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Archive for March, 2009

Just returned last week from a much-needed vacation (9 days!) in Mexico. It’s been years since I have been on a “real” vacation (meaning no family members, as much as I love them, were with us) and I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this relaxed.  After a relatively smooth re-entry week, I think my mind (and my tastebuds) have only halfway returned.  So, before I lose my motivation (as I did earlier this winter with my San Francisco trip) I want to share a visual tour of some the culinary high points with G3 readers.

We stayed in Puerto Morelos, a small low-key fishing village on the “Riviera Maya” (about 40 km south of Cancun), but happily, there was nothing Riviera-like about the town other than the abundant sea and sunshine. We met a lot of American expats and wanderers along with (mostly) loyal repeat visitors, mainly from Northern US, Canada and smatterings of places in Europe and South America. PM is not necessarily a foodie destination, but the local offerings were fine enough (right on the square is one of the best Chinese places we’ve tried in a while – seriously!) and we found it to be a good base for venturing  off to experience more serious Mexican culinary and historic treasures. We visited the ruins at Tulum, and luckily were able to locate the hard-to-find restaurant “Oasis” with some help from the locals and a post on Chowhound – several blocks off the main road in the town. We also ate well in Playa Del Carmen, which we once considered as a vacation spot several years back but now it is REALLY crowded and touristy – not like I imagine Cancun, but kind of – a Riviera-Maya-take on South Beach – definitely not my thing. But luckily, we had some fun shopping for beachy surfer stuff and we had an amazing lunch at a place we read about in our guidebook called La Cueva Del Chango.

In Puerto Morelos we enjoyed Rosie’s Juice Bar (even with the s-l-o-w pace – it helped get us on Mexican time!), Dona Triny’s, as well as some of the traditional/familiar offerings at a restaurant on the water called Paneros, and other fine enough local finds (e.g., Caktuz for Argentinean/amazing grilled beef, Cafe Habanero, the expat hangout, Spagettino for great pasta, El Pirata for local fare). Since Lenny speaks fluent Spanish I decided to turn my brain to zero and not try to speak at all, which helped even more with my relaxation state – but he obviously was able to engage more with the locals who don’t speak English (and sometimes not even Spanish as a lot of the locals only speak Mayan). Anyway here is his mini-take on Rosies:

Rosie is not from the Yucatan but another part of Mexico (Guerrero?), and is sometimes too overwhelmed with customers to provide quick service, but it was vacation so we relaxed. Rosie’s featured a Super Green Juice as well as other fresh fruit smoothies, but we opted for the super green which included radishes, chaya (a local plant similar in some ways to spinach), pineapple, and orange juices. It was large, inexpensive, and delicious, and set us right for the rest of the day (see the photo below).

In Valladolid, where we stopped for lunch on the way to the ruins at Chichen Itza, we had our (well, my)  favorite meal at the Meson De Marques, on the main square. It was the most typical Yucatecan fare (although definitely a more sophisticated take) we were able to try and we thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the setting.

So without further ado here is a “taste” of what we were lucky enough to experience on our trip.

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I’ve long wanted to write a post about how to shop at Zingerman’s on a shoestring budget. At times, this felt like trying to write about how to fill your closet with Manolo Blahniks while working at Target.

Now, however, they’re making this task very easy for me: for the next 20 or so weeks on Fridays from 11am – 7pm, Zingerman’s is holding a Warehouse sale at 610 Phoenix Drive [Google Map] in order to move some inventory at generous discounts, which you may have already heard about it in The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

Tomorrow — Friday, March 20–everyone who stops in will receive a free gingerbread coffeecake. And best of all: there will also be a free gift–with a purchase–for readers of this blog. Just mention that you heard about it on Gastronomical Three.*

Ann Arbor, our affordable gourmet-grocery-dreams are coming true.

The stock will be different each week, but to keep up with what’s on offer, you can send an e-mail to warehousesale@zingermans.com.Here’s what will be available tomorrow for purchase:

  • English Farmhouse Cheddar – C-EFC – reg. $38/lb, sale price $20/lb.
  • St. Marcellin – C-STM – sale price $5 each
  • Jowl Bacon – M-JWL – reg. $10, sale price $5
  • Marina Colonna Orange oil – O-COL-ARA – reg. $25, sale price $12
  • Moutere Grove olive oil – O-GRO – reg. $35, sale price $15
  • Vosges Mini Book of Bars – P-9VS – reg. $35, sale price $15
  • Anchovy Paste – P-ANP – reg. $7, sale price $5
  • Mathei Biscotti – P-BIS – reg. $14, sale price $5
  • Michel Cluizel 85% bar – P-CLU-85 – reg. $9, sale price $5
  • D. Barbero Torrone – P-DBT – reg. $60, sale price $21
  • Al Dente Land & Sea pasta – P-LSP – reg. $9, sale price $5
  • Tutto Calabria Miscela Esplosiva – P-MIS – reg. $15, sale price $8
  • Bagna Cauda Warmer – P-MKR – reg. $15, sale price $10
  • Il Mongetto Spicy Marmalade – P-MSM – reg. $15, sale price $8
  • Pomodoro Chivaso Jam – P-OMO – reg. $11, sale price $5
  • John Macy’s Cheese Sticks – P-PUF – reg. $6, sale price $3
  • Keemun Tea – T-KEE – reg. $24, sale price $12
  • Zing label Horseradish Mustard – sale price $3 each
  • Rustico Red Pepper Cheese – $7/lb

*G3 is not benefiting from this promotion in any way; we’re just spreading the foodie love. We will always be transparent about relationships between local businesses whose food and services we’re promoting.

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And boy is my stomach tired . .

You know, there just weren’t enough meals in the day. Places to go, food to eat . ..

Armandino Batali’s Salumi. Forty-five minutes to get to the front of the line and worth every one of those minutes. Cured meat heaven, bottles of wine on the table for glasses poured on the honor system, and the porchetta . . . big, fat succulence. The best part was actually the juice-soaked, crusty roll. I couldn’t stop eating it. A 1.5 pound finnichiona salami came home tucked in suitcase.

Breakfast (twice!) at Le Pichet. Quintessentialy French, sunlit, spare and lovely. With killer coffee to boot. I wanted to live there. Right there in the cafe. This European style yogurt with honey and walnuts was just the right lead in to fresh bread, butter and jam.

Lunch, sadly only once, at The Baguette Box which serves French-Vietnamese style sandwiches. Pork belly with hoisin sauce anyone? In this case, the sweet unctiousness cut a bit by fresh cilantro and cucumber. Just right with a locally brewed ginger ale.

Also, it was spring. Which may have contributed to my dazed euphoria as I wandered around town. That or the Le Pichet coffee. Well, both.

But I was glad to get back to Ann Arbor where it turned out it was also spring, and I was glad to find local chard, kale, beets and spinach at the Co-op. And there were a few people (and one dog) waiting that I was very glad to see. I’ll let them live at Le Pichet with me.

Other lovely Seattle eating experiences, sans photos: Boat Street Cafe where I devoured an entire pickle plate by my own self and Assiago Ristorante where the staff is much given to hugging and the brussels sprouts were a revelation. Yes, four people shared a brussels sprouts appetizer and fought over the last one.

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booky
I’m on a bit of a tear lately to organize my digital life. I’m really into the social bookmarking site, del.icio.us, which is where I save and tag all manner of things relating to my work: reports about scholarly communication, blog posts about ebooks and e-readers, links to open source publishing tools, and other such geekery. I tend to keep that space pretty much free from cooking- and food-related distractions. Instead, I’ve been saving recipes I’d like to try to a folder called “eatme” in my Firefox browser bookmarks. But you know what? It ain’t working. I bookmark and forget. And I haven’t yet come up with a plan B.

So while I figure out what to do with my bookmarked recipes to make them more useful and available to me, I figured I’d clean out that virtual folder and share them with you. I even categorized them for ya, because I’m feeling so darn organized. Perhaps working with in a library for the past three years is rubbing off on me.

In the comments, I’d love to hear how you organize the recipes you find online.

Breakfast

Breakfast Polenta
Apartment Therapy – The Kitchn

Dessert

Red Velvet Cake
The New York Times

Chocolate Swirl Gingerbread
design*sponge

Hamantaschen
Smitten Kitchen

Oven Crespella with Nutella Sauce
Epicurious

Chocolate Chip Cookies
The New York Times

Poached Pears with Asian Spices
Bitten Blog – The New York Times

Brandied Dried-Fruit Bread Pudding
Gourmet

Fish

Steamed Cod with Coconut Chutney
The New York Times

Meat

Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken
Simply Recipes

Guiness Braised Short Ribs
The Jewels of New York

Roasted Marrow Bones
The New York Times

Mock Porchetta
Married With Dinner

Mustardy Braised Rabbit with Carrots
The New York Times

Pork Belly Sandwiches
Bitten Blog – The New York Times

Veg

Beet Chips with Curried Sour Cream
Gourmet

Fennel and Celery Salad
The New York Times

Noodles

The Best Pad Thai
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Addictive Mac and Cheese
Bitten Blog – The New York Times

Rice Noodle Salad
The Wednesday Chef

Brothy Shrimp Noodles
Last Night’s Dinner

Snacks

The Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts
Nigella Lawson – The Food Network

Halloumi Cheese with Chiles [Youtube]
Nigella Lawson

Drinks

Cocktails (General How-To)
New York Times

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Photo by <a href="http://relish.myraklarman.com/selma-cafe-march-6-2009">Myra Klarman</a>

Photo by Myra Klarman

Well that was fun.

As I mentioned last week, we put on another Selma Cafe, a Friday morning volunteer-run local foods breakfast salon. You can read all about it over at the Repasts blog, but let me just say that Scott cooked up a hell of a breakfast and Garin was my partner in serving crime. Lisa made waffle and granola magic. Matt is all over Selma Cafe 2.0. Aubrey wins the the miracle kitchen worker award. And Jeff hosted and podcasted like no one’s business.

Myra Klarman documented it all exquisitely. I mean — wow.

If you didn’t have a chance to make it last week–or, if you did–I hope you can make it to the next installment of the Selma Cafe on March 13, when Jeremy Lopatin of Arbor Teas will cook omelets to go with our regular waffle and granola breakfasts. I understand that Michigan Mushrooms and hoop-house baby spinach will be among the fillings.

Selma Cafe continues every Friday morning 6:30 to 10:00 am; full details are on the Selma Cafe site. And we’re looking for local-food-loving folks like your-good-selves to keep it going. Interested in helping out? Drop me a line or leave a comment. Or, if you or someone you know needs to be relieved of a 110v commercial pass through toaster, let us know. Thanks!

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