Peregrine flight

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rattlesnake Paella

Renée's bounty © Robert Sommers
I am getting ready to hunker down and re-enter the bunker for the coming weeks. I have written three and a half chapters in the new course book I am writing on Adobe Photoshop CS6 and I need to finish it this month, before I leave for Spain. My normal course is to procrastinate as long as I can and then to jump in with both feet, only coming up for air to maintain necessary bodily functions and for more coffee. If all goes well I can finish this thing in two or three more hard pulls. I am using my own photography and the shot setup can be quite time consuming. If you want to learn about a subject I suggest writing a book, it is quite the motivational tool and I can attest that my own proficiency has definitely improved in some of the more esoteric areas of the program.

Anyway today is my last day of indolence before I put the pedal to the medal and git down to bidness. Going to write and maybe get a haircut.

It has of course been the political season, what I call the "ugly season." As hard as I try to remain, ahem, fair and balanced, I am afraid that I have jumped into the partisan fray with both feet as they say, and unmasked myself for the pinko that I am and remain. We can all take heart that it will soon be over and half of the country can be miserable for the next four years. The $64 trillion dollar question is. which half?

Someone actually said that they missed me talking about food of late. The reality is that my culinary conquests of late have been rather mundane and not worth much talking about. Valentino was good, I had the veal chop and the starter a board of house cured cold cuts; lamb, wild boar, iberico pork, duck and guanciale. Leslie had the raviolis stuffed with short ribs, cream and black truffles and she didn't really find it too exciting.

We had a loud and obnoxious table behind us and they couldn't move us so our peaceful and relaxing meal was more like trying to hear each other with a 747 landing. My wife didn't feel that chef Luciano Pellegrini's meal was as good as it was on our other visits. They have definitely scaled back the bread, something our server said was a cutback due to the bad economy.  They used to serve the most delicious bread and cracker assortments.

We washed down the fare with a Barolo that was on sale, last of the bin, quite yummy. I was happy, she less so. Dessert was the, oh so fashionable doughnut with a couple different sauces, no big deal.

Won't get into the Bouchon thing too much, Vegas wasn't about food damnit, it was about me losing money. Bouchon had typically good pastries. I ordered scrambled eggs with boudin and brioche and got a big stomach ache. Then again it could have been the blackjack.

Not a whole lot to report on the food front. Stopped off at Fallbrook's Magee's Tavern the other day for a barbecued chicken salad that honestly tasted like cat food, yucky and syrupy sweet. I told one of the owners and he said he would try it himself and get back to me The other owner told me yesterday that my dish hadn't been minced properly but the overly sweet sauce was what they used on their wings and "how they like it."

The problem with the dish was not the minced chicken, it was the inedible chicken but to each his own. The place being close and me not wanting to drive, I stopped there yesterday to try the stilton burger at the bar. I said no onions, twice, and got a burger and salad, of course with onions. No cebollas, man. I don't even want the knife cutting the tomato to touch the onion but just looked at the server and grimly tossed the limp bermuda on her napkin, not saying a word. Burger itself was pretty good, fries excellent.

Same thing happened at Canyon Ranch Spa, my whole wheat (yechh!) bagel and lox had the onions I specifically de-requested but they just slapped another onion cut tomato over the top when I complained. Not wanting to seem like a critical person I decided to just shut up and take out my ire on the tip.


Made my third visit to Jasmine this month on sunday. Best dim sum around. Accompanied by Tracy and Stanley, we tore through the cart laden fare like termites attacking a balsa wood airplane factory. Not pretty but very tasty.

If you are near Henry's market, the pluots they have right now are out of this world. Organic, I believe that the sticker says Purity brand. Our friend Jean has agreed to make us a pluot pie, bless her heart. Never had one before but I bet it will be out of this world.

She and Bill had us over for paella last night that was excellent and got us all primed for Spain.

They have found the asian psyllid in a couple groves in Rainbow. This bug causes the terrible condition called greening and could be the death of the local citrus industry. It has already decimated large swaths of South America and Florida. Hope we get a pass.


Renée's garden is awash in tomatoes and I got a nice bag today.

I got a call at the end of dinner from a neighbor. Big fat red rattlesnake in the approach to our driveway. Her daughter tried to do us a favor and run it over but it slithered up into the yard. Now I am not a snake guy but I especially detest buzzworms. This guy has been in and out for weeks. I have shovel and snakeshot ready but his timing has been impeccable. We have a treasured cat to worry about, Nigel and Leslie couldn't get in the front door once or twice when I was in New Mexico. I know they do a lot of positive things for the environment but if he don't vacate, it is him or me. But for now I am tip toeing daintily to and from my vehicle.

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