mysticonnie's blog

Megalomania continues...
Cheese Diaries
a Conspiracy of 2
Muffin Top

Monday, August 22, 2005

For a relaxing time...

the view from my balcony

required reading:
Vanity Fair's Jennifer Aniston article and just about every trashy supermarket tabloid

on the tube:
Best in Show (seemed appropriate, given the company)

required activities:
lounging, playing with the dogs, surfing, sunset walks and swimming with dolphins

required drinks:
mariage frere's ginger green tea, flirtinis, cosmos and mimosas, of course! we switched to suntory whisky when the hour grew late

required noshing:
blueberry pecan pancakes, green eggs (sadly, no ham), bacon, tamales, peaches melba, various sauce experiments, grilled skirt steak, salmon, hot dogs, burgers, corn, asparagus...

Spent the weekend bidding one of my dearest friends, Justin, adieu, at an extended bash thrown at his beach house in Oxnard this weekend. Despite car worries and a missed bridal shower, it was of course, fabulous. I surfed, I lounged, I cooked, I went for ocean swims where playful cetaceous friends appeared. I wish it had occurred to me to take more pictures, but I was to busy having a good time. Met some interesting people - a youth TV reporter who just returned from the Middle East, a Jeopardy winner, and a plastic surgeon's personal assistant whose office was about to appear on "Dr. 90210". I also met Olive, the 4 month old French bulldog who is the newest addition to Justin and Brian's family. She is, of course, adorable, and she and Rusty are incredibly bonded. The two of them together is even cuter than anything you can imagine.

I shall miss my friend, in his sojourn to Paris, but I'm also happy for him, because I know that this is always what he's wanted to do. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit. But he'd better bring me back some cheese, dammit, when he returns at Christmas.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


I have become a dealer of sorts to my coworkers. A dealer of... Frog Hollow fruit! This week, they discovered the pluots. Today, I brought home a case of Flavor Kings to be split amongst the office. Even though I have my own stash, I'm tempted to raid theirs... the weekend is long, and they'd never know. Muaahahahahaha!

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Okay, I didn't actually take these pictures (camera is out of commission), but I did consume the same sort of weird looking creatures tonight, minus the green sauce. What the hell are they, you might wonder. Iguana feet? Cactus? A genetic experiment involving God-knows-what? The answer is... gooseneck barnacles!

I stopped by Monterey Fish for my weekly visit, when I usually pick some kind of seafood to prepare for dinner, and a light lunch of half a dozen or so oysters. At 75 cents a pop, it's quite a deal, especially compared with Zuni, Hog Island, or even Swan. You just have to shuck 'em yourself, which is quite easy, and prepare the mignonette (also fairly simple). But this time, lo and behold, nestled in the shellfish tray lay the barnacles. I vaguely remembered reading an article once that mentioned certain types of edible barnacles, but I couldn't recall exactly what it said. Since I've always regretted not taking home some whole scallops on the shell in one of my visits, I grabbed a few and find out what they tasted like. The lady next to me asked me if I knew what to do with them. "No idea. I'm going to find out." "Maybe they'll be like mirugai." I'd had mirugai (or geoduck) as sashimi and nigiri at sushi restaurants, and I recalled my mother preparing it when I was growing up. She peeled the "trunk" and chopped it into soup, or sliced it, then sauteed it. I asked the counterboy for suggestions. Unsure himself, he pointed me to a guide they kept behind the counter, a sort of seafood reference manual - Larousse Gastronomique for fishermen. "You'll have to tell me what they're like." The manual suggested steaming or boiling the crustaceans, peeling off the leathery rind and biting off the tender flesh beneath. Didn't sound too difficult. Googling "gooseneck barnacles" resulted in the same instructions.

At first, I was going to saute the barnacles with the night's moules marinieres, but I decided that I wanted to distill the flavor, so steaming seemed to be the best option. I scrubbed them under running water, and used the copper steamer Jen gave me to cook them for about 5 minutes over boiling water. I pulled out the first one and peeled the trunk with my fingers. The rind was leathery, but gave way easily. The flesh inside was about pinky size (the outside was about thumb sized) and bright orange. It had the texture of something like a cross between calamari and mussels, and it tasted like lobster - briny and delicious! Most recipes suggesting dipping the edible meat in butter, but I found it to be flavorful enough by itself. Since the juices (which will stain!) tend to squirt if you're not careful, I trimmed a little bit of the trunk end off, then cut a slit lengthwise for easier peeling. If you like shellfish, I suggest trying some of these if you ever come across them. They might be especially fun at a Halloween party!

Friday, August 12, 2005


The Death Cab album due August 30 has leaked, and I'm listening to it as I type. (Yes, I plan to purchase it when it officially comes out.) My I-Y heart swoons, despite net hipsters being all atwitter about Gibbard jumping the shark and all. Yeah, whatever. I still love you, Ben, Kaiser Permanente commercial and all. That is, as long as you promise to play here for the new tour.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Go me!

After repeated attempts, I have finally been able to kick up into adho mukha vrkasana (handstand)! Now, this is actually a supported version (i.e., a wall behind me) but still, for me, the big klutz that I am, it's a huge accomplishment! My last serious attempt at handstands was rather traumatizing... it was down in LA, and involved being told to do it unsupported, in the middle of the room, then go into inverted splits (adho mukha hanumasana?) and twist. If you didn't follow any of that, don't worry about it. Neither did I, and my pride took a severe blow. Inversions don't come naturally to me (really, do they come naturally to anyone?) but they are sort of expected of a regular yoga practitioner. I think my next step is to find an inversions workshop, stat!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Buffy's heir apparent?

Methinks there may be "high school is hell" one hour T.V. show once more - Veronica Mars. Yeah, I know it's on UPN. But so was Buffy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


I must have this! I drink only loose leaf at home, but at work, I'm usually forced to drink bagged tea. As a green tea addict, this is the equivalent smoking crack instead of snorting pure lines of Bolivian marching powder. My only questions is how easily it can be cleaned. Rest assured, I shall soon find out.


The secret (well, not so much, at least among us
locals) is out!

The food section of today's NY Times features a
half-page article about Berkeley Bowl's tomatoes.
Imagine how much more of a bitch it will be to
navigate the parking lot and the aisles now.

Digression. I'm not knocking the Bowl - it's great
and all - I just feel that Monterey Market's produce
tends to be higher quality despite lacking the
astronomical variety that the Bowl boasts since the
Market's produce buyers seem to be a little more
discerning. I can get stuff that the Bowl doesn?t
otherwise carry, believe it or not, like Frog Hollow
peaches (cheaper than the farmer's market stall!). I
was delighted to discover Mas Matsumoto?s (of Elegy
for a Peach fame) beloved Sun Crest peaches at the
Market a few weeks ago. They have a shelf life of
like, 8 hours, they?re only available for about a week
or two, they cost an arm and a leg ($3.98/lb!) but it
was nice to see that the Market was willing to carry
them. As much as I love Frog Hollow, Mr. Matsumoto?s
peaches come the closest to biting into sunshine that
you can get. Plus, the employees know their stuff.
When their strawberries were selling for 49
cents/basket I pulled a stockboy aside to ask what
varietal they were - the blue flats were Seascape, and
the yellow flats were Chandler. And no grocery store
can hold a candle to the Market's mushroom selection.

But all of this is moot, because as any true tomato
lover will attest, no designer tomato sold at any
specialty produce stand, even the farmer's market, can
rival a tomato just picked from the vine and still
warmed from the sun, grown in your own backyard.

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