Thursday, March 29, 2007

how lazy am I?

It's final critique for my Advanced Ceramics class, which means potluck time! The kid and I were in Los Gatos Tuesday, so we made our first visit to Icing on the Cake. We had some tasty snacks and bought a roll of pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough destined for the potluck.*

Baked the cookies this morning. They are nice, plump and not overly sweet. My only complaint is I was told their dough is good 10 days after preparation. At home I noticed the expiration date for the dough is Friday. They could have sold me newer product for $12+ per roll!

* My Sabra Veggie Liver and pita chips were not a hit last quarter.

Icing on the Cake
50 W. Main Street
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

mollie's stoned

Found a couple of interesting items in Mollie Stone's refrigerated section. Sabra - maker of yummy hummus, veggie liver, pickles and the like has "To Go" single use containers with crackers.

Homemade Baby is organic mush for parents too lazy to mash a banana or cook a fruit/veggy in the oven until mushy. They even have their foods broken into three age groups and textures.

I find the need for this product offensive. Been there, making your own it isn't that hard to do.

Haven't had the guts to try the spelt matzoh I bought.

Mollie Stones
164 S. California Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More movies that don't suck

I'd all but given up hope that all movies suck. I'd hit a good 4-6 week spell of watching crap. Then came Fast Food Nation. Now Borat and Word Wars. Three for three.

I'd wanted to hate Borat. My other half was born in Kazakhstan, so I expected nothing funny about the country. Instead Sacha Cohen speaks like a Slav and shows a town not filled with Kazaks. The film goes from bad to worse, showing how stupid Americans are.

Word Wars highlights 4 Scrabble Players preparing for the 2002 National Championship. I now appreciate for the intricacies of Scrabble. I have also found something scarier than computer geeks - Scrabble geeks.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce

I've read the book, now I've seen the movie. The movie did a good job creating a story based on a factual book. The major bad of the movie were numerous scenes that were slow.

Can't imagine people chowing down on meat after the slaughterhouse scenes.

Monday, March 12, 2007


You can't hate Ozzy or his wife Sharon. You couldn't look away from The Osbournes, it felt like viewing a train wreck in-progress.

Sharon writes about her life, and you wonder about her sanity, denial and ability to think. She loves having expensive jewelery in a cute case and gets robbed 3 times (time to ditch the cute jewelery cabinet, get a safe!) Ozzy cracked up on drugs and other women. Ozzy trying to stangle her. Ozzy in rehab more times than Britney Spears. Sharon porking out and getting a ring around her tummy to combat it. Sharon's showbiz dad taking advantage of her.
Nannies gone bad. Managing bands that didn't appreciate her work. And more...

saggar me this

Pulled these two out of a saggar firing last week. Saggar firings are low firing, and these pieces are not water tight. They were fired with banana peels, sea salt, sea weed, copper "dust," sawdust, pine cones and needles and wood collected from a friend's back yard. The piece on the right hand side was thrown as two pieces, the round clay body and the spout.

Since last week I've been visiting Whole Foods for banana peels, and purchased a large bag of cat food for the next firing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

so cute!

I've been playing with negative space in my ceramics work over the last few days. Found J Mendicino's page today. While the work is a bit more art deco/Scandinavian design than I usually go for, I really like it!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

peanut brittle

Inspired by Mark Bittman's peanut brittle video, we decided to try it at home. It really was as easy as he said it would be! To start, we roasted peanuts in the toaster oven.

Then we warmed sugar in a pan over very low heat. While the sugar was carmelizing, we greased a baking sheet with butter. Once the sugar was carmelized we turned off the heat and mixed in the peanuts in with a pinch of salt.

We didn't account for the sugar hardening as soon as the heat was off. With maximum effort we quickly mixed and spread the mixture on the baking sheet to set.

Cleaning the pan used for melting sugar was not discussed in Mark's video. I added water, heated the water to an almost boil (liquefying the sugar) and dumped the mixture into the sink.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Two early 20th century magicians battle it out.

When not producing large number of "Zzzzzzz"s and drool, I kept thinking hey that's Wolverine (Jackman), Patrick Batemen (Christian Bale), Maj. Celliers (David Bowie) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson).

Nice star studded cast. A costumer's dream. Snooze of a movie.

for you trendy cup carriers

For you latte carrying posers, this shirt from Unicorn Burger has your number.

egging on oakville

Chowhound discussed the SF Oakville Market's closing and ponderings if the other stores were doomed. I was in need of a bottle of wine yesterday for a dinner party, and needed to stop by the Stanford Mall, so I decided to check on Oakville.

Side Note: Oakville has been at the Stanford Mall for as long as we've lived in the area (16+ years). We think it is the best place on the Peninsula to get cheese.

The store was very empty at 4pm on a Friday, and I don't mean people empty. The wine racks were almost bare and the olive bar covered with snacks. I was scared!

The wine guy gave me reqs for a bottle for dinner. At the same time he calmed my fears, saying he just got $12K worth of wine in and was starting to put it out on the floor. He got the guy (running the cheese department??) at the cheese counter to bring out the olives for me. Never had an olive bar set up in my honor! The cheese guy said he was new. He'd ordered new olives, cornichons, almonds and vegetables for the olive bar and hadn't set them out yet. He felt Oakville was in a rut ordering the same olives for years. The new olives were quite good, minus the dry cured ones, which were mealy. There was something un-sexy seeing the olives come out of plastic countainers, or worse yet cans and then placed into yuppified white bowls for selection. I know that is how the olives are shipped, but it ruins the experience!

Earlier in the week I stopped at Country Sun to pick up a container of Yokohl Valley Ranch eggs. Country Sun is the only vendor to carry them locally. They are the only local free range eggs outside of a farmer's market that I have found in the Peninsula. Shipments to Country Sun are infrequent, so best to call if you want some.

Oakville Grocery Palo Alto
715 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 328-9000

Country Sun Natural Foods
440 S. California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 324-9190

chewing @ chef chu's

We dined at Chef Chu's with an old friend and her ex-pastry chef buddy the other night. The ex-chef had some hilarious stories to share about working for the upper ranks of the US government.

We started with a vegetarian hot and sour soup. The soup had good flavor, but it relied too heavily on pepper for heat. Our dining companions, one being from the mid-West, the other from the East Coast, were not use to that much pepper in their food, enjoying the soup, and mopping their brows.

After the soup we had vegetarian goose and spicy pickled cucumber. The veg goose reminded me of mock duck that I'd had elsewhere, only more dense and more 'meat like' flavoring. The cucumbers are always good, but sweeter than spicy.

Next came the special lobster in sauce with noodles, all pieces and parts of the lobster proudly displayed. Everyone else said the dish was delish!

At this point everyone was ready for a bucket to make room! Out came a whole fish, deep fried, topped with a spicy sauce, my veg Singapore "style" noodles, seasonal asparagus sauteed with garlic and the kid's candied pecans with prawns. I can only attest for the asparagus and noodles, they were quite good.

Everyone shared an order of fried banana with ice cream for dessert.

Dinner was pretty good. Chef Chu's is not the ultimate destination for Chinese food in the Bay Area, but it is good and always consistent.

Chef Chu's
1067 N. San Antonio Road
Los Altos, CA 94022

Thursday, March 1, 2007

bagel breakfast

Stopped at Izzy's this morning for 2 bagel sticks, one for me, one for the kid. We agreed we should have gotten everything bagels instead, they have garlic and more salt.

Izzy's makes the best bagels on the Penninsula. I'm sure the SF store makes the best ones in SF.

Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels
477 S California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 329-0700

la luz de jesus show

Quick plug for La Luz de Jesus' 10th Annual "Everything But The Kitschen Sync" Group Show. Pieces by new and established artists. There is no theme. Show opens Friday, pictures of pieces already up. Check them out!

La Luz de Jesus
4633 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


What a piece of crap from the director of one of my favorites, Amores Perros! It is a movie about bad decisions and their consequences. The movie is slow, the characters are cold, their actions are predictable and 2 1/2 hours of my life were flushed down the drain. The stories intersected, but were related distantly. Not interesting.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Stopped by Sehbali Cafe in downtown Palo Alto around 4:30pm to pick up an order of Bhel Poori for the kid's dinner. Fortunately for me, the dish was made a bit too spicy, so I ate most of it. Chaat "to go" isn't the greatest idea. It should be eaten ASAP otherwise it gets a bit soggy. Still, it was a nice warming meal.

While I waited for the dish to be assembled I watched the other patrons. My favorite was one table with two people and one laptop doing business cold calls.

Sehbali Cafe
235 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Sunday, February 25, 2007

netted a friend into neto

Thought I'd run into a friend who shops at the Mountain View Farmer's Market, just had a feeling...

Refused to buy the kid baklava at the market. As we walked back to the car I offered to buy her a pastry. Looked up, there was my friend heading towards the market. Told him we were off to Neto, and invited him to join us.

I've been to Neto a number of times. I prefer their savory dishes to their pastries. I find their pastries to be a bit doughy, and lacking in salt (and I'm a low salt kind of blogger!) Being 10am, figured I'd give their pastries another try. The kid had an eclair, our friend had a chocolate babka, I had the pita with zahtar. The pita was doughy, but slathered with zahtar, it didn't matter. The kid ate half of the eclair, then ordered a pita with zahtar. Kid got us samples of the chocolate croissant, which was doughy and lacking salt.

Washed everything down with a Turkish Coffee.

Neto Caffe & Bakery
135 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

i am not a number, i'm a free man

Our PC solar powered residence numbers from matterinc arrived yesterday. Too bad it's raining outside, we'll have to wait to install them and check out their solar powered glory.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

bad blogger, haven't posted for a while

I've been bad. I haven't posted for a while. What has happened since I last typed...

1. Five of us had lunch at Madison and 5th today. 1pm on a Saturday downtown Palo Alto was busy, Madison and 5th wasn't so. Mad and 5th is an Italian eatery with a decent menu, clashing interior and high prices ($11 for a glass of the house red. "It's from Napa!" is all the waiter could tell us about it).

Three of the five diners were vegetarian. The waiter insisted the soup of the day was vegetarian. He didn't sound convincing, so we asked him to double check. The hostess came by to inform us the soup had chicken stock.

I had the Gratin of Pear Carpaccio, a confused dish of thinly sliced pears with lettuce hiding cheese and nuts melted on the top of some of the pear slices. Once I discovered where the cheese and nuts were, I enjoyed the dish more.

For a main course I had the pumpkin ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce special of the day. It was quite tasty, but I would have enjoyed one or two raviolis with a side of veggies instead.

Dessert was a Nutella crepe with what looked like mango in it (!!??) with a fruit sauce on top and vanilla ice cream. The elements were good, combined was a bit strange. I should have ordered a different dish, the dough used for the ravioli and the crepe had similar tastes. The kid had her first chocolate fondue. It was a match made in heaven.

Overall the meal was good. I'd eaten here once before, and was luke warm on the place. I'll give them one more try before passing final judgement.

I'll try to bring my camera next time!

2. Read Tuva or Bust!
A few weeks back a KFJC jock played a Tuvan throat singing piece. I'd heard Tuvan pieces in the past, but this piece caused me to google for information on Tuva. I found mention of Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey, and picked it up from the library.

The book recalls the author, Ralph Leighton, and his friend Richard Feynman's attempt to travel to Tuva in the late 1970's, early 1980s based on their interest in the spelling of the capital Kyzyl. Tuva was part of the Soviet Empire. Soviet/US relations were not great at the time. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the work required to investigate each and every fact, potential contacts, and hoops to jump through for permission to travel to Tuva in the pre-Internet age.

Madison & Fifth
367 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA
(650) 323-3900

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

carpet matches the curtains

Subject says it all.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The People's Pizza Dough

Was in Berkeley for the final weekend of a year long one weekend per month class.

Saturday I visitedThe Cheeseboard Collective Saturday morning for a yummy Sourdough Cheese Roll before class, and City Batard, a Chocolate Cake Loaf (pieces to go into the kid's lunchbox) and a lump of The People's Pizza Dough for home. Well, it is pizza dough and they are a collective...

Found the pizza dough to be really runny, no amount of flour on our hands would allow it to be worked with. Dumped it into our Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, added flour, and got a workable lump of dough. Made a pizza for the kid for dinner on Saturday and Sunday, as well as Monday for lunch.

Did Poulet for lunch. Had a veggy sandwich there. Paid no attention to the food, since I was told I would be coming back from lunch and teaching a class. I had nothing prepared, so I spent lunch studying and writing furiously.

Sunday stopped at Sweet Adeline for a delicious heated Cheddar and Scallion Scone and an Apple Turnover to bring home.

Lunch found a group of us at Taste of the Himalayas for a buffet lunch. The buffet is usually good, today I found the food bland and uninspired.

Taste of the Himalayas
1700 Shattuck Ave., Suite #A
Berkeley, CA 94709

Sweet Adeline Bakeshop
3350 Adeline Street
Berkeley, CA 94703

1685 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA

Cheeseboard Collective
1504 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA (they don't list a zip on their web page)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Ghost in the Banana Machine

Banana Ghost's Man Man video. Watch it.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Sherry (Maggie Gyllenhal), is newly paroled and trying to rebuild her life for herself and her daughter. She deals with an abusive parole officer, abusive father, brother and sister-in-law that are surrogate parents to her daughter, an old flame, and the ghost of addiction. The movie is well acted and at times uncomfortable. It is also slooowww and boring. They could have cut out the sex scenes and made it a network 'movie of the week.'

Valentine's Day Massacre

I'm a bad parent. I thought these would be so cute, so fun to make, I'm willing to send the kid down the Trans Fat highway in the name of entertainment. I was disillusioned that Pop 'N' Fresh wouldn't lead us astray. He doesn't really allow all that artificial stuff in food for kids.

Cookies were baked. The kid wasn't thrilled with the taste. Take that, Doughboy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Garden "Flesh"

Garden Fresh is a small Chinese vegan restaurant in a strip Mall anchored by a Baskin Robbins. They specialize in faux meat dishes (chicken, ham, steak) in sauces, large portions, and a friendly staff. I've eaten here dozens, if not hundreds of times over the last 10-12+ years. The staff has remained almost the same over time and remembers your likes and dislikes.

I have a love/hate relationship with the place. I like supporting vegetarian establishments. I love most of the "meat" taste and texture in their dishes, but can find the sauces a bit too sweet. When they say "spicy," they mean mild. Then again, I like my food very spicy.

Four of us went for lunch on Monday. They now have 2 menus - one printed, one on a whiteboard of (never changing) specials. We wanted to try new dishes. We'd ordered almost everything off the printed menu in the past. We debated about ordering the "Basil with Vegetarian Kidney" off the printed menu. but realized we weren't manly enough to try faux kidney. We ordered 2 dishes from the printed menu - Orange Vegetarian Steak and Green Boat. We'd had both dishes dozens of times before. Both are very good, but a bit sweet.

All entrees come with 2 scoops of brown rice and a cup of corn and tofu chowder. The chowder is bland for my taste, so I dump a lot of chilis in it.

Pix of the Orange Veg Steak:

We also ordered two dishes of whiteboard menu - Braised Green Beans and Pork Chops. Green Beans pix:

The Green Beans were good, the Pork Chops were, well, tough and had a gristly consistency (just like 'real' pork!). We ate everything.

I'd order all the dishes again, minus the Pork Chops. We noticed a sign that they were under new ownership as of October, 2006. I hope the staff got together and bought the restaurant. I'll ask them next time I am there.

Garden Fresh
1245 W. El Camino Real
Mountain View, CA 94040

(650) 254-1688

simple entertainment

I'm lame. I didn't watch this show when it was on TV (is it still?). For those of you living under a rock, it is the story of two wealthy LA girls, never working a day in their lives, being sent to live with a family small town AK. They are given chores and jobs outside the house, they fail miserably at both. Their clothes, manners and work habits are the talk of the town. The family tries to instill a work ethic and understanding of small town politics in the girls. Good luck!

I found myself smirking and laughing out loud at the stupid situations the girls got themselves into. I would have done the same thing to the ref="">Sonic sign!

I haven't laughed that much since watching Jackass 2 a few weeks back.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

On the good ship sushi boat

Visited San Jose's Mitsuwa store for the first time. Stocked up on toxins for the kid's lunchbox such as Pocky and Yan Yan.

The Utsuwa No Yakata store inside the market was a find. "Normal people" would be excited by the beautiful and inexpensive plates, bowls, sake and tea sets, chopstick holders, etc. that are available. I was, but had to resist and remember that I do ceramics ~40 hours/week, and could make what I could buy. Believe me, it is cheaper to buy!

Found a lovely laminated sushi boat for $10. The kid can use it to eat out of at home. I'm excited, we have a real sushi boat in the house!

Afterwards we went to Real Ice Cream for the first time. I felt like a bad blogger, no camera, no chaat and ice cream photos. We split Papdi Chaat and Pav Bhaji. I preferred the Papdi Chaat. It is a balance between puffed items with a crunch, sweetness and tangyness. Yum! The Pav Bhaji wasn't bad, but its flavor didn't do it for me. I finished with a helping of Pistachio Kulfi ice cream, the kid with Mocha Chip ice cream.

675 Saratoga Ave.
San Jose, CA 95129

Utsuwa No Yakata
675 Saratoga Ave.
San Jose, CA 95129
(408) 253-8185

Real Ice Cream
3077 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 984-6601

Everyone Loves Ramen

If you ever lived near or below the poverty line, you may have chowed down on plenty of instant noodles we Americans often refer to as 'ramen.' Stores will sell a box of MSG-laden instant noodles packets for next to nothing, making them a favorite of poor college students everywhere. At least that was me. I ate real ramen during my last semester in college in LA's Little Tokyo. An eye opening experience, fresh noodles, yummy broth!

I'd love to see Morgan Spurlock eat nothing but Top Ramen for 30 days.

I drink soup almost every day. Usually I make my own large batch of soup broth and enjoy many quick meals by adding a protein and some fresh veggies. Sometimes I am lazy and use pre-packaged stuff. Picked up a couple of Kyoto ramen packages at Rainbow Foods a few weeks back. Last night made a batch and added tofu, shitake mushrooms, tomatoes, corn and broccoli. There was enough food for last night's dinner and today's lunch.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Screwed and Bitter

I loved it. He's crass, bitter, remembers those who helped him foldly, bitter, been in important places at the right (and wrong) times, bitter, greased the wheel (so to speak) for modern day porn, and most importantly, stood up for his rights.

The stories of John Holmes, the "friends" and family who diserted him, the law always after him alone are worth the read. He's not a sympathetic character, but sympathy is not what he's looking for.

First Post

Obligatory first post