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mizducky

eG Foodblog: mizducky - The tightwad gourmand shapes up

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The only problem is that it's finely grated/minced.  So if you want pieces this doesn't help at all!

Pam~

The REAL problem is that it is in Canada! :biggrin:

I haven't seen them in the CA Trader Joe's but I'll keep looking.......or maybe get motivated to do my own !

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Thanks, folks, for all the suggestions about storing gingerroot.

Re ginger:

I just store mine in a large knob next to

the garlic next to the stove, in a small bowl.

I buy about a 3 to 4 inch long piece at a time,

and take about 3 to 4 weeks to use it up

and it's never ever gone bad on me....

Not sure why you're refrigerating yours

or why it's going bad.

Well, I've experienced two different "going-bad" scenarios: 1) I leave the ginger unwrapped, either in the fridge or out at room temperature--in either case it dries out, especially if there's an exposed cut surface; and 2) I wrap it in plastic, as airtight as possible, and store it in the fridge, which prevents the drying-out behavior; but then, eventually, the ginger begins to rot and/or grow microbial colonies. :blink:

I think maybe I'll try the freezer strategy next ...

One thing that I have learned to love as an alternative to beer/sodas/gatorade/etc is selzer. Nowadays, they have flavored selzers available in most groceries. The fizzy bubbles make me feel like it is something special, but there are no calories, no caffeine, no alcohol (OK, so it's not a perfect beverage  :laugh:  ).

I have been a great fan of flavored seltzer ever since my Seattle days when I first discovered the Talking Rain brand of flavored fizzy-water. Alas, I have discovered that seltzer doesn't work all that well for the daily massive amount of hydration I need to accomplish (that minimum eight 8-oz. glasses daily thing)--the bubbles just take up too damn much room in my stomach! :laugh: But a nice glass of raspberry-essence sparkling water is certainly a fine thing on a warm day.

Will be posting the afternoon's batch of photos shortly ...

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Can you show me

The shine of your Japan

The sparkle of your china

Can you show me

Bodhisattva

--Steely Dan, "Bodhisattva," from Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)

One of the errands that has occupied me these past few days has been going over to a friend's house and taking care of her cats while she is out of town on a business trip. So, once again today I spent about an hour feeding and entertaining the li'l guys ...

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... and having myself a little snack that I brought along:

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I then headed out for El Cajon Boulevard--or "The Boulevard," as certain neighborhood booster organizations seem to prefer. (Question for the longtime San Diego residents reading this: what if any history is there behind that moniker "The Boulevard"? All I can find via Google are those neighborhood booster organizations, and they don't give any background to the name.)

El Cajon Blvd. is one of two east-west thoroughfares that bisect a major portion of the city of San Diego, incidentally passing through a wide variety of neighborhoods both moneyed and working class (the other such east-west route is University Ave.). Both roads dedicate their central portions to City Heights, sometimes cited as possibly the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the United States. There certainly is a wide variety of ethnicities represented by the groceries, restaurants, and shops lining this part of El Cajon Blvd., including Mexican, Vietnamese, Middle-Eastern, and others. It's a working-class neighborhood, with a tough enough reputation that I would personally observe some caution wandering off the main drag after dark, but in daylight hours it's practically a family affair, with mothers and aunties and high school students frequenting the shops and cafes.

My first stop was to grab a more substantial meal than that apple, at the following establishment:

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I think I'm on my way to becoming a "regular" here--I'm beginning to get nods of recognition from the staff.

Saigon is roomier than the average pho joint, housed in a glass-walled box with some nice decor:

gallery_28660_3028_121493.jpg

If I'd hit this joint when the high school across the street was in session, this scene would have been jumping with mostly-Asian teens drinking boba teas. But instead I had a nice peaceful room in which to enjoy ... more pho!

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Note the much more generous plate of mix-in veggies than the one provided by Convoy Noodle House. Because I was still fondly remembering the stewed tendon dish from last night, I ordered my pho with rare steak and tendon only. The tendon had lovely texture, but alas there wasn't very much of either it or the beef. That was actually okay, though, because I definitely maxed out on the animal protein last night and could stand to go easy on that today.

(Aside to Ed Davis--the bun soup with periwinkles I showed at the start of this blog turns out to be #104 on their huge menu, and is called Bun Rieu Oc--I'm omitting whole tribes of diacritical marks I don't know how to make on this keyboard.)

Then on down the Boulevard for more shopping. Most of the little shops and stores and strip malls lining this street are pretty nondescript, or even dilapidated, but every now and then you get a scene that really has some local flava to it:

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Minh Hoa is a really nice, if somewhat cramped and un-slick, little Vietnamese market that I like a lot, but today my destination was a bigger establishment:

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As the Roman number "V" after Vien Dong/World Market's name suggests, this is one branch of a small local chain of grocery stores primarily serving San Diego's large Vietnamese population. But like all the grocery stores in this neighborhood, you'll see people of every race, religion, and ethnicity shopping here, looking for some of their favorite foods, or just for some deals to stretch their often-tight cashflow. The place is huge and just chock full of *stuff*!

gallery_28660_3028_423188.jpg

The fish department is huge, and carries a ginormous number of species I have never even heard of, let alone seen:

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The meat department is similarly large, and similarly given to fascinating-sounding items not familiar to the Euro-American kitchen:

gallery_28660_3028_492484.jpg

Ditto with the produce--so many interesting-looking greens, so little time!

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I found the items I was looking for plus a couple of others, and made my way home--oh yeah, here, by the way, is the pool just outside my front door:

gallery_28660_3028_47851.jpg

Behind the windows at the far right of this picture is the complex's little gym, where I've taken to using the high-tech stationary bicycles (now dressing in tee and shorts to make a fool of myself on the bike, that I don't mind one bit :biggrin: ). There are also three permanently-affixed charcoal grills available just outside the pool area for the use of the residents.

Upon returning home, I was enthusiastically greeted by my current roommate's cat, Randall, who you all met during my last blog:

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Trust me to wind up living with the only cat in the universe with a cross-species foot fetish. :laugh:

Today's grocery haul is considerably smaller than the other day's:

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The little jar contains red fermented bean curd, or nam yu--it gets its red color from the inclusion of fermented red rice in its brine. I have only a vague idea what I'm going to make for my evening meal at this point, but--geez, look at the time! I better get on with it. Fortunately, that bowl of pho has been holding me pretty well all this time. On to the kitchen ...

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Ellen "The Boulevard" isn't a term that was used to describe El Cajon Blvd. with any frequency when I was growing up here. We didn't say "I'll meet you up on The Boulevard" or other unseemly phrases. Usually it was just "it's on El Cajon around (fill in the blank for the cross street). Mostly El Cajon and University were just referred to that way, no street, boulevard, avenue, etc., modifiying it.

Have you been up to the end of El Cajon where it dead-ends at Park? There's a huge sign proclaiming THE BOULEVARD a couple of blocks east of that intersections, can't miss it. Even though the sign looks dated, it isn't. That wasn't there when I was growing up and I'm not that old.

Did you know that Saigon used to be a car dealership. Probably why it's so spacious with nice, big windows :laugh:

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Ellen "The Boulevard" isn't a term that was used to describe El Cajon Blvd. with any frequency when I was growing up here.  We didn't say "I'll meet you up on The Boulevard" or other unseemly phrases.  Usually it was just "it's on El Cajon around (fill in the blank for the cross street).  Mostly El Cajon and University were just referred to that way, no street, boulevard, avenue, etc., modifiying it. 

Have you been up to the end of El Cajon where it dead-ends at Park?  There's a huge sign proclaiming THE BOULEVARD a couple of blocks east of that intersections, can't miss it.  Even though the sign looks dated, it isn't.  That wasn't there when I was growing up and I'm not that old.

Did you know that Saigon used to be a car dealership.  Probably why it's so spacious with nice, big windows  :laugh:

Thanks for the info, Gayla. You know, I kinda suspected that name was somebody's overenthusiastic case of "marketeer-think." And yep, I've seen that "The Boulevard" sign. This city seems to have had a whole wave of putting up big neighborhood signs like that--off the top of my head, I can recall seeing such signs in University Heights, Hillcrest, and North Park.

And I was in fact wondering what Saigon's building used to house--it's kind of an odd look for a restaurant. Must have been a bit of a tight fit for an auto dealership, though. :smile:

I've got my (late) dinner, and I've got some more pictures to upload. Back shortly...

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As the Roman number "V" after Vien Dong/World Market's name suggests, this is one branch of a small local chain of grocery stores primarily serving San Diego's large Vietnamese population. But like all the grocery stores in this neighborhood, you'll see people of every race, religion, and ethnicity shopping here, looking for some of their favorite foods, or just for some deals to stretch their often-tight cashflow. The place is huge and just chock full of *stuff*!

gallery_28660_3028_423188.jpg

Oooh, oooh, oooh!

It's a former Saaaafewaaay...

I'd recognize that ceiling profile anywhere, even though they stuck an AC duct in the middle of it.

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I was feeling the bottom start to drop out of my energy bucket as I typed up those last couple of posts, so I went for a quick-and-easy dinner based on some creative recycling of leftovers, combined with fresh ingredients.

But first, the kitchen! Copious apologies in advance--it's looking rather "ghetto" this evening:

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I fear the linoleum may be permanently discolored--when I first moved in, I gave it a wash with hot water and Spic'n'Span, with no noticeable effect whatsoever. :blink: One of these days I'm going to have to try something a little more drastic on it. It doesn't help that housework is not particularly high on my current roommates list of priorities. Oh well--that's what I get for continuing to choose musicians as roommates... :laugh:

Here's the Traditional Fridge Shot:

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Anything in that fridge that's either from Asia, from Trader Joe's, or from a fresh produce department probably belongs to me. :biggrin:

Ditto the contents of the door shelves:

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Meanwhile, the big bottles of "cocktail" mix are definitely the roommate's. :biggrin:

And I think just about everything in the freezer right now is his:

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Ah yes, that carefree bachelor living. :laugh:

Meanwhile, here's most of my stash of Asian condiments and other goodies:

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That's kasha a.k.a. buckwheat groats in the blue-lidded container. I was going nutz for some time now, hunting for kasha in every store I could think of and not finding it, until I at last spotted it at Vineripe Market, a mostly middle-Eastern grocery that kalypso turned me on to during my previous blog. But Wolff's Kasha in the little cardboard box is an unknown critter out here, apparently. It wasn't just nostalgia for kasha varnishkes that had me hunting for the stuff (though kasha varnishkes IMO is certainly reason enough on its own). Buckwheat turns out to be an incredibly healthy grain, one that I wanted to make a point of including in my health regimen--more info here.

Next: on to the actual cooking, such as it was.

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On to dinner itself. Remember that container of shirataki I bought on Tuesday from 99 Ranch?

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I plopped the contents into a strainer and gave it a good rinsing with the hottest water out of my tap (which is pretty damn hot indeed):

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Konnyaku products need a preliminary dousing with hot water to rinse off the sometimes-stinky smell they can develop while hanging around in their packaging. If I were being more thorough, I would have boiled some water to pour on them, but this did well enough for my purposes and energy level.

I thinly sliced an onion:

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... and sweated it over medium heat in a non-stick pan (sprayed with some cooking spray for good measure):

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I do own a real wok too, but this fake wok from IKEA, with its glass dome lid, turns out to be useful for a whole bunch of random cooking tasks. Just as long as you don't try to fire it up over maximum heat and expect to get some wok hey out of the poor thing. (On this generic consumer-grade stove, of course, I can't get any wok hey out of my real wok either, but that doesn't stop me from trying. :biggrin: )

Now for the creative leftover recycling portion of the program:

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This ungorgeous stuff is the remains of the marinade I used on the yellowtail the other night. Once the onions were good and soft, I poured this over them, added the shirataki, placed the remaining fresh baby bok choy on top of that, and then put the lid on so everything could steam-braise for a little while:

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The resulting dish:

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That very fiercely gingery marinade has now been sufficiently mellowed and diluted that it's nice and gentle, and I can clearly taste the bok choy and onion. A nice light refreshing (and completely meatless) meal, a great antidote to last night's splurge.

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Oh, I almost forgot--Randall decided to pose for me in a most amusing way, with his own photo previously posted on this blog:

gallery_28660_3028_12007.jpg

Audience participation time: this photo totally needs a caption. Winning submission wins ... oh, I dunno ... anyone remember the classic Marvel Comics "No-Prize"? :laugh::laugh::laugh:

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The resulting dish:

gallery_28660_3028_305303.jpg

Great job! Deserves a place in the Konnyaku Day thread in the Japan Forum. :biggrin:

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gallery_28660_3028_23469.jpg

Boy, does carrot juice taste rich! I don't think I could drink this stuff everyday, but every now and then it makes a terrific treat.

Great minds think alike! :biggrin: I love to get bottles of carrot juice from Trader Joe's. I usually get the 64 oz... multiple bottles. At US$3.50 or so I think it's a pretty good deal. I can drink this all day too.

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We started with a trio of cold appetizers from the cooler-table in the front of the restaurant:

gallery_28660_3028_242648.jpg

Do you mean you can pick your own plate of appetizer? But this is not a buffet restaurant?

US$15.00 pp sounds like a terrific deal.

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My first stop was to grab a more substantial meal than that apple, at the following establishment:

gallery_28660_3028_46376.jpg

I think I'm on my way to becoming a "regular" here--I'm beginning to get nods of recognition from the staff.

Saigon is roomier than the average pho joint, housed in a glass-walled box with some nice decor:

gallery_28660_3028_121493.jpg

I have been to this Saigon restaurant on El Cajun Blvd! I can recognize the interior and the painting on the wall. :smile: I like their food too. That was about 4 years ago. Looks like they are doing well...

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While I'm gone, here's a question I could really use some help with: I can't seem to keep my fresh gingerroot from going bad on me before I use it up.

I buy large amounts, especially when it is young and the skin is fine, grate it (actually chop it in the processor), put in jars and cover with sherry. Keeps indefinitely, you can chop it as fine or coarse as you like; the sherry is great in Asian stir-fries.

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The resulting dish:

gallery_28660_3028_305303.jpg

Great job! Deserves a place in the Konnyaku Day thread in the Japan Forum. :biggrin:

Thank you! I'm getting pretty fond of the stuff actually. I've still got so much to learn about handling it, but I'm having fun playing around with it.

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I am SO dead jealous of your spices and seasonings! I adore Asian flavors, but with the advance of my PA, I can not eat anything remotely delicious. No ginger, garlic, peppers of any kind. Onions? Only cooked. WAHWAHWAH! Please, keep on cooking, and eating those lovely foods! I'm watching and enjoying vicariously!

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Mizducky, I like your blog, and I like your attitude about the food and the weight loss. And Randall's perch cracks me up! Flat-screen monitors are the bane of cats, I think.

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Oh, I almost forgot--Randall decided to pose for me in a most amusing way, with his own photo previously posted on this blog:

gallery_28660_3028_12007.jpg

Audience participation time: this photo totally needs a caption. Winning submission wins ... oh, I dunno ... anyone remember the classic Marvel Comics "No-Prize"? :laugh:  :laugh:  :laugh:

I don't have a caption, but how can anyone view a sleeping kitty without uttering an "Awwww".

Those closed eyes, the obvious total physical relaxation, the chin so tenderly rested on the "forearm".. just delicious.

This guy has now brought tears to my eyes twice while remembering feline friends past...

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That's kasha a.k.a. buckwheat groats in the blue-lidded container. I was going nutz for some time now, hunting for kasha in every store I could think of and not finding it, until I at last spotted it at Vineripe Market, a mostly middle-Eastern grocery that kalypso turned me on to during my previous blog. But Wolff's Kasha in the little cardboard box is an unknown critter out here, apparently. It wasn't just nostalgia for kasha varnishkes that had me hunting for the stuff (though kasha varnishkes IMO is certainly reason enough on its own). Buckwheat turns out to be an incredibly healthy grain, one that I wanted to make a point of including in my health regimen--more

When I lived in California, I always found Wolff's Kasha at Ralph's in the Kosher Section. Have you checked there?

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The meat department is similarly large, and similarly given to fascinating-sounding items not familiar to the Euro-American kitchen:

gallery_28660_3028_492484.jpg

I wonder what "pork melt" is? Any idea?

BTW, I've had a kitchen floor that looked just like that once. You can try a scrub with something like bar keepers friend (ton of work) which will help, but in my experience, it's probably hopeless. Mine did look a bit better and was easier to keep clean when I started putting mop and glo on it...

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But Wolff's Kasha in the little cardboard box is an unknown critter out here, apparently. It wasn't just nostalgia for kasha varnishkes that had me hunting for the stuff (though kasha varnishkes IMO is certainly reason enough on its own). Buckwheat turns out to be an incredibly healthy grain, one that I wanted to make a point of including in my health regimen--more info here.

I don't know if these people carry it, but you could try Aaron's Glatt Market. There's a number of kosher places in San Diego.. look here. You know we Jews can't be without our kasha for long - somebody must carry Wolff's.

We were reviewed in the paper a while back and the reviewer mentioned our kasha knishes and how healthy they are. You can't believe the people coming in to buy them, not having any idea what they were! (Never mind that they were wrapped in a dough made with copious amounts of oil :wink: )

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Hey mizducky - I'm having a blast reading your blog! Keep up the fine(and fun) work.

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El Cajon Blvd. is one of two east-west thoroughfares that bisect a major portion of the city of San Diego, incidentally passing through a wide variety of neighborhoods both moneyed and working class (the other such east-west route is University Ave.). Both roads dedicate their central portions to City Heights, sometimes cited as possibly the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the United States....

There was an interesting PBS series called "Building Healthy Communities" that asked:

how can peoples of diverse cultures and thinking come together to redefine home, community, and civic participation in ways that lead to a sustainable, equitable and prosperous society?

The second episode dealt with City Heights (scroll down the page for the second episode) and showed how what started out as a great and noble intent ended up unintentionally changing the neighborhood. Sol Price (founder of the Price Clubs which was sold to Costco) was part of the redevelopment effort.

City Heights had a number large low-rent properties which is how it came to be so ethnically diverse. But unfortunately for all involved in the redevelopment effort the housing market in California took off (soared, actually) and a lot of the houses that were being rented were put on the market. This, combined with the redevelopment, turned the neighborhood into one of gentrification and now a lot of the low-income families that made up a large part of the diverse community can no longer afford to live in the area. Very ironic and sad, actually.

And I'm also wondering, along with Susan, what's a "Pork Melt"? Anything like a tuna melt? :wink:

[Homer]Mmmm...Pork Melt[/Homer]

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The meat department is similarly large, and similarly given to fascinating-sounding items not familiar to the Euro-American kitchen:

gallery_28660_3028_492484.jpg

Wow, everything but the squeal.

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Good morning, all!

Breakfast today is a repeat of Tuesday--back to the roast beef in a pita, with a big grapefruit. No photo this morning--it looks just the way it did the other morning. :smile:

Now to catch up on some more questions:

I am SO dead jealous of your spices and seasonings! I adore Asian flavors, but with the advance of my PA, I can not eat anything remotely delicious. No ginger, garlic, peppers of any kind. Onions? Only cooked. WAHWAHWAH! Please, keep on cooking, and eating those lovely foods! I'm watching and enjoying vicariously!

Bummer about those food restrictions! I think I would have a breakdown if I couldn't freely use ginger or onion products in my cooking. I will happily keep on providing you with vicarious experiences, though ... :smile:

When I lived in California, I always found Wolff's Kasha at Ralph's in the Kosher Section.  Have you checked there?

Oh yeah, I've hit every Jewish foods department of every supermarket chain in my area, plus the bulk grain departments of both my food coop and my local natural foods grocery store, to no avail. And I didn't get it, because I'd seen the stuff in those places in other cities where I've lived. I even had at least one natural-foods store clerk not quite believe that I wasn't mistakenly asking for Kashi, even after explaining about kasha to him several times. :wacko:

The meat department is similarly large, and similarly given to fascinating-sounding items not familiar to the Euro-American kitchen:

gallery_28660_3028_492484.jpg

I wonder what "pork melt" is? Any idea?

BTW, I've had a kitchen floor that looked just like that once. You can try a scrub with something like bar keepers friend (ton of work) which will help, but in my experience, it's probably hopeless. Mine did look a bit better and was easier to keep clean when I started putting mop and glo on it...

I've been wondering about that "melt" stuff too. I think they actually might mean pork *milt*, which is another word for the spleen.

About the floor: yeah, I confess I'm not so sure I'm up for getting down on my hands and knees with a scrub brush for this joint. Maybe as a celebration for when my knees are completely healed ... (or maybe not.) :laugh:

I don't know if these people carry it, but you could try Aaron's Glatt Market.  There's a number of kosher places in San Diego.. look here.  You know we Jews can't be without our kasha for long - somebody must carry Wolff's.

Checking out that list--whoa, there's a kosher sushi joint?!? Who knew? :laugh: And that's the same El Cajon Blvd. I was exploring yesterday--only even further eastward, I think, to judge from the street-numbers on the addresses. Looks like I've got to expand my explorations some more ... :smile:

And I've been meaning to go to Aaron's for a while now--it's a tiny storefront in a tiny strip mall in that same Convoy neighborhood where so many of my favorite Asian places are. I always spot it, and remember about it, right *after* I've just sped past it on my way somewhere else. :sad: Or else it's Shabbos and of course they'll be closed. Need to just make a plan and go there one of these days ...

By the way, if anyone has posted a question and I seem to have forgotten or missed it, please feel free to remind me. I do know I still have to post an expanded explanation of yin/yang and how I use those concepts, which I hope to get to sometime today.

Other plans for today: I'm done with catsitting. I have an appointment at 1 pm, after which I'm hopefully going to check out a farmer's market I have not visited before. I need to replenish my stash of fresh fruit. And then there's the always-entrancing prospect of figuring out what to have for dinner ...


Edited by mizducky (log)

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      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By KennethT
      OK.... here we go again!!!  While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now.  As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
    • By Ian Dao
      Hi everyone, 
       
      Recently, I just found this paradise for Foodie and it is my pleasure to be here. My name is Ian and I am from Salzburg. I love to eat but have to hold myself back before I could roll faster than walk. Last month, I started my own food blog (mostly about restaurant, travel and stories). Reasons I want to be here are to improve my knowledge about food/wine and to learn more how to describe ingredients around me. 
       
      Thank you and have a great week =D 
       
      Guten Hunger (German)
      Mahlzeit (Austrian) 
      --> Enjoy your meal =D 
       
      www.iandao.com
    • By sartoric
      We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food.
       
      A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions.
       
       

       
      A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.

       
    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
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