duncandahusky: (Default)
One of the very few nearby non-Starbucks coffee houses, Prairie Croissant Cafe (a play on the Prairie Crossing development) is closing its doors after this weekend. This is bad news because it was a nice island of crunchy enviro-friendliness in the boring suburbs, with a touch of French gourmet food. Alas, the timing wasn't right and their business model just won't work in the current economy. What a shame.
duncandahusky: (Ky00t Duncan)
Before the craziness of this week's preparations for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we had a very nice weekend. On Friday we met up with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] roho, and [livejournal.com profile] genet for dinner in Antioch. We had originally planned to try out a BBQ joint I had read about, except we found that it was not only closed, the space was vacant and available for rent. Well. Instead, we walked down to the little Italian place a few doors down, Petrucci's. As we were standing outside debating, one of the employees came out to cajole us into coming in. After she went inside, Linnaeus took a deep whiff and said, "Smell that? That's Calvin Kline's Desperation." We shrugged and went inside.

After being seated, the waitress asked what we wanted to drink. I asked what beers they had on tap, and she...didn't know. The manager came over and told us the beers they had: Michelob, Heineken, and Moretti (sure, they had a Peroni neon sign out front but they didn't actually, you know, carry it). Evidently the three-beer beer list was too much to remember. Drinks arrived, and many giggles were had as we admired the Dunkin Donuts straws we were given. That was when I started pushing for just getting appetizers (a selection of fine frozen, fried cheese sticks, onion rings, etc.) and getting dinner elsewhere. I got outvoted, but we ordered the simplest possible thing we could: one sausage pizza, and one pepperoni pizza. To their credit, the pizza sauce wasn't bad, and the toppings were OK. The crust, though, was terrible. It reminded me for all the world of cheap frozen pizza. Needless to say, we won't be going back.

Saturday saw me at work in the morning while Dan slept in. He was awake and showered when I got home, and we headed out to run some errands. We happened upon a local coffee house now in its third incarnation since we've been in the area, and had a very tasty lunch there (they carry Intelligentsia Coffee! Yay!). Then it was up to Antioch Packing House to gather information on buying a side or quarter of a cow to fill up our freezer. We also picked up some excellent bacon and a couple of fantastic steaks. Once we got home we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah for the evening, and introduced him into how we have a small dinner for company: grilled NY strip steaks, baked potatoes with Monterey Jack and Parmesan, and grilled asparagus with rosemary and goat cheese, all accompanied with an excellent Australian shiraz blend. The evening ended with me nodding off on the sofa while Dan and Toz played Mario Kart Wii.

Sunday was the Midwest FurFest staff meeting. It was lightly-attended, as expected, but we got some good stuff done. [livejournal.com profile] perro has done a great job of fitting all the major events into the allotted space; now he can start thinking about the smaller panels. Afterwards we went over to Cafe Mistiko, a curious "European sports bar" that I really wanted to like more than I did. They made killer smoothies, and the saganaki was quite tasty. My crepe, "The Zembekiko" (Loukaniko [Greek sausage], tomatoes, peppers, and feta cheese) was only so-so, though. I'd be willing to go back and try something else on the menu, though. And lest you think of crepes as dainty little things, these suckers were huge, taking up three-quarters of the plate. I did also pick up a copy of the menu for the Japanese sushi joint next door and it looks like that may be next on the list of places in the area to try.

This week, we're cleaning and shopping in preparation for the coming weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing some of our out-of-town friends, and hopefully repeating the fantastic time we had last year. Never a dull moment!
duncandahusky: (Default)
Once upon a time (actually, it was a little over three years ago), I got the most wonderful present from [livejournal.com profile] takaza: a Bodum Santos electric vacuum press coffee maker. I was pleased as punch with it, and it was a truly wonderful gift. Many of you have seen it in action at various parties since then, and it has served us well. Alas, the years have not been kind to it. First, there was a failure in the electronics, which Bodum repaired under warranty (eventually).

Over the years, though, the electronics have gotten worse even after being replaced, and on top of that since the unit is difficult to clean it has developed a coffee-colored coating that just won't come off, and has started to affect the taste of my morning coffee. (I will note that these problems are well-documented by other Bodum Santos Electric owners). I looked into replacing the unit, but it appears Bodum doesn't even offer it anymore; in fact, no one offers an electric vacuum press coffee maker on the consumer market right now, as near as I can tell.

So what to do? Well, I'm going to give the unit a thorough scrubbing from top to bottom and then I'm going to retire it, using it only for when we have company or at parties (because sometimes you need 12+ cups of coffee, stat!). In its place, I'll be going back to the method which served me so well for years: my trusty French press coffee maker.

Next up: replacing the Mr. Coffee burr grinder which is unfortunately starting to show wear and tear as well (it tends to stop grinding at random intervals, leaving me with no clue how much more coffee I might need to grind). I've got my eye on a lovely Capresso burr grinder that will probably be heading my way sooner than later...
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
None of this makes a coherent single entry, so you get a bunch of random stuff:

I just finished a quick meeting with my boss. Granted, he technically only had two months of me being an employee of $employer (in addition to the nine moths prior working the exact same job as a contractor), but he gave me an excellent annual review and is very happy with my work. This makes me positively giddy :-) Speaking of work-related things, I had lunch earlier today with [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah, which was very cool since he just works across the campus from me. We need to make that a weekly thing or something. We had a great discussion about Midwest FurFest and I think I might have something to keep him busy during the con this year :-)

Yesterday I was all virtuous and stuff and went ahead and got my voting for next week's primary out of the way. It was very cool that the Lake County website had a sample of the exact ballot that I would be presented with so I was able to do a little research on the local candidates and make some informed decisions. Plus I had a nice chat with the poll workers, who were very nice folks.

We're having [livejournal.com profile] takaza's family over on Saturday evening, along with some friends, for a night of gaming. I'm working up a nice menu too - maybe French Onion Soup, and roasted chicken. I think we need some more wine - perhaps a trip to Wine Knows is in order. We also need to do some thorough cleaning of the place, which is pretty standard before company. It's one of the reasons I like to have company over with some regularity: left to our own devices, we keep the clutter to a minimum, but I need a reason to get really motivated to deep clean and take a toothbrush to the baseboards :-)

Apparently, I'm going on a trip in a week and a half. I say "apparently" because, well, I don't know where I'm going. You see, Dan has put together some kind of trip for us to celebrate my fortieth birthday, and all I know is that we're flying off...somewhere (he won't say where)...for a four-day vacation. About all I know is that it's domestic, since neither of us have valid passports, but other than that I have no clue. I also know that no amount of begging for clues from Dan will yield any further information, so I probably appear annoyingly incurious, but I'm very content in the knowledge that Dan knows me well, and whatever he has put together will be truly amazing. And whether it's amazing or not, I'll have my love there with me, so that makes it amazing in itself. (I'm sure he's made all kinds of posts in his journal about this that I can't see, and all of you who have read and heard about this from him are dying of laughter. Hey, I'm OK with that. I'll just sit here in quiet anticipation :-)

Oh, and one last note: I would note that one of my favorite coffees, Dark Roast Sumatran, from one of my favorite coffee providers, Alterra Coffee, is on sale at 10% off. With shipping by Priority Mail only $4.60, if you order a couple of pounds (like I usually do) it's comparable to buying coffee off the shelf from some of the higher-end providers. (I also recently discovered the Brazil Traditional Dry, which is simply outstanding as well).
duncandahusky: (Default)
I almost forgot! I wanted to mention two things.

First off, Halloween is upon us. [livejournal.com profile] takaza went all out, ordering some nifty stuff from Oriental Trading Company to give to the trick-or-treaters. Then I checked the Village of Hainesville website: "The official trick-or-treat time is Sunday, October 28, from 1 PM to 4 PM." Wow. Trick or treating in the daytime? Could they do anything more to sap the fun out of it? Maybe require everyone to give out coupons for healthy carrot and apple snacks instead of candy? Gah. I could rant about this so much but I just won't. Anyway, we got all of five trick or treaters. Five. Two of those didn't even have costumes, just stood at the door with an outthrust grocery bag, and one of those only said "Trick or Treat" when Dan asked, "Can I help you?"

I sure hope we get more kids by on Wednesday night, 'cause we sure do have a lot of candy left.

On a brighter note, I finally got around to trying the Aeropress coffee maker I picked up the other day. Oh. My. God. So good. This was really amazing coffee. It's not really espresso as much as coffee concentrate. You brew it at 165-175 degrees F (much lower than usual) and there's only about ten seconds of contact between the coffee grounds and the water, then you press. I used as much coffee grounds as I usually do for three mugs of coffee (my standard morning dose) and got about 2/3 of a mug. Then I got stupid and made another round. Um, yeah - the caffeine is totally still in there. I think I was vibrating slightly for a good half-hour. Anyway, the coffee is every bit as smooth and rich as they say it is. I highly recommend it!
duncandahusky: (WTF?)
Crunch time is upon us for Midwest FurFest. This past weekend was spent preparing several different orders for sponsor and Registration items, gathering information, etc. I won't bore you with the details, but that pretty much ate up most of my Sunday. Saturday was a lot more fun, though! While [livejournal.com profile] takaza slaved away on the Con Book and hotel issues, I made a savory sweet potato casserole which was simply divine. I figure anything that's made with half a pound of bacon and three-quarters of a pound of cheddar cheese can't be bad! I'm not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but this was just delicious! I was fascinated by the way the sweet potatoes added a complex, almost curry-like flavor to the dish. The dish was my contribution to [livejournal.com profile] unclevlad's birthday party; once it was done I packed it into a cooler with layers of towels to keep it warm and drove on down. The casserole was a hit (yay!) and the party was a blast. I was able to chat with [livejournal.com profile] perro, [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus about con stuff (sorry if the smoffage put everyone else off!) and had a great time chatting with all of the other folks there.

On top of all of this we have the preparations for Midwest FurFest 2008. I was vastly relieved to get confirmation of our second (of three) guests of honor yesterday. The third slot will probably remain open until early next year. A theme has also been chosen, so we can go ahead and add those to the promotional materials for next year. (What's the theme and who are the Guests of Honor? Come to Closing Ceremonies and find out!) This is a nice weight off my mind, though.

Unfortunately, Dan's health issues continue, with good days and bad days. I worry about him a lot, and it's frustrating that there's really not a lot I can do to help. We'll muddle through this somehow, but I do hope it passes sooner than later.

In happier news, a couple of nice things from yesterday: 1. My Aeropress came in the mail. I may make my first cup of coffee with it tonight (early in the evening, though!). 2. With CBS canceling the apparently-execrable "Viva Laughlin", the gap in the schedule opens the door for the premiere of the new season of The Amazing Race on Sunday, November 4 at 7 PM CT. Yaaaaay! Anyone interested in making a social event of the premiere?
duncandahusky: (Looking Up)
Well, due to some last-minute illness and [livejournal.com profile] takaza's continuing health issues, we are going to postpone this weekend's River Trip. I won't say I'm not disappointed, but I'll survive. We'll probably try again come late April/early May of next year, and who knows? Maybe we can add to our caravan. As the time comes closer, we'll spread the word around. It's probably just as well, since Dan and I both have a lot of work to get done for Midwest FurFest, including almost 300 postcards to label, stamp, and mail out.


Meanwhile, I came across some interesting and fun links this morning. Mark over at BoingBoing TV (who has excellent taste in coffee beans) demonstrates a coffee gadget so nifty I bought one this morning (See the exhaustive discussion here as well). Also, Adam at The Amateur Gourmet gives us a nifty video tour of a cheese shop and discusses some cheese basics with the cheesemonger there. Finally, happy 40th birthday to LOGO, the first programming language I ever learned. And I'll note that I'm a lousy programmer. Correlation? Who knows?
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
That was the weekend that was. On Friday, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I went out after work for a quick trip to Sam's Club to price out some shelves that he had his eye on so we could bring some order to our garage (and hopefully other areas of the house as well). We didn't buy anything while we were there, but we had some better numbers to work with. On the way home, we decided to try one of the family restaurants in Grayslake, the Hillside Restaurant. While Dan's meal was pretty blah, my Reuben was excellent, with some of the better corned beef that I've had in a while. Afterwards, we stopped by the Prairie Croissant Cafe and picked up some coffee beans (they get theirs from Metropolis Coffee in Chicago, my second-favorite roastery there :-)

On Saturday, Dan had to go over to his mom's place to hook up her new DVD recorder and show her how to use it. I struck off on my own and joined [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] feren, [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon, and [livejournal.com profile] colliedoc for brunch at Las Vegas Restaurant in Antioch. Afterwards we walked around downtown a bit to fight off the inevitable food coma and we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. The lot of us headed north to Brightonwood Orchard, home of Aeppeltreow Winery. We sampled some of the new wines for 2007, but I wound up buying a bottle of the very tasty Appley Doux sweet sparkling cider and a bottle of Pommeaux apple dessert wine (fortified with apple eau de vie). Then it was over to the apple barn where we checked out some of the wonderful heirloom varieties. My favorite, Northern Spy, wasn't in yet, but I picked up some Northern Greening and Gravenstein apples.

After returning from the orchard, Straif and I headed south and picked up Dan, then stopped at Garden Fresh to get some dinner fixins before returning to Antioch. Roho grilled up some delicious burgers and sausages from Antioch Packing House, then I went to work on the grill, test-grilling a couple of different things to see how they might work for the upcoming picnic. The verdicts:
Grilled Butternut Squash: Delicious, very potatoe-y when grilled. This begs the question, though, why not just grill potatoes, which are easier to deal with in quantity?
Grilled Honeydew Melon: The grilling didn't really add much to the flavor. Maybe good for a garnish in a salad? Probably won't pursue this for the picnic.
Grilled Honey Crisp Apples: Excellent! Nicely caramelized, very tasty. Might be a bit too expensive, though (there's a reason the orchard nicknames them "Money Crisp" apples)
Grilled Nectarines: No verdict, since the coals were dying and I never succeeded in doing much more than warming the nectarines.

Sunday got a lot crazier than expected. First, we were surprised by a call from our landlord wanting to come in and change the furnace filter (read: "I want to come by and make sure you guys aren't destroying my place.") That's cool, though - this was the first time he's been out since we moved and, and I can understand his concern. Fortunately, we're good tenants and he seemed happy with what he saw. We also talked about re-upping our lease and he seemed very amenable to that, so we're covered for next year, it appears (thank heavens!). After he left, we drove back to Sam's Club and bought the shelves we had looked at on Friday. We rearranged some of the stuff in the garage and put the shelves together, then Dan started replacing the various boxes on the shelves. Dan's mom showed up to start work on a slipcover for our sofa, and I went to work in the kitchen making the aforementioned Apple Slab Pie. That sucker took seven pounds of apples and four pie crusts, but it came out well and I'm very happy with the results. In the midst of the chaos, [livejournal.com profile] luckytheevildog showed up and Dan helped him install a new hard drive on his computer. I whipped up dinner for everyone, a simple fettuccine with a modified pesto consisting of olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs (basil, oregano, and parsley), and Parmesan cheese. I cooked up some Italian sausages to serve on the side, and I was very happy with the results. The pie definitely passed muster; I'll be posting the recipe in the next few days, since Dan's mom wants a copy.

The alarm went off far too early this morning, and I'm dragging a bit now. Coming up this week...um, beats me. I know I have a lot of work to do for Midwest FurFest, though, so that will probably be my primary non-work focus. For now, though, I'm going in search of caffeine!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
So, other stuff going on...

I neglected to mention that last Friday we met [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet for dinner at Scott Dogs, a tasty find on Grand Ave. in Lake Villa. I had a couple of homemade empanadas and the (gulp!) deep fried dog. It was excellent, but the cheese sauce was over-the-top. Afterwards we went down to Wine Knows in Grayslake to check out their Friday evening tasting and Roho picked up a bottle of a tasty Spanish cava. We capped off the evening by going next door to Something's Brewing for some dessert; [livejournal.com profile] takaza got a hot chocolate, and I got to demonstrate the lost art of pouring hot beverages down the front of your shirt. No harm done, except to my dignity.

On Saturday evening, we met Roho and Genet again for a coffee tasting at Grinders in downtown Grayslake. It was definitely an introductory session, but they covered some interesting aspects of regional coffee variations, and we had a lot of fun. I've never really drank that much black coffee, and I found out why when all that acid returned with a vengeance later that night. Ugh.

This week we've been relaxing a bit, which is nice. Erin ([livejournal.com profile] nymphara) hitched a ride home with Dan on Monday night rather than deal with her commute in from the South Suburbs on Tuesday - good call. We had a pleasant evening watching some good episodes of Heroes and The Dresden Files. Then last night we went to work on shipping out the leftover sponsor items from MFF. We actually sold seventeen sponsorships after we ran out of pint glasses, and in the chaos of the holidays then moving this was the first chance we've had to get these out. Dan kindly packed everything up; I had to print up the letters to go inside the boxes and the shipping labels today. I'll seal them all up and put them in my car tonight and take them to the post office tomorrow. After that, my focus tonight is going to be on making a tasty batch of chicken and dumplings. Yum!

Finally, PICTURES! Erin posted the pictures that she (and Dan) took at my surprise birthday party on Sunday. Lost of great (and embarrassing) shots there :-)
duncandahusky: (Default)
Slowly but surely, we're assembling our house into a home. [livejournal.com profile] takaza worked half-days on Monday and Tuesday and put a little more work into unpacking; the guest bedroom is close to being usable, except for the lack of any window coverings, of course. That helps because it gives us a place to put stuff - the stuff we're not sure why we're carrying around, but it's gotta go somewhere.

Yesterday Ameritech SBC AT&T hooked us up, so now we have not only local phone service, but zippy-fast DSL as well! Unfortunately, after checking around it appears that the phone plates in the walls around the house are just that - plates, no wiring behind them. Wha?! This means we have one and only one active phone outlet, and that is in the kitchen. It looks like we'll be investing in a cordless phone jack so our TiVo can call out - the only reason we have a phone line, really, since we don't plan to give out the number. That what our cell phones are for :-) And speaking of the TiVo, it now works as well since the DirecTV installer came out and hooked that all up (never mind the stupidity involved in getting that done, something that required some new wiring, multiple trips, and lots of whinging on the installer's part). It all works now, which is all I care about.

Last night after work, Dan suggested we go ahead and hit Ikea, since there's a bunch of stuff that we needed. And so off we went to the Great Swedish Consumerism Temple, and we spent a heck of a lot more than I expected. On the bright side, we now have a light for the guest room nightstand, a replacement accent light to go over the kitchen sink (the replace "the pimple" contractor-grade light that's there), a low cabinet for our TV and A/V equipment, a new dresser (we left our old one that was falling apart in the alley and it somehow went away), a few other knickknacks. We looked at some of the blinds and curtains there, but couldn't find anything like what we were looking for, or that we couldn't get cheaper elsewhere. Oh, and the Ikea Cafeteria? Maybe it's good for breakfast, but for dinner? Bleah. Not recommended.

For tonight, we have our work cut out for us, as Dan is going to assemble the entertainment cabinet, I'm going to work on de-boxing more of the kitchen, and then we're going to both work on assembling the dresser. We'll continue our marathon of laundry, attempting to wash every blanket we own, and somewhere in there I'll need to cook dinner. On the bright side, I'll have more time to do all of this, since my commute has gone from 90+ minutes each day down to 10 minutes. The free extra time is a bit of a shock, and I'm still adjusting to it ("I've been home for an hour, we should be cooking dinner! Oh, wait, it's only 5:30...")

And one more bit of good news: I wrote to the kind folks at Intelligentsia Coffee, and they supplied me with a list of places in Lake County that I can buy my coffee beans. Life is good.
duncandahusky: (Default)
COFFEE (AND ICE CREAM) NIGHT!
When: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Wednesday, October 4 (tomorrow!)
Where: Bobtail Soda Fountain, 3425 N. Southport, Chicago, IL
That's a half-block north of the Brown Line Southport station, and the El is by far the easiest way to get there. Street parking is available,though you may have to hunt a bit. Bobtail has very tasty (Intelligentsia) coffee, and excellent ice cream as well. They don't serve much in the way of non-dessert food, but there is a Potbelly Sandwich Works right across the street. [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I will probably hit Potbelly at around 7 PM for a quick dinner if anyone wants to join usthere. If you'd like us to save you a seat, just let me know, here or by e-mail!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Wow, it's been pretty quiet here lately, aside from random MFF spammage. Well, let's see here...

First off, one of the big reasons it's been quiet is that there isn't a whole lot to talk about. I am currently unemployed (though looking all over for a position), so a lot of my days consist of waking up early, spending a few hours shotgun-blasting resumes across the Internet, going to the gym, and playing househusband (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.). Unemployment checks should start rolling in soon, and Dan's job has us covered with benefits and a good portion of the bills, so we're doing pretty good on that front. Having said that, I guess I can talk about the few interesting things going on...

I'm writing this from Panera Bread in Arlington Heights, IL. From here, I'll be driving over to Schaumburg and starting the process of verifying data for the Midwest FurFest 2006 Restaurant Guide - making sure that restaurants are still where we say they are, and adding new ones that have sprung up in the past year. I've found some new toys to play with, which make the possibilities of the guide a lot more interesting: I found a nice utility that can take the Excel spreadsheet I have with the guide data and make a Google Earth KML file of is; now I just need to figure out how to easily convert a KML file to something that will work with Google Maps. In the meantime I created this page, which gives an idea of what's possible: MFF 2005 Restaurant Guide. Keep in mind, that's data from last year, and only includes the restaurants from the guide and not the services part, with stores and pharmacies and such.

I'll be taking a break from driving around to grab lunch for [livejournal.com profile] takaza, [livejournal.com profile] nymphara, and [livejournal.com profile] emrldgirrl at Chipotle (arr num num!), then after work Dan and I will probably celebrate his survng his employer's end-of-the-fiscal-year crunch time by going home and collapsing. For the weekend, on Saturday Dan is taking some folks to see the last Cubs home game of the season, and I might be helping some friends move. And Sunday? No idea. We'll fake it :-)

Oh, and because it's been too long:
COFFEE (AND ICE CREAM) NIGHT!
When: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Wednesday, October 4 (this coming Wednesday)
Where: Bobtail Soda Fountain, 3425 N. Southport, Chicago, IL
That's a half-block north of the Brown Line Southport station, and the El is by far the easiest way to get there. Street parking is available, though you may have to hunt a bit. Bobtail has very tasty (Intelligentsia) coffee, and excellent ice cream as well. They don't serve much in the way of non-dessert food, but there is a Potbelly Sandwich Works right across the street. Dan and I will probably hit Potbelly at around 7 PM for a quick dinner if anyone wants to join us there. If you'd like us to save you a seat, just let me know, here or by e-mail!
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
Last night was quite enjoyable. Since [livejournal.com profile] perro and [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph were off playing with Chaos, it wound up just being me, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar, and [livejournal.com profile] simbalion at The Hopleaf. That's OK, though - good beer and good conversation ensued. I am now a fan of Brother Thelonius! After we wrapped up I walked down to the Lawrence bus and hit a taqueria a few blocks from our place (not our usual one) to try them out. The verdict? The carne asada was only so-so, but their horchata was better than what I'm used to.

Planning for our Maine trip continues apace. We're looking into various vacation rental places since splitting a place with a group of people will be far cheaper than the rather high hotel rates for the area (Motel 6 notwithstanding :-) I've learned all about how to read vacation rental ads, too:
"Sleeps 6-8" = "Sleeps four comfortably, or 6-8 stacked in layers"
"Near ocean" = "Within 20 miles of the ocean"
"Quaint" = "Dilapidated"
"Cozy" = "200 square foot house"
Also, apparently summer lasts a lot longer in Maine, because Summer Rates appear to extend into October, typically. Yowza. Ah well - we've got some good prospects, and hopefully we can figure out how to keep things affordable.

And then there's tonight. As I mentioned earlier, we'll be having dinner at Potbelly's on Southport, then going across the street to hang out at Bobtail and enjoy their tasty ice cream and coffee. Everyone is welcome, but if you want for us to save you a seat, let me know here or by e-mail!
duncandahusky: (Default)
We had so much fun last month, let's do it again!

What: Coffee (And Ice Cream) Night!
When: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Wednesday, August 16 (this coming Wednesday)
Where: Bobtail Soda Fountain, 3425 N. Southport, Chicago, IL
That's a half-block north of the Brown Line Southport station, and the El is by far the easiest way to get there. Street parking is available, though you may have to hunt a bit (the Cubs are on the road that night). Bobtail has very tasty (Intelligentsia) coffee, and excellent ice cream as well. They don't serve much in the way of non-dessert food, but there is a Potbelly Sandwich Works right across the street. [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I will probably hit Potbelly at around 7 PM for a quick dinner if anyone wants to join us there. If you'd like us to save you a seat, just let me know, here or by e-mail!
duncandahusky: (Looking Up)
Well, last night was a blast. We started out with dinner at Potbelly's Sandwiches with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck, [livejournal.com profile] tecknow, and, in a surprise appearance, [livejournal.com profile] lisagems (glad you could make it - I hope the company helped cheer you up a bit). The sandwiches were...OK. I think I prefer Jimmy John's, but hey, it was convenient. Next month (and we will be doing a coffee gathering again next month), I think we might try Redder, the restaurant just north of the Southport El stop, instead.

After dinner, we walked across the street to Bobtail, and were joined by [livejournal.com profile] daveqat, [livejournal.com profile] jimcyl, [livejournal.com profile] perro, [livejournal.com profile] woodychitwn, and [livejournal.com profile] luckytheevildog. Much entertaining conversation took place, veering from convetnion geeking to interesting bar experiences to job hunting possibilities.It was great to hang out with a fun group like that. The folks at Bobtail were quite happy to have us there, even if we did take up an inordinate amount of space. It helped that we tipped nicely and cleaned up after ourselves :-) I had a really good time, and I look forward to doing this again next month, maybe on the 16th? Also, rumor has it that Linnaeus is thinking about putting together a Happy Hour (to borrow from the Chambana folks :-), which would be a lot of fun as well.

Well, off to go hunting for erythromycin!
duncandahusky: (Amused)
Reservations have been made and tickets have been purchased, yay!

[livejournal.com profile] takaza and I will be flying out to Maine for the wedding of [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet in September. We're flying into Manchester, NH, at 10:44 AM on 9/7/06, and departing Manchester at 5:22 PM on 9/12/06 (yay for Kayak for finding the cheapest airfares!). Also, by renting a car through AAA's website (and of course by having a AAA membership), we're getting a full-size car for less than the price of a compact, going through Hertz instead of somebody crappy like Thrifty. This is going to be a wonderful trip - I haven't been back to Maine in close to 25 years, and I really love that part of the country. I'm hoping that we'll be able to make a day-trip up to Acadia National Park, and it sounds like there's some seagoing boating in the offing as well. Oh, and lobster. Lots of lobster. Mmmmm....

Oh yeah, if anyone missed it, we're hosting a coffee get-together tonight in Chicago!
What: Coffee (And Ice Cream) Night!
When: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Wednesday, July 26 (this coming Wednesday)
Where: Bobtail Soda Fountain, 3425 N. Southport, Chicago, IL
That's a half-block north of the Brown Line Southport station, and the El is by far the easiest way to get there. Street parking is available, though you may have to hunt a bit. Bobtail has very tasty (Intelligentsia) coffee, and excellent ice cream as well. They don't serve much in the way of non-dessert food, but there is a Potbelly Sandwich Works right across the street. [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I will probably hit Potbelly at around 7 PM for a quick dinner if anyone wants to join us there. If you'd like us to save you a seat, just let me know, here or by e-mail!

Finally, I'm looking forward to Friday. I'm pocking up Dan at work at 4 PM and we're going...somewhere. I'm not sure where, and he's not telling me, but I know that we're going to be spending a lovely weekend away, just the two of us. The last time we did something like this it was wonderful, and I can't wait to see what he's come up with this time!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Right then: The weekend.

We had all kinds of plans for Friday night; [livejournal.com profile] rasslor was going to have dinner with friends, we were going to join [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus for dinner, and we were just rarin' to go...until we actually got home. Traffic was sucky, it was cold and windy outside, and Rasslor's plans fell through. None of us were motivated in the least, so we wound up huddling 'round the TiVo and ordering pizza. Not a bad alternative, though.

On Saturday I was up moderately early to face the day. Rasslor, Linnaeus and I drove down to the so-hidden-don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it Intelligencia Roasting Works (seriously - they only put a sign outside their door when they give tours) for a tour of their facilities. Naturally they supplied copious coffee to drink, and walked us through roasting a batch of coffee (Guatamalan El Cuervo, to be specific), then we all got a half-pound of the fresh-roasted El Cuervo at the end of the tour. We also got a nice look at their barista training room and QA/QC lab, where they not only test the roasted coffees for quality, they also review samples of green beans sent by farmers from all over the world for quality and suitability. I came away extremely impressed by Intelligencia; they're a small company (75 employees, including their two - soon to be three - coffee shops) who care about doing things right. I'll be buying my beans from Intelligencia in the foreseeable future.

After the tour, we drove over to Hot Doug's, where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] sabotlours, [livejournal.com profile] carol_kitty, and [livejournal.com profile] takaza. [livejournal.com profile] mstegosaurus, [livejournal.com profile] fritzywolf, and [livejournal.com profile] circafox were there as well (Sorry we couldn't socialize more, guys! Unfortunately Hot Doug's is about the food and not so much about the sitting and chatting). I had the Italian-seasoned wild boar sausage with sun-dried tomato mustard and Romano cheese, as well as the merguez lamb sausage with spicy harissa and goat cheese. Both were quite tasty, but definitely not the best I'd ever had there. After lunch we adjourned back to Linnaeus' place to wallow a bit in postprandial torpor before getting back into the car and driving out to [livejournal.com profile] datahawk and [livejournal.com profile] posicat place for their annual St. Patrick's Day party. Much fun and socializing ensued, and I had a really good time.

Sunday morning, I awoke to find Rasslor plotting out various bus routes to get himself back to Midway. Given that he had a huge, heavy suitcase and several changes of transportation were to be involved, I volunteered to just drive him down - it was a beautiful day out, anyway. After seeing him off, Paul, Dan and I went to the Midwest FurFest staff meeting which, due to various illnesses and schedule conflicts, was rather lightly attended. This made for a fast meeting, though, and we migrated to the Curragh for one last meal before it closes at the end of the month. The meal reminded me that the best thing about going there on the Monday after MFF has always been that it was the Monday after MFF - the food has never really been all that. The Magner's Cider on tap helped a good bit, though. Still, it was fun to hang out and chat with [livejournal.com profile] hartree, [livejournal.com profile] taren_, Puma, [livejournal.com profile] mirkowuff, [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin and Datahawk. After the meeting Paul, Dan and I headed home to lay about and be generally useless for the rest of the evening.

I was a bad boy and skipped going to the gym yesterday, this after skipping all of last week due to some nasty blisters on my heels. Those are all healed up, now, and I intend to go tonight and tomorrow. Thursday night, we'll be up in Racine since Dan has to work in Milwaukee on Friday and he wanted my company :-) Then after work on Friday it's time for Congenial! I intend to revel in the spirit of the convention, doing exceedingly little and relaxing. Maybe some nice swimming and relaxing in the hot tub, too. I'm quite looking forward to it.

And now, it's back to making Visio do things that it's not meant to do. What fun!
duncandahusky: (cranky)
Dan got me a wonderful coffee maker for Christmas in 2004, a 12-cup Bodum Santos vacuum coffee maker. The principle is pretty cool, and neat to watch: The water in the lower chamber boils, and all of the steam moves up to the top chamber (where the ground coffee is), where it condenses. After a predetermined period (determined either by time or by a sensor - probably time because it's cheaper), the heater switches to a lower setting, the water stops boiling, and the condensed steam runs back into the lower chamber, pulled by the vacuum created by the water boiling. It's all very efficient, and yields a great cup of coffee.

Over the last month or so I noticed that the coffee maker would behave oddly, like switching to boiling (higher-output heat) after the coffee was done brewing; since I immediately decant into a pre-warmed carafe it wasn't a big deal, but a bit disconcerting. Then yesterday, whatever was wrong came to a head: I turned on the pot, the light indicating the brewing process had started came on, and...nothing happened. No heat at all from the heating element. Aieee! No matter how much jiggling, rattling, or power cycling we try, it makes no difference. I suspect that the internal computer control of the heating element has gotten borked, and there's probably not a lot we can do about it. Obviously, it's over a year old so I doubt any warranty would still be in place, though I intend to review the paperwork and maybe even call Bodum, just in case. The sad likelihood is that it's probably toast. While I have my emergency-backup French press, I really want an electric unit for company and such. I'll probably suck it up and drop another $100 for another Bodum Santos, but I won't be particularly happy about it. Also, while I doubt if anyone else has had much experience with problems like these with this unit, I'd be open to any suggestions.

...

Aug. 12th, 2005 07:04 am
duncandahusky: (Default)
{looks at Panera cup in front of him, takes a sip, and makes a face}

Oh yeah, this is why I usually make my own coffee at home. And don't get me started about this scone...ick.

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