You've seen it a hundred times before: a handwritten sign taped to the stall door, reading, "Please do not flush tampons or sanitary napkins." In fact, you've probably seen it so many times that you don't even think about it anymore, except maybe to wish you didn't have to be reminded about sanitary napkins in the middle of your dinner. Eeeeewww, right? But I recently saw a sign that went a little further. It asked patrons not to flush tampons but then explained that it costs a lot of money to have plumbers come out all the time to unclog the toilets. It suddenly occurred to me that I had to call plumbers out to my house twice in the first two years I owned it—before instituting my own no-flush rule. The first episode cost me $250 (it was a holiday weekend); the bill was $125 the second and final time. Imagine how many times your toilet gets flushed compared with the toilet at a busy restaurant. There's a big difference. I talked to Curt at TLC Plumbing who confirmed that tampons are the cause of 80 percent of toilet clogs. He also said that the busiest restaurants sometimes call for help every month or so. Brutal! Look, it's yucky and I hate to have to say this, but wrap 'em up and throw 'em in the trash can, ladies. Your 30 seconds of convenience could cost your favorite restaurant hundreds of dollars.
What do you know, we've got an Afghan market! Nabi Yari, an Afghan native who moved here from California, opened Marco Polo Market last Wednesday at 607 San Mateo NE (255-1325). The market is just a few doors down from the Mediterranean Café, the new but misleadingly named Moroccan restaurant. Most interestingly, the market includes a small bakery where they make traditional Afghan bread, a puffy flatbread (no, puffy and flat are not mutually exclusive) about 33 inches long and 13 inches wide. What do you do with a big, long, flat bread? Well, you put stuff on it. What kind of stuff? Stuff you find at the Afghan market, duh. Marco Polo stocks Afghan and Iranian spices, rice, juices, yogurt drinks and cheeses. It's open from 9:30 a.m. until about 6:30 p.m. every day.
As we checked out of our Socorro motel at 6:00 a.m.—so that we could catch the sunrise at Bosque del Apache—I asked the desk clerk if there was a spot to pick up some breakfast and a good cup of coffee on our way. She gave me a wide-eyed look and said, "I wish!" Surely the local hotel clerk who has lived here all her life must be mistaken. Our East Coast tourist mentality made us sure that we would find an adorable little café or something along the way. Or there would be a nice little cafeteria there. Open at 6:00 a.m. With fresh coffee. And yummy homemade baked goods.
On Sept. 29, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that would ban the production and sale of foie gras in California as of 2012. The bill provides seven and a half years for California's only producer, Guillermo Gonzales of Sonoma Foie Gras, to come up with an alternative method for fattening the livers of his ducks. At issue is the practice of force-feeding ducks (and geese, which Gonzales does not raise) to produce the enlarged, fatty livers that have been prized by gourmets for centuries. But the spotlight shining on foie gras should also be illuminating the larger issue of how we think about the food we eat and how we believe animals should be treated.