Happy New Year!
and Anthony Bourdain is on the road again...with "No Reservations!"
and Anthony Bourdain is on the road again...with "No Reservations!"
If you'd like to give something back this holiday season, adopt an endangered marine creature for you or a loved one. With this special gift, you'll help us fight for the survival of endangered and threatened marine creatures and promote the health of our oceans. And with a minimum donation of $25 we'll send you or the recipient of your choice a special cookie cutter in the shape of your adopted creature as a token of our thanks. - Oceana
...America's five favorite wines are Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio in that order, according to ACNielsen. Wine buyers recommend almost none of them.Some on their list:
...Bargain white wines have greater economic value than reds for two reasons. You can chill them to disguise flaws, and they can be refrigerated at near-serving temperature, keeping them drinkable for a few days longer than bargain reds.
2006 Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10) It's a mystery why this wine is still so affordable, because in 1991 this brand helped start the price escalation of Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand's Marlborough region when it won its category in the 22nd International Wine & Spirit Competition in London. This is what people expect in a $20 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: It's potent, with plenty of passion- fruit flavor, some grassiness, a little minerality and a long finish. Overall, it's the best white wine on this list.Find some that might tickle your palate!
2005 Quattro Mani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($9) This wine is the first of an ambitious project from a New York importer who plans to source second-label wines from four famous European winemakers. This one is made by Italian consulting winemaker Attilio Pagli. It's a great food wine because of its light-medium body and vibrant acidity, yet it's also interesting because its flavors of red and black fruit and earth keep evolving in the glass. Overall, it's the best wine on this list.
2004 Greenstone Point South Island New Zealand Pinot Noir ($10) This is like finding a diamond in your backyard: a $10 Pinot Noir that actually tastes like Pinot Noir should, with flavors of raspberry and soy sauce and a little spiciness. Bi-Rite wine buyer Josh Adler said he did a blind tasting of Pinot Noirs in his home and this one came in second overall against wines costing three times as much. It's one of the best wines on this list.
2003 Bodega Inurrieta Sur Navarra ($10) Wine has been produced on a large scale for more than 2,000 years in the Spanish town of Falces, near this bodega, but this is very much a New World-style wine with plenty of spicy, red raspberry flavors that just keep coming on the medium-long finish. It's a blend of 65 percent Grenache and 35 percent Graciano.
2003 Ursa El Dorado Merlot ($10) The husband and wife winemaking team of Greg Stokes and Deborah Elissagaray worked together at David Bruce Winery for several years before moving to El Dorado County to open their own winery, making just 2,500 cases annually. This is a very Petite Sirah-like Merlot: It's an intense, rich, cherry-fruit bomb for lovers of the type. You can taste the 15.3 percent alcohol, but the tannins are pleasingly soft.
2005 Ten Mile California Red Wine ($10) This brand is from two Canadians who moved to Stags Leap to produce high-end wines; this is their budget entry. It's a blend of Petite Sirah, Barbera, Zinfandel and Carignane. It's a wine of restraint, with raspberry, floral and earthy notes and 13.5 percent alcohol.
Metroblogging New Orleans has a post, explaining some of the locals "Catch-22" scenarios.
In its 166 years, Antoine's Restaurant has survived the Civil War, Reconstruction, Prohibition, the Great Depression, two world wars and countless other vicissitudes.
But in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans' oldest restaurant is coping with challenges that threaten its continued existence.
Rick Blount, whose family has run the fabled local institution since 1840, told the Vieux Carre Commission last week that Antoine's is facing "the first major financial threat to the restaurant in two generations."
With 850 seats, a restaurant the size of Antoine's should be serving more than 2,000 meals a night, said Blount, its chief executive officer since early 2005.
Instead, he said, it has been averaging 156 meals a day on the five days a week it is open, down 60 percent from before Katrina. And the times were "very, very hard" even before the hurricane, he said, ever since Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks dealt a body blow to tourism. Nola.com
The problem is we've passed the point of overload. There simply aren't enough of us living here anymore to keep so many of the local icons up and running. The current population of Orleans Parish remains roughly half of what it was before the flood -- and that means only so many people with only so much money buying only so many meals or making only so many other purchases in so many days. If we want a nice night out in the French Quarter and we go to Antoine's -- it means we're not going to Galatoire's. Or Tujague's. Or Muriel's. Next time we go out, we'll hit one of the other places -- but will all those other places still be around six months later when we can afford to go? Maybe. But the "maybe not" is now looming much larger than before.Catch the Chicago Tribune's series on "Reviving Antoine's".
The 65,000-square-foot Whole Foods in Fairfax's East Market shopping center, opening Jan. 17, won't be like the others in the area.
The market will have five seating areas for five restaurant venues: seafood, BBQ, Asian, specialty sandwiches and Italian. There will also be a wine-tasting room for customers to try 80 wines by using a wine debit card the store will sell. - Washington Business Journal
Rumour has it that they will be setting up shop here in Santa Barbara and developing some monster store in the same vicinity as an Albertsons, Vons, Ralphs, Trader Joes and Gelsons. There's also a Farmer's Market on Saturday. All within one mile from each other. When does doing good by offering local and organic food become doing bad by not listening to what a neighborhood/city wants or needs.
Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy Whole Foods. They have done wonders in educating folks on the importance of organic, healthy eating, but come on. Are mega-energy sucking monster stores the way to go? Why not smaller stores...perhaps in areas of cities that have no access to fresh, organic, healthy foods.
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350°. In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and fluffy (ribbon consistency). Remove bowl from mixer, add cooled chocolate and vanilla, and stir the mixture by hand to incorporate. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in the semisweet chocolate chunks and cherries. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops are shiny and cracked. Makes about 5 dozen cookies
Preheat oven to 350°.
In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and fluffy (ribbon consistency). Remove bowl from mixer, add cooled chocolate and vanilla, and stir the mixture by hand to incorporate.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in the semisweet chocolate chunks and cherries.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops are shiny and cracked.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies
When a community rises up against the specter of a behemoth retailer in its midst, that store tends to be a purveyor of cheap toys, discount hardware, or 30-roll bundles of toilet paper, not Chilean sea bass, endive and fresh-baked scones.
But an unusual neighborhood just north of central Los Angeles is waging an equally uncommon battle against Whole Foods, the upscale grocery chain based in Texas.
...The community, known locally as the Rancho, is a smattering of horse properties just north of Griffith Park, in a historically working-class area of Burbank that has been gentrifying.
Behind these far-from-sprawling ranch homes — the average is about 1,200 square feet, or about 100 square meters — are horses in tiny stables whose owners are wont to saunter on horseback through the residential streets and onto the Griffith Park trails each day.
...the Rancho is one of the few places in the heavily urbanized Los Angeles area zoned for horses, which dozens of homeowners in the area board and ride. Along the quiet suburban blocks, it is not uncommon to see a hitching post in a front lawn, or a rider trotting through the drive-through lane at the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop.
...This spring, developers proposed building a Whole Foods store on Main Street, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, on a 177,000-square-foot lot that houses a television caption company. The proposal sparked the ire of some Rancho residents, who anticipated a surge in traffic that would, among other things, spook their beloved horses. - International Herald Tribune and the New York Times and City Beat
WHENEVER A WELL-KNOWN ATHLETE gets caught using anabolic steroids to run faster, pedal harder, or hit a baseball farther, there's a universal chorus of disapproval. Most Americans regard steroid use in sports as an unhealthy form of cheating. Under federal law, all performance-enhancing synthetic hormones are class III controlled substances; obtaining them without a prescription is a felony. Steroid users may suffer from a wide variety of physical and mental ailments, some of them irreversible--and the long-term effects of the drugs are unknown.Sobering thoughts. But, topics we must address...and soon.
Meanwhile, for the past two decades, a number of the same steroids abused by athletes have been given to U.S. cattle on a massive scale. Without much publicity or government concern, growth hormones like testosterone are routinely administered to about 80 percent of the nation's feedlot cattle, accelerating their weight gain and making them profitable to slaughter at a younger age. The practice is legal in the United States but banned throughout the European Union, due to concerns about its effect on human health. A recent study by Danish scientists suggested that hormone residues in U.S. beef may be linked to high rates of breast and prostate cancer, as well as to early-onset puberty in girls.
Every year, Food Bloggers from all over the world get together for a fundraising campaign. We call our campaign 'Menu for Hope'. Last year, we raised $17,000 to help UNICEF.
This year, Menu for Hope III raises funds to support the UN World Food Programme. To us Food Bloggers, food is a joy. On our blogs, we celebrate food as a delight and even an indulgence. Unfortunately, many others who share our world do not share that privilege. For them, food is a matter of survival. This "Menu for Hope" is our small way to help.
Together we've come up with a great list of amazing food related prizes for this raffle. Click here to view the prizes. Each US$10 donation will buy you one virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice.
My newest temp job has taken me to one of the hidden treasures in my town, The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. I frequented it quite often as a kid and have always loved it, whether it was watching the stars and planets at the Gladwin Planetarium, or watching the Spiny Lobsters lollygag at the Sea Center. I am very honored to have a landed there as a Temp and am so proud of the work and the exhibits they have (and will do) there.
One of the trademarks of this remarkable museum with small square footage, but humungeous heart, is the Blue Whale Skeleton outside. When kids see the whale, they mistake it first for a dinosaur, but soon find that it is even BETTER! This huge creature is not an extinct species, but lives today and can be spotted off the coast in the SBChannel.
The Museum has created a cookbook to help raise funds to restore and "refresh" the Blue Whale bones and make a cast of the skeleton to be shared with other museums. It's an expensive process. So among other fundraising efforts, they came up with a wonderous cookbook involving some recipes that, quite frankly, I defy you to come up with anywhere else.
It is beautifully illustrated with watercolor/pen and ink images of the Museum and a gorgeous painting of the Blue Whale bones is featured on the cover.
The cookbook is also sprinkled with information on the Museum, the various departments and what they actually do, and the amazing people that make up the staff. It also shares a little bit about the History of the Museum and it's mission to "Inspire a Passion for the Natural World"
What better gift to inspire a Passion for unusual recipes while aiding a great cause by purchasing a cookbook for someone you know who either loves food, loves nature, loves knowledge, loves history, loves stories, loves giving back to community, loves kids, loves animals, loves science. And, really, doesn't that just about cover EVERYONE on your "Holiday List?"
Some of the recipes:
Primordial Ooze. (A Spicy Szechuan Peanut Sauce type event)
West African Groundnut Stew
Turkey, Pecan and Bleu Cheese Salad with Honey-Tabasco Dressing
Mustard Sage Chicken with Spatzle
Mushroom Stroganoff with Tofu
Poor Man's Sole Walewska
John's Rincon Formation Black Mud Pie
Sauerkraut Casserole (for the prevention of scurvy)
**Fried Mealworm Egg Rolls or Wontons
**Cricket Pecan Tortes
**(I told you about some of the unique recipes that you might not find anywhere else!)
and one of the recipes with my favorite "story" introducing it:
"The California Quail is the State Bird, and they are very appealing running around our trails in herds like demented mini-chickens, bumping into each other, and eventually hoisting their plump bodies into the air in an attempt at flight, smack into the nearest bush. We leave those for the Bobcats to turn into a meal. Culinary quail come deboned and plucked from a farm in Greensboro, Georgia."
Now....that's good reading...and good eats!
I don't see the cookbook listed on their online shop, but I hope you take a little time and order one up for "take out"
A Whale of a Cookbook - $21.95
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 682-4711 x121
It’s official: after two and a half years and $25 million in renovation and restoration, San Ysidro Ranch announced the reopening of Stonehouse Restaurant and began welcoming guests on December 4. An electrical fire in the kitchen prompted the closure of both the Stonehouse and its downstairs neighbor, the Plow and Angel restaurant, in April 2004, and a complete kitchen rebuild and restaurant refurbishment has resulted – alongside a full $150-million restoration of the hotel property by Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts. The Plow and Angel is slated to reopen in January or February 2007. - The Montecito Journal"The Ranch" as it is known here, is an amazing getaway from the hustle and bustle of "city life" (as Santa Barbara life can be classified as "hustle and bustle!!") Set right up against the foothills, it truly is a romantic getaway. It definately has a history of love, however of the "star struck" tragic sort....Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh were married there and John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned there.
One by one, packages of freshly baked cookies began arriving in The Times' lobby, some in pretty boxes, bound in tissue paper and ribbon, others in fancy restaurant bags. Many entries were delivered by hired messengers, some by white-clad kitchen staff, one from a pastry chef, her little daughter in tow.We won't tell you who won, but they have printed some of the top rated recipes...it's worth a look...and bake!
One chef showed up with a refrigerated cooler; another left his cookies like a room service elf, with a bottle of bubbly and instructions for eating them, the recipe in a gilt frame. One pastry chef even messengered over a fresh batch when she learned her staff had mistakenly given us day-old cookies.
Los Angeles' top pastry chefs and bakers weren't just doling out holiday cheer to the Food section staff. They were participating in a bake-off.
As consumers face a large and expanding selection of premium/specialty chocolates and many new choices, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA) has put together an online consumer's guide entitled "Making Sense of % Cacao."Visit the Chocolate Manufacturers Association's website. See photos taken at their Symposium. (beware...you just might drool)
According to the guide, the term '% cacao' refers to the total percentage of ingredients (by weight) which come from the cacao bean (or cocoa bean) such as chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder found in a chocolate product. The term is being increasingly used in connection with premium chocolates — including dark chocolate. "The '% cacao' number is a key part of what consumers should consider when searching for specific flavor intensity, whether eating a bar of chocolate or consuming it in other forms such as baking and drinking," said Dr. Leah Porter, vice president of the American Cocoa Research Institute (ACRI), the research arm of the CMA. "In general, the '% cacao' number can guide you toward milder or deeper chocolate flavor intensity, depending on your taste preferences or the needs of your recipe." - Gourmet Retailer
The managers of a $300 million redevelopment of Oakland's Jack London Square are expected to all but bar national chains from the food hall at the heart of the project, emphasizing local and sustainable food businesses.
...The committee is made up chiefly of people from nonprofit food groups, including Michael Dimock, former chairman of Slow Food USA and executive director of the Roots of Change Fund; a representative of Investors' Circle, which helps funnel capital to environmentally friendly firms; and Eleanor Bertino, a food publicist and Slow Food USA board member.
Sardo said the guidelines will emphasize local producers, high quality food, environmentally sustainable food and operating practices and small producers. The committee would also like to see a farmer's market established at the food hall. - bizjournals
According to Reuters, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia plans to launch a line of food products, along with a revamped Web site and other branding deals, CEO Susan Lyne said.
Lyne, speaking at the Reuters Media Summit in New York last month, said the company could introduce a line of food products in 18 months or less. She said the concept is something they talk about "all the time" in terms of new retail deals.
"The only other category that we've talked about that would entail a different retail chain is probably food," Lyne said.
She said the company has many options, including foods as gift items, whole dinners and partially prepared foods.
"I say partially prepared because people still like to feel like they made it, and we want to encourage that," she said. "But we can make it easier for people, more convenient for them and upgrade the quality of the ingredients."
...The company is also planning a fresh video series featuring "great chefs" from around the world demonstrating their technique. That series will sit alongside classics from the archive that also will be made available. - The Gourmet Retailer
The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico is caught in a food crunch that is gripping food charities across the United States, according to New Mexico Food Bank officials.
The food shortage has halted food deliveries in eastern New Mexico and elsewhere, according to officials.
"We are in a precarious situation," Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico Executive Director Nancy Taylor said.
All eight banks in the New Mexico Association of Food Banks are grappling with similar restrictions, according to Association Executive Director Laurel Wyckoff, who visited Clovis Wednesday.
According to Wyckoff, the shortage is a result of a storm of market changes that have altered federal commodity programs.
Commodity programs supply banks with surplus food from American farmers. Improved technology and nudges to farmers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cut down on surplus have slashed the amount of commodities received by banks, Wyckoff said. - Clovis News
"Whole Foods is rooted in organics, and we've made a culinary commitment. ... They take a stand on what they will and won't sell. We sell variety and let the customer decide their nutritional views."
From its chair-massage days sprouts Whole Food's first full-service spa. The 4,500-square-foot facility features all-natural beauty and wellness treatments in seven private rooms, including two equipped for body scrubs and wraps. All linens are made from organic cotton.
The spa, named Refresh, is on the second level of the store. Walls have been double-insulated to block store noise, and patrons can have lunch or sip tea on the private balcony.
Whole Foods may incorporate the spa into other stores if shoppers take to the idea, Ms. Evans said.
...The spa director is Sherrie Huebner, who was hired from the Lake Austin Spa Resort. She has been a director of spas at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix and the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in San Antonio.
The spa has its own retail shop with a wide range of gifts and personal items, from jewelry to body care to cosmetics to bedding, as well as a large selection of organic clothing for adults and babies. Even a few shoes are in the mix, as are a pair of designer organic jeans for $130.
"We think we know the lifestyle of our customer," down to the coffee and pastry bar opening at 7 a.m., an hour before the store, Ms. Evans aid. - WFFA.com
Whole Foods Market Inc. shares fell 23 percent, the biggest drop ever, after the largest U.S. natural-foods grocer lowered its sales forecast for 2007. - Bloomberg
This year, we're ordering unique foods from New Orleans and Biloxi in a small effort to help the mom-and-pop foodmakers who are still suffering more than a year after Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster to strike our nation. As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told a group of us who toured the region recently: "The real tragedy of Katrina is the aftermath. We're crippled and trying to get back on our feet."Roman Candy Try Me Coffee Haydel's Bakery
Scented bus shelter advertisements smelling of just-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies made their U.S. debut.
Five San Francisco bus shelters were equipped on Monday with ads embedded with the scent of cookies, according Louis Aafonte, spokesman for New York-based arcade marketing, which designed the ads.
"There's nothing like a tall glass of ice cold milk with freshly baked holiday cookies," stresses Steve James, Chairman, California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). "GOT MILK? bus shelters will help us build buzz by creating a sensory trigger for milk in an unusual way and place." - Press ReleaseGot collection of Got Milk? ads?
After drifting south for several days in the Atlantic, the container veered landward at Diamond Shoals off Cape Point and came to rest in the wash south of the Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco as the tide came in.
Steve Hissey, who runs the tackle shop at Teach’s Lair marina in Hatteras, received a call from a charter boat captain.
How’s the fishing?” Hissey asked.
“I got two stripers and 35 bags of Doritos,” the captain answered. - The Pilot Online