Category Archives: poway

quiet times

Actually, I was going to say that it’s been quiet around here (here = “blog”) because nothing much has been happening.  But, when I think about it, that’s not quite true.  We’ve actually been up to a lot of things; I’m just lazy and haven’t felt like spending an hour or so in front of the computer to tell you about it.

First, there’s some silly post on Chow about whether regulars at restaurants should get special treatment (I’m sure there’s also speculation on whether Chow is just making up these submitted “questions”).  One of the responses counters that they shop at Walgreens “regularly” and have yet to receive free gifts or special treatment.  That’s a pretty good way to look at it, I suppose.  Just because you go somewhere often (I mean, I shop at Vons at least once a week) doesn’t mean you’re entitled to free offerings.  I suppose some people enjoy being recognized where they dine, but I’d be happy if I always had consistent service and food.

We just spent a whirlwind weekend in Colorado to visit T’s friends.  I like his Colorado friends.  I told him that if we ever had to live somewhere else, we could live there because he has lots of friends there and I actually like them (as opposed to the one somewhere else I do not like… ahem).  Besides being social, we also toured Coors (now owned by Moulson but in a US joint venture with Miller), went to the Rocky Mountain National Park, ate yummy expensive food at The Fort, and relished the glory that is Casa Bonita.  We’ll be back in October for the Great American Beer Festival and then again next year, I suppose, to meet the new babies that will have arrived.  Whew!

There is a cooler holding 5 gallons of vanilla porter we made.  I didn’t like it earlier, but I feel like I’ve bonded a bit with it now.  I’ve been checking on it, noting the temperature, changing ice packs, watching tiny bubbles, and measuring the specific gravity.  I suppose you could say the beer’s matured, too, turning into a more likeable end product.  So, it’s grown on me and I like it now.  I think it’ll be fabulous once bottled, carbonated, and properly chilled.

The backyard is transforming before our eyes.  The patio is done, mulch is spread, the sod area has been rototilled and now we just wait to see if weeds appear.  If not, the sod goes down and we’re done!  Voila!  (Note to internet: that is a French phrase meaning “look there!” and is not spelled “Wolla” or any other odd way.)  I am very much looking forward to lounging in our new backyard.

Gopher = still there.  See also: pain in my rear, hard to kill, and better-not-eat-my-lawn.  Hearts is who we hired to gas the little sucker and I swear all they do is tick him off.  We call, they “gas” (I’ve never actually witnessed this activity), and two days later I find more holes.  More holes than before, in fact.  We call again, they “gas” (for free!, under the guarantee.  Amusingly, the invoice for the follow up reads FU Gopher, which is how I feel), more holes appear.  We’ve now given up calling Hearts for help.  Now I just shake my fist and curse them under my breath.  Okay, I curse them loudly while standing in the backyard.

My mom would be happy to know that T does not allow me to ride my motorcycle anywhere he does not deem a fit environment for my unskilled self.  I am allowed to putter around to my heart’s content in empty, wide parking lots but had not been granted access to empty streets or quiet neighborhoods.  I am quickly learning that he actually knows a thing or two and should be listened to on such matters.  The other night we went for a quick ride around the neighborhood and I was allowed to ride my own bike (I know! I was as surprised as you are!) and let me tell you.  It is very different from riding laps in empty parking lots.  There are things to look out for!  People walking around!  Cars parked on the streets!  Potholes!  Stop signs and intersections!  It was a little scary, although, also a tiny bit thrilling and satisfactory.  So, lesson learned: T is right when he says you are not ready for anything beyond the parking lot so stop pouting.  Bonus: he’s also the first one to be excited for you when you manage to ride outside the parking lot and 1) not fall and 2) not hit anyone or anything.  I think I’m not ready to graduate to riding on empty industrial streets.  Actual streets with actual traffic is probably very, very far away.

Umm.  I think that’s it. 

Holi Moli Ravioli

My mom is sad that I haven’t updated lately.  But not much has been going on, so I haven’t had anything to say!  Our paver patio is pretty much finished… they still have to fill in the curved edges with cut pieces of paver and then vibrate sand in between the cracks, but it looks really nice.  Then they’ll rototill, bring in the mulch, and install the new sod.  Ta da!

The weekend went by so quickly, I can barely remember what we did.  I know a quick motorcycle ride happened, with us ending up at Pearl in Rancho Bernardo for dim sum.  By the way, I still think Emerald (on Convoy) is the best place for dim sum, even if Pearl is their sister restaurant.  Then there was some transferring of beer from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter.  Some cleaning and a movie (I Am Legend) and random dinners made from the freezer and then it was time to go back to work!

It’s been pretty warm lately, which doesn’t make me excited about cooking.  However, it does save us money, so I try and resist the urge to just go out for dinner as much as I can.  Sometimes, though, I just really want something yummy without having to make it myself.  This is where Holi Moli Ravioli comes in (I talked about it earlier, remember?)

Fancy pasta with fancy sauces for a not-too-fancy price?  I’m totally there!  The first time I ordered from them, I ordered 2 mini sizes of ravioli – lobster and broccoli, and the pear ravioli.  You get 6 ravioli in a mini size, which is a perfect size for one person, especially if you eat the roll they give with you.  It comes in handy when mopping up the tasty sauce left behind.  I would probably order a regular size if it was for dinner for T and me.  Add in a salad and you’ve got the perfect meal!

The lobster ravioli was good.  I got it in a cream sauce (yum!) and you could taste lobster (but not so much the broccoli).  The lobster is definitely not in large chunks, though.  More like the texture of canned crab meat?  Still good, though.  The pear ravioli is their signature dish (which is why I ordered it).  I think it’s just cheese ravioli in a cream sauce with pear and walnuts over it.  Rich, not too rich, and very tasty.  I was quite happy and we’re definitely going there again.  It’s mainly for take-out, but they do have tables if you want to eat there.  It’s in the shopping center with Petco and Dixieline, next to the Spicy Pickle (also a tasty spot to eat).

 Holi Moli Ravioli on Urbanspoon

My new ride

See that bike?  You might be asking, is that the motorcycle T bought for himself?  And I would reply, no, T bought himself a hoity toity BMW bike (that is actually behind the pretty little black bike featured here).  So then, you might be wondering why there would be two motorcycles in our garage.  Surely one only needs one bike at a time.  And I would say you are correct.

So, that bike?  That bike up there that is all small and cute?  That would be my bike.  Yes, I bought a motorcycle, a 2007 Honda Rebel (stop snickering).  No, I don’t even have my permit yet (but I will go take the written test this week).  Rest assured, I will not be riding around until I have my permit.  Even then, the only riding I’ll be doing will be in large empty parking lots in first gear and under 5 mph.  Trust me, T would never take me on a real street unless he felt that I felt I was ready.  I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want the huge guilt that would come with me falling or hitting something.

Now you might be wondering why I would even buy a motorcycle when it is perfectly comfortable riding on the back of the BMW.  Well, sometimes I wonder that, too.  It certainly takes less focus and concentration to be a passenger than it does to be a rider.  But, we’re taking a motorcycle safety course next month and I really didn’t want to do that not knowing anything about motorcycles or shifting or balancing.  I wanted to ride a bike before taking the class.  I’m also quite short, which means practicing on T’s bike is pretty much out of the question.  I needed a small easy to handle bike to learn how to shift and balance and stop and maybe not stall so much.  Then we found one for a really decent price that also didn’t require driving very far.  It all happened rather quickly, actually.

We checked out the bike, T asked all the important questions, T also took it for a test drive, and then I handed over an envelope full of cash.  And then T drove it home.  And then to a parking lot where I did ride my little bike for the first time and managed to go 40 feet in first gear without stalling and with a nice solid stop.  If I ever needed proof that I am well-loved and a little spoiled, I got it tonight when T first started pushing the bike in neutral so I would get a feel for a moving motorcycle and then later when he actually ran beside the bike in first gear, keeping his hand on the back to make sure I wouldn’t fall over.  Who else would work so hard to make sure I felt safe and didn’t get too frustrated?  He pretty much did the same thing when teaching me how to snowboard.  I don’t think there’s anyone else in the world with that much patience.

It is pretty fun to ride… although I am perfectly aware that just because I can cruise down a parking lot in first gear doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near ready to go on streets that have other moving vehicles.  I still have to get a feel for starting from a start and then there’s that whole business of shifting into some higher gear.  Trust me, I know there’s a lot more work to be done.  But it’s kind of nice feeling like I can do it.

My first meme

It’s not that it’s been a crazy-busy week.  I don’t think we’ve been running around too much after work.  I suppose we did go see a bluegrass show on Monday, then went to bed early on Tuesday, then went for a motorcycle ride on Wednesday.  This all adds up to me not wanting to sit in front of the computer typing away.  And so, this week I have been lazy. 

Our neighbor seems to feel compelled to tell us her scooter is way better than T’s new motorcycle.  And that we hired good landscape people as they are nice, fast, and efficient.  Although, she doesn’t like the dust that makes her have to close all her windows.  Well, sorry, but there’s not much I can do about that.  When you take away dust-holding weeds and “grass” and leave the yard with open dirt, it’s gonna get dusty. 

We finally tried Holi Moli Ravioli that opened up on Poway Road.  It’s next to Spicy Pickle, but not in the old Pick Up Stix space.  It’s on the other side.  I took pictures and everything, with the intent of writing it up, but that will have to wait.  For now, just trust me when I say it’s really good food at a really good price and it’s really convenient.  You can either pick it up to go or eat at the few tables they have set up.

Somehow, my sister seems to think that peanut butter hotdogs are like peanut butter and Spam on pancakes when it comes to odd things we used to eat.  First, Daddy never ate peanut butter AND Spam on pancakes.  Peanut butter on pancakes, yes.  Fried Spam on the side, probably.  All together?  I don’t think so.  Second, while peanut butter on hot dogs is something we learned from him, you can’t forget the addition of potato chips.  That’s really how it’s done.  Basically, we learned that peanut butter is pretty good on just about anything.

And now, you get a meme!  What is a meme?  It’s basically a lazy way of putting together a post because someone else asks the questions and then you add your own answers.  Ta da!

What did you do 10 years ago?
Let’s see, 10 years ago would be 1998, so I would have been between my second and third year of college?  That’s probably the year I started dating the guy that everyone expected I would marry and was relieved when I kind of just cut it off after graduation.  It was a pretty crappy move on my part, but I didn’t know how else to do it.  Other than that, I was living in a really cute duplex in downtown SLO, enjoying the creek, Thursday night Farmers Market walks, and just trying to get through school.

Five items on your to-do list:
1. Vacuum under the dining room table where all the fur seems to migrate.
2. Dust the dog room since we’ve been leaving the glass door open (but screen door closed) to let air circulate and all the backyard dust blows in.
3. Clear off the kitchen counter that’s holding all my random receipts, coupons, and papers that are most likely driving T crazy.
4. Leave work early (after getting my 32 hours + Holiday in) to get this three-day weekend started!
5. Take a motorcycle ride with our new Poway bike gang, eat a peanut butter sundae, and have fun this weekend!
5+1. Get the DMV to get my motorcycle permit. No, this doesn’t mean I’m getting a bike of my own. Yes, it means I’m mildly curious about riding my own bike.

Snacks I enjoy:
The Angelcots from Trader Joe’s, TJ’s popped potato chips, homemade hummus and toasted pita bread, grilled eggplant, butter and radish sandwiches.  And french crullers.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Stop working so we have more time to travel and visit people.
2. Add a second story to our house and expand the bathrooms.
3. Buy a vacation house in Colorado so T can see his friends.
4. Buy a vacation house in Seattle so T can see if he really likes living there. And so we can visit Ben.
5. Buy an RV so I have an excuse to buy an RV dog.
6. Replace the carpet in my parents’ house and add a doggy door so her dogs will learn to be housebroken.
7. Buy that huge lot behind our house that is supposed to become affordable housing but never will, build a huge no-kill shelter, and pay off anyone who complains about having a shelter in the neighborhood.

Places I would live:
1. Poway – I really do love where we live!
2. Boulder – There’s a house on a mountain with awesome views and a kickass antler chandelier.
3. Maine – I hear the lobsters and blueberries are pretty tasty up there.

Jobs I have had:
I’ve made patient files for my dentist in high school, worked in a CHP traffic response simulation training center (I got to “call” and act like an annoyed driver stuck in traffic), helped a professor with his air quality certification class, volunteered at a shelter, babysat, and now I’m a civil engineer.

Happy weekend everyone!

Backyards and creepy dudes

Our landscape folk have started tearing up the yard.  They started with ripping up the dead grass and I guess we’ll go from there.  It’s quite interesting to watch the demolition.  We’re also trying to phase it so the dogs get a tiny piece of outside for most of the renovation instead of being locked in the house all day.  It would be nice if we could come home in the middle of the day to let them out, but it’s just not practical.  They’re actually good at holding it all day (we’ve done it before when the back fence went up) as long as I come straight home from work.  And, I placed some puppy pads down just in case.  Although, it’s been so long I’m not sure any of them remember what those are for.  Technically, they should all be scared to pee anywhere that it not outdoors by now.  Of course, with my new work schedule, I’ll get home at noon on Fridays, which is totally nice for all of us.

T took pictures of the “before” and I also have pictures from when we bought the house (back when the lawn was still nice and green), so it’ll be fun to compare them to the “after” pictures.  Time to start shopping for patio furniture! 

Also, I’m now in need of a good helmet and jacket since T finally bought his motorcycle.  I’m one of those gals that buys on “pretty” rather than price, but I’d rather not spend a fortune.  Plus, I don’t really know what I’m looking for in either.

In totally unrelated news, T was talking to a neighbor today and found out that another neighbor has been arrested (or arraigned or something) for looking at kiddie you-know-what.  You know, the illegal type of activity.  I’m not going to spell it out for you because I don’t want that kind of Google traffic, but you can read about it here and here.  Apparently there was a whole SWAT team-type of raid last year, but I don’t remember it.  Maybe I was out of town.  I think I’d remember a SWAT team in my neighborhood.  It’s the guy who was trying to sell his big solar-powered house last year for a ton of money.  My only experience with that family is in the early morning when I’m trying to sleep but the mom is yelling at the kids to hurry up and get ready.  Or hurry up and eat breakfast.  Or yelling at the dog that is locked outside and is only a small Boston Terrier to stop making noise.  Anyway, I’m not sure where the case goes from here, but the neighbors are all bothered because now it’ll show up that there is an “offender” in the neighborhood and that will affect home sales and also values.  Because home sales were booming before this happened, you know.  I just think the whole thing is creepy, especially since the entire cul-de-sac he lives on is full of families with little kids.  Eww. 

You know what they say about fish and guests

We had friends in town for about 4 days and it was tiring.  I could be petty and specify that they were not specifically “my” friends or “our” friends but, rather, “his” friends but I won’t.  I’ll just say that it is infinitely more exhausting to entertain people during the week (you know, when you have to get up early, work, come home and not relax, and then go out to do something) than it is just over the weekend.  I’m also extrement grateful that Cami was willing to give me some desperately needed girl time so I could get all my complaining out and not have it fester in my head, where it would most likely have exploded from my mouth at some ill-timed moment in front of T.  And then I might have to do this all over again in August.  Personally, I think it’s unfair to schedule a second visit before your first one is even over, leading me to enter a state of high anxiety for the next two months.  I’m also pretty sure you’re supposed to wait to be invited back and not assume that just because you can arrange to be in town you are automatically invited here.  Also, even if you’re told to make yourself at home and are welcome to whatever food we have, perhaps you should make yourself a little less-at-home when meeting a fairly important significant other for the very first time.

Okay.  I’m done ranting.  Probably. 

The good news is that I learned I often completely underestimate T and that he always behaves in a way to let me know that I am important to him and, if needed, he will take my side.  And he generally knows when something is bothering me and I am unhappy.  And he tries to work the situation towards a compromise, something I am working to accept instead of just fighting it out of stubborness.  I am a lucky girl.

We also picked out the exact paver stones we want to use, which was more involved than I ever imagined.  And I discovered that there is new gopher activity near my precious garden (where I harvested 2 eggplants and 2 bell peppers!) so that gopher gasser better get back out here and take care of it.  For free, since it’s only been 2 weeks since he claimed to kill the gopher in the first place.  Now, granted, it could be a brand new gopher and the original one is dead in a tunnel, but the point is that we were guaranteed a gopher-free existence for 30 days and I’m holding him to that!

I’m looking forward to a nice quiet week and a visit to the Fair next weekend.  Some fried food, grilled corn, beer tasting, bratwurst, and a Strongman competition.  As long as it’s spent with good friends, what could be any better?  And maybe my mom will come with us!  Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, we’ll have to say good-bye to one of our friends.  He’s leaving beautiful San Diego (I know, isn’t he crazy?) for Seattle, a city that, while beautiful, has something like 55 days of sunshine all year.

Beyond ricotta

I’ve made ricotta before.  It’s all the rage in the food community these days, with those taking the plunge posting their newfound discovery with a mixture of wonder and joy.  I use the recipe on 101 Cookbooks, which has never failed me.  However, I’m also fond of the fresh ricotta at Henry’s.  I know, it’s not really “fresh”, but it’s better than the supermarket tubs.

Anyway, I had to test a recipe for fresh cheese and it called for rennet.  While we won’t go into the debate of how rennet is made and whether or not you should use it, I had never purchased it simply because I’d never seen it.  If you ever want to delve into the cheesemaking world, you typically need rennet to make the recipes work.  Do a quick Google search and you’ll find all sorts of tidbits about how rennet (the Junket brand) is easily found in most grocery stores.  Near the custard mixes.  Well, I don’t know what kind of grocery stores exist around the country, but I can tell you that my big-box grocery stores (Vons, Ralphs, Albertsons) not only omit “custard mix” from their shelves but there is certainly no spot for Junket rennet.  Jello desserts abound, but nothing by Junket.  It seems like one of those old-fashioned things that your grandma might have used, certainly not found in the modern, all-natural, organic kitchens you hear about today.

I would have ordered it from the Junket website, but shipping would have cost $7 – over 4 times the price of the rennet itself!  I was *this* close to ordering it on Amazon, even though I had no idea what I would do with 3 boxes of the stuff.  I finally made one last trip.  I’d read that people were finding rennet at Whole Foods.  Figuring that perhaps the “health food” store would do, I searched the aisles on Henry’s.  No luck.  Then I had a thought.  Sure, it’s probably not the most politically correct thought and proponents of the store may balk and call me names, but I had the idea to look in Stater Bros.  I call Stater Bros. the ghetto grocery store because that’s how it feels.  It doesn’t have the nice, new feel of the fancy Scripps Ranch Vons or the Carmel Mountain Ralphs.  And, demographic sterotyping be damned, the clientele in Stater Bros. is very different.  Even going to the run down Vons across the street (that often runs out of milk and whipping cream) feels all fancy and posh in comparison.  In any case, my yuppie, snobby brain thought that perhaps this grocery store that feels like it’s stuck in the 1970s would also carry the old-fashioned grocery items from days of yore. 

And they did.  Not only did they carry Junket rennet, but Junket ice cream mix as well.  So, there.  While my suspicions about Stater Bros. have been mildly confirmed, I’m also kind of happy about it because now I know where to go for rennet.

Incidentally, the cheese recipe came out pretty great.  Now I’m curious about making “mozzarella” and other cheeses.  Can you imagine a caprese salad made of homegrown heirloom tomatoes, garden basil, and freshly made mozzarella??  Oh, yum!