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Everything posted by MT-Tarragon

  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.
  16. I have to agree with this, despite all the bottom-freezers out there... I prefer the top freezer to the bottom for all of the above reasons - better organization/versatility. Because the refrigerator area is larger, I can better arrange my refrigerated items so that things I don't use often are low where I might have to bend to get them. But, yes, if I found a side-by-side that had enough width in the freezer half, that would be pretty nice. But the narrow ones? Keep away from me Satan! Ideally it would be nice to have enough space for separate freezer and fridge. I do have a small deep freeze which also helps make me content with my top freezer.
  17. Yes, and when butter beetles battle with paddles in a puddle, this is what we call a bitter beetle puddle butter paddle battle and...
  18. I think it's a more a misunderstanding, or lack of clarity/specificity, in the term "side by side". In the Eastern butters block, they are side by side, in that only the sides of the butter touch each other (none are touching end to end). In the west, there are 2 sticks laid side by side which are packaged end to end with another 2 sticks laying side by side. But I also remember old packaging for butter or margarine, in which all four sticks lay flat next in a row. Western packaging of 1 pound from Tillamook Eastern packaging of 1 pound from Horizon
  19. I've been considering building a home with a masonry heater with an oven and/or stove attached/integrated. I've read a few posts about people building brick ovens outside, but haven't seen or found anything about people baking or cooking in and on masonry heater stoves and ovens. If you are wondering what I'm talking about, here is a link to a gallery of masonry heaters. Not all of those have stoves and ovens attached, but a few do. So, has anyone used an oven or stove on one of these? I'm considering the masonry heater for the heat aspects, but the cooking is good, too, that's more reason for one. Thanks. edited to add: The sub topic title should have read: Anyone used one?
  20. I, too, enjoy The French Laundry and Nose to Tail Eating cookbooks. Bert Greene's Kitchen Bouquets: A Cookbook of Favored Aromas and Flavors Thompson's Thai Food -- Does half history book, half cook book count as a pure cookbook? Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice
  21. Maybe they thought people would talk about it quite a bit more if was thrown in as a cheesy (mmm, cheesy... mayor mc cheese... micky d's!) subliminal ad.
  22. I read AoE a few years ago now. I haven't read any other works by or about MFKF. I think that I enjoyed How to Cook a Wolf the most. Something about the "making do" aspect, perhaps, as opposed to some of the others that seemed more luxurious/indulgent. This thread is the first that I have heard of the less savoury aspects of MFKF's personal life. I find that it doesn't bother me too much, probably because her writing did not have a great impact on my life (though I did find it very enjoyable). But I can understand how someone could feel betrayed. Someone earlier talked about the difficulty of forgiving a woman you trusted for sleeping with married men. From my male perspective, I look at wedding vows as one of the most important (if not the most important) promises that one will ever make. If a person cannot be trusted to hold that vow (or could help another break that vow, can I trust them to hold to any lesser promise? I don't think so. Such a person would be forever suspect in my eyes. Harsh, perhaps, but it is my opinion. This has hurt me among those I have known, or have trusted without knowing, so I can understand those who feel betrayed by MFKF, even if the source of the feeling follows a different logical route.
  23. I was at the Seattle Asian Art Museum last month, and they had a lot of works by Vik Muniz. One that I liked was "Double Mona Lisa" in peanut butter and jelly.
  24. I saw SATC once about three years ago. So, I don't know about the timing, but there was a surge of cupcakery openings here in Seattle about two years ago. I don't know that I've noticed any opening lately, but maybe I'm blocking them out. I'd be fine with the trend if the cupcakeries produced a tasty product. Instead we're stuck with cupquackeries, producing cupped poo piles mounded with an inch or two of sweetened oobleck. I'm with Michael. Give me a good tasting cake part and about 1/8 inch of icing.
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