Cupcake Round-Up 2! THE RESULTS ARE IN!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wow, Cheryl and I were absolutely floored at the amount of creativity out there. People took the theme of Re-Invention and really brought it to a new level. Plenty of autumn's seasonal bounty was used. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and a lot of apples all made an appearance. People even took inspiration from Fall holidays! Of course, you'll see plenty of classics such as chocolate and coconut for all those who dig the old school classics (but with a twist, of course).

Hope you enjoy and thanks for participating! Be sure to try out some of these awesome entries and if you want, check out the previous round-up as well! Now for Cheryl and I to figure out which ones to bake first...

Apple Pie Cupcake
By Lisa of
Spicy Ice Cream

Cashew, Carrot, Cardamom Cupcakes with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
By Cheryl of
Cupcake Bakeshop

Amaretti & Butternut Cupcakes
By Garrett of
Vanilla Garlic

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
By Mary Jo of
Bash Cakes

Bananas Foster Cupcakes
By Katie of
Salt and Chocolate

Mango Kulfi Cupcakes
By Roopa of
Raspberry Eggplant

Vanilla Cupcakes with Flan Filling and Purple Yam Frosting
By Aubrey of
The Other Side

Tropical Getaway Cupcakes
By Jessica of
Kitchen by the Sea

Banana Cream Cupcakes
By Amy of

Pumpkin Chili Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Pumpkin Brittle
By Monica of
The Pastry Princess Blog

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes
By Monica of
The Pastry Princess Blog

Linzer Cupcakes
By Steph of
A Whisk and a Spoon

Black Licorice Cupcakes with Orange Marshmallow Frosting
By Jaime of
Baking Memories

Candy Corn Cupcakes
By Lara of

Arroz con Leche Cupcakes
By Gretchen of
Canela y Comino

Tuesday Afternoon Tea Cupcake
By Georgia of
Notes on Tea

Red Wine Cupcakes
By Dana of

Apple Pudding Cupcakes with Bourbon Spiked Buttercream Frosting
By Lauren of
City by the Blog

Fresh Apple Cupcakes
By Gina of
Bradlee & Gina

Parsnip-Apple Cupcakes
By Meredith of
Cooking 101

Ginger Cupcakes with Candied Ginger Cream
By Alecia of

Honey Orange Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Cupcakes
By Danielle of
The Graduated Bumblebee

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Apple Chai Glaze
By Brina of
Brina Bakes and Blogs

Apple Pie Cupcakes
By Mary of

Pecan Pie Cupcakes (VEGAN!)
By Ros Vaeth of
Humanity Starts at Thought

Lavendar Pear Bear Cupcakes
By Roopa of
Raspberry Eggplant

Pomegranate Matcha Cupcakes
By Roopa of
Raspberry Eggplant

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Icing
By Teri of
The Daily Raw Cafe'

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake
By Stefanie of
Cupcake Project

Fuzzy Navel Cupcake
By Laurie of
Quirky Cupcake

Petit Pois Muffins
By Charlotte & Freddie of
The Great Big Veg Challenge

"Lil' Pumpkin" Saffron Honeycakes
By Kristy of
Cakegrrl's Cakery

Fondue Cupcakes
By Adrienne of
Aubedes etc

By Tanya of
Luck x8

Canadian Thanksgiving Cupcake
By Sarah of
Sarah's Sugar & Spice

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Frosting
By Sarah and Amelia of
Cuppin' Cakes

Poached Pear Cupcake
By Julie of
One-Wall Kitchen

Banana Pudding Cupcake
By Hannah of
Hannah's Baking Edeavors

Drunken Devil's Food Espresso Cupcakes
By Sara of
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Eton Mess Cupcakes
By Kirsten of
Hide & Seek

The Restaurant Review that Never Was (Paul Martin's American Bistro) -OR- Of All The Tires and Luck

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Update: I finally got a chance to go, so be sure to read the updated review here. This post consists of my car breaking down and some background info on the restaurant.

So last night I was supposed to go to a fabulous little mock service at Paul Martin's American Bistro which just opened in Roseville. It seemed like such an event to go to, and I was all pumped up. Plus, it helped having some ins from friends Ashley and Kaiti who were doing the publicity for the place, natch.

Our reservations were for 8 pm last night, I was already feeling encouraged by the service I received over the phone. The hostess was clear, personable, helpful and concise and would continue to be later last night as well.

Earlier in the day Rob and I had decided to go see some friends I hadn't seen in a while who were visiting from So Cal. After a raucous day of gossip and reminiscing Rob and I took off from Oakland with ample time to get to Roseville.

But then there was the traffic. Caused by no less than three different accidents. I called ahead and asked if our reservation could be pushed back to 8:45. The hostess was accommodating and set it all up.

Then we were the cause of traffic as another tire blew (this makes 3 in the last four months I think). Seeing as we only had a turn-crank piece of shit from Korea jack and it was dark out it took a good 30 minutes to pop on the spare. Since the spare is a simple donut tire which notes "DO NOT DRIVE OVER 40 MPH" we knew we had no chance of making it. I called and let them know to give our table to any walk-ins that might occur. The hostess was understanding and wished me the best of luck and sounded genuine in her concern and well wishing to a resolution of my situation.

So, hopefully, soon I can actually get there and write a review. A good preview article written by Holly Hubbard Preston can be found in the latest issue of Edible Sacramento if you are curious. A new blog I found, Tastes of Life, did a fantastic review, as did Paul as a guest blogger on Sacatomato. What makes me sad is the fact I missed a meal everyone seems to be raving about. *sad face*

If you are curious about the place, it's a new bistro offering gourmet food that is local, organic, sustainable, and affordable. Opened by four people with a background in the chain restaurant business, it's quite a jump from P.F. Chang's to high end offerings. Paul Martin's American Bistro is located at the Stone Pointe Center Mall in Roseville, CA.

Paul Martin's American Bistro
1455 Eureka Road, Suite 100

(On another note, please remember, if you cannot show up for a reservation, do the poor waiter/waitresses a favor: Call Ahead. Let them know you are canceling so they can fill the table. They need the cash from tips from as many tables as they can turn. Also, it's just good manners.)

When It Works

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Some days I'm not sure if I'm entirely capable of cohabitation with other human beings. I've had good roommates, and bad roommates, and good roommates who turned bad. I've dealt with insane dogs that whiz at the drop of a hat, uncovered pot stashes hidden in bathrooms, been walked in on during more "intimate moments", and had my stuff borrowed, used, and stolen.

Given, I've had plenty of great experiences too, but all and all, I like my privacy. The fact that Rob and I have been living together now for about three years is nothing less than a true sign that Satan is ice skating in a freshly frozen hell. When it comes to living together with my partner, Rob and I work pretty well considering we're polar opposites in so many respects.

I am an OCD neat freak. Everything has it's place and must be in that place at all times when it's not in use. I pick up trash as I walk and throw it away, and the thought of sitting down and attempting to relax with an episode of Xena and a glass of wine while there are dirty dishes in the sink is on par with brushing my teeth with a cheese grater.

Rob on the other hand is a card carrying member of the "throw and go" way of life. Where ever something lands, that becomes it's new home. CD's, clothes, empty boxes, junk mail, cereal which has permanently glued itself to the carpet with a determined refusal to budge. Milk glasses of days gone by have actually molded under piles of clothes, warmed by the soft hum and heat of the computer in his lair (i.e. the office of no return). Is it any wonder the cat box is in the closet (read: storage space) of this room? And the mess in the car is a battle I have relinquished; a fruitless war not meant to be fought, at least not by me.

It's actually a shock that we haven't killed each other yet, as The Mess is the usual cause of any arguments we do have. But somedays I seriously just want to take the nearest saucepan and bludgeon him over the head with it. "Doesn't seem so hard to put your dishes away now, does it!?" I would laugh maniacally over the now dead Rob corpse. I would then systematically dispose of the body cleverly by turning it into sausage and serving it with polenta in a very Silence of the Lambs fashion at a dinner party (I heart Dr. Lecter).

Still, I find ways to work around it, bitching and moaning being my usual go-to method, with underhanded trickery coming in close second. Once when a friend was coming over Rob started cleaning and actually vacuuming the house. Moments later the friend texted me and had to cancel. A moral dilemma: Do I tell Rob he can stop cleaning and go back to doing something he enjoys? -OR- Do I let him keep cleaning and take advantage of this rare opportunity at sanitary exploitation?

Later, the apartment now spotless without my help, I informed him of my friend's sad situation and how she no longer could join us.

Yet in all of our craziness we make cohabitation work for us both. At times, I don't know how I managed living before and not end it all by hurling myself into oncoming traffic. Take a few nights ago for example. I was attempting to make a grilled cheese sammich. I say attempting because I was in one of my high stress, freak out sessions which are a regular event for me and to which Rob has learned to kindly tune out until I calm down 10 minutes later. I was buttering the bread with cold butter when the bread then tore smearing butter into my palm.

I'm not sure what happened, what caused me to snap and lose it. I guess it was the proverbial straw. All the stress from school, from work, from life, from family, from the coming holidays, from the pets, from the blog, from the magazine all bubbled up and exploded.

"GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!!!" screaming as I threw the butter knife across the room, slamming it against the wall. The cats ran from the room assuming they had done wrong and expecting the spray bottle to punish them. And as I watched them hide and looked at the torn bread lying butter side down on the floor I just started to cry.

"What the hell!?" Rob called from the office of no return.

He paused. He came out and into the kitchen. He picked up the bread and wiped up the butter. "Why don't you go sit down on the couch, okay? You go rest. I'll make dinner, okay?"

"Okay..." I mumbled wiping my eyes.

"Do you want one or two?"

"One please."

"No problem, and I'll add some mushrooms and onions to it to make it healthy for you."

"Okay." The weight slowly lifted and I knew all the stress was in my head and I just needed to get it out. Ten minutes later I was fine and had begun plotted everything I needed to do calmly in my day planner, the smell of grilled cheese sammiches wafting from the kitchen.

And that is when you know you're in a good place, and all the dirty dishes, and the barring opposites, and all the other crap in the world fades away. That is how you know it all works.

The Best Way to Beat Class Boredom?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Have a pint and some Thai food before class of course! (It's okay, I have an A+ in the class so I deserve it.)

Almond Rocker

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Red tea, or rooibos, is a new tea that's hitting the market in force now. Rooibos comes not from the typical tea plant (Camellia sinensis) from which white, green, and black teas come from, but is actually from a broom like legume plant found in South Africa.

Rooibos has a very mellow, relaxed and herbal taste. It's low in tannins so it rarely, if ever has a tart or bitterness to it. It's high in antioxidants (more so than green or white tea) and has zero caffeine. Due to it's pliable flavor, it takes well to being mixed for various flavors. Chamomile, rose, fruits, and even chocolate and caramel are mixed into red tea for a variety of subtle and intriguing flavors.

Almond Rocker is a particular favorite of mine. It's red tea blended with bits of almond and linden flowers. The result is a highly aromatic almond tea with hints of summer cherries, and a nutty finish. A tea not really made for breakfast, but great for dessert with a light cake.

It seems to be a bit difficult to find online at the moment, I got mine from Hina's Tea in Sacramento, and I believe they do orders on-line. I've also found it on E-Bay.

How Getting an Education is Affecting My Cooking Habits

Friday, October 19, 2007

More and more I find myself spedning less time in my kitchen and more time in a library. Classes and assignments are stealing away my time, and while I sit ruefully contemplating what exactly Northrup Frye was trying to establish in his now infamous literary archetypes, my oven sits cold and alone. My pots are clean, not due to numerous runs of OCD pot scrubbing, but from disuse. Garlic is beginning to sprout it's so negelected.

My garlic NEVER sprouts.

School is absorbing my time and I am finding myself slowly moving away from the quality food I was preparing and falling back into reliable old tricks I depended on in my undergrad years. Not that they aren't delicious in their own way. In fact, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed some of them.

To each of these simple recipes are attached strings of memories. Times I spent with friends, days pouring over books while the bread machine ran, laughing over our pitiful meals that we dubbed "provincial" or "parisian" rather than "sparse" or "paltry." They were made to be eaten on a budget and to be prepared for one or one-hundred with minimal effort. You'de be surprised how far a few potaotes can go.

After such an experience, you start to wonder if it was a miracle Jesus fed so many with a few bits of bread and fish, or if he was just an awesome cook who knew how to stretch his resources.

A particular favorite, one that is making a resounding comeback in this home is Ramen & Bits. Rob was actually amazed at the simplicity of the idea when I first served him this. I was (and still am) a cheap date and offered to make him something quick and simple. A pack of top ramen was made, and in it when my veggie staples: radishes and their greens, scallions, and mushrooms. On occassion pepper and Italian seasoning would find it's way in, and if I was living on the edge that night I would season and flash fry in a shallow pan some chicken as well. Simple and delicious.

Another favorite is to mix some mayo and a can of tuna together, then place some of it on a saltine with a small piece of cheese. I eat them while reading for class with reality tv on in the background. It's odd I know, but I love it.

Sure, it's not really the healthiest thing ever, but it works and I like it. It's better than Red Bulls and Pocky. I am cooking a lot more tagines, soups, and curries when I can as it makes enough to be taken to work or class after work the next day. Plus, it only takes a little bit of time for a lot of healthy and flavorful food.

Baking now occurs during study breaks in between papers on Sundays usually, and if I find a chance maybe on a weekday if I finished my other duties. Oddly enough I find myself putting away a lot more wine than I used to. We've gone from a few glasses a month to about two or three a week. I guess education brings out the lush in us all. How else do you explain the copious amounts of college drinking? I had a shot glass about 8 inches tall we called "The Super Shot". I learned later that it was apparently just a very slender and tall vase. Go me! Seriously, my liquor cabinet back then could put most bars to utter shame. Nowadays though, I just keep a bottle of wine around the house in case I feel like a glass or company happens to drop by.

It's hard changing my eating and cooking habits, but it's good too. I'm learning to adapt and learning new recipes to coincide with my new schedule and life. It's all very educational.

And we all know what education brings about right? =)

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Saffron White Chocolate Sauce

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I love white chocolate and it's been so long since I gave it the attention it really deserves. I wanted to do something surprising and even a little bit exotic with it, and after seeing it used in petit fours and in Vosges new truffles how could I not pair it with a bit of saffron? (Plus, a friend gave me some for free.) Saffron's bitter honey-like taste is the perfect underscore to the sweet white chocolate. Neither one clamors for attention and the result is a perfect marriage of two seemingly uncompromising flavors.

The cake is delicious and light in its white chocolate taste. Really, the cake is perfect and I plan to use it for many layer cakes in the future. The sauce was meant to be a ganache, but white chocolate is a bitch. So it's a sauce, but a delicious one with the curious taste of saffron peaking through. I still want to put some more work into this one in the future and work out the kinks, as while the flavors are dead on, I'm not quite yet satisfied with the end result of the sauce that would be a ganache.

Still it's delicious, enticing, and mellow. A wonderful cupcake to try.

White Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Food & Wine
Makes 20 cupcakes / 350 F oven

What You'll Need...

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 eggs, room temperature

teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of flour

2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/4 cup of milk
8 ounces of white chocolate, melted

What You'll Do...
1) Beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until soft and fluffy.

2) Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix.

3) Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add some of the flour, then add some of the milk. Continue to mix in a dry-wet-dry method, ending with the dry.

4) Scoop into cupcake papers 3/4 full. Bake at 350F for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for one minute, then let them continue to cool on a wire rack.

5) Dip into wet ganache, shake off the excess, and decorate with so
me colored sugar, turbinado sugar, or some saffron if you're crazy fucking rich.
Saffron & White Chocolate Sauce
What You'll Need...
6 ounces of white chocolate
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of saffron strands

What You'll Do...
1) Place the saffron in the cream and let sit for about 10 minutes.

2) Chop chocolate and place in heat proof bowl.

3) Heat cream and saffron on stove over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge.

4) Pour cream over chocolate, let sit for 1 minute then stir.

5) Let sit for 15 minutes, then dip and swirl cupcakes in the ganache. Decorate with colored sugar or something else pretty like that.

On Dressing for Dinner and Hooker Heels

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

From the Archives.

The era of three piece suit dining is almost well over in my opinion. Sure certain restaurants still have a certain air about them that requires you to throw on a suit and *gag* tie. (God, and I despise ties.) But anyways, most well to do places may require a good collared shirt, a belt, some nice slacks, and some decent shoes that you don’t go running in every day.

I suppose there are factors to take in like age appropriateness and the specific restaurant you plan to patron, but this is just how it is. Yeah, it hurts to hear but let’s face it, grandma should not be in a tube top, and the prom queen shouldn’t have robbed Blanche’s closet from The Golden Girls. There is also a difference between The French Laundry and Der Weinerschnietzel even though your opinion may fluctuate depending on the humber of drinks you've consumed.

I also don’t like to think of myself as the fashion police; I mean, I dress just to meet dress code standards at work because I don’t want to spend the money for work clothes, and even some days I slide just under it. I look fine (I hope), but I doubt GQ has plans to hunt me down at the office for a cover shoot anytime soon. But when someone walks in looking like who did it and what for then I have to just stop and shake my head.

So when I'm dining at a place that has a certain dress standard, say what you would where on a first date or a night at the theater to see a play or symphony more or less, and two skeazy girls come in, it makes me raise an eyebrow and wonder what sort of hemorrhaging head trauma they must have suffered that would make them dress in such a way.

Really, I’m not being a stick up my butt fashion nazi here. Let me break it down:

Girl One: Mascara should be applied liberally. She had the tarantula eyelashes going, and so much eyeliner I couldn’t tell if she had been sucker punched in a street fight or she was out of Ambien. The rest of the makeup was just… God, like she went to Rite-Aid, laid out the free samples on the counter and just dragged her face back and forth through the thick of it. Wearing fish net stockings, hooker heels (platform in the front, stilleto in the back), and a tube top that said “Daddy’s Little Whore” in sequins no less. Classy!

Girl Two: No makeup (she needed it). Wet hair (still dripping). Mini skirt where we could see her ass at the bottom, thong at the top. Boobs so about to just pop out of the spaghetti strap. It was just ew.

They had reservations, and you could see the manager was sitting there just and talking with another waiter, both in starched white and black uniforms I might add, on what to do. They were seated in the back where they then started to swear up a storm, one describing in detail about her recent gyno visit (lovely, and no I don’t think I will have the oysters, thanks). When they started to smoke in the restaurant - which is against the law here in California – they started to cuss out the waiter when he asked them to put out the cigs. They then paid their bill and as Girl One left her hooker heel broke and she noted, “Holy hell, my fucking heel broke off my shoe.”

To which Girl Two replied, “Shit, and after you got all dressed up too.”

Holy crap.

I caught the eye of the waiter, and we both just exchanged a look that contained an intense and horrified discussion as to what constituted not dressed up.

So yeah, there is a certain time and place where you need to dress nicely. Fish nets are for 80’s themed parties. Nice restaurants, job interviews, and nights at the opera require some taste and style.

Help stop the tacky.

The Pitcher of Dorian Grey

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh Oscar Wilde, you did know how to write an evocative, bacchanalian character; you created a novel which would live on forever and even inspire great tea. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel about a man who has a portrait that ages for him and in turn keeps him young and free of injury, but subsequently he is thrust into a world of debauchery and evil. For each sin he commits, the portrait becomes more disfigured and hideous. It's a classic piece of gothic horror, and one worth reading.

Being a literary nerd, you can understand why I so enjoy my new favorite tea Dorian Grey. It's bold, stunning, and maybe a bit sinful. At least so in the eyes of Earl Grey purists.

Dorian Grey is a black tea that's a variant of it's cousin Earl Grey. Instead of citrus from bergamot, apples are used to give it fragrance and distinction. Mallow and linden flowers add notes of fruitiness and a deep resonance of caramel for a finish.

If you're looking for a way to switch up your usual morning chai, English Breakfast, or Lipton tea bags this is a fabulous way to start.

Drive-By Pomegranate Heist Gets a Lead!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Drive-By Pomegrante Heist was in the Sunday Sac Bee today in the Forums section. Be sure to check it out!

But the weather was a cool 75... (58 Degrees & Holding - Midtown Sacramento)

Another Second Saturday, another night out. My friend Jill and I decided to let our feet rest over at 58 Degrees as we saw through the window one lone two seater window right by a large open window. How could we say no?

We sat down in the large and open bar tastefully lit through modern lighting, with wine displayed artfully throughout the bar. The trendy populated, gossiped, chatted, and when a small group of drummers came by even danced a bit (I know Jill and I did).

We ordered a taster of white and red. The red was a simple Wolftrap Syrah blend from South Africa, nice and tame, with an almost invisible finish but a nice slightly nutty aftertaste. The white wine was Gurner. Very oaky and clean.

Both of these wines were well priced and perfectly matched to the small plate we ordered; a plate with fresh honeycomb, Roaring 40's Blue cheese, and some honey roasted almonds. Served with bread it was a nice combination of tang from the cheese and sweetness from the honeycomb and nuts. They have an accomplished cheese plate too which varies from month to month, so be sure to check that out as well.

The place is a tad bit busy on Saturday nights, as in packed tighter than a tin of sardines. Still if you can get in it's a nice place to chill. The wine store attached is absolutely fabulous, and a great spot to pick up a copy of Edible Sacramento. Their staff is knowledgeable and quite helpful in your wine selection, plus they have some private tasting rooms as well.

If you're looking for a great way to start a night out on the town, 58 is it.

58 Degrees & Holding
1217 18th Street
Sacramento Midtown
A shibby wine bar for sure.

Edible Sacramento - Fall 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

The new issue is out, so be on the look out. Remember it's free where you can find it, but they go fast. A good reason to subscribe; you'll be able to have them delivered to your door and you'll help support your local food-centered publication! Remember to not only eat local, but when you can, read local.

Here is a sample article from this month's Errant Gourmet section. Enjoy!
“Like the game!”
by Garrett McCord

Ma Jong’s is a little diner that’s attached to the contemporary restaurant Mason’s, a place where the trendy and pretend -to-trendy mingle. Though I have to admit what drew me to it in the first place was the name. I can’t help it; I have a fetish for puns.

The décor inside is sleek, spacious, and simple. Large wooden tables, with comfortable low back seating, each table decorated with some tall standing grass and a jar of nice wooden chopsticks (not the snap-apart kind that splinter). You can also eat outside which has soft wooden chairs, covered, tables, and even couches and beds to chill on whilst you nosh.

It being diner style, you walk up to the counter and order what you want. Afterwards you fill your drink, collect some silverware and napkins, and seat yourself. The menu isn’t up for display anywhere, so be sure to grab a menu once you step in. The menu is diverse with flavors from China, Thailand, and Vietnam and so on so your whole party should be content with the diversity of the menu.

The hot and sour soup was delicious. Filled with straw mushrooms, large chunks of tofu, chicken, egg and scallion it was deliciously spicy without being too hot. It was lacking a bit in the sourness but my dining companion enjoyed the balance, so it’s all a matter of taste. Pass on the crab wontons, they’re mostly fried smears of cream cheese with no discernable crab.

The noodles are nothing to complain about and make for a simple yet filling meal. The main entrees are customizable allowing you to choose chicken, beef, shrimp, veggies or tofu, and white or brown rice (go for brown).

The chicken is given a quick tempura treatment before it goes into a dish. In the orange peel entrée (read: upscale orange chicken) the tempura and sauce get a bit pasty together. The ginger honey soy entrée is fantastic with the chicken or shrimp, and paired with a beer it’s as if you were transported to an Osakan izakaya.Service is accommodating and they earned their tip. The food comes very quickly, so if you’re hoping to get in and out, Ma Jong’s is a perfect dining selection if you need to rush to the dance floor (located next door, natch).

They’re open late (2:30 am Thurs-Sun) and if you call ahead they’ll bring your order to your car curbside. It’s upscale Chinese takeout to sum it up. A nice change from wherever you might usually go. My best advice is to go during the downtime on weekends before seven you’ll be the only one there and have the choice for the best seating.

Ma Jong’s Asian Diner
1116 15th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Cumin Toast Crunch

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So a future cooking note to take to heart when you just wake up and really tired, not paying attention, and your nose is so stuffy you can't smell a single damn thing. If you decide to make cinnamon toast be absolutely sure that it's cinnamon you are sprinkling on.

Not cumin.

Worst breakfast ever.

Drive-By Pomegranate Heist

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"So it was a drive-by then?"

"Yeah, my neighbor saw it happen. Two guys drove up in a car, jumped out, grabbed some pomegranates, and then took off."

The pom-thievery has already begun for poor Elise. With the pomegranate tree out in the front, it's easy for people to slyly pick a peck of poms. One year, over half the tree's fruit was purloined in the night, the day before they were going to be plucked.

"So I saw you've already marked them."

"All that are in my reach, so if anyone is taller than me, it's unlabeled. I just hope the ones they got were the one's I marked."

"I still cracks me up that you write 'Please Do Not Steal!' on every pomegranate. Maybe you should invest in a motion sensor device."

"I actually looked into that," she paused for a sip of grape juice, "But dad mows the lawn twice a week, and there's all the extension cord and buying a camera and alarm. It just won't work."

"Mousetraps. Hang 'em from the tree in inconspicuous places."

"That's an idea. It hurts just enough."

"And it won't break bones, so no lawsuits. Though I think the wind and branches might set them off. Then there are innocent squirrels who will be caught in the madness."

"Maybe some kind of wireless motion sensor alarm...?"

I'm sure there must be a solution out there. Still, I must admit I'm still a fan of the mousetrap idea if we can work out the kinks.

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