Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food and Wine Fest 2013: Round Six

Home stretch. Just a few more items remaining on my list. This is where we get down to business.

Daniel and I took a left turn and went straight to...


Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle and Rapini. Rosemount Estate Pinot Grigio.

I am super picky about my shrimp. I don't really care for them cold. My favorite is crispy and breaded. But I have to tell you, all Fest long, every time I passed that booth, that garlic shrimp smelled goooood. I finally caved and decided to give it a whirl. It was a good decision. The shrimp were warm and, as advertised, garlicky. What really intrigued me were the roasted tomatoes and the rapini (same this as broccoli rabe -- we looked it up on the almighty Google). The rapini was super bitter on its own, but combined with the roasted tomatoes, something about the acid tempered the bitterness and it. was. heaven. Oh, and in case you are curious, lemon myrtle is an herb. (We Googled that too.) The pinot grigio was light and refreshing and paired really well with the stronger flavors of the food, but the food was definitely the star here.

Onward to...


Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and Singa Sauce.

The Mahi Mahi was perfect. Neither mushy nor dry, it was cooked exactly right. And there was rice. But really? They were vehicles for the Singa sauce. What is Singa sauce, you ask? Shallots, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce. Or, in other words, YUM. (Related: Round Six brought to you by the powers of Google, apparently.)

Halfway 'round the world Showcase Lagoon we go, landing in...


Harissa Chicken Roll. Ksar White.

What ended up being the only non-seafood dish I had (not counting dessert, of course) was this chicken roll. I've had it before and it's tasty. Crispy roll encasing spiced shredded chicken with some veggies. It's flavorful and packs a wee bit of punch, so the wine cooled things down nicely.

A quick hop, skip and a jump, and we were in...


Escargots Persillade en Brioche. Eiffel Sour Cosmo Slush.

Every year, I work up my nerve to have an escargot. I have to wait for Daniel to join me, because I can only muster up enough courage to have one and *someone* has to eat the other two. This year, though, I was in for a surprise. In previous years, the snails are swimming in pools of garlic butter, and the brioche have their little "hats" in place. This time, the was a little sauce that had parsley as well as garlic, but WHERE WAS THE LITTLE HAT?! I get brave because I can't *see* what I'm eating. Thank goodness that sauce was thick and opaque, hiding the meat, or I might have chickened out. As it was, I needed a good dose of liquid courage beforehand, in the form of that tasty red Cosmo slush (vodka, Grey Goose Cherry Noir, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice). (The wine was Daniel's beverage of choice - Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Cote Blanche - and that is as much as I can tell you about that, because I was all about that slush.) Back to the escargot: It wasn't bad but I still missed the little hat.

Next in line was...


Warm Chocolate Pudding with Bailey's Custard.

For as long as I can remember, Ireland has offered a chocolate lava cake with a ganache sauce as its dessert. Upon my initial surveying of the menu items, I thought they were serving the same thing, just with a new name and a different sauce. Oh, most certainly not! The texture of the "warm pudding" was something like eating a half baked caked: warm and gooey but definitely some cake-like qualities. The "custard" was like a vanilla sauce and added another layer, unlike the more one-dimensional chocolate-on-chocolate dessert in the past.

One final stop...


Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette.

Oh my. The fish was cooked really well: juicy but the skin was nice and crispy. Drown it in a sweet-tangy vinaigrette, add a few fresh greens, and sprinkle it with crispy bacon bits (the real deal, not "bacon") and this was incredible. So many flavors but none overpowering the others. This was a fabulous addition to the 2013 menu! And a great way to wind up the Festival.

Time to start contemplating the top five dishes of 2013...


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 43


Saturday, October 26, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: October 26, 2013

Disclaimer: Some shows I watch live and with others, I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. All I can do is lead in with the show and episode. You read at your own risk!

**(Revolution, S2E1 "Born in the U.S.A.") There are clearly new writers involved, because this episode showed more identity than the entire first season. The opening sequence really opened up a ton of possibilities and questions. Six months have passed. Charlie is, apparently, seeking out one night stands and the location of Monroe. Rachel has been reunited with her father. Aaron either has a new love interest or I spent the last season so confused that I missed him hooking up with her. Miles is looking a little crazy and still killing people. Neville is searching for his wife, whom he believes was still waiting for him in Atlanta when it was bombed. Even covering all those "updates" in a very short period of time, I never felt like it was disjointed or that I couldn't keep up. Maybe there is hope! -- Two great quotes too: 1. Rachel's father (to Rachel): How 'bout we put the big book of crazy away? 2. Miles (to Charlie, before she set out on her own): Just...try to keep the stupid to a minimum? I couldn't have said it better myself, Miles. Charlie gets into a LOT of stupid. -- Bonus awesome: A Friends reference?! Revolution's stock just skyrocketed with me.

**(Person of Interest, S3E2 "Nothing to Hide") The exchanges between Finch and Reese are my favorite. Reese: You doubt her ability to be discreet? Finch: I doubt her ability to keep from shooting someone.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E2 "The City That Never Sleeps") Frank Reagan is a stand-up Police Commissioner. In fact, I think I respect him and he isn't even real.

**(The Blacklist, S1E3 "Wujing") There isn't anything about Red Reddington's character that I don't love.

**(Low Winter Sun, S1E10 "Surrender") I never ever *ever* saw Sean's "confession" coming. Hat tip to  the writers for dropping one heck of a bombshell in the finale.

**(Mom, S1E3 "A Small Nervous Breakdown and a Misplaced Fork") I wasn't sure I was going to, but I actually really like both Christy and Bonnie. And maybe the boom has yet to be lowered, but the typical Chuck Lorre raunchiness has been kept to a (mostly) subtle minimum thus far.

**(The Michael J Fox Show, S1E4 "Hobbies") ANNE HECHE!!! Oh, I hope this means she is going to be a series regular!

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E4 "Internal Affairs") Now *that* makes up for the "ripped from the headlines" nonsense. Cassidy nearly gets executed by two dirty cops and Cragen throws IA out of his office? Excellent drama.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E3 "To Protect and Serve") Five star episode! Erin gets shot and Danny saves her? All with an old family warning: "Please don't hurt my family." And Frank puts everyone who comes into his office in their place. Yes. Please.

**(How I Met Your Mother, S9E5 "The Poker Game") J'accuse! Me cuse? YOU cuse!! Oh, have mercy, that scene between Marshall and Ted was gold.

**(The Big Bang Theory, S7E6 "The Romance Resonance") Ok, that song Howard sang Bernadette was unbelievably sweet. And I really can't believe I actually said that. I also totally called Amy's daydream. One day, Amy. One day...

**(The Good Wife, S5E2 "The Bit Bucket") Zach's old girlfriend is a real snot. I have to restrain myself from slapping the television when she's on it. I also cannot get behind Stockard Channing as Alicia Florrick's mother. There is just something about her that doesn't fit.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E3 "American Tragedy") I never really enjoy the "ripped from the headlines" episodes of this show. This one was derived from two separate "headlines." I liked it even less.

**(Low Winter Sun, S1E9 "Ann Arbor") How did Frank not go insane on Joe if he knew Katia was dead?! There was no real reaction to her murder at all. After how obsessed he was with her, I find that annoyingly incongruous.

**(CSI, S14E3 "Torch Song") Predictability. Boo. It's *always* the building/business owner behind the arson. It totally ruined John Ratzenberger's guest appearance on the show. Thanks for spoiling my Cliff Clavin-Sam Malone reunion.

**(Top Chef, S11E2 "Rebuilding New Orleans") I thought the food truck concept was a really fun challenge that I haven't seen before, but with so many chefs still in the running, it's so difficult to keep track of them all and what they cooked and how it was received. I can't even remember who I don't like, much less who my favorites are. I'll be glad when we get a few episodes in and down to a more manageable number of cheftestants.

**(Last Man Standing, S3E4 "Ryan vs. John Baker") Not nice, Last Man writers. Not nice giving me hope that we'd get Ryan even partially out of the picture and then turning the tables on me and making Ryan and Kristin stronger than ever. I need to go pout.

**(Blue Bloods, S4E3 "To Protect and Serve") Erin kissing Jack?? No no no no no!!

**(Revolution, S2E1 "Born in the U.S.A.") Ummm, what was with those fireflies?! And I was all set to get annoyed, after all, when Aaron got killed -- more execution of characters before I get a chance to be invested in *anyone*?? -- and then suddenly he is...alive? WHAT??

**(Low Winter Sun, S1E8 "Revelations") What is Frank going to do to Joe when he finds out Joe pushed Katia out the window to her death? It sure won't be pretty. Also, what is the purpose of  Sean's character? I get that he's Maya's ex and Frank's old partner, but I can't figure out how he ties into the story.

**(Person of Interest, S3E2 "Nothing to Hide") So, can we surmise that Reese and Finch now have yet another on-going enemy against which to defend? There's Elias (who I figure can still pull strings from his hiding place), HR, Root, the government, the CIA, Decima Technologies, and now whoever these vigilantes are that claimed shooting this week's number was "the first lesson."

**(Blue Bloods, S4E2 "The City That Never Sleeps") Before it was revealed as a disguise, I was mind-boggled. How did Russell Berke manage to grow a beard in what appeared to be like five hours?? The 2013 Red Sox would be incredible jealous!

**(The Mentalist, S6E2 "Black-Winged Redbird") Just one cotton-pickin' second. Is Red John one person? Or a team? What was with that meeting in Bertram's office with the Sheriff and Reede Smith, specifically the exchange between the three of them after Patrick's departure?

**(The Blacklist, S1E3 "Wujing") What was that number in the red envelope??

**(The Good Wife, S5E2 "The Bit Bucket") Is that really what goes on at the NSA? Just sitting around listening to endless phone conversations and reading texts? I am stuck between finding that mind-numbingly boring and holy-crap creepy.

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E4 "And the Group Head") We needed another new character on this show, why? Although the dancing to his Sex and the City ringtone was pretty flipping humorous.

**(Revolution, S2E2 "There Will Be Blood") First, when did we start calling Miles "Stu"?? And second, what the *heck* is going on with Aaron?! Magically coming back to life and the hallucination with Ben -- what on earth is the explanation there?


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Great Post-Season Double Standard Dismissal.

Here's the thing: Every fan will react as they see fit, but I am just not personally buying the doom-and-gloom. Sometimes I get whiplash from the shift in attitude among my fellow Sox fans, it is so abrupt.

After the first two games of the ALCS, Boston made its way to Detroit with the same "series tied at one" record. Somehow that was ok. We were collectively pumped. cheering and chanting and dreaming big. But one-and-one, heading to St Louis, spells the demise of the Red Sox? The demeanor gives the impression that the Sox are facing elimination Saturday and it's already the ninth inning with a 25-run deficit.

I stand here, bewildered.

I'm not sure how this is so diametrically different from the same point in the ALCS with two games on the books. What I'm saying is: The Tigers were no slouches. Sure, their bullpen was suspect, but to reach that chink in the armor, you had to battle through arguably this season's most terrifying starting rotation in Major League Baseball, all while holding off a lineup that could put a hurting on an opposing pitcher faster than Jacoby Ellsbury can move from first base to second. When you consider that, even operating at fifty percent, Miguel Cabrera is still in the top three most dangerous hitters, Prince Fielder is as capable of a timely monster hit as Victorino showed himself to be, Victor Martinez is never a guaranteed out, and Jose Iglesias is proving to be a real pest, well, the task at hand was no smaller then than it is for the Sox right now.

So then...why is the sky falling *this* time?

I don't expect either team will have another game this series as sloppy as the Cardinals were in Game One or the Sox in Game Two. Which leaves two teams capable of pitching, both at the start of the game and the end, and certainly capable of putting baserunners on basepaths and plating runs. Two teams that had precisely the same regular season record--the only difference being the Cardinals won one more game at home and the Sox were one better on the road. So. Even-Steven then, yes?

All that to say: I never expected a sweep by either team. What I expected was for it to be a bitter fight to the end. Six games minimum. We're two games in. Truth be told, the Red Sox have nothing more to prove to me. They haven't since well before the regular season ended. The fact that they are playing deep into October, in the World Series, is a thick layer of sweet, sweet icing on the best cake ever. Do I *want* them to walk away the champions? Well *yeah*! But if they don't? This will be the furthest thing from demoralizing. I've endured "demoralizing" with a hefty side of "soul-crushing" (see: September 2011 through September 2012), and this season has dazzled me, left me awestruck and supremely grateful. I am so proud of what they've done this year, I may actually be giving off a glow.

Kenny Chesney sings a song, and it's about high school football, but a piece of the chorus rings through my head every time I watch the 2013 version of the Red Sox:
It's turn and face the stars and stripes
It's fightin' back them butterflies...
It's I got your number, got your back
When your back's against the wall
You mess with one man, you got us all
The boys of fall

Play on, boys. "Find a way," "win today," "Boston strong" and all that. This isn't over until someone manages to win three more and right now this is anyone's series!

If anyone needs me, I'll be front and center, believing my little heart out.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Photo-a-Day: Week 42


Monday, October 21, 2013

Food and Wine Fest 2013: Round Five

Getting closer and closer to the end. There are just a handful of items still on my "must eat" list. This time I collected one of my best friends at the entrance if Epcot and we embarked on yet another round of deliciousness. First stop...


Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter.

I'm not typically a huge fan of lobster -- I don't hate it or anything, but it's a lot of work and the meat is a bit sweeter than I prefer -- but, I'm sorry, did you say shellfish drenched in "Garlic Herb Butter" now? I'm in! The lobster was good. The garlic herb butter was to die for.

At this point, I had a real taste for...


Artisan Cheese Selection.

First of all, it's cheese. I'm a big fan of cheese. In the past, some of the cheeses have been a little on the boring side, not that that fact makes them less tasty. This year, though, was interesting. Starting on the left and moving right, the first cheese was La Bonne Vie Triple Creme Brie served with apricot jam. I happen to like brie. It was mild and mellow and creamy, and it was so good combined with the texture of the jam, and its sweet-tartness. I could have eaten a lot more of this one. It was definitely my favorite. Next, there was Beecher's Flagship Reserve served with honey. I'm not sure what kind of cheese this was exactly; it reminded me of a moderately sharp white cheddar. It had a tang that played nicely off the sweet honey, was a harder, drier texture, but still somehow came across as creamy. I found this cheese to be tasty but confusing. I'll call it my least favorite, but it was by no means bad; it just reminded me of cheddar enough that it wasn't anything that grabbed my attention. Finally, there was Wyngaard Goats Gouda with Craisn bread. I don't think I've ever had a goat milk gouda before. It was firmer than I expected and had a bit of a tangy bite to it. I think I would have liked better with a grainy cracker than the Craisin toast, but the cheese itself was pleasantly surprising in both taste and texture.

We had sequestered ourselves on a really great bench in China to eat cheese. The sun was warm and the crowds were getting heavier, so I kept the shady spot locked in while Daniel headed off to round us up some food from...


Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce.

This one is a new addition for 2013. I was hemming and hawing over whether I was going to give this one a go, but as the Fest wears on, I found myself increasingly more curious. I have no idea if this is legitimately South Korean cuisine or not, but it was interesting! The hot dog, itself, packed a bit of a punch, though it took me a couple of bites to figure out it was the hot dog and not the slaw or the mustard sauce. The kimchi was really more of a slaw, similar to what they put on the lettuce wrap. This was a really fun and tasty new dish to try and I am glad I decided to give it a shot.

I was getting pretty close to full, but there was definitely room for one more stop.


Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and Cilantro.

Ever since I first saw this on the menu sneak peek, I had this one on my radar. They seem to cook with it whenever possible on Top Chef, so I was curious. Then my mom tried it and raved over it and I was sold. I knew I would try it. And oh am I ever glad I did. It was like a giant slab of bacon, fried nice and crispy on the outside, and the inside just melted in my mouth. The onion, avocado and tomato "relish" added some nice freshness to the heavier meat, and the black beans (which I could usually take or leave) were so excellent, I scraped the dish clean.

Happy tummy. Happy taste buds. One more round should finish off the list!


Sunday, October 20, 2013


I miss her.

It's been twelve years and I still miss her. I might even miss her more.

I miss her apple pie.
And her fashion sense.
(She wasn't afraid to get dirty and she had plenty of work clothes, but oh could she dress up.)

I miss the warmth of her hand -- hands that worked hard and showed it, yet still had a softness -- and the way she'd squeeze my fingers.

I miss her smile.
And her soprano singing voice, hitting every high note in "How Great Thou Art."

I miss her ridiculous "threats" when we'd get on her last nerve and she'd toss us out into the yard to get us out of her hair.

I miss the way she called me her Sweet Bug.
And that she'd never hang up the phone without telling me she loved me.

I miss long chats and her Sunday dinners and that she always had room for me in her home.

I will never not miss her. But I am grateful I was born into her family. That I had the gift of so much time growing up in her house. That I have a wealth of memories and photos to warm my heart. What a blessing she was to this world.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

TV Loves and Hates: October 19, 2013

Disclaimer: Some shows I watch live and with others, I tend to be fairly behind on my tv watching. Even so, consider the fact that there could be spoilers ahead. All I can do is lead in with the show and episode. You read at your own risk!

**(Blue Bloods, S4E1 "Unwritten Rules") Frank Reagan's three-piece suits. And the fact that he doesn't take any crap from his men. - Arbogast (to Garrett Moore): You never walked a beat. You never had your partner die in your arms. Frank: I have. The Blue Flu stops now.

**(The Good Wife, S5E1 "Everything Is Ending") I love the intensity of a death row deadline on a legal show. Especially when it seems the inmate may have been wrongly accused. Even when the resolution is a little muddled. I also love that Alicia is perpetually conflicted. It's so *real*. Her marriage, her position at Lockhart Gardner, starting her own firm, where she stands with Will. Maybe I just get it, being a Libra and all.

**(The Mentalist, S6E1 "The Desert Rose") Patrick tells Lisbon to tell *no one* about the list. So she tells Grace. Who tells Rigsby. Who tells Cho. Because of course they all did. Nothing like a grown-up game of telephone. Patrick's warning about danger for anyone knowing about the list proved good, because whoa! Red John appears to have Lisbon?? Crazy suspense!

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E2 "Imprisoned Lives") This was one of the better "ripped from the headlines" episodes. Enough similarities between the Ariel Castro case to identify it, but with some unique twists to keep it original.

**(The Bridge, S1E13 "The Crazy Place") The development of the relationship between Sonya and Marco is pretty awesome.

**(Last Man Standing, S3E3 "Pledging") This show slips in political commentary in a way that amuses me (kind of like they used to do on Boston Legal) and then makes fun of other shows that air the same time as Last Man Standing. ::snicker::

**(How I Met Your Mother, S9E4 "The Broken Code") I'm not liking this lack of The Mother, but Lily's "do as I say!" face kills me. And I really appreciated Ted's heartfelt promise to Barney that he would do his best to push any feelings about Robin out of his head.

**(2 Broke Girls, S3E3 "And the Kitty Kitty Spank Spank") Apparently all this show needed was a cat. I was cracking up at least a half dozen times. New record! (For this show.)

**(The Big Bang Theory, S7E5 "The Workplace Proximity") OMG, Sheldon kicking Amy in the And there was a monkey! What's *not* to love?

**(The Michael J Fox Show, S1E3 "Art") Hate is a strong word, but I am kind of over the "talking to the camera" monologues every single sitcom is doing now. It's not original now. It's trite.

**(Low Winter Sun, S1E6 "The Way Things Are") It's somewhat disorienting how much this episode jumps around. Frank stalking Katia. Damon and Maya trying to figure out how to clean up the evidence of a dead body in their car. Nick going to therapy and trying to kill himself, then shooting some guy in the parking lot of a convenience store. Joe trying to get his daughter into Catholic school. Frank showing up at Dani's for a booty call. The shift between stories was abrupt and there was no flow to any of it.

**(Low Winter Sun, S1E7 "There Was a Girl") I get that this show wants to be dark and shocking, but sometimes they cross the line into exceptionally gross. Like that bathroom scene. Ugh. (I'll leave it at that.)

**(Blue Bloods, S4E1 "Unwritten Rules") Who the heck is this "Chief of Department Dino Arbogast" guy that keeps showing up in Frank's office all the time now? Did he exist before and I just forgot about him?

**(The Mentalist, S6E1 "The Desert Rose") So, Lisbon has Grace bug the phones of the seven Red John candidates. And they proceed to discuss their plan OVER THE PHONE. If they could so easily bug the phones of these seven people, what makes them think *he* doesn't have their phones bugged too??

**(Low Winter Sun, S1E6 "The Way Things Are") Is Detroit really as much of a dump as this show portrays it? Every place they go seems to be covered in graffiti, abandoned or dilapidated, or the source for drugs or prostitution.

**(Law and Order: SVU, S15E1 "Surrender Benson") I wonder how it feels to hear and what characteristics you have to exhibit at your audition for them to say "You know what you would be perfect for? This super twisted attacker, William Louis." He is one of the creepiest, most disturbing characters I can recall.

**(The Bridge, S1E13 "The Crazy Place") The season finale left so many intriguing questions! Will Marco kill David Tate? What happened to Adriana's sister? Will Eva survive? Who was that man who approached Charlotte and what does he want? Who the heck is Millie Quintana and what was with the bathroom full of money?!

**(Modern Family, S5E4 "Farm Strong") Were they serious about Cam's sister being named Pameron??


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