Archive for the 'Elaine' Category

Feb 08 2014

Santa Maria Roadtrip

In researching tritip for my smoking experiment, I learned that it was “invented” in Santa Maria, CA, so I’m sitting in a hotel here now!  I live in San Diego, so the wife and I jumped in the car and drove 5 hrs north and started hunting for good tritip.

Our first stop was at the Rancho Nipomo, and it’s been the best one so far!  The tritip is sliced very thin, and made into a sandwich.

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I was more interested in the meat than the bread, but then the owner, Richard, came over and said he forgot to tell us about the salsa that we HAD to put in the sandwich.  Wow!  It’s a pretty simple, fresh tasting salsa – made with canned tomatoes.  The combo was excellent.  He also had us try a hot salsa, made with Manzano peppers.  I think I’m still sweating!

You can tell he loves what he does.  He threw in a pulled pork sandwich

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and kept bringing us over other stuff to try, like the amazing chili on some chips.  My wife had the pork with a red sauce and nopales.

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It was great, with a good heat.

For Saturday lunch, we tried out Jocko’s in Nipomo, CA, but failed to read that the BBQ pit doesn’t open til 4, so I got a pretty good bbq sandwich.

Next, we headed up the coast, stopping for a bit to see some Butterflies:

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And llamas:

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But the pony ride was a lie!

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Very disappointing ;)

We headed back to Arroyo  Grande, CA to the Oak Pit BBQ.  I couldn’t decide what to get, so I got the sampler, which at $15 isn’t too bad!

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Pork rib, beef rib, tritip, pulled pork, and sides.  Oh, and corn muffin.  mmm! Like Rancho Nipomo above, their tritip was not cooked rare.  It was good, but not as good as Rancho.  Or mine ;)

Elaine was missing vegetables, so she got a salad.  A tritip salad!  ;)

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The cook was VERY nice and told us that they smoked on red oak, just like I’d learned from my research.  I asked where I could get some and he pointed across the street to a market.

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So now I have a trunk full of red oak pieces that are too big to fit into my smoker.  Elaine thinks my solution will be to cut it down, but it occurs to me that maybe the REAL solution is a bigger smoker!  ;)

On Sunday morning we got up and headed back to Rancho Nipomo for more BBQ!  Here’s a tri tip sandwich with the proper salsa:

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Also tried his ribs, which were very good!  Not as smokey as I like, but still great!

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And here’s a picture of that super hot sauce I mentioned above:

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3 responses so far

Feb 13 2011

Tour de Palm Springs 2011

I just got back from my second Tour de Palm Springs Century bike ride.

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Here are some stats:

2011:

Avg Speed: 15.0 mph
Max Speed: 38.3 mph
Time in Motion: 06:35:36
Actual Time on the Ride: 08:33:40

I had a small data problem when my bike computer got paused for about 4 miles after the 50 mile lunch and get-a-new-tire-installed stop. Full Garmin stats here.

Compared to 2010:

Average Speed: 14.1 mph
Max Speed: 36.9 mph
Time in Motion: 7h 10m
Actual Time on the Ride: 9h

It was a little chilly, like last year:

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There were four of us riding:

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Dante, me, Kitchen, and Mike. I’d ridden with Kitchen and Mike last year. This was Dante’s first century and, despite the lack of sunscreen, he finished great!

Just as I was about to ride out in my wave of people, I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned around and a dude says, “You’re Declan!” I said, “yep!” while trying to figure out where I knew him from. I finally asked, nicely, “who are you?” and he said this was his first ride and he’d found my ride post from last year and it helped him a lot. Very cool! Except by then, my riding buddies had taken off and I was all alone! ;) I caught up with Dante pretty quickly, and ditched him trying to figure out his new SPD shoes and pedals. Eventually I caught up with Mike and we stuck together during most of the ride. We never saw Kitchen until we finished. He was riding a fixie, so we knew his pace would be a lot different from ours.

The ride was just like last year, except for more accidents. I saw a really bloody crash in the first few miles of the ride. And I saw at least five others. I wonder of there are just too many riders. The whole ride seemed crowded, and that’s either from the 3000 more riders than the 7800 last year, or I was going a bit faster and keeping up with the pack more.

I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of mechanical difficulties on long rides in the past, but my luck ended at the mile 50 lunch break. There is some dangerously potholed road just before the break, and I felt my bike having trouble as I pulled in. I looked down at my back tire, and it was all swollen in one area. Mike and I had teamed up with another rider named Guido, and he said it looked like the lining in the tire was bad. I took the bike over to the mechanics area, and Guido was right! I was hoping my ride wasn’t finished just half way through, so I asked how much a new tire would be. $10!!! WOW! That works!

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KHS Bicycles ran the mechanics stop and I’m very grateful for the low cost repair. And the no cost service! It took about 15 mins to wait for the tech to get to me, then about 5 mins for the fix! Yay SAG stops!

Here are Guido and Mike at mile 72:

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After the mile 92 SAG stop, Guido and I ditched Mike and shot out ahead. I was dog tired and just wanted to get to the end. Guido eventually got ahead, and we all finished within 40-50 mins. Guido even waited to cheer me on!

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Then my real cheering section yelled at me to come hear them!

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That’s Dante’s fiance Mercedes, Elaine, Erin, and Elaine’s mom Donna.

Kitchen got to the end about 15 mins before I did, then Mike showed up about 15 minutes after me. We never knew what happened to Dante, but I think I spotted him today:

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Elaine rode the 56 mile ride and did great! If she ever blogged or tweeted, you’d hear ALL about it… ;)

5 responses so far

Jun 13 2010

Taste of Adams 2010

Elaine and i just finished up trying out the Taste of Adams and had a few reflections:

When we started researching the event, there were 2 different dates referenced on web sites. In fact, the Blind Lady mailed out that they had confused the date too.

The tickets cost $25 each, but Mercedes found a $5 off deal. Still, the ordering site added a $2.50 processing fee, so that kinda sucked. For what we got, we think it was over priced by about $10.

Parking was about the same as normal for Adams, so about 5 mins of hunting side streets. The ticket booth was quick, with laser zappers that read the 2D barcodes nicely. Then we got a necklace badge with numbers that some of the vendors punched, I guess so you didnt come back for another whole bite of soy chorizo burrito.

We started at Blind Lady – a slice of nicely spicy margherita pizza. Then we hit Mariposa ice cream and they were very generous with two scoops of whatever they had. The Mexican chocolate was great! Next was Tams Thai which had a line too long to wait for so we skipped it. Next was Gold Donuts. They gave you a piece of a donut or fritter, or 3 donut holes for yer card punch. That was actually a pretty nice portion and fulfills my donut needs for the next year.

Then we met up with our buddies Kay Marie and Gerardo, and headed back in the other direction. Country Kabob Greek had some steam tables on the sidewalk with a tiny piece of pita with really spicy yogurt, and a bite of yummy spanikopita. Portions too small, but very tasty.

Lestats had iced coffee and brownie bites. Elaine liked the coffee, I never touch the stuff. The brownie was fine – kinda dry. Then we ran back across the street to TAO Thai and had some nice spicy tofu and a great chicken in some sweet sauce with mixed wild rice. No skimping on the portions here! They even had a mini dessert with mochi and bean curd. Right next door was Viva Pops! where they make their own Popsicles. The blood orange was yummy, and the girls said the chocolate banana was great too.

Elaine really liked El Zarape – rice, beans, carne, and chicken. Then a nice margarita shot! Well be back! Then we walked all that off and stopped into Incredible Cheesecake where I think they gave us a wafer thin hint of a smell of a taste of some cheese cake. Really chintzy.

Next was Jaynes Gastropub, who did the best job of all of the venues to treat us as more than a bother. We were seated and served bangers and mash. The portion was tiny, but we liked the service and the friendly people. We stayed a bit and ordered some beers to keep our strength up. Senior Mango was next, and I had a berry smoothy that was a nice size. None of the others had been inside AC Lounge before, so we popped in and were greeted very warmly by the bartender. They were serving half off drinks, but we were worried about running out of time, so we pressed on.

We skipped Twiggs because of time and tried Cafe 21. They had some dried out hash on dried out bread crumbs on a tray. Quite meh. Then we jumped on the trolley, which was a really nice part of the event, and went to the Farm House Cafe and had ricotta pancakes in a butter sauce with oranges. Very rich and tasty!

The trolley driver was cool and let us take our food on board so we didnt have to wait another 10 mins for the next bus. One of my main goals was to get to Ponces, someplace Ive heard great things about, so we rode the trolley all the way to the other end of Adams to Kensington. This was about 2:40, so we had 20 mins until the end of the event.

We tried out the Kensington Cafe, which had really nice people staffing sidewalk steam tables, but served up a minuscule bite of the aforementioned soy chorizo. Double meh. Burger Lounge had a 5 minute wait while they whipped up some more food, so we skipped it and hit Bleu Boheme. My old buddy JenBen was hosting and directed us back to a gentleman serving escargot in a rich sauce. Id never had them, and they were kinda like mussels or salty, chewy mushrooms with a slightly grainy texture. Oh, and they were snails… So that was different. I liked the place and the vibe tho.

Finally, with 10 minutes to spare, I get to try out Ponces!!! But no, theyre rejecting people at the door saying they ran out of food. WTF? How the hell do you run out of food? Youre a restaurant! The snails didnt leave a bad taste, but Ponces sure did. What a shitty way to treat people.

So, all in all, it was a nice event but many of the venues didnt do themselves any favors by being cheap on the offerings.

3 responses so far

May 31 2010

Yelp Review for West Coast Tavern

Elaine and I had dinner out at West Coast Tavern and liked it so much that I wrote a Yelp review.

Click here to read it.

No responses yet

May 09 2010

Happy Mothers Day, E!

Published by under Declan,Elaine,Erin,Family,Food,Fun,Nathan

To celebrate Mothers Day, we went and picked up the boy at SDSU and went to Ali Baba in El Cajon. We had the 4 Person Feast, and it started with a blanket of bread:

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and ended with a trough of lamb, chicken, rice, and so much food that we filled three take home boxes. All for $60! Very good deal. Then we dropped the boy back at school:

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and I snapped one more picture:

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One response so far

Jun 13 2009

Erin’s Award and Promotion Ceremony

Published by under Declan,Elaine,Erin,Family,Nathan

Erin’s officially a high schooler! On Wednesday, she got an award for her work in the Drama Club:

Here are the happy parents!

Nice work Erin!

(with Mr. Sykes, the drama coach)

Then on Thursday, Erin walked for her promotion ceremony:

There was pretty music:

which caused a lot of hugging:

and smiles:

and posing:

One response so far

Dec 16 2008

Elaine’s Yummy Birthday

Published by under Elaine

Happy birthday, baby!

One response so far

Nov 18 2008

It was 20 years ago… tomorrow, actually

Published by under Declan,Elaine,Photography

Love you E!

D

One response so far

Aug 09 2008

2008 Illinois Trip: Notarus Visit – The Final Final Chapter

So, I figured, I’m going to Chicago at the end of this long trip, let’s see Mark and Leah. Maybe a couple more UIUC/Chicago buddies. Mark and Leah ran with it and hosted a great BBQ with all kinds of blasts from the past. I only wish we were less exhausted and could enjoy it more!

Mark, the man with the meat:

Leah “I hardly KNOW her”:

Jason Hoos:

Mark demonstrates his child care technique:

Chirs Tromboski (I knew I’d spell it wrong, so why not be absurd?):

Dorothy Moe, wasted:

Elizabeth Badrov, hitting on me, as usual:

Super cutie Kate Badrov with Kera in the background:

Some guy:

Liz and Heather do what they do every day, plan to take over the world:

More pictures here:

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Aug 09 2008

2008 Illinois Trip: Naperville – The Final Chapter

Well, kinda.

One of my best buds is Greg, my brother in law. We sneak off and play Trivia, drink beer, and eat chicken wings. Usually before or after 2 or 3 movies. Sweet…

A highlight of a visit to Elaine’s sister Beth is when they start drinking and get caught in a darkly descending spiral of hysterical laughing. It usually ends in someone peeing. This was a bonus year because their other sister, Jean, made the trip up to Chicago. This adds an unstoppable critical mass to the spiral. Enjoy:

Beth has lost it. Now it’s Elaine’s turn:

Jean tips over:

Finally, Beth’s head asplodes:

They hate me now, but someday they will appreciate that I had my camera shipped 2000 miles to capture this. Like I care… ;)

I got some more time to play with my Lensbaby and got some nice shots. Here’s Rebecca:

And Rachael:

Jean’s daughter Candice (not Kelly. Don’t ask.):

Jean’s son Ryan:

A bunch of cousins:

More attitude than I can handle:

Just to be fair:

We had a great time in yet another palatial basement. I wish we could have basements out in California. The lack of humidity, bugs, and lots of heat help… a little.

More pictures:

One response so far

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