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    Springtime has returned to the chilly northern Pacific... and mature wild salmon are returning to their rivers of origin to breed. Chinook, also known as King, is considered the finest; Sockeye flesh is known for its technicolor red hue and similarly pronounced flavor; and Coho comes in a respectable third, perhaps a tad bland. The other two– Chum and Pink– might best be utilized for cat food. I'm not sure exactly when I became a full-fledged Grumpy Old Man-Splainer, but it might well have been one summer night about three years ago when Andrea and I were using a gift certificate for dinner at a local restaurant. (Other than breakfast in old-school diners, we NEVER spend our own money on food and wine in restaurants. I'd rather go to the dentist.) Our waiter was reciting the specials and suddenly started warbling about their "Wild Atlantic Salmon" entree. I patiently and politely explained that the Atlantic salmon was declared an endangered species back in 1948, and that commercial Atlantic salmon fishing has been banned since then... and thus they couldn't possibly (or at least legally) have any on hand to sell. Perhaps he could ask the chef for clarification? Flustered, he disappeared into the kitchen. Two minutes later the middle-aged battle-axe who owned this place was at our table rudely bellowing at us– "We'd have to charge what– FORTY BUCKS for wild?" Maybe she would... but think I speak for more than just a few customers in wanting to know what the hell I am getting for the 30% food cost price, gift certificate or otherwise. Fortunately it is now (Alaskan) salmon season, which means that one can avoid such unwarranted abuse AND enjoy a generous 8 oz. portion of wild Sockeye at home, complete with side veggies and sauce, for about $12/person... and it will be way better than whatever hash that waiter was slinging for thrice that amount. * * * * * * * Salmon occupies a special place in the western culinary canon... quite understandably, given its unique and eye-pleasing ("salmon-pink") hue, its sumptuously delicious and healthy high content of unsaturated fat, and its affinity for flavors such as wood smoke, fresh dill, and/or Sauvignon Blanc. (Pro-tip: any food embraced by both European Jews and Pacific Northwest native peoples that also pairs nicely with a particular wine must surely be wonderful.) Salmon consumption is not exactly seasonal. Farmed Atlantic salmon– high-quality or low, fresh or frozen– is available year-round. So is previously frozen (wild) Sockeye. Hell, I carry canned Sockeye in my truck for high-energy emergency food. And a tiny amount of Chinook/King Salmon appears in markets as "incidental catch" throughout the year. Intriguingly (more on this later) an outfit named Ora King offers an ultra-premium version of pristinely farm-raised Chinook (a.k.a. King) from New Zealand. But in general, if you want the very best, by which one generally means freshly-caught wild salmon, you have to wait for the onset of the annual salmon season... which is now upon us. HOWEVER... I went shopping just this morning in search of fresh wild salmon, and I was surprisingly quite disappointed. The choices, including Chinook/King from Alaska's famed Copper River, looked old and tired, which often happens when fish-shopping on a Monday. (Copper River– the world's finest salmon! Says so right here at Furthermore, the price was $50/pound... high, but still less than restaurant pricing for fish of much lesser quality.) But Dear Reader, if this story didn't have either a catchy plot twist or a happy ending, I probably wouldn't be writing it. While I was researching top-quality salmon sources, I was simultaneously perusing recipes for gravlax, one of my earliest ventures into fine food preparation and still one of my favorite appetizers to make and then serve with Blanc de Blancs. Gravlax is simply salmon filet cured for a few days with salt, sugar, and (optionally) fresh dill; the Norwegians who invented it knew to first bury the salmon in the frozen tundra for a few days to kill any worms... which kind of renders pointless the quest for the finest FRESH salmon, right? But then I figured something out– the sushi department at one of my regular stores was serving salmon that was "sashimi-certified," i.e., suitable for eating raw, which meant that it was reliably free of worms. Upon further inquiry, I learned that the sushi/sashimi-grade salmon in the yakiwakumori rolls (or whatever) was indeed the aforementioned Ora King Farm-Raised Salmon from New Zealand. Perhaps they could sell me a piece? Sure, they said... for $40/pound. An utterly pristine 5 oz. piece of Ora King Salmon from New Zealand... the most perfect piece of salmon I've ever laid eyes on or tasted. In the name of due diligence I cooked a test piece for a lunchtime snack. And how was it? You may recall that I recently wrote a piece about "perfection" and whether it was attainable or even worth pursuing. Well, to my lsomewhat earned palate anyway, this piece of salmon seemed pretty darn close to absolutely perfect in every way. So yeah, it's salmon season. And while it's always fun to buy locally-grown strawberries in July and nearby corn in August, I am delighted to learn and report that what is probably the world's most reliably fantastic salmon is available year-round... even if it comes from the other side of the world. * * * * * * * Browne Trading Company, a wonderful online source for top-grade seafood, will sell you a whole boneless side of fresh Ora King Salmon for $36.99/pound. This is what I plan to use for my next batch of gravlax. If you prefer to purchase individual portions, numerous other sources will appear in your google search. Speaking of google searches, there are way too many gravlax recipes out there, and just about all of them are more complicated than necessary. The only VITAL ingredients are salmon, salt, and sugar. Like most people, I also use dill. But then, for all the celebrity chefs out there, that's where the fun seemingly begins– in their signature recipes you'll see booze ranging from vodka to aquavit and additional seasonings ranging from peppercorns to coriander. I recommend starting simply and then choosing your own path as your own personal taste dictates. When it comes to wine, Sauvignon Blanc seems almost divinely intended to pair with salmon. And finally... yes, $40/pound might well seem rather spendy at the grocery store... but please keep in mind that a 6 oz. portion of Ora King would be way better and way cheaper than whatever salmon your local restaurant tries to sell you.


    ​​Andrea & I met 55 years ago. We went 32 years between our 3rd & 4th dates. She proposed a week later. We married 15 years ago this week. May 25th, 2008 I was ass-over-teakettle in love with Andrea in high school. I eventually mustered the courage to ask her out when I was 16 and she was 15. I dropped her off after our third date and then, a couple of miles down the road, I rolled the borrowed car twice sideways and once lengthwise. I was luckily ejected on the second roll... not wearing a seat belt actually saved my life. Andrea's mother quite understandably barred her from ever seeing me again. Young Andrea with braces. Notwithstanding her extended right arm, this photo pre-dates "selfies" by a good four decades. Over the next three decades we had our careers and first marriages. We eventually got back in touch when our high school launched an alumni website. And then, in early 2008, we were both suddenly "available" (more or less) at the same time, so I immediately drove 300 miles (each way) with a box of dinner fixings and a bottle of Pinot Noir. I'm not saying I'm a great cook, but Andrea proposed to me a week later. All was bliss, it seemed, until soon thereafter when I suddenly found a strange new lump on my neck. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, so we rushed forward with our wedding plans so I could have hair for the photos. 20 days later we pulled it off– the venue, the invitations, the preacher, the music, and even the reception... which I personally catered. We stayed in the Berkshires for the duration of my treatments. Then we moved to Andrea's house in Rochester, even though there was absolutely no viable employment available in my field (wine & food) or Andrea's (environmental education & performance.) So we enrolled in truck driving school and then enjoyed a 5-year, 18-wheeled honeymoon as we drove though most every corner of every state in America. Having paid off all of our debts, we got Andrea off the road so she could pursue a new-found passion– advanced European-style foot care, which she would provide to elderly and/or infirm clients via house calls. She built up a strong business and devoted clientele from the building blocks of her passion and work ethic and her love of caring for people in need. Meanwhile, I stayed out on the road and eventually found a job that pays better and also keeps me closer to home than I could ever have hoped for. 55 years after first setting eyes upon her, Andrea is as beautiful as ever. 48 years after our first date, I still crave her companionship. And 15 years after exchanging vows, our wedding remains the single most positively-impactful event of my life. Andrea's mother, now 85, seems to have warmed up to me. And to this day Andrea keeps a flower in the empty bottle of that Pinot Noir. Happy Anniversary, my love! * * * * * * * NOTES: After that horrible accident seemingly nixed any future relationship with Andrea, I spent the next few months, years, and decades proving that it is possible to have perfectly good relationships even after someone like her is permanently burned into one's psyche. It's an important survival skill. It may or may not shock my readership to learn that I wrote a book about all this stuff. CHEMO HONEYMOON is available on Amazon and covers our history, my cancer treatments, and even our reception menu in exquisite detail. If you or anyone you know needs foot care above and beyond a Walmart-grade, beach-friendly toenail painting, please check out Andrea’s Foot Care & Nails. And finally, 15 years after my devastating diagnosis, I remain cancer-free.

  • Monday, May 29th

    Anyone on the Internet on a gorgeous Monday holiday like this is nuts. See you Wednesday with fresh material! Meanwhile, while we're enjoying cookouts and fun, please remember why it's called MEMORIAL Day.

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Other Pages (9)

  • Danny's Table | Home of the Grumpy Old Mansplainer

    Advice & Companionship for Living in Style Along the Path to an Increasingly Uncertain Future Food & Wine Survival in Style Rants How can I make a steakhouse dinner at home? When is Champagne not Champagne but just as good? How come I can’t buy a decent shovel? Why should I own a crossbow? Your grumpy old mansplainer DannyM is here to answer these vexing questions and many more while offering more advice than you ever thought you would need. Is he highly knowledgeable, or just plain opinionated? (Yes.) And he’s a walking set of contradictions— a sommelier-turned-truck driver with a knack for solving puzzles and a love of language; an ardent anti-elitist who equally appreciates roadside barbecue and classic French cuisine. He is (somehow) a skeptical positive thinker who doesn’t automatically accept the official explanation of anything. Instead, he strives to examine every important issue from multiple perspectives and then arrive at his own conclusions. A TABLE serves many different functions. Along with dining, we use a table for such activities as writing letters, playing ping-pong and billiards, negotiating international treaties, conducting business meetings, and contesting the world chess championship. DANNY’S TABLE is a home for essays about a broad range of topics united in the purpose of making life in these increasingly challenging times more livable, more enjoyable, and more interesting. Read More at The Table Can a restaurant exist only in cyberspace? Why not? (If you’ve ever managed one, you’ll surely appreciate the advantages.) The CAYUGA LOUNGE was born in DannyM.’s short fiction, THE CA-LO SIGN . While the restaurant is imaginary, the recipes are real— click HERE for an ever-expanding compendium of Continental-American Comfort Food from half a century ago… the era of muscle cars, bell bottoms, and avocado-colored appliances. Stop by The Lounge There’s a smarter way to shop for groceries . What’s the best exercise machine in the world ? Good Merlot is still good wine , and potatoes can be heavenly . Hunting for vintage sweaters is fun and rewarding . And yes, you CAN eat oysters year ‘round . Join us at The Table and you shall be regaled with all this and more by grumpy old mansplainer DannyM and his contributing cohorts. Recent Essays at The Table DannyM 4 days ago 7 min SUPER BOWL LVII (57) PREVIEW Game On!! Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, February 12th at 6:30PM EST. Here are a few pre-game nuggets worth sharing. DannyM Feb 1 4 min WORTHLESS CRAP ALERT! Life is school, pain is tuition, and some lessons cost more than others. And for some really tough lessons we must part with cash.... DannyM Jan 30 3 min THE JOY OF KALE An oxymoron, I know, because I hate kale… and yet I figured out a way to make it delicious. DannyM Jan 18 1 min Our Favorite Spice Mixes For DannyM.’s January writing breather, we’ll post some brief shopping tips & cooking hacks. Here’s a quartet of favorites for your pantry. DannyM Jan 16 9 min P-P-PLAYOFFS!?! The NFL playoffs are indelibly associated with January. Our suggested rule changes– which would surely improve the game– will NEVER happen. DannyM Jan 11 6 min DINNER PARTY TIPS, PART THREE: The Menu In parts 1 & 2 we discussed strategy and tactics. Now, as promised, we present some actual dinner party menus and the reasoning behind them. Get your seat at the table! Subscribe today for exclusive updates and notifications. Email Join Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify. Subscribe "A single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth more than ten years’ mere study of books." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "If I am more Fortunate than others I need to build a longer table, not a taller fence." - Tamlyn Tomita "If you're not at the table, you might be on the menu." - Way Too Many People

  • The Cayuga Lounge Cookbook | Danny's Table

    The Cayuga Lounge Cookbook The Cayuga Lounge is where it's always 1971, but... 50-Year-Old Recipes?? Yes… because our gastronomical tastes naturally evolve, but true greatness outlives arbitrary and fleeting fashion. We’ve found that many of the classic dishes of yesteryear can be updated to modern sensibilities with just a few tweaks, such as eliminating flour and using superior ingredients that were unavailable nine Presidencies ago. Table of Contents French Onion Soup Onion Jam Chicken Alfredo "Bouillabaisse Sauce" Vongole Cassini Gazpacho Coquilles St. Jacques Trout with Almonds Autumn Menu, Part 1 Autumn Menu, Part 2 Autumn Menu, Part 3 Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Nantucket Chowder NANTUCKET CHOWDER Cutesy names, whether for boats (i.e., “Pier Pressure”) or recipes (“The Big Chili”), are often annoying. And yet sometimes they’re dead-on. BUTTERNUT SQUASH & APPLE SOUP Few things this side of Pumpkin Spice Shampoo betoken autumn like Butternut Squash & Apple Soup. But please don’t call it “Autumn Bisque.” CHEF ASTOR'S AUTUMN MENU, PART THREE The twist-rich third and final installment of DannyM.’s tale about Chef Astor and his 1971 Autumn Dinner Menu at the Cayuga Lounge. CHEF ASTOR’S AUTUMN MENU- Part Two In early September of 1971, Chef Astor continued working on his new Autumn Menu… adding new dishes and removing or updating old ones. CHEF ASTOR’S AUTUMN MENU, Part One In August of 1971, Chef Astor worked diligently on his new Autumn Menu– the culmination of all his experience, his Culinary Magnum Opus. TROUT WITH ALMONDS Whatever we call it, boneless rainbow trout filets and almonds make a really great combination. 1 2 3

  • Partners & Favorites | Danny's Table

    Check out our Partners & Favorites When we find products or services we like, we're happy to share them. These are NOT paid advertisements, just good advice. A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge I went in search of a REAL shovel (not some flimsy piece of crap made overseas) and I found it at A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge— a heavy-duty 12-gauge forged head securely riveted to a sturdy ash handle. In addition to shovels, hey offer a broad range of high-quality hand tools. ​ ​ Visit Holy Grail Steak Co A sibling company to De Négoce. They sell fantastic steaks as well as other meats and even some seafood. My go-to steak is their grass-fed prime ribeye. ​ Visit Excalibur Crossbows In contrast to the complex and intricate actions of the super-expensive compound crossbows, Excalibur RECURVE Crossbows are simple to use and maintain as well as incomparably sturdy and reliable. Multitudes of successful hunters can also attest that they are deadly accurate. ​ ​ Visit Red Newt Cellars A hip winery & bistro a short drive north of Watkins Glen in the hills above Seneca’s eastern shore, Red Newt bottles a broad range of outstanding, single-vineyard Gewurztraminers and Rieslings. Don’t leave without buying a set of their cool glasses. ​ Visit TAG Safari Great safari jackets and other sporting wear for those of us who love outdoor adventures. TAG’s motto— “Helping Africa Through Trade, Not Aid”— reflects their commitment to improving lives and conditions in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. ​ ​ Visit Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard and Winery “Hermann the German” established his eponymous winery in 1979 and was the first in the region to plant Riesling. Though the winery is famous for consistently excellent versions thereof, the Burgundian-style Chardonnay and hand-crafted methode champenois sparkling wine are likewise superb. ​ Visit Ekone Seafood/ Taylor Shellfish Farms Your source for delicious, top-quality smoked (Pacific) oysters (available in convenient 3 oz. cans) and other tasty morsels from the sea, including the rare and highly prized geoduck clam. ​ ​ ​ Visit Porter Road Talk about role reversal— how about BEEF Bacon and PORK Brisket? We are proud to include PORTER ROAD in the small handful of online meat purveyors that we are happy to recommend. Whether beef, pork, or chicken, PORTER ROAD has plenty of pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free options. ​ ​ Visit De Négoce This is where you can get $80 wines for $20. They do this by purchasing surplus wine from super-premium wineries and then selling it under their own label. Visit Andrea’s Foot Care & Nails A powerful combination of extensive training and a gentle touch affords safe, effective care for your precious feet. Andrea provides advanced foot care in the comfort of your home with techniques based on German Podology. All implements are sterilized in a medical-grade autoclave. ​ ​ Visit Meat N’ Bone A Miami butcher shop that offers an affordable Wagyu-Angus ribeye as part of a broad array of products ranging from elk roasts to alligator tenderloin. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Visit M Grills These are military-tough, commercial-grade smoker-grills built to order in Texas from the heaviest gauge steel in the industry. M Grills can burn firewood… so in the event of complete societal collapse, you can feed your whole cul-de-sac with one of these and an axe. ​ Visit Henry Repeating Arms Henry is the leading lever action manufacturer in the USA. Their goal is to manufacture classic, well-crafted firearms that every enthusiast can afford. The passion, expertise, and dedication of their employees embody the company’s motto— “Made in America Or Not Made At All.” ​ ​ Visit Restaurant Depot “Where Restaurants Go To Shop.” Want to up your grocery game and shop with the pros? Stop by a Restaurant Depot Depot near you— they’ll issue you a Day Pass and turn you loose in Wholesale Foodie Heaven. (Maybe their motto should be “Go Big Or Go Retail!”) ​ Visit Shadow Hill Maple Syrup There’s “Table Syrup,” and then there’s REAL Maple Syrup… absolutely no comparison. Likewise, there’s ordinary Maple Syrup, and there’s SHADOW HILL Dark Amber (My personal favorite!) This fantastic artisanal production facility is also an owner-built architectural masterpiece that serves as one-of-a-kind wedding venue. Visit Snake River Farms Another great premium meat supplier, and an especially good place to look for holiday roasts. Double R Ranch is a sibling company accessible from this site. Visit Domaine Chandon Many French Champagne firms now produce bubbly in the US, but it was Möet et Chandon that blazed the trail. Established in 1973, Domaine Chandon successfully combined Old-World expertise with Californian sunshine to produce of line of affordable and fabulous sparkling wines. ​ ​ Visit Win Herne Photography & Design A full-service grapic designer and web developer. It has been a great experience working with WHP&D and Danny's Table is pleased to have her as our webmistress. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Visit Red Tail Ridge Winery A top quality, cutting-edge Finger Lakes winery, Red Tail Ridge offers estate-bottled favorites such as Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as lesser-known Northern Italian varieties such as Teroldego and Lagrein. The pure and precisely-made bubblies are the best in the region. ​ Visit Concept2 Concept2 makes top-quality exercise equipment that gives you a great workout in your home or gym. Check out the RowErg rowing machine, the SkiErg ski machine, or the BikeErg indoor exercise bike. Buying directly from the manufacturer saves you money. ​ ​ Visit Hope Dealers BTC Inc A great all-volunteer organization helping people, including their friends and family, who suffer from substance use disorder, mental health issues, and homelessness. They are always accepting donations and volunteers. ​ ​ Visit

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