Somali Food in Denver at Mandeeq’s East African Restaurant

Thunder Queen and I dipped into this East African restaurant at the corner of Havana and Florida a couple of weeks ago for lunch. We wanted something different, so we got ourselves something different. That’s what bosses do.

Let’s go back to that word: different. Mandeeq’s was definitely different. Its decor was Chinese, from the walls to the plates. The menu had little in the way of any descriptions other than the types of meats you could order and the sides available.

But there was something familiar in that difference. Rather than being a strange spread of bizarre and unrecognizable foods, this was a mixture of many things recognizable, so don’t be scurred.

In fact, the pleasant surprise we found in this place was that in incorporates the flavors of diverse regions, from the Mediterranean Near East, to Ethiopia, to India. In short, one finds ingredients from all points along the spice routes connecting the East and West.

We found the soup we were served to be particularly succulent. It smacked of warm Indian spices and probably was based in a lamb bone broth. The meat was delicious. The leg of lamb I had tasted like it came right out of someone’s crock pot. I like that. I like that a lot. The vegetables reminded us of the kind you find heaped onto injeera in your favorite Abyssinian restaurant.*

I believe the bill was approximately $13.00-$15.00 each. I mention this because there were no prices on the menu. It was plenty of food, more than plenty, and it was well cooked and healthy tasting.

In short, don’t go for the decor (does anyone, really?). Go for the food. Catch a soccer game on one of the small televisions, and relax. The people are friendly and they know how to cook. Go hang out with them.

*I occasionally use outdated geographic terms. You should get used to it, because it’s not going to change, Burma.

A non-Terran’s Guide to Thanksgiving

I have done the anthropological research on this holiday for you. Voilà, my findings.



Thanksgiving was originally a holiday observed in the United States of America and Canada on Earth that enabled people to celebrate being thankful for what they had. It was still celebrated as of the 2370s.

…In 2266, the crew of the USS Enterprise were prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving. Captain Kirk was irritated because there was not any turkey on board the ship; the crew was going to have to eat meatloaf instead. Kirk was later informed that, while in the ovens, the meatloaf mysteriously transformed into turkey. This transformation was caused by Charles Evans, a boy with incredible powers. (TOS: “Charlie X“)

In 2372Benjamin Sisko invited the entire senior staff of Deep Space 9 to Thanksgiving dinner. The captain had been growing vegetables for months to serve at the dinner. A year laterMichael Eddington told Sisko that he thought his former commanding officer had added too much tarragon to the stuffing. (DS9: “Blaze of Glory“)


So my takeaway from studying the above passages about this regional Earth tradition is that it had something to do with a minor Divinity miraculously transforming meatloaf into turkey to feed the hungry.

While the source is not totally clear, meatloaf is made from ground meat, presumably of any type. If this was turkey meat, then this would have been a turkey ground down and reconstructed as a loaf of meat bread, then subsequently re-deconstructed and re-reconstructed into a turkey form.

Thanksgiving therefore is essentially an Earth holiday about the endless cycle of death and rebirth. Destruction and creation. See also: Lord Shiva.

The new Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard is here and all y’all who knew and didn’t tell me are forgotten.

If Dairy Queen’s new Harvest Berry Pie Blizzard were on RuPaul, it would be a fat drag queen from Atlanta who insists on booty shorts at all times.

I usually only open my inbox for my custom-curated porn subscription and today I was not disappointed.

Fuck pumpkin spice. There are many better contenders to be food mascot of Fall, and to prove it, here is the new Dairy Queen Harvest Berry Blizzard, which asks the only real question, “How dare you?”

Loaded Red Potato Casserole- the perfect food to feed your adorable football hooligans


Link to Taste of Home’s Recipe for this Delicious Casserole

‘Tis the season of the ol’ pig iron, or whatever. The thing I love about this recipe is that it uses red potatoes, which makes you go, “oooh, classy,” but then it’s a casserole, so you’re like, “oh, so not that classy.”

You can easily make this vegetarian by substituting the bacon with super simple homemade vegan bacon, which I will show you how to make here. This way, even your most sensitive football fans can enjoy the big game!

This vegetarian football warrior is working up quite an appetite beating up this Kansas City fan guy who probably squirts shampoo into bunnies’ eyes for fun.

Vegan Bacon

This is delicious, cheap, and a great work around for a pervasive ingredient. I’m not even going to call this a recipe, but I hope that just sharing the idea that a super easy vegan bacon alternative is available will inspire you to use this fantastic substitute.



Bacon Salt (Don’t worry. It’s not a fancy specialty product. Walmart carries it, so you’re all set, Alabama).

Cooking oil

Paper towels


Slice off the rounded edge of an eggplant like you’re going to julienne it. Then cut the block into sheets about the thickness of thin bacon, possibly a bit thinner so they’re a little bit floppy. Cut the sheets into strips the width of bacon. There. Bacon shapes.

Put the bacon shapes, because we’re going with that, onto a paper towel and sprinkle with bacon salt (Like I said in the ingredients list- it’s just seasoning salt, like Lawry’s. It’s not a specialty vegetarian ingredient. You can find it at Walmart, usually with the barbecue seasonings. This shit makes other shit taste like bacon and is a vegan seasoning mix, so just buy this.

After you season both sides of your shapes, let them sit for like ten or fifteen minutes so the eggplant can weep. Press it with a paper towel. Or don’t. We both know you’re just going to do what you want anyway.

Fry these monster babies in some vegetable oil. Eyeball it. These will start to brown and crisp up and if you get them out at the right time, they’ll still have soft, chewy bits, and pockets of fatty oil, just like bacon.

As a final step, and in the name of decency, pat your bac’n with paper towel to absorb excess oil. There will be excess oil.

Make this. I promise it is so good and way better than any mock bacon you can buy in the grocery store. You can use this as a bacon substitute for club sandwiches, crumble it into a salad, put whatever. If you’re looking to cut out bacon for your heart, animals, the environment, Allah, whatever, this is a must-have in your cooking repertoire.

It’s Hatch Season. Alert your Face Holes.

Image Source: Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes

Have a recipe for a chile relleno egg and cheese casserole, compadres.

Saturday. I was riding the bus near Colfax and Federal when I saw a bunch of people hanging out in a parking lot around a large metal cage rotating horizontally on a spigot. “Oh, my god,” I thought…

But before I could finish, a gentleman sitting behind me quite loudly, yelled, “Hatch chiles? Oh fuck yeah!” He pulled the cord, and skittered off the bus towards the promised land. Leaving me just nodding, smiling in understanding. That gentleman is a hero. He did what we all felt.

I made my own way to the chile party after getting my rental car. This was my moment to grab a bag delicious, roasted green New Mexico chiles, and more importantly, to smell them.

Look, you can roast chiles with a broiler and some tin foil in your oven, and charring hatch chiles gives off this indescribable buttery, umami smell that any home should experience, but standing in line with a Mexican Coke and bunch of other people in a parking lot paying cash only to a man under a pop up tent is part of the performative social culture of the region. Who can say no to authenticity? Plus, it reminds me of home- this is a Southwestern tradition, one that our sisters and brothers in the Hatch Valley blessedly make possible for us all.

And, now, dear readers, I share with you this recipe which is a very close approximation of one I’ve often used to make for weekend breakfasts, so it’s tested for sure. You can make this any time of year: Poblano and even Anaheim peppers work very well too. May your face enjoy it.

Chile Relleno Breakfast Casserole

Recipe adapted from John Lewis and Ray England, Juan Luis, Charleston, SC

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes cooling time

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, plus 30 minutes cooling time


1¾ pounds (12 medium) poblano chiles

1½ cups half-and-half

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

8 eggs

1 garlic clove

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

Boiling water, for baking


1. Preheat the broiler to high and line a sheet pan with foil. Line the chiles next to each other on the pan and broil, turning as needed, until the chiles are well charred, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 15 minutes, then peel and deseed the poblanos using the back of a knife.

2. Lower the oven temperature to 300°. In a blender, combine the half-and-half, flour, salt, eggs and garlic. Blend on medium until smooth.

3. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and line with a quarter of the roast poblanos, followed by a quarter of the grated cheese. Continue this layering process until all the chiles and cheese have been used. Pour the egg mixture in to cover the chiles and cheese.

4. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to come up halfway along the sides of the baking dish. Bake until the eggs begin to set, 30 minutes, then raise the temperature to 400° and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the eggs are fully cooked and the top is golden brown.

5. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Recipe courtesy of:

White Chocolate Peanut M&M’s- Strange, but Hear Me Out

Of course I put them on a zafu first. They might as well get familiar with it since these are going straight to my ass.

Alright, so I’ve been on a hunt for something called Peanut Jalapeno M&Ms. The Mother Ship told me about them, and I’m going to hit those hard and recklessly, like a drunk New Zealand pigeon.

Yo, so my prowl was weak today, but then bam, Candy Jesus, was like, “Oh child, you close, but not close enough. Have this mana to tide you over on your quest” (He’s black). And then he gave me these white chocolate peanut M&Ms.

Alright, so look, there’s no way around this: white chocolate is basic bitch chocolate. In fact, it’s not even chocolate at all. These are white chocolate m&ms. Insert Law of Transitivity (up top debate team!). White Chocolate Peanut M&Ms are for basic fucking bitches. But you know what? The half-empty bag next to me tells me a lot about who I am right now. A basic fucking bitch. And I like it.

So the deal is this: I don’t know if I’d snack on these all day, but these would be soooooo good thrown in with some Moose Track ice cream. And yeah, I have a plan. And yeah, I’m going to carry it out. And yeah, there’s going to be a blog post about it.

What else do you think these nugs would sprinkle well on? Do please let us know in the comments, good sirs and madams.