Thursday, January 19, 2012

I hear they have snow there. Let's go.

Like I said, we're going back out into the world in search of snow and booze.

If you want to see what that looks like when we're in charge, follow right along as I intermittently add photos to this album.

Warning: They may all be photos of the dog licking her butt in the cab of the truck as we drive across three states during a giant snowstorm. Which, that could be fun, right?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Censorship blows

So read up on SOPA and PIPA and sign a petition to keep our internet open and uncensored.


That is all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

We still eat around here.

You may recall, from previous ski trip preparations, that I like to master plan our ski trip menu.

And, you may also recall that we go on an annual ski trip about this time of year. Even on the years when we are freshly back from skiing in another country.

Like this year.

Like awesome people who plan vacations so far in advance that they don't realize how they've managed to stack them up right on top of each other to the point where coworkers and bosses and clients are all, "Dudes. What the fuck? Weren't you, like *JUST* on vacation? And, hey, wasn't that a ski trip, too?"

To which we just say, yeah, and then bow our heads sheepishly while smiling crooked little knowing smiles and flipping them the bird.

Not until their backs are turned though! We're not animals!

Anyway, so yeah, we're going on another ski trip next week, this time to the great Only Place In The Continental US With Proper Snow state of Montana,  where the forecast is calling for snow and snow and snow some more.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING WINTER, MONTANA. Unlike the rest of this place, particularly Tahoe, which has dirt for snow and cannons for storms and hiking on MLK weekend instead of skiing and other such nonsense.

It's sad, Tahoe right now, so we're extra psyched to see what Montana's all about for skiing and riding finally. Because Bubba's been wearing his Whitefish hat ragged over the last few years waiting for the chance to press his planks against their wondrous mounds.

You said Mounds.
YAY! That was probably the porniest thing I've written in a long time! About my man and his undying love affair with snow. And mounds.


And this post was supposed to be about meat loaf.

Hey! Meat loaf! Let's talk about that.

So, you guys know that a part of master planning any ski trip menu is testing out new Sure To Be Awesome recipes, right?

Because it is.

This time when I drew up the menu, we had a bunch of old ski dinner standbys on there like Bubba's famous BBQ brisket, our friends' tortilla soup and lasagna and my meat loaf.

But, my meat loaf, while good, was put under scrutiny when I was leafing through old issues of Cook's Illustrated in my pajamas (What? You don't all this?) and came across their recipe.

I mean, we all know that if a recipe appears in CI, it's bound to be completely mind-blowingly incredible. Also, it will take a long time to make, dirty every pot, pan and utensil and require the construction of at least one proprietary tool.

This recipe for meat loaf did not disappoint.

Now, I'm not going to go into the whole science and What Are They Talking About? theory behind the recipe, because that's what CI does best and I won't be able to add anything meaningful to what they already say so clearly, but I will say that 110 loaves later (which is how many they made in order to perfect their recipe), this recipe is pretty fucking perfect.

And no veal or complicated meat mixture required. It's all beef and it doesn't just taste like a big burger log.

I like that.

Because I have a LOT of beef in my chest freezer from the split half we get annually and I can't be bothered to haul to the butcher for a half pound of ground pork and half pound of veal and oh this much of whatever part of whatever beast ground into whatever blah blah blah, I JUST WANT TO MAKE A SIMPLE MEAT LOAF.

Because, I don't know about you guys, but to me, I think meat loaf should be a simple and satisfying thing to make and eat.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that the CI recipe is simple, but it's damned satisfying, particularly when you make it for two of your ski buddies (one being Bubba) who'll be a part of the ski trip, and they go back for seconds while making comments about the awesomeness of it all.

Awesome Meat loaf. That's a beautiful thing.

Before I give you the recipe, though, I will tell you that one of the things that makes this recipe awesome is also sort of suspect. In the way that I saw it on the list of ingredients and, having not read the whole preceding article which explained its role in the making of awesomeness, sort of recoiled from the pages.

I was backing away slowly when I took this.

It's gelatin. Unflavored gelatin. Not a lot - just 1/4 teaspoon - but it's 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin. Which, I don't know, seemed weird.

But then I read the article which explains the why and how of it and I became soothed by the science.

Soothing science, that's what CI is all about. Or something.

Anyway, the loaf. It's below and a few of the steps that I caught on camera while making it are there, too. As well as my inventive packaging for the Master Planned Ski Menu Meat loaf and a picture of Bubba's hat begging on its deathbed to be returned to its homeland.

Soon, grody hat. Soon.

AKA Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmeat loaf
AKA (singsongy voice) Meat loaf sandwich - Imma have a meat loaf sandwich (/singsongy voice)

The Test Loaf atop a handmade perforated foil tray atop a cooling rack atop a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.

The Amazin' Glaze. Sorry, had to say it.

When testing recipes, one must have boozy reinforcements. And sharp knives.

Bonus of the baking sheet apparatus: easy transfer to a serving platter and no pool of grease.

The most perfect loaf two servings from being gone. Read: MEAT LOAF SANDWICH MAKIN'S.

This recipe mixes up into the most loafable texture.

If only I hadn't punched a hole in the bottom foil, this would have gone perfectly.

Meet Dinner, 1/23/12.

Ski bound loaf.

So, what's on YOUR apres ski menu? Can I have some?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Old and weird

Pretty sure that after our Movie Date the other DAY, Bubba and I have safely arrived in the Old and Weird category.

Because Young Finny would make unmerciful fun of the two of us, if the space time continuum would allow such things to happen. Thankfully IT won't because IT is something only available for fucking with in Star Trek and other similarly made up universes, so we're safe from that embarrassing moment, but only inasmuch as the non-existence of interstellar spaceflight will allow. Thank goodness for the Prime Directive.

See - that right there is evidence of Weird already.

Ugh. We're doomed.

Anyway, we were off work for a few days after all the kilt-flipping and snow enema fun of Scotland and Austria, respectively, and I thought it time for us to go to the movies so that I could watch my boyfriends Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law run dirty and in slow-mo in Sherlock Holmes II.

But because we're us, we don't go to see movies on a Friday night after having a dinner of over-sauced and unnecessarily chickened pasta at a local chain restaurant and then proceed to engage in a coy scene of clandestine making out in a crowded sea of strangers in a packed theater like we imagine some normal people might.


We go on a Friday MORNING at 11am for the $5 SUPER matinee. After showing up all early-birdish to the theater 30 minutes ahead of showtime where the manager (still unraveling his belt-mounted spool of ancient keys) tells us that the theater's not even open yet so please come back in half an hour.


SO, at that point, we wandered off to search up 30 minutes' worth of entertainment in the dreariest and most hopeless looking strip mall a person could imagine.

Hopeless until we spied the Dollar Tree store, that is.

The fact that we immediately locked eyes and practically high-fived over this non-find should tell you something about us as a couple.

Firstly, that we are ridiculous people who have spent way too long in each others' company to be able to know that crossing a dollar store is a no-duh sign of guaranteed entertainment and secondly, that THANK GOD we found each other over a decade ago and later decided to marry because it's pretty obvious that no one else is going to take either of us freaks.

Because we basically high-fived with our eyeballs in front of the Dollar Tree.

I believe I said something to the effect of, "Oh hell yeah! We can totally piss away half an hour in THERE!"

After which time we proceeded to spend 30 bliss-filled minutes entertaining one another in their casually arranged aisles which were amply stocked with every toy, candy, holiday decor item, kitchen gadget and questionable wearable that's been pulled from shelves of more reputable stores due to health code, safety or NAFTA violations in the last 30 years.

Yep. CUH-lassy.

But, all Oldness and Weirdness aside, I know that I can't be the only one to find dollar stores FANTASTICALLY entertaining.

Out yourselves, people - tell the world what fabulous fun you've found in a dollar store.

Shy? Self-conscious? Afraid the world will judge you for buying sacks of Ring Pops and then putting them all on your fingers to lick and eat in one grand corn syrup binge?

Fear not! Allow me to provide a segue:

LOOK AT ALL THE COOL SHIT WE FOUND. Which, by the way, is probably no longer available (or never was) in normal stores.

Fun Dips were right next to these. Both are horrifying in their whimsy and nausea inducing in their nostalgia.
Gummy fruit flavored sharks candy on a stick. WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS EXISTED?

To be truthful, I've never had one of these. But seeing them all stacked up like this made we want them. And the weird dollar candy next to them.

It took all of my meager willpower to NOT buy ALL of these. I only got one bag. And I've regretted not buying the rest ever since. I may be going back unsupervised so that I don't have to catch Bubba's questioning gaze as I load up a cart with their entire stock. And then ask if there are more "In The Back".

We batted around some suggested improvements on names: Bubba thought, "Batpoo" held merit, while I suggested a further refinement on his apt idea, simply "Guano." I'm all about truth in advertising, people.

I daresay there's nothing "REAL" about these snacks. Though that doesn't make me want them any less. In fact, the unREALness of them and the fact that the packaging is in both English and Spanish sort of makes me want them MORE. I guess I'm just a daredevil like that.
Unfortunately, those are all the photos I took because I was forced to end my exploration prematurely so that we could make it to the stupid movie on time to get a giant sack of popcorn (Which, did you know that if you go to the first movie of the day that you get the freshest popcorn? You do. It's amazing and wonderful and worth being the only person under the age of 85 at the theater at that hour.) and I still had three more aisles to explore before I could even consider leaving the store.

Before we left, we both made some purchases.

After careful consideration, Bubba got some movie candy for $.79 (Good n Plenty and Spree, from what I can recall - not too daredevily) and nothing else that I can remember and I got a metal strainer (like you'd use for spaghetti), a sack of Ring Pops (only one sack though! Sadness!) and another item I can no longer remember because obviously it was really awesome and necessary.

My plans for a return visit?

TO BUY ALL THE RING POPS THEY HAVE and then live out my life's dream of putting one on each finger and toe and driving myself over the edge of sanity by eating them all in one sitting. Potentially while nude.

Oh, and the movie was pretty good, too. Because we did end up going. And then we had the whole theater to ourselves because, did I mention that it was 11am on a Friday and we were in the smallest weirdest theater in all of America? And in this theater we had all to ourselves, we talked loudly to one another, just like we would have at home, kicked our feet up on the rail in front of us (because we were obviously sitting in the Cowboy Row) and, when Bubba found he was not man enough for his Medium sized popcorn (I had gotten a small because I'm obviously very dainty), he very aggressively "refilled" my popcorn by dumping it blindly from his bag toward mine.

There may have been some popcorn on the floor when we left, is what I'm saying.

Also, we ate all of our candy, drank a gigantic soda, criticized and commented on the movie as it went by and generally had an excellent date of it.

At one point, upon leaving the theater/scene of the crime, I told Bubba that it was the best date ever.

Then we went home, got our bikes and rode for tacos.

I'll tell you what, that guy sure does know how to show a girl a good time.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Kilt butts and weiners. No, really.

Obviously we had an awesome time in Austria and Scotland.

Helloooooo Alps.

It's hard to smile bigger than this.

I mean, there was snow, beer, schnapps, Weinerschnitzel, skiing, lifts with heated seats and bubble covers, fries with everything, bacon wrapped wurst, kilts, castles, street parties, fireworks shows big enough to annihilate a small village, wedges of melted brie, Scotch, whisky and G&Ts in a can.

Also, haggis.

And just to get that out of the way before I get too deep into my recounting, YES I ATE HAGGIS. Also, black pudding.

Haggis = good. Black pudding = less good.

That's pretty much all I derived from that experience, so there you go. We all tried both and we all lived and no one retched. We all went back for a second try at the haggis and we all agreed that the black pudding, while edible, was sort of a worthless food. Like tofu, but from blood rather than soybeans, which - appetizing.

The kilts though...MEMORABLE.

AKA Hard to forget.

Perhaps you recall my not so secret wish for a Kilt Flipping Good New Year?

This guy did, too, and he was all about granting that wish. Generous folks these Scots.

Beyond the kilt flipping? Well, we decided that we love Scotland. Edinburgh so far, but we're going back for more, probably at New Year's 2012-2013 because we had just that much fun and left a lot of booze undrunk.

And that's just Scotch and whisky.

Like, for instance, did you know that in Scotland you can buy Gin and Tonic in a can? YOU CAN. And then you can, say, haul it around with you all premixed and ready to drink while you walk from castle to cathedral to cemetery and so on.

I mean, it's no Hendrick's and Fever Tree with a twist of Meyer lemon, but it's portable and sometimes that's enough.
 Not that I did.

I mean, it wasn't necessary since everything we did involved a cocktail break before and after. Even if what we were doing was going to a pub.

Proper Hendrick's and tonic with a cucumber slice and rose petal garnish.

Prosecco with a rose petal garnish because WHY NOT.

So *maybe* there was some drinking.

Oh Edinburgh - we loved you so, you saucy bitch, you.

Before all that though, there was Austria.

For those of you in the US - don't worry, someone has snow right now.
Not sure if you've noticed, but we are very light on snow this year in the States. It's sad. Austria though? No problemo.

Welcome to proper snow.

Welcome to off-piste.

Welcome to D.A. making fun while you crash.

And welcome to a giant snow storm as we sadly headed to the airport.
As with so many of our ski trips, the storm held out until our final days, but that was actually fine because it gave us plenty of time to get the lay of the land in Arlberg which, by the way, is fucking massive.

And 120 euro gets you access to all of it. HELLO, TAHOE ARE YOU LISTENING?
Also, local folks wait around for the slopes to be "properly prepared", which means that you can go out and ski powder without too many people gumming up the works if you can catch the lift first thing in the morning before they groom.

And why wouldn't you when the lifts have bubble covers and heated seats?
It was lovely. Even though I wrecked my shoulder and we had to fight through a big old storm to get to the airport where we were LUCKY to get the last flight out.

Austrians know how to clear an effing runway.

Love you, Austria.

Missing you already.
So, yeah, Austria and Scotland were good times. Made even more so thanks to our travel buddies and their insatiable desire for all things snow, booze and food.