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Blood, Wine, and Awards

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The best thing about writing a wine blog is the excuse to try out different restaurants.  The worst thing is how open you are to potential food poisoning.  Last week, I was on the receiving end of what is commonly known as Traveller’s Illness.  A lovely half-week was spent, mostly in bed, mostly praying for unconsciousness and relief from stomach cramps, etcetera.

I had invited our new friends, Scott, Marieke, and their son, Kai, to join us for dinner last Sunday night, but I had to cancel last minute.  The next few days were a joy, and even this morning I am struggling with the dying embers of the pathogen, my innards cramping, my stomach gurgling.

Oh, the good life …

I thought, since we didn’t have a post last week, I would catch up on the overdue business of acknowledging our most recent award nomination.

Which I did.  Then last week quickly became this week, and I’m behind again and I really need to get caught up and was almost there, but then Sunday happened and …


Before we get to the award, let me tell you about Sunday and then we’ll move on.

Rene and Megan came over, as per usual, and I had asked Rene to bring some implements of pruning for to trim the palms that are threatening the paint job on our truck.

With our track record, you probably already know what is coming and you are already half-giggling, half-cringing.  The giggling being metered only by the ‘X’ factor: how bad is this going to get and how guilty will I feel once I know how bad it actually got?

Rene brought over the following: pruning shears and a little tiny hatchet which is designed for throwing at targets, like, in hatchet throwing contests, and not so much for pruning.

The palms in our driveway are complimented by razor sharp spikes and thorns to protect them from … bears?  I don’t know.  They are ridiculously pokey.

Something you need to know about my brother-in-law is that he loves to prune.  He likes cutting things and any opportunity to do so fills him with a glee that can only be expressed in song, so I can’t do it justice here.  His implement of choice?  The hatchet, of course!  Giant arc of a backswing, hatchet swings forward with the force of Thor, and …

Sticking out of Rene’s hand are two five inch spires that have broken off and embedded themselves in his flesh.

And bone.

Go ahead.  It’s okay to laugh.

Three pints of blood and a dish towel later, we took the hatchet away from him, put a beer in his (other) hand, and started drawing straws for who was going to drive him to the hospital for stitches and removal of thorns.  Ashen-faced, he convinced us that going to the hospital could wait until after dinner, and rather have a two hour fight that would go nowhere, I continued with the cooking.

On the Menu: Yum-Yum Salad with Garlic-Lime-Infused Apple Cider Vinaigrette, Roasted Bone In Chicken Breasts with Buttered Potatoes

What’s a Yum-Yum Salad?  Iceberg and Butter lettuce with oranges, tomatoes, shredded carrot, gouda chunks, and orange bell peppers.  The dressing is what pushes it over the yum-yum top of the scale.  Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a sealable container.  Put in two teaspoons of minced garlic and the juice of one lime.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Shake the hell out of it.  Like, for ten minutes.  Seriously.  You don’t want to blend it, since that pulverizes everything and nothing tastes right.

Dump it on your salad and watch it transform into a Yum-Yum Salad inside your guests mouths.

The chicken is pretty basic roasting.  Forty minutes at 220° Celsius should do it.  Brush the potatoes with butter before popping the whole tray in the oven (lid off) for a golden, crunchy, buttery result.

Wine: Colonia Las Liebres, Bonarda, Mendoza, Argentine, 2009, $195 MXN
Rating: One Bottle

There isn’t much to talk about here.  Very closed wine, very blech tannins, and a muted trumpet, “wah-wah,” taste.  If you buy this wine and want to give it a fair go, let it breathe for a few hours first.  Otherwise, don’t bother.

Okay, on to the award. 

Award–Kreativ Blogger Award!

Rules of Conduct: Bloggers who win the award must complete the following steps:

1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award and provide a link.

2. List 7 interesting things about yourself that your readers might find interesting

3. Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links, and let them know!

We were nominated by, a quirky blog that features food with a tangent of fashion.  “My life pretty much revolves around where and when I can wear high heels to eat something delicious. This blog is all about food…but I have accessorized it with accessories,” reads her About page.   Basically, it’s food bedazzled with fashion.

She’s awesome.

So: seven interesting things about us that someone might find interesting.  (Aside from my penchant to be super snobby about poor sentence structure?)

Okay, well, here we go.

1)   We live in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  Our homes are within a stone’s throw of each other and we are one of those weird families that hardly ever argues.  Not in a pent up, “everyone’s too afraid to say what’s one their mind” kind of way, but in a genuine, “we really like each other’s company” sort of a thing.

2)   In addition to the Sunday Bottles, Megan has a photography studio, called Field Day Photography, that specializes in portraits and weddings.  Being a perfectionist, her clients tend to get way more than they paid for.  We try to pull her back, but that’s when the OCD kicks in and she starts to get a little Rain Man-y.  Best to just let her edit the photos any way she wants.  There’s less bloodshed that way.

3)   In addition to the Sunday Bottles, I do stand up comedy.  Along with a couple of friends, we host a weekly show, unique in Playa del Carmen.  It’s called Comedy Below Sea Level.  It’s a hoot.

4)   When I moved to Mexico, I weighed 265 pounds.  That’s 121 kilos.  I know weigh 198 pounds.  That’s 90 kilos.  Ironically, when I was fat, I didn’t write about food and wine.  I guess I was too busy consuming both to have much time for contemplation.

5)   All of us are from Canada.

6)   Between our two houses, we have five dogs, one cat, a parrot, a budgie, and fishes.  Two of the dogs live with us.  The rest of the menagerie lives with Rene and Megan.  It works better that way.  For us.

7)   Our daughter, Caia, is two-and-a-half and is a genius.  Her teachers told us so.  They also told us that she’s the coolest baby ever.  Also, she’s adorable and likes Toy Story.

Right, 7 blogs that we follow.  In no particular order.

1) – Comedians Bill and Jena Young regularly post their take on life, love, politics, and muscle cars.  All right, they rarely post about muscle cars, but when they do, it’s a barnburner.

2) – We really like this blog, and not only because she obviously knows more about wine than we do, but because it is so diligently researched and thoughtfully written.  Also, she’s from Canada, too, so that scores points.

3) – Remember the Canadian Heritage Minute?  Ever wonder why the statues at the University of Calgary sometimes wear Bermuda shorts?  Well, we do, and that’s why we like this blog.  Lots of fun facts you couldn’t find on your own if you tried.  (Not that I would.  I’m lazy.)

4)   Veni!Vidi!Vino! – Again, this blog would have to fall under the category of “Because they know more about wine than we do.”  Also, because he writes under the nom de plume, NJ Vinoman, and lives “in Central New Jersey, about 20 minutes from the New Jersey shoreline, with my first wife (of 18 years).”  (Does his second wife know about this?)  Also, he drinks way more wine than we do, making his blog a lot more of a resource than ours.

5) – Melanie bakes.  Oh boy, does she bake.  She also writes about her cat, her landlord, and then she takes pictures of it all.  Except for her landlord.  Who is crazy.  And who apparently eats pennies!  Her photographs are good and her recipes are filled with treats like Peanut Butter Smores.  Hells yeah.

6) – Basically, Neil Evans writes a blog like we do: he drinks wine once a week, whether he needs to or not, and then he writes about it.  A cool feature of his blog is the Wine Gallery, which features some of the wines he’s tried.  (We’re probably going to steal that idea, but you could always take a look at his version first.)

7) – I like Sweetly Vegan because she writes about what she loves – healthy eating and healthy living.  Her recipes are nicely antipodal to ours since they basically cure all the damage ours would do to you.  Plus she just had a baby and babies are cute.

That just about does it for this week.  Weeks.  Whatever.

We’re going away for next week, so we might be posting from the road.

Until then, stay safe, drink lots of fluids, and don’t prune thorny vegetation with competition hatchets.


10 responses »

  1. Thank you both so much! I am pretty floored. I will just have to pop open something to celebrate!

    Looking forward to more posts from The Sunday Bottles. I love the wit, wine, and food.

    Have a great trip. Salud!

  2. OMG poor Rene but you do make it sound funny while revealing his (our) enthusiastic arrogance towards nature – but did he ever get to the hospital?

    • Craig Norton

      Yes, he did. Several hours later, they cut out a rather large chunk of palm tree from his hand. At least it’s not the same hand he gouged open LAST week!

  3. Thanks so much for the award!! You totally made my week. After incorrectly guessing you were a winter, I was pretty sure I’d never hear from you again 😉

    I’ll be sure to raise a glass (who am I kidding, it’ll be a bottle) of red to you right after I finish living up to the award’s duties…


  4. Pingback: Award Season is Here! | Cultural Quirks

  5. Thank you for the nomination! It’s SO funny that Daughterelle nominated you, because I know her in real life! Such a small world!! Thank you again 🙂


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