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Everything posted by marie-louise

  1. I stayed at the Biltmore once. Like most of those grand old hotels, the lobby was drop dead gorgeous, the grounds were breathtaking, and our room was well, tired in that 70-year-old bathroom kind of way. Best to go there for a drink or a cup of tea, not the night.
  2. I'm headed up north in September. The county internet sites make things look grim-and the guidebooks I have don't offer much hope either. Since you offered hope to someone headed for Bakersfield, I'm hoping enough of you have been to this beautiful-but-desolate corner of California to make some recommendations. I'm not expecting Bay Area quality, but we are planning some strenuous hikes, including hiking to the top of Mt. Lassen, so I'd like to at least look forward to some calories at the end of the day that aren't an effort to choke down. We're staying in Trinity Center (the Trinity Alps), Dorris (by the Lava Beds), McCloud, and Igo (by Redding.) I have been to McCloud once before. We had a terrific burger in a place in the town of Mt. Shasta-I think it was called Michael's, and an absolutely terrible, inedible Italian meal in McCloud, in a place that I am hoping we will recognize BEFORE we sit down and order again. The Dorris website has a listing for a place called Dysfunction Junction, specializing in "bad to the bone ribs." I may have to try that just because of the name.
  3. marie-louise

    Wine glasses

    Another Spiegalau fan here. I have a dozen of each size (I store the extras in their boxes, in the basement.) For me, they are the right price point between nice enough and cheap enough. I really like that I don't have to worry about anyone breaking a $50. glass at a dinner party. I put mine in the dishwasher, but my Bosch DW has little built-in racks to hold the stems. I also have a set of Reidel flutes. I do admit, they do feel nicer, but for that amount of money, they should!
  4. My local independent grocery store (The Village Market in Oakland) sells fruit from XXX farm in Brentwood. Can't remember the name, but I've seen delivery trucks with their names dropping off fruit at the market. Whoever it is, that Brentwood fruit sure is good-but it costs $2-3/lb. by the time it gets over the hill.
  5. Thanks, Dave. That video was a major-DUH, why didn't I ever think of that! To think that I was so pleased with myself when I learned the trick of cutting onions (or anything else) in half so that I was cutting something w/ a flat surface. Now I might have something better than rustic-looking dice. What other chopping tricks do you know?
  6. I've successfully managed to avoid ever going there, but I'm guessing there will be great soft tacos and other Mexican food. If she is going soon, she can gorge herself on great tomatoes and summer fruit. Maybe she should find a room w/ a little kitchenette so she can make her own coffee.
  7. Canning 101. All I know is you need boiling water and jars;I wouldn't know where to begin. I've never tried it. There is a certain appeal to buying a big ol' lug of tomatoes at the Farmer's Market and making some tomato sauce or tomato chutney for the winter.
  8. That was mine: heat the pan, then the oil. Then put it in the pan and leave it alone. I used to start trying to move the meat/mushrooms/whatever around much too soon.
  9. A local store where I live (The Pasta Shop, in The Market Hall) sells about 20 kinds daily. This is one of my favorite quick dinners: serve them in a cup or two of homemade chicken broth that contains some vegetables and fresh herbs. (Cook the pasta in water, then add it to the broth for a few minutes.) My second favorite way is to also buy a container of their Garlic-Cream sauce and serve it with that. In general, I don't care for them in tomato-based sauces. Simple is best with these kinds of pasta. For your goat cheese-maybe some sauteed wild mushrooms and summer squash in the broth. For your Jerk Chicken-just plain broth, or a few carrots/onions cooked until soft. The salmon would be better w/ cream sauce.
  10. I guess it's like knives- what feels better is very personal. Straight glasses don't feel right to me at all. I also have a bunch of similar glasses by Libby. They are heavier, straighter, and cheaper-but the Picardie ones feels just perfect to me. I really like the ridges on both of them-much prefer that to straight sides.
  11. I totally agree-I like drinking a nice big glass of water out of a heavy glass. I like the French ones that Williams Sonoma sells, made by Picardie. A few bucks each, so it is not a crisis if one chips. Although they come in four or five sizes, you can buy only one size (I like the 17.5 oz. size myself.)
  12. I live in a Craftsman-style house and have an old, 8 ft. long / 3 ft. wide tiger oak trestle table in my dining room. The top is a few inches thick-this table weighs a ton. It has a SF City and County property tag on it; I'm guessing it was once in the library or something. They don't make tablecloths in that shape. For years, I used placemats only, but every time I gave a dinner party I watched nervously as people spilled wine or water on the table, or put down a hot serving dish right onto the wood instead of back on the trivet. My solution-table runners. Under them, a nice flannel-wrapped piece of plastic that I cut to size. I made an assortment: for several I used fabric from the fabric store; for several more I cut 144-inch Royal Velvet tablecloths to size. They make one tablecloth that has little tone-on-tone check patterns, comes in great colors, and is stain and wrinkle resistant. They are machine washable, and only need a little ironing to look decent. Once the table is all set, IMO there's not enough tablecloth left showing to read "polyester," especially since you still see a few inches of the wood. I detest polyester napkins, so instead I use coordinating linen or cotton ones. (I really like Crate and Barrel's napkins.) My plan was to keep a tablecloth on the table all the time, but I have four indoor/outdoor cats who thought it made the table a much better surface to sleep on, so I just bring them out for dinner parties.
  13. I've seen his old show once or twice on Food TV-I thought he was a riot. Of course, it was the middle of the night and I couldn't sleep, so I was sitting in front of the TV, drinking a glass of wine along with him... Can't quite see how he'd be any good sober, though. Or something worth watching during normal waking hours.
  14. My practice is to eat enough of what's in peak season that I get sick of them. Usually, by the time I am craving it again, it is almost time for them to be in season again. Belonging to a CSA helps-week after week, mass quanities of perfectly ripe, perfectly wonderful fruits and vegetables arrive at your doorstep. Two things this doesn't work for: Apricots-they're in season for what, about two weeks Tomatoes-even though you can get great ones in California for about four months, that's not long enough
  15. There is great Mexican food like this anywhere there is a large Mexican population; in other words, all over California. A few random selections... Lolita's in Petaluma (it's inside a Mexican market) makes great soft taco. $1.50 each. There is a woman behind the counter hand-patting the tortillas. There's a place in Healdsburg (across from the Oakville Grocery) where I hear the soft tacos are even better than Lolita's. Haven't tried them yet. There's also a sit down restaurant in Ukiah that has great food. They give you this great relish made out of cabbage-similar to what a Japanese restaurant serves, I'm blanking on the name. I can't remember the restaurant's name, but it is on the main street at the north end of town, has parking all around it-like it used to be a drive-in, and always has a million cars in the lot. Last weekend I also had a really good taco in, of all places, a new deli in Gualala called The Mermaid Cafe. They had a few regular sandwiches for the tourists, but the vast majority of the menu was Mexican food. The Mexican food is different in the Bay Area. I'm not sure it isn't just as good, but it is different. I grew up in the Central Valley (long ago) and I was very surprised at how different the food was when I moved to SF. I'd never seen a monster burrito; I was used to rice and bean plates w/ flour tortillas on the side. PS I like In and Out, too. I agree w/ you about the fries, but I like that they grind their own meat on site daily. Greasy? Well, yeah, but isn't it supposed to be?
  16. I think it is portion control, not the food itself. The fast food hamburgers/ orders of fries of my youth were much smaller than today's versions. Restaurants today serve appetizers larger than entrees of twenty years ago. Our local burritos are enough for two or three people, etc. etc. After a while, your body expects Thanksgiving every day. I've belonged to one for years (Full Belly.) Aren't they the best? I am forever spoiled.
  17. I can't function at all in hot weather. Eating is the least of it-cooking, sleeping, exercising, working, gardening-I don't want to do anything. We are in the midst of one of our Bay Area heat waves-fortunately, they usually only last three days, and we only get two or three a year. As I said in my bio, I don't know how you people stand this heat all summer long. I guess you get used to it after a while.
  18. Yeah, it's nice that the coals get ready so quickly. I also like the built-in table; it's handy to have someplace to set things.
  19. I have one. The propane gets the coals ready in about 15 minutes, otherwise it cooks exactly like a regular Weber.
  20. The household penetration on bagged salads is currently at about 73 to 74 percent,” said Schwartz. “And if you compare that to salad dressings at 98 percent, you still have a big growth curve there to fill.” Does that mean that only 2% of households are still making their own salad dressings? That's sad, but somehow not surprising. I rarely buy packaged lettuce, but then we have a lot of lettuce mixtures/ spinach /braising greens sold in bulk in our stores. I just buy as much or as little as I need. I agree about the funny smell-they must insert some sort of gas into the bag to keep it fresher.
  21. I'm new here, but I think it's a good idea. I tend to have selective blindness at the meat counter-I buy what I'm familiar with, and don't even see the other selections. For example, I learned about tri-tip on another board a few years back. When I first read about it, I was certain that we either didn't have it in California, or that it was called something else here. I was wrong; it was there all along, I just never noticed it. And what a wonderful cut of meat it is! Except for some unfortunate experiences in my youth, I can't say I've ever eaten round steak, but I'd certainly be interested in reading suggestions as to how to make it taste better than my Mother's Swiss Steak.
  22. I try to avoid processed and/or foods with chemicals at all costs. I'm surrounded by great stores, so it is easy to shop often and well. My solution is to make simpler meals. If I have soup for dinner, it is made with organic vegetables from my CSA delivery and homemade stock from my freezer. But it is all I'd have for dinner. Three things on a plate and/or multiple courses is weekend cooking for me. My mother would not be pleased.
  23. I have 160. Actually, having read some of this thread, I guess that should be, I ONLY have 160.
  24. California. Wine or beer, depending on the meal, plus a large glass of water at every meal.
  25. I have a weakness for sets of dishes.
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