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Foam Pants

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  1. Hi there. I think I have risen from the dead to give you somewhat researched Juneau restaurant advice. For breakfasts downtown, I would recommend the cafe at the Baranof Hotel for their great pancakes among other tasty stuff. BaCar's is back in business and will serve you up a big, tasty grease bomb cheap, if you enjoy a hearty breakfast. I had an incredible breakfast at Paradise Lunch of spinach strata and my lunch date had blueberry french toast which was amazing. The Fiddlehead isn't what it used to be as the owners are concentrating on their other restaurant, Di Sopra, but their bakery is still good. If you like bagels, try Silverbow. Everybody at my office adores their caraway variety. For coffee, try Valentine's or Heritage Coffee, a big Juneau favorite that roasts its own beans right here in Juneau. Taking you out on Egan Drive toward the Mendenhall Valley, the Breeze-In has just about everything under the sun including the best donuts in town. The bagels are good, too as are their cream cheese mixtures. Donna's isn't the best but lots of locals stop by as it is one of the few morning restaurants in the valley so gossip is great. If you want to venture onto the University of Alaska Southeast, they have baristas set up in the middle of their new addition on to the library and they are some of the best in town. Only in the Northwest can you get latte in the library. Last, there is a new Waffle place out the road in Auke Bay that is earning a very good reputation.
  2. Pork is incredibly lean these days due to breeding. What do you think of today's hog verses that of 75 years ago? What characteristics do you look at when choosing hogs for your business? Do you take issue with pork injected with a saline solution like much of the supermarket pork is today?
  3. Isn't that Indian restaurant in the Ped Mall area of Iowa City called Mandala? They aren't half bad. Hamburg Inn is where my parents would go to eat off a hangover they aquired at Joe's Place. If you are willing to go out of your way, the original Machine Shed in Davenport is always a pretty good bet. They were headed downhill there for a while but they brought in their best manager to bring it back up to snuff. They still serve some of the best pork dishes, including a tenderloin, in the state. I love their Iowa chops with apple stuffing. And don't forget the Candy Kitchen in Wilton, oldest working ice cream parlor in the nation. The ice cream is great but watch out for Thelma, she's a first class witch. Edited to add that the Kalona sale barn is a treat. The coated ice cream bars are really tasty. The first Monday of every month is the horse sales. Lots of draft horses... some of my fondest memories.
  4. Hooo doggies, Northrup and Beans are right, Southeast Alaska is expensive and not very diverse at the grocery store. Right now I am in rural Iowa where I was born and raised. Now, in Iowa, the grocery stores all seem to assume that you are going to be cooking out of a can. For being in a rural area with tons of potential for good food the food can suck donkey balls. It's easy to get in the habit of pouring melted Cheez Whiz over boiled cauliflower... which, by the way, is one of my Mom's favorites. EGADS! I would have brought my own knives but I think Alaska Airlines would have confiscated them. The parental kitchen has bigger problems. The pans are from Granpa's shed, the plates have all dissapeared to places unknown, and the cutting board is more wharped than the dude knocking out eggs and bacon at Denny's. By the way, my carry-on was a cooler packed with smoked sockeye. I got some funny looks on the commuter plane from Minneapolis. I think they thought I was carrying a human heart.
  5. I am, uh, enjoying an extended vacation with my parents right now and having had to eat and cook "mama style" for a while has brought out the devil in me. Unlike many people, I do not fondly remember Mother's cooking... the most commonly found items in my mother's kitchen are Windex, flies, and moldy peaches (and I ain't talkin' 'bout the band). The kitchen is always a mess and food is prepared as quickly as possible with little regard for taste. Tacos are served with a regularity that would impress the Army and contain about as much imagination as a typical recruit. The meat is pretty much flash steamed under a lid on the stove without any spice, the corn tortillas are warmed in the micro, a few olives creep out of the can, all topped with El Paso taco sauce. Mom's tacos are the height of her game. When I come home, I am often asked to do some cooking. Take for instance the potato salad I have made for Labor Day. Dad informs me that they already cooked up the eggs and potatos and they bought plenty of "mayo" for that classic American salad. This means I have made mashed potato salad mush with green yolked eggs and Miracle Whip. The onions must be cooked so Mom can eat them. I diced them with a dull-ass boning knife that is older than I am since the only other knife in the house is this flimsy little paring knife from Pampered Chef that mom says "Sharpens itself!" What about the rest of you? Do you have a love hate relationship with Mother in the kitchen or is she the inspiration that has guided you? Does she take over the cooking or do you? Do you work well or is it, like Mom and I, a constant test of wills bordering on fisticuffs?
  6. Just basing this (admitted assumption) on the fact that people/tourists, even while on vacation in a great city like NYC, will go to TGIFridays and Bennigan's. Also, there are reports that Rocco's is still full on a constant basis. Just thinking too about the tv medium in general, and how many look at the very appearance or mention of a place on tv as an 'endorsement'. Of course, many are more discerning but IMO there are enough folks out there who are not, to keep the place full in perpetuity. I really hope that I'm wrong about this. =R= I've never lived in New York City. I've been a few times -- I guess you could consider me one of those annoying mid-west tourists. I can assure you that when I've eaten at a place like Bennigan's there, I'm not thinking I'm having a real New York experience. I'm thinking I'm starving to death, they've got tables available, and I need food while I continue doing the things I want to do. There are things, like going to FAO Schwartz, that I've done in NYC knowing full well they were the tourist things to do. There have also been things I've done in NYC, like going to places highly reccomended restaurants by lifelong New Yorkers as the non-touristy places that I've loved, and felt like I was having a New York experience. But I have to ask -- to some degree, don't you guys prefer it that way? I have family that live in a high-tourist area in Florida, and I know they have a few places they go where they love the fact that tourists don't know to go there. As soon as they see too many out of state license plates in the parking lot, they get a little dissapointed, knowing their anti-tourist sanctuary is going down hill. Do you really want all the tourists to have a REAL NYC experience? I live in a tourist town and I hate it when my favorite places are overrun by tourists. I would rather have the tourists come to town, hit the Salmon Bake and head out to the glacier in their tour bus armed with their Alaska t-shirts made in China and leave the Breakwater, the Thai Kitchen, and walks on the Flume to the locals. That said, I don't think a cultured tourist will think Rocco's holds the New York experience just as a cultured tourist will realize that the Salmon Bake is contrived... and stenchoriffic.
  7. Foam Pants


    I also think it was the cold oven. Don't popovers get their rise from steam? I think that by the time the steam got rolling inside, the outside of the popover had already set.
  8. I find that the first wiff and quaff of Rolling Rock beer is just like a dish of ham 'n' beans. The peaches I used last night came out of the hot water I used to skin them smelling like used socks.
  9. How hard is it to turn the pig and does that rebar get as hot as I think it does? In Iowa, people often don't dig a pit, they have these big barrel roasters for the whole pig. Being hog country, people roast whole pigs often. What is your take on the barrel roaster method as opposed to the pit?
  10. I finally caught some of this show, the two most recent ones. Such is life without a TV. It really is a train wreck of a business in my opinion. It just doesn't seem to fit because, as Bux indicates, Rocco obviously had his shit together or he wouldn't be where he is today. How could someone who got it so right before get it so wrong this time around? Do most successful people in the restaurant business have a few spectacular failures and Rocco's happens to be on camera? As far as Rocco talking about doing this again, this man obviously has a hard time with self-evaluation or he would realize he doesn't look good in cheesy trucker's caps.
  11. This piece is great! The breakdown on soaking, cooking, and freezing beans is great. I think I will try this soon. I have always been dissapointed with canned beans but don't think far enough ahead to soak beans the night before. I do have a question. I see textured vegetable protein in the bulk bins. Do you know what that stuff is and what it is used for?
  12. I was pretty satisfied with the food at Iowa State. They are big enough to have their own food service and they did a really good job. The fruit freaked me out, though. They were losing a lot of money on fruit that students were throwing away half eaten so they cut most fruit in half. The banana halves were great in the morning, gross by supper. My favorite was to get up for breakfast and then go through the sack lunch line. You got a sandwich or a salad and about 6 points which you could use on all kinds of lunch fare like carrot sticks, pop, cookies, you name it. The breads were pretty good and I found my affection for Sally Lund at school. I wasn't allowed sugar cereal at home so the breakfast cereal bar was a freakin' revelation. I would have a mixture of Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and Fruity Pebbles just to see the milk turn black. We had a system where dorms were split into houses and you had brother and sister houses. Your house got so many meal exchanges which you could use to host another house. This meant you got a meal served to you in a private room with your brother house and you could flirt over your burritos and ice cream. It was a really neat experience.
  13. Actually, I bought a stone of a much higher quality and it only smelled of pottery when it heated up so I think I did right the second time around. The freebie is going to be passed on. The second day was absolutely the best pizza I have ever made and probably eaten. The stone I bought was a huge rectangle, very thick. The crust turned out wonderfully crisp and I think the dough was the better for its extra day in the fridge. I took some pics. I'll post them when I find a hosting spot. I chose very high flavor ingredients for these pizza batches which would give a lot of kick for little volume. I think it paid off. The crust was not weighed down and I still got a big flavor punch. I found out that bleu cheese is a great pizza ingredient. The whole wheat cake flour was excellent.
  14. To further science, I cooked some bacon today. I ate it. It was yummy. I forgot to observe anything else besides a tomato and some toast.
  15. OK, I am post-pizza and here is what I have to report: 1. I put the pizza stone in the heating to 500 degree oven and left for the grocery store to get stuff for tomorrow night's meal. Got back and the thing was smelling up the kitchen. It must have been dressed with something in the factory which, when heated, let off a horrid chemical stench! No wonder it was a freebie. Let the oven cool back down and took the stone out. Flipped my heaviest jelly roll pan over and put it in the bottom. It would have to do. 2. I rolled the dough out between parchment and plastic wrap. this worked well. The dough was very cold from the fridge but very flexible. I dressed it with some sauce, parm, bleu cheese, and mozz and slid it into the oven on its parchment. 3. About 7 minutes later I had pizza. The crust tasted much richer than those I have made in the past. It was crispy although I think it really suffered from the lack of a stone. The bottom would have crisped up much faster with one. For what it is worth, I think it's the best pizza I have ever made and there is plenty of room for improvement. I only used half the dough. The other half is sitting in the fridge until tomorrow. I can't wait! Thanks, everyone, for your great advice. I'll be trying some other methods suggested here next time and comparing.
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