Dec 302006

Dallas Food ran an interesting article on Noka Cholocate, finding them a poor value at best. It’s an interesting article to read. If you are looking for great chocolate, I recommend, Jacques Torres. His chocolates are very, very good. The article discusses how most chocolatiers use chocolate sourced from other producers to make their candies. However, as distinct from what the article states, Jacques Torres also makes chocolate from beans as well as using chocolate from other sources for bon-bons (or truffles).

Thanks to Jason for the article!

 Posted by at 8:05 pm
Dec 212006

The Amateur Gourmet is going to Seattle next week and asked for food recommendations. What I wrote is below, but I’ve added hyperlinks.

Definitely go to Salumi. It’s only open for lunch and pick up a couple of salami’s to go. It’s not really Mario Batali’s dad’s place as much as it is Armandino Batali’s place. If you can’t make it there, make sure that you get his meats at any number of restaurants around Seattle.

Harvest Vine is a great traditional tapas place in Madison Park. Lark is a great northwestern tapas place in Capitol Hill. Both places are fun to go with a lot of people. Make reservations if you can.

I just went to Zoë last week and thought it was amazing. It’s located in Belltown with nice modern cuisine in a contemporary setting. I can echo the comment on Macrina. Get there for brunch if you can. Another great breakfast place is Coastal Kitchen on Capitol Hill.

Le Pichet is one of my favorite places in Seattle. They have around 25-35 affordable French wines by the glass, and a very nice bistro menu. It’s also in Belltown very close to Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market is a lot of fun to walk around. There are any number of places to see there:

  • Check out the truffle oil place, La Buona Tavola. Taste the truffle oils and buy several bottles.
  • The Tasting Room is a really cool wine tasting store on Post Alley; a friend of mine is the manager. It is a co-op of several different Washington wineries.
  • I don’t love the cheeses at Beecher’s Cheese, but it is fun to see them make cheese. And their cheddars are very nice, if simple.
  • Get freshly made tiny donuts from the donut shop. (On the top level near Pike Place Fish.) They are very good for snacking on as you walk around.
  • Pike Place Fish is where they throw the fish if you buy one. They were on the Megan Mullally show trying to break the fish throwing record. The local wild salmon is not in season right now. This is a great time of year to buy oysters and other shellfish. Also, the smoked salmon is not like the smoked salmon we get here. It’s worth picking up a few pounds.
  • The Spanish Table is on the lower level on Western Ave. It has one of the best selections of Spanish and Portuguese wines in the country. I have never seen a wider selection of ports.
  • Across the street from The Spanish Table is World Spice Merchants. It’s a great store with any number of spices and teas. They supply many restaurants in Seattle, but their shop is very retail friendly. Each spice has a sample jar with one ounce of spices. You can open the jar to smell the spices.
  • The first Starbucks is in Pike Place market. It is not like every other Starbucks–it feels a lot less corporate. There are better places to get coffee in Seattle, but it is a fun touristy thing to do.

I could go on and on–I love the food in Seattle. There are definitely many foodie things to check out there.

You might not realize it, but Seattle is also a great place for cocktails and “mocktails.” The majority of places in Seattle can make a better drink than 90+% of places in New York City. They take a lot of pride in their cocktail abilities, and it is worth drinking there. At the same time, they value non-drinkers and have extensive mocktail menus.

Enjoy your stay in Seattle!

 Posted by at 5:47 pm
Dec 202006

I wrote about my Sudoku solver to an acquaintance of mine. He responded, “umm, I don’t understand perl!!!”

For fun, here is a Visual Basic .NET version of the Sudoku solver. It’s probably not idiomatic as it is a straight port of the Perl version. On the flip side, it does allow me to distribute a binary version of the Sudoku solver. (.NET runtime required.) It’s not a great user interface, but it seems to work in a good enough manner for now.

I also uploaded two puzzle files for folks too lazy to type them in. The first puzzle requires a guess. The second puzzle requires many guesses (it is all blank).


 Posted by at 6:15 pm
Dec 172006

This past week, I wrote a perl script to solve sudoku puzzles. The approach I took essentially works by brute force, but it works and the puzzle size is small. I might try to think of a better way to solve the puzzle. I intentionally did not look at other solutions so I could write my own.

The way you run the script is to type in something like perl -w < puzzle where puzzle is the name of the file containing the puzzle. It should have 81 numbers from 0-9; 0 represents blank spaces. So this:
% cat puzzle2
0 6 0 0 5 0 0 2 0
0 0 0 3 0 0 0 9 0
7 0 0 6 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 6 0 3 0 4 0 0
0 0 4 0 7 0 1 0 0
0 0 5 0 9 0 8 0 0
0 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 6
0 3 0 0 0 8 0 0 0
0 2 0 0 4 0 0 5 0

gets turned into this:
% perl -w < puzzle2
8 6 1 4 5 9 7 2 3
4 5 2 3 1 7 6 9 8
7 9 3 6 8 2 5 1 4
2 1 6 8 3 5 4 7 9
9 8 4 2 7 6 1 3 5
3 7 5 1 9 4 8 6 2
5 4 7 9 2 1 3 8 6
1 3 9 5 6 8 2 4 7
6 2 8 7 4 3 9 5 1

If there is more than one solution, only one solution is displayed. If there is no solution, you see an error message.

The Perl Sudoku solver can be downloaded from my site. Rename the file to after downloading.

 Posted by at 4:16 pm
Dec 152006

I sent the following email message to the SI Edit staff yesterday:

To: SI Edit staff
Subject: Happy Holidays

Around a year ago the technology departments at Time Inc. started reorganizing and my responsibilities changed to include working on projects for all of Time Inc.’s publications in addition to Sports Illustrated. While this change happened a while ago, I didn’t get a chance to send all of you a note sooner. Of course, the holiday season is a perfect time to reminisce and say thanks.

I started at SI in 1995, when we were still on the 18th and 19th floors. The week after I started the last pages of SI were produced on Atex, and I still remember one of my first, and favorite, tech support calls from an AME:

SG: “SI Operations, Sam speaking” 

AME: “Yes, I’m having some trouble with QPS, can you come down and take a look?”

[I scampered down the spiral staircase from my cube on 19 to the AME’s office on 18.]

SG: “Hi, you called for some help?”


SG: “Ummm… Can I take a look at your computer?”


SG: “Ummm… How about I come back after you leave?” [Near tears]


Most of the challenges I have encountered over the years have been a bit less traumatic.

All joking aside, it has been my privilege and pleasure to work with some of the most talented people in the country on the best sports magazine. I’ve learned a lot, and I hope you have enjoyed working with me as much as I have enjoyed working with you. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Warmest regards,
Sam Greenfield

 Posted by at 12:49 pm
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