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    Prosser, WA
  1. I'm headed to Nashville in a couple of weeks. Has anyone been to Skull's Rainbow Room since it reopened? The dinner menu on their website looks appealing. Alternatively, is there another good place for sweetbreads? I'll mostly be in walking distance of the Renaissance hotel downtown.
  2. It's a few years late for the OP, but for anyone else coming through tasting the best restaurant in Prosser is Wine o'clock Wine Bar and Bistro/Bunnell Cellars in the wine tasting village off of Exit 80. The menu is short, but they do their best to use fresh, local ingredients. I haven't found a better restaurant in the entire Yakima Valley, but I've only been over here for nine years or so.
  3. Of course I thought of it after making my last post... On the spa side, and getting away from everything, there is Storm King Spa just outside the west entrance of Mt. Ranier park. The cabins are mostly outside of cell phone range, so you can really get away. While the spa menu isn't extensive, there are massages, facials, sauna, hot tub, body polishes and bath soaks. It's not really a food place, though, but the Copper Creek Inn Restaurant nearby had the best blackberry pie we've ever had, and my wife thought they had the best biscuits and gravy she's had.
  4. For your 24th, or for others interested in this thread, Cameo Heights Mansion (B&B) near Walla Walla, WA may be a possibility. Their restaurant has a seven course dinner with optional wine pairings. My wife and I stayed there and had dinner for our anniversary a few years ago. Not inexpensive, but very nice rooms and food.
  5. That pretty well eliminates nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs. That's compost rather than garbage.
  6. There is no butter on the premises.
  7. I haven't poached trout, but I've often poached tilapia and other fish in Vermouth. When I want a simple/quick fish, I chop shallots and mushrooms and saute. When those are softened, I push them to the sides of the pan and brown the fish on both sides (usually I rub some herbs on the fish first). Then I pour in dry vermouth and poach until done, by which time the vermouth has usually reduced to a light sauce. I like it and others have liked it, too.
  8. Congrats, Steven, but I hope you aren't going back on any statements from "Fat Guys Kick Ass."
  9. I've always been a fan of the mint-flavored toothpicks some places give you.
  10. I'll have to do some checking this weekend, but there are a couple of items that I know off the top of my head are cheaper at the farmer's market. One is Après Vin infused grapeseed oils. These are about 30% less expensive at the market than in local stores. They are becoming a bigger company so maybe they shouldn't count, but it is still produced locally. Also one of the local wineries sells a very nice red blend for $10/liter at the market -- more than 50% off shop pricing. Flowers are another. I can get flower arrangements for even less than at Costco, and I can request what flowers are in the bouquets or specify a color theme for them to make. I believe that a lot of the vegetables are cheaper and berries are cheaper in season, but I'll have to do some comparing this weekend. Some items are hard to compare. I can get free range eggs for $4/doz which is slightly more expensive than at the store, but the store eggs I don't know if free range only means that there was a little door in the shed which the chickens never used. I've been to the local farm and seen the chickens scratching in the fields, so I know how they were raised. Cheeses are hard to compare, too. You have enough price differences at the store for something like goat cheese; do you compare the market cheese to only the cheapest at the store?
  11. I'm re-reading The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry. While dealing primarily with farming, it's the first book that really got me thinking about food and where it comes from and how it could be better. It was written in the seventies, and I read it year ago, but I am still amazed how relevant he is and how much what he says is echoed by other, more modern authors.
  12. We put in our first garden this year; always lived in Seattle apartments previously with no room to grow anything. Now we're out in Prosser and have some room. We put our tomato starts out too early this month and three days of cold and rain killed them all. Well, it also killed the peppers, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. It was very sad. Lesson learned. We've since bought some new tomato and pepper starts from a neighbor and planted some new seed just to say we grew some tomato plants of our own. Our lettuce got off to a rocky start as it was being mysteriously eaten all the time down to little nubs. When we discovered that the culprit were quail, a bit of netting fixed the problem and we now have some really nice lettuce. Spinach is also doing well, though the chard is moving a bit slowly. Beans and peas are growing rapidly, though we are having a devil of a time with ground squirrels eating the peas. They dig right under any fencing or netting we try. The squash plants appear to be doing well, along with the cucumbers. Watermelon and charentais melon are coming along more slowly. We planted a lot of herbs, too, and have tarragon, oregano and basil. We transplanted some mint, thyme and another oregano from indoors and they are struggling, but surviving. Cilantro, parsley, marjoram and more basil are just coming up. Dill, too, but it was recently victimized by the ground squirrels as well. Or birds. Hard to know sometimes. The onions and beets are doing very well. I was given some shallot seed, but they haven't come up, yet. We ate the first strawberry a few days ago -- the first food we have grown ourselves other than herbs. We planted asparagus late and it is growing, so we hope that there will be a crop next year. Same with the rhubarb. We also planted several types of flowers to aid in attracting insects and birds as well as some medicinal herbs. We probably went a bit crazy with our first garden and planted way too much, but it's been a great learning experience so far and will continue to be, I'm sure. More pics at imageGullet
  13. Mmmm. That all looks delicious. Reminds me that I need to get back there soon.
  14. I, too, recently re-subscribed after a lapse. While I echo some of Dick's complains about the recent top 100, I've felt that way about each of the top 100s, so I don't feel that it has gone down this year. I've never expected it to be the "100 best new things of the year," though, just "100 things we most want to talk about in our top 100 list this year." So I don't mind Star Anise or custard (though doesn't everyone know that Ted Drewes frozen custard of St. Louis is the standard by which all other frozen custard's should be judged?). I haven't noticed any decline, yet, but I think it's too early. I'll give it a year or two for new ideas and visions to trickle down and start having a real effect before judging whether the quality is going up or down.
  15. Chicha is Andean, not just Peruvian. The chewing up and spitting out process tends to only happen in very rural and/or poor areas where sugar is not available to start the fermentation process. In cities, chica is manufactured as beer would be -- without chewing. Water and ground corn or yucca is combined and cooked for about 12 hours. Then they add the chewed up ground corn and let it all sit and cool. Then it's cooked again for about 12 hours. If it's not for chica dulce (non-alcoholic) but rather for chich fuerte (alcoholic) it's poured into a fresh cantaro (a giant clay pot) and topped with cloth/plastic/whatever is available. That will sit for 3 or 4 days. Then it is opened and drunk. There is usually a frothy residue on top which is skimmed off. The master/mistress of honor tests it and makes the pachamamma offering and starts distributing it. At the bottom is all of the corn residue, called hachi. This often consumed with the cicha dulce for breakfast. The hachi is important to fill the stomach. The spat out corn is not the most disturbing part, if you want to think of it that way. Different regions have different thoughts about fermentation and different things are added to "aid" the process -- rocks, dirt, feces, etc. Edited to add: The taste and consistency of chicha can vary vastly not only from place to place, but by maker. Within the same small village, you will get very different results.
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