Monday, March 31, 2008 


To celebrate the second anniversary of Well Dressed Food, Leite's Culinaria newest partner, and to introduce six of the company's new, all-natural gourmet products, we're excited to join with David Tomberlin, president of WDF, in announcing the Well Dressed Food Summer Sensations Recipe Contest.

The contest is an opportunity to show your creativity to the world, for the winning recipe will be professionally photographed and featured on the Web sites of both Leite's Culinaria and Well Dressed Food, as well as handed out at the 54th Annual Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, held from June 29 to July 1, 2008. In addition, the winning cook will receive a check for $1,500.00. And we haven't forgotten the runner-up: He or she will receive a check for $500.00.

To enter, create as many recipes as you like that revolve around summertime entertaining and that utilize at least one Well Dressed Food product per recipe. Recipes will be judged on creative use of ingredients (35%), taste (25%), appearance (25%), and ease of preparation (15%). Judges will include representatives from Well Dressed Food and Leite's Culinaria, as well as editors, food writers, chefs, and former national cooking contest winners.

For the complete list of rules and guidelines, click here.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008 

Note to self...must update Blogroll

Meet The Fresh Loaf. Cookie Madness.

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What's a Penny Worth?

Star of the kitchen
Originally uploaded by Rune T
...A little bit of dignity for those who labor in the fields picking tomatoes for Burger King, Mickey D's and other fast food chains....

...Nearly a year ago, Burger King’s top competitor, McDonald’s, signed a groundbreaking agreement to pay a penny more per pound to workers harvesting tomatoes, which means the workers get 72 cents to 77 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, up from 40 cents to 45 cents.

But Burger King, the world’s second-largest hamburger chain, has rejected working with the CIW to improve farm workers’ wages and conditions. - aflcio and indybay
Please add your name on the petition to "Stop the Servitude".

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Ooooohhhh....this looks fun!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008 

Disappearing Bees....disappearing crops

We LOVE the little fuzzybuzzy ones. Haagen Dazs loves the little bumbly ones. Almond growers love them even more.
The almond industry, which has emerged over the last decade as one of the biggest and most profitable in California agriculture, depends on bees for pollination. And so every spring, fully 60% of the commercially kept honeybees in the United States -- more than 1 million hives -- are trucked to California's Central Valley to do their thing.

But what happens when one of the state's fastest-growing businesses depends on workers who are disappearing almost as quickly? That's what California's almond farmers are waiting to find out.

California produces almost 80% of the world's almonds, grossing more than $2 billion in 2007. The state's almond exports are more than twice the value of its wine exports.

While almonds have been growing into an agricultural powerhouse, bee populations have been dwindling. Most recently, plagued by a mysterious condition called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD, honeybee colonies across the country have been vanishing, abandoning perfectly good hives. Even after two years, no one yet knows why. Theories are many, but definite answers are few.

And though the source of the disease is a mystery, its potential effects are not -- at least when it comes to almonds. Because it's this simple: Without bees, there are no nuts. - Latte Times
Not only are the bees disapearing...but their hives are too. Beehive heists are now big business for the "bad guys."
In the long, flat valley where the nation's almonds grow, bee thieves are striking hard this winter, nabbing increasingly valuable hives from farmers' fields where bees are used to pollinate blossoming nut trees.

A few weeks ago, 180 of Hall's hives were lifted over a period of days, a bit of banditry he estimates cost him nearly $70,000 in lost bees, pollination fees and honey production. - Forbes

One delicious way to help out, is to eat Ice Cream. No, really.

This month ice-cream makers go on the offensive. Häagen-Dazs is launching two new honey-themed flavors and labeling bee-dependent pints to help save the honeybee. A portion of the proceeds, up to $250,000, will go to geneticists, entomologists, and educators at the University of California at Davis and Pennsylvania State University who will research the causes of the bees’ decline, create stronger bees in the laboratory, and teach the public how to make their surroundings more bee friendly.

The two new flavors—Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream and Vanilla Honey & Granola frozen yogurt—are both delicious. The honey flavor is sharp without overwhelming the vanilla, and samples left in DISCOVER’s freezer vanished in record time. So next time you’re looking for a virtuous indulgence, think of the honeybees. - Discover

Häagen-Dazs' Help Save the Honey Bee!

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Seems that Political Shenanigans

can be good for bakery sales.
The Milford bakery that riffed on a fruitless search for Jimmy Hoffa is now tackling the text message scandal involving Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty, his former chief of staff.

Cookies shaped like cell phones and decorated with text messages saying "Busted" and "I'm sorry" went on sale for $1.75 Thursday at the Milford Baking Co., said owner Laura Hedwig.

"We wanted to have some fun with it," she said.

...In Milford, Hedwig sold thousands of cupcakes with green hands poking out of chocolate frosting in 2006 when the FBI was searching for Hoffa's remains on a horse farm in the community. - FreePress

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Friday, March 28, 2008 

Flickr Photo Friday

Pleeeez don't squeeeeez
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Farmer's Market treasuretrove!

Thursday, March 27, 2008 

Morgan Spurlock - Nice Guy!

Morgan Spurlock - Nice Guy!
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Morgan (SuperSize Me) Spurlock came to Santa Barbara recently to participate in a discussion about providing healthy school lunches to American kids.

Really nice guy. Super funny. I had a chance to write up a little follow up in our local weekly, The Independent.

And, talking about providing school lunches to our kids, Santa Barbara schools were the "recipients" of beef "produced" by the Westland Meat Company. You know, the "recall" beef place.

While praising the release of the school information, Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat from Connecticut, said the Department of Agriculture should also release a complete list of retail stores that received the recalled beef.

The list of school districts that received the beef is available at an agency Web site.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 

One of my favorite cookbooks...

to "drool" over. The Hali'imaile General Store Cookbook. (Yet another fabulous offering from 10-Speed Press.) One word describes this book...lush; just like the Islands themselves. When I saw this book in a used store in Glendale, I just had to have it in my ever expanding cookbook "stable."

I have always had this fascination with Hawai'i. I had such wonderful memories of my visit there, many moons ago, I still fantasize about running away there one day. Perhaps those strong feelings of desire colored my view of "the boyfriend gone horrendously bad"...his parents were from the Islands; his mother from Maui; his father from Oahu. Rose colored glasses...well, I've tossed them out regarding "dating"...but I've kept the positive feelings I have of the Islands' offerings with this delicious cookbook.

Just glancing at some of the recipe offerings bring thoughts of sampling them on a beach with a warm breeze gently caressing the table linens and the locks on your date's forehead. And, although one may presume that Hawai'i is just one long ongoing tourist season, Bev has broken down the recipes to showcase the tastes of the true seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. (Yes, there reallly IS a Winter in Hawai'i.) Ahhhh, but I desire these dishes ANY season, really! "Crab Cannelloni with Lemongrass-Ginger Sauce", "Sesame-Crusted Mahimahi with Coconut-curry Cabbage and Rum-Baked Bananas", "Crunchy Macadamia Nut Chicken over Tropical Fruit Paella", "Mango-Pineapple Cobbler", "Pineapple Pie", "Pineapple Shortbread Cookies", "Paniolo Ribs with Hali'imaile Barbecue Sauce and Coconut-Sweet Potato Cakes" and "Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie." (Hungry yet?)

The proprietress of The Hali'imaile General Store is Beverly Gannon, a former road manager for various entertainers, until she ventured off to Le Cordon Bleu in London. Bev then ventured off to other various places, including cooking adventures with Jacques Pepin and Marcella Hazan. She ended up in Hawai'i with her husband, Joe, a lighting designer for rock'n roll band shows, and together they started, not only a family, but a culinary "empire" of sorts. The Hali'maile General Store, Joe's Bar & Grill, Celebration's Catering and her work with Hawaiian Airlines.

I don't know where she finds time, but Bev also has a wonderful blog, "Bev's Blog"...stop by and say "aloha!" and also congratulate her for The Small Business Administration naming her Hawaii's Small Business Person of the Year!

Oh, yeah...and get the cookbook!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 

The secret ingredient to biscuits

White Lilly Flour. (In my humble cookie crumbly opinion....)

Fallen Monk made some biscuits and it reminded me of some of the best biscuits I have ever made was with White Lilly Flour. I had no idea the company was owned by Smuckers (biscuits and jam...sounded like a good combo) and am saddened to hear that one of White Lilly's storied plants was being shut down.
The old White Lily flour mill, a downtown landmark for 125 years, will be closing this spring.

...White Lily flour and Three Rivers cornmeal have been produced on Depot Avenue for generations under eight owners over 125 years. It is a downtown manufacturing landmark and employer of about 112 workers, including plant staff and a sales force in the field. -
If you can't find White Lilly near you, you can purchase it on line on the Smucker's website....Williams Sonoma and Surfas used to carry it, but seems no more.

White Lilly Angel Biscuits


1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105-120 degrees)
5 cups White Lily® Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

1.Lightly spray a 15x10x1-inch pan (or one 13x9x2-inch pan) with no-stick cooking spray.
2.Dissolve yeast in warm water (105 to 115 degrees). Set aside.
3.Combine flour, sugar, and baking soda. Cut in all-vegetable shortening until chunks are no larger than the size of peas.
4.Mix buttermilk with yeast water.
5.Add to flour mixture.
6.Stir with a fork until moistened.
7.Roll out 1/2-inch thick on floured surface.
8.Cut with 2-inch cutter.
9.Place close together in prepared pans. Cover with clean lint-free warm, damp towel and allow to rise about one hour. (Dough will be doubled in size and will leave a small indention when pressed lightly with your finger.)
10.Heat oven to 425 degrees.
11.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned.
12.Brush tops with melted butter.
13.Serve while hot.

Shirley's 'Touch of Grace Biscuits'

2 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup cream
1 cup buttermilk, or more
1 cup plain flour, for shaping
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven. Spray an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers or a pastry blender until there are no large lumps.

Gently stir in the cream. Stir in the buttermilk until the dough resembles cottage cheese. It should be a wet mess. If you are not using a low-protein Southern flour, this may require considerably more than a cup.

Spread the plain flour (not self-rising) out on a plate or pie pan. With a medium(about 2-inches) ice cream scoop or spoon place scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each. Flour your hands.

Turn a dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up, gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place the biscuit in the prepared pan. Coat each dough ball in the same manner, and place the shaped biscuit "smuched" up against its neighbor. Continue scooping and shaping until the dough is used.

Bake biscuits until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Invert biscuits out onto one plate, then back onto another. With a knife or spatula, cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Serve immediately. "Butter 'em while they're hot."

Cookiemadness even made a delish Red Velvet Cake using White Lilly. How can you get more "Southern" than that!

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Monday, March 24, 2008 

Ahhhhh....the big companies are taste testing

the blogs!

...Food blogs "may not have the mass reach, but it's a more engaged, specific audience," said Greg Zimprich, a spokesman for General Mills Inc. "Their readers are going to care a lot more about a product of ours."

The Minneapolis food giant tracks dozens of small blogs devoted to rating foods. Most don't get more than a couple of thousand daily visits, but General Mills nevertheless sends off its cereal bars, soups and other packaged foods in hopes of a mention.

Keeping track of popular blogs is part of the job for nearly all the company's public relations officers, who use online services like Google alerts, BlogPulse and Technorati to track brand mentions. The blogs are often among the top links returned in online searches for certain brands or categories.

The way any given company reaches out to food blogs varies widely, of course.

The Hershey Co. invites bloggers to product launches along with the mainstream media. Kraft Foods Inc., which owns Post, makes it a point to keep blogs aware of all its newest products and even advertises on the more popular sites like HungryGirl and Best of the Bite, said Sydney Lindner, a company spokeswoman. - SFGate

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Not everyone is blessed with enough food

and the market fluctuations in food pricing and the rise in the price of oil has some dire consequences.

Aid organizations around the world face budget shortfalls because of a rise in global food prices. The Rome-based World Food Program will have to reduce food shipments to disaster-hit places such as Darfur unless it can close a $500 million deficit.

Food prices have soared 55% since June alone, according to the WFP. The higher costs have resulted from rising oil prices, the use of crops for biofuels and skyrocketing demand for food in developing economies such as China and India.

The amount of food aid delivered abroad by the U.S. government has fallen 43% from 2002-07, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. - USAToday

...The warning comes as Egypt mobilises its army to bake more bread and overcome severe shortages that have led to disturbances in long queues forming outside bakeries. Four people have died in clashes amid claims that subsidised flour has been sold off for profit on the black market. - The Guardian

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Sunday, March 23, 2008 

Happy Easter!

I hope that more people realize that chicks are sentient beings...and not easter trinkets.

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Friday, March 21, 2008 

Flickr Photo Friday

peep cake
Originally uploaded by ashcooks.

It's PEEP season....

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 

Do cookies have a "fortune" in film?

Seems that fortune cookies are having their day in the sun on the red carpet in San Francisco during the Asian American Film Festival and in the bookshelves with the forthcoming book "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles." Oh, and forget about what you may "think you know" about those fun little folded snappy, crumbly delish deliveries of fortunes...they are NOT Chinese. They are more than likely a creation of Makoto Hagiwara, a landscape architect and creator of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, 1909.
Another revelation is that there are no fortune cookies in China. "In China, it's an exotic item. A fortune cookie company from New York opened up a business in China in 2002, but it closed down in two years," Shimoda says, noting that the label said "genuine American fortune cookies." - SFGate
The film by Derek Shimoda - "The Killing of a Chinese Cookie" and the blog for the book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. If you are in the Pasadena area on the 27th of March, stop on by one of my favorite bookstores, Vroman's, and see the author of the book, Jennifer 8. Lee discuss the book and her findings.

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Monday, March 17, 2008 

Another cookbook added to my collection

Beautiful Breads and Fabulous Fillings brought to us by a "local" foodie/former restauranteur from San Luis Obispo (and a little Oprah inspiration...)
Two and a half years ago, Margaux Sky opened the Art Café and Bakery in San Luis Obispo, California. Her specialty: delicious sandwiches on homemade bread. While business had been steady, she was barely making ends meet. This summer, she decided to sell her café.

Her last to-go order happened to be for Oprah, who was in the area to meet with Tim Bennett, the president of Harpo Productions and Margaux's brother-in-law. Oprah took one bite of Margaux's Curried Chicken Sandwich and was floored.

Margaux was to sign the papers to sell the café at 9 a.m. the next morning—at 8 a.m. she got a call saying that Oprah was going to help out to keep the business open. "I thought, anybody this good can't be closed down," Oprah says. "So I sent Margaux a check, and now she's back in business and cooking like crazy!" -
Margaux eventually did sell the Cafe....The cafe has new owners, Donna and Jayme Nozzi, and the place is growing in leaps and "buns", but one thing still remains on the menu...the "O" sandwich.

The Art Café has had a constant buzz around it ever since Oprah Winfrey called the shop’s curried chicken sandwich the best sandwich she had ever tasted in 2004.

Owners Donna and Jayme Nozzi say they continue to get daily visitors from around the world who are curious about the quirky San Luis Obispo eatery and its signature menu items. The Arroyo Grande couple purchased the cafe from original owner Margaux Sky, who has since released her own cookbook and continues to pursue other culinary ventures.

...Today’s menu pays tribute to its Oprah fame by now calling the curried chicken sandwich the "O." Tribune staffer Sally Buffalo opted for the "O" ($8.95) to see if it is worth the hype.

Served on grilled white pepper Jack bread, it’s filled with curried chicken, sliced almonds, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes and spring greens. The delectable sandwich was overstuffed, forcing Sally to use a fork and knife — something she didn’t anticipate when I told her we were visiting a sandwich shop. -

They get new customers daily who come to try Oprah’s favorite sandwich, she said. Last weekend, a couple from Italy came in to enjoy the famous chicken curry sandwich. The cafe has also been written about in the Lonely Planet travel book, which brings in curious travelers.

The cafe has expanded its offerings to include “allergy-free” baked good and breads. The products are free of dairy, nuts and gluten, and have brought in many local patrons with food allergies.

“I have people who have not been able to eat a sandwich in a restaurant in 10 years, and now they can come here,” she said. “It’s really rewarding.”

Nozzi is travelling to Chicago in mid-March as part of Country Living magazine’s search to find the top women entrepreneurs of 2008. -

Some of the unusual breads found in this book....Lavender Mint Love Bread, Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Bread, Spicy White Pepper Jack Bread (upon which the O sandwich is built upon), Concord Grape Bread and Maple Merlot Bread. There are of course, the sandwiches, but also some soups to accompany these masterpieces.

Speaking of breads, cakespy battles some Irish Soda Bread just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008 

Forget the yeast....

It's the wheat prices that are rising...rising...rising....

King Arthur addresses the issue on their website:
Although all King Arthur Flour is milled from wheat grown here in North America, where the harvest was plentiful last year, global demand on our domestic supply has forced the price of wheat sky-high. We’re doing all we can to keep the cost of flour down by making our business as efficient as possible, but there’s simply no way for us to absorb entirely the impact of current record-breaking wheat prices
From The Herald in SC...
...The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that a bushel of wheat costs about $8.55 today, compared to $4.75 last March. Additionally, the nation's wheat stock has plummeted to its lowest level since 1947, according to the USDA.

The rising cost of doing business isn't limited to wheat. Prices for poultry and dairy products and coffee beans also are on the rise. That can be blamed on a number of factors, such as a slow economy, record fuel prices and lower production. All are bad news for the corner bakery.
From the Latte Times:
....Short supplies have raised the price of wheat worldwide and sparked protests over the cost of tortillas in Mexico and pasta in Italy. In the United States, it's raised the cost of such basic goods as bread, cereal and pizza.

...The price of bakery and cereal products rose 1.8% in February, the largest monthly increase since January 1975. Overall, the cost of eating at home has risen more than 5% so far this year, the fastest rate since 1990.

...The plight facing small bread makers like Bohbot -- and much larger businesses such as Sara Lee Corp. -- prompted the American Bakers Assn. to hold a protest march in Washington, D.C., last week.
Bakers marching on Washington. Wonder if they carried signs tacked onto baguettes.

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Friday, March 14, 2008 

Flickr Photo Friday

Hearst Castle Kitchen detail
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Details in the kitchen of Hearst Castle.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 

Martha Stewart has a new cookie book out....

and Jessica's Biscuit has it!
In Martha Stewart’s Cookies, the editors of "Martha Stewart Living" give you 175 recipes and variations that showcase all kinds of flavors and fancies. Besides perennial pleasers like traditional chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, there are other sweet surprises, including Rum Raisin Shortbread, Peppermint Meringue Sandwiches with Chocolate Filling, and Lime Meltaways.

Cleverly organized by texture, the recipes in Martha Stewart’s Cookies inspire you to think of a classic, nostalgic treat with more nuance.

And who knew that Martha blogged!

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Salmon Season...Cancelled?

For the Love of Salmon (eagle_DSF4289.jpg)
Originally uploaded by Larsthrows.

This news could be financially devastating for so many here on the West Coast. Fisherman. Restaurants. Stores. Local economies. Our ecosystem, for we are not the only ones who enjoy the deliciousness of the fishies....

So few salmon are living in the ocean and rivers along the Pacific Coast that salmon fishing in California and Oregon will have to be shut down completely this year unless an emergency exception is granted, Pacific Fishery Management Council representatives said Tuesday.

It would mark the first time ever that the federal agency created 22 years ago to manage the Pacific Coast fishery canceled the coast's traditional salmon fishing season from April to mid-November.

Such a move would jeopardize the livelihoods of close to 1,000 commercial fishermen from Santa Barbara to Washington State and would significantly drive up the price of West Coast wild salmon.

...The doom and gloom brought on by the poor run was made worse by news that the number of jacks - 2-year-old fish that return to the river a year early to spawn - is the lowest ever recorded in the Central Valley fall run. Scientists use the number of jacks that return as an indicator of what next year's spawning season will look like.

Fisheries experts expected 157,000 jacks, but counted only 6,000 - SFChron

A complete closure of salmon fishing in California and Oregon this year appeared more likely Tuesday after federal managers grappled with the hard facts.

The drastic proposal – which would mean fresh local salmon would not be available in stores, restaurants or farmer's markets – is driven by a dramatic decline in Central Valley fall-run chinook populations. The total has dropped by more than 90 percent since 2002. - Sacramento Bee

I absolutely love salmon, but there comes a time when we all need to sacrifice for the success of a bigger cause.

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Monday, March 10, 2008 

Gentlereaders....get your wallots ready

"I think [U.S.] consumers are more prepared than we realize to accept higher prices on food and I think that's part of our future...It's largely been set in stone for us already." - Bill Lapp, former chief economist for the food giant Conagra. we head into this future that's been "set in stone for us already," it's important to note that 10.9 percent of U.S. households, representing 12.6 million families, already qualify as "food insecure" by USDA standards. For these folks -- and for people in the global south who have been rioting in response to being priced out of the food market -- spiraling costs may be impossible to accept, no matter what the former Conagra guy says. They will be forced into wrenching decisions -- what to eliminate from their budgets to keep the food coming. - Grist

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Sunday, March 09, 2008 

A local Newspaper really is a community rock

or should be. Telling the important goings on in the community, sharing the events and daily happenings of residents and local businesses. Sales. Movings. Deaths. Lectures. Events. City Hall or County Council meetings. The newspaper documents history of the community, of the town, of the city; documents the lives and achievements of those who live within.

Or at least that is what a newspaper should do. Our local newspaper was taken over several years ago by a woman and her minions who have shown nothing but disdain and contempt for our little "Adobe Disneyland."

A film has been made about the death of our paper. "Citizen McCaw." I had the chance to see the premier of the film at a "sold out" showing at the Arlington Theatre on Friday night. It really is a terrific movie; a must see for every Santa Barbarian. Actually, a must see for everyone, for if it can happen here, it can happen everywhere. A cautionary tale of how greed, avarice and the viewing of a "public utility" as a "personal playground" will ultimately damage a community, a society, a democracy.
The film chronicles events since July 2006, when editor Jerry Roberts and five of his colleagues quit the Santa Barbara News-Press, citing owner and Co-publisher Wendy McCaw's abandonment of journalistic ethics, which McCaw denied. Since then, McCaw and dozens of her former staffers have been engaged in a fierce clash of wills that raises important national questions of journalistic ethics and media ownership. - Citizen McCaw

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Thursday, March 06, 2008 

Sorry to have turned off the comments....

but there have been some bloggers who have threatened cyber stalking and physical harm to me because they disagreed with a comment I left on the Daily Kos. They have been leaving some truly hateful comments.

I hope to one day turn the comments back on....

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Starshey's or Hershucks?

Starbucks pairs up with Hershey to come up with artisan chocolate with "coffeehouse" flavors.
...Drawing upon the premium chocolate expertise of Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company, master chocolatiers have created a portfolio of chocolate that showcases the artistry of the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process and flavor experience of Starbucks. The chocolates are crafted with high-quality, flavorful cacao from around the world and then thoughtfully blended with premium natural ingredients, authentic Starbucks® coffee, Tazo tea and other authentic coffeehouse flavors.

...The collection includes: signature dark, mocha and milk chocolate bars and tasting squares; Tazo® Chai, Passion and Citron tea-infused chocolate tasting squares; Caffè Mocha, Chai, Espresso, Caramel Macchiato and Madagascar Vanilla Bean Truffles; and Milk Chocolate Covered Caffè Verona® Coffee Beans.

...Now available nationwide, Starbucks Chocolate retails for $2.99 and up and will be sold at grocery, mass retailers, club and drugstores. The Starbucks Chocolate portfolio will not be available in Starbucks stores at this time. - Yahoo/BusinessWire
Everything seems to be infused with coffee or tea these days....seems to be the "hip new thing"

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008 

Taste of the Nation is coming to Santa Barbara

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® (presented by American Express®) is the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. For 20 years, the event has brought together the most creative culinary minds across the nation. Pioneers of modern American cuisine and national celebrities including David Burke, Stephan Pyles, Bravo’s Top Chef Tom Collichio, Food Network stars Tyler Florence and Emeril Lagasse and thousands of other chefs have donated their time, talent and passion at more than 55 events across the United States and Canada with one goal in mind: to raise critical funds needed to help the more than 12 million children at risk of hunger in America.

Sunday, April 27, 2008
Location: Santa Barbara Historical Museum
136 East Del la Guerra Street

VIP Start: 12:00pm $100.00-- at the door $125.00
VIP ticket holders receive:
valet parking, goody bag, access to the luxury lounge featuring premium food, wine and service, while enjoying live music from Chris Fossek and Italian and French vocalist Carol Anne Manzi

General Admission Start time: 1:00pm
General Admission: 75.00--at the door $100.00

The local event will benefit The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

And...Mark your calendars and get your spatula's ready....Share Our Strength's "Great American Bake Sale" is coming March 30th.

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Monday, March 03, 2008 

Green Meal-mobile heading to Santa Barbara

Mother truckin' their way up the coast....Green Truck, serving up fresh, organic fare from a so-called "roach mobile", sustainable style.

Co-owner of Green Truck, Kam Miceli says his operation is entirely sustainable. Solar power runs the kitchen, vegetable oil used in cooking fuels the trucks, even plates and flatware are made from corn that's compostable rather than petroleum-based Styrofoam.

"We reclaim all the water we use on the truck and wash the trucks with it at the end of the day," said Miceli.

And the food is also lean and green. They have the Mother Trucker burger -- it's vegan -- we've got the breakfast burrito with a tofu option and no iceberg lettuce served here, loads of dark leafy greens -- big and nutritious.

...Currently two Green Trucks serve L.A.'s Westside, Beverly Hills and downtown area with trucks driving into Santa Barbara and Irvine next month.- (with video)

Watch another video of Green Truck over at YourLA.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008 

Happy Birthday, Montrose!

Originally uploaded by santa barbarian
A big 95 years for Glendale's first suburb!

More at LAist and the Crescenta Valley Sun

"Travel back in time to Montrose, California......cream sodas still rule in Glendale's Mayberry in the Foothills, a place to spend a lazy day - Sunset Magazine

Some of my favorite places to visit while i lived down there,

Jane's Cakes / Swork Coffee / Rocky Cola's / Divina Cucina

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Saturday, March 01, 2008 

it's 3:00 a.m....

do you know if the red beef you're grabbing from the fridge labeled "natural" really is?
Consumer polls indicate the average person imagines meat labeled "Naturally Raised" comes from animals that spent their drug-free lives freely roaming the fields of a family farmer, eating wild flora and fauna, and being (at least somewhat) humanely slaughtered. In fact a 2007 Consumer Reports survey shows 83% of consumers assume such labeling means “it came from an animal raised in a natural environment.” In stark contrast, the USDA, under pressure from big agribusiness, has released a standard for "Naturally Raised" meats that is so weak it would apply to a cloned animal raised in the confines of a factory farm.
Let the USDA know that words and labels DO matter. Send your comments to them before 3 March. HERE.

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