Monday, September 29, 2008

The Next Cruise

Emerald Princess at dusk
The Emerald Princess

Fall is here and it's time to make plans for winter activities. And a winter cruise to the southern Caribbean.

Emerald Princess Southern Caribbean ItineraryThe Emerald Princess is one of the newer ships in the Princess fleet. It was launched in the spring of 2007. It's a big ship, 3,100 passengers and 1,200 crew, with lots of facilities and amenities. During the ten-day cruise we will visit some beautiful islands, two of which -- Dominica and Grenada -- we have never been to before.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lunch at Jesse's in Magnolia Springs, Alabama

Jesse's Restaurant, Magnolia Springs,ALOnce again it was a pleasure to drive the 50 miles to Magnolia Springs to eat lunch at Jesse's Restaurant.

We started with their fabulous Champagne Crab Bisque. Then Jack had the 'Shay' Burger with lots of toppings and I had the Fried Shrimp Po' Loaf sandwich. We both had their worth-the-trip potato salad. You can read about all their food on their newly re-designed website. The menu has lots of delicious salads, sandwiches and lunch specials. And if you're really hungry don't miss the steak and fries. It's their signature dish: Jesse's Famous Whiskey Steak -- a 12 oz. ribeye marinated in Jack Daniels and spices and served with fries.

Here's what Alabama's Department of Tourism says about Jesse's,
Jesse’s Restaurant is located in the sleepy little village of Magnolia Springs, where the mail is still delivered by boat. Housed in the former Post Office, and adjacent to Moore Brothers Village Market (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the charming cafĂ© draws visitors from miles around with its unique location and New Orleans-inspired menu. Best described as casual fine dining, Jesse’s offers such entrees as Southern-style crab cakes over Cajun slaw, shrimp and tasso over creamy goat cheese grits, and its famous “whiskey steak.” Located only 15 minutes from the Gulf, Jesse’s is a great place for lunch or dinner.

Jesse's Resaturant and Moore Bros. Village Market

Award: Jesse's Whiskey SteakBy the way here's the recipe for

Jesse's Whiskey Steak Marinade
(for four steaks)
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of Jack Daniel's Whiskey
1/4 cup of chopped garlic
1/2 cup of peeled ginger root, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Marinate the steaks for 1-3 hours.

(Recipe adapted from the book Alabama's Historic Restaurants and Their Recipes, by Gay N. Martin.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Follow Up -- Presidential Predictions

Here's a follow up to the Presidential Predictions posts on this blog back in February 2007.

McCain and Obama, BFF.Back then, the predicted winners for the Democrats were John Edwards for the presidential nomination with Barack Obama for vice president.

For the Republicans John McCain was the clear choice for the presidential nod. But for vice president it was nearly a five-way tie. Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were in a tie (two votes each) for the VP nomination barely ahead of Bill Frist, Rudy Giuliani and Chuck Hegel (one vote each). Nineteen-months ago, Sarah Palin wasn't even a gleam in Karl Rove's eye.

You can look at the original posts here:
Predicting the Candidates for 2008
Tallies

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The New Commander's Palace in Destin, Florida

Commander's Palace logoCommander's Palace in New Orleans is one of the top restaurants in the country. Among its honors is the Lifetime Outstanding Restaurant Award from the James Beard Foundation.

Recently the Brennan's opened a Commander's Palace in Destin, Florida in a waterfront location on the Gulf of Mexico overlooking Destin Harbor.

After they had been open for about a month we decided to give it a try. We went with high hopes that they could match the service, ambience and quality of food they are so famous for in New Orleans. And yes, they did.

The food combines New Orleans and Creole traditions with ingredients from the Florida Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.

We loved the whole meal, for starters Jack had their famous turtle soup and I had the chicken and crab Courtbouillon, along with their hot garlic and cheese bread. For entrees I had grilled Wahoo and Jack the smoked pork chop. Both were perfectly cooked and presented with unusual and delicious vegetable garnishes.

Here's the Zagat review and some photos.

The dining room has huge windows overlooking Harbor Walk Village and the Gulf. It's a great view, but at lunch time the dining room can be very bright with the combination of the big windows, the array of overhead lights plus white walls, linens, dishes and chairs. And it's certainly much too bright for a gentleman who is, perhaps, taking his secretary there for a three-martini lunch. He just might get spotted by a friend of the family.

By the way, three martinis will cost him 75 cents. Yes, they have 25-cent martinis -- at least at lunch on weekdays. Three's the limit, however. As the menu says, "That's enough."

It was a wonderful experience and one we will repeat again soon. Plus it is only 50 miles from Pensacola.

For more information about Commander's Palace, read the
Wiki article.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Keeping an eye on CERN...

CERN's Large Hadron ColliderBlack Hole Machine? [Click here to find out.]

From CERN's press release a few days ago: "CERN reiterates safety of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on eve of first beam."
Geneva, 5 September 2008. A report published today in the peer reviewed Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics1 provides comprehensive evidence that safety fears about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are unfounded. The LHC is CERN’s2 new flagship research facility. As the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, it is poised to provide new insights into the mysteries of our universe.

“The LHC will enable us to study in detail what nature is doing all around us,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar. “The LHC is safe, and any suggestion that it might present a risk is pure fiction.” [read more]

However, not everyone agrees. Here's what Citizens Against the Large Hadron Collider has to say about the dangers.

You can check out CERN and how it came to be by clicking on the links below.
CERN Welcome Page
CERN Scientific Information Service
CERN Wiki

Teriyaki Chicken

Nobusei's signLast week we had lunch at Nobusei Japanese Restaurant. It's a favorite for a delicious and reasonably priced (cheap in other words) lunch. In the evenings they also do wonderful grilled meats, shrimp and fish at the lively Hibachi tables. Their live chefs chop, grill and entertain. Nobusei is actually the closest restaurant to our house.

Nobusei Japanese Restaurant, Pensacola, FloridaOne of their best offerings at lunch is teriyaki chicken with tempura vegetables -- batter fried bell pepper, sweet potato, onion rings, broccoli and carrot matchsticks. All of this preceded by soup and salad.

Nobusei's teriyaki chicken was so good I wanted to make it at home. So I did some Google research. There were lots of recipes, the one used was for Teriyaki Chicken Kababs, a.k.a. Yakitori.

I didn't want to grill the chicken on skewers so I sliced each skinless, boneless breast into four slices, the long way, and pounded to flatten a bit. Then marinated the chicken for 30 minute and grilled them for about two minutes on each side. They browned up nicely and tasted "right." Very good indeed.

Next time I will have to try making those tempura vegetables, too.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Three Named-Storms Now in the North Atlantic

Late afternoon on Friday it looks like Tropical Storm Hanna has missed us here in the Florida panhandle. It may cause a wet weekend along the Atlantic coast.

[This map is from WeatherUnderground.com. For a larger map click the image above. For more tropical storm information go to the Weather Underground site.]

Hurricane Ike may be headed right into the Gulf of Mexico. On its way to Pensacola? That's a possibility. We will find out by the middle of next week.

And it's too early to guess where Tropical Storm Josephine may end up.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Lands

Hurricane Gustav landfall[Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Above, Weather.com's radar map of Hurricane Gustav. This was taken about 30 minutes after the eye of the storm's landfall at Cocodrie, Lousiana -- 70 miles southwest of New Orleans. And about 250 miles WSW of Pensacola, a good, safe distance.