Saturday, June 30, 2007
1. Although you can't see it, this is the only good use for a can of Miller Lite. Sorry USA Keith...
2. There is just something funny about beer-butt chicken that gets a whole lot funnier when you tuck the wings behind the place where there used to be a head. It is almost as if he/she is saying "Ahhhh....."
3. This bird is so big, it doesn't look to be enjoying its "new seat".
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Slight rant. I love the 650, but why does every grill with a side burner have to have two settings: high and really, really high? My old Broilmaster was just as much to blame. There is no simmer setting unless you count gating down the valve on your natural gas line...which is exactly what I have to do. Fortunately, tonight I was only using the side burner to make chili. Gating the valve down with the actually grill running obviously wouldn't work. Not everyone with a grill plans on using the side burner to nuke canned baked beans from "Zero to Done "in 60 seconds. Some of us actually want as much heat control on the side burner as we do on the grill. Rant off.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tonight, it was Salmon with a Hoisin-Mustard Glaze on a cedar plank. I love the taste of Salmon on cedar, although for some reason tonight I felt I was missing some of that "woody" flavor. The salmon came from Sam's. My only complaint with Sam's salmon is that it is always skinless. I like having the skin on, especially when I am cooking directly over the grates.
If anything, I have enjoyed posting my grilling exploits because I find it a way to challenge the variety of recipes I am grilling. I am not going to post the same exact meal week after week. I am trying to mix it up more and I think it is working. Although lately, I have heard a lot of "Hey, stopping taking pictures and serve dinner!" Regardless, this is my time of the year. With the weekend coming up, I am already trying to get an idea of what to grill.
Tuesday night was a Blootered Celebration. Eric and his brood stopped by for an evening of swimming and eating. As always, a good time was had by all. On the grill, were a pair of lemon, garlic and rosemary rotisserie chickens. Each weighed about 6 pounds and did not pose a problem for the rotisserie motor. I am wondering how that thing will handle a turkey.
On the beverage front, Eric and I shared a bottle of Strong Suffolk that I brought back from Greene King. It was just as good here as it was in Bury St. Edmunds. We also had the bottle of Hops, which I need to find stateside.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I am always leery of flank steak, because it has to be grilled just right and then cut just right to be any good. I never order beef fajitas at restaurants because I can almost always guarantee that the beef will not be cooked right. Tonight, I was pleasantly surprised. Although it is not tenderloin, it was really quite good. As usual, I probably ate too much, but hey..it's Friday!
Blue Moon is brewed by Coors, although you would never know it by looking at their bottles. If you go to the Coors website, you will see it listed there. There is also the commonality of "Brewed in Golden, CO". It is Coors' way of creeping into the craft brew market and they have been fairly successful with it.
So, how was it? Not too bad...but not great. The nose of the beer is almost non-existent. I am going to blame that on a chilled beer and two weeks of real ale! This beer is one of those drinkable summer brews. It goes down, but doesn't really do much for me. It is most definitely a sweet beer. I can still feel the honey hanging on my tongue. It is so sweet in fact, I think it almost overpowers the hint of clover that I find lingering.
Oh well, I have some Circus Boy in the fridge...
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Not that I really want to re-hash the event, but.......the weather I can understand. It sucks, but hey, that's weather. What does make me mad is the whole fuel debacle in Atlanta. When you are sitting on a plane for three hours and get one update an hour, that is not enough. Apparently the automatic fuel system had some sort of problem and the remedy was to fuel the plane from the top of the wing, via gravity. We were told that a "fuel truck" was on its way to "top us off". So naturally, everyone kept looking for a fuel truck to show up. After over an hour...nothing.
After we de-planned...because there was getting ready to be a riot, the problem appeared to have been fixed by some guy on a step ladder. Now I do not know squat about fueling a plane, but I do understand redundancy and back-up's. The fact that something as simple as fueling a plane stymied a ground crew at Delta's hub is utterly ridiculous.
So, long story short and bad Treo pictures later, we made it home a day late. What is the first thing I did? Fired up the grill, what else?
Roll on weekend...
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Well we are sitting here...on the plane...and we were just told they are having problems getting fuel into one of the tanks. The maintenance guys are on their way...they better be able to fix it. I don't feel like staying in Atlanta any longer than necessary.
The best purchase we made this trip was a temporary Crown Room membership. This is the fourth Crown Room we have been in and it is by far the nicest. The staff at the Crown Room in Newark were able to wrangle us seats together on the Newark - Atlanta leg...I also credit the Crown Room for our quick booking this morning...even if it was eventually cancelled. If we had not been early in making the arrangements, we would have been the one's on TV this morning sleeping on the floor and brushing our teeth with yesterday's newspaper.
Let's just hope we get out of Atlanta...
I am now going to take a shower and use all of the towels...
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Well, we are sitting here in the Crown Room at Gatwick watching a piece of luggage outside that fell off the luggage trolly. It is sitting in the middle of the road and around 20 airport vehicles have driven by it...no one has stopped. I hope this is not an omen of our travel day.
After a nice dinner in last night, Keith & Michelle dropped us off at the airport. They were the best of hosts and we look forward to reciprocating next year.
It has been a crazy two weeks and although it will be good to be home, I know that my alarm will go off too early tomorrow morning.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Keith and I had talked about taking a brewery tour last year, but never managed to work it into our schedule. This year, Keith planned ahead and booked us a tour of the Greene King Brewery in Bury St. Edmunds. After getting up this morning and having a quick breakfast, the four of us drove about an hour and arrived in the beautiful...but rainy...town of Bury St. Edmunds.
Last night for dinner, Keith & Michelle arranged an evening out with a bunch of their close friends. We had already met everyone before on our previous trip for Keith & Michelle's wedding. So, it was great to hook up again and pick up where we left off. Keith & Michelle have a wonderful group of friends and I have always appreciated how their friends made us feel welcome.
Everyone in this group shares a love of Indian food. Of course by Indian I mean the country, not the reservation. I have wanted to try Indian for sometime, but have never gotten around to it. There are a few Indian restaurants in Dayton, but in England they are everywhere. Even on Mersea! The English's appreciation of Indian food shows why the curry is replacing fish and chips as the quintessential English dish.
The twelve of us shuttled down to the local Indian restaurant, Titash. The menu was expansive and I felt once again as if I was spoiled for choice. I also wanted to make sure that I did not get something too hot, because I did not want to ruin Zoe's night sleep...or anyone that wanted to come within 10 feet of me within the next 24 hours. I am sure that you can understand.
I settled on a medium garlic chicken curry and the nice thing was, everyone shared the dishes that they ordered...so I really had a bit of everything. It was outstanding. I really, really liked it. I found it similar to Asian...but in other ways, totally different. Most dishes were a delicate balance of sweet and heat. It was a wonderful experience.
Well I have made a pledge to actually try that out of the way Indian place back home. I am curious to see how it compares.
The evening ended way to soon, but it was great to see everyone again.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
UK Keith has been looking to buy a new TV for their sitting room and was looking at Sony's. Imagine my surprise when he was looking at a 40 inch Bravia. We talked about it quite a bit yesterday and did some online research. We found the best price at Comet's...which is kind of like a Best Buy. After ordering it online, we picked it up today.
BTW, Comet's is exactly the same as Best Buy. As Keith & I braved the checkout, I witnessed firsthand how their help was the same lot of knowledgeless, slow and extended warranty pushing hacks that we have in the US. They tried to push an extended warranty that cost one third the cost of the TV!
Now UK Keith is quick to point out that he paid the same price in pounds as USA Keith paid in dollars...if you include the exchange rate, that means UK Keith paid almost twice as much! UK Keith not so happy about that.
UK Keith is also going to order the same wall mount that USA Keith has...that will also cost twice as much. UK Keith's is going into a total concrete/plaster wall, so that will present a series of issues probably on the same difficulty that USA Keith and I had. After having literally pawned over both TV's I can tell USA Keith that they are identical...outside of the Europe specific connections.
There is nothing that I love more than unboxing new electronics...or grills.
After a great night's sleep, we headed off for a late morning walk and lunch. The beach is about a three minute walk from Keith & Michelle's. After strolling down the beach, we took brunch in the village at a nice little outdoor cafe overlooking the village's church. I, of course, had a sausage baguette. Yum!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
We trained up from London this morning and got the grand tour of Keith & Michelle's new house. It is absolutely beautiful. Their kitchen in this house is to be seen to be believed. It is a cook's dream. They live right outside of Colchester on a little 10 square mile island called Mersea. It is pronouced Mer-Ze...not mercy or mersee like I have pronounced it every single time I say it. The island is accessible from a small bridge which during a high - high tide once every four weeks or so, is unaccessible for approximately four hours.
As we arrived over in the west end, we rounded the corner of the Palace, where Spamalot was running. I was actually pretty awed because I have always been a huge Monty Python fan, loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail and had previously listened to part of the Spalmalot soundtrack. We walked into a pub across the street and grabbed a couple pints of Adnams and while there, they asked if I wanted to see Spamalot. I of course said, "Hell yes!", and the surprise was sprung. According to Zoe, "others" knew about this as well...but she doesn't remember who she told. They apparently were able to keep the secret.
It was about thirty minutes to show time so the four of us ate two packets of crisps, downed our drinks and headed into the theatre. It was a beautiful theatre, obviously over one hundred years old. In true form, we ordered our intermission drinks before heading to our seats. We sat in the stalls, fifth row, just off center stage. Great seats.
The show? What can I say? The performances and staging were spectacular. If you love Monty Python, you would absolutely love it. One member of the cast seemed to channel John Cleese. We laughed the entire way through. In fact, knowing how much Eric loves MP, I could hear him laughing too. BTW, Spamalot is coming to the Schuster in 2008, so let's make plans now.
After getting out of the show a little after 10, we walked towards Chinatown for dinner. By this time, we were all starving and I was beginning to imagine things since I had not sacrificed anything to my stomach. We settled on a corner place appropriately titled Gerrard's Corner Restaurant. When you are spoiled for choice on a menu and feel like you could eat a cow, ordering can be a bit of challenge.
The food was of course great and the service pretty good too. London, like any large city I suppose, does not sleep. New tables were being readied for guests at 1130 PM. Gerrard's stays open till 2 AM. Gerrard's was about as ethnic as you get. Upon walking downstairs, I about stumbled into the underground Chinese bar...complete with requisite karaoke. It was obvious serving an all Asian populace.
After dinner, we meandered our way back to the hotel. Although most pubs were closing...it was around midnight...nightclubs were still going strong.
It was a pretty amazing night and a wonderful birthday surprise. London is an amazing city and I most certainly enjoyed it today. Tomorrow, we will be off to Colchester...can't wait. Thanks Keith & Michelle!