30 June, 2007

The Chocolate Fund

You all know that I am the resident chocolate "dealer" at my restaurant, right? Well, I apologize if I neglected to mention it before. It has become a pretty long-standing thing now (since October). For the past two months, I have turned my focus to a healthier alternative - trail mix with peanuts, raisins, yogurt raisins, and Raisinets - and other people have been bringing in bags of candy.

Aside from the candy donations, sometimes people will give me a dollar or two. It's certainly not requested, but a donation will get you a say in the next type of candy purchased.

Well yesterday The Boss gave me $10 for the chocolate fund, which I proceeded to put in the envelope in my unlocked desk marked "Chocolate Fund." That was at about 3:00. Around 7, he decided he needed AAA batteries for an old pen-size flashlight in his desk and sent me downstairs to the shop to buy them. He was trying to figure out whether to give me his corporate card, but I suggested I'd just use the $10 he had given me earlier.

The sundry shop downstairs had AAA batteries - but they were marked $15 for four batteries! I hadn't brought my wallet or my discount card, so I trudged my way back upstairs to grab both. Even at 35% off, I didn't think that $10 would cover the tax. Leaving my office again, I thought I'd try the gift shop on our level (mostly toys). These guys had batteries, but they were a different brand and there was no price tag. So I crossed my fingers and got in line. Imagine my surprise when the man rang up my purchase and told me the total was $5.75.


I still don't know what magical powers the batteries downstairs possessed, but I'm glad I didn't have to spend all of my chocolate fund on four tiny batteries.

Well, wouldn't you know, the batteries didn't do the trick for the little flashlight anyway. I told The Boss that they do sell tiny flashlight key chains in the gift shop, but I spent all my money on his batteries. I don't think he was amused.

29 June, 2007


Yesterday was one of those days I was pretty much dreading before it started. Cat was out of town, and we had been bird/rat/snake/fish sitting since Tuesday. This means I had to drive 1/2 hour to her house before work, go to work for (only) 8 hours, and then go to choir practice for another 3 1/2 hours. I left home at 8:40 am and didn't get home until 11:00 pm. And then did I have the common sense to go to sleep? Not quite - check out the time stamp on the previous entry! So here's a "fascinating" look at yesterday's time line:

7:30 - wake up to pleasant wind chime alarm clock, hit snooze
8:05 - wake up to no sound, realize I turned off the alarm instead of snoozing it, take fast shower
8:40 - after packing lunch (mmm...KFC left-overs) and eating breakfast, leave the house
9:17 - arrive at Cat's, two minutes after I was supposed to have left Cat's to get to work in a timely manner. take bird out of cage for a whopping 5 minutes of quality time. she rides along on my shoulder while I change her food and water, feed the fish, and check to make sure the rats are still alive (no time to feed them - but there's enough food in the bowl to last the day)
9:22 - bird doesn't want to go back in the cage yet. it's hard to grab her when she hides directly in the middle of your back where you can't reach her! put bird back in cage, run to bathroom to check mirror for poop on new shirt.
9:23-9:58 - drive to work, mostly uneventful because I couldn't speed due to the two lumbering dump trucks ahead of me
9:59 - pull into the parking lot at work. well, at least I made it to the property on time!
10:05 - 11:30 - catch up on e-mails sent by various chefs and managers during my weekend, clean up messes left by co-workers (literal and figurative - eww, whose coffee rings were on my desk???)
11:30 - 12:15 - make some confirmation calls, realize that cereal bar for breakfast wasn't very filling
12:15 - 12:30 - gobble up the "entree" portion of my packed lunch: 2 random pieces of KFC, some mashed potatoes, and some mac n cheese
12:30 - 5:00 - normal work things - more phone calls, print menus for 1st seating, show off my new "birth mark" to some of the servers
5:00 - 5:15 - finish lunch, saving the bag of Chips Ahoy for break during rehearsal.
5:15 - 6:30 - do most of my normal post-6:30 tasks so that the girl who is covering for me won't have too much to do. (and so that everything would be done my way)
6:30 - 6:50 - drive to rehearsal, call Scott to say hi, call Cat to tell her all her animals were still alive as of that morning
7:00 - 10:30 - rehearsal kicks my ass. did you know the movie Superman has a love theme? do you know why you didn't know that? because it's booooring. and I, as a soprano 1, am good only at singing the melody and singing high. ooh's and ahh's with no place in the music are really hard for me. on the bright side, we started learning Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious last night. We're doing the Broadway version of the song, which actually involves spelling the word set to music. It's insane! (in a good way)
10:30 - 11:00 - drive home with stereo turned up loud to keep me awake
11:00 - 12:00 - play on computer, listen to Daily Show/Colbert Report, wait for Scott to get home
12:00 - Scott gets home, and I am ready for bed! Just then I realize that Wednesday's episode of Top Chef (which I missed at rehearsal) is starting.
12:00 - 1:00 - watch Top Chef laying in bed. bye bye Micah!
1:02 - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Today I'm back to waking up at 9, leaving for work at 11 am, and getting home at 11 pm. Thank goodness for small favors!

28 June, 2007

2 Inches of Tan

Yesterday, the girl I sit next to at choir had just come from spray tanning. She's light-skinned for a Puerto Rican, and prefers to not be called Snow White by her friends and family. So she spray tans. We were joking about me going in looking like me and coming out looking her color. Or orange. I told her I was wondering what they'd say if I walked in and said "make me look like normal people look before you spray them."

So she whips out a bottle of tanning lotion (for missed spots) and puts a dollop on my arm. I wiped it pretty thin, and it completely disappeared in my skin. No color whatsoever. So imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning with a tan patch on my arm!

Can you see it? I know the picture is dark and fuzzy, but there's a pretty clear line there at the top. Amazingly enough, it's not orange. (yeah, it does look a little orange in the picture) It's impossibly dark, and I can't imagine actually being that color, but it's definitely not orange.

Perhaps I'll explore the possibility of artificially changing my skin tone. Any thoughts?

26 June, 2007

"Herbal" Tea

I can just hear my three loyal readers right now asking themselves, "what in the Sam Hell is she doing in that pot?"

Nope, it's not soup (I make the stuff out of a can... unless I'm feeling very Suzy Homemaker, in which case I use powdered mix).

Nope, it's not some kind of wacky holistic fertility tea (though they do exist).

It's the beginning stage of mint iced tea. What's in the pot? Six Red Rose decaf tea bags and a giant handful of mint leaves from our balcony jungle.

The tea is now done, and aside from the random mint leaves that escaped into the jug when I poured the hot tea in, it's pretty tasty. It's not as strong as I'd like, and amazingly, not as minty as I wanted, but I haven't made tea at home in quite a while and it's nice to drink something other than water.

I'm off to bask in my Southernness. Catch y'all later!

Get Me OUT of Here!

Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot: Get a picture of a crowd or crowded event. Conventions, weddings, parties in cramped spaces -- you know, anywhere there's lots of folks doing something.

Nothing I could possibly go and take a picture of right now could top these two pictures from my photo album. I thought they had been taken on Thanksgiving, but the back clearly notes the date as December 27, 1996.

The place: Magic Kingdom (intersection of Main Street U.S.A. and Town Square)

The time: Around 3:30 (just after the 3:00 parade)

My mental state: Crazed! (Jamie no likey crowds)

This crowd was so amazing to me that I actually took two pictures - which in the days before the digital camera says something! The first picture was taken up Main Street (you can make out Cinderella Castle all decked out "pepto palace" style for the WDW 25th Anniversary celebration), and the second was taken into Town Square.

This was taken two years before the opening of Animal Kingdom, so I would guess there were over 60,000 people in the park that day. And I would also guess that most of them had stopped somewhere along the parade route to see the Christmas Parade. Now that I live down here, I avoid the parks when they get this crowded. My litmus test: if the line for Haunted Mansion is more than 30 minutes, I'm not staying.

Still, that was quite an experience. And I'm glad to have a) been there to take these pictures, and b) lived to tell the tale!

24 June, 2007


Scott and Jamie,

Buy bananas!  At least 8 of them - more if you plan to eat them.  Put them in a paper bag so that they will go brown faster. (does that work for bananas?)

Jamie - pot luck at work on Sunday 7/1 - you are bringing banana bread - 2 loaves.


23 June, 2007

I'm Safe for Children!

Online Dating

OK, I'm mostly safe for children. Which portions of my blog are unsuitable? It turns out on this main page I used the word "shoot" 3 times and the word "whore" once. Make that four and two times respectively!

I must have been watching my language recently because I swear like a sailor in real life! Glad to know I can be trusted with children, as long as there is parental guidance standing by.

22 June, 2007

"Quote" "Unquote"

Please watch the following clip from Friends. I'll catch up with you under the video.

The air quotes in this episode are a favorite among Scott's and my circle of friends. Especially Dave. But it's from Friends... of course Dave loves it. Joey's inappropriate use of the air quotes cracks me up. It's funny because he's the stupid character, and he tries to follow along with what everyone else does.

Inappropriate use of quotes becomes much less amusing when in a business e-mail. From a doctor. Take this example, edited for privacy, but not for humor:

March 1 is my parents' "50th" wedding anniversary and I wanted to see if I could schedule the "private room" for this evening. It would be for the following "8" people...

Dr. Quotation and I have exchanged almost a dozen e-mails at this point, and every time he throws in a random "pair of quotes" for some reason. I have gotten into the habit of reading his messages aloud, using the Joey Tribbiani "air quotes" for effect.

Am I the only one with this pet peeve? I mean, I know I have some weird writing quirks - like this one with the dashes - that probably drive people mad, but I avoid using them at work.

21 June, 2007

A Jamie Thing

I'm sure everyone out there has things happen to them and they just think, "this could only happen to me!" Right? I'm not the only one, am I? Anyway, this is one example of something I'm sure must have happened to someone else, but I just can't imagine it.

I got a blister on my foot from walking around the mall the other day. I was wearing my green sparkly flip flops, which I don't recall having issues with before, but I haven't worn them for a while. Surprisingly, I managed to catch the blister when it was the size of a pea (or "freaking huge!") and still hadn't popped. Scott had band aids in his car and I was back in business.

Yesterday we were running out the door to get to the dentist and I grabbed one of those little circle band aids and slapped it over my still-intact blister. Fast forward past the trip to the dentist (which took all of 10 minutes), past the trip to Walgreens (for antibiotics - a last-ditch effort to not crack open my tooth), and past lunch at the pizza place (mmm...calzone...). We got back into the car and I discovered the crisis forming on my foot.

The band aid had repositioned itself and the adhesive was now covering the blister. All of it. And it was stuck!

Well, in the process of cutting off all of the bandage that wasn't stuck to my tender skin, I ended up popping the blister. Damn. And since the blister popped, I was no longer able to stick to my original plan of soaking the foot in soapy water. So instead, I spent a half hour continuously wiping the opposite edge of the band aid with a wet and soapy paper towel. Eventually I got all of it off. And it's already starting to heal (but still ugly and tender). I guess I'll be sticking with regular band aids for the duration of this process.

Oh well... anyone want a pair of green sparkly flip flops?

20 June, 2007

Fun With Chimes

I bought a really silly impulse item yesterday at the froo froo Millenia Mall: a wind chime alarm clock!

See, I love wind chimes, and thought it would be most pleasant to be woken up by the pleasant tinkle-tinkle (not to be confused with pee pee) of wind chimes rather than by the beep-beep of an alarm clock.
And I did wake up to that pleasant chiming... about 8,000 times all night long. It seems that the ceiling fan also counts as "wind." But they didn't chime constantly. I don't know if the A/C kicking in changed the air flow of the room, or if it was just me breathing in that general direction, but the darn things kept waking me up!
On the bright side, the actual alarm did wake me up at the correct time, and I even managed to snooze it (5 minute snooze... what is THAT?) and then turn the alarm off to get in the shower. Go me!
Sadly, I think the wind chimes are driving Scott a little batty and I may end up just moving the clock to the living room and setting it to chime every hour - like a tiny digital grandfather clock. We'll see how it works out.
But why am I using the alarm at all? It's my day off! Well, that would be because I scheduled myself a dentist appointment at 11 to look at yet another aching tooth (which may be a repeat of an old aching tooth... I'm not really sure). The fun just never stops!

15 June, 2007

A Cautionary Tale

Scalzi's Weekend Assignment: Share a useful tip for the kitchen. It can be about anything from cooking to cleaning, as long as it involves something in the kitchen (which, for the purposes of this assignment, includes the pantry and the table you eat at).

Yes, I work at a 4-star restaurant. No, I don't work in the kitchen. The only practical thing I have learned from the kitchen at work is that the guy carrying the giant pot of boiling liquid has the right of way. No matter what.

My home kitchen tip is simple: don't let this happen to you! If you pack a lunch for work or school, and the lunch involves any type of reusable plastic packaging, do not leave the packaging in your lunchbox, dirty with bits of uneaten food, until the next lunch you pack.

This container held my lunch on Monday - corned beef and cabbage. I have been off the past few days, and didn't discover the ancient food relics until this morning when I went to put today's lunch into my lunch box. If you have never smelled cooked cabbage after three days without refrigeration, consider yourself lucky. It's pretty wretched!

Amazingly, this is a bad habit of both mine and Scott's (mostly mine). We have a standing agreement that the person who left the container closed up has to be the one to open and rinse it out. You'd think by now we would have learned our lesson!

Extra credit: You're ten and allowed to cook a meal. What do you cook? Grilled cheese, chocolate chip cookies, and Kool Aid! These, along with pancakes, are the first hot foods I can remember being involved with. As for the Kool Aid, I drank a lot of it as a kid. I guess my mom just decided at some point that it would be better if I just made it myself.

14 June, 2007

"B" Serious!

Tonight was my first Encore rehearsal. I can't believe how much fun I had. I actually know only one single person from the outside world in a choir of 180 members, so I had plenty of opportunity to meet new people. And I did. Found a bunch of other sopranos who were quite nice, and so far only hate 2 people (who kept interrupting our break-out rehearsal to make sure the pianist/director heard that some people were slightly off-beat or not breaking at the right time - it's the first rehearsal and it's not your G.D. job, so just sit there and sing your part. grrrrr).

I had a moment of terror when we got to the last page of music we were doing tonight and the Soprano I notes were so high I actually had to count up lines to see what they were. (note: when I auditioned, my song went up to the G at the top of the staff, and that's very close to the top of my range) This particular song - When You Wish Upon a Star - ends with that same G, but then continues on with some "ahh"s - A, B-flat, C (yes, as in HIGH M-EFFING C), then D. I can do the C, but it shreds my throat. D is completely out of my reach. Luckily, the vocal coach AND the director made a point of saying "if you can't do it, DON'T" so I'm going to stick with the Soprano II safety net - which still ends with a B.

(note: the D in question is two notes from the end of this diagram. my throat hurts just thinking about that!!!)

Thank you for bearing with me through this boring-to-most post. Frankly, I'm so fascinated that there are people out there who can sing that high. And I'm a little disappointed that I'm not one of them.

Fur Babies

"WTF???" you ask? That would be the difference in brushed-out fur between a cat who fastidiously grooms himself multiple times each day and a cat who is too fat to groom himself. I'm thinking about sending Kilo's blob of hair right to the toupee factory. Sadly, Milo's pile is only big enough to go to the fake moustache factory.

The slicker brush was my impulse buy from the grocery store yesterday. More expensive than a candy bar, but fewer calories. And look at the minutes of fun that ensued! I was surprised that either cat let me near them with this brush-o-needles, but Milo was really into it. He was stretching out so that I could brush as much of him as possible. Kilo also agreed to it, but mostly because he was too lazy to jump down.

Perhaps I won't be able to send Kilo's fur off to the toupee factory after all. I mean, if you were balding, would you want FAKE hair with dandruff? Sure, it adds a note of realism, but I'm not sure that's the type of realism that most men are going for!

13 June, 2007


I had a bit of trouble with this week's Monday Photo Shoot:

Capture something in flight. Birds, insects, planes, bats, whatever -- if it's getting around in the skies, it's fair game for this photo shoot.

We went to Sea World yesterday with Mike and Reyna and their 3.6 children (#4 is due in another 2 months), and I had every intention of catching a great Shamu-in-the-air picture for the MPS. If not Shamu, then one of the lame flying people in the new dolphin show. Sadly, due to our not hitting any of the shows at the right time and our leaving early in the afternoon when really horrible weather was about to rip through the area, we didn't see either show. So instead of a giant mammal flying through the air, I present a giant fish "flying" above my head...

If it's above me, it must be flying. Right? And now I shall present some irony, in the form of non-flying birds:

...and just in case any of you out there were thinking about accusing me of cheating on this MPS, here's an old Shamu picture from our last trip to Sea World in 2005. This one DEFINITELY shows an orca in flight!

09 June, 2007

Jack Attack!

After completing the World's Longest Blog Entry yesterday, I am pretty much out of things to say today. So here's a picture of my Jack Sparrow collection:

Yes, there is a Mickey Mouse back there, but he's dressed like Jack and even has two cute little chin braids! The collection is now ten strong (including the Mickey and the McDonald's Happy Meal toy next to him) and has moved onto its own shelf.

08 June, 2007

After Dinner

Allow me to preface this by saying that I spent most of Thursday completely lethargic and sick at the thought of putting more food in my body. I had 3 tiny pieces of orange bread for breakfast (followed by 2 hours of agony) and then a bagel with cream cheese and a yogurt for dinner. Today I finally feel like I can look back and think fondly about food. So for anyone out there wanting to dine vicariously through us, this post's for you!

The Boss allowed Scott and I to split my free wine pairing, so we each got about 2 ounces of wine with each course. This was great, because I left with a buzz after drinking what I was given (and barely touched the wine that came with my entree), and Scott, who claims to not like wine (and in fact claimed to be allergic to wine when we started dating), really got his first chance to see what a good pairing can do for both the food and the wine.

Below is a ridiculously complete summary of our dinner. The bold indicates the menu item and the italics represent the paired wine. I'll reference wines where necessary, but since I don't know a whole lot about wines, there's not much I can intelligently add. Also, I am pleased to welcome my guest host, Mr. ParkHopper, whose opinions will be in blue, while mine will be in purple.

The meal starts with the Amuse Bouche - a small pre-appetizer sent by the Chef to set the tone for your evening. In our case, we got the super-fancy pre-app generally reserved for guests at the Chef's Table. It included:
Deviled Quail Egg with Iranian Osetra Caviar,
Sesame Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Hijiki Salad,
Kurobuta Pork Belly with Cherry Jus, and
Butternut Squash Cream Soup.

This, I believe, was one of the most awesome presentations I have ever seen. Jamie asked me at the time to name my favorite item. I told her then, and I will say it again now, that I can not. It was all just amazing.

Of course, both of us loved the tuna, we are both fans of seared tuna, and this was no disappointment.

If I HAD to pick a least favorite, it would be the quail egg. It’s not that it wasn’t spectacular, to the contrary, the presentation of this particular one out of the four was my favorite, with four drops of crème fraiche surrounding the egg, with a small dollop of caviar on top of the egg itself. But when accompanied by the others, it was simply overshadowed by greatness.

For those of you who don’t know, I do not enjoy butternut squash soup in the least. It is a sweet hot soup. If a soup is sweet, it should also be chilled, such as strawberry soup, or melon. This, however, was amazing. It was rich, and flavorful, and the sweetness was mellowed by the use of spices.

And the pork belly… wow. Jamie had told me how good this was when she had been given a sample once when she first started working there. It… was… great. I know it was just an amuse, but I wanted more! The cherry jus that went along with it was the perfect flavor enhancer, playing it’s sweetness off of the pork’s slight saltiness.

Had I not had tuna sushi the day before, the tuna may have been my favorite. But oh boy, is pork belly tasty. And what meat wouldn't be improved with a big ol' cherry on top? mmm... Osetra, by the way, is some of the best caviar on Earth. The Restaurant offers it as a separate up-charge for $125 per 1/2 oz.


Cold Appetizer:

Seared Colorado Buffalo Tenderloin, Braised Fennel, Radishes and Satsuma Tangerine Vinaigrette
Cantina Del Taburno Falanghina, Campania 2005
Again, the presentation was awesome, with three medallions of perfectly cooked buffalo tenderloin with wonderful tangerine vinaigrette. The wine that accompanied this dish, contrary to what you may assume, was a white. It was explained that it was decided by the sommelier, and it was a wonderful choice in my opinion, to pair this dish with a white instead of a red because of the tangerine vinaigrette. The wine picked up the citrus notes of the dish wonderfully.
Prosciutto Wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Melon Coulis and Arugula
Greenhough Dry Riesling, Nelson New Zealand 2004
I absolutely loved the presentation of the shrimp. The coulis on the bottom was so beautiful - a circle of canteloupe color and a circle of honeydew color to draw your eye to the shrimp in the center. So what happens when you wrap a shrimp in a piece of ham and pair it with some cold melon goo? It's delicious, of course! I prefer the buffalo, but wanted to not get the same items as Scott, and also wanted to try items that I hadn't gotten as kitchen hand-outs before.


Hot Appetizer:

New Zealand Elk with Elephant Garlic Spaёtzle and Veal Sweetbreads
Pérez Cruz Reserva Carmenere, Maipo Valley 2004
Again, this was a great dish. Surprisingly, the sweetbreads, the one thing I was concerned with about this dish, was possibly my favorite item. Sweet and light, it was amazing. The spaetzle, being made with elephant garlic, was very good. Most people may not realize that elephant garlic, due to its size, has a very mild garlic taste, so the spaetzle was not overpowering at all.
Pan Roasted Foie Gras and Fuji Apple Tart with Mostarda di Cremona
Royal Tokaji Azsú 5 Puttonyos, Mád Tokaj-Hegyalja 2000 or
Château d’Yquem, Sauternes 2001 $140.00 (3 oz. pour)
The foie gras is another up-charge on the menu. It's $15, and was possibly the best $15 I ever spent. This is our Chef's signature dish. And when you walk into a 5-diamond restaurant and they tell you this is the best thing on the menu, you order it! It's really hard for me to intelligently describe the flavor of the foie, except to say that it tastes like really delicious fat. Not the most appetizing description, I know. Honestly though, every bite just melted in my mouth. The apple tart on the bottom was actually savory, made with practically no sugar, and provided a balance of texture to the creaminess of the foie.

I also wanted to mention the wines here. The Tokaji (pronounced toke-I) is the regular pairing wine, while the Chateau d'Yquem is yet another up-charge. Well, The Boss hooked me up with maybe 1 oz. of the latter and right now, two days later, I can still close my eyes and smell and taste it. The smell on its own was WAY overpowering, but paired with the intensity of the foie gras, it was superb. I drank every drop of both of the wines I was served in this course.

For me, this was the highlight of the meal.


Seafood Course:

King Salmon with Bamboo Rice Blend, Sauce Soubise and Ramps
Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy 2006
After the foie gras, anything would have been a disappointment. And this was probably my least favorite dish. But allow me to temper that with the fact that salmon is one of my least favorite fish, but I have already had the other seafood option and was still on my "try new things" kick. And this really was the best salmon I've ever had. The rice blend was absolutely delicious. The best parts of this dish aren't even mentioned on the menu. There is a small piece of "salmon bacon" (which I'd love with some scrambled eggs!) and some salmon roe served on top of the fish. Aside from the 5 or 6 tiny eggs on top of the quail egg, this is probably my first real experience with any type of caviar. And that roe was amazing. Every egg popped in my mouth and I can't even describe the taste - I just know that it wasn't salty or fishy. The down side: salmon roe look an awful lot like poor Nemo's 4,000 brothers and sisters that were eaten by the barracuda at the beginning of Finding Nemo!
Crab Stuffed Tempura Squash Bloom with Grape Must Mustard
Sella & Mosca La Cala Vermentino, Sardegna 2004
This was one of the first samples I ever got from my better half. On the night that occurred, she tried to ask me what I thought of it, but I simply put my hand up, closed my eyes, and delighted at the taste of this. It was cold, as she had saved it for me in her lunch container, but it was awesome. It was absolutely amazing though when hot (shocking, I know). The tempura batter was light and crunchy, with hardly any oil left on it at all. And the sauce, sweet, yet with the slightest undertones of mustard, was amazing.



Herb Crusted Lamb with Heirloom Tomatoes and Potato Gnocchi
Cesari “Mara” Vino Di Ripasso Valpolicella 2004
I thought I had a moral problem with eating lamb (like veal) and would never be able to get over the image of bah bah black sheep being just too cute to eat. Then our Sous Chef handed me a piece one night and I ate and loved it before I found out what it was. Since then, I have tried lamb on two separate occasions outside The Restaurant and absolutely hated it! It was gamey and tough and really not palatable at all. Lamb also seems to be the thing that I am most often handed an end piece of when I am walking through the kitchen. So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try the whole dish complete with sauce and gnocchi. And you know what? I really loved it. The herb crust had a lot of parsley in it, and gave great color balance to offset the red of the tomato/lamb jus and the pink of the meat. The gnocchi were superb, and the meat itself absolutely lived up to my former tastes (although it's a totally different experience eating it sitting down with a knife and fork rather than with my fingers while standing in the kitchen!).
Japanese “Kobe” Strip Loin with Oxtail Jus and Cauliflower Purée
Château Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc 2003

The Japanese Kobe is an $80 up-charge on the menu. Before he knew how much it would cost, Scott had proclaimed that he wouldn't settle for anything less. He's spent countless hours watching the original Iron Chef, and knows enough about food to know that there's nothing better. At The Restaurant, he balked at the price, but I had already budgeted for it. Watching him eat this little piece of steak was so nice for me. He even let me try a piece, but that was his moment - a culinary experience that he'll probably remember forever - and I was happy to be there with him for it.

That’s right, $80. I know you are shaking your head with disbelief at this one, but I have no regrets whatsoever. This is the most amazing thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. For those of you who don’t know, Japanese Kobe cattle are fed beer, and massaged with sake. The fat content is insane on these steaks. When properly prepared, the steak will literally almost melt in your mouth. This was prepared properly. A small portion of the loin, sliced into five slices prepared to the chef’s recommendation, lasted me forever. I have never chewed an item so slowly, enjoying every small bite. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the dish, which included a small cast iron pot with a puree of cauliflower, topped with the meat of the short ribs, was wonderful. The sauce that accompanied the meat, which had been reduced over a three day period, was splendid. But the Kobe was amazing. It’s one of those items that, when asked about, you can’t speak of it, it is so insanely good. You have to try it to understand.


Cheese Course:

Comté Saint Antoine, Fourme D’Ambert, and Pierre Robert
Cockburn’s 10 Year Old Tawny Porto
Three pieces of stinky cheese. A blue cheese, a hard cheese, and a soft cheese. Keep in mind that I. do. not. like. stinky cheeses. Muenster is the most exotic I can handle, and even then only melted in grilled cheese! But when in Rome... I found out something interesting about cheese: it tastes really good with port. Port, as you can imagine, tastes better with cheese than by itself. Amazingly enough, the blue cheese ended up being my favorite. Scott really liked the soft vomit-flavored one. The hard cheese was also palateable. The cheeses are served with some other stuff - an apricot chutney, some hard brown thing that I didn't even taste, a fig, and candied (I think) hazelnuts.
Tropical Fruit Gelato with Micro Mint
Michele Chiarlo “Nivole” Moscato D’Asti, Piedmont 2005

Good stuff. We couldn’t determine what the predominate “tropical” was, but it was still awesome.

Scott proclaimed after one taste of the "Nivole" that we should buy a case of it. It's a sweet sparkling wine, and tasted great even alone.


Chocolate Course: (another generally reserved for the Chef's Table)

Miniature Chocolate Pyramid, Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Soufflé and Orange Chocolate Napoleon
Mmm...chocolate... I asked the server when the plate was presented which was the best. He said hands-down it would be the Napoleon. So I started on the left with the Pyramid and tasted them in that direction. The Pyramid is made of Tanzanie chocolate mousse, and topped with a tiny piece of gold leaf. It was delicious, but of the items on the plate, it was definitely the one that tasted most like something you could find at another restaurant.

This is why everyone thinks Soufflés are good. I have never had a souflé that I was impressed with until this one. Absolutely amazing. And the Godiva anglaise sauce poured on top was just absolutely heaven on a spoon. The server left it with us, should we decide to pour it all over the rest of the chocolate items or "drink it with a straw." We didn't, but it is some good stuff!

Suprisingly, even though this was made with dark chocolate, I really liked the Napoleon. The preserved orange rind on the top was a nice and tasty garnish. Dark chocolate with citrus is one of my favorite dessert combinations. Had I not been so pleasantly surprised with the soufflé, it probably would have been my favorite.


Caramelized Banana Gâteau
I have never had a gateau prior to this. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I pretty much ordered it because it had the words caramelized and banana in it. It was pretty tasty. Gateau is the French word for cake. That's a pretty ironic title for the dessert, considering it only has a tiny disc of cake at the bottom. The rest is layers of mascarpone cheese and bananas. The servers both mentioned that this is their favorite dessert. I only had one bite of it myself, not really enough to form an opinion.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Crème Brûlée is my favorite dessert. How could I not order it? This particular version is made with Madagascar vanilla, and is served less than 1/2" thick so that there is more surface area to caramelize. AND it's served with an enormous "wall" of caramelized sugar around 1/2 of the bowl. Oh, it was heavenly. And had I not needed to finish every last bite of it, I probably wouldn't have felt the way I did for the rest of the night and all day yesterday.

So that's it. We hope you have enjoyed dining vicariously through us. We had the experience of a lifetime. And although we only focused on the food here, I can't say enough about the rest of the dining experience. The Boss (also known as Maitre d') came by for 2 or 3 courses to explain why he paired the wines with specific menu items, and stayed completely "in character" with us until the last of the real guests left the restaurant. I think both Scott and I appreciated the extra knowledge and really learned something new. Our two servers were wonderful. Guy server is my favorite one of all of them, and it was great to get to see him in his element. He did a really good job of putting Scott at ease, which is an impressive feat in such an intimidating surrounding (and in a tie!). Girl server is another one of my favorites. She was having a really bad day personally, but didn't let that slip out at all except when I asked her a personal question. And I probably don't even need to mention just how great the kitchen staff is. But I will: our kitchen ROCKS!

It's been hard readjusting to "common life." And it will probably be even harder to not compare our dinner with our next evening out at Carrabba's or Cracker Barrell. We've been spoiled forever!

07 June, 2007


OK Bible people, help me out here:

Is gluttony the only one of the seven deadly sins that can actually kill you?

Just wondering.

Dinner was wonderful, but I'm going to wait to post a review (which, by the way, wouldn't be fair and balanced even if I wanted it to) until I can get Scott to give me his high and low points.

06 June, 2007

The Dinner

Scott and I are finally going to The Restaurant tonight for dinner. I had been secretly hoping we'd be having a private little celebration of a positive pregnancy test. Instead, I'll be celebrating the fact that I get to enjoy my free wine pairing (and don't have to think of any excuses about why I'm not drinking said free booze). Hey man, every hemorrhaging uterus has a silver lining, right?

And we still have something to celebrate. We've been married 3 1/2 years today.

05 June, 2007

Sad Jamie

You know how they say famous people die in threes? I'm hoping that's not true outside of celebrity, because if it is I'm really waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Last week an old security friend of mine, Bob T., died. Back when I was doing bag checks, he was out at one of the entry kiosks. He was just one of those people that was a pleasure to be around - happy, laid-back, and could always make you smile.
And just last night I learned that one of the founding members of the Jamie Fan Club over at the Call Center died back in April. Karen was absolutely the most wonderful person in that room. This was a pretty big shock. Although I guess it was an even bigger shock to everyone at the Call Center. She stayed late on overtime the day before she died. Absolutely no one saw it coming. And you know, of all the people in that room, she's probably one of the few that more than half of the people would miss. She always had a smile and a kind word for those of us she liked (yeah, she was feisty!). She's one of those that I cried over losing when I left the Call Center, and I cried again last night.
She gave me an angel key chain when I left, and I have no idea where it is, but I am all of a sudden driven to find it. When I do, I'll probably attach it to my purse somehow. I'd like to believe that she's still watching over us.

04 June, 2007

I [Heart] Mo

Mo Rocca amuses the heck out of me. He's always got the best quips on the various VH1 "I Love the..." shows, was a lot of fun on the short-lived Bravo game show "Things I Hate About You," and is a Daily Show alum (albeit from before I started watching). Oh yeah, he's also currently getting rave reviews as the Vice Principal in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway.

Imagine how thrilled I was when I learned that he has a news blog on AOL: Mo Rocca 180: only half as tedious as the regular news. And he even goes out into the streets of New York to interview people for little "news" videos like this one (which I tried to embed, but had widget problems. sorry).

Cankles! Ha!

This is one I'll probably be adding to my side bar, along with Waiter Rant and Rachel Lucas (thanks for that one, Janette), sometime soon when I clear off all of the ones that no longer exist or haven't been updated in the past 6 months.

John Edwards: Just a Pretty Face?

OK, y'all know I love John Edwards, right? I totally think he'd be the dreamiest president since JFK. And I wouldn't be saying this right now if my blog had more than, say, 10 daily readers because I think I still like him more than any other presidential candidate.

I didn't watch tonight's debate, but I read about it. My analysis? He's out of his flippin' mind! How can I vote for someone whose answer to the question, "what would you do with your first 100 days in office?" is the following?

"To travel the world -- re-establish America's moral authority in the world -- which I think is absolutely crucial. The other things become less important and subservient.


"But, the single greatest responsibility of the next president is to travel the world, speak to the world about what real American values are -- equality, diversity -- and to lead an effort by America to re-establish our alliances around the world, which is going to require time and focus.


"All those things are crucial to re-establishing our moral authority." the world? That's how you answer a question like, "what are you going to do when you retire?" Travel the effing world? Isn't that what we have Bill Clinton and the elder George Bush for? And don't even get me started on the concept of "moral authority." Who are we to judge?

The two real candidates both answered the same question with some version of "end the war." But you know, maybe Pretty John is right. What's the life of another 3,000 soldiers when we could have a Commander in Chief gallivanting around telling the rest of the world that "we're going to help other people in the world and we're going to demonstrate our commitment to humanity."
...just like Brad and Angelina.
Oh John, you are dreamy. Please just let's stop talking and enjoy a moment without your stupid words getting in the way.

03 June, 2007


It is now officially my weekend. I really feel like I've earned this one - work was rather tedious the past two nights and I've not been sleeping well.

I'm seriously considering getting a haircut tomorrow. I've been trying to wait until the top (way too short) layer was long enough to be the longest layer so that I can cut it back into a bob, but the bottom layer is growing like weeds. I now have this 'do that is really bordering on mullet. The top few layers still form a nice frame around my face, but that last layer is a good inch longer and refuses to curl under no matter what tactics I try. The result: some sort of Florence Henderson circa Brady Bunch bubble hairdo with a flip at the bottom.

C'est tragique!

So I'm thinking maybe one more trim back to a non-60's style and then that ought to last me until that top layer grows in a bit more.

It's All Greek* to Me

Last night was one of those nights at The Restaurant where it seemed that everyone had a different special request. My favorite: the nice man with a party of 8 who wanted me to print one girl's name on the outside of her menu in Cyrillic.

So I did.

To be fair, he made it easy for me. He sent me a PDF file of a shipping label with her name on it and all I had to do was copy and paste the text. Still, we had 2 menu changes and 3 wine changes and 11 special menus for allergies last night. I was strapped for time and almost had to abandon the special menu cover. In the end, it took me maybe an extra five minutes. And the party just flipped. How do I know? Because I got dragged into the dining room (which, to a person in my position, is like being granted access to the Restricted section of the Hogwart's library) so that they could say thank you.

note: It's not my status that prevents me from going into the restaurant, it's my clothing. My sweater and khakis were just not fancy enough to be a representative of The Restaurant. So what's a Maitre d' to do when such a request is made? That's easy. Wrap a ridiculous pajmina shawl around the reservationist so that instead of looking casual, she looks fashion-challenged!

Anyway, I added "Cyrillic menu cover" to my "Good Jamie" list of things that I have done. This list, by the way, is kept at the request of the Boss so that he can justify classifying me as "clearly outstanding" so that he can give me the big raise next year. (I'm not sure, but I think my raise this year was something like 4.5%, and the "big" raise might be around 6%. whoop dee doo!)

*No, the girl was not Greek. She was Russian. But "It's all Russian to me" seemed like a stupid title.

02 June, 2007

Hurricane Season '07 (Post #1)

Happy hurricane season, everyone!

May I introduce you to my new friend Barry. Tropical Storm Barry, that is.

There we were, midway through the first day of the season, when the (99% dry for the past 3 months) skies opened up and just didn't stop! This being the first significant rain, there were some traffic delays - like 30+ crashes listed at one time in our immediate area on the FHP traffic site. People really have forgotten how to drive in the rain. And I suppose all of the oil and stuff coming up from the roadways didn't help either. At any rate, it was a mess.

Of course, this is probably (hopefully) now the end of brush fire season. And hopefully the love bugs are all gone now too.

radar image from

01 June, 2007


A big shout-out to Matthew and Kristen who felt compelled to go down to Key West this week and come back engaged!

(I love that picture on Kristen's page - that look on Matthew's face is one of someone blissfully unaware of what he has just gotten himself into!)

How sweet, my little Matt of Honor is all grown-up.