EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Salt | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'salt'

Stay Away From The Beach…For Now

Great HighwayI wrote about the makeover Great Highway was going to get a few months ago and I’m glad, in a way that it’s finally started. That being said, the beach is not the best place to go right now.

My wife [hear after known as wife because she doesn’t like public attention like I do] and I like to shop at the beach Safeway because it’s bigger and the lines are smaller. We took our once a week trip out there as opposed to our trips to the worst Safeway in San Francisco, but we were in for a rude awakening this day.

Construction workers were everywhere. The road was torn up all over the place and our usual trip of driving out Lincoln Way and making a right had to be re-routed due to the construction. On the upside, there are a lot of construction workers there so that means that the job will usually be quick. The down side is that it’s not a pleasant place to be right now which is a bit of a shame with the warm weather starting to grace our coastline and giving us sunnier days [side note: wife hates sunnier days. I think she was given up for adoption by a young Viking girl because the foggier and more unpleasant it is the happier she is.]

Go to the beach he said. You'll love it he said....

Right now if you need to cross the park down by the beach do it at 45th and Lincoln Way and drive through to 43rd and Fulton. It will be a much easier drive for you than having to go all the way to the end and then having to snake around the west end until you can find the exit at 47th and Fulton.  Just give the workers some time to finish off the job they’ve started and I’m hoping it’ll become a nicer place.

All this being said, I am hoping that this makeover will bring back a little of the beach area we once had. You have to be a very stalwart type of person to love Ocean Beach, but there was no reason for it to be left as a Russian industrial park looking place. I would like to see some food trucks out here on weekends and it would be nice if there was a way to have some craftspeople to set up shop on the large walkway on the sunny days that we do get out here. The first thing that needs to happen is a good marketing game played by the city to make people want to come out here. It’s a great place to relax and watch the surfers if you’re not going to surf yourself.

Shhhh…A Shopping Secret

La Playa SafewayI was tempted not to share this one because I do like to shop here even though it’s a drive from my house [3 miles isn’t much of a drive for most people outside SF], but I figured that young hipsters who don’t usually have cars and live in the Mission or Haight won’t bother going all the way out to this place. What place am I talking about? The Safeway at the beach. I honestly hate shopping on weekends and the closest Safeway to me is on Noriega and 30th which I hate because it’s always crowded even during the week and in the evening it’s not crowded, but understaffed. The Safeway at the beach isn’t anything like that.

It’s kind of a hidden mystery for many because it’s a large Safeway, one of the largest in the city and they put it out at ocean on top of what used to be Playland at the Beach. Because of the exposure to all the salt air and fog from the ocean the outside looks a little dumpy, but when you go inside it’s a different story. The typical crowd is a bit on the rough side. I don’t mean fights will break out, just that to most people tossing on a t-shirt over your pajamas and grabbing your flip-flops is considered well dressed to shop here. I suppose a small part of this is due to the few homeless people who hang out in front and the large number that live in Golden Gate Park who go there to buy their food and cheap booze. They’re pretty harmless, but to the uninformed they can look a little scary.

The best part is the aisles are large, very large and it tends to be a very well stocked Safeway, but like many others the staff is a little short in the evenings. There is a Wells Fargo branch at this location where you can get all your banking done even on Sundays [side note, if you’re a real San Franciscan you bank at Wells Fargo]. The deli and bakery are sufficient and a little better stocked than many others around town, but for the general groceries you can find stuff here that is hard to find in other places just because they have lots of room and need to fill it. The butchers are one of the few at Safeway’s that you can pull over and have them cut some meat up for you.

When you finish your shopping and go to check out the wait can be stupidly fast on weekends and it’s not unusual to find a few checkers just standing there talking to another checker waiting for someone to show up. When I used to live a bit closer we used to go here all the time, but now on weekends it’s just kind of refreshing to get some morning air and walk around a store where there aren’t thousands of people pushing you all over the place. It’s even better when it’s a sunny morning which contrary to popular belief we do get more frequently than people think.

Where Have All The Fish Geeks Gone?

Home AquariumI was looking back in time yesterday when I turned on the lights of my old sturdy 55 gallon fish tank. The fish had finally all died off after close to 15 years and there were just plants in the tank that didn’t need too much light so I had left the light off to save a bit of money [note, even if I left the lights on it would only cost 11¢/day] and I started to wonder where all the aquarium people had gone to?

Granted, I’ll have to take a step back in time to the 80’s and 90’s when I was involved with the San Francisco Aquarium Society. I wasn’t just involved, but I was the President for four years and on the Board of Directors for eight. The original story is linked above. Back then when I got involved with the SFAS, it when from a casual 50 members which we might get 20 to show up to over 500 members and we would be able to pack the old auditorium at the Academy of Sciences. I became known for being a fish geek. I would get calls from newspapers and local stations would have me be on a show to talk about the popularity of aquariums. I was on a trip in the 90’s to London and while walking around the London Aquarium I asked one of the workers about one of the tank set ups and after a couple of minutes was recognized and got the full behind the scenes tour of the aquarium [it’s good to be the fish geek].

Back then there were loads of aquarium stores around the city some small some huge [R.I.P. Nippon Aquarium] and you could find fish from all over the world available to you. The aquarium clubs had all the interesting fish that you’d never see anywhere else. In addition to the SFAS, there was also the Pacific Coast Cichlid Association, the Bay Area Killifish Association and the just started Bay Area Aquatic Plant Association. They’re all still around, but they aren’t as big a pull as they used to be.

Needs a little work don't it?Back then we had the true fish geeks who would have home setups that would rival some public aquariums. They would breed fish, sometimes producing strains that you hadn’t seen in the hobby. Many of these people were breeding fish that had come from collections years ago of fish that were endangered [I’ve seen more Devil’s Hole Pupfish bred in home tanks than there are in the Death Valley]. Those of us who bred fish back then could bring some into the meetings and easily leave with $100 in our pocket to spend over the weekend. My goal back then was when I retired I would breed fish and sell them at the club meetings to supplement my income. I had a friend who was importing plants and selling them to the stores around the Bay Area while he was living out of his car for awhile. He built a nice nest egg for himself and I thought I would too.

Now, that’s not so much the case. Fish I could have gotten $20-$30 for a pair are now selling for $5 for three pairs at some club meetings. The public shows such as the SFAS show at Tanforan every year is gone. It seems that people don’t think about home aquariums as much anymore. They’re easier to take care of than cats and dogs. True, they won’t curl up on your lap [unless you keep eels in a tank next to your bed. True story], but they do have personalities and a nice lush tank has been shown to lower blood pressure and give people well, warm fuzzy feelings. You can get into it as much as you want. You can start with a small 10 gallon tank and then move up to home installation if you get really into it.  The SFAS Home Shows were where people got to show off what they did with their tanks and gave the rest of us ideas to build on. There were a few people who always tried to out do everyone else. One friend who passed on had a 250 gallon coffee table with small sharks swimming around [no lasers on the sharks though].

I strongly recommend people try out aquariums at least once to see if they like them. The aquarium fish trade could use a boost and it would be great to bring it back in San Francisco.

Torani Bacon Syrup: So Wrong it’s Right!

My wife and I were out shopping yesterday and wandered into Cost Plus just for the heck of it. I’ve always liked the food section because you can find odd foreign foods. Well today we found a truly weird food and it comes from San Francisco’s own Torani Syrup and it’s bacon flavored.

I posted the picture you see to the left on FaceBook and that started a mass of comments after I said, I’ll get some as soon as I figure out what to do with it. Torani suggests Manhattans, Old Fashioned, Bloody Mary’s and Milkshakes [GACK!] My friends came up with better ideas, vodka bacon on the rocks, bacon carbonara sauce, etc. I’m sure more will come. I added Chocolate bacon truffles because after trying bacon dipped in chocolate I can see why people like the combo.

Torani has a few suggestions of it’s own in the recipe section such as a Bacon Bourbon Sour, Bacon Alexander, Canadian Bacon and Bacon Margarita. These are all drinks and you can see the whole list by going to their recipes section and running a search for all recipes using bacon syrup.

Something I thought of afterwards was that there is no bacon involved in the production of this just like with Bacon Salt [which incidentally is one of my favorite things to add to french fries or popcorn], so that means that it’s kosher and vegan friendly as well as being fat free.

Everything bacon seems to be the new thing with Baconnaise, Bacon Pop, Bacon Lip Balm. Hell, I’ve even heard that there making a bacon flavored personal lubricant. So expect to see more and more of this sort of thing because as almost everyone will agree, who doesn’t like bacon?

If I haven’t given you enough on bacon then you might want to read this blog.

Salt, Salt Everywhere

Well like most people my age, I’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. This actually came about twelve years ago and they gave me a pill and everything was fine. I was back down to 120/70 like I was as a kid. Then a few weeks ago something happened. It popped back up again. I couldn’t figure it out until I visited my doctor recently.

While there are many things that can cause your blood pressure to go up one of the main things they tell you about when you do have high blood pressure is to limit your salt intake. Since we don’t have a lot of money at the moment, we’ve been having to purchase more packaged foods which suddenly after looking more closely I’ve notice have high amounts of sodium in them. While we all know that salt is bad we’ve been keeping a look at it and I’m getting a little over two grams a day of salt. What I haven’t been getting is enough potassium. We in California seem to think that we are the top of the top for healthy eating, but we sometimes run into problems with that. If you look at some of the people who live in the rural parts of California where fast food is what they call breakfast, lunch and dinner because they’re too lazy to cook, you’re gonna see quite a few obese people out there.

Studies have shown that while our caveman ancestors didn’t have access to salt and being hunter/gatherers lived on diets high in fruits and vegetables with a little meat that this was a good way to get potassium which flushes sodium from your system. I realized I hadn’t been eating as many potassium rich foods as I used to and that is probably where the problem is.

I started with the number one great source of potassium, a banana. I have one every day with breakfast and get 448mg of potassium with that. Potatoes are an even better source so we have potatoes a couple of times a week. A good sized potato will give you 1.6gm’s of potassium. Still not enough since the average human needs around 3.7gms a day of potassium. This lead me to a bag of potato chips to have a look.

First off a serving [depending on brand] has about 115mg’s of sodium, but around 480mg’s of potassium. My doctor always told me to stay away from them because of all the saturated fat and cholesterol, but oddly enough a serving only has .5gm saturated fat and 0 cholesterol, so if you’re going for a junk food, potato chips are that bad. We’ll be going for the  low salt chips now for snacking. I seriously think that many doctor’s should take a look at the labels of foods before they speak out against them. Yes, potato chips are probably not very healthy, but when you compare a handful of potato chips to a granola bar you might be surprised. Granola bars or more accurately, power bars are really just a souped up candy bar with oats. Some have over 7 gm’s of saturated fat and loads of high fructose corn syrup not to mention electrolytes which oddly enough favor sodium over potassium or magnesium. Because of this, a small power bar can be upwards of 200 calories, while a serving of chips will hit you with about 150 while giving you 3.75 times as much potassium to help flush the salt from your system which aggravates high blood pressure. While I haven’t had time to try them there is a brand of unsalted chips that has only 5mg per serving giving you 88 times the potassium to salt ratio.

So how am I faring with the higher in potassium diet? Middle of last week my blood pressure was at 158/99, after adding in potatoes and bananas and english peas [great source of protein and good amount of potassium] I’m down to 130/83. Not perfect, but much better and I don’t have to take any supplements, this is all from natural foods.

Now, don’t expect me to start giving up meat and becoming a total vegan, but I am going to start eating better and maybe once a month I’ll splurge on a burger, hopefully I can get some sliced avocado on it [which has three times the potassium of a banana and tons of more nutrients as well as high in the healthy mono-unsaturated fats that build your good cholesterol and fight your bad cholesterol]. I don’t want to be like the Who and hope I die before I get old. I’m already kind of pushing towards the old they were talking about way back when, but I want to look fabulous when I’m in my 90’s and not like a shaking, withered up prune.

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