r

Ridge's Profile

Title Last Reply

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

Querencia-no doubt the FDA has a tough job and there are good people working there. I don't know anyone there and have no insight, perhaps your husband does, but it seems to me like something is not right at some level. They help guide congress to make the rules and they enforce the rules. Are they doing this in a scientifically sound and rational way? Not always. They have been super heavy handed with the artisan cheese issue. They can keep the population safe and allow people to enjoy raw milk cheese; the two are not as mutually exclusive as they make it seem. And they have gone into major unnecessary nanny state mode with other issues as well (not in the scope of this discussion to get into). But when to comes to other issues they act like climate change deniers. Aside from the artificial sweeteners issue discussed above, they seem in denial of all the science showing the negative effects of feeding livestock antibiotics. When will they stop acting like climate change deniers and evolution deniers and start acting like scientists and grow the balls to stand up to the big meat lobbyists?

You can see this article on the antibiotic issue:

http://blogs.wsj.com/pharmalot/2014/0...

From the article:

"“Waiting for an agency that has failed for over 40 years to take action on the overuse of antibiotics in livestock feed is not a wise strategy,” says Keep Antibiotics Working. “…There is little incentive for industry to adopt alternatives if it is cheaper and easier to carry on with routine use of antibiotics.”"

Sep 19, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
1

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

The thing is paulj that this is not the only study to show negative effects of artificial sweeteeners:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/artic...

And I might add the authors of the Nature paper did not set out to show negative effects of artificial sweeteners. The results they got were the opposite of what they were expecting.

Sep 19, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

The study was published in the journal Nature which is very prestigious and well regarded. It's not just saccharin but includes other sweeter as well. Read the article. And it's one of several studies in the last 3 or 4 years showing artificial sweeteners mess with your metabolism. So these harmful metabolic effects have been shown in different independent studies. The FDA is doing nothing. But they go after artisan cheese. Could it be that artisan cheese makers don't have the lobbyists Coke and Pepsi do?

Sep 18, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

What is the most exciting restaurant you've eaten at in the SFBA recently?

The place I want to go back to most in the city is Bar Tartine.

Sep 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

Obviously if someone is immunocompromised or very young or old there are foods they might want to avoid.

If a cheese is found to be contaminated with listeria then take it off the shelf. But the issue we are discussing is related to new regulations about the levels of non-pathogenic and harmless E. coli allowed in cheese. Enforcement of these regulations means lots of completely safe cheeses will be banned.

Sep 17, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

My last response was flippant. No one wants to get food poisoning. But the issue is: are these banned cheeses causing outbreaks of food poisoning? The answer is no. If you research the topic, food poisoning mostly is caused by meat. Produce is second. When outbreaks have been caused by cheese it is mostly illegally imported soft cheese made in Mexico.The newly enforced guidelines, put into place in 2010 but only now starting to be enforced, are so stringent they ban cheeses that are perfectly safe and healthy to eat. This will not lead to fewer food related illnesses. Increased monitoring for actual pathogens makes more sense scientifically and would lead to fewer cases of food poisoning.

The FDA is quick to pounce on things it deems as scientifically old fashioned and out of date, like raw milk cheese which humans have consumed for a very long time, while being quick to embrace fancy new-fangled things like artificial sweeteners whose long term effect on humans are unknown regardless of what industry sponsored animal feeding studies say. Turns out lots of studies are now showing FDA approved artificial sweeteners are bad for you:

http://www.boston.com/health/2014/09/...

So the FDA now allows us to eat these artificial sweeteners that are not good for human health but wants to prevent us from eating healthy Roquefort which has been shown to be good for human health:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23...

I don't know about you but I will keep avoiding artificial sweeteners and keep eating Roquefort.

My message to the FDA: It's time to rethink what you are doing.

Sep 17, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

Have you looked around at how UNHEALTHY Americans are? The government turns a blind eye to the big corporations feeding us garbage and making us sick. Turns a blind eye to meat producers misusing antibiotics to fatten up animals to increase their profit margins. The government subsidizes production of unhealthy food and sugar. But by golly they are protecting us against the dangers of small artisanal cheese producers. I know I feel safe.

Sep 14, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
2

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I agree with your preference for the darker side of third wave. Though I discovered good coffee from Peets, I also find their roast too burned tasting now. Medium dark (what you call darker side of third wave) is perfect for me. Certain third wave roasters emphasize very bright washed-process new world coffee beans which I think contribute to some not liking third wave coffee. Thankfully the pendulum is starting to swing more towards natural process coffees which are lower acid and taste richer to me.

Dining ideas for weekend in SF

You can sit at the bar at Dosa in the mission for yummy Indian food:

http://www.dosasf.com/

I think you can also sit at the Bar at Bar Tartine which is innovative fusion:

http://www.bartartine.com/

For Chinese check out Terra Cotta warrior in the Sunset or Z & Y in Chinatown:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968821
http://www.zandyrestaurant.com/

Sep 11, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

If people need more encouragement to drink coffee I wanted to point out that caffeine is neuroprotective for Parkinson's (people who drink coffee less likely to get it) and possibly Alzheimer's:

http://www.nutraingredients.com/Resea...

So drink up people.

Sep 10, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I don't like acidity in coffee either. That's why I like the natural process coffees more. At medium roast a good natural process should not be acidic.

Sep 08, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I don't agree with the Jonathan Gold quote. I am not at all a morning person and fall somewhere between Oscar the grouch and a walking dead zombie before 10:00 AM. A complex nuanced cup of coffee is something that makes this otherwise dreadful part of the day bearable for me.

Sep 08, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

Melanie,

Coffee is very complex and fun. You probably are familiar but for those not I think drinking single origin beans can be an interesting exercise in that you can hone in on what you like and don't like in different coffee beans. For example where the beans are from (new world vs. old), the coffee variety (some heirloom varieties, for example Yemen mocca with tiny beans, can be very distinctive), how they are processed and fermented (beans can be fermented with the fruit on the beans(called natural process) vs. with the fruit washed off (called washed)) and the roast level all can strongly effect the kind if coffee they make. My favorite coffees are Ethiopian, natural process beans roasted on the slightly dark side of medium. I like the low acid, chocolaty, winery and fruit notes in these coffees.

Having said that I do find that even with the same kinds of beans there are roasters I like more than others and I attribute this to the roasting technique. For example I don't like any beans I have tried at Ritual even when they are a variety and roast that I should like.

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

I have tried more of the Temple coffees than Old Soul. The roast of Temple coffees seems be slightly on the dark side of medium which is my favorite roast. Old Soul is more of a medium roast. I like the Old Soul Sulawesi "white eagle reserve" which I have been getting regularly. I got some different Old Soul coffees that I have not tried yet but will try to remember to post about them once I try them. I have tried several Temple coffee beans and they have all been spectacular. They really nail down their roasting technique and have excellent sources of beans. Much much better than Ritual and better than the last batch of BB I tried.

Sep 06, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Sweet Jesus: Whole Foods No Longer Getting Brillat-Savarin Due to FDA?!

Sadly the Brillat-Savarin is on the FDA hit list beacuse ts made with raw milk. It was included in the list from the FDA website under this heading:

"The following list provides the names of French cheeses covered under the Import Alert. Examples of French Soft Cheeses Covered by Import Alert #12-03 (i.e. cheeses that are required to be made from pasteurized milk in order to enter the United States):"

I looked at the listeria Outbreaks on the CDC website. There are 4 listed since 2011.

http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks...

One for cantaloupe and 2 for domestic cheeses and one Italian cheese. One cheese plant in Delaware sounds like it was horrible and was rightfully shut down. Shady and sloppy producers who cut corners for safety should be hit hard. As far as I can determine none of the cheeses were made with raw milk or were French. As has been pointed out in a recent post by Melanie the French have mastered cheese-making safety techniques:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985884

Let me be clear: Banning Brillat-Savarin will do NOTHING to prevent listeria outbreaks. It's over reaching bad policy.

Sep 06, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

FDA restrictions keeping some great cheeses out of stores

From what I have read Listeriosis is a problem mostly with illegally imported soft cheeses from Mexico. I am guessing the facilities where those cheeses are made are not pretty. No outbreaks that I am aware have been linked to French cheeses.

As I understand the tests that resulted in pulling the French cheeses off the shelf were the new plate count restrictions for non-pathogenic E. coli.

Labeling people who appreciate artisan cheeses as the champagne and Brie set is inaccurate and extremely condescending. Would everyone who would rather eat a well made raw milk French cheese instead of sterile kraft singles or Velveeta fall into this category?

Again I stress that there are ways to safeguard our food without imposing overly stringent restrictions that ban one class of cheeses.

Sep 06, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

rice bran oil in Berkeley area?

I got some at Tokyo Fish market.

Sep 05, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

What are your thoughts on the city's coffee offerings?

When it comes to coffee Sacramento is giving the Bay Area a run for its money. For coffee beans lately I have been getting beans from 2 coffee roasters in Sacramento. I work in Davis and they are available at the Davis Food Coop. Temple coffee and Old Soul coffee. I think the quality of the beans and roast is much better than any of the Bay Area roasters these days. I don't know if these are available west of Davis yet. But I highly recommend them if you come across the beans or find yourself east of the Bay Area.

http://templecoffee.com

http://www.oldsoulco.com

Sep 05, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

FDA restrictions keeping some great cheeses out of stores

The problem is that there is the real possibility that these rules will effectively eliminate an entire class of cheeses (cheeses made with raw milk) and shut down small businesses. That's not inflammatory, that's the sad reality. In the US you have small artisan cheese makers making very high quality cheeses with raw milk. Very tragic if this industry is shut down.

And it looks bad for the FDA that instead of going after the big mass producers that feed their animals antibiotics to increase yield, they are going after small artisan cheese makers. Ever heard of artificial selection? If bacteria are constantly exposed to low doses of antibiotics because farmers want to use them to increase yield you end up with antibiotic resistant bacteria. It's called evolution. That's a scientific fact and a travesty that the FDA has largely turned a blind eye to.

There are simple techniques, sold these days as kits, that allow for the rapid detection of pathogens. They can be expensive I believe but they can be used to monitor for the presence of pathogens. The FDA should increase testing for pathogens in cheese rather than imposing the stringent limits on the levels of harmless E. coli. The problem with these limits is they will not ensure safty- there could be still be pathogens present even if there is no E. coli and they all but eliminate production of cheeses from raw milk.

Sep 05, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
2

FDA restrictions keeping some great cheeses out of stores

Look no one wants to get listeria or harmful E. coli. But the question is how far do you go to safeguard the food supply? I am a scientist and I believe they have gone to far. Because of a few bad apples they are enforcing standards that would amount to banning all cheeses made with raw milk. Even though the vast majority are safe and healthy- a recent study showed that Roquefort, one of the cheeses in question inhibits bacteria that cause inflammation linked to atherosclerosis. Don't punish all artisan cheese makers who make cheese with raw milk for the faults of a tiny number of bad apples. They are trying to make a living putting out a healthy product that people enjoy. It's so wrong and unfair.

FDA restrictions keeping some great cheeses out of stores

They lowered the level of E.coli bacteria allowed to be detected on a cheese by 10 fold. People hear E. coli and freak out but it's a very common bacteria found in the environment. Very common. And not dangerous. Only certain strains are dangerous. The dangerous strains seem to be enriched in situations where animals are mass produced and fed antibiotics. That's where outbreaks are linked to, mass produced meat from the US. To go in and target cheese is missing the mark. Hey FDA, why not target where the problem is actually coming from?

You would think there is an epidemic of people sickened by cheese. There is not. Scientifically it makes no sense. Every scientist knows that harmless E. coli bacteria is all over the place. Raw milk is not sterile and it gets contaminated with a tiny amount. Pasteurized milk is sterile in comparison. But pasteurized milk also lacks beneficial bacteria and enzymes like lipase and protease involved in the ripening and aging fermentations that contribute to the complex flavor profile of raw milk cheese. By making the level of E. coli so stringent they are effectively banning all raw milk cheese. Don't be fooled, this is not good science this is bureaucratic overreach.

Sep 04, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
2

What has happened to Cheese of the Month?

Not enough people were participating. I thought it was fun but you could often hear crickets it was so quiet.

Aug 24, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Urchin Bistrot / San Francisco

We went Saturday night for dinner. In the past we have been big fans of Terra In Napa and Ame in SF.

I didn't like the decor of the restaurant very much. It's painted drab yellow. Not much warmth or personality.

The food was good but didn't wow us, except for the delicious chewy Bar Tartine bread. I felt that several of the dishes we ate could be improved.

Here is what we are:

Deviled eggs with Uni. I love both deviled eggs and Uni but this dish was a major MEH.

Ocean trout fume. One of the better dishes of the evening. Very good smoked trout with capers. A squirt of citrus and dash of olive oil would have enhanced the already tasty fish and would have elevated the dish.

Radicchio salad. Very good.

Spaghetti with sea urchin. Ok Uni flavor but the texture of the whole thing was pasty. We make better Uni pasta at home. I expected better from the Terra people. This dish needs work, as is it's kind of a flop.

The Hiro sandwich. A deconstructed sandwich with grilled bread, bone marrow and meatballs. Served with Jalapeño and sungold tomatoes. Served on top of French fries. Two problems with this dish. First, the boring French fries weigh down an already heavy dish. But when you ate the bread, marrow and meatballs with tomato and jalapeño it was delicious. The acidity of the tomatoes and bite of jalapeño cut through the richness of the marrow and enhanced the dish. The problem was there were only two very thin slices of jalapeño and not enough tomatoes. If they dumped the fries and added more jalapeños and tomatoes this would be an excellent dish.

I would not return to Urchin bistro unless I heard they have improved greatly, which is possible given that the restaurant is so new and they may still be getting their footing.

Aug 24, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Food Souvenirs from San Francisco

Tierra chili sauces from the farmers market at the Ferry building are local. There are many different kinds and you can taste them all. Unlike other chili sauces they have layers of flavor in addition to just heat. They are good on everything.

Also Poco dolce chocolate tiles. They are not overly sweet (poco dolce means little sweet) and the perfect size for a guilt free dessert at home. Sold in several stores in the Ferry building. My favorite chocolate indulgence.

Aug 22, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Cheese Underground: Rush Creek Reserve Production Stopped By FDA Rule Uncertainty

How sad. The priorities of the FDA are mind boggling. They don't seem to comprehend the science of cheesemaking and how it's a fermentation. It can never be a sterile process. Good bacteria in the cheese outcompete bad bacteria. Why can't they let people make the choice of whether they are willing to take the infentisimal risk of food poisoning from raw cheese. There is no epidemic of food poisoning from raw milk cheese. There is an epidemic of obesity from fast food industries and over processed food. Why is the FDA obsessed with one and not the other?

Aug 20, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

In need of cheese 101

I agree with the suggestions of finding a cheese shop that allows you to taste the cheeses. I suggest that when you taste cheese really focus and take in the flavors and textures. Many cheeses have complex layers of unusual flavors and textures that can overwhelm taste buds not used to them. Try to give unusual flavors a chance before rejecting them. Also many stinky cheeses don't taste stinky. When you taste a cheese what does it remind you of? Grass? Hay? Butter? Earth? mushrooms? Meat? Velvet?

I agree with Don's suggestion of Euphoria, it's a very easy to like cheese. Also St. Agur blue cheese. If you really want to dive in try some washed rind cheese like Eppoisse. It' can be like liquid velvet buttery umami deliciousness. Don't be scared of by the pungent aroma.

Aug 20, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Sichuan Peppercorns & Chili Bean Paste in East Bay? SF?

We have reservations for 7:30 Friday. I will wear a Grateful Dead t-shirt.

Aug 20, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Michael Warring- on I-80 corridor in Vallejo

They only do set menu. It is pricier than most restaurants in Vallejo. Although Vallejo has a reputation as a very blue collar place you get a wide range of people who live in the vicinity and a good number of people who appreciate this type of place once in a while.

Aug 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Sichuan Peppercorns & Chili Bean Paste in East Bay? SF?

I can give you some Sischuan peppercorns. A Chinese friends husband travels regularly to China for business and she gave me some good quality green and red peppercorns. I think I will be eating at Ajanta next Friday at 7:30 so if you can meet me there I will give you some free of charge.

Aug 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Unlocking France's Secrets To Safer Raw Milk Cheese

I've been reading about cheese-making and its fascinating. I'd love to read the French manual they are talking about.

Aug 15, 2014
Ridge in Cheese