Monthly Archives: January 2009

This City Stinks

No, seriously, the city stinks!

It’s been stinking since yesterday and no one knows why!

It was especially foul this morning. I didn’t think it could get any worse as when we drove past the Ronnoco plant on 40, and the stink mixed in with the burnt coffee smell. But! Then I got out of the car at work and nearly fell over from the grossness.

Blech!!

Maybe the snow and ice will clear the air??

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And the Day isn’t Over Yet

Today I have done the following:

  • Moved the closing date of our mortgage refinance.
  • Scheduled the appraisal for the refinance.
  • Received and approved proofs for a FAQ booklet.
  • Reviewed, re-reviewed, reviewed again, and sent out press-ready files for a User Guide.
  • Performed a massive mail merge.
  • Supervised 4 students who are assembling a giant mailing.
  • Took an hour lunch.
  • Went to the library and checked out a book.
  • Breathed for the first time in a few weeks.

I’m totally ready for the weekend!

Our House Today

Yay, flags!

Today, Today

I cannot focus on work.

I can’t sit still.

I’m happy.

I’m nervous.

I want to cry.

I want to throw up.

I’m proud to be an American again!!

A Day to Remember

Not only is it Martin Luther King Day and the day before Barack Obama’s inauguration (YAY!), it is also the day I give you this:

It’s the yarn left from my Interlocking Balloons scarf!

I started this scarf November 7, 200-freaking-7, and I am indescribably relieved to have it off the needles.


For quite some time, I was convinced that this would be my perpetually unfinished object. I would work on it for hours, only to be disheartened at what seemed to be a lack of progress.

The lesson? Don’t choose a scarf pattern that has a 44-row repeat and somewhere around 50 stitches per row!

Anyway…it’s done. Now I just have to block it, and that, my friends, will require blocking pins (which I don’t have).

Also today we baked honey whole wheat bread. Yum!


I spent a little bit of time this afternoon at Mississippi Mud House, and for dinner we had some cheap Chinese food. This is the time of my cycle during which I crave one certain thing and my brain won’t shut up until I have it. The sesame chicken was most unhealthy, but nothing ever tasted so good.

Nothing, with perhaps the exception of dinner Friday night…

Acero (or, Total Deliciousness)
Porkchop helped a friend design wedding invitations, and I provided the letterpress printer hook-up, so said friend took us out for a very nice dinner at Acero. We all enjoyed the four course tasting menu (for a mere $25, one of the best deals in St. Louis), accompanied by a red wine, the name of which I can’t recall.

I started my dinner with the chicken liver mousse crostini, which was totally perfect. I’m a secret chicken liver fan (I grew up eating chicken liver regularly), so I loved this crostini topped with the creamy mousse. For my pasta course, I had the orchiette with acorn squash and pancetta. Again, two thumbs up! However, I’m not quite convinced the squash was indeed acorn squash…it tasted rather butternut-ish (no complaint from me, of course).

For the main course, I chose the slow-roasted porchetta, mainly for the polenta accompaniment. The meat was tender and flavorful, and the polenta yummy and creamy. Finally, for dessert I chose the chocolate-pistachio bread pudding with espresso topping. It was good, but the bread pudding was a bit on the dry side. Not something I’d choose again.

In conclusion, I look forward to going back for another dinner!

What else…
I also finished my February Lady Sweater! It is blocked and ready for buttons! After finding some appropriate buttons and completing the deal, I’ll post a picture.

Yesterday, Porkchop and I watched Slumdog Millionaire. It totally deserves the awards it’s winning! Such a well put-together film.

Also, I can’t forget… Happy Inauguration Day!

Noodles! And Other Things

I have been to two more restaurants! This is a crazy, unexpected restaurant-eating week!

On Sunday, I met Porkchop and Suzi and others at Crown Candy Kitchen (P-chop and Suzi attended a wedding show on Sunday. For Suzi, not Porkchop.). So yum! I considered getting a sundae but decided on a hot fudge malt. Next time…the hot fudge sundae is totally mine!

Two things I love about Crown Candy Kitchen:

  1. They’ve been open in the same location since 1913.
  2. Their website lists a “Carmel Sundae.” Totally St. Louis…try saying “caramel” around here and people look at you like you have three heads.

On Monday, my supervisor took me out to lunch. Amazing what trying to apply for a different job can do! We walked over to Bobo Noodle House and had a delicious lunch. The vegetarian pad thai was, hands down, one of the best I’ve had in quite some time. My supervisor’s lemongrass beef was tender and livened up by the accompanying spicy noodle and cucumber salad. All in all, it’s a good place for us Wash U folks!

Not So Good
I tried making potato gnocchi on Saturday.

It was horrible.

Instead of “little pillows of heaven,” I ended up with mushy balls of what might as well have been mashed potatoes.

I don’t know what I did wrong. And I don’t know if I’ll ever attempt it again. I’m usually not so quick to admit defeat, but the gnocchi mystifies me.

Two Restaurant Reviews and Some Complaining

This week has been full out nuts at work. We have a humongous project mailing going out in a little over a week, and nothing is ready yet. I cannot even begin to describe how draining this month has been and will be. Let’s just say that I woke up at 5 am stressing out about stuff and I couldn’t fall back asleep for nearly an hour and a half. It’s freaking Saturday morning, for crying out loud, I shouldn’t be stressed out!

Blech.

I found a promising job posting last week, so over the weekend I was all about this:

Yeah, revising and updating my resume. During the week, I wrote a kick ass cover letter and yesterday I had the difficult conversation with my supervisor about how I was applying for a different position and could she act as a reference.

So, OF COURSE, right after this conversation I checked the job posting and found that it was no longer there!! ARGH!!

I didn’t even get a chance to submit my stinking application, and I feel really deflated.

But at least my supervisor is aware that I won’t hesitate to apply for other positions. I’m hoping this leads to at least a small raise and/or title change to truly reflect all of the activities that I do. I like most of what I do, and I want to be recognized properly for my work.

Anyway…

During the week, Porkchop suggested we go out to lunch. To Pappy’s Smokehouse! I’ve been wanting to try Pappy’s for a while, and I’m so glad we went there. We both had the lunch special with the pulled pork sandwich. The pork was crazy tender and moist – nothing dry or chewy about it! So good! The sauce is served on the side, and since I combined all three sauces on my sandwich, I can’t write about them individually. But I did enjoy what I had. For my side dish, I had the sweet potato fries. Also quite tasty!


When we arrived at Pappy’s, the place was packed and the line to order was long. Fortunately, it moved quite quickly, and many of the orders must have been take out because we found a place to sit right after ordering. The sandwiches were out quickly, and the service was friendly. The owner made frequent rounds to make sure everything was okay.

One of things I enjoyed most about Pappy’s was the cross section of St. Louis lunching there. There were fancy corporate types pulling up in Mercedes, SLU students, office workers, and other people just looking for some good BBQ.

Our other restaurant outing was last night after I gathered myself together and stopped moaning about my missed job opportunity. I might have been eating of misery last night, but I still enjoyed Tower Tacos. My only complaint is that I ate WAY too much. You see, their hot salsa is actually killer hot, and I enjoyed soothing my mouth and stomach with the horchata…so I quickly developed a habit of eating a chip or two dipped in hot salsa and relieving myself with the horchata. For dinner, I tried a chicken and a chorizo sope. Sopes are thick tortillas with raised edges, and they were topped the meat, refried beans, and the regular lettuce and tomato. I liked the chicken, but the chorizo we get through Fair Shares has spoiled me, so I wasn’t much of fan.

Next time, I’d like to try one of the more special dishes. And I’ll definitely order the horchata again.

Okay, so this next photo doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the post. But it’s my favorite photo from our Gatlinburg trip. It’s Suzi and me, and obviously the world is being invaded by aliens:


Actually, we’re just at the aquarium, in the tunnel running under the big tank.

A Thrown Together Catch-up Post and a Restaurant Review

Porkchop and I are hanging out on the couch tonight, watching the Blues game. Well, Porkchop is watching and I’m doing other things in the vicinity of the TV (like writing this overdue catch-up post), allowing me to cheer and groan as appropriate.

Watching TV is totally different these days because of our new TV! I’m not very attached to things like TV, but I’m liking this new TV. At first, I was opposed to such a purchase, but when I learned the picture on our then-current TV would be even smaller due to the digital conversion box that we would need to purchase by February 17, I realized that it was time. Here’s Porkchop with the new TV (see our old TV at the bottom…can you imagine the picture being even smaller???):


The day before Christmas Eve, I worked from home…a quite fortuitous decision I made only that morning. You see, I was at home in the afternoon to show a guy Porkchop’s car. He came over with cash, and that was that! Anyway, this relates to the TV because the car sale paid for the TV.

The days leading up to Christmas were quite busy and filled with holiday activities, but I wasn’t really feeling it this year. It all happened so quickly, and I had time only for a smidge of holiday baking. We made a single batch of orange-chocolate-pistachio biscotti this year. That’s it!


No chocolate pretzels, no chocolate crinkle cookies, no shortbread. Sigh.

There was, however, kugel. I made this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Suzi’s Hanukkah dinner, and it was delicious. Yum, dried cherries! And heavy. Including the baking dish, it weighed in around 10 pounds.


Porkchop worked a lot around the holidays, but she managed to crank out some tote bag presents for friends and family.

Here is Suzi’s (it makes sense because she owns a gun (!!!) named Jack):


Here is my mom’s (who always talks about the crazy squirrels in her yard):


And here’s my sister’s (who always wants to play board games):


Awesome tote bags, eh?

With the holidays over, I’m getting back into my regular routine. Today I did laundry and knitted on my FLS. I’m also contemplating what to do with the yarn our friend Patrick brought back from Argentina. Here’s Patrick, the yarn, and me:

It’s huge! And rather rustic. And nice. Ideas?

During his visit the week before Christmas, Patrick also gave us Spotted Cow beer, truffles from Gail Ambrosius, and a mate set. So nice! We also had terrific pizza while he was in town, so check out my review at the end of this post.

Speaking of visits, Katie of Katie and Beth visited us the day after Christmas. We had dinner at Pi and drinks at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, and I was surprised to see both places bumping. Obviously, I don’t go out much on Friday nights, but I was glad to see local establishments doing well.

A total contrast was Banh Mi So #1 on New Year’s Eve. It was just me, Porkchop, and a few other people. Of course, this might have been because the restaurant wasn’t officially open. It was all rather confusing, but we ended up enjoying shrimp spring rolls and tofu curries. YUM! I love Banh Mi So #1!

Back to today…while Porkchop was at work, I baked bread! Yes, starting on my 2009 goals already! I made this recipe for roasted garlic bread, only I substituted rosemary for the parsley, which makes it tons better in my opinion. Oh, and I used butter instead of margarine because I think margarine is the devil.

I haven’t baked bread in at least 10 years, and I’ve never had to shape it into a loaf…..but, I think it turned out awesome:


Next time, I will cook it a little bit longer because it could be crustier. But, all in all, it is delicious! And I’m excited about baking more bread!

The Good Pie
During Patrick’s visit, we ate at The Good Pie, one of the newest pizza joints in St. Louis. This one’s a keeper! GO THERE!!!

The pizzas are thin crust Naples-style and cooked in a wood-burning oven brought over from Italy. The ingredients are simple and fresh. I nearly cried when I had my first bite because this is the type of pizza I’ve been missing! The crust is thin and crisp, yet chewy inside, and the ingredients are high quality and tasty.

We tried four pizzas, and all were awesome. The margherita, the salsicca, the atina, and the mast’nicola. I loved all of them, but the mast’nicola was my favorite with the pancetta and pecorino.

The Good Pie also serves local beer, and I had a tasty porter from O’Fallon (I think…it was a long time ago).

My only suggestion is that they improve the signage on the outside. The windows are tinted so dark, we nearly didn’t even try the door, thinking they were closed! They should at least put up an Open/Closed sign of some variety.

Anway, I can’t wait to go back!