Search results for: mole

The Multitude of Mites on Mimolette

I had the strangest dream this weekend: I dreamed that people were hoarding precious balls of bright orange cheese. When I woke up this was on the radio: The FDA is cracking down on Mimolette, a wonderful cheddaresque French cheese. Mais pourquoi? Cheese Mites, that’s quoi. All you wusses better hold on to your hand sanitizer, because here’s a newsflash for you: cheese is alive. Yep, like beer and wine, bread and yogurt, there are tiny critters in there making cheese what it is. The FDA says there are too many such critters on Mimolette, so here in the USA, at least for now, we are at a Mimoloss. You know I’m all about the local cheese, but this is a cheesy way to win a trade war. I recommend you write your congressperson, or, if you’re close enough to the border, head up to Canada and buy yourself a Mimolot of mitey cheese.


¡Holy Mole Cannoli!

I’d been anticipating Mole Cannoli for weeks.  I cut short a family trip to get back in time for it, but Delta and the weather had other plans.  But I persevered, arrived a couple of hours late, and partook of the fullness of mole, cannoli and everything in between.  Sorry, no pictures, I was late, harried and as soon as possible after arrival, tipsy.

But wait, you protest, what IS Mole Cannoli?  Oh, what isn’t it, I counter?  Mole Cannoli is the wonderous and twisted brainchild of chefs J and D, blogged here a few months ago at Book Swap.  I’m not sure how the idea started, but it was decided that the duo would have a dinner party including (but not limited to) mole and cannoli.

For those who might not have been paying attention, here is one explaination of mole from Ramekins:

The word “Mole” comes from the Aztec word “Molli,” meaning “concoction,” “stew” or “sauce.” To the unenlightened, Mole is a Mexican chocolate sauce. In Mexico, Mole is a hundred dishes in a hundred homes. It varies from town to town and family to family. The most famous Mole, “Mole Poblano de Guajolote” (made with Wild Turkey–the bird, not the booze) is a special complex dish carefully woven together using dried chiles, nuts, seeds, vegetables, spices and chocolate (preferably ground, toasted cacao beans, but Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra brand, is acceptable).

and in the unfortunate event that you’ve somehow missed the numerous cannoli lessons life gives out,

Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo, meaning “little tube”, with the etymology stemming from the Latin “canna”, or reed. Cannoli originated in Sicily and are an essential part of Sicilian cuisine. They are also popular in Italian American cuisine.  Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese (or alternatively, but less traditionally, sweetened Mascarpone) blended with some combination of vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, Marsala wine, rosewater or other flavorings. Some chefs add chopped succade or chocolate chips. [wikipedia]

Furthermore, if you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say, “Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.” I urge you to return your ticket to this blog for a full refund.

OK, if you’re still with me, and I hope you are, here’s the rundown of the Mole Cannoli table:

  • A dazzling array of beverages including delicious white sangria and frozen beer (did I hear that right?)
  • Homemade guacamole, “beer cheese” and salsa with chips
  • Chicken enchiladas with Red Mole and jack cheese
  • Smoked chicken and corn tamales with Green Mole
  • Taco Bar:  Grilled mahi mahi, grilled flank steak, guacamole and salsa (what was left after the appetizers above were savaged by early guests)
  • Salad with jicama and orange (jicama as as declicious as it is fun to say)
  • Black bean corn salad
  • Red cabbage salad
  • Stunning chocoalte cake with too much icing (but not to worry, there were extra cannoli shells!)
  • Medican wedding cookies
  • Macaroons
  • A ginormous flan, definitely not of the pocket variety.
  • Cannoli

I thought it was all just a dream but then I found the leftover tamales in the fridge the next day.

Gribenes is all that, and a bag of chicken skin

You owe it to every skinless chicken breast, finger or nugget you’ve ever eaten to eat some chicken skin once in a while.  And now, possibly for a limited time, you can do just that at the Staff Meal truck.  They’re serving up some amazing tacos but it’s becoming clear that the breakout hit is the side of fried chicken skin, known to some as gribenes.  It’s fun to say and fun to eat. Gribenes.  Staff Meal serves them as an upgrade to chips, with guacamole in delicious lieu of fried onions for just $4 for a pretty full lunch-bag-sized portion.  The photo below shows just a couple of pieces, fried just right and crunchy, not greasy.

Oh yeah, there’s a taco on the left, too.  Speed Dogs didn’t show so we advanced the schedule and got tacos a day earlier than planned.  Staff Meal runs a lean and mean operation with just two men in the truck and five items on the menu.  That’s my kind of operational efficiency.  Above, “truck-made” chorizo, lime crema and radish on corn tortillas, also $4 and also spot-on delicious.  The menu changes frequently so dine early and often.

Brief chapters in the story of the end of paper

You’re probably not reading this on paper.  I didn’t write it on paper.  At some point in the future, paper will probably be as outmoded as real parchment – the kind made from split animal skin – is today, used mainly for antique forgeries, art projects and torah scrolls.  Not that I would equate this document with any of those three, but I’m certain that paper is on its way out, and that if I live long enough, I’ll miss it when it’s gone. Just like Kodachrome.

Borders Books

We all know that Chapter 11 is far from the end for a business, much less for an industry (see: airlines), but the immediate closing of 30% of Borders bookstores is a big deal.  The discussion on Boston Bibliophile shows that not everybody will miss them, but many will lose their closest (if not bestest) bookstore.   When I dropped in at the expansive Washington street location, which is not (yet) slated to close, I think I saw part of why the chain is in trouble, and also why even I hope they pull through.

The first thing you see coming in is a big e-reader display.  Borders is pushing e-readers hard, but not the familiar Nook or Kindle.  They’ve got some Sony models and another brand I never heard of, starting price $99.  No color displays, no instant delivery over 3G networks. No name-brand online bookstore or magazine subscriptions. The demo unit I picked up had no books loaded on it.  Telling.

What else is there at Borders besides disappointing e-readers?  There’s a cafe.  There’s a magazine section.  The combination of those two probably means it’s a de-facto library, and safe and well-lit meeting place for online dates and low-budget business meetings.

But I bury the lede.  There are books.  You can smell them.  Literally tons of them.   You can touch them.  And there are people looking at them, reading them, judging them by their covers, buying them.   And I’ll be sad to see all that go.

Bob Slate

Bob Slate Stationers, a 3-store family-owned chain, is closing in about a month after 75 years in business.  The owners wanted to sell it but could not find a suitable buyer.  This hits closer to home. There’s nothing like a stationery store.  Staples and Office Max, likely the proximate causes of Slate’s condition, are not stationery stores.

Stationery stores have hundreds of pens with little pads mounted beneath the display where you can try them out.  Stationery stores are where you find hang tags, index cards with actual index tabs on them, rubber finger cots for shuffling paper without licking your finger, raffle tickets, metal chalk holders, green ledgers, interoffice envelopes.  Stationery stores don’t look at you like you’re insane when you ask about 6 squares to the inch graph paper and 3mm lead. Or so I hear.

There’s no ebook version of stationery or office supplies.  You can buy them online but you either need them in the flesh as it were or not at all. If you’ve replaced your file cabinet with a hard drive, you don’t need pendaflex tabs anymore.  If you’ve replaced your paper with silicon, you don’t need carbon paper anymore.  Everyone is saddened that Slate is closing, but everyone is also surprised to hear it, and that means they haven’t been there recently.  Telling.

Stores like Slate kept hobbyists like me happy for a long time, but with big and small businesses needling less of what they sell  and others selling it faster and cheaper, it’s the end of the line for small stationers.  It’s a plain as the QR code on the back of a Moleskine notebook package, and I will miss them.

Boston Printing Office

The City of Boston’s Printing Office, which includes a full-on printing plant, closed recently and I stopped in at the preview for an auction to dispose of all manner of printing equipment.  I thought I might score a cheap oddity or funky bit of kit of some kind, but what I found was a workshop that looked like it had been abandoned suddenly in the middle of a workday, as if a bomb threat had been called in.

They had linotype machines that in their day kept pots of molten lead cooking to be molded into type which would be printed, then melted down again.  They had a Vandercook press, a larger version of one I used in college, closer to Gutenberg than to Google.  There were racks of cold type.  They had a wooden phone booth, wallpapered inside with women cut from decades of swimsuit magazines.  These are from the days when it took strong men and heavy machines to forcibly stamp letters into (not onto) paper.

A typesetter’s bench with a partly competed deed registry form.  Ten foot long blades for cutting machines.  Drawers full of proofs.  Stacks of forms.   Incongruously hand-lettered prayer cards tacked up.  The detritus of good union jobs and Irish-Italian Boston.  May the wind be always at your back.

I don’t know what killed the Boston Printing Office.  Maybe it was outsourced or just moved across town to more modern digs.  Government might be among the last to give up on paper, but they will do it some day.  When I handle an official document and it’s smooth, ink intangible, engraved only in name, that will be a sad day too.

What’s next?

What’s closing next?  Maybe card stores.  What’s going away next?  Maybe wedding and birth announcements, maybe business cards.  What’s next after paper?  Hard to say.  I bet it will be better in every practical way, but never the same.  Progress marches on and I welcome it, but I won’t forget paper, either.

What is tongue, anyway? Delicious.

I think everyone has a distinct memory of that “ah-ha” moment when you realized that the deli meat called “tongue” is in fact, exactly that.  It’s a little odd that so many of us live so disconnected from the source of our food, but, like Julia, I am pretty happy to have discovered the delicious lengua at Toro – and unlike her, I’m pretty happy to keep my distance from raw, whole and/or living beef tongues.

I recently discovered that nearby Anna’s Taqueria sometimes has lengua, (you can tell by the paper sign taped to the counter that says, “we have lengua”) which I have enjoyed in taco format with corn tortillas, onions and cilantro.  It’s cubed and cooked to a tender state, altogether different from what you find at Toro (or Rubin’s for that matter) but delicious all the same.


bocatacosGotta love the glow in the dark Mexican lime soda, too.  And while I’m on a taco tangent, I should mention that Boca Grande has got a wonderful version of Tacos Al Pastor, marinated pork with a non-guacamole avocado sauce served in three tiny corn tortillas.  Ironically, there’s no sign of tongue at Boca Grande, but Anna’s also offers Al Pastor.  Further comparative research is required.

And if you happen to be at Boca Grande with a design geek, you should be sure to cross the street (look both ways!) and visit Abodeon for some mid-century modern goodness.  Too bad their website isn’t.