Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cooking 1.0.1: Peppermint Bliss Avocado Salad (Day 36)

Avocado might be one of my favorite things on the planet. I haven't been able to find a ripe one anywhere in Denver for about a week now and I pretty much had a mental breakdown. Finally yesterday I was able to track one down at Marczyks and I got to make the salad I've been dying to try ever since reading about it on  Peppermint Bliss. I made a few small adjustments to Baileys original recipe.I have never been able to find cojita cheese in Denver so I used Feta instead and I also added olive oil to the frying pan to cook the avocados so they'd be less "grilled" and more crispy. The salad was so good I wound up making a second plate and then this morning I simply grilled up a few slices of avocado and ate them plain before running out the door for my dentist appointment. Highly Highly recommend. 

  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Cojita or feta cheese, crumbled
  • Lime Juice
  • Avocado
  • Serrano Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper

  • Mix together the juice of one lime with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Set aside
  • Slice up avocado and season with salt pepper and olive oil
  • Add some olive oil to a large skillet and cook the slices of avocado for 1-2 mins on each side
  • While avocado is cooking, slice up a raw Serrano pepper
  • Toss the pepper, the arugula, and the lime juice and olive oil combo together and slowly add cheese till you reach your desired consistency.
  • Top arugula mixture with seared avocado and enjoy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fiesta Fiesta

Happy Fiesta to all my fellow San Antonians! I really wish I had the day off work like you lucky beazies. Viva!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Gotta love Di & Cher

As if.


Shiny Objects

       My Word.

Cooking 1.0.1: Chicken Pot Pie Biscuits (Day 33)

I have a major major obsession with pot pies. This is probably because my freshman year of college the only food that my dorm served that was even mildly tolerable was Marie Calendar chicken pot pies (hello 27 lbs weight gain) and I begin eating them on the reg and truly never stopped. While the Marie Calendar ones are great they are an insane 1,100 calories so I almost never eat them. I've always wanted to try and make one at home but I had been warned that the process was time consuming and messy. While browsing pinterest the other day I came across a recipe for chicken pot pie pasta. While the idea of putting the filling on top of pasta didn't really appeal to me I thought that it would be the perfect topping for the grands buttermilk biscuits I had in my freezer. I had all the ingredients in my fridge besides chicken so I actually decided to make a veggie version. The result was INCREDIBLE. Definitely the best thing I've made so far. The next night, I ran out and bought chicken to make a chicken version of the same dish. #Amazing.

Ingredients (serves two)
  • two grands biscuits
  • Two cups chicken broth
  • Two stalks celery, chopped
  • Two carrots, chops
  • 1/2 cup chopped red, white, or yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Three teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste

  • Prepare biscuits according to package directions
  • While biscuits are cooking, melt butter in a large skillet. Add peas, carrots, onions and celery. Cook over medium-high heat till peas are thawed and onions are translucent
  • When vegetables have softened, add the flour and stir
  • Gradually add the chicken broth as you continually stir the mixture. You can add more flour or more broth to achieve your desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Take biscuits out of oven, cut in half, and top with mixture.

My Dad enjoying a pot pie at yard house.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sketchers Summer 2013

Sketchers really busted out the stops on this seasons line of fine footwear. Here are some highlights presented to you via Zappos. Disclaimer: these are the real names of the shoes. I could not make this shit up.

These babies are called the "outshine". I mean I suppose that name is fairly appropriate. These colorful jailhouse slippers will surely set you apart from the fellow patients at the state asylum


Now these ones are called "Inspire Luster". I'd more say they more inspire a "Gone with the Wind" style amputation operation. But hey, to each his own.

These next gems are called "Hot ticket".

 Here is the review given by one such "hot ticket" who bought these mules in Rockys colors. 

"I love these shoes! It is extremely comfortable, does not cut my ankles (a problem I have in most sneakers), and did not require any breaking in. I am looking forward to wearing these shoes on vacation. They look great with jeans. I got them in purple and gray and they are super cute. They make my feet look small (and they are size 9). Usually sneakers make my feet look huge but these are awesome. Best of all there are no laces! I can slip them on and off in airport security and I do not have to worry about tripping on my laces."

I'm not sure what this "Hot ticket" looks like but I'm going to say It's something like this: 

Next up we have the "Bright Side". I'm assuming this means "hey, on the bright side you will now never have to worry about unwanted pregnancy or STDS again!"

These gems are called "Barbed Wire". I'm assuming that this was a marketing ploy to promote them to jailhouse inmates, as that is clearly who they were designed for.

I think It is important to note that Sketches did not forget about it's more androgynous fan base when creating this new collection. Behold the "Sparkle". You know, cause when I think wanting to "sparkle" I instantly envision knock off vans in a handsome flannel pattern.

In what might be the most controversial shoe of all time....may I present you with the "Daddys money: Give me kisses". A product of the Joe Simpson Collection.

Which pair are you going to chose to sport this season????

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Marfa, Day Three

We woke up on our final day in Marfa to amazing weather. Even though we had a six hour drive back to San Antonio, we found the ranch to be so relaxing that we decided to stay on premise till about 4:00 pm. I spent some time casually relaxing in the hammock outside our room before getting into the car to take a drive up the mountain passes to do some exploring. It was amazing to see all formations and wildlife (All though the donkey on ranch was still my fav, hahah) and we made several stops to check out caves and other notable historical spots. After driving down from the mountain we decided to go paddle boating on the lake and spent some relaxing time by the pool before enjoying a lunch of fried gulf shrimp salad and Mexican beer. Yum. It was very sad to leave such a gorgeous place after only one night. My parents actually wanted to stay another night but unfortunately I could not miss work. So we bid farewell to CCR with promises to return in the near future, only next time for longer.
On the way back to San Antonio we made a short pit stop at the famous El cosmico camp grounds. El cosmico is a plot of land created by Liz Lambert who is also the creator of the famous hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin. The site offers several brightly colored air streamers, tepees  and safari tents for camping and also boasts an impressive gift shop where we stocked up on Marfa treasures including several bars of handmade "Marfa Brand" soap which is currently making my apartment smell heavenly. We got back to San Antonio around 10:00 pm which left me just enough time to grab taco cabana before falling asleep and catching a 4:00 am cab for my 6:00 am flight. God Bless Texas.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Marfa, Day Two

After accidentally  sleeping in on Saturday (I blame the grilled cheese), we were in a bit of a time crunch on our second morning in Marfa. We were set to arrive at our second "hotel", Ciblo Creek Ranch, at 1:00 pm for lunch and we still had to make the 35 min trek out to Valentine to see the Prada Marfa building. This left not much time for a sit down breakfast, so we were in luck that the small German cafe and juice bar Squeeze was located just around the corner from our hotel. We ordered up at the tiny counter and sat outside in the colorful courtyard on a big picnic table to enjoy our meal. I chose to stick with the German theme and ordered some scrambled eggs with knautworst while the rest of my family opted for pastries and yogurt. Naturally, I took bites of everything and was really impressed with the high quality of the chocolate in the pain de chocolate as well as the freshness of the fruit in my bothers yogurt and granola bowl. While the food was good, the highlight of the trip was absolutely the homemade "cream sodas" that my brother and I ordered to go on our way out. I more ordered the drink for the novelty of it but I was actually blown away at how good it was. The sodas combine fresh squeezed juice, soda water, and homemade whipped cream that is placed on top and then stirred in. I chose to get a pineapple, mango, coconut combo while my brother picked a three berry concoction. They were insanely refreshing and very reasonably priced at $4. We also stocked up on some imported Swiss dark chocolate that was for sale....how could we not?
After breakfast we jumped in the car to check out Prada Marfa. Located about 30 mins east of town in the tiny town of Valentine (pop. 150), The Prada Marfa building is an art exhibit that is designed to look like an actual Prada store. Inside its walls is contains actual Prada shoes and bags hand picked by Muiccia Prada herself. I have always had a really creepy fascination with tiny towns, so I was pretty excited to both see the exhibit as well as drive though Valentine. Although I have driven through West Texas a handful of times and seen many tiny towns, I have never seen one as hard pressed as Valentine. The whole town is only one block long and if you didn't know better you would think it was a ghost town. Very very eerie. The best part about the whole experience was probably seeing my brothers reaction when we drove up to the Prada. Apparently, he is the only Texan in the world who had no clue what it is. The whole time I had been talking about "stopping at Prada Marfa" he assumed that was just the name of a town I wanted to have lunch in. He was pretty tripped out/confused  when we pulled up to the store, hahahah. It was awesome.
After Prada, we began the hour long drive to Ciblo Creek Ranch. It is honestly amazing how much the landscape changed in such a short amount of time. While Marfa is extremely flat with very little trees or plant life, Ciblo Creek is located at the foot on the cianti mountain range. The grounds are incredibly lush and green, filled with trees and rolling hills. Upon arriving we were greeted by a heard of sheep and a donkey who were roaming around the court yard munching on the grass. It was magical. The ranch itself is a an old pre civil war fort that has now been converted to a lodge. Despite its large size, it can only accommodate about 40 guests at a time to ensure a tranquil experience for all the guests. The front part of the ranch features rooms that have been turned into exhibits illustrating the history of CCR as well as a large dinning room where all the guests eat meals family style. Towards the back there are several guest rooms which surround a large man made lake, a swimming pool, and a spa and fitness center. While the ranch offers various types of activities for guests such as ATV yours and horseback riding, we decide to for go these and just explore on our own. My brother and I checked out all the room exhibits and climbed to the top of the watch tower and squeezed in some time on the lake with a couple of the little kids who were staying there who we helped fish. Sadly, it started to rain only 2 hours after we got there (after a 3 month long drought, so figure), so we had to cut our activities short and go inside our suite to wait for dinner to begin. At 7:00 we went to the dinning hall for dinner and while  I wasn't impressed with the food at the ranch  it was nice to get to eat and talk with the other guests who were from all different parts of the US. After dinner everyone went out by the lake and sat around the huge fire pit and drank wine and used the NASA quality telescope to view the stars. While the starts weren't nearly as good as the ones in Marfa because of the storm  it was still a pretty spectacular way to end the evening.

Motivation Monday

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cooking 1.0.1: Summer Vegetable Pasta (Day 24)

This pasta dish was inspired by my grandfather who always used to get hungry late at night and as a result was often forced to work with a bunch of random ingredients. One of the most yummy pasta dishes I ever had was the result of one of his binges. He simply cooked up some pasta and thru whatever tasty looking ingredients he could find in the fridge into a pan, then sauted, seasoned, and mixed. Since I was traveling last week and knew I'd have a bunch of produce that was going to go bad, I decided to take a page out of his book. It was incredible. I love cooking with pasta because its so easy and cheap to experiment with. The options are endless and everyone should be able to find their own perfect combo that they can whip up whenever the mood strikes.

  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 a cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Porcini mushrooms
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • Asaparagus
  • Edamame
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking, heat oli in a large skillet and add all the vegtables besides the arugula and cook till softened. Add crushed red pepper and salt to taste
  • Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the vegatables. Add goat cheese and stir over low heat till cheese is melted and ingredients have combined
  • turn off heat and stir in arugula.
  • Place in bowl, add addition goat chesse and olive oil if desired and enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Marfa, Day One


My trip to Marfa, Texas was exactly what I wanted it to be: Full of food, drinks, oddities, and relaxation. While it was a long journey (6 hours there and back), it was definitely the coolest place I've been in Texas besides Austin. My only regret is that we didn't have an extra day there. We actually considered staying another night but because of my various up coming trips, taking more time off work wasn't really an option :(. So we set out to make the most of the short time we had.
We left San Antonio around 8:30 am on Friday morning and drove straight to Marfa. The drive was probably the most boring I have ever experienced. There is absolutely nothing interesting what so ever on the ride. So naturally I was thrilled when I saw the big colorful banner welcoming me to Marfa. First stop on our list was the famous food truck "Food Shark" that parks its wheels next to the train tracks in town from 11-3:00 each day. Sitting under the metallic atrium we noshed on insanely delicious egg salad sandwiches on homemade ciabatta and falafel wraps washed down with bottles of ice cold Mexican coke. After we finished eating we cruised over to our hotel, The Paisano, to check in. The hotel was quaint and homey and reminded me alot of some of the older hotels in Boulder like the Boulderado. It had a great courtyard and a really sick bar that was decorated in a way that reflected both the western charm and the art deco-ness of the town with a slate rock bar, dark red leather chairs with studs, and cowhide rugs. After we checked in, we walked about 300 ft down the street to climb to the top of the court house which is absolutely stunning from the outside with its light pink paint job and rows of cotton wood trees. The top of the court house features a circular room with 360 glass windows so you can survey the tiny town. Very cool.

After the court house, we decided to take a stroll through the town.Luckily, Marfa is so small you can literally walk everywhere so you waste very little time trying to figure out directions or navigate. Which is a very good thing considering there is no cell service to be had. We opted out of seeing any type of art gallery in Marfa. This is mainly because my parents just went on an art shopping spree in San Antonio which left them with zero wall space to hang anything new. Instead, we decided to simply wonder about and take in vibes. We stumbled upon an adorable retro fairground, the local Montessori school, a west Texas museum, a rock shop, the famous Thunderbird motel, and a tiny beauty salon that had a cooler outside its door offering free bottled water to any passer by,which was much welcomed in the 84 degree heat. We finished off our tour with a stop at Padres, an old mortuary that has been converted into a bar/resturant. While I was a big fan of their prickly pear margaritas the bar it self was a little skeevy. The outside was cool but the inside was insanely dark and smelled very strongly of moth balls. Not exactly the type of place I wanted to set up shop in, especially not at 4:30 PM. Having said that, they DO have live music on Fridays and Saturdays and im sure the smell and the darkness would be far less off putting in the late hours of the night. After Padres we headed back to our hotel to have happy hour at the bar. Even though the service was dismal, the jalapeno margaritas were tasty and the atmosphere was nice and relaxing.

At around 8:00 pm we headed over to Cochineal for dinner. Undoubtedly the best restaurant in town. Cochineal was opened by a famous NYC chef who located to Marfa a few years ago in hopes of a more simple way of life. In true Marfa fashion, the restaurant is quaint and artistic, built with slate walls and dark wood paneling  It has an amazing patio with gravel for a floor and birdhouses and bubble lights hanging from the trees.  Sadly, I was instantly annoyed by the staff. Nothing makes me more angry than bad service. I had made a reservation over a month prior and when my brother and I arrived they were very rude and told me they had absolutely no record of it. When I showed them my cell phone to prove that they had called me earlier that day to confirm they rolled their eyes and told me "they'd see what they could do".  Um, no. You can seat me now, thanks. And I'll take an apology also.   After seating us at a four top outside I told the waiter that my parents would be joining us. He told me that he didn't know that and that they might not have enough chairs because "every chair in the restaurant is spoken for".  Okay then why the fuck did you seat us at a 4 top? Once again I had to remind him that I HAD A RESERVATION FOR 4. Only then did he grab me too extra chairs that were legit just sitting against the wall of the patio. Even after he gave us our chairs, he didn't give us menus or waters until my parents arrived 15 mins later. Good thing I wasn't fucking hungry or anything.

Even though I was pretty pissed about the service, I have to say the food was pretty incredible. For appetizers we got shrimp and grits with pancetta and poached egg and beer battered fried cauliflower with a fish oil dipping sauce. Everything was cooked perfectly and even though I'm not usually a fan of   running yolks, I found the egg to be the perfect topping for the shrimp and grits. And the fish oil dipping sauce? Oh my fucking lord. I could have drank that shit up with a straw. For entrees we got the rib eye steak and the lamb chops. I'm not a lamb fan, but they looked fantastic. The steak was hands down the best I have ever had. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare with a slightly charred outside and covered in caramelized onions. Every single bite was buttery, juicy perfection. I split it with my brother but I could have easily eaten a whole one. Even after the appetizers. We usually don't order desserts, but after seeing a few neighboring tables partaking in the sweets we decided to go for it. We got the date pudding and the chocolate souffle  both which are baked to order. The souffle was a little bitter for me, but was still pretty tasty. The date pudding was excellllllllent. Moist, chewy, and served with a delicious merainge. Yum!

After dinner we decided to drive about ten mins east of town to view the "mystery lights". This was a particularly exciting moment for me. As a child, my favorite show was "Unsolved Mysteries" and I remembered the mystery lights featured on one of their episodes ( it can be viewed here), so I was pretty excited to experience it in person. For those of you unfamiliar  they mystery lights are  dancing balls of light which separate and then combine and disappear into the night sky. Originally spotted in the 1800's,  The lights were originally thought to be Apache camp fires burning in the distance. No official explanation has ever been found and they continue to be the subject of much speculation and controversy. When we arrived at the viewing site I was astounded at how absolutely magical the sky was. I had already been impressed by the stars over head with in the town itself but this was truly impressive. I felt like I was in a giant snow globe with stars falling all around me. I didn't really see any mystery lights, but we did see numerous shooting stars and the milky way which was good enough for me. Even though it was 45 degrees and super windy we wound up sitting outside for about 30 minutes drinking wine, listening to music on an Ipad, and star gazing.

After leaving the viewing area my brother and I decided to top off our first night with a midnight visit to the Museum of electronic wonders and late night grilled cheese parlor. This was by far one of the weirdest experiences ive ever had while sober. The parlor is run by the same guys who run food sharks where we had eaten earlier that day (the guy totally recognized us and called us out). The parlor is open from 9:30pm to around 1:00am on the weekends and features a random daily selection of delicious melted goodness that is served to the hungry drunk people who stumble in from Padres which is across the street.  The inside is tiny tiny and is filled with installations created from vintage television sets which are all flashing with different images ranging from female lips and eyes to grilled cheeses. There are no real chairs, only 60's era crochet cushions and plastic bubble roller seats. The "tables" are 1950's TV dinner trays and the plates are plastic trays covered in astro turf. The music comes from a vintage 8 track player that boosts an impressive selection of tapes for patrons to chose from. The whole experience made me feel as if I was in a George Ramero film and I'm fairly confident that that was exactly the feeling the owner had hoped to elicit when he created the place. I felt that everything I was seeing should have been in black and white and that at any moment a heard of zombies would come crawling to the door to eat me or to steal my grilled cheese. Trippy as balls for sure. As cool as the setting was, the food was even better. The fact that it was national grilled cheese day definitely sweetened the pot as well. Even though I was so full from dinner I could honestly hardly move (I still wasn't able to button my pants) we decided to go ahead and order two sandwiches as opposed to our original plan of one. We got a cheddar and bacon grilled cheese on cheddar sourdough and  a guyeure grilled cheese served on Texas toast with  caramelized onion, grilled mushroom and zucchini and tomillto salsa. O.....M....G. They were both insanely amazing. I have never had a better grilled cheese in my life. They were so good that we ordered one for my mom and woke her up so she could eat it. She claims that that sandwich was the highlight of her whole trip and my Dad is still mad at us for not waking him up. Needless to say, after indulging in such a glutenous experience  I slept like a little lamb.  Ps: check out my posts about days two and three also!