Saturday, September 26, 2009

Laloo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream

Last night I was at Wegman’s in the natural foods section and I found Laloo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream. There were flavors like Black Mission Fig, Deep Chocolate, Rumplemint, and Strawberry Darling. I am not much for strawberry ice cream but I picked the Strawberry Darling because it wasn’t just strawberry. This pint had a balsamic vinegar swirl.

Later that evening, I served this ice cream to some dinner guests without telling anyone it was made from goat’s milk. One of my guests that evening was a five year old boy. I was very curious to see his reaction and he really seemed to like it! Everyone enjoyed the ice cream and was surprised when I told them it was made from goat’s milk.

The flavor was rich, creamy, and tart. There were chunks of strawberries and plenty of balsamic vinegar. Best of all, this ice cream has a short ingredient list with only nine in total. Their website,

states the ice cream is “naturally low fat, lactose friendly”. With only 5 grams of fat and 130 calories per ½ cup serving, it is almost low fat. Low fat is usually considered 3 grams of fat or less. But considering Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Ice Cream has 9 grams of fat, I think their low fat claim is valid. Their website claims that their ice cream is made “the farmstead way by hand with love from natural ingredients that are locally produced in Sonoma County”. They also do not use any growth hormones.

The start of this company has roots in the Slow Food movement. Laura Howard was an entertainment executive in Los Angeles who realized that there “must be a way to be kinder to the animals and planet without sacrificing taste and style”. She realized “that the shorter the journey from the earth to the table, the better the food would be”. And I sure am glad she did!

She compares goat’s milk to mother’s milk as its chemical structure is similar. Laura states that goat’s milk “is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids without the heavy fat content and catarrh producing materials of cow’s milk”. So what is catarrh? It is an excess of mucus and white blood cells caused by a swelling of mucous membranes. I can recall consuming too much ice cream and feeling very phlegmie.

Their website states that “goat’s milk offers superior digestibility to cow’s milk”. Goat’s milk has smaller fat globules allowing more of a surface to volume ratio which allows the goat’s milk to be broken down easily. Goat’s milk also contains more Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) which can be absorbed more easily. MCT’s also has "a unique ability to provide energy to the human metabolism, as well as an ability to lower, inhibit and dissolve cholesterol deposits”. The casein in goat’s milk can be digested easier than cow’s milk and goat’s milk is lower in lactose. Goat’s milk is a valid and delicious alternative to cow’s milk for those who are lactose intolerant or with certain allergies to cow’s milk. Regardless of any of the science behind this ice cream, it is delicious and worth a taste!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Disappointment at Evening Star

The other week, I went to the Evening Star in Del Ray. This was my first experience with this particular restaurant. The Evening Star is owned by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group which also owns Vermillion, Tallula, Eat Bar, Buzz Bakery, and my favorite, Rustico.

It was Friday night and the place was packed. As there were no tables in the dining room, we took a spot in the upstairs bar and lounge area. I was there to catch up with friends and did not intend to order any food until I had a look at the menu. The menu included Beef Carpaccio with grilled watermelon, Grilled Asparagus Salad, and Oyster Sliders.

I ordered the Smoked Duck Salad which had a grilled peach stuffed with Camembert and pickled Cipollini onions. I had been begging my husband to grill peaches all summer and the one attempt was disappointing as they were not free stone peaches. And this grilled peach was another disappointment. The peach was hard and tasteless. It being peach season, I had assumed I would be served a wonderful ripe peach. A local peach would have won brownie points. I was expecting a tender, juicy peach that taste of wood and smoke.

The Camembert was bitter and did not pair well with the peach. The smoked duck was sliced thin like bacon and laid out in strips on the bottom of the plate. For $11, I was hoping for more duck or at least more greens. The small ball of greens seemed to be a garnish, not a salad. The dressing left no lasting memory.

The space seemed nice but I cannot comment on the service as we did not have table service. It was rather loud and hard to enjoy conversation. I had big expectations as I love Rustico and enjoyed Vermillion but this was a big let down. It only takes one bad peach to spoil my salad. Next time, I’ll just go to Rustico.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Traffic Rant!!

Traffic in Northern Virginia is horrible. Traffic in Philly was bad but you always knew what you were getting into. In Northern Virginia, rush hour lasts from 6:30-9:30 am and 3-6 pm on 95, 495, and 395. Yet it seems like 95 is always a problem. I was stuck in traffic on 95 heading to Fredericksburg noon on a Friday. It took me 20 minuets to go 5 miles so I got off and took route 1 instead.

But the people driving in Northern Virginia make it even worse. I grew up with signs everywhere saying “Stay right, Pass Left”. This message has not gotten across this state. People will drive 5 miles under the speed limit in the left lane. They love the left lane but don’t know how to use it. Just because you are in the left lane does not mean you can dictate the speed limit. I can speed if I want to and I haven’t been caught speeding since I was 16.

Or two cars will drive for miles and miles next to each other. Or they will leave a million car lengths between in front of them and you will never be able to pass them. And they will stop at a light and leave multiple car lengths in front of them while you are trying to get over to turn right at the light. Or they take forever to move once the light turns green.

People here cannot drive in the rain or snow. When driving up a hill their speed will decrease by five miles. People here love to talk on their phone while driving. When our realtor took us out to see properties, he was texting and driving. Texting while driving is way too common here. And people just don’t know where they are going and they don’t pay attention to what is going on around them.

I get motion sickness easily which may contribute to my road rage. I get very stressed in traffic. But I love driving out to the farm early Saturday morning while there aren’t many people out on the roads. Yes I do think I am the best driver in the world, better than my husband and better than you. I would love to drive a race care around a track 50 times. I enjoy cranking up the music and driving. I like road trips but I don’t like getting sick or stressed in the car.

Maybe it is because I am a Northerner living in the south. I am used to the fast pace of Philly while here the Southerners like to take a slow ride. I hate that the actions of other trying to get from point a to point b can have such an effect on me. I will yell at other cars and honk. I try to not flip the bird as it did get me in trouble one. I wish I could change this part of my personality but hope it will get better with an eventual change in location. In the meantime, please Virginia, stay right pass left and get out of my way.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A matter of taste

Things have tasted weird lately. I fried a plantain and it tasted like a grilled cheese sandwich. Last night I had a honeycrisp apple that tasted like licorice. Then there was a bag of Archer Farms white cheddar and rosemary popcorn that tasted like roast chicken.

There is evidence that cigarette smoking can damage your taste buds. Luckily, your taste buds can recover from years of smoking. I was a smoker from age 14 to 25, and now I am 29. I may have the occasional smoke but they mostly make me ill these days. I quit smoking when I started to get sick which may have been the only way I could quit. For a period of time, my mouth was very sensitive and my throat was very sore. My mouth is still very sensitive.

In order for my husband to taste a spice it will be too strong for me. I admit that I often forget to salt things and prefer to salt at the table. If I am marinating something with vinegar and soy sauce, I really don’t need to salt it first. I love salt and believe in its flavor enhancing abilities. But the typical American diet has hard wired our palette to crave salt and sugar.

When I eat, I think about what I am eating and describe what I taste. Tonight as I chewed my flank steak, I pictured the part of the animal it came from. I love to sit down with a chunk of cheese to compare and contrast its flavors. To describe how something tastes, which is subjective, it is best to compare it to a familiar flavor.

They say we can only taste sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Then there is in Japanese idea of umami. This is a 5th taste that is savory and caused by glutamate. Glutamate is a type amino acid and is a main component of protein and is also produced in the body. The most notorious is monosodium glutamate. Too much MSG is a bad thing and I try to avoid it all together.

But you can experience umami without MSG. I taste umami when I enjoy a nice veal reduction or bone marrow. This site has a really cool chart about how we experience taste:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My New Favorite Cheese

Montasio is an Italian cheese that I first came to know from a book of cheese making recipes. Recently, I tried to make Montasio never having eaten this type of cheese. Unfortunately, that wheel of home made raw Montasio cheese was lost due to some infested goat cheese. This made me very sad as it is a difficult, labor intensive cheese to make. Aside from much stirring and standing over a big hot pot of milk, it had to be brined in two pounds of cheese salt.

Last week I was in Wegman’s and saw a display of Montasio cheese near the deli counter. As this cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and is aged, it can be stored at room temperature. I brought home the cheese and we all fell in love. Patrick typically only enjoys sheep’s milk cheese but had to remark on Montasio’s deliciousness.

It is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago but not as sharp. Montasio has salty pockets of flavor crystals which are actually trapped pockets of protein. It is a hard aged cheese that will sweat a little at room temperature. Its texture is slightly chalky and chewy. Its flavor is nutty, salty, and delicate

Montasio can be eaten alone, grated, and used in fondue. It is traditionally used to make frico which is fried cheese. Montasio is also made in a young fresh variety, Fresco as well as five to ten months mezzano, which I had, and stravecchio which is aged for over ten months. The color will become more golden with age and the flavor will intensify. Montasio has a DOP label which means it has Protected Designation of Origin. Its production must adhere to strict standards to ensure the best quality cheese

Montasio is from the north east corner of Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Guilia region. It lies at the foot of the Alps bordered by Austria and Slovenia. It was first made by Benedictine monks in the 1200’s using sheep’s milk. Montasio cheese will pair well with beer or cider, which is nice when the weather turns colder. It can also stand up to a Merlot or Pinot Grigio.

This cheese even has its own website

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Uptown Sushi

At first glance, the menu was off putting as it contained fusion items for those afraid to eat raw fish. You could order a sushi burrito, chili cheese fries, lobster sliders, and cheese pizza for the kids. But we were not disappointed. We started off with the Gyoza dumplings and Zensai Trio, both were delicious. The trio was calamari, seaweed salad, and oshinko pickle, I could eat that every day. The calamari was tender and I love its texture combined with the seaweed.

I ordered Tangy Shrimp with coconut rice which was scrumptious. The coconut rice was incredible and its sweetness played nicely with the tangy shrimp. Patrick ordered a big bowl of raw fish served with sushi rice, called chirashi. It was like sashimi but build your own. It was lovely and served with a real shiso leaf. We also ordered some sushi rolls to share, I love eel delicious eel. Even though they have a huge menu, they can still make some wonderful sushi.

The dining room was empty, everyone else seemed to be there to watch the game. The service was decent and the food was worthy of the price tag. They also have an international noodle bar, they seem to be trying anything to drum up business. I plan to return for another food orgy and hope they are still in business.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Interrupting Cow!

After visiting the goats yesterday, we headed over to the dairy farm. I get my cow’s milk from a Mennonite family in Catlett. We roll up; pass the pond, corn, ducks, and guinea hens. Pull up to two small sheds, one has furniture for sale and the other farm fresh dairy products. There is yogurt, cream, butter, lard, eggs, pork, rabbit, chicken, and granola as well as milk.

Behind these sheds is a long canopied area that houses two rows of young cows. We watched the baby cows, slowly and quietly getting closer. My girlfriend Cat reached out and let a nearby cow give her a sniff and a lick. Most of the cows were quite and friendly, hoping we had food. One cow tried to eat the shirt off my back.

Cow’s tongues are abrasive and strong, they are prehensile. They could grab my finger and hold on tight. Cows and goats use their tongues to grab foliage and pull it into their mouth. A feline tongue feels like it has tiny buckets on the surface. A cow tongue feels like razor blades.

It was very sweet how curious some of the cows were. They had very big eyes and noses. Their head would come up to my elbow at most. I think they recently received some new cows as they were four skinny brown cows with ear tags. They did not look like the other black and white cows. The brown cows seemed timid, malnourished and one looked as if it had hurt it leg.

While we were hanging out with the cows we were visited by a tiny kitty. The kitten was grey and cream, very familiar looking. It was one of the kittens from Kate’s cat; she had dropped four off on the farm. The kitten came right up to us and showed his belly and curled up by a bale of hay. He was so soft to pet, as were the cows. There were some flies but not a strong smell. I look forward to checking in on all the animals next week. One of these days I will milk one of those cows. I need to spend a day working that farm.

Love is in the cold crisp air.

*warning the last photo is of a graphic nature.

I went out to the farms this morning and saw a preview of goat breeding season. I saw a female goat munching hay that was on a fence and on the other side was a male goat. They were eating and flirting, sounds like a date but not like one I had ever been on. The female goat squatted and urinated in front of the male and he went a little wild. His tongue was going a little crazy darting around his mouth and his upper lip was curling up and out.

Kate explain to me that the male goat has scent glands under his lip and will expose these to sense if the female is ready to mate. Some goat breeding facts: Goats are polyestrous; they come into season multiple times during autumn. A female goat will bleat and wave her tail near a male when she is in heat. During this time milk production will slow. The gestation period is five months

Today the male, Victor, had his unit extended since we had walked down to the barn. He was visiting the farm for the sole purpose of breeding to avoid inbreeding. But Victor is a jerk and has been beating on a nice young Billy. When goats exhibit this type of behavior the weaker one is denied food and can potentially die.

As I have said before, male goats are only good for one thing. As of yet, there has not been any opportunities for the male to do their thing. I am excited to witness the gestation and birth of a goat. I hope to film some of the action. Keep posted if you want to watch live goat sex, but on second thought maybe I shouldn’t do that even for educational purposes.

Pictured is the male Magic, he has a nice mohawk but Victors was better but I did not have my camera today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Putting on the Ritz?

With the holiday season quickly approaching, we transition from the summer spent out and about to entertaining in the home. No gathering is complete without cheese and crackers. This year, forget the cheddar and put away the Ritz. With a little planning you can provide your guests with a cheese experience. If the idea of assembling a cheese board may be daunting, I am here to help.

How many people are you entertaining? You can plan on 2-4 ounces of cheese per person. Four ounces of cheese is equal to ¼ pound. If you have 10 quests you will need, at most, 2 ½ pounds of cheese. That may seem like a lot of cheese but it goes down so easily.

How many cheeses should you serve? I suggest serving 3 to 5 different cheeses. It is always nice to have a variety but you don’t want to overwhelm your guests with 10 different cheeses. A selection of three cheeses will provide some variety and the ability to compare and contrast the selection. If you are serving 3 different cheeses and are feeding 10 people you will need ¾ pounds of each cheese.
What cheese to serve? You could pick a theme like French cheeses, Virginia cheeses, or focus on a certain type of milk. Personally, I like to serve at least one goat, cow, and sheep cheese. You also want to provide a variety of textures and tastes unless you are going to focus on something specific like soft ripened cheese. I recommend one soft cheese like Daffinois, a semi firm cheese like Midnight Moon, and a hard cheese like Zamorano. And this cheese selection represents one cow, one goat, and one sheep.

What about the blue? Many people are afraid of blue cheese because they can’t get over the mold. I wonder what they would think if they knew where rennet comes from or that bacteria live in all cheeses. There are some very wonderful and mild blues cheese such as Cambazola, Montangnola, and Regina Blue. If you know your guests are adventurous you can add a stronger blue cheese.

Should I server a stinker? I love stinky cheese, usually their smell is worse than their bite. Stinky cheeses are in the washed rind category which means that the wheel of cheese was bathed in wine, spirits, or a brine solution to encourage bacteria growth. Tallegio is a washed rind cheese that makes a wonderful grilled cheese. Washed rind cheeses are full of flavor and worthy of space on your cheese board.

How about some flavor? There are many flavored cheese such as garlic Gouda, caramelized onion cheddar, Purple Haze, and White Stilton with mango and ginger. These cheeses may engage those who are intimidated by cheese. A flavored cheese is a safe bet but only serve one on your cheese board. Having too many flavored cheeses can overwhelm the palette.

What to serve with your cheese? First, let’s talk cheese delivery systems. Ritz crackers are too buttery and flavorful to be served with a cheese board. I recommend any type of fresh bread such as a baguette or neutral crackers such as Melba toast. There are some wonderful cracker companies such as Carr’s, 34 degrees, and New York flatbreads. But be careful, some crackers are overloaded with salt and cheese tends to be salty so don’t overload on the salt. There are some wonderful flavored crackers that can pair nicely with the right cheese. I love a Carr’s rosemary cracker with Daffionis or goat cheese. The Carr’s whole wheat cracker is great for blue cheese as it provides a nice sweetness.

No cheese board is complete with out accompaniments. Fresh fruit such as grapes, strawberries, or what ever is in season are wonderful palette cleansers and pair well with most cheeses. Dried fruit and nuts are also a nice addition; the crunch provides a nice contrast to many cheeses. One way to encourage people to try blue cheese is to serve the cheese with a side of nuts and honey or drizzle the cheese with honey. I like to set out a small dish of honey whenever I put out a cheese board and experiment with flavor combinations. Spanish sheep’s milk cheeses are often served with membrillo which is a paste made out of quince. There are some wonderful chutneys, jams, and preserves available many of which will suggests pairing with a specific cheese. I enjoy Kunik with Harvest Song Tea Rose Petal Preserve. Offering accompaniments encourages your guest to play with their food and get involved with what they taste.

Always serve your cheese at room temperature. This allows those yummy fats to loosen up and give up their flavor. Ideally, you would buy your cheese the day of your soiree but the day before or even two days before is fine if properly stored. You do not want your cheese to dry out and yet you also do not want to suffocate your cheese. You can store your cheese in Tupperware, cheese paper, waxed paper, or aluminum foil.

In America, we serve our cheese as an appetizer but it is a wonderful way to end a meal and prepare for dessert. One of my most memorable dining experiences was at Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia. We had a wonderful meal, and then came the cheese cart which was eventually followed by the dessert cart. I feel in love with that cheese cart and tried one of each cheese which was laid out on my plate from mildest to strongest. Serving a cheese course during your meal will encourage people to discuss the cheese. What color is it, what texture, what flavors, does it have an interesting story? If you have the time, researching your cheese can provide a nice back story to what you taste.

You can have cheddar and Triscuts anytime but the holidays are a special time. Special times and call for special cheese. Don’t be intimidated by cheese, there is no wrong way to enjoy cheese. I hope this information will help you to impress your guests at your next holiday function.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Explanation of Diet

Why am I giving up wheat, dairy, and saturated fat? I have M.S. which is a neurological autoimmune disease. Dairy is often linked to autoimmune disease and more specifically, cow's milk. There is not much information on this matter as many other factors could contribute but I am willing to try almost anything. It is always a good idea to reduce your saturated fat. Saturated fat can also slow down your brain functions. Wheat is inflammatory and can aggravate arthritis. I can feel the difference in my joints when I eat wheat.

I have a wonderful holistic health consular She has helped me get healthy and has recommended these dietary changes. She could also explain why I should do these things better that I can. Since I started working with Alex, I have more energy, feel better, and have lost 25 pounds. Alex is supportive and motivating. She tells me to not ostricize myself because of my diet. She tells me to be good 90% of the time and be bad 10% of the time.

I am not a normal person. I have a compromised immune system, antibodies associated with Lupus, and an bright spots in my brain. I started to get sick three years ago and it took two and a half years to get a diagnosis. Then I was put on Copaxone, a once daily injection drug for better living. For the first time, I have a chance to get pregnant as Copaxone is well tolerated during pregnancy. I just want to do all I can to prepare my body for pregnancy. And I just want to be as healthy as I can be.

I have taken this a step further and removed many harmful additives from my beauty products. Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on your skin goes into your body. I have natural mascara, lipstick, and nail polish from Honeybee Garden and I like these products. I use Kiss My Face Potent & Pure face wash and moisturizer, which I love. I have shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and body wash from Hugo Naturals but I don't like the geranium scent. I was so busy reading the back of the label that I didn't even notice it was for color treated hair. The only difference is that I have to wash my hair more frequently. I haven't found a decent deodorant but I kind of like my subtle stink.

The following is a list of additives to avoid in beauty products. This information came from Gorgeously Green.

* indicates the worst of the worst.

Benzalkonium chloride
Benzyl alcohol
Carbomer 934, 940, 941, TGIC
Cationic surfractants
Cetalkonium chloride
Cetrimonium chloride
Coal tar*
Cocamide DEA
Cocamide MEA
Diazolidinyl urea
Diethanolamine DEA
Dimethicone copolyol
Formaldehyde producing hydantoin
Isopropyl SD-40
Lauramide DEA
Lauryl dimonium hydrolyzed collagen
Liquid paraffin
Mineral Oil
Polyethylene Glycol PEG
P-Phenylene Diamine*
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds Quats
Silicone derived emollients
Sodium lauryl sulfates SLS
Stearalkonium chloride
Tocopherol Acetate
Triethanolamine TEA

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9/9/9 at 9

Today is 9/9/9 and I feel like I need to do a post. I would like to do a post everyday and I think about doing a post everyday. But, I don’t post everyday and I could list excuses as to why, but who wants to read that.

9 represents the beginning and the end of human experiences, 9 attracts money and fortune, 9 is possessive, depressed, impulsive, 9 is the number of originality. In Japan, the word for 9 is a homophone for the word of suffering and is the 2nd most unlucky number.

Today I was boiling my cheese making pot and dumped the water into my kitchen sink. In the sink was a glass which cracked but did not shatter. The bottom of the glass was clearly cracked into a peace sign. On an auspicious day like today that may signify that peace is on the way.

So how will I use this significant date? September means back to school for the young and old. I wish I was going back to school, new people, new information, new clothes. I got the latter but don’t have any place to show them off. I miss that feeling of waiting for the school bus always with a glimmer of hope that it wouldn’t arrive. The feeling that what you have due on Monday is the most important thing in the world.

There is something about September, possibility is in the air and the air is getting chilly. Fall is my favorite time of year but it’s not here yet. Labor Day marks the end of summer but the start of fall is a few weeks away. This morning, it was nice and cool enabling me to break in a new pair of sweatpants but by the evening, humidity set in and it was too hot for the sweatpants.

I have always been the type of person who does what they say they will. For me, saying I will do something gives me motivation to actually do it. I am an avid list maker and have been keeping a diary since 1991 when I was 11. So what is all this leading up to? It’s not New Years but I have some resolutions:

1) I will not buy myself any unnecessary items until vacation in March 2010.
2) I will not eat any wheat. This is something I have been doing on and off for months now but have not managed to go for longer than two weeks.
3) Greatly reduce my consumption of dairy and saturated fat. This is a lot to ask a cheesemaker but not being able to eat cheese will not stop me from making cheese.
4) I will wake up every morning, get out of bed, wash up, get dressed, and get out to walk the dogs within the first hour of waking.
5) Less T.V. and more reading.
6) Blog daily.

I am doing these things for health reasons, mental and physical. This is just the beginning, when New Years comes around I will be giving up many other things. This is all to prepare my body and mind to conceive and carry a child.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Opened May 2004, Tria celebrates fermentation by providing a sizeable selection of beer, wine, and cheese. Their menu is four big beautiful pages of mouth watering goodness. First page, snacks, bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, sweets, and beverages. I wanted to eat everything and had hoped to return a second time this trip for the smoked duck salad and flourless cake.

The cheese, beer, and wine list each have their own pages. These pages are subdivided using colorful descriptors, “sociable reds”; “luscious whites” beers are “profound” or “invigorating” among other things. The cheeses go from clean to luscious to stinky to approachable to stoic to racy. I wanted to explore every area but sadly only have one stomach.

To drink, I started with a Sparkling Brut “Armance B.,” Ampelidae from Loire, France. This was a Blanc de Blanc which is made like Champagne and has “sophisticated fruit flavors and a toasty finish”. I found it delightful but was also overwhelmed by food and did not give it time for contemplation. I also enjoyed a Rose Cava, Familia Oliveda from Penedes, Spain.

I ordered the Roasted Beets with Bulgarian Feta, which was wonderful. I had never had Bulgarian Feta and found it delightful. It had a creamier texture with slightly more salt that played well with the sweetness of the beets. The Pistachio Herbed Ricotta with Sage Honey bruschetta was another lovely dance of sweet and salt. We also enjoyed a Tuscan White bean spread that I really enjoyed. This was served with a toasted baguette that was powdered with paprika. This hint of spice gave the white beans some jazz.

Our first cheese was “liquid mountain butter” called Preferes Des Montagnes which is a cow’s milk cheese from Savoie France. It was soft, creamy, and slightly yeasty. We also enjoyed my old favorite, Kunik from Nettle Meadow which is a triple-crème mix of goat and cow. Our last cheese was a Pecorino Marzolino, a sheep cheese that is rubbed with San Marzano tomatoes. This Tuscan cheese was aged for sixty days and had a young sweet flavor.

Tria has opened a second location in Philadelphia as well as a Fermentation school. They offer classes on beer, wine, and cheese. They make their accompaniments such as balsamic strawberries in house. The staff was knowledgeable and courteously. And you can even get a Tria membership!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The incident at Southwark

Friday, a group of five of us went to Southwark at 4th & Bainbridge. This is a favorite bar and restaurant of a few of my friends. The bar serves up old fashion traditional cocktails along with a nice beer and wine selection. The interior was very clean and dark. The menu was short and simple.

Our server told us about the specials and I got excited by the sweetbreads. I was surprised that some of my friends got excited by the sweetbreads until they found out what they really are. I ordered them and enjoyed them and only one brave friend tried them and seemed to like them. We also enjoyed a farmhouse cheese plate that had a wonderful Pate. I really wanted to order the grilled peach salad but went for the lamb.

Our entrees came and we all happily tucked in. I enjoyed my lamb but then it happened. Two people at our table ordered that Salmon. One of those was to enjoy fish for the second time in their life. And that fish was carrying a friend. Eating away, a worm was found in the fish. The worm was placed on a plate and even in the low lighting; we could all see that his worm was moving. The warm was thin, pale, and an inch or two long and squirmy. I have a strong stomach but it was a bit much even for me.

The waiter came by and we told him the situation. He took the worm into the kitchen and came back to say that yes, it was a worm and he would take it off the bill. The dinner who encountered the worm was asked if he wanted anything else but declined as appetite was all gone. He who finds the worm will never eat fish again. We were left wondering if the fish was undercooked for the worm to have survived but I joked that fish cooks at 150 degrees and worm at 190 degrees. The low lighting made it hard to discern the color of the fish.

We were all left feeling awkward, disgusted, and quite. There were other dinners around and we were trying to keep quite but a part of me wanted to scream, “There is a worm in the fish”. Every staff member who walked by our table must have been thinking, “that is the worm table”. Suddenly everything was worms like that scene in Lost Boys. I couldn’t wait to get out of their.

It had been a wonderful day and a nice meal until that worm came along. It really ruined the meal and was an unpleasant end to the night. Everyone felt bad about what happened and we didn’t know how to recover. One gross turn deserves another so we watched Female Trouble on the Jumbotron.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cheese Disaster

I was away from my cheese cave for the better part of a week. Last night I opened the fridge which contained four batches of cheese. One was a bonny clabber cheese experiment, a raw cow called Kim goes to the Pyrenees, a new type of cheese called Montasio which was mixed milk, and two of my Humboldt Fog style cheeses I call Woodbridge Foogy.

I flipped the Pyrenees and started to brush off bright green mold using a paper towel. It was looking pretty good but a little dry. Then I flipped the bonny clabber and thought it may soon be eating time for this wheel. Then I cleaned mold off the Montasio. Next I brought out the Woodbridge Foggy to see if I needed to spray them with a mold solution. Instead I found little things with wings! Not sure how or why but there was a bug party on the Foggies. Why did they only like that cheese? Where did they come from, how did they get there?

I threw everything out. All of my aged cheeses for August 2009, ruined. It was such a good month for milk and I was so excited to enjoy these cheeses in due time. Cheese is like a frozen time in a certain place and now it's gone forever. I now have an empty fridge that needs a through cleaning. Then I must rebuild and stock my fridge for winter. In my year of cheesemaking, I have never had an infestation and hope it will not happen again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Philly II

Last I left you I was sitting on Erik’s big couch, feet up, typing away in front of the Jumbotron. First stop of the day, Laura’s In South Philly. Then we hit the old hood and walked East Passyunk. It was a gorgeous bright fall like day. There was a great breeze that brought a feeling of possibility. No place to be and anything can happen. It felt like being at the beach in the fall.

First stop B2, I got 2 tiny vegan doughnuts and a juice of celery, basil, cucumber, and I forget what else but it was refreshing. We walked down to Stogie Joe’s on a quest for tomato pie. It was a failure but it had a garage style front and sitting there with the breeze was worthwhile. The pizza was fine and Laura loved her salad. Laura informed my that the owner’s wife had said some negative things about homosexuals which made me not want to spend money there.

Then we headed further south to the Navy Yards to check out the koi at Urban Outfitters HQ. A friend works there and we had worked together at Urban in Center City. The Navy Yard offices were a wonderful surprise. We visited building 54 where there is a gym, café, cafeteria, offices, and two koi ponds. The buildings seem to all have original exterior and a strong Navy influence. The interior used many heavy chains, steel garters, and industrial elements mixed with contemporary art. Seemed like a great place to work.

We jumped on 76, which slowed near what used to be South Street Bridge and I was able to get some nice pictures. Got off by the Art museum and headed down Kelly Drive, next stop Laurel Hill Cemetery. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful place. It wasn’t sad or depressing, but seemed like a place of honor to rest in peace. All my time in Philly I never knew you could just go in a walk around the place. We also drove my ‘lil car around, taking pictures from our seats.

After a change in dinner plans, we went off to Nodding Head to meet Chris Fox. It was just after 5 in Center City and everyone was heading home. The luck of the magic parking fairy was with us as we parked right out front at a broken meter. Nodding Head had the best crab cake in Philly but it is no longer on the menu. I settled for a Salmon, Crab, and Corn cake but first Mussels. We had our mussels Moroccan style with ginger, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, lemon zest, and tomato sauce. Served with a basket of fries and a roll, they were a wonderful indulgence. Fox drank a Fava’s revenge which I sipped and found amazingly delicious. It is brewed with Rye and was sweet, citrusy, and slightly malty.

Headed south, stopped into Girl Bike Dog and picked up some local music. Then I was off, running home to my love. Got out of Philly at 8, hit DC at 10, and got home at 10:30 with one pit stop for gas. It was fun to drive home on a cool night with the top down, radio blasting, and seat warmers toasty. More posts will come about this weekend such as: A Guide to Philly punks and What happened at Southwark