missoulagrace's Profile

Title Last Reply

Worst Beer Ever?

"In a blind tasting...etc..."

Funnily enough, a bunch of friends a number of years ago did just that-- blind taste tested PBR vs. Hamms. The theory was that PBR (which was the "cool" cheap beer among many hip types at the time) was all reputation and no reality.
The result? Hamms, definitively. 12 out of 13 people who took the blind test agreed.
I can't explain it.
Neitehr am I arguing that either is a great beer --I'm an IPA or pale ale drinker, myself-- but it has been demonstrated that there IS a difference among them :-)
Oh, and I'll take ANY of those cheapos (especially on river trips etc) before a Bud. For some reason, Bud smells and tastes like a bad college drinker's tomorrow morning's beer breath, from the first sip.

Jun 24, 2008
missoulagrace in Beer

What is your favorite cookbook of all time?

That is such a nice offer... thank you! --Grace

Jun 20, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

What is your favorite cookbook of all time?

Really? I will look for it!

Jun 20, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

Your fave non-American breakfast food/meal?

Funny, I just posted about Gallo Pinto on a different thread as well (Frugal meals).. but I am really craving this Costa Rican staple. Black beans and rice, cooked together and always this particular purplish brown color. Served with huevos revueltos (scrambled) and a pinepple batido (smoothie). It's a breakfast I love, love love. Tastes even better when eaten at a table in a freshly raked sand-floored restaurant.

Jun 19, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

Northwestern Montana Trip

Hi ! I am happy to recommend some of my favorite eats in my hometown and favorite place, Missoula.
All the places I would recommend are in the downtown area-- I dont know where you'll be staying, but if you can stay in the downtown area (instead of out on the "strip" where most of the chain hotels are) you'll have a better experience of Missoula, because you can stroll around on the beautiful summer evenings.
Two great bakeries are located on the south side of the river: Bernice's, on 3rd street, great fo cookies, bars, and strong coffee; and Le Petit Outre, on 4th, for awesome baguettes, artisan breads, and french-ish pastries. (The bread makes out-of-town visitors take a second look at this little town.)
Just around the corner from Le Petit, on 5th, is Big Dipper Ice Cream, homemade flavors like yellow cake, blueberry corn bread, bacon brittle, mexican chocolate, huckleberry, etc.
My two favorite 'special' restaurants are 1) the Red Bird (which has a fine dining room and a casual-upscale wine bar.) The menu varies seasonally but is ALWAYS creative and delicious. The chefs house-cure their own meats and use local ingredients whenever possible.
2) Scotty's Table, located in the historic Wilma theatre and hotel (it's not a hotel any more, though.) Yummy delicious food and a great staff. When my son was 2 weeks overdue, everyone recommended that I order the Pasta d'Abruzzi (spicy, hearty red sauce with house sausage) -- it has a reputation for "getting things going". It didn't, but it sure was good!
The Catalyst is my favorite spot for lunch -- fresh, homemade soups and salads served with bread and butter-- and is also the unofficial home of Missoula's gay and lesbian community. (They also make a great breakfast burrito.)
Great pub food also abounds in Missoula, and I recommend the food at the Iron Horse (including sweet potato fries with chipotle ketchup--Mmm.) or Sean Kelly's (don't be put off by the chesy motto--'where the gaelic meets the garlic"-- the food IS actually very good!) . My favorite, though, is the Dinosaur Cafe, located in Charlie B's . Charlies doesn't have a sign, but ask anybody and they'll point it out to you. If you're opposed to eating in a bar, (smoking is still allowed there, though not in most places) maybe pass on it, but I love the place, as doe most everyone who has made Missoula their home-- the walls are lined with large close-up photos of Charlies' patrons from eras gone by and the place doesn't HAVE character, it IS character. And in the back, the tiny Dino cafe makes hot sandwiches, gumbo, etouffe's, creoles, and daily specials that are good and priced well.
If you happen to be in town on a Saturday AM or Tuesday evening, two great farmers markets take place at either end of Higgins Ave (the main downtown street).
Have a great trip and enjoy Montana!

Jun 18, 2008
missoulagrace in Mountain States

Favorite Frugal Meals to Cook?

Hee hee! I have eaten that exact thing!! And I NEVER go to fast food places in the States, but the choices were pretty much, well, there weren't any at the San Jose airport!
And, the first meal we had on that trip to CR was at the little soda just across the road from the airport. Yep, you guessed it: Gallo Pinto.

Jun 18, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

Your "go to" convenience food is.....

One of the ongoing disagreements my ex and I had was the great "Bisquick vs. Krusteez debate"... I grew up with Bisquick. Plus, I like that when you make pancakes, you do have to add your own egg and milk with Bisquick. With Krusteez, you just add water-- I guess it's in there already. Now, if you're camping, I'm down with "add water and go"-- no pancakes taste better than camping pancakes no matter what.

Jun 18, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

Favorite Frugal Meals to Cook?

One of my favorite things to eat is the Costa Rican "Gallo Pinto" (literally, spotted rooster) which is served at breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. Rice and beans, beans and rice... It's the kind of thing that you can take in a few different directions and serves different puposes depending on what's with it... but it is always cheap, tasty, and filling. Plus, it takes me back to CR in a heartbeat.

Jun 17, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

What is your favorite cookbook of all time?

I love "Cooking Thai Food in American Kitchens, by Malulee Pinsuvana. It is a quirky, spiral-bound little book that it would be easy to dismiss as dated... but the recipes are really quite something. The Chicken Satay recipe alone is worth having the book for! And the photos are hilarious-- often a glass of beer sits by the plated food -- this is obvioulsy about to be consumed, not styled for a photo shoot.
My other favorite is Trattoria, by Biba Caggiano. Each recipe is accompanied by a description of the trattoria from which it came... Reading it is as much fun as cooking from it. And the recipes are more like the food I loved in Italy than any other I've looked at.
Oh, and I do use the Bittman 'bible' (How to Cook Everything) more than any other cookbook I own. Doesn't make it my "favorite" -- but it is my most-used!

Jun 16, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

What is your birthday tradition?

Pizzeria Regina....I haven't heard/thought of/uttered that phrase in a long time!
It's funny... no one in Montana seems to know how to make pizza. Pretty much classic Boston pizza.... (sigh) seems like such a lost and special thing to me now! Sorry to go off on such a tangent, but there also used to be a pizza place on that street at the bottom of Beacon Hill, near the pub the Sevens, that served late night slices? I have literally salivated and closed my eyes many times wishing for a slice, folded in half...

Jun 16, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

How much to tip musicians in restaurants?

You've nailed the distinction! There are three different situations: giving a tip to a musician who you truly appreciate (which I do, when I do) ... being asked if you WANT music or a request, after which you tip in thanks... and just sitting there minding your own business and being intruded upon by musicians who do so because they KNOW you're obligated to tip.
I AM a musician, I have busked on the street and at festivals and I have had many many paying gigs. I would NEVER swarm somebody who hadn't asked for it and insist that they pay me for the privilege.

Jun 16, 2008
missoulagrace in Not About Food

Your "go to" convenience food is.....

Canned tomatoes. Italian plum ones are best but honestly I usually have cans of Muir Glen diced on hand.
Pacific brand chicken broth in the resealable aseptic boxes.
Canned minced clams. Actually, canned tuna, too.
Big bags of frozen organic peas and "haricots verts" from Costco.
A couple of spice mixtures from our local "whole foods" type market-- "greek spice", "pizza spice".
And.... Bisquick. I can and do make scratch biscuits, waffles, biscuits, etc--- but sometimes I want to just add milk, bake and enjoy.

Jun 15, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

What is your birthday tradition?

Thanks for sharing them! Tell me... (it sounds like you were there as more of an adult than I)... was the pizza as great as I remember? And what was the name of the other classic North End place one might have gone for coffee and pastry after? Across the street, maybe?

Jun 15, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

How much to tip musicians in restaurants?

I don't know the answer, but I'd like to add a corollary question-- how much do you pay for them NOT to serenade you? I'm actually not just being snarky... I am a musician myself and I find it basically embarrassing to be serenaded in those kinds of situations.

Jun 15, 2008
missoulagrace in Not About Food

Travel dilemma-how to cook/pack one week ahead?

My husband and I LOVE to eat what we call "snack dinner"-- essentially, a smorgasbord of our favorite pickled goodies, fruits, cheese, crackers, smoked oysters, carrots, marinated baked tofu, olives, peppers and hummus, or what-have-you, etc. While this doesn't exactly qualify as Cooking (!) it is a great way to go on the road, too...
If I were to truly cook something ahead of time and freeze it, I might go more for a wrap or burrrito-type item, rather than a salad.

Jun 15, 2008
missoulagrace in Not About Food

Do you have cookbooks you've never used?

Even though I love How to Cook Everything-- there are a few recipes in it that I found to be really pretty mediocre at best-- and for some of the most seeming basics! (Brownies and corn bread are the two that come to mind.) Like I said, I like the book as a cooking guide rather than a recipe book-- maybe that's true of all of his books to a certain extent?

Jun 15, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

Can I make a frittata and reheat it?

If it's not too late to answer, I would say Yes, IF it's more of a spanish-tortilla-style sturdy thing. If it's a more delicate one I'd say it would lose too much numminess.

Jun 14, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

Do you have cookbooks you've never used?

The Bittman is my kitchen go-to, because I mostly don't cook from recipes either. It's the perfect (well, almost perfect) refresher/reference... When all you want to know is "What are the proportions in biscuits? How long to stew those ribs?" etc.
With "too little room" I'd rather have that one-- which I use frequently-- than many of the ones I keep around but don't particularly like either as useful tools OR fun reading.

Jun 14, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

Best Uses for Asparagus?

ooh! Jealousy simmering like a big canning kettle. Enjoy every hard-earned bite!

Jun 13, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

What is your birthday tradition?

It's funny you bring up this topic-- my husband's birthday is tomorrow (June 14, Flag Day) and growing up, he always had a Flag cake (the cake itself might be yellow or white, but ALWAYS blueberries, strawberries and white frosting making the American Flag on top.) I made him one last year, violating my own "rule" about not buying strawberries until we can get local ones or have them in our own patch.
I myself as a child always had a Boston Cream Pie for my birthday (Mmmm! I still love it, with the cool creamy custard in between and the fudgy frosting!) while everyone else in my family insisted on this particular carrot cake for their birthdays (it's a scarily decadent recipe that uses oil, no raisins, and 8 cups of grated
carrots.)
In my family growing up, the birthday boy or girl sometimes chose a place to eat dinner out. Because we didn't eat out very often, we didn't really have a vast repertoire to choose from, but I remember choosing to go into Boston to the European, a classic North End place, for pizza. (I don't think it's open any more.)
Now that we have a son (only 5 mos.) I've been thinking a lot about traditions, and just yesterday, I bought a special brightly glazed plate at our local Artists' shop, with the idea of starting a tradition of our own: Whatever the cake of choice, the birthday boy (or girl) gets their slice on this special plate. I was contemplating breaking with tradition and making my husband a pineapple upside down cake (which he also loves), but I think you have reminded me how important tradition is-- he'll be pleasantly surprised, I think, to get a Flag Cake after all.

Jun 13, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

Why is ceviche not more popular?

One of the more startling food experiences in Cahuita, Costa Rica was the guy walking up and down the beach, shouting "CeVEEchay", and selling it, from a cooler.
We stifled our fears and ate some. Delicious, and no ill effects.
The same guy at other times sold Pipas ("Peeepahs!")-- green coconuts with a hole, a straw sticking out. "Good for your manly," we were told.

Jun 12, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

Best Uses for Asparagus?

My husband and I have pickled pounds of asparagus a few times, with GREAT results. Canning, of course, is a big project, but it was fun, and such a great product. As spicy/garlicky as we wanted, varying it jar by jar even... we gave it away for presents for a year. (Sigh). We haven't done it in couple years.... I miss it!

Jun 11, 2008
missoulagrace in Home Cooking

Micro's in cans....

A local microbrewery, Kettle House, began canning their beer recently to rave reviews. They have not been able to keep up with demand and so are planning to open a second location to focus on the canning, but with a small taproom too, of course. And only a few blocks from my house, hee hee hee! The beer tastes really good; I have been told that the cans have some kind of liner that protects the flavor? It is a bit more expensive to buy their cans, though not THAT expensive compared to beer prices outside MT (6.99 for a 4-pack of 16-oz cans of their Double Haul, an IPA). In any case, a GOOD beer in a can is such a treat when in situations where you really don't want to bring glass (river trips, fishing, sneaking into the movies, etc.:-)

Jun 10, 2008
missoulagrace in Beer

Sometimes, stale foodstuffs/beverages = good snackin'

Wow, you reminded me that when I was a kid, my FAVORITE thing was to luck into a 'stale' (meaning soft) Oreo cookie in the cookie jar.

Do people still use cookie jars? and put a slice of bread in there to somehow keep everything else fresh (?) -- My mom did that, but I'd still sometimes find that magic overlooked stale Oreo.

Jun 10, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

How do you eat so well and control your weight?

I, too, lost 30 lbs the week my son was born, but I seem to have gained about 10 back over the 5 months since then, despite breastfeeding (seemingly constantly!). And everything seems to have found a new home, compared to pre-pregnant!
It's been tricky (to say the least) to eat the way I like to, and know is good for me, in the past 5 months... Little sleep, unpredictable chunks of time in the day to plan or prepare meals, reaching too often for the quick fix...

May 31, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

How do you eat so well and control your weight?

A great topic-- I second what a lot of people have said, and would add these two helpful resources--
MyFoodDiary.com is a GREAT way to track your food and exercise, set goals, track your progress toward (or away from) them. The way to track foods includes information easily accessible in a big data base of common brands and typical and unusual foods... even listings of menu items from chain restaurants, for people who go to those. You can build your own recipes too, for foods you like to make at home, and the site will calculate how many calories per serving.
Second, the book (and concept) French Women Don't Get Fat... The idea is to be fully present, enjoying, savorin, really tasting, whatever it is you eat... If you do that, you won't be scarfing bagfuls or eating crap. Enjoy life!

May 30, 2008
missoulagrace in General Topics

Middle America Road Trip Cuisine

You'll probably pass through Missoula on your way from Bozeman to Glacier Park... if you do, you should visit the Red Bird Wine Bar (or the main restaurant). The chefs smoke their own meats, and consistently create delicious, creative takes on seasonal, regional ingredients.
In Whitefish (close to Glacier Park) the Buffalo Cafe is THE place for a great breakfast.
If you go north from Bozeman instead of west, you'll pass through White Sulfur Springs on state road 12. The biscuits and gravy at the Truck Stop Cafe (which is not at a truck stop :-) are not to be missed.
Also, see my comments about Chico Hot Springs in the thread about Jackson Lake/Gardiner, on this board.
Have a WONDERFUL trip!

May 29, 2008
missoulagrace in U.S. Elsewhere Archive

Gardiner MT and Jackson Lake WY area dining advice? Especially interested in restaurants sourcing locally.

I'm sorry, but I think you're a bit misinformed, or at least out-of-date. In the more rural areas of the states, maybe you're right. But in Bozeman, Missoula, Victor/Driggs, and elsewhere (see my description of Chico below) local food goes way beyond huckleberries. Local trout is almost never on menus, because hunting and fishing are for personal consumption-- not sale to restaurants. Elk and bison are on many menus.
It is true that our growing season is short, but microclimates in Montana abound. Melons and cherries are real treats in season. Morel mushrooms are a post-forest-fire delicacy, found on many restaurant menus. And CSAs and farmers' markets in just about every region mean restaurants are sourcing more and more items locally.
Just had to stick up for my grubshed! :-)

May 29, 2008
missoulagrace in Mountain States

Gardiner MT and Jackson Lake WY area dining advice? Especially interested in restaurants sourcing locally.

You should really visit the restaurant at Chico Hot Springs, in Pray MT, about 30ish minutes north of the park. It is a historic hot springs hotel, built I believe inthe '20's, with the classic porches and rocking chairs still there (think Road to Wellville). This is a beautiful spot and a real Montana experience-- visited more, I think, by Montanans having a nice weekend getaway than out-of-staters. It is rustic in all the RIGHT ways, if you know what I mean.
The restaurant is very good, emphasizes game and local seasonal ingredients, and they even grow many of their own ingredients on-site in a beautiful little garden, including a hot-springs-warmed greenhouse. The hot pool itself, though a 'developed' pool (swimming-pool style) is impeccably clean and does not require any chemicals as it is drained, scrubbed and refilled every night.
The saloon is also a fun place. Live music every Friday and Saturday night. (Claim to fame, Dennis Quaid is a semi-regular and plays with his band from time to time.)

May 29, 2008
missoulagrace in Mountain States

Drunk on Recycling

I love this topic! And, although the exact solution might vary depending on the type of party (BYOC, rent glassware, etc) the goal is worthy and completely attainable in almost every situation! (NO throwaway cups.)

May 27, 2008
missoulagrace in Features