A Bellingham Foodie Blog Restaurant Reviews Bellingham Washington 98225

June 16, 2009

Last Meals in Padded Cells

Filed under: Bellingham local,local,Pacific Northwest,restaurants — Tags: , , — Bellinghamster @ 1:31 am

The Whatcom Museum was Bellingham City Hall long ago. The rooms and halls we walk filled with artifacts, objects and art were once the space of politics and ordinances. Downstairs from the public rooms are now offices, but once were the Police Station with jail cells. The ornate central staircase has a twin underneath it – walk down it and imagine the sarge sitting high behind the elevated desk looking down on the criminal brought in for booking. The jail cell bars are still on the walls. The walls are as thick as a chocolate layer cake. And there is a padded cell. The original padding is still on the inside of the door. I touched it and I felt afraid for who had been in it.

It made me wonder about last meals.

Some people would choose a favorite meal. I would choose something I couldn’t have anymore – Howard Johnson’s strawberry ice cream.

When I was growing up our family drove many miles. My folks LOVED driving to new places and this was also the way we spent our vacations. If you are familiar with the long road trip as part of your childhood vacations, then you also remember the rest stops and for me  all of them were Howard Johnson restaurant/inns (eastern seaboard). In fact, part of the highlight of going on vacation was eating out and I LOVED eating at Howard Johnson’s. I am not a picky eater, then or now, and always cleared my plate(s). And I always chose the same dessert:  Howard Johnson’s strawberry ice cream.

Paul H. Beckner created the formula for the strawberry ice cream almost 100 years ago while working for Louis Sherry.  Louis Sherry ice cream was being served at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York when Howard Johnson sampled it. Mr. Johnson wanted Mr. Becker to work for him. And he did. Time has passed and Howard Johnson’s has been bought and sold a few times. There are 3 franchises left: 2 in NY and 1 in Maine. It was a great childhood memory and strawberry ice cream is still my favorite!

x-country road trip anyone?

March 16, 2009

Discontinued: TJ’s Soy Nut Butter The Trader Joe and Costco saga

Filed under: Bellingham local,local,Pacific Northwest — Tags: , , , — Bellinghamster @ 9:14 pm

Just ask Aaron. He only forgot one thing from his shopping trip to Trader Joe’s: soy nut butter. He went back only to find…it was a discontinued item. Why? Wasn’t his purchasing it regularly creating enough of a turnover? And those peanuts in the shell I had been buying every single week. Gone. Just like that. Do you remember the dark chocolate chess cookies? I bought them every week, too. I asked a Trader Joester where they had been moved to and she told me they never carried it. Are you kidding? I’ll bring you all my receipts for the past year and show you the charges for it. Newbie.

Youtuber “Carl” made his own Trader Joe’s commercial with his smart phone, walking the aisles.  Too funny, and it rings true:


I could go on and on about Trader Joe’s, but instead I’ll write about Costco and the asterisk next to the price of an item and what THAT means. It means you better buy ALL of it because they are going to discontinue carrying that item, the one you’ve been buying for 5 years. At least it’ll be a cheaper price than you’ve been paying. Sometimes, like magic, a product reappears after a couple of years. It happened to me last week; the R W Knudsen Blueberry juice was available again! It must have taken a long time to squeeze the berries.

Sometimes you can influence the buyers. At Trader Joe’s they keep a running list of customer requests. At Costco, I made such a stink about the brownie mix back in 2005. I’m revealing a well kept secret, but I don’t care anymore. I use a brownie mix. No one can make the brownies better than Ghirardelli. I’ve eaten tons of brownies and so I have my proof. I’ve been using the mix since the ’80’s when I found it in my Costco in NJ. You know, the famous Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco. Well, I move from the northeast to the northwest and expected SOME things in the Costco’s to be different. But, wait. The Costco in the northwest is carrying a brownie mix from Hershey’s.  Are you kidding me? No wonder the mix is so expensive. The California mix has to travel to NJ and the Pennsylvania mix has to travel to Washington. Cross country, just like me!

I’m happy to tell you the Costco in Bellingham, WA now sells Ghirardelli brownie mix. They got sick of listening to this New Yorker flap her trap.

January 11, 2009

Scharffen Berger Chocolate

Filed under: Bellingham local,local,Pacific Northwest,Seattle — Tags: , , , , , — Bellinghamster @ 11:51 am

My home is well stocked with staples: milk, eggs, bread and chocolate. I can see you smiling. No chocolate in your house? I’m sorry…but, chocolate = love = happiness. End of story.

The chocolate staple in my home is Scharffen Berger. I was introduced to Scharffen Berger chocolate by Helen Gustafson in her book The Agony of the Leaves: The Ecstasy of My Life With Tea. It is a compilation of her ‘tea’ anecdotes and many scrumptious ‘tea’ recipes. Scharffen Berger is her preferred chocolate in recipes and eating it straight, as I do, it is no wonder. I have the semisweet 60% cacao dark chocolate. The chocolate bar is in six pieces imprinted with a graceful goat on a mountain and 3 stars above it. It has a subtle chocolate smell with a hint of coffee and vanilla. It tastes rich and creamy and, of course, like chocolate!

Ingredients: cacao beans, sugar, cocoa butter, non-gmo soy lecithin and whole vanilla beans. Vegan anyone?

Scharffen Berger has a sister brand: Dagoba. I have seen this chocolate at the Community Food Co-op and Terra Organica and Bargainica. I’ll share my experience with this chocolate soon.

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