A must read article about the “new” cookbook bible

You must read this great article written by Sara Fuss of Shine Yahoo, entitled “The rarifed world of Modernist Cuisine“.

Click on the article (link below) to read a very good description of the book set,  then be sure to click on each of the photos shown above the article to read the detailed culinary methodologies use to create each of the food item in the photos.

The tales of the techniques and ingredients are mind boggling. It is truly cooking at it’s extreme.

The products that are used and methods in which the items are prepared is very unusual, both artistic and scientific. It’s a side of the culinary world where creative chef’s use newly developed techniques to create the most extraordinary dishes that are beyond our wildest imaginations.

Cheers!

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/extreme-eating-inside-the-new-625-cookbook-2464738/#photoViewer=1

Shopping at your local Farmer’s Market

Shopping for quality fresh food items can sometimes be hit or miss at a grocery store depending on how long items have been on a store shelf and where the item originally came from.   I’ve had the misfortune of occasionally buying what looks like fresh packed produce only to find it spoiled or rotten within a few days of the original purchase.  That can be a major disappointment, especially when spending top dollar for those poor quality items.

As much as I love Trader Joe’s, I’ve found their produce to sometimes be too old to use and frankly they should not even be stocking that produce on their shelves after the item has reached a certain age after it’s been harvested.

Produce sold at a Certified Farmers’ Markets is freshly picked and very nutritious.  Unlike store produce which is picked many days in advance and hundred of miles away, most produce at Certified Farmers’ Markets is picked within hours of market days. And the visitor can talk directly to the farmer and learn about new varieties of fruits and vegetables, farming practices and special preparation suggestions.

A Certified Farmers’ Markets is not just a place of shopping but is a community event.  Friends meet friends, swap recipes and visit with the farmers who have become their friends.

The Placerville, Cameron Park, Folsom, South Lake Tahoe, and El Dorado Hills Certified Farmers’ Market Association, Inc. (CFMA) is an association of over 75 growers and producers who participate.

For more information about The El Dorado County Certified Farmers Market check out their website at http://www.eldoradofarmersmarket.com/

Folsom has a season farmers market that usually starts in June and is held every Sunday morning in old town Folsom on Sutter Street.

Sacramento hosts a dozen different Certified Farmers Markets on various days at several different locations in the area.  A complete list of all Farmers Markets can be found at the following website: http://www.california-grown.com/Market-times.html

One of the largest local Farmers Markets is held on Sundays 8am to noon in Sacramento at 8th and W streets under the highway 50 over pass.  This one has gotten some rave reviews and I plan to go there next weekend to check it out and report back with more details and photos.

Another local Sacramento place to check out is Denio’s Market.

A good farmers market usually has more then just produce, so you can do all your shopping at once in one place.  Many markets also have local vendors selling beef, poultry, fish, shelfish, baked breads and goods and a whole lot more.  Check out your local farmers market soon and you’ll discover an abundance of some of the best food products to be found… at the best prices to be found.

Until next time, Cheers!

Folsom’s New Beer Garden and Grill

Last night the misses and I went out to visit Folsom’s newest gastropub, The Beer Garden and Grill at 6608 Folsom-Auburn Rd. Folsom, CA 95630  (no website yet).   They opened a week ago and have so far received some fairly good reviews from locals.   Folsom could use another pub being that our two favorites (Manderes and Samuel Horne’s) tend to get fairly packed on weekends and can sometimes be hard to get into, so new alternatives are good to have as options in case a Plan B is needed when going out on the weekends.

Unfortunately we found ourselves very disappointed by the Beer Garden and Grill, I’ll call this Strike One.

The menu and list of beers, wines and concoctions looked good, and I bet any of the items would have been good…. if only we could have been able to order something.

We ended up leaving after being unable to get any service at both the bar and at a table that we later got.

I know they’re still new and I like to give the benefit of the doubt and try to be patient and it looked like they had plenty of waitresses… but apparently none of them know how to give good service (yet).  Good looks are nice, but intelligence and knowing how to take care of customers is a lot more important to help achieve success with any restaurant.

Unfortunately after a period of time, bad service becomes a serious pet peeve of mine.  I have no patience at all for poor service…or in this case, no service at all.

I always give at least 15 minutes before giving up (I even set a timer for it).  I’m not asking for much, I just want to order something… I mean come on, at least stop and acknowledge our presence and let us know you’ll be back to take our order later!  This is why I don’t got to the Sports Garage anymore either, the service is bad there too.  Went with 6 friends a month ago, we were 1 of only 2 tables and we always had to go find the one waiter/bartender/cook guy to get refills, order food and get our bill.

When I spend money going out, I want it to be money well spent on having a good time enjoying good food, drink and service – I don’t want it to be a hassle in any way.

We ended up leaving the Beer Garden Grill without getting anything and it will be a while before we go back to give them another try, it seems they still have a lot of work to do with their wait staff.

We then drove over to Samuel Horne’s in old town Folsom (on Sutter Street) and had a great time!  Even though you have to go to the bar to order, we can always count on good food, a good choice of beers and a nice friendly staff that will take our food and beverage order right away. Same with Manderes, it may cost a little more there, but the food, beer AND service is top notch and well worth it and that’s why Manderes remains my favorite place in town – because they know how to do everything right.

Having both good food AND good service is the only way any restaurant is going to survive, and that’s why Manderes and Sam Horne’s are still doing great and why I will continue to go support those places.

Maybe the owner of the Beer Garden should send his waitresses over to Manderes to see how good service works and how it makes a restaurant successful.

The Beer Garden and Grill does have potential and it’s in a nice location with lots of outdoor patio space which will be great to hang out at during the summer, I just hope they can get their wait staff up to speed because poor service will always keep me away.

The Game-Changing Cookbook

Nathan Myhrvold’s 2,400-page ‘Modernist Cuisine’ upends everything you thought you knew about cooking

Here’s the recipe for the most astonishing cookbook of our time: Take one multimillionaire computer genius, a team of 36 researchers, chefs and editors and a laboratory specially built for cooking experiments. After nearly four years of obsessive research, assemble 2,400 pages of results into a 47-pound, six-volume collection that costs $625 and requires four pounds of ink to print.

To call inventor Nathan Myhrvold’s “Modernist Cuisine: The Art & Science of Cooking,” on sale next month, a “cookbook” is akin to calling James Joyce’s “Ulysses” “a story.” The book is a large-scale investigation into the math, science and physics behind cooking tasks from making juicy and crisp beer-can chicken to coating a foie-gras bonbon in sour cherry gel. There is precedent in this genre—science writer Harold McGee has published popular books explaining kitchen science, and chefs Thomas Keller and Ferran Adrià have written about sous vide and other techniques of avant-garde gastronomy—but nothing reaches the scope and magnitude of Mr. Myhrvold’s book. While it will likely appeal to professional chefs, within its pages are insights that even the humblest home cooks can use to improve their meals. The book puts traditional cooking wisdom under scientific scrutiny, destroying old assumptions and creating new cooking approaches.

The man behind the tome is a former chief technology officer for Microsoft and an inventor of hundreds of patents (he invented an electromagnetic car engine and is seeking a patent for his French fries treated with starch and placed in an ultrasonic bath). Though many of Mr. Myhrvold’s 51 years have been devoted to math and science—by the age of 23, he held two master’s degrees and a doctorate in mathematical physics from Princeton—in the 1990s, his passion for food began to loom large. First, he got deeply into barbecue (he was on the “team of the year” at the Memphis World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in 1991), and then moved onto haute cuisine.

“My career at Microsoft really was getting in the way of my cooking,” said Mr. Myhrvold. After leaving Microsoft in 1999, he launched Intellectual Ventures, an invention and patent firm, and in 2007, with help from two young, scientifically-minded chefs, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, he began work on the book. When publishers balked over the size and scope of the project, Mr. Myhrvold said, he ditched the conventional route and decided to self-publish through his publishing company, the Cooking Lab.

Among the book’s revelations: Expensive pots and pans are a waste of money. Organic food is no healthier than non-organic. Black coffee cools off faster than coffee with cream.

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Tower Bridge Bistro – Sacramento

Dining Room
Dining Room

Dining at the Tower Bridge Bistro was literally, one of the best restaurant experiences we’ve had in Sacramento.  My wife and I really enjoy dining out and it’s not often we find a place  like Tower Bridge Bistro that has all the best qualities and attributes of a great restaurant  working together so very well.   (Ambiance, Service, Food).

It was easy to maneuver our way to the restaurant from 50 to J street, to 3rd, then down Capital Mall, with a quick left into the Embassy Suites just before Tower Bridge.  Parking became immediately convenient with on-site valet parking. The restaurant is located inside an Embassy Suites and this hotel chain really knows how to wow its customers with an inviting great lobby that not only has fine art, sculptures and beautiful architectural views, but also many conveniences  and amenities for the hotel guests as well.

Entree

The location and views from Tower Bridge Bistro are outstanding as they are located near old town Sacramento,  on the river directly adjacent to the famous Tower Bridge.  Inside, the decor is very classy with fine woods and stone work thru out.  Beautiful views from nearly every table are afforded by the floor to ceiling glass walls that look out to river and the bridge.  We can’t wait to go back during the summer to dine on their outdoor patio.

We were greeted and seated immediately and met by our waiter David, who proved to be a very knowledgeable and gracious gentleman who made our dining experience all the better with his culinary knowledge, fast service and excellent recommendations including wine pairings.

After ordering some wine and perusing the menu we decided on a few items and entree’s to share together so we could get a good sampling of what Tower Bridge Bistro had to offer.

Dessert

The French onion soup, the roasted quail and spinach salad, the scallop and shrimp appetizers , the seared duck breast and beef tenderloin entree’s and even the decadent chocolate mousse dessert that we tried were all prepared to perfection,  and exceeded our expectations.  All the ingredients were fresh and colorful and the sauces and sides were well thought out and worked very well together.  Everything we tasted was  top notch.  Our compliments to the chef!  We cannot say enough how excellent all the food was that we were served.

I highly recommend trying the scallops appetizer, the French onion soup, and the beef tenderloin, but really, no matter what you order, I am sure it will taste great.

To summarize our experience at the Tower Bridge Bistro:  the location is great, the ambiance fantastic, service excellent  and the food outstanding.

We have found a new favorite restaurant in Sacramento and we plan to go back often.

Visiting Tower Bridge Bistro in Sacramento

It is with great anticipation that we will soon be visiting the Tower Bridge Bistro restaurant in downtown Sacramento (tomorrow).

A good friend of ours, Clay Purcell is the executive chef, and based on the many good things we’ve heard about this restaurant, he has apparently done a fine job of building up a very nice high quality restaurant menu that is enjoyed by many locals and visitors in the area.

If and when you’re ever near downtown Sacramento, be sure to visit the Tower Bridge Bistro. The restaurant’s information and menu’s can be found on their web at http://www.towerbridgebistro.com/

Later this week we’ll be sure to post a full foodie report with photos!

Seeing the Space Shuttle, Coco Beach FL

This is an actual photo that I took of the Space Shuttle about 18 years ago.

I was asked to go to NASA Cape Canaveral in Coco Beach Florida to work on some network troubleshooting and repairs and I ended up working onsite in the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) where I got to see the Space Shuttle being setup and put onto the giant mover that rolls the shuttle from the VAB out to the launch site 3 miles away.

Earlier in the week I drove out to the launch site to see the shuttle all setup on the rocket ready to go – I need to find those photos to post those someday.

Later in the week I was invited to watch the launch and got to see it closer then even the media is allowed to go.

On the Sunday before the launch I got asked if I’d like to go up on the rocket gantry/tower and check out the Shuttle up close and personal – heck yes! They outfitted me in a jumpsuit and taped up the wrist cuffs and ankle cuffs to prevent anything from falling onto the shuttle and I was not allowed to carry anything with me other then my camera.

Went up the elevator and got to walk out and look DOWN on the shuttle – it was scary, there were no safety rails to keep you from falling so I carefully inched my way out to the edge and took this photo of the shuttle looking down on it.  I wish it was more in focus but I imagine my hands were a bit shaky while trying to not fall and take the photo at the same time.

I’ve taken thousands upon thousands of photos over the years and this photo I took below remains one of my all time favorites. I’m glad I got to see the shuttle program while it still existed.

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