Avoid Chain Restaurants, Mostly!

January 4, 2015

Our daughter is home for the holidays. I use “home” in the broadest sense, for she’s here and there, around and about in Tucson plenty.

A few nights ago there was dinner with some friends. The crew ended up at a local outpost of a popular chain. (No need to name it.) A cocktail, burger and fries came to $30.00, including tax and tip. There was also a 45 minute wait for a table!

Now, this is a beer joint and I saw the mediocre remains of the dinner, in a box in the refrigerator. Burger and fries down the disposal. Wrapper and box in the recycle can.

So I wondered, why do so many people frequent overpriced, average chain

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December 21, 2014

My Saturday night. Ms. J and I watched Elf—a very funny tearjerker, with great roles for elders Bob Newhart as Papa Elf and Ed Asner as Santa—with our daughter. We ate very fine stupid good homemade pizza. No bragging intended, but this was really, really good pizza. And the tricks?

First, I was inspired by Three Champagne Pizza Recipes at BakingSteel.com. I’m not a bubbles aficionado, whether the bubbles are in soda, beer, or wine, but my yeast likes beer and champagne. A lot. And happy yeast makes for very nice bread stuff. (I’m almost ready to simply substitute beer or sparkling wine for water in any sturdy bread dough. Not so much for brioche or anything else which is

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Holiday Hodgepodge

December 13, 2014

It’s holiday hodgepodge time! TBT, this is very much a free-association post, and for careful readers there might be brain mapping—watching my brain bounce arounds—and baking opportunities.

Let’s start with Hanukkah aka Chanukah, etc. (Joe Maller offers Sixteen Ways to Spell Hanukkah.) It starts at Sundown on Tuesday. The holiday has limited significance in the Jewish religion. It’s a historical holiday, coming after the Torah was written, and definitely matters in the USA because of Christmas.

Robert Siegel offered up a report on Hanukkah on Friday, December 12. Hanukkah’s Real (And Imagined) History features Simon Schama, author of The Story of the Jews, with important reporting on the Hanukkah story. Say it ain’t so, Simon!

The holiday season

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250 Posts for Mark Rubin Writes!

November 29, 2014

Two hundred and fifty posts! (If you count up, you’ll see more than 250 posts. Some pre-date Mark Rubin Writes, while others are non-substantive, like this one.)

I’m delighted! I hope you have enjoyed reading my writing. Honestly, almost every moment of the writing has been truly pleasurable. I’m thrilled by every comment I receive:  those which are posted here and on Facebook; and the ones I receive by email, by phone, or in person. I even get a kick out of the Google and Facebook analytics, telling me 2, 3, or 10 more people have read or liked a piece since the last time I checked.

Milestones are funny things; they have proved to me that we live

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Candy Bars

November 21, 2014

The Mesch, Clark & Rothschild booth was all set up and ready for the Tucson J’s first annual Family Wellness Expo. (An excellent event, by the way, and Tucson people should all attend next year!) I had my tip sheets for wills and other end-of-life issues. (We used the booth to talk about estate planning as part of family wellness; more on this topic soon.) Banners. Easel, with only two extra parts after set up, and it never fell down! Quiz sheets, business cards, candy bowls filled with little chocolates. Ready to go!

Five minutes before the start, along comes Dr. SWMNBN (She Who Must Not Be Named), a pediatrician, and one of my favorite people. “Mark,” she

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The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

October 26, 2014

As readers know, FOODIE fits when I think about who I am. My daily routine involves checking at least five food blogs, Facebook send me to many more food places, and food rarely leaves my mind.

Now, I think there are probably two broad types, for foodies:  those whose interests lie with cooking, and those who like to eat. Plenty of overlapping, for sure, but for me I’m in the former camp. There’s a chef in me, albeit one who doesn’t want to work as hard as chefs do, and one who gets just how difficult it is to make a decent living cooking for others.

Following food, I noted news on the grilled cheese front. And the big

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Hooky … and Meal Memories!

October 24, 2014

I’m playing hooky from a piece on Ebola in the United States. I tried for three nights, and it’s just not in me. Too many moving parts and too much evidence that we’re not all on the same time, wanting the best possible outcomes!

So for a while I’ve been thinking about a post or series of posts about my favorite things. The Sound of Music—“My Favorite Things”—is a mild impetus, but it’s a very mild one. Candy bars have come to mind—in my dreams I own a candy store in a really cool small town like Trinidad or Leadville, CO, or Missoula, MT, with a great catalogue and Internet/mail order business—and favorite foods. Instead, I’m going to describe

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Breaking the Fast!

October 4, 2014

Break Fast. Not break•fast aka brek•fǝst. No, we’re talking breaking the fast, the one where you don’t eat for roughly 24 hours, and where you’re conscious for the last roughly 18 hours or so.

For Jews fasting involves an “expression of piety for purification, atonement, or commemoration,” according to My Jewish Learning. The same site labels fasting, generally, “an ancient rite that was often used to express devoutness, induce visions, express sorrow, mourning or asceticism or as an aid in preparation for revelation of for a sacred meal.” (For more citations to source documents, take a look at Jewish Holidays:  Fasting & Fast Days at Jewish Virtual Library.)

There is definitely a universality to fasting and its lesser

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Sweet Things, and a Happy New Year

September 19, 2014

Business took me to Florence earlier in the week. No, not that Florence! I’m referring to Florence, Pinal County, Arizona. Yes, as faithful readers know, my business involved the prison. And no, there’s nothing to share about that.

What I am writing about is the apple fritter. Here’s the one I bought at Eugene & Kim’s Place.


Look for Eugene & Kim’s Place at 199 E. Butte Ave. in Florence, across the street from the county complex and the old courthouse. (I’ve included a shot of Eugene & Kim’s Place, along with a downtown Florence pic. For Murphy’s Romance fans, the streetscape may look familiar.)


I’ve eaten several donuts from Eugene & Kim’s, as I tried three

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September 13, 2014

Fifty-seven arrives for me at 10:35 p.m. on September 14. I don’t recall much anything, truth be told. But I’ve studied up.

I was born in 1957, the bulge year during the baby boom, with 4,308,000 live births. More interesting, maybe? Through 2009 the United States of America has never had more live births than it had in 1957. There’s also evidence that mid-September has the most births in a typical year, so I may have been among the biggest 24-hour cohort ever. As it happens, I don’t think I know any 9/14/1957 people. (I do share my birthday with six FB Friends, but don’t think any of them are 1957 babies. Happy Birthday to y’all!)

When I was born

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