Bean Butt Chicken

Yesterday morning, while leafing through Mastering the Grill (the #1 grilling cookbook in our house), Lucas and I discussed what to make for our Memorial Day dinner.  We’ve been throwing a lot of chicken boobs on the grill lately, so initially we leaned towards a different animal.  But the moment he said Bean Butt Chicken I was all over the idea.

Now, I’m not sure how the idea of inserting something up a chicken’s butt and then cooking it came about.  I can only imagine, kindly keep my thoughts to myself and then thank that certain freaky individual.  Beer, beans, whatever … it doesn’t matter. Continue reading

Tejas

Ahh, Texas.  After 18 long, sad months, I am finally returning to my home state.

The next month will go by quickly, yet I am still anxious as hell and ready to go.  Last weekend we picked out the house we’ll be leasing and the movers will be here around the 20th of June.  The best part?  Don’t have to pack!  The movers will take care of everything.

And this time we will not (hopefully) drive in the rain for days, lock our keys in a moving van or get food poisoning!  Click here for the whole story.

I may miss Pittsburgh.  Maybe.  It is beautiful here, far more beautiful than Fort Worth will ever be.  And I’ve made a couple of good friends that I hope to keep in touch with.  But food?  Not so much.  Okay, okay.  Somehow Pittsburghers have perfected the french fry like you couldn’t imagine.  If you like meat and potatoes it would be the perfect food vacation destination for you.  Personally, I’m sick of it

Just the short weekend we spent house-hunting in Fort Worth left me drooling for more. Continue reading

Ghost Chile Incident

Growing up, I remember being amazed that my dad could eat jalapenos without looking like he was going to die.  Watching in awe, I hoped that one day I could do the same.  At the tender age of nine or so I had discovered my life’s mission.  Doctor, lawyer, teacher?  Sure, respectable goals.  But they all paled in comparison to being able to eat something spicier than my dad could handle. Let’s just say I was a competitive child.

I started with pickled jalapenos, working my way up to fresh jalapenos and then the deliciously smoky chipotle.  As my love of food in general grew, I discovered Thai chiles, serranos, chile pequin, scotch bonnets and habaneros.  Yes, they are all hot.  Sometimes insanely so, but I found myself addicted to the heady feeling I got while working my way through a dish that had been prepared with plenty of glorious capsicums. Continue reading

My Head is Full of Tunnels

Happy Belated 2012!

Where have the days gone?  No, seriously?  It’s more than halfway through January, but somehow that doesn’t seem possible.  A few weeks ago we bought tickets for a short trip to Houston and at the time it seemed like February was never going to get here.  But it’s so close!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, or so I keep reminding myself.  These tunnels are nasty little buggers and it seems like there are so many of them.  I find my way through one and I’m rewarded with beautiful moments, full of laughter and love and fun.  But then there is another damn tunnel.

Who makes these tunnels?

I guess I do, but I prefer to imagine tiny little dwarves inside my head, chipping away slowly and methodically.  Must be why I get the occasional migraine.  I just wish the bloody bastards would make the tunnels a wee bit more interesting.  Perhaps they could throw in an interesting curve every now and then? Continue reading

Niagara Falls

“Blame Canada!  Blame Canada!  They’re not even a real country anyway.” – South Park

On our way to Niagara Falls a couple of weeks ago, Lucas and I were stopped at the border crossing and questioned thoroughly.  We were then told to pull to the side so our vehicle could be searched.  As we stepped out of the truck I began to feel nervous.  I was concerned that my prescriptions would be a problem because they have a different name on them than what’s on my passport.  And then if I had to explain that the name on my passport isn’t actually my name anymore … would they let me in?!

But no, they weren’t worried about my name.  Or my klonopin.

When we heard the border patrol mention guns multiple times Lucas and I began to lighten up and laugh at the situation a little.  This caused one especially serious guy to look over at us and snap “if you have any guns it would be a whole lot easier if you just told us now.”  Continue reading

Pollyanna Walks at the End of the Movie and I’m Writing Again. Fuck Pollyanna!

You know those times in your life when it seems like your spirit is half-dead?  It’s hard to keep moving, damn near impossible to get out of bed and jeezus forget about taking a shower on a Sunday when you’ve got nowhere to go and no one to see?

Just about the whole past year has been like that for me (if these feelings are not part of your life experience, please pop this movie in your VCR and go away).

I have barely written.  And what’s that thing you do to burn calories?  Oh yeah, exercise?  Umm … not so much.  Also, cooking for one pretty much sucks. Continue reading

Spring & Stress, Margaritas & Martinis, Toons & Transformers

As Spring slowly approaches nature has begun to perform a coquettish dance right before my eyes.  The snow falls, only to melt quickly as warmer days pop up here and there.  When the snow melts the dark red earth is lit up brilliantly by the sun.  Greens and browns freckle the landscape, hopeful of things to come.  I fucking love those days.

But they are easily replaced by cooler temperatures and as the rain turns to snow, it once again covers the earth – hiding that which I love.  I am left feeling morose; stuck in a world of black and white.

But I am hopeful.  I long to see leaves budding on trees.  Flowers.  Hell, I even want to see other people’s toes again because it means the days have grown warm enough to wear flip-flops (I imagine this is still a ways off).  For days I have been daydreaming about hiking – fresh air, peanut butter sandwiches and making out next to a waterfall.  Yes, Lucas has been gone too long.

The last time he was in town I was drugged up on klonopin due to a ridiculous anxiety attack brought on by the stresses of work, loneliness and the complete inability to cope with my situation.  I’m feeling better, thanks to an attitude adjustment, yoga and yogurt.  May The Schwartz be with you.

But the time before that?  When I still thought I was a somewhat well-adjusted individual?  We spent a Saturday together exploring, eating and laughing with each other.

We started our day with lunch at Azul Bar y Cantina, a tasty little Mexican restaurant located in Sewickley.  We munched on homemade chips and salsa and then enjoyed some tacos along with three of the most incredibly delicious roasted jalapenos you could imagine (coated in salt!).  Their house margarita was on par with those I’ve had in Houston and we left giddy with happiness over finding a restaurant we really enjoyed. Continue reading

Penn Brewery

After moping around like a big loser for the past couple of months I finally decided to go out and try to make some friends.  The site meetup.com was recommended to me by someone so I got online and applied for membership with a group of women who are not native to the Pittsburgh area.

They had a meetup tonight at the Penn Brewery, the first craft brewhouse in Pennsylvania.  I arrived about fifteen minutes late because I got lost.  If it was up to me I would have driven all the way to Harrisburg, but common sense hit me.  Okay actually I saw a sign that said Brewery <—.  And still made a wrong turn after that.

I was nervous at first, especially when I saw that the table was full, but someone quickly made room for me.  Within a few minutes I had a Penn Weizen in my hand and was chatting with everyone, thanking myself for showing up.

Because really?  I needed girl time like it was nobody’s business.

What is it about female relationships that are so important?  I love Lucas so freaking much, but there are certain needs that a guy simply doesn’t have the capacity to meet.  Just goofing off with women I hardly know awakened something in me that has been dormant for months.  I smiled.  Felt happy.  Hopeful.

The food?  Wasn’t even important.

Why I Will Never Really Love Pittsburgh

I never realized how spoiled I was growing up in a big city.  There was so much to do, but more importantly there was cultural diversity.

Pittsburgh ain’t all that.  And I know it’s bad when I get excited in the line at Chipotle because right there, in that very line, was the biggest melting pot I had seen in weeks.  An Indian couple in front of me, a black woman behind me.  Wait, was that it?  You see?  That was enough to impress me.

This is a white ass city.  And yeah, I’m a white girl.  But I like color.  I like Chinatown, Long Point, Greenspoint (Gunspoint), Mission Bend, Hillcroft, Airline and all Six Wards of Houston.

I miss attempting my rusty Espanol at a taco truck.  The goofy smile on the face of the owner at Kim Tai as he corrects my pronunciation.  “Cám ơn”, he says.  “Gum on?”  I respond as he laughs once again, patiently sounding “thank you” out while I continue to butcher his language.  I should stick to food.

Almost everyone I work with is white.  There is not a single Jesus to make fun of.  Just Doug’s and Nancy’s and other boring ass names like Kelly.

The closest thing you get to culture here is the Polacks.  And those delicious pierogies.

Peace, Courtesy of Bourdain

Like most people, I have an inner battle with myself about how I can be a better person.  I mean, good people at least try not to cuss, right?  But it feels so good to really say what I feel.  And good people donate to charities instead of, like me, bashing that damn pink ribbon relentlessly.  I hate pink.  And what about colon cancer for Pete’s sake?

Overall I’m fairly comfortable with the person I am.  But there has been one thing (let’s just leave it at that for this post) that pops up every now and then, gnawing away at my sense of compassion.

Eating meat. Continue reading