Alibi V.13 No.12 • March 18-24, 2004 

Gastrological Forecast

Isn't it about time Starbucks gave you something back? How about some valuable compost, for free? Yeah, you guessed it, Starbucks, Satellite and most other coffee houses are easily persuaded to save their used coffee grounds for you. Sure, you should already be saving your own grounds but coffee houses produce enough to give your compost heap a real kick start. Call or stop in to your favorite java joint in the morning and ask if they'll save that day's grounds for you. Keep in mind that you'll probably have the best luck at the bean juice bar you frequent most. They may ask you to bring in a clean bucket or they may package the goods up in a plastic bag. You'd be surprised how much can accumulate in a day. Is it too soon to be thinking about compost? Naw. We've got about a month to go before the average last frost but with some days as warm as they've been it's not definitely not unreasonable to start working on your soil. This is the perfect time to buy a new composter or stake out a corner of the yard for a heap. Coffee grounds are high in valuable nitrogen but they're also quite acidic. To maintain balance, combine coffee grounds with crushed egg shells and vegetable trimmings from the kitchen. Work the grounds into the soil or add them directly to your compost heap.

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The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Planning on dinner and a movie? Go to Café Voila and the movie's on them! This charming French restaurant in the shadow of the Marriott Pyramid has partnered with Madstone Theaters to give patrons two clever ways to save money on their dates. Option Number One: If you order full-priced dinner entrées, Café Voila will give you each a free movie ticket. Option Number Two: Bring your ticket stub from a Madstone matinee to Voila that same evening and they'll take the cost of your ticket (usually $5.50) off of your dinner entrée's price. I think it's a brilliant marketing idea for them and a screamin' deal for us. For full details call Café Voila (821-2666) or Madstone Theaters (6311 San Mateo NE, 872-4000).

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Know Your Ingredients

Peanut Butter Basics

What is that layer of oil on top, anyway?

My mom always used to buy that "natural" peanut butter that came with a thick layer of oil floating on top of the extra-coarse puréed nuts. I begged for Jiff but having already accepted the seven-grain bread and homemade quince jelly that were to make up the other parts of my PBJ equation I was screwed and I knew it. Now I'm a grownup and I can pick any peanut butter I want. But which one? Why does so-called natural peanut butter have that layer of oil on top? And what makes it different from Skippy?

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Laura Marrich

Chewing the Fat

The Blue Dragon's Higher Grounds

Chef Kent Dagnall talks about salvation through vegan chocolate chip cookies

Big changes are afoot at the Blue Dragon, the little neighborhood hangout that straddles Girard's jog just south of Indian School. With a fresh coat of paint and some new menu concepts headed by Chef Kent Dagnall, the Dragon is gearing up for spring and their fifth birthday on Mother's Day. I recently dropped in on Kent, a long-time pal and culinary co-conspirator, to pump him for information and split one of their signature pizzas.

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Image via Pixabay

EVENT HORIZON ()

The Birb-reakfast Club

Birds and Breakfast

Good morning, sunshine! Time to put on the coffee and slap some bacon and eggs in a pan. You know what could spice up this morning routine? Other than literal spices? Birds! Put that turkey bacon down, we're talking about the local bird population at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. This Saturday Nov. 17, Friends of the Refuge are hosting Birds and Breakfast from 8 to 11am. Enjoy a catered lunch in the refuge education portable (nostalgic!) before heading out to do some bird watching in the bosque. Only have lame human eyes that can't see very far and limited knowledge? No worries, binoculars and field guides are provided at no extra charge to this already free and all ages event.
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Image via Pixabay

EVENT HORIZON ()

Doughnut/Donut: The Grey/Gray of the Food World

Doughtnut, Donut Masterclass

Have you ever wanted to make your own doughnuts, but been (understandably) intimidated by the huge vats of boiling oil involved? The folks at The Specialty Shop want to ease your fears. Head there this Saturday, Nov. 17, for their doughnut/donut masterclass, where students learn how to make the old fashioned fried doughnuts as well as biscuit donuts, cake donuts and jelly-filled doughnuts. There are two classes: one from 10:30am to 12:30pm, and another from 2 to 4pm. Don’t worry, there are plenty of samples to fill up on during and after. The class costs $25 per person, and you can make your reservation by calling 266-1212.
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Chowtown Restaurant Guide

Whether you’re more familiar with the French Riviera or the French Quarter, there are plenty of places in Albuquerque to get a taste of authentic French cuisine. Read Hosho McCreesh’s review of Le Quiche Parisienne in this issue, and check out these other restaurants in the city that will cater to your wanderlust and make you feel, if only for the evening, that you’re dining in the City of Lights. Bon appetit, mes amis.