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Everything posted by BobMcNabb

  1. We're motorhomers and out "camping" most months a year. Whether out on a long weekend or on the way across the country, I've long subscribed to what a number of posters have already described as pre-mixed and pre-prepared menu items. Over half of the meals I prepare for camping weekends were prepped at home. For cooking outdoors, there are some great items to go onto a barbeque grille, but things like burger patties can be shaped at home. Rationale: It's often difficult to contend with cleanup at a campsite. I've got a full set of Cuisinart cookware aboard, but seldom have two pans working.
  2. Thirty years ago, while rock climbing, weight was important, so a sack of mixed nuts and dried fruit was a great lunch. Today, we motorhome and when we return from a hike with friends, we like to "show off" to one another to see who spreads the best table. One couple had a pair of silver candle sticks gracing a folding table of cold cuts and cheeses. For my money, a good bottle of wine makes a whale of a statement on such an occasion. Anything consumed out-of-doors seems to have a different and wonderful flavor.
  3. Costco ownership had originally been Price Club executives. Sol Price, who was the founder of Price Club, started here in San Diego. His son, Robert Price, heads the group that is now largely the owners-managers of the real estate holdings occupied by Costco. They're a wonderful family and benefactors to many organizations in our area. While most of the packaged food items are suited for large families, the quality is great and we sometimes make a run to stock up on items that far exceed the value we can find elsewhere. Fresh baked goods may have to go into the freezer, but they're wonderful and so reasonably priced. Out here in CA, they're the place to buy auto tires. I believe they're the largest Michilin dealer.
  4. My wife and I are addicted to Friday happy hours. We've travelled far and wide in the San Diego and Southern California area in pursuit of the "unusual" bar. They must serve appetizers and wine, so that criteria limits our choices, somewhat. We've found ourselves inside some very strange places and have experienced some outright wierd things.If we can possibly manage to tolerate the place, we stay. When we can't stomach a place and leave without seating ourselves, and it goes into (our) record book as "a dive".
  5. Suvir is an honest about his meatless diet and I respect how this came about. It has always been a wonderment to me that fine chefs can create wonderful dinners without a shred of meat. I once took a group of friends to a private dining club here in San Diego (Tambo d'Oro) where one of the group announced that he was a veggie. The chef came to our table and inquired about my guest's favorites. Disappearing into the kitchen, he returned with a plate of wonderful creations that made us each wish that we'd have ordered what the "veggie" was having. I have always liked some of the dishes that are favorites of the "veggies" but invaribly, the usual fare is not something I would consider appealing. I honestly feel that too few chefs are inspired to create the kind of dinner that we saw at Tambo d'Oro. Were it more common, I feel that it would be a welcome change.
  6. Rather than boiling water, try simmering basil leaves in chicken broth and using this to cook the rice (Risotto al basilico) the way it's done in the Tuscan area. I've also included saute'd onion. Add more (finely chopped) basil and Parma at the end. When I feel like showing off when serving pasta, I use the same kind of broth. On old Italian lady taught me that when I wasn't more than 10 years old. It makes a huge difference in pasta and rice dishes.
  7. Rather than boiling water, try simmering basil leaves in chicken broth and using this to cook the rice (Risotto al basilico) the way it's done in the Tuscan area. I've also included saute'd onion. Add more (finely chopped) basil and Parma at the end. When I feel like showing off when serving pasta, I use the same kind of broth. On old Italian lady taught me that when I wasn't more than 10 years old. It makes a huge difference in pasta and rice dishes.
  8. Jaybee, I've always felt that were I to "introduce" San Francisco to a friend, and there was but one evening for dinner...it would be Tadisch. As you suggest, it's real. It has always been there (as have some of the waiters) and I'm delighted to imagine it being there, for me, when I return to the city. For me, it's the San Francisco as I first found it in 1945. Your Ben Webster quote made me smile. I saw him at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1959 or 1960 and he was in the group behind Jimmy Witherspoon. 'Spoon, a blues singer, was a friend of mine. I later met Webster when he was playing in LA. Are you a musician?
  9. Question: When one is to present a piece d'occasion before guests who have grown to expect the unusual... how far does one want to go? My all-time favorite (true story if you believe what you read) was the annual dinner prepared by the Explorers Club in NYC some years ago. The main course included mammoth steak! The extinct beast from the Pleistocene age had been recovered from a thawing glacier in outer Mongolia. A too perfect coincidence for the club's upcoming dinner. One can well imagine the details necessary to survey the situation and to recover the proper amount of meat, get it through or around customs and past "Cruelty to Animals" mobs and into their New York kitchen. Now, that's an example to be followed by other hosts who don't mind "going an extra mile.
  10. Suvir, I have twice had the very good fortune of dining at retreats where the resident master chef performed miracles for the few. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was my host (in the mid 1960s) at a "camp" that they operated in Northern California. I was surprised to find a beautiful lodge in the wilderness, presided over by a professional chef who prepared fantastic meals for the small groups who would stay there as guests of PG&E. Elegant dinners, not "camp" food. Frank B. Hall Insurance, before it folded, operated a retreat near New York City. Seminars and small company get-togethers were held there and a professional chef was the major domo. Each evening, cocktails through dinner were affairs that would rival any private dinner party. The man-in- charge really knew how to host a dinner. It was like a country club, and perhaps part of what clouded the fate for Frank B. Hall Co. While nothing equal to your 24 choice breakfasts in Punjabi, your description of Gyaneshwar brought instant memories of my astonishment over finding fantastic chefs in very unlikely places. I personally feel that those "finds" say as much for a caring host. I've always found that the hosts who care most about good food are the most lovable.
  11. As a Californian, I'm interested in that soon-to-be-released report that includes your impressions of CA. We have a little of everything, and some of the finest wines.
  12. Regarding sealed bottled water. We live in the San Diego area and have _infrequently_ dined in the bordering Tijuana restaurants. One evening we were assured that the water was "of course, bottled". I excused myself to go to the men's room and passed an area where a pile of bottles were being filled from a water tap (and sealed) by a filthy looking attendant. Lesson learned, we have always opted to drink wine or beer, exclusively. Other posters have made the case for fluids being the main question mark for a safe passage. These problems can occur onboard cruise ships and in many countries where water simply isn't as pure as we've become acclimated to in the U.S. Typically, it's not going to kill you, but it makes you ill for couple of days. It's made a wino out of me, and I do declare that it's been a happy solution to the problem of what to drink with one's meal.
  13. Our hosts we known for their caring hospitality and extraordinary cuisine. We had our cocktails on their patio and as we were invited into their home, one of the ladies exclaimed loudly, "What do I smell....FISH? I HATE fish!". The subdued hostess held her breath and the subsequent courses (yes, fish was served) never allowed her to recover from the coarseness of her guest's remark. We all suffered. The meal, under ordinary circumstances, was terrific. It would not have deserved the shock-wave of the rude guest's remark. It was an evening of everybody being "on edge" and never being allowed to enjoy the well prepared nearly gourmet dinner. Lesson learned: Don't allow coarse people to be included on one's guest list.
  14. Suvir inquired about the area of the world where that fantastic buffet was served. My response: The best of the best will always be served by the most enlightened and the most discriminating people. It's been my good fortune to find some of those people in unlikely places. Specifically, that particular meal was served for 20 guests by a guy who is known in San Diego as "Slumlord Jim". Broadly educated and financially successful in real estate, Jim simply loves fine food and entertaining. His kitchen has a professional look. A guest of Jim will always leave astonished at the wonderous foods that Jim has served.
  15. One is always lucky to receive an invitation for dinner to be served by somebody who cares about food. A brunch on the lawn or a buffet served in a kitchen, when served by a gourmet, assures one of "something special" My instant recollection (when I read this topic) was of a buffet where every delicious item was a conversation piece. The centerpiece was a huge stuffed boneless bird (a turkey?) that had been expertly deboned and then stuffed with a deboned chicken. Jim, our host, credited his Oriental bookkeeper for having assisted him in the preparation. That magnificent bird was easily sliced to reveal the facts that I've described and it's been 15 years since that evening, but the memory still burns. (How on earth did he do that???)
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