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Category: food

Ensenada and the Golden Coast

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About an hour south of San Diego traveling by toll road lies Ensenada, the Cinderella of the Pacific. What was once a fledgling settlement for Jesuits seeking to indoctrinate the semi nomadic Yumi people has become a cosmopolitan city of a half million thriving on a mix of military spending, shipping, and tourism. 

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2015 – The State of M.A.N

2015 was a fascinating year in a multitude of ways. The most prevalent and profound themes I found were that our social networks have become too powerful to ignore, our societies aren’t as peaceful as we’d prefer to think, and human created changes to the chemistry of the ocean (very likely all coral reefs will collapse in my lifetime) and atmosphere (something I began writing about in 2013)  have let to an acceleration of the holocene mass extinction.

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On a lighter note – I would like to share a few of my key learnings and thoughts about my year. 

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Pepe In Grani @ Chi Spacca

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Franco Pepe a man who is considered to be the best producer of pizza in all of Italy was recently whisked to Los Angeles by Nancy Silverton for a series of classes and a wine dinner. Gambero Rosso, an organization that arose in the late 1980s alongside the Slow Food Movement (in protest to fast food, in this case a McDonald’s opening in Rome) has called Franco Pepe the best Italy has to offer.

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Mindy’s Not So Hot Chocolate

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Probably one of the worst meals in recent memory has to be the one I had at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. I really love Mindy’s latest book on Cookies, and I prefer her style to that of the hipster-pastry poster girl Christina Tosi.

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In her book Mindy seems to seek the best method possible for her pastry, and pay a certain homage to the techniques of the masters. She gives a lot of credit to those who’ve paved the way for the pastry renaissance in America. I was hoping to have a better experience at Hot Chocolate then I received at Dominique Ansel, which suffered from and an unkempt appearance and felt more like a Starbucks than a shop producing haute pâtisserie.

Mindy won the James Beard for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2012, yet nearly everything about this meal suggest that she’s cashed out or lost interest in her restaurant.

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Al’s Chickenette

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Al’s boasts of having the best fried chicken in Hays, Kansas. I would wager to say, they that have the best fried chicken in most of Kansas, as Kansas is not really much of a state, just one big sorghum and soy farm. Sorghum, that genus of plants from the 10,000 strong grass family (Poaceae) used to make bio-fuel, animal feed, and syrup .Als (15 of 19)

Eager to see the recent remodel, the first since their 1949 founding when the blue and pink interior protected against more soviet red colors (ironically useful in today’s post soviet aggression) we hopped off the mind numbing 70 freeway and headed down to Hays. Kansas cuisine is a reflection of it’s culture – not particularly diverse (86% Caucasian, 76% Christian, and overwhelmingly Republican) and I struggled to find something interesting to eat. The reviews on Al’s found online speak volumes. Makes one wonder why the over 6,000 ghost towns of Kansas continue to increase in number, where are the people going when the chicken is supposedly this good?   

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Szechuan Impression

s impress (1 of 13)I used to believe my stomach was cast iron; I could consume anything inside it and not really worry about it. The ever dwindling populations of Lactase enzymes, as well as Szechuan (some pronounce Sich-Chawn, which I prefer after the name of the province in Southwest China) cuisine have served as the gravity to those ill-formed ideas. I don’t care what all my Chinese friends say (you know who you are), I know you are hurting after consuming chilies like popcorn.

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some of the flatware was so elegant, yet it was simply not uniform

As Chengdu Taste was one of my great dining experiences of 2014, I was eager to try Szechuan Impression, the newcomer to the regional Chinese dining scene.  It’s amazing how much variety comes from this area, an ancient regional crossroads for Sichuan based salt merchants. There are said to be four sub-styles, the most known being Chengdu style named after the provincial capital of Sichuan province.

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Chengdu is a sub-provincial city in Sichuan Province, and is the birthplace of the first widely used paper money, as well as around 14 million people as of the 2010 census. Directly west is the Chongqing municipality, also called ‘Fog City’ due to the over 100 days of fog per year, and its status among the ten most air-polluted cities in the world. Chengdu is considered a city of leisure given its numerous tea houses, greater than 1000 year history as the starting point of the Silk Road, and the rumored ‘thousands’ of dishes.

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