Feeling Surly

Since my last time at Surly Girl, I've wanted very much to return for another peeptini, both for a photo and because they are tasty. Tried a couple weeks ago and they were closed for an employee party. Next, March 15th, Saturday at 1pm. Packed to the rafters with enthusiastic, if precocious, St. Patty's revelers. I was beginning to think it was going to turn into a Whiskey River.
Digression: the term Whiskey River comes from a case of musical disfulfillment I've had with Mr Nelson for years. We were going to join Willie and 100K of our closest friends for his annual 4th of July picnic. I had never seen him, but had been told he always started his shows with Whiskey River. It was rolling around in my head for the 2 weeks leading up to the show. And he didn't start with it. And he didn't play it when he came onstage for the second time. We stayed in 95deg heat for 10 hours and he didn't play it. Enjoyed the other musicians, at least most of them, I can do without Pat Green, but left unsatisfied and sunburned. Next, he was the headliner for the ACL Festival. Spent the day watching other bands but counting on getting this itch scratched. We were so far back we couldn't hear the song. We did hear lots and lots of people in front of us having a great time. Someday.
Back to Surly Girl. Clouds parted, angels sang:
Now, the thing I like most about SG is the juxtaposition of diverse motifs that come together to make a very interesting, comfortable restaurant. The folks who work there are real, the food is excellent: if you want vegetarian, you've got the best vegetarian. If you want carnivore, you've got really good carnivore. You want skulls, Johnny Cash, peeptinis, a drink called Satan's Little Helper, roller derby, punk rock aerobics, beaded chandeliers, Wonder Woman, you're in luck! Just love the place. This is the opposite of a chain, formula restaurant. Just clicked on their MySpace, warning cool, loud music.
One interesting pattern I've begun to notice is there always is a person who will not stop talking. Blah blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....
Last time was March 4th (primary day) and this guy was at the bar lecturing this other patron about his voting responsibilities, loudly, not interactively, ad nauseum. He was yelling at the guy to get his lazy ass off the barstool and go vote. As we had already done our civic duty, it was bothersome and it did not let the whole time we were there. Hey buddy, can I buy you a shot of Shut the Hell Up? I'm trying to have a birthday drink over here.
So yesterday's trip, there was this little girl with the same problem, but it wasn't even backed up with intelligence. It was this ditzy, teenager-on-the-phone monologue that did not end. It was possible to tune it out every so often, but then it would come back. Even Mr S commented "Does she ever shut up?" As well as the verbosity, she had the voice of Carol Kane. Man, I just spent 15 minutes of my life trying to find her last name. Finally googled "actress carol high-pitched voice" and was reminded of her most famous role as Latka's wife. Whew. I'd hate to have that bugging me too.

Fork at Trattoria Roma

As I was High Fork Hostess for the month of March, I selected Trattoria Roma, one of those restaurants that have been around forever, rated highly, but one that never made the schedule. If you click the link you get cheesy music and the picture of the restaurant has a ...watermark for lack of a better term, with a guy who looks pretty tough. Kind of an odd subliminal message. I think he is the owner. And he's not having much fun? So I wanted to keep the menu open to reference, but there is no sound off for the music that sounds like it a bad ring tone from my cell phone. Must be quick.
The food, service, atmosphere and price were all great.

For apps, I recommend the antipasti plate and the daily foccacia, which on that day was this pancetta-heaped creation that started things off right. No wait, that was the martini, one of many tasty selections from the martini menu.

For dinner, I chose the CONCHIGLIA AMATRICANA Fresh sea scallops pan seared, served with farro tossed in a crispy pancetta tomato marinara.
It was amazing, the scallops were chewy and flavorful on the outside, but tender, not overdone on the inside. This was my first experience with farro and it made a great accompaniment. J had POLLO CON GORGONZOLA Grilled chicken, mixed mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and gorgonzola with linguine tossed in a light basil infused olive oil which was visually impressive as well as very tasty. Another notable was the BEEF BRACIOLE Thinly sliced sirloin wrapped around ground veal, sausage, beef and fontinella cheese, braised with tomatoes, peppers and onions, served with rigatoni: meat wrapped in meat wrapped in meat, kinda like a terducken but not disgusting.

Dessert may have been my favorite part. Per usual, we ordered the complete list. Their creme brulee wasn't anything I'd order again and the tiramisu wasn't what I was used to, a little dry. The lemon tart was fabulous and I think I now have a new favorite dessert in town: A chocolate Pots de creme. Even better now that I know how to pronounce it. Had the flavor of the perfect chocolate mousse, my favorite dessert of all if done right, and this was. I may have a new favorite meal: Trattoria tini, Foccacia and antipasti and Pots de creme. Well now I'm hungry.


Aye Carumba!

So, Mr. S's transmission died in his 2000 Mazda pickup. To repair, it would cost almost as much as it is worth. As we don't have new car money lying around, I've been checking out Craig's List for cars $200-$1000. The selection is surprisingly diverse.
The descriptions are tricky. "1995 Jeep Wrangler. Runs great! No rust! New tires! Doesn't go in reverse."
or "I really don't know what is wrong with it, but something is loose".
I would love some truth in advertising: "What do you want for $500? This thing has 4 tires, one seat and a prolapsed transmission".
I kinda like the fact that some folks are really poor writers, so they can be ruled out. I figure that if they have poor grammar and spelling, they don't take good care of their cars. False correlation?
There are also the TMI folks: "Cynliders 1 and 3 are at 30lbs and 2 and 4 are at 250lbs and the flux capacitor is shifted 14.3%. I last changed the oil Tuesday and have every 1500 miles".
I keep hoping that a 1995 civic with 100K miles will show up for $500.


You want snow? You got snow.

Guess the BBQ is canceled.
Mr Stockula always complains that we never get any snow. For some reason, he thought central Ohio was snowed in 300 days a year. Frankly, one foot of snow in 12 hours is enough and I think he agrees after digging us out today. Still can't go anywhere, as the snow is above the bottom of the Element of Surprise, but we're ready once the plows come through. Should be within 48 hours or so. Darn, have to stay in, watch tv, blog, nap and cook. The kitties aren't allowed outside very often, so today we opened the door and out they ran. WTF??? Phoebe and Mitzi only made it one step, Claudia two. Good times. Family, especially Texas family, called to make sure we were ok. The weather coverage was hilarious. I love when the news folks have been up for too long and get punchy. Also, the "We have Stormy Assfreezer in Delaware county, which is under a level 3 snow emergency" segments are a riot.

My very late 20s

As this year was my final 30s birthday, I decided a 4-day weekend was in order.

Got a cabin at Dillon State Park with R, J, A and K. The weather was perfect for hiking, eating drinking and burning things. I am more of a “camper” than a camper, so the cabin with full kitchen, gas fireplace and 2 patios was perfect. Seriously, how can I live without my electric pepper mill?

Watched the History of the Joke on the History channel Sunday, hosted by Lewis Black.

Really enjoyed it and I have a new favorite joke:

Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Yarn

On Tuesday, my actual birthday, I went to the Aveda Institute for a pedicure, facial and Eyebrow wax. Lesson learned: As this is an actual school, make sure they are at the end of a quarter, not the beginning. Eyebrows were waxed ala Syd Barrett, I could have done a better pedicure, but the facial was really good, if carefully scripted.

Mr Stockula and I had a snack and beverage at the Surly Girl. They have a peeptini! I will be going back for a photo. Also, they have Elliot Ness on tap, so Mr S was ecstatic. For dinner, we went to my fave sushi place, Haiku. They have a fabulous ambiance, great service and great food. Plus a Key West martini that hits the spot.

Dog not only rude, but disgusting

Decided to burn a coupon, so I picked Rude Dog on Sancus based on their description. The place was empty, but it was early, so we grabbed a seat at the bar. First, the description said “over 36 beers”. This might technically be true, if you count Bud, Bud light, Bud Select, Bud draft, Bud tall boy, Bud dry and the rest of nasty macro brews. The special menu had an item that sounded good, so I went with it: Spice-rubbed roasted chicken with a twice-baked potato and corn and bacon soufflĂ©. What arrived was airline chicken, 50% fat, with a tasteless bbq sauce, a weird mashed potato thing that only resembled a twice-baked potato in appearance, not taste, and this greasy glop that did have corn and bacon, but so many other unidentifiable ingredients as to be inedible, as was the whole plate. Honestly, I will eat almost anything, but this was not food. Mr S has BBQ chicken pizza, a safe standby. It too was glistening in a revolting way, also inedible. We paid and went to the Liz for $0.40 wing night.


Cleveland Part II

On to House of Blues. Loved the venue. It was really well-planned with many good places to stand with a great view of the stage. The service was also very friendly. The burger was Lilliputian, but tasty. Thumb included for scale.

Band one was the Zou from Youngstown, OH. They had a great sound, but I think they have a Barenaked Ladies issue: their appearance wasn't what the shallow folk have come to expect, so many of the people around us were cracking on that without listening. What they would have heard was a very energetic, very technically competent, enthusiastic band with a couple of great songs surrounded by many very good songs. One, A Boy Like Me, was an excellent commentary on society and relationships and another, Sleazy, was absolutely the best rock anthem I have heard since high school in the 80's. The lead singer from Red Wanting Blue joined them and the duet had a great beat, hook, lyrics, you name it. I bought the cd and popped it in on the way back, all atwitter for the amazingness to continue. Shit, the recording sucks. I will be keeping an eye out for them. Paying the cover to hear that one song would be worth it. Now, if I could only get that f*&king song out my my head.
The band we went to see, American Bang, was worth the trip. They were the opening opening band for the Donnas a few months ago. Loved their sound and energy and the lead singer was talented and friendly. Move to the Music was great and the whole show required mandatory dancing. They also have cool t-shirts.
Now, Red Wanting Blue I compare to OAR and Hot Hot Heat, college bands with a loyal teeny-bopper following. They were all "Look at me! I have a porkpie hat". Whatev.
Aaaannnndddd, my ex-guitar instructor lied! Unless he got fired or quit for a better band.
My impressions of Cleveland concert: Great venue, rude customers, bad shoes, incredibly friendly service staff everywhere. Can't wait to go back!
Made it back to the hotel safe and sound and crashed. Breakfast the next day was ok. Instant gratification bacon. Can't really complain. Until you are finished. Apparently the omelette cook was serving omelettes made to order, as long as you wanted snark. Sunday morning in the restaurant biz can be a little tricky, since restaurant folks tend to be enthusiastic partiers on Saturday (and the other 6) nights. I was amused because our server's tag said "Judy Aerosmith". What a cool name! Then we checked out and the registration person's name was "Jennifer Rascal Flatts" and it clicked. I wonder if they censor the names you can use: What if your favorite band was Ass Pony, Circle Jerks or Chainsaw Kittens?

My name is:
A Trunk Full of Dead Bodies
How may I help you?

One more comment about the hotel: the parking garage had this dramatic classical music playing. I kept wondering if I was going to get whacked.


Cleveland Pt I

So Cleveland was a blast! Since we had to leave in the afternoon instead of the morning, decided to skip the legit touristy stuff, check into the hotel and head to Great Lakes Brewery.
The Marriott at Key Center was the Best Hotel I've Ever Stayed In! I am a 3-star kinda girl: no frills, but convenient and squeaky clean.
$100 a night, free breakfast (had gravy) and free parking. Also, 1.5 blocks from House of Blues. So, we get a cab at the front of the hotel. $6.75+tip to Great Lakes. We are seated by the kitchen, on a card table, next to a party of 12 (10 children) because the bar was packed at 4pm. After we asked for a better table, we are squeezed into a table at the bar. I know I am so rude to have breasts, but this was the skinniest table ever, next to the rowdiest, loudest trio ever to walk into a bar and stumble out. They became our best friends, full of great recommendations and fun stories. I had the sampler. It had 12 beers, each 4 oz. Perfect. M's burger was just ok, but hey, love the one you're with, no? After the sampler, I decide some food was in order and got a $9 pretzel. This fresh rye pretzel duo was amazing and served with yellow and brown mustard, as well as this orange horseradishy sauce that was magically delicious. Do I hear $10? Our cabbie picked us at the requested time (On the dot. Not a minute late) and deposited us back at the hotel.
Ah. The hotel. Our room was 20th floor, corner room, lake view. Absolutely perfect. We were greeted with the sound machine tuned to "ocean" and the view tuned to "freaking amazing". The bath was cute, the tv ginormous and the bed cloud-like. The good kind. Also, the service was warm and friendly, which really seemed like the icing on the cake.