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Marlene

Camping, Princess Style

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Once pasta is in the water I never covr it. Also I think the need for that much water has been de-bunked. Looks tasty.

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17 hours ago, Shelby said:

Oh Elsie, you're going to make me go back to that dark place? :raz:

 

Let me think back and I'll try to remember specifics.  I think I posted about it around here somewhere.  For now, I'll say it was the most complete failure I've ever had (cooking-wise, that is).

 

 

I distinctly remember you posting about it, too, btw, so it's here somewhere... :)

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39 minutes ago, heidih said:

Once pasta is in the water I never covr it. Also I think the need for that much water has been de-bunked. Looks tasty.

 

It looks like a lot more water than you might think, because of the way it's foaming up. There was no more than a quart of water for about a half pound of pasta. Granted, @Harold McGee said on an episode of The Splendid Table that 1.5 quarts for a pound of pasta is plenty, so it's still more than strictly necessary.

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Got it - a visual false positive

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What's not to love about the beach? I, at least, adore it. Well, except for the crowds. Everyone else adores the beach as well, and for folks who want a lot of elbow room it can get to be a bit much. On the other hand, without the crowds one is much less likely to find interesting restaurants and quirky shops. I enjoy the variety that crowds can bring, even if we have to close the curtains at night lest we and our immediate trailer neighbors inadvertently share too much information.

 

My sister and I walked the beach, walked nearby trails, and grazed on little treats we purchased along the way. I don't seem to have much on the way of food pictures from those walks, so here's some scenery. The first is from a trail walk; the second is looking toward Avila Beach from the pier.

 

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This tree root, with a very healthy coastal oak attached, climbs up a cliff along one of the walks we took.

 

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Our cousins, our hosts for Christmas (and other evenings), live atop a hill where they have an excellent view and more trees than houses or people. (They also have a startlingly steep driveway. Clearly, they never worry about snow or ice!) On a clear day, which is the usual, one can see to the ocean. We spent more time chatting than I spent photographing food, but I do have a picture of the fine Christmas spread they put out. I miss being able to use my Christmas dishes and throw Christmas parties because of our winter travels, but my cousins more than make up for the loss.

 

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I took this picture just before we dug into the salad. After that came prime rib, salmon, oven-roasted potatoes, green beans, and the bread that I'd made. Of course I took the opportunity for a bread-vanity photo. :)

 

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Dessert also was missed in the photo lineup, but there were two or three types of pie. I had volunteered to make cheesecake in the Instant Pot as I did last year, but the true cheesecake aficionado wasn't going to come. Given the variety of health issues among us - egg allergies, diabetes, and plain old extra weight - we decided the cheesecake was unnecessary. 

 

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One day when we were on our own, my darling and I drove up to San Luis Obispo airport to meet friends who flew up in their homebuilt airplane from Oxnard. We met at the Spirit of San Luis restaurant, which offers outdoor or indoor seating and a fine view of the runway - de rigeuer for pilots, of course.

 

Here's their lunch menu, but be warned that it's a pdf download. The quotes below are from the menu descriptions. I chose the Grilled Prawn Cobb Salad:

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Fresh greens, grilled prawns, pancetta, sundried tomatoes, avocado and egg tossed with green goddess dressing

 

My darling, ever on the lookout for good fried fish, chose their Fish and Chips:

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Fresh red snapper lightly breaded with our hand cut fries. Served with tartar sauce and choice of sides

 

The restaurant serves breakfast all day; their menu is here (another pdf download). One friend chose Eggs Benedict, and the other chose a hearty breakfast omelette. 

 

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It was a good 2 or 3 hours' worth of visiting. My friends visit this restaurant frequently, but it was new to me. I'd go back again any time.

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3 hours ago, Allura said:

 

I distinctly remember you posting about it, too, btw, so it's here somewhere... :)

 

I tried searching the forum but couldn't find it.  Anyway, I now have rice flour so will attempt to make it.  I will post my findings on the bread topic.

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One more Pismo post, more or less. On our last day at the beach, the entire family got together for a good long beach walk.

 

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I had been jonesing for clam chowder - the place is the home of the famous Pismo Clam, for heaven's sake - and for a variety of reasons hadn't been able to get any. We rectified that on our final evening, by going to Mersea's Restaurant at Port San Luis. This place is out on a pier. One can drive to it, and maybe find a parking spot, but we didn't know that at the time. We walked out, wishing we'd brought more warm clothing to protect against the ocean breeze. 

 

Mersea's is the sort of place where you go up to the bar to get your own beer or wine, and get a very generous pour for very little money. You go up to another counter to place your order when you're ready, but they bring the food to you. The floor is sturdy wooden planking. There are glass windows at strategic intervals in the floor, so you can look down into the water below. At that time of night there was nothing to see, but it's probably pretty neat in the daytime.

 

I got my clam chowder. I opted for what they called "Nolan" style, with bacon and croutons added. I don't think they added much to it, but the chowder itself was good...exactly what I'd been wanting. As usual, my darling opted for fish and chips. My sister and cousins also opted for chowder, or for fish and chips. The fish and chips came with a tartar sauce that I thought terrific and my darling thought disappointing: it had dill pickle relish instead of sweet pickle relish.

 

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The real star of the show, as far as I was concerned, was the garlic fries. Oh, my! They were crispy and garlicky and I couldn't get enough of them. How was it they were so crisp, and the topping so crisp? It turns out that their topping included finely grated parmesan cheese, along with parsley. I'm not much into frying things, but this would be worth trying at home. They came with a very nice aioli...accentuating the garlic flavor, and ensuring that we all needed to be eating the fries out of self defense.

 

The portions were generous and there were a lot of garlic fries, as well as sauce, left over. Everyone else decided they wouldn't be worth reheating, so they were going to leave them behind. I took them all, and reheated them in the microwave later. They were still fine...perhaps not quite as crisp, but with that topping they still weren't limp. I was well rewarded for carrying the stuff home.

 

Happy and sated, we worked our way back along the pier, listening to the barks of the sea lions. What an amazing sound they make!

 

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Edited by Smithy Removed extraneous photo (log)
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We had a food truck vendor st the Garden for a while and my fried was addicted to the fries in that style. We bought me a basket once. I do the cheater verson with extra crispy style fozen fries and then the garlic and parm. The day I had them it was summer and he had chiffonade of basil added. THAT made it for me.

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7 hours ago, Smithy said:

The fish and chips came with a tartar sauce that I thought terrific and my darling thought disappointing: it had dill pickle relish instead of sweet pickle relish.

 

That is exactly the reason I usually make my own tartar sauce. I love dill pickles in it along with capers, onion, flatleaf parsley, and a hint of Tabasco. I don't like sweet pickles in it either. Sometimes I put minced green olives it it too. I don't make my own mayo, but Dukes serves me well, as it has no sugar in it.

 

Mersea's sounds like my kind of place, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

 

I also love garlic fries. I've only had them one time. It was in a very dark bar, and I was picking all the bits off them and when my friend asked me why, I said it seemed like way too much garlic. She said that it was mostly parmesan cheese and I did a face palm and enjoyed them as is after that. 😄 In my defense, they did not even mention parm on the menu and the lighting was so low it was impossible to distinguish garlic bits from cheese bits. Man, they were good, though.

 

That is very cool about the windows in the floor and it sounds like what @gfron1wants to do with his restaurant. Too bad you weren't there during the day. I still remember my glass-bottomed boat ride in Florida in the late 70's. Yes, I realize it's a touristy thing to do, but back then, I really enjoyed it. It has left a lifelong impression, and we did see manatees and many other cool things like gators and, of course, fish.

 

It's wonderful that you are able to escape the bitter cold of MN and still enjoy the company of your family at Christmas.

 

I always look forward to your travel reports.

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Thank you for those comments, @Thanks for the Crepes! I don't think I've ever tried making tartar sauce, mostly because I don't use it on fish and it rarely occurs to me to use it elsewhere. Your additions sound like some that I've had in other tartar sauces that I liked. 

 

That's funny about the garlic fries, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one taken by surprise. The menu at Mersea's also did not mention the parmesan. My family took it for granted. It seems to be one of those things that everyone (else) just knows. :laugh: I'll have to try @heidih's cheater version sometime.

 

Yes, it is bitterly cold at home. I haven't heard from the housesitters about any disasters, so I assume the house is holding up. It rained here in the desert last night, and the air smells sweet. There will be new vegetation in a couple of days.

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If I'd stopped here, we'd have had a good dinner.

 

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We spent much of the afternoon chasing gremlins in the wiring. At last, we were sure we had corrected the problem. Everything worked! The generator was charging the batteries properly! We went for a walk. When we came back, my darling decided the generator had run long enough. "Let's see how the batteries are doing," he said. We turned off the generator. 

EVERYTHING went dark. Instantly. The desert is astonishingly dark.

 

Hmm, I guess we hadn't fixed the problem after all.  A principal rule of troubleshooting is: if things get worse, undo what you just did and hope you haven't broken anything. We did, working by flashlight, and we hadn't broken anything. We relaxed and left the gremlins for another day.

 

It was the third sequential evening of varied drama around the Princessmobile. With all that going on, I was a bit distracted during dinner preparations, as I had been the previous nights with at least one other disastrous dinner. When the two dishes were mostly cooked, I turned down the heat to let them sit while we watched a news show.

 

At least, I thought I had turned down the heat. :blush: I got the stovetop pan, forgot to turn down the oven. The sprouts, in the stovetop pan, came out well: soft and flavorful, with a nicely cooked-down coating of balsamic vinegar that doesn't show up in this photo. The potatoes, linguica and onions on the baking sheet - well, the spuds were good. The rest might as well have been croutons. I was too disheartened to take a photo.

 

Incidentallly, I really do like balsamic vinegar with brussels sprouts. Much nicer than tomatoes.

 

 

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Today the gremlins stayed away. In fact, even though we simply returned things back to the way they had been last night, the electrical system is working better than it has since this trip began. Is it possible we had nothing worse than a loose wire? The adage about blind pigs and acorns has been invoked. Instead of chasing gremlins, I had time to try some new dishes, and used the Indian cookbook I'd picked up at Pismo. I've posted more detail about it here in the Curry Cook-off topic.

 

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Next up: a return to the San Joaquin Valley, and citrus country. Unless I post next about the International Banana Museum.

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Oh a Banana Museum, now that sounds really "apeeling" to me.....don't monkey around, go there right away.  

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Alrighty then, let's go bananas! Settle in, there's a lot to see.

 

A few miles north of the Salton Sea State Recreation Area Headquarters, more or less at the north end of the Sea, is the International Banana Museum

 

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It's only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It proudly advertises that it's a Guinness Book of Records collection. Furthermore, the Auto Club of Southern California put it on a must-see list of top 100 attractions. Yes, it's a quirky place. The owner is clearly into advertising the property with his sports car. :)

 

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The entrance fee is $1. Signs say that it's okay to snap all the photos one wants, but please no videos. A friendly young woman greeted me from behind the counter, and was happy to be included in the photo essay, as long as her friend could be in the picture too! 

 

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Everywhere you look there are banana-related items. Some are for sale;

 

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...and of course there is food: banana-flavored ice cream, shakes, sodas, and some non-banana fruit smoothies as well. The aroma of banana pervades the space.

 

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They have banana costumes for photo sessions. The costume is a banana-shaped sheath that comes down over the head and body until the face shows through a large hole, and then a filler of plastic bags is added to make sure the head point is full and firm. (The outer bag of the stuffing is changed each time, for hygienic reasons.) I'm pretty sure they come in all sizes, but while we were there it was two girls who looked to be under 12. This photo of the dressing exercise is heavily cropped; sorry for the odd appearance! I didn't ask permission for faces to be posted, and don't seem to have software that will allow selective blurring.

 

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The finished product was cute: the girls sat amongst these stuffed toys, while everyone giggled and the family snapped pictures.

 

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There is stuff overhead, and stuff along the walls, stuff inside cabinets and above cabinets and just about everywhere except underfoot. You still have to watch your step, lest you bump into something.

 

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This slot machine was for display only.

 

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The caption on this cartoon doesn't show well; it's "I distinctly said bandannas!"

 

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This big guy is next to the counter where people can order food, and sit to eat it if they wish.

 

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I got a kick out of the salt & pepper shakers and the oil & vinegar set.

 

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I have a nice collection of citrus packing crate labels. It was fun to see a banana crate label of the same ilk.

 

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More bric-a-brac, proving that bananas transcend time and space.

 

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Another item has been checked off my bucket list.

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Not many places like that left. 

Quirky roadside stuff was all along the Lincoln Highway and Rt 66 

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I miss the guy who had the banana farm north of Santa Barbara. Guwess thee is a new guy.  @Panaderia Canadiense would have an opinion as she edited a banana trade journal. With the pest issues and diseases will be entering a new banana era. 

https://www.chiquita.com/blog/corporate-news/banana-crisis-and-what-chiquita-doing-about-it

 

http://www.freshpoint.com/news/the-remarkable-story-of-kaoae-farm-bananas/

 

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That was an interesting note in the KAOAE Farm story: that by interplanting avocados and bananas he increased the yield and quality of the bananas, as well as making better use of water.

 

I'll keep an eye out for Farmers' Market banana opportunities. I fear I'm already too far east for this year, but one never knows.

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You would not believe the craving I now have for a chocolate covered frozen banana!  Last one I ate was in Balboa Park in San Diego about a decade ago.  I especially got a kick out of the American Gothic parody in your last shot.  We live about a half an hour from the actual house and love to visit the quirky museum they have.  It is full stuff like that.  Thanks for taking us along .  One question. was Day O, aka the Banana Boat Song playing in the background?

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2 hours ago, IowaDee said:

One question. was Day O, aka the Banana Boat Song playing in the background?

 

 

This would have been a viable option as well (anyone else here grow up with that show?)...
 

 

PS: The museum looks like a blast for anyone who appreciates a bit of kitsch in their kitchen. 

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20 minutes ago, chromedome said:

(anyone else here grow up with that show?)..

 

The original version is one of my ringtones currently......🎶

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4 hours ago, IowaDee said:

You would not believe the craving I now have for a chocolate covered frozen banana!  Last one I ate was in Balboa Park in San Diego about a decade ago.  I especially got a kick out of the American Gothic parody in your last shot.  We live about a half an hour from the actual house and love to visit the quirky museum they have.  It is full stuff like that.  Thanks for taking us along .  One question. was Day O, aka the Banana Boat Song playing in the background?

 

In fact, I think it did play while we were there. I can't remember the background music, which probably means there wasn't much...but I have had that one rolling around in my head since our visit! @chromedome, I  remember that banana song, but they didn't play it that I recall. Got it stuck in my head now anyway, thankyouverymuch. :raz:

 

The American Gothic House museum sounds like a worthy stop. :D  I too thought that parody painting was funny!

 

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I was actually thinking about you the other day. My GF and I hit the annual RV show here in town, and sussed out a bit of "Princess style" for ourselves.

 

Not that we're looking to take up a peripatetic lifestyle ourselves just yet, but we're seriously over-housed at the moment and planning to find lesser accommodations this spring. One option that's on the table is parking a used RV at her parents' property and living in it for a year or so, while we save our pennies for a down payment on a house. 

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2 hours ago, chromedome said:

I was actually thinking about you the other day. My GF and I hit the annual RV show here in town, and sussed out a bit of "Princess style" for ourselves.

 

Not that we're looking to take up a peripatetic lifestyle ourselves just yet, but we're seriously over-housed at the moment and planning to find lesser accommodations this spring. One option that's on the table is parking a used RV at her parents' property and living in it for a year or so, while we save our pennies for a down payment on a house. 

 

It can be a good way to save money, but it's also a good test of how much togetherness you can stand. I'll be glad to discuss this more offline, if you wish: the ins and outs of RV life, as well as things to consider for the unit itself.

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The other half of the building containing the International Banana Museum is a small grocery and liquor store. It's worth a trip in itself for the quirky woman who minds the counter, but we actually went in to buy food and beer. I spotted a Barefoot Merlot for $6.99 and picked it up. One the next shelf down were several bottles of Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. This is usually pretty good stuff, IMO. I thought I might be willing to splurge, depending on its price. I couldn't find a price.

 

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I added a bottle and went to the counter. "Before you ring this all up," I said, "please tell me how much this wine is. I couldn't find a sticker on any of the bottles."

 

Ms. Quirky never batted an eye, except to mutter about her boss. I detected some, er, attitude. "Well, then, let's make it $5.99."

 

I restrained myself from buying all their stock, but I did add another bottle to the bag.

 

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