Friday, August 12, 2005

Someone Else is Getting Fat in Wisconsin

I'm not a big habitue of e-Gullet, but I'm killing time before a dinner engagement, and doing so, I ran across some really awful pictures (if you catch my drift). Solly's has been on my short list for a while, and with these pictures, it just moved up a notch.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Morning Toast

I went to bed last night in high anticipation of morning toast. I've been toast deprived this week, but that was not a bad thing as I had one of the few things better than morning toast: Racine Kringle. Yesterday, however, I stopped by Freddy's in Cicero. I was supposed to give Freddy's their LTHForum Great Neighborhood Restaurant award. Now, this will come to no surprise to people that truly know me, but the award got lost in my office mess. I still met DicksonD at Freddy's, enjoyed a well executed pan sausage pizza and ogled some sweatin' dry sausages. I cannot leave Freddy's without some bread. After Fox and Obel (and maybe Masi's), they bake the best bread in the area. As it was late in the day, bread selection was slim. The kidz steered me to a very conventional, highly old fashioned looking, Pullman loaf (a/k/a plain old white bread). Plain?

I think not. This bread has a fully developed, crisp-hard crust. It protects a dense, slightly damp interior with a tight crumb. Rather ideal toast bread (although rather ideal plain too). I toasted two slices. Both got Clarendon Hills butter, on got Rose Cottage Wisconsin strawberry-rhubarb jam, the other Les Confituriers de Haute Provence don't call it marmalade, clementine preserves. Clarendon Hills is to butters, what Freddy's is to Chicago breads, about the best. (As I note here, in a room filled with outstanding house-made sausages, Clarendon Hills butter stood out.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bloggin' Da Bomb

My family and I love to eat and shop along Devon Avenue on Chicago's far North side (in fact I've been doing some "research" on the fare of Good Morgen Fish for an upcoming post). Perhaps the area has special pull to me as my grandparents and great aunts and uncles all lived around there when I was in my Freudian period. Granted, I think none of them ever sampled nehari. Anyways, here's a blog focused on dining on Devon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

10th Market
Oak Park Farmer's Market 8/6/05
The One I Hate

I've said for a long time that I love the Oak Park Farmer's Market. I fetisize over local and seasonal food, and the market is the way to achieve local/seasonal. My market is especially grand because it has the ultra variety of Nicholl's market, local beef from Heartland, cool farmer's like Vicki, tons of Michigan fruit stands, speciality vinegar, macho melon men, cheese people, and the best darn farm in Illinois, Wettstein's. On top of all that, there is great donuts weekly, Hayes 18th century coffee (which I never understand) and a chance to run into bunch into all your friends and neighbors. But here's a secret. I hate the Oak Park Farmer's Market.

Well, I hate that it's on Saturday. I know, it is awfully petty of me, me who works in Oak Park to wish the market another day. I do not really seek the few squash blossoms all to myself, first choice of what the Wettstein's brought up, or the choicest apples. I just do not like the market on Saturday. See, we eat out a lot (well, we eat out a lot generally), but we eat out a lot over the weekends. The fruit can last through the week, but we cannot use as many vegetables as we can get. That's why I'd like the market to be on Tuesday, today.

Those squash blossoms on Saturday, passed them up. Same with the Turkish fire orange eggplants, the hot peppers, the heirloom tomatoes, the two kinds of cucumbers and the kind of intense, skinny celery I like to dress with anchovies. Passed it all up. What we got. All fruit. But what choices of fruit.

Summer apples: Macintoshes, state fair; plums, whose names I forgot, but the oblong deep blue Italian type and the rounder, harder large red; of course berries, black and blue; apricots, gosh darn amazing apricots. Today, I asked my wife, is there anything besides tomatoes that really, really (really) benefits from being local/seasonal, I mean not just better, but night and day better, and she said, yea, the apricots we got this week. Finally, we got big round, sweet clingstone peaches. Great, great fruit. Did I say I hated this market. Just kidding.
Harry Potter

I was a late bloomer to Harry Potter. Harry Potter Book 1 came out before my younger daughter could read (odd there was ever such a time, as now, she reads with the intensity of Evelyn Wood's valedictorian). This meant that Mom and Dad read the book a little each night, but Mom read a lot more than Dad (generally), and surely more of this book. Without reading all the pages, Dad got the basic gist of the story, which seems so quaintly straightforward now... Book 2 was read even more by Mom, and Dad learned less. Book 3 was longer and more involved, and Dad paid almost no attention. In fact, Dad did not know about the time turner until the movie. Then a funny thing happened. Dad stumbled across one of the Potter web sites like The Harry Potter Lexicon. Dad read some of the background books on his weekly visits to Borders. It was not so much Harry that lured me in, it was all the fascinating backstory, the total world, the conspiracies, the intrigue, the double agents. No one told me there was a bit of LeCarre buried in these kidz stories. I never read book 4, but learned all its secrets. Book 5, I finally tackled, in like 3 days of solid reading. And it only got better.

Something, I am not quite sure what, prompted my wife to pick up Harry Potter Book 4, the Goblet of Fire, as a book on tape. We became enchanted and addicted to long car rides. It really is a story suited for oral telling, and Jim Dale who tells the stories, just makes it even better, better. Every character gets voiced distinctly and separately (although Ginny and Luna sound a bit too much a like). On one level, Dale's got a handle on every accent in the United Kingdom (and Eire), going from London to Edinburgh in a blink, upper-crust to cockney. On another level, he's acting. You get not just words but feelings. We zoomed through the long, involved Book 4, then went straight to the even longer Book 5 (less complex than Book 4, but more meaningful). We had a bit of gap between Book 5 and the release of Book 6, but we had the pleasure of Wisconsin to hold us off. We purchased our tapes for Book 6 on the way home. Finished them this week, although to be honest, I snuck away from my family and learned all the good parts ahead. Knowing what is gonna happen, but then hear them on the tape is very helpful. You pick things up you might not ahead of time. And while I was learning my secrets, I had my doubts, but now, I am pretty convinced. Read below if you wanna know my thoughts.

Be warned, the post below contains spoilers to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Harry Potter Book 6
Do Not Read Unless You Know or Wanna Know

Spoiler's Ahead

Spoiler Space

Wanna hear what I have to say?
Wanna know if I think Snape's Bad?
Read On:

Snape TELLS Bellatrix and Narcissa he's evil and makes the vow.


He calls Voldemort the Dark Lord, well who else uses that term, and he *really* freaks out when Harry dare sez his name.

In Book 1, he supposedly saves Harry and confronts Quirrel "whose side are you on?", but if he had suspected Quirrel, why did he not turn him into DD. DD seemed unaware that one of his teachers was after the stone.

In Book 3, he is quick to get Sirius back to the Dementers

In Book 5, he lures Harry with the memory and then does not teach him. Besides *seeing* him kill Dumbledore, this is the most convincing evidence that he's bad. Why leave that memory so handy for the curious Harry unless you wanted him to see it. If learning occulmancy was SO important, why push him away?

Finally, Snapes been an all 'round awful person in all the books.


DD has said time and time again, that he trusts Snape.

DD basically never argues. Why was he arguing with Snape. Perhaps because Snape did not want to do what DD wanted, like kill him.

He fixes a potion to heal DD after DD's hand get's fried from the ring horcrux. When DD drinks the potion in the lake, he WANTS Snape (presumably for another potion).

DD gives Snape the DADA position, knowing the holder only lasts one year. Where did he think Snape was gonna go after the year's position?

Snape tipped off the Order to the attack on Harry and the kidz in Book 5 (he sez he helped "get" Sirius, but I do not think the DE wanted a fight).

The events surrounding the tower attack are quite odd. If Snape has shown his true colors, why would he not be more rampant in his attacking? Flitwick does not remark that he was attacked by Snape, so it seems true that he did not attack Flitwick. Why would he just leave Herminione and others. Why would it appear that he is not attacking Harry but still teaching him at the end.

So, my general theory (which I actually had going into Book 6): Harry is gonna have to team up with all 4 houses to defeat Voldy. That has basically been the message from the sorting hat since book 4. Essentially there will be one big coalition of gobblins, elves, the 4 houses, the 3 schools--I think there will be something to do with the uniting that will be a powerful force. Now...

...what Snape was doing at the end was not scurrying Malfoy back to the dark lord, he was taking him to the witness protection program, so to speak. The whole set up in the tower was to save/redeem/convert Malfoy. And it worked. At the end of the day, he would not kill DD (and he felt bad about getting the werewolve in). I think the 7th book will start with Malfoy in hiding at Grimauld Place. Remember, DD told Malfoy he could be hidden in death. That's where DD is, hiden. In death.