Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pirate Bridal Party

Today was a bridal shower for my friend Kari's daughter, Jessica, in Chico hosted by some friends of the family. It was a tea party theme with a request that attendees wear a hat. Unfortunately the only hat I had was a pirate hat, so that's what I wore!
After some initial introductions we started off with a game. We were split into three groups, each team given three rolls of toilet paper and instructed to create a wedding dress on one of our team members. The bride would judge the best dress after 10 minutes. Our team included a 6 year old girl, Archer, that we chose as our bride.

Of course we won, I mean look at that masterpiece of a dress! After our dress making contest we stopped for lunch. In typical tea party fashion we were treated to mini tea sandwiches, with the crusts cut off of course, fresh fruit, and tea.

There was a chicken salad sandwich with bacon and hazelnuts that was to die for. I tried my hand at Earl Grey tea with milk for a change and it was surprisingly really good. After lunch was gifts. Not only was I the only pirate in attendance, but I was also the only person to gift naughty gifts. Ummmm, that's what bridal showers are for - are they new at this?!?
To end the afternoon we had some lemon cake from Upper Crust Bakery - amazingly good!

Such a fun afternoon, I can't wait for the wedding in June. We've already got our hotel reserved in San Jose since the wedding is in Sveadal, the Swedish town I visit with my friend Kari. Skol!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Backyard beautification project

In an effort to make the backyard more manageable, the boy has slowly but surely been replacing the ultra-invasive ivy with gravel and dirt. His next project involved erecting a fence off the back of the house, outlining a clear path of travel around the back of the house, while also blocking the view of our douchebag renter neighbors;
By this afternoon the fence had been cemented in place as well as a header and planter box installed.
 In the planter box we've got a grape vine planted that will hopefully climb its way up and over to provide a little greenery. I love it - it looks fabulous! The next project will involve bringing in more bricks to outline the edge of the grass and then laying down more gravel.

This week was a co-worker's birthday that I put together a birthday celebration for on Thursday. A fan of hunting and shooting, I ordered camouflage cupcakes as his 'cake';
I also decorated his office with camouflage decorations - a camo birthday banner and orange and brown balloons.
The best part? Can you see the banner? It actually says "BiBthday". It's so hard to find good Chinese child labor anymore...

Other recent activities include the purchase of a smoker for all of our meat cooking adventures.
We took it on its maiden voyage last weekend with a 3 pound tri tip from the Mexican meat market up in P-town pre-seasoned with the spices of my people. Can you say ahhh-mazing!
We threw some brats on there too, towards the end, that came out with a crispy skin and smelled like a smokey dream. Today we smoked up a corned beef (think pastrami) and some turkey sausages. How did we live this long without one of these toys?

Monday, March 3, 2014

7 year itch

Today marked 7 years of a life sentence served - otherwise known as our wedding anniversary. To celebrate this momentous occasion we spent a nice night out on the town at dinner and a movie. For dinner we met at Sierra Nevada Brewery right after work.

We just shared a bunch of appetizers like fried calamari, the sausage platter, and pretzels with beer cheese. Don't worry, there were plenty of leftovers!

After dinner we went and saw 3 Days to Kill with Kevin Costner. Not horrible, not great, but entertaining enough for 2 hours. Now we're back home in time for a little dessert;
That's right - personalized M&Ms in our wedding colors that have our names and say "7 year itch"! So, we both agreed to commit to this whole marriage thing for another year so I guess we'll see you back here next March!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sierra Nevada beer and food pairing

Saturday night the Canadian and I went to an IPA and food pairing dinner at Sierra Nevada Brewery. We've done a couple of food and beer pairings before, but only at Feather Falls Casino. Doors opened at 6:00 pm so we got there at 5:15 pm since we learned previously that people like to line up early. Or not. Apparently nobody cares about beer dinners because we were the only ones there until about 5:45 pm. Oops.

Once we got in and were (thankfully) seated at a two-top table, staff got busy delivering the beginning of our 5 course dinner.
Their head chef is a very nice Canadian gentleman who introduced each plate followed by the head brewer who told us something about the accompanying beer. First up was a ham and mushroom tartlet made with Llano Seco ham and oyster mushrooms coated in a maple syrup glaze in a brewer's grain crust topped with Pale Ale estate tomato jam. It was served with a small sample of Pale Ale, their flagship beer. Soooo good!
Next was lobster broth made with saffron, blood orange pearls, honey malt gnocchi, Snow Wit IPA, and topped with estate micro greens and served with a Snow Wit IPA. Also incredibly good.
Eggplant Bocadillo - hop smoked eggplant minced and placed between two thin slices of buttered and toasted sourdough. On the side was a kale salad topped with oyster mushrooms caramelized in the new Nooner Session IPA with a Nooner vinaigrette. Served with what else but a Nooner Session IPA. The eggplant filling was so smokey and tasted so good. We liked the side salad just fine, but we could tell by the plates the servers were picking up, other people were not as convinced as us to try kale.
The main entree was filet mignon topped with a chili-almond crust and served with a sweet potato souffle and roasted cauliflower topped with yogurt and mint and served with a Torpedo Extra IPA. This was the boy's favorite dish, while it was my least favorite. It was okay, and yes it was a very tender cut of meat, but I wasn't impressed with the flavor of anything. Meh.
To top it all off, we finished with a flourless chocolate cake with a side of caramel and hopped meringue in the shape of Bigfoot feet (for their Bigfoot barley wine) served with a Blindfold Black IPA. This was the only beer the boy didn't finish. And of course I just took a courtesy sip of each of mine and then passed them to Chris to finish. So much good food and some pretty good beer too (according to the boy).