I enjoy this video clip for a number of reasons- first, because I love gardening, of course… Ron Finley makes some wonderful statistics-backed points about what can be done with vacant and underutilized land to help fight the food desert phenomenon. I won’t spoil the video for you, but he speaks about the prevalence of vacant lots and even how yards can be utilized for greater benefit. Ron, however, had a similar problem as others have had when attempting to garden outside of the (planter) box. Now, I semi-understand why there is the push to keep grassy, standardized lawns so that properties look pleasant, but I find it much easier to sympathize with the gardeners when the clearly conspicuous gardens are 1) more useful for food purposes and 2) well-kept. All of the examples I have ever seen in the news for similar reasons have been gardens that were well cared for. Just imagine how much food we could produce if lawns in the cities were converted. Regardless of climate, quite a bit more food could be locally (and cheaply!) produced via fruit trees and plants and other vegetable plants. I try to garden with a little extra space and in a few extra pots, but ideally, I would like a larger garden. This is not to say that urban gardening is not without a few concerns, such as the quality of the soil. However, the larger point in this whole narrative is that if each of us was able to plant even a bit more food locally, it could have quite a few positive ripple effects. “Plant some sh!t!”
Sadness. It’s not an April fool- Pop Deluxe (a favorite store of mine on State Street in Madison, and in the links below at the right) is closing its retail location. Pop Deluxe, if you haven’t heard of it, is a wonderfully quirky, unique, and whimsical store that had an ever-changing array of miscellany… Now, the news isn’t all bad, since the website will still be up. Whether it was snazzy kitchen gadgets or tastily diverse cookbooks or serene plant accessories, they always had something fun. Future State Street trips won’t be the same…
Now, where else can I get my art-o-mat fix…?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! Whether you are Irish or not or Irish by affiliation (mine is through my wife’s side of the family), be sure to celebrate with good food and beverage. Learn the history of the day, get some ideas for green food, make green eggs and ham with Chef Fabio, or make a classic, like corned beef and cabbage with your slow cooker. Or have corned beef and cabbage made with Guinness® with a glass of Guinness® and enjoy the river dyed green!
I bid farewell to my blog’s old theme- I figured it was time to change since the theme would no longer get updates. The new version still feels like a fit. Here’s to spring!
As part of our trip to Key West, Florida, we wanted to visit as many local restaurants as we could. One of our stops brought us to El Meson de Pepe. We wanted to try a little of everything, so we opted to split a #80- a plate that had three different dishes: Lechon Asado (pork), Ropa Vieja (shredded beef), and Picadillo Habanero (ground beef). I tried a bowl of the black bean soup, and our meal came with both sweet plantains and the yucca. We also split a piece of their Key Lime Pie (Torta de Limon). We are also fans of Tres Leches cake, but could not pass up Key Lime in Key West.
I had not had Cuban food before (just hadn’t had the opportunity yet). My wife had Cuban food previously, and she felt the flavors and tone of the restaurant were consistent with her previous experience. They had musicians playing outside, and had set up heat in the covered outdoor dining area since it was a little cooler that night (though still plenty warm, as back in Wisconsin it was nearly below zero!) Overall, it was relaxing, yet invigorating atmosphere.
The food was delivered super-quickly. My black bean soup was quite delicious, and a great way to start off the meal. My wife is not much of a fan of pork, so I had that dish to myself, and it was excellent. The shredded beef was just as tasty. I was the most excited to try the ground beef dish due to the combination of “tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, cumin, bay leaves, oregano, olives, capers, and raisins”. I was perhaps a little surprised that the flavors on the dish weren’t a little stronger given the ingredients, but it was tasty nonetheless. We both loved the plantains, and I had never had yucca before, but it was also good- a unique flavor. The Key Lime Pie was a refreshing way to end our meal, as well. All considered, we would certainly go back, and recommend that you do too, if near Key West.
What better on Valentine’s Day Eve (or national ‘Eat Italian Food Day‘) than to look to a classic Chow Ciao! for some last minute recipe ideas: Drunken Spaghetti! In keeping with the red wine theme, Chef Fabio also offers a recipe for Red Wine Risotto via his website. In either case, you have an excellent meal idea for Valentine’s Day.