Sunday, June 30, 2013

A few good meals

Cold Salmon at Balzar where we met Michelle on Saturday
Dessert: molten chocolate cake
Fish at Balzar
Saturday dinner: a salad near our hotel
Mussels at Brasserie Suffren
Fish with aioli at Brasserie Suffren,
which was near our apartment in 1989 -- still good!
Sunday lunch at Michelle's apartment in Cachan, just outside Paris
A statue by Zadkine on Boulevard Edgar Quinet
Background: Tour de Montparnasse
Besides eating Paris is full of fabulous outdoor art
Also, Paris is full of beautiful old traditional things,
like the fountains of this design that once were really the water supply.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The street of crepes

Once we checked into our hotel after our overnight train trip, we started the day in Paris with lunch at one of around a dozen creperies near our hotel. Most have very Breton names like the Quiberon or La Phare (lighthouse) and Breton traditional crepes, both sweet and savory. We had no idea that we were staying on the street of crepes! I was stunned to recall once again how absolutely wonderful-tasting real fois gras is, and how delicious a real French salad dressing can be. I look forward to trying some of the sweet varieties too.

Lunch: My galette (savory crepe) with fois gras, fig jam, a drizzle of honey, and a salad.
Background: Len's sausage, onion, and potato-filled crepe.
Restaurant: Creperie La Bigoudene
Fish-monger's window not far from the creperies.
I love looking at the food stores, markets, wine shops, cheese shops, patisseries...

Eating in Gottingen

A very fancy greengrocer: we bought our fruit and vegetables
at a supermarket where it looked just like at home.
Gaudi Restaurant -- I guess it was our favorite
We asked for Gaudi's English menu, which used the Spanish names for tapas and other foods.
We had tapas including apricots wrapped in bacon, meatballs, octopus, and serrano ham.
A little bite of herring with beets and cream was served before anything else.
How do you say "amuse gueule" in German, Spanish, or English?
Gaudi: ravioli with tuna
Gaudi: Cherries with ginger sauce and ice cream
Sausalito: a Tex-Mex restaurant with a very multi-lingual menu.
The German menu was full of both English and Spanish mixed together.
Sausalito's version of enchiladas. Note the red cabbage in the salad.
Corona beer tonight...
German food at Ratskeller Restaurant Sunday night:
herring with boiled potatoes and a stein of beer.
Paulaner "Zur Alten Brauerei" Thursday
Rosti potatoes with herring (front) or salmon (back) and more beer.
Click on any of these photos to see more Flickr photos of Gottingen.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Aloo Gobi for Louise's Picnic Game

I'm going on a picnic and bringing Aloo Gobi, an Indian dish with potatoes and cauliflower. It's a virtual picnic that takes place July 1. So...

Happy Picnic Day

Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations has come back to blogging and is organizing her popular picnic game where at least 26 bloggers create an alphabetical picnic menu, beginning here with A for Aloo Gobi. On July 1, she will post a list of all 26 dishes, with photos!

Actually, I really did bring real, not virtual aloo gobi on a picnic while I was in Aspen recently; I shared it with one of the Tuesday night barbecues at the Aspen Center for Physics. It's a good dish for a picnic because it's supposed to be served at room temperature.

Here's what it looked like towards the end of cooking, before being garnished with cilantro leaves:

Aloo Gobi made May, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado
I first became aware of this delicious dish around 4 years ago when I saw the film "Bend it Like Beckham." As I wrote in an earlier post about this dish, the heroine of the film wants to be a soccer player, and is very good at it, but her parents believe that it's better to make good aloo gobi than to "bend it like Beckham" -- another concept, this from soccer, that I learned from the film. The line is pretty memorable, but what's very memorable is the DVD extra of the film director, Gurinder Chadha, in the kitchen with her mother and her aunties, who watch and give advice while she's trying to explain to her audience how to make aloo gobi. This extra feature is fabulous, maybe better than the film itself.

One of my earlier efforts to make aloo gobi looked like this:
Aloo Gobi made April, 2009 in La Jolla, California
When I eat in an Indian restaurant, I often try to sample the aloo gobi, which always contains a number of spices along with aloo and gobi (cauliflower and potatoes), and sometimes contains tomatoes and sometimes not. An example of the dish with little or no tomato:

Aloo Gobi at Host Restaurant in Toronto
We had a great meal including the above dish a couple of years ago with our friends Rashmi and Kappu. Kappu sent me her aloo-gobi recipe that I followed last month. I didn't have the turmeric and paprika, but I did have all the fresh spices, cumin, and garam masala, a delicious Indian spice blend that's also good on other things.

Kappu’s Aloo Gobi


1/4 C Oil (Vegetable or Olive)
1 large Onion- cut into thin slices and each slice cut in half crosswise
1 T cumin seeds
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro – leaves chopped and set aside separately.
1 t turmeric
1/2 t paprika
  salt to taste
2 to 3- Serrano or any green chillis – chopped (depending on how hot you like)
2 large whole tomatoes, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic – minced
2 T fresh ginger – peeled and grated
1 med – large cauliflower, broken into floweret
3 medium potatoes – peeled and cut into 1” cubes.
2 T water
1 t Garam Masala
1 T unsalted butter or ghee


Heat oil in dutch oven, or large pan with cover, over med- high heat.  Add onion and stir till translucent.  Add cumin seeds.  Cook until onions are light brown – do not burn them. Stir.  Add turmeric, paprika and salt; stir.  Add chillis, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, potatoes & cauliflower and mix till everything is well coated.  Add 2+ T water, stir and cover.   Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked. Stir and add Garam Masala, stir again.  Sprinkle 1 T of unsalted butter or ghee, and cilantro leaves on top of the curry, cover and turn heat off.  Let it sit for as long as possible before serving – up to 15 min.

p.s. Do not cook after adding the garam masala.

Bon appetite

Louise's Picnic Game Logo:
See This Post for Details

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Famous German Asparagus


We arrived in Gottingen, Germany, early this afternoon after a night on a plane from Detroit to Frankfort and a morning on a train. It's the end of asparagus season, which is taken very seriously in Germany, as I had always heard. This white asparagus special dinner included the fresh asparagus, Hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes, and a breaded pork cutlet. And local draft beer. Lovely! I enjoyed my asparagus, while Len tried a particular type of herring, also in season, which also was on the special menu.

The town is really lovely, and was especially appealing as we walked around before and after dinner in the long rays of midsummer sunlight. Small placards on many buildings commemorate the numerous famous people who have worked and studied here. I recognized the names of at least two Romantic poets, Tieck and Brentano, who lived or visited here for at least a little while. The physicists recognized scientists and mathematicians -- we walked by a statue of Gauss talking to his younger colleague Wilhelm Weber and another statue of the chemist Friedrich Wöhler who described the molecular structure of urea in 1828. The chemical formula is inscribed in the cobblestones at the foot of the statue.

Statue of Lisel the Goosegirl: tradition requires every new PhD student
to climb up on the fountain and kiss her.
She's holding some flowers left from the most recent such event.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wednesday Night Farmers Market

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Garlic Scapes from Dyer Farm;
Early green vegetables at the market stall behind the garlic table.
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The Dyers grow dozens of varieties of garlic, and sell garlic scapes for around 2 weeks each spring.
The garlic bulbs are available later in the growing season; each variety is carefully labeled and described.
Unfortunately, at the moment I was not able to try out this delicacy -- maybe next year.
farmers-mkt 1
It's so early in the season that the market wasn't very busy last night.
I bought some potatoes and lettuce.
Quite a few mobile food trucks were also at the market, with tables available for those who wanted dinner.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Food in Aspen

food-wine 2All the most famous food TV and journalism writers and sellers of chi-chi products are in Aspen right now for the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, which starts today or tomorrow. Huge white tents full of chairs, demo booths, or tables have been under construction all week in every open, level space in town. At the foot of the Gondola, in the main parks, in front of the Art Museum, and in little spaces all over busy worker-bees are setting up things for the arrival of all the stars of the foodie world.

The nice quiet atmosphere that we enjoyed for our first two weeks here is shattered. There's no place to park. Even the bike racks are pretty full!

My Bike Friday had to be on the wrong side of the bike rack.
Though most of the bikes probably don't belong to Foodies.
We're leaving tomorrow, luckily, so we don't have to deal with the Food and Wine Classic very much. Both the admission price (e.g. hundreds of dollars just to taste a few desserts, plus registration fees) and the philosophy (sell sell sell) of the event fail to attract me; despite being very interested in food and wine, I would not want to go -- I felt the same way 2 years ago when we were here during the same event.

Tents Everywhere!

As for ourselves, we have been eating rather simple food while here, going on picnics and to the weekly Tuesday BBQ at the Physics Center, and joined the other workshop participants for a meal out once. Also, we enjoyed several restaurants in Aspen, though we have not eaten out a great deal. I've posted on one or two meals out, and here are a few photos to wrap up what we ate:

Food at the Little Nell Restaurant "Element 47"
L to R, top to bottom --Fois gras with lots of decorations;
mixed vegetable salad; salmon; ravioli with various mushrooms;
cheesecake with lots of decorations.
All the food was over-presented though not bad. Service was very disappointing.
Breakfast at a cafe near our apartment yesterday:
crowding was a result of people getting ready to set up the Food & Wine Classic!

Red Onion Restaurant for Lunch

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Maria at Red Onion
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Sandwiches at the restaurant at the top of the gondola:
Tuna melt and turkey with bacon, aioli, cheese, and more
Whole fish at the Wild Fig restaurant.
A truly delicious dish
Background: my veal dish!
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Pacifica Restaurant Lunch:
Very expensive tuna salad

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Our shared sashimi at Asie: followed by a seafood dish and moo-shu duck:
a very nice meal at a quite good Asian fusion restaurant.
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Three workshop participants at Asie for group dinner

Annette's Bakery: a good French-style macaron
She said it took her months to figure out how to make the recipe work at high altitude.
I took lots of photos in Aspen restaurants last time we were here, too. See this Flickr set.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Trail to Woody Creek Tavern

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Beside the trail snowmelt drips from the rocks

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So much to look at (but the trail on the other side drops precipitously so one tries to skip the distractions)

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Maria, my riding companion

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A lemonade stand beside the trail

Not very far past the lemonade stand is the hamlet of Woody Creek, and our goal the Woody Creek Tavern. My menu choice: house-made tortilla chips with guac and salsa followed by green chili with posole. Maria and I arrived by bike; her husband Mark and Len met us after attending a talk, and we all had a fun lunch. Maria cycled back up the trail. My bike and I came back in the car.

 Note: I posted a lot of photos of food and decor of the Woody Creek Tavern before. Here's one food photo from our visit a couple years ago (click on photo to see more on Flickr):

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In June 2011, Len had the pulled pork -- Maria had it today
ALL good!