Filipino Voices

More photos posted for Opening Night of the Filipino Voices: Past & Present Exhibit — on the Commonwealth Cafe Blog

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Sand City’s Independent Marketplace

Sand City’s monthly “First Thursday” Indie Market place may just be a winner. Why not find out? 4 – 9 pm, first Thursday of each month, 800 Ortiz St., in Sand City.  I notice that my favorite ice cream vendor, The Penny Ice Creamery, is participating…

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Where’s That Tilapia From?

My friend, Jane (who, as Native Leaf, was present at the Filipino Voices Exhibit last night), has posted an eye-opening article on countries of origin for Tilapia sold in the Monterey Bay area. You may be surprised.

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Elkhorn, Manitoba?

No, actually, this is Elkhorn, CA,  looking idyllic even after a rainstorm…

BUT, I’ve learned there’s another Elkhorn, and it’s in Manitoba. It’s even smaller than Elkhorn, California, where I live. With a population of a little over 1500, my Elkhorn seems like a metropolis, next to Elkhorn, Manitoba’s 18 people. And I must say, Elkhorn, CA, looks a bit cheerier than its northern counterpart. But I guess it all depends on your perspective…

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Tadich Grill

We recently visited the Tadich Grill on California St. in San Francisco.

I read that it is the oldest restaurant in San Francisco, founded in 1849. However the sign on the lintel above the door claims it to be the oldest restaurant in California. Kind of makes you wonder what accounts for its staying power. I imagine it’s due to a dedication to food and service that has passed down through the generations.

The menu–specializing in seafood–is very big. Lots of good choices.

We were a party of four, and had a long wait, but this is expected at Tadich Grill; they don’t do reservations. In the meantime, you can sit at their long bar (which takes up nearly the entire middle space of the restaurant), or stand. But it’s a good people-watching area, and you are just as likely to rub shoulders with stars and politicians as with locals from just down the street. The place is that popular. And noisy. But it’s a good kind of noisy. The white-coated waiters bustle around and attend to their duties with what looks like absolutely no wasted movement–which is to say, they all look like they know what they’re doing.

We were really happy to get one of roomy wooden booths.

For my dinner, I chose Pacific Oysters and Bay Shrimp Creole, with rice–a baked casserole. To say that the oysters tasted fresh is an understatement.

M. chose the house speciality, the Cioppino seafood stew with garlic bread. He liked it very much. He noticed one thing different from other cioppino: the crabmeat was shelled, making it less messy to eat–no bib needed!

I’d definitely return to the Tadich Grill, and look forward to trying another house specialty: the Hangtown Fry, an oyster and bacon frittata.

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Hairy Crab Tea

Nice tea. Unfortunate name.

But seriously, it is an Oolong tea, and has a mild, nutty, flavor, very soothing. From Gold Leaf Spice & Tea, in Salinas. It’s also a source for olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

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Sartorial splendour

A neo-Edwardian teddy-girl. Photo by Ken Russell. Yes, that Ken Russell.

This is really different for this blog, but when I was younger I loved these guy / gal on the street type fashion photos; lessons in how to pull an outfit together, cycling cool, and vintage chic. These can all be found in the “pages” of Sartorial. Ah, well, I guess I still like looking.

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Kamut Crackers

I eat mostly whole grain breads and crackers. But I don’t see many recipes using kamut flour, which I like a lot. I thought this recipe for button-shaped kamut crackers looked especially tasty. From East of Eden Cooking.

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The Big Bukowski

Being prone to headaches (including migraines) from red wines, caffeine and certain types of sweeteners, I have stayed away from real coffee (including decaf, which still gave me headaches) and real tea (even green) for years, decades even. Still, because I find the scent of coffee to be heavenly–I take sip or two once a year or so, just to see if I still have the problem.

That changed, recently, when I started taking a mild blood pressure medicine. I noticed that green teas weren’t giving me headaches anymore. In fact, the migraines (which were winding down anyway), seem to have disappeared altogether. I experimented with stronger tea–oolong. Still no headache. OK….! I tried a few sips of mild decaf at home. I tried some sherry. Still good.

M. informed me that decaf could be had in all sorts of good coffee nowadays–it’s no longer limited to MJB or Hills Bros. I can even get a good decaf espresso.

Capitola Book Cafe’s collection of house-made syrups.

So, I decided to go "all out" (for me–I know, real coffee drinkers at this point are smirking at the idea of "decaf" as "all out"), go somewhere that serves good coffee, and try a full decaf of something. We went to the Capitola Book Cafe, which serves excellent Verve coffees. The Cafe's latest creation was posted on a board behind the counter: "The Bukowski,” invented by their bespectacled and affable barista, Lucas, who was serving that day. It sounded daunting, just like the poet, Bukowski himself: espresso, cardamom, smoke syrup, cayenne, and milk. Capitola Book Cafe mixes up its own syrup elixers, and I was curious about how they mixed up “smoke.” Turns out they use a smokey tasting Lapsang Souchong tea.

Anyway, it was killer. Lucas, obviously a well-trained barista, served it up with a frothy heart on top. Very different: spicy, and definitely smokey, with that tang that you can only get from cardamom. It had a nice kick to it; and the decaf espresso was wonderful. This was the first hot espresso served in a full-sized cup that I’ve had in decades. And guess what? No headache! Thanks to Dr. Sumana Reddy (Acacia Family Medical in Prunedale) for seriously getting on my case about taking blood pressure meds. It has had some unexpected benefits.

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Regarding the current header image; I had to get flat on my stomach in the short grass (at Royal Oaks Park in Prunedale) to shoot this mushroom, which was teeny tiny. I was just using my little pink Sony Cyber-shot 7.2 mp, which did a decent job, although an SLR would’ve caught more detail. Still, I didn’t want to miss this little sprout of the universe, making its mark in the world

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