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San Francisco Hound Coming to Seattle: Please Critique My List for the Emerald City!!!

For coffee, the places to go for the best of the best are Neptune, in Greenwood, and Milstead, in Fremont.

May 04, 2012
fnarf in Greater Seattle

Old Fashioned American Brekafast in North Seattle?

That sounds right, yes.

Nov 07, 2006
fnarf in Pacific Northwest

What's the worst (or most flagrant) upsell you've been subjected to?

Because you're not just buying the food. You're buying the plating, the serving, the ambience, the attention, the dishware, and the chair.

Nov 05, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

What's the worst (or most flagrant) upsell you've been subjected to?

Chuck Schwab gives good investment advice, but his wine is pure puke!

Nov 05, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

Old Fashioned American Brekafast in North Seattle?

Yes! Cyndy's rules. I don't think there's a better old-fashioned breakfast joint in North Seattle. And it's a real BREAKFAST joint: they close at what, 3 PM? I don't like pancakes, but I like theirs.

There are other good ones, but they're far away: whatsitsname in Edmonds, The Lil Pancake Chef near the airport (my favorite), Randy's by Boeing Field.

Nov 05, 2006
fnarf in Pacific Northwest

Are you satisfied with your tap water?

People are always surprised to find out that NYC has the best water in the country. It's because it comes from 100 miles away through one humanity's all-time great public works projects, the aqueduct. If you get bad water in New York, your building has bad pipes; the stuff in the system is amazing. I'm sure it's better than 3/4 of the bottled stuff (most of which is freaking tap water, from rather dubious taps).

Nov 05, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

Need suggestions for healthier food choices [moved from General Topics]

I would like to note that you don't have to go to Whole Foods to eat decently. They have fresh food at Safeway. And a lot of the "natural" food at Whole Foods is about as natural as Cool Whip.

I was just reading in the paper about their big new contract with a "natural" salmon farm here in Puget Sound. "Natural" in this case means Atlantic salmon in Pacific waters, feeding on such "natural" salmon food as corn, soy, wheat, and anchovies, discharging 13 million pounds of concentrated waste annually into the already almost-dead waters of the Sound. They are aggressively destroying the real natural habitat of the disappearing fish. It's so "natural" that Whole Foods can't sell it in their Washington stores, as customers here won't buy it; they ship it all out of state. Whole Foods is the biggest con going.

Just stay away from the processed stuff and you'll be fine. You don't have to turn into Mahatma Gandhi overnight. Just start buying and eating mostly real food.

Nov 05, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

Need suggestions for healthier food choices [moved from General Topics]

Remember also that moderation is key. You don't have to swear completely off white flour; just don't eat a pound of it at every meal. And take a look at the bread you buy: if it's got more than four ingredients in it, put it down and get the stuff that's made from flour, water, yeast, and salt.

Same with sugar; sugar is not poisonous, but drinking five liters of soda a day IS. A half-teaspoon in a cuppa isn't going to hurt you. In fact, it will help, because the most important health benefit from food is not nutrients, but JOY. The great nutritious food combinations, like beans and rice, were devised by cooks, not nutritionists. And nutritionists are TERRIBLE eaters.

Do lay off the junk, though. If you really need a snack, make some popcorn or melt some real cheddar on some brown bread or something.

As fara points out, fat is fine -- it's terrific, in fact! But use butter or olive oil instead of Crisco. It doesn't have to be the pricey $60 oil, either. For high temps, use canola or peanut oil.

Most importantly, as others have said, get out of the industrial food aisle! What's wrong with most of these ingredients is not themselves but how and why they are used. No one has ever used High Fructose Corn Syrup in real food. Meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, real bread. Learn how to cook again. It's not about heaping grey mounds of brown rice and lentils; it's about good fresh food.

If you're not comfortable in the kitchen, get a book of basics by a popular chef. People here hate her, but for a beginner, you can do a hell of a lot worse than Rachael Ray. Or Jamie Oliver's earlier books. The goal is not to impress anyone with your scintillating gourmet discernment, but just to cook decent basic food that's fresh and tastes good.

Nov 05, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

Melbourne, Sydney - good, cheap eats

There's a nutter who does a blog devoted just to breakfast places in Melbourne. He rates them according to "eggs, extras, rest, coffee, help, buzz, price, and repeat". It's a fun read. If your taste in breakfast doesn't run to loads of eggs, sausage, toast and coffee you may not be as impressed as I am. No mention of Wall 8-anything, alas.

http://thebreakfastblog.blogspot.com/

Nov 01, 2006
fnarf in Australia/New Zealand

Are we really THAT rare? Guess so...

Good lord, man, you don't put BEANS in chili!

I think part of your problem is that a lot of people, myself included, have had bad experiences at pot lucks. It may LOOK like ordinary meat loaf.... Which means that I'll pass over things that might be pretty good just to stay with things I know that even my crazy cow orkers can't ruin. And I'm normally a pretty adventurous eater.

Oct 31, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

Are you satisfied with your tap water?

Seattle's water is great if you live south of the Ship Canal; it comes from the Cedar River, which is very clean and pure. North of the Canal, it comes from the Tolt, which runs through cedars and has a nasty taste to it. I live north, unfortunately.

We have a cabin in the Cascades with well water, and, while perfectly harmless, it's so full of tannin or whatever the hell from trees that it's orange. Undrinkable; tastes like weak tea and dirt. The stain from standing water in the toilet is impermeable.

Oct 31, 2006
fnarf in Not About Food

How long do liquors like Kaluha and Bailey's Last?

A bottle of Bailey's rarely lasts past eleven P.M. in my house.

Bada boom. Thank you very much. I'll be here all week, thank you.

Oct 31, 2006
fnarf in Spirits

Real Absinthe...."King of Spirits"

He's probably referring to wormwood. It's reputed to have psychoactive properties, particularly a compound called thujone, which is, I believe, still illegal in the US. Hey, I won't tell.

But I'm a little confused, because wormwood isn't a woody plant, and has flowers and leaves, not twigs. The twigs may be from anise, which is another main component, and gives absinthe it's classic Pernod-like taste (only a million times more bitter). If they're not anise, they're some other herb; there could be two dozen different things in there.

The "real absinthe" I've had (made locally by amateurs infusing Everclear with herbs including wormwood) is so unspeakably vile that I didn't stick around long enough for the trippy aspects. You're supposed to consume it in an elaborate ritual involving dripping water through a sugar cube on a special absinthe spoon into the liquor, which clouds it and turns it green. Then, you sip the drink, and then run gasping for something, anything to clean your mouth out with. I would compare the flavor to a nice, low-octane gasoline.

Your taste may differ. I'm not sure how "high" you're going to get off the wormwood, but aside from the high proof, I don't think it'll have any deleterious effects. Anything on those twigs that would hurt you died a long time ago in the alcohol.

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in Spirits

HELP: how to make popcorn on the stovetop

We were lucky enough to score a mint "Atom Pop" pan in a hysterical space-themed box from the 50s, and have used it ever since. It's thin aluminum, shaped like a flying saucer, with a three-inch wide bottom that tapers out to about eighteen inches at the rim, kind of like a really crappy wok. Works great, looks even better. The aluminum's going to be all scraped through on the bottom someday, though; this pan is CHEAP. But it pops every kernel every time.

Hmm, I'll bet you could use a wok. The idea is, the narrow bottom concentrates the heat and concentrates the oil, so you don't have to use a gallon of the stuff to get some depth to it. the wide flare helps keep the already-popped kernels away from the direct heat, too.

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in Home Cooking

what's HOT? what's NOT?

Who started the foam thing? The French Laundry?

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

what's HOT? what's NOT?

I would say applying "Aztec" as an adjective to a product from Venezuela, a thousand miles from any Aztecs, is pretty well misused! Especially a very sweet one. I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't be to keen on on real Aztec flavor.

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

what's HOT? what's NOT?

I think you're right. I can get the best bottle of rum in my local store for $20, and it's outrageously good, whichever one I get (Appleton Estate, usually, but I have an open mind). $20 Scotch is usually pretty vile, and the $20 single malts are worse. I suspect this ratio would be nearly reversed if I was living in the UK, however.

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

HELP: how to make popcorn on the stovetop

I think it's the kernels too. Cheap kernels are OK, but old kernels are not. Keep them in an airtight jar. Your technique sounds OK.

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in Home Cooking

what's HOT? what's NOT?

I recently saw "Aztec" Venezuelan chocolate. Those Aztecs get around.

Oct 27, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

Looking for Good Burger in Seattle

2313 4th Avenue, at Bell Street.

Lately all I've been discovering is places with terrible burgers, unfortunately. Apparently no one in Seattle is willing to cook one less than well-done, no matter how much you beg and promise not to sue if you get sick. In fact, begging for so much as medium seems to get you even more crusted-out extremely-well-done. It's a terrible thing to do to good beef. Worst offender so far: Julia's in Wallingford. I've tried THREE TIMES, and every time the thing I get is like a charred shoe.

The best burger in Seattle comes off my Big Green Egg.

Oct 26, 2006
fnarf in Pacific Northwest

Favorite Diet Sodas?

I hate Diet Coke, but love Diet Coke with Lime. But my favorite is Fresca, regular Fresca. It doesn't taste like a "diet" drink, or a low-cal version of something else; it just tastes like Fresca.

Of course, nothing compares to the fantasticness of Tab, but I can no longer find it anywhere. As a "substitute Coke" it's nothing, but if you take it on its own terms it's marvelous -- much better than Coke or any of the other "real" soft drinks.

Oct 24, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

Which foods taste WORSE organic?

I've had organic beer that was pretty good (can't remember the name of it, sorry; US microbrew), and I've had organic beer that was so awful it went straight down the drain and I brushed my teeth right afterwards. The best beer in the world is going to be horrible if it's been sitting on a warm shelf for three years.

Oct 20, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

Which foods taste WORSE organic?

This is true.

My current #1 beef is with tomatoes "on the vine". Yes, they're on the vine; you can see it right there. And they are spectacularly red. But they can be hurled against the wall without damage, and they taste exactly like the orange tennis balls over in the ordinary tomato pile, i.e., nothing at all. You get a little whiff of the stem aroma, which is just enough to make you briefly REMEMBER tomato flavor, but you don't get to actually experience it.

I was very pleased to finally see big misshapen weird-looking heirloom tomatoes in the supermarket this summer. So delicious! All gone now, of course, but summer was nice.

You California folks don't know how tragic more northerly produce sections get in the cold months!

Oct 20, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

a classic man's cocktail?

The personalities assigned were implicit in the original poster's message. There is a reason he didn't ask "what's the BEST cocktail?" All the rest is (or should be) in the spirit of good fun, which is extremely chowish. If you aren't familiar enough with traditional gender roles to be able to play around with them, you're probably not as aware as you'd like to think you are (but then, none of us is).

Whether you prefer a sidecar is only germane if you are yourself consciously playing the role of a Manly Man while having them.

I interpreted the original question to be "what kind of a drink would Cary Grant drink?", Cary Grant being the closest thing to the Ultimate Male that the world will ever produce. Your model may be more along the lines of Fred Astaire, or Clint Eastwood, but the question still rings the same way.

I think Clint's more of a beer guy, but Fred Astaire once recited his recipe for the perfect martini on a record album, and Cary Grant is known to have enjoyed Gibsons, though the cocktail named after him is a dreadful-sounding coffee-liqueur and lime concoction.

Oct 20, 2006
fnarf in Spirits

a classic man's cocktail?

They have it in my local Washington State Liquor store, which is saying something -- it's a crappy store (and a crappy system). It's not a specialty or exotic item -- it's a bottom-shelf liquor.

Oct 20, 2006
fnarf in Spirits

Which foods taste WORSE organic?

The most important factor for taste is freshness. Most supermarket organic produce was grown in Chile or someplace about two weeks ago. There's no way it can taste as good as even flash-frozen stuff in the freezers. A lot of conventional produce is pretty bad, too, if it's not FRESH.

Highly processed foods are usually garbage whether conventional or "organic". That goes for just about all of your boxes, bags, bottles and jars of whatever. If you use FRESH ingredients and make your own food, it'll taste good. Obviously some things you can't make at home, like butter. Your best bet is to buy more expensive, local, small-producer or artisanal products.

Be aware that "organic" on the label doesn't mean anything anymore; the government now allows non-organic ingredients to be in the food without even being mentioned on the label. Same with "free range", which usually means a chicken that's hemmed in with ten thousand other chickens on an uncaged (filthy) floor, with a sometimes-open but unused hatch 100 yards away on the other end of the barn. It's all marketing, and the marketers and the major industrial producers own the FDA lock, stock and barrel. Your "organic" beef has probably been struggling with infections and digestive problems its whole life, standing up to its tits in its own excrement. Your supermarket organic produce is being made by some of the largest industrial food corporations in the world.

If you want good food, get it FRESH, and get it from a local producer or someone who follows true organic procedures (not necessarily labeled as such).

Oct 20, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

Which foods taste WORSE organic?

Organic chocolate is awful, just awful.

Oct 20, 2006
fnarf in General Topics

a classic man's cocktail?

I finished the bottle I brought home five years ago, and haven't found it anywhere since. I can't even find it online. But yes, I love it; it's the perfect balance between rich sweetness and bitterness. Great with a single ice cube.

Oct 18, 2006
fnarf in Spirits

SEA - breakfast potatoes

The best breakfast potatoes I ever had were at -- believe it or not -- Ileen's, on Broadway, not long after she changed the name from Ernie Steele's. Absolute perfection, out of the blue, in a frankly pretty horrible greasy spoon. Closed now, and it wouldn't matter, because I went back a month afterwards and got the expected grey-inside shreds.

It's all about the texture: the way the crisp outside fades into the soft center. There's a very fine line there; it's one of those things I can't get perfect even at home.

Oct 18, 2006
fnarf in Pacific Northwest

a classic man's cocktail?

A Negroni without the gin (just Campari and sweet vermouth) is I believe called an Americano, though that name has probably died with the espresso invasion.

Oct 17, 2006
fnarf in Spirits