The Curious Kitchen
The delightful, delicious and amazing world of healthy,(mostly) vegetarian food.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Last night I went to try a new Thai restaurant, Thai Bu-ree, with a new friend. Both were lovely.
This little place is a fairly recent addition to our general area's restaurant scene, I believe.
It is out in the 'burbs in a strip mall at 141 and Olive.
The decor is simple but pleasant with a wonderful rich red adorning the walls and a few Thai carvings here and there. The Thai figures that greet you as you enter, immediately set the scene for a peaceful and relaxing dining experience.
The servers were polite and sweet, even. I think the prevailing thought is that the Thai culture is a culture filled with joy. It nearly always seems that the Thai people that I have met have been kind, polite and deeply joyful in a quiet way. Maybe I'm putting these characteristics on them but it is my take anyway.
The Thai spring rolls were not the best I've ever had but the green curry was really, really good. I didn't drink anything because I am still on this cleanse and don't want to drink until it is over but, like Indian restaurants, I don't think there is ever much really good wine in ethnic restaurants.
Dining out is always something that is so much more enjoyable with a pleasant companion and indeed, my companion made my dining experience all the nicer.
If you visit Thai Burree let me know what you think.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Beginning Second Week...
Coming up on the second week of my cleanse and feel great. This cleanse has been the easiest that I have ever done. Of course, it is not a heavy duty cleanse like for instance, the Arise and Shine Cleanse.
There are as many theories on cleanses as there are manufacturers, practically. Everything from regular doctors who basically think the body cleanses itself and no outside help is needed to alternative people who think you can only cleanse if you are fasting, drinking gallons of water and throwing down cups and cups of mucilagenous (sp?) liquids and ingesting cartloads of pills. Then there are all the shades of grey in between.
I urge anyone interested in a cleanse (and that should be just about everyone) to explore and examine several strategies for cleansing and make up your own mind about it. There are many books for sale and articles on the net about the subject.
I think that if you are very new to the process it is best to stick with a boxed cleansing program that is relatively easy to do. If you get discouraged with your first cleanse, you may not want to try again. By starting easy, you may get enough results such as feeling less tired, losing weight, clearer skin, less mental fogginess, that you'll go on to delve a bit more deeply into cleansing...thus obtaining even better results and a deeper level of health.
Happy trails on the cleansing road.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
What's A Cleanse?
When I tell people that I am doing a cleanse the first thing they ask me is, "what's a cleanse?" Well, a cleanse is, in it's simplest terms, a way to clean the accumulated debris out of your body.
There are probably dozens of different products on the market, easily attainable from any good natural foods store. I try to do a cleanse a couple of times a year but a minimum of once a year. So, why should people do a cleanse? Unless you eat a diet as clean as a new penny, you accumulate toxic, lets say...material...in your body. It is in your colon, your liver and many other parts of your body. It causes your body's systems to operate not as efficiently as they might were they clear of this debris.
The one I'm doing is made by Enzymatic Therapy and it is called Whole Body Cleanse. If you visit their site and select the word 'cleanse', you'll find it. It is done for two weeks and involves changing your diet a bit (or a lot, depending on what you eat), and taking a series of specially designed supplements.
During a cleanse you may feel sick. You may get a headache. You may be very tired. As the toxic material is dumped back into your bloodstream, it can feel kinda awful sometimes. When you are done, however, you feel lighter, cleaner, your thinking is clearer and you just generally have more energy that you thought you could have.
It is well worth the small inconveniences I have to go through to get to the end result. Give it a try and see how you feel.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The other evening, I met a group of interesting women at a restaurant at Mckelvey and Dorsett called Priyaa. Now I thought I had been to all the good Indian eateries in the St. Louis area but was I mistaken!!
There are many different dishes are on their menu and I chose the Dosa, at least I think that was it's name but since I didn't bring home a menu maybe it is spelled slightly differently. It is huge and came hanging over the plate by several inches on either side. It is a crispy sort of a crepe/wrap filled with veggies and wonderful flavors. It was served with a dal or lentil soup that was also full of flavor.
The other gals at the table ordered up all kinds of other dishes...some not vegetarian so I admit I didn't pay much attention to what they ate. However, another vegetarian woman was sitting on my left and she ordered some kind of veggie curry that I tasted. So good!
The galub jamun which are rosewater balls, I know, sounds crazy, tastes wonderfully exotic, were some of the best I've tried...kind of cakey and mildly sweet soaked in a rosewater scented honey.
Even the wine, which it seems can never be counted on at an Indian Restaurant, was basic and good and cheap. I think it was Robert Mondavi and was only 3 bucks a glass!
The menu is so extensive that I am not going to bother even listing anything. Just go. There are many options for vegetarians, which always excites me and of course, all kinds of deceased animals for those of you who dig that sort of thing.
I don't live anywhere near where Priyaa is but I will be dining there again, I'm sure because the whole experience was good. The service was very nice and efficient, the people were sweet and the food was just great.
So just go...you can get out the 'burbs once in a while, huh? Especially for food this good!
Thursday, January 19, 2006
So...I just posted a 500 word piece and lost it when I was trying to add a link so I am too damn mad now to do any more. C R A P. I wish I knew how to retrieve mistakes like that.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Soon Chocolate Will Be Purchased In Huge Quantities
Why? Well, because it'll be Valentines Day and maybe people purchase it for the men or women in their lives cause they think it'll get them in the mood for love. Probably will with all those antioxidants and caffeine-like constituents. But whatever, I say buy it for not only your lover but for yourself...just don't eat carloads of it.
Savoring a small piece of high quality, wonderful dark chocolate questions the need for a lover anyway. It is stunningly satisfying. Am I giving away my single status? Oh well.
What chocolate do I love? I love Green & Black's Organic Dark with 70% cocoa solids...so rich and sumptuous. I also appreciate our local Bissinger's. They have stepped up to the chocolate plate with excellent dark chocolate.
I love the Chocolove bars for the packaging if nothing else. However, it is pretty darn good, too.
You may be familiar with all the commercial ones like Godiva and Hersheys, as well as all the other "gourmet" varieties. I'm not sold on Godiva even though it empties out your wallet. Sometimes, really, expensive doesn't mean excellent. That's what I've found, anyway.
Check out Wild Oats, Whole Foods or Straubs to drool over the fine chocolates they have. Buying one for someone or for yourself can be such a treat and eating it in small, delicious bits makes it pretty affordable.
Go on. Eat some chocolate. It'll make you smile...maybe.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Please give my other blog, Curious Vagabond, a look see. I just posted about my Roswell adventure of a few months ago.
Now for Saturday. I drift off to sleep on Friday nights usually with thoughts of Northwest coffee and a tasty croissant jumping through my mind. It is something I have done now for well over a year and I still have not tired of it. Am I in a rut?
I love the smell and taste of the coffee, the flakiness and mild sweetness of the croissant, my relative anonymity to sit and do what I want, the Saturday paper, the bustling groups that come and go in waves and then my shopping trip to my favorite thrift store to ferret out the bargains. I'm humming and smiling now just thinking about it. It just all delights me...what can I say, I'm easy.
What do you do on Saturday morning?
I have a couple of things to tell you about but am so rushed this morning that I am gonna stick with the Diet Plate.
The diet plate is a fascinating way to watch the portion sizes of the foods you take in. Most folks just are not aware of how much actual quantity of food they are eating. Most of us eat way too much...even if we are eating healthy.
Eating too much of anything is not good, no matter how healthy you feel that it is.
Watching the size of your portions and stopping while still a little hungry is something that takes only a little training to get used to. Stuffing yourself to discomfort is no great shakes...anyone can do it if there is enough food around.
This diet plate system is so cool. There is a plate for men and women, slightly different, a bowl and a children's bowl, too. It's never too early to help kids avoid the obesity that is becoming all too prevalent in American kids.
The dishes are made of fine china and were invented by a woman in England and they are nicely designed. They show you just how much you should put on your plate of each type of food...grain, veggie, etc. It is almost like a little game and it is fun to become aware of just how much more than an actual portion I wanted. The more often I use it, the smaller portions I actually eat.
Pretty cool! Visit their website and tell me what you think.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Who Wouldn't Want To Spend Eternity Here?
I had lunch at Eternity Deli yesterday in the Central West End. This subterranean eatery made me wish that I lived in the neighborhood.
I just want to give you a little tickle and I'll write more later cause I am going back for a taste tour tomorrow. What I can say for today is this:
Go there! Go there! Go there! If you love food that is healthy and vegetarian and prepared with care and love...go there!
Monday, January 09, 2006
It is very early in the morning and I can't remember if it is Cafe Brasil or Cafe Brazil...whichever one it is, it's a bustling place.
The cafe started as a tiny place at the corner of Manchester and McKnight and within a year or so expanded into the next building to become a much larger place and at least when I was there, they seemed to have no trouble packing the space with happy diners.
I had visited a couple of times when it was housed in it's tiny storefront. I liked the food at the time and remember that there were a fair amount of healthy items that I enjoyed eating...like some kind of wonderful greens dish and a corn something or other.
Like many new places I visit, I go a couple of times then forget about it. That's what happened here.
Well, last Saturday night, I went into the expanded Cafe Bra(s/z)il and found a warm, busy room fairly bursting with diners and lots of efficient service and heady aromas wafting about.
I tasted several vegetarian dishes that were really delicious. The greens are still on the menu and still good but could use less salt for my taste. Beans were yummy and I had a taste of some kind of a fish soup that was wonderful.
The wine chosen was a silky black magic... just delicious. I apologize that I don't remember the name but it was a red wine of about 28 bucks a bottle and it was from Portugal. It was amazingly drinkable and went down well with all the strong, interesting flavors of the food. Later, the owner brought a few samples of some of his organic wines, which I was so glad to see him carrying, and they were good but somewhat wasted on me, being already pretty wine-soaked. Too much of a good thing, in fact. Two glasses are really too much for me. I was walking, though, so no driving issues here.
Any vegetarian or health-conscious person will be well fed at this place. It so much feels like a neighborhood place, too. It just has that warm, friendly and "real" feeling of a group of real people who are serving real food and really care about what they serve and how they serve it.
I enjoyed myself immensely.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Wine, wine, wine...
Went out to Cafe Brasil...really wonderful with a great wine selection...However, I inadvertently drank too much of the red stuff and cannot tell you of the charms of Cafe Brasil at this point. When I am recovered, I shall...
Check in with me later.
I met with a group of folks this evening at The Hacienda, a restaurant that's been open on Manchester road probably since the seventies.
I honestly was not that excited to meet there because I did not like the food the last time I ate there. Admittedly, it was probably ten years ago so I guess it was time to give it another try.
The company was fine...it was great meeting some new folks. The food that I had was OK.
I guess having spent time in Tucson, AZ recently, I was not prepared for the relative blandness of some of the "Mexican" food here in my town. The chips and salsa were brought out and I almost thought I was dipping into tomato sauce. I guess that some like it hot and I am one of those who do.
I got off very inexpensively, I'm happy to report, because I did not choose an entree but went with sides. I ordered some plain corn tortillas, roasted corn with herbs and spices and pico de gallo, the raw relish that is ubiquitous in Mexican restaurants. I actually enjoyed the corn tortillas with my sides but I could not say it was really the kind of Mexican I like. No one at the table was moaning with delight so what the heck does that say? If the food is really good, you'll hear moans.
What I can say is that the service was good despite the enormous crowd. This restaurant has consistently large crowds with parking spots being almost impossible to find on summer nights. As I drive by some evenings I think that a traffic cop would be helpful.
A friend of mine ate there a couple of weeks ago and highly recommended the margarita. I thought it passable. He also wolfed down a spinach enchilada. I did not try it so I can't comment.
I don't know...for me the restaurant is just too busy. The food is OK, not excellent and the service pretty good.
You might want to dismiss anything I am saying and pay attention to the huge crowds that frequent the place, however. I have always heard that to choose a good place to eat, you just search out the crowds. In my experience, that has been more often untrue than true. I usually think, I'm sorry to say, that the "crowds" are satisfied with less quality than I want so I cannot use that criteria to choose a place to dine.
Would I go to the Hacienda again? If there was a meeting or someone really pushed it, possibly. I would not choose it myself. It's not horrible...it's just not for me.
Hey, try it yourself and let me know what you think...if you haven't already, that is. As I said, the place has been around for eons. Oh, one thing I did think stood up well...the chips served with the tomato-sauce salsa were light, crispy, thin and not too salty. So, there's my take. But that's just me.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Early Spring Cleaning
In the next week to ten days, I will be doing a cleanse. What's a cleanse, you might wonder?
In the course of living our lives, toxins build up in our bodies from several sources...the food we eat which may contain pesticides, artificial ingredients and a bunch of other junk, the air we breathe which is polluted with seen and unseen particles that sneak into our lungs carrying all kinds of bad crap and additionally the stresses, both emotional and mental, that accost us daily.
These toxins can be dealt with pretty well by these miraculous body- machines that we've been given. However, the more we take in toxins and the more they build up, the less able our bodies are to get rid of them; leading to tiredness, frequent colds, lethargy, fatigue, poor digestion and a host of other even nastier ailments.
Cleansing is using herbs, fiber products and various cleansing ingredients to assist our bodies in effectively dealing with and getting rid of the built-up junk.
There are many products on the market, some taking several weeks and drastic changes in your diet as well as lots of ch-ching from your coin purse. There are also shorter term, fewer dietary changes (depending on how much junk you regularly suck down) and considerably less expensive cleansing programs.
Just about any natural foods store worth it's sea salt can set you up with one.
Mine is going to be a medium duty one lasting about 2 weeks. During that time I will be giving up a few of my favorite items...boo hoo...I'll be giving up wine, green tea, coffee and my beloved whole wheat bread...Oh, God, can I make it? Oh, yeah, I probably can. I'm sure the discipline alone will be good for me.
So, lets get together and tip a few before I start this cleanse. You bring the tea, coffee and bread and I'll do the wine.
Here's a toast to a good total body cleanse a couple of times a year! A sante!
Great Tasting Oven Fries
Oven fries are potatoes that are cut somewhat thickly, tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and perhaps some additional herbs or spices (like a little garlic powder or a bit of cayenne, for some heat) then the slices are spread on a cookie sheet and baked for about 20 minutes at about 400 degrees.
I love them and they have that same kind of junky satisfaction that french fries do...but they are not fried they are "oven-fried"
Try and enjoy! Remember to purchase organic potatoes and great olive oil.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Good things come in small packages
Not too long ago, I received a few spice packets that impressed me with their beautiful design, their ease of use and their price. The spices come in several different configurations.
You know those times when you've found that great recipe in a magazine that you'd love to try but you don't want to buy all the different kinds of spices that are called for in the big jars...the kinds that every supermarket has on their shelves? Maybe you don't even want to take time to choose several different little bags in bulk at your favorite store. I know that I've had that experience many times. I want to do the recipe but don't want to buy bottles and bottles of spices or have little bags littering up my spice shelves until I know if I'll like the recipe.
I don't do it as often these days 'cause at this stage in life, I've pretty much tried all the spices I can get my hands on.
This is where Pinch Plus comes in. Pinch Plus is a company that makes spices done up in either one-tablespoon packages, looking a bit like an individual tea packet, as well as these darn cool little spice "booklets." Each booklet combines three packets of herbs and spices and a few recipes from various culinary traditions.
There are collections like a Pinch of France, a Pinch of India and a Pinch of Thailand. These are great fun and are wonderful for someone as a little gift to get them inspired to try an Indian-style meal, for example 'cause they include recipes, as well.
Just a pinch to try and then, perhaps, go to Penzeys in Maplewood and get an ounce, then go to The Natural Way, Whole Foods or Wild Oats and purchase in bulk...that's a good progression...try it in a tiny, pretty package, buy an ounce then stock up in bulk...as you learn your own favorites.
After you know which spices you'll actually use you can purchase beautiful bottles of your own choice and keep them filled from the bulk bins. Bulk is good cause you've cut out the packaging. It's not good, however, if you just buy bags full and don't really know what you'll use. Pinch Plus makes that discovery fun.
These herbs and spices are so attractively packaged that they really can even be given as gifts. Where to get them in our fair town? Sorry, can't help you there, haven't seen them. Wish some store would pick them up. They may actually be available but I just haven't actually seen them with my own eyes. However, you can call Carol Pickering at 866 PINCH PLUS or visit their website and I bet they would be most delighted to send them to you.
Let me know if you give them a try. Whether you do or not, however, buy some herbs and spices and do just the briefest amount of reading and start a cooking adventure of your own. Purchase judiciously in very small amounts at first. Then you'll know what you like and what you'll use.
Most of all...have fun and eat healthy.
Whole Grains Council
There is such a wonderful website that I wanted to make you aware of. It is the Whole Grains Council.
This organization is committed to encouraging all kinds of food manufacturers to use more and more whole grain. There is a list of companies who use whole grains and lots of other information regarding the use of whole grains.
What many do not realize is that the more one uses whole grains in one's diet, the less one has to think about becoming overweight. That is a bit of a simplistic statement. It takes portion control, using whole foods including whole grains and getting sufficient exercise to stay at a weight that feels comfortable and does not lead to all the problems that obesity can cause.
My favorite, favorite, favorite cracker is made by a company called Dr. Kracker. It is just the best, most delicious cracker ever! I get it either at the Natural Way or at Whole Foods.
My dinner this fine evening consisted of a piece of goat cheese the size of a butane lighter (somehow, that image cracks me up), a seeded Dr Kracker cracker, 6-8 celery sticks and 2 small oven-fried potatoes and was just what the doctor ordered. So yummy! So satisfying!
Eating more naturally can just feel good. It feels like I am taking care of my body instead of eating junk that tears my body down. That feels great. What I do work on constantly is portion size.
Our society fairly yells, "EAT! and by God when you eat, eat big." It is just the biggest crock of crap that has ever been perpetrated. When a society is prosperous and food is abundant, portion sizes become enormous. Satisfaction with our meals is not increased by the amount of food you eat but the quality of the food.
Practice staying a little hungry. Let yourself feel what it feels like to be slightly hungry...just slightly.
As you practice thinking differently about food, remember to eat healthy, high quality food and have fun doing it.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Belas Artes and Northwest Coffee
New Years Eve morning began as a pleasant diversion as I met with a couple of friends at Belas Artes Coffee Shop for coffee and pastries. The coffee is a perfect Kaldis blend and the pastries are from Companion.
This was a lovely way to spend a New Year's Eve morning and took me away from my usual favorite Saturday morning haunt… Northwest Coffee in Clayton which I am totally in love with...great coffee and pastries from Mullein Creek Bakery. Yum!
I fell in love with Belas Artes, as well, which occupies the long ago and fondly remembered Pandora's Bakery space. You are gonna love the richness of the appointments (check out the cool bathroom) and you'll love the owner, Cileia Miranda-Yuen's thinking.… here's a sentence from her website:
"An urban oasis where you will experience world cultures through coffee, food, music, and various arts."
The owner wants to bring together people of all types in peace, harmony and acceptance. What a cool person and a very cool place.
The Asian-inspired area could be my favorite place to sit...or is it the comfy, red couch and chairs surrounding an artistically pleasing fireplace of sorts...Oh, I don't know. It's all good, as they say. Wi-fi for your surfing pleasure too!
Monday, January 02, 2006
Food and love
"There is no love sincerer than the love of food"
I don't know if I agree completely with this but it comes pretty darn close to the truth. Just think...there is nothing more intimate an act than eating.
What goes into your mouth is what makes your cells, at least in part. I suppose there are other factors that build your cells, too...fresh air, low stress, healthy exercise. But food, food goes right inside and becomes you.
Make sure you love what you eat and eat what you love and make it healthy.
The Curious Kitchen finally launches blog
Today I begin the journey of my first blog.
I want to let folks know about the food, restaurants, new food products, markets, grocers and the world of foods that I love. I may talk about food from all over this great planet but I want to focus specifically on items obtainable in St. Louis...either from a walk-in store or via the internet.
So here comes a curious world of food from The Curious Kitchen.