Monday, December 19, 2011

Fruit flies invite themselves to dinner

Bob's Red Mill
Image via Wikipedia
My favorite cereal from Bob's Red Mill in Oregon is made with 10 grains.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss dinner at a Brazilian restaurant in Newark's Ironbound section; a documentary that questions our over-reliance on animal protein, and a hot cereal that is far better than oatmeal.

The first thing we noticed late Sunday afternoon at the Casa Nova Grill in Newark was how crowded it was on a day when the temperature hovered around freezing.

But we only had to wait inside the door for about 5 minutes before we were shown to a table in one of the first-floor dining rooms of this Brazilian restaurant in the Ironbound section.

The second thing we noticed were two or three of those tiny fruit flies over our table, the ones that seem impossible to kill -- and I tried. They stayed for dinner.

When we asked our waiter, Oswaldo, about the flies, he said the management was aware of them and that after closing the night before, the restaurant was fumigated. A second fumigation was scheduled for that night.

Our last visit to Casa Nova was on an overcast April day, when few of the cherry trees in Branch Brook Park had blossomed. We ordered too much and our bill for three soared over $100.

On Sunday, after a concert at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, my wife and I ordered two entrees to share, which came with a visit to the salad bar.

Our main dishes were Giant Tiger Shrimp from Mozambique ($20.95) and Cod Fish, Portuguese style ($15.95). My wife drank fruit juice ($4) and I had a generous glass of California merlot ($5). 

Brazilians love meat, as we saw from waiters walking around the dining room with skewers of skirt steak, sausage and other items, and stopping at tables to serve customers who had ordered unlimited barbecue.

But they also love carbohydrates and starch: We found a platter of tasty potato sticks on the salad bar, and we got two small servings of delicious cheese bread, a couple of Portuguese rolls, sliced bread and freshly made potato chips with the shrimp, and boiled potato and a side dish of white rice with the cod stew.

The two head-on shrimp are the biggest I've seen served in a restaurant, and they came in the shell with a dipping sauce of garlicky oil.

Skin-on salted cod fillets were served in a milky broth with a boiled egg, boiled potato and whole garlic cloves, which melted in the mouth, and they were covered with shredded collard green.

The selection on the salad bar didn't seem as varied as on our first visit, but we did find beets, crunchy steamed broccoli, small tomatoes with cheese and those potato sticks.

The restaurant also serves salted cod or bacalhau, Brazilian style, with marinara sauce; and a Brazilian fish stew with coconut milk, as well as whole red snapper, each at around $16. 

Casa Nova Grill, 264 Ferry St., Newark; 973-817-7272.

'Forks Over Knives'

"Forks Over Knives," a new documentary I got from Netflix, argues animal proteins -- from meat, dairy and eggs -- are slowing killing us.

The doctors and scientists who appear in the film claim they can reverse and cure heart disease, cancer and other major health problems with a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Several people are shown throwing away their medications, and turning to such a diet, as well as to exercise. All lose weight and improve their health tremendously.

Bob's Red Mill Cereal

After my exercise session at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center this morning, I stopped at the ShopRite for more of Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal.

A 25-ounce package of the whole-grain cereal cost $2.79. 

Preparation takes about 15 minutes on the stove top. I usually add dried blueberries, and cut-up dried apricots, plums and dates to it, as well as slivered almonds or pine nuts, and blue agave syrup as a sweetener.

The cereal comes from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods Inc., an employee-owned company in Oregon. Here's a link to its Web site: 

Bob says, "To Your Good Health"

I also picked up 5 pounds of clementines from California for $4.99 with a store card, and a half-gallon of ShopRite 2% Lactose-Free Milk for $3.29, 20 cents less than usual.

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