Ginger Pearl Kombucha

House Pearl Ginger Kombucha

Kombucha is one of those things I just hadn’t gotten around to trying until now.

I figure the beverage is popular enough, that I should at least try it.

I’ve heard good things about House Kombucha, Ginger with Pearl Green Tea sounded like a winner.

Giving it a smell, as expected, Vinegar is the first thing that comes to mind. No surprise from a beverage produced by bacterial fermentation.

But, uh, that is a only very slightly flavored beverage, vinegar or otherwise.

Wow, I can see how selling very slightly vinegar-ish water could be a winning business model!

In other news, Quinoa has recently come under fire. Surprise! Inserting lots of yuppie money to Third World economies results in upheaval!

There’s always Domestic Millet, that is, if you prefer to exploit American farmers.

You and your parrot can have the same treat!

It wouldn’t be a day in the Inner Sunset without a trip to Amoeba! Lean Left, Live at Cafe Oto. A new ‘full length’ from OFF! Used copy of the most recent Ex album, Catch My Shoe. Album from Chris Owens, late of Girls, Lysandre.

Amoeba Haul

Girl Music Geeks

As anyone who has worked in food service will tell you, oft times you get pressed into service making Food and/or drinks for your significant other and their friends.

Mrs Flannestad has a group of friends who also are really into music, and they get together from time to time to listen to music or watch concert videos.

This time they came over to our house, so I made dinner.

Beets!

One of my favorite winter vegetables, Beets, are great, and tomatero farms had some that were so great looking at the Alemany Farmers’ Market Saturday that I couldn’t resist. Though, it is good to float them past the attendees to make sure no one has had bad experiences in the past. Like cilantro, people often have strong opinions about beets. My favorite way to deal with them is just to wash them, wrap them whole in foil, and throw them in the oven until they are cooked through. When they are done, it is very easy to rinse them under running water and just slide the outside skin off the beets.

Mirepoix

I wanted to make Israeli Cous Cous, but our local grocery doesn’t carry it, so I opted for a type of italian pasta called riso instead. It is about the size and shape of rice and can be braised, just like arborio rice.

Spatchcocked!

I can’t remember what magazine I got this chicken recipe from. It’s kind of a ‘wet rub’, not dissimilar to some Mexican preparations for grilling. You roughly chop an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Throw them in a blender with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, fresh Marjoram, and a generous helping of good paprika. I like to use a mix of regular and smoked paprika. Then rub this over your whole, or Spatchcocked, chicken and let it stand. Grill or roast in a hot oven. Super tasty and super easy.

Greens!

For the riso dish, you basically do it like risotto. Put some stock on a low heat. Toast the riso in a pan with olive oil. Add some mirepoix and saute. Add stock to just cover and continue to cook until it is al dente. I added some saffron to the stock and cooked some thinly sliced collard greens to add later.

Roasted Beets

When the beets are tender, and you have skinned them, you can do whatever you like with them. I tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. I made a simple sauce of yoghurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, and scallions to serve with them.

Roasted Chicken

The marinade does get a little dark, but it is super tasty, the onions become sweet and really tasty.

Dinner

Deglaze the roasting pan, add some flour and cook. Stir in some chicken stock and you’ve got pan gravy. Cut your chicken into serving pieces.

Dessert

I’ve been into fuyu persimmons lately, often serving them with salads. This time I opted for dessert. Before dinner, I tossed them with sugar and balsamic vinegar and left them to macerate. To serve, I put a shortbread cooking into a bowl, a spoonful of Cowgirl fromage blanc with a drizzle of San Francisco Beekeepers’ Mission Honey, and then added the persimmons with the juice that had accumulated. Super easy and super tasty.

Then we all popped some beers, sat down, and watched the new Jonathan Demme Neil Young concert film ‘Journeys’.

A great night of music geekery, food, and beer.

Entertainment!

One of the first comments I got regarding my playlist post was the following from SFPaul.

I’m always surprised when it appears that music falls low on the priority list for a restaurant. Don’t they understand the roll of music is to the human experience and how it has accompanied us for thousands and thousands of years.
To have it be an afterthought tells me a lot about the management and how little they care about the dining experience as a whole.

As far as I can tell, the combination of music and intoxicating substances goes back as far as both have existed in human history. However, since many animals have been known to consume spontaneously fermented or naturally intoxicating substances, maybe longer. Who knows what those drunk Cedar Waxwings in the berry tree are saying to each other?

Music in bars would have first started, I presume, as spontaneous communal entertainment and drinking games.

Soon after, someone who was better at performing or singing than average probably received a drink, (or chicken,) for their stellar efforts and realized there were some goods or services which could be received for their efforts.

A couple centuries pass and soon the technology for performing songs without actual human musicians becomes possible. First clockwork bands and player pianos, then audio recording and playback. The iconic Jukebox of the 1950s diner and eventually the iPod.

Restaurants are trickier. I really am not sure when music started to become as ubiquitous as it currently is, as background music for dining. I tend to think, rather recently.

All the same, here we are, and restaurants, along with bars, are very nearly required, unless they are very, very fancy, to have some sort of background music for dining.

The Playlist Dilemma

Lately, I have almost become more obsessed with creating the ultimate playlist for our restaurant, than I have with cocktail recipes.

Some points:

  1. Almost all restaurants (and bars) have some sort of background music.
  2. The music has two audiences, primarily those who dine in the restaurant, but also those who work in the restaurant.

To the first point, the selection of music is important for the mood and feel of the restaurant. The management typically makes the call on what sort of music they want to hear in their restaurant.

A lot of restaurants these days are choosing to leave this choice to services like Muzak or Pandora.

As a music nerd, I prefer, and hope, that someone in the restaurant has enough vested interest that they have gone to the trouble to choose the music. One of my pet peeves is when you hear an awesome song in a restaurant, ask a server what it is, and they say, “I dunno, it’s the Morrisey Pandora Station.”

Or even worse, when you hear an awful song you never wanted to hear again in your life, and they say, “Eh, it’s the Flock of Seagulls Pandora Station, sorry about that.”

The question is, “How do you please the management, the staff, and the customers?”

Mekons, Swedish American Hall 09-30-2011

Mekons at Swedish American Hall, 09-30-2011, playing songs from their new recording, Ancient & Modern

I look out of my window,
across the rooftops of London,

Then I remember the taste of salt water,
the thousand times I drowned before,

Fishes for friends in the cold wet dark,
Fishes for friends in the cold wet dark,

Getting on a bright red bus,
that takes me to the pleasure gardens,

Looking at people, smells, and sounds,
my barren thoughts chill me to the bone,

As the ink flows from the pen,
nothing written can matter again,

I had this thought a while ago,
my darling cannot understand,

What I have done or what would do,
in this blind and bitter land,

I fall asleep when I should pray,

I fall asleep when I should pray,

I fall asleep when I should pray,

I fall asleep when I should pray,

Fall face down, under sorrow,
strange fortunes for many a year,
penetrating a new world,
standing on the top of the hill,
looking at things no eye has seen before,
looking at things no eye has seen before.

Lyrics from the Mekons Song, “I Fall Asleep”, on their new recording, “Ancient & Modern”.

Taco Tuesday Feb 22, 2011

Taco Tuesday.

An Al Pastor, Chile Rojo Chicken, and Chile Colorado taco from El Metate. Sorry about the White Balance.

We had tickets to see Justin Townes Earle this last Tuesday, so didn’t have time for any homemade tacos.

I like Mr. Justin Townes Earle, think he is a talented singer, guitar player, and song writer, but some of his “schtick” made me a tad uncomfortable.

He talked a bit about how he had been scheduled to perform at last year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, but had been unable to attend. He explained that he had ongoing problems with substance abuse and incarceration (concert crowd cheers), and that he had actually been in jail when he was supposed to be performing at Hardly Strictly. He said the problem was he liked the alcohol and the cocaine, but that once he started, he liked it just a little bit too much, starting in the shower in the morning (crowd cheers) and continuing throughout the day until somehow he always ended up in jail (crowd cheers).

Words, then, to the effect, “I’ve made it this far, and haven’t died or killed anybody. It will happen again. I don’t see a reason to change unless I kill someone, and I don’t see that happening. If you love me, get used to it.”

He then dedicated this song to, “Knowing better, but still fucking up.” (Crowd Cheers, loudly!)