Our French Laundry Menus

Two of the menus were personalized, which was a nice touch. (Whited Out in the pictures below.) The “25” in the background of the menu commemorates Thomas Keller’s 25 year association with The French Laundry. The other shape in the background is a traditional clothes pin. We received a clothes pin as a souvenir that had “THE FRENCH LAUNDRY” logo printed on one side and “IT’S ALL ABOUT FINESSE” on the reverse.

The Vegetable-based Menu that we chose not to do:

191209 Vegetable

The menu we selected, signed by sous chef Sean O’Hara. If there was an “Option” on the menu – one of the two of us selected it so that we could try everything:

Continue reading “Our French Laundry Menus”

2019 Container Garden Recap

It never really got hot in 2019. The garden responded by not providing much.

By Year:

Year Yield, Pounds
2013 228.0
2014 269.4
2015 282.5
2016 194.3
2017 238.6
2018 195.5
2019 134.1
Average 220.4

The totals above are for 11 containers, so 20-25 pounds of produce per box is pretty normal. (“Normal” is around 30 pounds of tomatoes per box, 10 pounds of peppers, and 25 pounds of tomatillos.)

We don’t count the basil, which is good because this is the first year that it failed. As a guess it was either nematodes or something else in the soil, but the cool summer didn’t do it any favors either.

The Totals:

(Plant list here.)

Marketmore 76 Cucumber (1 box, 4 plants):  17.8 pounds

Carmen Pepper (2 boxes, 12 plants):  14.1 pounds

Jimmy Nardello Pepper (1/2 box, 3 plants):  1.0 pounds

Anaheim Pepper (1/2 box, 3 plants):  1.1 pounds

Tomatillo (1 box, 2 plants):  8.2 pounds

Sun Gold Tomato (1/2 box, 1 plant):  9.7 pounds

Old German Tomato (1/2 box, 1 plant):  0.5 pounds

Oregon Cherry Tomato (1/2 box, 1 plant):  6.9 pounds

Taxi Tomato (1/2 box, 1 plant):  23.0 pounds

Black Krim Tomato (1 box, 2 plants):  13.8 pounds

Oregon Spring Tomato (1 box, 2 plants):  18.4 pounds

Roma Tomato (1 box, 2 plants):  13.4 pounds

Tromboncino Zucchini (1 box, 2 plants):  6.0 pounds


The yield was low but the few fruits on the tomatoes were larger than usual. Just a very strange year all around.

On the bright side, the Fortex beans did great. Two boxes on one trellis produced way more than we could consume as the summer went along, so quite a bit wound up in the freezer. One of the bean boxes might be better served housing garlic or another allium.

Maybe next year we’ll grow cucumbers, determinate tomatoes like Oregon Spring and Roma, and the indeterminate Black Krim tomatoes. And lots of onions and garlic.


2018 Garden Recap (Redo)

We lost every blog post after mid-September 2017 in the move to the new host and address. Public Service Message: Back Up Your Files Frequently!

The final 2018 Garden Yields And Notes:

195.5 pounds total.  That does not include the basil, beans, or anything from the salad table. A bit of a down year probably caused at least in part by extremes in the weather.


Black Krim — 19.5 pounds

Cherry Bomb — 5.9 pounds.

Hungarian Heart — 5.1 pounds. These were mislabeled at the plant sale. They don’t really have anything going for them and we won’t do them again.

Oregon Spring — 28.4 pounds — A good indicator of just how “down” the garden was this year. Last year was 48.0 pounds.

Roma — 2 plants — 23.9 pounds — Down from 31.6 pounds last year.

Paisano — 16.8 pounds. An experiment looking for a sauce tomato other than Roma.

Taxi — 5.2 pounds.  Down from 22.7 pounds in 2016.

Continue reading “2018 Garden Recap (Redo)”

Some Bread Photos From 2017-2018

We lost every blog post after mid-September 2017 in the move to the new host and address. Public Service Message: Back Up Your Files Frequently!

Some bread pictures from 2017-2018:

A medium-or-high hydration rustic loaf. The pattern in the flour is created by proofing the bread in a banneton:

170704 boule

The file title of the photo below indicates that at least one of these two loaves used barley flour. I believe the smaller one used ~30% barley flour:

180121 barley bread

The photo below is why I don’t try to use parchment when baking No-Knead breads. The parchment didn’t allow the bread to spread out in an organic fashion. It tasted fine. But. Ugly.

bread parment sling 171230

I was pretty proud of the way these came out. They’re simple baguettes, around 60-65% hydration.

171214 bread2-2
Cell phone picture.

The pigs in a blanket experiment. It’s basically a simple pizza dough wrapped around hot dogs, sliced, then baked ~425F for 15-18 minutes.

181014 pigs in a blanket

Cheesy breadsticks. Parmesan in this case. Always a hit at beer events.

181122 cheesy breadsticks

Lastly, a potato pizza:

181210 pizza


2017 Garden Recap (Redo)

We lost every blog post after mid-September 2017 in the move to the new host and address. Public Service Message: Back Up Your Files Frequently!

The final 2017 Garden Yields And Notes:

238.6 pounds total.  That does not include the basil, beans, or anything from the salad table. 


Black Krim — 20.9 pounds — Rich, dark, earthy tasting fruit. Our favorite.

Cherokee Purple — 10.5 pounds

Continue reading “2017 Garden Recap (Redo)”

GNOIF: GNOIF’s Imaginary Menagerie


GNOIF #27 recap — GNOIF:  GNOIF’s Imaginary Menagerie (Fictional Creatures (Easter Bunny))

Games That Got Played:  The Doom That Came To Atlantic City, King Of Tokyo, Lost Woods.

Games That Didn’t Get Played:  Batt’l Kha’os, Castle Panic, Cthulu Fluxx, Exploding Kittens, Letters To Santa, Poo, Run For Your Life Candyman, Seven Dragons, Small World, Ticket To Ride Europe (with monsters), Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Ultimate Werewolf.

It was a smallish crowd and we sort of picked a few games and stuck with them all night. I was pleasantly surprised by Lost Woods:

Lost Woods is a map exploration game where lost adventurers defeat enemies with powerful weapons and magic to earn gold. Can you escape?

Players start at camp in the middle of the Lost Woods, equipped with only random household items. Each turn, players move along the map and explore new areas by laying down a card that represents a place on the map. Exploration leads to new weapons, enemies that block the way, gold, magic spells, and a sneaky gnome that steals your gold.

Enemies are fought with a simple dice mechanic. Each weapon and enemy rolls a single dice, and their power varies depending on the number of sides to the dice, from d4 to d20. Each victory is rewarded with a number of gold pieces.

(Description from BoardGameGeek) Lost Woods uses a tile placement mechanic similar to Betrayal At House On The Hill — players dynamically build the map as they explore. It’s a mechanic I really like, and it winds up looking something like this:

170415 lost woods

Each “weapon” has a unique and often silly name. I think the designers missed a “flavor” opportunity when they chose not to do the same with the enemies — the enemies have a small silly picture, but no names.

The combat mechanic is simple and straightforward in a good way:  Weapons have a strength represented by a d4, a d6, a d8, a d12, or a d20. The enemies have the same range. You roll your weapon die vs the enemy die and the higher number wins. If you win you get some gold, and you can pass on to the next area if you like. If the enemy wins you lose gold and/or weapons. It’s simple, quick, and not at all fiddly.

We also got multiple plays out of King of Tokyo and The Doom The Came To Atlantic City, each of which need a “Recommended Game” post.

Thanks to everyone who played!

GNOIF: GNOIF Has The Power

by A.J. Coltrane

GNOIF #19 Recap — GNOIF: GNOIF Has The Power (Games about power and control. Political power. Military power. Electrical-type power.) This recap is well overdue, the game night was actually on the 12th of September. Life gets in the way sometimes.

Games That Got Played:  Ascension, Avalon – Resistance, Bang!, Fluxx – Martian, Forbidden Desert

Games That Didn’t Get Played:  Agricola, Black Rock City, Carcassonne, Fjords, Forbidden Island, Pandemic, Power Grid, Rocketville, Small World, Tiny Epic Kingdoms

A medium sized-crowd decided that they wanted to play, and replay a select few games. I played the then new-to-us Ascension with four players. With just 2 people it’s fairly deterministic, and it feels like maybe it’s too easy to plan ahead. I think it’s probably a better game with 3 or 4 people. It was created by the same designers responsible for Star Realms. To my mind Star Realms works best with two players, though really I think it’s just the better game overall.

Most of the other games we played can occupy a lot of players. Fluxx, Avalon – Resistance, and Bang! will all entertain a crowd, and that’s sort of how the evening went — multiple plays of “big” games.

As always, thanks to everyone who played!

Cheap Seat Eats Turns 5

by A.J. Coltrane

Well, we know where we’re going
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re knowing
But we can’t say what we’ve seen
And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

Five years is a long time. Cheap Seat Eats is older than some of the neighborhood kids.

Even one year is a long time — my comments under the four-year anniversary post referenced Bill Cosby. Cosby was funny, but I’ll likely think twice before linking to him again.

It’s now 1,279 posts, 1,027 comments, and over 266,000 sp*m later. I touched on what I’m personally thinking about the blogging thing here, here, and here.

TL;DR:  More Food posts. Fewer Sport posts. I’ll be making an effort to write more posts about Games.

Other than that? Who knows where we’re headed?

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read posts. Extra thanks to everyone who comments. It’s nice to know the blogging isn’t happening in a vacuum.

Linda Keaton’s Scooby Snacks

In one of those whoops moments. I managed to post this before I had it finished.

Last month, the Iron Chef family lost a very dear friend, Linda Keaton. Linda was known in many circles as “The Rabbit Lady” as she volunteered at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle for many years taking care of and educating the public on rabbits. To many of the close friends in the Iron Chef Family, she equally famous for bringing an appetizer to parties which many years ago we dubbed Scooby Snacks because of their delicious and addictive qualities. It won’t be the same without Linda at our gatherings, but fortunately she did show me how to make the snacks and the tradition can be carried on. The recipe is pretty easy to make (the below recipe makes about 40 pieces) and can easily be scaled for a larger quantity.

The Software

  • 6 oz. (2 cups) shredded extra sharp cheddar
  • 2 cups green onions chopped
  • 5 tablespoons of bacon bits
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 6 oz. (1 ½ cups) shredded chicken breast, poached and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup margarine


The Recipe

Poach the chicken breast in water for about 20 minutes until done. Remove from water, let cool and while it is still slightly warm, shred into bite sized pieces.

Combine cheese, onions, bacon bits, ginger, garlic, mustard, chicken and egg in a bowl and mix until well combined. Fold in the mayo until incorporated. Refigerate until needed.
Combine flour, cottage cheese, salt and margarine in a bowl. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time to the flour mix and knead the dough until it becomes slightly sticky (you may not need all of the water). Let sit for 20 minutes. Roll out onto a floured surface into roughly a 16” by 12” rectangle (although it may be easier to divide the dough in half and roll out in 2 batches, just make sure the dough is rolled out to a uniformed thickness). Cut the dough into 2” by 2” squares. Add about a tablespoon of filling to the dough and fold over to form little mounds (they should be about that size of a half dollar coin).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.


I have tried a few variations of this recipe (that is going to be in a forthcoming post), but the two suggestions that I have are to use real bacon instead of bacon bits (you may have to add a pinch of salt depending on how salty the bacon is) and to use a mustard with a touch of heat – a spicy brown mustard, good dijon, horseradish mustard or jalapeno mustards will all work here. The recipe can easily be converted to vegetarian – just replace the bacon bits with a vegetarian alternative and the chicken with an equivalent amount of butternut squash that has been cubed into 1/2 inch pieces and roasted. The snacks can be served either hot or cold, but they are better hot.

Fouling Out in the NBA

By Blaidd Drwg

The Lakers managed to invoke a little known NBA rule last week in their game with the Cavs. They came into the game with only 8 players dressed. Two of them got injured and one fouled out, leaving them with just 5 players for the 4th quarter. With 3:32 left, that is when it got really bizarre. From ESPN.com:

Sacre committed his sixth foul with 3:32 remaining but stayed in the game because D’Antoni was out of healthy bodies. The Lakers were assessed a technical foul.

“That was just crazy,” Sacre said. “When I got my sixth foul, I was just like, ‘Oh, dang!’ Then I got to come back in, so I thought it was something special. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Each side has to have five players on the court at all times during an NBA game. With the Lakers down to five healthy players, D’Antoni was informed by the officials that he could leave Sacre on the floor and any additional foul on the center would also result in a technical.

I really wonder what would have happened if someone else got hurt. Would they just leave the lifeless body lying on the floor? In case you were wondering, the Lakers ended up winning the game by 11.