Classic Chicago Dogs: It’s what’s for dinner

We try to plan our meals during the week to keep up with our busy schedules — we had homemade spaghetti sauce last night (I adore our Vitamix), and grilled Alaskan King salmon the night before (our well-seasoned Lodge cast iron skillet is my No. 2 favorite cooking utensil next to the Vitamix).

Tonight we’re going to have classic Chicago Dogs. For the Cubs, Game 5 tonight is simple: Score some runs.

As for the Chicago Dog, I ordered them from Vienna Beef in Chicago earlier in the week. The box arrived with the familiar “V” logo stamped on the side. It included a card that read: “Thank You for your purchase from Vienna Beef. Your order was packed by J.N.” — a classic touch.

The box included Vienna Beef dogs, poppy seed buns (S. Rosen’s), a jar of Vienna sport peppers, a jar of bright green relish (of course), a jar of yellow mustard and a jar of celery salt. I had celery salt in the cupboard — for Bloody Mary’s during football weekends — as well as Dijon mustard. But I lacked the bright yellow mustard that goes with a Chicago Dog.

Chicago Dogs also are “dragged through the garden,” so I supplied the tomatoes, onions and pickle spears.

The “ritual” goes like this: Brush outsides of poppy seed buns with butter; bake, split sides down, until warm, about 5 minutes; warm hot dogs in boiling water for 5 minutes; transfer to buns; arrange a pickle on 1 side of each hot dog and 2 tomatoes on the other side; squirt mustard over each in a zigzag; top with a dollop of relish; divide onion among hot dog; top each with a sport pepper. Sprinkle with celery salt. No ketchup! (I grill them).

We have enough dogs and fixings left for a Cubs-Dodger series, which is what I’m hoping for. A few years ago, we had Dodger Dogs — also a tradition. You can get the extra-long ones from Taylor’s Market in Sacramento.

“Farmer John introduced the World Famous Dodger Dogs in 1966, this wiener is now served in most stadiums in Southern California,” the hot dog maker reports.

Here’s a video on the ritual of building a Chicago Dog (a variation on the other recipe), and a review of hot dog stands in Chicago.

Southwest Airlines plans to launch flights to Hawaii

“Southwest Airlines Co. today shared plans to begin selling tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii and also announced its intention to launch an application process for Federal Aviation Administration authorization for Extended Operations (ETOPS). Service details are to be announced at a later date.

“‘A day long-awaited by our Customers, fans, and more than 55,000 of the world’s most-loved airline Employees is finally within sight—a day that will showcase your Hospitality, about as far Southwest as you can go in the U.S.,'” Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly told thousands of Southwest Employees at a Company gathering in Southern California. “‘Hawaii is an important place for Southwest Airlines because so many people count on us to take them everywhere they want to go reliably and affordably. We’re ready and excited to address a request we’ve heard for years.'”

The Union’s losing battle against social media

The internet has changed the way we communicate forever, but The Union is still fighting it. And it’s a losing battle.

“We recently launched The Union NOW, found on the home page of, in order to quickly share information to our website from our social media accounts,” writes Editor Brian Hamilton in his weekly column.

“Reporters and editors on the scene of an incident can quickly post information through their mobile phones that is published via this portal to all of The Union’s social media accounts. You don’t need to be on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to view the latest information from The Union newsroom — and various other relevant social media efforts.”

Huh? What was left out, however, is that “The Union NOW” does not include all the other content on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram from citizens, competing media and businesses in our community who are posting their own information — unless The Union decides it should be shared on its own proprietary feed.

It is “walled off.”

The Union NOW also touts a “live scanner feed,” but that is not proprietary. It is hosted by Broadcastify.

The Union NOW can never compete with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for content. It’s a ludicrous notion. That battle is over. It would be better off to embrace all social media and ramp up the quality and quantity of its content.

“Sneak Peek” at Fall cover of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine

Here’s a “sneak peek” at the Fall cover of our magazine — a special edition focusing on the performing arts in our region. We chose Olof Carmel’s “Autumn View, El Cap” as our cover photo, because it is our most famous “Sierra stage” in the natural world. The Carmel’s own the Carmel Gallery — one gallery in Truckee and another in Calistoga. Olof’s spouse, Elizabeth, also a photographer and a friend, has been on the board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA).  We will begin distributing our latest issue — which was a sell out — at the end of the week throughout the region: in print, on the web and in a cool version customized for smartphones (called Lily). Most magazines just produce a PDF “flip book,” but ours has more features. “Lily” is generating readership in the Bay Area for visitors to the foothills and High Sierra.

10 dead as Wine Country fires burn at least 1,500 structures, force evacuations

“A swarm of fires supercharged by powerful winds ripped through Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties Monday, killing at least 10 people, injuring dozens of others, destroying more than 1,500 homes and businesses, and turning prominent wineries to ash,” as the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting

“Starting in the middle of the night, the fires hopscotched across neighborhoods, raced across fields and jumped freeways. Wind gusts up to 70 mph pushed walls of flames nearly 100 feet high, throwing embers ahead like hot fingers into strip malls and subdivisions. Many people who fled the surge had enough time to grab car keys, perhaps a pet, but not much more.

“And some didn’t get out. Sonoma County sheriff’s officials said seven people had died in that county. Two people died in a blaze in Napa, state fire officials said. At least one person was killed in Mendocino County. In addition, Sonoma County officials received more than 100 reports of missing people as of Monday evening, said Scott Alonso, a county spokesman.

“Facing one of the most damaging series of blazes in modern California history — fires that left thousands of evacuees in scores of emergency shelters and parts of the wine industry potentially crippled — Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa and Sonoma counties as well as fire-struck Yuba County. The move will make it easier for local and state officials to secure government aid.

“The blazes blackened 103,000 acres and blanketed much of the Bay Area in cough-inducing smoke. And it wasn’t just the North Bay that was hit hard.

“In Napa and Sonoma counties, more than 100 people were treated at hospitals for injuries that included burns and smoke inhalation. Two patients with severe burns were in critical condition at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, officials said.

“Hundreds of firefighters streamed into the region. The California Highway Patrol said it had used helicopters to rescue 42 people, some of them vineyard workers. Those saved from the flames range in age from 5 to 91.

“But Chief Ken Pimlott of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said crews had “limited or no containment” on the fires — and the situation had not improved by Monday night. Many communities, Pimlott said, “were just overrun.”

“Officials were looking into the cause of the fires, which were also burning thousands of acres in Lake, Butte and Yuba counties. In Southern California, meanwhile, residents in and around Anaheim in Orange County were under evacuation orders as a fire raged uncontrolled, destroying at least 24 structures.

“The fires occurred in a year of record-setting heat and persistent drought. They followed extreme weather events elsewhere in the U.S., including the hurricanes that ravaged Houston, Puerto Rico and parts of Florida.”

The rest of the article is here.

Back Porch Market in Grass Valley has new owners

“It is, of course, with well-mixed feelings that Debra and I turn, harvest in, to a new season beyond the BackPorch Market,” according to a newsletter from the market. “The store has been our focus, and all of you, our reward, for a dozen years. But seasons change, and we’d best not resist what is. The good news – in addition to the opportunity for new adventures for us – is that the BackPorch will remain, and enter a new chapter in its story. Recipes and resources have been carved into the woodwork, so your favorites will still be made – and no, the meatballs will never change!

“The new owners are Erik and Rose James. They are familiar with Nevada County, and have roots here, as well. They share a love of good food and wine, and are wholeheartedly embracing a new life in our beautiful foothills. We are all working together for awhile, so they can become familiar with both this whirling contraption of a Market, and our fabulous, saucy, savory, sweet, full of flavor customers.”

Local fires: 8,000 people evacuated, 30-40 structures burned

(Credit: Amber Jo Manuel’s Facebook page)

The Lobo fire, estimated at 900 acres, has resulted in 30 to 40 burned structures, and 8,000 people have been evacuated, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.

The fire is threatening 7,000-8,000 homes in Lake Wildwood, according to fire officials. The McCourtney fire has burned 80 acres. Large animals are being evacuated to the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

The 7,200-acre Cascade Fire also is burning in neighboring Yuba County, and another 2,000 people have been evacuated.

Governor Brown issued an emergency proclamation for Nevada, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, and Orange counties due to the effects of multiple fires. “Due to the Lobo and McCourtney Fires in Nevada County, we will be declaring a Local Emergency Proclamation at tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors meeting,” the County said.

The link for real-time reports on KNCO is HERE. The Cal Fire Twitter feed is HERE, and Nevada County Office of Emergency Services is HERE. On Facebook, people are offering room in their homes to evacuees, including us.

(Credit: Cal Fire)

Most schools were closed. “This is Superintendent Louise Johnson with an important message for the Nevada Joint Union High School District.  Due to transportation interruption and evacuations because of the Logo and McCourtney fires, all schools in the Nevada Joint Union High School District are closed today, October 9, 2017.  We will update you as we know more.  Be safe and take care of your families.”

“Hello Ghidotti Families, I wanted to let you know that the Nevada County Campus of Sierra College is closed, so there will be now high school or college classes today, October 9. This is due to the fires. Stay safe and please let me know if there’s anything we can do,
Mr. Levinson”

Lobo fire burns near Lake Wildwood (Credit: Christopher Seal’s Facebook page)

Evacuation centers for evacuees are at Twin Cities Church (273-6425), First Baptist Church (273-7301), and Grace Lutheran Church (273-7043).

This map shows general evacuation zones (green is the evacuation area, and yellow is the evacuation advisory):