Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hot And Sweet

Sausage and Peppers is a staple around my house.  Ed loves it, I love it, it's quick and easy and you can make sandwiches, toss it with pasta, put it over rice, etc.  I made it this week for my out-of-town guests.  It's one of my favorite meals and always seems to be a hit.

About nine years ago I did a post with my sausage and peppers recipe, so if you're interested, click here.  The only deviation from my original recipe was, I didn't use green bell peppers, and I included hot sausages also.  I cut the sausage so my guests could tell the difference - I sliced the sweet ones, and the hot ones I just cut in half, leaving bigger chunks to choose if they wanted to try them.

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2017: My Kind Of Salad

2016: In Disguise
2015: Hawaii Five-O
2014: I Like Big Boteros And I Cannot Lie
2013: The Young Never Have Trouble Screwing
2012: Making Tracks Across The Country
2011: Eddie Is The King Of The Dome
2010: Do It For Half An Hour A Day
2009: Sipping In Nyack
2008: The Tink Tink Tinkle Of Recycling
2007: Ralph’s Service Station
2006: The Isle Of Capri
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This Is Who I'm Meant To Be

I haven't seen The Greatest Showman yet but I look forward to watching it.  I love movie musicals, Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum, and my boyfriend Zac Efron is in it.  I can't wait! 

The video above is footage from the movie, which includes the words to the song so you can sing along.  And believe me, you'll want to sing along! 

Here's a behind the scenes look at the rehearsal. In the movie, Keala Settle portrays Lettie Lutz, the bearded lady.  The song, "This Is Me", won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. 

There's a little background on the song rehearsal at the beginning of the video from the director and Keala.  Watch:

The song has that epic musical moment feel to it.  The message is clear and necessary.

This is me!

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No Chickens 'Round Here

2016: Piquing Interest
2015: Not Your Average Hula Girls
2014: Some Links Are Sexier Than Others
2013: Who Says I'm Spoiled?
2012: So That’s How It’s Done
2011: Sunny Bright Yellow Moments Ahead
2010: Loaded
2009: C’mon, Just Do It Already!
2008: Counterproductive
2007: If You Need A Reason To Cook More Often, I Think I Have One
2006: Warning: May Contain Traces Of Nuts
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Where Congress Is Cool

 Last month Ed and I finally ate at the Cup Cafe, located inside The Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona.  
The Hotel Congress was built in 1919 to serve the growing cattle industry and the railroad passengers traveling on the Southern Pacific Line.  In the 1920s, it was the perfect place for visitors from the east to stay a night or two.  
 The lobby was painted by traveling artist, Larry Boyce.    
 According to the hotel website, Boyce "arrived on bicycle in the spring of 1989 and offered to decorate the lobby in exchange for a place to park his bike".
 This is the display case at the front desk, where you'll find candy, cigarettes, and local whiskey.
 The decor is a mix of Art Deco and classic southwest, what Boyce called "Southwest Deco".
Here you can see the definite southwestern colors and designs, mixed with Art Deco-influenced wall sconces. 
In this photo, I captured a leather-clad motorcycle rider checking into his room.  I overheard him saying he's stayed here many times before.  A short while later I saw him dining in the Cup Cafe.
 View from the lobby bar.
Entrance to the Tap Room.  The Tap Room has been in continuous operation since 1919.  Far be it for a cowboy to go without a cold glass of suds.  
The bar in the Tap Room, adjacent to the Club Congress stage.

 The interior area of The Tap Room, as you enter from the hotel interior.
Here are a few more pictures of the hotel throughout the years.

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Inside The Queen
Glorious Tulips

2015: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
2014: ¡Bienvenido! 
2013: We Couldn't Catch Him
2012: It’s Vital For My Existence
2011: Boxed In By Hills
2010: Ask A Trucker
2009: Getting Our Truck Tweaked While Making New Friends And Enjoying A Free Lunch Pie*
2008: Sunglasses Also Required Here
2007: Windows Vista, Trucker Style
2006: Being A Girl Again
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sock It To 'Em

We were at La Encantada last week getting the abysmal battery in my iPhone replaced (again!) and I came across this cute little store called Fuego.  The store was jam-packed with cute, eclectic stuff.  More teenagey than fifty-year-old, but still a fun place to browse.

The wall of Blue Q socks caught my eye because when my friend Vicki was visiting, her and the girls were wearing these funky socks with sayings on them.  Kelsey, a voracious reader, was wearing the fuck off, I'm reading pair.  Mina had the i'm a delicate fucking flower pair.

Other pairs on the wall said things like:


Queen of Bitch Mountain

You're Not The Boss Of Me

Stay Away From Assholes

And then there's the pair I need to get for myself: 

I Have To Pee...Again

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2016: Stop And Pray
2015: Stateroom 342

2014: The Higher The Hair, The Closer To God
2013: My Two Cents On Oscar Fashion
2012: A Little Nip Of A Love Affair
2011: It’s A Serious Addiction
2010: Why Play Fantasy Football When You Can Spend Your Time Making Lists For The Halle Experiment?
2009: I Hope There Isn’t Going To Be A Quiz
2008: Sunglasses Required
2007: Golden Eye
2006: Making A List And Checking It Twice
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Skull Rider

Ed and MacG went riding this weekend and took a trip down to Arivaca.  On the way back, they came across the abandoned Longhorn Grill in Amado, Arizona.  MacG snapped this picture of Ed, making it look as if he were exiting the skull.


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Winter Nuts

2016: Taking A Surf Break
2015: Not So Fat Tuesday
2014: Dinner And A Show
2013: Everything You Need To Live A Bountiful Life Is Inside Of You
2012: From A Bodyguard, To Men Of Honor, To Good Deeds
2011: Just What I Need
2010: Waterfront Dining
2009: The Best Is Yet To Come
2008: It’s Not Just A Medicinal Oil After All
2007: Tracy Hilltop
2006: Calming The Flatulent Tiger
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Roasted And Tossed

These veggies are beautiful and vibrant.  Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Grape Tomatoes, tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Looks delicious on their own, but I didn't eat them raw.  I roasted them in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes and when they were done tossed them with rigatoni and sprinkled the entire bowl with parmesan cheese. 

The photo below isn't as gorgeous as the one above, but the dish was amaaaaazingly delicious!

Easy delicious dinner, done in 45 minutes tops.

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Only A Boob Drives Into A 'Boob

2016: A Citrus Oasis Awaits Me
2015: Ed Travels Light
2014: La Ventanita
2013: Big Fat Proof Of Your Weight
2012: This Could Be Very Confusing For Men
2011: The King Of Thrift
2010: Dances With Sheepskin
2009: The Seat You Offer Your Arch Enemy
2008: The Man With The Silver Handbag
2007: Silver Snowscape
2006: Let Go Let Flow
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Picking Peccary

It's been a while since I've seen a javelina.  They've visited us many times - packs of them eating bread, tipping over garbage, licking the wheel seals on the truck, playing with coffee cans - but I haven't seen one in almost a year and a half.  This guy was alone, in the front yard, just rooting around the dirt and eating whatever he could find.

He seemed to get spooked a few times because his back hair went up, but once he realized he was safe, he went right back to munching.  See video here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Well, I'll Be Damned!

I've lived in Tucson, Arizona off and on for 38 years.  And in that time, I've never been to the much talked about, much written about, much loved Cup Cafe at The Hotel Congress.  Hell, even the Food Network has been there!
Mostly I've stayed away because, as always with anything downtown, the parking is terrible and I dislike the inconvenience of getting there.  But, yesterday Ed and I went for our biennial DOT physicals, both passed (as expected) and decided to celebrate with breakfast at a place we've never been.

I'm so glad we went!  

Located within the historic Hotel Congress, Cup Cafe isn't fancy.  Wooden tables and chairs, bottle chandeliers, and local artwork comprise the decor.  A copper penny floor is one of its most unique features.  
Ed ordered a cup of coffee and I settled on a nice creamy latte.  The coffee was hot and delicious.  A good start.  
The menu was wonderful and making a choice was going to be difficult.

Ed ordered the Creole Breakfast (two eggs any style, andouille sausage, buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy, hotel potatoes...$12).  His meal is at the top of the photo below.  You can take the boy out of Texas, but you can't take biscuit-and-gravy-eating out of the boy.

The bottom of the photo shows what I ordered - the Braveheart (smoked beef brisket, sourdough, grilled tomatoes, sautéed spinach, gruyère cheese, two poached eggs, sausage gravy, hotel potatoes...$12).

I wasn't sure about the brisket, but I knew I wanted the sourdough, the spinach, the gruyère, and those hotel potatoes!

The eggs were poached to perfection.  When I cut through the first one with my knife, the yolk flowed out of the egg like liquid gold.  It was as if I were watching a close-up shot on a food show.  Just gorgeous.  The sourdough was crisp and everything was piled on top.  If I ordered this again, I'd omit the sausage gravy.  It was good, but with the cheese and the poached egg, I didn't need the extra goop.

The hotel potatoes were not only gorgeous, they were delicious!  Roasted (crisp outside, fluffy inside) perfectly, tossed with red, yellow, and green bell peppers.  I could have eaten another helping of these. 
We were there on a Tuesday, late morning, and waited approximately 15 minutes for a table.  They only have seating for about 50 people inside, with a few more on the patio, and I'm pretty sure the wait on the weekends would be far too long for my liking.  But I'd definitely go back.
I have my eye on the Chilaquiles Verde (braised pork, two poached eggs, corn tortilla, tomatillo sauce, asadero and cotija cheese, cilantro, fresh fruit...$11.50) for a breakfast meal, a burger for a lunch visit, and the dinner menu looks fantastic (omg, the appetizers!).

I picked up a flyer, The Hotel Congress Gazette, that had a little piece titled "The Tucson Capture of John Dillinger".  It said:

In 1919, Hotel Congress was built to serve the growing cattle industry and railroad passengers of the Southern Pacific Line.  The Congress of the 1920s was the perfect shelter for genteek travelers and high-rollers fresh from the East.  Hotel Congress could have continued its charming existence as just another place of lodging for road weary guests, except that the date of January 22, 1934 has forever stamped its historical mark upon this edifice.

A fire started in the basement of the hotel and spread up the elevator to the third floor.  This fire led to the capture of one of the country's most notorious criminals - John Dillinger.  After a series of bank robberies, the Dillinger  gang came to Tucson to "lay low".  The gange resided on the third floor under aliases.  After the desk clerk contacted them through the switchboard (still in operation) the incognito gang escaped by aerial ladders.  On the urgent request of the gang, and encouraged by a generous tip, two firemen retrieved their heavy luggage.  It was later discovered that the bags contained a small arsenal and $23,816 in cash.

Later, this astute fireman recognized the gang in True Detective magazine.  A stakeout ensued and they were captured at a house on North Second Avenue.  In the space of five hours, without firing a single shot, the police of small town Tucson had done what the combined forces of several states and the FBI had tried so long to do.

When captured, Dillinger simply muttered, "Well, I'll be damned!"

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My Sentiments Exactly
Ed's Last Look

2015: The Lido Line
2014: Puttin' On The Fritz
2013: Proof That A Snowball Does Have A Chance In Hell
2012: I Just Want Tiny Little Elephants To Massage My Earlobes
2011: App-solutely Crazy
2010: NCIS Investigates The Kitchen Aftermath
2009: Sometimes There Are FOUR Sides To A Story
2008: Made With Pride
2007: Coke Crushes The Competition
2006: Tired And Mute
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cloud Cover

This week has brought rain, clouds, and fifty degree days.  Here, the Santa Catalina mountains are entirely covered by clouds.  

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2017: Vintage Sip

2016: Amateur Arborists
2015: Sea Day
2014: Art Deco Color
2013: Formed Around A Grain Of Sand
2012: Pinwheels, Cartwheels, What’s The Difference?
2011: Maybe You Left It On Mars
2010: The Art Of A French Cooking Friend
2009: Eddie Supervises Friday
2008: Squeaky Clean
2007: Rushing No More
2006: My Constant Gardner
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Snacks & Bar

Mesquite Smoked Whiskey?  Interesting.

I'm a teetotaler and don't know much about how whiskey's made, but the idea of using mesquite wood in the process of making this product sounds unique and definitely representative of the American Southwest.

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So This Happened Today

2016: Agrarian
2015: Tied Off
2014: Seek And Ye Shall Find
2013: Frantically Trying To Get Back To Indonesia
2012: I’d Like Some Snow For Dessert
2011: Getting A Little Carried Away
2010: On A Need To Know Basis
2009: Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong
2008: Flying Into The Sun
2007: Riding The Rails
2006: Keeping Me Quiet With A Chocolate Snap
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Running Through Hollywood In The Desert

This weekend Ed and our neighbor John participated in the Sunrise at Old Tucson Trail Run.

Old Tucson is a movie studio and theme park located adjacent to the Saguaro National Park just west of the city of Tucson, Arizona.  They've been making movies here since 1939, and I'll bet there are several on the list that you've seen.  I even ran into Josh Brolin once while he was filming Young Riders there.

Check out the list of movies and TV shows filmed at Old Tucson.  You might be surprised to learn that some of your favorites were filmed just 20 miles from my house!

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Demo Day

2016: What? This Is Perfectly Normal.
2015: Inside The Walls
2014: What A Difference A Day Makes
2013: The Inner Path To The Outer Banks
2012: The Greatest Love Of All
2011: Step It Up
2010: It May Not Be EVERY Day You Learn Something New, But It’s Certainly True Of THIS Day
2009: Dreams Of Do-It-Yourself Dolloping Come True
2008: Rest In Peace Sweet Green Eyed Beauty
2007: George And Ira
2006: Zip It Up!
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Three Hippie Chicks And Me

Mina, Vicki, and Kelsey (seated) in the Barrio Viejo in Tucson, AZ
My best friend is a hippie. 

OK, well, not a real hippie.  She's more Bohemian, free-spirit, a live-and-let-live type.  She embraces casual and personifies laid-back.

Easygoing, down-to-earth, engaging, funny, non-judgemental, kind, not influenced by trends, unencumbered by "stuff", happy to bloom where she's planted, a lover of the simple life.  She probably hasn't purchased a tube of lipstick or wielded a curling iron in 30 years. 

In other words, the polar opposite of me.

And she's been this way since the first day I met her, 32 years ago, at a ski resort in the Catskill Mountains.  I walked in wearing a red silk blouse, black trumpet skirt, black heels, and a merino wool cape.  Don't laugh, capes were in style at the time.  And it was my mother's, I just borrowed it for my interview.  I had big eighties-style hair and a full face of makeup.

Vicki was wearing a turtleneck, sweatshirt, jeans, and sneakers.  Maybe mascara.  Same hairstyle as in the photo above.  That's how we rolled - I was full-on glam, she was usually in boxer shorts and a sweatshirt and no bra.  We still laugh about how it is we're best of friends.  We think so much alike that we joke we share two halves of the same brain.  She is my soulmate if such a thing exists. 

She came to visit me this month, with her daughter Mina and Mina's best bud, Kelsey.  We had a great time.  I was transported back to my twenties when we'd sit around my house in the woods and talk and laugh as time passed without notice.  We were inseparable.  Ed made a comment after Vicki left about how much laughing we did.  He said, "I heard what you were talking about.  I was listening to every word.  But I still have no idea why you were laughing."  And he never will.  We didn't leave him out, he was included in everything we all did while she was here, but we have something special and it's never been duplicated.  My life was filled with a familiar joy when she was here.  I felt alive and energized.  The vibe was decidedly different.

She texted me after she left saying how she missed me so much already.  I miss her, too.  There may be distance between us physically, but mentally we're always in the same place.

A visit to Nashville is now on the 2018 calendar.  

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2017: The Fanciest Digs In Town

2016: Moon Rising
2015: Almost There
2014: Winter Water Running Through Watertown
2013: The Pretty Pink Sailor
2012: Many Thanks To Those Of You Who Come To Peer Through My Window
2011: And I Thought My Feet Were Big!
2010: ABC. Easy As 123. As Simple As Do Re Mi, ABC, 123, Baby You And Me
2009: Under The Black Palm Tree
2008: The Zoo In Stateroom 7377
2007: Pillars
2006: Fiori Di Como
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Garlic Is Life

Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
Garlic is life.  The smells of my childhood wouldn't be complete without the smell of garlic wafting through the air.  I've only met one person in my entire life who said they didn't like garlic. 

"I don't like garlic.  Ruins any dish you put it in."  Those words came from our neighbor John who, along with his wife, was deemed "the best new person I've met" in #36 of my 2017 year-end meme.  Those words almost ended our newfound relationship.

I'm a skilled enough cook that I can whip up a meal sans garlic for the night I finally get around to inviting them for dinner (Hey Susan!  Let me know what your schedule looks like - we'll make plans.) but for all those other nights, and all those other meals, I've found several garlic-filled recipes that I definitely will be slipping into my rotation.

Garlic Butter Roasted Chicken Thighs with Charred Lemon Salsa Verde & Asparagus

Rosemary Garlic Hasselback Potatoes

Creamy Roasted Garlic Potato Soup with Crispy Brussels & Chili Oil

Baby Artichokes with Garlic and Tomatoes

Thai Style Green Beans

Garlic and Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Scallions

Garlicky Bok Choy

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic and Chili

Classic Garlic Bread (Ed's favorite way to eat bread)

Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms

Oven-Roasted Garlic

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Roasted Potatoes (Can't have enough potatoes!)

Grilled Garlic and Black Pepper Shrimp

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2017: The Queen Of Copper's King

2016: Working The Land
2015: Pre-Columbian Toothlace
2014: Who Needs Sochi? We've Got Watertown.
2013: On The Brink Of A Duel
2012: Cheap And Accessible
2011: What’s In A Name?
2010: Missing The Day
2009: Shameless Self Promotion
2008: Dwarfed By A Behemoth Of The Sea
2007: Ditched
2006: Hudson River Solitude
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Dog From The State Of Sonora

I've been living in Tucson, Arizona off and on for 38 years and this week was the first time I've ever had a Sonoran Dog.  Since my best friend was in town, I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity for Ed and I to try something new and for them to experience a Southwestern specialty.  

There are two places I considered going to for this Southern Arizona treat - El Güero Canelo and BK Tacos.  El Güero Canelo has been around since 1993 and recently received an American Classics award from the James Beard Foundation and BK Tacos was featured on the Travel Channel's Food Wars show.

As a group, we decided on BK Tacos because we also wanted to try their grilled carne asada tacos, featuring meat cooked over a mesquite fire, which is a custom in this area.

A Sonoran Dog is a regular beef hot dog, wrapped in bacon, cradled in a soft, pillowy, slightly sweet roll, topped with whole pinto beans, grilled and fresh onions, fresh diced tomato, decorated with mayonnaise and a dash of mustard and finished with their secret jalapeño sauce.  It's served with a plump, tasty, grilled yellow pepper on the side.

The tacos were great, definitely a win, and I've gotta say I was also pretty impressed with the Sonoran dog.  I liked everything they put on the dog, and the mayonnaise was a surprise.  I didn't think I'd enjoy mayo on a hot dog.  The grilled yellow pepper it was served with was delicious - soft and warm, with a nice charred flavor. 

Next time, we'll hit El Güero Canelo.  I'm all about taste tests and a little local rivalry.

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More Like A Submarine Sandwich

2016: Good Stuff, Maynard!
2015: Spiky On The Outside, Sinfully Delicious Inside
2014: The Most Awkward Descent Down A Snow Covered Hill. Ever.
2013: At The Top Of My Favorite Cities List
2012: Not Looking Anymore
2011: There Is Hope
2010: Where The Bunnies Of The Desert Hang Out
2009: The Marion County Shirt Factory Incident
2008: Eddie Roams The Mayan Ruins Friday
2007: Self Service Antiques
2006: Begin At Once
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!