I find myself tonight on the couch with computer in hand, drinking a beer, and watching the New Orleans Saints kick off the season and begin their defense of the title (Two Dat!). Having been recently reminded by The Aimless Chef of Mr. Smokeypant's live drunk blogging of a Houston Astros game, this seems like a great occasion to live blog another event. I'm not new to the live blogging scene, I once chronicled a homebrewing session. I also live blog football games from time to time for my Pick'em league that most of you guys forgot to sign up for.

Being that we loosely define ourselves as a drinking blog, instead of giving you my thoughts on Brett Farve's march to The Super Bowl a season with more INTs than TDs, I'm going to cover an even bigger event. Tonight is the first-ever Virtual Colorado Beer Tasting, brought to us by the organizers of the upcoming November 5th-7th Beer Bloggers Conference.

Agenda Items: - A retrospective on the importance of the future of beer blogging, -Ethics? Oh I thought you said Epics!
Being that this is a virtual event, I won't really be live blogging my tasting extravaganza, I'll be live blogging the whole virtual experience... at least as it unfolds on Twitter.

The instructions, as I understand them, are relatively simple:
  1. Buy some Colorado beer. If you already have some Colorado beer, skip this step.
  2. At 7:30 PM MST, open up said Colorado beer.
    (adjust beer opening to 8:30 PM if you follow the Chicago clock, 9:30 PM if you follow the New York City clock, 6:30 PM if you follow the Los Angeles clock, 3:30 AM if you follow the Paris clock, and you have to figure it out if you are somewhere that doesn't observe daylight savings time)
  3. Do some combination of sniffing, tasting, staring, swishing, quaffing, listening, feeling, and sixth sensing the beer.
  4. THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Tweet about your Colorado beer using the hashtag #bbc10 (unfortunately not #fevcbt or even better #vcbt10... but I wasn't asked to organize this event).
If you are part of the Twitter revolution, then be sure to follow @beerbloggers for information on the conference. If you are new to Twitter, you are hopping on just moments before Microsoft or Google has figures out how to squash it. However, Twitter is currently still the absolute best way to catch random breaking news, see pictures of flowers, find out who 50 Cent wants to murder today, and learn how everyone feels after their workout.

Just a little administrative item before I get started, I live in the Central Time Zone, which means I look at the Chicago clock, which means if you don't then you'll have to do the appropriate math to decode my time logs below.

~7:00 PM (T minus 1.5 hrs)
Don't worry about searching for #bbc10 tweets prior to now... I've got your summary right here:
- "What is everyone drinking tonight for #bbc10?"
- "Getting excited for #bbc10"
- "RT: What is everyone drinking tonight for #bbc10?"

7:15 PM
NFL kickoff is almost upon us. Damn, I'm so old I saw Dave Matthews in New Orleans 15 years ago.

8:30 PM
The Saints are winning... college football is on... Cheers! let's get crackin' with this virtual tasting event.

8:33 PM
Ronnie Crocker, a beer blogger for the local paper , reps my city with a tweet. H-town represent.
@rcrocker: @BreckBrew Hello! We are about to open one of your Oatmeal Stouts in Houston, TX. #bbc10

I spy a shopping cart.
8:40 PM
Not thirsy yet? @monkeygurly tweets her potential lineup for tonight and chooses the Great Divide Samurai first. By the way, did @monkeygurly steal a shopping cart from the liquor store?

8:52 PM
Ladies, @kylefree is on a boat and likes spicy french fries, but he is not on the boat you would expect him to be on. You might as well @ him if you would like to get on board.

9:01 PM
Seriously Toyota? The Tiny Football League. What a *huge* disappointment. I'm just saying, I was hoping for midg-- er, the little people.

9:16 PM
By this blogger's count, @TheBeerWench registers the first #bbc10 "OMG"
@TheBeerWench: Sipping on @OdellBrewing Woodcut Reserve #4 for  #bbc10 OMG this is remarkable!

9:36 PM
All this Colorado talk reminds me of Crawford's Denver story in his 2010 Anything Mock Draught pick where he recounted a visit to the "Wynpoop." Man, that guy is a real @$$hole. Brilliant pick though.

9:40 PM
@kdmetz just tweeted: I just really looked at GABF craigslist prices and plane tickets... #bbc10
Interesting, I didn't know you could use craigslist that way. #learnsomethingneweveryday #MWMOHACWLTMFPNPGSOH

10:11 PM
@roadtrips4beer: Thought I was opening another Tommy Knocker style, but it was another Jack Whacker. Looks like a urine sample; tastes much better. #BBC10
Whoa, @roadtrips4beer is WAY too familiar with the taste of a urine sample... possibly also has other medical problems that have impaired sight... goes to bed 10 minutes later.

10:23 PM
@girlasaurus_rex: Left Hand's Oktoberfest comes on strong, like the guy at the party wearing a Motorhead t shirt with a pocket full of caramel candy. #BBC10
Sold! I'm going to get one out of the fridge. I just bought a sixer today and haven't tried it yet. Best tweet of the night IMHO.

11:06 PM
Wow, we've hit a bit of a conversation flat-line on Twitter. How about some stats for the night?

7:00-800PM: 6
8:00-8:30PM: 11
8:30-9:00PM: 43
9:00-9:30PM: 45
9:30-10:00PM: 33
10:00-10:30PM: 22
10:30-11:00PM: 3
11:00PM+: 3

11:45 PM
Since I haven't talked any beer yet... At this point in the night, I'm sipping a New Belgium Hoptober Golden Ale. I'd tell you what I thought, but this post is totally not all about me.

(alright, ok, this beer is hoppy, kind of weak, not terribly complex, and forgettable)


7/20/11 Update:
Recently in the Houston Press, esteemed food commenter "Bruce R" called these the Coors Light of tacos. Comparing my soft tacos to one of the best selling beers in the United States is an amazing honor. Thanks Bruce!! If commenters were news anchors, you'd be Isiah Carey.

Now that all the Corpse Flower mania has died down around here, I think I'm ready to deliver a follow-up to my smashing debut. But despite all the toiling with slumpbusters I've been doing recently, you should expect the inevitable sophomore slump.

Have I lowered your expectations enough? Let me be even more honest. This post almost never happened, because I seriously considered retiring after my first ever blog post.

My Spam® Crackle recipe got a mention on the definitive online source of Houston news and entertainment, The Houston Press, as well as gained the attention of Hormel's Spam® itself. I may be new to The Ferm team, but I think I've already vaulted Mr. Smokeypants, who filed a drunken live-blogging of an Astros game in his debut.

This rousing return to food blogging began a few weeks ago while I was destroying a T4 combo at the local Taco Bell/Long John Silver's franchise, which by the way goes together like money and bank. OMG, the taco is much, much greater than the sandwich! As I sporked up the last of my Mexican pizza covered in eight Fire packets I couldn't stop thinking how I'd love to find me a Latina mami that would make me delicious tacos every day. Mmmm, we'd get married, make little meximelts together, and raise them in some border town with "Nuevo" in the name. Aye, que rico!

I'm just saying, show me a great sandwich shop and I'll show you four taco trucks that are better. Plus, just try to put that corned beef with Russian dressing in your pocket. Case. Closed.

I knew my next (how you say) entrada en el blog had to be taco post.

Tacos... It's On!
Mimicking the course of my professional peers, I began by going to an expert for advice, which in this case was my Mexican friend. Readers, if you don't have a Mexican friend, get one. Seriously, what are you, racist? I also suggest having an Asian and a gay friend, but that is advice for another post. My friendo Mexicano suggested I keep it simple: Ground beef, onions, peppers, and cheese. This sounds right in my wheelhouse. Let's do this.

No fancy name this week. I'm calling this recipe Soft Tacos (partially because I don't know the Spanish word for "soft").

You are going to need this stuff:

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
    Select the percentage of fat based on your own percentage of fat. Note that the grocery never sells ground beef in 1 lb packages... feather puffers.
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion
    Or anything round-ish and labeled onion in the produce section.
  • 1 Bell Pepper
    If have a favorite color, go with that one.
  • 1 Garlic clove
    I'm assuming clove means a piece. Right? What I'm saying here is don't use the whole garlic. Pop off a chunk, wrestle it out of the skin, and use that piece.
  • 2 Serrano Peppers
    Or any pepper if you want to be adventurous. Or, don't bother using peppers… that is if you are a wusslepuff. Heat Scale: 0 serranos = I'm a pansy, 1 serrano = I like tasty heat, 2 serranos = I like to feel a little burn, Any combination with seeds = clown posse crazy.

You will also need this stuff:

  • Corn Tortillas
    Yellow corn tortillas. White corn tortillas are for fouchebags.
  • Cheese, shredded
    I'm going to say Cheddar here, mostly because I cannot pronounce most other cheeses, and if I can't pronounce it, I don't trust it. Just saying. And don't buy that pre-shredded stuff guys.
  • Sour Cream
    You know what is awesome about sour cream? It almost literally can't go bad. It's already soured y'all!
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce
    Correction, one drop does *not* do it.

STEP 1: Chop Chop.
How are your chopping skeelz? You'll know after taking care of these vegetables. If you've been using the results of that ARD you had in 4th grade as an excuse to stay out of the kitchen, then consider utilizing some chopping tools that include safeties. Better safe than bloody. That's what I always say.

STEP 2: Sauté the Vegetables.
Does the word sauté scare you a bit? Don't sweat it. Let me hold your hand. Toss some oil (1 tbsp) or butter in a pan, set the heat at mid to mid-high, transfer your veggies to the (preheated) pan, sprinkle some salt on top, and give those guys an occasional stir. Keep this going until they all look soft (these aren't crunchy tacos, amigos). Once your onions and peppers look good (~10 minutes), pitch in your garlic and peppers (1 minute). Stir into the veggie mixture and grab your meat.

STEP 3: Brown the Beef
Assuming your meat is pretty fresh or you didn't buy it at that grocery store chain that rhymes with a giant who likes to eat human beings (hint: think Shrek), your next step is to make your beef brown. Shove your veggies to one side of the pan and chuck that meat in there. Did you salt and pepper your beef? You should have. Don't you watch the Food Network? Use your cooking utensil to break that meat ball up, and then start mixing in the veggies. After everything looks sufficiently happy and you've neutralized all the e coli your butcher tried to kill you with, turn your heat down to low and let's go get those tortillas ready.

STEP 4: Prep the Tortillas
If your Mexican friend is as smart as my Mexican friend, he would have told you that dipping the corn tortillas in hot oil is the way to go. And if you are reading this post, I'm guessing you probably make pretty good use of your microwave already. Let it rest tonight. Dipping the tortilla in hot oil softens it, but the oil also helps keep the fragile tortilla from breaking. Genius. More fat! That is why his people will take over the world in the not so distant future… that and their strict code of tacos before gringos.

Pour an eighth to a quarter inch of oil into a small frying pan, and turn the heat up to medium-high to high. When the oil is hot but not smoking like an Indonesian baby, carefully dip each tortilla into the oil (with tongs, not your fingers). When the tortilla begins to puff up a little, flip and wait a few moments, then take it out and lay it on a paper towel. Don't keep it in the oil for too long or you'll be having tostadas tonight. Repeat for the rest of your tortillas.

STEP 5: Assemble the Taco
You've made it this far, now follow these steps to success.
  1. Line up 3 tortillas on a plate
  2. Scoop the beef mixture in each one
  3. Douse with Louisiana Sauce
  4. Sprinkle cheese on top
  5. Add a dollop of sour cream to each taco

As I'm typing this very sentence, I know what you are saying to yourself. It is almost as if I'm sitting right behind to you and we are exchanging thoughts by means of a Vulcan mind-meld. You are thinking, "I didn't make the Spam® Crackles, and I'm not making these tacos." Relax, open a Tuesday wine, and let this FAQ ease your reservations.

The Aimless Chef's Soft Taco FAQ:

Uh-Uh mijo. ¿Are jue keeding me?
These tacos are good, senor. Sure, they certainly aren't my future Latina mami's tacos, but I'm super styked at the results. So while mi amor is all deeply rooted in tradition and probably laughing at my dish with that sexy Latin accent, I'm not ashamed of my soft tacos. Plus, I think it is good for lovers to have some differences anyway. For example, I'm not really in to cleaning.

Tacos are all about the garnish. Where the heck is the garnish?
When I prepared the dish for this post, I invited my Mexican friend, Asian friend, and gay friend over for taco night. Only my amigo showed up. Whatev dip switches. So my new best buddy says something like, "You forgot the bell pepper, homes!" Not so fast my amigo, I chopped it up and put them up in the meat. Did I make a mistake? I prefer to call it a trivial alteration, or more self-righteously, a revolutionary discovery. Yeah, my head is enormous, but it's not nice to make fun of someone's literal or figurative appearance. What's next?

¿¡Louisiana Hot Sauce!? Gringos *sigh*
Put down your chilies chicos, Louisiana Hot Sauce goes with these soft tacos just like those little Jack in a Box sauce packets pair exquisitely with their tacos. Don't question. Just put it on there. ¡Mira! I'm white and grew up in burbs of Houston, TX. Louisiana sauce is like my gravy. And "gringo" means foreigner anyway, so who is the gingo in my casa, eh? Usted.

On second thought, I'm starting to think this mind-meld FAQ section was a really bad idea. All I'm trying to say is that these soft tacos are something between good and life changing.

Remember that moment in the mid-nineties when you heard Stone Temple Pilots' Interstate Love Song on the radio and it changed your whole outlook on love?

These are the Interstate Love Song of soft tacos.

Ladies, I'm single, leave your digits in the comment section. Good appetite my amigas. ¡Coma Usted!