Friday, December 26, 2008

My Dog Annie: 1993-2008

Today our family decided to put our dog Annie to sleep after the vet told us that she was suffering from kidney failure and ulcers, and that she was no longer eating or drinking.

Annie was a wonderful dog... she was a big fan of running and bird-hunting. Many a pheasant met their match through Annie's dedicated and skillful sleuthing in the fields. Until the last year or two of her life, Annie only had two speeds: stop, and sprint. She also had an impressive talent for taking off on short hikes, getting lost for hours on end, and then nonchalantly showing up back home after successfully eluding the search parties sent out to find her.

Annie lived a long happy life, and she will be missed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Cat

As I walked out of my house to get to my car on my way out of town, I noticed this cat sitting on a pile of pine nettles. The cat looked at me for a couple seconds before getting up and walking away. I decided to chase the cat down and take a picture of it, because I've seen the cat sitting in that same pile of pine nettles so often that I feel like it might as well be my cat. Sadly, I have never been able to pet my cat... This picture is about the closest I've ever gotten to the cat (it was taken about 10 feet away).

I still haven't figured out a name for my cat. Right now I'm thinking "Snookums."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brunches in Winston-Salem

With the help of SarahSouth, JaryMane and others, I have been working hard to become an expert on Sunday brunches in Winston-Salem. Here are a couple highlights... I'll probably try to update this post retroactively from time to time.

Mary's, Of Course! The name is ridiculous, but the food is ridiculously good (I've probably been there a dozen times). They are very vegan friendly, which means JaryMane isn't resigned to eating side-salads or whatever it is vegans eat for breakfast at unaccommodating places. Also, very impressive/disturbing collection of Tammy Faye memorabilia. Faves: Breakfast burrito (w/ sausage); the tofu scrambles/burritos are terrific -- even for non-vegans.

Cat's Corner: I had never made it out to this place until about a month ago. I love the way the space is laid out - an open-air cafe with tables looking out into different stores around the Stevens Center. Faves: Andy's Pecan Crusted Trout (off the hook!)

Christopher's: This place is strangely located in a big house in the middle of a residential area. But the food is amazing, and eating here somehow makes you feel very classy and sophisticated. Faves: splurge and get the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese... they do NOT skimp on the lobster!

River Birch Lodge: I was staring hard at the Veggie Frittata on their menu - which comes with asparagus tips, tomato, red onion, roasted corn, eggplant, wild mushrooms, roasted red peppers and smoked cheddar cheese. I decided it was missing only one thing: ham. I asked them to add some to the frittata and they did so free of charge. It was so, so, so very good.... Faves: Veggie Frittata (w/ ham)

First St. Draught House:
A newcomer on the brunch scene. I went there w/ SarahSouth and co., and while they have some kinks to work out (instant grits?!) most of the food was pretty impressive. Also, where else can you get a pint of Guiness for breakfast? Faves: Carolina Crabcake Benedict.

...more to come! So much research to do...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Post

I finally bumped into our wonderful local blogger (and fellow A.U. alum!) Esbee on today's trip to Simply Yummy. She chastised me for not blogging at all in over a week, and said that she was thinking of posting a comment somewhere on my blog to register a formal complaint.

FINE. I'LL WRITE A NEW POST ALREADY!! Geez... give me a break...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not So Happy-Go-Lucky: Winston-Salem and the Art-House

After hearing a passionate endorsement of the movie Happy-Go-Lucky by an NPR film reviewer about a month ago, I was determined to watch it. I ended up going to and doing a search for the nearest place where I could watch the movie. The closest place ended up being Washington, DC, a good 300+ miles away. This in turn partially prompted me to embark on what eventually became my sugar-addled DC trip.

Since then, the movie's made it to Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but not Winston. So the moral seems to be that if you're willing to drive, say, up to 100 miles, you can generally find the movie you're looking for if you give it a couple weeks. But generally, an art-house movie is hard to find in this town. I regularly attended the North Carolina School of the Arts' Films on Fourth movies last year, which brought in some great movies. But then the series ended last December, because there wasn't enough interest and attendance to keep them going. Outside of the RiverRun Film Festival in April (mark your calendar!), this town's got nothin'.

C'mon people! If this town is supposed to be known as North Carolina's "City of the Arts," we can do better than this!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Barry: 7th Wonder of Winston-Salem

Tonight I ended up at the IHOP on the corner of Silas Creek and Peter's Creek Parkways with about 18 people sitting at one enormous table. Our waiter Barry came to take our orders, and after he was through about a dozen of them, I realized that he wasn't writing these orders down anywhere. Some of these orders included requests to hold a couple ingredients, add some others, or requests for items not actually on the menu.

At this point I turn to my friend Laura and say, "I'll bet you 5 bucks that this guy screws up at least one order."

Laura quickly takes the bet. "You haven't been here before. Barry NEVER screws up an order."

True to form, Barry got every damn order correct, right down to the subtracted and added ingredients, and I had to hand Laura the fiver. I then proclaimed that "Barry was the 7th Wonder of Winston-Salem."

Laura then asks "What are the other six?"

Eh, still working on it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving? Yes We Can!

I had a couple people over for Thanksgiving this year, marking the first time that I have ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner ever! And they said it couldn't be done. Or shouldn't be done.

All the guests chipped in to help out, and it was amazing. As is my way, I threw pretty much every course onto the plate at once. And then I snapped a photo:
On the menu:
1. Cranberry Ginger Compote (courtesy of K.C. Recipe unknown. Delicious!)
2. Roasted Root Vegetables (courtesy of K.C. Featuring carrots, sweet potatoes, and... parsnips huh? I didn't know they still made those...)
3. Salmon steaks (courtesy of Little John*)
4. Turkey (I cooked it... And it was still edible, too!)
5. Rolls (I got $2 off the $2.99 rolls at Harris Teeter on Thanksgiving Day. Awesome...)
6. Herbed Oyster Stuffing (Recipe from Delicious! Also led to my first ever attempts at shucking oysters. Comic.)
7. Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes (recipe from Possibly too garlicky. I never thought I would say that.)
... And of course everything was thoroughly drenched in turkey gravy, as it should be.

I love Thanksgiving!
Is it just me or is Little John enjoying his slicing/dicing of the turkey a little too much?
* Sorry buddy. But when you work with Big John, you're gonna get stuck with Little John. Dems da breaks.