Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Josh Hancock

This was a good reason to start a blog and I let it slide. Tsk Tsk.

First off, unrelated to Josh Hancock's sobriety:

According to the report, Kennedy was at the bar with friends. His credit card statement says he bought 28 drinks for a total of $186.50, the report said. He asked that Hancock's tab be included in his. He left a $200 tip.

Wow, really, that's what I'm talking about-it warms my ex-waitress heart-people with insane amounts of money should leave insane amounts of tippage.

Now, onto Josh Hancock. As you know, the Hancock family was suing Mike Shannons, the tow truck driver, and the owner of car that broke down. The Hancock family dropped the suit recently, just days after the second investigation cleared Mike Shannon's. Evidently 13 of 15 people said he appeared sober. Here's my thoughts:

1. No way he was sober. Is that the restaurant's fault? I don't think so. I think we all know the point when our judgement becomes impaired. Lets say I know that once I hit 3 glasses of wine I'm very likely to drink a lot more and I will likely keep going until I'm falling over drunk. At 2 glasses I'm not visibly drunk but I know that 3rd will push me into the Time of Lacking Judgement. Well then when I'm at my second glass and I know this and I still order my 3rd glass, then I'm responsible for what happens after that. Not a restaurant, bartender or server. Me-I am responsible for my own sobriety or drunkenness unless someone is spiking my water.

2. The lawsuit was ridiculous. I mean really, the guy who's car broke down? Lets sue the car manufacturer while we're at it. Maybe the MO Dept of Transportation for making small shoulders in the fast lane?

3. People lied and said he was sober because they knew the lawsuit was ridiculous. They knew if they established that he was drunk then the family would have a leg to stand on against Mike Shannons, which is the only piece of the lawsuit the money is at. So once that was a lost cause, the family dropped their lawsuit against the other people. Because really, there's not millions of dollars to get from the guy who's car broke down.

4. It is sad that he died and its even sadder than getting a cab, or that Driver's Seat thing where they drive your car home for you, isn't more available and cheap. Its sad that in our culture of going out, we like to tell stories about how f*cked up we got, and that its just not very cool to admit hey, I've had too much and I need a ride. Because honestly, if you drink ever, then you are probably too drunk to drive legally. Who really goes out and has one beer an hour-once you hit two in an hour you're probably over the legal limit by your 2nd hour.

And thats all I have to say about that.

Dear Abby

I read Dear Abby daily. Not sure if its because I like to read about loser's problems or what but either way it provides me with a few minutes of free entertainment. Although I hardly ever read her answers, as they are usually so middle of the road I can't believe you'd call them advice. Today's made me laugh outloud:

DEAR ABBY: My soon-to-be-ex-husband's secretary keeps giving my 16-year-old daughter extravagant gifts for Christmas. One year it was a complete Tiffany jewelry set (earrings, necklace and ring). This past year, "Donna" gave my daughter a $200 gift certificate to an expensive clothing store and another $200 one at a trendy cosmetics store. Should I be suspicious? -- EAST COAST MAMA

DEAR EAST COAST MAMA: No, by now you should be convinced.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Friend-Friendly Chardonnay Quest

As noted before, I love chardonnay. A little bit of oak, a little cream, (not so much it tastes like a dollop of butter though) maybe even a hint of hazelnut or nutmeg equals a yummy chardonnay. However, aside from Terry, I stand alone in this chardonnay love affair. (luckily he likes it as much as I do)

I've been experimenting with others whites, hoping there was something I liked as much. Alas, it is just not the case. I just don't like wimpy white wines or crisp tart make my cheeks tingle whites either. Or wines that taste like grass, with or without lemon-no thank you either way. As an add-on to my quest however, I have been trying to find chardonnays that my friends might like. Well, not like as in buy again, but like as in not dread it when I walk in the door with a bottle of chardonnay. (Its not an evil grape, I promise!) Some like the Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, so I'll focus my attention on finding some more oak-free chardonnays.

When I was researching the percentages for the previous post, I noted that St. Supery (which is coming up quite often in my posts, odd since I've only had their wines a few times) has un oakless chardonnay. It is described as:

Now, for something completely different. No barrels. No secondary fermentation. Chardonnay, pure, but oh so far from simple. Using gently pressed “free run” juice from just-ripe estate grapes, a chilled stainless steel fermentor and techniques adapted from our success with Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a sensibility inspired by our predecessors in Champagne and Chablis, we dare to strip Chardonnay down to its essence.

This wine is subtle, satisfyingly complex, complete, and hard to put down. It has delicate touches one finds in wine that has seen barrels, without the heavy hand of oak. Instead of wood, the grapes and yeast together supplied a whiff of nutmeg, sweet vanilla, and the savory smell of oven-fresh golden-crusted bread (without the butter.) The character of unadulterated Chardonnay, grapes or juice, is hard to describe, like the smell of fresh pippin apples and pears combined, plus something ineffable that one comes to recognize, after many tries, as “Chardonnay”. To taste this wine is to taste that.

Wow, "stripping" and "unadulterated" chardonnay grapes. How...naughty. With a description like that, how can I not try it, even if it fails to be the Friend Friendly Chardonnay?? One day I will find one, I know it. I'll be on the lookout for this one in the meantime, although on the website its listed as $22.

Drinking and eating is complicated

Last night I made chicken marsala. Its a difficult dish to pair with. Its chicken, which makes you think white wine. But I make it with a brown/creamy sauce, not quite cream, but not too brothy, and I use real marsala wine, which is not white. Its also very rich. So maybe a lighter red? But I also serve it with a side of fettuccine alfredo. So now we're back to white.

Well, we ended up having the St. Supery Virtu which is 53% Semillon, 47% Sauvignon Blanc.
It was really good with it. I've had it before by itself and didn't care for it as much as I liked it last night-I think the crispness of the sauv blanc was good with the creamy rich food, but it wasn't so sharp that it competed with the food.

But the choice of what we were going to have with it was really a 10 minute conversation. I started thinking about other hard to pair food/wine combos - I mean, even lasagna, which I make really cheesy, is a little hard to pair. You don't what a red that's too full bodied because the melted provolone and mozzarella and ricotta will be overpowered, but its a red sauce so you don't want a white. And Italian food is supposed to be easy to pair since so many italian wines go better with food.

On the flipside, I like Chardonnay. But really, a full bodied, oaky, slightly creamy chardonnay is very hard to pair with. Pork chops is about all I think fits with it- and I don't recall seeing very many recipies in pairing books that call for chardonnay. Even old world style chardonnay, which is less oakey and more minerally, is hard to pair.

Who knew drinking and eating was so complicated?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Good Idea/Bad Idea

So last night we were at a restaurant and we noted one of the plates have a severe chip in it. We joked about cutting ourselves with it and bleeding all over because our server was ignoring us and we thought that might get his attention. All the sudden I said

Good idea: eating out in a restaurant.
Bad idea: bleeding out in a restaurant.

If you’re wondering where that came from or if it sounds slightly familiar, it was on the cartoon show Animaniacs and was titled

Some examples from the show are:

Good idea: playing in the park.
Bad idea: playing in the parking lot.

Good idea: having breakfast served to you in bed.
Bad idea: having tennis balls served to you in bed.

Good idea: cleaning your dog.
Bad idea: dry-cleaning your dog.

Good idea: doing your own yard work.
Bad idea: doing your own dental work.

Good idea: playing the piccolo in the marching band.
Bad idea: playing the piano in the marching band.

Good idea: playing catch with your grandfather.
Bad idea: playing catch with [using] your grandfather.

Oh it was a funny show. What a random time to remember it.

St. Supery Merlot- 2001

Last night we had a 2001 St. Supery Merlot.
Tasting notes: This merlot shows its vibrance and life through its inviting hues of reds and purples. Aromas are elegant with black cherry, blueberry, and subtle oak with a sprinkling of tobacco and anise. The palate is well structured with good width, yet is supple and elegant, offering flavors that linger through to the finish. 99% Merlot, 1% Cabernet

Hmm. Well, I don’t know if the oak is subtle. Its pretty oakey and chewy. Not so great before the steaks arrived, wonderful with the steaks. I get my steak nice and rare so it was a good pair. I can’t say it was the absolute best wine for that steak-I think it could have had some more berry since the sauce was fairly earthy- it was a bourbon morel butter sauce.
Anyway, I’d recommend it with a steak for the price and I think it retails for around $20. I read that the 2002 was better. I think the 2001 was the first year St. Suprey did the merlot so I guess it makes sense the next year was better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lets go run 135 miles in Death Valley....

I want to be a runner. I do. I’d love to be able to exercise any time, anywhere. I’d like to have one $500 piece of equipment that I can use at home versus a gym membership and have that be my one stop solution to weight control and a healthy heart. I am far from it, and in fact can't even run a mile. However, I just heard about this Badwater Ultra Marathon, which I will never, ever, ever, repeat EVER do, nor aspire to be able to do:

AdventureCORPS, an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, will host the 30th Kiehl's Badwater Ultramarathon on July 23-25, 2007. A true "challenge of the champions," this legendary foot race pits approximately up to 90 of the world’s toughest athletes–runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers–against one another and the elements. Covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA in temperatures up to 130F, it is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. http://www.badwater.com/index.html

There are people who did not finish and in fact, as of noon on July 25th, many many people who are still running. The guy who won is from San Paulo Brazil- Valmir Nunes finished in 22 hours 51 minutes and 29 seconds. He’s 43. And just ran 135 miles, starting the race running an average of 7.91 mph then finished running 3.22 mph.

Holy mother of god what are those people thinking? 135 miles starting in Death Valley? Isn't it called Death Valley for a reason??

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bacon is great, but not in beverages

Ok, ok, now I love bacon. Love it so much that on my birthday I had it for all 3 meals. Not intentionally on the 3rd meal- we had it with breakfast, then a BLT for lunch, then at CafĂ© Brasil, an all you can eat churrasco place (grilled meat on swords), I had a few pieces of mini filet mignons. It was a glorious day. The Jack in the Box commercial where the guy says “can I get a bacon latte?” is an often quoted when my love of bacon comes up.

However, I had no idea bacon flavored coffee existed….until I get an email from Boca Java, the place we get our flavored coffee. (Our favorite is Surfin Safari- Kahula, caramel, and vanilla.) Their new release is….

Maple Bacon Morning- Embark on a smooth sail each morning with this breakfast flavored coffee. The taste of sweet maple and smoky bacon blend perfectly to create a hearty start to your day.
Wow, it really does exist. Now, as mentioned before I do love bacon. In fact, bacon might be my chocolate-I might have a Bacon Tooth. I don’t, however, have any desire to taste things that aren’t supposed to taste like bacon-such bacon flavored coffee or bacon tea or bacon soda. Bacon is great, but not in beverages.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sometimes pretty/cute wine bottles have good wine

Ok, so 3 posts in one day might be overkill, but I certainly wanted to have a wine post in the first 5 posts.
I know that to those of us that drink wine often, most of the time the label/ artwork/bottle lets us know the quality of the wine-typically flashy labels=bad wine. Exception of course being wine with actual artist's works of art, such as Kenwood's Artist Series and Imagery wines. Both are excellent and actually the Artist Series is Kenwood's reserve cab-I've had two years, 1994 and 1999, both were great. Last night we had Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (2002 Riserva). The bottle has a little wine twig on it. Its like $17 bucks at Sams Club and is really a nice wine. It has a WineSpectatorRating of 87 and a description of

A tasty red, with currant, passion fruit and fig, with a hint of spicy vanilla. Medium-bodied, with fine, well-integrated tannins and a clean, chocolaty finish.

We had it with 5 cheese pizza with basil and tomatoes and it was a good pairing. Not too tannic to overpower the mild pizza but complemented it well.

Anyway, its a darn cute bottle and I'm glad my friends Cynthia and Doug bought it and I had it at there place or I, too, would've walked right past it because its cute and I've already found myself judging based on labels. Now its a semi-regular pick up for me when I'm at Sams Club. Thanks guys!!

How the Amish Work

I was searching for a certification that a job I'm working on requires and ran across http://www.howstuffworks.com/ and enjoyed this title.
In general the site explains things like how timeshares work, how patents work....etc. But it also explains how the Amish work aka what's the deal with the Amish. Clearly a simple site and no idea on the validity-funny nontheless.


Musical Revolutionary Moments

On my way into work today I turned my Sirius to Backspin-and low and behold, Me So Horny was on. I was taken back to my middle school days and remembered what a big deal that album was. A bit of info for those of you that were never part of the hip hop fan club:

Back in 1990, Miami based rap group the 2 Live Crew got into trouble for the explicit lyrics on the album As Nasty as They Wanna Be. The album was banned for sale in parts of Florida, and some record store clerks actually got arrested for selling it. Of course, all the controversy actually ended up helping sales of the album, when people wanted to find out what the fuss was about. "Banned in the U.S.A." is a rap protest song about the persecution the group underwent. The chorus is based on Bruce Springsteen's hit "Born in the U.S.A.". The song ended up being the group's biggest hit, reaching #20 on the Hot 100.

Now I like the song mainly because it reminds me of middle school and the fun it was to be a kid. No worries of work, money, or any of that. The song isn't of high artistic quality- not in the least. But, it made a difference and upheld the first amendment. A song with lyrics like

I'm like a dog in heat, a freak without warning.
I have an appetite for sex 'cause me so horny.
Oh, so horny....Ohh, so horny...Ohh, so horny.
Me love you long time.

Isn't that crazy? God I love this country.

I must admit I plagiarized the above synopsis...I won't say the group underwent "persecution"...I think the whole banned thing is the only reason they are remembered.I don't ignore that there were plenty of musical revolutionary moments before and after, that were of much larger scale and for a better reason. (hello-the 60's??) Its just one that I lived through.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bus stop confessions

So I've been meaning to start a blog but have been really agonizing over what the first post will be. Its so important, that first post, you know.
So while I do like wine I have no tales of wonder to tell about that; I do however have a tale to tell about a bus stop.
Last Friday I went to Live on the Levee with friends. On the walk back to a friend's car, I needed to stop because my ankle (which has been sprained for 4 weeks) hurt. So, Amy and I stayed at a well lit bus stop in downtown St. Louis while a friend, Jon, went to get his car and pick us up. It was well lit and had a place to sit down, so it was good. He was gone for about 15 minutes. During that 15 minutes we lived a slew of aventures.....
-an Audi convertible drove by and Amy mentioned they were checking us out. I said next time tell me earlier and I'll do this. "This" being massage my breast through my shirt. Amy laughed, said yeah and reached down her shirt too. We're talking maybe a minute, tops, of this breast massage joke. Well, I glance on the street and notice this guy, homeless looking, staring at us. He had totally blended into the wall and we didn't even see him. Well, of course he was oogling us and our boob massaging. He notes we see him and then starts yelling "yeah baby" and what not. We're laughing (and of course at that moment we had stopped the self-fondling jokes)
-then he appears to start coming towards us then changes his mind. Whew!
-some other guy across the street starts to throw something away, looks at us, then takes what he was throwing away out of the trashcan. Not sure what it was-it appeared to be a bag of some sort. Drugs? Gun? Cash? Someone's hand? Empty Big Mac wrappers? We don't know but why would seeing us change his mind? The mystery remains until...
-some random people walk by and ask us for directions to a bar. I feel like saying do we look like we live downtown? We're at a bus stop, presumably to take a bus. But we do know how to get to where they want to go and decide to be nice and tell them. Anyway, by the time they leave the strange Throw Away Guy and the Creepy Maybe Homeless Guy are both nowhere to be seen.
-then a convertible, bigger than a miata, maybe a spyder? drove by and it was decorated like the Mentos wrapper. Yes, it had Mentos on it-all over the car. I don't know if they had any with them, but evidently we didn't need to be Mentos'd. How random. I wonder if what they get paid to drive that car. I mean, it was practically a Mentos package on wheels, not like a small logo on the door.
-More random people walk by and one guy, probably 6'2, 225, who is quite sweaty says they should have a foot race. Which I thought was an odd comment as they were all walking on foot anyway and what other sort of race would they have? A quarters race? Anyway, he sees us and kisses our hands and gives me an impromptu lap dance. Well, thanks guy.
-Then his friend walks by and say "Dang" (like Joe Dirt says it) "what are you ladies doing at the bus stop? You should be all up in my crib". Now, I know there's no sort of grammar dictionary for slang, but that was improper use of "all up in" because its typically negative. "Why you all up in my business man?" Not the way he meant it, I'm sure. They cross the street and Drunk Lap Dance Guy gives a similar dance to a tree on the sidewalk. I feel less special but that is ok.

Then Jon comes to pick us up, not a moment too soon.