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azurite

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  1. In the PNW: fresh halibut, line caught tuna--grilled (so different from canned tuna), smoked tuna. Fresh sardines (cooked). I have yet to be able to get the last in OR though, at least where I live, there's a sardine fishery off of OR but apparently the local fishing boats aren't equipped to fish for sardine, so that they get (much larger then the size that eaten) it used for bait. Or that's what a former commercial fisherperson who now runs a seafood restaurant (featuring locally caught seafood) told me.
  2. azurite

    Cooking on a train

    I've never cooked on Amtrak, but I've attended sessions on food menu/meal development on Amtrak & once was taken on a very short/quick tour of the kitchen on one of the Superliners. The trend on Amtrak is to provide almost prepared meals to the staff of the dining car and they are provided w/training on how to prepare/present the meals they are provided with. Breakfast eggs (scrambled, etc.) are still prepared (from eggs) on the train/prior to serving because so many passengers criticized the alternatives. Amtrak does have chefs (both for LD and for some regional trains) and they have been expanding the menus available, particularly on LD trains. Acela first class meals have long been chef designed; the food is very good. The kitchens are on the lower level of the dining car in LD cars, the food is transported to the passenger level by dumbwaiters. The kitchen seemed pretty cramped/likely to be hot to me and the sleeping car attendant who gave me the short "tour" indicated that was the case.
  3. azurite

    Honest food. Honestly.

    The # of USDA inspectors and inspections of slaughterhouses, etc., in the US has decreased (I believe, but am not sure, that the decrease started during the Clinton administration) because the industry could "regulate itself." See also http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/politics/ for a short history of the influence of the meat packing industry, etc., on US legislation since the 1990's re: meat and agency actions. Then think about the recent notable failure of the FDA to ban the prophylactic use of various antibiotics in animals raised for meat. https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/12/29-10 after all that, I'm not as sure as you that the food supply is that "safe." For me food "honesty" = what "artisan" has come to mean (nothing) = "homecooked" when applied to restaurant food or prepared foods sold in a supermarket. Maybe it means something other than a new advertising term to some of the chefs using the term, otherwise, I agree w/tikidoc (sp?)--doesn't apply to food.
  4. just to update for anyone visiting Newport during the winter. This year a winter farmers' market started in Newport. Just like the summer market, it's held on Saturday, but in a building at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. I went once in November, and there was more crafts & some interesting art, then food. However, Walker Farms (locally raised meat, several kinds of bacon, goose, chicken, beef, pork) and at least one seller of honey were there. Here's a link w/information re: location, schedule, etc. http://tenriversfoodweb.org/home/grand-opening-of-the-newport-winter-market-9846/
  5. Plenty of hickory nuts in my mother's backyard on Long Island (NY). She has several hickory trees & I can remember stepping on them (hurts if you're barefoot) in the autumn. I think one reason there's a fairly large population of squirrels in the area is because of those trees. We used to see squirrels burying some of the nuts in the ground. Requires some time & preparation after picking before you can shell & eat them. http://www.ehow.com/how_5539153_eat-hickory-nuts.html
  6. 'mignonette cake'. Until I read your post, the only mignonette I'd heard of was a small flowered herbaceous annual (annual in my zone). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mignonette Wiki indicates that in addition to plants, it's the name of a type of sauce (apparently a sauce you're already familiar with).
  7. Somewhere on eGullet there's a thread about a 3rd choice: cook on the weekend (not all weekend) or on day/days off, freeze the food in single portions. Thaw as needed during during the week for dinner. Either for nights when there's no time to cook, the people who cook are too tired to cook, etc. Maybe pizza/takeout 1x/week or less. The thread also discussed how to utilize leftovers in other meals during the week, without expanding the cooking time. Iirc, many of the people posting worked & had children. Bittman's post seemed ok to me, he pointed out something I've observed, which is that many people (not all but many) make time for what they want to do or what they see as relaxing or "not work." TV, surfing the net, posting on Facebook, gaming, whatever. It is, to some extent, as he says, that cooking is felt to be work. Particularly, I think for some women, who so often got told it was their job or "women's work." Not to mention having to deal w/children who were picky eaters I was one of them, at least according to my father, although compared to what I've read here & elsewhere, I was only moderately choosey.
  8. In addition to Local Ocean in Newport (on the bay front), there is a good restaurant in Depoe Bay (smallest harbor in OR) called Tidal Raves. Nice view of the ocean from some of the tables. Further north is Lincoln City, and there are several pretty good places there: Andaman Thai http://www.andamancuisine.com/ although I haven't been there in over a year. Also: Blackfish Cafe http://www.blackfishcafe.com/ and there is one other restaurant that's supposed to be quite good, The Bay House, http://www.thebayhouse.org/ If you like books, don't miss Robert's Books in Lincoln City. It's a second hand bookstore in what was probably once a house, maybe more than one house, so there are many rooms and many books. A very good selection of used books, including cookbooks, and the books are reasonably priced, http://www.robertsbookshop.com/ One of the people that works there has a phenomenal recall of the bookstore's stock. She has helped me find at least one non-fiction book when I could not remember the title or author, but only what it was about. The bookstore also has a good collection of book illustrations (for some of the older mysteries, thrillers, etc.) decorating the walls, and some weapons (spears, harpoons) hanging from the ceiling. I haven't gone further north in so long that I don't feel able to offer any more suggestions. There used to a be a great pie place in Garibaldi, but that was years ago.
  9. Two good restaurants in Albany (almost adjacent to Corvallis), Sybaris http://www.sybarisbistro.com/ (on First Street in the old Albany downtown) and Novak's http://www.novakshungarian.com/ The chef/cooks at Sybaris use some local ingredients, like to experiment a little (usually the experiments turn out well) and the plating is almost always very good. Service is usually very good as well. If you go to Sybaris, the Carousel store/museum is almost across the street, if it's open, it's worth a visit. I like Albany's downtown, it's adjacent to a river & there's a park on either side of the river (downtown). If you visit on a Saturday, you can walk 4-5 blocks from Sybaris to the courthouse & check out the Albany Farmers market http://locallygrown.org/home/ You don't say where on the coast you'll be traveling, if you drove west from Corvallis to the OR coast, you could go to Newport's bay front and eat at Local Ocean, locally caught fish/seafood cooked well http://localocean.net/locations . Not too sure about what's good from Newport south to Brookings. There is a pleasant coffee shop/independent bookstore in Gold Beach, OR. http://www.oregoncoastbooks.com/ Ate here once: http://restaurants.uptake.com/oregon/port_orford/griff_s_on_the_dock_27066300.html the food was ok, I think we went there more for the location--the Port Orford "port" is worth seeing, quite small and the boats are lowered into the water by crane. Grif's is pretty much on the docks. There are a few other places in Port Orford to eat (very small town), and there is a beautiful state park, Port Orford Heads http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_61.php that's worth a visit. South Oregon coast is very beautiful w/some wonderful state parks (w/beaches), towns are usually economically depressed.
  10. I'm not sure why live music has to be loud, or why most musicians in restaurants and bars, no matter how small, feel they have to use amplifiers. I've been to classical music and choral concerts where 7 (or was it 9?) well trained vocalists singing a capella (w/no electronic amplification) filled a large church (w/good acoustics) with their song. Maybe it reflects a lack of confidence on the part of the musicians or singers, but certainly violins/fiddles, pianos & drums can be quite loud w/out electronic amplification. Like so many of you, I strongly dislike loud restaurants. If possible, I e-mail a new place I'm considering trying ahead of time & ask about the noise level, although I don't always get a straight answer. I am clear about wanting to be able to talk to my dining partners w/out raising my voice. There are a few places I won't go to (I'll do takeout instead) because of the noise level. Not all restaurants will turn down the canned muzak volume if you ask (even if you ask politely), some will, some will have their staff tell you something like: "we can't control the volume, it's set automatically" or something like that. That's when I leave if I can. 95% of the time I'm dining w/friends and being able to talk to them w/out straining or having to raise my voice is part of the pleasure of sharing a meal with them. I've disliked overly loud noise since I was young and stopped attending rock concerts years ago when the volume started getting cranked way up. If I go to a movie theater, I wear earplugs as the theater closest to me cranks up the volume for some reason. The sound track level discourages me from seeing more movies there as well. Several years ago I started feeling like some kind of outlier because I dislike loud restaurants--although people's voices don't bother me much unless it's a child screaming or someone talking very loudly on his/her cell--it's the overamplified live music or cranked up canned muzak. I have difficulty tolerating the muzak played at ever increasing volumes in supermarkets, etc. and have asked that the muzak be turned off at my dentist's office (they do and no one seems to mind). Nice to know I'm not a complete outlier, although a year or so ago, there was an article in the Boston Globe about restaurants/noise levels and the article's author told me that of all the e-mails regarding the article she'd received, none indicated that they wanted more noise in restaurants, most were like mine, wishing for less noise.
  11. Sometimes, but the sound on my notebook is turned off or disabled, so it's not a problem. I don't know if you can shut off the sound on iphones, android phones, etc. If I want to listen to something/turn the sound back on, I plug in headphones or earbuds. Given how many restaurants play muzak (at increasingly loud volumes, it sometimes seems), it's not much of a surprise to find that they feel ok about subjecting people to the same before they even get to the restaurant. If the site allows it, I now send an e-mail to wherever I'm thinking about going, ask about the restaurant's noise level, although I've gotten some vague responses. My criteria (that I state in the e-mail) is that X number of people will be dining and we'd like to be able to hear each other's conversation w/out straining or raising our voices, and all of us have normal hearing, as far as we know. And some websites are as described, but I've had reasonably good luck w/the sites for several restaurants in Portland, OR, and in the Corvallis/Albany area.
  12. Yes, to either of the two co-ops I shop at, for the bulk goods. One supplies containers (and you can donate clean plastic & glass containers to the co-op, the employees sterilize them and they're put out for others to use). I'll resuse the clear plastic bags for produce, etc., & I've used reusable cloth bags for years. Fred Meyer, a department/grocery store chain in OR (now owned by Kroger), has a 5 cents off if you use your own bag deal, so my bags have probably paid for themselves by now. I shop there sometimes although the bulk of my food shopping is done at the co-ops, w/some done at the farmers' markets or u-pick for a few kinds of produce in season. I bring my own containers/bags to the latter two as well. Neither co-op has a similar policy although at the larger of the two co-ops, you get a "bean" (dried bean) for every cloth/reusable bag you bring with you (not including the plastic produce bags), and near the exit there's a stack of containers or boxes each w/a hole to drop a bean through. Each is labeled w/the name/title of an organization. The co-op will donate so much of its revenues to each organization per bean dropped into its container/box. The list of organizations changes, I think right now it's a boys' and girls' club, local wildlife refuge, a couple other entities.
  13. Learned by cutting a few fingers & grating raw the same place twice on my index finger (did it the second time just after the skinned area had almost healed), that it's best to concentrate on what I'm doing and NOT replay in my mind whatever frustrating incidents might've occurred that day while I'm slicing & dicing veg or grating a chunk of Parmesan. Had to grab the handle of a hot iron skillet a few times before it sunk into the more primitive parts of my brain that the handles of cast iron skillets get much hotter, burning hot as it happens, than that of my other pots, pans, skillets, so keeping something w/insulating properties (silicon pad, whatever) between my hand and the skillet handle is advisable.
  14. azurite

    Your Local Artisans

    River's Edge Chevre http://threeringfarm.com/ Alsea Acres goat cheese http://207.55.114.76/goats/index.html , Walker Farms http://www.walkerfarmssiletz.com/ for eggs, chickens, other types of meat (I think they might be trying to do some sausage too) and there's a local business that sells canned salmon & smoked salmon but I can't remember the name. There's a local seafood restaurant run/started by the daughter of a commercial fisherman (she used to fish too) http://localocean.net/ The restaurant includes a fish/seafood counter if you want to buy local fish/seafood--for a variety of reasons it's not possible to buy everything caught by fishermen operating out of the local harbor(s) directly from the fishermen. You can buy crab and tuna direct, maybe halibut if you get there fast enough (the commercial season is quite short), sometimes salmon. Not quite so local is Rogue Valley creamery http://www.roguecreamery.com/ probably over 150 miles away. If yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, and kefir & some soy products can be artisanal, then Springfield Creamery (Nancy's yogurt)in the Willamette Valley is http://www.nancysyogurt.com/ I think Nancy's yogurt is available nationally, I know I've seen it in both a supermarket and a health food store on Long Island (NY). I usually make my own jams, marmalades and fruit butters, but I think there may be a few local people who sell those as well. At one time, the south & central/north central Oregon coast and inland up to the west side of the coast range, had a number of creameries, i.e, lots of dairy herds because sometimes the soil & often the growing season wasn't good for growing grains or other cash crops (Willamette Valley is better). One of the state parks on the coast was a successful dairy farm for years, I think until WWII. Most of the creameries have disappeared. It's been interesting to see a few of them return (Rogue Valley, Tillamook Dairy Cooperative is still successful and bought the Bandon Creamery--made Bandon cheddar--some years ago) and small goat dairies start & seem to do ok, some of the cheeses have won awards, etc. http://www.nwcheese.com/or.htm Tumalo Farms (in Bend, OR, so not particularly local for me) won some more awards (American Cheese Society) in 2010.
  15. I have some concerns about use of sludge on fields--heavy metals, antibiotics, etc. All of that is ending up in rivers, no reason to believe a certain percentage of the same compounds aren't ending up in the sludge. I've never understood why landfill methane was regarded as a bad thing when it can be used as a source of energy. As far back as 1981, I remember reading an article stating that NYC was going to be building tertiary treatment sewage plants and that they'd be powered by landfill/sludge methane and no more worries about summer brown-outs & blackouts when the sewage plant gates open and let sewage flow into the LI Sound, etc. because of the lack of electricity. Guess that hasn't happened, not a surprise I suppose. The local landfill where I live now (small town) was closed several years ago and has pipes to release the methane. What a waste. There's still a recycling and drop off center there, so any electricity generated could be used.
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