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 Pexels

EVENT HORIZON ()

Don't Bring Grandpa Joe

You've Got a Golden Ticket: Charlie and the Chocolate Tearoom

Oompa loompa, doompety doo, we have a great all-ages event just for you. You’ve Got a Golden Ticket: Charlie & The Chocolate Tearoom happens April 21 and throughout the month of April between 11am and 6pm at St. James Tearoom. Tickets are available online, with adult tickets going for $45 and children for $33. With some offerings such as The Bucket Family’s Cabbage Pockets, Veruca Salt’s Pretzel Bun and Violet’s Blueberry Pie with Cream, there are a ton of great options to choose from. Oompa loompa, doompety dite, get more info on their website, stjamestearoom.com.

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Chowtown Restaurant Guide

A Taste of Thailand

At some point down the line Thai food became synonymous with comfort food for me. It was my family’s favorite dining out cuisine when I was young, and now I have a lot of good nostalgia wrapped up in the smell of lemongrass and curry. Tom kha gai, papaya salad and pad see ew are my go-to orders when I’m sick or just craving something warming and familiar, so I’ve visited most of the Thai spots in town to find some of my favorites of each. That GrubHub bill is getting a little out of control at this point, honestly.

Here’s a few of my favorite spots to order Thai in the Duke City. May they bring you many spicy tears and great evenings.

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