Sunday, November 30, 2014

What I Learned in November: 2014

1. We act like social media is a giant time suck, but it can prove to be priceless in ways we don't anticipate. When I posted my Dad's formal military portrait on Facebook, in honor of Veterans Day, I never imagined I would learn so much about him from my friends. My Dad never talks much about his time served in Vietnam (I know exactly three stories related to his service, in addition to the fact that he was stationed in Yakima, which he enjoyed quite a bit, before being deployed, and that after his return, my Gram once tried to wake him by touching his arm, which startled him and he nearly took her down as a reflex). But it was fascinating to me to learn some additional details about which Infantry division he was in and what some of the various uniform decorations tell about his service.

2. Kitchen trivia, thanks to the October 2014 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine: Carrots were not always orange. Apparently, back in the sixteenth century, some Dutch scientists crossbred several yellow varieties and ended up with the orange color we eat now. Before the orange carrots came to be, the common popular colors were yellow, red, and purple!

3. When I drive, I appear to only notice one side of the road. I say this, because I only recently noticed that the road I take to the library has storage units across from the cemetery. The storage units, according to T, have been there for a while. I guess my eye is always drawn toward the cemetery? (Wow, that makes it sound like I don't actually look where I'm driving. I promise that isn't true.)

Every month, Chatting at the Sky shares what she learned. Big things and little things. Life lessons from the serious to the silly. I've decided I want to participate. Just another means of capturing who am I along this broken little road called life.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Week on My TV: November 29, 2014

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

**(Madam SecretaryS1E9 "So It Goes"I actually enjoyed the flashbacks in this episode. I liked getting to see the former Secretary of State, the glimpses into Elizabeth's past, and what happened on Marsh's plane leading up to it going down. -- LOL: Blake calls Russell "the scary guy." -- Elizabeth [to Russell]: You know, someone recently reminded me that I'm fourth in line for the Presidency, so you don't get to come into my office and push me around. -- Just one minute. Matt was spying on Marsh for Russell? And now Russell expects him to continue doing so with Elizabeth? -- Henry: It would have to be a genius. Like a diabolical sabotuer out of a Bond movie. Elizabeth: Well, if you were going to kill the Secretary of State, don't you think you'd wanna hire one of those types? -- Love it: All of Elizabeth's Secret Service are wearing hats supporting Alison's school soccer team, since she insisted on being there. -- I can't decide if I believe Castellano and feel bad for him, or if I mistrust him and am just waiting for him to alert someone of Elizabeth's investigation. -- I'm shocked Matt came clean with Elizabeth...but now what? How does she proceed without endangering herself and her family?

**(The Good WifeS6E10 "The Trial"I totally feel the Honorable Cuesta's frustrations with the automatic sinks and towel dispenser, and banana nut muffins. But I kinda have a problem with him taking his poor anniversary planning out on Cary's trial. He should have purchased the Neil Diamond tickets earlier than day of. -- Jackie! I was wondering where she disappeared to. -- I knew exactly which face Eli was going to make when he heard about the note Alicia wrote about stabbing a teacher, which was intended as a satirical joke, but was, admittedly, a bit tasteless. -- There are a lot of distracted people involved with this trial. The ASA. The judge. The detective called as a witness.A juror. -- Finn and Alicia. I love their awkward interactions. So different from how she was with Will. I like that they agree to meet, as friends, in a crowded, brightly lit diner, NO MUSIC, for pancakes to discuss law...and they end up at a diner where the power goes out, a candle gets placed on their table, and someone started playing guitar, and all they can do is laugh. -- That was pretty underhanded of Bishop to produce Dante as a witness, after Kalinda showed him photos that could take his son away from him, and then Dante implicates Cary on the stand, most likely at Bishop's instruction. I suppose that should be expected when you're dealing with a big time criminal. -- Cary is pleading guilty?! Like guilty as in going to prison?!

**(2 Broke GirlsS4E5 "And the Brand Job"$1000 for a business seminar? Sounds like a pyramid scam to me. No wonder these two are broke. -- So, as part of this seminar, each participant was given a bucket of Koosh balls to throw at presenters when they felt an idea was lame. I need one of these buckets to throw at the tv when this show is lame. This episode would have required a bucket the size of a garbage barrel.

**(Madam SecretaryS1E10 "Collateral Damage"I thought that Elizabeth wasn't going to wear that color anymore because it made her skin tone look funny? -- Elizabeth is far too nice to Stevie. That girl needs a reality check. And to return the $50 her mother gave her to buy a more work-appropriate shirt, since she ended up getting one from Blake instead. -- Interesting watching them lock down the White House with the threat of a deranged gunman on the property. And as if it weren't already tense, it seems they all get locked down in uncomfortable situations. -- Stevie's judgment of her parents without knowing the facts, without knowing what it's like to walk in the adult world and make extremely difficult decisions, really gets under my skin. Being young gives you ideals that are unrealistic, but that's no excuse. -- I don't know that I'm all that invested in this Matt-and-Daisy thing, but Matt was right, Daisy does deserve to have someone who will fight for her. We all deserve to have someone who will fight for us. -- Nadine is done keeping Marsh's secrets. I wonder what that bank account information she turned over to Elizabeth will unearth. -- E: Hey, Stevie? If you never listen to anything I say again for the rest of your life, please hear this. Everything is more complicated than you think it is right now. And the only way you come to know that is through experience. And that's what this whole process of growing up is all about.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Week on My TV: November 22, 2014

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

**(Once Upon a TimeS4E6 "Family Business") They tried to make Belle look younger in that opening scene. They...failed. She just looked like the same old adult Belle, just in an awkward and uncomfortable way. -- Hmmm. Another tie to Arendelle. Belle was determined to go there in an effort to restore her memory of what happened to her mother when the ogre attacked them. -- Whoa! Elsa had another dress in Arendelle, in the past! -- LOL: Regina called Hook "Captain Guyliner." -- Anna [to Belle, in Arendelle]: I couldn't help overhearing...actually, I could, but I'm just naturally curious. ... Well, that was one of the most honest statements ever. -- Anna [to a young Belle, in Arendelle, about Rumplestiltskin]: I just pray you never cross paths with that twisted man. ... ::snort:: I love the irony this show tosses around. -- Well, that poses quite a conundrum for Gold. If Belle has the real dagger, Gold has to obey her command to help find the Snow Queen. If Belle doesn't have the real dagger, he either has to admit it or pretend that she does. Magic comes with a price, but so does deceit. -- All right then. I guess it's true that the Snow Queen, Ingrid, really was Anna and Elsa's mother's sister. Or one of them anyway. And whatever this hereditary magic is that Ingrid and Elsa share, Elsa's mother feared it enough to want it taken from Elsa. Now, what happened to the missing sister? -- Yikes. The Snow Queen's mirror is a terrifying nightmare. Is it exposing the truth or the reflector's worst fears? -- Everyone has secrets: Belle knew Anna. Ingrid won't say what happened to the missing third sister, Helga. Gold is keeping the dagger from Belle. Anna didn't want Elsa to know what she learned about their parents' journey. -- The Snow Queen is trying to reconstruct her perfect family, using Elsa and Emma, and then cast a terrible spell on Storybrooke that will make them turn on one other. That is rather sinister and creepy!

**(The Good WifeS6E8 "Red Zone"I kind of wonder how sincere Prady is about running a clean campaign, clear of negativity. -- That scene when Cary is walking down the hall, toward his apartment, following the possibility that Bishop might have ordered a hit on him, was shot perfectly. It conveyed the feelings exactly how I would imagine feeling them. Trepidation. Getting more and more inside my own head, freaking myself out. Escalating to near terror. -- Alicia [to Peter about him sleeping with Ramona, and its effect on her campaign and his potential re-election]: Zip up your pants, shut your mouth, and stop banging the help. -- Alicia needs to stop toying with Finn's emotions. He's a decent guy. -- You are a dirty, loathsome, unforgivable dog, Peter Florrick. I don't care what your "agreement" with Alicia is. Insisting there's nothing going on and then making out with Ramona? Despicable. -- OMG, the campaign ads. The DINO. "Who is Alicia in bed with now?" I wish it were parody on real life, but they so often start to feel that ridiculous. -- Speaking of the DINO (Democrat in Name Only) ad, man, that felt exactly like a Charlie Crist ad, which you probably only appreciate if you live in Florida, but anyway. -- If Prady got divorced ten years ago, why does he still wear a wedding band?

**(2 Broke GirlsS4E3 "And the Childhood Not Included"Should have known this show wasn't capable of two legitimately funny episodes in a row. -- Things that were not funny: Max not knowing how to ride a bike and her injured lady parts. Oleg's...issues. Han mocking Max and Oleg. That weird yarn woman. -- This was a "three ew" episode. Or is it four? One "ew" was actually an "ew, EW!" -- How many times do they think dropping items out from the girls' skirts is going to be funny? (Hint: Zero, though they've now tried that bit two episodes in a row.)

**(Person of InterestS4E8 "Point of Origin") Oh the sweet humor of irony: While conducting a tactical training exercise, Reese is kneecapped (via paint ball). -- It's really stressing me out that Shaw's cover is very likely blown. -- This week's number, Dani Silva, looks like she could be Shaw's younger sister. -- I can't believe both Shaw and Fusco fell asleep while they were on a stakeout! -- I wonder if watching Reese in action will redefine his "hero complex" for his therapist? -- How did it take the crew so long to realize Mini *is* Dominic?? I figured out Mini was a nickname for Dominic almost right after we first met him. -- That Martine chick who works for Greer/Samaritan kept popping up as various other characters while executing her mission to find Shaw and I kept being slow on the uptake in recognizing her. -- LOL: The swarm of deviants on the Samaritan camera when the alarm alerted all the gang members to gather at the abandoned school headquarters. -- Silva [as they prepare to jump into a pool to escape the Brotherhood]: What about the dog? Reese: He's scuba certified. -- Dominic is far more intelligent than he first appeared. That's dangerous. -- With all the possible numbers in the city, what are the odds of Elias getting flagged twice? There isn't enough room for Elias and The Brotherhood in this city. -- AHHHHH!! Martine found Shaw!! This is the kind of cliffhanger that's bad for my blood pressure!

**(About a BoyS2E5 "About an Angry Ex"Will: My problems always go away. I'm like Teflon. Nothing sticks. -- LOL: Will is being sued by his stalker. -- Question I actually asked during this episode: Is Marcus wearing a flower sweater?? (Of course he is.) -- That Pilates studio was so terrifying, it serves as an unneeded reminder of why that's something I have no desire to participate in.

**(The MiddleS6E7 "Thanksgiving VI"Floor sink + tiny table = Hecks Thanksgiving out! Because that won't find a way to turn into a disaster. Heh. -- Frankie: They used to be my pregnancy pants. Now they're my holiday pants. ... That was totally done by Friends in 2001. Remember Joey's eating pants aka Phoebe's old maternity pants? -- Frankie: Don't take it personally. Your dad likes us and that's about it. And some days not even us. -- Poor Darrin. He's so sweet and sincere, even if he is simpleminded. -- Mike's murderous reaction to being birthdayed at the restaurant? Exactly the way I feel about that horror show of being the center of embarrassing attention. -- Calling it right now: Axl's going to be smitten with Devin Levin.

**(ScandalS4E7 "Baby Made a Mess"I'm curious what it's going to mean for Mellie that she heard Fitz on the phone with Olivia. -- Even though I totally saw it coming, Jeremy Winslow shooting himself in the head, I always jump a mile. But what can't Quinn stop from coming that involves photos of Olivia and results in the murder of two young girls and Jeremy Winslow taking his life?? -- That Senator scandal video was disturbing on so many levels. SO many. -- I love Huck's relationship with his son, heartbreaking as it is. -- For the first time I can ever remember, I feel sympathetic toward Abby. I cannot imagine her horror in finding out Fitz is endorsing her abusive ex-husband. -- I'm glad to see two things: a) That Liv is a good friend. And b) With that "watch me" she gave Abby, Olivia Pope is *back*. -- Please tell me that with Cyrus setting a trap for Lizzie Bear and Michael, that he's smart enough to wait longer than 24 hours to see if it pans out. -- David: I've been Poped and I don't know it. -- Interesting move by Liv to show up at super max to see Tom, not Jake, and even more interesting exchange. I'm thinking she was in no way prepared for Tom admiring her beauty and questioning her about why she left Fitz, telling her how he fell apart. -- Olivia ran a brilliant ad for Susan Ross, narrated by her daughter and nailing all the emotion power points. -- Blah. That phone call between Olivia and Fitz was supposed to be steamy. I just found it distasteful. Team Jake. -- Leo is so yucky. So why is Abby making out with him?? -- I do feel bad for Cyrus. But he needed to know before it was too late. -- O. M. G. Liv had Tom attacked in prison, made him believe it was Rowan, and Tom confessed the truth! And now Fitz knows. The hornet's nest has officially been kicked.

**(The Big Bang TheoryS8E10 "The Champagne Reflection"Oh no! The finale of Fun With Flags? But Sheldon dressed up as Betsy Ross was pure comedy gold. Along with Sheldon in an old-fashioned bathing suit ("Stop looking at my legs!"). -- Roger Abbot. Roger Rabbit. Yep! Fun to say! -- Good for Penny, finally having some success with her new job. Not so good for Penny: whatever that is happening on her head. -- Finally! Someone called out Bernadette for being harsh. Thank you, Penny. -- Is Sheldon seriously recanting his Fun With Flags retirement? ::shakes head::

**(Modern FamilyS6E8 "Three Turkeys"Can't decide which was more amusing: Manny unintentionally grabbing Haley's boob, Lily falling over backward when she tried to put on the backpack with Claire's backup turkey hidden inside, or Mitch standing in front of the drawing Lily made with Cam looking all kind and happy, while Mitchell has horns and a pitchfork...while holding a fork and perfectly lined up so it looked like the horns were on his actual head. Regardless, all the sneaking around and general hijinks made for a great episode.

**(Madam SecretaryS1E8 "Need to Know"Oh! I never even considered the repercussions Henry's NSA assignment could have on Elizabeth's position as Secretary of State and needing the trust of foreign diplomats. -- Elizabeth [on seeing Daisy's engagement ring]: That is some serious carbon! ... Of all the compliments I've heard on engagement rings, that is the most original. -- Tea Leone pulls off glasses well. -- I love the interaction of the McCord family. They nail it. Completely believable. Which is why it makes me so sad that their jobs are forcing Elizabeth and Henry to keep secrets from one another. -- It's probably a good thing Elizabeth can't see what Henry is up to, because it's stressing me the heck out and I'm not married to him. I don't care whether or not she's former CIA, he's still her *husband*. -- Elizabeth telling Isabelle and Julia that they are the only ones she can trust feels like an ominous warning that she can't maybe shouldn't trust one of them. I hope that isn't true. She needs at least a handful of people she can truly trust. -- I'd like to smack Daisy and Matt and their "methinks thou dost protest too much" interactions. Blake and his sarcasm, though? Heart him! -- Madam Secretary bringing it with the feelings. I totally teared up when Jim was reunited with his wife.

**(Last Man StandingS4E9 "Changing Light Bulbs") Mike [to Vanessa, who is giving him a hard time about his not wanting to give up incandescent light bulbs]: I have a sixty year old truck and a thirty year old marriage. You should be happy that I'm stuck in my old ways. -- Chuck Larabee [when he catches Mike unscrewing the light bulb from the Larabees' front porch light]: Now we how many middle aged white dudes it takes to steal a light bulb. -- I wanna get bulbs! I hate those new bulbs. The light is so unpleasant. -- Chuck Larabbe [to Mike]: Let's break this down. You've got one kid shacking up, another with a baby daddy, and a third playing football. Your family's blacker than mine. -- Awwww. I do love that Kyle is genuinely so sweet. -- No vlog? Bummer. That's often the icing on the cake!

**(A to ZS1E8 "H Is for Hostile Takeover") I totally write things down just to get them out. -- Oh, Zelda...what did you do?? That was horrible advice, telling Andrew to send Big Bird that email!-- The snappy banter between Andrew and Zelda is one of my favorite things on tv right now. -- Dinesh won first place in a stair climbing contest, what?! -- I liked the "moral of the story," that we're connected to the important people in our lives and these people influence us, our likes, our choices, and there's nothing wrong with that.

**(MomS2E4 "Forged Resumes and the Recommended Dosage"Ewwww: that whole "druken Violet" scene. Especially the cats. -- Christy and company sure help themselves to Marjorie's fridge like it belongs to them. -- Oh, poor Violet. She's a hurting mess. -- LOL: Bonnie's victory dance at finally landing a job. But given her flakiness, I'm wondering how long she'll be able to keep it?

**(Marry MeS1E2 "Move Me"They've been together how long and are just now moving in together? I mean, sure, in real life, people wait, but it seems like on tv, they're living together before they've barely been on more than a dozen dates. -- How is Gil giving good relationship advice? -- Annie put curtains in what is rapidly becoming a clown car, with all the people "stopping by her new place"??

**(The McCarthysS1E1 "Pilot"I feel like this show needs a few more episodes for me to decide where I stand. It's a little obnoxious and stereotypical Boston, but that could prove to be hilarious, if executed properly. And I do like Laurie Metcalf as Sheldon's mom on The Big Bang Theory. I'd like to see what she can do here. I also didn't notice any failed Boston accents that made me cringe. Exaggerated in some cases, of course, but that's par for the course on a sitcom.

**(ScandalS4E8 "The Last Supper"Jake has every right to be pissy, but Fitz acting indignant is simply repulsive. I'm glad Jake rubbed it in Fitz's face that Olivia is a little more his and that they have inside jokes and phrases that mean something especially to them. And then, because Fitz is stewing in that, he demands Liv kiss him. Because it's always about what Fitz wants, no consideration for Olivia, what she wants, what she needs. Love doesn't act like that. Petulant children do. -- Fitz looks like they went heavy with the rose colored eye shadow in the makeup room for this episode. -- Mellie is sporting power red again. And acting it. Smelly Mellie, be gone! -- Speaking of eyes, even in various stages of healing, Jake's eyes are startlingly beautiful. -- Rowan's speech to Olivia, about how he is always there for her, some how came off as threatening, rather than comforting. -- While I see Olivia's point, asking if Javi's mother knows he's spending time with Huck, but I see Huck's point to: he is his father and it's kind of crappy that he's being kept from him son. I do have to wonder, though, where his mother is, why she doesn't appear to be questioning where her son disappears to so regularly, for hours at a time, til after dark? -- totally scandalized by that bedroom scene between Michael and Cyrus. -- A young boy emerging from a suspicious looking van after dark sure looks a whole lot more sinister than a father sending his son to get ice cream so he wouldn't see anything inappropriate on the surveillance cameras. Of course, Javi coming back with the ice cream in time to see some guy trying to kill his father and then see his father kill that man is going to be tough to talk one's way out of as well. -- I don't even know where to start. Kubiak is working with Lizzie Bear, who is having an affair with the VP? And what does that have to do with them stalking Liv?! -- O.M.G. Rowan sniffed out the setup with his dinner date with Liv, killed off that military SWAT team (or whoever they were), and somehow swapped out all the B613 files with boxes of files filled with nothing but blank paper? What. The. Heck. Is. Going. On.

**(Sleepy HollowS2E7 "Deliverance"This episode picked up right where the last one left off. And I'm not sure there's enough light of day to ever make this spider bit less terrifyingly creepy. ::shudder:: Especially given that it has apparently impregnated Katrina with some sort of Moloch spawn. -- Crane on voting was a (sadly) easy target. How many people have fought, some dying, at various points in history, to earn us the right to vote, and so many just do not care. -- In his own twisted way, I think Abraham actually cares for Katrina. It almost makes him...a sympathetic character. -- I love Crane's reaction to Katrina saying she converses with Abraham. Even after she showed him the amulet and explained the power it provides, his eyes showed skepticism. -- Oh no. After all the secrets between Ichabod and Katrina, how else would he take this pregnancy than as a punch to the gut, knowing she is on speaking terms with Abraham, and wondering how this demon spawn ended up inside her. It's not like anyone but Henry (and possibly his Hellfire goons) know anything about that spider. I'm glad Ichabod reached past that to read more. -- Loved the shot of Henry's Hellfire goons showing up at the archives to collect Katrina and walking through the glowing embers of the hex Katrina made to warn them of evil's approach. So cool to watch them scatter around their footfalls. -- Well then. If carrying Moloch in the womb isn't enough to make Katrina and possibly Abbie never want to experience pregnancy after this point, I don't know what would. OMG. No ordinary demon indeed. -- Abbie [to Katrina, who asked Abbie to kill her to prevent the demon from being born]: Stop. That's not an option. When Crane first fell on that battlefield all those years ago, and all the voices of heaven and hell were shouting in your ear "Let him die!" you found another way to save him. We will find another way to save you. -- I can't figure out if I'm supposed to remember that scene of young Jeremy running through the woods, yelling. When Ichabod grabbed Henry's arm and had that vision, he pulled away, staring at Henry, and half asked, half said "That was you..." and I can't figure out why. -- Crane: I need to internet. ... LOL! Internet as a verb. -- I love that Ichabod was appalled at the lack of imagination used to create the security code for the tablet. -- It stresses me out when time is of the essence, on a show, and the characters pause in contemplation or to stare at the crucial object or tool. JUST GO!! -- I'm not sure how I feel about the Aurora Borealis being what saved Katrina, but it was sweet to see some interaction between Ichabod and Katrina in the present day. -- Crane's clarification of his vision helped. And I completely agree with his belief that Henry would not want anyone to know that, inside, he is still a terrified young boy, lost in the woods, and fleeing horror. -- *Now* what is Henry collecting? Is that lightning in that jar? Or the "red" that showed from the makeshift Northern Lights banishing Moloch from Katrina's body?

**(ReignS2E5 "Blood for Blood"Wow. Castleroy is a secret Protestant. I always have to pause and remember that Catholics and Protestants didn't always simply differ in how they worshiped, but that this used to be a very vicious battle. -- I like that Mary will both admit to grieving over her miscarriage and reminding Francis that she is not a porcelain doll because of it. -- What was with that black dress with the white lace collar that Mary wore? It made her look matronly and severe. -- Hooray! Greer's wedding to Castleroy is moving forward! I was worried that his secret Protestantism would once again delay, if not permanently call it off, but it didn't. And I got goosebumps when she appeared in her gown, beaming at him. (Yes, I know, it's pure fiction, but real or imagined, a beautiful bride is a beautiful bride.) -- I am completely amused by Kenna and Lola investigating this journal, and even more so when Catherine came across them and announced "Oh yes! I found that a while back and read it in an hour!" -- Of all the people to walk in on Francis's confession to Caroline/Henry, of *course* it had to be Narcisse. Now he'll have Francis under his thumb when it comes to holding court, dealing with the Protestants, and who knows what else. ::tires screeching:: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Narcisse and the nanny were working together, faking the possession-haunting, to get that confession out of Francis?? --  Narcisse: Why don't we get to know one another? Lola: What? Narcisse: Over tea. Lola: Tea? Narcisse: You don't like tea? Lola: I don't like *you*. -- OMG "butterfly birthmark guy" in the journal is Narcisse?? I did not see that coming. -- Ouch, Francis. You may not have been able to tell Mary you killed Henry in order to protect her, but what you used instead was harsh to the point of being cruel. Mary may not be a porcelain doll in regard to her miscarriage, but to call her a failure and say she has utterly disappointed you by not producing an heir? That's as vicious as the Catholics are treating the Protestants.

**(ReignS2E6 "Three Queens"I'm glad to see Mary back in some less austere dresses. It's no fun seeing her dressed in mostly formless, high-necked, matronly blah. Not even her mother in law dresses like that. -- Mary [to Catherine, when their carriage is stopped by peasants]: Perhaps we can talk to them? Hear their grievances? Angry Peasant: Kill the royals! Catherine: Perhaps not now. -- Trap doors in the carriages. Brilliant. But not as brilliant as Mary knowing that removing her jewelry and flipping her cape inside out would make them look less like royals. I like that Mary can still teach Catherine a trick or two, despite the former having far less experience than the latter. -- Mary is quite resourceful and with survival skills. Not too proud to serve drinks at an inn so that she and Catherine can hide their identities but still eat. -- Ha. There are impostors who pretend to be Mary and Francis to collect money "for protecting France's borders." In a time when we see photos of people and events all over news, the internet, and social media practically before it happens, it's easy to forget that people in medieval times could live their entire lives not knowing what their king or queen actually looks like. -- I'm kind of impressed that Catherine admitted to Francis that Mary is good to have on your side when your back is against the wall. She may be idealistic and a bit naive, but she is also clever and strong. -- Catherine: My dear, never give up a crown. ... Catherine makes me laugh out loud. -- Speaking of clever, it was fun to see Lola one-up Narcisse on his "suggestion of a bath under the stars," while he "secretly" peeped...on what turned out to be one of Lola's servants. I hope Lola doesn't fall for him. -- Francis wants Mary to swear he can believe her, but the whole time he refuses to be honest with her. Slippery slope.

**(Once Upon a TimeS4E7 "The Snow Queen"Ah, backstory on the Snow Queen. Almost sympathetic if you forget what she is now. Which feeds into a theory that a friend of mine has that none of the villains are actually evil, but that they have been hurt so deeply and lost so much that they grow dark with despair more than truly evil. -- I can't imagine how difficult it must be for Regina to keep turning down Robin and he declarations of love to her, and keep pushing him back toward his wife. -- I'm always so confused by the timeline of this show. Wasn't it back in season one when Cinderella/Ashley an unwed teenage mother? Now, in season four, she leads the Mommy and Me class Mary Margaret is part of, and enough time has passed that Mary Margaret has conceived and had a baby, yet Cinderella's baby is still an fairly young infant? -- LOL: There was a baby in the Mommy and Me class that was dressed up as Mickey Mouse. -- Hook [looking into the Snow Queen's magic mirror without it affecting him]: It must be broken. I've been staring in it all day and I think I'm even more handsome and devlishly charming than usual. -- Robin: Regina, I have lived by a code my entire life: steal from the rich and give to the poor. Be truthful, righteous, and good. I have tried to live by that code every day of my life. Regina: Then why are you here? Robin: Because today is not one of those days. -- No fair whispering, Snow Queen! I want to know what Gold can do and with great pleasure!

**(Law and Order: SVUS16E8 "Spousal Privilege"I can think of about three different headlines this one was ripped from. Ray Rice. Adrian Peterson. Chris Brown. -- Barba looks like he wants to choke Benson sometimes. -- I can't argue with Paula's angry declaration to the detectives that pressing charges was her choice and they took that away. Sometimes, even if we believe it's for their own good, we get too far up in the business of others.

**(Blue BloodsS5E8 "Power of the Press"Probably one of the "slower" episodes I can recall on this show. It wasn't a bad episode, just a bit low key. I do see the theme in this episode: being a man of your word. Danny promised Witness Protection for his C.I. and intended to see it through. The young man who raped the daughter of Erin's friend lied about it. An officer's word was put in question when his body cam went out during an arrest and there was speculation he shut it off so he could do something he wasn't supposed to.

**(The McCarthysS1E2 "Love McCarthys Style"Ben's family and their over the top sentimentality made *me* feel awkward and uncomfortable just watching. -- I keep trying to figure out if that's a Red Sox sun catcher in the window or if they actually have a stained glass Sox window. -- LOL: I loved the way Ronny manipulated the anniversary tribute video, even though it was clear that's what he was going to do. The answers were pretty someone who's a Sox fan and enjoys The Good Wife.

**(The McCarthysS1E3 "The Good Coach"Who is the kid with the red hair in the portrait in the wall in the hallway? None of them have red hair now... -- Shawn and Gerard are seriously supposed to be twins??


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Best of the Fest

After my final round, there was only one more weekend of Food and Wine Fest remaining. It was raining, so I ended up choosing not to go for my Grand Finale Tour. I'll just name my top five Fest favorites. In no particular order, of course.

1. Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro (Brazil)

2. Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee, and L8 Harvest Minus 8 Vinaigrette (Canada)
Bonus: Best Wine of Fest - Neige Bubble (Canada)

3. Ensalada de Carrucho (Puerto Rico)

4. Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon (Scotland)

5. Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise, and Pickled Jalapenos (Farm Fresh)

Honorable Mentions
Shrimp Taco (Mexico)

Chirashizushi (Japan)


Saturday, November 15, 2014

This Week on My TV: November 15, 2014

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

**(Madam SecretaryS1E5 "Blame Canada"Canadian Ambassador Lester Clark: What do I get out of this, Madam Secretary, if I release the boats? Elizabeth: You get to not find yourself on the business end of a midnight phone call with President Dalton about salmon. -- I see no problem with Henry being named arm candy. His being easy on the eyes is greatly enhanced by his loyalty, intelligence and high moral standards. -- Jackson is a jerk. Read a thousand page environmental report on the pipeline for Canada within 24 hours, while also attempting to avoid potential nuclear war with Iran and "sometimes you have to walk *and* chew gum," he says? -- Elizabeth: Have you read this? Nadine: No one has, ma'am. Except the people who wrote it. -- It's pretty crazy to watch what someone with morals and principles could do to the wheels of politics. -- Whoa. That scene in the bar of the restaurant with a drunken, out of line soldier trying to redress "Mr Arm Candy of Madam Secretary of State" showed a tougher, stronger side of Henry and his time in the military. -- Interesting how the second someone in Washington isn't doing exactly what someone else wants them to, they are suddenly "not doing their job." -- Holy crap. Elizabeth is having Nadine confidentially investigated?? Likely as a result of her romantic involvement with deceased form Secretary of State Marsh, and what appear to be his shady agendas, but still.

**(Madam SecretaryS1E6 "The Call"Nothing like a long stressful day at work, hoping to go home and climb into bed, and then get guilt-tripped by mass genocide in the Republic of West Africa by a former professor of your husband's who just happens to be sitting at your dining room table. -- I pretty much fell in tv-love with Hank when Elizabeth went off the scripted speech in her first major address and started talking about the situation in West Africa, and Henry started pointing excitedly at his television saying "*That's* my wife. *That's* MY wife!" -- I think I would weep if I were summoned from my bed and my pajamas to go back to work as often Elizabeth is. -- Elizabeth: Nadine, I came to tell you I had you investigated. Nadine: I figured as much. Lately when I see Blake, he shakes like a chihuaua who just peed on the carpet. ... Nadine handled that much better than I expected her to.

**(The Good WifeS6E8 "Red Zone"I knew as soon as I saw Owen in Alicia's office that he wanted something. -- I don't envy Cary being in this situation, but I bet it makes him a better attorney in the long run, if he allows it. How it actually feels to be accused. How it feels to be deposed. -- I can't figure out if Kalinda actually has feelings for anyone she is bedding or if she just uses them all for her own gain, Cary included. -- Alicia's face when Canning stopped his address to the judge to suck in some oxygen. Louis Canning is a piece of work. -- I wonder how many times I will inform my husband how much I like Finn Polmar? By the way, I really really do. -- Did Kalinda really tell Cary they aren't "going steady"? Do people even say that anymore? -- I'm not sure I could withstand a panel of people sharing their opinions about me. Not without about a decade's worth of therapy. -- Kalinda is making a powerful enemy in Bishop.

**(2 Broke GirlsS4E3 "And the Childhood Not Included"Max [about Oleg speaking rapidly into the phone in Ukranian]: Did Oleg take Liam Neeson's daughter? -- Caroline: What's the Ukranian word for monogamy? Oleg: There isn't one. You're either ugly or sleeping with everybody. -- Caroline's hair looks much better with this new cut and style. -- I really should count how many times I say "ewww" during this show. -- Where did Max and Caroline get all these new clothes they're wearing this season?

**(Chicago FireS3E2 "Wow Me"Casey told Severide he was welcome to stay "as long as he needs." That's an open invitation to never leave. -- Hmmm. Something up with Baby Boden that has a doctor concerned? Even if the doctor is saying it's just standard procedure given Donna's age and medical history, it feels foreboding. -- I'm not sure who was more surprised by that shiny diamond waiting at the top of those stairs: Dawson or me. -- Uh, what was up with that stack of cash in Brett's rental? Secret trust fund kid who actually owns the place and doesn't actually have to work? -- Awkward: Having to cut off one of your firehouse co-workers who happens to be trashed at your bar and getting a bit too familiar with the new girl who bears a vague resemblance to Shay. -- I suppose I'm supposed to feel bad for the still grieving Severide, clearly trying to drown his feelings in booze, but mostly I wonder how many addictions one person can have and still continue to be a fire fighter. -- Is this Mills blackout that can't be attributed to equipment malfunction going to force him to have contact with his father's family in order to uncover some kind of medical mystery? -- I'm already pretty tired of Welsh or Welch or whatever that guy's name is from the Austin house.

**(The BlacklistS2E8 "The Decembrist"Well, know we know a) where Tom's body went and b) how Liz ended up with him. -- Um, how does Tom know to call Mr Kaplan to clean up a mess? -- I love the way they tied in older episodes, like the Stewmaker and why Red took that photo from the "trophy album." -- What is this group Fitch kept referencing being part of? And why would Red need to be worried about them? -- It was awkward and a bit sad to watch Berlin trying to reconnect with his daughter in any way. -- How badly do you suppose that bomb defuser wanted to tell Fitch "shut up shut up SHUT UP!!" after warning Fitch that the simple vibration of his vocal cords could set off the bomb and yet Fitch just kept talking and talking. -- That was mighty gross when Fitch blew up. -- They do such an interesting job of blurring lines on this show. The good guys have secrets, the bad guys still manage to have sympathetic moments. They make morals so grey, leave the viewer wondering where they stand, what they would do. -- Red: When you love someone, you have no control. That's what love is. Being powerless. ... Red tells Lizzie so much about himself, between the lines. -- Red passes Tom an envelope and tells him to stay away from Liz. Tom replies with "You know, for what it's worth, I spent four months on that ship, chained up, and I never told her about us. Not one word." What?? WHAT?! What us? What is there to tell? What connection does Tom have to Red? Did Red send Tom to be with Liz? Is Tom some kind of double agent for both Berlin and Red? What does Tom know about Red and what Red wants from Liz? HOW DO I WAIT UNTIL FEBRUARY FOR SOME KIND OF ANSWER?! -- I want to know what's in that safe Fitch so urgently told Red about right before the bomb went off. -- If anyone needs me, I'll just be over here, trying to figure out what I just saw. UNTIL FEBRUARY.

**(Madam SecretaryS1E7 "Passage"I love that when Elizabeth asked for a drumroll, Blake had one ready to go on his iPad. -- How often are Daisy and Matt are going to have the "we're not a thing anymore...except for last week"conversation? And no, I don't think her engagement will change a thing. -- That look on Jason's face when the earthquake hit was pretty much the one I had earlier this year, when I experienced my first (and only) quake. -- Daisy: So I should tell the Secretary, right? Matt: And be the woman who told her boss about the other woman? That makes you the other other woman. That's the worst woman of all. That woman's so bad, she's not even in a country song. -- Ouch. That conversation Elizabeth had with Matt about his commitment and passion to his job. -- I like that Elizabeth is less concerned with spin to make herself look better than in actual action to make herself look better. -- I liked the way Elizabeth put Daisy in her place about falling prey to rumors about the McCord family and the admonishment that she knows about Daisy's "thing" with Matt and doesn't appreciate being used as a smokescreen for Daisy's guilt. -- What on earth kind of NSA mission is so Top Secret that the Secretary of State can't know about it? -- Elizabeth: If you enjoy your privacy as much as you claim, then please respect ours. Besides, Stevie, if I really thought your dad was really cheating, do you think he'd still be breathing, let alone living here? -- Elizabeth [when Stevie protests being grounded for underage drinking]: Guess that's why most adults don't live with their parents. -- I am so pleasantly surprised by this show. It's so much better than I expected it to be.

**(Chicago FireS3E3 "Just Drive the Truck"Dilemma: Boden will turn his head to Dawson and Casey's personal life, if they can keep personal and professional separate, in order to get Dawson on a truck for House 51, since the rule only states they can't be married. Except...there is that pesky engagement ring. -- Even knowing, from the previews, that the two fire trucks were going to collide, I still flinched and gasped when it happened. -- I do feel bad for Cruz...but it's this cursed fire house. Every time you get your life back together, it falls apart again. No one in that place is allowed to be happy. And when it goes wrong, it *all* goes wrong. Anyway, I kinda wanted to hug Cruz. Seems like someone should have. -- Why did it take so long for someone to start asking more questions about Mills continually passing out? -- Is someone always either a) addicted to something, b) at the mercy of a possible career-ending injury, c) contemplating taking their life, d) in some kind of legal trouble, or e) dead? -- That was a moving moment when Mills met his dying grandfather. -- Convenient swap: Dawson to truck, Mills to paramedic.

**(The MiddleS6E6 "The Sinkhole"I'm impressed that Sue saves every Spudsy paycheck for college. -- LOL: Mike's face when the sink fell. -- Finding out I was short a P.E. credit to graduate,like Sue was informed? I would have wept. Especially with a not very encouraging guidance counselor "helping" me. -- Axl: Wait, why were you even near Dad's lawnmower? Brick: I was going to impress Cindy by driving it past her house. -- Gym Teacher: As long as you're coordinated it should be no problem. ... Ha. HA. I identify so well with the expression on Sue's face. No one would *ever* confuse me with being coordinated. -- Mike [to Sue, who is freaking out over not graduating without that last P.E. credit]: College or not, let me know! It will decide if I use copper or duct tape down here. -- Frankie: Well, where did you have it last? Mike: The is the world's stupidest question. If I knew, I'd have it! ... Yes. YES! -- Where the heck is Darrin? I feel like we should see him at least in passing a little more regularly since he's dating Sue.

**(Person of InterestS4E7 "Honor Among Thieves") Reese: It would be a shame if I had to slap the cuffs on you. Shaw: It would be a shame for you if you tried. -- This episode, with the assumption that Samaritan was allowing "a tablet for every student" in order to brainwash them into being good little Samaritan minions made meneye my iPad with mild suspicion. -- They've been laying it on a little thick between Root and Shaw lately. I don't need romance on this show. -- *Finally* someone asked "who are you talking to?" as our group of number savers walk around "talking to no one." -- Holy crap! Samaritan flagged Root impersonating someone else by way of gait mismatch?? That is both amazing and terrifying. -- Excellent food for thought. ... Finch: How much wrong are we willing to do in the name of right? -- Ack!! Has Shaw been compromised now??

**(Modern FamilyS6E7 "Queer Eyes, Full Hearts") Gloria [to Manny after he said Spanish wasn't appealing to his ear]: What could be more natural than your mother's tongue in your ear? ... I love when Gloria says something that comes out not as she intended. -- ::snort:: Phil called a distracted, overtired Alex a "human Roomba." -- LOL: Mitchell fixing Lily's baby doll that won't stop crying by whack it against things. -- LOL: Andy feels like calling himself a "manny" is too confusing since there is a Manny already in the Pritchett family, so he's trying out"bro-pair." -- Phil gets the best romantic lines. ... Phil: Sometimes a boy might be a good distraction. I remember a certain young lady was pretty addicted to Ms Pac Man until a dashing young gent caught her eye. Claire: Only because you were wearing a feather earring. Phil: It wasn't a feather. It was a dream catcher. And it worked. -- Jay [to Manny]: You know, it's too bad you don't spend as much time on your Spanish homework as you do online, finding passive aggressive ways to use my hobbies against me. -- Andy has the best curses, like, "mother nature!" -- I am enjoying how they keep trying to sell Haley short and she keeps surprising them.-- Jay [in Spanish, after rehiring Manny's Spanish tutor for himself]: I just want to say I love you in every language you know. -- ::snort:: Haley's wide eyes *do* make her look like a cartoon lamb!

**(Chicago FireS3E4 "Apologies Are Dangerous") If Casey and Dawson have been keeping their engagement a secret all this time, how is she just now having a difficult time getting her ring off? Hasn't she been wearing it at home and taking it off before work since Casey proposed? -- I realized they mostly do head shots of Boden, so I didn't notice what a large man he really is. -- I wonder what the actual number is of people who get crushed, because it sure seems like House 51 gets a lot of these calls. -- I bet there is a lot of weirdness for Dawson and Mills swapping places on emergency calls. -- How long is Brett going to be around? I feel like they're deciding whether or not to write her out. -- I'm tired of being reminded of all Hermann's failed business ventures. It makes me sad for him, every time he deflates. Thank God for Molly's success. -- That was a nice moment at the end between Severide and the girl he saved on the subway, when she said she could feel Shay just by knowing Severide and the effect she had on him.

**(The Big Bang TheoryS8E9 "The Septum Deviation"LOL: Leonard calling Sheldon the albino boogeyman, when he wakes up to find Sheldon staring at him while he sleeps. -- Thank God I didn't have Sheldon around to give me death statistics before my surgery. -- Sheldon: What about epilepsy? Leonard: I don't have epilepsy. Sheldon: No, but the surgeon might. -- Leonard: Buddy, I get that you're worried about me and I appreciate that, but I'm not going to die. Sheldon: You don't know that. Leonard: Well, I do know that it's won't be from an asteroid strike. Sheldon: You know who else said that? Every cocky t-rex currently swimming around in the gas tank of your car. Leonard: If there was an asteroid strike, wouldn't you die too? Sheldon: I don't know. I'm smart and scrappy. I think I'd find a way. -- Sheldon: You're acting odd. Why? Amy: I'm odd all the time. Everyone knows that. -- It says a lot that Sheldon is insisting Amy bring him to Leonard. who is having surgery to correct a deviated septum, given how Sheldon feels about being in a hospital. -- Sheldon: I assume this medical center has already treated the burns on your bottom from the recent pants fire. Penny: Because I'm a liar liar? Sheldon: That's for the fire marshal to determine. -- Well, *I* thought all of Bernadette's muffin jokes were hilarious. -- All week, I saw previews for Sheldon running to "save" Leonard after the earthquake hit during his surgery and going face first into a glass door, and I still died laughing when it happened. -- Howard admits to being in couples therapy but won't say with whom. I love that Bernadette thinks, like I did, that it was with his mother. Turns out it was Raj. Well played. -- LOL: Leonard and Sheldon talking with stuffed up busted noses.

**(MomS2E3 "Chicken Nuggets and a Triple Homicide"This would have been a great Halloween episode, what with the new huge house Christy got for super cheap because an entire family had been murdered there. -- My Lord, Violet must have really wanted to prove a point if she stayed in that dismal, infested tenement, rather than come back to Marjorie's. -- Baxter asked Christy if she would think less of him if he left, after hearing the history of the house, and she said yes. I want to know, based on what we know of him, how on earth it is *possible* to think less of him. -- I totally called it! Marjorie went to the house, dressed as "The Fisherman," to freak them out so they'd come back to live with her.

**(Chicago FireS3E5 "The Nuclear Option"Yeah, that's who I want racing to my rescue: the guy with the hangover. -- That was actually a pretty cool scene with Cruz rescuing the guy from the balcony. -- I realize Boden is less than thrilled that Casey had Dawson with him to vent the roof, but Casey was a really calm and collected teacher and Lieutenant when they were repelling down the side of the building and Dawson got some cable caught in her pulley. -- With everyone using last names so much on this show, I realized that I'm not sure I know anyone's first names. -- Who walks into their home when it's clearly been broken into when you don't know if those responsible are, oh, I don't know, still inside?! -- I'm not sure what kind of person says to a paramedic "if you walk out that door, I'm not going to be there when you get back," as the alarm in the firehouse is shrieking and the dispatcher is calling the ambulance to service. What's Brett supposed to do? Ignore the emergency in favor of her personal life? -- I did *not* expect that elevator to drop when Hermann shimmied into it to make a rescue. Thank God he was ok. It would be just like this show to create another disaster for one of the house members.

**(A to ZS1E7 "G is for Geronimo"Loved the theme of playing out "what if" for Zelda (and to lesser degrees, Stu and Big Bird). Loved that Zelda and Andrew shared their music libraries. Loved that Andrew gave Zelda the opportunity to stop wondering "what if." Loved that she decided to do it, but then realized that even if her audition failed, she still had an awesome life and no regrets, because it meant she found Andrew. LOVED that Cristin Milioti sang in the episode. -- I really liked Cristin as Tracy McConnell on How I Met Your Mother, and I really like her as Zelda on this show, which makes me wonder if she's just really adorable and likable in real life. I bet she is.

**(Last Man StandingS4E8 "Risky Behavior") LOL: Kyle avoids a particular road because he's afraid he'll have to pay a troll, and Mandy is relieved that Kyle only got a concussion when he crashed his motorcycle because he could have ended up a paralegal. Which leads to a scary thought: What if they ever have a child? Is it doomed? -- Ed's girlfriend is pregnant?? -- I like that Mandy so genuinely cares about Kyle. -- Mike [in his Outdoorman vlog]: Anything good or bad, taken to extreme, is bad.

**(Chicago FireS3E6 "Madmen and Fools"I  knew something was up when the mother of that little boy didn't want to have him brought to the hospital. I didn't really appreciate the attitude she gave Brett and Severide, when they showed up at her apartment to doublecheck the story she gave them, after seeking out their help to get her son back from child services. You'd think she'd be willing to prove her worthiness, instead of acting insulted. -- Holy *bleep* was pretty much the only reaction to have to a call that involved a meth addict with a tuning fork sticking out of his eye, and another guy with a corndog shoved down his throat. -- What the *heck* is Newhouse involved in, with his side business?? I figured it wouldn't be long until someone showed up to take out a little vengeance on him. I still startled, big time, when that guy popped out of nowhere to thwack him with that tire iron.  -- Newhouse: Mad man and fools are in the game for thrills, but wise men are all about the money. -- With Clarke gone, I think Cruz is my favorite character on this show. It took me a long time to get any sort of attachment to this show in any way. I'm thinking I kind of like Brett too. She's a bit of a fireball.

**(Chicago FireS3E7 "Nobody Touches Anything"Cruz: It's Dominican sausage and peppers. Dawson: Dude. If you keep calling your cooking Domican, I'm going to have to kick your ass on behalf of an entire country. -- What the what? Severide married that chick he found in Vegas?? So, what is this Brittany's big secret? Because she clearly has one, as evidenced by the way she was staring into space when Severide starting talking about family. -- LOL: The look on Cruz's face when he saw Brett in the back row of the Zumba class he teaches. -- If Mills keeps standing by cars for Newhouse, he's going to wind up dead. -- Severide's taking the "how long is this marriage really gonna last" pool exceptionally well. -- I was all "ohhhh, save the guy's photos from the fire." I didn't expect it to be evidence in an SVU case. -- House 51 has a lot of issues, but they definitely know how to take care of their own. I knew they were going to come up with $1500 for Newhouse to make sure Naomi got to take her trip.

**(Law and Order: SVUS16E7 "Chicago Crossover"What a creepy twisted case. It's so difficult to watch shows on these kinds of topics, involving kids, especially. -- I immediately got a feeling the security guard at the youth center was bad news. -- Some part of me felt really bad for Teddy, when he told Jocelyn that it was better for her that it was him than someone else, which was probably true. -- I can't imagine how truly helpless law enforcement must feel when they can see such a horrible crime unfolding before them online and not know whether they can work fast enough to find the location and stop it.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round Eight

Home stretch! We arrived ready to take on the last of the list. The day before, we had started at the entrance to World Showcase and moved clockwise, reaching the halfway point on the other side, so Sunday, we started in the same spot, but worked in the opposite direction.

First stop on the final round...


Ensalada de Carrucho.

I had gone back and forth on this menu. There was a slow-braised beef dish which wasn't speaking to me, a plantain dish but plantains remind me too much of bananas to brave ::shudder::, and a flan dish I almost convinced myself to try even though I never like flan. All because I was a little nervous to jump feet first into the Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato, and cilantro. I am *so* glad I jumped in!! This was zippy and flavorful. There was a little spice and a vinegary tartness and all these bright flavors, although, interestingly, I couldn't detect the cilantro. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Plus, it came in a fun little paper cone!

I was pumped up now and ready for anything.


Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce. Neige Bubble.

I think this one might qualify as a cult favorite at this point. I almost took it off my list earlier in the Fest, with so much left to try, but then I couldn't resist that truffle butter. Not to mention, I had someone to share with, so I opted to get it after all, and did not regret it. Speaking of unable to resist, I would like to point out that for the first time in Fest history, I doubled up on a beverage. I have *never* duplicated a wine before. A food, sure, when I do my Grand Finale Tour, but never a wine. Well, this one was so delicious the first time I tried it, I just *had* to have it again!

Next up...


Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard.

Less of a pudding with custard, more of a cake with a thin sauce. That's no complaint. It isn't a molten cake, but rather the texture of a cake, warm from the oven, and just slightly underdone. That doesn't do it justice, but swimming in that shallow pool of thin cream? It's a little bite of heaven.

Getting so close to finishing everything I'd hoped to, I can almost (ha) taste it!


Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato, and Cilantro.

Ever since last year's Fest, I have had this love affair with pork belly. For something that doesn't sound that appetizing, it sure is incredibly delicious. It's tender and packed full of flavor, and I love the little fresh garnish and the texture of the black beans as complements. It's such a well composed little dish. When I saw that it was making an encore appearance, I was legitimately excited.

I was actually pretty full at this point (remember, I usually have a week to recover between rounds, not less than 24 hours), so my plan was to just tag along with Daniel, who still had things he wanted to try, until we reached my final destination but...



Daniel offered me a taste, in attempt to get me to help him eat some, so he could still squeeze in a few more dishes. "ONE BITE." I said. Joke was on me. It was so light and tasty, one bite turned into about a third of the dish. The description said it was salmon, shrimp, crab, and egg over seaweed salad and ginger rice. I didn't notice any egg (and we're pretending right now that there was no salmon, because salmon and I are still in a fight, so I'm not sure if I accidentally got any or not), but the crab, shrimp, seaweed, and rice was incredible. There were also cucumbers and...some other stuff (mango, maybe? and those little balls of something unfamiliar), and it was all so very good.

And then, true to my word, I didn't have a bit of anything else until we reached...



The meringue shell made me work (there is *no* good way to cut that thing!) but the vanilla custard (more of a pudding really) and the fresh berries make it so worth the effort. It's light but satisfying and bursting with yumminess. It was a fantastic way to end the final round of Festing. We departed, triumphant.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round Seven

When in a time crunch, delegate!'s not right. When you have too many dishes left to try at Food and Wine Fest and you're running out of time to try them, bring a friend and tag team! More specifically, if you each tackle the list, you can split each item, thus leaving room to try more things. Brilliant, yes? So Daniel flew in from California for the weekend, and we went to town on that Fest. Two days, two friends, too many dishes for one person but not for two!


Fresh Watermelon Juice.

I flat refuse to try any more of the fake foods in this booth. I've been fooled too many times by chick'n that ain't trick'n nobody. (Pardon my poor grammar.) I'll stick to whetting (wetting?) my palate with this cup of watermelon juice. It's vaguely sweet and very refreshing and it's made from REAL watermelons. (I wonder how many watermelons it takes to make all the juice for the Fest...?)

Moving along to some actual food in...


Shrimp Taco.

I'll 'fess up. I was a mite skeptical about this one, going in. Mostly because I loved (loved loved) the original shrimp taco they've offered at this kiosk the last several years. Loved as in anticipated with much salivation and impatience and (perhaps) excessive excitement. And they went and (gasp!) *changed* it for this year. No more red cabbage and a lime wedge and a drizzle of zesty green sauce (sad, so sad). But at least they kept the shrimps crispy. This re-imagination lacked the colorful punch of its predecessor (though this one is not ugly), so I snapped my photo (an ordeal in itself because it was approaching Dorothy-in-Kansas levels of windy, which meant the swaying palms were totally messing with the light-and-shadow situation that is, ya know, critical to taking a photo), and then settled in to give this one a try, with its pickled habanero pepper and onion, and a new orange sauce. Begrudgingly, I will admit that this was tasty. Not as tasty as the old version, but far from disappointing. It was zesty and tangy, crispy and chewy, and I think if I had nothing to compare it to, I would have raved about it. Take that as you will. (I'm still a little sulky though.)

Full speed ahead!


Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise, and Pickled Jalapenos. Chateau St Michelle and Dr Loosen Eroica Riesling.

After being vastly disappointed by the last dish I tried from this kiosk (that Griddled Yard Bird still annoys me), I was a combination of hopeful and cautiously optimistic about this one. Redemption for you, Farm Fresh kiosk! This was uh-maze-ing. Savory and spicy and creamy, a little bit of heat, lots of tasty veggies. It was honestly delicious. Paired with that perfectly sweet-and-dry Riesling to cool the jalapeno heat, I was thrilled that I hadn't merely given up on this menu all together. And the portion was so generous, there was more than enough to split. (The hash, not the wine. That was all mine!)

As we approached the very next booth, I realized I had yet to make a stop in...


Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Hoisin Sauce.

Things I liked about this dish: 1. It was a departure from chicken, beef, and pork. Duck! I'm in! 2. There is something about the contrast of tangy red onion and sweet hoisin sauce that just speaks to me. 3. I am endlessly entertained by the airy stickiness of the steamed bun.

Making some considerable progress, but there's no time to waste. Next country, ahoy.


South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms.

I wanted to be a big girl with expanded culinary horizons. This dish just messed with my head though. It was like quiche...but not. It was turkey and mushrooms, but all I could taste was...something spicy. As in cinnamon or nutmeg sort of spicy. And while I like raisins in my trail mix and raisins in certain desserts, I do *not* like raisins cooked into a savory dish. Nope, nope, nope. That one bite you see? That was it for me. The rest was unloaded onto Daniel...

...who ate it while I made a beeline for...


Ravioli alla Caprese.

Now *this* was more my speed. Not that it was terribly adventurous. But the layers of pasta and cheese, served with a healthy serving of tomato basil sauce, and then a nice gooey melted mozzarella topping? You can't argue with that. Fun fact: if there is any sort of reference to caprese, I am powerless to resist.

At this point, we were waddling, so we chose our final destination for the day...


Artisan Cheese Plate: (left to right top to bottom) Cave Man Blue Cheese. Cabot Cloth-Wrapped Cheddar. Purple Haze Chevre Goat Cheese.

Funny story, actually. As I was trying to take this photo, Daniel was being a wiseguy, moving the cheese all around so I couldn't focus. I warned him that his shenanigans were going to lead to an accident and he laughed me off. And then a gust of wind blew that cracker away. Ahem. Don't play with your food. Anyway, the cheese. I like the blue cheese paired with the dried cranberries, but less with the cashews. The cheddar was sharp but mild and while I liked it with the honey, I felt like some kind of chutney would have suited it better. The goat cheese was pretty unexciting. I usually enjoy goat cheese, but the only flavor I got from it at all was the rosemary it was herbed with. I'm not sure even the loss of the cracker made any real difference.

And then we departed and vowed not to eat anything else until we arrived back at Epcot the next day.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Food and Wine Fest 2014: Round Six

There's nothing like a limited amount of time and, despite your best efforts, a rather alarming number of items not crossed off your list to put a girl in panic mode. So much tastiness still left to try! Let's get down to business.


Roasted Pork Lettuce Wrap with Kimchi Slaw.

This has been one of my personal favorites for quite a few Fests now. It's light and flavorful, has layers of texture, and is just very satisfying for me. The one issue is that lettuce leaves are an unpredictable lot. Some years, I've gotten the perfect leaf: just the right amount of flexibility to be a wrap without splitting open, but not so flimsy it just falls apart under the pressure of its delicious contents. This...was not one of those years. Good thing I make it my practice to stock up on a generous handful of napkins at my first kiosk stop of the day. Typically, I just stash the rest in my bag, and then I don't have to remember to grab one at every single stop I make. This rather uncooperative wrap dripped halfway to my elbow and required the use of most of my stack to mop up. Oh well. The price I'm willing to pay for deliciousness!

Off in search of another old favorite...


Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream.

This one is comfort food for me. Truly. Having grown up in a home where German and Polish cuisine were menu staples, and this particular dish remains on the permanent rotation in our house now, this is less adventure and more "warm hug for my tummy." There's just something about the flavors in this dish that make me settle in with a happy sigh.

But after two "visits with old friends" and so much left to try, it was time for something new!


Mocequa de Pescado. Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine.

Oh. Oh ho ho. This nearly didn't make my list in Brazil (there was so much there I wanted to try and a girl has to impose *some* limits, otherwise she will be broke and none of her clothes will fit any longer). I am so glad I reconsidered. Sure, tilapia. That's the fish we have almost exclusively at home. It's light, forgiving, and versatile, you know? But this wasn't even about the fish. The fish was a vehicle. I should stop and explain what I was eating, yes? "Mocequa de Pescado" is tilapia with coconut lime sauce and steamed rice. Now, as I was saying this fish (and the rice) were vehicles for the sauce and the tomatoes, mushrooms, hearts of palm, and whatever else was in that sauce. The flavors were incredible. The only thing that was a little much for me was the addition of the micro cilantro. Cilantro can overwhelm my palate, so I prefer it in very small quantities. As in: just one of those sprigs would have been more than plenty. And that wine? Fabulous. Sweet and bubbly and the perfect complement to that sauce.

Hmmm...stomach real estate decreasing. List still looming large. Onward...



Back to another Fest Favorite. It's so simple but so amazing, I can never pass it up. This is the problem. If I could pass up more "old favorites," I would have more time to tackle all the new stuff. But I can't resist. I just can't. The flaky layers and the spinach and the cheese. Just pass me the spanakopita. I'll make room.

Very nearly at capacity, I had to consider carefully...


Dessert Trio: (left to right) Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll. Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle. Chocolate Espresso Opera Cake.

I'm not going to lie. This was a struggle. I had to eat slowly. Going in, I expected my ranking to be "cheesecake roll, opera cake, creamsicle" (most to least favorite).

First up, the cheesecake roll. I happen to be a huge fan of blueberry and lemon, so I was thinking blueberry and lime would be a fun new twist. Sadly, the blueberry completely overpowered the lime to the point that I couldn't taste it at all. So...blueberry and cheesecake...not much to write home about there.

I eyed that creamsicle with some suspicion. This was, by far, the prettiest of the three to look at. There were layers, some of them unidentifiable, and that top one was jiggly and shiny...and just...I couldn't figure out what to anticipate. Well, the first layer was a passion fruit gelatin, followed by coconut pudding, some passion fruit puree, (what I think was) a coconut-passion fruit mousse-ish sort of thing, and a chocolate cookie crumb crust. Oh, and the "stick" was a delicate "bar" of chocolate with coconut mixed in. I stared at the layers, trying to make sense of it, then dove in. At first, I attempted to try each layer individually, just to figure out what it was. After that exploratory tasting, the last few bites were layers in various combinations. Somehow it all just worked. From the gelatin to the cookie crumb crust. Lots of flavors but none overwhelming. Just this fruitiness that ranged in intensity.

And finally the opera cake. It was pretty underwhelming. Like a little square of tiramisu, which, to be honest, not my favorite when it comes to texture. A little chocolate, a little cream, a little coffee. Just rather meh. Upon further review, my final ranking of the trio shuffles around to "creamsicle, cheesecake roll, opera cake."

I'm always grateful for the long walk back to the car after a round of Festing. I skip the tram and use the walk to help digest before my 45-minute drive home. I'm going to need to plan creatively to get to the rest, I fear.


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