Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Man Can Cook #20: Oooooh, I love Paella!

I have a general affinity for what I affectionately call "Po-folks food". This is by no means a slight, as to me it is simply a general term describing the food of working people who learn to make the most from the least. In my opinion it's far more difficult to make something amazing from the cheapest ingredients than it is to do so from the finest.

Paella is just such a dish. It's a Valencian dish dating back to the early 19th century. It's the stuff of shepherds and orchardmen who cooked the dish, usually over an open fire, out of what was available, cheap and easy to transport. There are many different regional variations of the dish from those dominated by meat, to seafood. Each variation tends to take on the flavor of the region in which it's prepared and features local and/or seasonal meats and vegetables. The mere suggestion of deviation from those regional formulae is cause to "step outside" in some parts of Spain. They take their Paella VERY seriously.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good People Doing Good Things...With Fast Cars #2

It's happened to all of us.....

You're sitting in traffic in your car. A car you don't particularly care for. Maybe it's old, maybe it needs work, maybe it's just not the car you want. You see something swoopy and shiny in the mirror and you glance to the side as it passes, and you see the mile-deep paint, you discern the exotic pedigree of the car, you notice the conspicuously throaty exhaust, perhaps you even look long and hard enough to see a pricey watch on the wrist of the driver and you feel a twinge of jealousy. You know you shouldn't but you do and even if only for a moment you think; "He's probably an a-hole".

Maybe not.....

If the sound of the tandem Ferrari Enzo's doesn't bring you to tears, the story will.

"Your ride is here" is a non-profit all-volunteer organization based in Austin, TX that in partnership with exotic car dealer John Eagle European Motors, provides rides, free of charge, for cancer patients to and from their treatment appointments.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Giants, The Athletics & BIG-Money-Ball

Much to the consternation of Bay Area Baseball fans, be they fans of the Giants or Athletics, the issue of the Athletics and their stadium woes remains unresolved. Bug Selig, after forming his "Blue Ribbon Committee" in 2009 has accomplished nothing other than to prop up the Blue Ribbon manufacturing industry. At issue now, as it always has been, is the matter of territorial rights to the Silicon Valley. The Giants have them, the Athletics want them. How the Giants came to be in their possession is no longer particularly relevant. This is big-boy business not a Co-Op and the Giants aren't about to give them up.

Today, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports posted a report (Read It Here) that restates what I asserted above and what we already knew;
The Giants owners have shown no willingness to this point to sell at any price their territorial right to the Silicon Valley area, which includes San Jose.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Backyard Biodiversity

Photo taken last weekend. Kathy cut some roses and put them in a vase on our patio table. While sitting and enjoying a glass of wine I noticed this little guy. There is an interesting contrast, I think, between the hybridized, somewhat synthetic color of the rose petal and the grasshopper.

BBQ Blues

I freakin love BBQ. Not grilling mind you, that's a whole 'nuther deal. I'm talking about BBQ. Cheap cuts of meat turned into amazing, moist, juicy, lip-smacking good stuff by means of a long, slow, low-temperature cook...and a bit of smoke for good measure. I'm far from an expert on the matter, the guy who runs this website/blog however is:  If you are looking to learn "how to smoke some meat" that is the best place to start. 

I'd characterize myself as more of an enthusiast. My smoker is nothing special but I've made a few modifications to it so it works far better than it ought. My recipes aren't traditional nor are they particularly original either. But I've put a little spin on things here and there to tweak them to my taste and that of my friends....who seem to like the end result.

Last weekend we hosted a going away party for a very close friend who is taking a temporary work assignment out of state and we were expecting ~25 guests. That's a lot of people to cook for no matter what you are cooking, but BBQ is IMO a bit easier to manage because the quantity of meat that can be produced at once is rather high and it allows ample time to do other things around the house while the smoke is going on. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tips for bringing your child to a nice restaurant:

Tip #1 - DON'T!

Tip #2 - If you have any questions, see Tip #1

Friday evening, Kathy & I attempted to enjoy a Wedding Anniversary co-celebration with another couple at one of our favorite restaurants, Tigelleria in Campbell (previously reviewed HERE ). It's really quite a nice place. The food is great, the service is usually excellent, though Friday it was a bit off. The problem though was not the service, nor the food. The problem was the patently inconsiderate, self absorbed jerkoffs at the next table. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Random Canoeing Photos

There are photographers and there are people who take pictures. My friend John is the former. He runs the website and I urge you to avail yourself of some of his work here Spectacular stuff. That said, I reside firmly in the latter group...people who take pictures. Like a blind squirrel occasionally finding a nut, I as a not-a-photographer-type person occasionally take a picture I'm not ashamed of. Here are a few that I like.....

Green River, Utah

Afternoon Light At Horseshoe Bend

Friday, May 4, 2012

One Lap Of America; Good People Doing Good Things With Fast Cars

On Saturday May 5th the 2012 Tire Rack One Lap of America kicks off in South Bend, Indiana and over the course of the following eight days this automotive marathon will cover approximately 3,500 miles and include 21 competition stops at race tracks across the country.  James Shipka & Co-driver Carl Casanova will be joining nearly 90 other teams from around the world in what will be James' third time participating in this one-of-a-kind event.  Once again the OneLapCamaro will be the oldest entry in the race and this year they’re heading out as the two time defending Vintage America Class Champions so the pressure is on.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

California Canoe / Kayak Paddling Guidebooks

California is a simply spectacular place for anyone interested in paddlesports. Short of the multi-day paddle-portage-paddle style tripping done in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, Algonquin and Quetico there really isn't a form of paddling one can't participate in here. The lack of this traditional style "tripping" is a matter of topography. Most CA lakes are man made, dammed rivers. As such they reside in deep, rough terrain river canyons which makes the prospect of portaging to the next lake in a chain difficult if not impossible. There are very few locations in CA that support this type of tripping and none that I can think of that encompass more than a single days worth of travel. That aside, there is much to be found for the CA paddler; We have Hawaiian Style Outrigger Canoe Racing clubs in the Bay Area & So-Cal, Sea & Surf kayaking and touring, tons of spectacular whitewater opportunities in the Sierras, Cascades and Siskiyou ranges and scores inland & alpine of lakes that are perfect for the flatwater canoeist or kayaker. Depending on how much time you have available and  how far away from it all you want to get there is literally, something for everyone and a place for nearly every type of desired experience.

So how does one locate a destination suitable to the experience they seek? You can only glean so much info from staring at a satellite image on Google maps and even the web will leave you wanting for information on the more remote destinations as I found when researching Lake McCloud in my previous post. The largest online resource is It's ok, but the user interface is at best clunky and there isn't much in the way of CA content. There is a small Nor-Cal specific web-forum called but it's just getting started. I'm a member there and we are trying to build the database of destination information but it's going to take time and more participating members to turn it into a good resource. Paddling is an ancient art, and it seems the dissemination of information regarding paddling is best or at least most commonly done by a similarly "old school" means. Books. The intent of this post is to briefly review a few of best.

There are four different resources that I find myself referring to when researching a future trip.

  • Paddling Northern California - By Charlie Pike

  • Up The Lake With A Paddle (Vol 1-4) - By William Van Der Ven

  • Paddling The California Highlands - By John Coale

  • Kayaking California's Flat Waters - By Janice L. Green