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Everything posted by mizducky

  1. I've had so many bad Manhattans in so many places that I wonder why I still bother ordering them. So far, the only place in the San Diego area where I've had a really good one has been, ironically, Manhattan of La Jolla. If they'd screwed it up with a name like that, I would have been forced to egg their front door or something. My old Seattle drinking buddies and I used to love dive-drinking at the Nite Lite. We weren't really trying to play stump the bartender there--hell, it's a dive bar, you gets what you gets--but we did derive a lot of amusement-value from their approaches to our drink orders. I would almost always order a Mai Tai--hey, if you're gonna trash-drink, you might as well go for the gusto, right?--and even though it was the same bartender every time, I never got the exact same concoction twice. Dive Mai Tai == "clean out the fridge"?
  2. Well, I'll definitely try to get out of the gate earlier. But you know how it is, sometimes work-stuff grabs you around the throat and won't let you escape--especially when you work out of your home like I do. So is the consensus that the I-5/101 route is better traffic-wise than the I-405? I've done this trip several times before, and while the 405 did slow way down, at least it kept moving. I'd been avoiding the I-5/101 option because of one or two EXTREME traffic nightmares I had on those, but maybe those were just worse-than-the-norm experiences? (I realize that the answer may really be "the traffic just sucks everywhere, so just roll the dice and take your chances...and at least pick a route that includes good food options!" ) Meanwhile ... thanks, all, for the various food suggestions!
  3. I had no idea it would be so danged difficult to find decent lamb meat until I hit two different supermarkets and came up empty (okay, I did find a very few hunks of pre-packaged lamb, but of a size and price that just did not make sense for a person on a budget cooking just for herself). Gonna have to track down an actual butcher shop and give it another go sometime this weekend, 'cause y'all now have me jonesing for some lamb curry mighty fierce.
  4. In the case of chickens, it might have more to do with growing fears about bird flu than mad cow disease (More info on bird flu/avian influenza from the US CDC). I have no info or opinion on whether there's reason yet to majorly fear bird flu in Canada, or even whether this head-on chicken issue is even related ... just offering the info I've got, for what it's worth.
  5. I too would love some more info about yuba. I've bought dried yuba from the local 99 Ranch and tried it out in a few recipes I found on the Web, and achieved mixed results at best. I've not (yet) succeeded in finding it for purchase either fresh or frozen. Speaking of the Buddhist influence on Kyoto food--does that include creating "mock meats" from soy products? Or is that mainly a Chinese Buddhist thing? I'd love to learn more about this, as despite my long-standing carnivore leanings I've had to drastically cut down on my animal-protein consumption due to a nasty little run-in with gout.
  6. Oh yeah, that's a good'un! (Longtime Thurber fan here.) You can read the text of the Python routine here. Not as effective as hearing Eric Idle speak it, but it'll give you the general drift.
  7. I'd much rather eat lobster at a New England lobster shack, sitting outdoors at a picnic table dressed in jeans and teeshirt, than in any fancy white-tablecloth restaurant. Not only is it likely to be cheaper and fresher (not always, but often), but it's much more acceptable to make an unholy mess while you go for the gusto! (Plus there's all the childhood summer vacation memories invoked...) Dark-meat poultry lover here--turkey as well as chicken. Turkey or chicken wings, necks, and backs have long been my go-to items for stocks and soups. And the prices I often see for chicken legs is just crazy-low! One year when I was laid off and living on unemployment checks and community food pantry offerings (thank you, dot-com bubble ), I became a self-taught expert on cheap meats. Offal and butcher's trimmings became my friends! (Even moreso than previously.) But even when I managed to climb back on the corporate behemoth again, I didn't much return to the more expensive stuff. A lot of meat just tastes really insipid to me these days--dunno if the supply as a whole has "dumbed down" a lot flavorwise since I was a kid, or whether it's just a matter of aging taste buds, or both. But I find myself just really preferring the flavor and texture of those cheaper moist-heat-needing cuts, let alone the stronger flavors and more interesting textures of organ meats.
  8. D'oh! All these mentions of markets reminds me I need to mention Seattle's Pike Place Market. Yeah, it can get over-touristed, but if you go on a weekday the crowds are more manageable, and it's a helluva lotta food fun. My personal favorite restaurant in the Market is Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar, but there are bunches of others, from stallers selling walk-around street food to white-tablecloth dining experiences and all points in between. Also forgot to mention Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, though that's been getting so gentrified in recent years that it's fast losing the hippy/artsy/funky vibe that made me like it so much.
  9. San Diego: lessee, there's the Gaslamp District--though you really need a good guide, either human or book, to know which places are the real deal and which are the tourist traps and hype palaces. Old Town: ditto. Pacific Beach/Mission Beach: ditto. Hillcrest: much higher percentage of real-deal places to hype-o-ramas. Ocean Beach: mainly downscale hippy/beachy joints, but my personal favorite neighborhood for walking, window-shopping, and grazing. La Jolla--lots of really great, and often really $$$, restaurants, in a lovely downtown area totally ideal for exploring on foot. Seattle: A city with a bazillion little neighborhoods, all studded with restaurants. Just a few: Pioneer Square--another highly touristed area with some genuinely nice places scattered among the hype-o-rama. International District (Chinese/Japanese/Vietnamese): some touristy joints but a high percentage of great places, from holes-in-the-wall to huge dim sum emporia. Capitol Hill--three different clumps of walkable restaurant areas--along Broadway, along 15th Ave., and down the Pike/Pine corridor, running the gamut from semi-refined bistros to unrestrained punko-funko. Ballard: what used to be known as a sleepy Scandinavian neighborhood has developed a low-key but really fun restaurant/cafe/bar scene, especially down Ballard Ave. Belltown: some of the trendiest upscale joints can be found here, as well as some of the funkiest. Queen Anne: both Lower and Upper have a goodly collection of dining choices--but be prepared to take bus or car between Lower and Upper (the Counterbalance rivals some of the steepest urban hills in San Francisco). And on the smaller side ... Nyack, NY: I was surprised and delighted when, a couple of summers ago, I went back to what I think of my hometown, Nyack (20 miles upstate from NYC, on the west bank of the Hudson where the Tappan Zee Bridge/NYS Thruway crosses). Nyack's downtown has turned into a truly enjoyable place, full of little restaurants and cafes as well as shops selling crafts and antiques and the like--a far cry from the battered little mostly-out-of-business scene going on when I left for college in 1975.
  10. Re: Sea-Tac -- if you have enough stopover time to go off airport property, I enthusiastically recommend grabbing a taxi and heading for Bai Tong, on the main drag just outside the airport (variously known as Pacific Highway or International Blvd.). It's an excellent Thai place that, IIRC, started off life as a private dining room to feed Thai airline employees. It then went public and moved out of the airport and into a building that must have once been an old A&W Root Beer joint--considerably dressing up the building inside and out in the process. The best Thai food I ever had in the Seattle area was at that restaurant--and given the number of Thai joints around there, that's saying a lot.
  11. Heh. Am I the only one reading this topic who is reminded of the Monty Python "Australian table wines" routine?
  12. Heh. As early as I can possibly manage. I hope to be on the road no later than 1pm ... which will at least let me beat the worst of the Friday afternoon exodus out of San Diego. I expect I will still run into bunches of traffic all the way up to and through LA, but at least I'll have a fighting chance of making it to Studio City in, what? five hours elapsed travel time? No matter how I do this, I realize I'm gonna be spending a hunk of hours either sitting in stop-and-go traffic, or wandering around killing time in LA, or most likely both. But as I'm a total freak for the group I'm driving up to hear play, I'm just gonna grin and bear it--and hopefully reward myself with some good food as well as good tunes. Meanwhile, thanks for the restaurant recommendation!
  13. I'll be driving up from San Diego to Los Angeles this coming Friday to see a show at the Baked Potato (3787 Cahuenga Blvd., right near the Ventura Blvd./Lankershim Ave. convergence), and would like to dine on something a little more inspired than the Potato's big potatoes. Alas, the gas, show cover, and drinks will already be blowing a bit of a hole in my modest budget, so dinner has to be on the relatively cheap side price-wise. Anyone got any recommendations for cheap-but-good places in that area? I know from previous trips that there are bazillions of dining places around there, but it's nice to hear first-hand experiences. My food tastes are broad and I like discovering new stuff; I have an especial fondness for any kind of Asian cuisine (Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese/Japanese/Korean/etc. etc. etc.). Thanks in advance...
  14. Greatly enjoying your blog too--and definitely having flashbacks to my own college/grad school days, when I wasn't fed anywhere near as well as you feed your girls, Malawry. I especially recall one dish the college cafeteria tried out in an effort to please the vegetarian students, with the rather unsettling name Polynesian Meatless Balls. After the food service staff got tired of all the kidding they received on that one, they rechristened the dish Polynesian Meat-like Balls. After further kidding, the food service folks just gave up on that entree altogether. 'Twould appear that people "eat" with their ears as well as their eyes.
  15. I dunno, I always thought the original IC Japan's contests were pretty fixed too. I guess I just assumed the whole thang, whether original or new-style, had a significant streak of pro-wrestling "scripting" going on. Was intrigued to see Wayne Harley Brachman sous-cheffing for Flay this time out. I understand he used to work with Flay, but isn't he working somewhere else now? And he wasn't on Flay's team in previous episods of ICA, unless I'm misremembering...
  16. Omelette sandwich (plain two-egg omelette between two slices of toasted whole-grain bread). I am somewhat in awe of those of you who are awake enough at breakfast time to point and focus a camera.
  17. mizducky

    Dinner! 2005

    Made a potato/spinach curry, recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's "World of the East Vegetarian Cooking" ... mainly because the recent thread on lamb curry elsewhere on the board got my curry-making juices flowing, but I was feeling too lazy to go out shopping for some decent lamb. Mmmmm ... carbs ...
  18. Mapo tofu from the take-out deli department of the local 99 Ranch. Fast/cheep/easy/yummy comfort food.
  19. Heh. As an egullet newbie, I just can't resist adding to this thread ... A college boyfriend of mine had a muchie routine he referred to as the Fresh Fruit Stone. Before we'd light up, we'd do a supermarket run for some really great fresh fruit--strawberries, melon, etc.--get it all washed, cut, and prepared, and then light up. Later, after much time listening to Firesign Theater and Doors records, we'd pig out most pleasantly... Back in those days, I would occasionally get what I called Reverse Munchies--I would be craving eats, alright, but I could think of no food item I would want to put in my mouth in that highly sensitized state. On one occasion my smoking buddies and I lit up and then went to dinner in the dorm dining room. I collected an entire trayful of dinner, sat through the whole meal with my friends, and then deposited the entire meal, untouched, in the trash. You have to realize how *odd* this behavior was for me--I normally have to be at death's door to not eat food placed before me. Oh, and then there was the College Theater Brownie Adventure. I was involved in a school production of The Who's "Tommy"--a terrific adventure in itself which, alas, would go way off-topic for this board. But anyway, a "secret" portion of the production budget was handed over to our costume designer to purchase, erm, supplies with which to make some brownies for the cast party; as she put it, there wasn't a whole lotta flour in them thar brownies. I recall spending a goodly amount of time at that cast party standing in the kitchen with the show's director, trying to decipher the instructions on a frozen pizza box, and only figuring out about a half-hour later that the pizza would get done a whole lot faster if we'd actually turn the oven on.
  20. Aha! Another liverwurst fan! My family had a similar favorite sandwich I nicknamed the Stinkbomb Special--thick slabs of liverwurst and raw onion with spicy mustard on sturdy pumpernickel. Wonder how that would have played with a horseradish/applesauce spread. (I'm grooving on the horseradish idea; just not quite so sure about the applesauce part...) Sardine sandwiches were in regular rotation as my take-to-school lunch fare when I was a kid. I loved 'em so much I frankly didn't give a damn whether other kids might think they were weird. Never was moved to try Harriet the Spy's tomato sandwiches, but my mom did teach me to make little open-face "pizza" sandwiches--take an English muffin half, top with a slice of American cheese, put a slice of tomato on top of that, sprinkle with oregano, broil in the toaster-oven till cheese is melty.
  21. Heh. I've got a weird food aversion for y'all: Canned tomato soup. It's a childhood food thing, I think. I never had it at home because my mom had an aversion to the stuff too. So I first encountered it in the school lunchroom. To me, it had a color not normally found in nature, and an aroma and texture that had as little to do with real tomato as I could imagine. I loathed it on sight. I don't think I ever actually tasted any--I must have, because I recall the texture impression. Must have blotted the traumatic experience itself from my memory. I really don't care for tomato juice either, for similar reasons. Strangely, I love just about any other form of tomatoes you can name--raw, cooked, in sauces, even home-made tomato soup, all are fine. But as far as that can o' Campbells, well, Andy can keep it on the wall. Otherwise I'm a pretty brazen eater. I'm therefore paradoxically grateful for my tomato-soup aversion -- it helps teach me that some food preferences and aversions simply do not yield to rational analysis, and that's that. (edited to fix some fussy little stylistic thing that probably only I noticed...)
  22. Oh dear ... where to start? I have been sampling bits o' raw meat while getting ready to turn it into cooked meat for years now. I haven't come down with food poisoning yet (knocking on Formica), so I'll probably continue to do this until I get my negative-reinforcement come-uppance. I like to eat the skin of citrus fruits. I'm not talking candied peel here, or even marmelade--I mean the raw peel, after I've eaten the orange or grapefruit or whatever. If a lemon wedge is served with my fish or iced tea, I will eat it. Peel and all. Must have some goat genes in the family genome... I am dangerous when at any kind of buffet--a danger to my stomach as well as to the proprietors' bottom line. I have been known to eat leftover Thanksgiving giblet gravy straight, by itself, no stuffing or mashed potatoes or anything. All that stuff is just a glorified vehicle for gravy anyway--right? So why not just cut to the chase? Sometimes I find that there is just nothing that can appease me like a fast-food fix. As long as it's *NOT* Mickey D's! But I've been guilty of heart-attack-hazard by Jack-in-the-Box more often than I care to contemplate. There are other oddities I could confess to as well, but I think that's more than enough for now.
  23. I've not done enough traveling to feel like I can say anything definitive about *most interesting* food city, but of the places I have been I can offer some opinions... New York's food virtues have already been amply argued, and of those places I've been I'd have to say it's tops in sheer variety by me too, by most every yardstick I can think of. Now for some honorable mentions. Vancouver and Seattle have already been invoked, I see, so let me throw in a good word for the Boston Metro area, where I lived for some 15 years. Simply because of the dozens of colleges, and thus the bazillions of students from all over the world, Boston IMO has a distinct lead in the kind of foods that would appeal to that customer base--cheap/reasonably priced eateries of many different ethnic groups. Add to that the Italian-American influence of the North End, the terrific seafood, the old-timey New England-y places like Durgin Park, the respectable group of upscale/trendy dining spots--and last but not least (even though it's now only a shadow of its former glory), the wonderful Haymarket, and I'd say Boston definitely belongs on a list of major interesting-food cities. Nobody's mentioned Portland OR yet either, but while I have friends who sing the praises of that city's foodie scene, I don't have enough personal experience with it to speak authoritatively. Meanwhile, looping back to Seattle--not only does it have the Pacific Rim thing goin' on, but it also has a fabulous food market, Pike Place Market, supplied by a bunch of local farmers who bring in some really nice produce. There's also local wineries; a whole lotta microbreweries small and large; the ubiquitous coffee presence (much more than just Starbucks, and even they once upon a time were just another little coffee emporium too); a pretty strong Chinatown/International District (also featuring Vietnamese and Japanese places), and some really excellent exemplars of other Asian-ethnic cuisines too (Thai, Indian, etc.). (While my current city of residence, San Diego, has got some great food-things of its own going on, I don't really feel its dining scene has quite the depth of other places I've been so far.)
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