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Everything posted by MsMelkor

  1. Great list of recommendations, adegiulio! Although I would substitute 40 West for the Beekman Arms (which is a great place to stash visiting relatives, but I haven't found the food to be as compelling). My personal favorite restaurant in the general vicinity is the Depuy Canal House across the river in High Falls.
  2. Melkor is a self-admitted presentation whore. I like my food to look good, but I don't obsess to the degree that he does. We don't always eat this well - if we are both busy lunch might be cottage cheese and fruit or a bowl of cereal - but we try to stock the freezer with provisions for these occasions (we'll probably freeze the rest of the osso bucco in 2-serving portions).
  3. Dear Madeleine, Good to meet you! Whenever Ms. Melkor gets up from her laptop I like to sit on the keyboard and e-mail my friends. I usually eat Science Diet - since I'm 7 years old, I'm going to try the Senior variety, which will hopefully taste better than that Light garbage they feed me now. But I much prefer tuna juice (water-packed) and raw poultry. Mmmm... Meeow, Rosie
  4. Yeah, we usually have about 4 a day - one before breakfast, one between breakfast and lunch, a half-caf after lunch, and a decaf after dinner. So Melkor's had a lot of practice making latte art even though we've only had the machine for a couple of weeks.
  5. We used to roast with a Hearthware electric roaster, but it roasts really quickly, you can only roast 3 oz at a time, and you have very little control over the roasting process. So Melkor made a rotisserie roaster that works with our gas grill. We have infinite control over nearly every variable (including how long it takes) and we can roast much more at a time (the roasted beans fill a quart mason jar). We buy our beans from Sweet Maria's - they have a great selection and lots of information about roasting coffee. Of course, there's also Coffee Geek for roasting discussions.
  6. Oh, long story...we moved out here from the Hudson Valley in upstate NY when Melkor got a job nearby. We weren't sure where in the Bay Area we wanted to live - there are so many great places around here - but in the end, the lure of wine won out. Also it's much sunnier and warmer here than in SF/Oakland/Berkeley, but not as hot as it is in the upper Napa Valley. And the housing prices in the Bay Area are incredibly high, so finding something affordable in the lower part of the valley was key.
  7. I graduated from Cornell in '95, and boy did it make me appreciate sunny weather! Now that I'm in the Napa Valley, I absolutely take it for granted that all summer (and most of the spring and fall) it will be warm and dry and that we can grow all sorts of veggies in our garden.
  8. MsMelkor

    Making Cheese

    Melkor and I made mozzarella from a kit sold by the New England Cheesemaking Company. It was surprisingly good and really easy to make. They have kits for a bunch of different kinds of cheeses, although mozzarella and ricotta are two of the easiest. Of course, you don't need a kit, but you will need things like rennet and calf lipase (which is not necessary but is supposed to make it taste better...).
  9. I went to grad school in Madison - haven't been back in a few years, but I loved it there. Lots to do, very green city, friendly people, unbelievable farmer's market. If only it weren't so cold.... I always enjoyed Monty's Blue Plate, which is a 50s-style diner with a more modern/less traditional menu. And for Afghan food I like Kabul on State Street. Both of these are pretty casual places. For something fancier, there's L'Etoile (Odessa Piper's restaurant - she's known for her use of local, seasonal ingredients). You can get a good steak at Tornado downtown. Good luck on the interview!
  10. Gorgeous!! If you have any extra lying around, feel free to send one my way!
  11. Since both Melkor and I work from home, we have a lot of choices. I like to have leftovers whenever possible, although if Melkor has time he will make something more elaborate (I rarely have time to make anything other than leftovers). When we both have too much work and no leftovers in the house we tend to just snack all day....
  12. Joseph Phelps has a nice tasting - great wine, beautiful surroundings. Caymus has a fantastic sit-down tasting at a huge oak table, and it's free, although reservations are a must. Last time we were there (about a month ago) they were struggling with a major fruit fly infestation. Of course there are fruit flies in pretty much every winery, but tasting takes on a whole new challenge when you're sneaking gulps of Caymus Cab, removing the piece of paper on top of the glass for as little time as possible. Assuming they've resolved that issue by now, I'd definitely recommend a visit.
  13. I really like the pie crust recipes in The Best Recipe - they use a combination of butter and shortening. I'd love to try an open-crumb country bread sometime. Everyone I've tried to make is incredibly dense - maybe a different recipe and some other folks' ideas will help.
  14. MsMelkor

    Dinner! 2004

    We went salmon fishing over the summer and froze individual portions, so we've been enjoying wild salmon over the winter. Tonight I started the salmon on the stove until a crust formed and then finished it in the oven, and served it with spinach, roasted potatoes and carrots, and pickled onions. I tossed the veggies with a vinaigrette made with chardonnay that was reduced to about 10% of its volume (brown and syrupy), olive oil, meyer lemon juice, minced shallots, dijon mustard, and a bit of sugar. Kind of random, but it was pretty tasty.
  15. The other day we made the meyer lemon sabayon pine nut tart from the French Laundry cookbook, served with honey mascarpone. Surprisingly easy to make, given the source. Last night was affogato (a shot of espresso over vanilla ice cream). Usually we make our own ice cream but we were lazy and bought a pint.
  16. They have great Bloody Marys, made with balsamic vinegar instead of worcestershire sauce. Mmmmm....
  17. Ask to be seated at the sushi bar (you may want to call ahead to request this). If you arrive early, you will probably have to wait outside, as the place is tiny. It's also really quiet - definitely not a place to take rowdy friends. I've been there twice and both times have been amazed at the quality of the food and tranquility of the space.
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