Being December and being on vacation after working almost a full year without vacation I’m in the mood of being a bit extravagant. It started with making a reservation to dine at Le Cirque this Tuesday as an early Christmas celebration. This will be my first high scale dinning experience.
With work we went to Brasserie Plinius for our Christmas dinner. We got a selection menu..We got four starters dish a fish tartare, pata negra ham with cheese(or parmaham, not sure), European sea bass with a light sauce and a piece of guinea fowl with mashed potatoes.
For the main dish I choose rib-eye steak with fries and the dessert was fresh pistachio ice cream. And after dessert cheese and bread. And of course there was champagne, white and red wine. I must say I can be a difficult eater but that comes due to my kidney diseases which affects how food tastes. For one I absolutely cannot stand salmon. I am not a pig meat fan either. So that night was a constant discovery of new tastes, like the ham and the guinea fowl. But I must say I really enjoyed the fine dinning. The portions where small, tasteful and not fatty or heavy at all.
My mom is spending the holidays with me while my sisters is traveling around Thailand. So I have a willing someone to go try out all kind of dinning places with me and to try out food I cook to see if they are good enough.
I recently bought Delicious food guide special edition. With the best places to eat out and do your food shopping in a few Dutch cities including The Hague. Yesterday we went out last minute to dine out. Just walking round the city checking out menus of if they had a place as on Saturday night everything is full. And by pure causality we ended up at Pastis a small French bistro. It is situated in a small side street, when I saw the name I remembered it from the Delicious Guide. So we went in, they had a spot at the bar which we didn’t mind. Soon afterward we where offered a table as there was cancellation of reservation.
I always wanted to try Coquilles St. Jacques which they have as starter. So feeling adventurous I ordered it. But it wasn’t my thing, not so much the taste but the texture of it, I’m gonna sound crazy but the way it felt in my mouth wasn’t nice. Luckily my mom did like it an ate them. I tried a bite of her scallops, not that bad, I think I could come to like them.
For the main dish I went with Mussels and Fries. I have eaten mussels before but as the Coquilles St. Jacques where a disappointment(due to my own taste) I was afraid the mussels might be too. But they where very tasteful, steamed with green onions, garlic and parsley. Fresh cut fries and fresh made mayonnaise, the mayonnaise had a hint of vinegar which made it delicious. And for dessert I had crème brûlée which tasted like heaven. All in all a night of very fine dinning. Excellent service, nice atmosphere and good food.
I’m also realizing the more I eat good food like this the pickier I become on where to eat out. I’m starting to care more about the food experience then the price. Not that I will be spending extravagant much on eating out but I will be much pickier and be more careful where I chose to eat.
But as long as it is vacation time I will enjoy fine food, I’m even hoping to go to a seafood restaurant soon, It Rains Fishes a French seafood restaurant. One of the few places you can get a good fresh lobster so far I know.
And the ironic of it all is that my left under wisdom teeth is coming through, so I’m in constant pain or discomfort. My appointment with the surgeon isn’t until January 14. So meanwhile I have to bare the pain each time I finish eating and take some painkillers. I asked my aunt to fedex me some Oragel which they don’t sell here. Hopefully she will and it will be of some relief.
I love reading, love books and everything about it. I have a bookcase full of books, full of books with pristine pages with no pen, pencil marks or pages with earmarks. In my school years I never made annotations or highlights in schoolbooks, I wrote all important passages down in my notebook and would then study from the notebook.
And now with web books I use post-its on pages I need to return to or I simple flip through the book till I find what I’m looking for. I always thought how easy it would be to just take a pencil a make notes for easier reference, but I just can’t make myself “damage” the book. I never really stood still about it, until today.
Today I got a new book I ordered, Everything you know about CSS is wrong. It was recently published so I want to write a review on the book. While reading the preface I already saw a sentence I wanted to take in my review and that started a stream of thought and this weblog post. I don’t want to have to take a Moleskine with the book and write down each note worthy content of the book. So I’m now debating for the first time to start making annotations in the book itself.
The book is not extremely expensive, it’s for educational purposes, considering the topic the book will be outdated in some time and will have no value whatsoever in a few years. So I think I’ll go ahead, sharpen a pencil and make tidy and readable annotations of interesting content. And while I will be taking this step the one thing I won’t do is earmark pages because that just ruins the books format. Instead I’ll just use post-its for pages I have to go back to while using the book in practice, e.g. during website development.
I did a search on Flickr to see others their books full of annotations but I didn’t find anything cool enough like Oprah’s own copies, full of colorful post-its and highlighted passages. If my copy of Everything you know about CSS is wrong turns to something I will post a photo, to mark my first book with annotations.
After over more then a year of switching CMS from a Ruby on Rails system back to PHP, back and forth, I hope I have finally settled down. While working Froggy Studio I choose WordPress for the backend moving away from Textpattern. Since WordPress overhauled their back-end I have come to like it better then before. The automatic updates makes it so much easier then manually updating each time.
So once I got started with WordPress I decided to take all my old weblog content from 2003 till now and arrange them in WordPress format and import then in WordPress. After some PHP coding due that my oldest content had different date/time. After some code hacking I managed to get 5 years of content in WordPress. Only the category assignment is a pain. I used a batch plugin but it’s not working good.
So most content is uncategorized till I figure out a easy way. Meanwhile the other ones are categorized under “Oldies”. And off course internal links in those old post are broken. Images are still there, so it’s word browsing the old content. It felt weird reading stuff from 2003, so much has happened and changed.
Finally I have yet to import my latest weblog design into WordPress template, so meanwhile the universal Kubrick theme will have to do. My current design is back on the Photoshop board to expand it a bit to accomodate categories, comments, etc. I hope to have it done soon.
So there you go, darice.org content is available form the beginnings till present!
Again it’s already November, time sure does go by fast. This year I’v been working at my job every work day, 20 hours a week. In December I’ll be taking my first vacation till January. Not going anywhere as I’m on the kidney transplant waiting list. Going two and half years already on dialyse. This month I’ll have to intensify my dialyse more for the second time. The effectiveness of Perionteal Dialyses reduces the more you use it. Not fun but it’s the only way for now.
I have inspiration again last few days, I’m working on my portfolio site that will go under Froggy Studio. I created a simple design to show my websites work, PHP coding style and photos. I also have an idea for a basic PHP app that will keep track of projects I do and amount of hours spend on it. I know there are several apps that do that but they are all to bloated for my needs. I just need something simple that records each day, work done and amount of hours, that’s it.
Further on at work it has been stressful lately. Lots of deadlines and work at times. There isn’t a steady flow, it’s stress out one day and too slow the next one. I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere but around here it is. For the latest series of websites we use one Joomla setup to manage 3 sites and still more to come. I’m hoping in doing an extensive review on multiple sites Joomla setup. I have been working steady for 10 months now since leaving college, I’m pretty though on myself, I never think I’m good enough. I should really cut myself some slack. I mean not everyone is a PHP guru. As long as I can get done what needs to be done and doing it right. My XHTML/CSS skills are getting better, I may start hoping to become an expert(just not a guru). I can code much faster now, solving problems faster, etc. Hopefully my skills will keep improving.
With Christmas approaching it’s time to get into the holiday mood, start some gift shopping and update my Amazon wish list
And last, today it’s do or stay behind for the United States, I’m already holding in my breath hoping that Obama will win. No vote count issues, nothing, a clear victorious win. Because damn those where an agonizing 8 years that affected the whole world. So here is hoping to change!
Since last year when I had a sandwich with meat I have been looking to make my own perfect one. This is not a try to make the well known Philly Steak and Cheese. I have never been to Philadelphia, let alone have a Philly sandwich. I did let myself be inspired by the ingredients, like the kind of cheese to use. Cheese is like wine, there is a kind for every kind of food, etc.
Last year for lunch at a cafe in the city I had a kaiser bread with rib-eye steak with mustard and rucola. Simple yet delicious. After 2 tries at home I know now how to make one. I also learned I rather have sirloin then any meat with fat on it. As I can’t stand when chewing my food to come across “gummy parts” to put it nicely.
My next try was a steak with cheese sandwich, because I just like cheese. After reading many food weblogs it seems clear Provolone is the cheese to use with steak in a sandwich. Also I came across another cheese: Bel Paese, chef Govind Armstrong uses it in his Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwich.
Here in Holland if you want special ingredients like a good provolone, bel paese or sirloin meat you’ll have to look for it. Forget the supermarket, here most supermarket don’t sell unique ingredients, they stock on products based on the neighborhood they are situated. I live in a neighborhood with mostly less then middle class dutch, lots of immigrants from Turkey, etc. Our supermarket just reopened last month, and to my joy they stock more products I had to get somewhere else before. Like sirloin meat, but that lasted about two weeks because they don’t sell and ended up expiring in the store. So they stopped selling prime cuts. They do have lot’s of cheese but mostly french cheese and of course dutch cheese. And a couple italian cheeses like Gran Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gorgonzola.
So this saturday I went to “Old Rijswijk” a very small town two stops further with the tram. I go most saturdays as they have a vegetable market then where I buy fresh veggies cheaper then at the supermarket. Then I go by the butcher to get prime cuts. The town also has a gourmet store where you can get “fancy” ingredients. They do have lots of specialty cheese but unfortunately they don’t have Provolone nor Bel Paese, they do have Pecorino which I have yet to buy as I’m not that adventurous to try sheep’s cheese.
So yesterday I bought a few slices of meat, english cheddar as there wasn’t any provolone or bel paese. And I got a fresh french baguette. Yesterday I read lots on the art of making a steak and sandwich, plus how to best tenderize meat. That’s when I came across and a very well documented weblog post on Salting meat. I kept doubting until last minute if I would salt my meat, but decided against it because it was such a thin slice of meat.
I settled on doing the most basic:
- Onion cut in rings
- Meat seasoned with pepper
- English cheddar
- A bit of Maggi’s for extra taste
- A warm baguette
I documented the process on Flickr.
to bland, I ate half of it and threw the rest away. The cheese wasn’t the best choice, the meat missed taste, the Maggi didn’t do it. The bread should have been warmer.
For the next try I’ll look around town for provolone or bel paese cheese, I will do the salting process with the meat. And while cooking try it to see if it tastes nice and then add Maggi’s if needed. And I’ll make sure the bread is real warm.
This is how you learn, trial and error over and over again, practice makes perfect. When I give it another try I’ll write it up here.