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How should a restaurant disclose that it is charging extra for providing employee health insurance? Or should it all?

With the health care bill all employee's will be covered by businesses with over 50 employees. The cost of eating out is going to go up considerably.

May 11, 2010
duck833 in Not About Food

Double Digging: Please tell me it's worth it

Blended mint compost is a mixture produced by a local company. They take mint straw left over when they distill peppermint from local growners, add chicken manure, add local produced compost and other organic matter and mix it up. Comes out black, rich and great top dressing for beds in the garden and flower beds.

May 11, 2010
duck833 in Gardening

How to choose the most flavorful steak

I don't think Costco keeps track.

I buy Costco rib-eye's, they are great and taste just fine on my grill, especially paired with a nice big New World style Oregon Pinot Noir. (Dinner tonight with fresh new fingerling potatoes and fresh grilled vegi's)

May 09, 2010
duck833 in General Topics

Double Digging: Please tell me it's worth it

I am blessed with 10-12 feet of river loam for soil. I mulch every year with blended mint compost and add my own compost when I can get someone to move it. With all the organics the worms take care of turning over the soil and providing drainage, they also are handy for fishing trips.

I use a electric mantis tiller now for turning over the garden beds, works like a champ and starts every time!

May 09, 2010
duck833 in Gardening

Eugene, Oregon

Ahhh! Voodoo Donuts comes to Eugene. Big line out the door this Saturday, it appears they might sell out by 5:00PM today. Biggest food event in Eugene for a long time.

Trying a Eugene Cream, a piece of Portland Cream and a chunk of apple fritter right now, pretty darn good!

May 08, 2010
duck833 in Pacific Northwest

New to Charcoal BBQ HEEELLLPPP!

The chimney might be a few bucks cheaper but it is not easier. The brush burner will get the charcoal steak ready within 3-4 minutes, and clean off the grill.

May 07, 2010
duck833 in Cookware

New to Charcoal BBQ HEEELLLPPP!

I don't use a chimney to start charcoal. I use a brush burner propane tourch hooked on a 5 gallon propane tank. Much faster and I use it to burn off the grill from the last cooking at the same time. Available at harbor freight for around $30.

May 07, 2010
duck833 in Cookware

Those Little Burnt Things That Taste So Good

I love the burnt ends when I smoke brisket. I usually cook the big packer and trim off the point when the flat is done. Then put the point back on the smoker for another 4 hours or so. Burnt ends are the best part!

May 06, 2010
duck833 in General Topics

Strawberries have no flavor anymore. Agree or disagree?

Just buy from local growers and you will find the good stuff.

The local berries start showing up in Oregon in June, well worth waiting for. Will be seeing some blueberries and rasberries first, some of the best available.

May 02, 2010
duck833 in General Topics

How do you clean a pizza stone?

I use a BGE stone in my BGE for pizza. I have a wire brush that I knock off the big chunks and then I just run it up to over 800 degrees to take care of anything else. It may not look like a new stone but it cooks just fine.

Apr 25, 2010
duck833 in Cookware

Need advice on Big Green Egg

Get the BGE. I would recommend the large. With the large you can get the plate setter and the BGE pizza stone.

The BGE is great if you want to have one cooker that can do it all.

Apr 25, 2010
duck833 in Cookware

how do you get your rib-eye so tender?

Bought four nice looking prime rib-eye's at Costco. They are going on the BGE in a few minutes, super high temp, then rest and finish at 300 degrees or so. Will pull at 119 internal. $10.50 per lb for prime! Will report in later.

Apr 22, 2010
duck833 in Home Cooking

A Stupid Man...

Joe, if that is the worst you did with a solo trip to town then you have nothing to worry about :)

Apr 17, 2010
duck833 in Not About Food

What do you have started for the 2010 garden?

In Eugene, Oregon. We got a really nice sunny day, tilled the garden plots, put out peas, artichokes, herbs. Spuds are coming up in the mounds I planted them in last month. Greenhouse is full of vegi starts and annuals, 30 flats or so in total. Most annuals will probably not go out until Mother's day, unless the 7-10 forcast looks promising and then maybe on May day. Tomatoes are growing like crazy in the greenhouse, I will have enough plants for the neighborhood!

Apr 17, 2010
duck833 in Gardening

Putting my refrigerator in the basement

I keep a refer in the garage alongside a freezer. Both are made for being outside and have more insulation, probably larger motor etc. We use the garage one for drinks, sodas, bottled water and BEER!. It is also nice to have a place to stage food, and meat for big bbq's and tailgaters. In the kitchen we don't have a freezer at all, just a built-in ice maker.

Works for us!

Apr 17, 2010
duck833 in Cookware

Am I the only one smitten with microwave vegetable steaming bags?

We just use ordinary zip-lock bags with a tiny bit of water for the steam.

Works great and ez cleanup.

Apr 15, 2010
duck833 in Home Cooking

ISO outdoor Paella equipment advice.

I have two ring burners and five different pans. The gas rings work great and breakdown for easy storage and transport. If it is windy you can use a ring of aluminum foil around the pan to make a simple wind shield.

I clean and reoil my carbon pans after each use, no rust at all and I live in wet Oregon.

I have fed small groups with a little pan that I put on my Weber charcoal grill and I have fed over 60 folks at tailgaters with my largest pan. I have also sometimes done two paella's at once, a meat on and a seafood one.

Great for parties and entertaining.

Apr 15, 2010
duck833 in Cookware

Goat cheese haters?

I used to like goat cheese. Then one time at a dinner a friend told me to smell the goat cheese and said "Doesn't this smell and taste like a wet goat?". I have never tasted a wet goat but it did smell like one. I have not had any since.

Apr 15, 2010
duck833 in Cheese

need fertilizer/soil amendment reccs

If you have a local place where you can buy compost for a reasonable price then that is what I would use.

I make lots of my own compost and still add 10-20 yards a year of purchased compost.

Apr 13, 2010
duck833 in Gardening

Smoked Pork Shoulder for Pulled Pork

I have never seen one of these before. I normally smoke shoulders until they are at fall apart stage.

I would cook this baby in the oven at approx 250 for approx 1 1/2 hours per pound or until it hits approx 190 or so internal temp. You could speed it up by putting it in foil.

Good luck! Pulled pork is very forgiving, hard to screw it up.

Apr 13, 2010
duck833 in Home Cooking

Considering hiring a BBQ chef for a small backyard party. Advice?

Put up a post on the Kansas City BBQ Society site. There has to be a member closeby that will do the gig for you.

Cheers!

Apr 11, 2010
duck833 in Outer Boroughs

Pig Roast

We are going to do rather small pigs, 50-60 lbs or so. The China box thing works for us since we can move it easily and then put it away.

The pig itself is really just for show. On all serious cooks or parties I will have smoked pulled pork, ribs and brisket that I have done on my Fast Eddy FEC-100, all this stuff will be in chaffing dishes or at least in a Cambro waiting for dinner time.

I might bring a piggy to a tailgater this fall, will see how easy the China box transports etc.

Apr 11, 2010
duck833 in Home Cooking

Zinc Bistro Revisited

I ordered the Steak Frites for lunch and dinner. On the lunch menu they sometimes are not there, but they are happy to make them for you if you ask.

Zinc Bistro Steak Frites with a nice Cote du Rhone, sitting outside on a bistro table. One of the best experiences in the Valley of the Sun.

Not sunny here in Oregon right now, but I will be at Zinc's on the 18th, 8 days to go.

Apr 10, 2010
duck833 in Phoenix

Pig Roast

I bought one of the boxes. I notice they have a new one out now with a drain hole. I am used to cleaning lots of smokers, pits etc, this should be no problem. I can always just take it to the self service car wash.

We are going to do at least four piggys this spring and summer, the first one next month. I am lucky to have a great local pig provider that works with the butcher to give me the size I want and completely ready to go on the cookers.

Going to be a fun summer, Pinot and Pork - a perfect combination.

Apr 10, 2010
duck833 in Home Cooking

chef looking for late night restaurant and more

If FnB in Old Town Scottsdale is open the day you arrive that would be my pick. Late in the evening they have a trade dinner for a bargain price for other folks that are in the restaurant business. Arizona wines with a large list available of other wines, farm to table menu and great folks.

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FnB
7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Apr 10, 2010
duck833 in Phoenix

What is the single best restaurant in Phoenix?

Best Steak Frite in the Valley or darn near anywhere "Zinc Bistro" at Kierland commons, get an outside table and enjoy the hot cars driving by :)

Apr 10, 2010
duck833 in Phoenix

Herb garden in old well?

nice pit for grilling. Dig out dirt down about three feet, put in gravel or concrete (need drain holes for rain water). Get a welding shop to make a custom grate for the top and you are good to go. Would be nice to have a refrigerator or a old tub for beer near the pit.

A good shop could also build a Santa Maria grill unit for this baby. Couple of cables with a crank so you could raise and lower the grill to vary the heat and distance of the meat to the actual coals.

Cheers!

Apr 08, 2010
duck833 in Gardening

What changed in your kitchen when you moved to Phoenix?

I am only in the valley of the sun a few times during the summer and then for only 3-4 days at a time.

I normally get up early, head out and get coffee and paper at local hangout. Then I do whatever I need to outside or take a hike in the McDowell's. Around 11 or so I hit the pool and rehydrate. If I am doing serious outside work I do it in 30 minute shifts and drink lots of water. After 12 or so I head inside and fix lunch, turn on all the ceiling fans and normally set the A/C around 78 (it is a dry heat). Then I spend the afternoon on the internet, reading or doing other stuff inside.

When the sun goes down over the mountains I will fire up my Big Green Egg to cook something or we headout to a nice patio somewhere for some good eats.

I know most locals that are here all summer are looking pretty trashed and tired of the heat by labor day.

Apr 08, 2010
duck833 in General Topics

What changed in your kitchen when you moved to Phoenix?

For our part-time house in Scottsdale I bought a salt unit at Home Depot for around $600. I do not notice the difference in taste for drinking it and have no idea if it makes a difference in cooking. Less hard water spots on glasses and kitchen stuff. (Food related comment!)

Apr 07, 2010
duck833 in General Topics

Lunch near PDX?

If it were me I would have a great lunch in Portland, then head to Eugene.

Apr 06, 2010
duck833 in Metro Portland