20 July 2010

Pandora FAIL

Something is amiss. See if you can spot it. I've added some hints...

click to embiggen

And when I asked Pandora why, exactly, they chose this particular "song", this was its response:

This would make more sense if Lady Antebellum and all the other artists I've added to my station (you know, like Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, and Josh Turner) were known for their best selling hip hop albums... but when you mix country and rap, generally you just get crap.

19 July 2010

Road Trips and Buffalo Dubs

I can't concentrate on work right now because all I can think about is all the fun I'm going to have when I go home. A week from now I'll be at Zingerman's Deli and a few days after that, I'll be making my way to Michigan foodie haven, Traverse City. Between now and then, I have a paper to um... ameliorate and a 23 hour road trip to complete.

Even though I vowed never to make the drive from Austin to Michigan in one fell swoop ever again, necessity dictates that we make the drive in a day. Colby's got a grown up job and can't leave at will and my dad's wedding rehearsal is on Friday night. We're leaving sometime on Thursday, likely in the late afternoon and need to make it to Port Huron by 6:30 PM on Friday. The rapidity with which this trip is to occur dictates that we'll be eating our meals in car. Thus I've been "menu planning". Or at least, I've been trying to think of more creative meal plans than granola bars, potato chips, and pop. Loads and loads of caffeinated pop. (The last time we made this trip, I was hallucinating by the time we got to Indiana... and I was the one driving.)

My thoughts for the "meals" on this trip (likely a dinner, fourth meal, breakfast, and lunch) are to make sandwich-y things but in wraps since one of us is going to be driving and eating. Tuna salad in pitas, chicken parm "dubs", buffalo chicken dubs, and then I ran out of good ideas. Suggestions are mucho welcomed. The buffalo chicken dub, though, is wonderful.

Buffalo dub, a la Menna's Joint

4 chicken tenders*, cooked and cut into bite sized chunks
4 taco-sized flour tortillas
2 T ranch dressing (or bleu cheese if you're adventurous)
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Buffalo sauce
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)

In a small sauce pan melt butter, add hot sauce, and then let it boil for at least 20-25 min. The longer the better/hotter. In the end add in a couple splashes of hot sauce if you like it hot.

Toss the chicken tender chunks in the buffalo sauce to coat. In each tortilla, place 1 chicken tender's worth of chicken, 1/2 T ranch, 2 T mozzarella and then fold like a mini burrito. In a hot pan, grill on both sides until the tortillas are GBD.

*Homemade is best, but even I'm eschewing that for the frozen kind because I need to get a whole lot done in the next four days.

15 July 2010

Staunch moderates make the best drivers

Some jackass with a McCain bumper sticker cut me off.


I think that she needs to move towards the center... of the LANE.

Even a crazy liberal like myself knows that going so far right (or left, even) that you're in the other lane isn't the best DRIVING policy.

Keep your politics off the road, people.

08 July 2010

Scubbing Bubbles != good seasoning

My house has been invaded by the dreaded musca domestica, the common housefly. I've killed about 20 today alone. At first it was slow going because I was using junk mail laying around on the kitchen table as fly swatters. Since junk mail doesn't have the requisite holes that allow for quick and efficient fly swattage, I knew I had to up the ante and bring in the big guns: Scrubbing Bubbles.

Scrubbing Bubbles is deadly to anything with a thin exoskeleton and paint. It's also apparently crazy toxic if eaten. I sort of wish I had known this before I sprayed it all over the painted surfaces in my kitchen. Oops. So in order to avoid self-inflicted poisoning, we're eating out tonight and cleaning up the kitchen upon our arrival home... because sometimes my puppy licks the walls, many of which are now covered in Scrubbing Bubbles.

And here's a little snippet into my marriage and restaurant decision making:

me: do you want to go to Kerbey Lane or 24diner?
he: tonight
me: yeah
he: i'd rather go to 24
me: okay. is that okay instead of like mighty fine or panda?
he: :( but its more expensive

because for Colby, no food tastes as good as free food.

07 July 2010

Boston Eats

I made my glorious return to Austin on Saturday and spent that afternoon with Colby and the babydog. We made a quick jaunt to North by Northwest Brewery for lunch and then Central Market for some necessities since Colby managed to make it two weeks without eating a meal outside of the house and without going grocery shopping. He figures that if we rationed well, we have enough food for about 6 months without one trip to a grocery store. I'm glad that one of us can be thrifty.

Upon my arrival home, I was extremely grateful for air conditioning, my kitchen, and my dog. It's starting to feel like home now and things that I associate with a place that should be home (e.g. familiar haunts) are starting to accumulate. This is not to say, however, that I did not enjoy my time in Boston. Quite the opposite, actually. Foodwise, it was pretty awesome. Sciencewise it was absolutely incredible. I could tell you all about the progress I'm making on my paper and the new science-y things I'm learning, but we all know that you're (and by you, I mean the two of you who read this) here for the food.

The Boston Must Eat list included the clam chowdah at Turner Fisheries, a burger from Bartley's Burger Cottage, and cannoli from Mike's Pastry. I was not led astray in any case (thank you to Kyle, Alexis, Jim, et al. for your suggestions!) although, I must say that my favorite was Turner Fisheries. It's one thing to be tasty, it's another thing to border on a religious experience.

I went for lunch since it was a) cheaper and b) less awkward since almost no one was there. I ordered the chowder because it was highly recommended and voted as Boston's best clam chowder by Boston Magazine. Now, I'm not really a clam chowder fan. Usually it's presented as goopy potato soup with little rubbery, gritty pieces of overcooked clam and if you're unlucky, it reeks of a fishy aroma which makes even seafood lovers turn away in disgust. Perhaps my experience comes from living far, far away from New England, but I approached this with an open mind. And wow, what a treat. It was not potato soup with extras, but rather a rich, velvety smooth soup with an underlying clam flavor that ties it all together. And the clams! Never again will I assume clams are the seafood equivalent of pink pencil erasers. I'm just going to blame everyone who has ever made me clam chowder before for the crime of overcooking. They were tender, slightly chewy, and delicious. Served with (house made!) oyster crackers, it was an enlightened chowder experience.

I followed this with the lobster roll with fries and mixed greens and it never had a chance. It turns out that not even lobster can salvage mayonnaise for me. Mayo belongs in the background of only a select group of salads and lobster salad is not one of them. Regardless, it wasn't bad, but I'm unlikely to order it from anywhere else any time soon. I'm glad that I tried it and the fries were quite excellent, so that was a nice treat as well.

After stuffing myself at Turner's I navigated my way through Boston's transit system and went to the Museum of Science. So. Freaking. Awesome. I have a ton of pictures, but that's for another post (soon!). I ended up spending like four hours there or something ridiculous and so I was sort of hungry again... at least, I was hungry enough for a cannoli, so it was off to Mike's Pastry.

I don't understand how everyone in Boston isn't like 400 lbs, because the CANNOLI. Wow, it was so rich and creamy. I got a pistachio cannoli, which had a sweet ricotta filling with the ends dipped in nuts. My only complaint is that the pistachios were dyed green. It almost ruined it for me because I'm weird about food coloring, but I just closed my eyes and dug in. I'm going back to Boston in a month from now, so I'll definitely be bringing a cannoli kit back for Kyle and Colby (and yes, myself).

A few days later, I found myself with no lunch plans, so I made my way to Harvard Square for a burger from Bartley's Burger Cottage. It was tasty, but perhaps I've been spoiled with Texas beef because I didn't find it life changing, as had been suggested. I ordered the Ted Kennedy, a burger served with cheddar cheese and mushrooms. I think the biggest problem with it was that the mushrooms were clearly canned. I vowed to never eat another canned mushroom after leaving a home in which they were regularly served with steak. Ew. No pictures of this meal because I walked from Harvard Square back to the Center for Astrophysics with it in a bag before eating it, so it was a little worse for the wear after. Despite not being bowled over, I managed to eat almost the entire burger with about half the fries.

More Boston stories in later posts. And now, it's back to writing that paper that I started.

03 July 2010

Growing up in a time zone in which you had no right to be in sort of screws with your head. It turns out the Michigan should probably be in central time, but it's not so right now it seems obscenely bright for 630 AM. Granted, I'm in Boston so it's super east, but I'm not used to dealing with this much daylight for such an ungodly early hour. And this state of being awake for 24 hours probably isn't helping.

Alas I am leaving the great state of Massachusetts for the comforts of home and excessive air conditioning, but I'll be back in August to finish up this paper that I came to work on. More posts later on Boston, the restaurants, and the Museum of Science after I get home and sleep for about a day.