Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Johnathan Goodwin can get 100 mpg out of a Lincoln Continental, cut emissions by 80%, and double the horsepower. Does the car business have the guts to follow him?
“Check it out. It's actually a jet engine," says Johnathan Goodwin, with a low whistle. "This thing is gonna be even cooler than I thought." We're hunched on the floor of Goodwin's gleaming workshop in Wichita, Kansas, surrounded by the shards of a wooden packing crate. Inside the wreckage sits his latest toy--a 1985-issue turbine engine originally designed for the military. It can spin at a blistering 60,000 rpm and burn almost any fuel. And Goodwin has some startling plans for this esoteric piece of hardware: He's going to use it to create the most fuel-efficient Hummer in history.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Things are moving slowly here around the Wallagio. Even the dogs (I'm taking care of Sadie while Peach is off doing dirty stuff with her husband) are laying about more than normal.
The weekend was filled with all sorts of drunken hijinks, shenanigans and tomfoolery. We started off with the Peach/Scott wedding/reception where two generous individuals donated a keg of Sierra Nevada. Since this was a wedding, the mischief was kept to a minimum. But this was also the weekend of the Wednesday Night Ultimate 25th Anniversary Hat Games and after party. Much beer pong was played and many tiny quiches were consumed with the fury of someone with the drunken munchies.
Oh, and I beat the Jester in a best of 3 Mano-a-Mano beerpong championship. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
For the fourth time in less than 2 weeks I found myself eating sushi. Not that I'm complaining. After all, I'm not much of a complainer.
Naan is an fancy-ish Korean restaurant in the Shops at Legacy sector of the northern gulag known as Plano. If it were in Uptown, it would no doubt be packed on a Tuesday night. But it's the northern burbs and Dancing with the Stars was on.
Since this is my first visit, I stuck with the semi-basics, tuna and salmon sashimi and two of their specialties. Their specialties are similar to a couple of the specialties at Blue Fish. So it is with Blue Fish, and not Piranha with which I will compare.
The sashimi was easily some of the freshest; tastiest I've had probably since Seattle. The only downside was that there was no white tune.
As for the specialty items – ahi tower and volcano roll – these were also quite good. I love the volcano roll at Blue Fish -- I'm a sucker for scallops. But despite the lack of scallops (there's crawfish and other goodies instead) it more than makes up for it with heat and tremendous flavor. I could not stop picking at it until the dish was empty. The ahi tower was also very good, but BF does a slightly better job.
Additionally, I was served a very good unfiltered sake. It was not slightly drier but more complex and flavorful than I'm used to with a nagori.
So, if you find yourself trapped up in the far reaches of Plano and you have to eat something up here, skip the dreadful Mi Cocina and head straight to Naan. And be sure to try the nagori.
7161 Bishop Road Plano, TX 75024
Monday, October 22, 2007
Here is part 2 of our Frugal living list - 10 inexpensive meals. The best thing about frugal living is that you get to enjoy much nicer food than you would if you were constantly buying fast food. So, here are ten great cheap meals.
10. Mac and Cheese
This is an easy one to make and doesn’t cost much. You will need 1 box of Elbows or Twisted Macaronis. You can usually get the 1 pound box for $1USD. Then you will need a block of cheese, the Velveeta kind. I would recommend the store brand as it tastes just as good. This usually runs between $1 and $2USD for the pound. Then you will need about 1/4 cup of milk. Boil the noodles until they are just soft, then take them off the heat and drain. Do not rinse with cold water.
If you feel you need to rinse them, do it with the hottest water possible. Return the noodles to the pot and add the cheese pre-cut in to 1 inch cubes. Mix together until the cheese is almost melted (the mix will be stiff and kind of hard to stir). Return to a low heat and slowly add the milk slowly creating a thick creamy sauce. This will make enough to feed 5-6 people generously. If you are making just for 1 person, store the excess in sandwich baggies (press out as much air as possible) or in a food sealer in the freezer. When you want to make some just pull out a bag in the morning to defrost. When you are ready for it, make sure it is completely defrosted, pour into a bowl, sprinkle a light amount of water on top and microwave for about 1 min (give or take depending on your microwave). You can compliment this with a can of tuna but do not freeze if tuna is mixed in.
It's a cool, gray, rainy day here in The Big D. So it seemed fitting to warm everyone's cockles (giggle) with a picture from sunnier, warmer times. Plus I wanted to use the word cockles.
Oh, and Blue Herons like to hang by themselves in the luxury suites.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It is Saturday, so in celebration I thought we should have a list of drinking games. These will provide you with hours and fun and a massive headache. Enjoy! Warning: Binge drinking can lead to excess fun.
Flip, Sip, or Strip!
The game is best with 3 to 5 people, but more and the game will last longer. The rules are simple. Flip a coin and while it is in the air, call heads or tails. If you guess right, pass the coin to your right. If you guess wrong, pass the coin to your left and either take one article of clothing off (anything that is a pair counts as one item) or drink a shot. One catch, you cannot do the same thing (sip or strip) more than twice in a row.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Back in the early days of Thursday Night Liver Practice, we would gather on the patio of The Tipperary Inn and wonder what this little place across the street was. It was in a small old gas station. And we could not imagine the greatness that resides in this tiny package. Eventually I did make it over there.
Karen is over from that Germany and is trying to eat all her favorite places. Luckily I got invited to tag along for her York Street visit.
We started out with tuna tartar and raw oysters. I'm not exactly a huge fan of row oysters. I've only had one my entire life. But at places like this, I'll eat just about anything. The tartar was very good and fresh. With such a small portion split between 4 people, it was hard to figure out what exactly was in it. I'm guessing raw tuna. Try to prove me wrong. The oyster was already dressed in a citrusy juice. It was almost like an oyster ceviche. So, despite my limited oyster experience, I'll give it a thumbs up.
For my main course I ordered the off menu item of Kobe Steak. And from my first bite all I wanted to do was yell at the top of my lungs, "I love Colorado!"* This is easily one of the finest dishes I've ever shoved into my steakhole. It was heaven wrapped in nirvana and drizzled with an ecstasy beurre blanc. It rested atop a bed of stuff I have no idea what it was. But I ate every bite since I did not want to waste a single molecule of this delight.
For dessert, I had the lemon buckle with huckleberry sorbet. Yeah, it sounded a little frilly. And I may have to start looking for a condo off of Oak Lawn. But this too was over-the-top greatness.
In conclusion, mmmmmm mmmmmm good.
6047 Lewis Dallas, TX 75206
*Anyone get this joke??
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It's been hard enough to get back on the bike. But today, while at the lake, I got a flat. No problem, I'll just change the innertube. Except that I'm a dumbass and forgot to bring a fresh tube. So, while enjoying the cool gray day at the lake, I got to take this semi-cool pic.
I was suspicious of the pie to begin with. You can't fry a pumpkin pie. But it's Whataburger. They know what they're doing. But the pie tasted remarkably like soggy Applejacks. So consider yourself warned.
Washington Monthly's ranking of the National Universities:
1. Texas A&M University* (5)
2. University of California, Los Angeles* (4)
3. University of California, Berkeley* (2)
4. University of California, San Diego* (6)
5. Pennsylvania State University, University Park* (3)
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor* (18)
7. Cornell University (NY) (8)
8. University of California, Davis* (10)
9. Stanford University (CA) (7)
10. South Carolina State University* (9)
11. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign* (16)
12. Ohio State University, Columbus* (27)
13. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1)
14. University of Washington* (15)
15. University of California, Riverside* (22)
16. University of Virginia* (20)
17. University of Pennsylvania (30)
18. University of Wisconsin, Madison* (11)
19. University of Texas, Austin* (17)
20. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill* (32)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I just IMDBed Kevin Spacey to see just how many great movies he's been in: Se7en, Swimming with Sharks, Glengary Glen Ross, LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects. He's greatness and Lester Burnham may be his finest role. Lester is a typical frustrated middle-class dude in a sexless marriage. Both his wife and daughter think he's a loser because, well, he is. He becomes resurrected, however, thanks to two of his daughter's friends. Her boyfriend reawakens his confidence through cannabis while her friend Angela reawakens his pants well, through being Mena Suvari.
There really are only two problems with this movie. The crazy Chris Cooper character is just too way over the top. Why does everyone in the military in movies have to be crazy homophobes? The other problem is that the Thora Birch character thinks she has small breasts and is saving for an augmentation surgery. Well she clearly has D-cups. What does she want Qs????
- 4 breasts
- 1 gunshot to the head
- 2 acts of self love
- 1 crazy next door family
- 1 gay next door couple
- Academy Award Nomination to Thora Birch for Best Lopsided Breasts
- Academy Award Nomination to Kevin Spacey cause he's so fucking awesome.
King Wally says check it out.
My first HD-DVD from Netfilx was The Departed. Martin Scorsese decided to break with his usual genre of romantic musical comedy and tried his hand at a gangster movie. Ok, in reality he has broken from his usual Italian mobsters in New York City to Irish mobsters in Boston. Here the twist is that the Irish mob have a rat in the state police (Matt Damon) and the state police have a rat in the Irish mob (Leonardo DiCaprio).
First off I want to state that Scorsese is one of our greatest directors. He's directed several of my all time favorite movies – Goodfellas and Casino. And you know when I make these kinds of proclamations something bad is about to happen. So, I have to ask – What's so great about this movie? Now, it is a good movie, although a bit long. But Nicholson plays a slightly toned down version of The Joker while Walberg, Dicaprio and Damon spare us to death with over-the-top Boston accents. It was as if Scorsese was channeling the Coen Brothers ala Fargo. And then after dragging us around for two hours, the movie quickly resolves everything and ends.
- 0 breasts
- Multiple gunshots to the head
- Academy Award Nomination to Alec Baldwin just for his work on 30 Rock
King Wally says check it out.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I had heard nothing but raves about the food at this tiny Lakewood bar. On Pokemon's bachelor party pub crawl we stop here and ordered all three of the blackboard specials: seared tuna, wild boar and the fabulous duck 3 way. All three were so good that a promise was made that a return visit would soon occur. And tonight that promise was fulfilled.
After perusing the menu online I knew exactly what I was going to get – the Bison New York strip. I had had a buffalo burger in Portland and was eager to stuff some more down my endangered species hole. The meat was amazingly tasty although lean. It was a bit overly peppered. But I likes me some pepper. The promised roasted Yukon Gold potatoes were substituted with garlic mashed potatoes and spinach. Both were nearly perfect.
But as good as this was, I have to admit that the burgers of my dinnermates were even better. The Old Monk may have a lost its place as #1 on my best burger list.
My only complaint with the C&B is its beer list. It's not bad, but it doesn't have anything special – ie no regional microbrews. Sorry, the Pac NW spoiled me.
6330 Gaston Ave. Dallas, TX 75214
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I was driving through the school zone near Stonewall Elementary when this silver Mustang sped by me to reach the light at Greenville several seconds before me.
Touché Douché! Society wants you to slow down in school zones, but you'll have none of that.
This dude was a walking stereotype – late 40s, black t-shirt, leather wrist strap, long stringy hair. But the cherry on the pie was the alligator head on his dashboard holding his XM receiver which was blaring classic Van Halen.
Here's to you Aging Rocker Guy.
- Basketball players are big.
- Rich women all have large breasts and no asses. I guess I could never be filthy rich, since I prefer the reverse or at least more of a balance.
- Rich guys hate children. Some douche behind us heckled a 9 yo kid doing schtick with Chris Arnold just because he was wearing a Yankees jersey.
- The rich are secure in their sexuality. This dude in front of me had his arm on the back of this other dude's chair the entire second half of the game. What made it triple awkward was the dude getting harassed had his wife next to him.
- Britney Spears has ruined the planet. Now every fat chick thinks they can parade around town in a babydoll dress. I could barely keep my down my foot long chilicheese monster dog.
- Tonya Harding is now serving food and drinks at the AAC.
And, yes I did make it on TV. At least I could see the back of my head on Dale Hansen's 10pm sportscasts.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
I have sufficiently recovered from Jason and Jennifer's wedding and associated drunkenness to resume my duties of complaining about everything. And where better to start than a Dallas institution – Mia's.
If you didn't know Mia's was a Dallas institution before you visited, you certainly would be notified of its status by all the autographed pictures of B and C list celebrities adorning the walls. There is also the legendary story of how Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson surreptitiously met here just before Jones bought the Cowboys.
So against this backdrop I should note that I have been here before. It was a good 10 years ago (well not all of those 10 years were good – more like 3 good 5 ok and 2 really bad years). My delicate palate may have not fully developed its delicateness. In fact, my only recollection of this place is thinking, "What's so great about this place?"
Jason and I went here to kill some time before the dreaded blissful event. (They're just jokes Jen. No one's getting hurt here). As usual, I ordered a TexMex combo platter that allows for the tasting of a variety of their offerings along with a side of guacamole.
First off, I want to praise the chips and salsa. The chips had a deep corn flavor that would startle the average Canadian Hot Jen. The salsa had a nice heat to it to go along with its flavourfulnessness. The guac was good but a bit too chunky. And by chunky, I mean there was almost a whole quarter of an avocado hidden within.
As with the great Original in Fort Worth, a taco and chalupa are brought out first. The taco was ok – only slightly better than what you might get at Bell or Cabana. The chalupa was very good. The beans had a smokiness that had me anticipating the main course's rice and beans.
Well, not so fast. The main course came out with one cheese enchilada in chili and one covered in queso – no rice, no beans. Huh?? To add insult the queso was clearly made from some kind of processed cheese loaf. How can any self respecting restaurant use that crap? Oh, and the enchiladas were average at best.
So, I must repeat, "What's so great about this place?" I'm starting to think the average Highland Park denizen couldn't find a decent restaurant if it there was a map on the back of Paper City.
Yes, I know Mia's has specialties like the brisket enchiladas that I did not try. But I'm looking for TexMex. I'll try the specialties later.
4322 Lemmon Ave | Dallas, Texas 75219
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
As promised here's a rundown of most of the places we ate in Oregon.
Vincente's Gourmet Pizza
This place was largely chosen by Vanessa for the giant V on the front door. Well, it worked out for us. This pizza was very good. We got two – one with meat and the other vegetarian. Unfortunately, their website is just a placeholder, as is my brain. So I am unable to properly describe what we had. I know one had lots of garlic and artichokes while the veggie was, I think, called the Crazy Greek had lots of olives, feta and whatnot. Both were very good. And, as with all places up there, the beer selection was great. I went with the Terminal Gravity IPA that I had had earlier in the week at Old Chicago.
1935 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR
My last meal in Portland. Sniff. It was lunch and ordinarily on this trip I avoided burgers. But they had one with buffalo meat. So what is an adventurous gastronome to do? It was delicious. The meat did taste differently, and I would say it was better. It was perfectly topped with sweet grilled onions and a fine aged cheddar. This place reminded me a bit of The Libertine, only bigger and with maybe a slightly less tattooed crowded. And I mean less tattooed for Dallas, not Portland where everyone is required to have at least one sleeve.
2229 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR
Three Rivers Grill
There are times in my life where I have to detach from myself, reflect upon what's happening and really let the greatness that is happening sink in. Lunch at Three Rivers Grill was just such a time.
This place, as is much of downtown Hood River, is located on a hill overlooking the Columbia River. We sat out on their deck where the temperature was a little chilly, though pleasant as long as we were in the sun. I had their adaptation of fish and chips – yet another panko encrusted version. And, once again it was implausible. Hey, the thesaurus gave that as a synonym for incredible and fantastic and I was tired of using those same words. After several glasses of a wonderful Pinot Noir from the O'Reilly vineyard, we headed down to the river to fly kites.
601 Oak Street Hood River, OR 97058
Big Horse Brew Pub
An already full day of mountain biking, wine tasting, wine drinking and kite flying ended here, after a sizeable hike up its many stairs. With the Cowboy/Bears game just starting I ordered their IPA (of course) and their grilled snapper on Israeli couscous. The food was good, but nothing great. While the IPA was great, like all the beers up there.
115 State St. Hood River, OR
Rhymes with boogers. Nuff said. I had some scallops in garlic butter. They were good, but not the greatness one would expect. For dessert we tried the marionberry cobbler. The berry part was great, but the cobbler was more of an oatmeal topping – not the topping I was expecting. The place also gave off the vibe of a diner. And most of the patrons seemed to be opting for something fried. But I guess the biggest reason for the poor rating is that I wasted a meal here that I could have had Cannon Beach.
I just haven't had much to blog about.
It took me a couple of days to recover from driving straight from Boise back to Dallas with only a couple of in-car catnaps. And then it took me a couple of days to recover from Jason's Pub Crawl Bachelor party. Sorry, I can't blog about that since what happens in Lakewood stays in Lakewood. I even had a planned stop at a restaurant for breakfast after I was to have my temporary crown replaced. But then my dentist asked if I wanted to do those fillings today, and I reluctantly said "No. But we might as well anyway."
So I have not abandoned my legion of readers. (A legion can be four or five, right?)