eatzalot's Profile

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You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

Nice example of logical reasoning, after your previous comnent has been refuted.

Again: YOU can confirm all of this for yourself. We who are pointing it out are only the messengers, and our thanks is to be disparaged and called names.

about 6 hours ago
eatzalot in Features

Seeking the Soul of American Food at Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Looks like y'all had a good time.

But the report reads like a modern-dress staging of the revels in Poe's "Masque of the Red Death." How exactly is this "the flavor of gastronomy now?" Celebrity chefs have been doing various high-ticket lavish demonstration events as long as there have been celebrity chefs.

Apr 17, 2014
eatzalot in Features

You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

Nevertheless, Doog37, the claim in the title is true, and has been relentlessly demonstrated, even to skeptics. YOU can confirm this, from information posted in this thread. That reality is not the problem that this thread reveals.

I, BeSerious, and especially cowboyardee  http://www.chow.com/food-news/69604/y... summarized current objective understanding of this subject for anyone interested. The objective record is indisputable; people who think they are MSG-allergic are consistently proven wrong when blind-tested. QUITE unlike beestings, shellfish, or other true allergies. The contrast with things like beesting allergies is precisely the point.

The problem is that this threatens some people's current understanding and they'd rather defend that understanding, even angrily, than learn more of the realities around MSG. Some of those people may even unknowingly put their own life or health at risk by attributing real food-sensitivity symptoms to MSG.

Apr 17, 2014
eatzalot in Features

You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

There is such a feature. Look for a yellow star near the upper right of the start of comments. Click it to stop following, again to resume. Alternatively, you can bring up a screen of your "Followed" threads on your home page, and select which ones to stop.

Further info about this and other features is available, as usual, by searching the site.

Apr 17, 2014
eatzalot in Features

Best inexpensive wine?

Scoutmaster, I quite agree with you on that last point, and I think you may have misunderstood me on the first one.

angelopat had earlier written what I quoted above -- "If you're on a budget you must eliminate some varieties including cabernet sauvignon ,pinot noir, merlot and Riesling." To me that is a sweeping assertion, a broad brush. I have encountered many examples of what fellow wine geeks consider good-value wines from those grapes (in recent decades, and even in recent weeks), and have even posted some of the recent examples here on CH.

Apr 14, 2014
eatzalot in Wine
1

How to control garden pests and varmints?

gourmanda: "The rabbits failed to get your memo."

Let's be fair: I've yet to see a rabbit tolerate a sniff of loose hot pepper. But its effectiveness as a repellent requires two factors: The pepper must be loose and potent (not old, wet, etc.), and the animal must be navigating by nose. Unfortunately, that doesn't cover all situations. It worked in the two cases I dealt with (squirrels digging around roots, and unknown nocturnal poopers on gravel).

Below, assorted reading on hot pepper products as animal repellents (many other references deal with sprays, which have some overlapping application to repel certain vertebrates, but are more often used as contact insecticides for plants):

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/natural-ways-repel-squirrels-garden-using-spices-85031.html

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/Capsaicintech.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/fs_PC-000669_01-Oct-04.pdf

http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/rodent/rodent_M_Z/meatmeal/meatmeal_tol_0396.html

Commercial dry pepper-based products:

http://gardentoolsforsale.appspot.com/page-268/vitax-225g-pepper-dust-animal-repellent.html

http://www.havahart.com/ourbrands/critter-ridder

http://www.bayergarden.co.uk/en/data/Products/p/Pepper-Dust.aspx

Novel side note: Archived US EPA correspondence permitting maker of Havahart "Critter Ridder" granules to add "chipmunks" to approved list of repelled animals in product labeling:

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_se...

Apr 14, 2014
eatzalot in Gardening

Best inexpensive wine?

Yes. And I have a bigger issue with sweeping assertions like "If you're on a budget you must eliminate some varieties including cabernet sauvignon ,pinot noir, merlot and Riesling," which I know from much practical experience to be inaccurate. Just recently in another thread (already linked earlier in this one) -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9676... -- I cited impressive $10-and-under Pinots Noirs of recent years.

Most of my good experiences with "value" wines have been probably with Sangiovese, Riesling, and Pinot Noir. Not that the good values drop into your lap (even less, via popular articles or wine magazines -- such publicity is a guarantee of either a price rise or a disappearance from the market), but rather that they are there to be found by the seriously interested and vigilant.

Particularly surprising was mention of Riesling as poor value. I guess angeloplat wasn't buying a few years back, when all those German artisanal Rieslings (QmP wines of Kabinett weight) sold for US $9-12 retail (these wines last virtually forever if well stored); nor reading my mention in another thread of a simpler, but surprisingly varietally faithful and low-alcohol, California Riesling currently selling under a large marketing label as cheap as $3.15.

Apr 14, 2014
eatzalot in Wine
1

Just moved to San Mateo and loving the ramen joints there. I need suggestions on where to go next!

If you go there, you might try also Maruichi's versions of shoyu ramen (clear, concentrated meat stock, often v. good), "tempura soba" bowl, and (new this year) warm soba noodles on a rack with dipping sauce, shrimp tempura on the side (I forget that specialty's Japanese name).

Maru Ichi's nominal house ramen is the Kuro (as goldangl recommended), using a cloudy stock with browned garlic. Additional dried toasted garlic is offered in the condiment trays and is a fine addition to some of the clear soups.

To date I've had the kuro and shoyu ramen, and the tempura soba (which has a very delicate, clear broth) at least 60 times each, often rotating among those, with departures such as the hiyashi chuka (cold noodle salad, maybe 30 times). The basic ramen noodles used at Maruichi are made in-house, near the entrance.

Apr 12, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

How to control garden pests and varmints?

I don't know the peculiarities of your experience but again, loose, HOT, ground red pepper is a proven preventative for sniffing animals, _inherently_ effective for the reasons I mentioned. It might not affect other types of animals, but rodents etc that sniff are notoriously vulnerable.

I was able to stop squirrels digging in the roots of young trees, and also to stop night creatures (cats and/or 'possums) from pooping in a gravel walkway, by dusting with ground hot pepper. It is important to renew the treatment in a couple of weeks or so, and it loses effectiveness faster, of course, if it gets wet or windy.

Apr 12, 2014
eatzalot in Gardening

Cant find Pepperoni sticks anywhere (Livermore Area)

escargot3's Ver Brugge recommendation touched on a wider point here.

The sticks in the photo are an evolution, a more modern commercial form, of a venerable type of small dry sausage popular all over Europe, with various names like hunter's sausages, traditionally used for portable snacks, backpacking, etc.

Various versions closer to the originals are readily available in the Bay Area, and they can be addictive.

The Molinari line includes fennel (my favorite) and pepperoni versions. I've seen these variously at A. G. Ferrari shops, some farmer's markets, and random delis and independent grocers. They're a little pricey, around $2 each (before quantity discounts), but also they're bigger than the 7-11 type: more like half a pound each. Links, shipped in bundles of 12 or so, refrigerated. These sausages initially have a little moisture, but when unwrapped and left at room tmp. they soon become completely dry (the way they're sold, individually or in linked pairs, at retailers), and seem to last in that dry state indefinitely.

In the past, I saw the bundled sausages offered online, deliverable, on A G Ferrari's web site although, maddeningly but charcteristically, neither AGF's nor Molinari's online order sites brought up these products just now, when searched with correct names. But you can see both Molinari's finocchiona and pepperoni "link" sausages, in bundles, in the photos on the firm's home page. (If you like pepperoni, DO NOT FAIL to try also the fennel versions of these, you'll see what I mean.)

http://www.molinarisalame.com/p_salam...

Apr 12, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Check Please: Contigo, SF; Smoke Berkeley in Berkeley; Paradiso, San Leandro

Though it may be a well-kept secret on this board, there IS life outside of Oakland and San Francisco. When desiring a restaurant in its part of the Bay Area, I've found Paradiso a gem -- at least a dozen times since the 1990s. By no means a fashionable, avant-garde, or foodie-trophy restaurant.

However, Paradiso has been friendly, accommodating, highly flexible about corkage (important for us wine geeks), and with solid execution for food of its type. Certainly a place I'd prefer over any of the corporate chains (like McCormick & Whatever) that serve the Bay Area at similar prices and similarly upscale-casual ambiance.

What Paradiso has been most useful for: Flexible long grazing meals, where dishs are ordered as we go, sometimes to fit wines brought in. And, when old friends located in both East and South Bay, or passing through, want a convenient rendezvous.

A solid friendly decent reasonably-priced independent restaurant -- the sort of place we could always use more of.

Apr 12, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

How to control garden pests and varmints?

They wouldn't if you scattered loose cayenne around the suet cakes (the technique I suggested here).

The point is that rodents and other foraging animals rely on sniffing. Just a little hot pepper inhaled by nose is devastating (as I have experienced when handling bulk red pepper in the past).

Incidentally, birds are particularly adapted to hot red pepper. I understand that some of it may be evolution (here in the Americas where pepper plants originated, birds have been an important vector for spreading the plant seeds and at the same time, pepper plants have nourished the birds). I feed my tropical birds (Latin-American species like the little guy in the avatar pic) food pellets including 1% cayenne -- they conspicuously prefer this to the plain pellets. A taste for spicy food, no doubt inherited from ancestors.

Apr 12, 2014
eatzalot in Gardening

How to control garden pests and varmints?

A proven, wide-spectrum deterrent for sniffing animals is ground hot red pepper, scattered on the soil. I'm surprised not to see this prominent already in the thread. Forget your gimmicks like urine crystals (more below). Ground hot pepper is the most effective measure (of many) that I've tried, short of trapping.

This is a standard adjunct to birdseed to discurage rodents from taking it (hot pepper doesn't affect birds, just animals that sniff). I even saw a Pest-Control guide from one of the large university agriculture schools comparing pest repellents and recommending red pepper (the comparison said that some commercially sold "repellents" actually attract some pests). It's benevolent to the plants, and it even smells good. Just be sure not to scatter it during a breeze (or you may get "pepper-sprayed") and renew it periodically, especially after rain.

I get mine inexpensively from Indian grocers here in silicon valley. At times, when running short, I've diluted it with ground BLACK pepper from a local bulk supplier. Side benefit: the combination smells even better, like a spice rub.

Apr 11, 2014
eatzalot in Gardening

san jose recommendations

Thanks for all the recollections Alan.

You may have taken some unintended inferences from what I wrote above, but the words as stated reflect standard local history (including the _modern_ sense -- the only way I meant it -- of the phrase "Train Town," as illustrated by the off-and-on Peninsula advertising newspaper I mentioned, which uses the phrase as its title). I did write "1850s" for the Peninsula train line, relying on memory. Actually it arrived in the 1860s. 1850s were when the region's settlement accelerated, after the Gold Rush. Certainly, stations have come and gone since then. I too rode the line in the 1970s, when it wasn't Caltrain but Southern Pacific (Caltrain _per se_ arrived in the 1980s). An engineer friend, who attends the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board meetings and occasionally advises Caltrain's senior management, is an unofficial line historian, and has assembled interesting history beyond what's publicly available. However, I did cite one of Perry's photo-history books on a detail related to the OP's comments, and that source has more on that particular town.

Mountain View's current downtown business district, where the OP (dacfood) noticed so many restaurants, started in 1864 with the train's arrival. For a while, the district was "New Mountain View," contrasting to "Old MV," the original development near the stage stop on El Camino. Today the former "New MV" is known as the "Old MV" neighborhood, and many people are unaware of the 1850s city center on El Camino. The dramatic decline of _retailing_ around MV's Castro St through the 1980s, and the turnaround and restaurant boom that followed the 1989-90 Revitalization project, are extensively documented in print and I witnessed them myself.

"Train town" in the sense I use it is a modern catch phrase of demographers, realtors, company recruiters, and local boosters, for the scene of pedestrian-friendly Peninsula downtowns, several of which I cited upthread. It has become fashionable, especially among young workers, to live near one of the stations and commute, dine, bar-hop, etc. among the little towns by train. A hot MV real-estate trend in the past 10-15 years has been conversion of idle land near the train station to condominia or apartments, I've seen it consume many of the vacant lots downtown.

Apr 10, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

san jose recommendations

Yes, Chinese and also Mexican, I remember.

"Ghost town" is a local historians' catch phrase for the pre-Revitalization era. "Castro St. appears quite desolate and bleak in this 1982 photograph of the 200 block. The only people on its narrow brick sidewalks are two souls waiting for a bus . . . most shoppers had abandoned downtown for the malls." (Perry, ISBN 0738531367 )

That contrasts with dacfood's recent impression. Other differences: now 2 traffic lanes, not 4; wider sidewalks; around three times as many restaurants.

Apr 09, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Yes "authentic" is overused; but I see their point. Pim is not just from Thailand, but was a renowned home cook long before the Chez-Pim blog. So if dunstable's Korean-born mother is an avid cook, She might represent what the same journalist would label authentic Korean influence.

Apr 07, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

san jose recommendations

FYI dacfood, what you saw is a sample of the peninsula's "Train Towns." (I've even seen an advertising tabloid of that name.) Some background:

After rail service came in the 1850s, business and residential districts formed near the stations (in some cases, replacing earlier concentrations near the old stagecoach stops on El Camino Real, farther from the bay). Thriving small towns developed along the line. Some of them later declined, after WW2, when development shifted to a then-new suburban, car-dependent trend. Historians call the same Mountain View street you saw a "ghost town" by 1980, its retailers closed due to shopping-mall competiton. That street was remodeled 1989-90, after which restaurants particularly concentrated there, over 100 now. As people rediscover alternatives to automobile commutes, the Train Towns have had a renaissance of popularity.

With variations, such neighborhoods exist up and down the Caltrain line. Sunnyvale has a small but thriving one near its downtown station, as do San Carlos and with a little walking, Menlo Park; San Mateo, to the north, a large diverse downtown. Palo Alto and Burlingame each have two such districts, with unique restaurants, near two separate train stations. In another direction from downtown SJ is Campbell's very hip restaurant cluster, that one on VTA's light-rail line rather than Caltrain (one of the few places the Light Rail, which is notoriously lightly used, actually reaches.)

Apr 07, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

What is plonk, really?

Tom Lehrer wrote even wrote a song about it, in his "That Was the Year That Was" album about the year 1964.

"Who needs a hobby, like tennis, or philately? /
I've got a hobby: re-reading _Lady Chatterly_ . . ."

Apr 04, 2014
eatzalot in Wine
1

san jose recommendations

Okonomiyaki pancakes from Bushido

Apr 04, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

san jose recommendations

Thanks for an outstanding report. I wish more visitors would follow up in such detail.

Looks like you scored at Bushido in MV (my town) -- there are now about 105 restaurant spaces in that short strip, and I know most of them well. Bushido is an Izakaya (small plates and drinks); you got the pork-belly bao (which have even been discounted during weekday "happy hour"), a favorite of mine there; and as an interesting-sounding special, one of the okonomiyaki [sp?] savory pancakes -- Japanese take on Korean pa jeon. Incidentally just up the street is a recent addition, Buffalo, specializing in baos and hamburgers, with more steamed-bun sandwich variations than Bushido; I still give Bushido's pork-belly bun the edge, after they improved it with new garnishes a year or so ago.

Apr 04, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

What is plonk, really?

"Those who do not travel read only one page."

This affords my corrolary to bclevy's earlier comment on French bistros: no one who visits only Paris will learn much of French food or wine.

Back when he wrote an excellent popular US introductory wine book 50 years ago, Franco-American journalist Blake Ozias mentioned that his usual practice circa Lyon was to order "un petit pichet de Beaujolais" and that this was how much of the basic Beaujolais, including the transient en-primeur and "nouveau" variants, was then consumed -- from bulk. (That was before the French Ag Ministry got behind promoting Beaujolais Nouveau annually to foreigners, many of whom today know Beaujolais wines solely in that offshoot form.)

Apr 04, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

Best inexpensive wine?

TombstoneShadow also made an excellent point. While not famously earthy (nor of course red), good Rieslings are among the most food-friendly wines, and even excellent artisanal German ones have been undervalued in the international market of recent decades. These wines take a little understanding (e.g. neophytes, including me at one time, easily misperceive their style as being centrally about sweetness, whereas for the decent to excellent Rieslings, it's more a matter of sweet-acid balance, as with Champagnes) -- but many experienced wine geeks come to understand, cherish, and gravitate toward them.

This understanding has been moving into US mainstream wine writing in recent years. I notice more and more articles.

Apr 04, 2014
eatzalot in Wine
2

How long do Pinot Noirs last?

Of course. I referred to _labels_ specifically, because of Yoxall's old reference point of -- thanks to the famous Burgundian generational inheritances and subdivisions -- 45,724 separately named vineyard properties (averaging something like 2 ha each) in Burgundy. At the time he wrote that, the US produced MAYBE 200 pinot labels, very few notable.

Of course, (a) not all those Burg. plots were planted to pinot noir, albeit many; (b) not all ended up as individual lieus-dits on labels; and (c) the North American PN industry has grown considerably, as John Haeger's books eminently document.

But I think there is still a tendency to a lot of tiny plot ownership in Burgundy -- traditionally it has been a great contrast from Bordeaux practice, for example -- and a profusion of different label names.

Apr 04, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

How long do Pinot Noirs last?

Good article! There is of course always the question of provenance. I gather the wines were brought by different people, and may have been responsibly cellared. OTHERWISE -- if bought on the market for the purpose -- there's always the issue that a wine with problems today may reflect some past poor storage, rather than the wine's own durability, and it's hard to know which.

I've tasted with Alder, early on when he was getting started, and he remarked then that to access some range of wine years, a younger taster like himself was obliged to go to the secondary market (often entailing wines with past owners).

Olken's comment to the article -- about notions of California ageworthiness having been put to bed decades ago, yet people Still Don't Get It as Alder remarked at the article's start -- is excellent. (Olken, of course, has been writing expertly about California wines, from blind tastings, much longer than some newer fashionable critics; he was familiar to fans of California wines already when Parker first got started in the 1970s.)

Apr 03, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

How long do Pinot Noirs last?

In fact, this post confused me initially because (since many more Pinot Noir labels come from Burgundy than California) I thought the question was about wines from that grape, not a specific region -- which, worldwide, would likely be assumed to imply Burgundy as representative.

Anyway, FWIW: I'm currently enjoying 1996 Prunier Auxey-Duresses, 1999 Gros Frère et Soeur Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits, 1999 and 2001 Groffier Bourgogne Rouge -- all bought in quantity (in CALIFORNIA!) when new on the market, kept cool since. (Average price maybe $12.) They're showing some bottle-to-bottle variation, as usual in such situations, but still bright garnet colors, good aromas and flavors.

These are among "lighter" and lower-end examples of typical Burgundian PNs. The main thing is, they were kept COOL and QUIET for their 11 to 16 years stored.

Apr 03, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

Best inexpensive wine?

Further to what DavidT already posted, this is a frequent sort of question on the Internet (more on that below), with constant threads on Chowhound, available by search. Another recent thread touching the same subject:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967659

Now: Wine has been an active public discussion topic on the Internet for over 30 years (i.e., since long before Chowhound, and before most people had ever heard of the 'net). Here from memory is something I posted to such a thread about 25 years ago and dang, it still holds!

Good Riojas and Chianti-Classicos have sustained poor but astute graduate students in a state of estimable gastronomy, even as their higher-income but less-knowledgeable peers paid top dollar for the privilege of consuming wines advertised on TV, or more recently, deemed officially hip by Robert Parker or the Wine Spectator.

Allan Tobey once added "As we didn't quite say in the 1960s, wine will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no wine."

Apr 03, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

San Francisco Chronicle Plans to End Its Prized Food Section

Albeit the "SF Chronicle Staff" who wrote the piece are favoring us with more of that semi-literate writing style noted earlier in this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9241...

"Assistant Managing Editor, Kitty Morgan said, “. . . He is always asking . . . what does food says about us?"

TWO gaffes in one sentence that would never have gotten past any copy editor I worked with (and would have gotten me a ding in high-school English).

Apr 02, 2014
eatzalot in San Francisco Bay Area

Sub $5.00 wines, 750ml

"In 2009, other people on this board reported paying [for Mark West PN] $8-13, with $9 at Total Wine, which is usually lowball."

THIS year, 2014, I've bought Mark West PN at $9 repeatedly -- twice in January, once in February. Actually $8.10, after 10% discount each time for 6-plus bottle ass'd purchases. At large chain retailers as mentioned earlier. I have the recent purchase records on hand. In the past two years, the Smoking Loon that I also cited has run as low as $4.95. I don't have the records at hand for 5 years ago, but will check later; I recall paying much less then for the Mark West, hence I bought a lot of it.

I'm not saying these are the prevailing prices everywhere. But I watch specifically for good value in Pinots, and buy them when the prices are good.

Sorry I missed that 2009 under-$20 Pinots thread; I'd have had plenty to add. MOST decent US-made pinots I've bought, then and now, were under $20; some have been downright impressive. Most PNs I open aren't CA pinots at all, but good-value red Burgundies scored in past years. The CA PNs supplement them. And often end up in braises or sauces; but frankly, some of what Pennywise, Sonoma Oaks, and others have put out lately in the $10-20 range have been so damn good, I don't want to cook them! That role then often falls to Smoking Loon lately. A few years back, Mark West was the "cheap" PN, and I often cooked with it.

Apr 01, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

Sub $5.00 wines, 750ml

1. Then I may indeed have been a customer, at least at some Liquor Barns (before they became BevMos).

2. Was Randall Grahm's humor already as excruciatingly labored in the 1970s as it became once he was a Noted Wine Personality writing his winery newsletter? (I was obliged to drop off his Santa Cruz Mtns winery's mailing list, on account of all the hackneyed, affectatious-looking puns.)

Apr 01, 2014
eatzalot in Wine

Sub $5.00 wines, 750ml

Rephrase for Lauriston's benefit: A few years ago (about 2009), *I* was getting Mark West at around $5 retail. Regularly. I have the receipts, and may still have some of the wine.

As usual in such situations, my comment reflected personal experience (not something looked up in an online search).

Apr 01, 2014
eatzalot in Wine