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Category Archives: General Musings

Thoughts on stuff, things, life, and fluff.

Apologies, etc., etc. …

Sorry.

 

Sorry.

 

Sorry.

 

I haven’t posted in weeks and that is totally on me.

I’m a shit.

I beg your forgiveness.

Here’s what you missed …

We had friends dine with us, Caia got bratty, and I quit my job.  That’s really it.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but here it is in vivid Technicolor detail …

 

 

As you can see here in this photo, there was a chicken pot pie which was delicious.  There was also a cheesecake brownie, and other things that I am too tired to describe.

We also drank wine.

It was alright.

Rating?

Yes.

Here are other pictures …

These people all were there.

They read things and spoke on phones.

If you don’t believe me, LOOK AT THE FUCKING PHOTOS.

Sorry.

It’s 2:30(ish) in the morning and I am tired.

I promise I’ll be better in the future.

(I promise I’ll be good.)

Don’t … you know … STOP emailing me?

But the threats?

I have a family!

(Thank you for the threats.)

(I feel loved.)

Cheers!

Kristen Stewart knows how I feel.

She and I are soul mates.

(Sorry, Cara.)

(You KNEW this storm was comin’.)

(You knew Kristen and I were destined to be together.)

( … )

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Blood, Wine, and Awards

Posted on

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 …

Dammit!

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 Daughterelle.com, 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)   Youngnotions.com – 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)   Inthebodega.com – 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)   Culturalquirks.com – 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)   Thesweetlife.com – 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)   Fridaynightwinetime.com – 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)   Sweetlyvegan.com – 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.

Cheers!

Oh LaLa! Part Deux

A few months back, our friends from Oh Lala! invited us to sample their menu and taste of their wines.  Which we did.  Gladly.

Recently, Jorge and Mikaela asked us if we wouldn’t mind coming by and trying their revised menu and revamped wine list.

(Dammit, guys … do you have any idea how busy we are?)

So we invited Megan’s mom, Susan, to come and off we went.

Oh Lala!, in case you’ve forgotten, or are new to TSB, is a unique restaurant in the heart of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, which specializes in world-class cuisine and hands-on service.  Chef Jorge Garcia makes virtually everything on the menu from scratch and tries to buy local ingredients whenever possible.

(That isn’t to say that the menu at Oh Lala! is restricted by what is available locally.  There are certain items that he will bring in especially for the restaurant.)

The last time we dined with Jorge and Mikaela was inspiring.  This time was no different.  Being that we were one more person, there were more dishes to sample, which we begrudgingly accepted.

On the Menu: 

Nordic Salad (Fine selection of Italian lettuce, Norwegian smoked salmon, goat cheese, garnished with olive oil)

Salade Méditerranée (Fresh selection of tomatoes, onions, goat cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar)

Cheese Plate Oh Lala Antipasti (Cured meats and a fine selection of cheeses) 

Lamb Chops in a Mint Honey Reduction (Served with mint mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables)

Grilled Tuna Steak (Served with mashed potatoes in a soy-butter reduction)

Thai Beef Curry (Served with rice and vegetables)

Crème Brûlée

Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberries

And … goodnight.

The food was exquisite.  Susan particularly enjoyed it, marvelling at the mix of flavours and the incredible presentation that sets Oh Lala! apart from your average restaurant.  She also took special note of the transparency of the process – Jorge’s kitchen takes the concept of the Chef’s Table and explodes it, making all seven interior seats kitchen-facing.  From the beginning of a dish to the plating, you can see it all.

There really was too much food to go into absolute detail about each item.  A brief note on each, then …

The Nordic Salad was our favourite of the salads.  Using Norwegian smoked salmon, and not the standard North American variety, made for a much more delicate flavour.  The fish was part of the salad, but not the only part.  (You know it’s a good salad when everyone is eyeing how much the other people are taking.)

The Salade Méditerranée features tomatoes, julienned and tossed in oil and balsamic, and served with a generous portion of pepper-encrusted goat cheese.

The cured meats and cheeses were a welcome addition to the salad trio.  Garnished with dried cranberries, they were the perfect buffer between the tangy Méditerranée and the delicate Nordic.

Wine: Las Moras, Blacklabel, Bonarda, 2009, San Juan, Argentina
Rating: Two-and-a-half Bottles

This is a really fun wine, because we drank this wine with every dish we were served and it never felt like the wrong bottle.  Very pleasant, soft red fruit flavours, lifted by reasonably dry tannins, left your mouth feeling happy.  (Yep.  I just used ‘happy mouthfeel’ as a wine descriptor.  Deal with it.)

We never asked what the bottle retails for, being assaulted as we were with a constant barrage of food, but we would feel comfortable spending between $300 – $400 pesos a bottle.

Back to the food.

Jorge brought us the entrées next.

Though two of the dishes offered mashed potatoes as a side, they were prepared so differently from each other that it really didn’t matter.

The tuna steak was … perfect.  The way it is meant to be done.  Lightly seared on the outside, the centre warm but not cooked, the flavours subtle and inviting.  Close your eyes, and you could almost be tricked into thinking that you’re eating steak, thanks to the soy-butter reduction.

Lamb, in case you’re thinking of gift ideas for us, is always a winner.  (Please don’t send us lamb in the mail.)  Jorge serves his lamb with mashed potatoes and steamed French beans, the flavours buttressed by the mint in both the sauce and the potatoes.  This gave your palette a chance to process the lamb without being overpowered by it.  Then, the sweetness from the honey comes in and resolves the two salient flavours wonderfully.

The Thai curry was a real treat, since it cut through the other two dishes and smacked your mouth around like a trainer in a corner in the tenth round.  Spicy without being unreasonable, it warms you up nicely and gets your reaching for your wine glass.  Jorge prepared the curry with beef, seeing that we had lamb and fish already, but he told us that guests may choose from chicken, fish, lamb, beef, or shrimp in theirs.

At this point, we needed to rest.  Our bellies were asking both for more and respite simultaneously.

We were given little quarter.

Jorge brought out the dessert and we were no less impressed.  The Crème Brûlée was infused with orange and lime zest, giving it a playful aroma.  The ice cream, plain vanilla with fresh strawberries, was the perfect companion – it’s simplicity highlighting the variety of tastes that preceded it.

Once again, we were astounded at Jorge’s skill in the kitchen, and the proficiency of his team.  We were never left unattended and the wine flowed like … well, like wine.

If you haven’t discovered this gem of a restaurant, we encourage you to do so.  Dinner is served every night except Sundays.

We hope that Oh Lala! revamps its menu often.  We could really get used to this.

The Bloggess Homage Dinner

This week we got our first ever “Featured Spot” and we are super excited.  We are now featured on The Bloggess.  (She rocks and everybody should be reading her blog.)

Anyway, in the place where all featured blogs appear, it reads “I fucking love these people & not just because they support my wine-slushee habit.” So what better way to commemorate the occasion than by stepping a little out of our normal format and forgo the reviews for a week?

Yes, you guessed it, you clever monkeys … we drank wine slushees.  They’re kind of like margaritas, only less gross, no salt, and they make you drunk.  (Wait … )

As an homage to one of the internet’s most prolific, funniest, and inspiring bloggers, we got smashed on what would sell millions if 7-11 would stop being such pussies and start selling booze to minors.  I mean, come on, Big Alcohol: the tobacco industry does it all the time!  God … watch an episode of “Mad Men” or something …

Plus … they are super easy to make.

Pour a bottle of red or white wine in a blender.  (We recommend that you use a sweet wine, like Pinot Grigio, Grenache, or a Rosé.)
Fill with ice to the.
Blend until blended.
Pour into a wine glass.
Top with Sprite, 7Up, or soda water, to taste.
Get drunk.

Megan and I giggled a lot Sunday.  There was a lot of “My god, I just found my summer drink,” and “I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough,” and “I know, RIGHT??” going on.  Megan tried to pick a fight with a miniature dachshund puppy, but we talked her down when we saw the puppy was packin’ heat.  (Funny end to this story: the puppy and Megan ended up closing out the night playing cards and singing show tunes.  We thought about asking them to keep it down because the baby was sleeping, but they were having such a good time, we just let them wear themselves out.)

We were all a little rundown this week.  There has been a terrible cold going around, and so we didn’t want to spend a tonne of time in the kitchen this week either.  So I made stew.  And salad.  It rocked.

On the Menu: Spring Salad with Mustard Olive Oil Dressing, Farmhouse Beef Stew, Store Bought Apple Pie with Store Bought Ice Cream

(Yeah, that’s right: Store.  Bought.  Bring it.)

Making stew kind of hit me when I was shopping with Caia and she desperately wanted out of the buggy but she was too crazy for that.  As a joke on Daddy, she tried to run in front of a truck earlier in the day.  I know: hilarious.  So I thought: what is the easiest dish that I could make that would still allow me to deal with Princess Crazypants.

Stew.

This is a slow-cooked version of stew.  Also, I used way more beef than is generally called for, and I used a bottle of beer, which none of the recipes I’ve seen call for.

Listen: if you are not using beer on your beef, you’re a damn fool.  It works.  I don’t know the chemistry behind it, it just does.  Stop judging me.

My recipe takes about four to five hours to make, so it is perfect for days when you want to make an awesome dinner and read Dr. Seuss books over, and over, and over again to a hyper two-year-old.

The salad was an easy one.  You make the dressing first, in the bowl, dump your veggies in on top, and toss.

The store bought apple pie came about because Megan had a baking disaster earlier in the day.  I’ve always said baking is hard.  So finicky.  She impresses me every time she pulls something out of the oven and it doesn’t look like an abomination brought forth from Satan’s anus.  This week she tried a little improvisation.

Satan, one; The Sunday Bottles, zero.

We’d like to thank Jenny (The Bloggess) for featuring our little blog.  Also, we’d like to thank Jenny’s Fairy Godmother, Mary, for helping us make this happen, too.  In our correspondence with her, we came to realise that the moniker “Fairy Godmother” was earned.

We exchanged a tonne of emails and at one point, she was trying to think of the exact fairy character that she most resembles.  She couldn’t think of it, so I dubbed her, “Drinkerbell.”

Thanks, Jenny!

Thanks, Drinkerbell.

Cheers!

 

 

Well Isn’t That A Fine “How’d Ya’ Do” …

The Liebster Blog Award

Well would you look at this.  Thank you Emilio, from Cook and the Fly for the nomination!  Nice way to start the week.

Liebster Award

 

I was chosen by Emilio Fracchia from Cook and the Fly as one of his 5 Liebster Blog Award winners. Emilio is a friend of mine from San José del Cabo, In Baja California Sur, Mexico, and he writes a blog about fishing the Sea of Cortez (mostly) and cooking what he catches.
 

He explains what this award is all about, so I am going to steal from him in explaining it:
 

“This Award is about promoting smaller blogs with less than 200 followers, which you think deserves special recognition.There are a few simple rules to follow. In order to accept the award, the recipient will:-Thank the person who gave you the Award, and link back to that person’s Blog

Copy and Paste the Award to your Blog

Choose 5 more blogs to award, and let the writers know by leaving a comment.”

Here are the 5 blogs the I selected (in no particular order):

 

Jennifer Krausert writes a blog about diet, exercise, being vegan, and being pregnant.  Basically, if I was a pregnant woman, I would want to be her.

 

Greg and Andrea write a truly inspired blog about how design has influenced their lives.  A fairly rad breakdown of how design can help almost any situation.  They’re like … crime-fighters … if crime was poor use of space.

 

Neil Evans writes a blog about wine and why he loves it.  I like reading his blog because his posts are short but sweet.  Also, I think that someday, if we ever meet, we’d probably both wind up in jail for public drunkenness.  (Don’t tell him I said that.  I want it to be a surprise.)  ALSO, the name of his blog makes me imagine two bottles of wine, fighting … to the death!

 

I like Kim’s blog because it is irreverent, yet thoughtful.  Also, the photo of her on her porch, paired with her description of the alcohols she likes, makes me feel cozy and thirsty.

 

What I like about these guys is that their site is about what it’s about: recipes, and lots of ’em.  Unlike some blogs (ours), that seem to go on forever about nonsense before they get the to point, Joe and Julie get right to it and share with you their love for cooking.

 

Anyway, thanks again to Emilio and happy reading!

 

Cheers!

Christmas Eve

So …

We are sitting with kith and kin on this Eve of all eves, waiting for the Big Guy to bring us lovely baubles and praying to all that is holy that tomorrow`s turkey and trimmings work out the way we hope they will.  Everyone is well into their libations at this point, I`ve already had a mild panic attack for some reason, and Megan and I are debating opening a really cheap (yet untried) bottle of red.  We´re kind of avoiding it, to be honest.

Joseph, Cara and Rene`s dad, took care of dinner, as he always does on Christmas Eve, which included Chicken Schnitzel, Potato Salad, and Crudités with a spicy dipping sauce.  He does this every year in keeping with his Czech heritage.  Apparently, Czechs like Schnitzel and potato salad on Christmas Eve.  And spicy dipping sauce.  (And slivovitz, if we`re being honest.)

We have plenty of Yarrunga on hand, since it has become our favourite wine, and we are now sitting in the library/den drinking a really expensive scotch (thank you, James).  The baby is running around with a tea light that runs on batteries.  She is also terrorizing the dogs.  The Dachshund (Basil) is bearing up nicely.  The retriever (Lebowski) is enjoying the toddler-leavings as she takes a bite of a cookie … and drops it on the floor; takes a bite of celery … and drops it on the floor; takes a bite of …

The “cheer” has started to make me feel somewhat sentimental and philosophical and I am debating whether to contemplate, in writing, the blessings we have all received.  There is a part of me that would like to ruminate on the fortune that has been bestowed on us, being all together, and being so healthy, and so happy, compared to so many.

But that would involve some kind of a soap box and some kind of “did I really post that last night” on my part, and I don`t really want to deal with that, tomorrow, while mashing potatoes and checking turkeys and slicing squash … es … (Squash?  Squashes?)

Instead, I will leave you all with the sincere wish that you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by loved ones, and blessed enough to be so healthy.

May your turkeys all turn out great, may your potatoes be well-smashed, and may your cups runneth over.

Until tomorrow,

Cheers!

Canadian Thanksgiving: Redux

So, I just have to say that I love my family.  Most people, almost all people, actually, if they were off traipsing in Montreal and read my pseudo-tragic posts about poor Mojo would say to each other, “That sucks.  Computers … what are ya gonna do?” and go about their day.  What did my family do?  They read my post, then went straight to the Apple Store and bought me a replacement.  (Actually, they went to the first store that sold Apple products, only to be told that, unless you live in Montreal, you can’t buy a computer from them.  THEN they went to the Apple Store.)  AND … Cara gave me a new set of pots and pans, and Megan had a shirt made for me that reads “My Other Shirt Is A Pants” which I told her I wanted made for me, but never expected anyone to actually do it.  In short, best birthday EVER.

We’re getting caught up here, and next week, this week, we’ll be back on track, but without further ado, here is the Canadian Thanksgiving TSB, brought to you by Megan and Rene.

One thing you learn, living abroad, is that the holidays are not only yours but belong to all orphans everywhere.  You generally celebrate a holiday, whether it’s yours or not, with every ex-pat that you know.  They may not come to your house, but you will be aware of the various satellite parties going on around you within your little friend circle.  When you do have them over to share in your festivities, they will generally show up on time(ish), bring something to compliment the meal (booze), and will keep their religious and political views to themselves (barring an initiation of such topics by their hosts, i.e. you).  Your fellow orphans become like an extended family that you never fight with because you don’t really know them that well.  Basically, they are the perfect holiday guests.

This year, we had a mix of both.  Cara’s mom is still visiting, so we had actual family, which, all joking aside, is always nice, and we had our friends Carlos and Michael.  Michael has been a member of our family since Cara and Rene were kids.  They grew up together.  Carlos is Caia’s swimming instructor, and Cara’s friend, and since his husband is Canadian, we figured he would be a fabulous addition, in every sense of the word.

Since Megan and Rene are away in Montreal on vacation, the cooking was left to me.  In true Patik form, Cara told me Sunday morning that we were to have guests for dinner.  I had not anticipated a big group for dinner, since our numbers were down to three, so I had done no prep.  Like, say, buying a turkey, for instance.

After consulting the oracle (Facebook) it was decided that, while turkey is favourable for the holidays, chicken would be easier, last minute.  This is what I came up with.

On The Menu: Assorted Cheeses and Prosciutto with Fig and Black Currant Compote (Respectively), Roast Chicken with an Asian Pear Gravy, Roast Chicken with White Gravy, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Parmesan Steamed Carrots, Broccoli in a Sharp Cheddar Sauce, Poached Asian Pears with Vanilla Ice Cream

Who brought it?  Craig brought it.

If you want recipes, please let me know, and I will send them to you.  I highly recommend trying the Roast Chicken with Asian Pear Gravy.  It’s a lot softer than a typical apple stuffing and it will cause your guests to ask, “What is that?” to which you get to reply, “Asian Pear …” to which they will, dumfounded and amazed, secretly worship you like a GOD.  Then, when they are eating the dessert, ALSO with Asian Pears, their heads will explode with delight.  A little more clean up in the morning, but worth it in my opinion.

Wine: Osborne Ybarra (a.k.a., OY!!), Vendimia Seleccionada, Roble, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 2009, $180 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

I really like this wine.  I especially like the label (picture not shown) because as you walk past it in the store, all you see are the letters O and Y together, like the winemaker is getting all British youth on you.  “Oy!  You!  Try this wine … guv …”  (I should’ve probably researched what British youth sounds like before referencing them.)

This is a classy tasting wine.  Softer tannins allow for the cassis to come through, leaving a hint of dandelion root on your tongue as it settles.  OY! tastes like a business dinner with your boss.  You feel dressed-up when you drink this wine, like you are trying to impress AND look cool at the same time.  Although it is missing a certain je ne sais quoi that would make it remarkable, for the price, this is an excellent wine and one that we will be drinking again soon.

As the food settled, and we waited for the dessert to be ready, we got to chatting.  We’ll leave out the details of the conversation that Cara, Carlos, and I had in the kitchen except to say that who a person loves is nobody’s business but their own.  This was sparked by an interesting stat that has been circulating this week on FB: there are more states in the U.S.A. that allow first cousins to marry than there are states that allow same-sex couples to marry.  While I have not seen this stat independently verified, I would like to believe it, because it is both infuriating and hilarious at the same time.

The stat that I would really like to see is how many states allow gay first cousins to marry.  THAT would be the state to live in!  Libertarianism at its finest.

The topic of general conversation was that sales industries, especially the timeshare industry, tend to promote mediocrity in its staff as opposed to excellence.  Which … is … crazy.  My pet theory: as sales is the world’s oldest profession, in one form or another, there is a trickle down effect to the industries that it services.  As one person gets screwed by inefficient sales practices, he or she passes on the screwing to the next person they meet and do business with.  Those things we learn, we pay forward.  Instead of promoting an environment of excellence through leadership, incentives, and support, we have all seen our respective sales industries get lazier and lazier, cutting more and more corners.  Instead of getting tighter, it has become more slack.  In timeshares, we are moving towards a time when there is an implosion of our industry – a falling in on itself due to its own hollowness – or the emergence of a newer, better, vacation industry that makes the sales person less relevant.  Like McDonald’s and its ilk makes the Maître d’ obsolete, so too could a Big Box-style timeshare company make the sales professional a thing of the past.  Simply see what’s on the menu and go from there …

The last topic of the evening?  Incest.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd scene.

Cheers!