Palm Springs!

by Michael Alderete on 10/12/2005

Rochelle and I are currently in Palm Springs, on vacation for two weeks. So far we have done very little except eat and drink and sleep and…play Scrabble.

I don’t usually talk about our vacations on this weblog while we’re away, because I’m too paranoid: I don’t like telling people when it would be easy to break into our house. But this trip, we’ve taken the most valuable (to thieves) stuff (our computers) with us. (Plus we have house sitters for most of the two weeks. House sitters keep the cats from revolting while we’re away…)

Rochelle and I both have projects we’re working on during our two week “retreat,” and most of them involve or require the use of a computer. Sounds crazy, but it really is relaxing to be able to go away, and concentrate on things you’ve been meaning to do, but can’t find the time, or have too many daily distractions. And the things we’ve been meaning to do — writing, organizing photos, leaning new skills for work — are all intimately tied to technology. Welcome to the 21st century, I suppose.

At any rate, we’ll be back to San Francisco in a week or so.

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by Michael Alderete on 9/19/2005 · 6 comments

I tried ‘em. Ate 8 of ‘em. I agree with this guyRomolo’s Cannoli and Spumoni Factory in San Mateo makes great cannoli. The only competitive cannoli I’ve had is from Modern Pastry in Boston’s North End. Both are outstanding.

Romolo’s is open again after their remodel. Easy to get to, right off of El Camino Real, and just a few blocks from the Hillsdale exit of Highway 101. Go check ‘em out.

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Medicine (the restaurant)

by Michael Alderete on 8/31/2005

Rochelle and I ate lunch today at a new restaurant called Medicine. The food is Japanese Zen monk vegan, called “new-shojin.” The flavors are delicate, subtle, and quite good once your brain and palate adjust.

What’s kind of funny is the weird visual sensation I had while eating. The restaurant has an Asian-style glyph, which the staff all wear on their black shirts (photo at right). The glyph, rendered in white, has shape elements to it — most of a cross-hatch, loop-ish strokes at three corners — that it looks, out of the corner of your eye, like the Macintosh Command symbol: ⌘

So, the effect — of the clean lines of the restaurant’s brightly-lit interior, and of the couple dozen staff whizzing around in their black pants and black shirts with the Command symbol on it — is that you’re eating in the Apple Store.

Zen vegetarian food, beautifully prepared and presented, served in a clean, simple environment. I think Steve Jobs would be a fan.

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Camp Bacon

by Michael Alderete on 7/28/2005 · 3 comments

Admit it, you’ve always fantasized about it. Well, you are not dreaming any more. It’s really here.

Live the dream this September!

(No, really, this is not a joke. Click the graphic for the full details!)

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Fire & Knives

by Michael Alderete on 5/17/2005

I was just referred to the Fire & Knives cooking and food site with the “recommendation” that “Here’s a nice little food site that is snobbier than youse guys…” I decided it was a keeper when I laughed out loud at this description of wonder bread in a new shape:

Cunning bakers have responded, not with an authentic baguette but with a preservative-laden, turd-shaped travesty called — with callous humour — a French Stick. It’s exactly the same rubbish they extrude into white loaves but delivered in a staggeringly inconvenient shape. Trying to eat a sandwich made with one is like trying to fellate a torpedo.

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Rigos the neighborhood

by Michael Alderete on 5/12/2005

GraceAnn Walden is probably our favorite of the SF Chronicle‘s current food writers, and her weekly column keeps up on the comings and goings of San Francisco restaurants, restaurateurs, and chefs. This week’s column had news that literally brought tears to my eyes: Pascal Rigo is opening a place right around the corner from our house (2nd snippet):

If a month goes by and Pascal Rigo doesn’t buy something or open a new cafe, I feel like I’m missing something. Well, he’s back at it. Eight months after opening Rigolo, he has bought Movida Lounge at 200 Fillmore St. (at Waller Street) in San Francisco, and will turn it into Le Cafe di Soleil.

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Quoted in New York Times

by Michael Alderete on 1/2/2005

Rochelle and I were quoted in the New York Times again, this time in the travel section, an article about people who base their vacations around food, so-called “gastronauts.” It’s a fun article to read; better do so quickly, before the story disappears behind the for-pay firewall.

It looks like the story might have gotten chopped up a bit in editing, because I am a San Francisco-based software developer, not LA-based. And, while the Klausners may also have done so, I know we told the reporter about our trip to Chicago to eat at Charlie Trotter’s, which turned into a week-long eating binge though much of Chicago’s best-rated food establishments. (Our vacation eating focus is much less high-end these days.)

If I was going to offer once piece of advice to other food enthusiasts who were going to plan a vacation around that passion it would be this: walk everywhere you can. There’s no way you can put everything of interest in a spreadsheet before you get on the plane; walking will take you past things you could not possibly have planned for. And if nothing else, it’ll keep you from gaining too much weight while you’re eating your way through the local food scene.

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Fried Chicken!

by Michael Alderete on 12/5/2004 · 1 comment

Rochelle found a new soul food place in San Francisco through the message boards, Miya’s Place, out in the Sunset. It’s terrific. Our first visit I ordered something I almost never order out: fried chicken. The fellow at the counter said “it takes about 20 minutes” and that was all right with us. Rochelle ordered the smothered pork chop, and off he went to cook.

When our food arrived, I took one bite of the chicken, and I was in love. Rochelle got a bite or two, but that’s mostly because the chef brought out an extra piece he’d cooked for her. I devoured my serving of four pieces, methodically eating every bit of meat off the bones. Rochelle remarked that she’d never seen me eat like that. Amazing fried chicken, the best I’ve ever eaten. (Rochelle’s dish was excellent, too.)

A return trip for brunch was equally satisfying, with my fried pork chop disappearing under a similar attack, and really good hash browns (a rarity in SF). Rochelle loved her biscuits and gravy. Now if they have a great chicken fried steak, Miya will be the only place we’ve found the trifecta which makes for a perfect breakfast for us: chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and hash browns.

Miya’s Place is on the corner of Holloway and Ashton, two blocks from Ocean, where the Muni line runs. Parking has been easy, and the place is always less crowded than it deserves to be. Highly recommended.

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Opal Divine’s is divine

November 24, 2004

Austin is a great city. One of my favorite things there is Opal Divine’s Freehouse.

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Cooking school

July 22, 2004

Another thing I was pretty busy with was a 12-week cooking course I took through HomeChef. The course covers basic home cooking techniques, and sends you home equipped to cook 3-4 new recipes a week, along with an appreciation for basic processes that let you cook more confidently from any cookbook, or on your own. It’s not professional cooking school, but it’s quite a step up from watching cooking shows on TV.

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The Fancy Food experience

January 13, 2004

A year or so ago, Rochelle and I went to one of the Fancy Food shows held in San Francisco. All kinds of luxury foods, just waiting to be sampled. If you go only for one day, it’s impossible to sample all of them, or even half. Our experience doesn’t even begin to compare with what Joe Bob Briggs went through at a Fancy Food show in New York.

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Quotation of the year candidate

December 31, 2003

“Just think of it as well-seasoned butter.”

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