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judybird's Profile

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Restaurant staff self-grooming

Several years ago, DH and I were eating at a popular local restaurant, sitting at the bar overlooking the open kitchen. The young man working the salad station would toss and plate the salad with bare hands, then if there was a piece or two of lettuce left in the bowl, he'd pop it into his mouth before delivering the plates to the server and going on to the next salad. About the time we realized what he was doing, he briefly took off his cap, pushed his hair back with his hands, put the cap back on, and went back to making salads, all without ever washing his hands.

We called the GM over and told him what we'd seen. He went into the kitchen, and a minute later the head chef came out and summoned the salad-maker into the kitchen. Very shortly thereafter, there was somebody else working the salad station.

I'd like to think the first young man was not fired, but merely disciplined and would learn from his error, but we weren't sorry to see him gone for the evening.

Aug 21, 2015
judybird in Not About Food

Harmony Cafe now in Cambria

Last year we had a wonderful lunch at the cafe in Harmony, just south of Cambria. We were shocked when we drove by two weeks ago to discover the site boarded up. Luckily, we were told that the chef had reopened in town. It's now the Harmony Cafe at the Pewter Plough, and as you may guess from the name it's located on Main Street at the Pewter Plough playhouse. So far he only does lunch, but will start opening for dinner on weekends soon.

The menu is small, a burger, a couple of sandwiches and salads, but everything is beautifully fresh and prepared perfectly. We chatted with the chef/owner, Giovanni, who takes great pride in the quality of his ingredients - organic whenever possible, all from farms and ranches where he shops personally.

There's a lovely little patio if you want to eat outside, he sells beer and wine, and we finished lunch with a cup of the best coffee we've had in years. Do try it, we'd love to see this one succeed.

Aug 20, 2015
judybird in California

Are the former Sebastian's owners in Cambria now?

We're in Cambria and just finished a sandwich from the Cafe, home of the folks who used to run the restaurant at Sebastian's. I'm happy to say the food is as amazing as always. DH and I split a sandwich of roast lamb, provolone and onions, and at half each, we're well set until dinnertime. They don't have quite as many choices on their menu as they used to, but there are easily a couple of dozen sandwiches to choose from as well as burgers and soups. We're here for a week, we'll definitely be back.

The restaurant is the former Tea Cozy on Bridge Street. There are a couple of comfortable rooms to eat in as well as an open patio in front and a beautiful garden in back. Good selection of beer & wine in bottles, and they have a parking lot - a very good thing on this narrow street.

Go eat there folks, we want to be sure they stick around for awhile.

Aug 09, 2015
judybird in California
1

Are the former Sebastian's owners in Cambria now?

Will do.

Jul 28, 2015
judybird in California

Are the former Sebastian's owners in Cambria now?

That's wonderful news. We'll look forward to a lunch there soon!

Jul 28, 2015
judybird in California

Are the former Sebastian's owners in Cambria now?

Several months ago, I was told that the former owners of Sebastian's would be opening a restaurant on Bridge St. in Cambria. Has that happened yet? We're planning a trip up there in a couple of weeks, and I'd love to surprise DH with another one of their great lunches.

Jul 28, 2015
judybird in California

Wild rice salad ideas

Thanks for all the responses. I like the idea of some nuts, celery, edamane, scallions and as several have recommended, a lemony vinaigrette. Now if the predicted thunderstorms hold off we'll be eating it with cold chicken and a Navarro rose at a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream in a local park on Friday.

Jul 28, 2015
judybird in Home Cooking
1

Wild rice salad ideas

But please, leave out the cranberries! DH can't stand sweet things in salads, and I can't say I disagree. I'm thinking of just cooking the rice then mixing in a bunch of chopped fresh peppers, celery, green onions and such, then tossing with a vinaigrette, but if anyone has a specific recipe, I'd love to have it.

Jul 26, 2015
judybird in Home Cooking

Los Angeles restaurant "characters"

The guy at Pink's about 30 years ago who looked like Chuck Berry. He made a chile dog in one smooth motion, beautiful to watch.

Jul 19, 2015
judybird in Not About Food

Mammoth?

We were in Mammoth a couple of days ago, had an amazing lunch at Latin Market. I don't know if it has another name, it's near the Mogul. Street tacos, burritos, quesadillas, with the selection of meats you'd find on a taco truck in LA, and about the same prices. It's not fine dining, but it was mighty satisfying.

Jun 23, 2015
judybird in California

Walla Walla wineries?

We'll be passing through the Walla Walla area in a week or so. We'd love to do some wine tasting, but the number of wineries I see there is just overwhelming. Can anyone recommend any particular favorites? We'd prefer not to have to make an appointment, since we like to travel without a tight schedule, so those that are appointment-only are out.

We're pretty open as to style and varietal, we'd just like to learn what's making this region so special.

May 11, 2015
judybird in Pacific Northwest

When do you eat your salad?

It was always before the meal until a few years ago when we became friends with a couple from Switzerland. They always served salad after the main course, and DH and I both liked it that say. It was nice to have something light after the main course.

May 05, 2015
judybird in General Topics

Top Chef Season 13 Is Heading To...

As a native Californian, I'd love to see something a little less well-known. How about the Central Coast - Morro Bay to San Simeon? Or the far northeastern part of the state, with beautiful grasslands and ranches. Maybe somewhere in the Sierra for rustic creations? Or heck, why not the gorgeous Eastern Mojave?

May 03, 2015
judybird in Food Media & News
1

How do you split the bill and tip evenly?

We sometimes go out with a group of people we don't know well, but all of whom like to try new and often unusual restaurants. Usually somebody will send a note to a local Yahoo group suggesting a time and place, and will make reservations for whatever number of folks respond.

One participant created and printed a card-sized piece of paper for everyone with headings and blank lines for drinks, entree, dessert, other, then added a line for 8% tax and one for 20% tip. Each person was able to fill in exactly what they'd eaten and drunk, add correct tax and tip, and pay accordingly. There was never a problem, and everybody is happy to know that they're paying the right amount, the tip is fair, and nobody is getting screwed.

May 03, 2015
judybird in Not About Food

Help! How many jiggers in an ounce, or vice versa?

We're enjoying perfect Manhattans and often make them at home, but are often confused on measurements. The recipe we like calls for 4 oz rye, 1 oz each sweet and dry vermouth, a few dashes of bitters. All is good, but we don't have a measuring thing that uses ounces, we have a double-sided jigger. The big side is 1 1/2 ounces, the small side is 3/4 ounce. So how the heck do we get one ounce???

Bottom line - can somebody give me a recipe in jiggers?

Apr 14, 2015
judybird in Spirits

'Farm Eggs'

Where are you?

Mar 23, 2015
judybird in General Topics

Store bought Salmon Burger for grill?

We've been using the Costco ones for some time now, always keep a bag in the freezer.

Mar 12, 2015
judybird in Los Angeles Area

Giuseppe's, Pismo Beach

We spent two nights in Pismo last summer. Ate at Giuseppe's the first night, and liked it so much we went back the second night! Agree with all the previous comments - generous portions, good wine list, prices reasonable for the quality.

Mar 12, 2015
judybird in California

Mint Leaf Indian Restaurant (Pasadena, Washington/Altadena) - Coming soon??

You have the story just right. It's been at least a year since he was denied the CUP for the Banquet Hall, and the place has been sitting empty ever since. We live in the area, and will probably give it a try.

The press release, quoted in full on Eater, says the restaurant is "just a stone's throw away from office complexes, adding a convenient lunch stop to the area around Old Town Pasadena." It's a pretty long throw from Old Town, at least a 10-15 minute drive.

Mar 12, 2015
judybird in Los Angeles Area

can you identify this plant?

Similar to horse tail, but I think it's actually Mormon Tea, a plant of the Great Plains and desert areas. The genus is Ephedra, and as you may guess from the name, it contains alkaloids related to Ephedrine. There are a lot of medicinal uses in history, Google it to find the details.

Horsetail is Equisetum, or scouring reed. It's a very primitive plant, and actually contains silica in the stems. It can be used as an abrasive for cleaning.

Feb 23, 2015
judybird in General Topics

LA BARBERA'S - ONE NIGHT RE-OPENING

Really??? We live in Pasadena, and try to avoid the west side as much as humanly possible, but would make an exception in this case!

Feb 17, 2015
judybird in Los Angeles Area

Looking for help with winery recommendation Santa Ynez

So many in that area,it's hard to think of just one or two, but since you're going to be in Pismo, I'd suggest Hearst Winery in old San Simeon. It's about 45 minutes north of Pismo on Highway 1, beautiful scenery all the way. It's right across the road from the Hearst Castle.

Not much in the way of a tour, but there's a restaurant adjacent and a lovely beach/picnic area just around the corner. Also fun if you're there in spring is a trip about another 4 miles north to see the elephant seals on the beach. By March there should be youngsters around as well as some of the big males.

Dec 27, 2014
judybird in California

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #8 – 12/10/14 (spoilers)

Katsuji's restaurant has a web site, complete with some hilarious videos of him making various Kosher Mexican creations. http://www.mexikosher.com/

Dec 12, 2014
judybird in Food Media & News

Which pasta?

We'll be hosting some friends for a small dinner in a few weeks, and I plan to make a rich, meaty ragu bolognese - final recipe not decided yet, but there are lots of choices. The question has become - what size/shape pasta is best with that kind of sauce? There's a wonderful Italian grocery store in our area, so there are lots of choices.

Dec 05, 2014
judybird in Home Cooking

Need a dish for holiday tea

I'm in Southern California, where there's plenty of good citrus right now, but tomatoes are just so-so. Still cherry and grape tomatoes at farmers' markets, though, so one of the cherry tomato ideas sounds like a plan.

Dec 05, 2014
judybird in Home Cooking

Need a dish for holiday tea

A friend is hosting a tea for about 10 in a couple of weeks - actually, it's more of a late lunch, although she's calling it a tea. She's making some sort of main dish, and others are bringing cookies or salads. Any suggestions for a light side dish would be appreciated. I've considered cold shrimp or deviled eggs, but neither is a new idea, I'd appreciate something more original.

Dec 04, 2014
judybird in Home Cooking

[UPDATE] Vote for Your Worst Food Trends for "Best (or in this case, worst) of 2014"

And dang it, we love kale! It grows in our garden like crazy, it's always easy to walk out and pick enough for dinner. But we've been doing that for years, long before it became trendy, and we'll keep doing it long after the trend fades. Thanks for letting me rant.

Dec 04, 2014
judybird in General Topics
1

Anything new on the Central Coast for breakfast and lunch?

Sad to say, Sebastian's is under new ownership and is a shadow of its former self. Very few menu items, just a couple of burgers and salads, not bad, but no longer the "gotta go there" place it was for years.

Nov 29, 2014
judybird in California

Czech president: US beer is ‘filthy water’

One of the Pythons (Eric Idle?) once explained why American beer is like making love in a canoe. The answer - it's f***ing close to water.

Nov 25, 2014
judybird in Beer
1

Food "Practical Jokes" / violations

Many years ago a friend, who was a very good cook, dated a nice guy from Iowa who insisted his favorite salad was green jello with celery. She finally said she'd make it for his birthday. So she laid out about 7 whole stalks of celery in a baking dish, covered them with green jello and served it with a smile. It was weird-looking to say the least.

Nov 25, 2014
judybird in Not About Food