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eG Foodblog: mizducky - The Tightwad Gourmand turns pro

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#61 Toliver

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 11:35 AM

A run to the South Bay today...How far down? I'm imagining a tour of the Filipino restaurants in National City. Or Mexican in Chula Vista or IB?

Thanks for the tour of the Del. As great an experience as it is, it's even better at Christmas time. They really go all out with their decorations.

I'm enjoying your blog quite a bit. I grew up in Linda Vista and Serra Mesa (Birdland) so it's great to see familiar ground once again.

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#62 suzilightning

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 12:18 PM

Actually, while we're on the subject of light cheese, you might want to see if you can find Cabot 50% Light Cheddar out your way.  It actually has a distinct Cheddar sharpness and decent mouthfeel, though you can tell the difference between it and their full-fat product.  Still, I've tried it, and it's not too shabby at all.  (I don't know whether Tillamook makes a similar product.  As I consider Cabot and Tillamook roughly equal in quality, with Tillamook having the edge on flavor, if you do happen to find something that calls itself "Tillamook Light Cheddar," try it.  I know I haven't seen such a creature over on this coast.)

Thanks for the tip--I'm pretty sure I've seen the Cabot light cheeses in some store or other; now I'll make a point of it to seek them out.


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ellen,

congratulations on your slow and steady progress towards health. the cabot light is good but if you like swiss cheese the best low fat i have found is heavenly light swiss from finlandia. it is the only one johnnybird and i have found that has good mouth feel but is low enough in fat that he can tolerate it.

any chance you are hopping across the border for some cocktails or fish tacos?
The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe.

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#63 Pam R

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 12:21 PM

mizducky - what a pleasure to have you blogging again. I'm in the midst of the pre-Passover craziness here, but I'm trying to catch up with you at least once a day!

Were those beets at the farmer's market white? (or was that something else that I missed?)

And thanks for the the fish-heads song . . . I remember the video well, and will continue to hum it all day long. :blink:

#64 onehsancare

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 01:42 PM

Have you tried kelp noodles? They're essentially calorie-less, almost tasteless, crunchy, and filling.

Here's a link to a site for a brand I don't buy, but it's got a good description: Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles

They've got a different name at the Asian food store I frequent--something generic like "seaweed paste."
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#65 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 02:05 PM

Coming in here a little bit late, Ms. D. That's some provocative title for your blog! Turning pro, are ya?

Congratulations on all the good things happening in your life. I really admire you for putting yourself out there for all of us to see.

(oh, geez. Fish heads, fish heads ...)
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#66 mizducky

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 06:02 PM

Hi, I'm back--and not only do I have photos to process, but I'm feeling in need of a little nap! :wacko: But before I go off to regather myself, let me respond to a few posts:

A run to the South Bay today...How far down?  I'm imagining a tour of the Filipino restaurants in National City.  Or Mexican in Chula Vista or IB?

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Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner! My main destination was in fact National City, to check out some more Filipino food and culture. And we wandered a few other places, but not, today, as far as Chula Vista or the Mexican border.

Were those beets at the farmer's market white? (or was that something else that I missed?)

And thanks for the the fish-heads song . . . I remember the video well, and will continue to hum it all day long. :blink:

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I was guessing that the big round white root vegetables in one of my farmer's market photos were turnips--not 100 percent certain by any means, but that's what the greens looked like. The beets I wound up buying are the conventional dark-red ones, from the vendor with all the strawberries (though their beets did not wind up in that shot). Heh. Sorry for getting the Fish Heads song stuck in everybody's heads--especially yours, Pam, as you churn out all that gefilte fish in time for Passover! :biggrin:

onehsancare, thanks for the tip about kelp noodles. I don't think I've ever seen them before, but now that I know they exist, I'll make a point of looking for them. Speaking of which, I have become very fond of shirataki (konnyaku) noodles, which is another virtually calorie-free product. In fact, I might wind up making something with shirataki tonight ... we shall see.

Okay, there will now be another brief intermission for napping and photoing. Back shortly...

#67 mizducky

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 09:10 PM

Whoa, did I ever crash hard! The bottom really fell out of my energy bucket, there. This blogging stuff is serious work! :biggrin:

There was also a little battle with photos, but I think I've got that licked now.

Now I've got to get a post together to show you what-all I was up to this afternoon. Back shortly ...

#68 mizducky

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 09:36 PM

So today, my buddy David drove so I could take photos while we were en route.

There are many ways to get from San Diego down to National City. If you simply jump on the freeway, provided it isn't rush hour, you can be there in fifteen minutes flat. But then you'd miss all sorts of slices of multicultural life. Instead, I directed David to take us down Euclid Avenue, a street the runs south from El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego all the way down through National City, passing through all sorts of neighborhoods and their eateries and groceries:

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A humble little neighborhood market

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The local Food-4-Less shows its cultural sensitivity

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There must be bazillions of taco stands all over San Diego that look something like this--I think of them as being equivalent to that really "sincere" pumpkin patch that Linus was always waiting for the Great Pumpkin in. This taco stand looked especially "sincere" to me--I need to check it out one of these days.

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Ditto this barbeque joint. Especially since it also advertises soul food. My buddy David hails from Texas, and while he doesn't feel qualified to judge soul food, he felt this place had the right look to possibly be a great BBQ joint. "What makes it look right?" I asked. "It's grundgy enough!" he answered. :laugh:

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Finally, we started seeing signs that we were entering the Filipino neighborhood

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And here is our destination. In this shopping center is Seafood City, a huge supermarket catering to the Filipino community, plus ...

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Goldilocks, one of a half-dozen US branches of a restaurant chain based in the Phillipines. A Filipino friend recommended this place to me, so we're here to check it out.

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Awwwww ... I wanna teeshirt! :laugh: (I'm sort of holding off on unnecessary clothing purchases until my size stabilizes a bit more, though...)

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Goldilocks is primarily a bakery, doing everything from simple bread and buns to these outrageous cakes. Fondant and airbrush city! :biggrin: But they also have table service with a full menu, which was what we were here for.

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Over David's shoulder you can see folks enjoying dessert drinks, plus a video screen that was running non-stop ads for various Goldilocks products.

And here is what we ordered:
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Siumai (sp?) -- looked and tasted pretty similar to the Chinese dumplings of the similar name.

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After Doddie's demonstration of how to make garlic rice, of course I had to get some.

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Lechon paksiew (sp?), and a sauerkraut salad whose name I'm forgetting at the moment.

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Barbeque pork skewers--my Texan buddy approved! :biggrin:

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Cucumber salad.

All of the above food, plus coffee for two, came to something like $27. Incredibly reasonable.

To be continued...

#69 mizducky

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 09:54 PM

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Now how often do you see a supermarket with a statue out front honoring a national hero? David and I thought this was incredibly cool. (For more info on Jose Rizal, look here).

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Like I said, this place is huge.

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And so is the seafood department for which it is named.

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Look! Pocky! :laugh:

I couldn't leave after gallivanting all around this store without buying something, but mindful of the backlog of veg I still need to do something with, I restricted myself to a half-dozen salted duck eggs and a bag of bean sprouts.

National City has a long and fascinating history, including a period in the late 1800s when it was bidding to be, and lost out on being, the major railroad terminus of Southern California. There are some lovely examples of 19th century architecture left, including this carefully preserved block of brick rowhouses that look like they'd been dropped in from some East Coast city:
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And speaking of history: remember yesterday when I talked about the Coronado Bridge? When it was first constructed, a bunch of the support structure on its mainland end obliterated several blocks of a Mexican-American neighborhood known as Barrio Logan. The residents protested, and the eventual upshot was that they claimed the land under the bridge as a people's park. Chicano Park is now a well-loved neighborhood park sporting some gorgeous mural art, mainly on themes of politics and cultural identity:
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#70 mizducky

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 10:02 PM

Reassessing the late hour, my big lunch, and my still-wavering energy level, I decided to forgo any major cooking projects this evening, and instead made a light supper of leftover sinigang soup (boy, did that fish head produce a well-gelling broth!).

On tap for tomorrow: got that dinner at The Linkery planned. Before that ... well, I really need to get some more paid work in--my schedule's flexible, but not that flexible!-- but I'll also do some puttering about in the kitchen in between puttering around on the computer.

Actually, I've been doing some work right along ... we've got several writers for Eats.It, and every night I get a new recommendation edited, uploaded to the site, and placed on its front page. Production, bay-bee! :biggrin:

Even though I'm winding down, I'll be awake for a few more hours here, so if you have any questions or comments, fire away. I did get a PM or two with questions, so I'll start a separate post to address those.

#71 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 10:23 PM

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Finally, we started seeing signs that we were entering the Filipino neighborhood

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Lutong-Bahay means Home-cooked Food in Tagalog, MizDucky. If you want to know what that means. :biggrin:

Goldilocks, one of a half-dozen US branches of a restaurant chain based in the Phillipines. A Filipino friend recommended this place to me, so we're here to check it out.

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Awwwww ... I wanna teeshirt!  :laugh: (I'm sort of holding off on unnecessary clothing purchases until my size stabilizes a bit more, though...)

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Goldilocks is primarily a bakery, doing everything from simple bread and buns to these outrageous cakes. Fondant and airbrush city! :biggrin: But they also have table service with a full menu, which was what we were here for.

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Oh my you have a Goldilocks there???? I would have asked you to try their polvoron. It's a sweet snack made basically with milk powder and sugar. You gotta try it!

And here is what we ordered:
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Siumai (sp?) -- looked and tasted pretty similar to the Chinese dumplings of the similar name.

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After Doddie's demonstration of how to make garlic rice, of course I had to get some.

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Lechon paksiew (sp?), and a sauerkraut salad whose name I'm forgetting at the moment.

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Barbeque pork skewers--my Texan buddy approved! :biggrin:

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Siomai is our Filipino version of the chinese siumai (pork dumplings). We usually eat it with soy sauce, kalamansi juice + chili oil dip. The Lechon Paksiw is a favorite Filipino fiesta food made out of leftover roasted pig simmered in vinegary-sweet sauce. Those pork barbeque is a common Filipino sidewalk snack served all over the streets of Manila. I really miss those.

And now that you's had garlic fried rice - how did you like it?
:smile:

Edited by Domestic Goddess, 21 March 2007 - 10:25 PM.

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#72 mizducky

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 10:56 PM

And now that you's had garlic fried rice - how did you like it?[/b]  :smile:

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It was quite nice, but ... not as garlicky as I was hoping (I adore garlic!). Looking at the amount of garlic you put in your garlic rice, I think I probably would have liked yours a lot better! :wink:

#73 hzrt8w

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 11:27 PM

Nice pictures of Hotel Del, Ellen! Makes me a little bit home sick. Last time I was down there, I went sailing in the San Diego Harbor with my college roommate. About 4 years ago now.

San Diego is quite a dynamic place. Many of the restaurants which we frequented back in college days are long gone. Change over is quite rapid. There wasn't a population of Chinese/Filipino/Vietnamese as big as today 20+ years ago.

In the late 70's, reading a school catelog from SDSU in a library in Hong Kong. Saw a black and white picture of some students playing volley ball. An adobe wall with small bells and palm trees around (the Aztec shot). I was intrigued. The rest is history. Funny how the significant turn of one's life may start from something so innocently simple!
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#74 mizducky

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:12 AM

I've had a few people PM me asking for my tips, tricks, suggestions, and observations about healthy reasonable weight loss for food-loving people. I've sort of been dropping them in randomly here and there, but here's a whole bunch of them at once off the top of my head:

1. The most fundamental thing for me is having my mental game in order. Motivation motivation motivation. I can't just think of it as a "diet" for a short period of time, that I'll then stop when I've reached goal. I have to think of it as a way of life I can comfortably and happily maintain for the duration--i.e. theoretically, for the rest of my life. In my case, the final kick in the pants was watching my dad die a few years ago, of kidney failure resulting from type 2 diabetes, after a lifetime of eating outrageously despite all his doctors' warnings. It was a miserable and totally preventable death, and for a long-lived family like ours it was way too soon, and it made me look really really hard at ways I had also been ignoring doctors' warnings, and my own body's distress signals, for years. It took me a year after Dad's death to get myself totally committed to doing something about that, but once I made up my mind, I bid fond farewell to the old way of eating and have (mostly) never looked back.

2. Second most fundamental thing: do not underestimate the degree of difficulty of this life change you'll be making. I was essentially attempting to reprogram myself after a lifetime of dysfunctional learned behaviors around food, including some major angst about overweight and food behavior (almost literally) beaten into my head from way early in childhood. This is major, and so I have given it the attention and resources appropriate to the humongous effort it requires.

3. Another part of my mental game: you may have noticed me occasionally joking here and there about The Lizard Brain. It's no joke, really: many brain scientists observe that we humans have a triune brain, consisting of three evolutionary layers: the neocortex, seat of rational thought and consciousness, is evolutionarily the newest; the limbic system, a.k.a. the "Dog Brain", is older, and tends to be involved in processing such emotional bonding behaviors as love and loyalty; and the oldest layer, the so-called Lizard Brain, is the seat of basic survival instincts such as lust, hunger, and territorial aggression. I love the way this article explains this, especially this quote:

Have you ever wondered why you reach for that pile of hot greasy fries while you tell yourself you are on a diet? The answer is that you have three brains, and the older brains were wired to put on weight long ago when food was scarce. Your old brains are not easily controlled by your fancy new brain hardware that reads diet books.


So--do NOT underestimate the Lizard Brain! 'Cause it'll gitcha when you're not paying attention! The best ways I've found to cope with it, is a combination of keeping close track of my food intake with all those lists and charts I mentioned previously, the better to prevent it convincing me to cheat; not letting myself get too hungry, tired, or emotionally upset--all conditions in which the rational brain is at a disadvantage and the Lizard Brain can rush in and say "ARRRRR! EATTTTT!!!"; and simply staying aware of my inner lizard, understanding its moods and its functions, so it can't sneak up on me.

4. Having said all that, there is indeed an important place for little tips and tricks, so that you'll be cheerful about eating this way for the rest of your life. My favorite tips:

a. "You can have it all--you just can't have it all right now." As far as I'm concerned, there are NO foods that are absolutely verboten, no foods that are "bad". There are, however, foods that are so nutritionally dense or high in calories that it's best to have them only for very occasional splurges. So--treat them like the splurges they are, and make choices wisely. Yes, I can still enjoy my beloved red-cooked pork belly--but to keep from blowing my daily food allotment out of the water, I only have it occasionally and in small servings. Yes, if I really wanted to, I could have a fast-food burger and fries--but I'd have to make proper room for it in my food plan, and I early on resolved that if I was going to have a splurge, I damn well wasn't going to blow it on a crappy fast-food burger! Somehow, knowing that I could choose those foods if I really wanted them, but that I was choosing not to because I wanted to spend my splurges on worthier things, has successfully mollified my inner lizard's lust for fast food crap. Like I said, the majority of this game for me is mental.

b. Party on the vegetables! Vegetables offer such huge variety in taste, texture, versatility ... it's a shame, really, how often even good restaurants, even in this day and age, still treat them as also-rans, or act as if the only way to make them interesting is to dump a lot of fat on them. (No, I'm not anti-fat--we need fat for health, after all--but even healthy fats are a big caloric hit and need to be used with care). I have really made an effort to improve my vegetable cookery and move beyond the "just add fat" solution. Roasting, broth braising, steaming, stir-frying; flavoring with high-flavor/low-calorie condiments such as soy sauces, mustards, hot sauces, vinegars, etc etc etc ... the possibilities are really endless.

c. For those of us who, like me, were meat/fat addicts, maximizing the meatiness of non-meat foodstuffs is a great boon to happy healthy eating. That's another reason why I like roasting vegetables and flavoring them with soy sauces, both of which add lots of umami; roasting also contracts and evaporates moisture from vegetables, making their texture a little more meatlike. And cooking with meat-based broths obviously is adding meaty flavor with low caloric impact. Plus some vegetables are just naturally more meatlike--mushrooms, for instance, are great meat-simulators both in texture and in naturally-occuring glutamates.

d. The Asian cuisines, in my opinion, are some of the friendliest to those who wish to lose weight. They tend to have some of the healthiest ratios of meat to carb to veg, plus they really have a way with those vegetables. eGulleteers who have lived in Vietnam for any length of time have commented that they lost weight almost effortlessly on a steady diet of pho and other such dishes; the first few months of my regimen, I ate pho for lunch almost every single day. Now obviously, if I ate big hunks of pork belly every day I wouldn't be faring so well! But I already covered that earlier, right? :smile:

e. Spread your day's food across several small meals rather than two or three big ones; don't go more than five hours between meals. The human metabolism works more efficiently if its continually processing modest amounts of fuel rather than cycling up and down as it wades through one big chunk of fuel followed by several hours of nuthin'. And the blood sugar level stays more even, too--nothing wakes the Lizard Brain up in full effect like a low blood sugar hunger attack.

f. Fluids, fluids, fluids. When you lose weight, that weight has to go somewhere, and that somewhere inevitably involves the kidneys and GI tract. Help your body do that processing efficiently by giving it plenty of fluids to help wash the weight loss byproducts away.

g. Eating right is only part of the equation. Exercise is the other part. Not only does it burn calories outright, but it also revs up the basal metabolism so that it processes more efficiently; more efficient processing means easier weight loss. I confess I still have a long way to go with the exercise part of my program, but as my physical condition has improved, physical movement has become a whole lot more enjoyable.

h. Wise use of selected diet-industry products. The vast majority of diet foods I find, frankly, disgusting. But there are a few I find benign to indispensible. The artificially-sweetened beverage powders, to make sure I get in my daily fluids. The non-stick cooking sprays--I saute with them, and then use small quanitities of high-quality fats for flavor. And we've already discussed the quest for lower-fat everyday cheese that actually taste good -- high quality high-fat cheeses are not banned, but they do fall in the "occasional splurge" category.

I'm sure I'll think of more stuff, but that's probably plenty for right now!

#75 BarbaraY

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:06 AM

Thanks for the excellent tips. I must read up on the Lizard Brain because I think mine may have started running the show here.:biggrin:
Excellent blog.

#76 christine007

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:02 AM

Mizducky, I love your tips, and want to thank you for sharing them.
My current diet is the pyramid ( I eat most of my calories before noon, hence the pyramid shape) and I have dropped forty pounds since last july. In fact, I'm currently on the verge of being a tad underweight for my height ( damn, typing that felt good!)
My roadblock with asian food is the fact that I have a violent shellfish allergy, and in addition, cannot have fish sauce/paste, oyster sauces, etc. But I cannot agree more about the vegetable thing, how healthy and tasty all veggies are, and how you can cook/eat them in ways that make them seem 'meaty".
Mushrooms especially, are an excellent meat substitute.
major, huge congrats on your weight loss, to lose that amount of weight without surgery is amazing, you should be very proud of yourself! I know how hard it was for me to lose forty pounds, you are a true inspiration.
thanks for the fun blog! :smile:
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#77 Margo

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:02 AM

And speaking of history: remember yesterday when I talked about the Coronado Bridge? When it was first constructed, a bunch of the support structure on its mainland end obliterated several blocks of a Mexican-American neighborhood known as Barrio Logan. The residents protested, and the eventual upshot was that they claimed the land under the bridge as a people's park. Chicano Park is now a well-loved neighborhood park sporting some gorgeous mural art, mainly on themes of politics and cultural identity:
Posted Image

Posted Image

View Post


Cool! I didn't dare ask, because it isn't food related, but I hoped you'd show us Chicano Park. There's an inspiring documentary about it that I show my class on multiculturalism and art.

So, um, on topic. Fish tacos?

And as long as I'm here, congratulations on your weight loss achievement, Miz Ducky. As inspiring as Chicano Park.

Edited: spell-check.

Edited by Margo, 22 March 2007 - 07:07 AM.

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You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
You're my little potato, they dug you up!
You come from underground!
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#78 rooftop1000

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:51 AM

Ellen

in regard to the crystal light...

try mixing the pink lemondade and the iced tea together....

Yummy and I find that you can add 1/3 more water without it tasting funny


tracey
oh yeah and congrats
The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers
Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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#79 Megan Blocker

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:16 AM

Go, MizDucky! This is fantastic - congrats on the writing and the weight loss...I'm so happy for you on both fronts!

All this Asian food is making my mouth water... :smile:
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

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#80 Milagai

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:51 AM

MizDucky: I loved your tips and am going to save them to look at when
my Lizard Brain starts issuing orders.
I especially applaud what you say
about delicious food can be healthy and weight friendly;
and the related advice to party on vegetables.

The only reason I am not a total balloon today is because I was
raised with a food culture that had tasty AND healthy food
and I love to snack on veggies as a result.
Having been skinny all my pre-40's life, I never developed
self control around food.
The trouble is, post 40's, I've significantly expanded, and my prior
healthy habit of several small meals turned into
a habit of several big meals, that I'm trying to break myself of.

Sigh....

At least I don't have to learn to love healthy and veggie rich food.....
But boy, the rest of it is hard.

Thanks for your inspirational words...

Milagai

#81 kalypso

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 10:37 AM

It does look like a repurposed building, doesn't it? A preliminary poking about the web turns up that the previous market in this space was another indie known as Stump's (after the owner's last name); was unable to find out who owned the building before them. Windmill Farms' website, while very nice, is not particularly informative on the matter.


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Windmill Farms started life as an Alpha Beta nearly 50 years ago. Alpha Beta was acquired by Lucky's which in turn was eventually acquired by Albertson's. Back in the day Alpha Beta was a competitor to Safeway.

#82 mizducky

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:25 PM

Good morning, world! Actually, I've been up for a while already, loading the dishwasher and making coffee. Breakfast was another cup each of plain yogurt and of coffee--when I'm not going out for bun bo hue, my breakfasts tend to be pretty utilitarian.

Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. It really helps me tremendously--positive feedback is great fuel for the healthy-eating motivation. Plus, hey, it feels goooooood. :smile:

A few responses to various posts:

Mizducky, I love your tips, and want to thank you for sharing them.
My current diet is the pyramid ( I eat most of my calories before noon, hence the pyramid shape) and I have dropped forty pounds since last july. In fact, I'm currently on the verge of being a tad underweight for my height ( damn, typing that felt good!)
My roadblock with asian food is the fact that I have a violent shellfish allergy, and in addition, cannot have fish sauce/paste, oyster sauces, etc.

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Congrats on your weight loss! And on finding a food plan that works great for your situation. A piece of advice I forgot to mention previously is that it's crucial to find a food plan that fits well with one's personal habits and preferences. Technically, I guess I too am usually eating the bulk of my calories early on in my day--it's just that, night owl that I am, my "day" both starts and ends later. :laugh: For that matter, many diet pundits discourage eating/snacking while doing work, but computer geek that I am, I usually find myself eating while at the keyboard late into the night--but I make those snacks vegetables and fruit and similar low-impact items, so it works for me. The bottom line is: do what works.

Bummer about the shellfish allergy! That can definitely be tricky with many Asian cuisines. However, since a lot of those cuisines have Buddhist-inspired vegetarian cookery traditions, it's often possible to find vegetarian (i.e. shellfish-free) versions of many ingredients--and because these food traditions have had centuries over which to perfect their techniques, their vegetarian substitute ingredients are a helluva lot more tasty and satisfying than some modern Western mock-meat products I've sampled.

And speaking of history: remember yesterday when I talked about the Coronado Bridge? When it was first constructed, a bunch of the support structure on its mainland end obliterated several blocks of a Mexican-American neighborhood known as Barrio Logan. The residents protested, and the eventual upshot was that they claimed the land under the bridge as a people's park. Chicano Park is now a well-loved neighborhood park sporting some gorgeous mural art, mainly on themes of politics and cultural identity:

Cool! I didn't dare ask, because it isn't food related, but I hoped you'd show us Chicano Park. There's an inspiring documentary about it that I show my class on multiculturalism and art.

So, um, on topic. Fish tacos?

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I adore Barrio Logan/Logan Heights--its culture, its history, and last but far from least, its food! Time and my energy level willing, I want to make another visit to that neighborhood; if I don't find a decent fish taco, I'll at least show y'all some other local eats from there, plus more slices of local culture. (For the time being, I'll leave aside the often-lively discussion as to the level of authenticity of the San Diego fish taco, partly because I don't know enough to comment intelligently, and partly because I confess I tend to like offal tacos--tripas, lengua, cabeza, etc.--more.)

Playing amateur armchair cultural/culinary anthropologist is another hobby/obsession of mine, right along with all the food-geekery. Getting this part-time gig as a food writer has been a marvelous justification/excuse for me to amplify my practice of gallivanting around town, exploring neighborhoods and scoping likely eateries to check out. Food is a fabulous tool by which to understand a community--it's a microcosm of that community's history, culture, and values, and a mirror of the politics and economics that influence that community. To quote one of my favorite musicals, "the history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat!" (six points for anyone who guesses the reference :biggrin: )

The only reason I am not a total balloon today is because I was
raised with a food culture that had tasty AND healthy food
and I love to snack on veggies as a result.
Having  been skinny all my pre-40's life, I never developed
self control around food.
The trouble is, post 40's, I've significantly expanded, and my prior
healthy habit of several small meals turned into
a habit of several big meals, that I'm trying to break myself of.

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Yeah, confronting that midlife weight gain is its own unique challenge, especially for those people with no prior history of overweight issues. Those of us who have been fighting it all our lives at least have some experience with how damn difficult it can be. Whereas folks in your situation often struggle with "how come the way I've been eating my entire life so far used to work just fine, but is suddenly not working for me anymore?" Alas, the human metabolism does seem to shift gears somewhere in our forties, and for a whole lot of us it's a gearshift down. It helps to attack the problem at both ends--both managing the food intake (calories in) and revving the metabolism back up a few gears by increasing physical activity (calories out). And I think it does also help simply to be aware of the metabolism shift--there's a reason things that used to work don't work anymore.

#83 Toliver

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:50 PM


It does look like a repurposed building, doesn't it? A preliminary poking about the web turns up that the previous market in this space was another indie known as Stump's (after the owner's last name); was unable to find out who owned the building before them. Windmill Farms' website, while very nice, is not particularly informative on the matter.


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Windmill Farms started life as an Alpha Beta nearly 50 years ago. Alpha Beta was acquired by Lucky's which in turn was eventually acquired by Albertson's. Back in the day Alpha Beta was a competitor to Safeway.

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You mean the specific building in question.
I think that Windmill Farms itself was another store that was born from the Boney's dissolution (from which the Henry's chain was started).

edited to add: Thanks, Ellen, for the trip to National City. My brother's in-laws are Filipino so I look forward to our large family gatherings for the Filipino food they bring...and to see them, as well, of course. :wink:

Edited by Toliver, 22 March 2007 - 12:53 PM.


“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'
Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”


#84 mizducky

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:50 PM

As I think I said earlier, the main thing on tap for today is dinner at The Linkery. While this is a place where it is indeed possible to put together a light and healthy meal (Jay has some excellent vegetarian and vegetable offerings on his menu), I do want to allow for at least a little splurge to enjoy some of this place's great sausages and other meat offerings, as well as a pint of one of their cask-conditioned beers on tap. Fortunately, I'll be dining with several friends, so it'll be possible to do a shared plate or two so I don't have to tempt the Lizard Brain with a whole meat entree to myself! Plus, I'm aiming to make the rest of today's food intake real low-impact, so as to save calories for the evening. That doesn't mean fasting all day, though--now that would really set up a Lizard Brain disaster! No, instead I'll be partying on the vegetables again, plus some other items I turn to at times like this. Stay tuned for further info ...

#85 SuzySushi

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:01 PM

To quote one of my favorite musicals, "the history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat!" (six points for anyone who guesses the reference :biggrin: )

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If memory serves, that would be from Sweeney Todd. :biggrin: Sure sounds like a Sondheim lyric.
SuzySushi

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My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

#86 mizducky

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:35 PM

To quote one of my favorite musicals, "the history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat!" (six points for anyone who guesses the reference :biggrin: )

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If memory serves, that would be from Sweeney Todd. :biggrin: Sure sounds like a Sondheim lyric.

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You got it! A wonderful musical, especially for anyone with food-geek tendencies (not to mention a warped sense of humor). And yeah, Sondheim got off some memorable lines in that one. That whole "song" (given the almost operatic format of that musical, it's kind of hard to call them songs, but I don't know what else to call them) from which the quote comes is a riot of dark humor. I can still hear Angela Lansbury in my head singing "Have a little priest ..."

Len Cariou: "Is it very fat?"
Angela: "Only where it sat!" :laugh:

Or something like that--quoting from memory here...

#87 SuzySushi

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:41 PM

To quote one of my favorite musicals, "the history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat!" (six points for anyone who guesses the reference :biggrin: )

View Post

If memory serves, that would be from Sweeney Todd. :biggrin: Sure sounds like a Sondheim lyric.

View Post

You got it! A wonderful musical, especially for anyone with food-geek tendencies (not to mention a warped sense of humor). And yeah, Sondheim got off some memorable lines in that one. That whole "song" (given the almost operatic format of that musical, it's kind of hard to call them songs, but I don't know what else to call them) from which the quote comes is a riot of dark humor. I can still hear Angela Lansbury in my head singing "Have a little priest ..."

Len Cariou: "Is it very fat?"
Angela: "Only where it sat!" :laugh:

Or something like that--quoting from memory here...

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You realize that song's gonna be stuck in my head for days now... gee, thanks! :laugh:
SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."
My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

#88 mizducky

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:54 PM

To quote one of my favorite musicals, "the history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat!" (six points for anyone who guesses the reference :biggrin:

View Post

If memory serves, that would be from Sweeney Todd. :biggrin: Sure sounds like a Sondheim lyric.

View Post

You got it! A wonderful musical, especially for anyone with food-geek tendencies (not to mention a warped sense of humor). And yeah, Sondheim got off some memorable lines in that one. That whole "song" (given the almost operatic format of that musical, it's kind of hard to call them songs, but I don't know what else to call them) from which the quote comes is a riot of dark humor. I can still hear Angela Lansbury in my head singing "Have a little priest ..."

Len Cariou: "Is it very fat?"
Angela: "Only where it sat!" :laugh:

Or something like that--quoting from memory here...

View Post

You realize that song's gonna be stuck in my head for days now... gee, thanks! :laugh:

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Oh dear! I seem to be batting a thousand with the earworms, huh? :laugh: Guess I'll have to quote some more obscure songs!

Speaking of which, I just pitched a vegetable-cooking frenzy in the kitchen in the past hour that had me singing "Call Any Vegetable" under my breath ad nauseum. :laugh: I do have photos--even though my camera batteries attempted to die in mid-frenzy--but they'll have to wait until this evening, as now I have to rush to get ready for our early dinner date. Plus now I have to stop for batteries en route (why the hell I didn't stop to buy batteries yesterday--or for that matter, stock up before the blog started--I have no idea ...). Anyway, I'll try to stick my head in here before I head out. Keep those comments and questions coming!

Edited by mizducky, 22 March 2007 - 09:01 PM.


#89 mizducky

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 04:29 PM

Okay, I'm off again! (Like that's any big secret. :laugh: ) See you all later this evening!

#90 dockhl

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:36 PM

Windmill Farms started life as an Alpha Beta nearly 50 years ago.  Alpha Beta was acquired by Lucky's which in turn was eventually acquired by Albertson's.  Back in the day Alpha Beta was a competitor to Safeway.


Wow. Yes. I had forgotten all of this........how the SoCal grocery scene has changed over the past 20 years. Is everywhere like this?

Geez, ducky, your blog almost makes me wanna come back to SD. I love living in Central CA but had kinda forgotten the untold riches of the city.........especially 99 Ranch and the like. No one here seems to get asian cuisine, no ingredients other than those at Vons.

I look forward to your adventures......blog on !
(Best to the B. Tedde and the Rockola guys :rolleyes: )





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