Saturday, November 21, 2015

This Week on My TV: November 21, 2015

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Greys Anatomy, 12x06 The Me Nobody Knows) Mer: You sent a sex tape? Pastor patient: To the entire congregation. Penny: Oh God. Pastor: Can we not talk about Him right now? -- Penny being assigned to Mer's service has to feel like being kicked while you're already down for Mer. Probably for Penny, too, but I have no real sympathy for her at this point. -- Does this doctor April knows from her military medical field trips to the Middle East have some kind of history with Owen? Because that was a weird reaction by Owen. -- Alex seeking out Mer made me feel all fuzzy and warm. He's being her Person! -- April and Jackson are made up characters on a tv show and I'm *still* uncomfortable "being present" for their interactions. Like I'm stuck in a car with a couple that's having an argument. -- Mer: Our shame can choke, kill us, rot us from the inside. Don't let it.

**(Once Upon a Time, 5x07 Nimue) I appreciate the history lesson of how Excalibur came to be, how Merlin became immortal, and how the Dark One's dagger became separated from the sword. It was a well constructed tale. I'm less certain how I feel about the way they cast certain roles away from what might be expected. "Not all wizards have white beards," indeed, Merlin. -- The timeline in this episode (for the history lesson) amused me. We went from the descriptive "thousands of years ago, before the time of Arthur" to regular old "200 years ago" to the oh so vague "years earlier." -- Arthur is just straight up evil. And I don't know how I feel about that bending of legend. -- I totally knew the original Dark One was going to be Nimue. -- Regina: Tell your timbers to stop shivering, pirate. -- I wonder why the other Dark Ones all have that scaly (?) skin but Emma does not? And it seemed to happen almost immediately with Nimue, and I think also with Rumple, if I can remember that far back? Why is Emma "immune" to that then? -- What made Emma turn and embrace the darkness? She clearly hadn't at the point that crazy Arthur summoned Merlin using Excalibur. I'd imagine they have to flashback more and finish the story of what happened.

**(The Good Wife, 7x07 Driven) Louis Canning is such a manipulative little troll. Who is clearly throwing a lot of work Alicia's way. To what end? -- You can tell that Alicia feels dirty voting the way Frank Landau tells her to. -- Crouse unsettles Alicia, which just means every one of their exchanges amuses me. Also amusing: Eli's door banging into his desk every time anyone opens it. -- That was quite the unexpected...bedroom transaction between Alicia and Peter. -- Eli makes the best faces. I just can't decide whether his reacting to finding Peter and Alicia in the bedroom or Jackie's arrival to announce her engagement to Howard was my favorite.

**(The Big Bang Theory, 9x08 The Mystery Date Observation) Penny: Damn, you're sneaky. Bernadette: Yeah, but I'm little so it's cute. -- Leonard: But it's the movie Ben Stiller doesn't want you to see. Penny: It's the movie your wife doesn't want you to see. -- I can't decide which made me laugh more: Bernadette spying on Amy's date. Amy's date being obsessed with Sheldon. Or Sheldon's Craigslist puzzle game to find a new girlfriend actually leading to a pretty cute girl showing up at his door and him shutting the door in her face.

**(Scandal, 5x07 Even the Devil Deserves a Second Chance) Fitz: To Congress. May their heads one day depart from their asses. -- Jake: The woman I love killed the woman I used to love. Or the woman I used to love killed the woman I love. I can't figure it out. -- Grieving or otherwise, Olivia, Jake has called you out on exactly what you are. Screaming at him to get out doesn't change any of it. -- Quinn: She's the President's girlfriend. The White House is always our client. I hate the new normal. -- David: I didn't ask you to sit. I said take a seat, Elizabeth, so take. a damn. *seat*. -- Lizzie: You don't like me, do you? David: I wasn't trying to be subtle. I *don't* like you. -- After all that ranting, Lizzie and David end up getting busy in his office?? While VP Susan is out in his reception area with a four-pack of wine coolers, because she has a crush on him? I said we needed more David on this show, again, but WHAT IS HAPPENING?? -- *Very* striking final scene, Liv telling Fitz what to do while she stands on the Presidential Seal in the middle of the Oval Office.

**(Blue Bloods, 6x08 Unsung Heroes) Frank: Preaching to the choir is for showboats and sissies. -- Quite possibly my favorite moment ever on this show was Frank cracking himself up making punny jokes no one else thinks are funny. -- Two things I am over: the very Law and Order: SVU-ish feel to this serial killer Danny is tracking, and Linda coming off as whiny rather than worried and shaken up.

**(Blindspot, 1x09 Authentic Flirt) Oh good grief. Weller couldn't even shave when he was getting all spiffy for a formal event? Stubbly scruff with a tux is thumbs down. -- Awkward: Weller putting wedding rings on Jane's hand as part of their married-couple cover. Couldn't he have just handed them to her to put on herself? -- Wow. There are apparently a lot of folks using that secret library book code. And they must be up to no good, because now Patterson now has a dead (ex)boyfriend, after he decided to follow the woman using the books to leave a message. The weird thing is that I can't figure out if the guy following him was with the girl or also following the girl. -- That bird drawing toward the end is going to show up as a tattoo at some point, isn't it...

**(Reign, 3x05 In A Clearing) I wonder if this is really the last we're going to see of Nostradamus. If so, then I'm glad they provided some resolution after seeing him ride off, half dead, leaving the viewers wondering. -- Blah. I'm not a fan of this whole Delphine thing, either her romance with Bash or this whole medieval serial killer bit. -- Even despite Mary signing it, I really wonder if Elizabeth would have honored that peace treaty. -- That scene in the clearing was heart wrenching. It was played out so well. -- With Francis dead now (and hopefully no more supernatural shenanigans), I wonder what lies ahead for Mary. With her mother also dead, will she return to Scotland to rule? Is she going to go after Elizabeth? Will this strange affection Catherine has for her keep her in France?

**(The Middle, 7x08 Thanksgiving VII) Brad: I'm going to write you a reality check, payable right now. -- This episode had me all out of sorts, what with Axl crying all over the place and sean still being all hippie instead of clean cut All American Boy Next Door. Also, why wasn't Darrin invited to hang out? -- Brick playing poker was hilarious, especially when he tried to bluff.

**(Modern Family, 7x07 Phil's Sexy, Sexy House) The scenes in the "sexy house" Phil is trying to sell, with everyone sneaking in, not realizing everyone else has the same intention, made this one of the funniest episodes I have seen of this show in ages. -- Haley and Andy! Haley and Andy! I was actually yelling at Andy through the tv (as one does) because I couldn't believe he was letting her walk away with *that* being his "last adventure" before getting married and then Haley runs back to him for that kiss. They *have* to get together now...right??

**(Madam Secretary, 2x07 You Say You Want a Revolution) Elizabeth (to Matt): Someone woke up on the cynical side of the bed this morning. -- I kind of love that Elizabeth and Henry call Alison 'Noodle'. -- I'm over every tv show making the police out to be bad guys. Like really over it. There are bad apples in every subgroup of society. Making all cops out to be over aggressive guys with a power trip is an unfair characterization for all the many, many more to protect and serve. -- Back to things I really love love: Elizabeth and Henry's relationship. They act like people who still love each other, which is a refreshing change of pace in the cheating-spouse heavy storytelling of tv land. -- That scheming between Sterling and Senator Parisi will, hopefully, spell the end of Sterling's presence. I don't care for him. Leave it to that jerk to be the thing that being Elizabeth and Russell together as a team.

**(Grey's Anatomy, 12x07 Something Against You) Mer: Well I thought that I could treat her like any other resident but that was really hard because I wanted to punch her in the face. Like a lot. -- Between Penny and Riggs, there sure are a whole lotta hirings going on that are ticking off other surgeons. I get not running the decision to hire Riggs by Maggie or anyone else, but you'd think Bailey would have to run stuff by Mer since she's on the board. -- Amelia: I fix brains. I give you your soft gooey center, the hard candy shell is your department. -- I was all set to feel badly about the "trivia night" bust with Arizona and Webber, given how enthusiastic he was, until I saw him switch gears and get right down to business as Arizona's wing man.-- Ok, seriously, what is the deal between Owen and Riggs?? They've dragged on the suspense long enough now. -- I do love that Mer is stepping up as Owen's Person, asking "Do we hate him?" about Riggs. It's good to see that dynamic between the surgeons didn't fade away with Cristina's departure. -- Oh, please don't make Riggs turn out to be a new love interest for Mer. Bleh.

**(The Blacklist, 3x08 Kings of the Highway) Apparently Samar's desire to capture Liz and make her face the consequences of her actions now takes a backseat to the loyalty she feels to Red for his involvement in providing her closure with her brother. -- Cash: That girl is nuttier than a bag of cashews. -- Why do the bad guys always ride crotch rockets? -- That doll head Red used to break himself free was straight. up. creepy. -- Oh, Aram. You ratted Samar, Liz, and Red to Ressler out of jealousy? Really? -- The Chairman lady just shot the Attorney General lady!! Holy. Crap. Is Chairman lady part of the Cabal? -- What did Attorney General lady whisper as she was dying? "Tommy Market?" What the heck is that?? -- Crap. Ressler has Liz and Dembe in custody now? And we're supposed to wait til JANUARY 7 to find out what happens next?!

**(Blue Bloods, 6x09 Hold Outs) I can't believe how much Eddie looked like Linda when she was dressed up undercover as an old lady. (Sorry, Linda!) -- At one point that pregnant wife of the new police officer Frank was swearing in said "These days when I sit down I can't get back up." Not to nitpick, but since she was standing up when she said that, it can't be true. -- Oh goodie. The Mayor got re-elected. -- Baby Francis Francisco? LOL

**(Sleepy Hollow, 2x04 Waiting for Taleju) Things that made me snort during this episode: Shardectomy. Mistletoe as a weapon to defeat this week's evil. -- Again with the regular guns. ::facepalm:: --  Crane: Did you call me strange? Oh, good grief. How will I ever endure? -- Ah! This week's historical figure: Daniel Boone! -- I'm not sure how, exactly, that plan *worked* to get the evil creature thugs to kill each other, but...ok. -- Crane: Sometimes, it seems as though the unbeatable enemy is the twenty-first century. -- I did NOT see that coming with Sophie being an undercover agent. -- So, where did Jenny go? And who the crap is that hooky guy??? Pandora's boss?


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Food and Wine Fest 2015: Round Four

Time to redeem the previous round of Festing.

Right off the bat, going on a Sunday was a much more pleasant experience. It isn't something I can do most weekends, but it worked out this time around. The crowds were a good 50% lighter and the weather was warm but breezy. First stop...


Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion, and Snap Peas. Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling.

It's kind of funny to me, but the only time I ever seem to eat shrimp is at one of the EPCOT Fests. This dish wasn't bad, but I was expecting more pineapple and snap peas, considering they went out of their way to mention them in the dish description. There was only lonely piece of pineapple and no snap peas whatsoever. The sauce was a slightly spicy tomato broth with the diced veggies in it, and curiously, there were equal amounts of tomato, pepper, and onion, despite tomatoes getting no billing at all. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't "as advertised" either, so that was a bit disappointing, I guess. But let's talk about that Riesling before we zoom off to another country. Because it does indeed say *dry*. Anyone who's ever had a Rielsing likely thinks immediately of a sweet wine. Some are sweeter than others, but always with the fruity sweetness, right? This was definitely a Riesling, but it had so many citrus flavors to it, that it just couldn't be considered sweet at all. It had a refreshing tartness to it that I really enjoyed and that went well with the shrimp. So while it wasn't the driest wine I've ever sipped, it was, by *far*, the driest Riesling.

Onward to...


Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Hoisin Sauce.

This is, by far, one of the dishes I've liked best this year. I like that duck is something a bit different from all the other meat options around the Global Marketplaces. It's tender and flavorful, especially with that hoisin sauce. The green onions add a crisp freshness to the meat, and the steamed bun is like eating a cloud. A+ on this one, Food and Wine Fest.

It gets crowded, walking through the mob of people gathered around all the Global Marketplaces located on the front side of the lagoon (they're packed closer together there than anywhere else and some of the walkways get easily congested), so I walked the long way around World Showcase to get to...



Even though I get it every single year, I can never resist getting it again. All those flaky layers of pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese. It's always well done and I never regret getting it. It's a classic. A wonderfully delicious classic.

Moving right along (across the walkway) to...


Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce.

Here's another dish I've gotten for years now. Usually, it's just a vessel for getting that amazing truffle butter sauce into my mouth. This year, though, I was impressed with the actual meat too. In the past, the cut has been thinner. This year, I don't know if they're cutting the meat thicker, or if I just got lucky with and end piece that was thicker, but that thickness lent itself to being cooked a solid medium-rare (warm pink center, which is my personal preference) rather than the typical medium to medium-well. It was so tender, so juicy, so full of flavor, and topped with that truffle butter sauce that makes me want to lick that paper dish after I've finished eating? ::whimper:: I love when a Fest staple surprises me by being extra tasty.

And now for some dessert in...


France got a new Global Marketplace! I love its new cafe look and welcoming red color.

Creme Brulee Vanille Chocolat.

Just look at that beautiful crust of caramelized sugar!

I found the consistency a bit unexpected. Instead of being the thicker texture of custard to which I am accustomed, this was more like a pudding -- more creamy than jiggly. ::shrugs:: I'm perfectly ok with some chocolate and vanilla pudding with that golden sugar crunch!

Other than my first dish not living up to expectations, this was a very satisfying spin around the world. And light years better than the one before, considering I didn't feel like garbage (always a plus). I was already planning my next go round as I waddled through the parking lot to my car.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

By the Numbers: November 3, 2015

Number of apps on my iPad that I've downloaded to check out but haven't gotten around to it yet: 10

Number of apps on my iPad that I actually use: 31

Number of apps on my iPhone: 81

Number of apps on my iPhone that I use regularly: 32

Number of trick-or-treaters we got this year: 46 (new record!)

Number of new songs I purchased for my iPod yesterday, thanks to the iTunes credit I earned via the Ibotta app: 18

Number of rounds I have remaining of Food and Wine Fest: 2

Number of books remaining to meet my Goodreads challenge: 7

Number of times I was interrupted composing this post: 6


Monday, November 2, 2015

Food and Wine Fest 2015: Round Three

Back again.

I feel as if I should warn you that this is the saddest round of Festing I have ever done.


Miso Udon.

So here's the story. I had a handful of trail mix before I left the house, intending to keep my stomach real estate as open as possible for culinary delights. When I got to EPCOT, the park was fairly crowded. (Every Saturday I have attended the Fest this year has been wall to wall people. Like more people than I have ever seen there for this event, including opening weekends.) I was pretty hungry, so I was weaving through the mob at a pretty good clip -- a benefit to Festing solo, at least. By the time I reached Japan (on the far side of World Showcase Lagoon), it was pretty warm. The line was long, and I was in direct sun for about 25 minutes and starting to feel it. I ordered my food and collected it, forgetting to purchase a bottle of water as well. I headed for one of my "WDW Introvert" hidey spots to eat, hoping that the shade would help. I spooned up the shrimp, veggies, and noodles, noting the flavors, especially that the broth was rather spicy. (Drat, not having that water!) And then it hit me. I don't know if it was the combination of factors I mentioned, or the suspected virus T and I seemed, in retrospect, to be battling, but I broke out into a major sweat (like everywhere, even the palms of my hands -- it was so gross), my head went all static and the whole world seemed about a million miles away. I carefully maneuvered myself off my stone perch and onto the ground, leaning against the building, because I was very close to passing out cold at WDW...while traveling by myself. Somehow, I managed to talk myself out of fainting, and I sat there for a while, feeling woozy and way out of it. Convinced that I had simply overheated, I moved inside the Japanese department store for a cool down, once I felt like walking wasn't a dangerous proposition. It helped a little, but I thought getting a bottle of water might be in order, to make sure this wasn't dehydration talking.

After slowly downing about half the bottle of water, I wondered if maybe my light eating was *too* light and that maybe my blood sugar dipped too low. So, I made my way over to...



My line of thought was that I could give my blood sugar a good kick in pants. I assumed this candy would be served as two to three bite sized pieces, maybe the size of gumdrops. Instead, it was one large piece -- that despite my foggy head, I still had the presence of mind to photograph, because priorities -- that was roughly the size of a Dunkin Munchkin. And it was *so* sweet. Maybe even too sweet for me, and I have a definite sweet tooth. It was like shredded coconut had been dipped into liquid sugar and then allowed to solidify into a sugary miniature haystack. It may have been something better shared between two or three people, because it was overwhelming. Or perhaps it was my current not-quite-right state talking. Either way, I finished off that bottle of water, and felt a bit jittery from the sugar buzz.

I sat on a bench in the shade for a while, contemplating my next move. Considering I was still on the furthest side of the park from the exit, I decided to make my slow, slow way to...


Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce.

I decided I wanted something a bit more substantial than soup or coconut candy. This spoke to me (along with a second bottle of water). I found me a spot on a nearby bench, noting that the sky was clouding over, which eliminated sweltering in the sun. I wish I had been more in the Festing mindset, because this dish was actually very tasty. Simple, but lots of flavor, both from the tomato sauce, which had a bit of zesty zip to it, and the ravioli. It was incredibly satisfying, even in my present condition. I also thought the presentation was very appealing with all its layers and bright colors. And the plate upon which it was served? Apparently made from palm leaves and water. It was remarkably sturdy and a really fun element.

At this point, I decided that I'd just had enough. I felt safe to drive, but uncomfortable (from the heat and having been soaked in sweat from my near loss of consciousness) and no longer willing to fight the crowds, and really, I just wanted to be home on my couch, in the a/c. I began the trek to my car (which was in the very last row of the parking lot -- see? CROWDED). Halfway there, those accumulating clouds opened up and released an absolute torrent. I was drenched in approximately seven seconds, but it actually felt really good. At least, I no longer felt sweaty and it cleared away the rest of my spaciness. Even so, probably the least amount of fun I've ever had at WDW, Fest or no Fest.

Update: We're pretty sure it was some sort of virus, because, it turns out, T felt the exact same way, nearly at the exact same time, while running errands. We both laid low the rest of the weekend, had no more near fainting experiences, and have completely recovered. There is definitely more (fun!) Festing to report!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Snapshot from Along the Broken Road: 2015 - Week 43

Checking in for the week of October 25 through October 31.

The White Princess (Philippa Gregory) - Yet another book in this series that I found myself never wanting to put down. I have read a lot of criticism on the (lack of) historical accuracy in Gregory's books, but here's the thing: it's historical *fiction*. If I want rote facts, I will read non-fiction. I like the style with which Gregory fleshes out what she imagines might have gone on behind the scenes of the facts we know about the Yorks and the Tudors, what she thinks a character might feel or think or wonder. These are details that aren't likely to be included in non-fiction, no matter how well written, so it's fun to imagine what those details might entail. I appreciate that, while she sticks true to form throughout this series, each narrating character gets her own unique voice. I liked getting to know Princess Elizabeth, seeing her grow and mature into Henry's queen, despite being under constant scrutiny by a king (and his mother) who live in a constant state of fear, paranoia, and insecurity. If only Henry had employed the help of his wife over his mother's whisperings, he might have been a far different monarch, because Elizabeth had the York grace, poise, and surety, having been raised as a princess in these very castles, by parents who were beloved, rather than growing up sequestered and fearful. Looking forward to the final book in this series, and then moving on to the Tudor series for sure.
Chasing Fireflies (Charles Martin) - This one didn't reel me in as quickly as "When Crickets Cry" did, but it's getting there now.

Meatball subs with melty provolone -- so messy but so good. T did up some chicken Kiev, which we served with rice (to catch all that delicious buttery, herby sauce) and a salad. Leftover ravioli soup and stuffed shells, both from the freezer stash. And on Halloween, we splurged on an early dinner at Five Guys before heading home to hand out candy.

Pumpkin Cupcake (BBW)
Fall Festival (YC) - No one scent in particular. Just this delicious medley of all things autumn.
Pumpkin Pie (YC) - It's like there's a freshly baked pie hanging out on the counter.
Vanilla Satin (YC) - This one is really unique. The description says vanilla, flowers, and sandalwood. I don't pick up on the flowers, but the vanilla and sandalwood are very warm and inviting.

If I can get back just how late the sun rises before we turn back the clocks, it sure is pretty.

Birthday gift from one of my best friends! Foodie items from around the world! Two to start, then a box every other month for a year!

There's just something about the morning light when it's diffused by fog.

Someone needs to rescue me from this delicious candle. Or bake me some pumpkin cupcakes.

Peanut butter M&Ms in autumn colors make me happy.

Grim grinning ghosts! I love the Disney Side app! (That's me!!)

I pretty much love how they've decorate Publix this fall. Owls!

Halloween or not, this was plenty creepy, just standing there in the middle of the day, watching traffic go by.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

This Week on My TV: October 31, 2015

Disclaimer: Consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. You read at your own risk!

**(Sleepy Hollow, 3x02 Whispers in the Dark) I don't know which amused me more: Crane cleaning and coming across Abbie's lingerie while  doing laundry, or when he introduced himself to Abbie's new boss. -- I'm not sure how Crane made that mental leap that there was a secret-stealing wraith involved with the man they think died of a heart attack. -- So we're back to shooting at demons, are we? ::shakes head:: -- I am rarely a fan of long hair on men, but I was surprised at how strongly I reacted to Crane's (somewhat) shorter haircut in the first episode. I've decided I'm ok with it, because it's still not short and it looks...really, really good on him. Ahem. -- What, exactly, is Pandora's endgame? -- I'm glad Abbie's new position with the FBI and both of her new bosses haven't forced replaying the disdain and skepticism involving Crane. We've already done that twice with the Sleepy Hollow Sheriff's Department and it would have been stale.

**(Madam Secretary, 2x03 The Rusalka) Elizabeth: Ok, which one of these dresses says 'I'm terribly sorry your heartless autocrat husband is finally dead?' -- Mike B!! I was worried we were done with him. I'd love if they made him a regular. -- This Craig guy is exactly as much of a butt as Elizabeth says he is. -- Is the actress playing Daisy pregnant in real life? Because if she is, they're being really obvious about "hiding" it. And if not, why is she acting like they're trying to hide a pregnancy that isn't part of the show? -- That custom that had everyone kissing the forehead of the deceased Russian president lying in state. I don't know if I would be more disturbed by kissing the forehead of a dead body or kissing the same spot as all the people ahead of me in line. Gack. -- Daisy: Face it: you're a people pleaser. Blake: Actually, I hate most people. It takes all of my skill to hide that. -- I can't believe how violent they were with Dmitri in that "spy test." When he asked Henry how he sleeps at night, I kind of have to admit I was thinking the same thing. -- Wow. What an ambush by the Russian "first widow" on Elizabeth and the United States. -- I can't believe it's, essentially, Elizabeth against Dalton, Russell, and Craig. Although instead of looking to my like "the boys club vs the token woman," it seems like ones person with values against those who have an agenda but no conscience. I'm glad she's taking Mike B's binder. -- What an intense ending. The hackers' warning that they can take over Air Force One any time they wish. Henry in confession. Dmitri losing his mind, thinking his room was bugged. Gorev clearly about to flee for his life. And "grieving widow" Maria Ostrov looks like she's about to step into her husband's vacated shoes.

**(Blindspot, 1x04 Bone May Rot) It's very convenient that they solved that leaf puzzle just in time to prevent the crazy CDC scientists from setting off a worldwide major epidemic. -- They are very careless. And foolish. Weller staying with the tented virus instead of evacuating. Jane/Taylor coming back in to help Weller in a potentially contaminated location without a HazMat suit on.  -- Mayfair (she's the woman in charge and I had to look up her name because has anyone actually called her by her name?) is very clearly hiding something from Patterson (the girl in the lab coat, whose name I also had to look up) about whatever "Daylight" is. But is she involved in it with CIA Carter (had to look his up too)? Or is he blackmailing her in some way? -- So about these mysterious isotopes they found in Jane's tooth that say she was born and spent her first few years of life somewhere in Africa, even though her DNA say she's Taylor Shaw and Weller swears he remembers her as a baby next door. If she's really Taylor, maybe she was kidnapped and that woman wasn't really her mother?

**(The Good Wife, 7x04 Taxed) Canning is such manipulative weasel. -- That Carver guy was orange. -- Why does Judge Schakowsky insist on saying 'bully' all the time?? -- Louis Canning: Diane, why are you doing this? You're fighting for a cause you don't fundamentally believe in. Diane: Because you make me angry. -- Crouse has such a devil-may-care demeanor and he is incorrigible, with that twinkle-eyed, charming smile. He'll never be Finn, but every time he appears in an episode, I like his addition to the show. -- That whole case was a sting on Schakowsky?? -- Is it my imagination or is Jackie is back to being...sharper? Wasn't she more disoriented and fumbling in recent seasons? Was it just an act or did she recover from something that was ailing her? -- Jackie [about Ruth]: Suddenly, there's a palace guard wearing a pantsuit and cheap shoes? -- So...why doesn't Eli redo his office? Or at least clear some of that furniture out of the way? -- Are we to assume Alicia is going to form (yet another) new firm, this time with Lucca Quinn?

**(Blindspot, 1x05 Split the Law) Some of these tattoo resolutions are a stretch. -- Because we can't help but to be snarky sometimes: How did Weller know the bad guy's cell phone number? Was it also tattooed on Jane? And look! Weller has a tattoo on his arm too! Maybe it's the key to unlocking one of Jane's! -- Credit due for the shootout in the cemetery. I can't remember the last time I saw that done. -- You ever think about working for the good guys, we should talk. -- Now Zapata is being dirtied by CIA Carter, thanks her gambling habits leaving her needing cash. (No points for that one, Blindside. That angle is *way* overdone.) -- The episode titles are strange. I can;t ever figure out how they're actually related to what we're watching.

**(The Big Bang Theory, 9x06 The Helium Insufficiency) Stuart [re: one of the women he met on his new dating app]: One of which would have ended in sex if she hadn't said no. ... Oh, Stuart. -- Sheldon: Is this one of those times I've won the battle but lost the war? -- Sheldon [re: the stolen tank of helium that bears a torn sticker reading "Property of U..."]: U.S. Air Force. U.S. Department of Defense. U.S. Navy. U and I are going to jail. -- Stuart's dating app pic. LOL. -- Hey, Amy? Who is Dave?? -- Kripke: Take your time. I'll walk out backward for a dramatic effect. --

**(Madam Secretary, 7x06 Halloween VI: Tick Tock Death) Brick as Rod Serling ws sheer brilliance. -- A split second before the reveal, I realized it was Cindy as the Grim Reaper. I laughed really loud. -- O. M. G. Kenny talks. And has a face. To quote T, this was a *really* spooky episode. -- The first Twilight Zone-ish skit with Frankie and Rita Glossner was only so-so. The second one with the Grim Reaper terrorizing Axl, Kenny, and Hutch was amusing. But the last one was the best, foreseeing Brick's future. When they showed "Heck" on the mailbox as Mike and Brick were walking away from the older woman's house, it made the whole episode. -- Brick: Hold on, I have to ask you one more thing. Have you ever...done it? Older woman named Cynthia [smiling]: Well, we do have four beautiful children. Brick: Yes!! Yes!! Did you hear that Dad? Four times! That's one more than you and Mom!

**(The Blacklist, 3x05 Arioch Cain) The timeline of this episode felt very jumpy and was also all out of order. That was as confusing for me as flashback episodes. -- Ressler: If we haven't found her yet, he won't. Red: He's better than you. -- Crazy intense scene when Wendigo was trying to kill Lizzie. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. But however dramatic her getaway scene was, I couldn't suspend disbelief enough for her driving through a hail of bullets while laying down across the front seat and using the ripped off rearview mirror to see where she was going. -- As soon as that guy Lizzie and Red were after headed to the roof, I knew we were getting the obligatory jump-from-one-roof-to-another stunt. -- I'm very confused by that dark web site that put a bounty on Lizzie's head, because I thought Red stated earlier that Wendigo wasn't for hire. -- Bye bye, Mr Vargas. The second you lied to Red, you signed your own death warrant. -- I pretty much love that they gave Aram an opportunity to shine in that interrogation with the assassination site guy. -- Dembe coming to Red's rescue made me cheer. Him collapsing in Red's arms from his beatings via Mr Solomon and Vargas shooting him made me teary; Red was so tender with him. -- LOL: Ressler's reaction to Aram's hug. -- Ugh. The Director has his thumb on Ressler now.

**(Sleepy Hollow, 3x03 Blood and Fear) I feel like they put an interesting spin on Jack the Ripper, especially giving a nod to why he stopped and what stopped the murders without warning and or known arrest. -- That was a pretty vicious blade that Pandora procured to create the next Ripper. -- I felt bad for that guy she made her next Ripper, but it was so obvious it was going to be him from the minute we met him. -- I love how Abbie uses the latest and greatest technology to do her research, while Crane reaches for all these thick, dusty old tomes. -- I don't think I care much for Reynolds. Still undecided by Miss Corinth. -- When that blade sliced through the door near Crane and Abbie's selves, I jumped so hard, I may have levitated. I definitely gave myself a know in my shoulder. -- There we go, trying to shoot evil, again, with a regular gun. -- Abbie [looking down on the Ripper lying dead after falling out a window onto a car below]: Oh, damn. [::boink, his eyes pop open] Oh, DAMN. -- I love the aerial views of Sleepy Hollow.

**(Sleepy Hollow, 3x04 The Sisters Mills) My reaction to seeing the Tooth Fairy summed up: What. The hell. Was *that*. -- Crane: I don't need to study history. I lived it. -- That little girl's name was seriously Saffron? -- They are doing a really good job of tying in legends and making historical connections to tell stories this year. I love that they made the Tooth Fairy something far more sinister, that leaving money in exchange for a lost tooth was a means of protection, and how kids see monsters their parents can't. -- Seriously. That Tooth Fairy creature was the things of which my nightmares are made. I had to stifle half a dozen screams. -- While the parents were staring at their younger daughter in her coma, did they seriously not notice Saffron had left the hospital to catch that creepy Tooth Fairy with Crane and company??? -- LOL: Crane at the dentist. Oh, that was funny. -- What on earth is this Pandora creature and what is she trying to accomplish??

**(Scandal, 5x04 Dog-Whistle Politics) Gladiator in a suit speech! I miss when they were gladiators. Let's please go back to doing more of that. -- LOL: Charlie and Jake working together. -- Stop. The. Presses. Jake was married?? Is he *still* married?? -- That scene with Fitz playing with Teddy, and the exchange with Mellie about not hurting each other was sweet and tender. Too bad she tosses that right out the window at the end when she approaches the "women's club" about impeaching Fitz after all. -- "The true cost of mercy." Yep, everyone has a price, Fitz, Are you willing to pay? -- Marcus: So...who's going to tell Olivia I work here now? Huck: I will. I'm damaged. She doesn't like to yell at me. -- I'm not sure how I feel about Fitz showing up to take Olivia out, but I totally laughed at his Secret Service detail in the elevator when he announced he was going to make out with his girlfriend.

**(Once Upon a Time, 5x02 The Price) Oh, flashbacks. Yay. /sarcasm -- Emma's new outfit as the Dark One is really something. -- Regina [controlling Dark Emma via the dagger]: I could get used to this. -- Emma: I still know that the fastest way to a pirate's heart is through his liver. -- Doc: If I go to the ball, I'll just have to be Grumpy's  wing man. -- Mary Margaret [to Regina]: First thing my mother taught me about dancing is you have to learn to move in a dress...not a sensible pantsuit. -- I didn't care for Regina's hair at the ball. Too much like bedhead. Or that its original style fell out and she tried to pin it back up without a mirror. -- So. Emma is back in possession of the dagger. And behind that heavy locked door in her new house is a secret cave housing the missing Excalibur. And somehow, the dagger is really the tip of Excalibur. This is...interesting.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Food and Wine Fest 2015: Round Two

More! More!

I was a woman on a mission and that mission was starting in...


Roasted Pork Lettuce Wrap with Kimchi Slaw.

This one has been one I've looked forward to and enjoyed every year since it was introduced to the menu. I like to use it as a starting point, because it gets me ready for eating without filling me up too much. For being so light on the stomach, there is just so much flavor -- from the pork, from the kimchi slaw, from that drizzle of mystery sauce. It's so good, I can even forgive it for being so messy to eat.

Taste buds engaged, my mission sends me to...


Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce.

This was one of the Fest fixtures. Along with a handful of other dishes, it was at the Fest for as long as I've been attending (since 2007) and it returns year after year. In  fact, last year was the first time it *wasn't* on the menu, but it seems a lot of Fest fixtures has returned to celebrate the 20th anniversary. It's simple. It's straightforward. There's nothing unknown about it. Some people might shrug it off as "too safe," but I've been a fan of apple strudel since I was a little girl. The flaky pastry, the spicy apples, some golden raisins plumped up from soaking in the apple juices. In the past, it's been served as-is, with a caramel drizzle, with a vanilla and caramel sauce, and how it is served this year: swimming in a pool of vanilla sauce. It's like a riff on apple pie a la mode...and I am 100% on board with that!

And we're off again! Mission destination...


with a layover in...

Escondidinho de Carne. Stella Artois Cidre.

Let's start with the food. I try to do my best to say not butcher the name of the dish I'd like when I order. I was way too intimidated by the length of this one though. The Cast Members are really great about pronouncing it for you if you ask though! (I still can't get this one out.) It's basically a meat pie...sort of a Brazilian shepherd's pie of sorts. It's seasoned ground beef and some veggies in a gravy, covered by a layer of mashed yucca (we'll get back to this), baked so the edges are all crispy and golden. So, when I said 'mashed yucca,' I bet you thought I was going to say mashed potatoes, right??I had no preconceived notion, going in, but as I was eating, I did a little Googling (yay for smart phones and free wifi!) and learned that a yucca root (also known as cassava) is a starchy tuberous root, just like, -- you guessed it! -- a potato! It's shaped more like a sweet potato, but its insides are white instead of orange and its texture is far more similar to a potato as well. This was a rather filling dish, as you might imagine, but excellent flavor and very comfort-food-ish. Because I usually get the non-savory waffle when I visit Belgium, I have a difficult time pairing that with a hard cider, which I also want. So, I have to improvise! I thought it would pair well with a heavier, savory meat dish, and the meat pie fit that bill. I was right. The light, crisp cider was an excellent complement.

It was a long, slow, somewhat full stroll to the next stop on my mission...


Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Kumara Dumpling.

You know how venison can be dry and tough sometimes? This was not one of those times. I couldn't believe how tender and juicy this slice of meat actually was. The sauce had lots of flavor. (I'm not sure what the green was...maybe baby collard green? It didn't have the pink stem of Swiss chard. It was too sturdy to be spinach and not sturdy enough to be kale.) And then there was the dumpling. Back to the Google. Kumara? Sweet potato! Mine was a smidge salty, but I am thinking that may have just been a fluke and it didn't ruin the dish for me. It sounds like this was pretty basic, but it definitely didn't taste that way!

Mission switching to sweet. Reroute to...


Strawberry-Basil Champagne "Toast."

Almost too pretty to eat, right? I'm glad I didn't allow that to deter me. Oh. My. Gosh. This was made for me. The little Food and Wine Fest logo was on a sliver of white chocolate, there was a dollop of whipped cream, and the little fuchsia spheres were...some kind of airy puffed something? That was all really just visual enhancement anyway. It's what's under all the fancy decoration that matters. There was a thin layer on the top that I believe was like a champagne gelatin. Next was that large lighter pink portion that was a strawberry mousse. And hiding in that mousse were fat strawberry slices that had been soaked in champagne. (I groaned a little just typing that. I want another serving. Now, if you please.) That darkest pink, at the bottom in the stem of the flute, was some champagne infused with strawberries and basil. It was so subtle, but the basil really gave the champagne and berries a really unique flavor, like there was this fresh element to balance out the berry sweetness. FWF15 is really knocking it out of the park with the desserts, let me tell you.

Today's mission has one small piece of business remaining. Rendezvous at...


First, may I just say that I really appreciate how much fun the're having, designing the new Global Marketplaces? Some of the newer kiosks are so creative in expressing the country or type of cuisine they are serving, and it really sets the mood for me.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and Pistachio Brittle.

The only issue I have with Food and Wine Fest is that sometimes I'm left wondering about parts of the dish I'm eating that weren't included in the description and that I can't seem to identify on my own. This was one of those dishes. The panna cotta was pretty standard. It's vanilla and I like vanilla. But really it was about the fig and the pistachio, and the vanilla allows them to shine. I have never tried a fresh fig before and it was surprisingly sweet! The pistachios were less "brittle" and more "crunch." But that amber-colored syrupy layer on the top and bottom of the panna cotta? NO CLUE. It was sweet and fruity, which worked nicely with the other components, but I haven't any idea what it actually *was*.

Stuffed. My mission has been accomplished. Stay tuned for Round Three...



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