Saturday, July 26, 2014

Four lovely days at Hidden Lake and a Wolfgang Puck Red Blend 2010

Yes, it rained Wednesday, but at 5:00 the sun popped out. Kathy said let's get outside, so we jumped in the car and headed for the path along the Puyallup river. We walked 3.7 miles yesterday, Kathy's personal best since her hip replacement. She was overcome with joy, the last time we were on this path she was in a wheel chair.

We also saw a plant with pretty flowers and what looked like sweet peas, if you know what this is please give us a shout.

Thursday, we went to Sorci's for an early dinner and did our walking all around Sumner. Our server was Sydney, the owner's daughter and she was very earnest. Kathy had the Gluten free Puttanesca Pizza and I had the two item lunch special, a Spinach Salad and 1/2 Fire Roasted Pork Panini. It was great to see Jeremiah again. Total before gratuity was $25.02. 

Friday, Kathy wanted to visit an Auburn park, so we went to the Game Farm park and did that path. Gorgeous day, fun walking by the river. I didn't work out in the classic sense, but did blow all the pine needles off the front porch and driveway and did the weed whacking in the front.

Saturday, a fourth gorgeous day in a row. Wanted to catch up on my blog, but today, I need to weed whack the back. As Tim Heath said, ivy is gorgeous, but it sure is aggressive. Three batteries later the ivy is in some degree of control.

Tonight we uncorked a DFV wine labeled as a Wolfgang Puck "Master Lot Reserve". The first sip did not move me so I let it breathe for 30 minutes and came back to it. It is fruity and chocolate, must have been aged in an oak barrel. It hasn't reached its peak, tastes young, if I have an opportunity, I think I will pick up another bottle and set a calendar entry for mid-2016.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Last night in the San Francisco Hilton - Seattle

Things are coming to a close. Frank is at the front of the classroom. Kathy is hurting a bit today, she is surprised since it is about five weeks since the hip replacement, but the bone and the metal are in the process of fusing.

I took a walk after lunch, it is a nice day in San Francisco. Even had a short sleeve shirt. But will switch to long sleeve tonight.

We went back to Fresh Crush, they have a new menu. Kathy ate some dish made out of a Squash, I went for the Seafood Cioppino, a holdover from the previous menu with a side of quinoa. It was nice.

We went back to our hotel room and tumbled into bed. Got up early. Kathy wanted to leave the hotel early, normally I would rather eat in the city than the airport, but this is SFO, you know there will be options. OK, fine. The hilton has a car service so that a trip to the airport is 40.00 and it is not some insane cab driver trying to shave three seconds off the drive by doing every crazy maneuver possible. Very nice, they even had complimentary water.

We ate in the airport at the Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe, I sinned against my diet and ate the Lasagne, (decadent fun),  and Kathy had the Beet Salad and a club soda.

United 759 was on time, we both fell fast asleep as soon as we got to our seats. I woke up to the pressure in my ears of the descent. Put in airplanes, ( a type of earplug), and went back down. All in all an easy flight. Made our way through the airport to baggage claim. The bags took forever, something was very, very wrong at United, but I just stood their and swayed back and forth till they finally came. New guy from Starline Limo, said he was a subcontractor, he was asking me for navigation advice; we make it home anyway.

We got home and I made some black rice and vegetables for supper, we put in the movie Magic of Belle Island, (that has to be one of Morgan Freeman's best) and fell asleep upstairs in the fold down bed. Woke up several times this morning, there are skylights and windows in this room an daylight comes early here. Kathy made us coffee and I have some quioa and chicken from the freezer for breakfast. Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest, it is a bit cool this morning, but very nice and peaceful.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nashville, Blake's recommendations

In my class in San Francisco, we have a true foodie, Blake. He tipped me with the following recommendations from his home turf, Nashville TN.

Short version: If you find yourself in Nashville, consider trying Hattie B’s or Pepperfire to try a local dish of “Nashville Hot Chicken.” 

Long version:  It is basically fried chicken (a breast quarter or chicken tenders) more commonly done with a spicy rub, versus a sauce (though Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish uses a sauce).  Pepperfire has a “Pepper Cheese,” which is a deep-fried grilled cheese made with Pepper Jack cheese.  Their Tender Royale is their hot chicken tenders served on top of a Pepper Cheese.  They also have a variation of chicken and waffles, simply hot chicken and a waffle; and another variation is their Apple Fire, with some apples (like you’d find in a strudel) on the waffle to offset some of the heat of the chicken.

Hattie B’s is by Vanderbilt University.  Pepperfire is in an area called East Nashville.
No matter where you go, the person taking your order will help you calibrate your tolerance of heat/spice (e.g., mild/medium/hot/xhot/xxhot).  While I do not advocate wasting food, if you’re wanting to test your heat tolerance at least a little, consider ordering two orders of chicken, one order each of two successive heat levels, so that if the higher one is a bit much you can fall back one level to still enjoy your meal.

Hot chicken is made to order, so expect a wait once you order (in addition to the line of people that are likely to be dining there at the same time).
Should you find your way to Nashville, I’d be thrilled to introduce you and Kathy to the local cuisine, respecting that I’m guessing that you have plenty of commitments wherever you travel.

Stephen: gosh I am starting to get hungry :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Infusion, San Francisco

Yesterday Kathy and I went to eat after the STI open house. We wandered down towards Crush, but didn't really want to make that choice. Then I remembered Infusion. Very interesting restaurant, they have a security person at the door.

We worked our way down the stairs to the lounge. It was nice and quiet. We both ordered the black fried rice, I got mine with the chicken and Kathy got the shrimp. It was great. Finally and option to white rice, mashed potatoes and white bread. We shared a serving of edamame, I really liked the spice.

We had such a good time, we set a reservation for tonight. I already know what I want to order, the appetizer sampler.

When it was time to leave, we took advantage of their offer to use the elevator. That is a lot of stairs for a lady 40 days after a hip replacement. It came out in the registration section of the Fusion hotel; neat.

We decided to come back the next night. Not as great, it rarely is. I tried the appetizer sampler, chicken legs, ribs, crab rangoons, (a bit too sweet for my taste) and edamame, Kathy went back to the black fried rice with shrimp. They were starting to gear up for a female impersonator show and people were coming in so we asked for the check and left.

Blake, (see the next post), makes the following recommendation for SF:

In other news, (in San Francisco) I do recommend Burma Superstar on Clement.  The two recommended dishes recommended to me were the tea leaf salad and the vegetarian samusa soup.  In addition, I tried the Chili Lamb (I specified “hot”) with their coconut rice and also their platha bread.  I was expecting the platha to be similar to naan, but it’s significantly different.  I would describe platha as a thicker, richer croissant that has been flattened.  Everything was quite good (and way too much food for just me).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First Crush and a Boeger 2009

So far all the restaurants in San Francisco seem to be focused on white flour and white rice for their carbs. I needed a switch. Kathy was kind enough to go to the concierge and ask about healthy restaurants.

One of the recommendations was First Crush, so we called and made a reservation for 6:00. We walked down, in the excellent weather, (when do you see shorts and t-shirts in San Francisco in July), and they were fairly empty. Interesting menu, though I did not see any brown rice. I opted for the Halibut served with lots of vegetables and a side of wild rice. Kathy had the Beet Salad with a side of potatoes. The flavors were pretty good, the halibut was a bit over cooked, but not cardboard.

We also decided to share a bottle of wine, Boeger Zinfandel 2009, it was extraordinary. We took our time, swirling it a lot, smelling it, what a luxury. Zins tend to come in two major classes, the cherry/berry, slightly sweet, probably best epitomized by young Edmeads Old Vines. And then there is the drier, more complex, chocolate cherry plum like a Benovia 2008. Boeger seems to have a foot in both camps and it was delightful, part of the trick might be that they source their grapes from four different vineyards.

I am up teaching policy tomorrow, so I probably should be preparing.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On the move: Kauai to Seattle to San Francisco

Kathy and I are at the Coffee Bean and Tea at SEATAC waiting for our plane. Two days ago we fly from Kauai to SEA, just enough time for me to weed the herb garden.

This morning the trip to SEATAC went well, Starline was on time and security was a breeze. We zipped through TSA Pre-check and had enough time to write a blog post. Will update this after we reach San Fran.

United 698 was delayed due to the runway construction so we lost an hour there. My only complaint is that I missed brunch at FarmerBrown. Went looking for other options, usually Google is my favorite search engine, but it not do well on a search for restaurants near the Union Square Hilton. So, we picked an old favorite Cafe Mason. I had the Huevos Rancheros with fruit instead of home fries and Kathy had the Camarones Fritatta with the home fries and our server, Stephanie, suggested corn tortillas instead of bread because Kathy is gluten intolerant. Price before gratuity was 37.36 with a sparkling water and an ice tea. Excellent service.

Then, I wanted to get a soft brush to touch up my feet, I did a bit of gardening in slippers and wanted to finish cleaning up, some of that dirt is very persistant. There was a Walgreens just a block further, so we stopped there and then instead of retracing our steps, we turned left down Hyde, not too bad, but clearly the neighborhood is degraded. Worse, as we crossed O'Farrell there were a bunch of shouting people at the bus stop. My thought was to cross back to the North side of O'Farrell, but Kathy turned downhill towards Ellis. It was one long cluster of homeless people, but they seemed to be fairly passive.  It all reminded me of an adventure a long time ago, I think it was 1994, when Cisco used to throw those seminars including a huge theme party. I remember one was the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There were no government rooms anywhere Moscone, so were were staying in one of the Cathedral Hill hotel and would walk the the conference. One night, we didn't take our usual route and ended up in a really bad part of the city, smell of urine everywhere. People were clearly messed. Rick and I were both black belts, both ring fighters, both had a knife, both very scared. But the Lord smiled and we made it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jim and Tracey - Taco night

Jim and Tracey are coming over for dinner, they are back from Singapore; it will be great to spend some time with them. Kathy brought some organic blue corn crispy taco shells from Cost u Less. I am a little suspicious, all the Garden of Eaten taco shells I have ever tried have been a bit soggy, but we will give it a try with some Wal-Mart shells as backup. This is a bit tricky, I am doing the low carb thing, Kathy is gluten free, Tracey does not eat meat so I plan to offer a number of variations of dishes.

Last night I did the relishes, lots of roast corn, black bean variations. They are all meat free. In an hour or so I will prepare the meat dishes.


Set the table with large plates after I plate the salads on small plates, we will put them on top of the large plates.
30 minutes out, plate the salads, they are pretty simple, organic greens, a cherry tomato, a carrot cut lengthwise, a basil leaf and a mushroom cap. We have a tarragon vinaigrette. Grate some cheese? Why not.
Set out the relishes each with a small spoon.

Fresh tomato relish
Roast corn relish

Table spread before first taco

First Taco ( 2 skillets, 1 microwave)

Cubed and marinated a couple pieces of Halibut these can go in the small skillet
Warm the napalitos in the medium skillet
Warm the Chia seed, artichoke heart, dried apricot ceviche in the microwave
Warm the refried beans

Chia seed, artichoke heart, apricot ceviche

Second Taco (1 skillet, 1 microwave)

Mushroom, quinoa, brown rice in the medium skillet, high heat, large burner
Warm the chicken breast in the microwave

Chicken breast, if you look closely it has been precut so the sauce can soak into the meat

Third Taco (1 skillet)

Place the marinated savory thin sliced beef in the largest skillet, high heat, large burner after both sides have been browned, transfer to cutting board slice and bring to the table.

Pull big plates, reset with small plates for dessert.


Cacao, banana, cherry, figgie pudding

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kenzie and Keely along the East shore

We only have a couple days left on Kauai and I wanted to take the girls for a walk on Ke Ala Hele Makalae. It was fun to see the world through their eyes. Every swing has to be swung on. And Keely will touch anything including what could possibly be sacred to an islander while I was telling it it not a good idea or try to walk along the broken wall to discover what it is like to find a sinkhole. After I explained that if you fall in a hole and it collapses around you it takes a special team to rescue you and breathing is tricky with the sand pressing against your chest she gave the second idea up.

We walk on till Kenzie wanted to turn around and stopped for an ice cold coconut. Then I was able to get a shot of the girls after they were refreshed, it was a pretty sunny day.

As we continued walking we saw a pretty cool sculpture created with found objects.

All in all we traveled about two miles, a bit of a contrast to yesterday when I did 12.5 and went to the end of the paved path and back in the same amount of time :)