« This 7 November.... | Main | Addendum »

September 30, 2006

On Friday {yesterday} my modem went south and I couldn’t get online – the fine folks at Roadrunner, Time-Warner’s fast and fine Internet service provider, couldn’t get anybody out here until this afternoon – bummer! I was taking a couple of days’ respite from working on occupational projects, and ended up using the time to finish a novel I was reading, do a few formerly procrastinated-upon things around the house and watch more TV than usual. Among the things I watched on the tube were The Devil’s Advocate and some really corny “horror” film called Chopping Mall, which was about a bunch of killer robots, part of the after hours proprietary security system at a mall, that was killing off young, festive mall employees having a late-night party on the premises. Chopping Mall does not pose any sort of threat to Gone With The Wind as far as rankings in the annals of cinema history are concerned, trust me on this one.

I did listen to a lot of music, including some great, mellow old music I had forgotten about, such singles as Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, Judy Collins’ Both Sides Now, Till Tuesday’s Voices Carry, the Monkees’ Sometime In The Morning, The Bangles’ Return Post, The Doors’ Touch Me, Helen Reddy’s Peaceful and Simon & Garfunkels’ For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her, to name a few.

I did my listening and reading out on my back deck, a seriously peaceful, vividly green (except for the profusion of colorful flowering plants, exotic rose bushes, etc) environment full of bird music and assorted critters passing through, and enjoyed my day immensely, also taking the time to prepare a rather large langoste an ongoing client of mine in the West Indies sent me, on ice, as a gift. I boiled the meaty, clawless lobster for about ten minutes, seasoned it with my favorite Cajun spices, then completed its preparation on my barbecue grill, cooking it over mesquite. I dined upon it with a steamed artichoke w/ melted garlic butter and some Long Island grown rhubarb I did with brown sugar. It was awesome. Shamefully, I’ll admit that the rhubarb was dessert and that I smothered it in whipped cream, but Yum!

My beverage of choice for the day was what I call Irish Espresso {my own recent concoction}:

4 oz espresso
1 ½ oz Bushmills malt whiskey
Steamed milk
Chocolate powder sprinkled on top

Good practice for the winter months’ hot toddy days.

I presently own my first ever espresso maker, which is actually 50% of a West Bend combo coffee maker and espresso machine, anything but the device of a connoisseur. Whenever I use it to make an espresso, a macchiato or a capucino, I get a small complex. For this, we can thank my good friend Kat, of Cathouse Chat fame, LOL. When I was up visiting her and her super family back in early August -- in fact, on my birthday -- for a get together of blogger friends, she served me espresso(it was deeeelicious!) made with a serious business espresso machine, and when I bought my West Bend thing, she made sure I knew that it wasn’t anything anyone serious about espresso would own, LOL.

However, I’ve really gotten into it, and I would put an espresso, a macchiato or capucino I make in my “dubious” device up against any made in a high-fallutin’, bona fide, certified, accredited, fancy professional espresso machine any day. Just think of the boasting I’ll be able to do once I own a real live, serious bizness, feniculi fenicula, “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie” espresso machine. Adam West and Burt Ward will be all over me – “Holy latte, Batman, it’s The Boaster!”

As I’ve long used Café Bustelo as my brand of regular coffee – Bustelo is an espresso roast/grind, I don’t have to change brands to make espresso drinks. Yum, and I mean effin Yum!

Funny, but my modem mysteriously resurrected itself this morning. I called Time Warner, thinking to cancel the tech dude’s visit, and they recommended I have him/ her (actually, I’ve never had a woman show up to install or service phone, Internet, satellite TV or other technical concerns, but *I know they’re out there somewhere) come check it out, anyway, to forestall any future similar events.

* A Moody Blues track of similar name was also on my yesterday’s playlist.

Posted by Seth at September 30, 2006 09:34 AM


Your drink sounds yummy! I'm headed for the Farmer's Market here... it's the last one for the year as the cold weather approaches. There I will have my customary grilled salmon sandwich:

grilled fillet of wild salmon
pesto mayonnaise
baby greens
fried egg

all served on sliced fresh foccacia garlic bread!


Posted by: atheling2 at September 30, 2006 10:49 AM

Atheling2 --

Mmmmmmmmmmmm! That sounds awesome!

I love salmon, too, in all forms, from smoked to poached and everywhere in between. :-)

Posted by: Seth at September 30, 2006 11:41 AM

LOL, Seth - darling, if your West Bend works for you, then it's just fine for an espresso machine!

And, yes, that concoction really looks YUMMAY (as Raven would say); I'll have to try it sometime.

Thanks for reminding me of that 'Til Tuesday song - it's one of my favs... And I haven't listened to the Monkees in a coon's age (which is HOW long, again? ;-) ), so I need to go dig up some of the tracks on my iPod...

Hope your weekend is going well, Seth!

Luv and hugs,

-- Kat
www.CatHouseChat.com (although how famous I might be is certainly open to debate.... )

Posted by: Kat at September 30, 2006 02:25 PM

Kat --

You'll always be famous in my book!

Depending upon availability and/or tenacity, my toddy can be done with either steamed milk or a whipped cream topping, either way it's great.

Wow, learning to use the milk frother (modern "instructions" don't do much for me, LOL) was a messy experience, but I now have it, as the old Nixon joke goes, "Down Pat".

I love that song, Voices Carry. It brings back memories of a really great and care-free time in my life. I'd forgotten about it, too, and recently run across it surfing at Music Match, and bought -- downloaded -- the whole album.

Some Time In The Morning is my favorite Monkees song. They did several songs that were quite wonderful, unfortunately the tracks that were pushed were those more commercially oriented for the times.

My home espresso adventure is just beginning. I can already tell that I'll soon buy a major leagues machine. Too bad it won't come with all those surrounding acres of woods!

Posted by: Seth at September 30, 2006 03:47 PM

I also like (Lord only knows why) "Pleasant Valley Sunday."

Frankly, I *never* use the steamer on my Krups Espresso machine: for some odd reason I like to nuke my milk. It *IS* faster, and a lot easier to clean up...

... OK, so, I'm lazy...


-- Kat

Posted by: Kat at September 30, 2006 04:37 PM

Heh, you think like a crotchey Republican but eat like a yuppy Liberal! (burp)

Posted by: BB-Idaho at September 30, 2006 05:42 PM

BB --

I just like to enjoy life, LOL.

Good eating is part of that. But we neocons are not crotchety, we simply want our country to remain the great country it has been since its founding -- the left is forever trying to change it into a socialist country.

They truly don't understand that what gives them the right to do what they are trying to do will cease to exist for them if they succeed.

Tell me, my friend, how does one reason with that?

Posted by: Seth at September 30, 2006 05:51 PM

Your drinky reminds me of my version of the irish coffee, "The 3-B".

1 cup Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (world's most expensive coffee)
1 shot Bushmills Irish Whiskey (world's oldest distiller)
1 shot Bailey's Irish Creme (world's... um... best irish creme named Bailey's!)

Expensive, but oh so smooth... and perfect for those winter days a-comin'.

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 30, 2006 07:46 PM

...and I have a brain the size of my toenails (ducks gots toenails!).

I wanted to complement you on your music, particulary Suzanne and 'Til Tuesday. Lovely stuff. Not enough people appreciate Aimee Mann.

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 30, 2006 07:48 PM

It's funny how people have stereotypes for the way a conservative (or liberal) eats.

I'm conservative and I love sushi, lattes, organic green salads, stir fried veggies and tofu and anything ethnic.

I also love good old hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, but I don't eat them much anymore because they're too fattening. Once in a while I'll splurge and have a burger.

People's eating habits are odd sometimes; one time I was in an Asian restaurant and someone asked the foodserver if they had any bread and butter. They didn't. I thought that was a weird request.

Posted by: atheling2 at September 30, 2006 09:42 PM

Kat --

For some reason, whenever I hear Pleasant Valley Sunday, I think of the Robert Ludlum novel(since reading it) The Osterman Weekend.

I like the song too.

Wonderduck --


The 3Bs sounds great. I have two of them in my home bar, but I missed this years crop of JBM. I love that coffee, I actually first tried it when I bought a pound of it at the Coffee Bean & Tea Co. in West Hollywood a few years ago.

It's expensive, but worth every drop.

I have Songs of Leonard Cohen, his first album, and as a kid was listening to it right after it came out. Judy Collins actually "discovered" him. I once saw the two of them performing Suzanne, together on Soundstage. She did an excellent cover of the song herself, on In My Life, which I also have.

Aimee Mann is underappreciated. Since I bought the album from MusicMatch, I've listened to it a lot, and burned it onto CDs for my living room and den.

Atheling2 --

This is very true. I have staunchly conservative friends who eat sushi and exotic vegetables as a day-to-day diet, and even go to the ballet. :-)

I also know some liberals who live on fast food and stock their fridges with stuff made for bouncing in and out of the microwave, and almost never have any use for their conventional ovens.

I always stick with the ethnic cuisine in ethnic restaurants. Imagine what coffee would taste like if you ordered it in a Chinese restaurant, LOL -- though to be fair, there is a Chinese bakery on Lafayette Street that I sometimes used to walk over to in the morning when I lived in NY that served excellent coffee, except it came in really small cups. But then, at a mere 5' 10, I was taller than 95% of the other people in the place, so I guess it was commensurate.

My favorite cuisines are American(steaks, chops, burgers, etc), Cajun & Creole, Mexican(the real thing, though, not like Chevy's or any fast food varieties -- I've been all over Mexico and got really spoiled by the food in different regions of the country. In places where there is a lot of tourism, I always look for places the locals eat rather than hit the tourist eateries), Italian, Jewish(which is too quickly becoming rare, thank G-d for places like Cantor's in L.A. and the few 3rd & 4th generation delis in NY that remain traditional), Hunan and Japanese, though the last few years I've been less enthused about Asian restaurants: Ever since Asian restaurants became "in", so to speak, much of their cooking seems to have evolved to meet "American" taste buds and lose a lot of its uniqueness. However, if you really want a treat and you're in New York, check out the Hunan Cottage, right off Columbus Avenue in the 70s. The owner started a neat tradition in the place. When he opened, he didn't bother getting a liquor license, but included complimentary wine, "red or white" with all meals. The food is great and spicy the way it's supposed to be, and there are a bunch of people running around with gallon jugs of wine, constantly refilling peoples' glasses before they get empty. I haven't been there for several years, but the wine thing became the place's trademark early on.

I once met a fellow New Yawker in a bar in New Orleans, and in the course of the conversation I asked him if he'd been to the Hunan Cottage. He responded, "You mean the joint with the free wine? Yeah, lotsa' times."

Posted by: Seth at October 1, 2006 05:09 AM

As a liberal with a 4WD pickup which stops at
every fastfood place without culinary discrimination, I am starting to think you neocons are effete diners! (I DO despise NASCAR, and that is perhaps the source of my leanings)

Posted by: BB-Idaho at October 1, 2006 10:02 AM

BB --

LOL! Funny, at my industry's main conference last year, I attended a lecture on maintaining effective control during crowded events that was given by the security director of NASCAR.

The only fast food places I really like are In-&-Out-Burger, Arby's(thanks to them, I always buy deli roast beef shaved, it's the best!) and I used to be a KFC fan back when they were still selling that Rotisserie Gold chicken.

Talk about good early fall barbecuing:

I'm looking forward to the arrival in the coming week of a shipment from Omaha Steaks that includes 4 each filet mignons, top sirloins, boneless pork chops, 10 Omaha Steaks burgers, 2 stuffed soles with scallops and crabmeat, 8 "gourmet" franks and 10 portions of potatoes au gratin, plus I ordered a couple of lbs of their Italian meatballs. They sent me an offer in the mail for about a 2/3 off introductory deal and it was too good to pass up. Besides which, I've had their steaks before, and they were awesome. They're also throwing in a small cutting board, a set of good knives and a cook book. With shipping and all, it was around $90.00. It was an offer I couldn't refuse. :-)

Posted by: Seth at October 1, 2006 10:59 AM

That sounds like a good deal. You'll let us know how it worked out?

Posted by: BB-Idaho at October 1, 2006 11:54 AM


Omaha Steaks are fabulous! All this talk is making me hungry for a hamburger! I guess my favorite cuisine du jour is Asian and yes, you're right, they are catering too much to American tastes. It annoys and embarasses me when I'm in an Asian restaurant and as soon as the food arrives the patron asks for soy sauce without even tasting it. Japanese, Korean, Szechuan, Hunan, Thai and Vietnamese are on my favorites list. I also love Mexican food, though it's a bit rich now that I'm getting older. I love to cook Italian food... watching Mario Batali on the Food Channel is one of my favorite lazy pasttimes.


I am a gourmet, I suppose... I don't consider a meal complete without a bottle of red wine. My friends laugh at one of my favorite t-shirts: "Friends don't let friends drink white zinfandel". I really don't have a favorite fast food restaurant... I did love those drive through Mexican food hole-in-the-wall places that dot Southern California, however.

I'm a neocon who sees absolutely no appeal in NASCAR. I used to be a liberal in my younger years, but 8 years of Bill Clinton made me turn to the right. Maybe Churchill would have said that I finally grew up.

Posted by: atheling2 at October 1, 2006 12:33 PM

BB --

Count on it!

Atheling2 --

I had a bottle of chiante with dinner tonight -- I was in the mood for something heavy and maximally filling, so I did spaghetti with a very meaty(I used a lot of ground sirloin), garlicky sauce and then covered it with shredded mozzarella and baked it, lasagna style.

MMMMMMMMMMM............ There's was even enough for "leftovers".

Posted by: Seth at October 1, 2006 06:56 PM

"I had a bottle of chiante with dinner tonight"

For a moment there I was waiting for you to tell me about the fava beans and liver too!

MMMMM, I love a good meat sauce on pasta! Isn't it so satisfying to make? That's my comfort food.

Posted by: atheling2 at October 1, 2006 09:45 PM