Day 11 Friday October 18th
THE DAY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. But first, breakfast — complementary at the Holiday Inn Express. Pretty good; scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage gravy biscuits, fruit, and lots of stuff I don’t generally eat like hot and cold cereal. And coffee.

free parking

We got to downtown Cooperstown around 10am to find free parking everywhere in the winter. Crude signs grace all the meters on Main Street and in the big parking lots behind the storefronts. In the shade on Main Street, there was a chill in the air and a nasty breeze. We posed in the sun for pictures in front of the Hall of Fame. Admission for Seniors, $12.

Ready to soak up some baseball on a cold October day.

I love the idea of the Baseball Hall of Fame and enjoy the debate leading up to selection time. It’s too bad that the curmudgeons of the Baseball Writers Association of America is so up-tight and has seen fit to elect only a handful of non-oldtimey players over the past few years. Of course there is extreme controversy over the “steroid era” players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. We’ll see how that plays out.

I loved KNBR promoting their broadcaster Jon Miller for the “Broadcast Wing” of the HOF and his subsequent selection.

Pitch and catch outside a window near the Broadcast Wing.

That said, I found the actual National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum a huge disappointment. The organization is sketchy. I guess it’s organized by era, but then, sometimes isn’t. The design and graphics for the exhibits is just horrible. Stuff is somewhat grouped in glass display cases… say 3 jerseys, 5 bats, a couple of gloves, some caps, some shoes… with no clear relationship, no title for the group and you have to get really close to read the “captions” for each item on gray business card type stock. They too are all one size letters with no emphasis. So an old guy like me is constantly stepping back to get the overview, then stepping up, glasses on to read the little cards, then stepping back, and so on.

They should take a cue from the touring exhibit I saw when the All Star Game was in San Francisco. That exhibit was of course smaller, but clear and organized and “Hall of Fame worthy.” Continue reading

grilling again

There’s something special about a grilled meal. From the shopping to the eating there’s a protocol, choices and a routine. This meal started with me standing in front of the fish case at Raley’s. The weather in Reno has been beautiful; sunny, clear, a bit cool in the 40’s but occasionally easing up to 51 or 52. Makes a body think of breaking out the grill.

Thinking grill, I noticed some lovely Steelhead Trout fillets. This has become my favorite grilling fish ever since discovering it as a whole fish at Raley’s. I wrote about that guy, and have since grilled the fillets any chance I get.

Rainbow trout/steelhead are ray-finned fishes in the salmon family, and they are one of the top sport fish in North America. Rainbow trout and steelhead are the same species, but they have different lifestyles. Steelhead are anadromous, meaning they spend part of their lives in the sea, while rainbow trout spend their lives mostly or entirely in freshwater.


EGG moved to front courtyard

As soon as I could after our early December snow, I shoveled a path and moved the gas grill to the garage and the EGG to the front courtyard. And we bought an LED clip-on light — that makes winter (nighttime) grilling possible.

the light is clipped on the right “wing” and you can see its shadow on the wall

So on with the grilling. To eat at 7pm, I light the grill a little before six, and it is plenty dark at that time in January.

EGG Glows, but it doesn’t shake… I shake, it’s cold.

Tonight, I wanted to do everything on the grill. Trout, spinach and sliced potato. I boiled the potato until cooked through. Then slice it, oil and season it, and finish on the grill with the fish. The trout will cook in 6 to 8 minutes and I’ll hold that and the potato slices in a warm oven. The spinach cooks in about 3 minutes, is a bit messy, demands attention and cools quickly — especially outdoors in the winter — so I cook that last. Rinse the spinach and take it to the grill in a colander. Place it on my cast iron grill pan (the lid of my cast iron skillet), and toss while it cooks. That’s the attention demanding messy part. There’s way too much spinach to fit the grill pan, but it shrinks a lot as it cooks, so its put on as much spinach as possible, toss and shrink, put on more spinach, etcetera, all the while trying to keep it on the skillet and not scattering on the grill. [Harder to write than do…] And the fire is HOT.

trout over spinach with grilled potato slices

That went so well, I grilled again the very next day. We had three Maine lobster tails left from Christmas dinner. Excellent candidates for grilling. Those ‘tails plus grilled onion slice and baked potato. Not so fussy about doing everything on the grill this time. The onion slices take about 10 minutes to crisp tender, the lobster tails about six minutes. I timed so they both came off at once, figuring it’s no crime to cook the onion slices a few minutes longer.

Lobster tail, onion and baked potato. The M doesn’t Mean anything, just grill marks as a result of turning and rotating. Kinda cool, though.

A few days later, I had an appointment at my Dermatologist — near South Virginia and McCarran  — and not far from Whole Food. My must haves from Whole Food are Newman’s Own Organic Thin Sticks Pretzels, whatever fish looks good — and oh-by-the-way — they make the best Lamb Merguez Sausages. Another grill opportunity. They also had cippilini onions, so we got a few for grilling beside the sausages. We picked up some Brussels sprouts, as well. Those pretzels are just so crisp and crunchy and so good.

Merguez, Brussels sprouts, grilled cippilini and scraps of red bell pepper for color

Who ever heard of grilling Brussels sprouts? Not me. But I figured if I par-boiled them oiled them up and just threw them on the grill, what could go wrong? Turns out, nothing went wrong… delicious. Grilled cippilini onions are the best. Peel and slice in half… perfect thickness and caramelized a bit, they taste so sweet and good.

Altogether, three really good grilled meals. And just in time. This morning it snowed.

Christmas Eats 2013

What do you do Christmas week, but eat? We ate some strange and wonderful things, so I thought I’d write about it.

It started the week before at a neighborhood holiday party. Folks bring stuff and rather than making a casserole or something, we took a cheese plate.

from 12 o’clock, mixed olives, St. Agur, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, Mousse Pate over various candied and dried fruits and nuts.

Yummy. Last year we just took a fat piece of St. Agur, a double cream blue cheese from France and a piece of country pate. This year, we opted to have our favorite cheese store — Wedge — make up a cheese platter. Good choice. AND, believe it or not, there were leftovers (not many) and we got to take those home.

Christmas eve, we went to Brian and Natasza for dinner. Brian is often messing around with something interesting to cook. He finds “Manager’s Special” stuff at the supermarket (nobody else wants it) and he figures out something to do with it. On this occasion, it was pork belly, which is basically uncured bacon. He found a recipe in a food blog for Grilled Korean Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps (Daeji Bulgogi).

marinated pork belly

Marinate your “Manager’s Special” pork belly in a spicy marinade/dipping sauce.
Grill on direct medium heat flipping every two minutes, until the pork is browned and crispy. Brian’s pork took 3 or 4 flips.

the grilling is easy but demands attention and makes a lot of smoke

off the grill and onto the table — oh my, that is good

pork belly served with cabbage wrap and rice

Natasza made brown rice with mushrooms and a shredded beet salad with nuts and raisins. I kibitzed and took some pictures.

Brian and Natasza came to our house the next day for Christmas and dinner. A while back, we bought some mail order Maine Lobster Tails for this very occasion. Brian promised to make pasta and a caviar sauce. Carol found this marvelous recipe on Food 52 for Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette. She made mashed sweet potatoes as well. Sounds like dinner. Continue reading

The Pig :: Day Three

“I love sausage, but don’t care to see how it’s made.”

Today, you’ll see how it’s made.

Although the recipes came from various sources, the ingredients are simple and similar:

  • ground pork
  • spices
  • herbs
  • often onions and garlic
  • liquid — usually wine

Breakfast sausage (sage and onions) from Better Than Store Bought by Helen Willyard and Elizabeth Coichie
Saucisson (black and white pepper sausage for dry curing) from La Technique by Jacques Pepin
Pork Liver Terrine Pate Campagnola from Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli
Boudin blanc (emulsified sausage) from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
Cotechino (classic Italian with Anise and boiled pork skin) from Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli
Crepinettes, each of the fresh sausage mixtures made into patties and wrapped in caul fat

The meat was all cut up yesterday and divided into portions for the various sausages.

prep for Pate Campagnole

Each team put together its recipe ingredients — this particular prep is for the Pate Campagnole — you can tell by the use of liver.

The meat is ground with a cast iron grinder attachment for the commercial mixer.


The ground meat, herbs, spices, etc. are mixed.


Here, we visit the terrine. Loaf pans are lined with caul fat and the ground meat mixture pressed into the pans.

pate underway

The pans are placed in a water bath and baked. Continue reading

The Pig :: Day Two

Breaking down the sides…

We are entering the middle day of our journey from two snorting and snuffling pigs to some hams, bacon, sausages and the like.

Today, we’ll smoke some bacon, make some headcheese, start some hams, render some leaf lard, and have a swell and somewhat unusual lunch, make big pieces into little pieces and sort them.

These are the vegetables for Head Cheese, or what Fergus Henderson in his book “Nose to Tail Eating” calls BRAWN. We’re looking at onions, carrots, leeks, celery, garlic, lemon zest, a splash of red wine vinegar, bundle of herbs and a small handful of black peppercorns. While I prepped the vegetables, the pig’s head in water was coming to a boil in a big pot. When it got to a simmer, I stuffed the vegetables into the pot.

vegetables for head cheese

After about 2 1/2 hours, everything comes out of the pot and the remaining liquor is reduced by half. The vegetables are discarded and all the good bits of meat are picked out of the head. A terrine will be lined with cling film, the bits of meat added, the reduced liquor poured over and refrigerated overnight to set. The bits leftover will be made into patties, breaded and fried. That’s for tomorrow’s lunch.

My other job-of-the-day was to cook up the pig lungs for lunch. When they were harvested yesterday and before going into their sterilized tray, one of the students picked it (them?) up and blew them full of air. Hey, they work.

I trimmed the lungs of their gnarly parts, cut into small pieces and parboiled. Sliced a boatload of onions and got all that going over a very low flame. That would cook until lunchtime, almost three hours. Salt and pepper was the only seasoning.

lungs n onions saute very slowly

Meanwhile, the ribs were cut out, trimmed and roasted.

clockwise from bread: roasted potatoes, lungs n onions, roasted ribs, vegetable salad

This was a very nice lunch. When I went back for seconds on the ribs, the lungs were totally gone. Bummer. I was surprised that the lungs didn’t taste at all like organ meat. Probably because they are so fresh.

Meanwhile, the prime cuts; hams, loin, ribs, chops and roasts are cut and the balance of the meat is cut into bits for sausage. These bits are sorted by lean and fat so they can be mixed in proper proportion. The shoulder (Boston Butt) has perfect proportion by itself.

hams, cut two ways

some of the lean meat being cut

The cut meat is put in that yellow bucket, weighed and then sorted into hotel pans and labeled for its ultimate use. Tomorrow, we’re going to make 5 kinds of sausage and a pate.

These are the more fatty cuts.

The person top right is cutting the skin from the meat. The skin will be boiled until tender and go into sausage as fat.

Alison requested this picture. It was hard to catch Eric standing still long enough to pose.

At the end of the day, what once had been carcasses, was transformed into hotel pans of various cuts of meat.

A cooler of pig.

another view showing meat sorted for sausages

Fatted Calf Foray

I couldn’t resist emailing this to Brian, Eric, Carol, Sarah and Paula.

“These guys know how to throw a book signing. If I were still in SF…”

Fatted Calf Newsletter September 19, 2013
At The Table

What better way to celebrate the publication of our book, In The Charcuterie, then to join at the table with friends and colleagues for a leisurely lunch? And what better table than the one under the arbor at Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa! Rob and Maria Sinskey, huge supporters of The Fatted Calf, generously offered up their stunning digs.

stunning digs

Sinskey Chef, Erin Ramsey, laid out quite a feast for us, including some Fatted Calf favorites. There were pork rillettes toasts topped with nectarine mostarda, thin slices of finocchiona accompanied by marinated olives and green tomato chutney, and the pièce de resistance, plump sausage and fig stuffed quail roasted in the wood oven. Tasting Room Manager, Jennifer Gallagher, poured glass after glass of perfectly matched vintages of organic and biodynamic Sinskey wine (while professing her love of liverwurst). Good food, great wine and good people made for a memorable day.
Come make some happy memories of your own. Join us this coming Sunday, September 22, at Robert Sinskey Vineyards from 11 am to 3 pm. We’ll be preparing some meaty bites, enjoying a glass of one of our favorite wines and signing copies of In The Charcuterie. Reservations can be made through Robert Sinskey Vineyards.

Brian fired back:
Why don’t we go?  Leave yer place at 8-ish, get there as the thing’s getting started, good food & wine, good-looking book, chance to chat with FC folk, stroll around the grounds a bit, and be home in time for a light supper (after what should be a rich FC spread).  It’s $50 each with the book, $35 without.  On normal days, it’s $25 just for wine-tasting with nibbles.

I checked with Carol… She doesn’t want to spend Sunday car-riding. Said she will babysit Tuzik. I called the Sinskey Winery and made reservations for me and Brian, hoping they wouldn’t be sold out.

The newsletter went on…

Want to skip the read and head straight to the table? Visit The Fatted Calf table at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this Saturday and pick up some rillettes, finocchiona and fig and sausage stuffed quail for a feast of your very own.

Anytime I’m in San Francisco, I stock up on stuff from Fatted Calf… Just can’t get that stuff in Reno. So after the event, Brian and I did just that… not at Ferry Plaza but at the Fatted Calf shop at Oxbow Market in Napa. I got me some duck crepinettes, fennel sausages, sausage and fig stuffed quail, greens sausages, a slice of Terrine Forestiere and packs of Sugo di Carne. Brian did similar.

colonnade bordering parking lot

We got there minutes before noon and I was surprised to find empty parking spaces near the door. Inside, the tasting bar was packed. We passed by that to the open kitchen and back garden with a white marble bar. Tables under the arbor were provided a stunning view of a massive stone wall and vineyards above and behind.

the view from my table

Several folks milled around the bar laden with delectable food. Brian and I were still getting our bearings when the woman behind the bar offered a glass of Abraxas, a white wine blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer. Yum. I took a plate and a meaty item or two and found a nice seat.

one of my many samplings of food and wine

Again, I was surprised that there were only about 20 people there, but glad that we were uncrowded and unhurried. The day was a spectacular late summer Napa day; they hardly get better than that. We easily fell into a routine of going for the next wine, picking up some foodie goodies, and sitting to enjoy. Four wines were being poured, a Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, a Pinot Noir and POV (Point of View), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot; the classic Bordeaux blend. My favorite was the Vin Gris of Pinot Noir and I bought a bottle to enjoy with my own food at home.

no caption needed

just in from the kitchen

From time to time, a young woman would come out of the kitchen with a plate of hors d’oeuvresy things — duck sausage skewered on a stalk of lemongrass, a cube of lamb skewered with a shiny green blistered padron pepper… good ol’ Brian knows how to pick an event.

raison d’etre

As Taylor and Toponia were signing my book, I said, “Fatted Calf goodies are good enough to buy and eat at home, but to have them served, perfectly prepared, in such a place as this, is a heavenly experience.”

Back on I-80, our Sunday afternoon eastbound lanes were lightly occupied while the westbound lanes to the Bay Area were packed. Brian and I agreed that the Food and Wine experience was well worth the drive. We were home about six, in time to watch Football Night in America on a slight tape delay and eat some Terrine Forestiere.

get yer ROX on

Somewhere back then — either just before or just after we moved to Reno — there was a splashy ad in one or more of the splashy cooking magazines we get — do you know how inexpensive actual glossy full color cooking magazines are these days? — for SALT ROX.

Hmmmmm… interesting idea, and probably does what it says, but awfully expensive. Costs more than all of our cooking magazine subscriptions, combined; $112, including shipping. We let it pass.

Months later, a UPS package is left on our porch. Darned heavy.

Hours later, Carol asks me to take a look at “your anniversary gift” so I can try it before Eric and Alison visit. The deluxe 8 x 12 x 2 inches Hamalayan SALT ROX. Darned heavy. Carol got a Living Social deal — $49 including shipping, a $63 savings.

Nothing left to do but try it. We can give it a good test with something particularly bland like skinless, boneless chicken thighs. There’s even a recipe on the ad for Grilled Lemon Dijon Chicken Breasts (we don’t do breasts, we do the ever-so-slightly-less-bland thighs). To round out the dinner, I chose to do a Cabbage Panade recipe by Deborah Madison from her new cookbook, Vegetable Literacy (10 Speed Press).

[Make garlic stock, saute a sliced onion with juniper berries and sage leaves, add cabbage and cook until tender, layer in a baking dish with cheese topped rye bread slices and bake.]

Salt ROX

Cooking on the rock is very different than straight grill cooking. One must start with the rock on a cold grill, for fear of cracking the rock by putting it on a hot grill (also for fear of burning my fingers… did I say that sucker is heavy?). I was surprised that it doesn’t take much longer to heat up the grill with the rock than without the rock… about 20 minutes.

I marinated and dried and oiled my thighs and when the grill was ready, put ‘em on. Boneless thighs don’t take long to cook — I figured six or eight minutes to 165°F.

thighs cook

When I opened the grill to turn them, I noticed they were “cooking wet.” Of course, they’re on a rock. The juices from the meat can’t drip into the fire (oh, a little runs off the edge). The ROX folks say “It’s like brining without the water!”

Sure enough, after about 6 minutes the thighs registered 165 and I took them inside to rest.

ROX chicken thigh with cabbage panade and a 2012 Bonny Doon Picpoul

The chicken was excellent, moist and flavorful with a pleasant salty undercurrent. Yum. Sadly, the Cabbage Panade imagined as a perfect accompaniment, wasn’t much, lacking in flavor and the texture mooshed.

So, the SALT ROX worked.

burger with roasted potato, ROXed onion and 2012 Cline California Zinfandel

One more test with hamburgers. Once again, they were moist, but the mildly salty edge was masked by the stronger meat flavor.

SALT ROX has rules:
start cold on a cold grill or in a cold oven.
let the rock cool completely before moving.
do not wash with anything, including water.
scrape “clean.” Stains are okay.

ROX after use for chicken thighs

ROX after use for beef patties and sliced onion

So… we got our ROX on. How often will we use it? Don’t know. But it seems like a good thing for chicken thighs and fish wouldn’t be a stretch. We also have our totally wonderful grill pan, and grilling season is coming on strong.


Jon vs Food

We have a guest columnist this week. My brother-in-law, the Honorable Jon Hale, Lancaster (Ohio) City Councilman, sent this to his sister, my wife, knowing full well that I write and publish eatsforone. Jon vs. Food is hereby reprinted, in its entirety, with permission.

The Max & Erma’s Landfill

From: Jon
Date: August 5, 2012 10:38:58 AM PDT
To: “Marc & Carol”
Subject: “Jon vs Food!” Additional pix on the way too!

So, the Max & Erma’s chain – corporately based in Columbus with decent food, but admittedly not nearly as fun as when they used to feature phones on each table – has introduced their own eating contest called the Landfill Burger Challenge.

“Complete a huge 4.5 pound three-pattie burger piled up with multiple cheeses, onions, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, fried pickles, salsa, guacamole, ham and pulled pork, plus a generous one pound serving of chili cheese fries and you win a t-shirt, commemorative photo displayed and a gift card for your next visit.”

Since the beginning of July only one person from seven who’d tried had actually done it, until Saturday, August 4.  Having watched “Man vs Food” over the past few years and hearing Michelle (wife) comment “You could do that” numerous times, I decided to actually give this a try once it came to Lancaster.  Out to dinner with friends Ed & Pam H and Michele, I confidently ordered the Landfill. The rules are that once started you cannot get up from the table and cannot receive assistance from anyone. There is no time limit, but aside from the ultimate goal of being a clean-plater, my first goal was to try to beat the 43 minute time set by the other guy (friend Michele offered to buy me a beer if I could do it in 40 minutes). It soon became apparent that wasn’t going to happen, even matching the other guys 43 minutes wasn’t in the cards either – so, I decided to shoot for under an hour.

Jon attacks.

I found that Adam Richman isn’t kidding when he talks about hitting a food wall – 30 minutes and about 2/3 of the Landfill gone was my wall, but I steadily kept going.  Under the encouragement of my dinner companions, as well as a genuinely supportive wait staff, the final bite went down at the 54:24 mark!


Surprisingly, I was very full, but not all that uncomfortable.  Three laps walking around the restaurant helped, as did getting up to pose for my commemorative photo.  The next day, as promised to several friends, I even wore my t-shirt to church.  Facebook has been well adorned with photos and accounts, and I’m glad I can scratch this one off my list of things to try to do!

Subject: Oops almost forgot…

The Landfill also had bacon on it too! Mmm, bacon…

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

A New (for us) Farmers Market

How ‘bout a pair…

peas and pods on table

I cannot resist taking this picture — peas and pods — I’ve done it nearly every spring when the peas come in, by my count. This one is different, though, it’s on our newish dining table — another story — and the peas were purchased at the California Street Saturday Farmers Market in Reno.

In the previous edition of eats… (Some Fine Grilled Chicken) I said, “[Pictures next time, I promise.]” Well, this is next time, and here’s a picture.

that car has no plates — another story…

Prime time parking space nestled between the ubiquitous Nevada pick-ups and SUVs. Guy on the left said, “Cute little red car y’got there.” I said, “We like it.”

The big Farmers Market in Reno closest to our house is just south of downtown on California Street. It occupies the edge of the CVS Pharmacy strip center parking lot.

Its a nice market. A double row of stalls stretches on a few hundred feet and finally  and appropriately bumps into The House of Bread — an actual bakery in the shopping center making breads, cakes and pastry (sorry, no french or Italian).

We got a loaf of brown bread — it’s way good toasted — I had them slice it for me.

what color are your tomatoes?

“Mine are all red,” said Carlee in the green shirt, “and I have peaches and cherries, as well.”

Oh my, some nice English peas. I cannot pass those.

This stall is so orderly it doesn’t look like food, so I passed it by.

Passed by this stall with yellow corn, as well. Make an effort, mate.

Here is the white corn we bought… it is so sweet and fresh and chars up nicely on the grill.

We’re on the home stretch.

Flowers are a good way to complete one’s market trip. These are very colorful and seasonal.

And finally, some of the stuff we brought home.

Cherries, sweet onions, tomatoes, peaches, red and white potatoes, bok choi, English peas, red, yellow and green cherry tomatoes. White corn is not pictured. What’s missing from the market? Any other potato varieties; and most of the heirloom vegetables that I’ve grown used to. The artichokes are the HUGE globe variety… similar with the broccoli and cauliflower. But what we got will keep us nicely and happily fed for a week.

But what about those peas? Continue reading


You bet.

There’s a rhythm to shopping, cooking and eating, especially for a guy used to cooking every day. I kept lists of what’s on hand and shopped by myself every Saturday at the farmers market. So I just knew what was going on and what I needed and what I could get ready for dinner as a matter of course.

That’s all changed. Perhaps it will get back to normal, perhaps it won’t. One thing sure; it ain’t there yet. We mostly either eat out or throw something on the grill to this point.

shrimp on the barbie... as they say

all I can eat sushi at the Peppermill Oceana

grilled trout, potatoes and green beans

Of course, being able to walk out and throw something on the grill was one of the attractions drawing us to our new home.

But some kind of routine may be close. All of our kitchen and dining stuff is out of boxes and in cupboards. I shopped at a tiny farmers market nearby last Wednesday, plan to do that again and then go to the bigger one downtown Reno on Saturday.

Meanwhile, we picked up a Edible Reno-Tahoe magazine at Rosie’s Cafe in Tahoe City, where we went to unwind last week. I perused it last night and made a list. We need to get out and about and see what’s happening on the culinary scene.

Garden Shop Nursery
Napa Sonoma Grocery
Cheese Board
Great Basin Coop
Nothing to it Culinary Center
Whole Food Market

outta control tree

We have a tree in our back yard that seriously needs attention. Its totally in our face when we step out onto the terrace. First stop Garden Shop Nursery. Not exactly culinary, but closest to our house on our way to the culinary delights. They couldn’t help with our tree, but knew who could.

The Napa Sonoma Grocery Company. How can one not check out a place with a name like that? Turns out, it has a rather split personality. Wine shop with several hundred bottles to choose from; gourmet canned and jarred foodstuffs; cafe with a full bar. Not exactly groceries, but a nice find. No doubt we’ll be back for lunch or dinner. I bought a bag of seasoned pretzels.

The Cheese Board is on up Arlington Street. In this trip, we are discovering a very nice residential side of Reno with shops interspersed. We have only known the Reno of the gritty downtown casinos and the sprawling suburban developments. Here, in the southwest arc between Virginia Street and I-80 is an area with a small town feeling. We walked into The Cheese Board expecting a cheese shop. Oops. Its a restaurant. Again, its very nice and we might be back for lunch sometime, but we’re not making great headway on the groceries front.

The Great Basin Food Coop is about six blocks away and we know we’ll find good food there. Son Eric gave us a membership here and we’ve visited with Son Brian, but this is our first time with actual bags to take actual groceries home. Some potatoes, cheese, and milk and stuff to make yogurt. I can’t bring myself to buy a tomato anywhere but a farmers market. Great Basin presents a nice shopping environment, but I was not yet in a frame of mind to think about what goes together to make dinner. Discombobulated.

So we drive south to Nothing to it Culinary Center. This funky place is at the very end of a dinky little street off S. Virginia described as “one block north of Whole Food.” Edible Reno-Tahoe says, “This outstanding facility features hands-on and demonstration classes taught by master chefs. You’ll also find a gourmet Napa Valley inspired deli, as well as a fabulous kitchen store for all your cooking needs.” The kitchen store reflects wit and whimsey of the buyer and any cook would delight in anything in there. Fortunately for us, we have almost everything; this was proven conclusively after the packing and unpacking we’ve just gone through. Lunch was going on and it was lunchtime, so we chose to do it there on their shady porch. Good choice.

my mandarin chinese chicken salad

the core ingredients: mandarin orange, grilled chicken, wonton strips, green onions, red peppers, almonds

carol's turkey blt and greek salad

the nti magazine


We have been surprised again and again by the bigger-than-a-football-field sized stores in Reno — Home Depot, Best Buy, Ross, Raley’s, even CVS. So why were we shocked at this vast Whole Foods? We came for fish and creme fraiche, but also picked up coffee, kosher salt, Newman’s Own pretzels, and some lettuce and mushrooms for an upcoming steak salad. A woman customer at the fish counter was raving about the Halibut Burgers, so we got one of those and a Salmon Burger for dinner. It was disappointing that most of their fish was from the east coast.

halibut burger, salmon burger and carrot coins

What a great trip. We saw parts of our new city that we had never before seen, found new places to shop and eat and scored dinner. And now I’m starting to re-focus on eats, as home organization becomes an activity rather than a necessity. I even put beans on to soak this morning.