Monday, June 28, 2010

Adventures in Barbeque

Whenever or wherever we plan a road trip Shana has a diner or barbecue joint picked out to visit. This particular one: Clark's Outpost was featured several years ago in the Road Food column in Gourmet magazine. A trip to Denton Texas for a family visit finally provided the excuse to stop by and sample the wares.

From the road it looks really small, and the parking lot was full of pick up trucks. This is a good sign. We had checked the menu, and noted that they ship all over the country - proof that their popularity had outstripped the size of their dining room.

Shana ordered some ribs and brisket, plus beans, fries, and a side of fried corn. I got a baked potato and planned to steal meat from her plate. Service was fast and friendly, although we did have to wait a few minutes for a table.

The verdict: DELICIOUS. Portions were generous but not outlandish. The meat was smoked with a dry rub and was juicy

and tender. The corn was succulent and piping hot, the beans exceptional. The sauce was tomato based with a vinegar zing and served on the side. They served really good iced tea, and the desert selection, while small, was excellent. We shared a very satisfying piece of coconut cream pie to round out our meal.

Clark's is in horse country, and the decor is suitably horsey - photos and drawings of equine subjects fill the walls. Corn is served with horse shoe nails as holders. I'm pretty sure we'll be stopping in again, or ordering on line.

Friday, June 25, 2010

And a Little Movie, too

I feel compelled to note that there was not one break in the chatter until I started to film this little clip. Then all talking stopped like magic.

Friday Lunch with Vivian and Samantha

Samantha and Vivian met me for a late lunch today at Jason's Deli. Vivian had been looking forward to it, but ultimately wouldn't eat more than a few bites, and easily half of what she would eat came from my plate. This is the way it always goes but I seem not to be able to learn anything.

Vivian and I went back to my house to play while Samantha ran her errands . Loads of fun.

Tomorrow Shana and I will be running down to Denton to visit the Humps and celebrate AJ's second birthday. We're looking forward to a little trip out of town. Shana already has a famous barbeque joint picked out for lunch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Matthew Yglesias � The Tragedy of the Ironing Board Tax

There's an interesting post with a very lively discussion in the comments that's well worth a little time to read here: Matthew Yglesias � The Tragedy of the Ironing Board Tax. Too bad substantive discussions like this have been replaced in the news media with discussions of what Jerry Seinfeld thinks of Lady Gaga.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Temporary Condition

Sam called me this morning to bring her some Ibuprophen and Pedialyte for Vivian who was running a fever. Something told me that although she looked a little puny and had a fever she'd be feeling much better later in the day (and she was).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Down in the Back

Down in the back has been the theme of my week. Early in the week my lower back felt sore, and quickly descended into an annoying and painful bout of sciatica. I may have strained my back pulling Aunt Rita up and down the mall last Sunday - I'd like to say the dreadful quality of the latest Robin Hood movie felled me. Whatever. It was painful and immobilizing. I was able to get in to see my doctor Wednesday, and spent the rest of the week in various drugged conditions trying to find a comfortable position. I guess it goes without saying that I did not get out on my bike even once.

We did have an organized ride scheduled and paid for, but I did not feel it would be prudent to try. I was willing to bring a chair and wait for the rest of the group to return from their rides, but with the mold count rising Shana was not up for a ride and we stayed home. Or mostly home. I was willing to try a little walking, so I took the dogs to the dog park for an outing. We went early in the day to avoid the heat. We also avoided the crowds. We all walked around the park a few times, then back home.

With Fathers' Day coming on Sunday Shana wanted to invite her father for dinner. She's been working on the menu all week. It's to be steak for her and Shelley and a beautiful piece of wild salmon for John and me, accompanied by a lovely asparagus risotto. I'm in charge of desert - making the desert, not choosing the desert. Shana selected the dishes she wanted and I will be making a brown sugar pound cake from Soul Food - Classic Cuisine From the Deep South, to be served with home made peach ice cream from a recipe of her choosing. This is a cookbook we turn to again and again for the classic southern dishes Shana loves. It's a slim book, but full of delicious treats, stories, and photos of country life. Every recipe we've tried has been excellent.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Road: Saturday Edition

Proof that even the same route through the countryside can change drastically from one week to the next: It looks like there is a new farmer on the road we most often take on a Saturday morning ride. He's got one mystery cattle dog and two corgis (one looks like a puppy) and GOATS - lots of goats. Lady goats, baby goats, and at least one obvious Billy goat. I would guess he's probably the only boy in the group. The girls aren't used to cyclists yet, and moved away when I approached the fence to take their pictures but maybe another time they'll be more curious. No turtles or (live) snakes this time, but an abundance of wind. The forecast was for 25 mph
wind gusting to 30, which may be why we saw fewer cyclists out than usual. Shana joined us this morning and enjoyed her ride now that the mix of wind borne allergens has changed enough so she doesn't die on the road. She tried out riding with an iPod which was great right up to the point when she dropped her earbuds and cord into her front wheel.

After the usual round of pancakes Shana and I went around doing our errands - the fun ones this time, not the boring ones. We stopped by Bike One to pick up a computer for Shana's bike and a pair of shorts for her, then on to Best Buy to get some new earbuds suitable for listening outdoors in the wind. I found the case I wanted for my iPod which would clip to my clothing for improved function. My bento has to carry my camera, cell phone, lip balm, sunblock and snacks, so although I wanted to bring my iPod along I don't want to add any more freight on the bike. As it is I probably drag along three times as much stuff as I need. I carry 2 CO2 cartridges, spare tube, tool kit, band aids and clean wipes under the seat and a bandanna tied to the front of the bike that serves every possible purpose from handkerchief to ice pack. When you ride out in the country you never know what you're going to need.

As soon as I got home I took the dogs out to the park so they could have their outdoor activity too. I probably looked pretty rough but luckily the dogs don't care. While they sniffed around I finished my Rita Mae Brown mystery. Now I can start in on The Passage, which just came out this week and which I've been eagerly awaiting. Dystopian fiction - my fave!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

At the Crack of Dawn

The summer heat has hit us this week. It's come on fast this year and we have not had much time to adjust to it. The long Saturday ride that we used to start at 9 or 10 am has become the ride that we start at 6:00 am instead. I usually prefer to start at 8:00 just to give myself the luxury of sleeping in a little, but Alan suggested we start even earlier and I must say it was an excellent idea. It was already in the mid 70's when we set out and it felt lovely and cool. We were back in and ordering pancakes before 11:00 and although it was quite warm while we were riding we were not boiled and stewed in our bike clothes as we would have been had we headed out later. By noon temps were in the low 90's and quite often it's a little after noon when we get in from our ride. I was tired by the time I got back to the car - the wind was pretty strong even at 6:00 am and coming back into the wind is never my favorite thing.

It was herp day - a box turtle was crossing the road and we saw another big snake. My turtle picture turned out too fuzzy to post and the snake proved too fast for me. I didn't even realize it was a snake until I was almost upon it and by the time I turned around to annoy him he had slithered away. We have seen a fair number of snakes lately, so I have great hopes of (eventually) getting a picture. I think they are bull snakes - beautifully marked and of substantial size. The two live ones we've seen on the road have probably been around four feet in length and fairly thick; we've seen quite a few smaller ones that have not survived life on the road.
It's surprising to me that no matter how often I ride the same routes I'm always noticing something different. It's never boring to get out for a ride.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Just One Thing BP Has Endangered

marco 2008, originally uploaded by cinderellenk.

Shana and I vacationed on Marco Island nearly every year for 20 years. Marco is at the south end of Florida, but will not be safe from BP's destruction of the Gulf. My sweetest memories of Marco are the birds - the ancient looking Brown Pelicans flying in lines over the patio so close that I could hear the wind through their wings, the beautiful Skimmers lounging on the beach between enchanting flights, the Osprey's oddly feeble call contrasting with their penetrating stare. Now everything that depends on the sea, the beaches, or the mangroves is in peril and it breaks my heart.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Showing the Veggies Some Love

Lucky me! Shana has turned some of her cooking enthusiasm to creating gourmet veggie dishes just for me. Monday's dish included fresh roasted beets and sweet potatoes, goat cheese, microgreens and pistachios with a fresh shallot vinaigrette. Delicious. and very pretty. We followed that with some roasted corn on the cob.

While she was creating her masterpiece I spent the afternoon taking short rides on the scooter. With our current transportation strategy (one car between us) I needed to get comfortable enough with riding the scooter to ride it to work at least once a week. We headed into the summer and rain will no longer be an issue. I went out on about 5 short rides to get comfortable with the weight, balance, and stopping distance. I think I remember it taking about 100 miles to get really familiar with a new machine, but I made good progress from being nervous about turning out of the driveway to riding halfway down my chosen route to work in traffic.

The weekend was great but now it's time to return to work, where crunch week will be in progress.