Posts Tagged food

Santa Fe Trip: Day 3 – TequilaCon

Wow, what a great day!
Great food and great company
Great sights and great times.

As you may have guessed,
It’s time for a summary
Given as Haiku.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Minisize Me?

[Note: I’m not ready to write the update for Day 3 of the Santa Fe trip, so instead I’m posting this that I wrote earlier. Tomorrow is Macro Monday, so I’ll try to get the Santa Fe post up for Tuesday.]

Thanks to my fast food diet, I’ve been eating at McDonald’s more often lately. At first, I was getting value priced, but relatively low calorie items like the 390-calorie McDouble. More recently, however, I’ve been having healthier (albeit much more expensive) items like the 420-calorie Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich (370 without, the mayo, which is how I get it) or the 260-calorie Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken with Newman’s Own® Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (dressing calories already included there).

I’m actually much more satisfied with these chicken choices than the burger. Sure, the burger has its appeal, but it’s just gone too fast. The Chicken sandwich is quite a bit larger as is the salad. Admittedly, the salad isn’t really enough substance for a full meal, but it works out great if I I’ve gone over my calorie budget (or plan to later).

I haven’t had them yet, but there are also some nice low-calorie dessert choices as well. They only real struggle I have is with breakfast. I’m not a McMuffin fan, so that pretty much leaves the Sausage Burrito as the only real sub-400-calorie choice. Now, it’s tasty enough, but it’s higher in fat than I would like. Of course, I don’t *have* to eat breakfast at McDonald’s, but then, that misses point of this post — which is:

I bet I could eat exclusively at McDonald’s for a month, lose weight and have my state of health improve (cholesterol, etc.). A reverse of Morgan Spurlock’s experiment or a response to Subway’s Jared. Do you think McDonald’s would sponsor me?

The biggest down-side would be the inevitable loss of dining companions as everyone else grew completely tired of McDonald’s, or simply refused to go in the first place.

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Santa Fe Trip: Day 1 – Driving to Lubbock

ren-and-wayne-in-the-carwayne-yawnsI had thought we were going to try to get out of town early in the afternoon, but apparently the fact that I didn’t really commit to it led to Wayne scheduling some other activities. Thus, our departure time was delayed until 5:30 PM (at the earliest). In truth, with a stop at Target to get Wayne some sandals, we really didn’t get going until well after 6 PM.

Thankfully, Wayne likes to drive, so he drove the entire time today. I’m not sure if I’ll be driving tomorrow or if he will continue. Despite the yawn, he drove at least five more ours.

storms-burgersWe stopped in Lampasas for a quick dinner at Storm’s Drive-In, Inc. I like little places that I’ve never heard of, but this was just meh. We both had the (chicken-fried) steak sandwiches and we shared some fries. Very similar to Sonic, though the fries were quite different. Anyway, much driving later, we had the following Twitter exchange:

whall: What the heck are these synchronized red blinking lights all along the horizon in Sweetwater, TX? Like 270deg horizon
renagerie: @whall windmills, obviously. Couldn’t you just have asked me since we’re in the same car?

OK, I’ll admit that it too some time for me to figure it out, and I really wasn’t certain until we got close enough to see some blades passing near the lights (it was too dark to see much). Also, I’ve driven this route before, so I was at least aware of there being wind farms in the area.
short-bedWhen we finally got to Lubbock (our halfway point), we had a bit of trouble getting a room. The place I had originally chosen, but not reserved, ended up only have a smoking room available, and we didn’t want that. I called around to several other places nearby, but most of them had no rooms available. We eventually ended up at the Motel 6, where we had to pay $3 for WiFi (an oddly low, yet non-free price) and the beds are a bit too short (as shown in this image).

I should’ve gone to sleep at least an hour ago — I keep drifting off trying to finish this post. I tried to fix all of the resulting typos, but I may have missed some. I’d better get to sleep in case Wayne wants me to drive tomorrow (he’s been asleep for a while now).

Can’t wait for TequilaCon, but first, BeerHer tomorrow night!

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I had lunch at Firehouse Subs today with a friend and his son. Before I started eating my sandwich, I got up to get some pepper and then noticed that they have dozens of varieties of hot sauce on the counter (more than a hundred, I bet). I asked which was the hottest and was directed to Dave’s Gourmet Ultimate Insanity Hot Sauce.
I expected it to be a liquid sauce of the tabasco variety but when I opened the bottle I saw that it was much thicker — more like barbeque sauce. I would estimate that I put between one and two teaspoons onto half of my sandwich. After just the first bite I knew that the recommendation, if you can call it that, was a good one. A few bites later and I had to take a break and eat some of the other half of the sandwich. By far the hottest sauce I’ve ever tried, at least as far as I can recall. I think the only thing I remember being hotter was one of those dark peppers sometimes used in Chinese food — and I don’t think I was supposed to eat that.

At that point, I asked my friend if he wanted to try a bit of the sauce, but he’s not really a fan of very spicy food and declined. His 10-year-old son, on the other hand, wanted to try it. The friend protested at first but eventually relented and let his son try a tiny amount from a toothpick dipped in a bit of the sauce. It took several seconds before there was a reaction, but after that it got progressively more intense. For the next ten minutes or so, perhaps longer, he was suffering through the after-effect (as was I, though I did finish the sandwich). And remember, he had only a tiny amount. Eventually, he got a brownie and I think that did the trick.

“The New Hottest Sauce in the Universe” indeed!

I’d like to discuss the flavor, but I honestly don’t remember anything but the heat. I’d have been happier if I’d used less of the sauce — maybe a third of the amount I used. I may have to make a habit of eating at Firehouse Subs just to try more of the different sauces they have available.

This post inspired by Janna, and I see that she’s a fan of Dave’s Gourmet Insanity Sauce, which is the precursor to the Ultimate Insanity Sauce.

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The Power of Guilt

I’ve been doing pretty well on my diet lately (down another three pounds since my previous update) , but I still haven’t gotten back into the grove of exercising. However, I splurged at lunch today at my favorite burger place, which led to me finally going for a run during my daughter’s soccer practice.

Sure, it was only 25 minutes (and only 2 miles), but it’s a start. I’m hopeful that it will be the start of a trend. Plus, I’m really planning to start back up on the Wii Fit tomorrow morning.

I’ll be going off diet for the trip to TequilaCon next weekend, so the more I accomplish before then, the better. Which is a much improved attitude over how I would normally feel, “might as well just wait ’til after the trip!” of course, there’s always another excuse available around the corner.

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Cruise Highlights

Friends and coworkers keep asking how our cruise was, and my answer is generally along the lines of “meh”. However, the more I think about it the more I realize that that answer really isn’t fair. The vacation itself was actually very nice and relaxing and I had a wonderful time. The ambivalent feeling I have is really because I wanted the cruise to be something special. Instead, I came away thinking that I would have enjoyed a resort more.

As always, the devil is in the details. First, there’s the money. For an “all-inclusive” deal, Carnival sure spent a whole lot of energy trying to nickel-and-dime their guests. From the “Soda Card” I bought to the photo prints they offered for sale to the threat of fees if you lost any towels to the very over-priced bar drinks, it was difficult to not spend additional money.

Next, there’s the issue of time in ports. There simply not enough of it. The truth is, I’m sure there are many people who really enjoy the ship-board activities: drinking, hanging out by the pool, gambling at what passes for a casino and, well, eating. But I’m not really one of them. Well, except for the eating part. Then, when we finally get to a port and can leave the ship, we have to be back in time for the ship to leave port by 3 or 4 PM. I’d much rather leave at around sunset. I think those extra three hours in port would be very handy.

There are other things, like the food selections available at certain times of the day or even the specific foods unavailable during regular meals in the dining room, but I think that’s enough negativity. After all, I really did enjoy my vacation. My favorite parts were driving a 6-speed Jeep Wrangler around Cozumel and watching flying fish jump out of the wake from the ship and re-enter the ocean tens of yards away. (Look closely at the last shot below and you can see one of them.)

Here are some of the highlights from the pictures I took. (More can be found on my photo album site.)

Oh, and about the Canon 18-200 mm IS lens for which this trip was the real test? The results are mixed. I love the versatility of the lens and had no trouble with focus accuracy or speed. However, there was quite a bit of vignetting and pincushioning in a lot of the images. It was the only lens I took on this trip, so all of the images above were shot with it. The question I have yet to fully answer for myself is whether I am happier with this lens than I would have been with a compact super-zoom camera like the upcoming Canon 200SX IS. I think the answer is yes, but I’m just not certain. Without these two issues, the answer would be a definitive yes. Now, I think I’ll have to take another look at that camera when it comes out, along with its competitors.

The other result of this lens test is that I am that much more interested in the Canon 70-200 f/2.8.

PS: If you haven’t stopped by my photo blog in a while, please do so. Thanks!

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C.R. Surf and Turf

Exterior view of C.R. Surf and Turf (just after closing time)

Last night I took the girls to a new restaurant at the site of one of their old favorites (Rail Yard Grill), C.R. Surf and Turf. McKenzie is a staunch meatatarian, so she was all about getting steak. Brittney is currently a vegetarian that eats seafood, so that wasn’t going to be a problem either.

Everything we had was very good (I tried both kids’ food). McKenzie had a flat-iron steak, medium-rare, that was quite tasty. Brittney had the kids’ fried catfish with fries. The fries were definitely above average with good consistency (crispy an the outside and soft on the inside) and good flavor — no ketchup required though Brittney did use ketchup. The catfish was amazingly tasty with a good batter and tender, juicy catfish.

Interior view of C.R. Surf and Turf

It just occurred to me that the batter was probably corn meal based — Brittney has a mild corn allergy and usually tries do avoid corn (a difficult task). I’ll ask her this evening if she noticed any ill-effects.

I had the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. The chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes were good but what really got my attention were the green beans. I think these were probably the best green beans that I’ve ever had. Brittney agreed and even McKenzie, who pretty much shuns all green vegetables, admitted that they “weren’t terrible”. 🙂

C.R. Surf and Turf on Urbanspoon

On Mondays we often go out to dinner with my parents and I asked the girls if they wanted to go back to C.R. Surf and Turf tonight. They enthusiastically said, “Yes!” I think they’re both planning to get kids’ popcorn shrimp — not sure what I’ll have.



Lunch at Gumbo’s

After writing about our less-than-stellar experience at Truluck’s last week, I felt I should mention the contrast of today’s lunch at Gumbo’s downtown. I had the sandwich combo with a shrimp po-boy, jambalaya, and chicken and sausage gumbo, followed up with a piece of Bourbon Pecan Pie. All of it was wonderful. A friend dining with me was also quite pleased with the Blackened Beef Tenderloin.

My only complaint is that the service was a bit slow — luckily, we ended up with an extra water glass on the table so I was able to drink from two glasses to avoid being out of water as often as I might otherwise have been. I feel like lots of restaurants have gotten a bit lazy about keeping water glasses filled recently, but I’m probably just creating a pattern where one does not really exist.

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Outback Steakhouse: Chargrilled Tuscan Ribeye

Outback 20th Bloomin' BirthdayFreshly back from our wonderful ski trip to Snow Bird, Utah, where the only thing we found lacking was the food, we went to Outback for dinner. They’re having their 20th Bloomin’ Birthday with some special menu items. I had the Chargrilled Tuscan Ribeye and it was the best steak I’ve had in recent memory. Good enough that I felt I had to mention it here.


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