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conifer

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    http://www.dowler.net

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    Barcelona, Spain
  1. A couple of snaps of the new place in Poble Sec, close to Tickets. It's a little hard to read the menu, sorry. This is the Peruvian-Japanese place, the Mexican place is supposedly coming soon. I'm not sure where it's going to be, but I'll post some pics if I run across it.
  2. My place has got no bad reviews at all from Yelp, and still they insist on calling me every frigging day trying to sell me something or other. So annoying and a guarantee that even if I ever did pay for advertising, I wouldn't do it with them.
  3. The problem with the reviews on a site like TripAdvisor is that they can have a very large effect on a business. I own a bar that also serves food - small plates of bar food, for the most part, and we used to serve asian tapas/street food style plates as well. Somehow, Tripadvisor had us listed in the restaurant section of our city instead of the bar section. Yes, we serve food, but we most assuredly aren't a restaurant. I live in a city with a very large tourist segment. People started leaving positive reviews of our bar, and we rocketed up to #2 on the TA rankings for restaurants (out of about 3000). This put us above many places with Michelin stars, many fine dining restaurants...well, just about everyone. So people would come expecting a fine dining experience in what is and always has been just a small bar. And then they would leave reviews just slaying us because we weren't what they expected us to be. Things like "Good drinks, friendly staff, great prices, nice atmosphere, but it doesn't deserve to be the #2 place in Barcelona. Zero stars." Well, duh! It took us about 6 months to get TA to move us to the right category, where we are now number one. But again, someone occasionally posts something like "It was too crowded, couldn't get in. Zero stars". I have a friend with a casual restaurant around the corner who has had exactly the same problem. In a city like this, being highly ranked on TA has a significant effect on the bottom line - very significant. If you get enough people leaving reviews like that, it could undeservedly knock you out of the top rankings, and that can mean an awful lot of money. What's the solution? I don't think that there is an easy one. Hope that customers read the reviews and take into account that some people are unfair or misguided in their reviews. That seems about it.
  4. Mix with sour cream or yogurt and serve over swedish meatballs.
  5. Just an update to this one. I've been comparing prices a lot lately between Santa Catarina and the Boqueria. Santa Catarina is MUCH more expensive. Chicken and meat products are about a euro a kilo more, and most veggies and fruits seem to be about 50 cents more a kilo. For example, chicken wings last week in just about all the stalls in the Boq were 1.99/kilo, but 2.99/kilo or more in S.C. Same difference for whole chickens. Pork belly, 3.80 in the Boq, 4.70 in S.C. I also would like to rescind my comments about the staff at Santa Catarina being friendlier. Once you start frequenting one stall regularly in the Boq, they quickly become very friendly. I suppose that they are normally so overwhelmed with tourists it's hard to be nice to everyone!
  6. I suffer greatly from this and have found that the only solution that works for me is to wear gloves while cutting the daily 20 kilos of limes ( we make a lot of mojitos!). Hand cream before bed helps a bit, too.
  7. Before Norman Borlaug got his groove on in Mexico and India, things weren't looking good for a lot of people, food-wise. Does the Green Revolution count as conventional farming? There's nothing traditional about it, but it's the farming that most people, or their parents for that matter, are familiar with. It takes huge inputs of petrochemicals. It's saved an estimated billion people from starvation, raised yields between 300 and 1000%, and made food affordable for most. That is an amazing thing. But is it sustainable? It's very susceptible to increases in oil prices, there is the whole issue of destructive and vulnerable monocultures and probably other problems that people more knowledgeable than I can think of. What do we do when it becomes too expensive (because of petroleum inputs) or is hit by a corn or rice or soy disease that has a large detrimental effect (as has happened before, with bananas, for example). What do we do? Yes, ideally, we would all switch to seasonal, locally and organically grown food, but that just isn't going to feed everyone. Even if it did, do people really understand what that would do to the diet of someone living in New England or Northern Europe? Is that desirable or realistic? I don't think so. Should we be splicing genes willy-nilly? Of course not. Are Monsanto and it's ilk paragons of virtue? Not at all, no for-profit business is. But we have these tools and we should use them prudently and for the benefit of those who need them the most, and not just reject anything new because it is scary or "not natural". And people should for sure open their eyes and realize that seeing the word "Organic" on the package of a product does not in any way, shape or form mean that it's necessarily going to be better for you than something that isn't. I'd much rather eat something that's not organic than something that is, but was raised by a large agro-business in a monoculture farm using exploited labour, and has a list of ingredients on the label longer than my arm.
  8. I completely agree "feeding the poor" is as much a question of distribution and politics as it is of farming. That's why it's beneficial to be able to offer farmers, say, drought resistant corn, or wheat that can be grown in a more saline environment. Or, for that matter, insect resistant soy that doesn't have to be bombarded with tons of artificial pesticides to be grown. It lets farmers grow what's needed, where it is needed, rather than growing it in the US or Canada or Argentina or Australia and shipping it to the ass end of nowhere.
  9. andiesenji said: In recent days there is the news that Autism had increased exponentially during the past three decades and while many people blame it on vaccines, this time period also coincides with the increase in adding GMO products to an enormous number of food products. We've been genetically modifying food for as long as there has been agriculture. GMO has the potential to save poor people from untold suffering and death. Should we deny them that because we've created a bogeyman out of "frankenfood" with no real evidence to back it up?
  10. I said: We're not going to feed 6 or more billion people on locally grown, pesticide and fertilizer free food. Not without chopping down all the rainforests and draining every river and lake for irrigation. EatNopales said: That is a myth. Well, I'm glad that's cleared up! Care to cite some evidence. Peer reviewed evidence?
  11. It seems to me, that at least in the US, the term organic has come to be pretty much meaningless. Does it mean grown without pesticides? Not necessarily. Without artificial fertilizer? Not necessarily? Sustainably? Not necessarily? Locally or by a small producer? Almost certainly not. As part of a larger picture, the fight against GM food is actively killing people - if the market is destroyed in the west (more in Europe, which seems to be much more anti-GM than the US), what incentives do companies have to develop it? And surely no one would argue that Golden Rice, for example, is a bad thing? Don't get me wrong, I am all for consuming as much healthy food as possible, grown in as non-destructive way as possible, but let's not forget that this is a rich world problem. We're not going to feed 6 or more billion people on locally grown, pesticide and fertilizer free food. Not without chopping down all the rainforests and draining every river and lake for irrigation.
  12. Do you have a patch of ground in your garden that you could make a small fire on? I live in Argentina on an off (Argie wife), and this is quite common if people don't have a parilla. You see people on the sides of roads doing it this way also. Burn some wood down to coals, place any kind of metal rack over them and grill away.
  13. They appeared in La Boqueria in Barcelona about a week ago. At 80 euros a kilo, I won't be having any!
  14. Yep, fish sauce for me too. Life just wouldn't be the same without nam plaa.
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