K had been regretting that summer was already mostly gone and he hadn't had time to barbecue on the grill (one of his favorite things to do). So I told him to go ahead and grill dinner already.

I should make him cook more often. He grilled pork loin brined in cider vinegar and herbs, accompanied by a soy-ginger glaze. For sides, broccoli and thinly-sliced potatoes with garlic and olive oil in little tinfoil packets, cooked on the grill. Finally, dessert: sugar, fruit, and crumbled cookies (I made chocolate chip peanut butter cookies over the weekend) with a dash of rum and Grand Marnier, stuffed into a tinfoil packet and grilled until the apple slices were soft and the plums were almost dissolved. The result was a fruity, syrupy mess that went wonderfully over vanilla ice cream.

gratuitous phood photography )

Since he cooked, I did the dishes. It was a small price to pay.
Had a very productive Independence Day weekend; K and I (mostly K) replaced the rotting trim on my bay window, and I did some cleaning. Although I felt ill on Tuesday we still managed to make it out to J's rooftop to watch the fireworks, which were absolutely splendid.

Today's highlight so far was the arrival of the new Allied catalog, with the following text on the cover: "Buying Allied parts will save you money and bring you peace of mind, but won't save any money on your car insurance."

I'm looking forward to dinner tonight; K and a bunch of his coworkers are celebrating his birthday by gorging at Todai. Trust me, it's worth the drive out to Fairfax. Even in rush hour. (Thank goodness K's birthday has finally arrived. He's been calling me "old" for the past month.)

cut for Hugo meme )
The only problem with our visit to Tony Packo's is that K makes his own version of chicken paprika, a recipe inherited from his grandmother... and that's what he was expecting when he ordered the same dish at dinner tonight. K's version involves stewing chicken in paprika, tomato, and other spices, and serving it over large bread dumplings. Tony Packo's version, on the other hand, was a lump of chicken breast served over a heaping mound of little bitty potato dumplings, with paprika sauce poured over it. K's sauce also uses approximately three times as much paprika, which makes it much spicier.

There's nothing wrong with Tony Packo's chicken paprika, per se. It's just not as good as K's version, at least in our humble opinion. Same goes for the cucumbers in sour cream, which K makes with garlic and vinegar. Tony Packo's version was much sweeter -- tasty, but again, not what K was expecting. We're thinking they might have used sugar and apple vinegar, but that's just a guess.

The chili that I got, on the other hand, was absolutely heavenly, fine ground beef drowning in sauce, rich with tomato and peppery spices. The hot dogs arrived slathered with the same spicy chili, and the whole thing was just... really good. The hot German potato salad came as a bit of a surprise, though. It tasted a lot like a savory sort of applesauce. Took me a few bites to get used to it, but after dinner, I really enjoyed it with the coffee.

And oh my goodness the coffee. I would not normally order coffee with dinner, especially on a hot summer day, but the coffee had an entire paragraph of praise in the menu, which piqued my curiousity. It turns out that Tony Packo's roasts their own beans, and the resulting brew is a smooth, wonderful, flavorful cup of coffee that was totally worth the $0.89. Accompanied the meal nicely, too.

At less than $10 per entree, the price is definitely right. The food was very good, the service was prompt and efficient, and I would go back for the chili and the coffee alone. Next time, we'll just make sure that K doesn't order anything that he's made before.
It's been a while since I followed a TV series as enthusiastically as Lost. Mostly I've been watching formula shows, Good Eats or House or what have you, where it doesn't really matter if you skip an evening. Lost, on the other hand, really rewards you for watching each episode.

For the season finale, we went to a party at K's coworker's place. K made Hawaiian chicken and hoisin pork kabobs for the occasion; others brought shrimp, macadamia nut brownies, and pina coladas. The season finale was as creepy and odd and teasing as one could possibly have wished for, and filled the two hours without a hitch.

It was a fun evening. Not only did K's coworker have HDTV (and omigod the difference; I could count every hair of Sawyer's scruff), but she also had two friendly cats and a medium-sized child, the latter of which protested vehemently at being told to go bathe in the middle of the episode. He ran to the shower at the beginning of a commercial break, and came back slightly damp and not much cleaner. His mother let it slide. Fortunately, he didn't miss too much.

mmmm, fry

May. 6th, 2006 10:29 am
My kitchen is filled with fried and frying chicken. So awesome.
I finally got the laptop! K took 25:56 to beat level 12 of Planarity (damn you, [livejournal.com profile] bkleber, for introducing him to it!) and 21:27 to beat level 13, and now I get my computer back.

San Francisco, the stairmaster city )
Posting from the lobby of the pink Best Western in San Francisco, which boasts a WiFi hot spot. I've managed to tear K away from Planarity, but I don't know how long I'll be able to maintain control of the laptop, so I'll be quick. (Besides, it's pretty late.)

redwoods and garlic )
In my squash soup: squash, potato, honey, molasses, cinnamon, apple cider; trace amounts of salt, pepper, coriander, ginger, lemon peel. Partially pureed. Very, very tasty. (We're assuming it's a squash, anyway; thanks go to Hemingway fils for investigative work and cooking tips.)

It's either a squash or a small watermelon-colored pumpkin. I tried to hit the internet to find out what it was, but google persisted in telling me about the sport of squash instead of the plant. The squash was acquired accidentally; I think it belonged to whoever was at the cash register before me, and their bag got left behind. At any rate I found myself with an extra squash and four apples. I feel a bit guilty, but... what can you do?

Home early from work today, first sick leave of the year; I was coughing all morning and my voice changed from a breathy growl to nonexistent and back again. They finally kicked me out when I couldn't communicate across a cubicle. I fell directly into bed and didn't wake until evening, when I roused myself from a dream of destiny, responsibility, and +24V power terminals.

Since I couldn't talk, I signed on to IM. I rarely use the program, but I felt like communicating. Four hours later, I had been instant messaging more or less continuously. It's very draining; I'm not used to keeping track of all the little speech boxes, and the staggered pace of IM conversation took a while to get used to. When I went to answer the phone, it was really odd to hear my own voice twist and rasp out of my throat. I'd been typing for so long, I'd forgotten that I couldn't actually speak.
Climbing last night: exhausting, an overhang I couldn't overcome until the nth try, not to mention a corner chimney route I couldn't quite dislocate my hips enough to finish; I left the gym quite happy actually. Dinner last night: romaine lettuce and pita chips. Had chicken and pasta ready to go but body denied both; body really, really wanted the lettuce. Body is generally quiet enough about food preferences (apart from "chocolate? ooo! more chocolate?") that I've learned to listen when it has an opinion.

I find the smell of boiling romaine to be wonderfully reassuring. Grandma made it for my sister and me, either fifteen or seventeen years ago when one or the other of my brothers was being born and Mom was away from home. Grandma (this is Dad's mother; Mom's mother isn't much for the kitchen) had precisely one method of preparing vegetables: boil 'em up in soup (normally chicken bouillon). Serve on rice.

It's really tasty.

I'm progressing very slowly with St Augustine; over the past week or two I've been continually distracted by Neal Stephenson and I haven't even started Douglas Adams yet. Not to mention I've still got Dorothy Dunnett, who more or less fell by the wayside pre-November. But when I did bother to pick up St A again, I found him busily appealing to the angsty teenager in all of us.

rambling on St Augustine's teen angst, cut to spare the uninterested )

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