Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eldorado Canyon

Our hike in Eldorado Canyon may have been my favorite part of our trip. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. Just cold enough to feel alive, but warm enough to shed your jacket in the sunny spots. Can't get much better than turkey sandwiches while overlooking the Continental Divide.

Diggin' Denver

I spent Thanksgiving in Denver with my sis and parents. Twas a pretty big deal because she moved out there to set up camp this summer and this was my first time visiting. It's cool to see how she is picking and choosing what her life is going to be in a totally new town. On Thanksgiving, we hit the climbing gym before putting the bird in the oven, which was an energizing and uplifting way to spend the morning (knowing that the tryptophan coma was on the  horizon).

We romped around Red Rocks, enjoyed the sun, sky and watching other people run the stairs of the ampitheater. 

Christmas Card Spoiler Alert

Sister shadows

Finally taller than Clare!

Sticks n' stuff
After Red Rocks, we headed to Golden, Co. and attempted to go on a tour of the Coors factory. Brewery and Factory tours are an Anderson Family traditional way of breaking up long car rides. A few of the most memorable ones (in chronological order):
  • Leinenkugel en route to Minnesota to visit grandparents
  • Herr's Potato Chips on the way to visit grandma Florence in Delaware (generous with the samples!)
  • Pretzel Factory in Lancaster, PA after outlet shopping
  • Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes region of NY while on College Visits
  • Magic Hat and/or Long Trail on the way to Craftsbury aka Family Rowing Camp
  • Yuengling on/out of the way to 'Cuse
  • Black Ankle Vineyard post outlet shopping in Hagerstown, MD (tastings not free)
*It is important to note that Clare and I were mere spectators and students at Breweries and Vineyards until we were 21, so the thrill of being able to participate on the free tasting portion of the tour has not yet worn off. 
Wynkoop Brewery
Ridiculously enough, the Coors factory was closed the day after Thanksgiving. What the ?! Closed Labor Day, Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday and Christmas. Bullshit if you ask me. Instead, we headed to the Wynkoop Brewery, which was more of a tap room than brewery, but did the trick. 

Clare and Ma

Great sign and tin ceiling. Western Slope Cider and
Railyard Ale both really good. 
 After Wynkoop, we took a quick trip to Savory Spice Shop, which was a huge highlight. I don't know that I've ever been to a spice shop other than the one in Colonial Williamsburg. Yeah, thats right, Colonial Williamsburg. We lived for that place. I went in knowing that I was going to get their Maple Pepper spice blend that my dad had used the night before in an apple chutney atop pork chops. Damnit, thats what I should've made tonight. I tried sniffing the spices, but that didn't work. You have to taste. The thing is, I was tasting in the curry section and sent my tongue into tingly overload. I ended up getting the Berbere Ethiopian Seasoning (hot! hot! hot!), and mulling spices in addition to the Maple Pepper heaven.

tongues beware

After my 4 day tour, I think Denver rules. It's a city, but super close to BIG nature. It is littered with funky little spots and a cool people. Really glad Clare found a home sweet home. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Family Dinner

Wow! Where to start? Last night was our Thanksgiving pot luck dinner with our NYC friends. I am still reeling from how talented all of my friends are in the kitchen. I suppose I'll start with the menu since that was what was so impressive (the clean up crew may have been equally as impressive, though in quite a different way.)

Baked Brie w/ Pecans and Pears
Feta-Tomato Dip
Creamy Squash Dip
Stuffed Mushrooms
Pumpkin Bread

Honey Glazed Turkey
Bacon topped Corn Bread
Green Bean Casserole
Ciabatta, Proscuitto & Mushroom stuffing
Corn Pudding
Orange-Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Sauteed Vegetables 

Punkin Pie
Punkin Pie Cheesecake bars
Kahlua Cake

Every person whipped out their culinary A game and brought a dish that complimented the flavors of the season wonderfully- chestnuts, pears, squash, spiced cider, pumpkin, and the list goes on... 

Jeff, where did your face go?

We packed a full house, with 'Cuse folks, VT folks, and folks of folks so it got pretty loud. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Zach with his hands over his ears. Wish I had caught that with my camera.

Chef Meltzer was in charge of preparing Benjamin, the bird.
And what a fine job he did too. Top notch pedophile chef & carver. 

Benjamin from behind

The spread.

The plate.

The joy.

The man.

Kahlua Cake. cool whip, heath bars, cake, pudding. This is my new raison d'etre. 
The question of the evening became, Why spend so much money dining out when we cook insanely good food at home? The answer: Dinner Club. The idea is the host is responsible for an appetizer, entree and dessert for 8-10 people. Host plans the menu. It happens once a month. Everyone helps with clean up. BYOB. Lemme know your input. I'm thinking we start in January (when everything else finishes).

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Great run this am. From mi casa, down Clinton St., across the Williamsburg Bridge and back. Ran behind a girl with the word subjugate on the back of her shirt. Had to look that one up. Good thing I've got a dictionary on my phone. In case you didn't know, subjugate means to bring under domination or control, especially by conquest. I'm pretty sure I subjugated Harriet this am while fur busting her.

ya damn straight it's my city.


i spy with my little eye.... a bike tire. 

Monday, November 15, 2010


The initial plan for Saturday morning was to attempt Clinton Street Baking Company and finally try those much hyped pancakes. When I tried to rouse Zach around 8:30, he growled and rolled over, indicating that that plan had been scrapped. He wanted something low key, w/ no wait, and I wanted to try a new spot and eat really good food.

Down Freeman Alley, past the barber shop, nestled amongst shrubs that smell like Grandma Florence's house is where you'll find Freeman's. We got there right when it opened, were seated and ordered our Bloody Marys quickly. Good thing because it was packed when we left.

The Review:
The ambiance was great. Felt quite similar to the Avett Brothers show. Folksy cool. Mustache wax. Filament bulbs. Burlap wall coverings. Antlers. Stuffed birds behind bottles of whiskey. The food was delicious. I had poached eggs, herb roasted tomatoes, cheesy grits (amazing) and sourdough toast. Way better, thick cut bacon than any I can remember. The service was hands off and wonderful. I left super satisfied and doing a mental check of my calendar, trying to figure out when I can go back for dinner. 


Went to dinner with Zach, Pat and Lydia at Sorella last night. I'd never heard of it, but apparently I should have and so should you because it is quite a tasting adventure.

Confession: As much as I love wine, I am not as fluent as I'd like to be in Italian wine and often fumble with an exclusively Italian wine list. 

The list at Sorella was just that and went on for pages. Luckily, I found a little section of wines from the Sud Tyrol, the region where my cousin, Alyse, and her family are currently living. In that section was a bottle of Muller Thurgau, a varietal that my sister introduced me to after bringing a bottle home from her semester in Austria. While I won't do a full on Gary Vaynerchuck style tasting, I will say that it was crisp and zingy and a perfect balance to rich food. I love that my Clare and Alyse swooped in and provided me with an easy solution to the wine list conundrum without knowing it :)

I had the best lentil soup of my life last night. What an unsuspecting thing to be the winner of the first course, right? It was Zach's soup, so he got the credit. The soup itself had a rich, deep flavor without being heavy or creamy. Then it was topped with apples and bacon. Can't go wrong with apples and bacon. 

Dinner was delish. Oxtail risotto with plums and sage. But dessert was really where its at. The salted caramel gelato, WHOO CHILD! Amazing. The salty sweet thang was done well. And the Bananimal (banana gelato with caramel covered animal crackers), while not as delicious, was just plain fun to eat. 

Gelato list at Sorella
Would I go back? Probably not. It was pricey and there are just too many awesome restaurants to try. A fantastic dining experience none the less. Big shout out to Pat and Lydia for making a great weekend of indulgent food and libations possible. Thank you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Givin' it a TRI

I just registered myself into the Chicago Triathlon, to take place August 28, 2011. WHOA. My internal monologue is flip flopping between, hell yeah, now we're talking! and holy crap what did I do?! Either way, there is an exclamation point at the end of the thought and life is good when there are exclamation points :)

Big thanks to my friend Joel for saying "just do it!" and my mega inspiring marathon running pals, Diana and Lauren. Let's see where this adventure takes us :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Heebie Jeebies on my tounge

The first time I can remember cringing at my plate was when I lived in Rogers Forge circa 1995 with the Anderson Clan and mom made blue cheese turkey burgers. These days that sounds delectable, but when I was 11, their potent stank filled the house like an omen that dinner was going to be vile. Clare and I first protested, then choked down our dinner, rinsing with milk after every bite. 

I don't often cringe at my plate. I have a very hard time listing foods that I don't like. I would assume gefilte fish and liver are both on my list, though I haven't actually tried either one. I don't like sauerkraut, nor salmon sushi. But I think that is about it. 

After watching Food,  Inc and listening to my sister, Clare, tell me whats she is learning about food/chemicals/nutritional content as a personal trainer, I have become more and more creeped out by food (where I used to not think twice). I first started taking notice of these foods while I lived in Mott Haven in the BX and shopped at Western Beef (or that one time we went to C-Town on 143rd street where it smelled like poop in the milk aisle). I think what did it was the shopping cart full of vienna sausages (and I mean, vienna sausages were the only thing in this cart and it was full to the top). 

Here are some of my favorite creepy food products.These can be broken down into the following categories: unnecessary gluttony, what chemical makes that possible/wierd processed foods and it's a cultural thing. Not sure cart full of vienna sausages is a cultural thing though.

Dunkin' Donuts, shame on you. Unnecessarily gluttonous, but I'm also curious...


Why? Why is there a food company called Bimbo? and why prepackaged toast?

No bread. Sub fried chicken. Side of heart attack.

Spam sushi. WILDLY POPULAR in Hawaii.
Call me narrow minded, but I just couldn't do it.

This is andouillette that I ordered in Paris. NOT the same as andouille sausage. This is tripe sausage, which Wikipedia admits, "As with all tripe sausages, andouillettes are an acquired taste. Their strong smell can be reminiscent of feces..." TRUE.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dating a beard

I trimmed Zach's beard yesterday. Its not that it was getting too long, but more that it was getting out of control. Growing at different rates. Beard parts sticking out every which way. Growing around his neck and taking over kind of like how ivy will take over the whole side of a brick building. 

First, I read up on beards, which didn't prove to be very helpful, but was rather funny.

We brushed it out and looked for small animals. 

Then, I got the scissors and started cutting, er... shaping, rather.

Fine tuning

Happy Zach with a pretty handsome beard. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I love the feeling of getting inspired. The giddy feeling of, "Oh boy, thats a good one! I gotta write that idea down." I suppose snapping a picture (which I've been doing lots lately) does the same idea for sights that would otherwise pass you by. Saves them for later. But really, its the moment when the lightbulb first goes off that is so good. 

I finally figured out what to do with those wooden turquoise parrot beads that my mom gave me. It was the creative energy at the Cloud Cult show that provided the perfect atmosphere for idea brewing.
Pics to come. Here is a hint for now:

Tasting Tunes

Cruella with Snookie and Kenny Powers
after the show.

Cloud Cult, who performed at Le Poisson Rouge on Halloween, sneak attacked me with a fantastic live show that I didn't see coming. I knew I liked their music, did not expect their show to be so fun. Creative. Buzzing with friendly energy and talent.

I love bands with horns and/or strings and where girls and dudes are equal forces in the band. This band has all of the above. They also have two artists who paint on stage during the show, which was so much fun to watch. 

Bonus points for having a trombone in the band.

For awhile (highschool and much of college), I didn't like girls in bands. I never thought they were as good as the boys. Maybe this was me rebelling against the uberfeminism preached at St. Paul's, the all girls high school I went to (and lord knows I was going to do just the opposite of what I was told there). I also listened to a lot of jam bands and electronic music and the female musicians were not as good as the dudes, or just weren't present. I was listening to The Doors, Grateful Dead, Steve Miller Band, Dave, Pearl Jam and going to festivals to see  Phish, moe., The Disco Biscuits, and Brother's past. I liked Tina Weymouth and Stevie Nicks and thats about it. But, there has been a resurgence either in female musicians who can rock out with their band, or my taste. Whether it's Karen O and her awesome vocals/wild style stage presence, or Grace Potter on the piano or guitar, or the chicks in Ra Ra Riot rocking their strings, I'm loving the contribution that these funky ladies are making to my ears and the world.