Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Plethora of Finished Knitting Projects

Just showing off completed craft projects:

An afghan knitted with Feza Super Cozy yarn in a wave pattern. Below, hand stamped bookmarkers, a knitted and beaded purse knitted on size 000 needles, and a sampling of some of the scarves that I have knitted as presents and to sell.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mandarin Orange Float with Sacs

This was found in the Asian market and purchased entirely because I loved the name. Tastes like that popular brand name orange drink, but with "sacs" floating in it. Sacs, of course, mean pulp.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scenes from the Winnie the Pooh Garden

A friend and I took her three year old daughter to the Winnie-the-Pooh Garden in Columbia South Carolina. It is unique because it is a garden geared towards preschoolers. There is a kid sized house, touchable plants, things to climb on, and a sand box. And, if the kids get out of hand, there is a lake with man-eating alligators a short distance away (see last photo).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The United Nations in the Supermarket

As the cultural food choices expand in my city, my reasons to drive to the ethnic markets in Atlanta shrink. Oh, I will still find a reason, but the new Publix Supermarket in Hixson Tennessee has provided a surprisingly wide range of international food options. Some of my finds:

Prepared Indian meal mixes

Cuban/Latin food in the freezer

Jamaican canned fruits and vegetables.

English canned goods. (Do Mushy Peas sound non-appealing to anyone else or is it just me?)

Indian spices.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Another Myth Destroyed

(Rainbow photo taken in Chattanooga a few weeks ago)

Disappointing news. I followed the rainbow but there was no pot of gold. Just a gas station and a Golden Corral.

But it is a nice rainbow picture don't you think?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beach Vacation

Massive appoligies to Entrecarders. As you can see from the pictures below, I have been real busy, and haven't had time to drop cards. I'm way behind on posts and frankly don't have a real good excuse as to why.

Lounging on the beach.

These boys are over achievers don't you think?

A bird blatantly ignores the warning sign.

Thomas Edison's lab in Fort Myers Florida.

The banyan tree. It may look like several different trees but actually it is all part of the same tree! This is the largest banyan tree in the continental United States.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How to Make Your Trailer Smell Fresh

My favorite domestic goddess Jolene Sugarbaker is at it again and has branched out into crafts. Here she has an interesting idea for making your own air freshner.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Found on Etsy

It's the Barack O'Buddha candle! I love it.
Found at this Etsy store.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Special Election Day Knitwithcats Award

The Knitwithcats Award is given to those who excel in finding excuses not to blog. This time the award goes to someone who has every reason TO blog right now--a new baby, a new career, and if news from the gossip rags are correct, a recent change in marital status. This would be a great time to update all his fans on the recent goings on in his life. However, it appears that my once upon a time presidential pick has not updated his blog or his Facebook page since January!

His last post was lengthy and, frankly, had too many words for me to care to read the whole thing (especially since I just started reading the Twilight series. Have you read that? I'm loving it! But I digress...). It ended with:

Do not turn away from these great struggles before us. Do not give up on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from what's possible, because it's time for all of us, all of us together, to make the two Americas one.
Yes John, yes! Don't give up these great struggles. Instead, why don't you share them with the public via your personal blog. Maybe throw in a recipe or two. Banana bread or pecan pie would be a nice touch. Let us know what you have been doing with yourself lately. Do you knit? Because my friend Essie just let us know about a great sale they are having on thick wool at one of the yarn stores and we would be happy to let you in on the deal. How about some pictures of your pets wearing funny hats or sunglasses. People always like to see those sorts of things. See John? So many things to blog about that I really don't know what you are waiting for.

It seems I am not the only one missing Edwards' blog posts. News Groper just went ahead and made up a post for him, empathetically titled Oh cut me some slack, the cancer was in remission!

So, John Edwards, this knitwithcats award is for you. Sorry, there is no monetary benefit to getting this award but if you leave me your address, I will knit a nice little sweater for the new baby and send it your way.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tibetan Cuisine

Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta Georgia

This past Saturday was the grand opening of the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta. The monastery is the North American seat of the Tibetan and Indian monasteries, and started humbly in the 1990's with meetings at members' houses, and then at a small space in a strip mall. So to finally have an official building is quite an accomplishment and a long time coming.

The grand opening featured the excellent house band, a tour of the facility, a display of Tibetan dolls, and Tibetan calligraphy. Some of us bravely participated in traditional Tibetan folk dance, which made the monks watching laugh because we were all quite inept.

Monastery house band performing at the festival

Lunch was cooked by the monks and consisted of rice, cucumber, hot sauce, tea, and dumplings called momos.

Shabhakleb, a Tibetan dumpling made from beef, onion, celery, and flour. This was also called a momo.

Bhakleb, a vegetarian Tibetan dumpling made from potato, mushroom, and cheese.

Tibetan Sorig, which is a medicinal tea.

Meditation cushions used as seats for those wanting to watch the band

The dining tent was decorated with colorful Tibetan designs

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tibetan Dolls

The Loseling Dolls and Traditional Costumes of the Tibetan World
Visual Arts Gallery, Emory University - 700 Peavine Creek Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322

This week Emory University in Atlanta has a collection of Tibetan dolls on display that were created by the master dollmakers of Drepung Loseling Monastery. They depict scenes of life in Tibet and various regional costumes, and are part of the ongoing attempt to keep the culture of Tibet alive. Of course, they are much more interesting in person than as captured on my poor quality camera phone.

The exhibit runs through Saturday the 25th and is part of Tibet week at Emory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monkey Waiters

A restaurant in Japan has added two monkeys to its wait staff. What do you think would be the biggest problem with having monkeys as waiters in a restaurant?

1) The repeated mysterious disappearance of the bananas from the Bananas Foster.

2) Staffing shortages during the Discovery Channel's Primate Week.

3) Cold entrees due to arriving at the table from the kitchen via the rafters.

Which would be the biggest plus with this concept?

1) Could probably get away with using a few shiny buttons for a tip.

2) They won't arrive to work tired because they were up late watching the Colbert Report.

3) Don't have to worry about your husband flirting with them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show

Sprint just added several new TV channels to Sprint TV, available on my Q phone. I can now watch Comedy Central and CNN on a television screen the size of an ice cube! Isn't that great? I spent several hours last night checking out the new shows I will now be able to watch while sitting in traffic, or while wearing that paper napkin at the gynecologists office, waiting for the doctor to come into the room. My favorite by far is the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show. I watched every episode available and am still giggling about Lick Poop. Then there is the Unicow..... which is not sounding funny to those of you who have not seen it I am guessing.

Well just watch. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cooking with Testicles

This post is courtesy of knitwithcats who, upon finding an article on cooking with testicles, immediately thought of me. Awwww, that is so sweet! Anyway, she is obsessed with Jezebel.com (and stray cats, but that's a story for another day) and found this story while surfing:

Ljubomir Erovic, a Serbian medical equipment repairman by day and chef by night, wants to spread his love of eating and cooking testicles. Erovic already helped found the World Testicle Cooking Festival in his hometown near Belgrade...(read more here).

You can get a sample of the e-book here.
Now y'all know dad does NOT want another tie for Christmas this year. Hint hint.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Belcourt Theater, Nashville Tennessee

Belcourt Theater
Nashville Tennessee

About 12 or so years ago the Belcourt theater was on the brink of extinction. It was struggling financially and was in danger of being torn down to put up yet another Walgreens. The theater, a Nashville historic icon, was once a silent movie house and even did a two year stint as home to the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930's. Locals loved its quirkiness such as the many broken seats that made sitting next to your date sort of a fun little challenge, and visits by Porter Wagner, who I saw there once, watching a movie, just trying to blend into the crowd in his sparkly country western suit.

I have so many fond memories of the movies I saw there in those years before Netflix made indie movies easy to rent. This is the sentence where I was going to name a few of those memorable movies, but other than the Salt Man of Tibet, I can only picture the images on the screen and have but vague recollections of the descriptions. I do recall attending a screening of an interesting movie called Normal Life. The movie's two stars, Ashley Judd and Luke Perry, were supposed to have made an appearance but stood us all up. Almost inexcusable since both were living in the Nashville area at the time.

The area surrounding the Belcourt has a few interesting little shops and directly across the street is Fido's Coffee, home of what used to be the worlds best vegetarian burger, but last time I was there, it wasn't quite as good.

The Belcourt was eventually purchased by a local nonprofit group that fixed the place up and diversified the offerings to include theater and music as well as movies. The last time I was there, which has been a year or two, staff expressed optimisim that the Belcourt would continue to survive.

Score one for grassroots efforts.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

National Hug a Cub Fan Day

First the good news. With baseball season over for me, I can now go back to watching the Disney Channel which, unlike any baseball broadcast, is blissfully free of Viagra ads.

Cubs fans everywhere are mourning the loss of the 2008 season. If you are the friend or relative of a Cubs fan, you might want to call and check on them. Go to their homes and remove all sharp objects. If you take them on an outing somewhere, avoid businesses with televisions broadcasting sports news, and bridges or other high places. Remind them that they do not mourn alone but with celebrity Cubs fans Bill Murray, John Cusack, William Peterson, Jim Belushi, Vince Vaughn, Gary Sinese, Bonnie Hunt, Jimmy Buffett, Eddie Vedder, Billy Corigan, and Joe Mantegna.

What ever you do, don't say "There is always next year." After having heard that for a hundred years, you are likely to be punched.

Note to any of you with teams still in the playoffs. Voodoo dolls are not effective. My Manny Ramirez doll has been in the oven for three days now, and, nothing!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bronte's, Nashville Tennessee

Nashville Tennessee

Bronte Bistro in Nashville is a pleasant little lunch spot and popular brunch option on weekends. Many of the menu choices are recipes from cookbooks by chefs such as Barefoot Contessa and Tyler Florence. The prices are actually reasonable for the hoity toity Green Hills area, which is after all, home to Nicole Kidman.

The only problem with Bronte's is that it is perched next to the hard to resist Cheesecake Factory. So if you in the area for one meal only, you will have a hard choice.

Davis Kidd is still a wonderful place to browse for books and unique gifty type items despite a change in ownership, a move to a new location a few years ago, and a reduction in what was once a gynormous selection of books. The selection at Davis Kidd is still great, just not as awe inspiring as it once was. I attribute this to online book stores.

A pleasant afternoon if you are in the area would be a shopping trip to the fancy stores of Green Hills mall, lunch and a book browse at Davis Kidd, and then a movie at either the Green Hills theater which often has indie films or the Belcourt theater.

Dineometer Rating: 70-80%

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dineometer's Financial Suggestion for the United States

Does anyone remember that reverse Robin Hood skit from Monty Python many years ago? Steal from the poor and give to the rich? That's what this whole financial bail out sounds like to me. All I know is that some financial executive's Caribbean retreat is being protected while an increasing number of my non-wealthy friends seem to be losing their jobs.

How are we, the shirtless masses, going to come up with the cash to fund this $700 billion plan? Well, we here at Dineometer have a solution.

Lets have a yard sale.

Yard sales are the traditional American way to raise some quick cash when short on funds. The U.S. has many things that are not being used right now and should be put out on the White House lawn with a big ol' orange price tag on them. I'm not talking about Amy Carter's tricycle from the White House attic, or unused bottles of spray-on-hair from the Reagan administration, we need big ticket items. Here are a few suggestions for underutilized items that could be sold:

1) North Dakota. Trust me on this one. I used to live there and we are not using this state. I suggest we sell it to Canada. It could be like a Florida for them complete with a Polar Disney (don't forget your parkas on the roller coaster kids!) and instead of a Universal Theme Park, how about HGTV World or Home Shopping Land (take a ride on the Hummel figurine-go-round). Apologies to my friend Kathy who lives in North Dakota. Although, I am not sure if they ever did get the internet up in rural NoDak so she might not even see this. Sorry Kathy!

2) Dan Quayle. Did you know he is still alive? No really. Lets pretend he knows a bunch of important security secrets and sell him to China.

3) The Grand Canyon. Judging by activities in my own neighborhood, we seem to be running out of room for high priced condos and really big houses. Given that the average visit to the Grand Canyon is only about 2 hours which is the length of a feature film, why not sell this space to land developers. For once real estate agents wouldn't have to lie about the "great view."

4) I can't think of any others right now. Any suggestions?

I think I'm going to go email this to my congress person.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cuisines of the Axis of Evil

Here's an excerpt from the intriguingly titled Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations.

"While most folks recognize the power of food to bring people together, I notice most its power to divide. Many religions enshrine various forms of commensalisms, or rules that govern with whom you can eat and with whom you
cannot. In Hinduism, high-caste persons can't eat in the presence of those who are low caste, whose very shadow defiles the former. Many religions specify not only the animals that can be eaten but the ways in which those animals must be killed as a precondition for eating them and the means by which they must be prepared. This can seriously limit the number of people one can eat with."

You can listen to the entire excerpt on NPR's website here.
And here is a link to the authors Amazon blog. Not having posted since August 19th, Chris Fair is coming dangerously close to a knitwithcats award.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Jolene!

Jolene Sugarbaker of the famed Trailer Park Cooking Show, internet culinary sensation, and my favorite celebrity chef, has posted some new videos on her website. This one shows how to make peanut brittle in the office microwave. Anything besides burnt popcorn smell is an improvement I say.

Is it just me or does Jolene's bosom look a little larger in this video? Jolene, did you have a little work done honey?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Galveston Hurricane Watch

With hurricane Ike scheduled to hit Texas this coming weekend, evacuations have been ordered for parts of one of my favorite vacation spots, Galveston Island. The Spot restaurant is clearing the deck of all impailable objects. For creepy voyeuristic people like me, you can watch the preparations live via their webcam here:

The surf already looks pretty rough. I wish them all well. Stay safe Galvestonians!

UPDATE: As of 9:45pm Eastern, there is a strongly worded warning from the National Weather Service that anyone remaining in Galveston will face "certain death"! Despite this, people continue to party on the deck of the boarded up, tableless, coastal Spot restaurant.


Update 2: As of Tuesday September 16th, all Galveston webcams eerily remain frozen with images from Friday morning, before the storm hit. The damage is wide spread and catastrophic to Galveston and other coastal areas. Message boards are abuzz with questions from residents and visitors wondering how their homes and businesses faired as access to the area remains limited. No word yet on if The Spot survived the storm.

Update 3: This was just posted on a message board:

The Spot is still there. The ballanese room and pier was destroyed and
pushed onto the road up against it. I think it will be fine though. Mostly
superficial damage as long as the water didnt penatrate the interior

Yeah! The Spot survived! Lets hope residents can get back to their lives quickly.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Filipino Snacks

I had planned to try a few authentic Filipino dishes out in an effort to wow all my Filipino blogging friends. Unfortunately, that was a few months ago and I still have not gotten around to making the recipes and then writing the utterly fascinating post that would include my experiences with Filipino cuisine and a description of some common dishes. The best I could do for now was to purchased some Filipino junk food found at the farmer's market in Atlanta.

We have a crispy melon snack, corn nut type snack, dried fava bean and corn nut mix, chocolate filled mints, and jackfruit candy. Taste test to come.

Here are a few photos from my blogging friends of authentic Filipino street food:

Fish balls from a bicycling vendor on the streets of the Philippines. Jenn Was Here
has some great photos of her vacation in the Philippines that really make me want to visit Calle Crisologo. It looks beautiful!

Filipino Isaw, which is barbecued chicken intestines. This was found at Cooking with Kuting . So for all you people that say you wouldn't ever eat chicken intestines, I say you probably already have, but in McNugget form. So why not just skip the faux chicken shape, breading, and cardboard package and go for the real thing?

This is ice candy which is a popsicle type desert. I found this at Kutsara of Tinador, a great blog about a Filipino family's food encounters. They have lots of photos on their blog of foods that I have not seen before.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Andrew Zimmern Has a Republican Problem

Poor Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods. His adopted home of Minneapolis is overrun with republicans at the moment. He writes on his Minneapolis focused blog:

"I can also tell you that I cannot wait for the RNC to be over. First off, it means I can walk into a restaurant without having to deal with the inevitable CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE PARTY sign that seems to be hanging in every business I stroll into. Secondly, it means I don’t have to wait in line for three hours to get a sausage sandwich at Cossetta. "

Surprising for a number of reasons. First, we have all seen your show Andrew and if there is a three hour line at your favorite sandwich shop, one would assume you would have ample options for improvising. Is there not a live bait and tackle shop near by? I am sure there would be no line for the nightcrawlers and minnows.

Second, I got the impression from watching the news that Sara Palin kills and skins all her food on her own. Thus, no need for a restaurant. And those moose are big enough to feed all the delegates from at least 13 states including Texas. Cindy McCain doesn't look like she eats very much, if at all, so what would she need a restaurant for?

Thirdly, if there is a "Closed" sign on your favorite restaurant, why don't you just grab your camera crew and crash the party? America would love to see a Bizarre Foods Republican Party episode. Please, please find out for us what that sour faced Dick Cheney eats. He always looks like he has gas or something.

So Mr. Zimmern. We are not buying this story of hardship. I think you are just looking for sympathy.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ali Baba's Time Out Deli

Ali Baba's Time Out Deli
Knoxville Tennessee

This is another one of Knoxville's much beloved dining spots. Housed in what looks to be a former roadside motel, with the restaurant in the part of the motel that was the office. The interior is a bit claustrophobic and you will be lucky if you get one of the two tables. Otherwise, you will have to sit on one of the stools by the counter which face the window, giving you a lovely view of the always clogged Kingston Pike traffic. The stools are a bit tall so your feet will dangle uselessly unless you use the one buttock on, one buttock off method with toe touching the floor to ensure stability.

Despite the cramped interior, there always seem to be a constant stream of visitors, chatting with the cook/owner/waiter/etc. behind the counter. After you order your food, you will probably attempt to pay, but we be told to come back when you finish. It's the same man who takes your money as gives you your food, he just refuses let you pay until you have finished eating. So, you sit down, eat, and then go back up to the counter pay. I always find this a bit anxiety provoking. If you have a short attention span and poor memory like me, you will probably spend the entire meal silently reminding yourself to pay before you leave and will have visions of being pulled over by a Knoxville police officer a few blocks down the road. The minute you see the flashing lights, you will think "CRAP! I forgot to pay." Paranoid perhaps but I really would prefer in a restaurant with counter service to get the financial transaction over with so that I can eat with a clear conscience. I think this payment system is a cultural thing as other Middle Eastern restaurants I have been to have a similar set-up.

The menu is full of many deep fried options. But, in addition to hamburgers and fries, are Middle Eastern options such as falafel, hummus, baba ganouj, and the King Solomon Special. They are great at deep frying things and the fast food is good if you are in the mood for that sort of thing. I would suggest trying some of the Middle Eastern options however, because those items are their best work. Not to mention the fact that you can't get things like falafel at other places.

The King Solomon special was a huge portion and enough for leftovers the next night. If I wouldn't have forgotten it in the car for a few days. It wasn't the best dish I have had at Ali Baba's but I did like the tasty marinade on the chicken breast that included jalapenos.

There is also a small selection of groceries available such as tahini, grape leaves, and Mediterranean pickles.

And hookahs!

Dineometer Rating: 70%