Untapped Grilling and Other Addictions

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Thinking Bigger

What is this? Where is this?

Is it a ball? Is it and eyeball? is it a fish-eye view out of an airplane window. Look at it up close, then look at it from a far. Any difference? Now , stop and try to imagine other possibilites. Reach back into the depth of your mind, back into your memories, back into your horrible experiences, then back into your wonderful experiences. Imagine this picture as you think outside of the simple objectivity of this picture. For some odd reason, we all tend to look at things only at face value. Our simplistic first glance creates, opinions, makes judgments, likes and dislikes. Rarely in our daily lives to we glance at something and take the time to Think Bigger. What if it is not really what we see initially. What if it is far greater. What if we looked at it from another perspective?

Now, take a look at this.

Any Ideas?

Got any ideas? Do you dare think bigger this time? Is it a piece of art? Kinda looks like some famous abstract artist’s painting I saw at the Louvre. Now open your mind  and think bigger. Where in your childhood or family experiences did you see something so colorful and beautiful? Is it possible that this beautifully colored picture be the same object in the first picture, just from a different perspective? Let’s see.

What is this thing?

Amazing isn’t it? So much beauty, just looking at things from a different perspective. Does it ever cross your mind that your immediate thought or impression could be so wrong, or could be so limiting. We have to Think Bigger. We have to truly desire to know more about the object we see. To get to know all it can be. Now look at it.

So much more!

So much more beautiful as we expand our horizons and perspective. And where did this all come from. Would you believe something as plain, ordinary, and inanimate as a dining room table. How could this produce so much beauty? Well its true!

I guess it is time we all started making an effort to Think Bigger. To take that extra step to try to see all the possibilities in our kids, a friend, or even a perfect stranger. So much goodness is squandered when we live only in the moment and let our impatience and self-centered views on life narrow our perspectives of what could be. We miss so much beauty in this world. Open up that thick-headed brain and soften that tough-skinned heart of yours and start…………………

Thinking Bigger

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Miracles Do Occur

A couple of weeks ago I told you about my dreams of having a real Garden where I could begin the process of be coming sustainable. We talked about how it would truly take a miracle to pull this off, certainly given the condition my newly granted plot of land was in. Do you remember what it looked like?

A Miracle in Waiting

Well, a little over 2 weeks have passed and with the help of my right hand man (in this case wo-man) Judy Moon, things started to happen. First came the excavating of giant weeds and year old carrot plants, running off a few rats, and  for the first time, seeing what lay below the jungle.


and “After”

Not bad for a couple of days, huh? Once I could actually see the dirt my excitement began to grow more and more. I could not wait to get back there and make my dream a reality. That oh so beautiful French Garden with the white picket fence. Shiny pea gravel covering the ground between the three raised beds.

So one solid day was spent simply removing the tired old soil and replacing it with brand new dirt and Cow Poop. After an entire day of about shoveling almost 20 loads of this crap, I headed home to remove the stench of cow turds. What even made it more intolerable was that I had eaten Indian food for lunch and it’s spices and aromas was somehow melding with the Cow Crap. For a moment I seriously thought that this would make a great candle scent.

For the next two days, my side kick, Judy Moon, and I hauled fencing, pea gravel, and Turkey Poop, a very special Christmas present from my Sister Sue in Waco.

“The Turkey Poop”

Prepped Soil

compost to the garden. We labored in the hot sun until we had that picket fence up. I was so sun-buned my face resembled a giant Beefsteak tomato. The next day was spent spreading out pea gravel and installing a beautiful gate. It was done (sans vegetation)! Next week it is planting time. But for now I hope you enjoy the beauty of my little miracle.

Almost Fenced

Green Thumb

Ahhh! Feels Good

Now Just Need Some Veggies

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Midnight in Paris

Foreign Cinema is a true emprise of food exploration. Not only is this one of the most fascinating menus I have encountered, you actually get to watch a French Film while you dine. It is hard to believe that Gayle Pirie (Zuni Cafe) and John Clark (Chez Panisse) pair a menu with a French film each month.

You would swear you were back in 1930’s Paris. When FC opened in the late 90’s there was no mention of a restaurant inside the building. You just had to stumble upon it or hear through the culinary grapevine about it. For me the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and the great cheeses throughout the menu truly make this a must dine while in the city.

The Foreign Cinema Courtyard

Foreign Cinema is also known for their Sunday Brunches. The only way I know how to describe the dishes for the brunch is to visually show you. Words cannot do it justice.

Not Like You Have Ever Had Eggs

Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon

Strawberry Pop Tarts

Indian Spiced Bloody Marys

If that doesn’t make you jump in your car and head to the airport, then nothing will. San Francisco shopping next.

C’est La Vie

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San Francisco Here I Come

Right Back Where I Started From……..

That’s right. I did start out my California Adventure in the City By The Bay.

Time for a quick visit to see my son JD who lives in one of the Hottest Urban communities in the country.

The Mission District in San Francisco

What an exciting, eclectic place for  a 22 year old to be starting out his adult working career. 

I left Orange County about 6:45 am and tried to put the peddle to the metal. But as I am sure you know, L.A. is not very friendly to travelers headed up the 405 at that time of day. After about two hours of putzin’ around going 8 miles an hour I finally made it passed the 101 and started to feel like I might make it by sundown. In order to keep my sanity, I have turned to Audio Books. They truly make any trip seem to go by at twice the speed. Todays reading was “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge. A book that really helps one find the true purpose of life for those of us who are still pondering and seeking that. About an hour later I pulled over in Castaic, CA for a quick pee and some coffee.

Then back on the road for what I had hoped would be a clear drive through the Grapevine. The area had about 5 inches of snow the night before but I had heard it was not clear after a shutdown overnight in both directions. Fortunately it was wide open.

Snow Covered Grapevine

Then came that magic moment that we all so dreadfully look forward to when making the drive from L.A. to San Fran. The notoriously intoxicating aroma of Cow Shit! It just comes out of nowhere and stay with you for miles and miles. I swear I had it on my clothes 3 hours later when I arrived at my Hotel. Is this place some kind of Godly persecution for something I did bad yesterday? And to think we eat these things.

Worlds Biggest Pile of Poop

Read more…

Do Miracles Still Occur?

Well, my answer is most definitely.

They happen all the time. And many times we completely miss them right in front of our face, because we are not externally focused on others but rather internally focused on our self. Self-centeredness is the biggest road block to actually witnessing and being apart of miracles. So I have decided that we should all go through  little experiment on miracles.

As many of you know I have alot of odd passions; food, fashion, travel, film……..but I also am passionate about Gardening. Now the one thing you have to completely understand is that because I am passionate about something does not mean I am any good at it. And Gardening is definitely one of those things that I am no good at. So I have decided to find an abandoned plot of dirt and ask God for miracles to happen in and around this lot of dirt. My part and your part(hopefully you will be cheering me on) is going to be consistently working hard to give this dirt, the seeds and plants I put in, the best chance to grow that I can, and at the same time offer myself in a loving and kind spirit to everyone I encounter throughout this process. By doing this I pray and expect that God will perform miracles, and we will all be able to see them and experience them as they happen. What do we have to loose? Right?

So drumroll………………. I got the plot! Don’t get too excited. It is small and in real bad shape.

A Miracle in Waiting

A whole Lot of Weeds

Should be able to start clearing in a week or two.

So this is our project for the next several months. I know there is something special that is going to happen here. To you, me, and many other people. I encourage you to find your own “plot of dirt” to cultivate as I cultivate this one. It can be a garden, an elderly person, a troubled teen. Maybe someone in your own family. A sick person. A homeless person. The list goes on and on. I will keep you posted on the results of this project. And please, you share the same with yours.

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Can You Believe It!

Culinary Institue of America

Yes, I am going to cooking school. Now don’t get too excited. It’s just for the day. But it is at The C.I.A. just outside of St. Helena, California. I really can’t talk about this stuff unless I really give it try. So I did. What a beautiful place. It’s called Greystone and looks like something right out of the South of France. They grow all of their own produce and herbs and have taught some of the great Chefs of the world(there is hope for me).

Seasons in the Wine Country

After a brief introduction to the course, our Chef, Cate Coniff-Dobrich took us through a day of preparing Seasonal Food of the Wine Country.We teamed up into groups of four and were given our dishes to prepare. We got challenge with planking and smoking a fresh salmon(handed me the whole (stinkin’huge fish), crab and corn chowder, seasonal salad right out of the garden, and a cheese tart. I was real excited and ready to go when one of my teammates, a surgeon from Houston Texas just started making everything himself and left the rest of us to pick our teeth. Arrogant, narcissistic butt hole!. Well after about ten minutes of that I grabbed that big ass fish and walked off with it. Bottom-line was, after a little moment of me opening my big fat mouth and telling him where he could shove his scalpel, we all got to cook. You have to try this some time. It is alot of fun and for the most part, you meet wonderful people. And by the way, Chef Cate gave us all an autographed copy of her book.

The Teaching Kitchen

Another Amateur Like Me

Love The Hat

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