Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Georgia, oh Georgia

I just home from two weeks in south Georgia for work. Being from the northwest, I figured it would be warm down there so I didn't bring a coat. People thought I was crazy. We had a snow day, and it didn't snow (except near Atlanta) or have torrential freezing rain. It was just kind of chilly, maybe 34 degrees.

I stayed in a hotel with not good food, and didn't have access to real food. I ate at Olive Garden (meh, as always except the always reliable salad and breadsticks) and Buffalo Wild Wings (I love the variety of wings, and they have a salad that makes my mouth soooo happy) but they don't exactly scream Georgia. I did eat a delightful carrot souffle and some amazing squash casserole that I am going to try to replicate in the almost cafeteria style hotel restaurant. I got some good barbecue on St. Simons Island (not my favorite style, but they came close), at Southern Soul and tried Brunswick stew for the first time. I asked what was in Brunswick stew, and was told, pulled pork, Lima beans, corn, and Brunswick (whatever the heck that is). I will have to try to make some of that also.
But otherwise, my time went by without much food excitement. And then, the night before I left, I found paradise. I luckily got to spend some time with my dear friend while I was down there, and we always have to seek out the best food we can. We asked some strangers where to go in downtown Brunswick, and they said if you just want good food, head to Indigo Coastal Shanty where we proceeded to try everything we could. Perfectly crisp Plantain chips that were better than tortilla strips with the amazing guacamole that accompanied the chips. The best fried green tomatoes, over some amazingly creamy grits. A white bean and fennel soup that hit the spot, and then we tried some killer pasta, with an amazing tequila sauce, some Charleston stew dish with more grits, and a bowl of southern style cioppino that knocked my socks off. With lots of food and leftovers, we of course still had to get cake. Rum spice cake with sauce reminiscent of caramelized hot buttered rum batter with pecans. Seriously amazing food.

Chalkboard DIY

My roommate and I needed a chalkboard for the space next to our bar. I couldn't find one in the right size, so I decided to make one using plywood, 1x3 strips, and chalkboard spray paint. The lumber I had cut at Lowe's (they do simple cuts for free!) and once everything was primed and ready, assembly was quick. I just used a clear gloss varnish for the trim, which worked out better for this than the stuff I used for our spice rack shelves. Now for the fun parts:

Ta-Dah! A chalkboard!

We plan to use it to keep track of the Friendsgiving day menu first, then the TV show seasons we are working on, and other important things. 

I also sprayed a small canvas we had laying around in order to keep track of what is currently in the kegerator, which is nothing right now. 

We have a regular weekly menu on the fridge, this is primarily for everything else.

I bought a really cheap eraser that is not the greatest, so we are still hunting for the perfect one that actually works. For now using a damp cloth is working.

Also we need to invest in some colored chalk. 

Coming soon: My mother's recipe box project...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's been a while...

Over a year in fact! And so much has happened, it's a little overwhelming.
Since my last post, I spent three months in Bethel, AK working, then a month trying to figure out how to function in the real world again. Then I went to DC for the presidential inauguration, then New Orleans for the Superbowl and Mardi Gras (and the food!) and then to Kotzebue, AK for three months.
I love Kotzebue, and this is the first winter I haven't spent any time there, and I miss the community and my friends.

And then I moved. I left Alaska. It was hard, leaving my family and friends, but it was time for a change. I had lived in Juneau for over eight years, and I still think of it as home (well, I think of Montana as home, but I only spent my infancy there). I needed some perspective. My dad helped me pack up my car, and I got on the ferry.

I moved to Southern Oregon. Medford. And it was different. There were things I loved, and things I didn't. I loved the farmer's market, and my friends, but not the heat. I spent almost every other weekend driving to my brother's nephew's house in Portland to visit and bond over ice cream and comic books. But I knew something was missing.

So I applied for a job in Colorado. I interviewed while on vacation in Palm Springs visiting one of my favorite people. Side-note: I love Palm Springs. Again, not the weather, but the food (go eat at Cheeky's, order the chilaquiles and you will love me forever) and the architecture, and that my dear Ela lives there. And we went to Joshua Tree, which is like visiting Mars (or what I think Mars ould look like if it were less red). And I forgot about the interview.

Joshua Tree


And then I got an email at work one day, almost a month later. Offering me a small promotion to move to Aspen. As in Dumb and Dumber fame. I thought about it for two whole seconds, then I packed up my apartment, called my mother, and we headed to Colorado. Four months after moving to Oregon.
Colorado is where my mother's roots are, so she enjoyed the trip down memory lane, and how much the area has changed.

I like Aspen, and the Roaring Fork Valley, it is beautiful. I realized I missed the mountains of Alaska. I arrived in the fall, with the trees turning golden, and the town a little sleepy. I thought it was perfect. I still do, but it is not quite what I thought it would be at first. But I'm happy here!
I am not wealthy, not even close, I get by, but I realized I am in another world now. Especially now that winter is here. And the wealthy ridiculously rich come out of the woodwork. The locals are great. There are things to do, and I can fish year round (I haven't gone yet, but I am going to!).

I know I'm happier here because I am cooking and baking again (it doesn't hurt that I want to use the oven to warm up either). And I'm working on my resolution, be healthier and happier!

So, I'm hoping to update on a regular basis, and share more of my cooking, as my Facebook friends are constantly asking for recipes.

Happy New Year!