Harriet the Spy

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Is this really an appropriate toy for a kids' meal?

I drove through Chick-Fil-A yesterday for a late lunch and I ordered a 4 pack kids nugget meal. I almost always order off the kids menu, because (1) I really don't need 8 nuggets and medium fries, and (2) it's way cheaper. Like by half. Anyway, if you order off the kids menu, you get a fun little prize in your bag. Sometimes, the prizes are pretty good. I collected all four foreign language CD's (Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Russian, if you must know.....and yes, I did listen to them). The prize yesterday left me scratching my head, though. It was a "Between the Lions" bookmark with a magnifying glass at the top. Seriously, whose idea was this? I mean, if you're old enough to read, but young enough to still be ordering off the kids menu (myself excepted), should you really need a MAGNIFYING GLASS to be able to see what you're reading?!? Maybe they're catching on to the fact that it isn't just the 5-9 year-old-group that's ordering off the kids menu these days....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time to bring back the blog?

Yeah, so it's been a while, huh? I think I might bring this blog back-- more for myself than anyone else, as I'm sure I've lost nearly all of my "readers."

Anyway, so I was listening to The Decemberists this evening and I bought a couple of songs from the Live iTunes thing that they did a while back. That got me thinking about the way we buy music these days. It's such an instant gratification thing now. I remember "back in the day" when you actually had to go to the store to buy (insert generational physical manifestation of music here). For me it was tapes, and then CDs. I can still recall the first CDs I bought. (The Meat Puppets and the Les Miserables soundtrack, in case you were wondering). One could easily spend hours in a music store browsing through everything. For me, Sensuous Sound was the place to go. "All CDs just $10.99!" In reality, they just wanted to get you through the door to look at all of their really high end audio and home theater stuff, but man, you couldn't beat that price on CDs. I kind of wonder what interesting things I'm missing by just dialing in whatever in iTunes now. I definitely love being able to get what I want when I want it, but I kind of miss the whole music store experience. Where am I going with this? I'm not really sure... but man, the Decemberists need to tour again soon. They put on a great show.

Interesting side note (or maybe not)-- The Decemberists' "Crane Wife" is based on a Japanese Folk tale that was once featured on Reading Rainbow. So if you listened to it and found yourself going, "man, I know that story from somewhere" maybe you have Lavar Burton to thank.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thursday, March 22, 2007

As promised...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Woot woot...

Colorado, here I come! (Pictures, etc, may be forthcoming depending on how good a time I am having).

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The weekend package should come with a free colonic...

For Christmas this past year, Chad was kind enough to get us weekend passes to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We've gone to the Grand Tasting events for the past two years, but we figured since we'd have to get a hotel this year anyway, we might as well do it right.

Let me just say-- doing the full weekend thing is like a marathon-- you really need to be training for all the eating and learning how to pace yourself, or you'll be sorry.

Friday night started off with the Moet & Chandon BubbleQ, hosted by Al Roker. The food was great, especially the ribs from Mike & Amy Mills' of Chicago. We saw Martha Stewart cutting the line at Al Roker's station....kind of made me wonder if she got to cut the line in prison, too. And I guess no one told her, but her anorak or whatever the heck she was wearing wasn't quite the recommended "SOBE chic" attire. The champagne was also wonderful, but they ran out before the event was over...boo Moet & Chandon! Shaq showed up toward the end of the event, which was unexpected, but very cool. After that, we headed over to the Ocean Drive afterparty, which was probably a mistake for me. This event was sponsored by Absolut and they were making a bunch of drinks with their new "Apear" vodka, including an awesome pear mojito. I never want to have another pear mojito in my life. We'll leave it at that. Suffice it to say that I didn't really feel like drinking a whole lot at the Grand Tasting on Saturday.

The Grand Tasting on Saturday was a lot of fun, but I have to say I really think that last year's tasting was better. Delta did an awesome job with the check-in station, which in past years was just a bunch of FIU students handing out glasses and bags from cardboard boxes. It seemed like they sold a LOT more tickets for this year's event, because the tasting tents were absolutely packed. They opened at one, and by three a lot of restaurants had already run out of food. We spoke with the rep from Sheba Restaurant (where I had my birthday party last year) and he told us that they were told to prepare for 2,200 tasters-- I know that they sold at least 6,000 tickets to the event, and the Herald estimated it at more like 10,000. I think it's great that there's so much interest in the event, but if they're going to sell that many tickets, they really need to make sure that that many people are going to be accommodated. Also, it would be nice if more restaurants had access to electricity. I noticed last year that many restaurants were serving ceviche, and this year it seemed like every third restaurant had ceviche. Don't get me wrong, I love ceviche-- but there are only certain restaurants that I think highly enough of to want to eat their raw fish, especially if I know that fish has been sitting out on the beach for a couple hours.

We also enjoyed the food demos, although we only saw Giada, Emeril, and some of Dave Lieberman on Saturday. I felt sort of bad for Giada, because it seemed like none of the equipment wanted to work for her. I don't know whose fault that was, but seriously-- the girl can't do a pasta cooking demo if she can't get her water to boil. Emeril demoed a couple dishes from a spa menu that he's created for the Lowes hotel......which is kind of ironic. I mean, it's "pork fat" Emeril for goodness sake. Granted, all the food looked pretty good, especially the ahi tuna poke. It's definitely gonna need more sesame oil for me, though.

After eating all day, we headed back to the hotel to get ready to eat some more. (See? I bet you thought I was exaggerating three paragraphs ago when I said it was like a marathon). The dinner we attended was a five course tribute to Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York. The dinner was very good, but some of the dishes were just kind of strange, to be honest. The first course was some kind of duck thing that reminded me of an olive loaf. It was a little round slice of something that appeared to have a type of blood orange jelly on the inside, surrounded by something that tasted a lot like pate, surrounded by what I think was duck. It was paired with an excellent Riesling, however. The second course was a dish that included some yummy prawns in a creamy corn sauce. I liked this one a lot. This was followed by foie gras raviolis with black truffles on top. These were also very good, but the dish was so rich I don't think I'd want to eat a serving any larger than what we were given. The next course was a sea bass topped with something that I couldn't quite identify. The topping could best be described as very thin, translucent strips of something that had a sort of rubbery consistency, covered in a gold spray. The bass was awesome, but I didn't eat a whole lot of the topping. The final dish of the main courses was Kobe beef cheek with some other stuff that I couldn't identify. Unfortunately, I really didn't care much for this dish. It was very odd, and I couldn't quite tell from the menu exactly what it was that I was eating. (It reminded me of a time back before I knew that 'haricots verts' were just green beans....). The dessert was a little chocolate tart-type thing that had nuts on the bottom-- it was great. After the tribute, the dinner finished up and we headed to the Belvedere afterparty at the National hotel. I hadn't been to the National before, so it was fun to check it out even though we only stayed about 15 minutes. Belvedere did an awesome job with decorating, though. They had a bar completely made out of ice, and they filled the pool with three foot high lit up letters that spelled out "Belvedere." In all, the evening was really nice, but after the long day of eating I was exhausted and ready for bed.

I can see that this is turning into a really long post, so you'll have to stay tuned for part II-- the Martha Stewart tribute brunch and Grand Tasting day II.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I know, I haven't updated this thing in a while....

Sorry. I've been busy.

Now that we have that cleared up, I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, the Logitech Harmony 880 Universal Remote Control. I got this for Chad as a Christmas gift, and it is probably one of the best purchases I have ever made. (He likes it too, just fyi). At the moment, we have 7 devices hooked up to our entertainment center, which meant 4 remotes and three different game controllers. If you have a similar set up, you know what a pain in the ass it is to have one remote to turn on the TV and switch between the different video inputs, another remote to control the volume, etc on the receiver, another remote to control the cable box, another remote to control the DVD player....you get the picture. No one can sit on the couch next to you because you're all snuggled up with your sixteen remotes. Alas, no more, thanks to the Harmony 880. One remote does it all. After downloading the set-up software from Logitech, inputting the information about all of our devices and uploading it to the remote, we were in business. The software is a breeze to use, and it is highly customizable. It works using IR technology, so if you have a lighting system or fan that works on IR, you can actually control that via this remote as well. (Unfortunately, ours uses RF...apparently the upgrade to this remote can handle RF as well. Wish I would have known that before). You set up "activities" on the remote as well, so if you want to use the DVR for example, you push "watch DVR" and the remote turns on the TV, cable box, receiver (set to TV/SAT), and pulls up your DVR guide. It also makes sure all other unused devices (like the DVD player) are switched off. It's so smart. I love it. You should get one too.