Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stephen Colbert Post of the Day - Part Three of a Three Part Series

This is my favorite of the three. First, because it's the reason we all went to DC in February and, second, because his lip syncing is SPOT ON. Seriously. I think some of the pop "stars" out there need a lesson from Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA.

On an unrelated side note - baseball's BACK!! What up mofos? Be prepared for smack talking, Yankee lovin' and straight-up Red Sox bashing! Number 27, here they come! Go Matsui! Bring Bernie back!

Friday, March 28, 2008

He's Bringing SexyBack: Stephen Colbert Post of the Day

Part Two of the three part series of clips of Stephen dancing. I think he's better than JT.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Top Chef - Block Party" - Where everyone wears douche-y hats

At first, I thought this was going to be the inevitable, ubiquitous, let-the-women-complain-about-the-kitchen-being-a-boy's-club episode. Come on, guys, you thought it was, too. All the ladies complaining in the beginning about two women being sent home in a row. How hard it is for a woman in a kitchen. How rare it is to have more than one woman in a restaurant kitchen. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be anti-women in restaurant kitchens, I think people should get to work wherever they want, without prejudice. But, that said, if you're going to work in a restaurant, you have to be aware going in as a woman, that it will be difficult. Don't complain about it. You're on "Top Chef." Clearly, you're doing something right.

Anyway, onto the episode. The Quickfire was good, I really like Rick Bayless and, having eaten at Frontera Grill, I know his food is really tasty. His choice in shirts, however...

As soon as Erik went off on his rant about Mexican food and fine dining not going together, I knew we were in for a treat (plus, douche-y hat of the night #1 made an appearance). At first, I was like, "Yo, douche bag, why are you talking smack about Mexican food? Do you really think there are NO fine dining restaurants in Mexico? Or fine dining establishments that serve Mexican food?" But was still slightly amused at his inappropriate and borderline racist comment. But, when he said Rick Bayless could go screw himself (or whatever he said), I actually got a little mad, as evidenced in my notes from last night, in which I wrote in response to that statement: "I'll cut you." I think that sums up my feelings for him, and the entire Red Team, during the Elimination Challenge. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As far as the actual Quickfire Challenge food goes, I liked Richard's jicama taco shell idea. Apparently, I'm one of the few people that likes him, even though he is a little Season 1 Stephen-esque, I'll give his haters that. I thought Spike's pork taco taco looked good, too, albeit not fine-dining good, although I was kind of annoyed at his, "I'm not going to be someone I'm not." What does that even mean? Of course you're who you are...if you weren't you'd be someone else. Plus, he was wearing that stupid hat too (douche-y hat #2 alert), so, apparently, he was trying to be someone else. Namely, Ashlee Simpson. Andrew's taco looked good (duck, in a taco shell, what's NOT to like?), too but he's still freaking me out, what with his twitching and excessive blinking and mood swings. I think Manuel got screwed there - his chorizo taco looked awesome. I bet it was delicious, too, I thought for sure he would get a top mention, since we're still at the stage where the editors only show the best and worst of the Quickfire.

Elimination Challenge:
My overall thoughts can be summed up in one important sentence from my notes: "I really hate Erik - I hope he goes home." Although, I guess I should replace "Erik" with "the whole Red Team." They were acting all cocky and D-baggy from the start. Even Hot!Ryan. Spike (I think) telling the other team that the one house was cleaned out was low,too. I can't believe that was the last we heard of it. I definitely though someone would bring it up during Judge's Table. I will say that the producers MUST have sent people into the neighborhood ahead of time to let those poor people know random chefs would be busting into their houses and taking their food. They all had way too much nice food laying around, even with block party cooking going on. I would definitely NOT have let anyone in my house to take my food. Ever. Except Hot!Ryan. But I would force him to stay in my house and cook for me. Also, that one woman who let them take her wine - wow. Bitch is crazy. I would NEVER let anyone take my wine. Unless it was Hot!Ryan and he stayed and drank it with me.

Onto the Sniff n' Sneer! My favorite part was Tom C. making fun of the "Sexy Drink" by being surprised that lavender is "sexy" now. Also, did anyone else find the drink name somewhat inappropriate for an event with a lot of children? My second favorite part was Tom's sneer at Erik when Erik said his team would win because of the "heart" they're putting into everything. Also, it was quite foreboding to see him ask about the breading on the corn dog and predict the sogginess that would transpire. Nikki, too, though, she really has no business being there. That mac and cheese was a mistake from the beginning, how is pasta ever good after it sits and is reheated? And, am I wrong, or did I hear her say she added salt to the mac and cheese to help moisten it? Because, I'm not going to lie to you, if she really added salt, she has no business even being a chef. Salt draws moisture OUT of products. It doesn't provide moisture TO the product.

Overall EC food notes: When Padma dropped her marshmallow onto Ted's shoe, I nearly lost it. I love Ted Allen and his, "you're going to get the bill for that" was awse. You know he's wearing some fancy-ass shoes, even to a block party. Plus, Ted wins with the comment of the night, "Thank God we got some sausage in there." All together now: THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!

I think, overall, the Blue Team's food was better. Nikki should be thanking the "Top Chef" gods that she was on the winning team, because that bought her an extra week. I'll call it right now. She's going home in the next three weeks. Probably next week. Dale's pork skewers looked really tasty, as did the not-a-paella. Thinking about it now, I guess the Blue Team did go a little more upscale, which is what (I think) the judges were hoping to see after the Quickfire. The Red Team really thought they were going to win, the poor bastards. Nope. Pork skewers and sliders can't save you now...

I will say, though, that this was a tough challenge because they did have to cook for kids, adults, and the judges, and I can see how the would have struggled to balance food that appeals to kids and also appeals to the judges, who've eaten all over the world. But, having said that, it seemed more like the food they made was just bad in general, not inappropriate for the setting. If you make a macaroni and cheese, using Velveeta, make it good. Not just passable, you know, good enough for kids and "Middle America" with their "unrefined palates." Pasta salad can be delicious and very inventive. Don't complain about being stuck with it, then not say anything about it to the rest of your team, and make a crappy one to boot. It always shocks me (maybe that says something about me, I should have learned by now) when the chefs try to make just "OK" food and expect to win. You should be balls to the wall each challenge. You're on TV for God's sake! Try your hardest! Make the best street food you can!

I think the judges made the right call. The Blue Team did seem to do better, and I'm really glad Stephanie won. She really has a great way of just slightly changing a dish, to keep it familiar, yet reinvent it as something different and tasty! As far as the Red Team, I don't know what to say. On the message boards and blogs, some people seem to think their pissy reaction was due to the judges being overly harsh. I actually didn't get that at all. I think the judges were just upset because the quality of the food was so bad. I thought it was completely out of left field when the men-folk on the Red Team started talking back to the judges. Especially Spike. And, clearly, Andrew, but I expected that from his crazy-ass. The best part of that scene was Tom covering his mouth to prevent us from seeing his smirk in reaction to Andrew ranting about having to be dragged out by security. It narrowly beat out Ted Allen summing up my thoughts, by telling them they were "condescending to the crowd."

And, as I had hoped for earlier, Erik was sent home. Good riddance. Crappy attitude. Stupid hat. Overly angry expression in all "Top Chef" related promotional materials. I also enjoyed how he had to clarify that his career wasn't over now that he'd been kicked off the show. As if anyone would assume so. Whatever dude. take your hat and go back to SF. I will go eat your lobster corndog if I'm ever there, though. It does sound delicious.

Assorted random thoughts:
Did Andrew cursing in front of the children after he threw that ball at the dunk tank?
Nikki, why would you ad SALT to moisten the Mac and Cheese?
Hot!Ryan has cute dimples, but he's kind of a DB.
And, here are a few more takes on the episode:
This one, I agree with.
This is more amusing than anything else.
Another one.

Next week - Daniel Boulud! Hot!Ryan makes fun of cracked-out Andrew! More lesbian drama!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hawkeye and Hot Lips: Stephen Colbert Post of the Day

I don't really want to post anything ever again, because it means the pretty picture of Ed below will be lost forever. But, I have to show the Stephen Colbert love sometime (plus, I need to post my thoughts on "Top Chef" tomorrow), so, in an effort to compromise with myself, I will move Ed further and further down the page until he's gone forever - but, I'll put a mini picture in place of the Andy Bernard one I have up now. Win-win-win. That third win is for you, the readers, because you are made of win, especially when you read my blog.

So, here, the first of a three (maybe more) part series, I present Video 1 of Stephen dancing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ZOMG! Ed Helms Post of the Day

A little hotness for a Tuesday morning.

Best. Ed. Picture. Ever.

Thanks to (my brain is broken).

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Gator is Good, the Martinis Are Better

On Friday night, since BMG was in Vegas partying it up with strippers, gambling on the NCAA basketball tournament, and basically engaging in degeneracy and debauchery which is only acceptable in Las Vegas, I joined DC and NC for a night of third-wheel dining in New Brunswick, NJ at Delta's. Delta's is a soulfood restaurant, well reknowned in the NJ-area, which we had been to once before, last year. Actually, I havd been there one time before that as well, but the food left a lot to be desired, I think because they were cooking for our large party (60+ people). Since I'm a fair, although quite crappy food blogger (one who would rather post inane comments about RayRay and adorable pictures of Ed Helms), I decided to go back to get the real experience and it was definitely worth it. The food was really good. This past Friday was no different.

Reservations through Opentable? Check. Free parking in the Church Street deck because of Good Friday? Check. Lovely dining companions? Check (double check for you, DC! Heart!). All the makings of a great dinner. So let's get to it.

We started with some drinks, DC and I each having a martini, NC sticking with beer, since he had to drive our drunk asses around after dinner. Now, I will say, Delta's has a significant martini menu (in that it's super-long, TWSS), but I'm not really a fan of the sweet martini drinks, or really any sweet drink in general, so I can't vouch for their signature beverages. I will say that my martini was really good. See for yourself:
It was poured at the table, a little too close to the top (as you can see), so I had to drink a few sips without picking it up, causing my hair to fall into the drink, but it was worth it. As an added bonus, I could suck on my hair on the drive home to keep the buzz going.

We got an appetizer of the fried gator:
It was good. Very tasty and crunchy on the outside, and not too chewy in the middle. Even DC, who doesn't like most food items and doesn't like to try new things tried it and liked it. It came with some kind of aioli, which was a reddish color, probably due to roasted red peppers or something, mostly it tasted of garlic, which was/is (clearly) not bad.

Onto the entrees. NC had the Mahi Mahi special, involving fried, stuffed okra and succotash, DC had the smothered chicken with sides of mashed potatoes and string beans, and I had the salmon cakes with sides of mac and cheese and collard greens. You get your choice of two sides from their extensive (and I'm sure quite delicious) list of sides with any entree, causing me to remark to DC that Deltas should have a side item meal, kind of like Boston Market, except more delicious and probably equally laden with fat and sodium.

The Mahi Mahi:
I tried a little piece of the Mahi Mahi - it was quite good, nicely cooked and tasty. The Succotash was good, too, causing NC and me to bond over our shared love of lima beans. The fried okra looked good, I didn't have any, but it was stuffed with prawns, breaded, then deep fried, how could it be bad?

The smothered chicken was covered with fantastic gravy, as were the mashed potatoes:
I didn't try any of DC's food (bitch would have cut me), but she seemed to like it, which is really all that mattered.

Here's my salmon cakes with grits. Yes, that's two salmon caked swimming in a delicious pool of corn-y goodness.

Actually, I have a confession to make. This is the same thing I ordered last time I went to Delta's. I know, I should try something new. I just really liked it last time and really liked it again this time. I can't help it, I had to order it. We'll just have to go back again so I can order something different. Anyway, here are my sides (they had to put them on a separate plate due to the spreading pile o' grits):
That man and cheese was so effing good. The collard greens were super-tender and tasted of smoked meat, perhaps a ham hock? Delicious.

My only issue with the entrees was the liberal use of chopped parsley sprinkled across the plates. I'm not a fan of the confetti garnish, but I guess the chef is. To each his own, it's his restaurant, he can do what he least he didn't garnish the food with an random herb which had nothing to do the dish (I'm looking at you Clydz, but that's a blog for another day).

The Aftermath:
Yeah, shut it, guys. It was way too much food - don't make fun of our poor showing.
Notice how NC and I both ate half our portions. And cut them exactly in half. Like in a line. I don't' know what that means, but, in my case, I think it's a little sad.

Since we still had martini to drink, we decided to get a dessert. We had been eying up the strawberry cobbler since we sat down to eat and saw it as the dessert special for the day. So we ordered that mofo up. Well, it was alright. I'm not a huge sweet fan (yes, I know you all know that already...shut it!) and that thing was effing sweet. It actually made my teeth hurt. DC and NC both thought it was too sweet, too, so don't be all like, "Whatever, Iko, I like sweet things, you don't know what you're talking about."
Actually, wait a minute, it's true, I have no clue what I'm talking about. Anyway, we powered through the cobbler as best we could. I should also say that I was under the impression that a cobbler had a crumbly, granola-like topping, while this had more of a pie crust over the top. Maybe things are different in the South. Can anyone let me know? Anyone? Bueller?

Here's the aftermath of the cobbler:

And that was it. We were stuffed. Beyond compare. We headed out to drink some wine at my apartment and watch one of each of a TiVoed "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." I took the extra food home to have for dinner the next night. It was just a delicious microwaved up the next day.

Overall impressions: Good food, way too much of it, perhaps too liberal use of parsley hacher, and a (perhaps) not-a-cobbler. Also, delicious martinis. As we were leaving, a jazz band was just starting to play, so it may be worth a trip solely for drinking and bar food one night, just to listen to the band. Another blog for another day? I hope so - it means I get to go back soon!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Stephen Colbert Post of the Day

In a new segment here at AbS - Stephen Colbert brings the U.S. the finest water. All the way from Cincinnati via Bangkok, a black rhino...and a few other places.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mushroom Turds and Quinoa - "Top Chef - Zoo Food"

Well, interesting episode of "Top Chef" last night. By that I mean, it was kind of boring, right? Where's the tension and drama? They tried to bring it in with Dale throwing Nikki under the bus (seriously, how glad are you the "Top Chef" contestants finally got rid of THAT expression), but bitch deserved it. She was serving those gross pecorino-blueberry-mushroom piles after her team decided not to serve them, or did I miss something?

Anyway, let's start with the Quickfire. I liked the farmer's market/you can only use five ingredients idea. I think, too often, chefs (like other non-chef people) like to make food too complicated. I certainly prefer simple, clean food, so it was nice to see some of them were able to create awesome-looking, probably awesome-tasting dishes with limited resources. And, clearly, twitchy Andrew effed it up by adding balsamic. What a crack-ho. I'm sure they went through the rules with the over and over and he still messed it up. You know how they were allowed to bring some "secret" ingredients they can't live without with them to Chi-town (yeah, I know, Iko, don't ever say that again) and keep the ingredients in their locker with their tools? Yeah, Andrew's locker is filled with the rock. No question.

Also awesome about the Quickfire, Wylie Dufresne was there! I think he's so awesome and incredibly creative and whimsically so. I'm not too hearting of the whole molecular gastronomy thing, if I want to eat locust bean gum and citric acid powder, I'll just have some citrus-y creamsicle Kraft makes, it's not what I want to eat when I go out to eat at a fancy restaurant - that's just not what appeals to me. That doesn't make it wrong or any less interesting to see what his mind can come up with. That said, I was annoyed when faux-hawk said molecular gastronomy is using science to make food better or whatever. Um, yeah, not so much. I think it's using science to make food different and interesting. And, as we all know, "science is whatever we want it to be." In this case, science makes food crazy. Also, as my old roommate pointed out, Australian (New Zealand?) guy probably won the Quickfire because of his sideburns...that comment by WD totally made me crack up (or maybe it was all the wine I was drinking while watching the show).

For the Elimination Challenge, I was totally concerned (just as the chefs were) that they had to cook penguin and gorilla. I was like, WTF "Top Chef?" This isn't really that legal...but, the challenge was pretty cool, although the results were pretty much less than stellar and a little boring. I think the best part of the second half of the episode was the Colicchio "sniff and sneer" in which he appeared to be covered in some kind of bronzing powder. Seriously Tommy, are you hitting up the fake n' bake with Padma? Or maybe Paris Hilton? He looked like a shorter, slightly chunkier Mr. Clean.

And, if it was sunburn - dude, you HAVE to put on sunblock when you go outside. Chefs are allowed to die of heart attacks from eating too much butter and cream, but skin cancer? That just means you didn't spend enough time inside cooking at (one of your many) Craft(s) and too much time OUTSIDE frolicking about with Padma.

I guess I should write about the food a bit, too? Well, the blinis CLEARLY didn't go over well. I think everyone watching the show was like, "WTF, Valerie? Why would you fry something, transport it, then reheat it? Aren't you a chef? Shouldn't you know it's never good to fry something you need to bring somewhere else?" As my notes from last night said:

Blini shipped in Gladware? Yeah, try again. No frying, transporting and reheating, ever again, please! Poor chefmanship.

Also, I'm sorry, ranting side note: WTF is up with every person on the show last night (Tommy excluded) not knowing the difference between a blini and a BELLini? Or at least knowing the correct pronunciation of each?

Stephanie disappointed me, too. I thought she'd be good after last week, but again, why would you try to make crispy celery chip that you then need to transport in some Gladware? Then to try and save it, only to dress the crab salad (apparently I have drugs on the brain, too, Andrew, damn you!! I just wrote "crack" salad instead of crab salad) too early so IT became soggy, I think you're better than that, Stephanie. That said, I'm kind of pulling for her. She seems nice and appears to be a good chef, aside from some sogginess issues. Also, while those mushroom things did look horrible, I seem to remember an issue with Howie and the term "mushroom turds" last season? Don't you think the chefs should learn from previous seasons? Or, maybe, the cameramen/editors shouldn't re-air the same drama from season to season.

On the other side, Team penguin did do really well. I liked their glacier tablesKape, in spite of it being somewhat Sandy-esque. Their food looked good, too. Also, as much as I want to punch Stephanie in the groin for her salad debacle, her banana bread with SALTED CARAMEL sauce looked awse! The Vulture teams' meatballs and quinoa looked really good, too. I kind of hoped they would win, I love meatballs and saying the word "quinoa."

Some final toughts on the episode:

Padma looked pretty bitchy when she came into the chef's waiting area and asked for Team Vulture and Penguin. One would think she wouldn't need to try to emote when she calls the teams to Judge's Table. Everyone must know by now that they call the winners first, then the losers.

Colicchio calling something a "great bite" during judges table was my favorite moment of the night, with the exception of when I realized he looked like Mr. Clean.

To my boy Dale: you always lie and say you tasted the dish. ALWAYS. Also, you should ALWAYS wear a shirt under your chef's coat, otherwise you look filthy and guido.

What's up with Nikki's blue glasses? Is she trying to be like Bono?

Preview for next week: Why are all the chefs wearing douche-y hats? RICK effing BAYLESS! I hope they do a Mexican cooking challenge and he rips them all apart. Except for Stephanie. And Dale (I still like him, even if he is super-bitchy).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ed Helms Post of the Day

This video is good for anyone finding themselves without a job in these financially trying times. Also for those who hate certain people who think "science is whatever we want it to be" and need to find a new one.

I wish they could have found Ed a Fireball Fuschia suit.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Am Dehydrated - and So Can You: The Story of "Clinical Depression" and Otto

The lab in which I work, used to contain 3 graduate students and 1 lab researcher. Now it only has one grad student and one lab researcher (both would be me). The saddest part is that one of the grad. students left to go to TX to do her post-doc, never to be seen or heard from again (I know I'll see you again, LB, I was using a fancy, literary technique known as hyperbole). But, she did leave us with her awesome sister, JB, here on the East Coast, and it was JB who got a bunch of us together to go see her friends' one man show, "Clinical Depression," last Saturday. Her friend, Drew Wininger, was performing as part of a comedy festival (?) thingy...I'm not any rate, BMG, DC*, KN, and I all trekked into Manhattan to meet up with JB and see the show during the afternoon, on what was probably the most disgusting day of the year so far. Tons and tons of rain, with me wearing inappropriate shoes to be walking through 2 inches of rain in NYC.

Anyway, we made it to the show in mostly one piece (I think I lost some of my jeans in a puddle when I stepped on the back of them, since they were dragging on the ground through the filth and water) and found a bunch of seats in the back. The show was great! Very funny, a little bit poignant, and a nice, sweet ending (if you count a picture of Drew giving depression the finger as a sweet way to end the show, which, for some reason I do). But, I'm not a critic of any kind, so I won't even pretend to review the show...just know it was good. We all went to a bar, Phebe's, down the street from the theater once the show was done, as that's where Drew was planning on heading after he finally got to leave the theater. We had some drinks (and only a little bit of food, we were headed to Otto afterwards), and I was especially excited to learn they had Magners cider:
(that's BMG's hand in the background...drinking his beer)

A bit later, Drew came in and eventually made his way over to us. He was awesome, so nice and really appreciative of us coming to see his show...and, yes, he is the exact copy of JB, just in male form. He couldn't talk to us for too long, as he had to talk to the "other people" in the bar, who, I guess, were more important than we were, but it was cool, we had to head out to Otto anyway.

Now, I knew on a Saturday night, Otto would be ridiculous...too busy to even be worth waiting for a table, especially for the six of us (KN's friend AW was meeting us at the restaurant), so I figured the timing would work out well, the show was done by 3:30, then a quick stop off at Phebe's, then head over to Otto around 5:30, before the crowd really showed up. When we got there, it was pretty busy, but we were able to get a table, after a bit of drama involving the number of people at our table (long story, not worth the blog space) and the super-pissy hostess. While we waited for AW to arrive, we stood around one of their tall tables in the bar area, which were, unfortunately for DC, a bit too tall, as in almost as tall as her, she's 5'). We were just going to wait, but then decided to order some wine, too, but, if you've ever seen the wine list at Otto, you know it's a, we asked our friendly waiter for help. He brought us a delicious wine and, more importantly, didn't make fun of us (me) for having no clue about Italian wines. Plus, he smelled very good, as BMG pointed out.

Once AW arrived, we were off to our table. Now, we were pretty hungry and Otto has a simple menu, packed with delicious items, all of which I wanted to try. We settled on a few starters; some cheeses, olives, and (of course) prosciutto. DC made me take a picture of the cheese list in honor of Man-Dean, because it listed a cheese called, Grand Old Man." Man-Dean really is a grand, old man...

The cheeses we chose were, Parmesan, Taleggio, and Fontina, and they came with some fantastic accompaniments, truffled honey, some brandy soaked cherries, (BMG ate them all - without cheese, of course, he doesn't like cheese unless it's melted on top of something), and some kind of orange-type-thing in some kind of sauce, yeah, I know guys, awesome description. Whatever, I didn't try that one...I'm sure it was good, though.
Look! You can see the orange-type-thing in the corner! Oh.....the delicious fermented lactose!

Three kinds of olives arrived next, oh man, those bitches were good! So salty and delicious! They were placed between JB and me, so I think we ate most of them.
The smallest ones were the best, JB agreed, but the green ones had been cured with some lemon peel (you can see it in the picture, kind of), which gave them a nice, bright acid to balance the oiliness and richness of the olive. So good.

Since we were at one of Mario Batali's restaurants, it only seemed right that we order some charcuterie, as well, being that he has meat-curing in his blood (that's NOT what she said). Now, in case you haven't noticed, I love salted, cured meats...probably too much. I'll have a heart attack by 30 because I love them so much. And, this prosciutto was ENTIRELY worth that future heart attack. So smooth and fatty and not too salty and pig-y!
It was rivaled only by the Jamon Iberico in it's deliciousness.

Next came the pizzas! I had the Prosciutto Arugula:
Now, I know what you're thinking, "Iko, did you REALLY need more salted pig flesh?" The answer is a resounding "Hells, yes, MOFO!!!" Oh my God, this pizza was so good, guys. Salty meat and cheese, bitter and spicy arugula, nice thin crispy-burnt crust...I wanted to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant.

DC had the special pizza - sausage and peppers, which was also tremendous - we traded a few pieces back and forth.

JB had the pizza Romana, with anchovies, capers, and chilis, which looked delicious. See Exhibit A below:

AW got a pasta and KN got some kind of pizza, I don't remember which one, but they both looked good. BMG got a pizza with no cheese, which the waiter chose to mangrily remind him had no cheese when he ordered it. Although, later it will be funny that the waiter was so pissy at BMG. I didn't take any pictures of their food items, as I was too busy devouring mine (and a piece of DC's).

The Aftermath:
Empty plates, empty water glasses, empty wine bottles...

When we had finished gorging, it was time for dessert. Now, most people who know me, know I really am not so into dessert. I pick salty over sweet anytime, so, for me, a nice cheese plate is really all I need, if anything at all, after a meal. Or, maybe an espresso. But, since we were at Otto, well known for delicious gelato, I figured I might as well give in. I'd eaten so much already, what's some more dairy, loaded on top of other dairy, loaded on top of some meat going to do to me? Well, you shall see. Looking over the gelato list, two flavors (well actually all of the flavors, but these two in particular) caught my eye - salted caramel and olive oil. I knew before we arrived at the restaurant I was going to get the olive oil gelato, but, behold! Salted Caramel?! Yeah, I had to try that mofo. Luckily, Otto has this thing where you can order one, two, or three flavors of gelato all in the same cup, brilliant! I guess I should have gotten the trifect and included the fennel gelato, but hindsight is 20/20.
(look at the drippy goodness)
Wow, let me tell you. Both were awesome. Like, serious deliciousness bouncing around my tastebuds. But, I really had to struggle to finish it...which I did...but I was not happy afterward. Well, I was happy, but I felt slightly ill.

DC got some kind of gelato thing that you poured espresso over - wow, did that look good! BMG got assorted chocolate flavors, with the extra shot of chocolate sauce to dump over it. Unfortunately, halfway through the gelato he found not one, but two hairs...and, suddenly the super-pissy waiter was really, really he was mad he made the comment about the cheese earlier. But, to BMG's good fortune, he brought out a whole new dish of gelato and a whole new chocolate shot to drown it in. Since BMG apparently has infinite supplies of insulin, he was able to down the second helping with no problem. He even (literally) did the shot of the leftover chocolate sauce.

Once dessert was over, it was time to leave. I was completely dehydrated from all the salt (and wine) - it's funny that I didn't realize until an hour after we left the reason WHY I was so dehydrated - olives (salt), cheese (salt), prosciutto (twice = two salts), and the gelato (salted caramel = salty). We had overstayed our welcome at that point anyway, the waitstaff was probably hating on us in the back, all like, "those bitches better leave soon, we need to turn that table." The place was so crowded as we made our way to the exit...I almost had to punch some bitches in their faces because they wouldn't move to let us through. Also, people dress like idiots in Manhattan. I'm all for trendy sh** sometimes, but come on. It's Otto, not Butter. You're not going out to dance with Justin Timberlake or exchange fashion tips with Rachel Zoe. Otto is casual, you're eating pizza for God's sake. That pissy hostess was probably even more pissy. I managed to take a picture outside to prove we were there:

So ended our adventure, with Iko waddling back/being rolled by her friends to the subway and PATH. Here's the PATH station (just in case you cared to see mass transportation in action):
I was trying to be fancy and changed the settings on my camera...somehow it made it green-ish, but I like it. So there.

Once we got back to Jersey City, I made DC reenact her struggle against her bootleg umbrella. I didn't take the pictures when it actually happened since we were in the middle (unfortunately for her, especially) of a torrential downpour. It wasn't raining during the reenactment (and my photoshopping skills are too poor to draw in an artistic rendering of raindrops), but it was windy as heck, making the pictures more believable:
That wind - yeah, it's real.


Overall, good times. The show was great, Drew was awesome and incredibly gracious, Otto was delicious, and I ended the night completely dehydrated. All the makings of a fantastic evening. Strong work, JB!

*DC is sometimes known as Man-Dawn

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Top Chef Season 4 - "Anything you can cook, I can cook better"

Well, it's that time again, Project Runway has ended, which can only mean one thing - Top Chef is back! I love Top Chef (shocker, TV + Cooking = Iko's kryptonite), I think Season 1 was, by far, the best, come on, Harold? Awse. I still have to hit up Perilla to actually try his food, but he was so cute, so pissy, so focused only on the cooking, what's not to love? Season 2 was a waste. Season 3 was back to goodness again (Dale!! Hung the douche-hat!! Tre - the hot one who got sent home too early), what does Season 4 have in store for us?

A fancy (slightly) new opening in which Padma seems less high than usual. I also had a little shiver of rage when I saw Ilan happily winning his title in the opening montage...grrr...

I like how none of the chefs looked surprised when Padma and TommyC (looking a little bit pissy, if I do say so myself) rolled into the pizzeria to bring them to the Quickfire...they learned quickly from some other seasons, didn't they? I also loved the gratuitous Toyota (plug #1) logo shot (the first of many to come this season), along with the subsequent reference directly to the "Toyota Highlander."* My only issue is the couple thing. I mean, I get that the Bravo producers wanted some "added drama," but come on. There wasn't one other chef who tried out who was better than one of the two in the couple? Plus, the giant, "drama"-filled announcement about it was way too much. I don't know how it should have been handled, but they acted like it was the biggest deal in the world. I mean, I can see an issue if they're the two final chefs or something, oh, wait, who am I kidding, no woman will ever win Top Chef...even a lesbian women. I guess we don't have anything to worry about.

First, their new kitchen looks awesome. Plus, it's filled with spices from Whole Foods (plug #2).
Overall, I think the Quickfire was a good challenge, simple, to the point, and actually having something to do with the city they're using as the backdrop. Some interesting dishes came out, too, my favorite (clearly without tasting them) had to be the peach and taleggio. Seriously. Drool. I like how Rocco was all like, "I thought this bitch was crazy with the peaches and the sweet tea...but after I tried it I came around." Whatever douche bonnet. I can't believe he and Anthony Bourdain were in the same room together during the final judging without one of them being killed (that would be Rocco), but more on that later. I also loved how they had to transport their pizzas in the insulated pizza delivery boxes to their own house...they couldn't have Rocco come on down to the kitchens? And, WTF??! The "Glad Family of Products" couldn't take this moment to unveil their new line of, "Glad, Disposable Pizza Transportation Devices" (plug #3)??

Some stream of consciousness about the Quickfire challenge (from my notes last night): I'd make thin-crust, mofo.

Dale - Who likes hot sauce on their pizza? I was rooting for you until you said that...Buddakan (plus one). Hot sauce (minus 10). But, he is talking smack about other people's pizzas...maybe he's regaining my favor...also, talking smack about all the other fu**ers! Heart!**

Rocco DiSpirito - that douche-hat! HAHAHAHAHAAA! I like how they all have to call him a "star in the culinary world." That's kind of depressing. I bet all 15 chefs cook better than he does.

I'm kind of getting a seizure from all the quick shots of the food, people, and Padma's oddly-grinning face...her eyes look glazed over. I think she and Rocco smoked a fat one before the chefs came over. That explains the gorging on 15 pieces of pizza. How do they decide which chef's Quickfire critique to show and which one's not to show? And, really?! They don't pick a Quickfire winner?!

Their house is awesome. Now that the cooking has stopped, the drinking starts. As all good seasons of Top Chef begin...

Elimination Challenge:
Yeah, I'm not going to lie, this part confused me. Why would you allow the losers to pick the dishes to cook against the winners? If anything, it should be the other way around, give the winners the last pick (the food) and the losers the first pick (who to cook against). The way they did it, it seems like there was no advantage to winning. The show is about cooking, right? So, shouldn't the winners get to choose what they cook? This way, there's basically no advantage to winning. You should lose. That's what they're going to teach the chefs? Really Bravo producers? Losing is good?

And, REALLY, why did they even put souffle up on the list? There are TONS of other classic dishes. Coq au Vin. Chicken Chausseur. Mac and Cheese. Chicken Parmesan...I could go on and on. I mean, I get Tommy C's point about knowing how to cook the classic dishes if you want to be a (top) chef and I, certainly, think it's an important skill to have, but it seemed a little unfair to only give two people one of the hardest things to cook, period. Way to inject useless drama and make the chefs look dumb right off the bat, Bravo. Basically, I think if you're going to do a challenge on basic cooking skills, fine, but then, throw in some fish butchering, fastest chicken breakdown, perfect sauce making, etc. Crabcakes vs. souffle hardly seems fair.

Some stream of consciousness about the Elimination challenge:

WTF is wrong with Andrew? Why is he so angry and bitter? And he's making a foam... And Nimma? What the hell? Cauliflower custard with Shrimp Scampi?! Bitch is going home. And now cauliflower scramble?

Ha! Mayonnaise-gate!

TONY BOURDAIN!!! TONY BOURDAIN!! Just as "No Reservations" ends, "Top Chef" begins! Well played, Bravo!

(Side bar about the commercial for Top Chef on the Bravo website - Ted Allen, you can teach me how to make baby back ribs anytime...yes, I know he's gay, I still love him).

Mark - Asian Duck (in pieces) - Tony's confused. Why would Mark assume that the group of people judging his food wouldn't like something? Don't they all basically eat everything? And, even if they didn't like it, isn't it their job to taste and critique everything?
Stephanis - Asian - Not reconstructed. She won because she mixed her food together. It did look good, though.

Crab Cakes:
Andrew - Traditional, "amalgamation" I think he's on crack. The loser. He also uses douche-y words like "cat" and "badass."
Richard - Apples and Brussels sprouts (blargh - not my favorite thing to think of with crabcakes). Winner.

Jennifer - N. Italian, Autumn vegetables (didn't they film this in the summer)? Looks good. Lost on the undercooked rutabaga. So close.
Nikki - classic with homemade pasta and sheep's milk cheese. I'm impressed with her ability to make pasta and cook the whole dish in 45 minutes. Strong work!

(Note from last night - This whole thing is too rushed - I can't even get a sense of what they cooked, what it looks like or even what the judges thought. I looks like the judges don't really care, either)

Shrimp Scampi:
Antonia - YUMO! Tomatoes with shrimp and garlic. Winner! Wow. That looked GOOD!
Nimma - Cauliflower, blach (we already discussed this before...but I really, really hate cauliflower and the thought of mixing it with shrimp scampi makes me violently ill). Over salted - she's clearly going home.

Poached Eggs:
Spike - eggs and mushrooms and lemongrass...blah. Loser.
Lisa - YUM!!!!! bacon and lobster and egg. Winner!

Steak au Poivre:
Dale - Why are there little pieces of steak everywhere" Oh, wait, are those the "traditional and non-traditional garnishes?" Winner!
Manuel - YUMMMM!!! cilantro and scallion sauce. EFF the judges! Cilantro and steak is delicious! Loser.

Chicken Picatta
Ryan - chicken piccata traditional. OK, he clearly said Chicken "JEW," not chicken jus. Bigger loser of a pair of losers. Why would you bread chicken piccata (thanks, PW!) Ugh. And he's a drama queen....whining about how he's been cooking in restaurants since he was 11 - way to circumvent child-labor laws, Dad.
Valerie - Orange chicken piccata? Yuk. Winner, but still a loser.

Souffle (oh the drama):
Erik - cheese souffle with salsa LOSER!! Ha! Glorified Nachos, is right!
Zoi - sweet rice pudding WINNER!
I did think it was cute when they were both so excited about their souffles actually rising in the oven.

Yeah, that's way too many dishes to get through...I don't know how the judges did it. Well, Rocco I get, man-ho is getting kind of chunky around the middle, there...

For the overall winner and loser:
I think my favorite part about this portion of the show, was how Padma came into the waiting area looking so solemn, to ask for the top four chefs. I guess she didn't realize they already knew they were the winners. Maybe all that weed has killed more brain cells than she'd like to admit. Also, I could have sworn she said, "most favoritest" but that may have been wishful thinking on my part. Of the top 4 chefs, I do think Stephanie did the best. Her dish looked awesome and it clearly tasted good, so great for her. I hope she's really as sweet and talented as she appears to be after just this one episode, plus, added bonus, Harold and Ilan (shudder) both won the first Elimination challenge in their respective seasons, so maybe she has a shot? My only issue is that she doesn't seem to have won a prize...or maybe they just cut that part out for time. I hope she got a library of autographed Anthony Bourdain books, handed to her by the man himself. That's the best prize ever. Except for Season 3 when Casey won the laptop.

The four losers, I think it was fair. They all clearly deserved to be called out for their food, although, this is what I wrote last night, "if the souffle guy goes home, I'm not going to watch anymore. It's not fair to punish the guy for making a crappy souffle that none of the other chefs could have made anyway, let alone any of the judges." That would have been completely ridiculous. If they had all made souffles and his sucked the worst, then fair, but just because he was picked last he has to suffer over that souffle and go home? not right. I think the judges were actually pretty nice, too. even when they were ripping apart the food, they weren't mean about it...I guess it's still early, they have a lot of pissiness to get to, I'm sure.

Also, this is somewhat related and hysterical, but only if you've watched Top Chef for a while. Which would make you like me.
I'm sorry.

*Is that an upgrade? Didn't they have Rav-4s last season? Fancy.
** Did anyone else notice a profusion of Eff-bombs throughout the episode? I think they should stop with the bleeping and just move this bitch to HBO.

Poor Ray Ray

I don't know how legitimate these "sources" are, but I heart the story nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yeah, so, OK....

I'm having a bit of an issue here at AbS, in that, I have lots of stuff to do, however, I wanted to remind everyone (by everyone, I mean the two people who read this blog - one of them being me) to watch "Top Chef" tonight. It's the premier of Season 4 and they're in a fantastic place to cook and eat - Chicago, or "Chi-Town" as I sometimes call it, mostly to my own detriment. Perhaps if my exam goes well tonight and I actually figure out what's wrong with my SAS program I'll even blog about it.

Don't worry - the Otto blog is coming soon, too. Also, for those of you who didn't catch it, check out the season finale of "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations." He and Eric Ripert cooked at his old work place, Les Halles, and it was basically made of awesome. I almost felt badly for Tony when he realized he couldn't read the tickets...and Eric was all kinds of hot.

That's all. Sorry I have to study and work...blogging is much more fun.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Coming Soon to AbS...

The review of "Clinical Depression (The Funny Kind)" and Otto - NYC trip March 2008. For now, I'll leave you with this:


Plus, I'm (kind of) getting better at taking indoor pictures! A testament to reading the manual that comes with fancy electronic products BEFORE you try to use them.

Jason Sudeikis Dimple Post of the Day

Actually, I don't know if you can actually see his dimples, but it's 'awse' when he punches Andy Samburg repeatedly in the face - something I almost always want to do.

ETA - Yeah, just press the play button at the bottom and the video will appear, I don't know why it's like this...apparently I don't know how to copy and paste the "embed" link properly. Degenerate.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ed Helms Post of the Day

Now, with bonus Stephen Colbert AND Jon Stewart!

It's an old clip from "The Daily Show," but it's about the '04 election and Florida, so somewhat relevant how things don't change...

Also, how cute are Ed and Stephen when they break after the bootleg high-five? (Insert Iko squeaking fangirl-style)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

30 Days Hath September...If this is the future of America it's F$@#3!

So, I work at a university. One would think that means I'm surrounded by brilliant academics, undergraduate students with a hunger for knowledge, and fellow graduate students and lab researchers who, one day, will make fine professors and professionals, or remain at said university to instill the love of research in the future generations.*

So, imagine my chagrin and disappointment when I overheard this conversation between a student and professor as I was leaving for the day.

I'm paraphrasing here, first, because I tried very hard to forget this even occurred, and second, because I've killed too many brain cells with wine (trying to forget the very moments like these), to remember the exact wording. Also, this really is true...I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Professor: Do you see what you did wrong here?
Student: How many days are there in April?
Professor: 30. How do you not know that (you dumb, effing whore)?
Student: I just thought all the months had 31 days.
Professor: Well, (dumb slut) some months do have 31 days, others do not.
Student: (whining) But that's not fair!! How am I supposed to know that?

Now, at this point I had sprinted away from them (carrying my roomy, yet fashionable Stephen Colbert tote bag) so as to not punch the student in the face, so I didn't hear any of the rest of the conversation...but, really, WTF? At first, I was angry at the student, but now I'm kind of angry at the (apparently quite horrible) public school system for failing her so badly. Or maybe it's her parents for not teaching her what the degenerate public school teachers left out. I don't know. I'm not a sociologist or an anthropologist...or whatever scientist would study this sort of thing. All I know is that it's sad and appalling. But, now I know why things like this, this, and this are popular.**

Also, some of you will probably think to yourselves, "Iko, it doesn't matter, these children will all die early of heart disease and diabetes, so they won't have the time on this earth to negatively affect the population." To which I say, true, but they're all clearly too stupid to get jobs, therefore unable to pay for healthcare (let alone the 10 caramel frappucinos they drink every day), thereby draining me of all of my money before they die. And, when they finally do die, it will be on May 1st...which their relatives will insist is the 31st of April.

*Yes, I'm well aware that only one of those is true - the people who do all the work are the only legitimate members of academic institutions.***
** Gah! I HATE you Sunsweet Ones! I want to cut every person I see eating one!! Although, I've never seen anyone eating one. I will devote an entire blog to my hatred of your excessive packaging and dumbing-down of the already retarded American populace!!!
***Yes, I am referring to the grad students and laboratory researchers...and I think i broke some type of rule by having a note within a note...

Edited to Add: I have NO idea what class they were discussing. Probably remedial Math or basic reading skills. And, yes, this student is definitely from America, it's not and English language issue...I promise.

DC - Day 3 and overall thoughts (Subtitle: We got ours in Blazin' Copper - and so can you)

Yeah, so, we didn't really do much on Day 3 of the DC trip. Woke up. Got dressed. Walked down the street to eat breakfast at the same restaurant as the day before (bacon, bacon, bacon). Walked back to the condo. Packed our stuff and left.

The drive back, however, wasn't that interesting. BMG passed out in the back of the car and I placed random toys he had bought at the Archives atop him and took pictures. Exhibit A:

George Washington is America - And So Can You!

Then, there was this bus, that kept getting in front of our car, and generally annoying NC, who was driving. I took an inordinate number of pictures to document the degeneracy of the bus driver. I will only show you one:
Stupid DC-NY bus...WTF? What is wrong with the driver, is he high? Who does that....OMG! What is that I spy on the left side of the picture? Is it? Could it be? "I GOT MINE IN BLAZIN' COPPER!!!!"

Yes, that is, in fact, a Ford Edge in 'Blazin' Copper.' The elusive vehicle has shown itself. For those who don't know, in the NY/NJ area, there was an ad on TV for the Edge, in which Derek Jeter proudly exclaims, "I got mine in Blazin' Copper!" and sounds totally lame-dash-O while doing it. And, I can't find the ad anywhere - apparently it was on YouTube, but it got taken down...whatever Ford, as if having your ad on YouTube would actually prevent someone from buying one. Maybe you should focus more on making legitimate cars, and less on trolling the interline, looking for bootleg versions of your ads on YouTube.

Here's another picture from when it veered in front of us and I was inappropriately excited about it:

That was basically the trip. We returned to Man-Dawn's parents' house to pick up my car and headed back to beautiful Central NJ. Stopping to by some shoes along the way.

So, some final DC thoughts:
-Jaleo was delicious and I'm so, so happy we got to see Man-Dean and try the Jamon Iberico.
-Vinoteca is completely overpriced and not really that good. Just go there and drink wine, or, better yet, find a more reasonably priced wine bar in DC and go there.
-The Archives is annoying to visit on the weekend and everyone who visits has no concept of common human decency.
-The National Treasures exhibit is great, but get there before 5:15 pm.
-Stephen Colbert's portrait is the greatest treasure America currently has, perhaps the second greatest, only behind Brett Favre and Bernie Williams. Everyone should go to DC and see it before it's take down on April 1.
-The National Portrait Gallery should consider keeping the portrait up permanently.
-Man-Dean is the wisest man in the world.
-One should not stay up until 4 am drinking wine, unless one is under the age of 23, or wants to feel like crap for three straight days.
-People actually do buy Fords. And in horrible colors...just because Derek Jeter tells them to.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

DC - Day 2 (Subtitle: We are hungover - and so can you)

(When we last left our heroes, we were cabbing our asses back to the condo to continue the festivities with Man-Dean).

We returned to the condo to find that we had not properly prepared for a festivus, in that we had little wine/other alcohol, so Man-Dean and NC ventured out into the night to procure alcohol. At 12:30 am. In DC. (Yeah, I had the same thoughts you're having, too, strong work, readers. Who am I kidding? Reader.) They returned empty handed later, but with a fantastic story involving Man-Dean entering a (gay) bar and asking for "packaged goods." It's funny on many levels. In the end, it worked out, though, not that Man-Dean found a boyfriend, but, that we had enough wine to sustain Man-Dawn and me and enough (born-on date = 2006) beer to sustain the men-folk. We then proceeded to stay up until 4 am, while Man-Dean imparted us with his sage wisdom as we sat in a circle on the floor below him, asking him questions about the meaning of life and what it was like living on Pangea. However, apparently even gurus get tired, and once Man-Dean retired to his chamber for sleepy-time, the rest of us did, too.

We all awoke around noon, a little bit out of it and very, very thirsty. Sadly Man-Dean had to return to his regeneration chamber in Virginia, so he had left around 11 am. Bye Man-Dean. To solve our hunger problem, we walked down the street to a diner-like place for breakfast. Water, coffee, eggs, and BACON, do a lot to bring you back to life after a long night...maybe I should write my thesis on that. Next, it was time to cross the street to purchase more coffee and then stop for wine for the night on the way back. On the way to the liquor store, BMG and NC recreated the scene from the night before for the camera, with the role of Man-Dean being played by BMG. Here they are walking into the (gay) bar to ask for the packaged goods:
Especially interesting is the tanning place next to the bar...I knew NC and Man-Dean looked a little darker when they returned from the failed quest to buy alcohol...

Man-Dawn and I frolicked ahead while they were buying beer and wine so we could take some pictures. Here's one of a skull impaled on the side of a building. Next to a sign supporting Hillary Clinton...I feel as though it may mean something, but I'm not sure what.

Also, here is a picture of some art in the nearby dog park.
I included this only because NC, Man-Dean and I had had a drunken discussion the night before about sign language and we had attempted to figure out the entire alphabet. In our stupor, we believed we had figured it out, however, in the light of day, also not in a haze of wine and beer, I'm not so sure we actually had it. Anyway, Man-Dawn and I saw this and, as I tried to remember why this sculpture looked so familiar, my sign language from the night before came rushing back. Of course! It's an "F!" Or is it a "P?" NC then deflated my ego later by saying, "Ummm, iko? I think it's an "OK" sign." Of course it is. Clearly.

Moving on, we decided we should do some cultural things, since we had traveled all the way to DC. Thus, we headed out to the museum area to see the Archives and the National Treasures exhibit. First, to the Archives! We had to wait on line for a long time to get into the actual building and an even longer time to actually see the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. Finally, we got into the main room, but the system kind of broke down along the way and people were wandering all over the room, butting in front of me and, generally, pissing me off. I did snap a picture to prove we were there...
This picture of Article III of the Constitution was taken just before we had to drag BMG out of the room before he busted through the bullet proof glass to sign Ron Paul's name at the bottom of the Constitution.

By the time we left the Archives it was about 5 pm, and I, in my infinite wisdom, thought we could head over to the Air and Pace Museum to see the National treasures exhibit. "Clearly," I thought to myself, "the museum must be open later on a Saturday." Yeah. Apparently the wine from the night before had taken-out too many brain cells, as, once we got there, we realized the museum closed at 5:30. So, we did what anyone would do....sprint through the National Treasures exhibit at a breakneck pace, with me stopping only to take random pictures of things I found interesting. This is the result...

Star Wars Dorks:

Julia Child's Recipe:

Some Science Stuff:

Seinfeld's Puffy Shirt and Mr. Rogers' Cardigan:

What Stephen Thought was Seinfeld's Puffy Shirt:

By now, the mystery voice of the museum had come over the loudspeaker, informing us that the museum was closing in 10 minutes (yes, we sprinted through the exhibit in 5 minutes), so we left...I took a picture of a plane hanging in the entry way, just to prove we had seen it. As we sprinted out of the museum, I was able to take a few shots of the DC landscape - again, to prove we did cultural things, not just eat and drink ourselves sick...

By now, we were tired, all that sprinting was hard, dude, so we cabbed it back to the condo (the red line was having some kind of construction done, so there were major delays on the Metro...I don't want you to think we're snotty and can't ride on mass transportation like normal people). There, we watched "Little Miss Sunshine" and waited for 8 pm so we could roll out to Vinoteca for our reservation. Having never seen the movie before, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, although I do think I laughed inappropriately anytime Steve Carell ran in the movie, because I kept picturing him, as Michael Scott, sprinting through the halls of Dunder Mifflin with Dwight, down to the warehouse, to see the giant poster-sized picture of him and Jan on vacation. Anyway, we got most of the way through the movie and had to leave for our reservation.

Yeah, so, Vinoteca. Well, they had good wine choices and in a nice range of prices, but the food left me a little disappointed. It was god and tasty, but also small and expensive. Now, I'm all for small portions, especially when part of a larger tasting menu or when I'm not that hungry, or, really, just because most people eat too much, get fat and get diabetes. That said, it was a bit too expensive for the small amount of food. NC and I did get to order some salted meats and olives for a nice appetizer, Yum-O! The beet salad with goat cheese I ate was also good, but I'm loathe to pay $9 for a salad with "goat cheese" (in quotes b/c I think there was a total of 1/2 tsp. on the plate) and one of the cheapest root vegetables available. After dinner, some people got dessert, but NC and I got an order of duck prosciutto and a cheese tasting. Here's a blurry picture*:

You can see the minuscule amount of cheese provided for $12 and the two slices of duck prosciutto (I think $3, maybe $4)...I mean, it was good, but not really worth it. Anyway, about the food - the cheeses were tasty and served with a delicious, real balsamic vinegar, which was so sweet and rich, it blew our minds. The duck prosciutto was OK, very greasy, kind of like actual, uncured duck meat, as NC so thoughtfully pointed out, it's probably not fully cured in the same way as other delicious meats, since it's more of a novelty prosciutto. Strong thought, NC.

On our way back to the condo, we passed a place called:

Hee! We're 4 years old and thought it was funny.**

So, we returned to the condo, finished up "Little Miss Sunshine," busted open the wine bought earlier in the day, and watched "Anchorman." All the while, we congratulated ourselves on our momentous day of culture and drinking.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion: "DC - Day 3 and Overall Thoughts - We got ours in Blazin' Copper and so can you!"

*I think I may have finally figured out how to use my camera to take indoor pictures. We'll see next time I post about dinner...
**It's called "Good Wood" if you can't read it in the picture.