Posts Tagged ‘wine’

home again home again

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Yes, this is my third post of the night. I apologize if you’re reading this in an RSS feed and are like DUDE, EMMA, LET SOMEONE ELSE TALK.

Last Friday (yeah, I’m still back there – that’s why three posts in one night but this is totally the last one probably unless Crockett comes over here with some wine and then I may just keep going you never know) we woke up in Mackinaw City, Michigan, with a mid-afternoon arrival planned for Mio, Michigan.

 

That trip was never going to happen without adequate sustenance. Three hours of driving takes it’s toll, yo.

The Mackinaw City Pancake Chef had limited choices, but I managed to put together a good plate.

I had a whole pile of melon salad, a few strawberries, and two bites each of scrambled eggs, grits with syrup, hash browns with ketchup, sausage, and french toast with cherries hiding underneath.

I killed this plate while the people at our table who didn’t go for the buffet waited for their food, and then twiddled my thumbs. Downside of the buffet.

Upside of the restuarant?

You mention that there are a couple of birthdays in the group and they bust out two whole freaking cakes.

After breakfast Crockett and I walked back to our motel, to burn off a little breakfast.

Crockett went old school.

Doesn’t this look just like the picture on the Pancake Chef menu? I’m such a good photographer I sometimes don’t even know what to do with myself.

I asked Crockett to take a picture of me in front of the bridge, and then right when he pushed the button I realized we were standing in front of a lighthouse.

A LIGHTHOUSE.

I love lighthouses. I find them romantic. Probably because I was never a lighthouse keeper.

After the lighthouse, I was pretty much done with Mackinaw, so we headed down to Mio.

The Mio reunion was Crockett’s mom’s family (everything prior was Crockett’s dad’s family), and it was much more structured. They reserved space at the Mio park and set up a tent and had meals planned and all sorts of magical magic.

The camp came with lots of space to play, which the kids of the fam took full advantage of.

I’m not going to lie. Crockett’s mom’s family is enormous. I’m still not sure I knew some of the names that I thought I knew. They’re also super nice.

We celebrated the birthdays again. (Yes, these are the same two kids celebrating. Yes, this is the third time we’re having cake. Yes, they are kids after my own heart.)

We also had the grown up camper’s equivalent of birthday cake: Cheetos and red wine (Big House Red – surprisingly delicious even in a Super 8 cup). There were two full tables of food – pulled pork, sloppy joes, ten million kinds of chips, brownies, candy, and salads? Oh my god salads. Tuna salads, pasta salads, fruit salads, ambrosia salads, potato salads, vegetable salads… no plain salad salad, but basically anything else you can think of that ends in salad? Yeah, they had that salad.

Then, sadly, we ran into some Mother Nature shaped issues.

In this case, Mother Nature was shaped like a whole lot of raindrops. For a whole long time.

I was borrowing sweatshirts and wiggling into my pants in the backseat of the car. From my position here in my 70 degree Colorado evening, I’m having a hard time remembering the cold, but I know it was there.

The family was cool enough that being under the tent was pretty slick, so we survived the rain.

Two days later, we started the drive home.

P.S. I would have included pictures of Pioneer General (aka Am-Depot), but I was too busy buying Amish knives and Amish candy and wondering if I could pull off and Amish straw hat to remember to take any. Sad, I know. The knives are badass, though.

 

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.

 

Top Chef hubba hubba

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Fine. Hosea Rosenburg, the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef season 5, is no longer the chef of Jax Fish House in Boulder. He won and then moved on. For awhile he had a cart, called Streat Chefs - we saw them at our farmers market a couple of times, but I haven’t been keeping up.

Bygones.

(My girlfriend Laura just reminded me how that guy used to say ‘bygones’ in Ally McBeal, and I love it.)

Anyway, despite living 20 miles or fewer from Boulder my entire life, I had never been to Jax. And I sort of want to make out with Hosea. So… last night, Crockett and I went to Jax. They’re famous for fish. Fresh, delicious fish.

We had the gall to show up at 8:45, when most people are starting or halfway through dinner.

We had to wait. We killed 20 minutes at Urban Outfitters, but when Crockett ran out of grey button up shirts to try on and and I ran out of pint glasses with mustaches on the side to mock, we headed back to Jax. They had a narrow wall bar, so we had wine (me), a Sazerac (him), and some calamari.

Turns out The Empire calamari salad has spoiled me for all other calamari. I mean, it was good, but once you get used to eating calamari with greens it seems sort of greasy when you eat it by itself. The two sauces, mango chile and lime aioli, were super strong and damn tasty. I love it when something that purports to be spicy is actually spicy, which the mango chili sauce both did and was.

It was actually 9:30 when we made it to our table. 9:30, people. I would like to pass it off like ‘oh, yeah, eating at 9:30 is totally normal’, like we live in Manhattan or something, but we don’t. We live in Louisville, Colorado, and 9:30 is late to eat dinner.

If they hadn’t given us crayons, I probably would have eaten my own hands. Or, more likely, Crockett’s hands.

Crockett’s name isn’t actually Crockett, by the way. He has a thing about his real name and the internet.

Doesn’t he look handsome when he realizes that I’ve inscribed his aka on our tablecloth?

What? Heidi braids are the way to go when your hair isn’t super clean and you unexpectedly leave for dinner at 8 pm on a Friday night.

Also, there are names written on every brick in the restaurant. A) I don’t know if real people wrote them, B) I really want to install thin brick in our living room.

When we finally got around to eating, Crockett had grilled New England sea scallops with english pea and asparagus farotto and a warm mushroom vinagrette.

He adored it.

I have a hard time with scallops. When they’re done ‘properly’, I sometimes find them slimy. That was that case here. I do agree, though, that the farotto and sauce were amazing.

I had grilled Shetland Isle salmon, with spring garlic and snap pea slaw and lemongrass curry broth.

Dude.

I know I was hungry, but I am willing to argue that if I had just eaten an entire cow and you set a plate of this in front of me, I would punch Mike Tyson to keep it.

Of course, word is that Mike Tyson is a vegan now.

I don’t usually have dessert, but I’ve sort of decided that by doing so I’m making a mistake. I began rectifying it last night.

With this. A caramel pear tart with salted almond ice cream.

Crockett claimed he wasn’t going to eat any, when I ordered it, but somehow he managed to choke some down.

By some, I mean as much as he could before I completely and totally cut him off.

Overall, Jax gets three and a half thumbs up (we both deducted a quarter of a thumb for the wait – which I think is both petty of us and also reasonable.)

 

 

and with the ow

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

 

I woke up at my mother’s house yesterday morning and did not immediately find oatmeal.

I almost had a panic attack.

Fortunately, after walking her dogs I was able to head home to my kitchen where the oats run free and brave and sometimes even seem to be reproducing and are frequently made into muesli. This particular version was the same yogurt/oats/water mixture as Thursday, topped with sliced almonds, honey, and a segmented orange and its residual juice.

 

Well fortified, I went for a run (half marathon in three weeks, yo) and then proceeded to go to the doctor so they could make me want to cry.

There’s really no good way to explain why I was there without oversharing – let’s just establish that it was nothing gross and wasn’t something that a man would ever have to deal with. And it hurt a lot.

Next week is midterms, so after I got home Crockett fried me an egg for lunch while I studied.

Yesterday was first Friday, and due to the aftermath of my doctor torture I didn’t really feel like walking around in Denver. We went to the Empire (it’s ok, you can go ahead and be shocked) and I had wine (I know, again with the surprises).

Crockett had an old fashioned (is the thing where I pretend you’re shocked getting old? Yeah?) and I really did think I was focusing on it, but apparently I was focusing on the gorgeous copper bar instead.

The last time we were at the Empire, Crockett gently suggested that perhaps, once or twice, we could share something instead of me having a calamari salad and protecting it from his intruding fork like I’m a mama wolf and my calamari is my adorable wolf pups.

That I’m going to eat.

Yeah, that simile got gross fast. Sorry about that.

I acquiesced and we ordered a tuna burger and a calamari salad. The tuna burger shown here did have a bite taken out of it. It’s done medium – they’ll do medium rare but I have tuna issues so Crockett kindly let me determine the cooking temperature. They serve it with wasabi aioli, and that was damn delicious.

Also, please note the plate of calamari salad in the background.

That there is proof that I did share.

I kept some for myself, though, too.

Obviously.

Afterwards we hit a couple of Louisville galleries (there are actually four, I think) and were not moved to be patrons.

Happens.

oh lorelai

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

You know how sometimes you get to the bottom of your Netflix queue and whatever you put on there as your buffer DVD finally shows up, and you’re like ‘why on earth did I put this on here’…

and then you realize that it’s Gilmore Girls and all of a sudden you remember and you can’t wait for all the next disks?

Yeah, me too. Or me neither. Whichever you said, except that I’m lying if whatever you think I said means that I don’t love Gilmore Girls, because good lord in heaven I do.

Wednesday? I think? Earlier this week my camera battery died because I didn’t charge it because I’m not really good at things that require remembering things in a timely manner, and so the chronology of these pictures has gotten a little mixed up. Specially since I’ve been super good about running every day this week.

And then lying down to do situps.

As you can tell, not that many situps actually get done.

Salad.

Happy hour all day every day?

Sure, Chili’s, don’t mind if I do!

The lovely Yvonne. We used to work together.

Now we drink and gossip together.

I miss seeing her every day, but this ain’t a bad replacement.

Two for one glasses of mediocre wine?

Yes please.

Queso dip of some kind?

Twist my arm why don’tcha.

That was Wednesday, y’all.

tutti fruiti

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Crockett went skiing for the second day in a row (and the second time this season) yesterday, and I didn’t get up until 9:30.

9:30.

I never sleep that late, especially not when I’m alone.  Fortunately I’d put my 1/4 cup stone ground oats in 1/2 cup of water and stuck them in the fridge before going to bed, so I was a lot closer to breakfast than I would otherwise have been. I added 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of pumpkin when cooking it up and it came out delicious and creamy. If only I had the presence of mind to soak my oats every night.

Ha. Soak my oats.

It was still missing something though. Something tangy…

Cranberry sauce. (Not to be confused with my cranberry chutney. Chutney on oatmeal would be a taste sensation, certainly, although probably not a good one.)

After breakfast I started folding clothes, and my goofy girls started hiding their toys in said clothes. After finding the footless (not to be confused with footloose) squirrel for the fourth time, I gave up and took them for a walk.

Cloey found herself a gigantic stick and followed me around with it, whacking me in the legs and not even apologizing.

When Crockett got home from skiing, we had date night.

Whhhooo hoooo date night!

We found Tutti with this little method we like to call wandering-down-the-street. It’s in a neighboring town, Lafayette, and has apparently been around for a little less than a year.

The first thing we noticed was that the furniture is all patio furniture, and there’s a lot of it in a very small room.

The second thing we noticed was the nifty sizing. Each menu item comes in three sizes – wine in 3 oz glasses, 6 oz glasses, and bottles, and beer in 8 oz, pint, and 22 oz glasses. The food comes in saucer/cup, plate/bowl, and platter. They describe it as ‘tasting’, ‘dinner’, and ‘to share’.

We ordered two tasting plates, a dinner plate, a pint of Deschutes Mirror Pond (Crockett), and a 3 oz glass of Elsa Bianchi Chardonnay (so-so).

Through the meal, I had two more little glasses of wine – Crusher Viognier (two thumbs up) and Morse Code Shiraz (good but poorly chosen with my food). I wish every restaurant in the world served half glasses. I got to try three kinds of wine and only drink (and pay for… ok, Crockett paid) a glass and half.

I chose the tasting sizes. First, I ordered carrot and parsnip ‘pasta’ with seared tofu in a lemongrass and ginger broth. It was good (and vegan), but the broth being made with soymilk added sort of a strange sweetness. I would have preferred it to be not creamy at all or to be made with actual milk. The carrot pasta was fun though, and there was a lot of ?spinach? making me feel all healthy and stuff.

My second tasting plate was baked puttanesca. Awesome.

Plus? I got to tell Crockett than puttanesca is named for whores. Spicy, spicy whores.

Crockett ordered a plate of scallops with butternut squash risotto.

I have no idea where the squash was, but man alive did it not matter in the least. I could have lived without the scallops. Hell, I could have lived without everything else on the table, if I’d just had more of this risotto. Because. Yum.

Overall, Tutti was fun. If we lived down the street I could see going there quite a bit – since it’s a 15 minute drive and we have Boulder in that radius as well, I don’t know how soon we’ll go back.

Then? My Christmas tree went up in record time.

Ok, fine. It’s fake, and I leave the decorations on all year round. All I have to do is bring it in from the garage and plug it in.

Happy?

I am.

in preparation

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The day before Thanksgiving is a happy happy day. A day filled with pie crusts and cereal.

With challah cubed for stuffing.

With sweetened flaked coconut rinsed and dried to become unsweetened flaked coconut.

With gingered cranberry fig chutney, bottled for the fridge.

Once all those preparations were out of the way, the girls and I went outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Which was gone. Allllll gone.

I don’t know what these are, do you? Are they edible? You’re not supposed to eat red berries, as far as I know. And even if I did know what they were I probably wouldn’t eat them. Still, I’m curious.

Then Crockett remembered something very important that I’d forgotten.

Wine Wednesday at The Empire. I always forget to write down the wine, but I happen to remember this one – Parducci Sustainable Red. I’ve had the white before and I like that they’re growing sustainably, although I don’t know that regular grape farmers are following a slash and burn approach.

I enjoyed my wine with a happy hour sized calamari salad. Because, really, why the hell wouldn’t you?

Crockett had himself some pulled pork sliders. These things are delicious. Were I the kind of person that could eat two meals, I would have had me some of these too.

Properly fortified, we headed back to Crockett’s to continue the Thanksgiving preparations. Two things – 1) I know it looks like my hair is touching the turkey; it isn’t. 2) Touching a turkey makes me laugh. Like, a lot.

Doubled bagged, soaking in brine.

This Thanksgiving was the second that I’ve hosted, but it was Crockett’s first. To celebrate that, he embraced another first – his first pumpkin pie. I brought over the crusts I made in the morning and then stood back and took pictures (while he wasn’t looking).

He was amusingly shocked by how much sugar went into the pies. “Do you always use that much sugar?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a batch of chocolate chip cookies uses twice as much.

He thought that the pumpkin and evaporated milk looked like a latte. He’s not wrong.

This is serious business.

And look! Smooth, perfect, speckled brown gorgeousness. He’s got a knack, I think.

The important part of Thanksgiving covered, we went to bed.

Monday dinner

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

This is not paella.
It started as paella. In my head. There was rice and shrimp and sausage.
It ended as rice with shrimp and sausage.
It was still ok.