Sunday, July 22, 2007

Outbreak of Botulism Associated with Castleberry's Canned Chili

Public health officials in Indiana, Texas, and at CDC are investigating an outbreak of botulism associated with canned hot dog chili sauce manufactured by Castleberry's Food Company.

http://www.castleberrys.... (for all products) (for FDA-regulated products) (for UDSA-regulated products)

Funny if you look at these lists, canned chili and pet food are on there. One product sounds almost edilble to eat, "Eatables for Dogs Chinese Take Out With Sauce With Vegetables and Chicken."

How many dogs order take out?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Zachary's Pizza

Zachary's Pizza Oakland
5801 College Ave.
Oakland, California 94618

Guess: Is it pepperoni or spinach and mushroom?
Pepperoni Pizza
Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

I did not actually eat at the restaurant, but I took two half-baked (not what you are thinking; no green involved) pizzas. I had heard a great many things about this pizza and If I have not said this enough, am from Chicago where deep dish pizza was invented. I so wanted to fall in love with this pizza to have an excuse to drive to the Bay area.

I have been to Chicago Fire in Folsom and think that is a pretty good pizza. It is on my list to go to Zelda in Sacramento. Since I am more of a carnivore I baked the pepperoni pizza first. It looks pretty thick and heavy for its size. So I take my first bite and I start to chew and the first thing I taste is salt. Lots and lots of salt. It is like someone poured a teaspoon where I took a first bite. I am the type of person who really likes salty foods too, but this was too much. Luckily the rest of the pizza was not so bad, but the first bite kind of ruined it for me.

I froze the spinach-mushroom (which they do not recommend). So what I did was to cook it on a cast iron griddle (instead of a pizza stone) at 475 F for 10 minutes to crisp up the crust and then turned the heat down to 350F for an additional 30-35 minutes to cook the insides. It turned out perfect. A nice crispy crust with a little chewiness and the inside of the pizza nice and melted. There was a nice amount of spinach and mushroom taste, the cheese binding everything together. and the crust was providing the crisp background.

Now I am happy.

That first pizza must have been an anomaly. I want to get another pepperoni pizza to gain a better experience.

Friday, July 6, 2007

What if Fridays

If you had to repeat any single year of your life to date, without changing a thing, which year would you relive?

This is really a tough one, I feel lucky; I had had a few good years. I would have to say October 1997 to September 1998. That was the year I met my soon to be wife, living in Chicago and still a student with very few responsibilities.

Yes, they say people from Chicago never shut up about Chicago even though they are living somewhere else, but it is great town.

So many memories, so few pictures. C'est la vie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dreyer's Dibs 94% of RDA of saturated fat

Usually 94% is a good number such as if I have a 94% chance of winning the lottery or if I scored 94% on the exam. We decided to watch Spiderman 3 at the Imax on Saturday. We had an ice cream craving so this is what we ordered. I ate one and thought, "these are pretty good."

Until I looked at the nutritional content. 94% saturated fat? really? The numbers not transposed wrong;did they mean 49% as in the number above it? No. I wanted to return the Dibs.

So even if I split this evenly I still would eat 50% of my RDA of saturated fat? Not cool. I mean they taste pretty good, but not worth the fat content. On one hand, at least they did not make the entire package 26 servings to try to confuse consumers, BUT if yo look at their website

Dreyer's lists the total fat content, but not the percentages. Sneaky, eh?

So for fun I listed comparable portions (105 gm or 3.7 ounces) of different food.

Pork Rinds = 15 gm fat (74%)

Breyer's Triple Chocolate ice cream 4.5 gm of fat (22%)

Round Table's 1 slice of King Arthur Supreme 6 gm (30%)

1 apple 0 gm (0%)

The moral of the story? Buyer beware or eat some Breyer's ice cream before you go to the movies.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mustard's Review

Mustard's Grill
7399 Saint Helena Hwy
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 944-2424

This review encompassed the last three visits to Mustard's. One in October 2006, February 2007 and June 2007.

I mean doesn't that pretty much say it all? I make reservations four weeks in advance to make sure that we get to eat here. Usually I am one who likes to try a different place and a different item whenever I eat out, but Mustard's is one of those exceptions.

The Welcome Sign

Garden Shot in October

Garden Shot in October

The Menu

Tea Smoked Duck, February 2007

The duck had a nice smoky flavor that was not overpowering and made the duck less gamy. It was cooked perfectly to medium rare and as with many things the pineapple chutney's sweetness complemented the duck nicely. The sticky rice cake was interesting. It was grilled? so that it was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I guess it was an appropriate starch, I am not really sure was would go better.

Mongolian Pork Chop, October 2006

Mongolian Pork Chop, June 2007

Why is it so hard to cook pork? I guess the risk Trichinellosis is too much of a liability.

"The United States, reported 25 cases per year from 1991-1996 with few implicating pork. Documented sources of human infection have also included game meats such as wild boar, bear, walrus, fox and cougar. " Do I care? Not really, I will still order and cook my pork to medium rare if I can. Obviously things like bacon and pork shoulder will be cooked thoroughly.

Anyway back to the Mongolian pork chop. The pork chop is usually a double cut rib chop as you can see from the picture and is has been cooked perfectly to medium rare the two times I have had it. The sweet and sour cabbage provide a nice textural contrast as well as sweetness to complement the pork and a little acid to cut through some of the fat. The mashed potatoes work well as a canvas for the rest of the food. A dish I would highly recommend.

Truckstop Deluxe, October 2006, 12 oz ribeye steak

I just have a picture of this, my brother ordered it and I cannot remember how it was. It probably was good.

Warm Chocolate Hazlenut Truffle Tart, local Guittard bittersweet chocolate, Jack Daniels brown sugar ice cream, coffee caramel sauce.

I am a chocoholic and this satisfied all my cravings. You can tell the the chocolate was of high quality as it had a few layers of flavor not just chocolate. The tart was nice and crunchy and the caramel sauce brought the whole dish together. I wish there were two scoops of ice cream as with many desserts as there is the ratio of chocolate to ice cream is overwhelmingly in favor of chocolate. For me the ice cream provides a break/palate cleanser so I can enjoy more chocolate.

Two things we had last time were the corn tamales and spring rolls. No pictures though. Those two appetizers were as good as everything as well.

I would give this a 16 = Very Good and 16 vs all the restaurants as a whole. My only real disappointment was the menu had not really changed from February to June.