Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Menu for Hope III

'Tis the season for giving, and for food bloggers, that means the annual Menu for Hope fundraising campaign. This year, the funds go to the UN World Food Programme, which provides hunger relief for needy people 'round the world.

You have until Friday (Dec. 22) at 6PM PST to donate, and for every $10 you give, you get one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. The prize list is phenomenal, ranging from cookbooks to meals to an honorary lamb.

Personally, I have my eye on the gift box of artisan cheeses donated by HeatEatReview.com.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Separated at the Production Plant

The new Lemon Burst flavor of Eclipse gum reminds me something ... what was it? ...

Oh of course! Ricola Lemon Mint cough drops! The overwhelmingly artificial lemon flavor! The nasal clearing effect! The chemical taste that can only be withstood when one is weakened by a viral infection! That's it!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bacon Textures

No one actually needed to send us a review copy of the new cookbook, Seduced by Bacon by Joanna Pruess. If there is one topic that would actually get Foodgoat to read a cookbook, bacon is it. But it was an effective gesture anyway, since here I am posting about how we tried one of the many delectable recipes features the finest of fine foods.

While I tried to get Foodgoat to try the Peanut Butter and Bacon sandwich, the recipe we actually tried was the bacon wrapped shrimp with curry mayonnaise. It sounds like one of those foolproof recipes, does it not?, in which every single ingredient is delicious. What can go wrong?

Nothing, in my opinion. It was in fact yummy. But for Foodgoat, it was something of a miss. Why?

Texture. The bacon around the shrimp was ever so slightly ... floppy. I don't think it was the recipe's fault. But for Foodgoat, floppy bacon is a no-no. Had I had this dish with a bowl of hot white sticky rice, it would have been perfect.

Me, on the other hand, prefer floppy bacon to fried to a crisp bacon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Brussel Sprouts, You're Off Notice

A while ago, I banned brussel sprouts. I had tried a few recipes, and they never tasted good. So when someone mentioned that they loved roasted brussel sprouts to the point of scouring three different grocery stores in search of frozen brussel sprouts, I was dubious.

But I am nothing if not forgiving, so I gave the mini-cabbages another try. I picked up fresh brussel sprouts from the West Side Market (from the Old Man in the OSU hat), chopped them in half, sprinkled them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and popped them in the hot oven.

It is truly a testament to the roasting process that it can even make brussel sprouts, indeed, taste yummy. The bitterness is muted by a roasted sweetness, making this previously unloved vegetable actually tasty.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Food TV, where you least expect it

These seem to be fine days for television. Well, except for that idiot boxing episode on Battlestar Galactica (let's face it, there hasn't been a good boxing episode on TV since "Ya gots to believe, Bolie!" on the Twilight Zone). Recently I have become enamored with Bones and Heroes and the Lost Room, for example.

Alas, I have no food shows cued up on Tivo. Not even Alton Brown seems that interesting anymore.

I did, however, enjoy watching Dirty Jobs, which often features the messier, ickier, and smellier sides of the food chain. The recent episode at Ohio’s Put-in-Bay Harbor with a snake researcher featured the host learning to puke a water snake, resulting in the snake's fish dinner coming back up partially digested. That episode is ranks right up there in hilarity with the one where he visits a Las Vegas pig farmer who feeds his pigs leftover scraps from casino restaurants.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tasty, tasty T-shirt

I covet this T-shirt, spotted today on dooce:

Friday, December 8, 2006

The Red Onion of Courage

This post-it note pad is designed to look, and feel, like a red onion. It's brilliant.

Lately, red onions have been the preferred onions except, of course the The Onion). Why settle for a mild, meek onion, when you can have a bright, colorful, tangy onion?

I have been especially been taken with raw red onion in my salads. Conducting my very own Personal Food Challenge, I have been adding increasing amounts of red onion at the salad bar to my plate every day, eating them until I reach my saturation point. This point is reached when I experience what I call The Burn -- when all my nasal passages have been suffused with onion air.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Food TV

We watched an excellent and informative food show on TV the other night, and typically, it wasn't on the Food Network.

No, it was on the History Channel, and it was an episode of Modern Marvels, and it was about nuts.

And that is how we finally learned ...

why some pistacios are dyed red (in other countries, the nuts are harvested after having fallen on the ground, and the red dye is used to hide blemishes that result) ...

why the pistachios are split (the ripened nut pushes on the shell)...

how the pistachio industry came to the U.S. (credit my new hero William E. Whitehouse, who went to Persia, now Iran, for six months in 1929 and came out with 20 pounds of pistachio seeds) ...

Now 98% of the U.S. pistachio crop comes from California.

See how fun that was, Food Network? Now you try.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Decisions, decisions

What should the 4th, and lightest, hors d’oeuvres be?

Fresh Mango Spring Rolls
Mango, rice vermicelli, carrot, bean sprouts
Basil, and mint wrapped in rice paper
Served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce

Prosciutto with Melon
Imported Italian cured ham wrapped around thin slices of ripe cantaloupe

On the one hand, I've never had a mango spring roll, while prosciutto with melon - well, no one can mess that up. On the other ... mangoes are gooooood.

Monday, December 4, 2006

I left my heart at the sushi station

While in San Francisco, my family accompanied me to Monster Park, where we had a tasting with the caterer (the caterer is owned by the same company that owns the 49ers, I guess). When the caterer said "tasting," I assumed that meant small, bite-size samples, but what we got a full spread of almost everything on the initial menu. I left very, very full.

The one thing they didn't have at the tasting was the sushi station. Here's the initial sushi menu:
Spicy tuna rolls
Spinach and mushroom rolls
California Rolls
Unagi and Tuna Nigiri
Served with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger

We wanted things for both the sushi lovers (unagi) and the sushi neophytes (California rolls).

Ladygoat to Foodgoat: How does this sound to you?

Friday, December 1, 2006

I left my heart in the Hooter's of San Francisco

Before I settled on a reception site, I considered practically every restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant business being what it is, a lot of these places weren't there when I last lived in the area. One sounded especially promising -- Mas Sake, a Japanese sushi place, that seemed reasonably priced, stylish, and in the Marina.

And then I looked online for user reviews, and found comments like this:
Hey, don't you think there are way too many white people in here for this to be a good Japanese restaura -- whoa, boobs.

Cross that one off my list of potential reception sites.

Although Foodgoat may have just circled it on his list of potential bachelor party sites.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I left my heart in Ghiradelli

Just came back from San Francisco and a whirlwind of wedding planning, and walking around the City is just what the doctor ordered. It's been so long that even Fisherman's Wharf and chaos of Union Square was delightful.

Even Ghiradelli Square managed to charm me. How did they do it? One, they have a sock store. Yes, a store just for socks of all kinds.

Second, the Ghiradelli store. Normally I am not a particular fan of Ghiradelli chocolate -- I've been more of a Scharffen-Bergen devotee (at least before they were bought up by Hersey). When Ghiradelli gives out free chocolate samples, though, I don't turn them down.

But what really won me over was their new Intense Dark chocolate bars. The Twilight Delight flavor is 72% Cacao dark chocolate ... and it was actually delicious. Forget that milk chocolate business, dark chocolate is the way to go, every time.

The Ghiradelli chocolate shop also has a soft spot in my heart because my sorority sisters bonded over a couple of Earthquakes - massive ice cream sundaes meant to be shared by a table of people.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

And so begins the Great Robot-Human War

It all started out so innocently.

Researchers in Japan recently revealed a robot sommelier. Using an infrared spectrometer, it can identify dozens of different foods in a childlike voice, naming wines and what kind of foods might go well with them, recognizing the kinds of wines its owner prefers, and alerting its owner to possible health issues by warning against fatty or salty products.

Buried in the middle of this fluffy report was this ominous sign:
"When a reporter's hand was placed against the robot's taste sensor, it was identified as prosciutto. A cameraman was mistaken for bacon."

Considering the things that I am willing to do for a taste of bacon, this may be the beginning of end.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bad taste

Sometimes it isn't a meal, or a dish, or even a flavored coffee, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sometimes it's a pair of boots -- boots that have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

How I justify eating all of the Terra Spiced Sweet Potato chips: Foodgoat doesn't like them.

At least, that's what I tell myself. I don't actually know if he doesn't like them since he didn't get to try them yet. But self-delusion is handy thing.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Quality Control

It's nice being recognized as a regular customer. It's even nicer when you are rewarded as a regular customer by being their beta tester.

That's what happened last week when we stopped by our very favorite pasta stand at the West Side Market, Ohio City Pasta. We've pretty much stuck to fresh pastas since discovering this place: dried pasta can't hold a candle to their herb-flavored gnocchis, raviolis, and pastas.

And with our order, Pasta Lady threw in a new product they have - a roasted vegetable pasta sauce - and told us to give it a try and let them know how they like it.

And -- we like it.

It's a good, basic pasta sauce, not too sweet or acid, not overloaded with other flavors -- just a clean tomato taste. It was yummy on its own, but it would be an excellent basis for more customized pasta dressing. Foodgoat generally modifies his store-bought sauce -- tossing in generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil, more fresh tomatoes, garlic, and whatever herbs and spices he happens to feel like that day. It doesn't take that much longer, and the result is so much better.

Our verdict -- keep the roasted vegetable sauce.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Cake Overdose

Closing out the Halloween week ...

Saturday afternoon - Foodgoat's nephew's 4th birthday party. Featuring not one, not two, but three, count 'em!, THREE!, cakes, one of which was a huge and delicious chocolate mint ice cream cake from Cleveland's own Mitchell's.

Saturday night - Foodgoat's aunt's surprise 60th birthday. Featuring a full dinner of Italian food ... and more cake!

Sunday - Foodgoat's cousin's bridal shower. Featuring a huge brunch buffet ... and then? Cake.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Well, hellllo Blogger, long time no post! It seems I'm not the type to blog her troubles. Or, maybe I'm not the type who can think about food at a time like this.

But finally, we have a date (May 27) and a location (the Presidio) and for now, at least, I can stop getting different stress-caused symptoms (last week was TMJ from grinding my teeth at night, and the week before was insomnia).

And now the fun part begins: creating the menu! We already have a proposal from a catering company to create "Streets of San Francisco" buffet stations that has our mouths watering.

The only thing that I found really calming during the past few weeks was tea (Foodgoat has developed an odd allergy to green tea of all things, but that's a different story). The type of tea wasn't as important as the fact that it was loose: the relaxing part is steeping the tea in hot water, and watching it slowly, inevitably unfurl, turning from tight little balls into gently waves of fragrant, recognizable leaves. All while breathing in the warm, sweet scent, with the cold winter outside.

You see what you miss with tea bags?

Monday, October 9, 2006

Well, a date has been set for the public launch of the official Foodgoat/Ladygoat
affiliation contract has been set:

Sunday, May 27, 2007 in San Francisco.

Yes, it's Memorial Day weekend. Yes, it does tend to coss more to travel on holiday weekends. But as it turns out, it's never exactly cheap to fly out of Cleveland for a weekend in the lovely Bay Area. I know this because I checked the flight prices for every single weekend from February to September on Orbitz. And Expedia. And Kayak.

And if you fly out on Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend (instead of Friday night), and fly back on Monday (instead of Sunday), the lowest price is exactly $3 more than flying out on another Friday and flying back on Sunday.

And if you fly out of Akron, its even cheaper.

And it's a three day weekend, which is one less day you have to take off from work or one more day for travel and/or recuperation.

I guess that's enough "ands" for the day. Perhaps in the next report I will have a location. But maybe not, because I'm currently in email contact with what I think is every single building/hotel/venue/restaurant within the San Francisco city limits. And you know what? There's a lot of them.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What I Learned This Weekend

One - The best time to get Chinese food is when the restaurant is also hosting a big party for a Chinese family. The potstickers, the sweet and sour shrimp, normally good, are at that time extra yummy.

Two - Sienna the Dog LOVES fried dumplings.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keeps going and going ....

I confess: I am given to bouts of chain-chewing.

I can go through a pack of gum in no time flat - replacing one piece with another when its all too brief chewspan runs out. I chew, and chew, and then in a matter of minutes it's all over, the chewiness replaced by a small, unappetizing lump.

But now I've found . Stride. Even before I found out (today) that their slogan is "The ridiculously long-lasting gum!" Foodgoat and I discovered that it is in fact .... a ridiculously long-lasting gum.

Mine lasted through several episodes of 24 and a walk. Juicy Fruit would never have made it so long - it would have run out of juice by the time Jack Bauer had extracted a confession from the only link to the terrorist, which is usually three minutes into an episode.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sigh. Now I remember why I didn't want to get married before: first, it requires making decisions, and that's just not something I do well, and second, I feel like I'm putting on huge Broadway musical (the Andew Lloyd Webber kind, not the Andy Rooney and Judy Garland kind).

And who knew that a wedding planning was so like sorority formal rush, complete with constrained budgets, weird outfits, and snarky comments?

Currently, the only certainties are that it will take place in 2007 and in San Francisco. Oh, and that the groom is Foodgoat. Other than that - not a clue.

Should the party take place in the lovely Presidio (Log Cabin? Film Center? Officer's Club?)?

Or should we head north across the Golden Gate (Headlands Center for the Arts? Campbell Hall & Garden? Point Reyes Seashore Lodge?), which is even lovelier, but farther from the airport?

Or what about Treasure Island, which has gorgeous views, is halfway between the City and our East Side families, and, let's face it, just sounds cool?

And can I forget about Golden Gate Park (e Young museum? Beach Chalet Brewery?), where Foodgoat & I used to stroll every night when we first met?

I'm so confused. And all we want is a sushi station and pie.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

There are two kinds of cookie people: Crisp or Chewy. Moravian cookies, which claims on its box to be the "World's Thinnest Cookie!", falls on the Crisp side. The sugar cookies are indeed very thin - practially pure crust. And they are neatly stacked in a tube, which makes them the Pringles of the cookie world.

Me? I'm a Chewy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

She's Dead Jim

It turns out playing World of Warcraft really puts a strain on your computer... Over this past year my crappy DELL machine has had three seperate hardware failures.

Yesterday - was the final straw. The core CPU died. (oh by the way, I have fallen off the Wagon and I been playing WoW for the past two weeks).
Ladygoat and I hope to be able to update this website- but we can't access our many tasty photos right now.

(never buy a Dell- its like going to Walmart)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

BLT, improved

BLTs are right up there with tuna melts and grilled cheese on my list of DELICIOUS SANDWICHES. However, Foodgoat has actually improved upon the classic BLT.

He has created the BABlue: Bacon, Avocado, and (Point Reyes) Blue cheese.

All the most delectable of ingredients, together in a easy, hand-held format.

This version included a green tomato (fresh from our garden) and potato bread, which is only the very best sandwich bread there is.

Won't you join us while Foodgoat makes his nw specialty?

First, the ingredients. Generous and random sampling ensures quality control. I conside this my most important role.

The bacon is prepared. And more quality control sampling.

Bread is toasted on the same pan. Conserve the goodness!

Assemble the pieces. Don't be stingy!

And voila! TASTY.


And in other news ...

The history and economics of pie
Dinosaurs and their biscuits

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Fwd: Whine Re: Beer

Foodgoat has fallen off the wagon. Wedding planning? So not fun. And my head hurts.

As if that wasn't trial and tribulation enough, there's the new Lindemans lambic flavor, Pomme or Green Apple. In a word: BLEAH. Not easy for me to say that, being a green apple fiend and Lindemans lambic fan. Their raspberry beer is so delicious! Their black current beer so delightful!! Their green apple so ... weird-tasting. I'm not sure why - it did taste like green apple, and yet it didn't taste good. Almost like it was too fresh.

You see how much I suffer?


If WWII was an MMORPG?

Dinosaurs eat biscuits?

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Most. Used. Appliance. Ever.

The Chef's Choice 675 International Cordless Electric Hot Pot. All it does is boil water. That's it. Just boils water.

But it's super-quick. It's cordless so I can carry it around and clean it. It's super-quick. It turns off automatically. Did I mention that it's quick?

I use it every single day, sometimes more, for coffee and tea, and gave away my stovetop kettle to a visiting student from Uganda.


Ooooo! Battlestar Galactica has webisodes!!!!

Monday, September 4, 2006

No One Makes Cookies in the Bedroom

Dear "Bree",

I want to believe in you. I really do. Why shouldn't there be sweet, innocent 16-year old girls with geeky boy friends concerned with nothing more than the usual teenage issues? So what if they just happen to be involved in mysterious cult religons?

But no one makes cookies in their bedroom. They make cookies in the kitchen. The only possible exception to this would be the kids that live in dorms, and that's because they don't have a kitchen, or because they keep illegal toaster ovens under the bed.

And so, the Burger King guy can come out now. I know you're behind this.


Since authenticity and sincerity sometimes seems to be in short supply these days, I guess it's not weird that Hank's soda bottles are in fact labeled as "Genuine Hank's. Their vanilla cream, by the way, is delicious. Very, very delicious. So creamy, so vanilla-y. So nice in these last, waning days of summer.

I wonder why vanilla cream soda isn't more popular - everyone loves vanilla, right? And yet it's always cola, root beer, lemon lime. Maybe grape.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Keeping You Regular

In this fast-paced, high-turnover world, some of my favorite foodie moments are when I am recognized, at my favorite food stops, as a Regular Customer.

It makes me feel like my loyalty to their good product has been rewarded, and that I've been elevated from Faceless Anonymous Consumer to That Girl Who Always Buys One Pound of Pistachios.

Plus, the vendors then smile more and ask how I am, and that just makes for a more civil society.

Foodgoat and I are regulars at several West Side Market stands, Stevenson's (Bruce even knows our "usual"!), and Eat at Joe's. And the Warehouse Beverage, I think.

Can one be a Regular at a national chain? First of all, I wouldn't want to go to most even on an occassional basis, but second of all, with their rate of turnover, you wouldn't be recognized even if you did go often. And there just wouldn't be the same cache to being a regular at Starbucks as being a regular to Cheers.

Urban Monarch has a pretty good compendium of attaining Regularity.

Good advice include visiting the same restaurant three times in the first month, then once a month ongoing at least, bring other people there, and being generally courteous.

Foodgoat would add being looking distinctive helps with being a memorable customer, as in "That Handsome Guy Who Wears Black" and (this being Cleveland) "That Oriental Girl in Glasses".

Also, order the exact same thing every time, thereby establishing your "usual". Oh, and ask for suggestions or recommendations - they'll give you the inside track of what's good.

And in other news....

Really long teapot spouts in China!
Basil famine in Genoa!
Geoffrey Chaucer hath an Exboxe!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Turkey Lurkey

The commute to work often includes a particular suburban, tree-lined, intersection, which has been distinguished lately by an unusual inhabitant:

See it? Here's a closer look:

Say hello to Marvin. Marvin the Wild Turkey that a Few Months Ago Moved Into A Local Intersection From God Knows Where. At least that's what we call him. He just hangs out in the neighborhood, miles from any Ohio rural roads, watching the commute from the grassy part of the intersection.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer featured him a few weeks ago in the Metro section, and apparently some residents don't know what turkeys look like, because Marvin was variously reported to police as an ostrich or a kangaroo.

You can't blame them too much, considering that the turkey most of us are familiar with looks like:

These domesticated turkeys from the giant ConAgra factories probably looked no more similar to Marvin when they were alive. Domesticated turkeys are bred for HUGE, MASSIVE, WHITE breasts that Americans love so much. The result is that domesticated turkeys are so freakishly shaped that the nature's course is physically impossibly, and all turkey eggs have to be fertilized by artificial insemination for the hatchery.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Next stop, Liberte!

>Today's second breakfast (the first being an Eggo waffle stuffed into my mouth on my way out the door) was raspberry goat yogurt made by Candian dairy company Liberte.

Having made my own yogurt in the past, I'm much more discriminating in my commercial yogurts. Almost all of the major brands are weirdly solid and gaggingly sweet, so Liberte's light flavor and texture is a relief. There wasn't any goatishness to the flavor, though having never had goat milk, I'm not sure if it supposed to or not.

Foodgoat favors raspberry yogurt almost exclusively, but I liked Liberte's honey flavored yogurt even better - especially soothing and smooth when one is facing piles of work first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Yes, I know that the comments have not worked for many a moon. I have tried to fix it but the spammers may have finally dealt a death blow while the help forums for Enetation have now gone AWOL. The old comments are still there, they just refuse to show up properly like they are supposed to. Until something bright and ingenius occurs to me and lets me recover our precious previous comments, comments are now being provided by Blogger. Carry on!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Looney Tuna

Foodgoat has cooked for THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW! Hallelujah!

Check out yesterday's meal - seared tuna on saffran rice with grilled asparagus. Everything was very fresh, and quite delicious.

I'm not a fan of the raw food thing, because cooked food, as a general rule, licks the stuffing out of raw food as far as taste and digestibility go. But sushi quality tuna and crisp, not limp, asparagus rock when they're on the raw side.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to play Warcraft

It has now been a WHOLE WEEK since Foodgoat declared himself done with playing Warcraft and quit cold turkey.

Thus far, withdrawal effects have been minimal (he has checked himself into the methodone program known as XBox 360). And if his rehab sticks, he may be one day be the fully functional Foodgoat again. Meaning, cooking adventures may start up again in earnest. One can't fully inhabit the kitchen if one is playing five days a week.

Perhaps he could also use more inspiration. And today I stumbled upon someone who might be a man after Foodgoat's own heart: Anthony Bourdain.
Although he's a giant among foodies, I thought he was just some snobby French chef, so I never saw his show, nor did I ever read "Kitchen Confidential". Alas, little did I know that his philosophy of food fit so closely to our own. Eat for pleasure. Try everything. Relationships are built over shared meals. Rachael Ray is the devil.

His talk with the Commonwealth Club of California that he completely won me over (listen to it here), talking about stuff from favorite meals, the Food Network, immigration policy, foie gras, and Mario Battali.

Now excuse while I run out to get a copy of ">Kitchen Confidential so I can read it out loud to Foodgoat.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Maybe this is why I've been cooking less

In the course of my work, I come across a lot of strange scientific articles and odd study findings. The one about how spinning a baby in a chair may make them smarter, how animals - shocking! - might have feelings, etc.

The latest one to make me laugh out loud is in the British Journal of Psychology and titled "Does hunger influence judgments of female physical attractiveness?". (thanks to Dienekes for the heads up)

What were they trying to find out? Why male preferences for female body weight follows a consistent socio-economic pattern.

And what did they find? That 30 hungry men preferred female figures with a higher body weight and rated as more attractive heavier figures than 31 not so hungry males.

Monday, July 24, 2006

You know all those things you should do to keep your knives in top notch shape? Yes well, I don't do any of them. I mean to, but I don't. I use them on plates and countertops instead of the cutting board. I put them away without drying them. I use them to open bags of chips. I keep them piled up in a drawer.

And those long pointy things you're supposed to slide the knife up and down against before using? Yeah, it didn't do anything for me.

I figured that Lazy Ladygoat was destined to a life of being squirted in the eye by tomatoes and/or buying new knives every year.

And then ... I discovered the Professional Knife Sharpener.

Not too far from my house is man who sharpens knives out of his house for a living. It's at the top of two flights of creaking wooden stairs on a hill, darkened by many tall and imposing trees. When I first went to get a set of knives sharpened, I had to leave them on his porch, because was not to be at home. Thus the house was dark and especially spooky, and it occurred to me that this could all be a sinister ruse to trick the young and innocent into a chamber of horrors, unknowingly bearing the tools of their own tortuous murder with them.

No one jumped out from the shadows.

Nevertheless, I admit to being a little nervous when I went back the next day to pick the knives up. (Perhaps psychotic killers prefer to use sharp knives just as much as the home chef).

But no: he was really just a knife sharpener. And an excellent knife sharpener at that. It only cost me $20 to get four knives done, and the difference was amazing. They were like entirely new knives. Even the one with had had a sizeable dent in it from being smacked with a hammer (don't ask) was remarkably sharp and was now was one of the preferred knives in the kitchen and made chopping tomatoes amazingly easy.

So what is the lesson here? Get your kitchen knives professionally sharpened, of course.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An unstable pack leader

Having fortified himself with generous amounts of garlic salami and San Miguel beer, Foodgoat got down on the floor, eye to eye, nose to snout, with Sienna.

And from the quivering depths of his gut came a belch of such length and loudness as to register on the Richter scale.

Sienna jerked back, pawed frantically at her nose, and the normally calm and quiet dog barked irritatedly at him for a full fifteen minutes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Will Work for Biscuits

Mature dog seeks position in Cleveland area as therapy dog. Recently certified as a Canine Good Citizen by the AKC. Skills include Homeland defense and Kong cookie extraction and shaking hands. Extensive experience in retrieving Frisbees and sleeping and kitchen cleanup duty. Will work for snacks and belly rubs. No storm chasers need respond.

Friday, July 14, 2006

It's another icky hot summer day here in Cleveland, when all I really want to eat is ice cream. We've been sampling the various ice cream novelty treats, from Klondikes to lemon ice to things on sticks, but so far I can't pass up a Drumstick. It's ice cream! In a cone! With a chocolate coating! Brilliant.

Most of them are coated in poison (Foodgoat tells me I'm missing something wonderful in the peanut-ice cream combination), so my personal range of choices from that line are somewhat limited. Still, I can have the cookies and cream flavor, and the mint looks very promising. Skip the triple chocolate though - I think just being near it causes diabetes, and besides, it lacks that chococate shell that's so satisfying to break through.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sorry, Moe's, but Pierside Seafood Restaurant has officially replaced you as my favorite place to eat in Pismo Beach.

Not only does it have a far more pleasant eating area with a shady but scenic view of the beach, but it has "Tubes and Tentacles" and "Tubes and Chips" specials on the menu, allowing me to have calamari as both an appetizer and an entree.

Who could turn down a dish with the word "tentacles" in it?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh Say Can You Calamansi

By far the most exciting find at the garden centers this year is the calamansi tree (labelled as a calamondin). It's native to the Philippines and makes bitsy limey-orangey things which are are the perfect size for squirting onto food. My little tree will never make enough to keep me supplied in calamansi juice (my sure-fire cure for sore throats, colds, and all that ails you), but for me, a calamansi tree is like a piano - a house isn't a Filipino home until it has one. So far it is happily fruiting in the backyard, untouched by the deer or the groundhog (luckily for them: hell hath no fury like a gardener whose calamansi has been pilfered). I was told it should do fine overwintering inside my cold house, but I'm not so sure, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Respect the boundaries!

After two years, four plants, many stubby stems, and an ongoing battle for resources with the local deer, I present to you the first, and thus far, only raspberry I have produced for our own consumption.

The cost-benefit ratio of home gardening is not working out in my favor.

Tonight Sienna and I begin a daily patrol around the property at dusk.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Well, how's a blogger supposed to follow that?

Before we dive headlong into a year or so of wedding pie selections and whether the lechon should be served at the reception, my week in California included other developments aside from the sparkly-sparkly kind. For one thing, my brother graduated from UCLA.

For another, while we were in town, I was introduced to Westwood's famous Diddy Riese Cookies.

Each time we walked by, there was a line at least fifteen deep that trailed down the street. But if you are patient, at the end you can buy one delicious, freshly made cookie for only 35 cents. Or you can get two cookies with ice cream packed in between them. Yummy.

Or you can get a cookie and a hot dog and have yourself a dinner for about a buck fifty.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I love you. Will you marry me?


(please comment)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Concession food

We're going into the last days of May, and only now has the weather even suggested that it's warm enough to go outside in a short-sleeved shirt.

Spring stinks. It looks like winter's over, the plants look like winter's over, but is winter really over if I'm still plugging in the space heater? **grumble, grumble, Cleveland, grumble**

Anyway, it does look like it starting to truly and forever warm up, which puts me in the mind to maybe go to a baseball game. Watching baseball in the cold and wet is a miserable experience, but a game in the summer heat - classic! Mostly because it's the proper setting for my baseball food - hot dogs and cold sodas, brought to me by a very loud man.

Some foods just don't belong in a baseball concession stand. Some foods, in fact, shouldn't exist at all.

And by "some foods" I mean the Gateway Grizzies new "Baseball’s Best Burger," which consists of a thick, juicy burger topped with sharp cheddar cheese and two slices of bacon.

Doesn't sound so bad, you say? Oh, did I forget to mention that the burger is placed in between each side of a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut?

Eww. What a way to ruin a burger.

The Gateway Grizzlies were better off with their last two unique concession items: The 2004 "Baseball’s Best Hotdog" had a Black Angus Hot Dog, topped with two strips of bacon, sautéed onions, sautéed sauerkraut and cheddar cheese sauce on a fresh baked bun. The 2005 "Swiss Brat" was a bratwurst with a slice of Swiss cheese in the middle, with sauerkraut on top.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Winning her over

Last Saturday (prior to our weekly 24 DVD marathons), Foodgoat and I got the shock of our lives at the West Side Market.

The Cranky Cheese Lady, whose glare has sent us cowering away like the dog from the vacuum cleaner, smiled at us. Then she chatted. Then she actually waved.

What prompted this sudden blossoming of kindness?

Cheese. But not just any cheese: Point Reyes Blue.

Point Reyes, aside from being one of the loveliest places on earth, also produces astonishingly delicious cheese. The Point Reyes Blue is certainly one of, if not the, best cheese we have ever had - a memorable cheese, to say the least. It's more creamy than crumbly, and it's so flavorful - but flavorful in a way that's complex and interesting. I could happily eat it alone, it's so good.

Such excellence does come at a price, but Point Reyes Blue is something to savor.

In any case, it seems that by ordering the Point Reyes Blue from Cranky Cheese Lady, we found the keys to her hardened retail heart, because what followed was a warm conversation about the yumminess of Point Reyes Blue and the prettiness of the California coast.

Fine and tasty food can win over anyone.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunny Dead

I've never had Sunny Delight, or Sunny D as I guess its been rebranded as, because ... I don't know what it is. Is it orange juice? Is it not? Is it fresh? Is it orange food coloring?

It doesn't help their cause when I read about the Sunny D leak in Britain, turning a river a very unnatural-looking yellow, and prompting this news quote:
Dozens of fish were found floating on the surface, poisoned by the lurid mixture.

A flood of Sunny D: not a good way for a fish to go.

What Not to Eat, Kosherly

Growing up, the only Jewish person I knew was my high school English teacher from New York who thought he was the hip and cool teacher but was in fact considered slightly weird because grown-ups aren't supposed to act like that and besides, it makes teenage rebellion not so fun.

But here in the Cleveland area, the Jewish population is (I've been told) the third largest in the United States, and occasionally I have to include kosher food requirements when planning food events. Previously, the only religious food constraints I knew of were Catholic (meat vs. non-meat on Lenten Fridays) and Mormon (caffeinated vs. non-caffeinated).

Kosher seems way more complicated. I thought it was just about pork, but in fact there's a whole list of foods and conditions. At one event the kosher food-checker rejected the bottled fruit juice I bought, which totally confused me, because what could possibly be objectionable about juice?

Fortunately, the Brick Testament provides a LEGO-land view of what not to eat.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nuts about Grape Nuts

If I watched the Apprentice, I might have found out about the new Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch way back in March, but since my lukewarm interest in reality TV suffered a fatal death blow with the The Real Gilligan's Island, it wasn't until last week that I found that my beloved Grape Nuts had come out with a new flavor.

What I like about Grape Nuts is that it doesn't just have crunch, it has CRUNCH. Chewing a mouthful of Grape Nuts can rattle your brain. So the other Grape Nuts versions - Flakes and O's, with their uniform lightness and airiness defeated the whole purpose of Grape-Nuts.

Not so with the new Trail Mix Crunch! I eat it, and it can still drown out the voices in my head. But it also has almonds and raisins and honey oat more flavor too, and the whole thing is downrigh clusters, so there are now levels of crunchiness in every bite. All the other ingredients give itt tasty. It's almost the perfect cereal. In fact, it might be the perfect cereal if I could mix Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in it.

I go to bed at night excited to wake up ... because I can have more Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch in the morning.

Unless that's just another voice in my head.

Friday, May 12, 2006

We are back from vacationing in Tampa, Florida, and sadly, not once (not once!) did we eat roasted alligator.

Oh well, there's always next time. At least we had tasty barbeque and yummy yummy key lime pie (as well as an orange blossom pie that was sooooo goooood).

In other random thoughts of the day ...

The latest South Park episode, where Cartman's mom calls on Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan (watch him use fried chicken to show who's pack leader) is an absolute must-see. It just might make up for that truly awful Oprah episode.

Regarding the latest trend in European spas to soak in barrel of warm lager ... I say, why? Some things are happier inside the belly than outside.

And yay for the Germans! They're using honeybees to test airport air quality. The airports use the honey as gifts on special occasions. Sweet.