Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chicken Fajita Burrito

THE GAME: Angels vs Yankees

The stretch of the year between Memorial Day and the middle of July is my favorite time of the year. Memorial Day barbecues, the summer solstice (which is coming up in 5 hours), the 4th of July, the MLB All-Star Game, and (somewhat selfishly) my birthday. I love the long, warm days. 

But man, what a boring time of the year for sports. College football is still 66 days away. The NBA Finals were a 5-game whimper without even the threat of a bang. 

I love baseball, but watching the Angels without Mike Trout is not my favorite. (Since last I wrote here, they lost another pitcher, Matt Shoemaker, which means the top 5 starters on their depth chart are now all on the DL.) 

But they're playing the Yankees, so I figured I'd settle in and watch. They played the Yankees last week and took 2 out of 3 from them... but of course, that was in Anaheim. Now it's in the Bronx, where the Yankees mash in their Little League park. 

(It's no coincidence that they are a dominant 22-9 at home and only 16-20 on the road.) 

I lived in NYC for two baseball seasons a few years back. I thought the food that I would miss most would be In-n-Out burgers, but it wasn't. There were plenty of good burger places there. Next I thought I would miss places like Zankou Chicken and a handful of other Lebanese/Armenian joints around Southern California, but it turned out I lived four blocks from a stretch of Middle Eastern restaurants and markets that were in many ways superior to the stuff with which I grew up.

But the Mexican food was... atrocious. There were a few high-end Mexican restaurants at which I dined that served acceptable food, but they were always accompanied by a $100 tab for two people. And the street taco stands and burrito joints? I did not find a single one that I liked.

So, while reminiscing about those Angels-Yankees games I used to watch in person, I thought I'd cook up something with a Mexican flair. (Though fajitas are much more Tex-Mex than Mexican, if you care about such things.)

NOTES ON THE FOOD: 
  • At a local butcher, I picked up a bag of chicken fajita mix, with bell peppers, red and white onions, and spices. I cooked it in the cast iron pan for ten minutes. 

  • Most of the time, I abhor instant rice. But the Uncle Ben's "Spanish Style" is a guilty pleasure: I absolutely love the sodium overload and the seasoning blend packed with garlic and onion powders. It's just one of those things I happen to love and can't explain, like Twinkies or Crystal Pepsi. 
  • I added half of the packet on top of the chicken and veggies. 

  • The Cascabel chile gets its name from the rattling of the seeds inside; cascabel means "little bell" or "little rattle" in Spanish. The chile is not so much spicy as it is smoky and woody. When simmered in sauce, like this one here, it tastes like an earthy mole sauce. 
  • I wrapped up the rice and chicken fajitas inside a large tortilla and placed it inside a pyrex dish, then spread a layer of the Cascabel sauce on top. 
  • I covered it with cheese and baked it in the oven for fifteen minutes.

  • When it came out of the oven, I covered it with cilantro. 
  • It was spectacular. It may not be authentic Mexican, but damn was it delicious. 

NOTES ON THE GAME: 
  • Cameron Maybin hits a leadoff double. Lemme check something on Baseball Reference real quick... Yep, just what I thought. In 21 games at leadoff, he's hitting .388. (For comparison, in 26 games batting 6th and 7th, he hit .143.)
  • Every time Pujols comes up with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, I hold my breath waiting for a triple play. Not exactly what you want out of the highest-paid player on your team. 
  • Pujols hits an RBI single. That's his 49th on the season, good for 3rd in the American League. Yet his WAR is -.8. That's negative, folks. He hits singles and home runs but provides nothing else of value. 
  • The Angels had a double, single, and base on balls that inning before recording a single out, yet only scored 1 run. I'm guessing that won't be enough to win. 
  • PARKER BRIDWELL WITH A NO HITTER THROUGH ONE! Stay close to the TV, Angels fans. It only took him 26 pitches to get through the first. 
  • Angels add two more in the second inning. Still not enough. 
  • Are all the dorks fans sitting in the "Judge's Chambers" required to wear a robe? It looks like a pleasant enough night in NYC, but what about next month when it's 98ยบ with 95% humidity?
  • Bridwell hasn't given up a hit through three innings, but he's at 65 pitches with 4 bases on ball. He's like C.J. Wilson, but without a vagina. 
  • The Yankees get their first hit of the game on the first pitch of the 4th inning. Let's see what happens here.
  • Gary Sanchez was the next batter; he walked on a pitch in the zone that should have been called strike three. Oh well; you know you will never get the calls when you're in New York, you can't leave it up to the umpires. 
  • The Yankees get one run in the inning. Could have been much worse. 3-1 Angels after 4. 
  • Hey, waddaya know, Kole Calhoun fouled the ball into the dirt, the Yankees catcher acted like he caught it, and the umpire called Calhoun out. There is literally zero doubt that the ball hit the ground. A classic Yankees home-field call. Yankees fans think everyone hates them because they have been so successful. That's only a part of it. Baseball fans hate the Yankees because they constantly get away with shit like that. 
  • Aaron Judge hits another one of his custom homers to right field that would be a flyout in 29 other parks in America. 3-2 Angels. 
  • Sanchez ties it up with a home run to... you guessed it, right field. "Anything hit to that part of the field has a chance to go out," Mark Gubicza says. 
  • Maybin homers, Calhoun doubles, and Escobar triples. The Angels now lead 5-3, but more importantly, that means Papa John's pizzas are half price tomorrow. 
  • This game has been going on for more than two and a half hours and it's only the top of the 7th. I went to a minor league game last week - High-A Angels vs. High-A Dodgers - and the entire game was over in 2 hours 25 minutes. One of many reasons why I prefer minor league baseball in person.
  • Also, this ticket cost only $13: 
 
  • Cam Bedrosian comes in and throws a 1-2-3 7th inning. It's good to have him back from the DL; he's my favorite Angels reliever since K-Rod was in his prime. 
  • Woah, Keynan Middleton is pitching the 8th for the Angels. I know the team has big hopes for his future, but I'm surprised to see him in here when Bedrosian just went 1-2-3 in the 7th. I know Cam just returned from injury, but that is still classic Mike Scioscia: "Well, my most talented reliever just had a perfect inning, I think I'll yank him for a rookie."
  • A Yankees fan can be heard loudly yelling "Fuck the Angels!" Stay classy, New York. The Angels have as many championships in this century as the Yankees do. 
  • What's good for the goose is good for the gander: .185-hitting Luis Valbuena just crushed a home run. 8-3 Angels. 
  • That's the final score. The Yankees have now lost three in a row to the Angels. Sandwiched between those three losses? A four-game losing streak to the A's, who have the worst record in the AL. 
  • The Angels are now 12-0 on Tuesdays this season. That's one of the most bizarre statistics I've heard in quite a while. 

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