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eG Foodblog: mizducky - San Diego: A (Really!) Moveable Feast

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#31 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:07 PM

If you go to Fillipi's it's right next door to the seductively named Camel's Breath Inn, and if you go there, I want, no I demand, a full report :wink:

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Y'know, kalypso, I've been intrigued by the name of this joint ever since you so provocatively let it drop, so of course I had to do the Google thing--and this is what I found. Other than the possibility that the scene there might be a tad more "straight" than my usual speed, this sounds like it could be a helluva fun time to this dive-bar-lovin' chick. :smile:

I'm not sure if I'll get in to check it out before the end of this blog, but I'll certainly check it out sooner or later. And yes, you will indeed get a full report--especially if I succeed in making a karaoke fool of myself there. :laugh:

#32 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:23 PM

My favorite duck! Oh, my, you fabulous MizDucky, I'm seriously crushing on your funniness and now I get to have an entire week of you?  :wub: Bliss! So glad that you got a new camera, too. I can't wait to see lots of your take on San Diego. California is so exotic! Oh, and regarding Tightwad Gourmand, can I join that club?

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Aw shucks! :blush: Everyone is being so incredibly flattering, it really does my heart good.

Hell yeah, let's start the Tightwad Gourmand Club! Epicureanism on a shoestring! A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, lolling on the beach with the left-over hippies and the new-crop beatnik slackers! Now I'm *really* glad I subtitled this blog "Moveable Feast"--I'm not much of a Hemingway scholar, but somehow I suspect that Papa would have definitely approved.

#33 mizducky

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:17 PM

And now, going from the sorta sublime to the fairly rediculous, here's what I'm drinking right now:
Posted Image
True confessions time: I drink this kind of diet swill by the gallon--almost literally. By doctor's orders, I'm supposed to drink a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day and preferably more like twelve glasses--in other words, two quarts to three quarts daily. And I have the damnedest time keeping up with it, because I find just plain water ... boring. And somehow I never get around to making something healthy like herbal sun-tea, or even slicing up a damn lime to perk up all that water ... so my compromise is to buy these diet pops. They taste okay, and Von's is always putting them on sale. But don't let the pretty fruit pictures on the front fool you, these things are completely and totally artificial ("natural flavors" my Aunt Fanny!). Oh well. My kidneys may eventually start glowing in the dark, but at least they'll be *very* well irrigated. :raz:

#34 mmm-yoso

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:26 PM

If you go to Fillipi's it's right next door to the seductively named Camel's Breath Inn, and if you go there, I want, no I demand, a full report :wink:

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Y'know, kalypso, I've been intrigued by the name of this joint ever since you so provocatively let it drop, so of course I had to do the Google thing--and this is what I found. Other than the possibility that the scene there might be a tad more "straight" than my usual speed, this sounds like it could be a helluva fun time to this dive-bar-lovin' chick. :smile:

I'm not sure if I'll get in to check it out before the end of this blog, but I'll certainly check it out sooner or later. And yes, you will indeed get a full report--especially if I succeed in making a karaoke fool of myself there. :laugh:

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Hi mizducky - I'm enjoying the proceedings thus far....I've been to Camel's Breath Inn - it's mainly a neighborhood watering hole. Lot's of off-duty SDPD'ers, and Mexican Bar Grub.

Kirk

www.mmm-yoso.typepad.com

#35 Ling

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:39 PM

YAY! I love your posts, mizducky! So happy to see you blogging this week! I look forward to seeing your home-cooked meals. :smile:

#36 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:44 AM

Well, usually I'm a total nightowl, but because I was so adrenalinized about starting this blog, I got up much earlier than usual, so I'm gonna go crash now. So--tawk among yourselves. :smile:

Seriously, if anyone has any further suggestions of cheap-eats-related things they'd like me to check out around San Diego, let me know--I'm not sure I can get to everything, but I'll try to fit in something that's at least somewhat related.

G'night, all!

#37 Chufi

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:00 AM

Yay, it's a ducky blog!!!
I always love your posts, and now we get a whole week of it! And you in the midst of moving, too! I'm so happy that your cooking conditions will improve. It must be awful not to be able to cook something you like, just because your housemate can't stand the smell of it!

#38 KatieLoeb

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:38 AM

Mizducky:

I am totally excited for a week of your wit, wisdom and food adventures. This will be loads of fun! I love the idea of frugal gourmandry. It's a concept I like to subscribe to.

Blog on sista'! :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
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#39 IrishCream

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 02:45 AM

Great start to your blog. I loved meeting you last summer but I'm still not sure why Steingarten/Rosengarten gave that place on Convoy such high reviews? Your green onion pancake looked better than anything we had that day. :hmmm:

It's so fun to read about San Diego through your discerning eyes and think about how different it is today than when I grew up there. But Filippi's? Was my fave restaurant at 16...as soon as I got my driver's license that's where my girl friends and I went for dinner on weekends. That was like 100 years ago...can't believe they are still in business.

Looking forward to reading lots more. Thank you, misducky!
Lobster.

#40 Ling

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 03:11 AM

mizducky: May I request an excursion to your very favourite patisserie? PLEASE? :biggrin:

#41 daniellewiley

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 05:06 AM

Great start to your blog.  I loved meeting you last summer but I'm still not sure why Steingarten/Rosengarten gave that place on Convoy such high reviews?  Your green onion pancake looked better than anything we had that day.  :hmmm:

It's so fun to read about San Diego through your discerning eyes and think about how different it is today than when I grew up there.  But Filippi's?  Was my fave restaurant at 16...as soon as I got my driver's license that's where my girl friends and I went for dinner on weekends.  That was like 100 years ago...can't believe they are still in business.

Looking forward to reading lots more.  Thank you, misducky!

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We went to Filippi's two summers ago for dinner with our (then) 2.5 year old. The food was terrific, but my favorite part was that they gave her a dish of raw dough to mess around with while we waited. Way more entertaining than a crayon!!!

And, if I recall, we ordered cheap Chianti in a basket and were able to decorate it so they could hang it from the ceiling.
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#42 Swisskaese

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 06:43 AM

Lamb noodles! Great start to a blog! I think those handmade noodles are made the same way as Mongolian soup noodles, though cooked differently.

Green onion breads - yum! (I've only ever made them at home, always curious about what they're actually served with in restaurants?)

I think the blog jinx got to you - my digicam also sputtered and died as I tried to take my first blog photo, and thanks to that, we how have a Panasonic Lumix LZ2!

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Get out my head Helen! I had something similar at a Mongolian restaurant in Beijing. They were good. I also had the green onion bread from a street vendor; they are delicious.

Great blog MizDucky. I haven't had much time to read this. I have work up to my eyeballs this week.

The last time I was in San Diego was 20 years ago.

I haven't heard Lina Lovich's name in years. It brings back memories of the sleazy punk bar I used to hang out at in Atlanta. I can't remember the name of it. Also the sleazy disco I used to go to that was a hangout of RuPaul's. I danced with him one night on the dancefloor.... Ok back to eGullet :rolleyes:

#43 BarbaraY

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:28 AM

Oh! This is going to be fun! I want to live in your neighborhood. Living way up here in the hills, where the only ethnic food is either Chinese or Mexican with one lone Japanese place, one really gets hungry for other cuisines.
Those tacos look great. The only offal tacos here are from a Roach Coach and they are absolutely fabulous with a little cup of their own pungent salsa.

Edited by BarbaraY, 18 January 2006 - 07:30 AM.


#44 kalypso

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:10 AM

And now, going from the sorta sublime to the fairly rediculous, here's what I'm drinking right now:
Posted Image
True confessions time: I drink this kind of diet swill by the gallon--almost literally. By doctor's orders, I'm supposed to drink a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day and preferably more like twelve glasses--in other words, two quarts to three quarts daily. And I have the damnedest time keeping up with it, because I find just plain water ... boring. And somehow I never get around to making something healthy like herbal sun-tea, or even slicing up a damn lime to perk up all that water ... so my compromise is to buy these diet pops. They taste okay, and Von's is always putting them on sale. But don't let the pretty fruit pictures on the front fool you, these things are completely and totally artificial ("natural flavors" my Aunt Fanny!). Oh well. My kidneys may eventually start glowing in the dark, but at least they'll be *very* well irrigated. :raz:

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Ah, MizD, don't ya know...................the absolutely horrid tap water in San Diego is just about the only food item unique to America's Finest City, complete with more minerals and heavy metals than you really want to think about :raz:. Your kidney's would probably reach glow-in-the-dark status far quicker on the local water than on the diet delights you've been gulping. I have admit, though, it is fun to mess with the minds on some pretentious waiters by asking for plain old tap water when they all offer bottled or sparkling water.

Edited by kalypso, 18 January 2006 - 08:12 AM.


#45 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:10 AM

I'm so happy that your cooking conditions will improve. It must be awful not to be able to cook something you like, just because your housemate can't stand the smell of it!

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Well, Fearless Housemate is not only housemate, but dear friend, and also one of my employers (I do various web-geek and administrative tasks for his music biz), and he has many redeeming qualities that more than make up for this area of finickiness. Plus, even though he doesn't care for cooking (either doing it or smelling it), he does have his own gourmet streak--he's taken me on some fabulous sushi feeds. Still, yeah, it will be nice to be able to get funky with the garlic without worry of blowing someone's mind. :smile:

Great start to your blog.  I loved meeting you last summer but I'm still not sure why Steingarten/Rosengarten gave that place on Convoy such high reviews?  Your green onion pancake looked better than anything we had that day.  :hmmm:

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Yeah, in hindsight I'm not sure what all the noise about Spicy City was about either. Tell ya what--next time you're in town, let me take you to Ba Ren--that place totally blows Spicy City right out of the water (and I'm not just talking about the spiciness of some of their hotter dishes either). You'll love it.

mizducky: May I request an excursion to your very favourite patisserie? PLEASE?  :biggrin:

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Heh. Believe it or not, I'm not all that big a fan of pastries. :shock: I mean, I'll certainly eat them with gusto when they're available, but when I get hit with a craving for something, it's much more likely to be for savory than sweet. Still ... I do indulge occasionally, so let me see what I can track down ...

#46 Daniel

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:38 AM

Great Mizducky,

Looking forward to seeing San Diego through the eyes of a local..How exciting..

#47 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 11:48 AM

A bleary-eyed good morning from this so-not-a-morning-person type gal.

It's been unseasonably chilly here in SD the past several days, especially at night--okay, I can just hear some of you in harsher climes going "yeah, right!" And having lived through a bunch of winters in Boston as well as New York, I know I've got it really good here. Still, since a lot of houses here (including this crackerbox) are built with no insulation or weatherstripping to speak of, and heating the drafty old thing can cost a small fortune, it can get a bit nippy at night. This is a desert climate after all--an extremely artificially irrigated desert, but desert nonetheless--and so when the sun sets in winter the temperature can drop a good 20 to 30 degrees F or more. So I'm making myself a nice warming pot of what I call pseudo-congee for today's breakfast--"pseudo" because I don't get very elaborate with it, and don't cook it for anywhere near as long as some recipes I've seen out there, and am probably doing other things that Chinese cooks would no doubt shake their heads and "tut-tut" at me for. But it works for me, and I find it much more satisfying than most standard American breakfast cereals, so apologies to all readers who grew up making this stuff as I expose my goofy Caucasian way of doing it.

Today's basic breakfast products:
Posted Image
No, the green tea isn't going in the congee--I'm not *that* goofy! :laugh: That's to drink while I'm waiting for my congee to conge. Erm. So to speak.

Behold one of my favorite cooking utensils:
Posted Image
I have had this unsightly-looking saucepan for what seems like forever. I can't even remember where I got it--probably at some thrift shop or something. My mom had something very similar--a heavy cast-aluminum pan with Bakelite handles whose equally heavy lid guaranteed a good seal. I vaguely recall reading that these kinds of pots were once marketed as "waterless cookers"--you were supposed to be able to put vegetables in them with just the water clinging to the veg after washing, slap the lid on and cook them without boiling away any of the vitamin content, or so the theory went. Anyway, its heaviness makes it a terrific cookpot for rice. I just try to remember not to cook any acid foods in it, because I think all that gray is just discoloration rather than any kind of anodized treatment.

So--into this pot I simply put four cups of water (rather than broth), and maybe a generous third of a cup of raw rice (I like my pseudo-congee thick), bring it to a boil, then back it off to low, and let it go for an hour or so.

While I'm waiting on my congee, let me give you a mini-tour of the soon-to-be-ex-kitchen:
Posted Image
Posted Image
It's a bit of a shame actually--this is a huge kitchen space with a lot of potential. But our benign-neglect landlord couldn't be bothered to keep it in good repair, so all the appliances are wacko in one way or another. At least the rent's really low for this area, especially for a house big enough to hold FH's studio as well as himself, girlfriend, and (up to this point) me, so FH doesn't make waves about the disrepair.

Oh, and we haven't had any Traditional Inside-of-Fridge shots in the past blog or so that I recall, so--brace yourselves: it's the Chaos Fridge! :shock:
Posted Image

All those microwaveable things in the freezer belong to FH and his girlfriend:
Posted Image
The huge bag of frozen strawberries, however, is mine--for whenever I get the urge to make a smoothie.

Off to check on the pseudo-congee...

#48 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:25 PM

Behold: thick lumpy congee! :laugh:
Posted Image

I'm just finished off my last jar of fermented tofu, so today's congee condiments are dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and furikake:
Posted Image
I understand from various eGullet threads that the amount of furikake I just dumped in here would make a good Japanese mother go *tsk* at her offspring. But I love those little fishy flakes, yes I do. :wub:

Heh. The looks of this stuff may be worthy of our Gallery of Regrettable Foods:
Posted Image
I kinda miss having the fermented bean curd to put in, but it's still hitting the spot--especially since my tummy's still a little tender from too much hot sauce with last night's mini-tacos.

Okay, now I have to concentrate on a little actual paid work (one of my great struggles as a work-at-home freelancer is to stay focused). But I'll keep checking in ... and then this afternoon I plan to head out with camera to document a little more San Diego Cheep Eatz territory for y'all.

#49 OnigiriFB

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:49 PM

Your congee looks fine MizDucky. I do the same thing when I'm sick and then I'll eat it with various pickles and stuff. There are two styles of congee (someone else help me here as to where they originated) one it the soupy kind like you've just made and the other is the kind that looks more like gruel. In Thailand you can find both and both are delicious. I happen to prefer your style the best. Because I love the various things you can make and eat with it. Keep up the good works. Still loving this :wub:

#50 Smithy

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:24 PM

It's been unseasonably chilly here in SD the past several days, especially at night--okay, I can just hear some of you in harsher climes going "yeah, right!" And having lived through a bunch of winters in Boston as well as New York, I know I've got it really good here. Still, since a lot of houses here (including this crackerbox) are built with no insulation or weatherstripping to speak of, and heating the drafty old thing can cost a small fortune, it can get a bit nippy at night. This is a desert climate after all--an extremely artificially irrigated desert, but desert nonetheless--and so when the sun sets in winter the temperature can drop a good 20 to 30 degrees F or more.

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I didn't think you were that far inland. I know the Pacific's plenty cold, but doesn't it help mitigate the desert climate? Or are you farther inland than I'd thought? For instance: Claremont, up in the San Gabriel Valley near the L.A. area, is about 30 miles from the ocean and can get plenty cold (for SoCal) at night. I wouldn't expect that of Santa Monica.

Behold one of my favorite cooking utensils:
Posted Image
I have had this unsightly-looking saucepan for what seems like forever. I can't even remember where I got it--probably at some thrift shop or something. My mom had something very similar--a heavy cast-aluminum pan with Bakelite handles whose equally heavy lid guaranteed a good seal. I vaguely recall reading that these kinds of pots were once marketed as "waterless cookers"--you were supposed to be able to put vegetables in them with just the water clinging to the veg after washing, slap the lid on and cook them without boiling away any of the vitamin content, or so the theory went. Anyway, its heaviness makes it a terrific cookpot for rice. I just try to remember not to cook any acid foods in it, because I think all that gray is just discoloration rather than any kind of anodized treatment.

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I love old cookware, and have my share of it interspersed with the newer fru-fru stuff. Your beloved saucepan kinda looks like something from the Wagner Ware Magnalite line. Is it? I've admired those from afar for years but never been willing to cough up the money on eBay.

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#51 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 01:45 PM

I didn't think you were that far inland.  I know the Pacific's plenty cold, but doesn't it help mitigate the desert climate?  Or are you farther inland than I'd thought?  For instance: Claremont, up in the San Gabriel Valley near the L.A. area, is about 30 miles from the ocean and can get plenty cold (for SoCal) at night.  I wouldn't expect that of Santa Monica.


My current abode is about five miles inland--though I'm also within a mile of all the lagoons of Mission Bay Park. But I'm also up on the seaward side of a little mesa--the neighborhoods with "Mesa" in their names aren't called that for nothing--plus there are various intervening ravines and canyons, all of which geographical features tend to catch and hold the cold air from the breezes blowing off the ocean. And then when the sun goes down, the temperature does its dramatic drop thing--even in the summer, though less dramatically than in the winter. San Diego has lots of little microclimates like this, where the temperature can be a good ten to twenty degrees cooler than the rest of the city. It's actually a godsend in the summer, when our inland neighborhoods and towns like La Mesa, El Cajon, and Santee can shoot up into the high 90s. Alas, I suspect I will be a little more toasty this summer in my new digs in Mission Valley--which really is a valley, a very broad east-west one containing, along with a lot of shopping malls and the I-8 expressway, the San Diego River and a sizeable recreational/greenspace park.

I love old cookware, and have my share of it interspersed with the newer fru-fru stuff.  Your beloved saucepan kinda looks like something from the Wagner Ware Magnalite line.  Is it?  I've admired those from afar for years but never been willing to cough up the money on eBay.

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Y'know, that's exactly what it is--has "Magnaware" stamped right into the bottom. I can't ever remember what I paid for it, but I can tell you it was probably ridiculously cheap. Whoever I got it from obviously didn't realize what they had. :biggrin:

#52 Octaveman

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 03:16 PM

Lovin it so far Mizducky. Keep 'em coming...

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#53 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 03:23 PM

Thanks again for the luv. All of you. :wub:

Okay, I've gotten enough work-type work done to not feel guilty about buzzing off to do the labor-of-love-type work of collecting more info for y'all. And after the early morning chill and haze, it's turned into a bright sunny Sandy Eggo day. So--off to see who I can scare with my little camera! See you soon...

#54 vkn

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 03:51 PM

How did I miss this blog of yours all these days, Mizducky? Wow! What a wonderful way of blogging at eG! One query for now - what is that LeanCusine packets lying all inside your freezer near frozen strawberries :-) Just curious.
VK Narayanan
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#55 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 06:42 PM

Yeah!!

Oh, and we haven't had any Traditional Inside-of-Fridge shots in the past blog or so that I recall, so--brace yourselves: it's the Chaos Fridge! :shock:
Posted Image

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Only a fellow blogger can truly appreciate such a brazen money shot, eh, Ellen? :wink: I feel like it's about to explode, Mr.-Creosote-like, into the camera.... What the hell is in that thing? Details, woman!!
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#56 purplewiz

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:22 PM

Behold one of my favorite cooking utensils:
Posted Image
I have had this unsightly-looking saucepan for what seems like forever. I can't even remember where I got it--probably at some thrift shop or something.

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That's funny, because before I read your text under the picture, I pointed at it and said "that's my pot!" I have that exact one, and it gets a lot of use. They're still being made, since we got it at a Farberware outlet in somewhat recent memory. I shouldn't be surprised that they show up in thrift stores.

(And yeah, I drink that Safeway Select stuff, too. The Apple Cider flavor (no real apples were harmed in production) was pretty darned good!)

Enjoying the blog - my, you do eat well!

Marcia.
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#57 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:36 PM

How did I miss this blog of yours all these days, Mizducky?  Wow!  What a wonderful way of blogging at eG!  One query for now - what is that LeanCusine packets lying all inside your freezer near frozen strawberries :-)  Just curious.

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Like I said, all of those microwaveable things--the Lean Cuisine, the mini-pizzas, the Eggo waffles, etc.--all belong to Fearless Housemate and his girlfriend. Once or twice since I lived here, when I was hungry and it was way late at night so I didn't feel like going out, have I "borrowed" one of those Lean Cuisine dinners--and found them so unpalatable that I pretty soon was cured of any further borrowings. I'm sorry, but those things are *nasty*! :wacko:

Yeah!!

Oh, and we haven't had any Traditional Inside-of-Fridge shots in the past blog or so that I recall, so--brace yourselves: it's the Chaos Fridge! :shock:
Posted Image

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Only a fellow blogger can truly appreciate such a brazen money shot, eh, Ellen? :wink: I feel like it's about to explode, Mr.-Creosote-like, into the camera.... What the hell is in that thing? Details, woman!!

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Oh god, what *isn't* in there? :laugh: Again, a lot of that stuff is Fearless Housemate's: the milk (a few different containers, because he has a bad habit of forgetting he already has some and buys more); the little flavored yogurts, some assorted packs of supermarket-grade fresh tortellini, some deli meats. The jars of pickles are fair game for everyone. Any left-over takeout is usually FH's, though since he almost never actually eats leftovers those are considered fair game also. There are assorted different salsas and pico de gallos (picos de gallo?) of varying degrees of hot (FH likes 'em hot; I like 'em mild). The six-pack of Diet Hansen's pop, FH bought for me--we often pick up little favorite items for each other. (He usually asks me to keep my eye out for Diet Plumagranite flavor Snapple, as that flavor's nearly impossible to find. Yes, FH is a total Snapple fiend--he even created this humorous webpage celebrating the little "Real Facts" messages inside the Snapple caps--note that when he built that page, his favorite flavor was Diet Peach.)

What else is in the fridge? Of my stuff, there is almost always a big 2lb block of supermarket cheddar and a package of whole wheat pita (two of my basic subsistence foods); some kind of peanut butter; a big container of plain unflavored yogurt (more smoothie fodder); assorted basic veggies (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, etc.), and a whole bunch of condiments (several types of mustard, assorted Asian condiments, though most of those that don't really need refrigeration have migrated to my pantry cabinet). Oh, and right now there's a half-bottle's worth of dry vermouth (back-up cooking wine). And that's pretty much it. Nothing special or glamorous, really. It just looks like there's much more in there than there really is, because it's all gone higgledy-piggledy from random people just shoving stuff in any old where. Once in a blue moon I get all anal-compulsive and re-arrange everything neatly--heh, that lasts maybe a couple of hours before it's all wacko again. :rolleyes:

Edited by mizducky, 18 January 2006 - 07:38 PM.


#58 racheld

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:59 PM

Ducky Dear,

Don't tell me you're going incognito a la Reichl---there's no HATSHADOW in the Jamillah window!!!

This is going to be such a romp---looking forward to your sunning up these snowy Heartland days...always good to read your smiling voice.
Fairy tea has its own magic, for it never does run out;
And the flavour you imagine will come streaming from the spout.
Fairy Tea

My Blog--Thanksgiving and Goodwill

LAWN TEA

#59 fou de Bassan

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:47 PM

Thanks so much for the vicarious taqueria visit. I was salivating all over my computer! I'm so pleased you're blogging.
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#60 mizducky

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 09:14 PM

Now, on to this afternoon's explorations...

Lemme take you to the beach
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-lahhh ...
Have a freak out
Later we'll peak out
You're on restriction
So you'll probably sneak out!
--Frank Zappa, "Lemme Take You To The Beach," from Studio Tan, 1978


Yes, I have gotten the message that a lot of you in colder climes are pining for some glimpses of sunny SoCal splendor, so instead of investigating more inland strip mall heavens today, I headed over to my personal favorite of San Diego's beachside communities, Ocean Beach. Each of the San Diego beach communities has its own unique flavor, and OB, as everyone calls it, is the one that's distinctly hippy-dippy. Wednesdays also happen to be when OB's farmer's market happens; because traffic and parking is usually murder on farmer's market days, I have yet to get to one in my 3.5 years of living in this town, but as it was still earlyish in the afternoon I decided to try my luck and see how close I could get.

I took my favorite shortcut, through the backside of Mission Bay Park:
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Mission Bay Park is this wonderful network of lagoons and green space wedged in behind Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. SeaWorld occupies one corner of it, but it also incorporates all kinds of boat ramps, bathing beaches, fishin' holes, RV parking, and just wide-open green space like this. People are always hanging out, picnicking, bicycling, kite-flying, and just loving the space. It's one of the most terrific pieces of urban park planning I've ever seen.

Anyway, I slip around the park, past SeaWorld, and into OB ... and wonder of wonders, I find a disabled parking space a half-block away from the site of the farmer's market! (Yes, I have a disabled driver placard; it's a godsend to my creaky knees.)

I've arrived almost an hour before the official start of the market, and people are still setting up, so I have some time to kill--a pleasant prospect on OB's main drag, Newport Avenue, which is lined with antique shops, beachware emporia, headshops, cafes and bars. I decide to make a beeline to my personal favorite hang in OB:
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Jungle Java is a combination smoothie/latte bar and garden shop, and very very OB-ish. I order a mango/strawberry smoothie:
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...and proceed to hang out in the lovely part-outdoors/part-indoors courtyard:
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I still have time to kill before the market gets underway, so I decide to pay a visit to my favorite burger joint in San Diego, Hodad's:
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A "hodad," as the joint's menu informs you, is surfer-speak for a non-surfer who hangs out on the beach trying to pretend he is a surfer--in other words, a poser. Hodad's the joint is no poser, though--they are an authentic throw-back hippy-surfer feeding and watering hole. Witness their signature vehicle in the lot next door:
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The interior of the place is even more drenched in local flava:
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Yes, that is an actual front end of an old split-windshield VW bus sticking out of the wall there, complete with half-a-surfboard on top. It has a dining booth inside. Here's a closer look:
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I order a single bacon cheeseburger basket with everything:
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Now *that's* what I'm talkin' about, bay-bee! ... Erm, not the blurriness of the shot; the bigness of the burger. Can you just imagine the size of the double burger?!? This thing has got on it big rings of raw onion, a big slice of tomato, slices of pickle, and shredded lettuce. The burger patty is crunchy-charred on the outside and juicy-red on the inside. The big seasoned fries are crunchy on the edges and nice and fluffy on the inside. This whole deal costs $6.75. And for that princely sum you also get to read all the crazy license plates on the walls and hear music over the PA that you haven't heard played in public in decades. They were playing Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9" when my order arrived, a tune of great significance to my teen years--ah yes, "welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, I'm so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside...!" :wub:

Suitably burgered up, I at last find the farmer's market ready for my inspection. As often happens with these things, there are more booths selling non-food items (crafts, jewelry, gewgaws, etc.) than selling food, but there are still many nice offerings, such as aguas frescas:
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Citrus and avocados:
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Cucumbers, strawberries, tomatoes, butternut squash:
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I bought some tomatoes and cucumbers from this lady. She seemed bemused but pleased that I wanted to photograph her booth.

At this point, my knees are begining to complain, so I hobble back to my car. Before I depart OB entirely, I decide to drop by the food co-op, where I have a membership:
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The OB People's Organic Food Market is a lovely little co-op in a building they had specially designed to be environmentally friendly. They have terrific produce:
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Plus a goodly stock of other organo-groovy groceries:
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It was getting time to be heading home, but I knew I needed to get you folks just one more shot, so that I could end with:
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... as the sun slowly sinks into the west, we bid a fond farewell to the Fine Fantasy Freak Republic of Ocean Beach. :wub:

Edited by mizducky, 18 January 2006 - 09:15 PM.






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