They’re Here!!!

July 26, 2014

We had a big deal in my home town, Tucson Arizona. (I was away in Flagstaff for continuing education.) On Thursday Chris Bianco’s Pizzeria Bianco opened its doors. (More tomorrow, but this is a much bigger deal than you might think, even for a city of one million people.) And on Friday morning, July 25, 2014, the Modern Streetcar started regular runs. Here’s a bit of background on the streetcar, courtesy of Arizona Public Media, our local PBS/NPR affiliate and a great organization.

Now, it’s no accident that a nationally acclaimed the best pizzaiolo in the country has extended himself beyond Phoenix by opening up in downtown Tucson. We can thank the Modern Streetcar for that! Sole cause?

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Mad-City, with Food Pics!!!

July 9, 2014

Ms. J and I were in Madison, WI over the Independence Day weekend to visit our daughter. She’s spending the summer working in Mad-City, and clearly enjoying herself immensely.

Madison is the Wisconsin state capital. It’s also the home of the University of Wisconsin’s main campus, and Wisconsin’s second largest city.

We had a wonderful time. We stayed about three blocks from the state capitol building. Here are pictures.










The rotunda

The rotunda

One cool building! (It’s also the host for Dane County Farmers’ Market, the largest producer-only farmer’s market in the nation.)

We ate very, very well at Graze and Restaurant Muramoto, thought The Old Fashioned was OK, and had a nice breakfast at Marigold

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“Not” Hobby Lobby!!!

July 1, 2014

I almost wrote a disquisition on Stern v. Marshall, No. 10-179, a big-deal bankruptcy case that involved Anna Nicole Smith and the estate of her deceased husband, a partner of the Koch brothers’ father. Not being super-sharp on the issue, I thought instead that I’d write about the Highway Trust Fund. (You’ll be hearing about the issue over the next 30 days, for sure.) Or about the alleged, “it’s coming,” John Boehner suit against President Barack Obama.

I suspect you’ve figured this one out by now:  I was simply looking for anything, anything lighter and easier to get through than what the U.S. Supreme Court has visited on us in the last several days. Alas, I struggled. Then

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Juxtaposition: Gluten-free and the Craft Baking Renaissance

June 15, 2014

Gluten-free. Gluten intolerant. Anti-gluten. Gluten-curious. Gluten intolerance is a sham.

Everywhere we turn, we hear about gluten. Celiac disease, or celiac sprue, may affect between 1 in 105 to 1 in 1750 Americans. That’s a big spread, and translates to between 180,000 and 3,000,000 people.

Celiac sprue is a recognized disease. Gluten intolerance, on the other hand, provokes debate. Here’s some information from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and a piece in Forbes, written by Steven Ross Pomeroy and published on from May 15, 2014, titled Gluten Intolerance May Not Exist.

The spread of the gluten free movement does not surprise me. Food movements spread quickly. Remember fat-free? I’d like 20 cents now for every box of SnackWell’s

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In a Rut! Food Edition

June 10, 2014

Do you get in a rut when the issue is dining out? Find yourself going to the same two or three places? (Maybe two or three options represents wide variability for you?)

I have struggled with this issue—well, “struggled” surely overstates the matter, for this is definitely a First World problem, and a First Worlder for “upper–middles” and above—and have no solutions. I have thought about an old-fashioned app, a piece of paper for my car with a list of options in different parts of town, but I have been thinking about that list for two decades and it remains non-existent.

Alas, several weeks ago Tucson Weekly published its 100 Essential Dishes list. It was a fun read, and I

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The Trip: Food

June 1, 2014

Here’s a not totally thorough review of our consumption during our DC/NYC trip. Enjoy; we certainly did!!!

Best bagel?  Well, why don’t we piss off a bunch of people early? (Nothing like a good fight about whose bagels are best!) Cate and I were big, big fans of Black Seed Bagels. Nothing else really compared. By the way, the Mile End delicatessen people own Black Seed. They focus on Montreal-style deli. We skipped deli—I love salted meats, but they hate me—but, for a future trip, there will be a stop at Mile End.

Sorry about the lack of bagel pics. The best I can do? Share with you my photos of the Super Heebster from Russ & Daughters.

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Mark’s Excellent Saturday Evening!

May 17, 2014

I know a Saturday that is excellent must include two or more names for any excellent experience requires at least two people. Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) had an excellent adventure! (They also had a bogus journey, and are working on something else that has not yet jelled.) Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) had several adventures together, all of which seemed excellent for them. (Maybe not so much for viewers.) Skipping at least a couple of generations, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour—yes, that’s three people, but in those days there had to be a girl—did well with seven “on the road” movies.

So this post is about solo time. Ms. J is away at

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Russ & Daughters

April 19, 2014

Pesach cruises along, about half done. Now, usually, I get focused on the bread. That’s mostly the point, for we don’t eat leavened products for eight days to remember our people leaving Egypt in a rush. (As an aside, and as a reminder that the bible and history often don’t co-exist perfectly—highlighting, perhaps the inherent conflicts between fiction and non-fiction—here’s a piece by Smarya Rosenberg, Passover:  The Real Meaning of Matzah, from

Alas, my focus on bread does not relate to the affliction imposed on my people; instead, it’s the affliction I’m feeling, missing a favored part of my diet and a treasured hobby. Now, I’ve shared a decent amount about my bread world. The reviews are

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Pesach and Pizza

April 13, 2014

Pesach aka Passover commemorates the Jewish departure from Egypt. The celebration lasts seven or eight days, and Is Passover 7 or 8 Days? does some explaining about the 7 v. 8 issue. Regardless, we don’t eat leavened products, or those food products that can rise, during this period. (Rabbi Thomas and Marcia Louchheim explain how the Ashkenazi, Sfardim, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox parts of our people deal with these issues at Legumes and Rice on Passover.)

Anyway, so I spent today doing Pesach baking for the Seder we’re attending on Tuesday, and pizza to get the bread out of my system before I take a week off (from bread.) Seder means order, and for the non-Jews who follow me,

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Basic/East Village San Diego’s Pizza Choice

April 11, 2014

A week ago I was in San Diego aka Heaven on Earth! Last Friday I reported on an excellent dinner at Monello. I did not, however, share the fact that we had weekend guests who arrived, young and hungry, at about 10 p.m. And what do hosts do for young and hungry guests who arrive at 10 p.m. on a Friday night? Feed them!

DSCN0554 DSCN0555

We walked over to Basic, located in the East Village across the street, almost, from Petco Park’s right field fence. I found Basic years ago, and rarely do I present myself in San Diego without dropping by. (Pictures taken earlier in the week. It’s not sunny at 10:30 p.m., even in San Diego.)


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