Food and Other Randomness

As I was leaving on my trip to Iowa, I saw this painting covering some construction walls at DIA:

That is an octopus, if I am not mistaken, and of course that made my day.

So I have numerous restaurant meals to report on, since I have been remiss in my blogging. I returned to Golden Bowl Noodle House (see previous entry)  and had one of their Combos – small bowl of beef noodle soup (steak pho), 2 egg rolls, iced tea or soft drink, for $8.95, which is a pretty good price as far as I am concerned.

Here is there menu. EM, you and I need to go here together. SO MANY things on that menu I want to try. And I think that is the most reasonable price on spring rolls I have seen lately.

Here are the egg rolls, Instagram style:

Here is the pho, it was excellent, my almost-favorite, second only to the place where they know my order by heart.

I ate at OOKA Sushi in Broomfield, but I forgot to take pictures of my rolls, I just took pictures of my wonton soup. It was excellent wonton soup.

I think I had the veggie tempura as well. The soup, tempura and rolls were all good, just too much. My eyes are bigger than my stomach, as usual.

And now, finally, a menu from D’Deli, the restaurant in Golden with amazing Banh Mi. (see previous entry)

The Banano is also excellent.

And Mary Anne would like to say “Hi.”

More food pics tomorrow. Can’t do any more right now, making me hungry…….

 

Iowa State Fair Trip Report, Day #3

Writing this entry a week and a day later is not a good idea (and then it took me a few more days to get it posted….) Everything was starting to be blurry by this point anyway. Fair, fair, fair, sore feet, fair….

This was the day the kids were going to go on the midway rides, and I (crazy) was going to go with them. My brother was going to buy me the wristband. Well, somehow, he miscounted, and I didn’t get a wristband. Trust me, I was REAL torn up about this. And the kids found out their friend from the neighborhood was going, so they would have her to ride with. They are up there somewhere in this picture:

We all slept in for a bit, and S. had a Dr. appointment that was nearly forgotten, and after she got back from that, Wade had a conference call, so it was about 10:45 before we left the house, and maybe 11:30 by the time we made it to the fair. The kids commenced to riding on the rides, Wade grabbed some mini-cinnamon rolls again, and I headed for the Lamb Producers booth on the south side of the fairgrounds to get a lamb sandwich.

It was OK – could have used more barbecue sauce, but the sauce pump was being slow. Next time I will try the lamb walking taco or lamb kabob, this was just a bit dry.

As I walked back across the fairgrounds, there was no line at one of the crazy fried foods booth. By now I realized my limitations on how much fried stuff I could eat in one day. So I tried to pick something unique that I hadn’t had before and wouldn’t ordinarily encounter. So I chose the deep-fried pineapple.  Wade declined to have a bite. This was really pretty tasty.

We watched the kids go on rides for a while, and went to get some lunch before their friend got there. We started with cheese curds, which everyone shared. I think we went back up the hill to get D. macaroni and cheese again, and so I could go through the Cultural Arts building and get the prints I wanted.

At some point when the kids were riding rides, I got a sandwich at Crescenti – this is a fried bread sandwich with mozzarella cheese, ham, cappicola, hard salami. I think they then warm it up a bit to get the cheese melty. This was very good too, I would have this again. The fried bread is excellent.

We knew we had to wrap it up pretty early because I had to be dropped at the airport, and they had to get home for the kids’ school open houses that night.

We did all end up in the Varied Industries building together one time, because the kids wanted to get temporary tattoos, and Wade wanted to get the famous “Bucket of Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The cookies were not bad – I didn’t get any cold milk with them, and that really would have been the best way to have time. They are best warm, right at the fair. They lose some of their appeal at home at night.

All in all, it was a great trip. I think the ideal way to go would be to have a break day in between each of the days at the fair, because, man, your feet start to hurt. Things I wanted to do but didn’t get to: Iowa wine tent, craft beer tent, sit and watch more of the foods judging, watch the piano, accordion and harmonica contest, watch more of the Bill Riley Talent contest (looking at the results, one of the pairs we saw tap dance from the Sprouts division was selected one of the top three Sprouts acts). I didn’t eat nearly everything I hoped to eat, which is probably just for the best. I would love to get there to get a seat to watch the sheep shearing, and would love to watch some of the more crazy contests like husband calling and rubber chicken tossing.

There were many more shows and activities on the free stages, and a hymn sing, and demonstrations, that I would love to see. There is a “Old Mill Stream” ride that I didn’t go on, as well as a 2nd aerial tramway. So much to do, so little time. So many opportunities to people-watch.

I forgot to mention that S. Watched the crowning of the Iowa State Fair Queen instead of going to the concert on Saturday night, I wouldn’t have minded watching that either. She got her picture taken with both the 2011 and 2012 queens.

Wade now has a new favorite food, the hot beef sundae, over-ruling his previous default lunch of a pork tenderloin. I think that the hot beef sundae would be my top food of the week, too. Top five foods: hot beef sundae, Crescenti sandwich, deep fried pickle dawg, hot bologna on a stick, and dutch letter.

Iowa State Fair Trip Report, Day 2

Sunday morning it appeared that it would only be my brother and I for awhile, everyone else was still asleep. My sister-in-law is generally not that enthusiastic about the fair, but she was willing to come for another day since I was there, and the two older girls were going to be working at Old McDonald’s farm as volunteers to help the participants, so she would bring the kids later and we would get to spend some time with D. while the girls were working.

We headed out to the fair and got there about 9:00 – I started out the daily food fest with hot bologna on a stick from the Pella booth. (Side note – I can’t get ring bologna in Colorado. I can get smoked sausage and Polska Kielbasa in Colorado, but I can’t get the ring bologna that I grew up with in South Dakota.) (Not at grocery stores, at least – I guess I should start checking at butcher shops.)

We decided to head for the Varied Industries building (commercial exhibits), so we could go through it without the kids and their primary interest in getting temporary tattoos along. Of course, I had Wade take my picture with the cutouts of the Obamas at the Democrat booth. He declined his opportunity.

Speaking of ring bologna, there was a booth of goods from the Amish, including ring bologna, which I couldn’t purchase to take home because it was refrigerated. But they also had a bunch of dry soup mixes, which I always enjoy trying, as well a cookies, candy, breads, handmade items, etc. They even had small individual serving soup mixes, handy for lunch or breakfast. That was probably my favorite booth.

Then I stopped by the Tupperware booth, and found they had two different new flip-top soup mugs, which would be ideal for making the soup mixes I found at the Amish booth. I started making a list of things I was going to come back and buy, and started wondering how I was going to fit them in my carryon suitcase.

I also discovered that the quilting, crochet, knitting, etc., was upstairs in this building – I popped up there to see if it was something to look at quickly, but there were a lot of beautiful things to look at, so I decided to come back later when I was on my own. There were also several rooms downstairs featuring Iowa foods (with samples), I had some excellent hot salsa.

We got through the commercial building and headed up to the Double Bacon Corn dog booth, which was across the fairgrounds and up a hill, so at least you got some exercise going up there to get your corn dog. Wade and I each had one – they weren’t too bad for the first two bites, but then they really got to be a bit much, a little greasy at the end. And once again, I was feeling like I had quite enough fried food for a while. Worth having once but I don’t think I need to have one again.

We were close to the cultural building where they had the photography, sculpture, woodworking, etc., so we went in there and looked at the photos and paintings for a while. They also had artists with items for sale, and I found some prints I liked and put on my list to come back and get later. By this time, we had heard from Laurie that she and the kids were there, so they came up the hill to find us. T. and D. needed some breakfast – T. had eggs, potatoes, and Texas toast, (and the potatoes had sausage and green peppers in them so Laurie and I ate most of them) and D. had macaroni and cheese – which was also good. I decided to try the bacon-wrapped eggs, which was kind of like a muffin with a whole egg in the middle of it and bacon on the outside – it was not bad. Oh, and cheese on top. And possibly there were potatoes in there. Breakfast in a muffin! Another new thing for the fair this year.

Once the kids were fed, we hopped on the State Fair trolley to ride down the hill, and Laurie headed off for Old McDonald’s farm with S. and T., and Wade and I stayed on the trolley with D. We walked through more commercial exhibits under the grandstand, and then Wade and D. headed for the Department of Natural Resources building to look at the big fish, and I headed for the Varied Industries building to look at the quilting, crocheting, etc. Lots of very nice things. The area that seems to be least popular is hand embroidery. Some really outstanding quilts and beautiful lace knitting. Next time, I should start in this building while my feet are still fresh.

Before I headed over there, I stopped and got a Dutch Letter, which seems to be an Iowa specialty. These were also at the Pella booth. These are made with flaky pastry and almond paste – it was delicious. Counteracted all the somewhat fatty savory things I had been eating.  Now I want to bake some almondy things. Hmmm, I bet the Iowa State Fair Cookbook has some of them in it.

Wade messaged me at one point and told me there was one more section of commercial exhibits under the grandstand that I missed, including more dry soup mixes, so I headed over there, and sampled more soup mixes. Put them on my list to buy later. There was a booth here on my list of food items to try – Gourmet S’Mores, but I was too full of Dutch Letter and bacony things.

I decided to start buying a few things that weren’t too heavy, so I started at the State Fair booth and got the Iowa State Fair cookbook (Ok, maybe not so light) and a new Iowa State Fair T-shirt with a corn dog on it, of course. I have one from several years ago that Wade got me that also has a corn dog, a collection of shirts with corn dogs on them is a good thing, of course.

I messaged Wade to see what they were up to, and the girls were done volunteering early because they had an excess number of volunteers, so they were going to sit and watch the Bengal tiger show. I decided to venture back to the Agriculture building.

I also made it back over to the Agriculture building because I thought there was another booth there with dry soup mixes (yes, I am quite possibly obsessed). Sampled his soups and bought 4 of them – he had some deal going, 4 for $24 or something like that. I also bought 2 lip balms at the honey producers booth, and promptly left them there, so I am just considering that a donation.

I also visited the giant pumpkins.

We had talked about leaving right after the girls got done at Old McDonald’s farm (4:00) but things never work out as planned, and L. had to leave and interview a job candidate, and she and T. wanted to walk through the horse barns together, so we ended up staying a little later than planned.

These are a few of the many painted concrete ice cream cones which were displayed around the fairgrounds, decorated by different groups or artists. This one was the cutest one, I think. We also liked the one with the vegetables on top. We hadn’t had a chance to look at the giant pumpkins yet, so we did that. They were smaller than usual this year, because of the drought.

Side conversation: I think we were on the trolley, and Laurie saw some kids getting their picture taken with one of the ice cream cones, and one of the little girls was licking it. Laurie, who is a microbiologist, about had kittens. “Ewwwww, I’ve seen what people do to those things!” “Yeah,” said a guy across from us, “Especially the ones near the beer tent!”

We were getting ready to head out, and the kids were given the option to do one more thing before T. would go with her Mom and the rest of us would head home. They wanted to go in the butterfly tent. This is an enclosed “butterfly adventure” but really it is a license to manhandle butterflies as much as you could want. The smart and/or lucky butterflies were up high on the tent where no kids could reach them, plus it was starting to really cool off, so they weren’t really flying around much. But there were still enough around for the kids to look at, pick up, fasten to their shirts, feed Gatorade on a q-tip, etc. And there were chairs, so I was in favor of that. I went in with the kids and Wade stayed outside and waited for Laurie to get there. When she arrived, we handed T. off to her and headed home. It rained on us driving home and we wondered if they were getting rain at the fairgrounds.

When we got home, S. showed me their garden, which had apparently gone a bit crazy while they were gone on vacation the previous two weeks. Their sunflowers were about 12 feet tall. Their gourd vine was climbing the spruce tree quite enthusiastically. Dawson had wanted me to show me his game (Skylanders?) on the Wii, so he played that for a while as I “watched” and looked at my Iowa State Fair cookbook.

Laurie and T. got stuck in the rain at the fairgrounds, and finally bolted through it for the car. When they got home we went to the NYC Pizza Café http://www.nycpizzacafe.com/ for pizza, excellent New York style pizza. And then we were all about ready to crash when we got home.

Favorite picture of the day: There are several of these wooden, carved statues around the fairgrounds. It would be fun to mimic them all.

I have a pair of those glasses…..

Iowa State Fair Trip Report Day 1

So….the Iowa State Fair trip. Sorry it has taken so long for me to get these posted, but I was so exhausted every night when I got home from the fair, I didn’t get much done, and after I got home I had to head out on another work trip. Plus, I think you will find these are fairly EXHAUSTIVE, so enjoy!

I thought to myself as I arrived at the airport and headed for security, “It has been so long since I flew for fun rather than work, I am not sure I remember how.” It was a little odd not traveling with at least one board member. I barely remembered to get my boarding pass out to go through the security line. I had been extra organized and checked in and printed it out prior to coming to the airport for once, which was probably a good idea since the lines at the United check-in looked long. Since I was only going to be gone for three nights, I only took a carry-on bag. (And hoped I wouldn’t find too much to purchase at the State Fair to take home.)

I was flying out of concourse B, but I trekked out to concourse C to Villa Pizza, as I was in the mood for marinara sauce. They don’t have a lot of options left for stromboli flavors at that time of night apparently, and the mozzerella/pepperoni stromboli was disappointing – I ended up tearing it apart and mostly eating the interior bits and cheese, dipped in the accompanying sauce. You also get a side dish, and I chose the garlic rolls, because those tend to be good, and they were, especially dipped in the sauce. Plus, they will give you a free refill on your drink.

I was on a United flight, and it was full, but I had no problem finding a place for my bag in the bins. I did get whacked by a bottle of water someone put in the overhead which dropped out, I am discovering that is the hazard of sitting in the aisle seat. I have been hit by dropped things and have seen numerous people hit by things that have shifted during the flight. If you are sitting in the aisle seat, beware the danger from above.

Landed in Des Moines at 11:45 and my brother was right there to pick me up in front of the airport. When we got to their house, my oldest niece, S. (age 13), was still awake and helped me get arranged for bed. She also opened the door to the part of the basement where Roscoe the dog sleeps in his crate and informed him that I was there, which caused him to growl and bark at me.  I hit the hay, and as usual on the first night away from home, had a hard time getting to sleep (maybe partially due to the Diet Pepsi at dinner…) and didn’t sleep particularly well.

I woke up about 7:00 their time, and got up and grabbed a Diet Coke and puttered around downstairs for a bit until I heard my brother upstairs. It originally looked like only he and I would be heading to the fair early (grounds open at 8, buildings open at 9) but then he checked with the girls (S. & T. (11)) and they both quickly got ready, leaving nephew D. (7) at home with his mom to sleep in and join us later.  I think we left about 8:00 and got to the fair about 8:45, there was a bit of a wait to get turned into the parking lot, that is kind of a traffic bottleneck.

Our first stop was the booth for mini cinnamon rolls. These were OK, especially with the frosting for dipping, but I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic. My brother likes these pretty well.

I was more interested in getting to the mini-donut booth. The fair website said this particular booth had a small bag of mini-donuts for $2, well, that was not the case, they were $3, but the machine got jammed while he was working on my bag, so I got about twice as many as I was supposed to, which was OK.

We all participated in eating those, as we walked across the fairgrounds. We headed to the Elwell Family Food Center, I was interested in watching the judging of a contest that involved dishes made with Azteca tortillas. These tortillas contain 50% whole wheat, and some of that wheat is grown in Colorado, so I was familiar with them as a product since we had handed some of them out at some farmer meetings, and I had a chance to sample them, they were excellent. So I got in on the tail end of that judging. I thought they had the recipes online but they only name the winners. The fair does publish a cookbook every two years with the winning recipes, I guess I have to wait for a few years to get those.

I would love to go stay in Iowa for the entire length of the fair and enter a bunch of cooking contests. I have entered recipe contests before and going to the fair has me in the mood to do it again. Whenever I do that, my co-workers and Ken’s co-workers are the benficiaries of a lot of tasting samples.  The Iowa state fair has a WIDE variety of different contests.

The kids wanted to check out the Chuck E. Cheese “Ugly Cake” contest – things were being held up by the fact that Chuck E. Cheese himself, who was supposed to be a judge, was late. But he did get there by the time we left. I thought to myself, “What poor, hungover teenager is in that costume, looking at gross cakes?” At least they didn’t have to taste them.

We did wander around that building and look at the exhibits and decorated cakes, and the giant “Chocolate Moose” made of hundreds of pounds of real chocolate. The Iowa State Fair has the largest number of food competitions/entries of any State Fair!

Then we headed to the 4-H building.  One of S.’s entries from her county fair qualified for the State Fair (a short story she wrote) and so she found that, she got a red ribbon. We looked at many of the exhibits in the 4-H building, with S. and T. sometimes taking pictures of projects for ideas for their own 4-H competitions.

At this point I started getting messages from Sis-in-law Kristyn that they were here at the fair, and we were trying to figure out how to meet up.

At some point, brother Wade found a refillable soda mug that you could buy for $10, and refill for free at several different branches of the same vendor throughout the fair, so we both took advantage of that opportunity.

I knew I wanted some lamb sausage on a stick, and since the 4-H building was pretty close to the sheep barns (and that is where the lamb booth is, of course) we headed over there. I think Wade and T. went to find T. a slushy stand, and S. was looking at the sheep, and I went to the Lamb Producers booth and got a sausage on a stick. It was tasty.

Then, as we all tried to meet up, we discovered that S. had worked her way to the front of the crowd watching the sheep shearing competition, and she was watching that. She found that very entertaining. “They picked them up, and then they threw them down, and them they sheared them!” I would have found it entertaining too, but it was very crowded and you couldn’t see anything from a distance. They are serious about their sheep shearing there, and the crowd was abundant and appreciative.

I appreciate the sheep barn because of my interest in knitting. I see sweaters on the hoof.

We were in the 4-H building for quite a while, and the wandering around the sheep barns took awhile, and it was getting to be about time for lunch (despite the fact that I had just had a sausage on a stick, but that was small….). One of the things on my list to try was the Hot Beef Sundae from the Cattlemen’s booth.  This looks like an ice cream sundae, but is actually mashed potatoes, gravy with beef, shredded cheese sprinkled over the top, and a cherry tomato acting as the cherry. S. and Wade also each had one. We gave these a big thumbs-up. Maybe the best thing I ate at the fair. Brother-in-law John also approved of these.

All of this time we were enjoying the great weather. Before we left the house, my brother had vetoed the outfit my oldest niece was wearing with orange short shorts and an orange tank top, telling her it was only 57 degrees outside (he may have vetoed the orange short shorts anyway). She changed and was glad, because it was only about 80 for a high all day, which was extremely pleasant.

We took our sundaes and went to the Anne and Bill Riley stage to sit down and eat. Of course, the daily talent show was going on. The preliminaries to the Riley talent competition http://www.iowastatefair.org/competition/bill-riley-talent-search/ take place earlier in the year, all around the state, and the young people who make it out of the local competitions come to compete at the state fair. This competition is a really big deal here, dating back to 1959. Very neat to see something with such a history and it is obviously a big traditional part of the Fair. There are two divisions, sprouts (ages 2-12) and Seniors (ages 3-21).  We got to watch a little of the sprouts level competition – lots of dancers in singles and groups. There was a young piano player named Andrew Lee who was amazing. We are talking future-concert-pianist amazing. His playing ability is way above his age. I could go every day and watch all of these talent competitions.  I already checked their Facebook page to see who were the semifinalists out of the show we watched, and will be checking back to see who won.

Quote of the day, from a guy sitting behind us at the talent show: “Do I smell like barn? Be honest.”

We did hook up with Kristyn and John and family at the talent stage. It was my niece L’s 7th birthday, so it was extra special to see her on that day. Our current youngest niece, A., is 13 months old and is walking (running) very well. She has absolutely no fear and will take off without a backward glance to see if her parents or anybody is paying attention to where she is going.  The oldest niece in that family, E (9) was showing her good taste by eating a footlong corn dog for lunch.

We were also sending texts to Deanne, Ken’s cousin from Omaha, who was also going to be at the Fair. Of course, my phone was roaming, and doesn’t have the best battery life to begin with, so it had passed away, and I gave Deanne Wade’s phone number, and then also got Kristyn to message Deanne, so we all finally manage to hook up at the Knapp Animal Learning Center.

This is a really neat building where they have baby chicks hatching all week long, in addition to cows, sheep, goats, pigs, etc. which also give birth periodically. The kids were all over the place in there, while the adults were trying to get some visiting done. My brother-in-law John had wandered off to get a chocolate dipped canolli (I believe) – he has some of the same interests in the fair food as I do.

Look, I am a turkey farmer.

My sister-in-law Laurie, Wade’s wife, and nephew D.  arrived around this time. We spent a little more time in the Animal Learning Center before heading to the Ag Building to see the butter cow.  I think about this time someone had to leave to take T. to a birthday party sleep over, so my brother took off with her, leaving Laurie and the kids. We wandered around the Ag Building a bit, S. acting as ringleader for the stair-step assortment of kids. Sis-in-law Kristyn said she would like to hire S. to come with them to the fair the next year.

In the ag building, I looked at some of the crops and vegetable exhibits, and had an egg on a stick (free!) and an apple slush (excellent and refreshing).

At some point, John went and stood in a long long to get a double-bacon corn dog. This is a hot dog that is wrapped in bacon and deep fried until the bacon is crisp, and then dipped in corn dog batter with bacon bits in it and deep fried again. I think he liked it but said it got a bit greasy toward the end. And not worth waiting in line for 25 minutes.

Kristyn shared their Honey Sticks with me. Mmmmm.

Giant tomato contest. The winner was over 2 pounds.

The kids looked at the butter cow and everything they wanted to cover in the Ag building, and then we headed out to the playground behind the Ag Building for the kids to run around. Shortly after we got there, a performance of a speed artist took place on the stage near there, and the kids watched that. I decided I was ready to try some more fried food (working my way through my list) and headed down the hill to the “Triangle’ where quite a few of the food booths were located, and headed for the “Pickle Dawg” booth. This is a pickle spear, rolled in cream cheese, with some jalapenos (optional) wrapped in in ham or pastrami, and then battered and fried. I, of course, chose the spicy option with jalapenos, and I chose the pastrami.

This was excellent, I wished it was a little more fresh, I think it had been under the heat lamp for a few minutes.  It was still quite tasty, a good combination of tastes. There were just a few jalapenos, so it wasn’t too spicy.  After eating this, though, I decided I didn’t need to eat anything fried for a little while. It was at this point that I realized my quest to try as many foods as possible could be somewhat self-limiting, especially in the fried department.

We re-grouped on the hill and headed out together to go see the big bull (data) and the big boar. They were both quite impressive. The boar broke the previous weight record. We got stuck in the barn with the big bull because there was a class of show steers coming through that we had to wait for.

Reggie the boar weighed 1335 pounds. You don’t get to weigh that much by exercising, as he is demonstrating. He probably would like some corn dogs too.

Then there was a BMX bike show that we knew D. would enjoy, so the adults sat on the perimeter and the kids pushed their way up into the crowd to watch closer. A. stayed with us and ran around as much as her parents would allow. I was just tickled to sit down, my feet were starting to talk to me about how much I had been walking/standing, especially on cement or asphalt surfaces.

We headed back to the food area because D. hadn’t really had lunch yet, and he wanted pizza (not a real adventurous eater yet). So we got him some pizza and managed to get separated from Kristyn and her family, but that was Ok, we each had some different things we wanted to do. My brother got back to the fair at some point and he and I each tried a different Italian grinder – I tried the Jennie and he tried the Gizmo. I think we both liked them fine, it was just a lot of ground sausage. I would have gone for some veggies on them under the cheese.

This is the Jennie Grinder.

S. wanted to show you how happy I was to have it.

This is my brother’s Gizmo Grinder.

Dawson’s pizza.

At some point, Wade got the German Chocolate funnel cakes – unfortunately it had also been sitting under the heat lamp for a while, and would have benefited from being more freshly fried.  The funnel cakes themselves are chocolate, with coconut flavored cream cheese (?) icing and sprinkled with nuts.

There was a concert that night that Laurie wanted to attend, Will Hoge,for free! Plus, there were lovely benches to sit on, so I w as for that. But then I got a text from Kristyn (well, Wade did) saying E. wanted to ride the Sky Glider if  someone would ride with her. Well, of course I had never been on it, so I headed over there. Of course, I didn’t realize there were two of them, but they figured out which one I would go to (since I didn’t have a phone that worked anymore, of course) and we went on the tram over the fair. John and L. came along in the car behind us. This tramway is pretty cool, gives you a good view of the fairgrounds.

Brother-in-law John taking a picture, cute niece L. Did I manage to get pics of the other nieces? No…..

Grand concourse at the fair.

Or Promenade. I don’t recall the official name.

I got back for most of the Will Hoge concert – he is quite a good artist, I really enjoyed his songwriting. If you are looking for a new country singer to listen to, I recommend checking him out. If you have a daughter, you should listen to: Baby Girl  If you are married, you should listen to: When I get my wings.  If you are an aging musician (even the loosest definition), you should listen to: Too Old to Die Young.

We finished up watching the concert and headed home, getting home after 10, and being grateful for our beds and rest. I did take the time to post some pictures to Facebook, Instagram having thwarted me, and then my phone having given out. I should have written up this trip report, but that wasn’t going to happen, as tired as I was……The Iowa State Fairgrounds are really laid out well and are quite compact, but you can still spend a lot of time and cover a lot of distance walking.

Catching up on MORE Food Pictures

Things have still been kind of crazy with work (I was dreaming about BROCHURES all of Friday night/Saturday morning, does that give you any indication?) and Ken is crazy busy with his new movie project, so I apologize that the blogging has been scarce. I am trying to get warmed up again for the great Iowa State Fair trip, which will involve MANY, MANY food pictures. Greatly looking forward to that. My food list is LONG, LONG, LONG, probably many more things than I can try in three days.
Why the Iowa State Fair? Well, it is one of the top three state fairs as far as I am concerned. Only Texas and Minnesota have bigger attendance (there are some local fairs in California and TX that also have bigger attendance, but I am talking about STATE FAIRS.)  And they are quite famous for their food on a stick. And I will get to see two sets of nieces/nephews.

Well, I am not at the fair yet, so here are some things I have been eating lately….

Flaming Shrimp Soup, Saigon Grill, Fort Collins

This is the pot it comes in, with a little buffet heater under it. It does keep it warm.

It had pineapple, shrimp, bean sprouts, and other vegetables. Not bad, but I don’t know if I prefer it over their pho. I do prefer their pho over the other major pho place in Fort Collins, Pho Duy. Plus Pho Duy has rather odd background music, a rather short loop of Muzak-arranged hymns. I am not sure what to think of it. It does not enhance the pho experience for me. I have nothing against the easy-listening version of Amazing Grace but I do not want to hear it twice in the course of one meal.

A prettier picture of the whole presentation:

After reading about Huevos Divorciados on Slaking Fool, I needed to try them. The only place I could find on Yelp that had them in Denver was Tacos y Jalisco. Ken working on this movie (and being gone at all hours of the day) gives me the opportunity to try places and things I have been wanting to try (he is just not as adventurous as I am in the food department.)

Huevos Divorciados are eggs smothered in one half green chile and one half red chile. They were good, but I think I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like anything else on top of my eggs. Or I don’t like it very often. I would have this again, just not every week.

Their refried beans are excellent. I am pretty sure they contain either butter or lard. Or both.

Tacos Y Jalisco also has some of the best salsa in Denver. It definitely has the best salsa assortment. You get four different kinds.

Here is how someone else on Yelp described them: “a verde, pico, and two red sauces — one hot, the other hotter.” The verde is different in that it has avocado in it. I love them all, of course. My least favorite is the middle red one. I think it had chipotle in it, which I do not really care for (of all the things for me not to like, I know, I know.)  They apparently have posole and I need to remember to have that sometime. I had eaten here before but I don’t remember what I had, so this was kind of a re-discovery. Mmmmm, I will be back.

And my best discovery lately:

Golden Bowl Noodle House in Broomfield.

This is an area that has at least 4 Pho restaurants in a two block radius. I have tried them all, and this is my new spot. I didn’t even have the Pho, I had something called (I think) Spicy Beef Soup – loved the broth. The beef could have been better, but really, I am all about the broth. And their spring rolls are good and are the cheapest I have found recently. I picked up a copy of their take-out menu and will be posting that as soon as I can find it again…..

I have no idea what those two chunks of pale stuff were, but they were delicious. Maybe friend EM knows??? MMMMMMMM. It was nicely spicy, too. Next time I will ask for additional fire oil. They had chili paste but I don’t care for the chili seed texture.

Golden Bowl ALSO had cheesy Muzak, it was a mix of the best of the 80s, Beatles, and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. Interesting.

And finally, dessert! I had a rough week, needed some cupcakes from Butter Cream Cupcakery.

Pictured are (clockwise from top left) orange truffle, neopolitan, chocolate, and red velvet. Yes, delicious. They have the chocolate and red velvet every day, neopolitan and orange truffle were special flavors for that day. Yes, they did improve my afternoon.

Food Pictures

Well, I am about having cabin fever, so it is a good thing I will be heading to the Iowa State Fair this weekend for some food on a stick. I have been trying to get to the Iowa State Fair for years, so when a cheap plane ticket came up, I jumped at the chance. Kenny is working being Director of Photography for another movie, so I am going by myself. I will get to see two sets of nieces/nephews. The food possibilities should be pretty blog-worthy.
In the meantime, this summer is wiping me out. Too hot and too busy. So, how about some food pictures that I have been taking but not posting promptly?

Sorry for the color on some of these pictures, my camera phone is wigging out for unknown reasons. Trying to figure out what is going on.

We like BJ’s Brewpub and go there occasionally. Ken always gets the french dip, but I usually try something different, especially if they have something new.

 

 

 

 

 

French dip.

Their description: Filled with marinated chicken and cream cheese, then lightly battered and fried. Buffalo or Thai style.  They were OK. They were new, so I convinced myself to try them. I believe I remember burning the heck out of my mouth on them.

These are the fried artichokes. I am not sure what I was expecting, but this was not it.

You can see, it is a bunch of the leaves stuck together and then battered and fried. Not too bad but I probably wouldn’t order again. At this point I was having serious fried food remorse.

Here is the tuna poke (raw, marinated, chopped tuna) with wonton chips. That is not a photography problem, that is three piles of chips that are the same color and one pile that is seriously pale. I am not sure what was going on there. Their description: Chopped sashimi-grade ahi and green and yellow onions are marinated in our signature
poke sauce. Topped with diced avocados and served with crispy wonton chips. I didn’t like this as much as I liked it the first time, probably since I have had AMAZING tuna tartare since then, but it was still good. I should have had this and a bowl of soup instead of the fried things. Oy.

Is that enough food pictures for today? I hope so. Starting to feel like I have fried food hangover already. Going to have to pace myself for the Iowa State Fair. Apparently I am also going on rides with the nieces. It may take me weeks to recover.

Post With Niece Sydney’s Help

This was written by my niece Sydney because she is tired of waiting for a blog entry.  (She is even more annoyed now that I have had this for more than a week and haven’t posted it yet!) (Notes in ital. are by Glenderella)

The Drive and Evening of South Dakota

We started off the day by waking up and finishing packing because I had to stay up last night making a tie for Ken for a commercial. I had to make it because another person is going to slash it off with a sword. Which my niece, Sydney thought was extremely cool and entertaining.

(This is Ken doing the equivalent of saying he needs a turkey costume for school tomorrow. He needs a tie for a commercial he is making that will look as if someone has cut it in half with a sword. He, of course, assumes this will be a piece of cake and “won’t take long…” Uh huh. So wrapped up the day doing that. I ended up using double stick tape, because the tie trick isn’t going to have to be done over and over for many nights, just a couple of times for the commercial shoot. I did have to reinforce the tie and make sure the inner lining didn’t show where it had been cut.)

When we finished packing and I called my Mom to ask her if there was anything I needed to bring, as I am very forgetful. She just said the socks I knitted for her and cross-stitching stuff for my niece, Sydney. Then we got on the road, as myself and Ken took turns driving. We stopped for lunch at the truck stop in Lusk. I had a hot beef sandwich. Ken had a bacon cheeseburger. We liked it, very good. (Ken liked his, mine was not very good. There was no taste to the gravy, it was just brown. It tasted like brown. That is all. Next time I will remember to have the soup and a piece of pie.)
Pictures of food:

We got back on the road and kept driving on the way we listened to the iPod and the person in the passenger seat was entertained by the flower that dances by solar power. (I have a solar powered flower on my dashboard that bobs. What of it?) (When Ken was driving, I was crocheting on my #2 Camp Loopy project.)
We were driving for a while and then we stop at a truck stop to get out of the car. Ken found some jackalope nuts that we have to get on the way home for his co-workers that asked him to bring home an interesting food from South Dakota.

(We actually saw the jackalope nuts at the truck stop where we ate lunch. I didn’t get a look at them but it sounds like they might be chocolate covered corn nuts. We were going to stop and buy some on the way home for Ken’s co-workers but we forgot.)

Once we got back on the road and driving we were almost to Hot Springs I guess we drove through a fire that is quickly spreading and is still not contained. (We didn’t drive THROUGH the fire, we could see it as we were driving, it must have been pretty early in the fire activity because the guy at the gas station didn’t even know there was a fire. This fire is called the Myrtle fire and is still burning.)

Once we got on the gravel road which means we are almost to my parents’ house well then we got stuck behind a cattle truck going maximum 25 mph. (Only for a couple of miles, though.)

When we got to my parents house the first thing I heard when I walked in the door was my niece, Sydney yelling “hooray!!! Glenda’s here!!!”. Then my mom saying ” Sydney not in my ear” as I walked through the door seeing her ironing, which she says wrong, in the 102 degree weather.(Sydney pronounces iron as eye-ron, apparently there was not enough ironing going on at her house at a formative age.)

Then Ken and I got hugs by all of them. Then we sat down and were talking as my two nieces Sydney and Taylor and my nephew Dawson were bringing in kittens showing us. Ken and I didn’t think the kittens enjoyed being SCOOPED up and tossed over there back to be carried in and out of the house. We had lots more fun and talking when we watched the news, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

Then we had the kids look up words in the encyclopedia and they struggled with that because usually they just use there phones.(I don’t remember what set us off to look up something in the encyclopedia but the kids were kind of entertained by how “vintage” they were

We had dinner which was leftovers and talked about Ken’s movie he is filming about deaf kids learning to play basketball and at that point my niece, Taylor said they should include a cracken( check my spelling) (kraken) (kraken was ONE of the things we looked up in the encyclopedia, this particular encyclopedia did not include kraken as an entry.) and Ken said he would try to work it in.

The kids said they were going fishing with Grandpa so we stayed at the house and watched golf when they weren’t around because the kids think its boring. Sydney came in to get herself an ice pack and said its because she tried lifting the 80 pound bags of cement for the tank they built.  I heard they got around 13 fish and 3 made it back for the kitties.

We went out and looked at the tank also. Then the kids showed us how they stick there heads in the natural spring which they said Glenda! You try it too! And I said no it’s enough for me to feel with my hand. (My Dad and brother had torn out an old rusty metal stock tank. It is a spring-fed tank and had water all through the last drought. They replaced it with a tank made from an old, huge scraper tire. This tank is in the Buck pasture, for those of you who know where THAT is.)

My brother said to the kids they needed to go to bed if they wanted to show us the zip line in the morning so they went off to brush their teeth. Then Ken asked my brother how do they stop on the zip line? He responded they hit a tree. That was enough for one night.

Right as everyone was going to bed, Sydney came out and said my contact cleaned amuses and entertains her because the bubbles float up from the bottom then lights went out and we crashed.

-Sydney!!! 🙂

They showed us how they use the zip line in the morning. Their dad mostly stopped them before they hit the tree. It was much quieter after they left but far less entertaining.

Spokane Day 3 and 4 – Saturday and Sunday

I am back! Sorry, that is how summer is – busy! And when I am not busy, I am tired! But here is the last installation about my Spokane trip.

Now that we were busier with meetings, we had less free time for cavorting around Spokane.

It has been nice at this meeting that we are staying at the hotel where the meeting is held, and we haven’t had any terribly late nights. I guess there is probably some socializing going on in the lounges that we could join in, but it is also nice to get some rest and come home from one of this trips somewhat rested and not exhausted, and hopefully not get extremely sick. Although I still manage to get plenty tired.

Discovered Saturday that crocheting when tired is almost as dangerous as crocheting when drinking. I did several rows on the baby blanket Friday night and then had to rip one and a half out because of mistakes.

After we checked out the “light breakfast buffet” Friday (after eating at our hotel) and discovered it included an omelet station, S. and I ate there this morning. They had a selection of breakfast breads, juices and coffee, and the omelet station where they would make omelets with ham, cheese, onion, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc. They also had salsa and sour cream you could add to your omelet. It was a pretty tasty omelet, made a nice breakfast.

Almost everyone in the meeting headed for the Safari Room at the Tower for lunch because of their advertised $5 lunch, so we stayed at the other hotel. I wanted to try the Davenport Signature Salad that S. had the other night, and they also had French Onion soup, and I will ALWAYS eat that if given the option.

S. and my boss both had the tomato bisque and grilled cheese. This was a pretty fancy cheese sandwich – it looked like it wouldn’t be easy to eat.

I liked the salad but not as much as my caprese the other night. It had beets but they didn’t seem very beet-y to me, but I was glad I tried it.

The description of the soup says that the onions are carmelized (not very much) and that they are in a beef broth (hmmm, awfully pale for beef broth, I was assuming it was chicken) – so it was kind of different but it was good and the green onions on top were a nice touch.

More meetings in the afternoon, I did manage to fit in a nap at one point (back at my room, not IN the meeting). We haven’t been staying out at night or anything but travel is still tiring. I was trying to stay in touch with Ken at home to see if it was going to rain and how much. Kind of sad to be away from home and miss the rain and cool weather.

We had a group banquet for dinner Saturday – so no pictures. Really nice meal – salad, with their delicious house poppyseed dressing, and a baked potato with all of the toppings available on the table, a slice of salmon, asparagus, and a beef filet. This was one of the best filets I have ever had, let alone at a mass meal. Usually beef at a group meal is overdone, this was on the rare side of medium rare, so I felt bad for the people who only like their beef more well done, but I sure enjoyed mine. Dessert was a chocolate sponge cake, two small circles with a chocolate mousse with raspberries in between them, topped by a chocolate ganache, and a raspberry on top.

Breakfast again Sunday at the meeting, and lunch at the Safari Room at the Tower, because I wanted to try the Hot Brown sandwich, which was pretty good but quite rich. The soup of the day was beef teriyaki soup, which sounded so weird that I had to try it. The waitress said it was a little salty and she was correct.

S. had the Thai Chicken flatbread and a house salad – she expected the flatbread to be spicier than it was, but still thought it was fine.

The rest of the day: more meetings, eat at the airport, fly home….can you tell I have run out of steam on this trip? Well, the most exciting parts happened toward the beginning anyway.

Spokane Day 1 – Continued – Shaved Ice and the Riverfront Skyway

After the great yarn adventure, Travis from Paradise Fibers dropped us off at the Riverfront Park and we went immediately to the shaved ice booth and had shaved ice. I had half strawberry and half huckleberry and it was excellent. Next time I will have all huckleberry.  Huckleberries are a big thing in Washington and Montana, there are many huckleberry products available. The shave ice came in a large plastic flower-shaped protector, so you wouldn’t get it all over yourself, of course I saved both of ours to put in the “Costume Trunk.” Someone will think of some way to make them into a hat or something.

There was also a mini-donut booth in the park but it was closed at that time.

They have a Skyride gondola that takes you out over the Spokane River Falls, and we decided to enjoy that attraction. Fun to travel with a board member who wants to go out and visit the local sights. And is willing to walk miles to a yarn store. There is also a train ride around the park where there is narration about the area’s history. The World Fair was held here in 1974. It is a beautiful park in the midst of the city, lots of trees, very cool. AND mini-donuts and shave ice. They also have an antique carousel and an open fountain where kids (and adults) can get wetter than a trout (or a salmon, more correct for the area) but we did not partake of those attractions. Also: a giant red wagon with a slide for kids, and a garbage eating-goat sculpture (must find that sculpture in the next few days, as my friend Cathy mentioned it in here Spokane memories.)

One view of the lower falls from the Tram ride. It was late in the afternoon so we had some shade from the art deco Monroe Street bridge. This is a very cool bridge, which includes cow skulls (or buffalo?) as part of the decoration. Not real ones. Cement ones.

This is that bridge, you can kind of see the cow skull at the top of the tallest part.

This was the location of the original power plant that provided electricity for the street cars in the early 1900s, and there is a modern hydro power plant there today.

After the tram ride, we walked back to the hotel to meet up with my boss for dinner. We are staying in the Davenport hotel, which has two buildings – an historic building, and a more modern “Tower” across the street. We are staying in the Tower. Beautiful, large rooms.  It has kind of a jungle theme, hence the leopard-skin chaise lounge. The historic building has been restored extensively and maintains all of its beautiful frescoes and interior details. The rooms are large and comfortable and very nice.

Rather than a bathtub, there is a large walk-in shower.

They also give you a small sample of two kinds of “Soft Peanut Brittle” which is apparently a Spokane thing – one with chocolate and one without. And they give you fresh ones each morning. Mmmmmmmmm.

The bed has a mirror on the wall behind it, which does make the room look larger and is pretty but can be startling when you sleep on your stomach, and wake up in the morning and wonder who is looking back at you.

We decided to eat at the Palm Court in the main building of the Davenport. We got to sit at one of the tables in the sky-lighted lobby and admire the surroundings.

I had perhaps the best caprese salad I have ever had, local heirloom red and yellow tomatoes, mmmmmm.

S. had the Davenport salad, crisp romaine topped with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, bacon bits, fresh roasted beets and Parmesan cheese dressed with creamy garlic vinaigrette.

I had the coconut prawns as my entrée and she had the salmon.

(My boss had the house salad and the prime rib, but I didn’t take pictures of his.) I think both S. and I thought our entrees were Ok but the salads were the best part of the meal. I had the Huckleberry Riesling, by Latah Creek, which was lovely.

By the time we finished dinner, it was after eight, which was after nine Colorado time, and we were tired out for the day, so headed back to the rooms to sleep.

Catching Up – June 20

Sorry it has been so long between postings, but I guess I should have known June would be like this – I am on the road for such a big portion of the month and then am extremely busy the rest of the time. But now I am officially on vacation (well, kind of vacation, back in SD helping with the Miss South Dakota pageant) and I have some more time.

Here are some pics from Ted’s Montana Grill that I couldn’t access when I posted about it. It is making me hungry looking at them right now. Beef filet with baked sweet potato and summer squash casserole.

The view from the Bozeman airport is pretty nice.

I was introduced to a new drink – the Moscow Mule. It is like a Dark and Stormy but is ginger beer and vodka instead of ginger beer and rum. Mmmmm. Apparently they are supposed to be served in a copper mug. At the Bozeman airport, you have to give them your credit card so you don’t walk off with the expensive mugs.

The meetings in Bozeman (uh, weeks ago) went well and I arrived home at 10:30 to fall into bed and get up the next morning at 6:00 to meet my boss at 7:30 and drive out onto the eastern plains for a board meeting, which lasted from 9 until 4 and was mentally exhausting. I got home and told Ken I was NOT going to cook and where did he want to go for dinner. I was hungry for steak so we headed to Saltgrass Steakhouse, which isn’t far away. I had the tortilla soup (not really the type I like, too thick, but it was OK), baked potato, and shrimp and steak special. I did not know that BBQ shrimp involved them being deep fried with cream cheese and green onions inside the breading. They were good, but it was all a little too much, and I brought home 2/3 of my steak and one shrimp and most of my potato. Ken had a salad, mashed potatoes, and the steak.

This was some sort of blended margarita that was excellent – I can’t find what it was called, but it was delicious.

Chicken tortilla soup.

Steak and bbq shrimp.

Ken’s steak.

I had so brain cells left after the travelling and meetings that I didn’t think I should operate any power equipment including knitting needles and the washing machine, so I just took it easy the rest of the night, knowing there were big plans in the works (shopping with friends) for the next day.

I got up the next morning and puttered, getting some things put away, talking to my niece on the phone and hearing about my lack of blogging. Then I got on the road for Kinko’s (now FedEx office) to get a visual aid for next week’s meetings printed out and mounted on foam core board, and to DSW to exchange a pair of shoes.

I had been out shoe shopping the week  before, in preparation for summer and the Miss SD pageant, and of course I decided I need to post them on the blog, so I said to Ken “I need you to take pictures of my feet.” His response:  “You have no idea how many times a day I hear that.” Shoe pics will be along sometime this week.

Another recent quote from the husband: “I love you honey, but you have stinky armpits.” Nothing but the romance at our house.