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eG Foodblog: mizducky - The tightwad gourmand shapes up

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#61 Toliver

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 09:14 AM

Mizducky,
Here where I live the Arthritis Association has an aquatics center with a heated pool so those with joint pain can still get exercise without stressing their joints.
Does San Diego have something similar? I know there's a Y west of Fashion Valley on Friars Road that has a pool but I doubt that it's heated. Besides, that may be too far from your new location.

I'm looking forward to more pictures of my hometown!

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Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”
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#62 Kouign Aman

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 09:30 AM

I love your description of the Golden Triangle. Its spot-on but I never thought of it that clearly, in the 20 or so years I've watched it grow and change.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#63 kalypso

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:21 AM

Mizducky,
Here where I live the Arthritis Association has an aquatics center with a heated pool so those with joint pain can still get exercise without stressing their joints.
Does San Diego have something similar? I know there's a Y west of Fashion Valley on Friars Road that has a pool but I doubt that it's heated.  Besides, that may be too far from your new location.

I'm looking forward to more pictures of my hometown!

View Post


Actually, yes, the pool at the Friar's Y is heated (thank god) :smile: They also offer an amazing array of water related classes. They've been so popular in fact, that the Friar's Y is putting in a new pool just for people that want to swim laps! 10 minute drive for MizDucky down Friars from her current digs if she's interested.

#64 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 12:30 PM

Good morning, all!

Breakfast (brunch?) this morning consisted of:
Posted Image
About 2 oz of the fish I cooked the other night, with some romaine lettuce, in half a whole-wheat pita, accompanied by an orange and a cup of the peppermint tea I bought at TJ's yesterday.

Thanks to all of those who commented. Let me address some of the questions that have come up:

Can you elaborate on foods that you have found *just* *don't* *work* for you?  I noted that too much protein may have an immediate effect on your joints, for instance? 

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Yeah, I still have to watch out for excessive intake of purine-rich foods (animal protein, especially organ meats, plus a few purine rich vegetables like mushrooms and asparagus), because even with my anti-gout meds a purine excess starts generating the little tingling sensations in my toes that, unaddressed, would eventually turn into a full-fledged gout attack.

But there really isn't any type or category of food that I have absolutely banned from my life for any reason. There are some, admittedly, that I love but now have on a much less frequent basis and/or in much smaller quantities (high-fat foods; booze; sugars whether refined or "whole", excessive concentrations of salt). There are also "diet-y" foods that I either avoid, or don't force on myself (I am beginning to feel a whole lot more positive about leafy greens, raw celery, and other traditional "diet" vegetation, but that's after giving myself permission to avoid them if I'm not feeling into them). And like I said earlier, I'm avoiding most diet-industry type products and other foods filled with artificial ingredients, but I do make allowances for certain "diet" products with other redeeming features, such as the cooking spray and a few others which you might see in action as the blog progresses. This is kind of inspired by macrobiotics, too, which holds forth that there are no bad or good foods, just foods that are easier or harder to balance into the whole than others.

Mizducky:

I seem to remember from your first blog that you were a gal that liked her cocktails  :biggrin: ... Can you comment on the role (or lack thereof) alcohol/wine/beer are playing in your current lifestyle?

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As mentioned above, I have considerably restricted my booze intake. Nowadays alcohol falls into the "occasional preplanned splurge" category, pretty much only when I go to a club to hear some live music; and the occasional glass of wine when I'm eating out with friends. I pretty much stick to wine, spirits neat or on the rocks, or non-sugary cocktails, as opposed to beer and the sugary stuff.

Are you going to do any more cooking for us?  How is the new kitchen?

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Oh yeah, definitely--in fact, I'm intending to cook at home tonight, and will give a fuller accounting of my new kitchen at that time.

As someone who knows nothing about macrobiotics, just wondering if you can go into a bit more detail about what yin and yang are within that framework?  I'm curious!

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Yeah, I figured I'd need to come back and expand upon that topic. It will require some more extensive writing, so I will tackle the topic a little later on when I can devote another hunk of time to covering it properly.

I love your description of the Golden Triangle. Its spot-on but I never thought of it that clearly, in the 20 or so years I've watched it grow and change.

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Thanks! Yeah, it's different when a newcomer brings fresh eyes to a neighborhood, innit? I'm currently living on the edge of another neighborhood that has gone nuts that way, namely the Mission Valley/Friar's Road corridor. I can definitely see how new the construction is, so I can only just imagine how different these areas must have looked not too long in the past. I have mixed feeling about this. The New Yorker in me totally believes that high-density development is superior to the kind of suburban sprawl that eats up all remaining open green space--although a bunch of the development around here, alas, looks like it's both high-density and sprawling. :rolleyes: And I confess to a certain, well, aesthetic objection to the miles and miles of similar-looking McMansion-style architecture (stick some terracotta-colored stucco on it and plant some palm trees-voila! instant SoCal luxury living! :rolleyes: ). Somehow, even though the working-class multi-ethnic neighborhoods south of me are grittier, more down-at-heels, and more crime-ridden, I feel a little more in tune with their aesthetic. And I sure as hell don't want that sprawl crossing south over the I-8 and wiping out those neighborhoods--not only are there lots of folks down there who will be hard-pressed to find other housing they can afford, but all the incredible food and other cultural riches they provide would be wiped out as well. And the city would be the poorer for it, in ways no currency can measure.

Mizducky,
Here where I live the Arthritis Association has an aquatics center with a heated pool so those with joint pain can still get exercise without stressing their joints.
Does San Diego have something similar? I know there's a Y west of Fashion Valley on Friars Road that has a pool but I doubt that it's heated.  Besides, that may be too far from your new location.

View Post

Actually, yes, the pool at the Friar's Y is heated (thank god) :smile: They also offer an amazing array of water related classes. They've been so popular in fact, that the Friar's Y is putting in a new pool just for people that want to swim laps! 10 minute drive for MizDucky down Friars from her current digs if she's interested.

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Oh yeah, I do know all about the Arthritis Association's water-exercise classes, and had been tracking the classes at the Friar's Road Y for some time now. There have been two problems: 1) The classes, let alone the Y membership, is a little pricey for my budget; and 2) Swimming runs headlong into some very old issues I have about exposing my bod to the public in a bathing suit and/or in a locker room (thank you, public school phys ed classes and grade-school bullies :sad: ). Even the idea of camoflaging myself with a teeshirt and shorts over the suit doesn't help all that much--as anyone who has ever seen a wet t-shirt contest knows, such a garment when damp is almost as bad as going without one.

How I have addressed the cost issue: the apartment complex I have moved into has its own heated swimming pool--when I am ready to do so, I can just walk out my door and dive in. And regarding the bathing-suit vulnerability issue: one of the tenets of my current program is to not force myself to do anything that just make me crazy in an unproductive way. Obviously, I could just tough it out bootcamp style and just make myself do it anyway, despite my discomfort. But, from long past experience, I know that forcing myself to do something this way backfires bigtime in terms of stress, resentment against the whole project, etc. So I am giving myself permission to sneak up gently on the whole swimming thing, doing other exercises while I get back on a little friendlier basis with my body image in the first place. I'll probably still be a little freaked when I eventually get over myself and do it, but it'll be a lot less so than if I went and dragged myself into the pool right now.

Edited by mizducky, 08 June 2006 - 12:34 PM.


#65 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 12:51 PM

Oh, here's a little Audience Participation--especially designed for folks in the San Diego area! As hinted at earlier, this coming Sunday afternoon/evening I intend to take a picnic repast and a lawn chair to a park in a north-of-San Diego community, to hear these dudes perform a free all-ages concert. If you happen to be in the area and have that time free, you are welcome to join me! Only DON"T respond here in this topic--instead, PM me, and we'll handle the details off-board. (Not sure if I'll have any takers on such short notice, but hey, it's worth a try! :smile: )

#66 kalypso

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:04 PM

Good morning, all!

Oh yeah, I do know all about the Arthritis Association's water-exercise classes, and had been tracking the classes at the Friar's Road Y for some time now. There have been two problems: 1) The classes, let alone the Y membership, is a little pricey for my budget; and 2) Swimming runs headlong into some very old issues I have about exposing my bod to the public in a bathing suit and/or in a locker room (thank you, public school phys ed classes and grade-school bullies :sad: ). Even the idea of camoflaging myself with a teeshirt and shorts over the suit doesn't help all that much--as anyone who has ever seen a wet t-shirt contest knows, such a garment when damp is almost as bad as going without one.

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The Friar's Y runs membership specials a few times a year where the initial fee is either waived entirely, or seriously reduced. As a member I get announcements about such things. When you're ready to think about their pool, let me know and I'll keep my eye on my mail for the membership flyers. Monthly dues are $36 I think, plus it gives you access to the Mind/Body classes (i.e. yoga, pilates, Feldenkris, Nia, and such) at their Hazard Center satellite.

The one thing I really like about this particular Y is the diversity of their clientele, especially, the diversity of body styles, sizes and shapes you see there. There are women of far greater proportion than you in bathing suits roaming the halls of the Y and few people, if anyone give them much mind. The body intimidation factor here is the lowest of any gym I've ever been in. But I'm on the same page with you as far as exposing one's body in a locker room. Kids can be so nasty to each other making gym class all that much more brutal.

Some day when you're out and about with time on your hands and fee like it, stop by and they'll give you a tour of the facility with no pressure to join. I don't mean to sound like an ad for the Y, but I've been going to Friar's pretty regularly for a little over 4 years now and that's a record for me. I've never stuck with a gym or a workout program this long. They don't care what you look like, they just want you to move your body and be okay with it, and that's okay in my book :raz:

#67 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:40 PM

Thanks, kalypso, that sounds extremely encouraging about the Y. I will definitely keep all that in mind.

I'm now ready to get out and about with this day's errands--including visiting some of those multi-ethnic neighborhoods south of the I-8 I was waxing enthusiastic about above. Must-gets on my shopping list include ginger and scallions; I have a bunch of stuff in the crisper that could stand to be used, including the remaining baby bok choy I bought the other day at 99 Ranch; and I'll also be keeping my eye peeled for anything interesting and/or on special that catches my eye. And then I'll bring home my haul and cook more stuff for your entertainment (and my nourishment).

While I'm gone, here's a question I could really use some help with: I can't seem to keep my fresh gingerroot from going bad on me before I use it up. I eat more ginger than the average Caucasian, I think, but it's still not nearly enough to keep up with the biology experiment syndrome. So far my solution is simply to buy small amounts of ginger so that there's less left to go to waste; and to try storing it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with as much air evacuated as possible. Any and all suggestions for better storage methods are massively welcome.

See y'all later!

#68 Milagai

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:45 PM

Re ginger:

I just store mine in a large knob next to
the garlic next to the stove, in a small bowl.

I buy about a 3 to 4 inch long piece at a time,
and take about 3 to 4 weeks to use it up
and it's never ever gone bad on me....

Not sure why you're refrigerating yours
or why it's going bad.

(Love all the info in your blog)

Milagai

#69 Kouign Aman

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:49 PM

Ginger freezes well. Can cut it into single use size lumps and freeze in zipbag until needed. Or slice, or grate, and store frozen.
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#70 MissAmy

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:52 PM

Last but not least was a yummy "Crispy Rice Crust with Three Treasures":
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I think crispy rice crust must be what rice cakes dream of turning into when they die and go to heaven. The server presents the dish by first putting a platter full of these crispy rice squares down on the table, and then pouring over it a bowlful of yummy goodies in a light (but of course spicy) sauce. All sorts of sizzlings ensue, sort of the Szechuan equivalent of pouring milk on Rice Crispies--only much nicer. In this case, the goodies included tender slivers of chicken, sea cucumber, and squid, plus lovely big slices of bamboo shoot and other goodies.


When I lived in Nanjing, China our friends would refer to this dish as "Bombing Tokyo." :hmmm: Highly un-PC, yet highly amusing.
-Sounds awfully rich!
-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

#71 petite tête de chou

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:15 PM

Ellen, I've always loved your wordy, colorful posts. I sit back and relax into your views and dry-wry humors. They're especially welcome in the wee hours after midnight.
Thank you for admitting that you don't feel comfortable in a "bathing suit." While society considers me to be a rather small lady there is no way that I'll wear what is, essentially, my underwear in public. After spending long and precious years suffering from hardcore eating disorders, after seeing my best friend of 20+ years who weighs over 200 lbs. wear a bathing suit without shame...I'll *still* keep my underwear under wraps, my confidence prominently displayed and every one else be damned. 'Ef em.
Shelley: Would you like some pie?
Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

#72 prasantrin

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:22 PM

The Friar's Y runs membership specials a few times a year where the initial fee is either waived entirely, or seriously reduced.  As a member I get announcements about such things.  When you're ready to think about their pool, let me know and I'll keep my eye on my mail for the membership flyers.  Monthly dues are $36 I think, plus it gives you access to the Mind/Body classes (i.e. yoga, pilates, Feldenkris, Nia, and such) at their Hazard Center satellite. 


Most Ys (if not all) in the world also offer reduced-cost membership based on income. In my hometown, the cheapest membership was $5/month for very low-income people, but generally it was about $15/month for most reduced-cost memberships. You have to make an appointment, and let them go over your expenses (rent, utility and phone bills) and income, but it's often worth the hassle. It's not something that is advertised, you'd have to ask about it.

#73 ed davis

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:43 PM

Just a couple notes. One thing that I have learned to love as an alternative to beer/sodas/gatorade/etc is selzer. Nowadays, they have flavored selzers available in most groceries. The fizzy bubbles make me feel like it is something special, but there are no calories, no caffeine, no alcohol (OK, so it's not a perfect beverage :laugh: ).

Also, someone asked about cooking wine. I think what the questioner was referring to are those abominations of heavily salted wine that are labeled "cooking wine." I suspect the stuff was first made during prohibition, so that chefs and foodies could still cook with wine, but wine so salty and nasty nobody would want to drink it. Chinese cooking wine does not have all that salt etc added. It's just that it is wine used primarily for cooking and not for drinking.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the blog. Except that the dinner at Ba Ren sounds so scrumptious, and I wasn't there to help you folks eat :sad:
One point . . . was his ability to recollect the good dinners which it had made no small portion of the happiness of his life to eat.

--Nathaniel Hawthorne "The Custom House"

#74 Smithy

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:05 PM

At last, the mystery of the cooking wine is explained: the Chinese don't wreck theirs! :cool:

I don't use ginger as much as you, so it still occasionally dries out on me - or gets lost in the freezer until it's been freezer burned - but here are my methods for storage:

1. Store tightly wrapped in the freezer. Cut off chunks, peel and grate (or chop) as needed. It keeps a long, long time this way, although as noted above I've lost it and found it couple of years too late. :laugh:
2. Store in brandy. I have to admit, this was something I heard on The Splendid Table, and it sounded like a great idea, but it does turn the ginger brown and I've never been inclined to use it. By now that jar is well-aged. The brandy is a dark ginger brown. Should I try some and report?
3. Store the ginger in a small pot of soil or sand. Pull it up, cut off chunks as needed, replant the remainder, clean off the part you kept and use it. I once planted my ginger know in my orange-tree pot for this purpose, and the method seemed to work...until the ginger sprouted. It shot up until there was a yard-long ginger shoot happily coexisting with the 2' high citrus tree. It eventually died, but in the meantime it was too dear to pull up and use.

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"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown


#75 Pam R

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:13 PM

While I'm gone, here's a question I could really use some help with: I can't seem to keep my fresh gingerroot from going bad on me before I use it up. I eat more ginger than the average Caucasian, I think, but it's still not nearly enough to keep up with the biology experiment syndrome. So far my solution is simply to buy small amounts of ginger so that there's less left to go to waste; and to try storing it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with as much air evacuated as possible. Any and all suggestions for better storage methods are massively welcome.

We've been discussing throwing spoiled herbs out in this thread about Toppits frozen herbs. For ginger I almost always buy their frozen stuff. As I need it, I pop out the little cubes which equal 1 tsp. I realize they are a little pricey - but if I added up how much I've thrown away in spoiled ginger, parsley, basil, etc. it's worth it. Plus - I hate grating ginger.

The only problem is that it's finely grated/minced. So if you want pieces this doesn't help at all!

#76 dockhl

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 06:36 PM

The only problem is that it's finely grated/minced.  So if you want pieces this doesn't help at all!

Pam~
The REAL problem is that it is in Canada! :biggrin:

I haven't seen them in the CA Trader Joe's but I'll keep looking.......or maybe get motivated to do my own !

#77 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 06:53 PM

Thanks, folks, for all the suggestions about storing gingerroot.

Re ginger:

I just store mine in a large knob next to
the garlic next to the stove, in a small bowl.

I buy about a 3 to 4 inch long piece at a time,
and take about 3 to 4 weeks to use it up
and it's never ever gone bad on me....

Not sure why you're refrigerating yours
or why it's going bad.

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Well, I've experienced two different "going-bad" scenarios: 1) I leave the ginger unwrapped, either in the fridge or out at room temperature--in either case it dries out, especially if there's an exposed cut surface; and 2) I wrap it in plastic, as airtight as possible, and store it in the fridge, which prevents the drying-out behavior; but then, eventually, the ginger begins to rot and/or grow microbial colonies. :blink:

I think maybe I'll try the freezer strategy next ...

One thing that I have learned to love as an alternative to beer/sodas/gatorade/etc is selzer. Nowadays, they have flavored selzers available in most groceries. The fizzy bubbles make me feel like it is something special, but there are no calories, no caffeine, no alcohol (OK, so it's not a perfect beverage  :laugh:  ).

View Post

I have been a great fan of flavored seltzer ever since my Seattle days when I first discovered the Talking Rain brand of flavored fizzy-water. Alas, I have discovered that seltzer doesn't work all that well for the daily massive amount of hydration I need to accomplish (that minimum eight 8-oz. glasses daily thing)--the bubbles just take up too damn much room in my stomach! :laugh: But a nice glass of raspberry-essence sparkling water is certainly a fine thing on a warm day.

Will be posting the afternoon's batch of photos shortly ...

#78 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:32 PM

Can you show me
The shine of your Japan
The sparkle of your china
Can you show me
Bodhisattva

--Steely Dan, "Bodhisattva," from Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)

One of the errands that has occupied me these past few days has been going over to a friend's house and taking care of her cats while she is out of town on a business trip. So, once again today I spent about an hour feeding and entertaining the li'l guys ...
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... and having myself a little snack that I brought along:
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I then headed out for El Cajon Boulevard--or "The Boulevard," as certain neighborhood booster organizations seem to prefer. (Question for the longtime San Diego residents reading this: what if any history is there behind that moniker "The Boulevard"? All I can find via Google are those neighborhood booster organizations, and they don't give any background to the name.)

El Cajon Blvd. is one of two east-west thoroughfares that bisect a major portion of the city of San Diego, incidentally passing through a wide variety of neighborhoods both moneyed and working class (the other such east-west route is University Ave.). Both roads dedicate their central portions to City Heights, sometimes cited as possibly the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the United States. There certainly is a wide variety of ethnicities represented by the groceries, restaurants, and shops lining this part of El Cajon Blvd., including Mexican, Vietnamese, Middle-Eastern, and others. It's a working-class neighborhood, with a tough enough reputation that I would personally observe some caution wandering off the main drag after dark, but in daylight hours it's practically a family affair, with mothers and aunties and high school students frequenting the shops and cafes.

My first stop was to grab a more substantial meal than that apple, at the following establishment:
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I think I'm on my way to becoming a "regular" here--I'm beginning to get nods of recognition from the staff.

Saigon is roomier than the average pho joint, housed in a glass-walled box with some nice decor:
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If I'd hit this joint when the high school across the street was in session, this scene would have been jumping with mostly-Asian teens drinking boba teas. But instead I had a nice peaceful room in which to enjoy ... more pho!
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Note the much more generous plate of mix-in veggies than the one provided by Convoy Noodle House. Because I was still fondly remembering the stewed tendon dish from last night, I ordered my pho with rare steak and tendon only. The tendon had lovely texture, but alas there wasn't very much of either it or the beef. That was actually okay, though, because I definitely maxed out on the animal protein last night and could stand to go easy on that today.

(Aside to Ed Davis--the bun soup with periwinkles I showed at the start of this blog turns out to be #104 on their huge menu, and is called Bun Rieu Oc--I'm omitting whole tribes of diacritical marks I don't know how to make on this keyboard.)

Then on down the Boulevard for more shopping. Most of the little shops and stores and strip malls lining this street are pretty nondescript, or even dilapidated, but every now and then you get a scene that really has some local flava to it:
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Minh Hoa is a really nice, if somewhat cramped and un-slick, little Vietnamese market that I like a lot, but today my destination was a bigger establishment:
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As the Roman number "V" after Vien Dong/World Market's name suggests, this is one branch of a small local chain of grocery stores primarily serving San Diego's large Vietnamese population. But like all the grocery stores in this neighborhood, you'll see people of every race, religion, and ethnicity shopping here, looking for some of their favorite foods, or just for some deals to stretch their often-tight cashflow. The place is huge and just chock full of *stuff*!
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The fish department is huge, and carries a ginormous number of species I have never even heard of, let alone seen:
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The meat department is similarly large, and similarly given to fascinating-sounding items not familiar to the Euro-American kitchen:
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Ditto with the produce--so many interesting-looking greens, so little time!
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I found the items I was looking for plus a couple of others, and made my way home--oh yeah, here, by the way, is the pool just outside my front door:
Posted Image
Behind the windows at the far right of this picture is the complex's little gym, where I've taken to using the high-tech stationary bicycles (now dressing in tee and shorts to make a fool of myself on the bike, that I don't mind one bit :biggrin: ). There are also three permanently-affixed charcoal grills available just outside the pool area for the use of the residents.

Upon returning home, I was enthusiastically greeted by my current roommate's cat, Randall, who you all met during my last blog:
Posted Image
Trust me to wind up living with the only cat in the universe with a cross-species foot fetish. :laugh:

Today's grocery haul is considerably smaller than the other day's:
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The little jar contains red fermented bean curd, or nam yu--it gets its red color from the inclusion of fermented red rice in its brine. I have only a vague idea what I'm going to make for my evening meal at this point, but--geez, look at the time! I better get on with it. Fortunately, that bowl of pho has been holding me pretty well all this time. On to the kitchen ...

#79 kalypso

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 09:38 PM

Ellen "The Boulevard" isn't a term that was used to describe El Cajon Blvd. with any frequency when I was growing up here. We didn't say "I'll meet you up on The Boulevard" or other unseemly phrases. Usually it was just "it's on El Cajon around (fill in the blank for the cross street). Mostly El Cajon and University were just referred to that way, no street, boulevard, avenue, etc., modifiying it.

Have you been up to the end of El Cajon where it dead-ends at Park? There's a huge sign proclaiming THE BOULEVARD a couple of blocks east of that intersections, can't miss it. Even though the sign looks dated, it isn't. That wasn't there when I was growing up and I'm not that old.

Did you know that Saigon used to be a car dealership. Probably why it's so spacious with nice, big windows :laugh:

#80 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 09:52 PM

Ellen "The Boulevard" isn't a term that was used to describe El Cajon Blvd. with any frequency when I was growing up here.  We didn't say "I'll meet you up on The Boulevard" or other unseemly phrases.  Usually it was just "it's on El Cajon around (fill in the blank for the cross street).  Mostly El Cajon and University were just referred to that way, no street, boulevard, avenue, etc., modifiying it. 

Have you been up to the end of El Cajon where it dead-ends at Park?  There's a huge sign proclaiming THE BOULEVARD a couple of blocks east of that intersections, can't miss it.  Even though the sign looks dated, it isn't.  That wasn't there when I was growing up and I'm not that old.

Did you know that Saigon used to be a car dealership.  Probably why it's so spacious with nice, big windows  :laugh:

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Thanks for the info, Gayla. You know, I kinda suspected that name was somebody's overenthusiastic case of "marketeer-think." And yep, I've seen that "The Boulevard" sign. This city seems to have had a whole wave of putting up big neighborhood signs like that--off the top of my head, I can recall seeing such signs in University Heights, Hillcrest, and North Park.

And I was in fact wondering what Saigon's building used to house--it's kind of an odd look for a restaurant. Must have been a bit of a tight fit for an auto dealership, though. :smile:

I've got my (late) dinner, and I've got some more pictures to upload. Back shortly...

#81 MarketStEl

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 10:24 PM

As the Roman number "V" after Vien Dong/World Market's name suggests, this is one branch of a small local chain of grocery stores primarily serving San Diego's large Vietnamese population. But like all the grocery stores in this neighborhood, you'll see people of every race, religion, and ethnicity shopping here, looking for some of their favorite foods, or just for some deals to stretch their often-tight cashflow. The place is huge and just chock full of *stuff*!
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Oooh, oooh, oooh!

It's a former Saaaafewaaay...

I'd recognize that ceiling profile anywhere, even though they stuck an AC duct in the middle of it.
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
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#82 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 10:55 PM

I was feeling the bottom start to drop out of my energy bucket as I typed up those last couple of posts, so I went for a quick-and-easy dinner based on some creative recycling of leftovers, combined with fresh ingredients.

But first, the kitchen! Copious apologies in advance--it's looking rather "ghetto" this evening:
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I fear the linoleum may be permanently discolored--when I first moved in, I gave it a wash with hot water and Spic'n'Span, with no noticeable effect whatsoever. :blink: One of these days I'm going to have to try something a little more drastic on it. It doesn't help that housework is not particularly high on my current roommates list of priorities. Oh well--that's what I get for continuing to choose musicians as roommates... :laugh:

Here's the Traditional Fridge Shot:
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Anything in that fridge that's either from Asia, from Trader Joe's, or from a fresh produce department probably belongs to me. :biggrin:

Ditto the contents of the door shelves:
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Meanwhile, the big bottles of "cocktail" mix are definitely the roommate's. :biggrin:

And I think just about everything in the freezer right now is his:
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Ah yes, that carefree bachelor living. :laugh:

Meanwhile, here's most of my stash of Asian condiments and other goodies:
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That's kasha a.k.a. buckwheat groats in the blue-lidded container. I was going nutz for some time now, hunting for kasha in every store I could think of and not finding it, until I at last spotted it at Vineripe Market, a mostly middle-Eastern grocery that kalypso turned me on to during my previous blog. But Wolff's Kasha in the little cardboard box is an unknown critter out here, apparently. It wasn't just nostalgia for kasha varnishkes that had me hunting for the stuff (though kasha varnishkes IMO is certainly reason enough on its own). Buckwheat turns out to be an incredibly healthy grain, one that I wanted to make a point of including in my health regimen--more info here.

Next: on to the actual cooking, such as it was.

#83 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:15 PM

On to dinner itself. Remember that container of shirataki I bought on Tuesday from 99 Ranch?
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I plopped the contents into a strainer and gave it a good rinsing with the hottest water out of my tap (which is pretty damn hot indeed):
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Konnyaku products need a preliminary dousing with hot water to rinse off the sometimes-stinky smell they can develop while hanging around in their packaging. If I were being more thorough, I would have boiled some water to pour on them, but this did well enough for my purposes and energy level.

I thinly sliced an onion:
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... and sweated it over medium heat in a non-stick pan (sprayed with some cooking spray for good measure):
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I do own a real wok too, but this fake wok from IKEA, with its glass dome lid, turns out to be useful for a whole bunch of random cooking tasks. Just as long as you don't try to fire it up over maximum heat and expect to get some wok hey out of the poor thing. (On this generic consumer-grade stove, of course, I can't get any wok hey out of my real wok either, but that doesn't stop me from trying. :biggrin: )

Now for the creative leftover recycling portion of the program:
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This ungorgeous stuff is the remains of the marinade I used on the yellowtail the other night. Once the onions were good and soft, I poured this over them, added the shirataki, placed the remaining fresh baby bok choy on top of that, and then put the lid on so everything could steam-braise for a little while:
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The resulting dish:
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That very fiercely gingery marinade has now been sufficiently mellowed and diluted that it's nice and gentle, and I can clearly taste the bok choy and onion. A nice light refreshing (and completely meatless) meal, a great antidote to last night's splurge.

#84 mizducky

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:25 PM

Oh, I almost forgot--Randall decided to pose for me in a most amusing way, with his own photo previously posted on this blog:
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Audience participation time: this photo totally needs a caption. Winning submission wins ... oh, I dunno ... anyone remember the classic Marvel Comics "No-Prize"? :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

#85 Hiroyuki

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:43 PM

The resulting dish:
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Great job! Deserves a place in the Konnyaku Day thread in the Japan Forum. :biggrin:

#86 hzrt8w

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:52 PM

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Boy, does carrot juice taste rich! I don't think I could drink this stuff everyday, but every now and then it makes a terrific treat.

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Great minds think alike! :biggrin: I love to get bottles of carrot juice from Trader Joe's. I usually get the 64 oz... multiple bottles. At US$3.50 or so I think it's a pretty good deal. I can drink this all day too.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#87 hzrt8w

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:56 PM

We started with a trio of cold appetizers from the cooler-table in the front of the restaurant:
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Do you mean you can pick your own plate of appetizer? But this is not a buffet restaurant?

US$15.00 pp sounds like a terrific deal.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#88 hzrt8w

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 12:01 AM

My first stop was to grab a more substantial meal than that apple, at the following establishment:
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I think I'm on my way to becoming a "regular" here--I'm beginning to get nods of recognition from the staff.

Saigon is roomier than the average pho joint, housed in a glass-walled box with some nice decor:
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I have been to this Saigon restaurant on El Cajun Blvd! I can recognize the interior and the painting on the wall. :smile: I like their food too. That was about 4 years ago. Looks like they are doing well...
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#89 The Old Foodie

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 12:37 AM

While I'm gone, here's a question I could really use some help with: I can't seem to keep my fresh gingerroot from going bad on me before I use it up.

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I buy large amounts, especially when it is young and the skin is fine, grate it (actually chop it in the processor), put in jars and cover with sherry. Keeps indefinitely, you can chop it as fine or coarse as you like; the sherry is great in Asian stir-fries.
Happy Feasting

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My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

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Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

#90 mizducky

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 12:59 AM

The resulting dish:
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Great job! Deserves a place in the Konnyaku Day thread in the Japan Forum. :biggrin:

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Thank you! I'm getting pretty fond of the stuff actually. I've still got so much to learn about handling it, but I'm having fun playing around with it.





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