And I'm still hungry...
And I'm still hungry...
I've gotten so many comments on our magnetic refrigerator chalkboard, that I thought I would share how to make one for yourself.
First off, I'll admit that the idea of a chalkboard on the fridge is not my creation. There are several people out there who have blogged about spray-painting the entire appliance with chalkboard paint, and there is even a company who will custom fit chalkboard panels to your refrigerator. Neither of those options was attractive to me. Spray-painting the surface directly is permanent. Plus our fridge does not have a smooth surface, so writing would be messy. The custom panels were several hundred dollars – a little more than we were willing to spend for a magnetic chalkboard.
This project is incredibly easy and inexpensive. I purchased all the supplies at www.dickblick.com, for a whopping total of $33.53, including shipping. To do it yourself, here's what you'll need:
The first thing you'll need to do is measure the surface area of your fridge that you would like to cover with the chalkboard. The magnetic sheet comes 24" wide, so you're stuck with that for one dimension. The other dimension is flexible. You'll simply order the number of feet you need, cut from that 24" roll. It's better if you have a chalkboard that's a little smaller than your fridge panel, rather than having excess to trim later.
Next you'll need chalkboard paint. It is available most places where spray paint is sold, but I just ordered it alongside my magnetic sheeting. It's available only in black or green, so consider your fridge color when choosing. In addition, the magnetic sheeting comes in both black and green, so order the matching color of that, too.
When you've got all your supplies, find a place to unroll the magnetic sheeting on a dropcloth and start spraying. I did multiple light coats, allowing them to dry in between.
After the last coat has dried, attach the chalkboard to your fridge, centered horizontally and vertically.
Using the broad side of a piece of chalk, "prime" the chalkboard with a light coating of chalk. I think this makes it easier to write on and wipe off chalk later.
Immediately wipe the entire chalkboard clean with a damp sponge.
Viola! Start writing. How about, "I will not pull Pere's pigtails in class again." One hundred times should do it.
For the past three years, the Foo(d) Bar Blog has pretty much been a solo effort. Due to a variety of factors (day job, social life, etc.), my posting has been sporadic at best. I always intended the blog to be a place where I could write about food that I was thinking about, eating at restaurants, and cooking at home. A good bit of the eating at restaurants and cooking at home is done with my wife. We both approach food from different perspectives, and I've always thought that she would have a lot to offer should she ever want to start writing about food.
So, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce all of my readers to the newest voice on the Foo(d) Bar Blog, Persephone (she goes by Pere for short). Pere's an interior designer by trade, an avid baker, and a Francophile like me (only she happens to speak fluent French). She also makes mean champagne cocktails, folds napkins with origami skills and can beat phyllo dough into submission. From time to time, you'll see Pere weighing in with her thoughts on local restaurants and hopefully posting about some of the things she's cooking and baking.
The map does a good job of showing you what's seasonably available on a State by State basis. Sadly, there's nothing listed for Arizona for June. Technically, you can grow peppers now as well as lots of different herbs. Check it out!
I'm in Seoul all week for work, and I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for restaurants worth trying out? Getting around the city isn't a problem, but I would like to find places for dinner that are within the metro area. I'm open to most any cuisine, although I'm really hoping to find a restaurant that does a good job with Korean royal court cuisine without costing a ridiculous amount of money. I'm also interested in traditional Korean restaurants that serve a wide variety of banchan (side dishes). Any suggestions are welcome!
Seeing how I only managed 17 posts to this blog in all of 2007, it seems almost silly to provide a Top 10 list of postings. I don't like resolutions, but I do like the idea of posting more in 2008. In that spirit, here's my 2nd posting of the year: The Top 10 Foo(d) Bar Blog posts of 2007, in order of page views:
|Island Roots Guam Cuisine - Tempe, Arizona||3,193|
|Din Tai Fung - Taipei, Taiwan||2,684|
|Good Morning Vietnam Pub - Chung-Li, Taiwan||1,538|
|Shu Shan Chuan - Chung-Li, Taiwan||1,370|
|Phoenix Metro Sushi Restaurants on Google Maps||1,257|
|Hennessy X.O Cognac and Business Travel||1,229|
|Italian Water Ice Finally comes to the East Valley||1,164|
|Go Mo's Owners Open New Restaurant: The Manna Cafe||1,080|
|Quick Tip - How to Blanch Almonds||1,066|
|La Vigne French Bistro & Wine Bar - Phoenix (Ahwatukee), Arizona||1,051|
What I find most interesting is that the majority of my posts in 2007 came from my business travel - particularly to Asia. In 2008, I'll probably still be doing quite a bit of business travel, but I'm also hoping to have more time to write about local (Arizona) happenings as well as my personal take on all things food.
It's that time of year again when I start dreaming of winter vegetables, soups, stews and braises. There's just something about the cold weather that screams comfort food. I look forward to lazy Sundays with braised lamb shanks slowly cooking in the oven, or a pot of beef bourguignon slowly simmering away on the stove top. Butternut squash soup with Calvados, hearty vegetable soup with turnips... I can't wait for the aromas to fill my house!
I think it's time for a dinner party or two.
Peeling a clove of garlic is a pretty simply task. However, peeling lots and lots of cloves is a bit time consuming - or so I thought.
I'm not sure how I missed this technique all these years, but it's dead simple and works surprisingly well. Simply break the cloves out of the head of garlic, put them in a bowl or other container with a lid, and give them a good shake for 5-10 seconds. Remove the lid from the bowl, and you'll find the majority of the cloves sans skins.
I picked this up from the new Food Network show Dinner Impossible. When I saw Robert Irvine do it, I initially called BS. I had never heard such a thing. A few weeks later when I was making a dish that required a bunch of garlic, I decided to give it a try. To my amazement, it actually worked. All but one clove was completely out of its skin, and that one was easily peeled because the skin had become completely loosened. You learn something new every day...
Google recently released a new feature of their popular Google Maps application called My Maps. Essentially, it's a way to create customized Google Maps without any programming. In about 10 minutes, I was able to create a map of all Sushi restaurants in the Phoenix Metro area. Check it out:
UPDATE:Sadly, Jack had to close the Good Morning Vietnam pub near the middle of 2007 as the owner of the building was selling out. It was a great place that made my Taiwan experience something I'll never forget. That said, Jack has opened a new place right down the street called The Jalapeno. It specializes in Mexican and Western food, cocktails, and beer. I'm sure the atmosphere and conversation will be just as welcoming as Good Morning Vietnam. The new address and phone number:
1F, No. 370 Min Chuan Road
Jungli City, Taoyuan
For about the past week now, I've been in Taiwan working on a project for my company. I'm staying in a city about an hour outside of Taipei called Chung-Li (Chungli, Jhong-li, Jhungli, Jungli, or Jung-Li). It's a sprawling city for sure, with a colorful assortment of shops, businesses, and places to eat. Beyond that, though, there isn't a whole lot to do.
A coworker of mine mentioned a pub a few blocks from my hotel called Good Morning Vietnam. I know what you're thinking. Why would I want to visit a pub with a western style name while I'm in Taiwan. Normally, I wouldn't have given it a try. However, given the limited selection of things to do at night, I figured why not. It turns out Good Morning Vietnam is one of the best pubs I've had the pleasure of visiting while traveling - anywhere. What makes the place so special is everyone there - from the owner Jack on down to the employees (Tulip, Ruby, Selina, and Steven). Everyone there, including the other patrons made me and my traveling companion Adam feel right at home.
You see, even though it sounds like it's a western style bar, we were the only westerners there. Everyone else there was Taiwanese, and was happy to practice their English with us and have a good time (we got to practice a little Chinese as well). Over the past week, we've ended up back at Good Morning Vietnam almost every night. We've spent hours talking with locals, playing games (pool and a form of dice - all for fun), and learning magic tricks from Jack (he knows a lot of good tricks). I've never been anywhere else before where the locals have taken such an interest in a couple of visitors. I've found the people there to be among the most friendly I've ever met while traveling.
If you're ever passing through Chung-Li, and are looking for a place to spend a few hours (or just pop in for a quick drink and pleasant conversation), definitely give Good Morning Vietnam a try.
Good Morning Vietnam Pub
2nd F No. 5 Lane
Chung-Yang West Road