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Never go to the grocery store when hungry, they say. You know why,… - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John

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[Sep. 16th, 2006|04:42 pm]
John
Never go to the grocery store when hungry, they say. You know why, right? The ice cream will start calling your name; so will the chips, the candies, and even the healthy food that you enjoy.

You know what's even worse? Going to my local Thriftway when hungry.

See, they're a gourmet grocery store; good wines, fancy beers, great cheeses, amazing baked good, wonderful breads, etc.. They have ordinary food as well, but you'll pay a premium for it.

I don't think it was just hunger, though. Part of it was that I hadn't been able to go see Pat this weekend, and one of the things Pat and I often do is buy some special foods for the weekend.

I had to buy some Drunken Goat cheese, because that's one of Pat's favorites. I also bought some Cotswald, because I didn't get to eat any last time I visited her place, and bought some at the new grocery store near her place. I picked up some blueberry Stilton, because it looked interested, and then some blue Stilton because it was there. Then I saw they had some double Gloucester, and I couldn't resist. Gloucester is the base of Cotswald, and it's an incredibly yummy cheese. If you like cheddar, you'll probably love Gloucester.

None of these cheeses comes in at less than $15 a pound, so I was already giving myself a reason for sticker shock when I checked out, so I avoided the flatbread they have. It's really nice stuff; crackly and tasty, but never really interfering with the taste of the cheese. But, at $5 a bag, when I can get more cheese eating out of a $2 box of Premium saltines, I couldn't justify it.

Stopping at the bakery doomed me. They had a chocolate banana tart that I couldn't resist trying; once I had that, I had to buy some coffee to make a latte to go with it. It was amazing; fluffy, yet so rich it felt like I was eating ice cream, and a good, ripe banana flavor. Not a lot... you wouldn't want to wolf one of these down or you wouldn't appreciate the banana or the chocolate, but eaten slowly, mixed with sips from a really frothy latte, it was amazing. I'm glad I got the chocolate macaroon for later.

I bought some relatively reasonably priced beer. Ah, for the innocent days when a "reasonably priced" six pack was only $5! But out here in the Pacific Northwest, where there are dozens of wonderful microbrews, $8 is the new "reasonable". It's a stout that I've never tried before. I like a good stout; when I drink a beer, I want there to be no mistaking the beer that's going in with the beer coming back... okay, too crude. Nevertheless, I like a good, dark beer.

And then, I found some soft smoked salmon; I have cream cheese, and onion ,so all I needed was some good bread, and a tomato or two.

Warning: supermarkets now put their tomatoes under a colored light. They look redder than they are. Alas, Thriftway is no different. Worse luck, they didn't have any good heirlooms. The tomatoes did have a distinct smell to them, but I haven't done a lot of tomato sniffing in my life, and they didn't smell like a good tomato tastes... but I'm not sure if that's normal or not. These are either going to be really good, or terrible. The good news is, they did smell very strongly of tomato vine. That's why I bought them. Gads, how hard it must be for people who never grew up around a garden!

I bought a loaf of swiss peasant bread, which is a french style bread that I've had before. I think with the cream cheese, salmon, and tomato and onion, it'll make some awfully good sandwiches.

Finally, on the way out, I saw the one thing that no Narnia fan can easily pass up... Turkish Delight.

Now, I've had several people comment on Turkish Delight before. They said "think gel style toothpaste. But fruit flavored." Several have been scandalized that Edmund would sell his family out for this stuff (even though C. S. Lewis makes it clear that the candy was enchanted to be addictive). At the same time, I've heard that there is good Turkish Delight, and, honestly, I had to try it, even if it was awful. I had reason to be hopeful, because it was in this Thriftway, but I was willing to waste the money if I had to.

The legend I heard is that a Turkish prince demanded a brand new confection, one that had never been known anywhere else, and Turkish Delight is what they came up with. Viewed from that perspective, I'd say that this is a fine example of the breed. It's not the tastiest candy I've ever had, but it was pretty darn good stuff. Jellied, of course, and softer than a Swedish fish, and not quite as sticky. It's lightyears away from a gummi, though you might think that there was a family resemblance. If so, Turkish Delight is the rich, famous uncle and gummis are the black sheep cousin. It's got several fruit flavors, and each one I've tried is kinda-neat.

I'm going to ignore how much I spent; if I do that, maybe I won't feel guilty about it :-).

I figure I'm allowed to overspend a bit... it's kinda-sorta my birthday weekend, so I think I can allow myself to splurge a bit. Speaking of which, does anyone know anything about monitors? I've gotten an Amazon gift certificate, and I think a new monitor (a 19" to replace my 17") might be the best use for it.

I've been hearing about bad choices in LCD monitors. I didn't know they were all that different.

I'm seeing times; I'm guessing that's a refresh time, and that low is better... kind of an inverse frame-rate?

I know contrast, and know that higher is better; what's good?

And I know that I need VGA, not DVI.

And does anyone know what they'd tell their best non-power-gamer friend to expect to spend? I don't play any games where framerate makes a huge difference. If it's fast enough to play a movie without ghosting (or whatever problems LCDs have), I'm probably good to go.

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend, as good as I am, or better.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wolfette
2006-09-17 12:30 am (UTC)

tomatoes and the sniffing thereof

A good fresh tomato, if you sniff the green stem, should smell almost like fresh *spearmint*

Leastways that's what the tomatoes from the tomato farms in Ayrshire used to smell like, straight from the vine.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-09-17 12:44 am (UTC)

Re: tomatoes and the sniffing thereof

If so, then I think this one is close to that. It doesn't smell like, e.g. spearmint candy or tea, but it does have that green/sharp smell of spearmint leaves, almost.
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[User Picture]From: wolfette
2006-09-17 12:47 am (UTC)

Re: tomatoes and the sniffing thereof

that sounds about right. I love to pick mint leaves and crush them between my fingers just to sniff them - the smell of fresh tomatoes is very close to that.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-09-18 05:43 am (UTC)

Re: tomatoes and the sniffing thereof

And, the tomatoes were good. I've had better, but I don't think I've had many better bought from a store... especially these days.
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[User Picture]From: wolfette
2006-09-17 12:43 am (UTC)

and Turkish Delight

if you can get the real stuff, from Turkey or Greece, it's a whole different matter from the faux stuff we Westerners get. Not so much "fruit" flavours - rose (deep pink), lemon (not yellow - kind of "off white") - that's the two classics - but also pistacio nut, which is a vivid green.

It shouldn't taste like a gummi, or jello, the texture is slightly softer than the "raw" jello cubes that you add hot water to, but not sticky.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-09-18 05:46 am (UTC)

Re: and Turkish Delight

Nod. I'd heard that getting the good stuff made it worth while. This, at least, was good. It's not very sweet, and I think rose would be a very good flavor for it, as would lemon. I'd have to try pistachio to know for sure.

And it doesn't taste like a gummi or jello, but it does have a texture that's somewhere in the neighborhood. And yes, not sticky... no globs of sugary stuff stuck to my teeth afterwards.

Someday I'll have to find the really good stuff just to find out how this measures up.
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[User Picture]From: glinda_w
2006-09-17 01:11 am (UTC)
*wordless drooling*

--g, trying not to saturate the keyboard
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[User Picture]From: kyra_ojosverdes
2006-09-17 01:25 am (UTC)
Actually a higher refresh rate is better... the faster it refreshes, the less likely you are to notice any flicker (and get a headache eye strain because of it). I've yet to figure out, however, what refresh rate has to do with an LCD monitor, as it produces the image in a different fashion.

Why is it you need VGA rather than DVI? If it's a "to match the video card I currently have," there are VGA-DVI adapters. If I were purchasing an LCD monitor I'd get DVI and an adapter and plan to upgrade my computer or video card later on.

The 19" LCD monitors we routinely sell to businesses are around $400.
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[User Picture]From: kyra_ojosverdes
2006-09-17 01:27 am (UTC)
The time measurement, assuming the unit is ms rather than MHz, may be response time. In that case yes, smaller is better.
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[User Picture]From: kyra_ojosverdes
2006-09-17 01:34 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-09-18 05:49 am (UTC)
Nod. I didn't even realize how good refresh rate was until someone told me to change mine because it bothered him. I was surprised at the difference.

You've got a good point about DVI... I expect my next video card will at least have DVI as an option. (Scary thing: I've never owned, or even thought about owning, a video card good enough to run Vista with the new enhancements. 128 megs of graphics memory? Just for the OS? Yeesh!)
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[User Picture]From: kyra_ojosverdes
2006-09-18 05:52 am (UTC)
Heh, my current video card has 128MB memory. (NVidia GE Force 5200, machine is 3.5 years old.) I like my computer games. :-)
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[User Picture]From: kightp
2006-09-17 09:06 am (UTC)
*smile* I'm torn between glad you're indulging yourself and wishing I were there to indulge with you, darlin'.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-09-18 05:54 am (UTC)
Nod. I think it's probably a good thing; with the smoked salmon, I ate a lot this weekend, and it's probably best that I wasnt' tempted to eat fancy cheeses just so we had a chance to try them.

Still... there are reasons far beyond indulgency that make me want to see you. :-)
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[User Picture]From: kightp
2006-09-18 06:07 am (UTC)
Like being able to talk while we play Diablo, instead of risking getting our butts by the monsters while we're busy typing salacious messages from my barbarian to your sorceress and back?

*gd&r*
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[User Picture]From: wordweaverlynn
2006-09-18 09:15 pm (UTC)
A very happy birthday to you.
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[User Picture]From: sjgross
2006-09-21 01:04 pm (UTC)
If I wasn't sick with a cold, this entry would have made me so hungry :)

Have you ever had Fontinella cheese? Its a white cheese kind of the texture of cheddar and it has a little bite to it.

(Note: if you tell me that you've got it at your local store, I'm going to be envious. I can't get it in Ann Arbor. Not even Zingerman's carries it)
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[User Picture]From: sjgross
2006-09-21 01:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, and happy birthday!
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[User Picture]From: ranunculus
2006-09-26 01:46 am (UTC)
You might try this link.
http://www.cheesesupply.com/

They have my favorite cheese, manchego...
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