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Everything posted by haresfur

  1. Most of my family's reminiscences about growing up seem to involve food, "Do you remember that restaurant where..." I guess I'm lucky to have too many good memories to include. The first that came to mind though was from a small town on the Italian Rivera when I was 7 years old and camping around Europe with my family. The menu was only in Italian and I ordered the most amazing plate heaped with mussels in a spicy broth. Can't recall if I knew what I was ordering or even knew what a mussel was, anyway. The memory is even better because my vegetable-hating brother wound up with a plate of cold green beans in olive oil. Actually many of my memorable meals are from Italy, so one more. My wife and I were living in the Washington D.C. area and she had to go to Budapest and Florence for work. Naturally I invited myself along. Florence was sensory overload, so one day we took the bus to Fiesole, which I remembered as a sleepy town in the hills with one restaurant worth visiting. When we got up there it was bustling and well into midday dinner. We found a promising looking place to squeeze into. The owner was charging around making sure his staff were on top of things, providing the grated cheese for my plate, explaining that my wife's dish really didn't need any, "Ok, just a touch". When we finished, the place had pretty much cleared out and he talked with us for quite a while before we left. His shirt was soaked through with sweat. The crowning moment, though was when he found out we were from D.C. and took us outside the door to show us the Washington Post review of his restaurant hanging in the window! Those of you who know Washington know that just about *every* restaurant has a Washington Post review hanging in the window, even if the review says the food was horrible (naturally his review was very positive).
  2. I thought those long pepper mills were so the waiter didn't have to reach over so far (assuming the restaurant doesn't let you wield your own pepper).
  3. ← I believe so - it's been quite a few months. Well, asparagus will be starting before long...
  4. I believe my favorite hispanic-owned organic farm from the Yakima Valley shows up at Pike Place. Love the peppers I get from them in Pasco.
  5. haresfur

    Touched by a Waiter

    Doesn't bother me as long as the intent is sincerely friendly - like any other kind of social interaction. But I've learned that some people have emotional or physical issues that go beyond simply not appreciating the gesture. The only time I can recall getting a massage with my meal was when I had a job investigating groundwater contamination in a small town in Indiana. The work was outdoors and physical. The well drillers insisted on having lunch every day at a little blue-collar bar with a nice looking waitress. This place served mashed potatoes and gravy with everything. My favorite was lasagna and garlic bread with a side of mashed potatoes ... but I digress. The waitress took a lot of stuff from the patrons and I made a point of being extremely polite to her. So after a somewhat rude remark from one of my coworkers she made it a point of giving me a shoulder rub. I assume it was at least in part to let him know she wasn't warming up to *him*. Gotta admit it was amusing and my aching muscles appreciated it.
  6. Care to give us the name of the restaurant and publication so we can check out the review ourselves?
  7. haresfur

    Patrons with Tea bags

    Actually, I had a girlfriend who did that Seriously though, why would anyone care if a customer didn't want to use the Mrs Butterworth's? I mean, maybe if they flavored the corn syrup themselves... Could be just karma to balance the people who steal sugar packets. Someone better tell the boys over on the cocktail forum to quit bringing their own bitters.
  8. haresfur

    Patrons with lattes

    Well, I totally agree that it is inappropriate to bring an espresso into a place that sells them. I also agree that it is inappropriate to bring a drink into a place that has a sign forbidding the practice. Still, I don't think anyone is obligated to order a drink with a meal. Economically, bringing a coffee in is no different from ordering water. The only places I've seen with one drink minimums were ones where the beverage was not the major attraction Order well, tip well, and rationally it is a net gain for the restaurant. But our rules for social interaction aren't necessarily rational and people can be boors. Personally, in some circumstances I don't think it is rude to bring a drink, but what is important is what the other party thinks is rude - that is the essence of being polite. I think jsmeeker hit the PNW phenomenon on the head - people see their latte as an extension of their hand.
  9. haresfur

    Canned Chicken

    When I worked in bush camps in northern Canada, we maintained a supply of canned food that was intended to keep you going if the supply flight was delayed. As such it had to be something that wouldn't disappear because of midnight munchies, or more likely sheer boredom. The canned chicken was firmly entrenched at the bottom of that barrel. Well, boredom is a powerful thing and one time, when the fresh meat was gone, we broke into the canned chicken. The sound of opening the can has already been described. I can only say that the taste was everything you imagine it to be.
  10. haresfur

    Extreme Beers

    This pretty much sums up my attitude. Maybe ultra hoppy beer is new to the rest of the country but in the Pacific Northwest there are decades of experience with mouth-puckering beer. Gotta use up those Chinook hops. It seemed odd that the article talks mainly about heavily hopped beer but then doesn't provide any measure of the bitterness - just a reference to the alcohol content. I suppose there is some sense in that because, as they say, I would want a pretty strong and malty beer to balance the hops. Could they at least give a hint of which hops were used? Or does beer tasting have to sound like wine tasting for people to think it credible? Somehow knowing a beer is "robust with chocolate, caramel and balsam flavors" doesn't help me guess if I'm going to like it. I like chocolate but am not big on caramel...
  11. haresfur

    I'd like a hot latte, please

    So, you are getting what you want. Keep ordering it. This will stand you in good stead when Starbucks arrives (although why anyone would want that over the ambiance of a good Amsterdam Cafe, I don't know). It is one thing to use a half-dozen adjectives for your espresso order, but a real master asks for the exact temperature rather than a vague "extra hot". I do find different places do different drinks better than others so it can take some experimenting.
  12. haresfur

    Dining Alone

    A friend of my parents, who would spend extended periods in London alone for her historical research, described how to get respect as a woman dining alone: She went to the local Italian restaurant in Hampsted where she had a flat and with her meal, ordered a very good bottle of wine that she consumed in its entirety. The next time the staff fell all over themselves to take care of her. As she explained, "It's not just knowing a good wine, but showing you know how to appreciate it."
  13. Wonderful! Normally I don't miss Manitoba in the winter, but I wish I could attend your event (and I don't eat much pork!). Can't wait for the next report.
  14. Ok, since you asked. Here's my father's recipe as handed down to each of his children. I tried to more or less preserve the formatting as he wrote them: German Pancakes - my brother's 4 c. flour + 1 tsp salt - add milk in glugs and stir in each glug til the dough is thin. - add eggs (2 per person), beating them in one at at time - fry about 1/3 c of batter per pancake in butter. Ragout - make a white sauce, using water instead of milk - add lemon, salt + sugar ----------------------------- German Pancakes - my sister's 3/4 cup flour per person pinch salt add milk with minimal stirring until consistency of thick glue add eggs - about 2/person - you can skimp a bit beat well after each egg adjust consistency to that of heavy cream with milk fry in butter, hold in oven at 250 Degrees F ----------------------------- GERMAN PANCAKES - mine 2 c flour dash salt 4 eggs or so milk Add milk, about 1/2 cup at a time to flour, mixing only lightly. Result is a gloppy, sticky, lumpy mess, thicker than glue. Now add as many eggs as you can afford, one at a time, beating like all hell. Maximum is about 7 for this amount. The batter will still have lumps, but they won't be big and don't matter. The consistency should be that of heavy cream, or slightly thicker. Heat frying pan very hot, use lots of butter to fry pancakes, turning when they are no longer liquid on top ------------------------------ The details: These are thin, crepe-like pancakes about 10 inches in diameter. A cast iron skillet is traditional but a non-stick pan works well. Getting the temperature right is tricky, especially since I try to use minimal butter (sorry Dad!). They should cook quite fast. My father would fill the kitchen with smoking butter (and cigarette smoke - don't watch if a few ashes in the food worry you). Once the pancake is cooked it is folded in half and half again and added to the stack in the oven. To eat the pancakes are unrolled on your plate and served with the beef ragout alluded to in my bro's recipe (very tiny cubes of roast beef in the sauce) or apple sauce. The sauce is ladled into a strip down the center, the cake re-folded over top and (especially if you are a kid) sugar sprinkled on top. Variations: I substitute 2 egg whites for about half the eggs (that low saturated fat thing). Mushroom sauce or a cauliflower-cheese sauce is good for the vegetarian branch of the family. I usually do a mushroom sauce or a scallop sauce along with the apple sauce (don't think I've ever made a roast). Dessert: With all that sugar??? We never got dessert with this meal. Try to end on an apple sauce one.
  15. "Feeding people is almost always a good thing to do" - haresfur I don't worry much about whether or why the food bank customers need the food. The upside of a full belly is profound even if it just helps someone maintain until they get it together. It's worth asking what the food bank needs most, but I also feel the need to give something within the bounds that satisfies me. I have settled, personally, on canned fruit in light syrup. It's healthy enough, perhaps a bit of a treat, and I hope it is palatable for many of the young and elderly who may have trouble maintaining nutrition. ...protein is good, too.
  16. Not a specific answer on the varieties you are interested in, but Murchies in British Columbia has a reasonable green tea selection. I have seen sencha at upscale/wholefood grocieries like PCC in the Pacific Northwest. If you are after bags, I'm particularly fond of the sencha/matcha blend available from Costco in their typical substantial boxes. For that matter you might consider matcha since you drink the powdered leaves which probably gives more concentrated chemical delivery. You can also cook with matcha. The best price on cooking matcha I have found was from Bobateadirect.com (do a search because it isn't their main product and can be hard to find). I get the pure matcha that isn't cut with sugar. There are also some EG members that sell matcha and possibly other tea that may chime in or pm you. Hope your friend does well; chemo is so unfair - when you go to the doctors they aren't supposed to make you feel sick.
  17. I'd definitely prefer weapons to cellphones any day. ← The bars that say, "Check your weapons at the door." are ones where I'm not about to!
  18. Perhaps, but would you expect that of a reviewer for The Stranger I guess I would expect a Seattle reviewer not to be clueless about Asian food. I would certainly wish that a reviewer in a free paper with a diverse audience could educate the rest of us, so I would be less clueless (more clued?).
  19. haresfur

    Why does anybody buy . . .

    Pringles? Is it because they aren't fried? If you are going to eat potato chips they aren't going to be healthy. If you want to pretend they are healthy or want to actually taste potato, then buy the lower fat ones cooked in canola. If you want to eat cardboard, throw out the Pringles and eat the tube they come in. The only advantage I see, is that they pack better for camping trips.
  20. Nice yurt! I hope the Baldwin continues - there is something extra satisfying about good food in an out of the way location. It's always good to get pointed to a decent taco - I try to take visitors out for tortas since that is about the most interesting food here. I'll try to check out Double Mountain sometime, and your other suggestions.
  21. Thought I would revive this thread since I was just introduced (much to my surprise) to a nice place in the Dalles, called the Baldwin Saloon. (Hood River is probably deserving of it's own discussion). The Baldwin is on Court St. north of the main E-W streets. Its one of those places I'm seeing more of in smaller towns, often in fixed up older buildings, where the food ranges from burgers up to quite expensive (for me) dinners (another thread, perhaps?). I think it was worth a visit just for the walls covered in oil paintings - mostly Pacific Northwest scenes (and a classic reclining nude over the bar). I had bouillabaisse that was a trifle spicy for my tastes but with very nice seafood, especially the mussels. Service was friendly and good. Apparently there sometimes is piano music from a loft accessed from a wooden ladder. Anyway, a good place to stop after a day kayaking.
  22. haresfur

    The hoax of leftover-turkey recipes

    When I was growing up, one of the main points of Thanksgiving was to make turkey in Hollandaise in the next few days (well, after feeding the family, friends, and any stray graduate students that were around). Actually a mock hollandaise - lighter and better IMO - with those canned button mushrooms in the old days when decent fresh ones weren't available. Nothing wrong with picking at the remains in the fridge or sandwiches but why not inspire people to try something different? That being said, I'm stuffing and roasting a pumpkin this year. Not sure what to do with the leftovers of that.
  23. Reminds me of when I was eating dinner in a very busy place in Paris - sharing a table with 2 Italian business men and a young French guy, who made it very clear he was in a hurry. After his main course, he was trying to get the waitress' attention and she was pointedly ignoring him. Finally she asked from about two tables over if he wanted dessert. He said he'd have a coffee. She lit into him saying that she didn't ask him if he wanted coffee; coffee wasn't dessert; did he want dessert? He said, ok, he'd have some ice cream. A couple of minutes later she whisked by our table and without slowing down, slapped a piece of apple tart in front of him. Must have annoyed her to no end that it wasn't until after I left that I realized that she had brought me the wrong salad. --------------- I try to be easy going about silly language stuff but I really hate "How's it tastin'?"
  24. I suppose I'll try to pass off some pickled asparagus, again. In May a friend and I did up 50 lbs (fresh wt). You do lose a lot cutting to fit the jars. Actually, I think this year's turned out well.
  25. haresfur

    Chinese Yixing Clay Tea Pots

    I think you have it backwards - the tea enhances one's enjoyment of the fine pottery - but I love ceramics. Seriously, it is the whole experience - kind of like a restaurant with good service and good food. I'm not compulsive about it or anything (I use a lot of tea bags) but using a nice tea pot or drinking out of the perfect (for you) mug is satisfying. The Yixing teapots do age. A friend pointed out how a well used one had developed a softer surface sheen. This may well affect the flavor. Even glazed pots are said to get better as they develop a thick tea-stain. I think this would be more pronounced with an unglazed stoneware. So give it time and enjoy your teapot.