Tuesday, November 25, 2008

impromptu tribute to KW

There was some big news in the teeny world of Sacramento food writing this week.  Kate Washingon has ended her (four year?) stint as food reviewer for the Sacramento News and Review.  She's moving on to Sactown mag.  Kate has written hundreds of reviews.  This is a Herculean, even Sisyphean, task.  She has consistently been professional, cheerful, critical, and discerning.  I find myself agreeing with her reviews more often than not, although I hate the star system, but that's not her fault.  She is quite kind in her reviews, sometimes almost too kind, but this is a natural outcome of the crazy time constraints she is writing under.  She usually only has time to visit a place once.  Also, think about how it feels to trash a place that you know someone has put their heart and soul into.  It's not fun.  OK, it's fun once in a while, but only when they really deserve it, and, when they do, Kate goes for it with gusto.  She has distinguished herself by being the only food reviewer in a big media outlet in Sac who would go to obscure and ethnic places, and she is game for anything, without making juvenile gross-out jokes (which I will often resort to).  She is erudite and can speak about the finest of fine-dining with authority.  She'll be missed!  

Nothing big here, just turnips, but I thought I took a nice picture so I posted it.
Thanksgiving came early to my house last night.  I roasted a chicken that I had stuffed with a bread heel I had laying around.  I also sauteed shallots, crimini mushrooms, and the chopped chicken liver in olive oil and wine, and mixed that with the bread, some fresh thyme, and a little broth.  It was liver-y, just like I like stuffing to be.  I rounded out the meal with turnips braised in broth and a little butter, and turnip tops sauteed with shallots and more broth.  Turnips are my new favorite thing, along with cauliflower.
The show on friday with the Vivian Girls and Nodzzz was one of the top shows of the year, for sure.  I love the Nodzz record.  Some of the songs sound sooooo much like the four eyes! 
Luigis is really shaping up to be a great venue.  

Here's the Ganglians at the DAM  house.  They were excellent.  Lots of new songs.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!  See you on the bike ride?

Friday, November 21, 2008

last of the DC posts

I could go on and on about food in DC, but it probably isn't that interesting unless you've been there or are planning to, so I'll wrap it up today.  

Number one: if you are there you need to go to Zatinya.  It's chic and it's owned by a celeb chef that worked at El Bulli, but the important thing is that it is delicious and sophisticated food for a very reasonable price.  

This food is from a place that I was so happy I tracked down called Akosombo.  It's Ghanaian food.  You can't even tell it's a restaurant from the outside.  It's pretty dumpy inside with just a bunch of steam trays that you pick from.  The picture below is rice and beans and spinach and fried fish.  Really hearty, wonderful, comforting food.
And piping hot, sweet/salty plantains!
I picked out one of the top-rated Ethiopian restaurants in the Little Ethiopia area, called Etete.  This was quite a meal.  The food formed the table top.  I would like all my furniture to be made of food.  I tried a new kind of Ethiopian beer and concluded that Ethiopian beer is really a cut above most ethnic beers of cultures that aren't super into beer, if that makes sense.
I got these frites and this Dupont Avec Les bon Voeux at a place called Brasserie Beck.  The Dupont ran me a cool 12 bucks, but it was really fun to get it on draft and the frites were perfect.
As for art, at the portrait gallery, I dug this hecka 70s portrait of Carter.
This was a nice Fairfield Porter picture of his brother, the photographer Eliot Porter
See you at the show tonight!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yelp vs. Aioli

The owner decided to respond to some negative reviews by posting upwards of nine fake reviews, and now it's getting personal and ugly. I would urge him to instead focus his energy on reading the reviews carefully, and taking the valid criticism to heart. Aioli was a place that I used to go to every once in a while, and I had more than one annoying interaction with staff and finally kind of cut it out of my rotation. Now if I want tapas, I go to Tapa The World.

We have some high caliber shows coming this weekend. On friday, it's Vivian Girls (I really like the album), Nodzz, and Love Is All at Luigis. This show will probably sell out so don't be late. On saturday there is a DAM house show, and you know those are always fun. Nightwounds, Ganglians, Hospitals. Has to be over by ten.

Another bomb-ass place in DC that I would trade my left nut for it to be in Sac is called Domku. Slavic and Scandinavian fusion with good Belgian beer on draft and creative aquavit cocktails? Yes please.

Blogger decided it would go back to up l0ading pictures in reverse order, so here is my main course, which were Polish-style crepes loaded with chicken and buckwheat (surprisingly good) and covered with a tomato sauce.  That's a fresh Hennepin on the side.
This was my first course, gravlax and knackbrod with accoutrement.  I had this with a dill-infused and muddled cucumber aquavit cocktail.  This was one of the best pairings I've ever had.

Here's a quick snap of the inside.  It's a little bit indie and cutesy, but it had shabby, comfortable vintage furniture.  This place rules!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

memorable meals

I ate so goddamn much good food in DC.  I had a few of the more memorable meals of my life. Some of them I ate alone, which only enhanced my rapture.  This one below made me tear up a little.  I know that some of you might think that's weird.  I had lunch at this Capitol Hill spot called Montmartre.  The picture below is a lightly dressed frisee salad with duck gizzard confit and bacon. The dressing mingled with the juices to form a delicious sauce.  I had it with a glass of Ugni Blanc, which I just discovered is what the French call the trebbiano grape.
It was quite a warm, breezy day, but overcast so it was very cozy inside.  The pacing was wonderfully slow and the server was very friendly.
On impulse I ordered a second glass of wine, and asked the server for her recommendation.  She suggested the house French pinot noir-I don't know any more about it than that.  This is a vegetable soup with pistou, the French version of pesto.  It was more subtly flavored than pesto, and had a nice chicken-y broth.  There were chunks of carrot, chickpea, yellow squash, onion, and best of all, cauliflower.  One reason this meal made me so emotional is that I bought my tickets to go to Paris in the Spring and I'm so excited!  If you guys have any trips planned you should check the airfares right now.  They have plummeted.
Looking up pistou online I see that the most traditional dish to be made with it is a Summer soup with seasonal vegetables.  I'll try that next Summer for sure.

By the way, my New Year's resolution is to figure out a way to take better food pictures this year.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wintry delights

Despite the fact that the weather isn't very Wintry, I've still been moved to cook a ton of Winter-type dishes.  I cooked coq au vin the other night, and it was really fun to make and really delicious.  I butchered the chicken myself for the first time using my new poulty shears and directions from "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens.  It was pretty easy and very satisfying.  The grossest part was crunching through the bones on both sides of the backbone.  I used the excess fat on the chicken to make some schmaltz, which I am keeping in a jar in my fridge in anticipation of making chopped liver in a few weeks.

Here's Julia Child's recipe for coq au vin.  I consulted this, but ultimately used Molly Steven's recipe.  I used bacon instead of lardons, and I didn't have cognac, so I used wine to deglaze the pan.  I have to get a bottle of cooking cognac so I can light the chicken on fire next time!

Last night I made a variation on a soup using dried cranberry beans from my Marcella Hazan book.  Sautee an onion and some bacon or pancetta until golden.  Throw in chopped whatever you have on hand.  I had purchased kohlrabi at the farmer's market and didn't know what to do with it, so I peeled it and chopped it and threw it in, along with some mustard greens I had sitting around. Throw in a can of plum tomatoes and juice, along with the beans that have been soaking for a day (this is important-I only soaked them for 8 hours and they were too firm even after two hours of cooking-one cup of beans with a bunch of water), salt and pepper.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Really good.  The greens were great in there, you could use collards or kale or whatever. 

 I have been using little bits of Morant's bacon to flavor a lot of my dishes.  I bought a pound of it and split it up and froze it, and I just defrost as needed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

weird show

Heckasac is probably going to be powering down until next week because I'm going to Washington DC for a few days.  I have a list of many exciting places to eat.  What about museums? Last time I was there I was kind of paralyzed by my options and perhaps didn't utilize my time wisely.  I saw a bit of contemporary art, but I'd like to see more.

I forgot to mention the Dreamdate show on friday.  I loved it, what did some of you readers there think? These girls are adorable and fun. I wish I knew the name of my favorite song, because I didn't get to request it. I hope to see them play again soon.

The Boyfriendz/Ganglians/Woods show was weird.  I got there at 8:30 and missed Boyfriendz. Ganglians set up fairly quickly and played three (or maybe 4) songs and were then kicked off the stage by the sound guy against their will.  I don't get this because they were off the stage by 9:05.  That left two hours for the next two bands to play.  I would urge Luigis to not book four band shows if they are going to be fascist about the times.  I paid to see the Ganglians!

Monday, November 10, 2008

cat circus

Hello, folks.  I'm on deadline for some Midmo stuff so not much time to post.  

I happened to be at Taylors on saturday when they were having their first wine tasting in the space next door.  It was from 1-4 and I can't tell if they're going to do it every saturday or once a month.  It was a crazy good deal of large tastes of 6 wines for 5 bucks and they had a lot of snacks out.  They had duck confit, figs, cheese, and other good stuff.

I guess I missed this cat circus at the Crest yesterday?!?!? Did anyone go?

Friday, November 07, 2008


I can't believe a nation that was brought together by the election of Barack Obama has so quickly been torn asunder by Lighrailpubcrawlgate.  Will Guphy attain the notoriety of G. Gordon Liddy? Can I be Deep Throat?  I've earned the title, believe me.  Ha! J.K., you literal-minded folks out there.

I'm on the fence about whether I want to see Orgasmic Birth tonight at Movies On A Big Screen.  But for sure I'm going to see Dreamdate.  I know I've linked to their myspace a lot before, but I'm gonna get a little micromanage-y right now and say that the first song that pops up to play is not one of my favorite.  If you're on the fence about the show, I recommend you listen to "the one I need" or "why don't you make me".   I've heard this band is popular in Davis, so it's not like it will be ill-attended.  I just think some of you would like it.

Oh yeah, Javalounge is having two days of benefit shows.  Remember, they serve beer now. The Four Eyes are playing on saturday sometime from 2pm until midnight.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I know I will catch shit for this, but...

Have you ever seen anyone take a lightrail pub crawl so seriously?

I will officially proclaim right now, that yelper Scott C. invented the idea of taking lightrail to various bars.  I haven't read the article yet, but I imagine that Guphy was making a gentle joke when she claimed to be copyrighting the term.  We young hip gridsters are so busy putting on our tight pants and riding our fixies around and getting stds and wearing neon sunglasses or whatever the fuck you think we Midmo contributors are all doing that we don't have the time to come up with original material, sorry.  I  do indeed feel great shame that I did not personally contact the "round corner crew" to verify the fact that yelper Scott C. has all rights and claims to this phrase and concept in perpetuity.  

Beer and wine is fine.

OK, this it totally fucking ridiculous!  One thing that struck me when I was in Portland (which our city is supposedly aspiring to be like) is that it feels much more adult and cosmopolitan because you can get alcoholic beverages everywhere, including really good beer at the Stumptown coffee shops that are all over the place.  What are we a bunch of Puritanical babies?!!? This is not Salt Lake City.  Does anyone have an idea of where I can take this outrage of mine, as far as letter writing, protesting, what I can chain myself to, etc.?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Luis! Luis!

Well, there's nothing more that I can say about the national elections, and I'm sad about some of the propositions that passed, but what about that KJ?  What an arrogant speech!  You sir, are no Barack Obama.  You won because of your fame, not despite many obstacles.  Although, at the end when he called up Luis (in a dick move, rubbing that city hall thing in Fargo's face) and he started to chant "Luis Luis Luis" that was pretty Sac of him.  If you want to watch it, go here and start on 11 minutes in.  You have to watch a short Amway commercial first

Great show tonight at Luigis.  English Singles start at eight and they are debuting their new mascot, Dishums,  and their pyrotechnics display.  The Crystal Stilts record is good, I'm stoked to see them.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

vote for Maries

Well, I voted (of course).  No lines.  It was great.  My polling place is right by New Roma so I impulsively bought a dozen doughnuts, and, boy are Marie's doughnuts the best or what?  Soooo much better than New Roma.  

this one is pretty cute

a reggaeton version

Monday, November 03, 2008

big week

So everyone knows that there's a veryveryveryveryvery big day this week.  On this day we need to leave our warm cozy houses, and line up to....get into the Crystal Stilts/Cause Commotion/English Singles show on wednesday at Luigis!!!!! 
Starts at eight pm, five bucks (cheap).  Wednesday, not tuesday even though I pulled that little trick on you.Also, on friday, an excellent pop show at Luigis.  Dreamdate at Luigis.  If you like pretty pop sung by girls then go to this show.  
On Tuesday, Midmo is having an election night party that Th' Losin' Streaks are playing at.  It's at the Press Club, it's free and Th' Losin' Streaks promise to play by ten.

This is going to be a long week and possibly a horrible or wonderful week, so you probably don't want to think about friday, but do you want to think about Orgasmic Birth?  I finally made it out to Movies On A Big Screen for Suspiria and it's an awesome space.  And I was able to fit in a quick meal at Vientiane beforehand.  I'm going to try to attend more movies there.  They have an upcoming Star Trek  movie that has Uhura and Chekhov and Cameron from Ferris Beuller in it?!?! Mikermike are you coming to that with me?

Another poverty dinner yesterday, inspired by an inspiring article on the Auvergne region of France that was in Saveur and a trip to Morants.  I finally tried the bacon at Morants and it's wonderful.  It's kind of like a cross between Canadian bacon and regular bacon.  It is very meaty and barely shrinks when you cook it.  For this dish I sauteed bacon and then added chopped onion, carrot, and celery.  Then I threw in the lentils du puy from the co-op and a couple of bay leaves and some flat leaf parsley.  Simmer for a little over an hour.
Meanwhile, I cooked these two Italian sausages in a cup of wine and a cup of water until the water evaporated, and then I added some oil and browned them on each side. The smell of this was indescribably delicious.  What Heaven probably smells like.
Here's a quick cheesecake shot of Steve in the back yard.
Here's the finished dish.
The side dish were all the vegetables I had sitting around, roasted.  The leaks and cauliflower tasted the best.  Smiller despised the parsnips.  Parsnips are a much-despised vegetable, but I like them.