Break In The Weather

Hey, it’s nice out! We enjoyed a nice little stretch of 70 degree weather over the weekend, and managed to take advantage of it to some degree. Saturday we got out of the house around noon and visited one of the nearby wineries. We weren’t terribly interested in the wine, our sights were set on their fantastic patio. The dogs came along for the ride, and we managed to kill a few hours in the sunshine.

Sunday turned out even nicer than Saturday, but we felt a moral obligation to watch the Chiefs game. We headed down to EDH to watch it at a friends house. Luckily he had it on outside, so we managed to enjoy the game and the weather! It was so nice and we were having so much fun, we even stayed for the whole 49’ers game too. They are, of course, a big San Fran household, so the stage is set for another Superbowl showdown between our teams.

Random side note; We watched a movie at home last night, and I made popcorn. Made it in the dutch oven! This was quite exciting to me, never done that. I wasn’t too confident in the success, figured it would come out burned or half popped or who knows what. Came out great! I think it’s even faster than the microwave too, I’m sold. I used bacon grease, which got a mixed review. I liked it, but due to other negative feedback I’ll probably stick with veggie oil next time.

Weekly Update!

Hey hey, a weekly update that is actually… WEEKLY! I had some interesting encounters last week, so I have a few “stories” to relate. Makes it easier. ** Disclaimer: “Interesting” is a very relative term, your mileage may vary. It doesn’t take much to qualify as interesting in my world these days, so take that into consideration.

In “general news,” we tried another BBQ restaurant last weekend. There is a place called Hog Wild right in our little town that I’ve been meaning to go to since we moved here. (“Here” as in California, not just Placerville. I spied it pretty shortly after our move.) It gets raves from all the locals, and I finally got an opportunity to try it out. I’ll give it an overall B-. We got a large sampler platter, and chose brisket, ribs, and pork. Our side choices were beans, mac & cheese, and slaw. All three sides were fantastic. The beans were especially good, if not what I’d usually expect with BBQ. There were “ranch beans,” which I happen to like. On the meat platter, the brisket and pork both held up. If I was gonna nitpick, the brisket could have used a better trim, it was pretty fatty. Solid though. Now the ribs, not so much. I’d say they knocked the lunch from a high B+ to a generous, low B-. Wow, they were tough. I’d say they needed at least another hour on the cooker, maybe two. The owner dropped by for the standard “how is everything,” and my mind was fairly racing with how to bring up the ribs. I almost just came out and asked him to try one. I mean, I have to think something went wrong there. But, I settled on my standard “It’s great, thanks.” I didn’t want to seem ticked off or anything, because I wasn’t, but I was indeed curious if he thought that was his best effort. In truth, we likely won’t be back anyway so I figured it didn’t really matter, let it drop.

After that mixed-review of a meal, we popped by our regular haunt, Bones. While exchanging pleasantries with the guy next to me, I mentioned our lunch, to which he responded with the usual local gushing about how good it is. I agreed, and we chatted barbecue a bit, and then I mentioned my favorite place up the hill. With a rather shocked look on his face, he informed me that he had walked in there once, and turned right around and left. The reasoning? They didn’t have hot links. His actual quote was, “How can you call yourself a barbecue joint and not serve hot links?” Well, that effectively ended our conversation, as I really just didn’t know how to respond. “What the @#($% is a hot link?” came to mind, but seemed ill advised. I’m making great efforts at “fitting in” out here, and felt that might be a large step backwards. Seriously though, what is it, and why would you feel that the measure of a BBQ joint? I will admit, I am curious. And, sure enough, when I brought up the pic of the menu I’d taken at lunch, it was right on there. I guess it just didn’t register while I was scanning for actual meat. I guarantee though, next time I see one, I’m ordering it, if only out of sheer interest. Who knows, maybe I’m really missing out on something.

In other heart-pounding excitement, I went to the Safeway on Saturday. This is only notable in that I do not frequent the Safeway. Nope, I’m strictly a Holiday guy, with meat purchases coming from the local butcher shop. I’m sure most would agree, visiting an unfamiliar grocery store can be quite a challenge. Nothing is where it should be. I don’t think I am exaggerating to say I looked for bay leaves for a solid 30 minutes. The sum of this time was spent furiously pushing my cart in a big circle around the store, reading each of the signs at the end of the aisles. Every lap got a little slower as I paid increasing attention to each one, making absolutely sure I wasn’t missing “spices.” After at least 4 laps, I became convinced it just wasn’t there, and switched to Donette’s tactic of just going up and down every aisle. I guess I have to grudgingly admit it to be a superior method, because I did indeed locate the bay leaves. But the question remains, why aren’t spices on the signs? It’s at least a good 1/4 of the entire aisle, why not point it out? (Luckily, my frustration was quickly replaced with pure horror when I saw the price of a few bay leaves. I also began to question if spices are labeled at ANY grocery store? Maybe I just know where they are at my usual one? Great pondering.) After overcoming that monumental achievement, it was on to the true purpose of my trip; Okra. I’ve found okra generally hard to find out here, and I figured that since Safeway is the largest store around, my odds were best there. On the plus side, I was able to quickly locate the proper aisle, thanks to the prominently placed “frozen vegetables” label on the sign. On the downside, I couldn’t find okra. Now, in truth, I don’t even really like okra. But, I was making gumbo, and gumbo should have okra. Granted, I usually just leave it out, or forget to put it in if I DO have it. I was particularly determined to have it this time though. After about 10 minutes, a nice young stocker came over and asked if I needed help, likely due to me slamming the freezer doors repeatedly. Why yes, yes I do, I need OKRA. His expression clearly revealed he didn’t know what that was. So, for some absolutely fascinating reason, he felt the need to inform me they DO have brussel sprouts! Much like barbecue guy, that comment ended our conversation. I just couldn’t come up with a response anything short of sarcasm, and he seemed genuinely pleased with his proposed solution. ** Final update, as I was feverishly scouring the store for diced tomatoes, which also weren’t where they should have been, the young man tracked me down and did indeed hand me two bags of chopped okra. He’d inquired of his manager, who found it in the back. Why was it in the back instead of the freezers? I’ll leave that mystery for another day.

Merry January

I have to think it would be a lot easier to write something on here if I ever did anything. Such is not the case, however. But, since I pay a whopping 10 bucks a year for this site registration, I better throw out a few words I suppose. My latest excuse? It’s just too cold to go outside. I mean, not like KC cold, but Northern California cold. Fifty-ish. Occasional rain, even a few random snow flurries at night. Basically not fit for human habitation. We try to go to the grocery store once a week, as the alternative is starving to death, but mostly we just huddle in front of the heat vent and try to survive.

Just not much to say outside of complaining about the weather. No new toys, no new recipes, no new projects… All quiet in general. The bathroom remodel did finally get finished last week, and it came out great. Well, it looks great anyway. We tried the shower yesterday and there is no hot water. I may well just shut the door and pretend we have one less bathroom in the house. There’s only two of us, we don’t need three bathrooms anyway. Ugh.

Merry Christmas!

Another holiday in the books. I’ll give it a solid “tolerable” rating. We snuck out to Hawaii a few weeks ago, and I think that greatly increased my outlook in general.

For the big holiday, we went over to a friend’s house, and joined their family for a big dinner. Brisket was the entree of choice, and it was great! Then we all gathered around the television for a spirited viewing of the 49’ers game, very yule-esque.

Well, that’s all I got in me. I’m typing on my pseudo-new computer here, and I’m (rightfully) concerned it’s going to crash any second now, thus rendering my 1.5 minutes of typing useless. It’s a sad state up here.

Thanksgiving ’23

Excellent holiday once again this year. Thanksgiving ranks high on my list of holidays, and this year didn’t disappoint. Mass of people, check. Unbridled gluttony, check. Perfect weather, check. Yep it pretty much hit all boxes. OK, yeah, there were probably too many people for my liking, (25 I think?) but I guess that is mandatory for such things. It was a great time at any rate.

I did need a little wind-down after that event though, so we loaded up the RV and headed west early Friday morning, destination Pacifica CA. We’re making some attempt to branch out a little from my usual camping spot, and this was our first pick. It’s a nice little beach town just the other side of San Francisco, about two hours (RV-time) from home. Worked out great! OK, the park wasn’t exactly fancy; It was sort of like a big asphalt parking lot. Actually, it WAS a big asphalt parking lot. That little downside was negated by being right on the ocean though. The view was fantastic. The water access was a bit challenging, as it was right on a huge cliff, but you could get there with a little walking. There were also lots of restaurants, shops, etc within walking distance too. I’d go back!