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Ad Hoc at Home (truly)

5 Dec

After first visiting Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Las Vegas last year I’ve become obsessed with simple French food.   (If you haven’t been to Bouchon, it’s an culinary cove of civility tucked away on the tenth floor of the Venetian.  Far from the casino floor…unlike certain other Michelin starred restaurants). On our first visit, C and I gorged ourselves so much on the foie gras, salmon rillettes, and oysters that we didn’t even make it to the next course.  It also started a debate about how I could keep the foie gras cold enough for 24 hours to bring home.  I lost.  We had to eat it all then and there.  All 250ml/1000 calories/95 grams of delicious fat.  It did inspire me however to make both pork and salmon rillettes (more on that another time).

Now, I’ve long been of the opinion that unless you have a gourmet kitchen, endless hours to prepare, and unlimited patience, French food is generally best enjoyed when the preparation has been left to a professional.  Ad Hoc at Home changed my opinion.  The recipes are trustworthy, beautifully presented, and genuinely as enjoyable to make as they are to eat.

Buy online at Amazon for about $40

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¡vacaciones!

21 Nov

CN and I have decided to go on a vacation…next week.  My normal vacation obsession has been allayed by the fact we’re joining friends so most of the planning has already been decided.

Of course I still spent several hours sourcing out the best possible rate, site and way to package our trip. I’m fairly certain I checked every site three (maybe four) times, bundled, de-bundled, and came up with all kinds of way of getting to Seattle because the YYJ-SEA flight is full.  This time around however, the best deals are right from the source: Alaska Air and Riu Palace. We’ll fly the day before to SEA and stay with a friend then meet the rest of the gang on the plane to Mexico.

This mostly straightforward trip does of course spawn some other sub-projects:

Travel Vaccines?
Status: Ignored.
I was watching TV last night and got excited when an advert came on (in it’s usual louder-than-necessary style) threatening me with all the ways I could contract The Hepatitis while on a tropical vacation.  Today I checked the Provincial Health Link, and Canadian Travel sites to try for an answer.  Turns out there’s no definitive word on the Baja. There is a price though: about $150 for the Twinrix vaccine. Hm, that’s the deal breaker.  I might be too late to really make much of a difference anyway.  

UPDATE:  I felt like I was in the Twinrex commercial everytime I walked on the sand.  I really should have gotten that vaccine…

Foreign Exchange.
Status: Done
Looks like the Pesos:USD exchange has been taking a beating as of late.  In the summer it was about 10 MXN pesos to $1 USD, now it’s 14 to $1.  This is my first Mexican trip, so I’m not sure what gets a better reception.  I’m skeptical if they have changed all of their pricing to reflect this, so handing out USD seems inefficient.

UPDATE:  Totally worthwhile.  The USD exchange was terrible.  I got $2500 Mexican for $200 Canadian.

¿Hablo español?
Status: Done!
Ugh…sí, pero yo están muy oxidado [translation: Yes, but I am very rusty]  I got out my 1001 Spanish Words book and started reading a few pages a day.  And listening to spanish radio at work… Whatever, a few shots of Tequilla and I’ll be tossing out nouns without regard for their tense or conjunction.

UPDATE:  Except for those pesky pronouns and tenses, I think I did rather well!

Drop 10lbs.
Status: Ha!
I know…soooo unique and soooo unlikely.  I’ll try to behave this week by taking a stab at this Steve Nash diet. I think this will work – at least a little – for two reasons: first I saw him this weekend and he’s pretty trim so it must work, and second, I’m fairly certain there are no ridiculous rules about cutting out alcohol.

It’s not going to be a miracle cure though, so in the words of my good friend MZ “If you can’t tone it, tan it.”

UPDATE:  Ya right!  Fortunately I came armed with a tan and a handful of great beach coverups.  (Plus KD made me a LOVELY caftan to flutter about in).

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