Thursday, July 31, 2008

Uh oh! Can't find the Sandwich Diagram

Well, if anybody has bothered to come here to see my husbands sandwich fold diagram I must apologize. I ransacked my house last night trying to find it. I put it somewhere where, famous last words, I wouldn’t lose it, and guess what! I lost it. Fortunately my husband is willing to try and re-create it for me so I can show you the benefits of folding a sandwich top to bottom. I know you just can’t wait to see why such an unconventional, as some people seem to feel, way of folding a sandwich has its benefits. So hang in there, I’ll try to get that posted in a few days. In the mean time I hope to continue on with our Monterey/Oakland trip.

And just a little tidbit; National Sandwich Day is November 3rd. Just thought you’d like to know.

Keep folding those sandwiches how ever your little hearts desire. .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

So.....back to our vacation

I've been side tracked with so many other things. I believe I finished off my vacation posts with leaving Williams CA and eating at the taqueria. After that we headed down I-5 and crossed over towards Highway one through Watsonville and finally ended up in Pacific Grove, just south of Monterey. Pacific Grove is a nice little town that started as a summer retreat for a Methodist church group. It was later the home of Ed Ricketts (Doc from Cannery Row) and to the man who wrote Cannery Row, John Steinbeck, among many other notable writers and artists. We stayed in a nice little place called Lighthouse Lodge, which, it turned out, was a block from the cemetery and chapel where Ed Ricketts' funeral was held in 1948. And just down the road were the very tidepools he collected specimens from. They had a complementary BBQ going at the hotel, which, if we were staying more than a couple of days, I would have just done that. After a long day of traveling it was nice to have that option available. But, we were only going to be there two nights, and I was insistent on eating out. So, after perusing the yellow pages and several restaurant guides that were available in our room we ended up driving north to Monterey and eating in an English Pub called Brittania Arms. It was Tuesday and we ended up walking through Monterey's farmer's market, which was very impressive. Not only was their plenty of fresh vegetables but plenty of ethnic food, from Greek to Indian, to Mediterranean to Arabic being served up. How I wish we could have such a thing in Humboldt County. And it was a dog friendly market. Most vendors had water bowls for your dog. (BTW there is a little Mexican restaurant on the same street that is dog friendly as well. Turtle Bay Taqueria. They will serve dog owners out on their front porch)
But our goal was dinner and we walked into a very noisy pub called Brittannia Arms. Definitely a sports bar, and definitely serving up good pints of beer and traditional British food. John ordered a Cornish Pasty, which he said was just as bland as what her remembers from boarding school in England, so obviously they were right on with their recipe. Our youngest daughter had chicken strips that were incredible. Moist on the inside and the breading on the outside was perfectly crisp. I ordered British style Indian food, Chicken Tandori, spicy, with Major Grey's Chutney. All served up with pompadoms (A crisp cracker type bread), which I never see in a real Indian restaurant, but have had served up by John's British dad. A true treat that I have been wanting since the last time John's dad made them for us. The best of the four meals was ordered by our oldest daughter. Bangers and Mash. The poor girl had all of us digging into her plate. The bangers were so good, and according to John, just like what you get in England, more bread then meat. The mash was creamy and smooth, not a lump in sight and served up with jarred gravy that you can only find in an import shop that sells English foods. A real guilty pleasure. Then, to top it off was Heinz baked beans, a British staple. I had never tasted Heinz baked beans and didn't realize they would be so different from Bush's or any other American baked bean. They are far less sweet and very subtle. I think I prefer our American sweeter version, but John was in heaven swiping them from his daughter's plate.
So, if you find yourself in Monterey hankering for a fisty pint, I highly recommend Britannia Arms. It's loud, so don't go their for a relaxing dinner. It's a fun pace, the waitresses are great, their service bubbly and prompt, the clientele is loud, raucous and fun and the food homey, traditionally British and good. Not in the least bit greasy. So if you like good beer and good beer food, you'll like this place. And if you go early enough, they are very kid friendly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eggs: Basted to Braised

Ever heard of a basted egg? I hadn't until yesterday. While I was waiting for some work to be done on my car, John, the girls and I had breakfast at a little restaurant called Deb's Grapevine Bistro. I've eaten there a few times and the food isn't too bad. Deb serves up some pretty good breakfast. Well, apparently they had redone their menu, and the waitress is fairly new.(Good service by the way) When I ordered the corned beef hash dish the waitress asked how I'd like my eggs. I gave her my normal response whenever anyone asks me this question.
"Sunny side up."
Next thing I know the owner/cook and the new waitress are in the kitchen arguing. We thought it was over our oldest daughter's order, since the owner seemed to take issue with the way she read it out to the waitress. I still can't figure out what that was about. Anyway, it turns out that the corned beef hash comes with basted eggs. You're not suppose to choose how you want your egg, it just comes basted, even if you don't know what the heck that is. So the waitress came out and explained to me that normally the cook would not fry my eggs sunny side up because the menu states specifically that the eggs are basted, but today she would fry my eggs sunny side up. I told the waitress that it didn't matter to me how she cooked the eggs. If she wanted to baste them then go for it.
When the waitress brought out my breakfast I asked her what exactly is a basted egg.
It turns out it just a fried egg with a little water put in the pan and it's either splashed on top of the egg by a spatula or a lid is put on the pan and it steams. This can also be done with butter or oil, which is how my mom always cooked fried eggs. Who knew! I grew up eating basted eggs and had no idea.

Well, this whole basted egg incident hit my funny bone and I started going on about all the other odd ways there must be to cook an egg. One of those turned out to be braising. Can you braise an egg? Well it turns out you can, and it's something the Chinese and some other Asian cultures do, usually with pork belly. John found a recipe calling for a pound of sliced pork, so I pulled a couple of pork chops out of our freezer thawed them and sliced them up. We have 5 laying hens, so we had plenty of eggs to boil up. It turns out you take 8 hard boiled eggs and braise them along with the pork for an hour in a delicious sauce. The sauce in the recipe John found was simple and simply delicious. It consisted of garlic, dried shitakes, spring onion, ginger, star anise, oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, oil and enough water to cover the pork. Our kitchen smelled amazing. I felt like I walked into a Chinese cooks kitchen. I've never made a Chinese dish that smelled this authentic.

Here it is starting out:

After a while the eggs start to turn brown. It doesn't look all that appetizing, but looks are deceiving.

The eggs remained moist and had soaked up the flavor of the sauce which was divine.
It's a simple dish to make, but plan ahead as it needs to cook for a bit. You can find the recipe at Group
So, next time a waitress presents an unfamiliar way to cook a familiar food, ask what it is, you may end up discovering some fantastic and delicious way to cook it up.
Bon Appetite!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Article on buying organic in tough times

I haven't had time to finish my chronicle of our trip to Monterey and beyond. I'm working on it. In the mean time I found an interesting article on MSN about struggling to buy the higher priced organic food products in these tough economic times. There are some good tips on how to try to do it. Check it out here:

And now, some suggested reading for you and me. I haven't read these books yet, but hope to soon. If anyone out there reads this and knows me, and knows my birthday is coming up, here's a good give idea. Hint Hint. :-)
Anyway, if you read and like Omnivores Delima, these will probably be of interest to you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lunch Break Williams CA and Roberta's Taqueria

Tuesday John, the girls and I headed out for Monterey from Chico at around 11 am with no breakfast. So by the time we got to Williams about an hour later we were pretty hungry. We stopped, got gas, and John found this little taqueria a block away. Roberta's Taqueria. If you ever find yourself in Williams on your way somewhere, because I seriously doubt you're planning a vacation there (unless it's your hometown and/or you have family there) and you need some fast food, skip McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King. Go to Roberta's.

Roberta's is located on 530 E St in Williams. It's not far from the freeway. The day we were there it was packed and it was bloody hot outside (around 110). It's outdoor seating, drive up order. If you like good traditional taqueria food you'll like it here. They have lengua (beef tongue) and cabeza (head meat) and Mexican Coca Cola on the menu, to me that's always a sign of a good taqueria. (The ice cold Coke brought back memories of hot summer days washing cars on the front lawn, the coldest and best thing I've had to drink in years) I ordered the lengua burrito. The lengua wasn't as spicy as the place up here I like to order it, but it was well cooked, extremely tender, almost like butter. A good burrito all in all but too big for me. I should have had the lengua taco instead. John had the tostados de ceviche and 2 taco's al pastor, which looked like something I wanted to grab out of his hands and run away eating. As John said, it was "kind of yummy, not an everyday affair, just a few times a week" taco. It had bacon in it, how can you go wrong. I've never seen taco's al pastor with bacon in it. I'd like to tell you how good it was, but I think I would have lost a few digits getting near it as John inhaled it. He didn't comment on the ceviche, but he must have enjoyed it as it went down quickly with plenty of mmmmmm's. The girls had quesadilla's that looked like that were made with homemade flour tortilla's and real mexican queso. They tasted good, and the girls ate as much as they could in suffocating heat. The quesadilla's were huge, so there was no way for them to finish them. The food was good enough to save and have for breakfast the next day. The girls and John ate up the rest of one quesadilla and I happily finished the last 3rd of my burrito for breakfast. CB our dog was lucky enough to get a few sneak bites of the remaining quesadilla. He gave his paws up as well.

So thanks to Roberta's for serving up some good road trip food that did not give me heartburn, and I didn't have that icky fast food feeling I get from the above mentioned places. In fact I had a thoroughly satisfying meal that carried me on to my next destination. When I make my next trip through this way, I will definitely be back to Roberta's for my road trip meal.

On to be continued.......

Back from vacation

Ten days later and we're back home in Humboldt. We enjoyed our trip a great deal. The first 5 days were spent mostly with family swimming and relaxing in Chico. We did enjoy some tasty meals. When we arrived John's sister had grilled shrimp cooked and ready for us to snack on. What a welcome snack after 4 and a half hours on one of the windiest roads in California. Especially with a cold glass of Chardonnay. That evening John's sister fixed a simple and enjoyable stewed chicken dish. A perfect family meal that our girls very much enjoyed. For the Fourth my brother in law roasted a pork loin on the BBQ. I'm not sure what the rub was, but it was damn good. I spent the rest of the weekend finding excuses to eat the leftovers. It didn't matter if it was breakfast, lunch or snack, I was into that baggy of leftovers and into the leftover cole slaw. Yum. The next night we had a Hawaiian fish chowder prepared by John's sister. Again another hit, and a good meal with the temperatures getting hotter and hotter. Sunday John's sister and husband headed home in the wee hours and we had John's parents to ourselves. We gave them a break and took off for a bit of shopping then back to the house for dinner and a heat wave (thank God they have a pool). Sunday evening we had the pleasure of sharing ling cod that John had caught in Trinidad recently, fresh lettuce from our garden for salad and our delicious artichokes. Man! Am I proud of our artichokes. I've never had such a meaty choke. John's mom boiled them in water, vinegar, peppercorns and a bay leaf. They were wonderful. I didn't even need to dip mine in anything.

On Monday we headed north to Redding to check out Turtle Bay for the day. Great place, but don't hit up the gardens when it's over 110 degrees outside. I ended up with heat stroke. Also, if you go to their cafe and order a sandwich, be prepared to get a sandwich big enough for 3. They weren't spectacular, but they were pretty good. Fresh ingredients, not a lot of spice, and just way too much food. Next time I'll order one sandwich for me and the girls. That evening John's mom needed a break and threw in a frozen lasagna for dinner, which was very good, and I made another salad from our home grown lettuce. Perfect end to the day, well, no the swim in the pool in the over 95 degree evening was the perfect end.

Tuesday it was on to Monterey and more adventures, eating and non eating. First stop, Williams California.....

To be continued

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My new mascot

Before I head out for vacation tomorrow, I'd like to introduce you to my new mascot, Charlotte Rose. She's the sweet red piggy on the top right hand side of my food blog. Isn't she a cutie pie? My co-worker Michale from Rio Dell is her proud owner and best friend. Eventually Charlotte will have to move on because she's getting pretty big, and she is meant to go to butcher, but in the mean time she is being very loved by her owner and her owners' family. I only mention butcher because this is a food blog after all. I wish Charlotte and Michale the best in deciding her future, but regardless of what happens she will forever be my mascot at Omnivores Delight, because Charlotte is the "Real Omnivore". And by the way, I have some kitchen scraps saved up for her. Eat on Charlotte.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Great Sandwich Debate

Yesterday my co-worker pulled out her little half sandwich that she always brings to work and a fellow co-worker happened to look at it and notice that it wasn't folded "correctly". This perplexed me, and the co-worker with the sandwich, as neither of us knew that there was a "correct" way to fold a sandwich. Apparently my "Okie descindant friend" ODF (Don't worry, this is a compliment) felt that the sandwich should be folded side by side. My Italian descendant friend (IDF for short - also a compliment) folded hers from top to bottom or as my ODF said, round to square, and this seemed to disturb my ODF's sense of the logical world and now my IDF's world is stressed. I've never heard someone exclaim that they absolutely could not fold a sandwich a certain way. In fact, in my family, it was all about shoving it in your face and eating it. It's all going to come out the same in the end right? So who gave a rats ass how it was folded. What a new concept to worry about, how your sandwich is folded. What kind of therapy do you need to deal with this?
Who knows. What I want to know is how many of you out there actually have an issue with this. And if so, which way do you fold your sandwich? Do you not fold it? Maybe you cut it and if so how? Tell me your pb&j stories.
I can't wait to hear! Yes, I really am excited to hear back. I do have a life, but I'm into the small things. Tell me your sandwich stories.

Vacation Time!

Well, we'll be heading out in a couple days for the 4th of July holiday. First we'll be visiting the grandparents in Chico.
We've been asked to bring some of the Ling Cod that John has caught here locally for dinner one night.

So it will be interesting to see what kind of yummy dish we come up with for that. After a few relaxing days with family we may head up to Turtle Bay in Redding, then from there it's a couple of mystery days. Probably trying to stay out of the smoke from all of the forest fires. Then! It's to Monterey for the Aquarium for a couple of days.

And hopefully out to enjoy some local fresh seafood at the many wonderful restaurants in Monterey and Pacific Grove. I can't wait! There's lots of good Italian food in the area, all involving very fresh and succulent seafood.
Finally before we head home it will be up to Oakland, as I said in my last post, and a chance to explore some real exciting food.

The first thing I packed besides pool toys was my Wisdom of Chinese Cooking so I can pick out exotic foods and herbs to buy at the markets. And keep your fingers crossed that I'll get to eat at Restaurant Peony, or at least some place similar. I'm so excited!