Starting The Year Off Right

Look at me, getting this updated on a Monday again.  Off to a solid start.  What hasn’t changed is a complete lack of material to work with.  Hey, that keeps it brief and makes the page load quicker.  Anyway…  Friday started off reasonably strong.  It was a super-tiring week at work, so I just went home and joined the wife for a nice quiet evening.  We’ve been on something of a roll cooking at home instead of going out, and didn’t see a good reason to break that streak.  We made a salmon dish with good ol’ Costco salmon, and lemons and oranges off our trees out back.  Pretty much everything we’ve eaten for the last few weeks, and several weeks to come, has lemon in it.  Whew there are a lot of them things, and they are good.  After dinner we sat around and enjoyed each other’s company with some deep conversation and a glass of wine.  Or, we may have sat in complete silence and stared at our phones.  One of those.

Saturday was perilously close to a complete waste of a day.  Since cutting off our cable we’ve managed to get reliable streams of NBC, Fox, and ESPN, and all three seemed to have some worthwhile programming for us to waste our time on.  The notable exception there is CBS…  Darn them.  Still haven’t figured that one out, and as a result we’re missing a few of the NFL playoff games.  So be it, The Man ain’t getting my money.  I suppose we could have headed out to a sports bar and watched it, but that sort of defeats the purpose of saving money in the first place.  We also kept pretty busy watching our friend’s dog Renfield all weekend.  They went out of town so we’re dog-sitting.  It’s a good deal for us though, he and Quinn are bestest of buddies.  A tired Quinn is a good Quinn.  On the downside, when they AREN’T tired they can be a bit…  “challenging,” but for the most part it’s a positive.  For dinner, I went up to the grocery store and picked up some sushi.  Hmmm.  I realize grocery-store-sushi sounds a little dangerous, but it was actually pretty good.  (And, more importantly, on sale.)  It’s made from local rice too, and for whatever reason I’m a sucker for local foods.  (That worked out a lot better in KC where the “local food” was delicious BBQ.  Here it’s any varietal of white rice you could ask for!  YUMM!!!  Not.  What can ya’ do.)  The only problem I had was that they were a bit skimpy on the accoutrements.  I could take or leave the wasabi, but I like my sushi-to-ginger ratio at about one to one, if not even leaning towards the ginger just a bit.  Guess I better pick up a jar for such emergencies.  After dinner we watched American Made, which I think we both found entertaining enough.  I actually stayed awake, so it must have been a real hit.

Sunday brought an eerily similar lineup of activities, which is to say, not much.  I took the little hellions on a good long walk, which seemed to only moderately tire them while thoroughly exhausting me.  I guess they’re packing a little less weight than myself.  They both walk pretty well on their leashes though, no complaints.  I’m starting to figure out how to correct Quinn when he starts acting up, he’s definitely making progress.  If Teagan started going astray, I would grab the leash with both fists and yank as hard as I possibly could, which she may or may not have bothered acknowledging.  Quinn does best with just a little tap on the leash with a thumb and finger.  Anything more than that and the poor little guy just cowers and looks up at you like “What’d I do, what’d I do?!?!?”  At least he’s learning I guess.  Sort of.  Maybe.  Some day.  After that we watched the second playoff game, despite the grating annoyance of Joe Buck’s voice.  I’m glad we stuck it out, that was quite the entertaining finish.  For dinner we grilled a tri-tip and some artichokes.  That was my first try at artichokes and they turned out…  Edible.  I’ll most likely file them in the “not worth the trouble” category.

Anniversary 2.0

That was a fairly entertaining weekend, as far as our usual weekends go anyway.  That is to say, we left the house a few times.  Things got off to a rough start on Friday when I had to work late.  I’m not complaining though, (or am I…) as that’s been a fairly rare occurrence lately, but it did throw me off my game a bit.  It added a mild bit of stress to the day too, as we had company at the house and everybody was waiting on me for dinner.  On the plus side, when I walked in the door I went straight to the table and sat down to some delicious baked lemon chicken.  Score!

Saturday was a fine example of a prime weekend day.  The weather was just about perfect, I think it topped out at 62 with plenty of sun.  We’ve got an ever-growing list of chores that need attended around the house, but you just don’t want to waste January weather like that, so we put the top down on the convertible and drove up the hill to Chateau Davell winery.  They just opened a new tasting room so we wanted to check that out.  Cool place, much roomier than their old spot, with better views and a lot of outdoor seating.  We even let Quinn run around a bit with one of the owners dogs, which he seemed to enjoy immensely.  It was a fun drive too, I must say the new/used car is a hit.  It even has some heat vents in the head rest so you stay nice and toasty with top down in cooler weather.  After that quick outing, we took Quinn back home and headed to dinner in Plymouth.  I felt like we kind of got cheated out of our anniversary dinner in San Francisco last weekend since we both were sick, so I made reservations at Taste for another try at celebrating.  We’ve been wanting to try that place for quite some time, and an anniversary seemed like as good an occasion as any.  It did not disappoint, everything was delicious.  Can’t wait to go again, although we’ll need another special event to justify it, as it’s a little (or a lot) outside our normal dining budget.  The only downside to the day was sports.  We recently disconnected our cable service, so we were excited that we got to watch both Mizzou basketball and the Chiefs on the Internet.  Our enthusiasm was rewarded with two real clunker games.  Geez.

Sunday the weather was still pretty darn nice, so we once again deferred our household chores.  We checked out a new pet store in the area, and then had a solid lunch at El Dorado Saloon.  Fine way to waste away an afternoon.  After a short nap, we had some friends over for dinner.  After getting out of the habit of cooking at home for a while, I feel like we’re slowly getting back into it.  I got myself some sweet new kitchen knives for Christmas, and I must say I enjoy using them.  For Sunday dinner I found a Tyler Florence recipe for Arroz Con Pollo that I thought sounded tasty, so that’s what we went with.  I didn’t notice until I actually got started cooking that the directions were messed up (step 2 is missing…) so I had to kind of wing that part, but it came out pretty tasty.


Well I said I’d post again in January, and so I shall.  But, despite what well may be the longest respite from my “weekly” posting since the inception of this thing, I don’t have all that much to cover.  Oh we’ve been busy, I just don’t have the memory to go over everything.  What I DO have, I suppose, is a brief recollection of the New Years weekend, and a bunch of pictures of food.

For the latest of the three-day weekends, we drove down to San Francisco with a car load of friends for a few nights.  I’m a fan;  Big city, lots to do, lots to eat…  Ideal weekend in my book.  We got there Saturday afternoon and parked the car at the hotel (where it would remain for the duration of the weekend) and set about doing our thing.  We don’t really have a thing, so we had to make do.  Not too much to note really.  We enjoyed happy hour in a skyscraper with incredible views.  We ate lots of incredible food, and way too much of it.  We found decent barbecue.  And we celebrated the New Year, if from the safety of our hotel room.  As for New Year’s Eve, we went to Wayfare Tavern in the financial district with a large group for dinner.  I don’t know how this worked out, but it’s the same place we ate two years ago when we were there for the same holiday.  I found it rather curious that the menu was exactly the same as two years ago, given the short list of choices, but it was delicious all the same.  We indulged in far too many starters though, it effectively ruined our main course.  I can safely say I’ve never payed that much for a steak and then just left it sitting on the plate, but I was in such misery that the mere sight of it made me a little queasy.  Live and learn.

Monday was the drive back up the hill, which was pleasantly uneventful.  We were pretty much done for when we got to the house.  We’re both fighting moderately nasty colds so there was a lot of bowl games involved in the remainder of the day.  I did actually get out and go for a bike ride though, if only to say I started the year off right.  The main factor in that decision was that it was 65 degrees out.  If you get a 65 degree day on January 1 and don’t take advantage of it, well I guess shame on you.  It was quite enjoyable, hopefully I can keep some measure of consistency going with the cycling this year.  After that I made a seafood stew that came out pretty well, and then back to the couch.

1 Down, 1 To Go

We made it through that holiday with flying colors.  I’m going to go so far as to say I had fun.  We’ve spent the last 3 Thanksgivings at friend’s houses out here, because traveling back to KC on a holiday is logistically nightmarish.  (Not to mention pricey.)  This year, after evaluating some mitigating circumstances, we decided to host it at our house.  And so, speaking of logistical nightmares, we invited all 20-something people over to join us for dinner.  (24 at last count I believe.)  It was a certainly a good time, if moderately challenging.  That’s just a lot of people, and a lot of food.  Not as hard as I thought though, it went relatively smoothly.  We had two turkeys and a good sized brisket I’d smoked the day before, and went with our favorites for sides.  Mashed potatoes and gravy, green rice casserole, corn, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and stuffing.  Maybe some more, who knows, that’s all I can recall at this time of morning.  Oh, and pie…  lots and lots of pie.  We cheated and got them at Costco, and those things are huge.  Oh well, they keep for some length of time I suppose.

Friday after the big turkey-day, I drove Donette and her Mom down to the airport early in the morning, and they left for Hawaii where they met all her sisters.  Since that time, I must say I’ve not accomplished a whole lot.  As a matter of fact, in a somewhat epic bout of laziness, I didn’t even bother getting dressed all weekend.  That, I must say, is a first even for me.  I got up, hit the couch and watched movies all weekend long.  When it got warm enough outside, I crawled out to the back patio and watched movies out there.  Shameful, but relaxing.  I’ve certainly eaten better than I usually do when she’s out of town, if not particularly healthy.  I’ve been subsisting on a steady diet of pie for breakfast, and turkey sliders for lunch and dinner.  Sometimes with a side of green rice or corn, most times not.  Solid meals.