Monday, April 14, 2014

Welcom 8 of 8 Tertiary Auxilary of the de-I Unimatrix

For those of you who may not be into Star Trek Borg terminology let's put it into more de-I terms...

...Welcome 3.2

That would mean second child to my third child...or the 8th grandchild overall.

3.2 is lovely little lady of 8.5 pounds and we Skyped with her today, the day after her birth.  Both Mom and baby are doing great.  She didn't have much to say but was very alert and looking around.  We are looking forward to meeting her in person.

She's already showing how considerate she's going to be.  She initiated labor in her Mom at around 7:30 AM and was finished 12 hours later.  No late night vigils.  How thoughtful was that!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Did You Know "Salad" Is Code For "Please Rip Me Off"

My trials and tribulations with the restaurant community continue.  One on going melodrama has been how many places treat those of us who would like a salad for our meal.  Somehow I missed the part in the menu where it says, "if you order a salad you want us to rip you off royally."

I was recently at a popular small chain in Albuquerque, The Range, for a business networking meeting.  I have tons of these meal meetings so eating tends to be more damage control than gastronomic experience.  Salad is often my choice.  Rarely is it satisfying.  Wife and I make salad a lot and we have a fine appreciation for the vast variety of vegetables that can be used to make a truly satisfying meal with little protein.  When you eat out your rarely get more than lettuce or spring mix with a few cursory other veggies thrown in.  A lot of time they load up on the proteins which is good unless you're watching the calories.  This time they had an interesting looking special on the menu - a roasted vegetable salad with roasted beets and feta cheese.  I wasn't quite sure why they had highlight the roasted beets separately since they are certainly a 'roasted vegetable'.

As you know from your past calorie counting entries, I measure and weigh our food regularly so I've got a good eye for quantities.  I also do our shopping and have a firm knowledge of prices.  This salad consisted of:
  • Approximately two leaves of romaine lettuce
  • 4  rounds of roasted summer squash
  • 4 rounds of roasted beet
  • About 1/2 a small roasted onion
  • Maybe an ounce of feta cheese.
They charged $12 dollars for this.  I sincerely doubt that the food cost for this salad was more than a $1.  Even if it was $2, that would be a food cost percentage of 16%.  Food costs of 25% to  28% are considered excellent.  32% is certainly acceptable.  My colleagues had sandwiches that were piled high with meat...groaning with fries.  There prices were slightly less and I can assure you that the food cost of the meat was no where near 16%.  Clearly the management of The Range feels that people who order salads should be exploited.

In the future Range, why don't you just have your servers pistol whip me, take however much they want out of my wallet, and stop with the subterfuge that you're providing value.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Construction - Finsihed Product - Before and After

We are actually back in our kitchen!   And our house is clean!!!

Our porch

The Kitchen

Going from Kitchen to Dining Room


Kitchen and new island

From Kitchen to new Indoor/Outdoor Room

New Island now with sink looking into the Dining Room

From Indoor/Outdoor room looking to the Dining Room

Indoor/Outdoor room looking toward Kitchen pass through

Indoor/Outdoor room from the outside

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Construction Just About Over!

We're hoping that on Friday we have the final inspections done and the builder does their cleaning of the house.  Wife has already started moving things back in an cleaning out cupboards.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cooking Enabled - Return of the Wok

With our new gas powered cook top with super hot 16000 BTU burner, I have gotten back to real cooking for the first time since the remodel began.  AND I brought back into action my beloved Wok.  The story behind the wok is that it is the one and only thing I ever purchased from an infomercial. 

It was during the late 80's.  I was doing something in our kitchen at our house in Columbia, MD on a Saturday afternoon.  The kids were doing something and for some reason this infomercial was playing.  I started to pay attention.  They were talking about the virtues of a real Chinese wok.  That they were hand made and that they had thicker bottoms than sides and this led to better heat distribution, etc, etc and this is essential to get the real hot temperatures that create that distinctive Chinese stir fried flavor. 

I'm watching the video of the workmen pounding out the woks as I am dialing the 1-800 number.  As they show the wok in action, I'm placing my order.  "Of course I want the extra bamboo steamers at only some nominal cost."

Truth be told, the wok was everything it was cracked up to be.  It totally changed how my Asian food came out.  With its adapter ring I made it work fine on the old style electric stoves we had.  But when we moved to our current house, we got one of the ceramic smooth top stove and I could no longer use the wok.  So it has sat idle for 13 years.

But today, it was called out of retirement and it was as if it had never been gone.  Dinner was Cambodian and it was great.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Construction Home Stretch - Appliance Day

Only a couple of more weeks.  Today they took out our old appliances and brought in the new ones.

Dishwasher, stove top, oven, refrigerator - all gone

New appliances arriving

New dishwasher, exhaust hood, stove top, oven and refrigerator in
(It's all stainless steel but there are protective covers on a number for the time being)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quick Construction Update - We's In The Final Stretch

They've been putting in the tile all this week.  A slow process that has meant we have no use of the kitchen.  Put the refrigerator in the garage so we're accessing food through the garage door (can't walk on the newly laid tile) and using paper plates and the microwave.  Fun.  But it should only be another couple of weeks until its done.

New Tiling - Sans Grout

The new stainless steel back splash is in too