a year in food and life

Favorite things- Best of Bootie 2006 February 11, 2007

Filed under: Favorite things — superspark @ 9:43 am


When I started this blog last month, I was mostly interested in recording what I’ve been cooking, eating, etc… and over the last few weeks it seems to have morphed into an entirely food-related blog. In the interests of getting back to my original intents, I’m going to try to intersperse a few non-food related posts. It could be argued that this one is still food-relevant in that Best of Bootie 2006 is the album that currently gets me out of my chair and over to the gym to burn off those extra dessert calories. Not since The Killers’ Hot Fuss has an album so motivated me to run faster, push harder on the elliptical machine, and do that extra sit-up. And the best part is, this one is free.

Best of Bootie 2006 is a compilation of mash-ups by DJs from around the world. For those unfamiliar with mash-ups, DJs take two or more songs and mix their beats, lyrics, and melodies in what are often quite clever combinations. There are a number of clubs around the country that have mash-up nights, including The Echo in L.A., where they host a Bootie L.A. mash-up night the first Saturday of every month. I went to it once and since club-going is not exactly my thing, I would say it wasn’t for me. But I am just loving this album.

Imagine Kanye West crossed with Beethoven or the Beastie Boys meet Led Zeppelin and you’ll start to get the idea of a mash-up. My personal favorites at the moment are Short Skirt, London Bridge (a mash-up of Cake’s Short Skirt, Long Jacket and Fergie’s London Bridge) and The Money Song (which mixes five different artists including ABBA, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Jay-Z).

For more information on Club Bootie or to download the album, go to:


Henry’s Farmer’s Market January 30, 2007

Filed under: Favorite things,food — superspark @ 10:38 am


Whenever we visit Dylan’s parents, who live in the San Diego area, a trip to Henry’s is foremost on our itinerary. Henry’s, a family chain which was acquired by Wild Oats in 1999, calls itself a “farmer’s market store” and in many ways the description is apt. It has a sizeable, cheap produce section, friendly service, and a homey atmosphere. But what really keeps us going back is the bulk foods section, an amazing array of grains, rices, flours, nuts, granolas, and dried fruits. Okay, there’s a large bulk candy section, too, including treats like chocolate covered honeycomb, but we try to avoid that section lest temptation get the best of us.

Some of our loot from our most recent visit last weekend is pictured above. We replenished our supplies of arborio rice, jasmine rice, cocoa powder, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and rolled oats, all for much cheaper than you could possibly find at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, or other similar competitors. I was disappointed not to find Israeli couscous and kasha in stock this time, but unless you’re looking for a really obscure grain or flour, Henry’s is likely to carry it.

It’s also worth looking at the fruit in the spring and summer…they have amazing sales on peaches, nectarines, plums, etc…we stocked up last year and used the fruit to make jam for wedding favors. Even this past weekend there was a 2 lbs. for $.99 sale on lovely Braeburn apples. But I should stop, for fear of sounding like an advertisement for the store.

Apparently there are 28 Henry’s now, mostly in Southern California, so check the website to see if there’s one near you.


Favorite things- Trader Joe’s Apricot sauce January 15, 2007

Filed under: Favorite things,food — superspark @ 11:44 pm

It has been a lazy weekend here…a bit of socializing, a bit of exercise, and a whole lot of curling up on the sofa. Yesterday, as often happens in our household on weekend mornings, Dylan got up a few minutes before me and started making breakfast. He knows that if he waits until I get out of bed to ask what I’d like for breakfast, I always just vote for a bowl of cereal or some toast. I like the idea of starting the day on a healthy note as things often spiral downhill afterwards.

But when Dylan beats me to the punch and start making pancakes, waffles, or crepes before I even get out of bed, who am I to turn them down? Yesterday he went with a straight-up, classic pancake, all the better to pair with one of my favorite prepared treats, Trader Joe’s Apricot sauce. It comes in a big glass jar and is a thick, chunky blend of apricots and sugar. I’ve never been a fan of maple syrup (or maple flavors in general) so I use it in its place, on pancakes or waffles. It’s also delicious stirred into yogurt or even used atop ice cream. The geniuses at TJ’s also make it in peach and mango varieties, both of which are terrific as well. At about $3 for a 26 ounce jar, it’s a steal and can be found alongside the more standard apple sauces, etc… (120 calories for a half cup serving which should be more than enough for any of the purposes I mentioned.)