Sunday, September 23, 2007

Yet Another Post About Menu Planning

Yum!Yes, the question: "What would you like for dinner?" keeps coming back. I found there are many on the web asking, and answering, that very question. Here are a few of them.

The site Whats for offers a new meal suggestion every day. What's on their menu for today? They give you a week's worth so you can pick and choose -- and a shopping list, too.'s What's For Dinner? site, from Portland, Maine, has lots of great recipes, fabulous food photos and a wonderful section on leftovers.

Paul Bausch's Dinner Dialog Generator is also worth a try and it's very funny.

Yum, yummy!Or maybe you will get some cooking inspiration from the more than three dozen take-out entrées offered by Weiland's Gourmet Market of Columbus, Ohio. They call them "EZ Foods." "A broad variety of chef-prepared, ready-to-serve items." How I wish we had a Weiland's in this town. Check out their site for other menus of "EZ" items, too -- soups, salads, breads and specials.

And of course if you haven't done it for a couple days you can always get away with something from your neighborhood take-out.

(It looks like Betty C. didn't see the need for a food stylist.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tiki Culture

The Backyard TikiWhen we moved to Pensacola in 2004 there was this wonderful tiki (on the left) in the backyard. It was about 4 1/2 feet tall and carved from the trunk of a palm tree. From the style and quality of the carving it was probably made by a local artist. And not mass produced in some tiki factory far away.

In 2004 Hurricane Ivan damaged it and in 2005 Hurricane Dennis finished it off. We miss it and want to replace it with one in a similar style.

Photos: Ka'anapali Maui, torches, plumeria, Easter IslandHere are some Tiki links:
(in no particular order)
Book of Tiki
Easter Island's Home Page
Tiki Kiliki's Hukilau
Kon Tiki Museum 
Tiki Farm
Charlie Knight's Palm Tiki
Wheelock Gallery
Tiki Objects by Bosco
Paradise Found

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boating on Big Lagoon

Pensacola Lighthouse, built in 1858Last week Jack's nephew Bill took us and his mother, Joan, out on his boat. It's usually a fishing boat for him and his son Ross, but he had converted it to a tour boat for the afternoon with some comfy lawn chairs for us. We went out of the Sherman Cove Marina at NAS Pensacola, the Cradle of Naval Aviation.

He's a retired Coast Guard officer so he can use the Naval Air Station's recreational facilities like the Sherman Cove Marina and the beach side cottages at Oak Grove Park where his family spent the weekend.

We had a wonderful time on the boat seeing NAS Pensacola from the water, the Pensacola Lighthouse and the city's skyline. We also went out into the Gulf of Mexico and saw lots of people on the beaches and sandbars fishing and drinking cold beverages.

I didn't get many good photos. It was my first time out in nature with the new digital camera and I was barely able to use it at all. But here are a few.

Photos from the new camera
On the right, the wall with the cannons on top is Fort Pickens, guarding the east side of Pensacola Pass. Fort McRee guards the west side of the Pass. It was my first time taking a photo using a zoom lens from a rocking boat.

Thanks, Bill. We had a great time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A side trip from Memphis

Clinton Presidential LibraryOur plans for the Memphis trip are underway. We have the hotel reservations and the train tickets. We are ready for a ride on The City of New Orleans, ready for the tour of Graceland and ready to eat BBQ.

While doing some research on the trip it occurred to us that Memphis is pretty close to Little Rock, Arkansas, about a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. And since Memphis is somewhat out of the way for us, we may never get back there. So if we don't see Little Rock on this trip we may never see Little Rock.

What's to see in Little Rock? The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.

The Clinton Library is the twelfth Presidential Library and it is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The twelve presidential libraries represent all presidents from Hoover through Clinton. The Nixon Presidential Library, at the time it opened in 1990, was not administered by the National Archives. It was recognized by them in July, 2007.

Clinton Presidential LibraryThe William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park includes the Clinton presidential library and the offices of the Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, established by Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States.

Click here for Little Rock Tourist and Visitor Information. And here, too.

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Good mornin' America, how are you?"

Illinois Central's City of New OrleansSometime during the fall we want to take a trip on a train. It's something we love but rarely get a chance to do. It's not easy to find a train nearby and there is none out of Pensacola at all.

After the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes down here, AMTRAK, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, cut off most of the passenger service along the entire Gulf Coast and has no plans to restore service. "For safety reasons." Although freight trains safely pass through town on the same tracks several times a day.

If we drive to New Orleans we can take a train from there north to Memphis and even Chicago. So I checked out schedules online. I found we could leave from New Orleans at 1:45 P.M. and get to Memphis at 10:00 P.M. The trip is roughly 400 miles (640 km).

Train Route: City of New Orleans
Best of all, the train is Illinois Central's "City of New Orleans." Yes, the one in the song written by Steve Goodman -- made popular in the early 1970s by Arlo Guthrie and later by many others including Willie Nelson and John Denver.

The Peabody DucksMaybe we will stay a couple nights at The Peabody Memphis. It the famous restored Memphis hotel with the fountain and the ducks. We can visit Beale Street and Elvis Presley's Graceland. And we can eat Memphis BBQ.

The trip back leaves Memphis Central Station at 6:50 in the morning and arrives in New Orleans Union Terminal at 3:32 P.M.

We don't know when we will take this trip but it's never to early to start planning.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Road trip, new shoes, flashing lights

Pensacola is a fairly small city, population 54,000 with a widespread metropolitan area that brings the total up to about 440,000. Despite the small size and the long distance to any big cities (see driving distances), we have some major shopping opportunities within less than an hour's drive.

Fifty miles to the west is the Tanger Outlet Center in Foley, Alabama with, according to their ads "more than 120 brand name manufacturers and designers outlet stores."

About the same distance to the east is the Silver Sands Outlet Stores in Destin, Florida. It claims to be the nation's largest designer outlet center. And it may well be true.

Logo, Silver Sands Factory StoresTheir brochure says:
"With over 100 designer names and located just minutes from the beautiful white sandy beaches and emerald green waters of Destin, Silver Sands is a shopper's paradise!" It's so scary (I'll just stay in the car).

Jack needed some new Rockport deck shoes to wear around the house. We decided to drive over to Destin and get a new pair at the Rockport store in the outlet mall. It was a beautiful day, lots of little fluffy clouds, blue sky, sunny but not too hot.

Florida Highway Patrol uniform patchOn the way along Interstate 10, I was driving, there was no traffic and suddenly I realized, (A) I was going way too fast -- close to 80 miles an hour -- and (B) there was a Florida Highway Patrolperson hiding in the bushes up ahead. Suddenly there were flashing blue lights. A speeding ticket, the second one in 49 years of driving. Oh, well. I don't usually drive that much over the speed limit. The fines and fees came to a total of $80.50.

Logo, Back Porch RestaurantThe Gulf of Mexico was beautiful in Destin, blue sky, white sand and many shades of green water. We had lunch on the beach at a favorite seafood restaurant, The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House. Then we went shopping for shoes and found them at the Rockport store. We got home easily, we returned along the coast road instead of the Interstate highway. And without any more flashing blue lights.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Today's Holidays

Today is Labor Day holiday here in the U.S. -- and in Canada it's Labour Day -- always on the first Monday of September. It's the end of summer vacations.

In the U.S. as it is September 3, it is also National Welsh Rarebit Day. Click here for a list of the official September national food holidays.

Recipe, Welsh Rabbit or Welsh Rarebit?
I always thought it was Welsh Rabbit, not Welsh Rarebit. Perhaps it was originally a light-hearted aspersion on the Welsh character by the Brits? But Rarebit isn't new, it has been the standard spelling in America since the early 1800's. Why, I cannot imagine.

The dish, however you spell it, has been around for centuries with many variations. Over-consumption is known to cause nightmares or at the very least, vivid dreams.

Here's a history of the dish and it's spellings. And for even more information check out the Wiki.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

ultrasparky: on teeny houses

ultrasparkyAmerican type designer, graphic designer and photographer, ultrasparky, is currently a master's degree student studying typeface design at the über-cool (and wildly selective) program for typeface design at the University of Reading in the UK. It's the world's top school for type design and research.

His blog discusses his artistic world, personal life and a wide range of other interests. Plus daily photos of ultrasparky himself.

I enjoy reading his posts about the school and his progress through the design curriculum, but best of all are the posts about what it's like to be an American spending an extended time in the UK -- a place he seems to love as much as I do.

Single HauzSometimes he reports on teeny, wee houses such as the Single Hauz designed by Front Architects, his post has links to both sites.

Sparky says,
"So pretty. So teeny. So sleek. I want one on a glacial lake somewhere, and another rising like a pretty, rectangular flower over an urban factory or something."

Here's an earlier post from Sparky about teeny houses.

Now don't leave his site without viewing some examples of his beautiful font, Gina. Two links to check out: the story behind Gina and the Gina specimen book.