Tuesday, April 29, 2008 

More Ice Cream Shop News....

On Wednesday, April 30, 2008 from 5:00-10:00 PM, ice cream lovers across America will have an opportunity to enjoy their favorite Baskin-Robbins flavor for only 31 cents* while paying tribute to local Firefighters.Your support of 31-Cent Scoop Night will help Baskin-Robbins fulfill their generous pledge of $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

For more information about 31 Cent Scoop Night or to find a Baskin-Robbins near you, please visit:

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Happy 30th!

Ben & Jerry's!
I can "Imagine Whirled Peace"....and a free scoop o' the good stuff today, too!

You Are Phish Food Ice Cream

You've been described as gooey and fudgey. Sorry.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 

Dine and Dish has moved

into a delicious new space on the internet(s.)

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Spoon Gelato is now open

The Gelateria next to the Granada Theatre is now open and serving up some terrific tasting gelato from Gelato Bar in Studio City.
The artisanal product is custom made by Allessandro Fontana, an expert gelato maker from Venice, who taught Gail and Joel the nuances of the best Italian gelato. Gelato Bar’s frozen confections are made daily in small batches; each flavor contains 65-70% pure product (i.e. pistachio, chocolate, fruits) as compared to most other varieties, which often contain only 30% product. Gelato deceivingly has a much lower fat content than conventional American ice creams and due to its lower temperature, richer flavors can be achieved.
The Fig Marscapone gelato is delish. There's nothing "plain" about their Vanilla, it is really "beany" and terrific tasting. The Arancia Rossa (Blood Orange) and Tutto Bosco (Mixed Berry) sorbettos are really refreshing especially on these hot days.

The only downside to my experience to Spoon, was the young girl who rang up my order. The stench of cigarette smoke on her clothes and the fresh taste of gelato really didn't go together.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 

For the best treehugging experience

This tree can fit 5 more people...
Originally uploaded by suikris.

may I suggest Muir Woods....celebrating 100 years as a National Monument! Now THERE's a place to honor Mother Nature on Earth Day.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 

Whole Foods Celebrates Earth Day

by saying "buhbye" to plastic grocery bags.
Whole Foods Market marked Earth Day Tuesday by ending the use of disposable plastic grocery bags at its U.S., Canadian and British stores. - UPI
How did YOU celebrate Earth Day?


Sunday, April 20, 2008 

Happy Earth Day

From Santa Barbara..."ground zero" of Earth Day celebrations. (and rated #10 Best Green City in America by Country Home.)
Ecological disaster brought reality check. Crude oil blasted nine stories into the air on Jan. 28, 1969, from a pipeline that blew out in the Santa Barbara channel. For the environmental movement, this disaster was the spark that launched Earth Day...

When the Santa Barbara pipeline burst 39 years ago, crude oil flowed for 10 days, eventually covering an 800-mile square area with a dark sheen. The oil even silenced the tide. With the viscous oil melded to it, the waves no longer lapped at the shore. Instead, they landed with a heavy thu
d . Bridgeport Connecticut Post
The story goes that Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson after a trip he took to Santa Barbara right after that horrific oil spill off our coast in 1969. He was so outraged by what he saw that he went back to Washington and passed a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. - CEC

Santa Barbara NewsPress Editor Thomas Storke:
Never in my lifetime have I ever seen such an aroused populace at the grassroots level. This oil pollution has done something that I have never seen – it has united citizens of all political persuasions in a truly nonpartisan cause.”
U.S. President Richard Nixon:
It is sad that it was necessary that Santa Barbara should be the example that had to bring it to the attention of the American people. What is involved is the use of our resources of the sea and the land in a more effective way and with more concern for preserving the beauty and natural resources that are so important to any kind of society that we want for the future. The Santa Barbara incident has frankly touched the conscience of the American people.
Go out and hug a tree, ride a bike, take a deep breath, walk through a forest, listen to the birds. Show Mother Earth how much she is appreciated.

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Monday, April 14, 2008 

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day - April 29

30 years of deliciousness.

Free Cone Day
is an annual event held in late April or early May, in which Ben & Jerry's scoop shops give out free ice cream cones all day. This year's event, taking place on Tuesday, April 29, 2008, marks the company's 30th annual Free Cone Day.

Stop on by your local shop. Order up your favorite flavor...or clamour for them to bring back your favorite from the flavor graveyard.
Ahhh...I can taste the PhishFood now!

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Sunday, April 13, 2008 

A Lonely Mockingbird sings at Midnight

A lonely bird sings a plantive song for help.

No. Not titles of the newest spy books nor codes for meeting a furtive informant. I've been thinking about the sing-song sounds I've been hearing outside my window late at night. The image of a single lonely bird could possibly open up ears and eyes to the tragedy that is befalling our towns, our cities, our states, our country...the world.

When was the last time you heard the natural music of the songs of the birds? And, if you haven't heard the cacophany that is supposed to be on-going this time of year, have you stopped for a moment and wondered why?

Some folks, including the Independent in the UK, have wondered why and are finding sobering news....

Globalization: American Songbirds Are Being Wiped Out by Banned Pesticides

The number of migratory songbirds returning to North America has gone into sharp decline due to the unregulated use of highly toxic pesticides and other chemicals across Latin America.

Ornithologists blame the demand for out-of-season fruit and vegetables and other crops in North America and Europe for the destruction of tens of millions of passerine birds. By some counts, half of the songbirds that warbled across America ’s skies only 40 years ago have gone, wiped out by pesticides or loss of habitat.

...Bridget Stutchbury, an ornithologist and professor at York University in Toronto , said: "With spring we take it for granted that the sound of the songbirds will fill the air with their cheerful sounds. But each year, as we continue to demand out-of-season fruits and vegetables, fewer and fewer songbirds will return."

Did your shopping list kill a songbird? was the headling at the New York Times and the story expounded upon the fact that we, as consumers, have a choice in searching for food without tons of toxins....birds don't have the opportunity.

....In the mid-1990s, American biologists used satellite tracking to follow Swainson’s hawks to their wintering grounds in Argentina, where thousands of them were found dead from monocrotophos poisoning. Migratory songbirds like bobolinks, barn swallows and Eastern kingbirds are suffering mysterious population declines, and pesticides may well be to blame. A single application of a highly toxic pesticide to a field can kill seven to 25 songbirds per acre. About half the birds that researchers capture after such spraying are found to suffer from severely depressed neurological function.

Since the 1980s, pesticide use has increased fivefold in Latin America as countries have expanded their production of nontraditional crops to fuel the demand for fresh produce during winter in North America and Europe. Rice farmers in the region use monocrotophos, methamidophos and carbofuran, all agricultural chemicals that are rated Class I toxins by the World Health Organization, are highly toxic to birds, and are either restricted or banned in the United States. In countries like Guatemala, Honduras and Ecuador, researchers have found that farmers spray their crops heavily and repeatedly with a chemical cocktail of dangerous pesticides.

Migratory birds, modern-day canaries in the coal mine, reveal an environmental problem hidden to consumers. Testing by the United States Food and Drug Administration shows that fruits and vegetables imported from Latin America are three times as likely to violate Environmental Protection Agency standards for pesticide residues as the same foods grown in the United States

The Backyard Birder (a blog from the Houston Chronicle) also mentions that our food demands aren't taking into consideration the TRUE cost of the cheap foods we are "entitled" too....

Within the western hemisphere, for example, our migratory songbirds, as well as resident animals, are being killed by deadly pesticides that have been outlawed in this country but are still in use in many parts of the world. These are pesticides that are being used in these countries to produce the food that is imported into the United States.

Thus, the real price that we are paying for cheap food and for having fresh produce out of season at our local grocery stores may be a dead Bobolink.

....We can demand stronger oversight by government agencies that are supposed to look our for our welfare, but that, in the last seven years, have turned a blind eye, assuming that "the market" would police itself. We can demand that our government, in forming trade pacts with other nations, take safety (our own as well as those who are the producers) into consideration, and not just how much money it will make for their political supporters.

All of this is hard work and requires a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions on a global level. I think the Bobolinks, Barn Swallows, and Eastern Kingbirds are worth it.

And with these toxins changing the chemical balance in living creatures, could they also be changing the way the birds sing? Environmental News reported on this with their story, "Estrogenic chemicals change birds' tunes," highlighting a sobering research report.

Both natural and synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen can change how male birds sing by enlarging sections of their brains responsible for creating songs. Researchers have taken these findings to the field for the first time, showing that the more complex songs these birds sing attract more females. But the males' immune systems and their overall reproductive success may be compromised by exposure to the contaminants

You might consider buying Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song, before it's too late to enjoy the "real thing." (And I don't mean Coca Cola...)

Consider also, what you purchase to eat and where you purchase it. Make it local. Make it organic. Demand "Country of Origin labeling" on ALL food products. Require the same Environmental standards for American companies doing business overseas as they are required to do so here. Voice out your concern with your elected officials over trade agreements that don't take into account the safety of all concerned, including bird and other God given gifts of nature.

Drink shade grown coffee. (Two of my favorites, Santa Barbara Roasting Company here in Santa Barbara and Caffe Appassionato in the Seattle area)

As Scout put it, it really "is a sin to kill a Mockingbird." But really, isn't it really a sin to kill off any bird that brings such joyful music into a steadily increasing dark and corporate driven world?

Time to stop and listen. Enjoy...and do something.

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Not good news for salmon lovers...

Collapse of chinook season devastates salmon trollers. With the closing of the salmon season, Oregon's salmon trollers will lose their bread and butter. Their ranks have already dropped from nearly 4,000 permitted trollers in 1980 to fewer than 500 today. - Portland Oregonian

Salmon Season Called Off. Nothing says weekend like kicking back and throwing something on the grill. But if wild salmon is what you're hungry for, pull out your wallet and get ready for 35 bucks a pound. Fishermen here on the West Coast have voted to cancel the Chinook, or king, salmon season. - MarketPlace

End of coast's 150-year-old fishery looms. Changes in the food chain, global warming, mismanagement, overfishing, and environmental degradation have all been suggested as reasons why the West Coast salmon fishery has collapsed.- San Francisco Chronicle

What it will take to restore salmon. There is a paradox about salmon: We love them, but we are part of their problem. - Eureka Times-Standard

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008 

Food Section Wednesday

The Deseret Morning News is a newspaper published in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is Utah's oldest continually published daily newspaper. Today in their food section, Valerie Phillips writes of her experience covering a Pillsbury Bake-off and the recipe that almost could...
..Outside, a devastating tornado roared through Florida, and there was drama in the judges' chambers, too. I sat next to one of the judges during the press conference the next day and was told in hushed tones that the group had been deadlocked between Mathews' Salsa Couscous Chicken and Edwina Gadsby's Brownie Souffle Cake. They debated the merits of each. Which best fit Pillsbury's "quick and easy" format? Which would home cooks be likely to make? Was couscous too weird?

...When Gadsby accepted a $10,000 runner-up prize and a Whirlpool appliance, she donated the appliance to someone left homeless from the tornado. I got a bit teary-eyed, as she had no idea how close she had come to the big money. She found out later, because several reporters wrote about it. - Deseret Morning News


Mint Cream:
2/3 cup whipping cream
3 ounces white chocolate baking bar, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

1 package fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup flour (for Utah altitude; if at sea level, omit flour)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs, separated
Powdered sugar
Mint sprigs for garnish

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, microwave whipping cream on high 45-60 seconds, or until warm. Add white chocolate and mint extract; stir until chocolate is melted. Refrigerate 1 hour or until well-chilled.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine brownie mix, flour, water, oil, mint extract and egg yolks. Beat 50 strokes with spoon. In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks foam. Gradually fold into brownie mixture. Pour batter into sprayed pan. Bake at 375 degrees 32-38 minutes, or until center is almost set. Cool 30 minutes. Center will sink slightly. Carefully remove sides of pan. Sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar. Beat chilled mint cream until soft peaks form. Cut cake into wedges; top each with mint cream. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serves 12.

You can find more Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest favorites over at Yahoo! Food.

Speaking of Pillsbury Bake-Off Champions, one is a fellow blogger! Anna Ginsberg of Austin, TX, who cooks up literary deliciousness on cookiemadness.

In amateur recipe-contest circles, there's an expectation that once you've won the "Big One," the Pillsbury Bake-Off, you can sit back and rest on your culinary laurels.

But not so for Anna Ginsberg of Austin, Texas, who won the 2006 Bake-Off for her Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing.

Since then, she's won $7,500 from Family Circle magazine for a chicken and pasta dish, and $5,000 in a Betty Crocker cookie contest. She was also a 2006 finalist in Cooking Light's Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest.

"So I'm still in the game," she said in a telephone interview from her home. "But winning the Bake-Off has taken some of the pressure off. I only enter contests I'm really interested in, and I share more recipes than keeping them secret. I'm becoming more of a cheerleader for competitive cooking as a hobby."

...That morning when Ginsberg answered her phone, she was experimenting with a small-scale batch of carrot cookies. She had made various versions, including some with prune baby food, and planned to report on them in her blog, Cookiemadness.net.

"It's been fun doing a blog. Through the Internet I've met people who are really obsessive about (baking), and we share ideas and recipes. I do a lot of baking. I eat a little and send the rest to my husband's office." - Deseret Morning News

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008 


Herbal Essence 2
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Farmer's Market Day!

Monday, April 07, 2008 

April 8 - 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Set Your Watches.

Original Starbucks Logo
Originally uploaded by CharlieBrown.

Then get thee to your nearest Starbucks for a little coffee taste testing. I'm hoping Santa Barbara stores will be participating...I'm up for a java joltage!
Visit any participating U.S. Starbucks store on Tuesday, April 8 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time (12 p.m. Eastern Time) and Starbucks will give all customers a complimentary short (8 oz.) cup of the new Pike Place Roast to enjoy as they participate in a simultaneous, nationwide,coast-to-coast, coffee tasting conducted by Starbucks coffee experts.

...Pike Place Roast will be the first coffee to bear the new mark symbolizing Starbucks ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability through an expanded relationship with Conservation International (CI). Coffee bearing the new mark is purchased from C.A.F.E. Practices verified suppliers. C.A.F.E. Practices guarantees not only the highest-quality coffee, but the highest-quality, self-imposed standards for promoting equitable relationships with farmers, workers and communities, as well as protecting the environment. - BusinessWire
I'm glad to know they are working on sustainability issues. I can't sustain my morning work without some of the liquid black gold.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008 

The Shangri-La Called Ojai

R 18 Rt150 Ojai
Originally uploaded by burawski@sbcglobal.net.

Ojai is just south of Santa Barbara and is an amazingly beautiful (and hot!) part of agricultural California. Avocados. Lavendar. Cherimoyas. Oranges. Pixie Tangerines. All abundant in this modern day Shangri-La. Abundant, also, are talented farmers growing/raising some amazing edible bounty, venues selling it and chefs using this local goodness to showcase their creations.

Ojai Farmer's Market
Feast Bistro.
The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
The Oaks Spa
Rainbow Bridge Natural Store
The Ranch House
Suzanne's Cuisine
The Ojai Culinary Studio
Ojai Olive Oil
Ojai Valley Bee Farm
Ojai Pixie Tangerines
and home to "Edible Ojai", the first in the "Edible" magazine community.

Tangerine Macadamia Nut Cookies
(From the community cookbook "Ojai's Bounty" - recipe from Anne Thacher)

1 stick butter (1/4 lb.)
3/4 cup sugar
Grated rind of one tangerine (outside peel only)
1 Tablespoon Tangerine juice
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and tangerine stuff, then flour, baking powder and nuts. Drop teaspoon amounts on a cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Best if made with Ojai tangerines!

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Friday, April 04, 2008 

Flickr Photo Friday

Anderson's Bakery
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

Anderson's Bakery on State Street

From their website:
Start your day with any of Andersen's mouthwatering pastries—fresh out of the oven at 8:00AM every morning. We use approximately 2 tons of marzipan every year in these tasty delights. Try the traditionally Danish Kringle or Butter Ring, or maybe a warm apple strudel straight from the oven.

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Stop by our local "advertiser"

Lia Suzuki Massage.

Lia Suzuki is a practicing licensed massage therapist, bodyworker, and educator based in Santa Barbara, California. Her clients range from Olympic athletes to Hollywood celebrities. In addition to having a thriving private practice in Santa Barbara, California, Lia also teaches Barefoot Sports Massage worldwide.

Tax Season Special! Now Through Tax Day enjoy 10, 20, & 30-minute sessions in your office.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008 

A Former Santa Barbarian Farmer

shares some thoughts about sustainability on the food front.
Michael Ableman farms on an island in British Columbia but said Alaska is more of an island than where he lives."Your food insecurity is as bad as I've ever seen," he said to no one in particular Saturday as he toured the Arctic Organics farm. "What happens when the planes and trucks stop moving?"

Not an insignificant question as the cost of fuel continues to go up with little hope for relief in the near term.

"That whole concept of a global food supply is based on cheap fossil fuel. It's no longer a left-wing, radical theory" to understand that shipping food all over the world is no longer a viable way to feed people, he said.

"We're augmenting a totally unsustainable diet."

And the worst of it is, Ableman said, the most vulnerable people - elderly and poor - will be the first to suffer when food supplies go wanting.

....A farmer and author of three books on his favorite subject, sustainable agriculture, Ableman came to international note several years ago when he fought to save his small farm just north of Santa Barbara, Calif., from development.

Amidst some of the most expensive real estate in the nation, Ableman's 12.5 acres are now the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens.

The Goleta, Calif., center describes itself as "a model for small-scale urban food production, agricultural preservation and farm-based education. - Anchorage Daily News
and what a place Fairview Gardens is!
On our twelve and a half acres, we produce a hundred different fruits and vegetables, feed approximately five hundred families, and employ over twenty people. We also nourish the community in less tangible ways, through cooking and gardening classes, workshops, farm festivals, tours, lectures, apprenticeships, and outreach and consultation to schools and communities nationwide.
Michael raises a good question. Start asking yourself and your community leaders "how sustainable is your community's food supply? Your town's or city's?"

Even with Santa Barbara's wonderful Fairview Gardens and our plentiful Farmer's Markets, one earthquake can shut down the highway in and out of town. What then? When gas hits $6-$10 a gallon, will farmers find it feasible to haul their goods to and fro? What then? When the price of food reaches skyhigh levels. What then?

It's time we start really conversing about "what then's"...right now.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008 

Something so terribly wrong...

When "marketing" and "branding" completely erase the "reality." When the label says "Taste of the Northwest", you expect something FROM the Northwest...NOT INDIA!
Northwest brands reject pickles from Northwest growers

On this rich rural land where tractors share the roads with cars, cucumber growers for decades have harvested their crops, which made their way onto pantry shelves in jars of Nalley, Farman's and Steinfeld's pickles that touted their Northwest roots.

That tradition is ending.

Starting this season, pickles in those jars will come from other parts of the country -- and even India.

...Nalley says its products have the "Down home taste of the Northwest since 1918," while Steinfeld's says its pickles are the "Quality brand of the Northwest since 1922," and Farman's says its products have the "Delicious taste of the Northwest since 1944." - Seattle PI

Well. I hope the local folks start buying up the cucumbers and creating their own LOCAL pickles. At what point do we as consumers start really fighting back against this corporatism run amok? When will our elected officials?

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008 

A Delicious April Fool's Day "Experiment"

Which is the tap water? Food and Water Watch wanted to know....and they asked folks.

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Ca' Dario

Ca Dario
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

The best Ravioli in town.....


37 East Victoria St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Ph. 805.884.9419

You can now book a table online at Opentable.com!

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