The “Lost Weekend” in Vegas is starting tonight and its gonna be “Epic”!

“Fear and Lothing of an Old School Hangover while Leaving Las Vegas”

Yes, it is time to do what I do best! “Roll-Low” in Sin City, hit the best dive bars and smoke filled cheap casinos. I am gonna gather as many coupon books as I can and hit the town running. From Franks Tiki Bar to Atomic Liquor, the weekend is sure to be an epic not to remember! I have 3 partners in crime coming with me, they are all game for some non traditional “off the strip” Vegas fun. Its a 2 night adventure with night 1 being the “Low Roller” night and night 2 being “Vintage Vegas” evening. I will post some pics on facebook and maybe even mobile “drunk blog” here…so stand by for the misadventures of the Hungry Detective!

PS you might see some familiar faces from the show…

The Low Roller

Menu

May 21st 2010

Dress Code: Unshaven, Best “Aloha” or “Lucky Gambling Shirt”

Amuse: 5:30PM

Franks Tiki Room

1712 W Charleston Ph#702 385 3110

Drink: “Bearded Clam”or “Bombora  Blast”

Appetizer:  6:30 PM

BBQ and Brew Pub

Ellis Island Casino

4178 Koval Lane Ph#702 733 8901

First Course: Roulette

Limit: $4.00 Min Bet-Max loss $30

Drink: Whatever is free and stiff

Second Course: Coupon Book

Casino Royale

3411 Las Vegas Blvd

Drink: $1 Heineken  or Margarita

: Coupon Book and $50 “Free” Slot play

Note: Must bet all “useable”coupons

Third Course: Beer Pong Anyone?

O’Shea’s Casino

3555 Las Vegas Blvd S Las Vegas

Fourth Course: Cheap Ass Slots

Slots o Fun

2880 Las Vegas Blvd


Optional  Course :8 or 11pm

Choice of

Double Down Saloon

4640 Paradise Road

Drink “Ass Juice” or “Bacon  Martini”

Hofbrauhaus

4510 Paradise Road 702 853 2337

Drink: Stein Holding Contest  (8 or 11pm)

Late Night “Refuel”

The Peppermill “Fireside Lounge”

2985 Las Vegas Blvd

702 735 4177

“A place of Neon, Fire and Las Vegas Legend”

If the night gets really ugly

Atomic Liquor

917 Freemont  St

(702) 384-7371

If you want to eat and gamble WAY LOW

Lucky Club Casino and Hotel

3227 Civic Ctr Dr

North Las Vegas, NV 89030

(702) 399-3297

www.luckyclublv.com

(2 dollar limit, 9 dollar steak-lobster)

Night 2 Vintage Night “Menu”

Vintage Vegas Night

Menu

May 22nd 2010

Dress Code: Dinner Jacket or Tuxedo, Just Like “Frankie and Sammy” would wear

5:00 PM

El Cortez Hotel Casino

600 E Freemont St

Drinks

2 for 1 Martini’s

EC Lounge

5:30 PM

Dinner

The Flame Steakhouse

Specialty is 20 oz Porterhouse for $20.00

7:00 PM

Plaza Hotel Casino

1 Main St (at end of Freemont St Experience)

Show

The Rat Pack is Back

9:00 PM -?

Locations Unknown

Possibilities:

Sahara Las Vegas, Binions, Freemont, Golden Nugget, El Cortez (good craps odds), Imperial Palace.

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Update on the Juan Carlos Cruz situation

I have been really torn about this. I feel the desire to believe he is innocent of everything and its just a big mix up. I have been dealing with news organizations wanting to interview me about Juan and talk about my feeling on the case and about him. I gave 1 interview to Good Morning America and have decided that at this time based upon the information I am receiving via various sources that its best if I just sit back and let this take its course without my comments. Maybe he just “snapped”…I don’t know…I am sure he is doing a lot of thinking in his cell right now. If he did do these things, he needs to be held accountable, that’s for sure !

This is the first time I have ever had a friend accused and involved in such a heinous crime. I am used to the whole “good guy/bad guy” thing….black and white….but now for me, things are a bit grey!

Hungry Detective to Calorie Commando:What the hell happened Juan?

Juan and I pose for a newspaper shot for my article about him vs me

Have you ever had one of those “holy sh*t moments when you are watching the news? Well I had one of those yesterday, big time! I was sitting down after a very long day at my real job of being a Police Officer here in the Los Angeles area and decided to turn on the news. I was watching the usual evening news events when a photo of a disheveled man in an orange shirt came on the screen with the headline “Murder for Hire Plot Foiled”. I took another sip of my drink and then realized who the man in the news photo was, it was Juan Carlos Cruz, my friend and fellow former Food Network TV host! I could not believe my eyes, damn I wish I had been paying attention to the news story so I ran to the computer and punched up the news web site and sure enough , it was Juan. Wait a minute, Juan was a “good guy” he is not supposed to be involved in “murder for hire” plots! I had to fight the temptation of making phone calls to investigators I know to find out what deal was as I am still a “cop” first and foremost and didn’t  want to mess anything up in the investigation.

I sat and thought about Juan and the history I have with him. Juan was my first “big” interview when I was writing for the Daily Breeze newspaper before I was on the Food Network. I remember that I had admired Juan for his focus and tenacity in overcoming his own “battle of the bulge” and going from a fat pastry chef to a thin celebrity chef. I became friends with Juan and my wife was even on his Calorie Commando show and she still makes his low fat onion dip to this day .

Juan and Giada on her set circa 2005

Juan and I had some cool adventures like when he  called me up one day and said “Hey lets go watch Giada film her show”. Wow, what a cool guy I thought to invite a peon like me to see one of Food Networks biggest stars film her show. We went and hung around her set while she cooked, we got to eat her food (tasty Arrancini balls) and I got to see how the process of filming a Food Network show actually worked. When I had a charity event or something like that, Juan would commit to help. I remember when Food Network canceled his show at around the same time I was starting to get my Hungry Detective show going. He was pretty bummed and I felt really bad for him as he soon realized that making Food TV can be a hurtful business (as I would learn a few years later). I kept in touch with Juan and he really seamed to be doing well, focusing on his Cookbooks and doing Krav Magra for fitness. I admired his ability to keep going and to persevere, he was always such a positive guy with a big heart! I got invited to the premier of Ratatouille to do the whole “food celebrity” thing. I walked onto the red carpet to do the press line and who was next to me, my buddy the Calorie Commando! We had a blast, laughed and after the movie we got to meet “real celebrities” and drink tons of wine.

I always wanted to do a show with my friend Juan, I thought the whole Hungry Detective/Calorie Commando thing went well together. I have always hated being a fat guy and really really admired Juan for what he has done, in fact I created a show treatment called “fat to fit” where Juan would force me to get thin be eating right and exercising, which would have pretty much been impossible for him to do as I am stubborn as a horse! I guess now that it will never be, since I don’t think he will be getting any shows “green lit” by network execs anytime soon.

I have not seen Juan in a bit over a year, but kept in contact with him via Facebook and was excited for the release of his new book. I don’t know what was going on in his life prior to last night, things could have gotten really ugly (well I guess they did). I do know that as a cop, as an investigator I would not arrest a person on a murder for hire charge unless I had a damn good case against him. I know that the investigators at Santa Monica PD are very competent and for Juan, that’s not a good thing. I am torn between wanting to support my friend, but being a cop (knowing what I know about the way things work in the world of good guys and bad guys) cutting all ties with him. Seeing him last night on the news, was a picture of a very sad ending to the career of a very nice guy who I called a friend.

Juan: What the hell happened?

“stakeout” iPhone barrio taco blog

Well a quick blog while I am “off the eye” on a stakeout. Yesterday was a very long day of work (19 hrs). Long story short , the day started off with me eating healthy food from my favorite store “Fresh and Easy” (which is how I like my food and my ladies). The day went downhill from there with South Central LA Taco Bell and ending at Tacos Galivan in Huntington Park at 1 am.

Now Huntington Park is about the closest thing to actually being in Mexico without leaving Los Angeles. There are some bad ass ghetto style taco stands in HP . Some are set up in front of bars and others in front of rim ships and even one in a car dealers lot. There is a pleathora of amazing authentic Mexican food…including a place where you actually pick a live chicken out and “sentence it to death” then enjoy it’s tasty goodness.

Unfortunatly for me, I picked El Taco Galivan. I first tries the carnitas taco thinking that how could anyplace in HP mess up carnitas. Well the carnitas must have been trying to convert to “al
Pastor” cause it tasted like a cross between the two. The chicken was worse, nasty and dark with zero flavor. The asada sope was the only bright spot in an otherwise shitty late night barrio taco experience.

Would I try Tacos El Galivan again? Yea I will give it another shot because it was so late and close to closing time when I ate there , but if it sucks again, I am going to that “Chicken Death Row” place where I know the meat is fresh!

The “healing” power of Pie, it just makes you feel good!

"The Hungry Detective" Pie by Beth Howard

A Pie Story

I met a woman yesterday named Beth Howard who makes pie. She makes pie because pie is how she is coping with the sudden loss of her husband. She decided that she needed something that felt “good”, something that made other people happy, in turn making her feel happy. Beth jumped in her RV with a friend and a camera and set off on an adventure across the west coast, making pie for strangers and seeing what happened. Well what happened is people discovered something Beth already knew, that Pie has “healing power”. It doesn’t have healing power in the traditional sense like an antibiotic of even Motrin, Pie “heals the soul”. It warms the heart from inside, it takes people back to a better time and it brings people together. Beth knows this and that is why she is baking pie’s, to help her “heal” by “healing” other people.

I looked into Beth’s eyes yesterday and saw into her soul (I know that’s heavy but its true). Beth needs Pie, and to tell you the truth, Pie needs Beth too. Beth needs Pie to give her direction, to focus her passion,  to help her remember and to help her forget. Pie needs Beth to help people do the same thing, and to remind people that Pie is warming to the soul, something which many of us have forgotten in this day and age. Pie is more than just a dessert (it was breakfast for me today) it is something more, something almost surreal. Pie is simple and complex at the same time, Pie doesn’t just fill the stomach, it fills the spirit as well.

Beth Howard Apple Pie for my Breakfast!

I don’t know where the next turn in the road for Beth’s Pie adventure will be, and at this point I don’t think she know either. I know that Beth will continue her journey into her own soul 1 pie at a time. I know that she will be alright, and that she will make the world a better place, 1 pie at a time.

Follow Beth’s adventures on her blog  http://theworldneedsmorepie.com/

Now its time for another slice of pie!

Swedish Meatball Emergency

I love a challenge in the kitchen and today was a big one. Martha brought Swedish meatballs home from IKEA today (but not the chair she was trying to find). The problem was they don’t come with a “sauce”. So when I got home from a long day at work I was forced to go for some iron chef action in my own kitchen and invent a suitable sauce to use.

Here it is my emergency Swedish meatball sauce.

1 can low sodium cream of chicken soup
2 tbs margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients in a skillet heat till it bubbles and starts to thicken the add meatballs and the flat egg noodles..

It was actually pretty good and fun to prepare and see if it worked ( I think it did )…

Have fun in the kitchen and remember a true test of your skills will come when you can make something from nothing.

My Encounter with Encounter

I decided to have lunch in a spaceship today…Well it’s not really a spaceship but it sure looks like one!

Encounter is the restaurant in the world famous “theme building” at LAX. It’s got great views of the runway’s at LAX so you can get jealous of all the people leaving on vacation on the planes taking off (if you are lucky maybe you will see an A380 or maybe the Iron Maiden plane).

Now , after coming up one of coolest elevators with retro space music straight out of star trek. The food is well, how can I put this …you are paying for the view and cool decor, the food is secondary. I had a plate of Edamame in with sea salt and sesame with a nice ponzu but at $ 7.00 it was a bit pricey . The club sanwich (14.00) was decent, served with bib lettuce a healthy portion of avocado and nice quality turkey. The garlic fries, were serves hot and just crispy enough with fresh garlic and parmasean cheese.

The 13 dollar hamburger my friend had looked so-so served with pepper Jack cheese, he really liked it but would like cardboard on a bun. I noticed an overpriced flat iron steak as well as a couple of overpriced salads and pastas to round out the menu.

So, would I recommend going to Encounter?…yea at least once so you can say you ate there!

It just felt good to be alive, everything in the world was just “right”, including my Frittata!

The view from my seats, section B upper deck at Dodger Stadium

It was a “Great Day” yesterday!

You know those days when everything just seems to go “right”. The kind when you get up in the morning and the coffee is extra good, the egg frittata  you make out of leftover garlic fries, sandwich ham and bacon is utterly fantastic and you would serve it in a restaurant. Well I had one of those days yesterday, a day where it just felt good to be alive, where everything went “right”. My morning started with me having nothing “real” to cook for breakfast, so I did what I always do in that situation, I considered it a “challenge” and went for some Iron Chef action in my kitchen. I had some left over frozen “Trader Joe’s Garlic Fries”, so I threw em in a hot pan with bit of olive oil. Next I fried up some bacon, some leftover “lunch meat” ham (the cheap kind from the store) and whipped up 5 eggs with milk. Dumped a bunch of 99 cent store chopped garlic into the eggs, then took everything and dumped it into the skillet over the garlic fries. I topped it off with some cheddar cheese and popped it in the oven for 20 min. It came out with just the right texture, a bit browned on the top…and TASTY AS HELL!

My "Leftover's Frittata"

Stubhub Jackpot!

You may or may not know that my family loves to go to sports games. We have season tickets for the L.A. Kings (NHL) and Chivas USA (MLS) and I was season ticket holder for the San Diego Chargers (NFL) until this year (drive was just too long). So we were messing around on http://www.stubhub.com (great place to score tickets) and I searched for the Laker’s playoff game for today (yesterday as I am writing this in the morning) just to laugh and see how expensive they were. Well I just about hit the floor when I found a pair of seats for 40 bucks each..these are LAKER PLAYOFF tickets folks….REGULAR Laker tickets go for way more than that, so my Laker fanatic wife Martha told me to snap them up, so we did. Long story short, Martha went with Matthew (our 13 yr old), Lakers won and fans got tacos from Jack in the Box too! Well I now had to deal with our 9 yr old Gabe all day, so I checked Stubhub and got upper deck seats for the Dodger game for $1.00…yea a buck (plus stupid service charges). Gabe and I went to Dodger stadium and it was an absolutely beautiful day…perfect for a ballgame. We could see the whole field and the hills around Dodger stadium from our seats! We had some tasty Dodger Dogs, basked in the sun and watched the Dodgers DESTROY the Pirates! I had not felt so relaxed in a long, long time. I didn’t have a care in the world other than spending some quality time with Gabe. It felt so good just to be alive, so good to be with my son, so good that the Dodgers were kicking the living crap out of the Pirates. I got some great bonding time with Gabe and before we knew it the game was over 9-3 Dodgers victory! The whole experience reminded me of when I was a boy and the Dodgers had great like Ron Cey, Steve Garvey and my boy Fernando Valenzuela.

It seams like those days come all to rarely now a days, so I just wanted to share it with any of you reading this. I hope you can have a day like I just had someday soon, it reminded me its great to be alive! My friend Alton is coming out here soon, I think I will take him to a Dodger game, I am sure he can use a day like I just had!

Gabe at the Dodger game

A little Latino “sabor” ala Northgate Market

Mucho Carne at Northgate Markets

Its all about the Meat!!!..

One of the great things about living in a major city like L.A. is the abundance of great ethnic food sources. I can get pretty much anything I need to make anything I want, within about a 20 mile radius of where I live. I love to check out the small mom and pop meat markets and strip mall ethnic food shops for fantastic ingredients to cook with. There are a growing number of larger “supermarkets” that cater to certain ethnic needs here in L.A. such as 99 Ranch or Mitsuwa which cater to the large Asian community here . Those places are great for fresh interesting choices of critters from the sea, most of which are still living.  I have never made it a secret of my fondness for red meat and I will eat it in many forms from a delicious and tasty New York steak to almost raw beef tataki made at Nijiya markets (yum). The Latino culture loves to cook meat over fire, and you know what, so do I! So having that in common and the fact that its coming up on “grilling season” I jammed over to a market near my home that is part of a growing chain of Latino influenced supermarkets called Gonzalez “Northgate” markets.

You know how when you walk into the “normal” supermarket suck as Ralph’s or Publix you see a fresh meat counter that has steaks, ground beef, roasts etc. …Well picture that on steriods, I am talking a red meat section that is at least 20 ft long with 15 different selections of meats! Many are seasoned such as the tasty carne asada, also there is prepared and chopped steak for tacos as well as carne res marinated in onions and citrus just ready to hit the grill! You want chicken, you got it baby, from little tiny grillers marinated in juice and spices (its a theme in Latino cooking) , to prepared pollo asada (white and dark meat separated) . a small section of the sausage display at Northgate marketThis place is fantastic, there are 4-5 fresh sausages stuffed with a variety of meats and spices from regions all over south and central america. They are fantastic, just buy em and throw em on the grill! Now if you want a bit of cheese, now sweat, there is another counter that is 30 feet long with every kind of Latino based cheese you can think of including that tasty Oaxaca style string cheese you can use to wrap a salad with (cool trick I learned in San Jose Del Cabo Mexico).

So if you are in for a culinary change and need something different to light up a creative spark in the kitchen, or hell even if you just want some great meat, take a trip to Northgate markets if you live in L.A. or if you dont live here, go out and find something like it and just walk in the door. I think you will be pleased with what you find!