus: Reviewing Fondue Cowboy, Sparse but Deep Thoughts on Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Cheesy Goodness, followed by more Cheesy Goodness

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After far too long, I was able to hang out with good friend Renee. She’s also a fantastic editor, and we’ve collaborated on a few projects including my fantasy cookbook. When Nick Olivero, Founding Artistic Director of Boxcar Theatre as well as originator of The Speakeasy (see a brief review here), announced a limited run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch it seemed like an opportune time to hang out, especially considering I missed Nick’s first round of Hedwig.

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Coffee and Conversation with Hunny Bunny

Trigger warnings: Talking about music, dancing, some pictures of a 
scantily clad woman and some curse words. Fun things really, but 
you never know.

Chatting with Hunny Bunny, Head Bitch in Charge of Mischief at the Skylark, about music, dance, and a hodgepodge of other topics.

In addition to talking about food, I wanted to use this blog as a platform to share with you some of the great things going on in the SF Bay Area. One of the great things about this area is that some really cool people are readily accessible and willing to chat.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to sit down with a cup of joe at Tierra Mia Coffee with Hunny Bunny, the Head Bitch in Charge of Mischief at the Skylark bar as well as troupe leader of Hunny Bunny and her Hot Toddies, to talk about her work in burlesque as both producer and performer, the music she listens to, her connection to the Skylark, and a wide array of other fun topics.

(As this is primarily a food blog, I’d be remiss if I did not take a moment here to say caffeine offerings at Tierra Mia were quite good. I’d go so far as to say that of the coffee shops I’ve been to in the area, it is one of the top. And the Horchata latte I treated Hunny to was apparently excellent.)

Hunny Bunny by Ana Salomonis

Photo Credit: Ana Salomonis

I’ve known Hunny for a while now, meeting her through a mutual friend and I count myself fortunate to count among my friends such a driven, creative, and smart woman who has been making deep inroads into the San Francisco nightlife with passion and grit. It goes without saying that she’s pretty fantastic to watch perform too.

I mean, come on.

Hunny Bunny by Adam Parmalee

Photo Credit: Adam Parmalee @ http://www.adamparmalee.com/

For those who want to watch the videos, check them out right here! I should apologize for the rather awkward angle, and I know I need to find some better hardware solutions to fix this. That said, these videos are Hunny Bunny approved.

For those who don’t quite have 40 minutes and prefer text, check out my notes after the jump. Continue reading