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Foraging for Food in Northern California...and beyond
Sunday, 31 July 2005
I'd Gladly Pay You Tuesday...

And now once again, the Indiana Jones of food, seeking out the best and the brightest, our fearless reporter brings you his review of...
"Ikeda's Tasty Burgers - I used to work at this quite reputable burger joint in 1986 when I was a wee sixteen years old. I quit after three months because there was too much hard work (boo-hoo). But while I was working there I ate a double cheeseburger almost every shift I worked. I know..disgusting right? Wrong. These really are tasty burgers. Ikeda's prides itself on using fresh meat daily bought locally. Their real specialty however is a secret spice blend they put on their burgers. Invented by Ikeda's founder some 50 years ago it combines more that 10 spices (including cinnamon) that really sets the burger apart from other ma and pa shops. I recommend the Big Burger on a French Roll. Their menu also includes emu burgers, chicken and delicious specialty shakes. Attached to Ikeda's is a quaint little market with locally grown produce and homemade pies (for pies, call in advance during the holidays). 4 out 4 stars"

Posted by weird2/lookforfood at 8:21 PM PDT
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Sunday Pancake Blogging
Mood:  caffeinated

Just what I always wanted. Some dago in a pinky ring and blue satin shirt pawing my pancakes. "Put the pancake down Uncle Tony. Back away from the pancake." God! Who knows where those fingers have been.

My mom taught me the fine art of pancake appreciation. One day at Denny's I asked my aunt if the pancakes were rubbery. Her response was "I don't know, a pancake is a pancake." Mother and I gasped. How could two women who grew up in the same home turn out so differently? But, alas, we see this all the time in families, different political views, views on religion, and of course, pancakes.

I recently found out that the enemy of the pancake is the spoon. Do not over mix your pancake batter! This is what causes rubbery pancakes. Unfortunately this information has not been dispersed to 99% of the restaurants and cafes in Northern California. You should not need a knife to cut your pancakes. Someone please tell the cooks, get the word out. Stop the fricken OCD stirring! Leave the damn batter alone!

Anyway...In my humble opinion, a good pancake is not a crepe nor is it a lead blanket. It is not eggy, it is not rubbery, it is not too thick and dry, it is just right. It is cakey, hence the name, pan-CAKE. A pancake is only slightly sweet and not in competition with the syrup. The best restaurant pancakes that I have ever had are made in Oakland at the Merritt Restaurant. Also the home of the best fried chicken and mashed potatoes with country gravy ever made. Actually nothing on their menu is bad except maybe the spaghetti. Anyway, these are pancakes to base a childhood on. Just the right thickness, just the right sweetness, burn your mouth hot in the middle. All else pale in comparison. They are made from scratch, of course, and someone told the cook not to stir too much, because you will never find a rubber pancake here.

So, since I have moved three hours north of my beloved pancakes, I have been searching, without success, for delish belly blankets. While nothing can replace the Merritt pancakes, I have found that the Harvest Grain and Nut pancakes at IHOP are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Slightly sweet, full of chopped nuts and maybe oatmeal, these puppies are gooooood. But look out, they will hit your gut like a medicine ball. Don't plan on moving around much for about an hour after eating them, and definitely don't swim. These guys also need about 10 times more butter than regular pancakes and just try to find a waitress to get you some. Better to put some butter in your pocket before you leave home.

The other place that I have found that makes a decent pancake has a name as equally embarassing to say as "IHOP". Humpty Dumpty restaurant in Grass Valley. One pancake will do because it is as big as a dinner plate. I like these because they are crunchy on the outside. Although I never knew her, I am told that my grandma made pancakes that were crunchy on the outside, so maybe I like these for cellular sentimental reasons.

Now...about the syrups...maybe next time.

Posted by weird2/lookforfood at 2:42 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005 3:16 PM PDT
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Pizza and pancakes and ribs...oh my!
After another disappointing pizza yesterday your two faithful servants committed ourselves to seeking out and finding the best grub in Northern California and reporting on it. A tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

I'm not sure where to start so I guess we can just plunge right in. One of your ace reporters took a drive to Colfax the other day to sample the barbeque at Drooling Dog. Here's what he had to say:

"I got the pulled pork dinner. It included two sides and cornbread. I chose the baked beans and the garlic mashed potatoes with rosemary. It was pretty fricken good. The pork was done just right (needed salt - I didn't have any in the truck) it came with raspberry BBQ sauce on the side - very very good. I will try the mustard sauce next time. The sides were great too - whole chunks of roasted garlic in the mashers - ya gotta love it. They had a good set up at the restaurant as well - good outside dining area with nice tables..and a great selection of micro brews from California and also a good selection of sodas and other drinks, ie sarsaparilla, Nehi, etc.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars."

How's that for starting out on a high note? Here's their website:

Posted by weird2/lookforfood at 1:29 AM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005 12:57 PM PDT
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Saturday, 30 July 2005
Mood:  hungry

Posted by weird2/lookforfood at 10:51 PM PDT
Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005 12:18 AM PDT
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