Smörgåsbord!

I’m trying to talk The Swede into letting me take him and his daughter to the smörgåsbord in The Verandan at The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm.

It’s billed online as “the best smörgåsbord in Sweden.”

And it seems like a quintessential experience we should all have in Stockholm.

I can’t help but think of my foodie sister Lisa, and how much she would TOTALLY LOVE going to the smörgåsbord with me.

When we went to Scotland a decade ago, she practically LIVED at the restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip.

Some of her foodie ways have rubbed off on me.

I mean, I like eating street food and café food as much as the next person, but there’s something about having tables of colorful food options that just gets my blood pumping, and my juices flowing.

Check out some of these pictures:

The trick will be taking public transportation or a taxi to/from their home to The Grand Hôtel so that I can share a bottle of champagne or snaps with The Swede.  Sweden has some pretty strict drunk driving rules (BAC 0.02%) so we’ll have to plan for that.

What better way to thank The Swede and his daughter for accommodating me than to take them to The Grand Hotel?

I sure hope they like it!

Easy access

Every Monday, Tejas cooks me dinner.

But last Monday, I cooked him dinner because he donated his fish and crab from our fishing trip to me.

I made the tastiest, flakiest, fresh, crumb-coated cod filets you can imagine which I served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans dressed in a lemon and mustard sauce.

It was delish!

While Tejas was there, I took the opportunity to show him some of the stuff I’ve acquired for my trip to Sweden – specifically my boots.

He encouraged (forced) me to try them on to make sure they fit okay.

And they did.

Then he proceeded to give me unsolicited advice.

Something along the lines of: SLEEP NAKED WITH THE SWEDE.

At least that was his suggestion when I told him I was planning to get a nice, comfy yet sexy nightgown to sleep in.

Hmmmm.

Sleep naked?

There’s another person in the house.

I always wonder what I will do if someone walks in OR if I have to evacuate the house because of a fire or carbon monoxide, etc.

Sleeping naked is not my forte.

If you’re worried about easy access, a nightgown usually hitches up around the waist providing absolutely NO PROTECTION against the onslaught of man.

But then, I came across THIS PAIR OF PAJAMAS on CafePress and I said:

YAAASSSS!

I had to have them.

Sweden AND hockey?

It’s The Swede’s dream.

So folks, I opted to pick not the sexiest pajamas nor the ones that provide the easiest access, but I certainly have selected a popular option.

Sweden and hockey, folks.

There in lies that man’s heart.

Glamping

I love to camp, which is ironic considering my parents never took me camping.

My father actually thinks it’s a ridiculous past time.

Little does he know.

My first camping trip was with my friends Albert and Barry and my then BFF (now sister-in-law) Robin when I was in college.

I got busted for posing topless in the water, I remember.

In any case, I’ve sold my tent trailer Dolly so it’s time to pull out my super big Insta-tent Pete for UnSCruz.

The one thing I’ve never mastered with respect to camping is how to keep it cheap.  I know camping is SUPPOSED to be cheap, but somehow I always fall woefully short of it.

For instance, I have $567.89 worth of groceries in my Safeway online cart [the one thing you should know about me is that I don’t go grocery shopping myself if I can help it].

That’s for 3 – 4 people and includes a case of beer, 750 ml of single barrel whiskey, 750 ml of fine rum, 3.5 L of vodka, 3.5 L of gin, and a 3L box of red wine.

LOTSA BOOZE!

It also includes dinners of steak and potatoes and spaghetti with meatballs in a homemade pasts sauce.

I can honestly say I EAT BETTER CAMPING THAN I DO IN REAL LIFE.

It’s because I have all this time on my hands to plan things out and work on them.

And as if the food and drink isn’t enough, I’m planning a little surprise for my campmates:

A Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings!

But why stop there?

I figured out I could also make Aviator cocktails, Gin fizzes, Mimosas, French 75s, and Screwdrivers with just a few extra ingredients.

Have you heard of Amarena cherries?

OMG, they’re heavenly little spheres of happiness and make a delicious finish at the bottom of an Aviator cocktail!

Of course, all these cocktails require accessories:

  1. Measuring glasses
  2. Bar spoon
  3. Cocktail glasses (acrylic)
  4. Champagne flutes (acrylic)
  5. High ball glasses (acrylic)
  6. Plates and bowls to put the fixings in
  7. Tray for display purposes
  8. Stainless steel cocktail shaker
  9. Skewers
  10. Ice buckets

And OH SO MUCH MORE.

To the tune of $327.85 in my Amazon basket.

Of course I haven’t BOUGHT anything yet.

I’m waiting to see if my inner Martha Stewart/ Type A/ Overachiever settles down a little.

It also occurred to me that I could go to Goodwill to get all my accessories.

But that would require me to shop.  In a store.  In person.

And we all know I JUST DON’T DO THAT!

Camping at Stanislaus with my friends and my dog Mac (RIP sweet boy)

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Chew something!

I am on a diet.

I need to be on a diet because I’m on medication that causes weight gain.

Frowny face.

My weight wouldn’t be a problem if only I’d exercise more.

But I’m basically a lazy woman who hates to sweat.

I also hate it when I’m out of breath.

And my heart rate soars to 180+ when I work out WHICH I CAN’T SUSTAIN.

I blame my mother for my food issues.

She told me that as an infant she had to stuff the bottle in my face right after she shoveled food in it or I’d scream.

I can totally see this behavior in me as an adult – shoveling in food followed by a big swig of booze.

Not healthy.

Not a good habit to develop.

Needless to say, I’ve given up drinking as much as I used to in the past.

And for this my liver THANKS ME!

It’s been two days and I’ve lost 4 pounds.

Which isn’t THAT big a deal because basically I can SNEEZE and lose 4 pounds.

But it’s progress in the right direction.

So wish me luck and cross your fingers hoping I’ll be successful on this liquid milkshake diet I’m on.

Lord knows how much I’m craving to CHEW SOMETHING!

 

P.S. I totally cheated last night when I licked a serving spoon full of peanut butter clean. . .

Wine tasting in Paso

Yvonne and I went wine tasting in Paso Robles on Saturday.

We took a leisurely drive from her home in Salinas to Paso Robles Saturday morning, checked into our hotel, and vegged for a few minutes before stepping into a luxury Escalade with our driver Melanie, whose job it was to squire us around town while we sipped wine.

We never got drunk but I certainly drank my limit in wine.

To note: we stopped first at J. Lohr, my family’s winery. When my parents invested in the winery during the 80s, they put us in a luxury bus and drove us down to tour the winery and estate. They even let my 16 year old sister and I drink wine, so I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for J. Lohr wines.

wine tasting

It was Yvonne’s VERY FIRST TIME wine tasting and she did great: swirl, nose, examine, swirl, nose again, sip, swallow.

The wines were delicious and I waked away with 4 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Then off to Le Vigne, which I found out is pronounces LEUH VEEN YAY.

wine tasting

More delicious wines and we got a cheese pairing there too which was AWESOME!

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Eberle next. Their symbol was a great boar which reminded me of this artwork on the playa in 2016.

boar

boar2It was time to enjoy some food, and the outdoor grill at Eberle served up delicious tri tip sandwiches, perfect for absorbing alcohol.

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Our fourth stop was Sculpterra, and they had delicious wines along with amazing sculptures and artwork. I adored the mermaid sculpture out front and had a good time checking out all the other artwork there as well as their wines.

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Finally, off to Tobin James, which was quite honestly, a little like walking into a rowdy bar in the wild wild west.

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Their serving room actually is a historical stagecoach stop and has all the feels and character of a western-style saloon.

I promptly walked in, spotted the old taps, and asked if they served beer.

The woman across the counter rolled her eyes, sized me up, and said, “We serve WINE here.”

Properly put in my place, I could only mutter, “But I saw the taps. . . “

And we were off tasting wine at Tobin James.

We returned to our hotel room and grabbed the essential après-wine tasting activity. . .

A NAP!

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If you were a man, you’d get lucky tonight

racletteThis past weekend, I went wine tasting in Paso Robles with Yvonne, Tejas’s new lady love.

We spent Friday night at her home in Salinas and she cooked a magical meal for me – raclette with preserved meats, pickles and potatoes.

First, we started out with a bottle of champagne that I brought.

Then we moved on to grapefruit/gin cocktails followed by a lovely bottle of sauvignon blanc.

So it’s a foregone conclusion that I was a little lit for the dinner.

Have you ever had raclette?

Imagine gooey cheese melted on a grill until all its cheesy goodness is ready to pour over a plate of potatoes, pickles, and charcuterie.

OH MY!

I took one look at Yvonne and said:

IF YOU WERE A MAN, YOU’D SO BE GETTING LUCKY TONIGHT.

And I meant it.

Yvonne laughed her head off.

There must be a direct correlation between our stomachs and our sex drive because mine went into overdrive.

The alcohol didn’t help.

No it did not.

So, now I know why La Fondue charges as much as it does to serve you a cheese fondue that you have to cook and serve yourself.

You’re pretty much guaranteed to get laid.

Make a note all of you folks out there struggling to get a piece.

An amazing dinner is AWESOME lubrication!

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Panty Peeler

panty-peelerThe other day I went to a new restaurant in Los Gatos with my girlfriend Kimberly.

It’s called Oak and Rye and it’s basically an upscale pizza place.

We ordered a white truffle oil pizza that was TO DIE FOR.

Just gotta love truffle oil, eh?

Anyway, both of us were drinking beer.

Mine was a Belgian-style tripel from Midnight Sun Brewing Company.

It was DELICIOUS!

As I was ordering my 3rd can of it, I paused to look at the label and LOW AND BEHOLD IT WAS NAMED:

P A N T Y   P E E L E R !

That’s right.

Now, rape culture issues aside, I was tickled pink that I’d been drinking a beer called Panty Peeler all night without realizing it.

Then it occurred to me – I’m the one who was drinking it.

“Not fucking likely,” I thought to myself.

But I was certainly well lubricated for the evening, if you ask me.

All smiles and chit chat!

So it wasn’t a total waste of good beer!

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Awesomeness personified

I’m just going to come out and say it:

My sons aren’t necessarily the most courteous men.

I know.

I raised them.

If they’re not polite and thoughtful, I have no one to blame more than myself (except perhaps their father who has spent our ENTIRE divorce being disrespectful to me).

In any case, they tend toward laziness and boredom.

So imagine my surprise when I cooked a nice dinner for them last night and as he was leaving the table, my oldest son said to me, “Thanks. “

Uh, WHAT?!

He said thank you.

Unsolicited.

I had tears in my eyes.

Oh fuck, maybe I HAVE done something right.

My younger son chimed in, “Yeah, thanks mother.”

[He always calls me mother, I have no idea why.]

dinner1In any case, if you want to know the formula to get your bored, lazy sons to take a moment to appreciate what you do for them, all you have to do is cook:

  • Seared tiger prawns with a beurre blanc sauce (made from scratch)
  • 4 pounds of King Crab legs served with clarified butter
  • Homemade creamy mashed potatoes with veggie gravy for your vegetarian son and beef gravy for your meat eater son
  • A salmon filet grilled with dry garlic and herb spices
  • A caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil
  • A selection of artisanal cheeses (again, for the veg head in the house)
  • And a white chocolate raspberry bundt cake with cream cheese frosting.

I have to admit, I’m SO VERY PROUD OF MYSELF for impressing my sons.

But I’m baffled that it took this long.

Don’t they realize that their mother is AWESOMENESS PERSONIFIED?!

Kangaroo, and alligator and elk, oh my!

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 9.33.34 AMMy mom’s birthday is a week after Christmas so I typically get her one big present to celebrate both days.

This year I bought a Groupon to La Fondue restaurant for Le Freak menu tasting and a bottle of champagne.

Yesterday we had dinner there.

Le Freak is aptly named, because there is SO MUCH FOOD, only a freak could eat it all.

I have to admit, I was excited about all the exotic meats that I could try – everything from Australian kangaroo to Louisiana alligator.

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The kangaroo was just awful. Really chewy and not very tasty at all. I ate two pieces just to be sure I hated it.

And I hated it.

The alligator was much better, although still nothing to write home about. It was nicely marinated which I think helped add to the flavor of it.

We also had Texas boar, Texas venison, Wyoming buffalo (awful), and Canadian Elk.

Out of all of them, the Texas venison was the best. It was delicate and fell apart in my mouth.

The best part of the meal was getting my mom to relax and enjoy a 2 hour dinner with several glasses of champagne. The woman works really hard taking care of her 4 grandsons so it’s nice to see her take time for herself.

The worst part of the meal was the table of 8 shrieking women sitting next to us who made it hard to hear anything we were saying.  Although I must admit, I found it challenging to cook raw meat on a grill in dim light, unable to se good enough to tell when the meat is cooked.  I think I ate raw lobster tail.

All in all, a lovely time though I must say,

NOTHING TASTED LIKE CHICKEN!

And… I didn’t chug the chocolate fondue on a dare this time.

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Go on, I DARE you

IMG_7479Go on, I DARE you.

I always laugh in the movies when the devilish character is able to get the hero/heroine to do something they shouldn’t by simply daring them to do it.

It seems ludicrous that they would fall for such a simple and obvious trick.

But then there’s me.

I can’t stand to back down from a challenge so if someone dares me, I’m going ALL IN.

Once, my uncle arrived at my father’s house and drank a beer. He then went to hop back on his motorcycle to take off and asked if I wanted a ride.

Just after a beer?

Ummmm, no.

Oh, go on. I DARE you.

Magic words.

I was on the back of that motorcycle riding around with my uncle before you could even say UNCLE.

That’s the way it goes with me.

So you can imagine, when I had dinner the night before Burning Man with my sister Lisa and ma friend at Bistro Napa in the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in downtown Reno, something was bound to happen.

We just ordered chocolate fondue but we’re all so stuffed we could barely eat it.

The waiter put it in a one quart Styrofoam container for us to take home.

I took the quart of runny chocolate sauce and pretended to drink it.

I dare you to drink it for real, my sister said.

In the blink of an eye, I was chugging that sweet, warm chocolate down my gullet.

You dared me?

Ha!   I’ll show you.

Well, as it turned out, the fondue had the last laugh. It gave me a food baby and made me feel nauseous for most of the night.

So if you want to know whether or not it is smart to chug a quart of liquid chocolate and liqueur, the answer is decidedly NO, NOT SO MUCH.