Monday, January 30, 2006

Meet me in Manhattan...

Now that I'm back from New York I've gotten myself a cold. I stayed home all day today. I'm also off tomorrow because I'm working on Superbowl Sunday. I can't remember when I've had two days off in a row. I just hope that I'm feeling better tomorrow so that I can run a few errands. I don't have much to report otherwise other than the fact that that possible opportunity I had is not to be. I'm a little pissed. Other than that here is a more detailed report of my trip to New York...

I landed in at LaGuardia on Tuesday afternoon and the weather was awesome. It was snowing and damn cold when I left Detroit. I landed in Queens and it was sunny and 41 degrees. Not bad. I had booked a shuttle through Orbitz and it turned out to be a great deal ($17.00 before tip). I arrived at the Doubletree in Mid-Town Manhattan (51st and Lexington) and received a warm chocolate chip cookie. A nice start to a nice trip. I settled in a little bit and unpacked. Here's a few shots from my room...

These pics are from my 12th floor room. I called Brittney (my AusWAT fried from San Diego) on her cell and she said that she had landed and was in the cab from JFK. We got a hold of each other later at the hotel and agreed to meet in the lobby. I was waiting to ask the concierge a question when I saw Brittney. It was great to see her again. We agreed on the phone to have dinner and sort of settled on Public as that was where we were going to eat on Wednesday until they re-invited us to the black-tie dinner. We got in a cab and our driver barely spoke any English and had no idea where the restaurant was. Luckily he at least had a map. He drove us in the approximate direction and we just decided to get out and hoof it the rest of the way. We knew that were close. I don't know if we got out in China Town or just a very Chinese neighborhood. There were ducks, geese, and feet hanging everywhere as well as numerous herbologists. The menus on the various restaurants seemed very authentic with numerous items you would never find in an "American" Chinese restaurant (ie. duck's blood jelly with squid). We stopped in a small wine store for a look and asked if we were in the right area. He said that we were just about a block or so away. We arrived at Public with a reservation, but they were able to accomodate us as long as we hurried out. It was a very cool space. I ordered a bottle of the 1998 Glaetzer "The Bishop" Barossa Valley Shiraz. Our server decanted it for us and it was pretty damn nice. I ordered the-
Confit rabbit, foie gras, and Tahitian vanilla terrine with quince glazed grapes and breakfast radish for a starter.

Roast lamb sirloin on crispy goats cheese polenta with saffron braised baby vegetables and minted yogurt for the entree.

Fenugreek panna cotta with a Meyer lemon poppyseed jelly and coriander biscuits for dessert along with a glass of Lillypilly Noble Blend.

The meal was fantastic! The panna cotta was exceptional! After dinner we decided to walk around a bit and see if we could stumble across an inviting bar. We walked a bit through NoLita, SoHo, the Village, and Union Square (where they were filming a movie). We kept walking and walking and decided to just be lame and have a drink at the hotel bar. We took a cab back to the hotel and had a drink before calling it a night. We agreed to meet for lunch at Les Halles at 1:00PM on Wednesday. I walked around a bit on Tuesday morning just taking in some of the nearby attractions and then took a cab to Brasserie Les Halles on Park Ave. I arrived early so I walked around the neighborhood a bit. The smells of street vendors were permeating the air. As inviting as the smells were I knew that I had to pass on them as I was about to have a nice lunch. I arrive at the restaurant and meet up with Brittney. She had been walking around all morning. I ordered a glass of rose, frisee aux lardons (salad of frisee, bacon, and roquefort crouton), the Onglet a l'Echalote (hanger steak with shallot sauce and pommes frites), and the Tarte aux Pommes-Glace Vanille (fresh apple tart with vanilla ice cream (with an espresso). I've been wanting to eat at Les Halles for a long time as it is the restaurant of one of my culinary and literary heroes, Anthony Bourdain. I figured that he wouldn't be there and he probably wasn't (closed kitchen), but it was a fantastically simple meal. The fries, as he does indeed go on about, were ethereal. The salad was perfect, the hanger steak was exceptional, and the apple tart was heavenly. Everything was prepared very simply, but the execution was dead-on. It was a fantastic lunch!

We walked around a bit after lunch (in the direction of our hotel) and stopped by Grand Central Station. There was a beautiful market and a wine shop with some impressive labels (Screaming Eagle, Turley, Behrens & Hitchcock, etc.). We walked a bit more and made it back to our hotel. She decided that she was going to shop a bit and I decided to go to my room for a bit to relax. We agreed to meet in the lobby to catch a cab to our black-tie dinner. It took me a while to get my tux on correctly as I had some issues with the suspenders (which had gotten all tangled and such). Eventually I was all dressed-to-the-nines. I haven't worn a tux since prom (other than my days as a waiter). We met in the lobby (she looked lovely) and took a cab to the Metropolitan Club for our dinner on the Upper East Side. There was a lovely reception for us with many wines and an open bar. My boss was there with her fiance and Trudy from our AusWAT group arrived as well. There was a very pleasant surprise when we saw Jordan from our AusWAT trip. Jordan is a very talented young freelance wine/beverage writer and he was in town for the event. We had no idea that he was coming. He's a lot of fun and it was great to see him again. Our friend Sara had not shown up yet. After a couple of beautiful songs performed by some talented singers we were invited into the main room for dinner. The event was a 10th Anniversary celebration of Wine Australia. Wine Australia was formerly called the Australian Wine Bureau, but the new name and logo were being announced that night. We were all sitting at separate tables. I was sitting at the Click (importer) table with another retailer, a writer, importers, and a couple of lovely ladies from Wine Australia. We had some great wines and a good meal. Here are a few pics from the event...

The Australian Ambassador

Sara showed up late with a friend at it was a joy to see her again. Brittney, Jordan, Sara, and myself walked around a bit and then decided to take a cab to the hotel and find a bar in the area. Brittney decided to call it a night so Sara, Jordan, and myself went to and uber-hotspot called Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel. It was just a few doors down from our hotel. It's an expensive, ultra-trendy hangout, but the servers and clientele were beautiful. For once I didn't feel underdressed in a scenario like this as I was wearing a tux. We drank and talked for a couple of hours and just enjoyed each other's company. It was a lot of fun. We reminisced about our trip and shared in our present and future. It was really nice to see them again.

Thursday morning Brittney and I agreed to meet in the lobby again and take the subway to Tribeca. After a little confusion we made the proper transfers and arrived in Tribeca. We had to be at Skylight on Hudson Street at 1:30PM. We had extra time and were both hungry and in need of coffee. We stumbled across from a simple diner/coffee shop type place called Amelia's. The service was fast, efficient, and friendly. The food was good and the coffee was hot. I had the corned beef and cabbage special with boiled potatoes ($6.95) and a cup of soup. The perfect simple meal.

Tasting set-up at Skylight

We were situated very close to the entrance to the Holland tunnel. After lunch we wandered over to Skylight to work the Wine Australia Festival. From 3:00 to 6:00 was a trade-tasting and the consumer-tasting commenced at 6:00 until 9:00PM. It was our job to pour wines at each and promote AusWAT. I was pouring "Next Generation Whites" for the trade-tasting and "Sauvignon Blanc" for the consumer-tasting. I have to say that New Yorkers are very friendly. The retailers, distributors, restaurateurs, and press were much more friendly than at a typical Detroit area trade tasting. The consumers were even more of a pleasant surprise. First of all, there are a lot of beautiful people in Manhattan. A large portion of them were at this tasting. Many of them are Australian ex-pats. Another trend that I noticed in Manhattan is that there are apparently no bras for sale anywhere in the area. Boobs were flying everywhere! Luckily most of the lovely ladies were able to pull it off. A few lovely ladies even thought that I was cute and they loved my beard...flattery will get you everywhere. They were doubly impressed when I told them that I flew out from Detroit for the event. Unfortunately they disappeared. The event was a success. They drew somewhere between 700-900 people for the consumer tasting. There were some great restaurants represented there too. It was a lot of fun. Sara, Brittney, Sara's friend, and myself took a cab back to the hotel and grabbed a bite at the cafe next door. I said my goodbyes. It was really wonderful to see them again. Brittney and Sara are truly wonderful people.

In the morning I walked around a bit again. I got myself a cup of coffee and a hot dog with mustard and onion from a stree vendor. New York rules! It was too bad that I had to leave soon. I bought some chocolates at the chocolatier next to the hotel and returned to my room. I checked out, got another cookie, and got in a car to LaGuardia (getting a Lincoln is cheaper than taking a cab, not unlike MetroCar). I got two more (Nathan's Famous) hot dogs at the airport. The flight was fine and uneventful. I landed in Detroit and worked at the restaurant that night.

New York is really an amazing town. I love it. I regret not having any pizza, but there's always next time. I didn't get my hot dogs til the very end. I'm very thankful for seeing my AusWAT friends again. They're awesome people! As much as I love New York I'm still proud to be a Detroiter. This should be an interesting week with the upcoming Superbowl. I could never afford to live in Manhattan. I shudder to think how much a place the size of my flat would run. Thanks New York...until next time.


Friday, January 27, 2006

From an Apple to a Tire...

I just got back from New York and I had an awesome time! I'll have more details later. I've got to work at the restaurant tonight so it's going to be a long day. I love New York, but I'm happy to be back in Detroit where I can guzzle my own gas rather than be dependent on the more socially/economically responsible public transportation.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Taking a bite out of the Big Apple...

Good times! Good times! Brittney and I just had an awesome dinner at Public in the Nolita district. My fenugreekpanna cotta was fantastic and the 1998 Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz was divine. We walked through the heart of China Town (or at least a very authentically Chinese neighborhood). On the way back we walked through SoHo, the Village, and Union Square before taking a cab back to the hotel We had a drink in the hotel bar and called it a night. Tomorrow is lunch at Les Halles and the black tie shindig!


Greetings and warm cookies from New York...

Hey kids! I made it to New York! I had a great flight, a great shuttle ride (only $17.00...thanks Orbitz!), and I'm in a great 12th story room in Mid-Town Manhattan. I'm using the crappy internet on the hotel room TV and I don't know if I have the patience for much more of this. They greeted me with a warm chocolate cookie at the hotel front-desk. Nice touch. I just spoke to my friend Brittney on the phone and she was in the cab almost at the hotel. We plan on meeting up soon and venturing out into this fairest of cities. Vittles and who knows what else? It was 41 degrees F when I landed at LaGuardia and the sun was shining when I landed. It's a beautiful day! It was snowing in Detroit this morning! Have a great day!


Do you know what I really hate???

Ironing. Ironing sucks! I had to iron my tux shirt and other shirts tonight for my New York trip. I try to avoid ironing at all costs. I try to grab stuff straight out of the dryer and hang it and hope that it's passable. I try to buy shirts that don't need much or any ironing. I realize that folding them in my suitcase sort of defeats the purpose, but they're only being bent down the middle and not at a sharp crease, but still... I could of course use the iron in the hotel room (assuming there is one), but they're not always reliable or the ironing board may be broken. Anyway...ironing sucks.

I'm being picked up by a friend in the morning and taken to the airport. I come back on Friday. I made a reservation for two for Les Halles on Wednesday. My friend Brittney from San Diego will be joining me. Here's the lunch menu. She's also flying in tomorrow (a day early). I really look forward to the whole thing. I look forward to seeing my friends from the Aussie trip, the whole Aussie wine to-do that I'm there for, and of course just being in New York City. I plan to eat myself silly and hopefully not embarrass myself too much. I feel very safe in New York. I'm a Detroiter and that trumps just about anything (in this country).

I hope that everyone has a good week and I especially hope that my friends still have jobs. Good luck to all of you! I may or may not be get a chance to post. Check if you want to...or don't. Whatever...


At Les Halles should I get the pigs feet, the cassoulet, or the choucroute garni? What do you think? I can't decide. Maybe I'll go for the hanger steak with pomme frites (French fries). Anthony Bourdain's fries are supposed to rock! I just don't know...

Monday, January 23, 2006

"What kind of soul am I?" quiz

You Are a Prophet Soul

You are a gentle soul, with good intentions toward everyone.
Selfless and kind, you have great faith in people.
Sometimes this faith can lead to disappoinment in the long run.
No matter what, you deal with everything in a calm and balanced way.

You are a good interpreter, very sensitive, intuitive, caring, and gentle.
Concerned about the world, you are good at predicting people's feelings.
A seeker of wisdom, you are a life long learner looking for purpose and meaning.
You are a great thinker and communicator, but not necessarily a doer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Bright Star Soul and Dreaming Soul

"What kind of weather am I?" quiz

You Are Rain

You can be warm and sexy. Or cold and unwelcoming.
Either way, you slowly bring out the beauty around you.

You are best known for: your touch

Your dominant state: changing

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fini...Til' Tuesday (I haven't heard "Voices Carrie" in a while)

My dinner party is over and it was a raving success. Now I just have to concentrate for packing for New York and getting the dishes done.

Actually, first and foremost, I'd like to wish Kat good luck tomorrow (Monday). I sincerely hope that you still have a job. I will hope and pray that you're still employed. I don't know if praying will do any good for me but I will do my best to concentrate on positive things for you. Good luck! I'm thinking of you...

A locally based very large corporation is announcing an estimated 30,000 lay-offs/firings tomorrow. I wish all of my friends continued employment! Good luck! Luckily many of the people that I've spoken to say that their departments are safe (even expanding). Regardless...good luck. I'll pray for you all. (Just in case your from out of town...the local economy is in the shitter and 2 of the "Big 3" are facing major issues. Just in time for the Superbowl.)

The dinner party went smoothly...
Today I served...
Hors' douvres-
Crostini with oven roasted grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
Crostini with pureed cannellini beans, sage, garlic, lemon juice, and EVOO
Smoked Salmon
Mascarpone cheese/honey dip for fresh strawberries and dried figs
Parmesano Reggiano with 25 year old Balsamic Vinegar, goat cheese, a domestic sheep's milk, and Primadonna aged Gouda, crackers

Cream of Fennel

Roasted porcini dusted pork loin with bacon and dijon with sauce of morel, porcini, shiitake, oyster, portabella, and button mushroom with tarragon and cream
Grilled asparagus
Garlic/Parmesan mashed NASCAR Yukon Gold Potatoes

Mixed greens with oven roasted Bosc pear, Australian blue cheese, Pancetta lardon, red onion, hazelnut, dried blueberry, and pear vinaigrette

Broiled pineapple with macadamia crunch with vanilla/citrus pannacotta

Wines served were in order...
Veuve Clicquot NV
2005 Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Eden Valley Riesling
1997 Chateau Reynella Basket Press McLaren Vale Shiraz (CORKED!)
2004 Marquis Philips McLaren Vale Shiraz 9
1998 Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Heathcote Shiraz
2001 Duckhorn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Mitolo GAM Barossa Valley Shiraz
2004 Godolphin Barossa Valley Red (Shiraz/Cab)
2001 DeBortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon
2002 Hardy's Botrytis Semillon
2002 Brown Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Although the Mitolo and Godolphin recently got HUGE scores from Robert Parker the wine of the evening was the Marquis Philips Shiraz 9. WTG #9! All of the wines were GREAT except for the corked bottle of Chateau Reynella.

I can't believe how insanely good (and simple) the broiled pineapple dessert was. Here's the recipe. AMAZING!!! It's insanely good with a botrtrytis semillon/Sauternes. Even better when you add a pannacotta...

I've got a long day of work tomorrow and then I've got to pack and then take off for New York on Tuesday morning. A friend of mine is taking me to the airport and then I've got another friend picking me up on Friday. I doubt that I'll be able to post from New York (not for lack of access, but time). Who knows! You may want to check just in case.

I may or may not post tomorrow...who knows?

Good luck Kathleen and good luck to all of my other friends who may or may not be losing their job!


Random quiz-
(I was watching a bit of the Magnificent Seven on PBS the other day late at night)
Can you name all seven of the actors (without cheating) that played the "Magnificent Seven"? (Although I love both movies, The Seven Samurai (which the Magnificent Seven is based on) is by far the better of the two, but I can only name one of the Seven Samurai (Toshiro Mifune).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

16% Abnormal

You Are 16% Abnormal

You are at low risk for being a psychopath. It is unlikely that you have no soul.

You are at medium risk for having a borderline personality. It is somewhat likely that you are a chaotic mess.

You are at low risk for having a narcissistic personality. It is unlikely that you are in love with your own reflection.

You are at low risk for having a social phobia. It is unlikely that you feel most comfortable in your mom's basement.

You are at low risk for obsessive compulsive disorder. It is unlikely that you are addicted to hand sanitizer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Get out a blue book and a Scan-Tron, it's time for a test...

Julie put this on her blog and I feel that I've got to share it too.
Are you a genius? The test is obviously flawed as it determined that I'm a genius (barely). Some are pretty obvious, some are really challenging, and some I just have no f'in idea...
Good luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tag! I'm it!

I've been tagged by Julie.

4 Jobs you have had in your life- Library Page, Waiter, Wine/Retail Geek, Expeditor

4 Movies you could watch over and over- Caddyshack, Breakfast Club, Holy Grail, A Christmas Story

4 Places you have lived- Dearborn, MI; Allen Park, MI; Salem, OR; South Rockwood, MI
(among many more)

4 TV Shows you love to watch- House, Lost, Family Guy, Law and Order: SVU

4 Places you have been on Vacation- Switzerland, Australia, "Up North", Chicago

4 Websites you visit daily-,,, (plus a few blogs)

4 of your favourite foods- Rack/loin of lamb, braised short ribs, braised pork belly, duck

4 Places you would rather be right now- Home, Australia, Rigi-Kulm, New York

4 Bloggers you are tagging- Kat, Spoozinator, Tactometer, Audenslave

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Golden Globes and NASCAR taters...

So I went to Farmer Jack after work tonight to do a little grocery shopping. I picked up a few more items for Sunday's dinner party and a few other random items. I needed to get some potatoes for the mashed potatoes so I opted to go for the 5lb. bag of Yukon Gold. The only 5lb. bags of Yukon Gold potatoes available were called NASCAR Yukon Gold. With the NASCAR logo and everything. WTF?!? I don't want a NASCAR logo on my potatoes. They didn't have any bulk/loose Yukon Golds. The NASCAR bag was my only option. I almost decided to get another inferior type of potato or change starch courses entirely just so I wouldn't have to buy anything with the NASCAR logo on it. When did NASCAR get together with the potato industry? Does Simplott sponsor Jeff Gordon? I can understand if NASCAR put their logo on Skoal Bandits or home inbreeding kit or something, buy why on my starchy little friends. Please keep your hands off my taters and your decals off my car...

I watched 24 both last night and tonight. Looks like I'm in it for the long haul. I caught a little bit of the Golden Globes and I was happy to see Hugh Laurie win Best Actor in a Television Drama. Kudos to him and his fine performance in my favorite show, House. Kudos also to Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon for winning for Walk the Line.

I also caught Matisyahu on Letterman. Matisyahu is a Hasidic reggae artist. He was surprisingly good. With my eyes closed I would have never guessed him to be a Hasidic Jew. With eyes open it's pretty obvious...

I had a little more discussion with someone today about that possible future opportunity. Wish me luck.

At this point I'm just thinking about the dinner party on Sunday and of course New York. I'm really looking forward to New York (if I haven't already mentioned that a few billion times).

Random poll (for Detroiters only)- Do you think that Detroit will be ready for the Superbowl?

Random poll #2- Rather than ask you who your favorite James Bond is I'll ask who's your favorite Bond villain?

Random poll #3- Blend, pulse, frappe, or liquify?

Random poll #4- Yosemite Sam "Back Off" mudflaps or nekkid' lady mudflaps?


Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Patch of Blue fades to black...

Boring times...
Let's see...
Okay...I've got one...
Friday at the restaurant job one of the busboys (a young Albanian hothead) pulled a 12 inch filet knife on one of the dishwashers. The dishwasher (who is much taller) grab the hand he had the knife in, but the busboy managed to pop the dishwasher in the mouth. Apparently the dishwasher said "Your mama" and that was enough to prompt a death threat. They fired the busboy...

There is perhaps something challenging but exciting for me on the horizon, but I can't talk about it yet. I'll know more later (months later)...

I've taken on more responsibilities at work. That sucks. I've got to see if I can procure a little more money for said responsibilities...

Last night on Saturday Night Live they did a spoof of MTV's My Super Sweet 16 with Scarlett Johansson. It was about time. The skit was just okay, but the show definitely needed some skewering. And for the record Horatio Sanz is still not funny.

I watched the season premiere of 24 tonight. It was pretty good. I've never really watched the show. I've seen episodes and enjoyed it, but I never got addicted to it. I wouldn't be adverse to becoming addicted, but I've already got House and Lost on my plate. Do I need another? Maybe. I've got a great idea for a season of 24. What if Jack Bauer solved the crime in first hour and then went home, took a nap, made a sandwich, went grocery shopping, and stayed home to watch TV. What do you think? Should I submit my idea to the writers over at Fox?

New York is just over a week away. I can't wait. I pick up my tuxedo and topcoat on Wednesday. I picked up cufflinks and studs today as well as a new pair of shoes. I haven't worn a tux since prom (other than my days as a waiter at a country club). (I don't remember if I ever posted about my prom. Basically it sucked (as did most of my high school experience). Let's just say that my date got back together with her ex-boyfriend on prom night. She threw an after-party and they proceeded to have sex while I was in the basement watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail with some other nice folks. She got pregnant that night, they got married, and they're now divorced. Wasn't high school grand?) New York is such an awesome town. It's gigantic and lively. I'd probably like to live there if I could afford it, but maybe it's just a little too big and lively. It's certainly a nice place to visit anyway... I think Chicago is just about the perfect city...or maybe Portland, Oregon. I love Detroit and all, but seriously...

I've made a few adjustments to my dinner party menu. The soup has now changed from potato leek to cream of fennel, the risotto has become mashed potatoes, I've added a morel/porcini sauce for the pork, and I'm changing the creme brulee part of the dessert to panna cotta. Yesterday I was offered a free ticket to see Wynton Marsalis play "A Love Supreme" next Sunday...the same night of my dinner party. Damn!!!

Acting legend/Oscar winner Shelley Winters passed away at the age of 85. She was amazing in Patch of Blue. Netflix it if you haven't seen it. Here's a more detailed filmography. She'll be missed.

And in local news...
Eminem re-married Kim. I guess at least he's "keepin' it real". Really trashy that is. That's how it is in the "D".


Friday, January 13, 2006

Random blog quiz thingy...

I originally received this as an e-mail from a friend. You're supposed to answer it and then send it to some friends and then they're supposed to reply to it. I figured I'd turn it into a blog thingy...

The theory is that you will learn a lot of little
known facts about your friends.
1. First name? Jason
2. Were you named after anyone? A boy in England that my mother was an au pair for.
3. Do you wish on stars? no
4. When was the last time you cried? A couple of months ago watching a movie.
5. Do you like your handwriting? nope
6. What is your favorite lunch meat? Serrano ham from Spain
7. What is your birth date? September 14, 1972
8. What is your most embarrassing CD? Cyndi Lauper "She's So Unusual"
9. If you were another person would you be friends with you? yes
10. Do you have a journal? yes
11. Do you use sarcasm a lot? yes
12. Would you bungee jump? yes
13. What is your favorite cereal? Empower
14. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? no
15. Do you think that you are strong? Physically or emotionally? Kind of to both.
16. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Butter Pecan
17. Red or Pink?red
18. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? my weight
19. Who do you miss most? My family in Switzerland
20. Do you want everyone you send this to, to send it back? yes
21. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? black, black
22. Last thing you ate? An orange last night.
23. What are you listening to right now? the rain
24. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Burnt Sienna
25. Last person you talked to on the phone? A customer service representative
26. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Face
27. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Of course
28. Favorite Drink? Shiraz
29. Favorite Sport? Is drinking wine a sport?
30. Hair Color? blonde
31. Eye Color? greenish
32. Do you wear contacts? no
33. Favorite Food? Too many choices...braised pork belly?
34. Last Movie You Watched? The 40 Year Old Virgin
35. Favorite Day Of The Year? New Years Day or any day on vacation
36. Movies Or Happy Endings? happy endings?
37. Summer or winter? winter
38. Hugs or Kisses? Can I have both?
39. Favorite Dessert? Really good tiramisu or flourless chocolate torte
40. Who Is Most Likely To Respond? K or J
41. Who Is Least Likely To Respond? R
42. What books are you reading? A Short History of Nearly Everything is next in my queue
43. What's On Your Mouse Pad? The mouse!
44. What Did You Watch Last night on TV? Family Guy, Futurama, lots of random stuff
45. Favorite Smells? Bacon, coffee, cinnamon rolls, and leeks sauteeing
46. Favorite Sounds? Australian Magpies singing
47. Rolling Stones or Beatles? BOTH
48. What's the furthest you've been from home?Australia
49. Do you have a special talent? I used to be able to belch the alphabet

2005's "Asshole of the Year" is...

Pat Robertson!

Here he is either dropping a deuce or trying to kill homosexuals and puppies with his mind.

Dubya, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld are ineligible as they already have Lifetime Achievement awards from the Asshole Hall of Fame in Crawford, Texas. Mr. Robertson is already starting off 2006 with a bang. Looks like he's going for a twofer...

Here's another new interesting story about Pat Robertson. I didn't even know about his "Jesusland" theme park plan in Israel...

The 2005 "Bitch of the Year" is...


What kind of donut am I?

You Are a Powdered Devil's Food Donut

A total sweetheart on the outside, you love to fool people with your innocent image.
On the inside you're a little darker, richer, and more complex.
You're a hedonist who demands more than one pleasure at a time.
Decadent and daring, you test the limits of human indulgence.

Hey cops! Eat me!

What kind of coffee am I?

You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

I may be a soy latte, but I wouldn't drink myself. Espresso, strong black coffee, or the rare caramel macchiato for me...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

March of the really big penguin...

Not a lot going on. Work sucks and it's going to get worse, but what else is new?

When I was originally invited to New York for the 10th Anniversary celebratrion of the Australian Wine Bureau I was supposed to go to a gala black tie dinner. The AusWAT winners received an e-mail later saying that we'd be taken to dinner instead on the same evening. Today I received an e-mail saying that the black tie dinner is back on. That's great but now I need a tux. So I went to Men's Wearhouse after work to look at rental tuxes. Turns out that it doesn't cost a whole lot more to buy a tuxedo than to rent one for four I bought one. Yup. I'm now one of those people who actually owns a tuxedo. I never thought that I'd be one of those people. I may be invited to some black tie gigs in the future (or I may have to bartend), so it's not a complete waste. I can even dress snooty for the opera or symphony if I so desire. The possibilities I pick it up next Wednesday (alterations). While I was there I figured that I needed a new overcoat too. I have a decent one, but quite honestly it's a little dated (very early 90's). I am also now the proud owner of a black cashmere overcoat. (It was on sale!) Don't look at me like that...

I'll be attending this $300.00/ticket gala event at the Metropolitan Club in midtown Manhattan. Here's a picture of the swanky joint-

I'm really looking forward to the trip. I have my dinner party first to get out of the way. I'm still stressing out a little bit about that.

It's winter in Detroit and it's cold (actually it wasn't that bad today). Here's a couple of pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I really like them. It's bright and colorful for a weary winter day. I took the pictures at the outdoor street market in Lugano Switzerland in October of 2005. Hope you like them...

Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What 2007 car should I drive?

You Should Drive a Saturn Sky

You're sleek and smooth, and you need a car to match your hot persona.
Besides, sometimes you want your top up - and sometimes you want it down.

This quiz is perfect timing for the 2006 Detroit International Auto Show.

Monday, January 09, 2006

"New York, New York you're a hell of a town..."

Hmmm...not much to report.

The new year hasn't exactly started off with a bang...maybe more of a whimper.

Actually one good start to the year was the resignation of Tom Delay as House Majority Leader. A small start, but maybe it's a precursor of things to come. Is the impeachment of Dubya in our future? We can only hope...

Work has been slow. The owner was out of town for a while and now the store manager is out of town. It's been a nice reprieve, but now the owner is back gangbusters. It was nice while it lasted. At least the holidays are over...

I've been planning a dinner party for six friends and myself. These people are all foodies and winos. It's a little stressful trying to plan for hors' douvres and a five course dinner. These people really don't care, but I always want to impress and have everything go off perfectly. I've almost got the menu nailed down and have bought as many of the non-perishables as I can think of. I've already got some wines picked out and set aside with a few more to purchase. Here's a rough idea of the menu I have planned...
Hors' douvres-
Smoked Salmon
Cannelini Bean Crostini with Onion and Sage
Crostini with Oven Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Basil, and Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
Graber Olives, Parmigiano Reggiano, Primadonna Sheeps Milk Gouda, Laura Chenel Goat Cheese, Crackers, Bread
Undecided. Maybe none.
Cream of Potato Leek with Pancetta, Frizzled Leeks, and Creme Fraiche
Roasted Pork Loin with Mustard, Garlic, and Bacon with Sweet Potato Chip Garnish
Porcini and Morel Risotto with White Truffle Oil
Vegetable (undecided)
Greens with roasted pear, gorgonzola, hazelnut, red onion, dried blueberries
Pear vinaigrette
Broiled caramelized pineapple slices topped with macadamia nut, brown sugar, and butter over creme brulee

We'll's a work in progress. Maybe I'll just order pizza and drink some insanely good wines with it.

The biggest and best news right now is that I've booked my flight to New York. I'll be leaving in a couple of weeks. I called the hotel and booked an extra day. I haven't been to NYC since 1994. One of my Australian co-travelers will also be coming in a day early. Hopefully we'll get a little time to catch up and take in some of the sights. There are probably at least 100 restaurants in New York that I can name off that I want to eat at, but I've only got a short time and not a lot of money. Of course I'd love to eat at Daniel, Nob, Per Se, Le Bernardin, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Jean Georges, Lespinasse, Veritas, Peter Luger, Aquavit, Felidia, Babbo, Po, Oceana, 21 Club, etc. The list goes on and on. I am very seriously going to try to get a meal in at Les Halles. One of my culinary and literary heroes, Anthony Bourdain, is executive chef there. Here's his bio. I know that he's now a self acclaimed "sell-out" and that there's a very slim chance that he'd actually be there, but I want to have a hanger steak and the best pommes frites in town...or maybe some innards. Not only is he a classicly trained top chef he's written the best damn book on restaurants and cooking- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. It is the be all and end all of contemporary culinary writing. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE that book. Every young chef/cook I talk to worships it. He's also written A Cook's Tour (non-fiction), Bone in the Throat (fiction), Gone Bamboo (fiction), The Bobby Gold Stories (fiction), Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical, and others. He also currently has a show on the Travel Channel called No Reservations. Yeah...I dig Anthony Bourdain. Sue me.

Chef/Author/Host/Sell-Out Anthony Bourdain

Pigs feet at Les Halles

Although he's a mega-star celebrity chef I wouln't mind eating at one of Mario Batali's restaurants. I completely respect him as he is completely dedicated to and passionate about the finest in authentic Italian cuisine.

I'm really looking forward to seeing some of my fellow AusWATeers in NYC. We're going to be taken out to dinner on the Wednesday. It's an Australasian place and I presently can't remember the name. Thursday will be the mega Aussie wine-event and I'll be captaining a table. I really can't wait. I love New York, I love my Aussie traveling companions and hosts, and I love all things Australian...especially wine.

Last night I went bowling for a friend's 30th birthday celebration. I had to work until 9:00 so I couldn't make the dinner, but I was able to make it for the "Cosmic Bowling". We had 4 lanes and a good time. I bowled a 99, a 93, and a 47 (in that order). Did I ever mention that I suck at bowling? It was fun and we all had a laugh. I've met my bowling quota for the next few years.

Here's last weeks Jack Lessenberry column from the Metro Times. Another good opinion column...this week about the struggles ahead in 2006.

I forgot to mention in my last post my favorite wine of the year. After posting that big list of great wines I actually neglected to include my favorite wine of 2005. 2003 Glaymond Landrace Barossa Valley Red...DELICIOUS!!!

Hope that your 2006 isn't sucking too much so far...