Welcome to Four Eyes Forum, a meeting place to exchange news and views on food, food photography, the word on food, food science, style and architecture. Join me, the blogger who wears glasses, in this world as I throw out engaging stuff that I think you'll find interesting, beautiful and delicious. As Charles Dudley Warner, American editor and writer, said,
"Lettuce, like conversation, requires a good deal
of oil, to avoid friction, and keep the company
smooth....You can put anything, and the more
things the better, into salad, as into a conver-
sation, but everything depends upon the skill of

That's my job.

(All photographs, unless otherwise cited, copyright
Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2016)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Savory Spice Shop Spells SEASONAL SENSATION!

Penzey Spices, warhorse of the mainstream retail spice industry, promising to come to Santa Rosa, CA soon, and has not, finds itself overshadowed by the little spice shop franchise that could, and has -- Savory Spice Shop, downtown at 317 D Street. Quite simply, they've got everything you want and need stocked on shelves in the most stunning interior renovation I've seen in many years. (I lived downtown for eight years -- I know)  They have 400 spices, 140 blends, 15 salts and peppercorns and assorted spice accessories. Co-owners Pat Benfer and Cheryl Ytreeide are friendly, knowledgeable and deadly serious about their products. It's really a pleasure to spend time in this store. I'll let my pictures do the talking.

"Hazelnuts and camomile, mignonettes and laurel, honeycombs and cinnamon, thyme, mint and garlic. This is all we shepherds can offer you."

-from Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors


"The herbs and spices are the windows;
they let in the sunshine."  - Paul Prudhomme

"Sugar and spice and everything nice."

Everything is freshly ground on premises, of course, so the smell in the store is
heavenly and lingers all the way home. Do yourself a favor and shop here. It's absolutely fantastic --  a new small business to be thankful for. Long may it thrive!

Savory Spice Shop
317 D Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 284-1310


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010


I haven't posted in the last month because I've been waiting... and holding my breath. And now that NOMA's cookbook has arrived in bookstores, someone needs to give me oxygen! It is simply one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen. The three-year project comes bound in the most delicious cloth, and then other wonderful surprises commence: a charming hand-drawn map of Scandinavia highlighting the restaurant's purveyors, essays by the principals, the recipes' photographs raised to fine art and comprising 1/2 the book's pages, and the recipes. All of it in one perfect package. I took my point and shoot to Borders yesterday and shot a few of Ditte Isager's pictures -- stunning. One wonders if she's old enough to have assisted Irving Penn before he died. His "Salad Ingredients" comes to mind. 
I share a few of my snaps of hers, with all credit to her considerable contribution to this astonishing achievement. (more of her work at ditteisager.com)

Rene Redzepi of Noma Restaurant, Copenhagen


Thursday, September 30, 2010


Four Eyes thinks the two most important cookbooks of the season are now available for pre-order at Amazon. The long awaited, much anticipated leviathan Modernist Cuisine is almost ready for its close up. Its release date has been pushed back to March '11 due to crash testing of its shipping packaging. Nevertheless, this book, to me, would be better than a puppy under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone with the ready cash to buy it for me.

(photo courtesy Nathan Myhrvold blog)
The fortunate participants of the International Food Bloggers Association, in late August, were not only introduced to the book, but also treated to a tour of the kitchen / lab of the author, former Microsoft Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold, in Bellevue, Washington. The best book review is by Betty Hallock in the Los Angeles Times Food Section. Treat yourself to this assessment. And steel yourself against the price,  $625, unless you're a dot comer yourself and think nothing of ordering luxury items in the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.
Remember, however, that it's six volumes, (they say the ink itself weighs 5 lbs--does Santa carry a fork lift in his sleigh? sure, he delivers ponies) the photography makes me SWOON, and it proves to be the tome of our new century culinary revolution. It takes its place as an uber reference work, following in the footsteps of Escoffier. Is a new "Emperor of the world's kitchens" (French press) born? I think so. 

Equally exciting news is that Rene Redzepi's cookbook, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine is ready for pre-order, also. Coinciding with the restaurant's elevation to #1 in the world by San Pelligrino, the book appears just in time for a place under the Christmas tree. I'm so excited about it, I'm going to pay full retail price for this one -- $32.97. Photo credits here go to Matt Drucher.

There are, of course, scads of other exciting holiday offerings, among them titles from food bloggers like A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. The Joy of Cooking is celebrating its 75th edition, and books like Hungry Planet: What The World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio have a global gander at food consumption. However, Modernist Cuisine and Noma are at the cutting edge of culinista interest and illustrate truly Goethe's quote from Faust, which appears in my 1974 edition of Joy of Cooking:

"That which thy fathers have bequeathed to thee,
earn it anew if thou wouldst possess it."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Autumn Locovore -- Healdsburg Farmers' Market

Canadian geese are flying over my house in the Pacific Flyway now, my late August birthday has come and gone, school busses rumble by and my appetite turns to the idea of meat loaf, pot pies, apple cider, pomegranate seeds. All this means one thing -- fall.

And so it takes center stage at farmers' markets here in northern California. Produce colors are beginning to reflect the seasonal change: brown to mahogany, oranges to sunset, burnt sienna, copper, mango. Purple/blues to indigo, plum, cadet blue. Greens to olives. The darker slices of the color wheel, vitamin rich, and rich to look at.

I went to my favorite farmers' market in Healdsburg yesterday to shoot fall colors in produce. Healdsburg is the star of wine towns in the North Bay, and has one of the finest farmers' markets anywhere in the United States. In fact, it's become a destination. I heard a lot of people talking yesterday about things back home in L.A. I also heard a lot of people speaking different languages, as you hear on the Healdsburg square. Locals and tourists alike  congregate here. It's beautiful, leisurely and warm. The young chefs come out from The Dry Creek Kitchen (Charlie Palmer's restaurant in the Hotel Healdsburg) around 10 a.m. with their adorable little red wagon and clipboards They don't mind talking advice and recipes with those bold enough to ask. Whatever they cook for dinner was picked and sold here in the morning. The farmers, too, are friendly and instructive (lots of recipe sharing and stories) and the prices are reasonable. I am most thrilled to tell you, however, that the Healdsburg Farmers' Market accepts food stamps! This is a rarity, but they've done it. Bravo for all that considerable hard work. In all, It's the quintessential market experience. If you can't make the Saturday market, they set up on the town square on Tuesday afternoons. Grab a coffee from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery or the Flying Goat and enjoy shopping the market fare.

I post a Healdsburg Market Fall Food collage today.

North Street Entrance to Market
Dry Creek Kitchen Chefs Foraging

Market Dog #1 "I see him! He's got my treats!"

Market Dog #2 "Forget cute. When I give the signal, howl for treats!'
Market Dog #3 "Don't forget the treats, mom. The treats!"

Heirloom Tomatoes - Softball Size

Soda Rock's Truck. Great Signage!

J $ R Roasters

Last Of The Blackberries

Apples, apples and more apples!

Foggy River Farm
French Prunes! What doesn't Healdsburg have?
Asian Pears

Late Summer Corn -- A Haiku
Pepper Still Life
Kale As Redhead - Me, Me, Me!

Support your local farmers and delight in the season wherever you are. Pumpkin patches coming soon!

Monday, August 30, 2010


On August 5th, I read about Noma, the restaurant voted #1 in the world. I read this article, an interview with the chef Rene Redzepi, in the London Times. It was and is a big deal, as he has given the word 'locavore' new meaning, taking it to new heights. I posted all this on August 7th.
Two weeks ago I bought the September issue of Vogue (the big one, the most important issue of the year) and on p. 672 there is a feature article on Noma! I nearly fell over! I admit to being gleeful about printing the news first. Stay with me, dear Followers -- Four Eyes is always on the cutting edge. Another example -- see A razor A shiny knife on my blogroll, an interactive cooking theater based on molecular gastronomy. I'll give myself 5 'Os' on the newly created Four Eyes rating system -- Whoooooa!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

SIFT, a cupcakery: Eyes Bugged Out

From the polka dots on the window to the kiddie corner inside, it's all bubble gum colors and sugar plum dreams at Sift, Santa Rosa's new, premiere cupcakery, Sift. I know, I know, aren't cupcakes a dying food trend? I don't think so, not yet, not here. It just caught up to getting here in Santa Rosa! Sift resurrects the inner child.

Only a few months old, Sift has been done right. It's always busy, but the wait, if any, is short. And it's fun to while away those minutes looking at adults with eyes bugged out at the choices -- fifteen, plus seasonal flavors, custom cupcakes, Cruffles and Top Cakes. Those numbers double for wedding cake, filling and frosting choices. They also have adorable t-shirts and party items, and the space is rentable. Chandeliers? Tulips? Designer furniture? I love it all.

It's hard to imagine a guy with a host of tattoos is behind much of this, but Christian King, the head decorator, is just that.

He told me that at Sift, they use the art of Gumpaste and fondant to create their cupcakes. It's a 
technique he had to go to Oakland to learn.

And what cupcakes!
They earn a 5 'O' rating on the Four Eyes Rating Scale.
That's 'Whoooooa!'

The cupcakes range in density of cake
and intensity of flavor
from these lemon cupcakes

Black Cherry Jungle, a rich chocolate cake, black cherry frosting and a cherry on top
the wild Irish Carbomb, named after the famous drink that's nothing but trouble-- rich chocolate Guinness cake with Irish Cream frosting.

I've been in three times this week since stumbling upon them while doing some copying downtown.  I suppose this obsession will subside, although I'm afraid of myself. Maybe this is an addiction I can't kick.

(707) 703-4228