Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Buffalo Burgers?

I went to my new favorite grocery store on Sunday, Ellwood-Thompson's. They have a nice but very small meat department. I had originally planned to buy ground turkey or chicken. They had neither so I decided to try some ground buffalo. I had also bought some goat cheese that was supposed to go with some frozen ravioli. I had the idea to make stuffed buffalo burgers on the way home last night. They turned out quite nicely. Since I hadn't bought any buns, we used pita bread for our sandwich holders. I also had some caramelized onions left over from the previous night's meal (homemade pizza). I heated up the onions with some balsamic vinegar. I also had some hummus on hand. So, our sandwiches had the following in them: buffalo burger stuffed with goat cheese, caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar and hummus. They turned out really good.

The next thing I'm going to try to make is bison bolognese. In Northern VA, one of our favorite restaurants (Vermilion) had this dish. I need to figure out how to make it now that we're no longer in Alexandria.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Goal

I ran the same route as last week. I was able to shave off one minute and do it in 32 minutes. My goal is to do it in 30 minutes within 2 weekends. I'm going to do a different route tomorrow. Then, next weekend, hopefully I can do it in 31 minutes. Thus, by the following weekend, I'll be able to do it in 30 minutes.

Then, I'll need a new goal.

By the way, if anyone has any ideas for new routes, please let me know.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wishing I Could Cook

I love to cook. It's one of my favorite pastimes. Of course, I knew this fact about myself before we moved into temporary housing without my necessary cookware but I didn't realize just how much I would miss it. For example, yesterday, I saw a post on Brandon Eats about French Onion soup and thought, I should make that. Then, I remembered that my oven proof bowls are in storage along with my mandoline for thinly slicing the onions. I may have to improvise this coming weekend. For now, I made another big pot of beef stew which has somewhat hit the spot during this really cold weather.

Can you figure out the answer?

Interesting analogy question I saw today:

FOX : OWL :: (a.Saul b.David c.Iago d.Lear) : SOLOMON

What's the right answer?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Phoebe: A Salute to a Spoiled Cat, Take 2

Phoebe stalking up on the "loft" walls

One of Phoebe's favorite place to hang out in the new place

She's such a photogenic cat

The Bottom

As I've mentioned in a previous post, we're living just east of Shockoe Bottom. Or as Richmonders like to say, "The Bottom". Well, today, I decided I would run outside instead of on a treadmill. It's been a long time since I ran outside. I now fully appreciate that we're at the "bottom" of a hill. It was quite a climb to the west towards the VCU campus. I was able to run 3 miles in 33 minutes. On flat land, I usually can do it in about 28 minutes or so. That's still slow compared to most of the runners I know but I was quite happy with that time as I actually walked a few times.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Valentine's Dinner

As promised, here's a description of our Valentine's Day dinner at Cafe Gutenberg.

Course 1:
Watercress Vichysoisse paired with Hazard Hill, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc Blend 2004
It was a nice dish to start the night out with. The wine was a clean flavor that went well with a creamy soup.

Course 2:
Confit Duck Spring Roll with apricot and ginger sauce paired with Dr. Fischer Riesling 2005
These were wonderful. Of course, as they say, everything tastes good fried. The duck confit had some spice to it so the Riesling was a nice choice that held up well to the dish.

Course 3:
Roasted Candy Striped Beets with danablu arborio crust paired with Araucano Carmenere 2005
In case you're not familiar, arborio rice is the one used to make risotto. Therefore, the crust was quite creamy while also have a crunchy texture. The wine is a red from Chile that was strong like the beets.

Course 4:
Miso Crusted Rainbow Trout with red chili aioli paired with Morgadio Albarino 2005
I remember liking this course but as you can imagine, we were starting to get drunk at this point (we also had 2 glasses of champagne before the dinner started).

Course 5:
Mussels Gratinee baked in salt paired with Domain Pabiot Sancerre 2005
The mussels were baked in their shells with Parmesan cheese. The shells must have been placed in a bed of salt that was then placed in the oven for cooking. For plating, the chef put a bed of the roasted salt (it was brown) and then put the mussels on top. It was quite nice to get a few grains of the salt along with the mussel as it added a good crunch.

Course 6:
Pan-Seared Diver Scallops on the half shell paired with Petit M Muscadet 2004
These were not the best scallops I've had but weren't the worst either. The wine was a bit sweet but probably made sense to pair with the sweet scallops.

Course 7:
Petit Salad with fennel, grapefruit and mache paired with Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2005
This course was unnecessary. Even so, the wine was a good pairing since it had hints of grapefruit.

Course 8:
Butter Poached Lobster Ravioli with fresh ricotta and sweet pea cream sauce paired with MacRostie Chardonnay 2005
As you can imagine, the lobster was quite nice. The chardonnay was a nice light one that added to the flavor of the dish.

Course 9:
Gianduja Chocolate Shadow Cake with dark chocolate lollipops paired with Paringa Sparkling Shiraz 2004
What can I say - it was chocolate, of course it was good!! The red champagne was a nice touch with the dark chocolate. I'm a big fan of champagne in general so it's nice to change it up a bit and have a dark one.

As I mentioned earlier, we were already drunk by about course 4. You can imagine how hard it was to get up on Thursday! I definitely had a hang over and I think that MTH was worse. It was well worth it though as the food and wine were so good. And, the best part was that this place is only 7 blocks from our apartment so there was no driving involved.


Here's what was going through my head this morning:

Freak accident kills woman in Richmond, VA on Saturday. She was running on a treadmill as she has done many times. As she ran, she unknowingly was building up an electrical charge. As she always does at about minute 20, she pushed the button to increase her speed. But, instead of increasing her speed, it gave her such a powerful shock that she fell backwards off the treadmill which caused her to run into the wall.

Ok, so that's not exactly how it happened but the shock was so powerful, it caused all of my hair to stand up (even though it was in a ponytail) and my Ipod to short out!! I will never get back on that particular treadmill.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Upcoming Posts Coming to This Blog Soon

MTH and I went to an awesome restaurant this past weekend, Millie's. I'll write a post about how great it is. We also went to Cafe Gutenberg for their Valentine's Day Dinner. There were nine different plates of food along with wines selected for each one! We were just a little hung over this morning but we made it to work at the normal time. Both of these posts will be written and published this weekend.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Richmond Blogs

I've found a site that lists bloggers from Richmond. I've added some of the interesting ones to my list of blogs that I read. Some are about food and others are about how bad the government is here in Richmond. That is, that things are run by a small group of people. Richmond does have a lot in common with Savannah. People can sometimes be more interested in who you're related to as well as what school you went to. But, I think that can happen in a lot of places. In DC, it's all about working on the Hill or being a lobbyist or being a lawyer.

In the end, I'm being stereotypical and there are lots of great people to meet and get to know in any of those places.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How to Save $$

MTH and I have our own version of the Bank of America "Keep the Change" program. If you haven't seen the commercials, basically they round up each of your purchases to the nearest dollar and put the difference into a savings account. MTH has a pickle jar that he throws all of his change into when he gets home. As you know, we've moved to a new place. Well, that pickle jar was really heavy (mostly with pennies) so we took about half of them to the Chevy Chase Bank. The reason we went there is not because we're customers but because they have a change counting machine that charges no fee. At the grocery store, it charges a 7 cents on the dollar!! We ended up with $100 in change! So, we went out for a nice dinner last night.

Of course, the one benefit of the BofA program - interest.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The House is Empty

The packers came yesterday to pack everything up and the movers came today to put all the boxes and furniture into the truck for storage. We hope to be in our new house by 3/19 or earlier.

It was definitely a little sad to leave our first house forever. It's so final. I'm certain I was never sad about leaving an apartment. And, I'm definitely certain that I will not be the least bit sad about leaving this apartment!!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Richmond's Premier Movie Palace

MTH and I had a fun night last night. We took a taxi over to Carytown. It's a street just west of the Fan that has lots of cute little shops and restaurants on it. It will be about 10 blocks from our new place so we should be able to at least walk there in the early evening. We went to see Flushed Away at the Byrd Theatre. The movie only costs $1.99 per person. With popcorn, Twizzlers and drinks, our total experience came to $9! When I went to see Dreamgirls, just my ticket cost $9! Plus, this theater has character. It was built in 1928. It is ornate down to the water fountain. I didn't check out the restrooms but I imagine they are as well. On Saturday nights, they have an organist perform before the show. It was very cool. He started out with "It's a Grand Old Flag" and they even had a flag that waved over in the left hand balcony. He also played "76 Trombones" and "Over the Rainbow". There were other songs as well. The best part is that when he starts playing he's below the stage and is lifted up. Then, at the end, he goes down back under the stage for the final song. The movie was cute.

The movie was over around 9pm which was perfect for going to dinner. We headed to a place two doors down, The New York Deli. The food tasted good and was cheap. Plus, they had some interesting beers. I think we'll take Pop there when he and Mom come to visit. He loves sandwiches (and beer)!

The only bad part of the evening was trying to get a taxi home. You have to call and then it took 20 minutes for them to show up. Now that we know that, next time we'll call ahead.

Tobacco Row versus The Fan

We are currently living in temporary housing in a neighborhood called Tobacco Row. As its name implies, the buildings here were originally built for the tobacco industry. Click here to learn more.

When we move in the near future, we'll be living in The Fan. It's historically been residential since its beginning. Our "new" house was built in 1910. The houses closer to downtown are even older. It's the original suburb of Richmond. It makes sense. Before there were cars, it took a lot longer to go from the city center to the "outskirts". It's amazing what cars have made possible. Now, more people live in the counties surrounding Richmond than in the city of Richmond. The great thing is that Richmond is starting to come back. But, all of the stores are still a drive to outside the city. My work is 21 miles from my current apartment and will be about 18 miles from my new place!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

House Update

Old House Update:
We've sold the house! We listed on Wednesday of last week and accepted the offer on Monday of this week. We did not expect it to be so easy. We didn't even have an open house. We're moving our stuff out this coming Friday or Saturday. I'm hoping we can talk the moving company into only scheduling one day for the move. Our house is tiny. I really don't want to take Friday off when I really don't think that's necessary!

New House Update:
We're going on a walkthrough on Monday. We still don't have our closing date set. We still need to get an appraisal (I believe they went on Friday) in order to finalize the mortgage and homeowner's insurance. We really want to close by the end of February so that we can move in by the first weekend in March. That would give us more time to move in before we travel for MTH's half marathon and our friends' wedding in Las Vegas.

Cafe Gutenberg

As I've mentioned in previous posts, MTH and I are going through a little bit of withdrawal by moving back to Richmond. I don't want to sound too snobby but the restaurants here are just not as good as DC. The fish is not as fresh. The recipes are not as creative. The mojitos are just not as tasty. But, what I've found is that there are a lot of cute little places that in DC, would be mobbed but in Richmond are just "full". One of those is Cafe Gutenberg. I haven't spent a lot of time there yet but it's a cool place so far. It's a wine bar/coffee shop/restaurant/bookstore. They also have free wireless. Plus, it's in an old building that's has an interesting design. It's about 7 blocks from our current place. It's walkable - the reason I point that out is that there's no way I'd walk 7 blocks from our place in the other direction!!!! It would not be a good idea. That's definitely an issue with downtown Richmond as well.

Anyway, once I've hung out at Cafe Gutenberg more, I'll tell you more.

Interesting Quote

Found on the blog L.A. Envie formerly Rue Rude

"Who remembers now...that the Statue of Liberty was initially conceived by her French sculptor as an Eqyptian peasant girl, intended to adorn the entrance to the Suez Canal? Or that the first Zionists to settle in Palestine were in fact American Protestants, who planted successive, ill-fated colonies aimed at "restoring" the Holy Land to Jews, so that their subsequent conversion to Christianity would speed the Second Coming?"

--Max Rodenbeck reviewing Michael Oren's book Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present in the International Herald Tribune, 27-28 January 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I went to see this movie with my British friend and a few of her friends last Thursday. It turned out to a fun night except that next time we'll choose a movie that starts later. We'll head to the sushi place around 6pm and then to the movie around 7pm. I crammed down some salmon and edamame. It's much more enjoyable if I have time to taste my food :)

The movie itself was interesting. If you haven't seen it yet, you should know that it's a musical. When I say it's a musical, I don't just mean that it has music in it. It actually has songs that are sung that move the dialogue along - like a musical on Broadway. I wasn't expecting that so at first, I thought it was a bit cheesy. Once I figured out that was what was supposed to be happening, I liked the movie a lot better. The only other criticism I would have is that it was too long!

Good Morning

I haven't been as good about posting because we currently don't have wireless internet. I have to sit at a desk in order to use the computer. I've gotten really used to being able to take the computer wherever I want in the house. Anyway, the reason I'm posting right now is that MTH gets up very early in order to get his workout done for the day. I've gone with him once (he just started going in the mornings when we moved here to Richmond). I expect to go a few more times before we move to the new place. Once we move, it won't be as convenient for me to go in the mornings. Since we're currently living in an apartment building, the fitness center is just steps from our apartment. When we move, he'll have to drive to the gym. He'll be able to take a shower there and drive straight to work. I would rather not have to take all of my products to the gym in order to get ready after working out. Also, people in his office don't get in as early as they do in my office so he has more time in the mornings.

Living here in Richmond definitely has some positives. I'm sure everyone is aware that the housing is much less expensive here than in the DC area. Well, just about everything else is less expensive. I bought a tall skim latte at Starbuck's on Sunday. It was three dollars even. In DC, it's at least $3.30. I realize that's a small difference but it definitely adds up. MTH picked up our dry cleaning yesterday. He thinks that it cost at least half of what we were paying before.

Of course, there are some negatives as well. While the grocery store is cheaper, they don't have quite the selection that I've gotten used to. It's certainly not the end of the world but I will miss some things.

It looks like like it's going to snow today. That means I could be home early. I'm definitely not going to stay around at work if it starts snowing. Our offices are out in the woods and I don't want to get stuck there!

Gotta go get ready for the day.