Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm a Bad, Bad Boy

Hi Folks, I apologize for the lack of postings as of late. Work and life have conspired to zap my creative strengths recently. Never fear! I am off to San Francisco on a business trip for 2 weeks and that should provide plenty of creative fodder for posts.

Granted, depending on the schedule while there, you might not see them till I get back. But I'll see what I can do about that. Maybe I can write some posts while I am actually working?

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Dream is a Wish Your Stomach Makes

Scott, Tod and I were on our way to Altoona, PA for what has become our annual pilgrimage to the AIDS benefit at Escapade Bar. Abigail wasn't performing this year due to "The Blood Clot Incident" so Scott and I were along as Drag Lackey and Cocktail Lackey.

Last year our hosts had taken us out to dinner at Cracker Barrel. Very thoughtful of them, but certainly not a place I would ever choose to dine on my own. So this year when I heard they were taking us to dinner I asked Tod that we please not eat at Cracker Barrel. Certainly Altoona has to have some local cuisine that could outmatch the "Barrel". I mean, on any given day Denny's pretty much does. We wound up at...

Just a quick hop over to Holidaysburg.

The Dream, and it was pretty dreamy. We had a very brief wait for our table and while we were waiting we were simply blown away by the bakery's display case. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that. It was just bursting with every type of pastry you could ever need, want, or desire. They even had gluten free items, which I think is a great sign of the times.

Anyway, we were seated and then came the difficult task of choosing what to order.

Fairly sizable menu.

Usually when I'm confronted by a menu of this diversity, I wait to hear what the specials are, and I'm glad I did. We all ordered and then the waitress brought the bread. If you've followed my blog at all, you know my stance on processed flour, but even I couldn't resist the hot, fluffy goodness that was placed before us.

I did stick with the whole wheat one tho. No sense goin crazy!

I  did not sample the cinnamon/sugar butter that came with the bread. 100% butter was just fine with me. The guys said the flavored butter was great and Scott even took the leftovers back to the hotel with him. Next came our salads.

Creamy, savory cole slaw

I opted for the cole slaw once I discovered that it wasn't a sweet version. I have to be fairly cautious with my veggie choices because of "The Blood Clot Incident", too much green stuff and my blood thickens up like molasses on a winter day. I am a sucker for a good cole slaw. This one was creamy enough to stick to the cabbage, but still delightfully slick on the tongue. I really liked the addition of the paprika, it gave the dish a nice little splash of color.

Ok, I've been teasing you a bit with my choice of main course...and I'm going to continue for just a bit and discuss what the other ordered. Tod got ribs, which were one of the specials. Huge serving, he couldn't finish it and still be able to perform later. Scott got some sort of something with steamed veggies. He seemed to like it but I still have know idea what it was. Tod's friends got hot roast beef and hot turkey sandwiches which looked amazing and was making be debate whether I had made the right selection. But then my plate came and any doubt immediately vanished.

Chicken Cordon Bleu and FRIES!

Heaven! OMG!!! There were a few things about this dish that were different from other CCB's I've had. First, it wasn't rolled. The cheese and the ham had been rolled, but then they were just placed beneath the chicken breast and baked. I found this style more enjoyable from the slicing and eating standpoint. It created a much more balanced flavor. You weren't getting more chicken than filling because there was only one layer or chicken, not a roll. The other delightful aspect of the dish was that the ham was sliced very thin. So often with CCB's it's just a chunk of ham stuck in the middle. No fun. The fries were amazing too. Crispy, hot and tender in the middle...exactly the way I love them. Not to mention the fact that there was, what I believe to be, homemade ranch dressing to dip them in.

The real shame is that after all of this food, none of us had any room left to sample anything from the bakery case. I really wanted to try one of those gluten free brownies and in hindsight probably should have gotten one to go.

Oh well...that just gives me a good reason to dream The Dream again!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Not "That Cuban Place"

Things are a little confusing here in my little town. We have a restaurant called "That Cuban Place", but this post is not about that cuban place. This post is about the cuban place that is better than "That Cuban Place".  This cuban place is Sabor De Cuba.

It is located in Frederick, MD right in the thick of the downtown area. We have so many great restaurants in that area, many of which I have spoken about here. My coworkers and I hit Sabor De Cuba one day for lunch.

Don't tell my boss!

I decided I had to try one of their Mojitos. You can't feast at a cuban restaurant and not sample this iconic drink. Besides, it was a Friday and I didn't have a lot on my plate back at the office. I have to say, it wasn't as good as the ones I make, but in the grand scheme of the Mojito Universe it was quite good.

Minty, limey goodness

One trick I noticed is that here the bartender blends the ingredients before placing them in the glass rather than muddling them in the glass. The upside of this is that the mint pieces wind up small enough to make it up the straw as you're sipping. The downside is that it tints the cocktail green. Not the typical color of a muddled Mojito. I've always enjoyed the contrast of the clear cocktail with the mint leaves myself.

For my lunch I ordered the Cuban Sandwich, how could I not? This place definitely gets these right...perfect, in fact.

Yes...I ate the bread.

A Cuban Sandwich, for those of you who have never sampled one, consists of roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, and pickle. It is then pressed like a Panini so the insides get nice and gooey and the bread gets nice and crispy.

I have sampled this sandwich all over the country and there is only one restaurant in Miami who makes one that is better than this one at Sabor De Cuba. I warn you tho, they don't reheat very well so be prepared to finish this delight all in one sitting. It's really not that difficult, just skip the appetizers.

NOTE: In all fairness, I have personally not tried "That Cuban Place", but coworkers of mine have and didn't have the best things to say about it. I plan to check it out for myself at some point and will post my review here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Une Believable!

Lately I have been keeping an eye on Kick Starter. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's a site where inventors post their projects hoping to find the funding to produce them. There is some pretty cool stuff on there and a lot of it is getting the funding it needs to become reality. 

One of the projects that I got really excited about is the Une Bobine. It is a flexible phone stand/charger. It allows you to position the phone pretty much anywhere you want it. For someone who loves their phone almost as much as the people in my life (I mean, I do sleep with it every night), this is something I have been seeking for a very long time. 

I donated $50 to their Kick Starter campaign and a few months after they had reached their funding goal I received 2 Une Bobine of my very own.

Twisty Turny

Within perfect reach

As you can see, it is now perfectly within reach of my fingers when I am sitting at my iMac. The stand is even stable enough for me to use the touch screen in this position.

The second one, I bought for use in my car. I'm still playing with it's positioning to get it in the perfect spot so I can use the phone while driving without crashing. Of course now that Apple has changed the plug for their new iPhone 5, I'll have to wait to upgrade until such time as there is an Une Bobine for that plug. Oh well, it's the best reason I've found for not spending the money on a phone upgrade right now.