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)

Friday, July 17, 2015

'F' is for Farm

One of the reasons I moved to Traverse City is that, although a city dweller, I need access to farms and farm folks at any time.  This feeling could go back to my Kansas roots, or to a much deeper human urge to 'grow' things. In any case, northern Michigan is deep agricultural country, and farms dot the landscape as frequently as lakes do. One such special place is Holmstead Farm, at 2102 West Long Lake Road. It's organic and CSA. It's stewards are Becky and Marshall Holmes, and their children and grandchildren, and teddy bears, and cats, and chickens, and friends, and customers.

'F' is for Farm.
'C' is for,  "Come and rest awhile."

'L' is for Grandma's Ginger Lemonade.

'G' is for Grandma, who never rests.

'C' is for Chickens. Barred Rock Chickens.
'E' is for crazy good eggs.

'M' is for Farm Mouser.

'B' is for bike; they come from everywhere around.

'T' is for table, a CSA dinner.

From the Odyssey, the code of hospitality is an ancient code
common to just about every known culture and moral code.
It states that anyone who comes to your home, invited of uninvited,
should be treated with the utmost respect, provided food, comfort
and basically be treated like family. Turning away someone's request
for shelter or mistreating a guest was a terrible, shameful act, worthy
of severe punishment by the Gods. By virtue of its existence, Holmstead Farm
honors this code. Of course, you can look at their Facebook Page, but, to really see for yourself, watch for the barn and just turn at the Egg sign about a 1/2 mile from Crescent Shores Road.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Great Culinary Divide -- My Exploration Of Gender Bias In The Professional Kitchen

I just received word that a spec article I'm writing on gender bias in the culinary workplace may be published in Taverse Magazine. The topic is important to me because I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area before coming to Traverse City, MI three years ago, and I'm, therefore, a diner used to eating in female-led restaurants. Julia Child, Cindy Pawlcyn, Alice Waters and others set the standard for the nation, raising the bar for women in a male dominated workplace.  Having followed online coverage of the recent Women Chefs and Restauranteurs annual conference in NYC, I struck out to solicit the help of co-chef/owners Jennifer Blakeslee and Eric Patterson, to find out what makes their partnership tick. They generously opened their kitchen at The Cooks' House, to this fledgling explorer. Here are the pictorial results of an evening shooting there during a wine pairing dinner where equity was everywhere in evidence. 

Jennifer and Eric

Menu - Front of the house.

Menu - Back of the House.

More than one route to the same destination!




Savory Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Tart

Sparkling Gruener, Mari Vineyards, Old Mission Peninsula

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Four Eyes' Fifth Anniversary, And A Return To The Strawberry Theme That Started It All

Uncle Tom would've been proud to sit among the guests at The Strawberry Social at Holmstead Farms in Traverse City, Michigan today! If you remember, Followers, this blog came to be as a result of a memory of Uncle Tom's Fourth of July Strawberry Ice Cream.
Had I not known better, I might've thought this was an anniversary party!

Great summer salads were in abundance, and strawberries galore. After a long, long winter, everything is tearing out of the ground and onto the plate. This party gave the moniker 'Farm to Table' new meaning, given the farm was the table.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be An Easter Diner…At The Boathouse!

I'm so glad I don't have any food phobias, as I recently discovered my cousin has. Any buffet, private or public, she says, gives her the willies, because, "People are breathing on that food!  There could be human hair in it! And it just sits there for too long." Well, to carry that fear around is a terrible burden, not to mention balloon-deflater at holiday celebrations consumed 'out.' Such was not the case for me, thankfully, at Easter Brunch at The Boathouse restaurant in Traverse City, MI. This was my third experience there, and the best yet as all the chefs were out slicing and serving, heating up the omelette station, the pastry chef replenishing the lemon curd, and were as affable and as chatty as they could be. 

Chef Jim Morse, welcoming presence.

Honey Ham, as enticing as a sunset.

There wasn't a moment's hesitation at questions I threw at them, and they changed out their stations regularly -- my cousin would have approved, I think. Everything was so delicious, in fact, that a platter didn't have a chance to 'sit.' People were eating ravenously and many, like me, ate like student athletes on the football team. I may have felt a twinge of self-consciousness, but that disappeared quickly -- everything was just too good. And I had gone over the stations on the web, had plotted my culinary strategy, and proceeded with small plates so that I could taste everything they had to dish out. And dish out they did. A photo gallery of some of the offerings.
Olives, olives, olives, salami, and pickled things, like asparagus, were at the first station

I named the Oyster Bar "Ed," because
my friend ate so many! He finally declared himself done when
he could hear them sloshing around in his stomach!

For bagels.

And more hors d'oeuvre selections

Boathouse Prime Rib

Desserts. Kudos to the pastry chef!  There was Creme Brûlée, also, and pie dough pinwheels, with fresh fruit drops at their centers. They were exemplary.

Long story short, The Boathouse is a holiday I mean by that deeply satisfying, to the body and soul. And a satisfaction that lasts. "Serenely full, the epicure would say, Fate cannot harm me, I have dined today." --Sydney Smith, English clergyman and essayist.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter, 2015

This just in from The San Francisco Chronicle Food Section. FINALLY we know what to do with those things called Peeps!
It's just twisted enough to add to tomorrow's menu.
If I had one. I'm going out; more on that tomorrow.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Photo Transfer

This is fun; I'm talking with a client in Florida who has two ideas --  1. Make a room divider out of my image, "Limeade At The State Fair"  (macro, 51"x51") between her living room and dining room by the bar.  2. Photo transfer to material and upholster dining room chairs. Paint walls in same color palette. Yellow? Pantone Florida Citrus? Oh, La Dolce Vita!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Someone Call The White House!

Oh, now, this is cool! 

Once upon a time, some forty-six years ago, in the city of Santa Rosa, CA (about forty-five minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge and my home before Traverse City) a young couple started an organic grocery store called Food For Thought. They were hippies with a vision -- bring the natural, organic garden to the people! And they did so for many years. Then, one day, they got a buyout offer, and, as they were thinking of retiring, decided to accept it. (with all kinds of organic stipulations) The new company was born, bearing the name Whole Foods. Yes, the one.

Meanwhile, down the road about 20 miles, in Petaluma, CA, which remains populated by hippies-turned-huppies,(my word for grown-up Yuppies) turned retirees, another couple started a vegetarian frozen food business called Amy's, named for their young child. 

They took a chance on vegetarian frozen food, as nothing like that existed at the time, and they felt  there was an untapped market in young parents who shared the same 'busy' juggling act between parenthood and careers and good food. In the organic spirit of Alice Waters (who started the iconic Chez Panisse Restaurant in nearby Berkley, and later became an advisor to The First Lady about the White House Garden)  they went into production and, twenty something years later, I've discovered they're opening a fast food, organic, vegetarian, drive-thru restaurant! This is especially groundbreaking because they're doing it in an area jammed with fast food establishments. This area is called Rohnert Park, which is a commuter park-and-ride gateway to San Francisco, and home to Sonoma State University. We will see how this goes, but I predict it's going to go very well. The little business that could! Was it the Feng Shui of pure Intention? Whatever it is, congrats, Amy's! You know how proud you are when your friends succeed? That's how I feel today. Here's the link to more.


I'm calling Michelle!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Restaurant Week, Traverse City, Michigan, 2015 Fair Weather At The Boathouse

Dinner at the Academy Awards is a culinary celebration of fantasy made real, but the offerings at Restaurant Weeks across the country are quite extraordinary, also. Witness Restaurant Week in Traverse City, 2015. I was invited to The Boathouse, one of the finest restaurants in town, and it rose to the occasion and shined, glowed, warmed, delighted!
All for $25. (my friend from Boston let out an audible gasp when she heard that)

To set the evening's tone, the drive out from town was unexpectedly delightful. It didn't snow all day and the temps weren't bone chilling yet. Additionally, the road was in good shape, so we could relax enough to take in the view of  Grand Traverse Bay, frozen though it was, and the lovely homes which line Peninsula Drive.

And that just made the dining experience more seductive. I love the interior design of The Boathouse. There are three large dining areas, and all are inviting spaces.  Most importantly to me, the acoustics are such that it's not loud and echoey.  The lighting is softly bright, shining out of beautiful spiky sconces and ceiling fixtures from Old Hickory Furniture Co., that resemble brown, bare branches. (the website calls it 'cottage decor' -- I call it 'hip, cottage decor') Very nice in total. (I was especially impressed that the decor matched the clothes of my friend's daughter -- those subtleties a photographer really appreciates.)

P.S. These rolls were incredible!

The fireplace could be bigger, but it was there, burning comfortably in the largest room. It adds to the general ambiance more than anything else, because what's central to the dining space is that it's window-lined. (we could see people Cross Country Skiing on the frozen harbor outside. Charming!)

All this set the stage for the meal -- appetizer, entree, dessert. You can Google Restaurant Week for the full offering, but, after the Wedge Salad, (which I adore!) 
I had the 5 oz. steak (black angus), with fingerling potato, parsnip puree, haricot vert, tomato jam. and it was perfection!  
The Parsnip Puree rocked!

My dining partner had the lobster and it, too, was outstanding. 

I saw more of these coming out of the kitchen than anything else. The combinations of stuffing got more and more interesting to the palate, too, working from north to south. We were assured it was fresh Maine Lobster. It certainly tasted that way.

Dessert was a tad underwhelming after the fireworks of the entrees, and small portions, now that I think of it. But that was somehow in keeping with the winter mood -- just a little chocolate, creme brûlée, or apple crisp to go with that last sip of champagne; that was a more fitting conclusion to this lovely meal than more sugar.

By the time we were done, the light had finally faded from the sky, and the parking lot was a shimmering, blue canvas of snow. I'll return in the spring to check for continuity, but I've eaten at the Boathouse twice now, and a third time will make real my endorsement for best restaurant in Traverse City.