Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

I love rock n roll

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Photo 3

A fabulous coworker of mine had a bunch of people from my office over to her house for a party last night.

She’s from Thailand, and the food was incredible. I took the picture above before everything had been set out, and then when everything was out I was too excited to eat to take another one.

Photo 5

I had a little of everything. The lettuce wrap looking thing in front is called larb. It was spicy.
The shrimp hiding behind the lettuce is on top of a pile of pad thai. There were two kinds, shrimp and chicken. My coworker banged both kinds out in like ten minutes flat, and they were absolutely restaurant quality. They were also spicy.
In the upper left corner, that’s green curry with tofu over two kinds of rice – regular white and sticky. The rice was not spicy! The curry was spicy.
Finally, the chicken leg is fried chicken (with lemongrass, maybe?) that another Thai coworker brought. It was kind of spicy, and it came with a dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was spicy. Like, SPICY spicy.

Basically I’m not really sure how Thai people have any tastebuds left. Everything was insanely good though. I went back for more pad thai. Twice.

Err.. then the karaoke machine came out and I started singing.

Like, a lot.

It was a good night!

My coworker had told us that we should eat lightly in preparation for the party, so I did. I had some fruit and coffee in the morning, and then used some of the leftover pork to make a quick taco at lunch time.

Photo 1

Since I didn’t have any pickled slaw left, I used some pickled radishes I made last week instead. I made them based on this recipe from David Lebowitz, and damn if they didn’t come out SO GARLICY that I thought I’d wasted the radishes. Turns out they’re perfect for an application like this, where they’re mixed with other strong and fatty flavors, so I’m glad I didn’t give up on them.

Photo 2

I ran by the store, too, and picked up some tastiness for the upcoming week. On the menu? Rick Bayless vegetarian tacos (taco time!), farro salad, bruschetta chicken, and fruit. The corn, peaches, and tomatoes pictured all came from Colorado. I love summer time. (Did you hear that red is why tomatoes suck now? That makes me nervous for those red beauties right there, but I literally could not find anything that looked more natural. Well, except $7/lb heirloom tomatoes, and since I’m not making BLATs I wasn’t really up for that kind of investment. The three dollars I saved is half a glass of wine in a restaurant, people. I have my priorities straight.)

Photo 1

Lots and lots of fruit.

What are you eating this week?

No, YOU’RE Superior

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

The whole first part of my recent vacation took part on Lake Michigan.

I would totally put a little star on this map with a note saying ‘I was here’ if I had any idea where I was, but I don’t. Definitely up top somewhere. I do know that where I was was glorious.

Thursday, though, we got a chance to hop up to Lake Superior.

(Again, where was I? No idea.)

I do know I was in a town called Marquette, the home of Northern Michigan University and a little restaurant called L’Attitude. One of the branches of Crockett’s family tree has bloomed (see what I did there?) in that area of the state. We took Crockett’s uncle and cousin to L’Attitude because his other cousin (son of the uncle, older brother of the first cousin) is a busboy there and was working, and that was the best way to see him because we were short on time.

I mean, yeah, the service (other than the bussing), was a little spotty. We were missing silverware and … stuff. (Ok, I don’t remember exactly, I just remember her being inattentive.)

But the thing pictured above (called Three Ways to Heaven, sadly) was freaking amazing. Restaurant made tabouleh, hummus, and tapenade with little flatbreads? Yes please.

We also had this cheese platter – holy crapadoodledo. Sadly, our waitress had no idea what the cheeses were, just that they’d come from Wisconsin farms. If I knew what that soft blue in the far upper right was, I would buy it by the barrel. (They sell cheese by the barrel, right?)

My Thai Salad was particularly un-photogenic and mediocre to boot, but those cheeses and the heavenly trio more than made up for it.

Plus the view wasn’t ugly.

Since we had a Reunion 2.0 deadline in mid-Michigan, we were short on time, but we had to stop by Lake Superior.

 

So very beautiful.

So very cold.

We drove east along the Superior coast before dropping back south, and we found ourselves at the entrance to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Who are we to deny serendipity?

Do you think you’re hallucinating? Do you think that I photoshopped the Caribbean with pine trees?

That’s what I thought, because I apparently picture all of the great lakes as dark bluish brown.

This is seriously Lake Superior.

This is called Miner’s Castle. At some point, between when Crockett’s dad used to climb up there when he was a teenager and when we arrived last week, half of it fell down.

I still think it’s purdy.

Almost as purdy as Crockett.

On the way back to the car, I saw these and, quite seriously, said “babe, blueberries!”

I realized as I was speaking that this is not what blueberries look like when they’re growing.

Crockett is still reminding me.

We did finally make it to our evening’s destination: Mackinaw City.

When you’re a tourist, what can you do other than eat ice cream?

This was mine – Toasted Almond Coconut. I need you to understand two things. First, I asked Crockett if he wanted any and he said no, he was not in the mood for ice cream, and then he ate half of this despite me only handing it to him so I could take a picture. Second, I asked for and paid for a single scoop cone. I think the fella behind the counter thought I was adorable. This was confirmed when he threw ice cream at Crockett a few minutes later. (Fine, that second part didn’t happen. Jeesh.)

Here’s the weird thing about Mackinaw City. Every business is a spin off of an original business. They’re famous for fudge and white fish, and they all share all or part of a name. The fudge I bought as gifts came with a certificate of authenticity, for reals.

Crockett’s dad beat us there, so he had time to scope out the local eateries. He recommended a place – you know, a place? Four stores down from that alley where the third fudge shop is? Right by the eighth place that sells mocassins? That place.

The fish was delicious. The side portions were overwhelming. The hush puppies you aren’t seeing under the fries practically disintegrated, and not in a good way. Maybe the best street restaurants are only good at one thing.

Maybe not, though. I mean, the honky tonk bar made a damn good vodka martini, preceded by this conversation:

Me: Vodka martini, please.
Bartender: Sure, honey. You want it dirty?
Me: That’d be great.
Her: How dirty?
Me: More dancing on the bar dirty than going home with a stranger dirty.
Her: Ah. Balls dirty, not sweaty balls dirty.

The whole rest of the night she referred to my drink as a sweaty balls martini.

I love honky tonk bars.

 

 

bye-bye beach

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

It’s Tuesday.

    These pictures are from last Wednesday, because last Wednesday is that last time I had internet access.

    That’s how the Upper Peninsula of Michigan rolls.

    There are four things one can do while on vacation without violating Emma’s Law of Vacay.

    • Eat.
    • Rest (this includes sleeping at night, napping during the day, and laying around staring at the water).
    • Talk (loved ones, strangers, everyone in between – go for it).
    • Read.

    On Wednesday I had a day packed full of all of the above. Every single relative of Crockett’s, on meeting me, shoved books into my hands. I left the house last week with three, read two in the airports and planes, and arrived home with 10 – the original three, two from his grandparents, one from his dad, two from his uncle, and two from his aunt.

    That’s a lotta books.

    Oh, I forgot something you’re allowed to do on vacation: CELEBRATE! Crockett has two nieces and three nephews, and two of the five have the same birthday. (Is this a really number heavy post? It’s all those books.)

    When we visited the Escanaba park, I zoomed over to the stand I’d seen while running the day before.

    Gram’s Pasties in the Park.

    PASTIES in the PARK, people.

    This? This is a pasty. Pasties are all over the damn place in Michigan. Like, ALL over. I actually knew what one was, theoretically. My understanding was that pasties were essentially meat turnovers for British working people – an old school Lunchable, basically. A traditional Cornish pasty is made from beef, swede (a sweet root), potatoes, and onions. In the UP, the swede is replaced by rutabaga, and you can order your pasty with or without said rutabaga.

    Everyone said use a LOT of ketchup…

    And then sat around watching me take a bite.

    I didn’t adore it. It was a tasty vehicle for the ketchup, but that’s about it. However, the local experts told me that it wasn’t a good sample – I really needed to wait until the church ladies did their thing. Hopefully when that happens, Crockett’s grandma (behind me offering lots of advice on the eating) will mail me one?

    Fortunately we had pizza:

    (Domino’s Pizza started in Michigan, so this totally counts as eating local).

    I had a slice of buffalo chicken pizza that may have permanently altered how I think about Dominos. It was that good, people.

    Also? Cake:

    I didn’t get a picture before it was sliced, but since it was for a birthday boy and a birthday girl who were three years apart in age, they went with the adorable and always relevant surfing Mickey and Minnie. So cute. Soooo much frosting.

    After dinner there was a free concert in the park. Every Wednesday the town band does what, based on my experience, seems to be whole bunch of awesome cover medleys.

    Escanaba is a happening town full of happening people.

    After the show, we headed back to our beachside motel to get ready for an early start on Thurs – the start of Reunion 2.0.

     

     

    beachy keen

    Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

    It’s a hard life, here at the beach. There are so many questions that need answering.

    Does Crockett have enough time to finish his sandwich before his scheduled nap?

    Should I focus on my lunch…

    or on the view?

    Should I make a run for it before this bee dive-bombs me (as he’s clearly considering)?

    Is the water more gorgeous, or the sky? (Does little Jack, sitting on the edge of the water, have questions like this?)

    Is a water trampoline safer than a regular one?

    What if it’s waaaaaay out there?

    Is there something about the beach that turns normally mature adult brothers into gladiators?

    Will I ever get in the water?

    Or will I just keep following the wildlife around?

    And most importantly: burger or brat?

    Fortunately there’s no question here. A scoop of everything, please.

    the end of an era (or weekend)

    Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

    My brother only comes to town once a year (or so), so we have to make it a big deal when he does.

    On Saturday night, my dad busted out his mad kitchen skills and put together a vegan meal worth of a king.

    Any desire I have to cook is to the credit (or fault, I guess) of this man.

    Yes, I did make him pose like he was chopping an onion. I missed the actual onion chopping and I felt it was necessary for the story.

    My mom and brother and I snacked on watermelon and cantaloupe while my dad slaved away. The wine was Cline Pinot Noir (2009). In the summer, I mostly avoid red wine, but my mom really likes it. Pinot is a good compromise, and this was particularly delicious and especially suited for the sweet fruit we ate before dinner.

    The results of his hard work? Not as pretty as they were tasty, I can assure you. The gorgeous thing above is a bean ball sandwich. The recipe came from Veganomicon, which I bought for Sam a few years ago after hearing great thing about it. I don’t have the recipe, because I don’t have the book – it’s a combination of kidney beans, nutritional yeast (I think), and all of the other things you would expect to find in meatballs, minus milk and eggs and cheese. The bean balls, despite having an unfortunate name, are ridiculously good.

    The sauce is my dad’s secret recipe and is not available for sharing unless I’m willing to take my life in my hands. The bread is an Udi’s baguette – flour, salt, yeast, and water. Naturally vegan, y’all.

    Clearly I hated everything about the meal.

    On Sunday my little brother had a criterium (a specific kind of bike race, whose details aren’t important – mostly because I don’t understand them).

    How good a friend is Star, coming out with us to cheer on my brother?

    My mom and I staked out quite the excellent viewing location for the start.

    And they’re off!

    The best part of a crit is that it’s usually through a town or city. The blue and yellow house is actually a Denver restaurant called Cuba Cuba. I tried to convince my co-watchers to stop for a mojito, but they insisted that we actually focus on the race.

    Happily, afterwards everyone came back to my house and a few of my brother’s high school friends came by. We had margaritas. And watched Birdemic (again). And had more margaritas.

    And then I got three hours of sleep and then got in a car then on a bus then in a big airplane then in a little airplane, and then vacation started and my brother-in-town weekend ended.

     

    count down

    Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


    Could this be any uglier?

    I know.

    While Crockett is out of town, I’m working in his office instead of our kitchen table. Even the glorious window doesn’t make this smoothie more attractive, does it?

    It was pretty delicious, though. I bought a big flat of peaches over the weekend and peeled, sliced, and froze them. For this smoothie I mixed them with cottage cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, frozen bananas, and a little vanilla.

    Peach pie in an ugly ugly soup.

    I love his office, though. The window looks out over the backyard, so when I feel like stopping for a break, I can watch the girls chase squirrels. It’s like exercising by association.

    Lunch – even cereal is special when you eat it with a spoon that has your initial on it. (Plus fresh peaches. Cereal is special with fresh peaches AND monogrammed spoons.)

    After lunch I had to run to the doctor’s office. My doctor’s office is right next to a big high school, so I thought after my appointment I’d do some track work.

    You know what helps with running on a track?

    If you put your shoes in your car like you meant to.

    Instead of leaving them sitting on the couch.

    By the time I’d figured out I didn’t have my shoes and had run to the grocery store and had walked the dogs, I no longer had time to run. I had a very exciting happy hour date.

    Hellooooo Chilis Happy Hour.

    As illustrated by my lovely date, Chili’s gives you two tiny drinks for the price of one. I actually sweettalked our server into putting mine in one big glass, but I think Yvonne likes the little glasses. You know, so she can pretend to be a giant.

    Everyone likes to pretend to be a giant.

    weekending it up

    Monday, June 13th, 2011

    o’strana-mcghana-banarama-hans

    Saturday, May 14th, 2011

    One of me and Crockett’s favorite artists (Handiedan) has her first ever show in Denver opening tonight at Black Book Gallery. We went to the gallery yesterday to see if we could see them setting it up, because we’re sneaky like that. We were right, and lucky – not only did we get to see the art with no one else around, we got to meet Handiedan and talk to her about her work.

    I was a little starstruck. She’s SO COOL.

    Afterwards, we wanted to grab a drink and a burger, so we headed to a place that the gallery owner recommended. It’s called the Rackhouse Pub, and it’s adjacent to where they distill Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Crockett loves that stuff, so we were sold.

    Goldfish crackers

    They gave us goldfish crackers in a measuring cup when we sat down, so I was sold.

    beers at Rackhouse

    Crockett had some quadruple-strong-nasty-butt-level-of-hops IPA (he and I do not have identical taste in beers), but I went with Dry Dock Hefeweizen. I love Hefeweizen, and this one was swell. Sweet and a little citrusy banany – delicious. Dry Dock is brewed in Denver too, and it’s kind of hard to find – I sort of think it’s like one dude and one little shop.

    Reuben at Rackhouse

    Despite our spoken desire for burgers, we each went a different route. I went Reuben with molasses baked beans …

    Crabbie BLT at Rackhouse

    … and Crockett went with the Crabbie BLT and bacon mac and cheese. The Crabbie BLT was a little odd – it was like a BLT with a single little crab cake hidden next to it. The mac and cheese was STELLAR.

    Empty Mac and Cheese bowl at Rackhouse

    Like lick-the-serving dish good. We were supposed to share the sandwiches and side dishes, but I just about got my damn fingers bit off when I went in for a second bite. I assume that means Crockett enjoyed it too, although his mouth was too full for me to understand what he was saying.

    I’d alerted some of my Denver girlfriends to our presence in the big-big city (Louisville is actually only about 20 minutes from Denver, but I love my little town and don’t leave it that often) and by the time I ordered my second beer, they’d appeared to join us.

    There was something a little Western about the restaurant, actually.

    Maybe it was the waitress with the cowboy-boot-wearing-a-cowboy-hat tattoo.

    Emma and Star at Rackhouse

    Clinking Beers at Rackhouse

    Partying like we’re in Deadwood, yo.

    Emma and Crockett at Rackhouse

    Crockett would have made an excellent cowboy. Look at that poker face.

     

    no, you look like YOU belong in fan fiction

    Thursday, May 12th, 2011

    I think I ate my weight in appetizers tonight.

    I met my very serious faced girlfriend up there (Yvonne) at Chilis. Crockett came for a bit, just to say hi to Vonnie, and while he and I were waiting (because we don’t work in any real sense of the word – I mean, he busts his butt but mostly from home and at weird hours, and I … well, we all know I no longer contribute to society in any significant way*) for her to get off of work, we ordered some snacks. Then when Vonnie came we ordered some more.

    Chilis has this three-fer appetizer plate thing right now, and between the three of us we ate two of them. On each plate we had the burger sliders, which had bacon and cheese and stuff, and then we had southwestern eggrolls, artichoke and spinach dip, potato skins, and boneless buffalo wings.

    Weight in appetizers, people.

    After Crockett left and Vonnie and I finished eating, a middle aged man came over to point out that our server had been slow to clear our table… and then to tell us that the two of us are the kind of strong amazing girls that he writes fantasy fiction about.

    Fantasy fiction. Not fan fiction. See, I thought he meant erotica – but he went on to describe, at length, the girl in one of his stories that was blind but used a bat that was tethered to her shoulder to help her ride her mountain bike and used that skill to save a town.

    Not erotica.

    I was both pleased and insulted.

    Today? I also?

    Hung some hooks on the wall behind the door of our bedroom, for my daily detritus that usually ends on the floor.

    See? Hats ‘n stuff.

    Ok, the hooks are not completely straight, and the one with the scarf is a little jiggly. See, I got all high and mighty and told Crockett that I could do it with my electric drill when he suggested that might be overkill, and then I refused to use a level or any kind of measuring instrument at all.

    Lest you think I’m just not good with tools, let me inform you that after getting my undergrad degree I worked in the machine shop of the National Institute of Science and Technology, designing and machining parts and tools for big important scientist types. I measured mistakes in micrometers. I could use both manual and CNC mills and lathes.

    That’s right.

    I used to be a badass.

    Now, I refuse to use a level because I find it complicated.

    How the mighty have fallen.

    Anyway – don’t they look nice? I took a picture today because I’m sure that by tomorrow they’ll all be supporting more weight than they were cleared for in the form of denim and sundresses.

    *Education is significant. I know. Whatevs.

    White and nerdy

    Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

    No, it’s not my fault that I just quoted Weird Al.

    It’s Crockett’s fault.

    He keeps singing it.

    I just realized how remiss I’ve been, spring break wise. I didn’t even show you pictures of my pancakathon!

    Laura and I went to The Huckleberry for brunch on my first official day of break.

    I don’t know how many pancakes are technically required for a pancakathon.

    There are three here. And I ate all of them.

    I think that counts.

    The Huckleberry is hit or miss, for me, but it worked out that day. Perhaps I’ve been trying to get too fancy with my ordering choices. Even when it’s mediocre, though, it’s in my little town, and that’s enough to keep me coming back.

    Laura keeps coming back because she has a thing for tea, and they are not stingy with their tea choices.

    Plus? Crepes.

    Crockett really likes the crepes too.

    I can’t get into crepes.

    They’re not real food, people. They’re all ethereal and stuff.

    Food, especially breakfast food, should not be of the sort that allows you to forget about it two hours later.

    Happily, my pancakes kept me full for a week and a half.

    Ok, that’s probably a slight exaggeration.

    I did feel the need for something a little less ‘piles of carbohydrate’ when I finally ate again, so I made a ceasar salad with grilled mahi and homemade bacon croutons.

    Homemade bacon croutons: chop two pieces of bacon and three pieces of bread (no crusts) into bite size pieces. Put all the pieces in a pan over medium high heat. Cook until everything is crispy, stirring occasionally.

    See? Healthy.