Monday, May 31, 2010

Kukla and Loo

When you are eating the best organic chicken in the world, Portuguese-spiced with lemon and oil, marinated for two days prior to grilling, you can expect folks to be envious. You just don't expect those folks to be so furry. I was eating this remarkable chicken this weekend at a party in Chicago and made fast friends with Kukla and Loo, two characters who didn't leave my side till I threw that leg bone away.

More stories to come. Too tired from watching Doug drive the whole way home to write anymore tonight.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Help Me Go the Extra 150 Miles

I've been lax, I admit it. My blog posts have decreased a lot lately, especially in comparison to the great "Post Every Day Experiment of 2008." Remember that? I posted something on my blog, usually with some substance even, almost every single day in 2008 because I created a goal and put my mind to it. No, sadly you cannot view most of those posts because they resided on another server that no longer holds them. But believe me, I really did it.

You know what else I've managed to accomplish in the past when I put my mind to it? I've completed the MS150 Bike Tour four times. That's 150 miles of cycling over two days, all to raise money for a great organization, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter, devoted to ending this disease. My Grandma Ellis lived with MS and though I was pretty young when she passed away, I always think of her when I do the MS150, which I will be participating in again next month for the fifth time. It's a lot of work, especially this year because for the first time since I started doing it I'm not also training for a triathlon, which is code for "I'm not at all ready." But in the end it's always worth it both physically and emotionally, knowing that I've done something, no matter how small, to fight a disease that should have been cured by now.

You can have that same sense of satisfaction without all of the awful physical pain (I'm referring to my butt after 150 miles on a tiny bicycle seat) by donating to my effort. I'm trying to raise $1000 again this year, and your tax-deductible donation of any size (I don't judge, I'm as happy with $5 as $500) will help someone, and there's a lot to be said for that. Please consider donating to my effort by clicking here (or on the "PLEASE SUPPORT ME!!" link on the right side of this page), and help me to accomplish this. Who knows? Maybe I'll put my mind to it and start posting more frequently here on my blog. Maybe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Impossibility of Everything

Doug and I had my soon-to-be-married friends DeAnn and Del over to my place for dinner recently. Doug did all the food preparation and it was amazing - raw ahi tuna in basil oil with a daikon radish and julienned basil garnish, halibut stuffed with crab, brie and apples, plus asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. DeAnn and Del brought a delicious dessert, strawberries macerated in Cointreau over almond biscuits with whipped cream. Everything was so incredibly delicious and I was entrusted with pretty much just one job - to open the wine. Big mistake because this is one skill I do not possess. Just look at where the cork ended up. Seriously, why is this so difficult for me?!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

La Punalada Trapera

Another great show at the beautiful Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, Minnesota last week. Carrie Rodriguez, whom I've had the pleasure to see perform many times, delivered once again to a room full of fans and some amateur concert goers who did everything from talk through every song to rearrange furniture. Strange but true.

Carrie was touring to support her new record released last month, Love and Circumstance, and I'm already certain this is my favorite CD to date of hers. This is a compilation of somewhat obscure covers, from Townes Van Zandt to Ry Cooder, from Nick Lowe to Lucinda Williams. Carrie brings a new voice to Hank Williams' classic I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry and can nearly bring you to tears on her rendition of Merle Haggard's I Started Loving You Again. But she really shines when she sings a Spanish song once recorded by her great aunt called La Punalada Trapera, which loosely translates to "a terrible back stabbing." So it's not a happy song, but it is gorgeous, even if you don't understand the words. Take a chance on this record, you won't regret it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Target Field Nachos: A Review

I made my first visit to the brand spankin' new Target Field for my first ever outdoors Twins game this weekend, and what did I eat? Why, nachos, of course! Not that there aren't a million other snacks I could have sampled, the new stadium is working hard to bring the fans locally produced food and, from the looks of it, in generous portions. But since I love nachos just a wee too much, I knew what had to be done.

It was too cold for me to search high and low for different options, so the only nachos I am currently aware of are from the Tacos, Burritos and Empanadas stand that never really had much of a line. There were two choices, a $4.50 model that I'm going to assume was simply chips and cheese, and the Grande Nachos, which I purchased for a hefty $8.50. Honestly, though, I think they were worth it. Yes, they are stadium nachos, not restaurant nachos, but the portion was generous and the salsa even had a little heat. For your $8.50, you get a bowl of warm chips layered with cheese sauce, tomatoes, onions, ground taco beef, lettuce, salsa, shredded cheese and sour cream. Many of the Grande Nachos were made a little while ahead of time, sitting there waiting for someone to buy them, but they were still pretty good. While not a huge fan of the cheese sauce, it's necessary in the ballpark where shredded cheese would coagulate in minutes and be almost instantly inedible.

So, overall I would recommend the Grande Nachos at Target Field. They're not life-changing, but they're decent. I also tried my dad's Tony Oliva Cuban Sandwich and it was pretty darn good. But the best part of the whole new stadium is the experience itself. It's so beautiful and so perfectly placed downtown and the details so well-thought out (yea for fireworks when there's a home run!) that it's not going to take me much to make me a baseball fan. I can't even believe that I just wrote that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Shower of Petals

The annual flowering of the snow crab trees outside my door came a few weeks early this year. The landscapers pruned them back quite a bit last fall, and I was pretty concerned they wouldn't be as beautiful, but I had nothing to worry about. Sure, I miss the large branches surrounding my little brick and metal facade, but as long as I still get a heavy sprinkling of lavender petals all over my sidewalk, I'm happy. Check out the fat cat on the stoop, he's pretty happy, too.