This is a 100% Absolutely Fool-Proof, Never-Fail Method for Determining When Spaghetti and Other Pastas are Fully Cooked!

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This post was first published in February of this year…

There is a 100% Absolutely Fool-Proof, Never-Fail method for determining when Spaghetti and other (Linguine, Fettuccine and other “long, solid”) pastas are fully cooked! This particularly pertains to dry pastas, rather than *”soft” Homemade noodles, although the following method can be used, to some degree, for any pasta.

First of all, don’t do this: “Some like to fling it up to the ceiling, onto the wall or [on] to the dog to see if it acutally sticks.” This is a fairly common Dumbism, the theory being: that if the pasta is done, it will stick. So will overdone pasta. I prefer my methodology.

As a strand of semolina/flour spaghetti for instance cooks, the outer (cooked) edge turns a creamy/golden color as the (uncooked) core (anima) retains a whitish hue. (If the pasta contains spinach or other ingredients the colors, of course, will be different. With some fresh pastas, the colors are inverted – just look for differences.)

Cooking the pasta: First bring the correct amount of water to a rolling boil. Find the suggested cooking time, which is usually listed on the package or box of noodles. This will give you an approximate idea of the total cooking time, so you won’t have to keep checking the pasta excessively.

When you get to within a few minutes of the suggested cooking time, remove a single strand of the pasta with a fork and cut it (or bite it) in half. Do this (several times if necessary)¬†until: looking at the sliced edge, you see a whitish anima (core) about the size of a period [ . ] This is the state of the pasta at about one minute (more or less) before it is fully cooked; the pasta is cooked “Al Dente” at this point. Remove the pasta, if you want it cooked Al Dente or, give it a bit more time until the whitish anima completely dissappears – then the pasta is 100% cooked. Knowing the Al Dente point, you can adjust the pasta to preference, harder (Al Dente) or softer.

This LasVegasBuffetClub animated GIF shows how a piece of pasta changes color during the cooking process: the raw uncooked pasta starts off as pale white, then the outer edge starts to turn creamy/gold as it cooks – the anima remains whitish. At the Al Dente point, the anima is reduced to the size of a period [.] (GIF pictures are exagerated.) The whitish anima diminishes until disappearing, when the pasta is fully cooked.

Cooking Pasta
Cooking Pasta

Fresh pastas and pastas of other shapes can be similarly monitored, just look for “differences.”
*Some big, fat Homemade noodles may take 30-40 minutes to cook fully.
Who said: “I like fat spaghetti and skinny women?”

Cooking For Engineers is a “technical” Food Website…
View a WIKI page on pasta…
Visit the Recipe Pages of LasVegasBuffetClub.Com…
Visit the Home Page of LasVegasBuffetClub.Com…
[All text/Animated GIF belong to the LasVegasBuffetClub-Copyright © 2009 LasVegasBuffetClub.]

Just Like Old Times: Art Bell On The Air

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Overnight radio emperor, Art Bell, was On-The-Air last night, broadcasting live from Manila (in the Philippines.)
May 16, 2009 …”Live from Manila, Art Bell returned for a discussion with Prof. Peter Ward about his latest work on mass extinctions and the self destructive nature of our planet, as well as the possibility for life in our solar system and beyond. Saturn’s moon…”

Nice suprise to turn on the radio last night and hear the master back on the “Coast To Coast” all-night radio program. Apparently Mr. Bell was back in Manila on business and did a show from his condo in the Philippines.

It was a “blast from the past” reminiscent of “Coast To Coast” programs in the 90s. Tucked in my RV, I’d listen to the show – all night long – while parked in the desert just outside Pahrump (Nevada) a few miles from Art’s house. In those days, AB was broadcasting from his home in Pahrump, after moving to Pahrump from Las Vegas, where he began the overnight show. In Las Vegas he was broadcasting from KDWN.

Access the Coast to Coast website

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Silk Purse In A Sow’s Ear: El Cortez Cabana Suites – Downtown Las Vegas

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Photo by Sarah Gerke, LA Times

Although I used the “Silk Purse” phrase (in it’s original form) in the previous post, I had to reuse it here (rearranged) just because it was necessary: a boutique hotel next to The El Cortez, unheard of! (The El Cortez has always been on the edge of the fringe, located in a downtown area that is a bit rough, close to a very rough area.) LA Times’ Richard Abowitz (The Movable Buffet: Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz) has heard of it and he’s written about it. Here’s a “reprint” of Mr. A’s post.

“South Beach style replaces downtown dirt”

“I approached the El Cortez Cabana Suites with great trepidation. Of all the downtown resorts few are more storied than the El Cortez, and few have I seen more rundown. And, these tough times for the Strip, are brutal for downtown. The Lady Luck seems to have just vanished. The expensive redevelopment project meant to attract tourists, the mostly empty Neonopolis, recently lost one of its few remaining major tenants, a movie theater. And classic property Binion’s is feuding with some landlords for its very survival. So who would expect that El Cortez has never looked better?”

“Dating back to the ’40s, El Cortez may be the most storied downtown casino if by storied you mean old Vegas mob glamor. Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway all at one time owned part of the property. There are photos of those characters around the executive offices. And the last time I was there a few years ago, it seemed you could still smell their cigarette and cigar smoke in the air at the casino.”

“But this time as I headed to the executive suites the smell was some sort of perfume. In addition to an updated air filtration system, General Manager Mike Nolan tells me the casino is experimenting with scents in the air. It isn’t exactly a pleasant smell, but it does mask any lingering scent of smoke and wear and tear that used to define the property. Plus, while there are older sections of the casino, much of the property has been extensively redesigned and redeveloped. Among the redone areas: The coffee shop is nice, and a bathroom is not disgusting (actually quite decent).”

“But the most visible change is next door, at overflow property Ogden House at 651 E. Ogden Ave., between 6th and 7th streets. Built around 1975 and changed little, if the El Cortez was rundown, consider Ogden House’s condition. In fact, virtually everything but the walls has been redone. After spending more than $7 million, the casino barracks has been transformed into a South Beach-style boutique-hotel called El Cortez Cabana Suites.”

“This is probably one of those ideas, like so many of the new resorts seeking financing for completion on the Strip right now, that made a lot of sense when it was planned in 2007 and seems downright odd in 2009.”

“Who would want a boutique hotel in downtown Vegas? Perhaps some high-end tourists truly value the proximity to easily available street dealers and hookers and grifters? Don’t get me wrong. El Cortez Cabana Suites are the nicest rooms in downtown Vegas, even nicer than the ones I’ve seen at the Golden Nugget. But who goes to downtown for the boutique hotel experience? Downtown has always been the place for extreme bargains. And here is a gorgeous and stylish hotel thought out down to the I-pod docking station and a concierge who assists with guests, offers security, and finally works as the hotel’s new media specialist keeping the property a constant and responsive presence on social networking sites. All this in a neighborhood that still has as many empty fronts as going concerns.”

“Still, the over $7 million that the El Cortez Cabana Suites cost would not fund even a study to build a resort on the Strip. And that is one of the advantages of building downtown. The cognitive dissonance is caused by this boutique hotel being built to be part of an urban hipster population that was to come with a downtown renaissance of clubs and condominium towers that did not fully materialize.”

“Nolan points to some nearby empty buildings that he hopes will be clubs and stores pending financing. A blue tarp is placed in the parking lot ground for a VIP event later that night. The hope is this parking lot will eventually be the pool for the Cabana Suites, one day, when economy bounces back.”

“Anyway, I am working on the Buffet print column for May 17 about the El Cortez and its new offspring, Cabana Suites. But for sure if you want to explore old Las Vegas on your visit but not sacrifice a nice room like the ones on the Strip, El Cortez Cabana Suites is a new alternative that allows you to see the the dirty urban origins of Vegas without having to take a cut in the contemporary Vegas luxury experience.”
Story by Richard Abowitz

Click this link to access The Movable Buffet: Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz

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Old School! New School! Two Italian Restaurants In Denver: PATSY’S INN Italian Restaurant and PARISI Pizzeria, Deli and Trattoria.

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PATSY’S Italian Restaurant
3651 Navajo Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 477-8910

Patsy's Italian Restaurant
Patsy's Italian Restaurant-click to enlarge

“With a history that spans more than 80 years, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant is Denver’s oldest Italian restaurant. Founded in 1921 by the Aiello family, Patsy’s has undergone a few changes over the years but the heart and soul of tradition have remained the same.” read more from Patsy’s website…

This has been one of my favorite Denver restaurants for years. “It’s the restaurant stupid!” I mean the restaurant itself, the physical property: the dining room, the kitchen, the bar, the little shaded-lamps on the walls of the booths, the booths, the [1]two-way mirror behind the bar, the back-room behind the two-way mirror, the mural along one wall, and the fact that they haven’t changed a single, solitary-thing – as far as I know – in decades! These are the things that make Patsy’s, Patsy’s. The photos on the walls and bar have been there since the summer of 1921. O.K. I don’t really know that, but…

Imagine a Marty Scorsese film: Brooklin, NY (1959) “A quiet summer evening in a neighborhood restaurant – cut to a Ted Williams’ Louisville Slugger.” Somebody “whacks” somebody. Ba-Da-Bing! Ba-Da-Boom! The End! Fugedaboudit!

Patsy’s has been serving the same Italian food for years, from at least three different owners. And the food is authentic and tasty, if you like Southern-Italian cuisine. I happen to like it.

From Patsy’s menu:
“Pasta! Served with your choice of soup or salad and Patsy’s original spaghetti sauce”
Homemade Spaghetti – Patsy’s Specialty! ($9.50.) Check the menu on Patsy’s website for other pastas.

From the menu:
House Favorites! Includes bread and your choice of soup or salad”
Baked Lasagna or Eggplant Lasagna – Sausage or lightly breaded baked eggplant, layered with pasta, Patsy’s original spaghetti sauce ricotta, romano and provolone. Topped with mozzarella ($13.00)

Putanesca – A spicy specialty of Trastevere. Tomatoes, capers, calamata olives and red pepper, with white wine and olive oil over fettucine ($11.00)
Topped with grilled chicken breast ($14.00)

Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan – Tender chicken breast rolled in seasoned bread crumbs, or seasoned baked eggplant. Topped with Patsy’s original spaghetti sauce, parmesan and mozzarella, with homemade spaghetti ($14.00) Check the menu on Patsy’s website for more entrees.

Also: Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Desserts, Sandwiches, Lunches, Wines and a Full Bar with a dozen stools

We were told that a relative of the original owner/family (The Aiellos) is the new owner and proprietor of Patsy’s Inn. Patsy’s has a huge parking lot on Navajo – 1/4 block north of the restaurant.

Access Patsy’s Official Website with menu, photos, directions and more…

Memo to Martin Scorsese and other Film Industry execs: You used Las Vegas’ Peppermill’s lounge in “Casino”and The Golden Gate’s, Bay City Diner in “Pay It Forward.” Give this place a try. Fugedaboudit!
[1] The “backing” behind the glass has been removed. The “two-way” mirror is now just clear glass. “I saw you looking at the glass.”

PARISI Pizzeria, Deli and Trattoria
4401 Tennyson St.
Denver, Colorado 80212

Parisi-click to enlarge

I was driving down Tennyson the other day and saw sidewalk tables and thought I saw a big white sign that read “Paris,” and underneath the sign, “Pizzeria.” I chortled and thought to myself: the French have joined in the *Denver Pizza Wars. Of course, the sign read: Parisi – the last i was obscured.

I made a mental note to return. Tonight I did. Parisi is a Tuscan-California-Modern-style, “hip and now” Pizzeria/Restaurant/Deli in an older north-west Denver neighborhood.

“You can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Not that the old building is a sow’s ear, it’s just that Parisi did a remarkable job redoing the plain-jane building. The restaurant’s interior is fresh, shiny and new. Visual flavors of a Tuscan village are imparted by the architecture, as well as flavors of a modern Califormia restaurant.

Ordering food offers a twist: walk up to a counter, order and pay. One is issued a seat (by number,) one sits – someone brings your order to the table.

Lotsa-Pasta is on the menu: mostly Penne w/this or, Spaghetti w/that, Lasagna, Gnocchi etc. See all available pastas by clicking on Parisi’s website link (below.)

Specialty Pizzas (11″ and 14″) are available (from $8.99 to $15.99,) for example: Prosciutto and Funghi (prosciutto cotto and mushrooms) $10.99 / $14.99. (For you and me, that’s ‘shrooms & ham.)
Also: Calzones ($10.99,) Panini (6″ $5.99 – 10″ $7.49,) Focaccia ($7.99,) Salads, Daily Specials and more. Click Parisi’s link to view the full menu (below.)

There is a wood-oven and pizza prep “stage” with a few seats – watch the pizza assembly with a glass of wine (wine starts at about five bucks.) The Parisi on-site Deli has prepared foods, canned goods, cheeses, dry-pastas, and a small on-the-wall dining table with a few stools.

On our first visit, we ordered the Lasagne ($7.49,) and a dinner salad (1.99.) First blush revealed an unexpected sight: the plate of Lasagne had an orange tint. Whoa, it looked as though the Lasagna was topped with grated, yellow cheese. Whew! We inquired and found out the orange color was from grated carrots. Although not a large portion, and a bit overcooked the Lasagna was good, still a bit different. The nice mixed-greens / spinich, dinner salad was a deal at two bucks. I want to return to try the gnocchi, spaghetti and pizza. Overall the expierience was positive.

firenza a tavola is a formal restaurant “secretely found down the stairwell adjacent to our ordering line.” Part wine-celler, part high-end, basement restaurant, firenza a tavola is very warm and cozy, with a 2nd (small) bar.

On the menu: Zuppe e Insalate ($5-$10,) Antipasti Dalla Cucina ($9-$13,) Prosciutti ($8-$14,) Primi ($17-$20,) Secondi ($21-$32.)

For example: Cacciucco alla Livornese! Traditional seafood stew of Livorno made of slow simmered sea bass, mussels, scallops, shrimp and cuttlefish in an aromatic stew of shellfish stock, garlic, chili flakes, parsley and white wine, served with garlic rubbed ciabatta crostini ($21.)

Click here to see Parisi’s full menu…

(*Competition for Denver pizza business between some Greek-Americans and Italian-Americans.”)

Access the main web pages of LasVegasBuffetClub.Com

The Moon will be 100% Full on May 8th, at 9:01 PM – Las Vegas Time.

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Adobe Moon in the City
Adobe Moon in the City
click to enlarge

The Moon will be 100% Full on May 8th, at 9:01 PM – Las Vegas Time.
The May 8th Moon Rises at 7:37 PM and Sets at 4:59 AM – Las Vegas time.
read more…

From Western Washington University:
“American Indians gave names to each of the full moons to keep track of the passing year. The names are associated with the entire month until the next full moon occurs. Since a lunar month averages 29 days, the dates of the moons change from year to year. Here are titles most closely associated with calendar months” read more…

The May Moon in the language of the Native Zuni, of Southwest, New Mexico is “yachun kwa’shi’amme” which translated, means: “no name.”
read more…

From the Old Farmer’s Almanac: “Historically the Native Americans who lived in the area that is now the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to the recurring full Moons. Each full Moon name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred. These names, and some variations, were used by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.” read more…

“The full Moon name for this month is Full Flower Moon. Flowers spring forth in abundance this month. Some Algonquin tribes knew this full Moon as the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.” read more…

click the figure (below) to find information on a particular tribe’s moon names.

“Is the distance between Earth and the Moon increasing?” click here for the answer from The Old Farmer’s Almanac…

The Adobe Moon In The City graphic at the top of the page includes a generic full moon photograph which was shot from downtown Las Vegas in the 90s. It was “Photoshopped” into the “frame.” The poster is available for purchase.

Visit the main pages of

WORKING GIRLS: Las Vegas’ 50 most prolific prostitutes

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[photo –]

VICE ENFORCEMENT’S TOP OFFENDERS: Police are taking unprecedented steps to keep prostitution offenders off the Strip, By ALAN MAIMON – LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (This is a “reprint” of an older post from The Review Journal.)

“Call it a unique kind of most wanted list or simply an attempt to clamp down on the area’s worst-kept secret.”

“Working off a roster of the reputed 50 “most prolific prostitutes” in Clark County, Las Vegas police and prosecutors are taking unprecedented steps to keep repeat prostitution offenders off the Strip.
Some are criticizing the law enforcement crackdown as overly aggressive. And it comes at a time when some policymakers are talking about eventually legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution in the Las Vegas Valley.”
“The Vice Enforcement Top Offenders (VETO) list, which took the vice unit two years to compile, has the names of women with the longest prostitution-related criminal records in Clark County, said Lt. Karen Hughes.”

(“Most of the women on the list have been convicted of exchanging sex for money or of prostitution-related theft charges inside several Strip hotels, not for street prostitution.”) read more and view photos…

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