For the first time in my life, I went to an honest-to-god butcher. I was driven to do so by reading Alton Brown’s Good Eats: The Early Years, where he lobbies hard for people to find local butchers, and an article Lady Aravan posted about growth hormones in meat. Afterwards, I decided I would find one near me. I did, and Lady Aravan and I took a trip up there. I was intimidated, I have to admit. After a lifetime of just grabbing whatever I wanted from little individually-wrapped packages, here was someone waiting for me to tell them what kind of cut of meat I was looking for. I choked, and the man kindly suggested that he had a really nice piece of sirlion. I said that would be great, and got a steak that he said would feed four people (I assumed that might be enough for Lady Aravan and I). He cut it, weighed it and wrapped it, then I talked about pulled pork and he suggested something else (a pork butt that he deboned). They sell Boar’s Head products, which Lady Aravan and I both love, so we ended up getting a pound of bacon – cut from a slab – along with Boar’s Head mustard, hot dogs, pepperoni, and bleu cheese.
I love barbeque. Pulled pork is one of my 5 food groups. I make it myself as well, but love sampling others just as much. I like different varieties of sauce, from the tomato-based to Carolina vinegar based to mustard based (my personal favorite). On a recommendation, Lady Aravan, myself, and a friend all took a short road trip down to try a place called Virgina BBQ, a chain barbeque joint.
On a recent date night, Lady Aravan took me to a place we hadn’t been before, Redfire Grill & Steakhouse. I love beef like hippies love patchouli, so I was eager to go and yet apprehensive at the same time. I cook steak a lot. I am good at it. Many times I’ve gone to a restaurant and ordered steak and gotten an underseasoned, or overseasoned, piece of meat at such an exorbitant price that it makes me well up in righteous fury. I am an overcritical judge of what I like, and when a place burns myeverloving steak and calls it “char” like I should pay extra for it, I can barely resist the urge to take their imitation crystal candleholders and set the place on fire. So, did I want to set Redfire on, well, fire?
We’ve all seen the commercials: Domino’s Pizza solemnly intoning all the reasons why people think their pizza is pure shit. Ketchupy sauce, bland crust, yada yada. I personally never thought it was as dire as all that, but I also didn’t order Domino’s Pizza very often. The only time I did was to get a thin crust pizza, the only thing I thought Domino’s did better than Papa John’s. The commercials stuck in my mind, however, and like all effective advertising, convinced me to try to fulfill a need I didn’t even know I had. So, is Domino’s new recipe worth the hype and fuss, or even worth ordering at all?
1. I hate talking on the phone so much. I used to have a job where I did nothing but, doing software support. I’ll never be able to go back to it. Just hearing stories from Lady Aravan about the people she needs to deal with on a given day is enough to reassure me that, yes, I am incapable of dealing with people over the phone. I don’t even like calling a place for a take-out or delivery order.
1. Oh, it’s Friday. Beautiful, awesome Friday. Monday is an eternity away as the weekend beckons. I made it another week!
2. Hands down, the five best Girl Scout cookies, in order from first to fifth: Samoas, Tagalongs (they used to have more peanut butter than they do now, and could have challenged for #1 if they still had the same amount), Thin Mints (especially when frozen), Lemon Cremes, Do-Si-Does (or however it’s spelled). Lady Aravan would actually reverse this list in its entirety, and make Shortbread #1. This, friends, is the key to a happy marriage: finding someone who values the cookies you don’t like more than you do, therefore leaving you more of the cookies that you do like. Oh, and communication.
1. Valentine’s Day weekend was a lot of fun. Friday night Lady Aravan and I relaxed with a Dominick’s stromboli and calzone, Saturday we went to a Chinese New Year’s party, and Sunday we had company for dinner. As much as I looked forward to relaxing all weekend, every activity was a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself immensely.
1. I am in the mood for some good horror-based tabletop roleplaying. Lady Aravan’s VtDA game would be so much fun right now, with the dark nights and the cold wind blowing. I’d even run one, if I had the time or inclination to design one. I’ve been reading a Ravenloft source book, and even though I don’t really like D&D as a system and mood-setter, it does make me crave a good dark gaming session. Someday soon I’ll get started on my campaign, as soon as I finish editing the damn novel.
1. There are few things more joyous than remembering you brought a Raspberry Zinger to work and left it in your desk, but forgot to eat it at lunch, just before you go home. It’s like a reward for surviving yet another drab workday.