Untapped Grilling and Other Addictions

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

La Nouritture

Nope, Thats Not My Wife!

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to get off the Libation Road of Napa and Sonoma and get some food in our tummies. Otherwise one of us will be found puking our brains out huddled over the porcelain throne! Fortunately, the town of Yountville where we have parked ourselves is known as one of the best culinary communities in the world. I never have claimed to be a food connoisseur, but I really do enjoy dining in one-of-a-kind restaurants.

There is only one king of the wine country as far as food goes and thats Thomas Keller. If you never heard of him you should probably stop reading this article and open up that can of Spam you have in the cupboard and pop the top on another Coors Light.This is one cool cat. He owns a Butt Load of restaurants in Yountville and a phenomenal bakery.I have been trying for years and years to dine at his super famous French Laundry. I have begged, paid off, called months and months in advance and at best have gotten on the waiting list, only to be told the day of I didn’t make the cut. What’s with this place? Do they know me? Is that it. Well the dream continues.Don’t feel to sorry for me though. We did manage to head over to the Bouchon Bakery for breakfast which is a bakers heaven. This is as close to Paris as I have found. Unbelievable croissants.

Ooh La La

For dinner we found our way to Chef Keller’s family style venue, ad hocNot only do you feel like your grandmothers in the kitchen cooking for you, but she does it for a very reasonable price. See, I knew there was another reason I didn’t get in French Laundry. Read more…

Once You Make Something You Love……

You have to let it grow!

Let It Grow

You probably think I am referring to the world’s best yeast roll recipe. I will never forget coming home from high school back in the 70’s and starting to catch the scent of my Moma Dolly’s yeast rolls. It was the absolute best smell in the universe to me. I suppose the yeast strain she had, must have come from Robert E. Lee’s family a long time ago. It was so delightful. I watched her over a hundred times take a little bit of that yeast out of the jar and add it to her flour to make the stickiest dough you have ever seen. I swear you could throw that stuff up against the window and it would stick there for a year or two. Then she would take a couple of the oldest looking rags we had in the kitchen and carefully drape them over the stainless still bowl that still exist in the family. There wasn’t any concern for heat and humidity in the Mississippi Delta, it just seemed it was always 90 degrees and 100% humidity. I would bug Moma Dolly to death, beggin’ her to put that dough in the oven so we could have some of those rolls for dinner. But no matter how persistent I was, she would look right up into my eyes with a very serious look on her face and say, “Boy, If you make something you love, you have to let it grow.”

You Have To

Let It Grow

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Rough Day At The Office Dear

Things Are Kinda Poopy Now

Hopefully most of you have now figured out that the “Kitchen Sink” category is where I get to blow off steam, whine, feel sorry for myself and maybe, just maybe, provide a little insight and or wisdom to your lives. I seriously doubt it but it’s worth a little finger peckin’.

Day before yesterday was probably the biggest high and low day I have experienced. I had worked my tail off for over 4 months to accomplish a dream of mine. It took all the courage I could muster up to even try. But I did, and succeeded through the first level of my goal. Then I worked my butt off some more, learned all I could in a short period of time about the challenges ahead, and low-and-behold, got passed level two. That’s when I started thinking  for a moment, I might be able to pull this off, so I pushed myself even further and harder. I poured every ounce of my creativity, charisma, and experience that I had accumulated for over 55 years into the next project. Late nights, long days, frustration beyond belief, but it worked. After 4 months of truly giving it all I had I was notified I had made it. I did it!

I was about ready to jump through the ceiling and hug the weirdo man down the hall. I had proven to myself I still had it and that the world wanted what I had! What a feeling. There was just a little bit of housecleaning to do and contracts to sign before my dream would come true. That’s when the euphoria peaked and the depressing low started to rise. I opened up the contracts and quickly saw my life disappearing right before my eyes. Everything I had worked for in my entire career could be jeopardized if I signed these contracts. The reputation for being a good, honest, loving person for “most” of my life (I think) could be jeopardized and ruined in a flash.

Something I had dreamed about for a long time was there at my fingertips. All I had to do was sign on a few dotted lines and it would begin the next week. A new life, full of excitement, challenge, and maybe riches. What do I do? The first thing I did was go throw up. My stomach was killing me. Was I to succumb to fulfilling my own selfish dreams, or was I to, as corny as it seems, “Do The Right Thing“? Well, I am pleased to report that I ‘Did The Right Thing“, as painful as it was. I am now in the unusual place of feeling better about still being able to make good decisions and prove to myself that my character is still important. But I am mourning a little over the loss of a dream that was in my hands. Soemthing’s around the corner that will eradicate the mourning and self-pity. I just know it. And when it discloses itself, my conscience will be clean.

OK, I got it out and feel better now. Thanks for listening.

The Wounded But Not Broken Warrior

Chicken Poop and more…….

” Unwanted Parts”   

I don’t know about you, but I think the scrawny little legs on a chicken are  “Piece of _ _ _ _.” I hate dark meet and there is not enough stuff on those skinny little legs to feed my pet rat, “Earl”.

Tacos and Dudes

I felt like I needed to get away from the “NORM” for the weekend, and headed down to San Diego County. I have a place in the sleepy dude infested community of “Bird Rock”. A surfers paradise, Bird Rock is where one goes to relax and feel no pressure to be anything. Situated about 3 minutes South from the glitz and glamour of La Jolla, CA and 3 minutes North of Pacific Beach, you have it all within walking distance. Dress up and fine dine or don’t shower and bar hop with college students. It’s all there.

Bird Rock Cove

Bird Rock Roasters

After a early dinner at the local Thai restaurant and a great night of sleep, I woke up to the sounds of crushing 6 foot waves and a surfer invaded coastline. So I decided to hitch the Mass Transit Bus 30 and wander. A $5.00 all day pass will take you everywhere you could dream of from Solana Beach to the Gas Lamp district in downtown San Diego. My destination was “Old Town”, where Father Juniper Serra in 1769, started to build his famous 21 Missions in California. It is also the most authentic Mexican food, drink, and music you can find without crossing the border. My bus ride took me through the crazy college town of Pacific Beach then pass Mission bay and Sea World. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at Old Town and settled into the best Nachos I have ever had and a kick butt Cadillac Margarita. Then a little cultural investigating of the Hispanic shops and homes while killing off the buzz. Where to next…..the Gay District of Hillcrest!

Mexican Food Heaven

Cosmo Hotel 1869

Old Town Shopping

Adios Amigos

Sweet Tooth

Well, It was the evening I had dreaded forever. But sooner or later I had to take that step into darkness and oblivion and challenge myself to Bake. You see baking requires precision, patience, and loads of technical skills of which I possess none. So why even try? It is not really a manly man type of thing, but more a fancy pants type of guy. So just as my anxiety level was peaking, and sweat beads were building up on my forehead, and the piles of insecurity were starting to feel like a 2 years olds loaded dirty diaper, Chef Gina came to the rescue. She was armed with baskets of fresh ingredients, technique literature and her professional skill set. Thank God:

Chef Gina Mika Instructs on Butter Cream Icing

Our first soirée into baking was the dreaded Chocolate soufflé. The key to the perfect souffle is patience, technique, and preciseness. which I have earlier admitted the absence of all in my life. A couple of sure-fire secrets though were buttering up the soufflé ramekins and coating them with sugar. Another was mastering the perfect folding of the eggwhites so as to not burst one little bubble of that precious air in the mixture. And lastly, please pull your head out of your butt and do not open the oven door to peak and any point. Thankfully The Good Lord blessed me and mine stood tall despite my ignorance.

“Folding Oh So Gently”

“In The Beginning”

“It Is Finished”

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