April 30, 2007
Hm, not sure how I feel about this, but these web surveys are never wrong...
April 17, 2007
Michelle, the boys, and I just came back from a week of sunshine and in Cabo San Lucas. It was a good trip. Tons more later. Time to go to bed now.
April 8, 2007
Last weekend, Andrew (9), Michael (6), and I had a grand ol' time geocaching in a park in Renton (a suburb on the south end of Lake Washington). We even found the cache this time (not always the case, unfortunately).
First, a little about geocaching for the uninitiated. Geocaching is a game where people hide caches and then list the coordinates on Geocaching.com. More often, there are multiple sets of coordinates, each leading to a clue that plays into a subsequent set of coordinates. Seekers then use their GPS' to work through the coordinates/clues until they find the cache. The caches vary, but they're usually some container with a logbook and some trinkets (the boys each picked up a small toy in this last one.) The guys (and I) love geocaching because it's a treasure hunt; it adds a lot of dimension to our hikes. It's a good excuse to play with gadgets too...
Anyway, the park where we geocached is the Black River Riparian Forest; the unique thing about this park (other than the fact the Black River has been gone for the almost ninety years since the Montlake Cut lowered the water level of Lake Washington) is that it's home to a huge heron colony, one of the biggest in Washington. As you can see from the photo, the trees are filled with heron nests. I understand they've laid their eggs already; the ones that survive predation from the bald eagles that have taken up residence very near by (we could easily the eagles' nest) will hatch in a few weeks. I want to come back then and see the hatchlings learn to fly. It was pretty cool even now.
A few tips if you go:
April 5, 2007
Last week was definitely a week of conspicuous consumption. On top of the Oyster Games, I went to another Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting at the Rainier Club. This year, I went with Alex, a crazy smart and fun Russian developer on my team (and a good photographer, as you'll see from his site).
As usual, there were many fine whiskies. More than the other years, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings were simply superb. One of my favorites was 33.63, a young (7 year old) bottle from Ardbeg, one of my favorite distilleries. It was fantastic - true to form for Ardbeg: smokey and wonderful. Alex's favorite was 113.14, a 12yo from Braes of Glenlivet (it was nicknamed "Sinful and Naughty" which I think enhanced the appeal for Alex.) The 1.120 was a 39 yo from Glenfarcas, and 4.114 was a 22 yo from Highland Park (another favorite distillery of mine). These were both fantastic. I will likely buy a bottle of each of these.
Macallan had their Fine Oak 21 year old, which was even better than the 17yo I tried and loved last time. It was definitely more refined and lighter than the younger Fine Oaks (I love this whole line, I admit).
Suntory had their Yamazaki Sherry Wood there for the first time. I thought this was great as well; full-bodied and raisiny -yum. Unfortunately, not available in Washington (our liquor sales are run by the state gov't).
Alex and I were split on the Glenlivet Nadurra, which was new to both of us. He loved it; I didn't care for it. It's a light, flowery whisky. I just didn't like the tail.
Finally, I had to have another glass of the Talisker 175, which was a fav from last time.
I was much smarter this time around. I poured out the whiskies I didn't care for, took smaller pours, ate earlier in the evening, and stopped drinking after we left the event and met friends in a bar afterwards. Most important I skipped the cigars entirely (big win). I was totally sober a few hours later when we left the bar and headed home.
I met a bunch of nice people, ran into some friends, and tasted a mess of great whisky. What could be better? (OK, if we had some oysters or bacon, it would be have been perfect.)
April 4, 2007
For the past three years, I've been a regular at the Oyster Olympics, a fundraiser for the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. This year, the US Olympic Committee decided that after eighteen years, the Oyster Olympics impinged too much on their Olympics and issued a cease-and-desist letter (losers). So, after a naming contest, they changed it to the "Oyster Games". (My losing entry was "Oysterpalooza".)
This year, I had the good fortune of going to this amazing event with four lovely ladies from the office: Kellie, Kristen, Katya, and Jane (Jane was invited for name alliteration diversity.) Kellie came with me last year; Katya and Jane are also oyster buffs. Kristen was a raw oyster virgin, having only eaten cooked oysters until now. I think we converted her. Katya shocked us all by eating a huge oyster; she apparently loves the really big oysters. Even as an oyster lover, I must admit it was too daunting for me.
Once again, I ate my way through my weight of oysters. As usual, I loved the Kumamotos and Pacificas, particularly from Hood Canal. I also found the Olympias to be a special treat; I don't recall ever eating so many Olympias before. They were the surprise highlight. I thought the Virginicas were watery this year and only OK. As usual, I don't care for the more metallic tasting European Flats.
As a special treat, I brought a flask of Ardbeg 10 years old Scotch whisky, one of my favorite whiskies and a great match with oysters. I would pour a few drops onto an oyster and slurp the whole thing down. Simple heavenly. I started handing out spiked oysters to the people serving plus any nice people I met. I soon became the Pied Piper of oysters with whisky. Jane brought a flask of Laphroaig, which was lovely with the oysters as well. Those peaty, ocean-y Islay whiskies are just ideal with oysters. Mmm.
This is always one of the highlights of my food year; this year was no exception -- even with the Grinchy USOC trying to ruin the event.
Click here for photos from the event in 2004 (I didn't take as many photos this year.)