Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Thursday, 25 May 2006 | Cooking, Food

I love freshly ground black pepper on food. I definitely recommend grinding it yourself because the flavor is much bolder and fresher than if you use the pre-ground type. I put it on almost everything I cook and eat. I especially like to put copious amounts of black pepper in soups. The flavor and kick is somehow conforting to me.

My love for it has made Erin into a ground pepper fiend as well. It's neat when your infuence as a dad becomes tangible in some way. There's a little part of me that delights when Erin grinds black pepper on her food.

My pepper mill of choice is the Unicorn Magnum Plus by Tom David, Inc. It has a very large capacity and a superb oversized grinding mechanism. It's a black pepper lover's dream come true.

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Flickering in Long Beach

Tuesday, 23 May 2006 | Flickr, Friends, Photography

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I met with a group of Flickr friends in Long Beach last Saturday for the May Flickr Meet.

A married couple from San Diego showed up for the meet. They weren't Flickr members, but had Googled the meet searching for a photography opportunity in Long Beach. I thought that was very cool.

We met at noon at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles for lunch. I ordered the Waffle and Chicken Thigh meal and found it very tasty. It was neat to have a normal American waffle. I love Belgian waffles just fine, but it seems that is the only kind you can get at restaurants lately. Raoul ordered the Chicken Gizzards meal which is a huge platter of rice covered with fried chicken gizzards and gravy. I couldn't believe the size it. I tried the gizzards and found them quite good. I have loved fried chicken gizzards ever since my mom used to make them for me as a kid.

After lunch, we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific to take pictures. It was my first visit to the aquarium. There were lots of neat things to see, but I found the dim light very challenging for photography. I managed to get a few good shots, but not as many as I would have liked. I got a little grumpy because of it and David had to tell me to lighten up.

After the aquarium, David and I walked to around Long Beach Harbor to the pier. This was my first visit to Long Beach Harbor. I didn't realize how nice it was. There are a number of restaurants I love in the area, including P.F. Changs, Bubba Gumps, California Pizza Kitchen and Gladstones. David and I ate dinner at the Yard House which afforded the lovely view shown above. It was my first time eating at the Yard House. I had the Grilled Jumbo Shrimp on lemongrass skewers. It was delicious. David ordered the Chicken Enchilada Stack. I would definitely go back again. In fact, I enjoyed the harbor so much, I want to take Toni there sometime very soon.

Thanks Anna, for organizing a wonderful Flickr outing for us..

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Apple Store - Fifth Avenue

Friday, 19 May 2006 | Apple, Computers, Macintosh

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Apple will open a new store on Fifth Avenue in New York City today at 6 pm.

The entrance is a stunning glass cube that's sure to catch the eye. What's really cool is the store will be open 24/7/365! Yes, that's right. It will be open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Wow! An Apple Store that never closes.

The store is actually underground. Customers get to it via an ultra cool glass spiral staircase inside the glass cube. The architecture and decor is ultra modern and stunning.

To commemorate the opening, Apple will be giving away a new MacBook at their flagship Fifth Avenue store every hour for the first 24 hours.

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Pirate Rubber Duckie's 11th Host

Thursday, 18 May 2006 | Pirate Rubber Duckie

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London, England

Host Damon Allen Davison
Location London, England
Arrival Date April 27, 2006
Previous Location Rochester, NY
Distance for This Leg 3,505 Miles
Total Distance 18,475 Miles

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Flickr Goes Gamma

Tuesday, 16 May 2006 | Flickr, Internet

Today, Flickr released the Gamma version of its site. Flickr has been in Beta for some time now. After Yahoo acquired Flickr, they apparently have been doing a lot of work on this photo sharing site. Although there's a lot of groaning and moaning about the new site design and its inevitable bugs here and there, I for one, think the changes are very nice overall.

I really love Flickr because its not just a photo sharing vehicle, but a way to socialize and meet people who share my passion for photography.

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Napa Rose at Home

Monday, 15 May 2006 | Cooking, Family, Food

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I decided to put my recent Napa Rose Cooking School skills to work over Mother's Day weekend. I wanted to cook a special meal just for Toni to show how much I appreciate what a wonderful step mom she is to Erin.

I bought all the groceries I needed on my lunch break Friday. I was determined to make the best rendition of Blackberry Cabernet Braised Prime Beef Short Rib with a Farm House Potato Salad possible. The ingredients were all perfect, but the short ribs I bought from Jensens market were technically not prime, but a USDA Choice variety which was excellent all the same.

On Friday evening, I prepared the short rib portion of the recipe, searing the ribs and braising them for 3 hours in a blackberry, Cabernet Sauvignon wine, vegetable and veal demi-glace sauce. Late that night, I chilled them so they would be ready to reheat for Saturday dinner.

On Saturday, I just had to make the potato salad and reheat the ribs and sauce to accompany them. Everything turned out beautifully, just as I had hoped. The dish tasted just like I remembered it at Napa Rose and Toni loved it. I plated and garnished it like they had shown us at the restaurant. The nice thing is, there is enough left over to have it again for dinner on Monday night!

The picture above is the dish as it was presented to me at Napa Rose. My rendition looked almost identical down to the fresh blackberry garnish, but unfortunately I didn't take a picture of it. You'll have to trust me that it was appealing to the eye and palate.

This was the 2nd dish I've made at home from Napa Rose. The 1st was the Portabello Mushroom Cappuccino with Brandy Thyme Foam. I made that for Toni and Erin on the eve of the Napa Rose Cooking School.

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Taffy's 100 Week Photo

Sunday, 14 May 2006 | Pets

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Taffy on duty as neighborhood sentinel.

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Disneyland's 2 Billionth Guest

Wednesday, 3 May 2006 | Disneyland

At 9:02 am on May 2, 2006, Disneyland honored 12 year old Emmalee Mason of Colorado Springs, CO as the 2 billionth visitor to Disney theme parks around the world.

Emmalee was presented with a golden key and lifetime passes to all 11 Disney theme parks worldwide for her and all 10 family members including her parents, five sisters, one brother and a baby on the way. Emmalee rode the Matterhorn with Mickey Mouse and served as the Grand Marshal in Disneyland's 50th Anniversary Parade.

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