Friday, September 30, 2005


As I've mentioned previously, we don't refrigerate the eggs that our chickens lay, because they're better when they've never been refrigerated. Recently Sushi knocked one of them off the kitchen counter, and discovered that what ends up on the floor is pure eggy goodness. So now he tries to roll them off the counter, and succeeded this morning. Splat. How adorable! *groan*

Monday, September 26, 2005

Triple Door

Last night we saw Rickie Lee Jones at the Triple Door, which is a supper club located underneath Wild Ginger, with mostly the same food as upstairs. The interior is as nice as any club I've been to--seating for around 300, arranged in booths, tables, and long wavy counters. We were seated at a table for two near the back (we didn't arrive until just before 6pm), but the view was excellent. I don't think there are any bad seats in the house.

We started off with pot stickers and a couple of Cambodian beef satays. The pot stickers are filled with a chicken mixture, and have a pleasant wrapper that is brown and crisp on the bottom. The satay came with a mango dipping sauce, along with the usual pickled vegetables. For entrees we shared the Wild Ginger Fragant Duck, which is served with steamed buns and a sticky plum sauce. The duck was very tender and quite flavorful. We also had Phoenix and Dragon, which was a very mild green curry with prawns, scallops, and what appeared to be pickled lime quarters, which had the texture of little eggplant with crisper skin. For dessert we shared a molten chocolate lava cake, which is alleged to be infused with wasabi and ginger, but all I really tasted was chocolate.

Apparently Rickie Lee Jones insisted that there be no service during the show, so everything had to be ordered and served before the show started. They couldn't even have a drink service, so everyone was stacking up their drinks. (I had a half-bottle of Zin for the show.) Given the hard deadline of getting everyone fed basically all at once, the staff performed admirably and with good cheer.

Rickie started playing around 7:20pm. She played solo, about half at the piano and half standing and playing a guitar. The set started out with Magazine, and finished off with Satellites. The show ran about 1.5 hours. It could have been longer--we enjoyed it very much, but I've been a fan ever since I saw her play "Chuck E's In Love" and "Coolsville" on Saturday Night Live, back in 1979. There was also a 9:00pm show.

My only complaint was that sometimes the food could have been a little hotter. I wonder whether it's coming from upstairs at Wild Ginger, or whether they have a separate kitchen for the club. All in all, I think it was the most pleasant popular music show I've ever been to--good food, great music, comfortable space, good sound (though Rickie kept complaining about excessive high frequencies).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mona's Apple

Mona showed up here in the comments, and has a cool blog, Mona's Apple. She calls it "A poor girl's guide to NYC restaurants," and reviews mostly moderatly-priced restaurants. Like every New Yorker I've ever met, she almost never cooks, except to make mac 'n cheese. If you're in New York or just going to visit, and can't afford to drop $225 for Alain Ducasse's tasting menu every night, check it out!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Eats Around Work

Here are a few notes on some restaurants near work.

35th Street Bistro is in Fremont, near work, and probably the best lunch in short walking distance that I've found. I've only been there for lunch, but I'm looking forward to trying dinner at some point.

The space is very pleasant, with a wall of windows on the front, wood floors, a big plant (a ficus tree I think), big wood bar in the back, and the usual rotating cafe art exhibit. The food is simply prepared, but executed well. I often get the burger, which is a nicely cooked slug of ground meat topped with Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese, with hand-cut fries, a nice slice of good, ripe tomato (at least in the summertime), some onions, and "curry ketchup." The curry ketchup is fine but I might ask for some regular ketchup next time. If you order it medium rare like I do, that's what you get. Nothing like a burger made by a competent chef, if you ask me. I've also gotten the steamed mussels (served with fries), which were very nice local mussels, but the trouble with that is that I can't bear to order it without a nice glass of white wine, and I'm kind of useless for the rest of the afternoon when I drink at lunchtime. Last time I went I had a salade nicoise, which had rare-grilled tuna, yuppie greens, little yellow tomatoes, some red onions, and a good vinaigrette.

Desserts are apparently not their forte. I had a raspberry napoleon which sounded good in print, but was disappointing in execution: puff pastry and raspberries and not enough pastry cream, so I felt like I was eating raspberries on crispbread.

I also went to Yak's Deli last week, and had the nastiest pork bun I've ever tasted. It was several rungs below the pork buns that the guy up the street from Berkeley High School sold out of a trailer. Maybe I should try the teriyaki sometime; it seems to be what people order at lunchtime.

Baja Fresh (N. 34th at Fremont) is a ubiquitous chain burrito shop, which makes a reasonable facsimilie to a San Diego carne asada burrito, for a little too much money if you're used to xBerto's.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Late Summer

What could be better than a perfect tomato from Persephone Farms, sliced and sprinkled with a little sea salt on a September afternoon?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Phở in Seattle

There are many Phở restaurants in Seattle. We'd tried several before finding an acceptable one. The one in the Pike Place market that Tom Douglas recommended in his cookbook was very mediocre. Phở Bac on Jackson is on a lot of "best of" lists, but I was underwhelmed--the phở was a bit flavorless. Good gỏi cuốn though. The Chinese restaurant in the Pavilion on Bainbridge serves something resembling phở at weekday lunch, but it's just not what I was looking for. Last weekend we finally had some good phở at a place that we picked at random, which turned out to be part of a huge international chain: Phở Hoa at 618 S. Weller St. in the International District. I had Phở Tái, Nạm, Gân Sách, which contains steak, flank, tendon, and tripe. The plate of veggies was a little skimpy (just bean sprouts and basil). The broth was good and flavorful. The spring rolls (gỏi cuốn) were not the best I've ever had.