Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tired, like my cat

Yup, I'm tired. After a few weeks of traveling it will be good to be home for a while. The trips all went well and I completed my San Antonio mission with nary a taco in sight.

Although, I was really tempted at the airport when all I had all day was a couple of breakfast bars and the delta wouldn't let me fly standby. I had checked my bag and you now have to "fly with your bags". That bag weighed a gazillion tons. Steel toes and paperwork will do that, I did carry it on on the way down, but I couldn't get it back out of the overhead compartment without some help. It is kind of hard to lift a gazillion pounds over your head. So, I decided not to cart it all over the airport and check it instead. Next time, I'll just be a nuisance to all and drag that bag behind me. Some kind, tall, gentleman will have to help me get it down from the overhead compartment. I'm sure I would take someone out, most likely myself, if I tried to get it down.

These first two pictures are of Rover, as you can see he is tired too. It is tough trying to escape from his human enforced torture. He really feels that it is unfair that we keep him trapped inside of our place. So, he protests. First by crying at the door, and when he is exhausted he just lays there. This usually continues until he gets hungry, a 20+ pound cat has to eat, you know. The crying used to bother M and I, its not like Rover doesn't have a good life. Plenty to eat, plenty of soft places to nap, a sister to play with, lots of cat toys to position so M and I step on them in the middle of the night...you get my drift. Now, we just take out his leash. Rover hates his leash (see #9), but it is the only way we will let him out. That usually stops the crying and no one ends up going outside.

His sister on the other hand, looks pretty cute when she sleeps. Not that she can't be an imp too.

So, to finish up my dining experience in San Antonio:

Wednesday: Chinese place by work for lunch, it wasn't bad, wasn't great, either. The Liberty Bar for dinner. Which once again did not disappoint. We had the fromage plate as an app. With lots of gooey brie and three other types of cheese, dried cherries, and really good almonds to snack on it was delicious. I had a grilled duck salad for dinner. The duck was nicely seasoned and grilled and placed on a bed of greens, dressed pretty simply with a lemon vinaigrette. The salad was also topped with some apple and orange slices and a few more of those dried cherries. Yummy! We then headed over to the mall for the bookstore and Amy's ice cream. (warning: only click on this link if you want to be annoyed)

Thursday: Left over Jason's Deli from a team training at work for lunch. The Barn Door for dinner. After four days I had run out of ideas, so my coworker remembered this place from when he was in San Antonio last. It took us a while to find it, but definitely worth it. Restaurant and Meat Market, and it had good Met. I had a heart attack on a plate for dinner, filet wrapped on house smoked bacon and a twice baked potato stuffed with more of the bacon and cheese. Mmmm... to make it not a complete heart attack, I had a side of mushrooms (with wine and butter sauce) these were awesome too, and a salad, see perfectly healthy meal.

On the way back to the hotel, on Anneathema's suggestion, we stopped at the Olmos Pharmacy for a milkshake, or should I say Bharmacy... yup, not a spelling error. The Olmos Pharmacy has re-opened as the Olmos Bharmacy. My true disappointment in this, was not so much in the bad pun, but the fact that the soda fountain closed at 4 because the night staff didn't know how to make milkshakes. Totally lame, my 5 year old niece could make a fantastic milkshake, if her mom would let her near the blender. I went back to the hotel and had a Haagen-dazs ice cream bar to drown my sorrows.

Last, but not least, my new project:
Don't you love the stitch! It will eventually be a baby blanket for some friends. So far it has been slow going, but I think it will turn out well.

Now I'm off to bake a cake for M's birthday. The old man turned 31 this week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

San Antonio Challenge...

Yes, on my 4th trip of the year down to the lovely state of Texas and the city of San Antonio, my co-worker and I issued a challenge...

NO TEX-MEX

Now, being here for a week, that is quite a challenge. Especially since both of us are foodies and the tex-mex around here is pretty good, but if you don't watch it, you end up eating beans and rice all week. Here is how we are doing so far:

Monday: hotel breakfast, Chili's be the airport for lunch, Bill Miller's BBQ (at work) for dinner. Nothing stellar, but no tex mex.

Tuesday: no breakfast (I prefered sleeping in and a breakfast bar), Jason's Deli (at work) for lunch, and Boudro's for dinner. Where I had some pretty awesome stuffed quail and a margarita. We did order the house specialty guac for the table, but that doesn't count.

So, no Tex-Mex so far. We did take the intern down to the Riverwalk and the Alamo. Another goal for this trip maybe to actually get to the Alamo before it closes in the evening. I've been there at least 4 times now, but still have not been inside the gates.

Just remember, San Antonio is a tourist destination, or so says the bossman. Even if it is still over 80 degrees at 10:30 PM.

Hmm... wonder why I wasn't rushing down here to spend my entire summer.

One last shout out to the Veg, who chose to go to the Windy City instead of being here with me this week. The "Secret Great Eats" in the hotel room mag, included three restaurants. The Mad Hatter Tea House and Cafe, The Liberty Bar, and P.F. Chang's. While, I'm not sure a chain (P.F. Chang's) can be considered "Secret Eats". On our first trip to San Antonio this year we did end up hitting both of the other establishments for fine meals, thanks to the Veg and her iphone. I'll be headed back to the Liberty Bar this week for another mojito and their fine fromage.

Monday, June 23, 2008

mmm... Berry Tarts

My entry into this month's Sugar High Friday's is:

Tantalizing Berry Tarts

I took the recipe from one of my childhood cookbooks The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate Macdonald illustrated by Barbara Di Lella. The recipe in the book calls for raspberries, but I did a mixture of both raspberries and blackberries.

My sister and I loved Anne of Green Gables and the whole Anne series by L. M. Montgomery. I think I read every Anne book out there at least 5 times and still to this day, if I'm flipping through the channels and I see one of the PBS specials I have to stop and watch the whole show. When I think of Canada I think of that precocious red-headed orphan and Prince Edward Island.

The raspberries and blackberries remind me of the summers spent in northern Minnesota. While, not Canada, the BWCA is about as close as you can get. My family would take a week each summer and travel up to a camp outside of Ely, MN. We would spend the week hiking, canoeing, and if it was the season, picking and eating all of the berries we could find. My mom makes the best blueberry pies.

Now back to the tarts...

I of course, modified the crust of the recipe to be gluten-free. I used the rich pastry recipe from Rebecca Reilly's Gluten-Free Baking. I have had mixed results with some of her recipes in the past, but I had dry cottage cheese in the fridge from when M went shopping and neither of us were going to eat it. The crust turned out great, although it did not brown evenly. Be warned though, the tart crust is definitely best day of, after one night on my cake plate it began to get a little soft. Next time I might prebake the crust.

The tarts turned out well, the crust rich and buttery and the filling was sweet and smelled of summer. What a great way for a girl in Atlanta to remember her northern summers!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

One last post on the flood

So,
I've been in Denver, where the mothership makes it difficult for me to get to my personal accounts, unless I decide to lug another computer through security (not my idea of a good time). This does lead me to think about getting an iphone, or an eee pc. Both would be better than lugging a second full size laptop around. If my traveling keeps up, I may have to stop talking about it an actually go out and purchase something.

Anyway, back to the flood.

A few more pics and a video for you. It sounds like everything is beginning to recover in WI, but downstream things are getting a whole lot worse. Bud, finally came through (granted it was last Saturday when he sent me the pictures, I'm the true slacker). He spent most of the weekend watching the flood waters near the house.

Let's just say not normal on this one, do you see the "sticks" in the water behind the tree in the middle, that is the corner post on our fence, usually well above and away from the water.

The fox river begins as a small stream a few miles from here, does this look like a small stream to you?? Normally, it is maybe 10-20 feet across (I have never been good at estimating distance, that is one of the reasons I keep M around) anyway, a whole lot smaller.

This is the last of Bud's pictures. When looking at this one, the bridge in picture 2 is just to the left and running up the picture, if that makes any sense. Either way, the historical marker / sign is not supposed to be in the water. In fact, I can't even tell you where the water is supposed to be, except that it is supposed to be behind the sign and not surrounding the trees on what once was the far bank (including the willow).


video
One last image, Dad sent me this one this morning. If you have not seen the houses fall into Lake Delton as it drains, this is pretty impressive, pretty scary too.

All-in-all it has been some pretty interesting times for my home town lately. Mum is still not able to get to work on 33, but I think has found some alternatives. The jail escapee was found in Illinois. It is no longer taking hours to get across town. Things are beginning to get back to normal.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More flood pics

So, now the Rev is helping me out with my quest to document the Wisconsin floods from a far. Here is what she has found:


This is the intersection of I-90/94 with Hwy 33 just east of town. If you follow 33 through town, you will go by Mr Doorknob's house and my folk's place. This is how my Mum goes to work.

Interstate 39, crazy!

The Ducks are still hard at work and now have started rescuing people in my hometown.

Thanks to the Rev, the Portage Daily Register and the Wisconsin State Journal for the pictures.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Flood Continues

While some of the water has receded, my hometown got another downpour on Thursday night. Here is my list of the top 4 stories:

4.


The only underpass in town, affectionately called "the subway" flooded

3.


The Rev's Dad, Mr. Doorknob (and yes that is what I call him and have since I was 14 or so) got stopped for the light in Poynette. The only issue being that the light was in Portage, 12 miles away. This was due to all of the flooded and closed roads.

Just to make things even more fun for Mr. Doorknob, his office is on one side of the subway, and his house on the other. I think he may have had to drive all the way out to my parent's house to get home!

2.

The Original Wisconsin Ducks, first used in WWII for military operations. From then until the 2008 floods have been used to ferry tourists around the Wisconsin Dells and through Lake Delton*. Are back at work ferrying FEMA personnel and rescuing people in Baraboo as the Baraboo river continues to rise. You can find pictures here.

* Side note: My one and only Duck Ride was with the Rev where we watched her brother propose to his wife in the middle of Lake Delton. Now that lake is gone. (boy that sounds dire)

1.

Inmate sees the flood as golden opportunity and alludes the police by hiding out in Wal-Mart.

I actually have to give this guy some props. He escaped while they were transporting him to the county jail. Ran a few blocks into "the gully", our local sledding hole, and then some how got all the way across town and into Wal-Mart. There he changed his clothes and is currently still at large.

Thanks again to the Portage Daily Register and the ducks website for pictures.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hometown craziness


This picture is about 2 blocks away from where we lived until I was in high school.
Bud works three blocks from here.


The road in front of the local airport.

More flood pictures can be found here and here. Thanks to the Portage Daily Register for the pics in my post. I've asked Bud to take some more when it is safe to drive around. The county has closed some roads so nobody is really going anywhere right now. (except maybe by canoe)

It is really strange being down here with so much craziness going on at home. I talked with Bud and Dad this evening, they continue to be doing well. Mom is up visiting the little ones, well out of all of the excitement.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Almost getting washed away...

While, my hometown has been under the threat of massive floods and towns around it, such as Lake Delton are making national news. Bud takes it all in stride...

And is photographed by the local newspaper. Yes, Bud (the one on the left) decides to go canoeing down Wauona Trail.

Just so you all know, living on one of the highest points in my hometown my family is safe and unharmed (obviously). My heart and prayers goes out to all of those truly affected and hope that all are able to recover from the storms.

Oh, and if anyone has an in with the guy upstairs, please tell him to send the rain our way. We could use it down here in GA.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eating with a Vegan

So, one of my good friends on board with me on the mothership is a pseudo vegan (kind of like I'm a pseudo celicac, who knows, I may be a real celicac?). Anyway, other than the occasional ice cream, or dessert, she eats only vegetables and grains, sometimes cooked. And has since she was about 2.

About once a week or so we break away from the mothership and scavenge for food somewhere other than our lovely cafe by the lake. I thought it might be interesting to give a little review of restaurants in the northern 'burbs of Atlanta. We will rate them for overall quality of the food, ambiance, and experience, as well as, how friendly they are to our imposed diets.

So, today the Veg and I went to JP Sushi this restaurant came at the recommendation of a "creative" friend at the mothership who scorned our current close and quick sushi place Sushi Haru.

I decide on the sushi lunch, at $12.95 it was a little pricey, but when it came it was a ton of food (soup, salad, 8 piece California roll, and 8 pieces of nigiri), more than I would have gotten from Sushi Haru, but also more expensive. Sushi Haru has a sushi bento box for $9.95 (soup, salad, 2 piece california roll, 4 pieces of Nigiri sushi, spring roll and this awesome pickled salad, it is a good size for a lunch with lots of little tastes). The Veg got the tofu udon, I think it was around $9, or so. Those veggies always eat cheap!

So, to better inform you of our lunching experience we are coming up with a list of questions, here is the first edition, including our answers: The Veg in purple, me in green.

One word to describe your meal at JP's: (you can explain why, if you want)
Wasabi! It is the kind of place where they stick a little bit of wasabi inside the sushi. While this can be good, I like to know in advance so I don't add additional wasabi to my soy sauce (yes I know I shouldn't be eating soy sauce, but this little bit of wheat doesn't seem to bother me)
Vanilla: Nothing about my meal set JP's apart from comparable sushi joints.

What did you enjoy most about your lunch?
The texture of the udon noodles; it's hard to get them soft enough for easy slurping, yet firm enough for biting.
I think the miso soup, it was really good and the tofu had a great silken texture.

Was there anything you hated about your meal?
The inari was a little too sweet and I wished the rice inside had some vegetables or sesame seeds mixed in, but "hate" might be a little strong in this case.
I agree, the inari, was rather dessert-like. I'm glad I didn't get the udon

On a scale of 1-10, how was the veganess/celiac-friendiness of JP's?
5. Though to be fair, I only saw the limited lunch menu and I didn't ask about vegan variations of other dishes.
7. As long as you stuck to sushi, there were a number of choices. Other than that, it didn't look like there were a lot of options.

If you were going to take a celeb (living or dead) to JP's who would it be any why?
Hmmm... i'll have to think on that one...
I agree, it wasn't "out of this world" or totally awful, so I'm not sure who I would take.

Was the food worth the price?
Not quite. I paid $9.95 for a bowl of soup and 2 pieces of inari, and I can get a plate of hibachi, soup, and salad from Sushi Haru across the street for $6.95. If the soup were out of this world, I might have said "yes".
I would have liked a cheaper sushi plate as well, I could have easily had enough lunch with half of the sushi...I wonder if they would offer a half lunch?

Is there anything you would have changed about your experience?
Not off of the top of my head Ditto.

What type of lunch place is it:
A. Dine and Dash - short on time and short on money
B. I've got an hour between conference calls and need a good lunch (the Veg agrees)
C. I've worked my ass off this week and I deserve my lunch and a little bit of a splurge
D. Jan, hold my calls, I'm not coming back in this afternoon and spending like I have an expense account

All in all the Veg gives it 1.5 chopsticks and a half a bowl of satisfaction. I give it 2 chopsticks and a half a bowl of satisfaction.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Oh Canada

So, I have been doing a little recipe surfing lately and came upon the domestic goddess. Jennifer, from Canada has come up with this fantastic idea. SUGAR HIGH FRIDAYS. A perfect excuse to get in the kitchen and whip up some treats to share. (or not, depending how good they are)

Each month a different person hosts and everyone sends their recipes based on a theme. This month, Jennifer herself is hosting and paying homage to her homeland, Canada.

So, join in the fun and submit something that makes you think of Canada.