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Posts posted by marie-louise

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on this. It's hard to believe that TI belongs to the public again!...

    Yes, this is news to me too. I know it was going to be open to the public someday, but didn't realize that it had happened. Why hasn't there been more press on this-are they waiting for the bridge to be finished first? :laugh::laugh::laugh:

  2. ATTENTION to all of you near a Le Creuset Outlet store:

    I received a "2005 Savings Calendar" in the mail from LC this week.It is indeed a cute little calendar w/ a diifferent picture of LC every month. It also contains details about all of the sales for each and every month of the year (attached coupon required.) For instance, January is 1) Celebrate the New Year in Style-20% off any one item of your choice AND 2) the Color of the Month Sale-15% off all black & blue cookware, blue stoneware, and blue accessories. July & December have 35% off coupons! They also included a "create your own set" savings coupon.

    So, if you didn't get this calender, call your nearest outlet store & ask them to send you one.

  3. ...lamb is naturally slaughtered inSpring..but I have it at least one sunday a month, year round...absolutely no difference.....

    Again, to put things into a Californian's perspective: I used to drive through the backroads of Sonoma County every week, past lots of sheep pastures. There were baby lambs all year long; the mothers seemed to successfully have just as many frolicking baby lambs in the middle of our not-too-cold California winters as they did during our foggy, not-too-hot California summers. So, somewhere lambs only survived in the spring, hence the concept of "spring lamb"-but that's not true here. We can get local lamb all year long.

    Edited to add: Yeah, I did used to feel kinda guilty about eating little baby lamb chops after seeing those cute little lambs running around playing with each other. I justified it by telling myself the farmers weren't raising them as pets.


  4. ...Which brings me to a third reason for eating seasonally, one that I really hesitate to bring up, since it verges on the theological. Maybe it’s just me turning 50, with the years seeming to whiz by, but I really find it comforting the way eating each of my favorite foods in their own time slows down the clock. Cherries will be here in due time (about the middle of February, in fact). I can wait. And then will come good strawberries. Before you know it, we’ll start getting Blenheim apricots. Why in the world would you want to rush things?

    Russ, you captured my feelings perfectly. [Disclaimer: another old fart talking. I turned 50 a few years ago.] There is a rhythm in life that comes from eating seasonally. It is a continuation of the rhythm that comes from eating turkey on Thanksgiving or latkes during Hanukkah. I might make turkey another time of the year, but I don't serve it the same way-with stuffing, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and all of the other traditional side dishes. That's Thanksgiving dinner, and the anticipation is half the fun of it! In the same way, eating strawberry shortcake in January feels "wrong" to me. To me, that's a dessert that should be eaten on one of the first warm spring evenings. It should still be light outside, and the windows should be open. Why? For the slightly illogical reason that that's the way we ate it when I was growing up in central California. My Mom and Grandma may be long gone, but when I'm eating that first strawberry shortcake of the season, they're back at the table with me.

    ...I have no ill feelings toward someone who chooses to eat Chilean cherries in January, but frankly it would never occur to me to do that. Why would I want cherries when I can have Meyer lemons, Oro Blanco grapefruits and those great little mandarins that are just coming in, or the last of the gala apples or Comice pears...

    It would never occur to me to eat cherries in January either. I think that's one of the differences about living in California. We have local produce in season all twelve months, and our Farmer's Markets are open year-round. Fat Guy's post brought that home to me; his CSA doesn't grow food 12 months of the year. We have enormous stores (the Berkeley Bowl is one famous example) that are primarily produce stores where you can also buy other items. Since I've never lived outside of California, it's hard for me to imagine a life where going to a supermarket or a Costco to purchase fruits and vegetables was your only option in the winter. So, those of us in California are happy to share; please go to the store and buy lots of that underripe and over-priced produce we ship to you. Our state's economy needs you! :wink:

  5. No kids-just a crazy job-but one thing that helped me is to lower my expectations: You do not have to have three things on the plate every night. You also do not have to serve a salad and dessert on weeknights. You can still have great food, just make less items for those days you are stressed out, and save the multi-course meals for days off.

  6. Rancho Gordo's tortillas are simply the best. Krys, since you are new and I am enjoying reading your posts, I feel I must warn you: stay away from his tortilla chips. Do not even try even one, even if he insists at the Farmer's Market and it hurts his feelings when you try and resist. Just say no. His chips contain large amounts of crack cocaine, and soon you will be hopelessly addicted.

    It's LOVE, M-L, simple pure unadulterated LOVE! Is that sooooo wrong???!!!????

    Spoken like a true pusher... :biggrin:

    Okay, I guess there are worse things to be addicted to... :wub:

  7. Rancho Gordo's tortillas are simply the best. Krys, since you are new and I am enjoying reading your posts, I feel I must warn you: stay away from his tortilla chips. Do not even try even one, even if he insists at the Farmer's Market and it hurts his feelings when you try and resist. Just say no. His chips contain large amounts of crack cocaine, and soon you will be hopelessly addicted. :biggrin:

    The tortillas also must contain some drug, because they are moderately addicting, but not as bad as the fried chips.

  8. Here's a link to a discussion we had last summer: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=54697 To paraphrase Russ Parsons, this is not someplace you go for great food. It's a slow time up there, so all of the B&B's will have discounted rooms. The coastline is gorgeous up there; I'd suggest going to one of the parks a few miles from town & taking a walk in the redwoods. (We had a lot of rain this week, so a lot of the trails will be pretty muddy.) Also, surrounding the town itself is a blufftop walk and a pretty beach, both accessible from the Main Street of town. None of those wineries are too crowded, and the road they are all along (128) is a pretty drive along a river with redwood trees.

    A winery that fits your description is Navarro: http://www.navarrowine.com/main.php (You can only buy their wine at the winery.)

  9. So, I will be enjoying my cherries from Chile via Costco all week, and I hope the rest of you enjoy an eight-course tasting of winter root vegetables every night.

    :laugh: Well, I did have squash & kale last night-but it was at Chez Panisse, so I can't say I suffered. I also had some wonderful LOCAL Satsuma tangerines in my lunchbox today. :raz:

  10. ... it would depend very much on the time of year and what was available in the markets (or in my garden). For example, were you to come to my house on a summer evening, dinner would most likely be some kind of animal flesh, expertly grilled, and an overflowing salad. And dessert would be some sort of tart.

    In winter, it might be a braise or a roast, and had I the time, a deadly multilayered chocolate something something.

    There is no simple answer.

    My answer is similar. What I would cook for you would depend on both the season and the current weather. With our gorgeous warm winter days, foggy summers, and October heat waves in the Bay Area-that could be just about anything. I might serve you a hot soup or something like chili on a foggy summer night. Then again, I might serve you grilled chicken or fish in January.

    What I will never serve you are fruits or vegetables that are not in season locally; you should only expect to be served asparagus in the springtime, and you won't be eating melons or peaches at my house unless it is late summer. You'll also only eat crab or salmon when it is season.

  11. A pocket door sounds like a great idea, IF you are neat enough to have your pantry in full view. Personally, I took the door off mine completely; it gave me that much more wall space to hang things on. Only you can answer where you fall on the Martha Stewart organizational scale.

    I think your opinion about using a general contractor is sound. Experience is important, and in general, a good contractor attracts the best subcontractors, whereas someone just starting out can have a hard time lining up the best subs. A cabinet maker with 30 years of experience sounds like someone worth waiting for! Anyway, waiting until spring means you won't care as much about eating BBQ'd food out on your patio.

  12. In addition to his excellent book, Will Clower also has a website. http://www.fatfallacy.com/TourWL/FirstSteps.html

    My husband & I did his "Path" last summer. Amazingly, we didn't lose much weight, but we both found it helpful to understand how eating slower-and in courses-helped us to eat less. (Clearly, we need to learn to eat a little less of our wonderful food...) I'm glad to see him getting some publicity, as his book is not the typical quick-fix, restrictive sort of "diet" that Americans love to embrace. Basically, he says only eat full-fat dairy products, eat a little bit of chocolate every day, don't eat "anything that doesn't spoil in a few days"-no preservatives, but mainly, understand when you are satisfied and stop eating at that point. Also, focus on your food when you are eating-don't eat and drive, etc.

    He's got great ideas-this is as close to an eGullet diet as anything I've seen.

  13. I do a variation on Rachel's:

    First step: Let it cool on the stove for an hour with the flame off-but don't let it get below 160.

    Second step: Using a 1-qt. saucepan as a scoop, I strain it through a colander into big shallow SS bowls (I bought these at a restaurant supply store-it's something you'd toss a big salad in.) That helps cool the stock a little. If I've made a huge pot of stock, I may end up w/ a few bowls. *** Echo Rachel's comments to double bag your garbage can before you start tossing those hot bones into it!!!

    Third step: (This is where I vary from Rachel): I strain again, pouring the contents of the bowls through a fine mesh strainer into some tall opaque plastic containers I also bought at a restaurant supply store. The stock is now completely strained; all you have to do the next day is scrape the fat off the top. I strain it twice not only to get all of the sediment out, but because I think it's easier to get rid of the big pieces of bones and vegetables before putting the stock into the containers that go into the fridge.

    Fourth step: After a quick rinse of the stock pot (mine also fits in the DW), I fill my sink w/ ice. (It's a good way of cleaning out all the funky ice cubes from my ice maker.) I put these tall containers of stock in the ice & fill the sink w/ water.

    Fifth step: Once all the ice is melted and the water isn't very cold, I put the containers into the fridge. I try and put some of those blue ice containers into the fridge as well. Even with all these precautions, I've seen the temp in my fridge get as high as 50 degrees-not good for your milk or whatever other persishables are in there.

    Last but not least-the next day I scrape off the fat, put the stock in smaller containers, and freeze.

    Here's what I do: Put your biggest colander in the biggest bowl it will fit in. Use a pasta scoop or other strainer with a handle to scoop out all or most all of the solids. Next, use a ladle or a 1 or 2 quart saucepan to scoop the liquid out, pour it through a strainer into your second largest pot. Let's see, you started with a 20 quart pot. After straining out the solids and accounting for some reduction, you should have about 10 quarts of liquid. You do have a 10 quart pot, don't you? :wink: You can use two pots if need be.

    Actually, when I do the first removal of the liquid, I do it with a 1 cup ladle through a small strainer into a gravy separator. Then, I pour the defatted strained liquid into the second largest pot, through a cheesecloth lined strainer. (I know this seems like a lot of strainers and pots. I can put my 4.5 & 6 quart pots in the upper rack of my dishwasher, the large stockpot in the bottom. Then I have a small (4") strainer, and a larger 6" smaller mesh strainer, and a pasta scoop -- they all go in the DW too.) You can start that smaller pot on a high flame to begin the reduction. Stop pouring the defatted stock before the fat goes up the spout. That bit goes in a separate container, I use a 1 quart soup/deli container. If it has an airtight lid, put it in the fridge upside down so the stock ends up on top.

    After you do all the straining, pick up the colander, and dump all the solids into a plastic garbage bag -- WITH NO HOLES. Double bag it. If you have a pet, give him some of the meat before tossing it into the garbage. Strain the stock in the bowl as outlined above.

    Notice I never once said to lift up the huge stockpot full of hot liquid. I only do that at the very end, when there's less than a quart in there, as the ladle has trouble scooping that up. I need a squadle.

  14. I occasionally find myself at a business meal with someone high up in my company. At these times I'm eternally grateful that my parents taught me enough manners that I don't have to think about what is correct or not. It's enough to focus on making witty conversation!

    Otherwise, I agree that as long as you aren't grossing anyone out or rudely hogging all the food, the details are not that important.

  15. We went to Pearl's once a few weeks after it opened (we also live nearby.) It wasn't bad, but certainly nothing to rave about. The night we were there-relatively early-the place was packed & we had to eat at the bar. The music was so loud I just wanted to eat and leave, but it took forever ot get our food. I also remember paying a lot of money for our meal, although the article makes it sound cheap. I'm such a sucker-after I read that I was thinking I HAVE to try that again. Now I won't rush.

    I just had lunch today with someone who raved about Va de Vi.

    Since no one posted on Squeat's...

    Yesterday, I heard a huge scream of outrage from my normally sunny husband.

    I knew he'd just read Michael Bauer's top ten.

    Sure enough, a moment later he yelled, "He has Pearl on his top 10!!!"

    We've been to Pearl twice, since we live in the area. The first time was about a week after it opened, when my DH slurped two bad oysters and watched our waiter pour non-alcoholic beer straight into a glass then watch bemusedly as foam proceeded to fill 2/3 of the glass. It was funny at the time. We reported the two bad oysters to the frenzied owner, who thanked us for letting him know, but no one elected to take two oysters off our bill. Since it was so busy, we let the incident go. My husband took some Pepto when we got home and suffered no ill effects.

    The 2nd time was some months later. We went right after work so the place was mostly empty. Still, our waitress spent a lot of time chatting with her co-worker, making it rather difficult to flag her down. My DH also got another off oyster (though not obviously bad as during the first visit). As we left he commented that in all his years of eating oysters at restaurants both high, mid, and low end, he'd never gotten a bad oyster. Odd that it would happen twice at Pearl. We decided that when we wanted a local oyster fix we'd head to Cafe Rouge or Grasshopper.

    We both suspect that Michael Bauer's stellar service was the result of being recogized.

  16. I think the price for organic versus non-organic isn't so different in CA. Plus, a lot of the food sold at our farmer's markets is organic (and at most of the markets, has to be grown by the person selling it) and the food is a bargain there!

    I'm sorry that I forgot to mention the health of the farm workers. If we care enough about the effects of second-hand smoke on employees to ban smoking on airlines and in restaurants, surely we can care about the health of the people who work in the fields to feed us?

  17. I have no negative associations with it. At all. In fact, I try and choose organic foods whenever possible.

    California has some of the strictest labeling laws in the country, so if it says organic and it came from California, it isn't just wink-wink-yeah-we-don't-use-too-many-chemicals.

    I'm not too sure whether there are long-term studies that measure the effects of some of the natibiotics and chemicals found in non-organic foods on me. I'm guessing there probably are some, but personally, I think it's just common sense to avoid putting that kind of stuff in your body. I'm not waiting twenty years for a longitutinal study to come out telling me that a chemical causes cancer before I stop eating it.

    The most important reason to choose organic for me is because I love this state I live in. I'm a native Californian, have lived here every day of my life, and care very deeply about keeping it the beautiful place that it is today intact for future gererations. To give you one example of what I'm talking about, DDT was once a widely used pesticide. DDT causes thinning of egg shells (I'm not sure what it does to humans, but IIRC-something nasty.) Its use almost wiped out the populations of many of our native birds, because the eggs would get crushed when the mother sat on them. Twenty years or so after it was banned, the brown pelicans started coming back. The first time I saw them, I had to ask someone what they were-I'd lived here all my life and I'd never seen one. Now they are all over the north coast, and they are the most majestic flocks of birds in flight. I can't believe we almost killed them off. There are many, many other examples of what "modern" farming does to the environment-everything you put in the soil runs off into a water source somewhere. Everything you spray in the air affects everything who breathes it.

    Yes, organic costs more. It costs more to grow food without wide-scale spraying. Organic fertilizers cost more than chemical ones. All I have to do is think of those brown pelicans and I don't mind supporting the farmerswho want to keep California the beautiful place that it is today. As it is, small farmers can barely compete with big agribusiness; you can't expect them to absorb these costs without pasing them on to you. Farmers will only practice sustainable farming if you and I support it by purchasing their products.

    And if you don't care about the envirnoment, well, as a generalization, organic food tastes better. You must care about eating good food or you wouldn't be reading eGullet.

  18. It may be a service charge for using a debit card. Not unheard of, in fact common at ATM machines. :smile:

    It still seems weird that it is not showing up on the bill to be signed. It also seems weird that it's not a round number-like a $2.00 service charge.

    BTW-We've never noticed this, but I must confess we don't check our bills against the receipts like that. We just glance through the charges; if the date and company looks correct, and the charge seems approximately correct, we pay it. Someone could add $10 to each meal and we probably wouldn't notice it. This COULD BE a really good scam.

    Let us know what you find out-

  19. I really would like to know the philosophy behind the "detox" idea.

    I'm curious as well-it is not a phrase I'm familiar with. I assumed you were referring to going on a weight-loss diet when I first read this thread.

    I'm also curious about why you don't just keep up these habits if you feel better when you are doing them? I can certainly understand wanting to eat better to feel healthier; what I can't understand is the implication that at some point you say, whew, I feel so much better, now I can go back to eating all the stuff that made me feel bad in the first place. Am I completely missing the point?

  20. I was SO surprised when I found they had the recipe on their web site - I stumbled on it when I was searching to find something similar. Who knew I would find the exact recipe for the soup of my dreams!


    Here is the link to La Boheme's recipes: http://www.laboheme.com/recipes.html

    This is a nice French bistro if you find yourself in Carmel-more of a locals' place for a pleasant dinner than a special occasion, touristy place. Their menus are on the website above.

  21. And, dear purple, I was thinking about carrot soup about five minutes ago -- I love carrots.

    La Boheme has a fixed menu every night, and one night when I was dining there this was the soup. I had a lot of misgivings, but I took one bite and absolutely loved it. And I truly LOATHE carrots if they taste anything at all like carrot. I can imagine that a carrot lover would really appreciate it :-).


    Are you referring to La Boheme in Carmel? I ADORE this restaurant, and I think I've had their carrot soup on one of my visits. The waiter/ owner brings the soup to the table in a little copper pot, and balances the lid askew just so... :wub:

    Maggie-Great idea!

    PS A while back Jessica's Biscuit was selling Peterson's Soup Cookbook for half off. That will keep you off the streets & in the kitchen for a couple of years!

  22. Is anyone else detoxing?

    As I sit here drinking coffee (with milk) and a Bloody Mary, eating toast (with butter and jam) and cheese, I think I can safely say no.

    Another no from California. :smile: Although I have to say, I do most but not all of what you are referring to as "detox" on a regular basis. I've never smoked, don't eat much red meat, and avoid transfats, foods with preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup at all times. I try to eat organic food whenever it's an option. I only drink one-at most two-glasses of wine and 1 cup of coffee (with half-and-half) a day. I rarely eat dessert. However, try and take away my Acme bread, Strauss butter, Rusticella pasta, and anyone's cheese and I'll start snarling at you!!! :biggrin: As Julia Child used to say-moderation in all things. This is what I can eat year in and year out without feeling deprived.

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