Saturday, August 30, 2008

British Invasion

The ladies hit the town after an evening of cocktails on Zooey's stunning back patio.

The Americans were outnumbered by the Brits, 4-3, thanks to a weekend visit by Bluegrass Brit's dear friend, Fitz.

I think by the end of the evening even I had picked up a bit of an accent.

Mugging for our server at Twist, on 4th Street in Downtown Cincinnati.

Bluegrass Brit and Fitz ordered two bottles of champagne to celebrate the occasion.

The manager was kind enough to send over a complimentary round of shots. The Bazooka tasted just like bubble gum!

Bluegrass Brit, Fitz, KtG and Tank

The prettiest girls to have ever enjoyed a drink at Jerry's Jug House.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Who??

I don't know who this Sarah Palin chick is, but I know one thing:

The folks on the internets are having a field day with this one.

This Twitter meme is a riot - Little Known Facts about Sarah Palin.


Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is the father of Reille Hunter's baby

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin tells Steve Jobs at Apple what to do.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is banned from Vegas casinos due to ESP.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin showed Justin Timberlake how to bring sexy back (courtesy of my Twitter friend Daniel Johnson, Jr.)

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin always wants her music with more cowbell.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin actually taught Obi-Wan Kenobi in the ways of the Jedi Knights and the Force

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is half bear half sasquatch

Little known fact: Palin raised and home schooled a litter of endangered Polarbears for her famous Polarveal stew

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin has a man-sized safe full of guns, ninja weapons, and scrapbooking materials


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Speak Easy

I've enjoyed cocktails in London and Paris, Boston and Las Vegas.

I've been to bars that were big and trendy and those that were small and cozy, but I had never been to a bar like this before.

The PX Lounge is a hidden speakeasy just strokes across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. I found the secret spot after doing some recon on the Nation's Capital in preparation for my business trip earlier this month, determined to experience something unusual.

PX Lounge was the perfect fix.

The bar is a true speakeasy in that it has no signage, no hint of establishment. Instead, guests in the know seek out what appears to be a traditional D.C. area, red brick townhouse. The only sign that something's afoot is the bright blue light bulb glimmering in the pendant lantern hung beside the red door.

Patrons ring a door bell and wait (and wait and wait - in some cases) for someone to open a small, gated slot in place of a peep hole. Smart guests will have made a reservation ahead of time with Clinton, and inform the mysterious soul they're, "here for the PX and have a reservation under the name XXX." Spontaneous folks will have to beg for mercy from the discerning hostess on the other side of the door. Word to the wise: if you dress well (i.e. no sneakers and jeans, jacket for the boys and something sparkly/festive for the girls), you will be more likely to gain admittance in PX. Confession: I wore my dressy jeans to the bar, but it was a Wednesday night and I didn't catch any beef. The men I saw were dressed in a mix of jackets or button downs with rolled up sleeves. I'm guessing W/Th are a bit more lax than F/S.

If you don't have a reservation, save yourself some embarrassment and a) Check to see the blue lantern is actually lit and b) Look for the Scull and Crossbones flying in the third floor window. If the flag's there and the lamp's on, then you're in luck - the hostess is seating guests.

The reason for all the exclusivity, you ask?

Well, PX only has 38 seats in the whole bar, and they don't accept standing room only. The Lounge is only open Wednesday through Saturday, and Hump Day was my only opportunity to get in. My Lexington Twin, Nat, lives in the D.C. area so we decided to check the place out while catching up over cocktails.

We walked up the stairs and found a glam jewel box of a place, completely ensconced in crystal chandeliers and flickering candle light. I wouldn't have been surprised if I had seen Bogart, Hepburn (the wild one) or even Dorothy Parker. These days, PX Lounge looks like it's a perfect haven for the likes of Clooney and Roberts.

We opted for two seats at the end of the bar and were promptly greeted by a cool drink of water named Sebastian.

Normally I hate the word Yummy. I think it's sugary sweet and hearkens back to the days of pigtails and Easy Bake Ovens. As much as I loathe the word, it's the only thing I can think of to describe Sebastian. He was smooth, he was handsome and he was the epitome of gentleman.

Like a rugged Ken doll.

But I digress.

Just as delicious were the concoctions Sebastian whipped up for Nat and me. Our Doctor of Drinks was patient as we poured over the long list of custom cocktails. PX Lounge features a variety of original mixers - no Cosmos and Dirty Martinis here. No, the cocktails are made with ingredients and tonics you've never sipped on in your life. Todd Thrasher is the brainchild behind the concept. Magazines have called Thrasher one of the world's best mixologists, and I'd agree, considering the variety of homemade bitters and tonics at the bartender's disposal.

Nat and I spent a good bit of time pouring over the drink menu (which changes weekly) and I settled on a Smoker's Delight - made with a tobacco serum, honey syrup, honeycomb and Basil Hayden's bourbon. It was delicious.

Smoker's Delight - and a delight it was. You can see the variety of homemade bitters in the number of bottles edging the bar.

Natalie and I enjoyed several other drinks, including the champagne cocktail, made with cherry bitters, cherries, and sugar. Sebastian placed the white sugar in a little brass dish, drizzled it with a brandy and then set it on fire. The sugary flame flickered a blue, mysterious glow, and then Sebastian put the fire out and sprinkled the singed sugar in the cocktail glass. It truly was an art form - one I could appreciate.

All of the imbibing resulted in a desperate need for the powder room. I found the unisex restroom, which was beautifully appointed and smelled like jasmine. While taking care of business, I noticed the prominent wall hanging all guests spied - the Rules of PX Lounge. The list mentions the spiffed-up dress code and it also says you're not supposed to tell others about the whereabouts of PX Lounge (oops). The last rule on the list was the most obvious - To stay in good graces, order something more than just a vodka tonic.

That would be hilarious. And highly embarrassing - at least in this joint.

Most cocktails on the menu are $11-$12, but there were a few marquee drinks on the list that topped out at $16. Every drink I had was worth it's weight in gold. Another delicious concoction, the Paw Paw, was made with papaya, lime juice, champagne vinegar and Maker's Mark. I was expecting a sweet bourbon-y cocktail, but it was actually far more tart and substantial. It reminded me of a fruit (not fruity) flavored Bloody Mary.

It was dynamite.

I also enjoyed Eamonn's Cocktail, made with yuzu, red lemonade and Powers Irish Wiskey. Yuzu is very sour Japanese citrus fruit that is quite hard to find in the States. This drink was far more potent, but I'm the kind of girl who sometimes fancy a Scotch on the rocks, so it wasn't anything I couldn't handle.

We walked around Old Town a bit, sensing many places had rolled up the welcome carpet and barred the doors. Nat dropped me back at the hotel at around 12:30 - we said goodbye while hugging and talking about a future festive occasion to mark on the calendar.

PX Lounge

Open Wed - Sat, 7pm - ?

728 King St. Alexandria, VA

Look for the blue light - Around the corner from Eamonn's

reservations taken via

Kate the Great in '08

While you're watching the speech tonight, please keep in mind there's ANOTHER candidate out there who has your best interests in mind.

I've decided I'd like to take on Washington. Screw the age limit restrictions or my lack of experience. Forget that I once had a wild side.

I've always had a good heart, and that's what I'll use to guide this nation back to the Promised Land.

-Fewer taxes on the Middle Class.
-More investments in our local communities.
- Open bar for everyone.

Remember to vote for Kate the Great in '08.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Kate the Great - Bluegrass Brit, treasurer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


7:45 am - Wake up late. Why, Why, WHY???

8:25 am - Discover car was towed by the Cincinnati Police Department. Bitches.

8:50 am - Learn from co-worker that boss was desperately needing something I had not yet completed and intended to complete first thing in the morning. Brief eruption of tears while standing on the sidewalk.

9:05 am - Treated rudely by Barrett Paving foreman managing road crew in Oakley. Police proceeded at D2 proceeded to tell me to walk to the cop directing traffic a half mile away. In four-inch heels and a skirt, it wasn't gonna happen. Pissy mood ensues.

9:30 am - Make it to work thanks to a kind co-worker and managed to play catch-up thanks to yet another co-worker.

10:00 am - Enjoy breakfast of strawberries and Crystal Lite while finishing reading long list of emails.

10:30 am - Send media advisory to local news outlets re: big work shindig happening Wednesday.

12:15 - Finish amending script for big shindig.

12:30 - Microwave Lean Cuisine Chicken in Peanut Sauce dish and shovel into mouth.

12:45 pm - Leave to retrieve car from Cincinnati Police impound lot thanks to a third co-worker - at $102 and change, the most expensive lunch I've ever had.

2:00 pm - Department meeting breaking down duties for biggest work event of the year. Discover my responsibilities and pray for nice weather Wednesday afternoon.

3:45 pm - Break down on first day of diet - head to vending machine. Use judgement and decide to go for peanuts instead of candy. Success? Hmmm... debatable.

4:00 pm - Make calls to local news anchor regarding the event she'll be emceeing for us this week.

6:15 pm - Finish working on unexpected assignment and send email re: sniff out other details for said assignment.

6:17 pm - Send email to someone interested in testing four recipes for cookbook project.

6:45 pm - Pack up purse and head out the door - two hours after I originally intend to leave work. Forget iPod in desk drawer - pray cleaning crew doesn't lift it.

6:46 pm - Take unexpected phone call from friend - too distracted or stressed to be engaged. Sorry, Tweak. I was freaking out.

6:54 pm - Make phone call to local boutique re: possibility of designing tablescape for one of the cookbook shoots - this one at the most recognizable landmark in town. Hope the lady calls me back - we want to take these pictures in less than two weeks!

7:00 pm - Stop at Starbucks for first dose of caffeine all day. Girl at counter asks how my day is going - I tell her the stress and caffeine difficiency was making me either very mean or emotional. She serves the ice coffee with a smile and kind condolences.

7:10 pm - Take unexpected phone call re: cookbook and possible photo shoot at one of Cincinnati's most popular destinations of all time. Contact thinks it can work in late September. Score!

7:30 pm - Presentation in front of the junior league board. Reviewed: status of the cookbook development including the photography schedule, tablescape needs, recipe solicitation and plan for testing and general concept of book.

8:30 pm - Dinner at nearby restaurant with cookbook co-chair (and all-around great friend). Discussion: general bitching and current techniques for dieting. I order a veggie burrito and a diet soda. Use every morsel of power to avoid drinking alcohol on a school night (yes, this diet is very ambitious).

9:30 pm - Swing by grocery store to buy $25 bottle of wine for an auction for yet another commitment I have for the Council on Child Abuse. One of the nicest bottles of wine I've ever bought, and I don't even get to drink it. Kind of sucks - remind myself it's all for a good cause.

9:40 pm - Strip down to skivvies and put sweats on. Throw darks in the washer and use my latest technological toy before lacing the sneakers.

10:00 pm - Hit the pavement and go on a walk in the neighborhood.

10:30 pm - Get home just in time to watch Michelle address the convention.

11:20 pm - Throw clothes in dryer.

12:20 am - Finish this post and go to bed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Observations and Opinions

Cincinnati's downtown scene is lacking on Sunday afternoon.

That's my swift assessment (perhaps I'm quick to judge, though) while sitting on Fountain Square facing the Westin.

I came downtown because I needed to get out of my apartment and head out someplace where I could be around people - living alone does have its downfalls.


As part of my Weekend of Debauchery, I grabbed a scoop of Buckeye Blitz and Toffee Chip and headed for a cafe table. I thought the Square would be a great place for me to use some free Wi-Fi and people watch.

I am enjoying the people watching but I could do with a little less cackling and fewer pigeon dives.
*** *** ***

On the way to the Square, I was asked for some money by a gentleman who said he was selling newspapers on behalf of the homeless. I gave him my pat, "Sorry I don't have any cash," and then went on my way.

But I didn't necessarily feel good about it.

I am torn with the solicitation for money on the street. I'd love to help all those folks who are down on their luck and needing some help, but working in non-profit I've discovered there's a huge network of human service assistance available for people trying to get ahead.

That's why I proudly contribute to United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

Yes, I do work for UWGC, so it makes sense that I'd contribute. But the fact of the matter is, I really believe in all the work United Way is doing. UWGC is an organization that distributes contributions to hundreds of programs around the Tri-State that support a few key priorities:
  • Preparing young children for kindergarten
  • Helping youth succeed in school and life
  • Supporting families in the pursuit of financial stability
  • Ensuring people have access to quality health care

These strategic investments are part of a plan that aims to get to the root of some of the most significant problems affecting our community. Your contributions are one way you can help make some lasting changes in the Tri-State.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati is launching its annual campaign Wednesday at a big event on Fountain Square. At noon, we'll unveil this year's campaign goal and we'll offer people the chance to learn more about the programs supported by UWGC. I highly recommend you all come out to Fountain Square Wednesday at noon to enjoy some live entertainment, free food and also discover how you can LIVE UNITED.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I feel like a whirling dervish.

It's not just an expression - there actually is a religious sect that spins and whirls in big flouncy skirts. I don't know a whole lot about the whirling dervish movement, but my understanding is those folks spin around in an attempt to reach a higher plane of peace and extacy - or something like that.

Funny, because my spinning and whirling is just creating upheval.

I am extended in a bunch of different directions. Work is challenging me. This cookbook publishing project is a bit overwhelming (though we had a fantastic first photo shoot so the gods must be on my side). My social inclinations have brought on a lot of busi-ness.

I keep saying YES to people when I should really be saying NO.

All of the overextension is taking a toll on my home and my body, and I've decided to take control. I am enjoying my final Weekend of Debachery. I'm eating whatever I damn well please until Monday rolls around, and then it's time to tow the line.

My apartment has shot off the flares more than once, begging to be rescued from the sinking ship known as the S.S. Squalor. I aim to restore my living space to calmer conditions tomorrow.

Until then, it's time for a nap.

All this preparation for perfection has me exhausted.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dear Barack,

You are driving me crazy, man.

I am so freaking anxious for an announcement, and yet you tease me and lead me on. I keep waiting to hear who will be your sidekick on the campaign trail - who will (hopefully) help you turn around this great nation like a phoenix rising from the ashes.

I keep waiting. And yet you play coy.

You go to the gym. You send out emails to the press titled "re: vice presidential" and then include a big JUST KIDDING! in the memo.

You're just being mean now.

And I know you've got that big to-do in Illinois tomorrow. The occasion when you'll make your big reveal like when the cool guy in high school unveils his date at the prom.

I get what you're trying to do. I get that you want to build all this excitement before the big party in Denver. I'm with ya, man, but it's time to give the people a little payoff. It's time to take this thing to the next level. It's time to reveal your running mate.

I know you called all the gracious losers and informed them of your decision.

It's time to let the rest of us in on the best-kept secret in months.


The Best Damn Bar In the Land...

...will have to wait a couple more days.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to some of my blogging friends.

Shannan, Julie, Laura, Amy and myself have all teamed up to form a new blog. Losing Weight in Cincinnati is our vehicle for offering support as we renew our committment to shedding the pounds.

Check out the introductions and get to know us as we embark on this new challenge, and feel free to offer your own suggestions and support!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Heinz 57

I've been a bad, bad girl.

This blog is woefully neglected, but I am going to attempt to redeem myself with some nice pictures, a few clever anecdotes, and a review of the best bar I've ever enjoyed.

Whew. That's a tall order, but I guess that's what happens when you go on a week-long blogging hiatus.

Monday I landed at National and made my way along the river to Old Town Alexandria, VA. Old Town is a cute little neighborhood very similar to Georgetown, but we'll get to that area a little later.

Here's a look at the hotel room at the Crowne Plaza - it was the first time I ever slept solo in a king sized bed. The bed was delicious, but I hated the foam pillows - I never got a good night's sleep.

Maybe I should have used the Sound Sleeping package you see on the bed in the picture - complete with a CD, ear plugs, an eye mask and lavender bedding spray.


I left the hotel and headed for the national mall. I got off the metro at L'Enfant Plaza and walked a few blocks to a spot just a bit west of the Capitol. I found hoards of people walking the opposite direction -headed to a massive movie screen. The Washingtonians can catch a flick on the mall every Monday night - last week it was the classic Superman.

The nation does need a superman about now, doesn't it?

Sorry. Momentary release in editorial comment.

I continued walking west, headed for the Washington Monument. The entire time, the setting sun toyed with my retinas, forcing my line of sight to dodge the golden orange orb. I continued on until I made it to that alabaster symbol of independence.

I had to touch it.

I put my sweaty hand on that cool stone and marveled at the history of the monument (including the massive delay in completion - hence the horizontal marking about a third of the way up).

I got a nice picture of the nearby Jefferson Memorial before heading to the World War II monument.

The WWII monument is the newest feature on the mall. It's a stunning haven for reflection and solitude, honoring the thousands of men and women who lost their lives while fighting for the world's freedom. Visitors are asked to be quiet and refrain from wading or throwing coins into the fountain. I didn't see a soul ignoring the request.

I made my way along the reflecting pool and was reminded of the summers of my youth in Minnesota. Why? Well, big bodies of water - whether they be shallow reflecting pools or deep, chilly lakes - are a welcome retreat for birds and mosquitoes. I saw several ducks floating around the water and swatted the mosquitoes and gnats the whole length of the pool. Should you visit, you will have to divide your time from staring at the surroundings and staring at your feet.

If you don't, you will most certainly end up stepping in bird crap.

But I digress.

I walked to the Lincoln Memorial, climbing up the 87 steps honoring the mention of four-score-and-seven-years-ago from the Gettysburg Address. I was surprised that many people were engaged in lively conversation despite the several prominent signs requesting peace and quiet. A very annoyed security guard was pleased I had given him a purpose to demonstrate authority when I asked him about the spot noting the location Dr. King gave his I Have A Dream Speech. If you are standing on the steps and looking at the Washington Monument, head to the left side, and you'll find an engraved piece of marble marking the spot that hosted history.

I got down on my knees and touched the letters in silence. My palms laid still as I reflected in awe at the true magnitude of those indelible words.

I took a cab to Georgetown and decided to grab a bite at Nick's Riverside Grill. The outdoor dining area is along the Potomac and looks on to the back side of the Kennedy Arts Center. I initially wanted to dine at Tony & Joe's, which was voted 2007 AOL Best Seafood in DC. The cab driver told me it wasn't as good as the seafood I could get on King Street in Old Town, so I decided to turn down the option that offered pricy dishes and a lack of seating options for a solo diner.

So I meandered to the nearby Nick's and ordered a big bowl of mussels prepared in a tomato and garlic sauce. It was quite different from the mussels I'm used to, steamed with white wine, garlic and butter. This tomato based sauce tasted kind of like it was equal purpose mussel sauce/pasta topping. I wasn't really enthused.

I did, however, enjoy the beer - a nice cold pint of Yuengling (pronounced ying ling). I had never had that lager before and was pleasantly surprised by the Pennsylvania brewed beer.

The server was not overly attentive and had the most sugary sweet voice - akin to Amy Adams in Enchanted. Every time she opened her mouth at my table or the three others in the immediate vicinity, I wanted to poke my eardrums out with a fireplace poker. Drastic, yes, but it would have been one way to relieve myself of that audible annoyance.

I paid my tab and asked the hostess whether I should walk the 20 minute walk to the Foggy Bottom metro stop or whether I should hail a cab. She said something about how it wasn't far but I'd have to walk under an overpass and so I decided to live dangerously and hit the pavement.

I'm a tough broad, after all, and have devised a personal safety maneuver that is sure to keep any unsavory types away.

I'm glad I walked, because I literally stumbled along a very prominent building in American history.

I waved goodbye to the ghosts of the past and decided to call it a night.

Tuesday some of my new conference friends and I ventured out to Georgetown with the thought that we wanted to hear some live blues music. We first grabbed a bite at Old Glory - a nice barbecue joint that features eight or so varieties of sauce right on the table. I was tickled but also surprised that I found a bottle called "Lexington" among the Memphis, Kansas City and other varieties honoring barbecue cities around the country.

Lexington is not really known for its barbecue. Hot Browns, maybe. Good beef, definitely. But barbecue? I don't think so. I deduced the folks at Old Glory named this vinegary sauce after my home away from home only because lots of people haven't heard of Owensboro.

But I digress.

I washed my shredded pork down with a local beer that escapes my mind.

My new friends and I cashed out and set out for Blues Alley - a back alley joint that the New York Times once billed as the best live jazz and blues in the nation. We stepped inside and quickly went back out the door when we discovered they were charging a $25 cover.

Instead, we walked a bit more around Georgetown before hitting Pennsylvania Avenue. The walking and conversation was infectious, and at one point we realized we were only a mile and a half away from the White House.

We walked and walked and walked until we could see the bright light glowing from the People's Home. My friends and I looked through the wrought iron fence while I wondered about whether the trees and bushes were bugged - surveying tourists for potential terror suspects.

We walked a few more blocks to take a spin through the lobby of the chi-chi Willard Intercontinental Hotel. We heard they had a bathroom there and we decided we'd give it a whirl (out of necessity). The restrooms had bidets but nobody felt the urge to have their bum washed.

We hopped on the Blue Line and made it back to the hotel with the big, big beds and uncomfortable pillows.

Next up - the best bar you've never been to.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Hiatus Continues

I made it home from DC safe and sound.

DC: good.

No free wi-fi: bad.

Drinks at the best bar I've ever visited: good.

Crappy hotel pillows: bad.

I haven't had a decent night's sleep since last Saturday... and I'm hoping to catch up on some ZZZs this weekend.

I'll show you the sights from my trip (and tell you about the sounds) tomorrow.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger

Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

I remember back to the days when I wore banana clips and braces. Dinner time would come around and I would heap my plate with a mountainous pile of mashed potatoes. I'd keep spooning the made-from-scratch starchy goodness out of the pot, right next to my valley of frozen peas. Then I'd dip the ladle in the center to create a crater full of brown gravy.

My mom would warn me about taking too much, but I'd brush off her comments, exclaiming that mashed potatoes were my favorite thing in the whole wide world!

Most of the time I'd pack those potatoes away, filling every nook and cranny in my stomach, but sometimes, just sometimes I'd struggle to finish my share. And that's when my mom would get even by denying me rights to another mountainous serving - this time of fudge ripple ice cream.

Okay. I'll admit it. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. And every time I'm reminded that maybe it's okay to make do with a little less.

I guess that's a good life lesson to learn.

Think about the dude driving along side you during your morning commute. You might be travelling in a four-door rat trap or a two door compact and he's cruising down I-71 going 75 miles an hour in an Escalade worth 85.

You're getting 28 miles a gallon, sipping on your Folgers home brew and debating whether Chipotle fits in your lunchtime budget, and Jethro's checking the time on his Rolex while reading email on his 3G iPhone and drinking his Starbucks red eye.

Do we really need all that?

The ads in the magazines tell you yes. They show glossy images of Tacori diamonds and half-dressed women shlocking bottles of Chanel. Whether you are reading Cosmo or Vanity Fair or Esquire or the New York Times Magazine, the pages are full of ads using sex and glamour and status - and it's all a move to make you want more, more, more.

And I'll ask again - do we really need all that?

Because, chances are, Jethro and the rest of his conspicuous gang are mortgaged to the hilt, facing a pile of credit card debt - and that's what's rocking this nation's financial stability.

Which makes me wonder - who really owns that Rolex, then, anyway? Capital One?

What's in YOUR wallet? It's probably not cash.

There's a great article in the latest issue of U.S News and World Report talking about the shift from consumerism, or anti-bling, as one of their experts called it.

The article says the high price of gas, pared with other rising costs and the growing Green movement are all leading to a drop in consumerism. And maybe that's a good thing. The article says Americans are buying less and saving more - a wise move all around.

I like nice stuff as much as the next girl. I've got pretty shoes, some nice smelling perfume and plenty of jewelry to bedazzle my ears, neck and fingers. For all my whims and desires, I've fought the good fight and am winning the war against those influences in the magazines.

I buy things when I need them. Sometimes I buy the best (because you get what you pay for), and other times I buy the store brand or the generic version (because it gets the job done).

But I always pay with cash.

Lately I've been trying to buy less - whether it be clothes, shoes or groceries. I'm trying to make do with what I have and bring new life to the old clothes, the old CDs the old books in the closet.

And I'm going out less, too. I'm indulging in one "big night out" a weekend. Instead of my regular habit of dining out and take-out, I'm inviting my friends over for a home cooked meal. I'm scouting out the produce section as I plan my menus and I'm eating leftovers for lunch at the office.

I don't need bigger, better, faster, stronger.

I just need good enough - and sometimes that means eating more mashed potatoes at home.

Snapshots at Slims

Starter - Walleye and trout ceviche

Entree - Braised pork belly with a stuffed poblano pepper
Let's get a closer look at that phenomenal pork belly...

Mr. G spills some sauce on his shirt, so delicious he decides to lick it off.

Rusty and the Divine Ms. M
Jos, Kat and Dru (notice the many wine glasses - I think we enjoyed seven or eight bottles at dinner!)
Kat and Dru- our evening all started when she won a bet and he was forced to pay up.

M and Jos - we had to take this pic a couple times to get J's smile right.

Say no evil, hear no evil, see no evil. We will not speak of anything that happened at dinner. Ever.

Friday, August 08, 2008


The Olympic Opening Ceremonies are underway in Beijing as I type.

I have scoured the internets searching for a live video feed of the festivities, but can find nary a site. I guess I must wait with the rest of the nation until NBC chooses to re-broadcast it in primetime.

Instead of taking in all the pyrotechnics, over-the-top costumes and phenomenal performances from my living room, I will be observing 8 pm of 8-8-08 by having dinner with eight friends (well, Bluegrass Brit will only be there in spirit as she is currently visiting her homeland, but I'm goin' with the '8' theme, so work with me on this one...)

We're visiting one of my favorite restaurants in Cincinnati, and I am looking forward to the good food with great friends.

The Chinese chose to open the games today because 8 is a very lucky number in their culture, and this evening presents one of the most lucky moments in the history of the universe.

This evening is the perfect time to revel in the good luck and goodwill circling the globe.

In honor of the occasion, click here to get your own fortune from a virtual fortune cookie.

Mine said Romance is likely, strike up a conversation.

Time to get talkin'.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ja, gut!

Time was not working in my favor, at least where the yogurt was concerned.

Mickdizzle and I decided to swing by Yagoot after a quick breeze through the Rookwood TJ Maxx. I didn't know what to tell her about the fro-yo spot near Dr. Mojoe, other than it has ties to Busken, the Cincinnati bakery favorite.

I had picked up a two-fer coupon for Yagoot at the St. Cecilia Festival in Oakley a couple weeks ago (assessment: lots of tramp stamps, rug rats and a few rides that were a couple of loose bolts away from a lawsuit) and had been hanging on for the perfect opportunity.

Today's sweltering heat seemed like just the occasion.

The folks at the counter could read it on our faces before we even had a chance to say hello - we were newbies who hadn't yet had the pleasure of enjoying Yagoot. They said they were going to dish up some samples to help us navigate the mystery of this frozen goodness.

And goodness it is.

Yagoot doesn't have any gluten, is 99% fat free and only has 120 calories per half-cup serving. The heat relief treat also has live active cultures that are great for digestion - just ask any chick who's seen an Activia commercial.

And so this is where the timing comes in to play.

I had every intention of taking a pic of the swirly goodness of my plain Yagoot topped with "crunch," strawberries and raspberries. The cup was a stunning vision of tastebud salvation, unfortunately I could not restrain my spoon from repeatedly diving in to the yogurt and then in to my mouth.

Over and over, it went something like this:

Spoon dives in yogurt cup. Spoon breezes through air and cruises into mouth. Cup. Air. Mouth. Cup. Air. Mouth. "Mmmm thhh s ruuuly gd." Cup. Air. "I mean, really. It is delicious." Mouth.

And on and on and on.

And before I knew it, I was in possession of an empty yogurt cup and no pictures to chronicle the excursion.

So there it is. Yagoot. It's so good it will make you forget your priorities.

Maybe it isn't a good idea to swing by when you're contemplating a major life decison.

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Shots All Around

Kate's Random Musings invites you to celebrate a very important milestone.

I mean, when you turned four, it was very important, wasn't it?

Very important as in a special cake, a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey with all your best friends and maybe a brand new pair of Jordache jeans.

Very important as in special, pointed hats with elastic that pinched your chin and goody bags full of Jolly Ranchers and jelly bracelets.


Very important.

I can't believe my blog is four-years-old today. If she were a real, live person, she'd be unwrapping Hannah Montana cds and fluffy Webkins while nagging me for a juice box and another Dora DVD.

As it is, KRM is really just what it always has been to me, a literary playground where I can write down my thoughts, feelings and desires. Sometimes it's silly, sometimes it's serious - but hopefully it ALWAYS elicits a reaction.

I started my blogging career with this post, remarking that it's scary putting all your thoughts out there for the globe to see.

Actually, it's not that scary at all. For some reason, I keep doing it - and for some reason, you all keep coming back to read it.

Thank you for being gentle. Thank you for being supportive. Thanks for laughing along the way and thank you for picking my spirits up when I was trying to be strong through all the tears (especially over the past few months). Thank you for being bitchy and ballsy through all my man troubles and thank you for encouraging me to add to my spectacular shoe collection.

A month ago I alluded to some significant changes on the blog. What changes? you ask. The blog looks the same, you say. Yes, it pretty much looks the same. Last month I bought my domain name (got rid of the in anticipation of a major overhaul.

And it's coming.

It turns out, sometimes these kinds of changes can't happen overnight. They can't even happen in the time span of one month. Just know I am really excited about the plans I have for the blog and I think you will be, too, once you see it in all its glory.

In the meantime, go to the bar, grab a cocktail and mingle with the rest of the crowd.

The party's just getting started.

Southern Flavor

Folks in Atlanta are not afraid of good food.

Sure, in California it's all about organic and influences from the Pacific Rim. New York celebrates diversity like it's a job - letting foodies sink their teeth into dishes with Amish and Zydeco influences and everything in between.

In the ATL - it's all about rich.

Diners in the South's unofficial capital lick their chops at the prospects of authentic barbecue, heaping helpings of cream gravy and chitlins worthy of mama's stove top. Everything is full fat full stop. And there are few restaurants that do Southern better than the Horseradish Grill.

Horseradish Grill - 4320 Powers Ferry Road - Atlanta, GA 30342

The dining spot prides itself on being Atlanta's oldest, continuously operating restaurant, a bragging right you sense as soon as you cross the threshold into what looks like an old horse barn. The restaurant features a bunch of cozy corners and spots perfect for a bridal shower, a romantic occasion or another special event. Brigid, Steve and I were shown to a table in the main dining room, a spot next to a window looking on to the beautifully manicured patio. The crowd was full of families enjoying Sunday Brunch, folks looking for a leisurely meal after church and young professionals enjoying some bubbly mimosas, perhaps seeking some hair of the dog after a night out in Midtown.

We poured over the drink menu and Steve and I decided to indulge in another brunch classic - a ice cold, spicy Bloody Mary. The drink came in a tall pint glass, garnished with several green olives on a spear - it had some heat but I didn't think the drink was spectacular - but it was good enough.

Our server brought us a basket of fluffy, warm biscuits. With one bite, I could tell someone had slaved away in a hot, late-July-in-Atlanta kitchen, making these biscuits from scratch. They were flaky and moist and had just a hint of salt in them - the perfect flavor to compliment a big smear of real butter and homemade jam.

We devoured the biscuits. I'm sure if someone had timed us, we would have won a competition for fast eating. This brunch at Horseradish Grill was already turning into serious business, and I was wondering whether my stomach and I would be able to keep up.

Steve and Brigid (being regular diners at HG) insisted we try an appetizer of the fried green tomatoes - and I wasn't going to fight them. The server brought us the most magnificent plate of firm, fried tomato slices topped with melted goat cheese and seasoned, toasted pecan bits. The tomatoes held on to the seasoned breading quite well and the cheese and pecans were a perfect, unexpected addition to this quintessential Southern dish.

When it came to ordering the entrees, I was really torn. The menu was chock full of delicious offerings, and the server only complicated the matter by expertly describing the day's specials. I went with the special omelet of chorizo sausage, tomatoes, white cheddar cheese - all topped with a fresh, creamy avocado sauce. It was delicious, but in retrospect I wish I hadn't gone that route. I mean, an omelet is an omelet, right? You can get omelets in Idaho and Cincinnati and Kansas. It was a delicious dish, but I wish I had selected something worthy of a Paula Deen cookbook. The hash brown potatoes were crispy and hot and homemade. Delicious, but again, nothing spectacular.

Brigid's fingers make a reach for my hash browns.

Initially, I was enchanted with the Hot Georgia Browns on the brunch menu. The dish is The Grill's take on one of my favorite Kentucky traditions. I spent many years devouring the Hot Brown at Ramsey's in Lexington, and was curious about this version, served on biscuits instead of pieces of toast. The Horseradish Grill piles roasted turkey on top of the biscuits, drowning it in a creamy mornay sauce, topped with crumbled bacon. Brig and I both salivated at the idea of the dish, and in the end Brig decided to take on the heart-attack-on-a-plate.

At first bite, Brig and I both thought the heaping pile of starch and fat was heavenly. Brig continued on with the challenge, though, and quickly became disenchanted with the dish. We both concurred the dish was just too damn rich - and the gravy had a bit of an odd aftertaste. I think I figured out where this spin on the hot brown misses the mark. The chef has opted to forgo the much needed element of a couple slices of tomato to top the pile of gluttony. The fruit/vegetable is pretty much a pre-req in the Kentucky version, and the slices add just a bit of moist flavoring needed to combat all the starchy heaviness.

Both struggling with a little bit 20/20 hindsight, we eyed my brother-in-law's delicious dish. Steve had opted for the Jumbo Gulf Shrimp and Logan Turnpike Grits. The menu described the dish as, "sautéed with fire-roasted red peppers and caramelized onions in a lightly spiced sherry sauce."

Steve's fork assumes the position, seconds before experiencing edible ecstasy

Brigid and I felt like two mutts eying another dog with a t-bone. Steve's fork dove in to the plate, a symphony epitomizing everything Southern. After we all had enjoyed a few bites of our respective dishes, Brig and I noticed our forks started creeping towards Steve's plate. He obliged without a second thought. I didn't feel right about taking one of the dynamite looking shrimps, but I did scoop up a bit of the grits and sauce that accompanied them.


I savored the grits wondering if perhaps that's why Sherman burned down Atlanta - maybe he was pissed the ladies of the South wouldn't share their secret shrimp-and-grits recipes. At the Horseradish Grill, the kitchen serves up perfect grits - they're not too sticky, not too watery. They are the perfect consistency of creamy. Brig and I swirled our fingers in the dish (poor Steve) trying to solve the mystery of the sauce. I know the menu mentions sherry, but Brig and I are convinced there's some maple syrup thrown in there for good measure. We finished our brunch, Brig already plotting a birthday visit at the Horseradish Grill at the end of the month.

She says she's getting the shrimp and grits.

Steve and Brigid... they are amazing.