Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 24, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 6



Mountain View News Saturday, August 24, 2019 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


Over the past few months I have made it a point to let my readers know that I am in a constant search for the family owned restaurant. 
You may accurately say, it is the Holy Grail for this Restaurant Critic. It is the American dream for many and a business which has put 
many a child through diapers and college. It may stem out of some kind of shameless guilt which I carry. For I have written about the 
Big Chains almost exclusively these past few months, but I vowed that I would return to my true love, the Local Corner Restaurant. I 
think I found the Grail. Tap your heels together three times and just repeat the words, "There's no place like home, there's no place like 
home." It has been there right in front of me the whole time! 

Avanti Italian Bistro uses a wood fire pizza oven. They are responsible for some of the area's best gourmet pizzas. On my last visit I was 
to enjoy the glazed Apple Pizza ($16 Range) and a traditional Pepperoni Pizza for ($13 Range) . One of the tests I put to each restaurant 
that I review is their soup. Avanti makes an unbelievable Chicken Barley Soup, all I can add is, Wow. If you live in the area for any 
length of time you have certainly passed the Avanti countless times. Need another reason to stop the next time. The Giuseppe Pizza 
($17.95) is loaded with Spinach, Ricotta, Chicken Breast, Mushrooms and Red Peppers, all very fresh and perfectly baked in these 
flavorful ovens. 

The setting at Avanti is as you would expect a restaurant like this; unpretentious 
and very welcoming. There is a small parking lot in the back, 
seating is fairly limited here but Avanti maintains a nice selection of beer 
/ wine and a small bar. It has won the appetite of many loyal customers, 
along with numerous awards, which it can showcase. I give it thumbs up. 
Well worth the drive from wherever you are reading this. My daughter 
Lauren has to have the Garlic Knots with each visit. She knows her stuff, 
and you will love them too!!! 

Avanti Italian Bistro and Bar 187 N. Sierra Madre Pasadena

Join my new food podcast or tune into my radio show on Go Country 105 
Sunday Mornings

Sorry to see you go!! Babylon Grill on Sierra Madre has announced it’s closing its doors.



[Nyerges is a longtime field guide, and author of 17 books, including “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Extreme Simplicity,” 
“Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants,” and others. He can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 
90041, or]


Don’t litter! Period. OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here’s another perspective.

 Did you all see the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy”? A bush pilot drops a soda bottle out of the plane and 
falls into the midst of some aboriginal people. They have never seen such a device before and they all use it for 
a dozen or so practical uses. As far as they were concerned, the gods in heaven dropped them this new tool to 
make life easier.

 An aluminum can is another of those multi-purpose objects that can literally be a life-safer if you’re lost or stranded. With an 
aluminum can – and a bit of skill and your Swiss Army knife – you can make a fire, purify water, cook, signal, and do a few other 
things! That makes the discarded aluminum can a “multi-purpose tool.”

 Let’s take a look at the many uses of an aluminum can that you happen to find.


I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about making a fire using the bottom of an aluminum beer or soda can, but it actually works. 
The very bottom of an aluminum can is not a true parabolic dish, but when highly polished, it can be used to focus the sun’s rays 
to a point and ignite tinder.

Polishing the bottom

The best polishing agent I’ve found for this is fine steel wool. However, it’s always good to know several ways to do each task, and 
if you don’t have steel wool, try tooth paste.

Polish the bottom of the can for about 10 minutes, until you have an obviously-bright and highly reflective surface. Once the bottom 
of the can has the high polish, you are ready to make fire.

Point the bottom of the can towards the sun, and then move your tinder into the bottom area, watching for the point where the light 
focusses to a point. When you find that point, keep your tinder there until you get your coal.


One of the most important skills in the back-country is the ability to purify your water. If you’re just out for the day without all your 
normal equipment, you might not have a water filter or purification pills. So just fill the aluminum can with your suspect water, and 
boil it over a fire. Boiling will kill any of the biological contaminants that might make you sick. If the water has stuff in it, then by 
all means pour the water through a cloth first.


I have seen several versions of candle lanterns using a beer can, but the easiest is to simply cut two “doors” into the can, and set the 
candle into the can securely with a bit of hot wax. You then use the tab on the top to hang the lantern wherever you want it. The 
doors can be adjusted so that the light reflects where you want it, and to help protect the candle from the wind.


It’s easy to make an emergency signaling mirror from an aluminum can. Just cut a circle or a square from the can. Aluminum is soft 
and you can do this with the scissors on your Swiss army knife, or with any knife.

If you’ve ever used a regular signaling mirror, you know that it helps to have a little hole in the middle of the mirror to sight through. 
If the sun is in the ideal spot in the sky, and if the person flying overhead happens to be looking your way, perhaps someone will 
notice your signal mirror and hopefully someone will respond appropriately. Who knows? 


You’re lost with nothing, but there’s an aluminum can. You can cut a piece of the aluminum and write a note on it for other people 
to read. You don’t need a pencil -- just find a thin stick to carve your letters into the aluminum. Then hang 
it in a prominent place for others to see whatever you need to communicate. The piece of aluminum will be 
shiny and will be more obvious than a paper note which might get blown away, or rained on. This is akin 
to the aluminum tags that gardeners use to mark their trees and other plants.

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