Friday, December 2, 2011

Looking Forward to Beer Festivals This Year

I thoroughly enjoyed myself going to the Winter Beer Carnival in February, 2011. I am now starting to look into all of the different festivals that I might be able to enjoy this year. I am looking at the Winter Beer Festival put on by Atlanta Beer Festivals. It takes place at the Masquerade and looks to be a great time. I am hoping that I will be able to get the super cheap $25 tickets by being among the first in line. The first 250 people get the tickets at this discounted rate. Should not be too hard to get that, but you never know.

To all of you hopheads out there who scoff at the idea of beer festivals being a summer thing, my hat is off to you. I feel the crisp air is the perfect thing for when you have had one too many hops in the belly and you are starting to heat up. I only wish that there were more festivals which happened throughout the winter here in Georgia.

A note about the food: I want to see more food of a better quality in the future. The hand dipped corn dogs were nice at the Winter Beer Carnival, but all of the rest of the food left something to be desired. Food got too cold too fast and lacked the hearty flavor I would expect from winter fare. Up the ante with some jalapeƱo stuffed sausages or maybe some hot pretzels with horseradish mustard dipping sauce. Bring the HEAT!

Anyone on staff for the beer festivals during the winter or throughout the year can feel free to contact me. I would love to get as much information as possible to report about these wonderful events so that I can post them here. Naturally, free passes for me and my lovely wife are always appreciated! I look forward to seeing everyone at the pouring stations!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Save Candler Park Golf Course

The city of Atlanta has many great traditions which should be preserved when they are good for the community and discarded when no longer needed. There is a current problem where the Parks and Recreation department is looking to eliminate one of the public golf courses in the city. Candler Park Golf Course is in trouble of being shut down because it is being dubbed as “not profitable enough”. This is a terrible reason to get rid of something which helps beginners to get started with golf in a less intimidating environment as well as a place where golf enthusiasts can get away for a relaxing 9 holes of golf.

Those who are familiar with the course feel that efforts can be better served in improving the golf course rather than shutting it down. This is why the Friends of Candler Park Golf Course has been making an effort to change the mind of those trying to shut down the golf course. If you are so inclined, you can learn more by visiting or by contacting me directly at

I have recently obtained permission from Edwin Watts Golf on Piedmont Road to provide merchandise which can be raffled to help promote the golf course and to try to raise money. The first raffle will be help shortly and will include the use of recovered balls from the course which will be stamped with a serial number. The drawing will choose one of these numbers and the winning number will win the prize.

Additional efforts will be made to have a tournament on the course and other promotional affairs. Every effort will be made to help in making sure that the city realizes how beloved Candler Park Golf Course is to the golfers and to the community. I encourage all golfers and those living in the community to reach out to those in control of this decision making process to let them know what you think.

If you are interested in writing a letter to those who can weigh in with more influence, the suggested people include:

·         Mayor Kasim Reed, City of Atlanta

·         Senator Jason Carter

·         Alex Wan, City of Atlanta Council District 6

·         George Dusenbury, City of Atlanta Parks & Recreation

·         Walt Rey, Park Pride Director of Park Visioning

Any questions or comments about this issue are welcomed and I will be sure to post them here for the consideration of all. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you out at Candler Park Golf Course soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Having Fun Playing Golf at Candler Park

Second Hole
There are few things more enjoyable than getting up early in the morning to play golf. Most of us are willing to get up earlier than you are for work or other kinds of obligations so that you can get first crack at the fairway and so that you will be able to beat the afternoon heat. This is exactly what I did when I was playing at Candler Park Golf Course the other day.

The Candler Park Golf Course is a 9-hole walking course in Atlanta, GA. It is steps from Little 5 Points in the Candler Park neighborhood. The greens fees are very reasonable at $10 for gameplay on the weekdays and $14 for playing on the weekends. The variations in elevation can be a bit of a challenge even though it is still a good course for those still beginning.
Seventh Hole
I have taken my son to Candler Park Golf Course on a few different occasions and it is a lot of fun to know that you are right next to a thriving metropolis while still being able to enjoy the nature and the beautiful vistas. The main thing that you will need to make sure of is that you are ready to get in a good hike. This is because you will be climbing all of the hills to get to your next shot.

The most challenging hole looks to be innocent enough. This is the second hole. The reason why the hole is so challenging is because you have to hit the green spot on or short. If you are off on either side or too far, your ball will trickle down a hill and you will be almost as far from the hole as you were when you were on the tee box.

Another challenge is that you will not be able to see the green whenever you are on the tee box on the par three on the ninth hole. You will also not likely be able to see the green on approach on the fifth hole or on the sixth hole. You will likely have to play the course a few times before you will be able to get a hang of the course.

Fourth Hole
I enjoy playing Candler Park Golf Course during the week early in the morning when there are not very many people on the course. This is a great way that I will be able to take my time when I need it and I can play fast whenever I am hitting good. Get out soon to play this wonderful course and you will enjoy yourself. Just remember that you might want to bring a walker or you can rent one for $3.50 from the course. This will help to take some of the strain off of you so that you can enjoy playing Candler Park Golf Course.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Learn Some Manners!

I have just created a blog which is the exact kind of thing that every chef everywhere dreams of doing for many different kinds fo diners. It is a blog which is dedicated to providing useful information for all of those people who do not behave correctly whenever you eat out. It is a practical look at what the restaurant sees and what you can do to improve your status as a patron of the restuarant. I hope that everyone will check out my new blog and provide feedback and even suggestions as I would love to make it as versatile as possible.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tunes from the Tombs - Live it Up at the Oakland Cemetery

Living in Atlanta means there are many different kinds of events you can look forward to. There are the ordinary events that you would expect like sports and massive concerts. What you might not expect to hear about is that one of the most historic cemeteries in town will hold a concert. This is exactly what will happen the weekend of 5/21 – 5/22. This May, Historic Oakland cemetery has decided to allow an unprecedented musical event, Tunes from the Tombs to be held among the many graves and tombs which it holds.

The event is sure to be a lot of fun as it draws many different bands from all across the nation. Even bands as distant as Colorado, Pennsylvania and California will be showing up. The genres of music will range from jazz to rock, classical, folk, Americana and others. The artists will have small stages that they will be able to perform on and those in attendance are encouraged to walk from one band to the next.

Featured bands at Tunes from the Tombs include SmokeThatCity – an instrumental act featuring Bill Taft and the original members of the Cabbagetown act Smoke. Also included on the bill are such great acts as The Blacktop Rockets, Slim Chance and the Convicts and AM Gold. These are only a few of the local and national acts which will be hitting the stage at Tunes from the Tombs.

Full performer lineup here.

The entertainment, and the likeness to a New Orleans event, does not end there. You will also be able to enjoy the stylings of different buskers who will show up on their own small stages. Additionally, you can get your fortune read by Robyn Avalon, a well-known Atlanta psychic and fortuneteller. She will start offering her services at 2pm and will be available until dusk. You will also be able to enjoy free mini tours as a part of the price of the ticket that you paid for.

You will not have to worry about getting hungry at Tunes from the Tombs as there will be great food from nearby restaurants: Six Feet Under, Pallookaville and Hottie Hawg’s Smokin’ BBQ. Along with the food vendors, you will have the chance to purchase “spirits” in the form of beer and wine. Sorry, no ghouls invited!

Attendance at Tunes from the Tombs is expected to be high. With cheap tickets, there is really no reason why you should not show up. Tunes from the Tombs will run from May 21 to May 22. It will operate from 11am until dusk. It is held on the grounds of the Historic Oakland Cemetery which is found at: 248 Oakland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30312. The tickets are being sold only at the event. You can get your tickets for $10 if you plan on just going for one day. If you want to go for both days, it is only $15. If you are bringing along your children, those who are 12 and under will only be $5 for one day, $10 for both.

If the event goes well and there is minimal damage to the space, it is likely that this will be a repeat event. So, please get out and support Atlanta and make sure that you are respectful of the eternal souls who will be rocking alongside you. Also, keep in mind that the proceeds from the event go to help preserve the Historic Oakland Cemetry so that it can remain part of what makes Atlanta so special.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Seeing the Golden Age of Comics at the Breman Museum in Atlanta

There is so much to do in the city of Atlanta that it is pretty easy to find something that you want to do. Being Mother’s Day, we decided to do something really special with our day. First, my wife was able to sleep in. It was nice to hear that Garrison Keeler from Prairie Home Companion agreed with us that this is something that every mother really wants. That, and to get away from the family for a little while for some alone time.
After we had pancakes and eggs as a family for brunch – no Mother’s Day brunch at a restaurant for our family – we set out to the Breman Museum to see the Golden age of Comics exhibit. I was not sure exactly why the Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum would hold such an exhibit. We made sure to read all of the information and I was amazed to learn about how the comic book industry was born. It was basically founded by two Jewish men in the 30’s – Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel – born out of the pulp books which were popular at the time.
We learned how the comic book artists of the time were drawing many of the scenes of American soldiers whopping up on Hitler before the United States of America ever entered into the war. Many of the artists were even hired to draft posters which were used as propaganda posters. These were some of the greatest scenes that I have ever seen of Hitler getting his light punched out and more.
Ariella got to dress up as Wonder Woman and ride the Batmobile. Brenden got to read a lot about many of the greatest artists of all time like Will Eisner and Jack Kirby. We even got to sit down and watch interviews from industry greats including Stan Lee. We even watched some old episodes of Superman which were originally aired in the movie theaters.
It was an overall interesting exhibit and a must see for anyone interested in comic books in general or just art. It is a shame that it is not better advertised as the only thing I ever saw for it was the poster outside of the Breman Museum which is easily ignored. If you or someone you love enjoys comic books, this is a great exhibit to go to.
After we went to the exhibit, we went to Kilwins to get some chocolate and candies. My wife got a delicious candied apple. We also got two caramel apples, two caramel dipped rice crispy treats, a white chocolate dipped rice crispy treat, 1 1/3 pound of fudge and some caramel dipped pretzels.
Now, we are getting ready for Treme to come on and we will undoubtedly drink some Heineken and New Castle Brown Ale. It is a great Mother’s Day in our home. I hope that all of the mothers out there had a great one and will have many more to come in the future.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Atlanta Coca-Cola Building All Lit Up

This year marks the 125th year anniversary of Coca-Cola. They have decided to throw a huge party in Centennial Olympic park which they will simulcast on their website for all the public to see. Apparently there will be a few friends from American Idol which will show up and there will be plenty of festivities for the Coca-Cola employees.
To do something to say thank you to the rest of the city of Atlanta, the corporate headquarters in downtown was draped with screen material and different images were used to advertise the celebration to the city of Atlanta. We celebrated by heading out to The Varsity Restaurant right across I-85 from Georgia Tech. We got a good view of the building and we were able to see all of the images as they were cast on the side of the building.
We expected a big show since we knew that Coca-Cola paid close to $1 million just to project everything on the side of their building at night over the course of the weekend. The official anniversary is not until Sunday, but the festivities are underway. It is great to live in a city with so much heritage and pride.
In my family, we for one celebrate drinking Coca-Cola. My only wish is that we did not have to wait until Passover to get Coca-Cola made with sugar or buy the product made in Mexico. Still, all I want to say is happy 125th to Coca-Cola and here is to another 125 years of deliciousness to come.

You can get even more information through the Creative Loafing website.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Time in Georgia 2011

Well, Easter has passed yet again and what a glorious time it was for all. At least it was great where I was. We had a great time going to two different kinds of Easter egg hunts with my daughter. My son even got to get in one the action even though he is beyond the normal Easter egg hunting age limit. It reminded me about how special these holidays can be whether you are religious or not.

The reason for my revelation was because we went to Cleveland, GA last week to go to the Eggstravaganza at the Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General. We showed up for the pancake breakfast with the Easter bunny and got to enjoy some music and take some pictures. Ariella went wild dancing to a few different songs, but was nice and tame when it came photo time. She sat right down in the Easter Bunny’s lap to take a sweet little picture.

From Babyland General, we went over to the town square where they had a parade set up. It was mostly from the churches and the local firefighters, police organizations and even some banks. They tossed out candy and generally waved to their heart’s content. The only mishap during the event was the fact that a dog threw up right in front of one of the children trying to catch candy. The parents spent the rest of the parade directing their child to untainted candy.

After we had lunch with a friend and her baby boy and daughter, we all headed back over to Babyland General where we participated in the big Easter egg hunt. Thousands of eggs disappeared into baskets in a matter of seconds. I was slightly annoyed by parents picking up eggs for their children as it seemed to defeat the purpose. This is not a competition to get the most after all, it is a chance for the kids to have fun picking up candy for themselves. There was even an overgrown kid collecting eggs to stuff in his shirt. I digress.

We wondered through Babyland General and entered into a contest to win a valuable Original Cabbage Patch Kid which we won. We also purchased some great Cajun style boiled peanuts and pork skins. We hung out and did some shopping while the kids got to watch a Cabbage Patch Kid being born right from the cabbage patch. There was hardly a mention of the religious aspect of the holiday. Instead, it was simply a great way for families to have fun.

The next week, the day before Easter, we went to another Eggstravaganza at Callanwolde. This is a fine arts center which is just down the street from our home where we always mean to do more stuff at because the place looks cool and always has fun events going on. The egg hunt last year was disorganized and started early. This year, the hunt started right on time and Ariella was able to get out there and pick up some more candy. It was a great time.

We did not go to church today, but we did have a great Easter brunch complete with baked ham, broccoli casserole and roasted red potatoes in herbs. We got to spend time together as a family. It was a great holiday and we are truly thankful for the gifts that we have received by being blessed on this holiday. Seems like a long time until Halloween now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bleary Eyed and Bushed

If there are any loyal followers of this blog, you might be wondering why the posts are so infrequent. I promise you it is not because of a lack of wanting to post every day. In fact, I long to write long notes to you and any other passers by. The problem is that I do not have as much control over my schedule as I would like to. I have so many clients that I work for that I end up writing so much for everyone else that I hardly have enough time to write what I want to write. When I do write something I feel guilty that I am losing money.

When you are looking at having to save up for Summer vacations and all of the other things that you want in your life, it can cause you to push yourself pretty hard. That is exactly what I have been doing here as of late. Burning the candle on both ends can lead to a lot of money, which it has, but it also leads to inactivity, weight gain and a serious lack of beer drinking. What a sob story right?

I stand before you tired and unashamed of it. I say to those who have come back again and again, thank you. I say to all those showing up for the first time, welcome and I hope to see you again really soon. This blog is a labor of love for me, but without much time for labor, I lay forlorn and in desperate need of about an extra ten hours for each day.

The lack of energy and time is not a harbinger of doom though. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will make more time for this blog as well as my other personal writing projects. I will keep you guys posted as to the results. For those of you wondering about what happened with my work out routine, I will tell you that it has gone straight in the trash. I went around the lake about 8 times the other day and even ran a lap. I felt like I was gonna die.

Until the next time we cross paths... tomorrow, maybe.... I hope you have a great day and that you will be able to enjoy drinking all of the beer that I am missing out one. CHEERS!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Having Fun at the Winter Beer Carnival in Atlanta

This blog post is about a month late. I swear I have not been drinking beer ever since the carnival. Okay, but not every minute of the day at least. Nonetheless, here it is in all of its glory and splendor for your approval.
When planning for my wife’s birthday, I came across an advertisement for the Winter Beer Carnival in Atlanta. From what I understand, this was only the second year that the Carnival has been in existence and I gotta tell you, it was GREAT. One of the biggest problems with beer festivals is that you are too close to the rest of the hopheads around you. The first thing that I noticed was that there was plenty of space.
It was a good thing that we got the VIP tickets to the event because we got in an hour early. There was a container of free water bottles which disappeared within the first hour of the event and was never refilled. It was a good thing that I decided to grab a couple of bottles in between beer stands. That one bottle may have saved me from getting over the top drunk with no return to sanity.
On to the Beer
I tried so many great beers that day. It is one thing that the Winter Beer Carnival in Atlanta really had going for them. Not only did they have most all of the major beers represented, they even had smaller breweries and a whiskey station available. It was truly a sight to behold. I was very happy to see my old friends from the New Belgium Brewery out there with some great Fat Tire. I was disappointed that they did not have very many of their obscure labels and I would have thought that they would have brought something out just for the carnival, but they did not.
I was also happy to see the local favorite, Sweetwater, show up. I did not have any of their beer until much later in the event as they are local and I can get many of their more obscure labels any time that I want to. They did have a good beer that I tried in the VIP tent though I was pretty drunk at that point and I do not remember the name of it.
My stand out favorite was – this is going to shock you right out of your seat – Guinness. They had their Foreign Extra available and it was truly one of the best stouts I had at the Carnival. I liked it so much that I had to buy myself some beer from the liquor store after the carnival was over.
Another standout that I really liked was the Southampton Double White. It was rich and deep without being fruity like many white beers can be. I did go back for this one a few times. It was a treat to have such a great beer on a great day.
One more great beer that we tried that day was the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. It was a good beer which was smooth and slightly bitter. It had a good clean finish which made you want to come back for more. I would have gone back for more, but once I was in the VIP area, I did not want to leave again.
Now for the Bad Stuff
The main problem with the Carnival was that the beer ran out too fast. This is not just me. Apparently a lot of people complained about this. Most beer festivals have enough to get at least close to the end. This one seemed to have enough beer for about half the crowd that actually showed up. One speculation was that there were too many beers which were given away to the event. One look at Yelp for the event and you will see how many people commented on the fact that they did not pay for their ticket. It made me feel like a chump for paying so much for the VIP tickets.
It is a good thing that I did not need to use the bathroom while I was there. There was only normal mass public port-a-potties to be had. Even in the VIP section there was an insane line to behold. I would have also have thought that there would have been some kind of food to purchase or water available in the VIP area. Instead, if you wanted something you had to leave the VIP area to go out with the rest of the crowd.
Overall Rating
I did thoroughly enjoy myself no matter what. I got to try a lot of great beers and I met some cool people. I will definitely get the VIP tickets again next year so that I will be able to try everything that I want without having to worry about the lines. Maybe next time I will make sure to buy some food straightaway so that I will not have to wait an hour in a line for corn dogs. Thank you Winter Beer Carnival. I will see you next year for your third season.

Sundays and Crawfish Etouffe

I may have missed Mardi Gras, but I sure did not miss out on the flavor. One of the greatest things about having worked in some great New Orleans style restaurants over the years is that I have learned the true art of great Cajun cuisine. This is not the overrated stuff which goes BAM. No, this is the stuff which has been made by mothers for their children growing up on the bayou and in the good old Crescent City.
The good news is that you do not have to live in a soup bowl to understand good food. The only thing you have to have is a willingness to try new things and to lose the fear associated with cooking. After all, if uneducated slaves in the south could elevate leftovers into some of the most sumptuous dishes ever to hail from the region, there is no reason why you should not be able to do the same thing. Here I will walk you through making a great crawfish etouffe.
All about the roux
The first thing that you will need to know about when making a good crawfish etouffe is how to make the right roux. If you are unfamiliar with this, first let me tell you that it is pronounced like “ROO”. The second thing you need to know is how to make it. This is nothing more than an amalgamation of butter and flour. Take equal parts of each and stir them together in a pot and you have roux. Let me break it down further.
Put your butter in the pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter melts, (you’ve been stirring, right?) add in the flour. This works best with a wooden spoon, but a whisk will work well also. Stir the two together quickly so that you will get a nice smooth blonde color. If you were looking for a blonde roux you would cook it about 1-2 minutes and you would be done.
What you need for this dish is a dark roux. This means that you are going to cut the heat to a low temperature. The roux is going to bubble as you stir it. If it starts to look clumpy, do not worry as this is normal. Just keep stirring. Eventually the roux will start to turn color and when you have something which looks like a good dark toffee, you have the right color. You will also note the strong, nutty aroma from the roux. This is the stuff dreams are made of kids. Turn off the heat and use your spoon to put all of the roux into a bowl. Keep to the side and start the rest of the dish.
Get to know trinity
If you are into cooking, you are probably just starting to learn about a mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery). In Cajun cooking, you tend to use trinity instead. This is onions, celery and green peppers. The right portion to have is 1 part of celery and green pepper and two parts of onions. Always I add to this mix about a head of garlic and green onions. This will provide a lot of the flavor you will be able to enjoy.
Choosing your crawfish
You do not have to use crawfish in the shells unless you really want to. Most cooks will simply use the frozen crawfish tails to get the meat that they need to cook up some delicious etouffe. Simply thaw out the crawfish overnight in the fridge when you are ready to make it. If you cannot wait a day, pop the crawfish bag in a bowl of running cold water and the crawfish will be thawed in about a half hour.
Getting started
When you are ready to get started, you should start off with butter in a medium pot. If you don’t want to use butter – far be it from me why – use canola oil instead. Add in the onions first. While stirring every once in a while, add in the garlic, celery and then the green peppers. Space out each addition by about 2-3 minutes. Get some good Cajun seasoning and add a dash (1-2 tablespoons) while the vegetables are cooking. When you are just about ready, add in two large bay leaves.
Next you will add in some chicken stock to the recipe. I generally use about one quart of chicken stock to the recipe. Also add in your crawfish at this point. As this is heating up, but before it comes to a simmer, add in the dark roux. How much to add in will depend on how thick you want to make your etouffe. For this recipe, you should use about ¾ cup of dark roux. Make sure to stir your etouffe as you add in the roux. Stir until all the roux has been incorporated. A note here: you can add cold roux to a cold stock or cold roux to hot stock or cold stock to hot roux. NEVER add hot roux to hot stock. You will get a clumpy disaster you will hate.
Finishing it off
After allowing the etouffe to simmer for about a half hour, it is a good time to add in the green onions to the mix. You should also taste everything at this point to see if you need to make any additions. You may want to add Tabasco at this point of more creole seasoning. It is up to your palate as what you want. At this point you should be able to taste the seasoning, the vegetables and the crawfish. Allow it to simmer about ten minutes more before plating. The mixtures should look a bit thicker than soup, but not thick enough to be gravy.
Plating your creation
The classic way to serve this dish is with the rice in the center of a shallow bowl. A good way to do this is to take a small espresso cup and fill it with steamed white rice. Make sure to mound the rice over the top so you can pack it in good. Turn the bowl over on top of the cup and invert the whole thing. Press down good on the cup and pull straight up. You should get a nice mound of rice in the center. Add in the etouffe around the rice and you are ready to eat. You may want to throw a few more green onions on top to get the full flavor of New Orleans.
Dig in and enjoy! I just made this for a great Sunday lunch and my family was over the moon happy about it. It is amazing how something so simple can make you feel so good. Trust me, when you try this you are going to be ready to put on some creole music and dance the night away.
If you really want to send this dish over the top, have a couple of cold Turbo Dogs from the Abita Brewing Company. The flavors go so well together that you might feel as if the might mississip’ is not too far away. Sorry, there will not be any beignets or chicory coffee to follow unless you feel up to the challenge.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where the Buffalo Roam

Tonight for dinner I made up a delicious Buffalo top round roast. My wife and I have been talking about investing in buffalo as an income builder and decided so that we should eat more. We have been enjoying buffalo burgers and buffalo stew. I was scared about how the roast would turn out because buffalo is such a low fat meat. I will worry no more as the roast turned out perfect and there was hardly anything left at the end of the meal.
To prepare the meat, all I did was rub it with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), salt, pepper and garlic. I then roasted the roast at 350 degrees in a convection oven for one hour. There was one part of the roast which got a little dry, but the rest was moist and delicious. I served it with some red bliss potatoes with EVOO and herbs, haricot verts in some European butter and salt as well as some port-blue cheese sauce. The combination of flavors was perfect.
If this is what eating healthy is all about, then I am ready to eat more of this kind of food. After all, how can you beat a dinner complete with steak, potatoes and blue cheese? I guess the Newcastle beer that I had from my draught keg offset any of the good that I did, but how can you deny that good nutty flavor from one of the best beer imports available. Of course, add that to the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout I had last night along with the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout I had last night and I am living good on beer, but bad on calories.
I also made up a delicious French Onion Soup from about ten onions, garlic, beef broth, salt, pepper, EVOO, Glace de Veau and bay leaves. All I am missing is some good crusty bread to make croutons and some sliced gruyere to finish the soup for a delicious dinner. I hope that the cold weather will last so that I will be able to enjoy the soup very soon. What suggestions do you guys have for these kinds of foods? Do you like them? Give me some feedback.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Joys of Grilling with a Chimney

Food is such a magical thing! There are certain ways to prepare food which seem to bring all of the flavors to life. Nothing seems to elevate food better than when you use a grill and real charcoal briquettes to cook with. You get all of the great smoky flavor from the briquettes and the delicious caramelized crust on the meat. It is truly a symphony of flavor when it is done right.

The biggest problem facing most grillers is getting the coals to be just right so that you can get the most out of your grilling experience. Eagerness and improper techniques stand in between those who could possibly have a great meal and those who have a meal which tastes like lighter fluid. There is, however, a very simple tool which can help you to have the best coals which produce the best grilling possible.

The chimney is a very simple device which has the ability to transform regular charcoal into the glowing hot embers that you want to cook from. The design is very simple, yet very elegant. It is quite simple a metal cylinder with some holes punched in it. It holds all of the coals that you need for a standard grill and has a compartment in the bottom so that you can stuff a few sheets of wadded newspaper as your starter.

I bought my wife a Weber chimney for an early birthday present and like a kid in a candy store, I could not wait. We went ahead and grilled up some pork chops from a pork loin. Lighting the chimney was extremely simple and the deep orange flames produced were like nothing I have ever seen before. When the top coals had a fine layer of grey on them, we poured the bright red coals into the grill and we were ready to go.

These coals were hotter than anything I have ever cooked over before. They produced a great hot grill which produced perfect grill marks I have only ever seen while cooking in a restaurant. The flavor from the charcoal was dynamite without any trace of lighter fluid flavor because none was used. We have seen the light of grilling and there is simply no way that we can ever go back.

Guest Appearance by Will Ferrell on “The Office”

Will Ferrell has been a very busy man lately! He has been pioneering "Funny or Die" from a few funny videos made with friends to what it is today. The viral internet following gave way to a loyal television following as well. On top of this, he has enjoyed a very successful movie acting career. So, what is next for this successful actor? A television series? Probably not!

The rumor mill is at it again churning up ideas such as the one where Will Ferrell will replace Steve Carell on "The Office". The facts as we know it is that Will Ferrell will be guest starring in four episodes later this season. He will be playing the part of a branch manager from the home office. He is also supposed to be just as inept, if not more so, than Steve Carell.

To me, this does not seem like anything more than a ratings ploy. Will Ferrell is showing up on a sinking ship with the lead actor on the way out. Of course, it will work though! Everyone, including me, will tune in to watch or DVR it. We will all tune in because even bad comedy is good in the hands of Will Ferrell. What this turns into after the four episodes is anyone's guess.

What do you think will happen? I would love to hear your feedback on this interesting turn of television events!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pumping Iron – Losing Weight

I did not get out yesterday to work out after all. I did, however, get out today. I was disappointed in the lack of ability to walk a long distance. I was only able to walk for 15 minutes before it felt like my legs were completely on fire. I was scared of a shin splint which seems ridiculous when all I am doing is walking, but I guess that is what happens when you are so hopelessly out of shape. Anyhow, I walked at 3.5 on the treadmill for 15 minutes and broke a pretty decent sweat. I feel as if I am going to rip apart my leather Converse shoes at any given time as I think they were made more for fashion than they were for active wear. Come on Asics. I am ready for my endorsement deal!

Anyhow, I did improve my lift on the iron for my upper body. I moved up to the number five on my chest, lats and arms. It was a big jump for my arms which I felt at the end of the workout, but I think I am still ready to make the progression to the next weight plate for each body group. I do not feel as if I will have a problem with my chest burning tonight and tomorrow morning which is a great thing as I do not want to tear anything just as I am getting started with all of this.

You know, I just looked back and it seems that I was walking at 3.0 for 20 minutes on Monday. No wonder it was so much harder to walk today. I was going an extra .5 faster than I was originally. I did not mean to go up in speed until I hit 30 minutes of continuous walking on the treadmill. I will take it back to 3 next time I work out. I am hoping that I will get back out tomorrow. I drank a big glass of 2% Horizons milk when I was done to get some protein in me.

I still had about three Yuengling last night while I was relaxing. I will not give up the beer as I still want to enjoy life. Who else out there is swizzling the beer and still losing weight?

P.S.- When I originally weighed myself, I do not know if I was blind or just wishful thinking, but the scale read 272 not 260. Today the scale was at 270. Dunno if that is significant or not as I still have yet to devise a time in which I should be weighing myself. More to come…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Rainy Day in Georgia

You know that it is difficult to find motivation and drive when it is a rainy day outside. Of course, when you are trying to lose weight, it should be all the motivation that you need. I took a look at my Hilton Head pictures again yesterday and it reminded me of just what I do not want to look like when we go back this year. I just got myself some new sweat pants so that I will not have any excuses. Still no contract with Asics or anything, but I am working on it. I have yet to go to the gym yet this morning because I needed to take care of my daughter this morning. I figure that I will go to the gym before I eat lunch.

By the way… I realized that I did not post on here exactly what I did in terms of my workout yesterday. It almost pains me to write what I was working out with knowing what my background is. I used to work out every day with 185 pounds for my chest and 125 pounds for my arms. Yesterday I was working out with far less weight. I am not sure exactly what the weight is, but it was the number four that I used for my chest and back. I then used number three to do my biceps and triceps. I did 3 sets of ten each. I wanted to move up in weight when I worked out again for upper body tomorrow, but my chest is sore today, so I think I have the right amount of weight. I will go up to number four for my arms though.

I am planning to work out lower body today after I walk at a good pace for 22 minutes. I did 3.0 yesterday for my speed on the treadmill. I do not know if that means 3 miles per hour or if it is an arbitrary number. I am going to stick with that speed at least until I can get up to 30 minutes. I will weigh myself before I go to work out so that there can be a somewhat accurate track of my weight. I have already eaten breakfast which is one of the reasons why I am blogging right now rather than working out. I may even get a second post on here after my workout. We shall see! Until then…

Monday, January 24, 2011

A New Beginning (Part 2) – Fat Loss Methods

So, I have not really stuck with my promise of going out and at least walking every day. Tragic, I know! I weighed in today at 260 lbs. (that is 118 kg for my European readers). I am so terribly out of shape it is not even funny. Some of the shirts I was fitting in just five years ago at my wedding do not even fit me anymore. At that time I was wishing that I was a few pounds lighter. Now I am wishing I was about 70 pounds lighter. It is time to go through some fat loss methods.

I got out today and worked out in the gym. I walked at a decent pace for about 20 minutes so that I covered the equivalent of a little over a mile. I plan to get out there tomorrow and walk at the same pace for at least 22 minutes. My goals are to work up to walking at a decent pace for 30 minutes and then incorporate some running in so that I can slowly work towards one of my base fat loss methods. I have lost over 40 pounds simply by doing this in the past.

I am also looking to incorporate in some weight training exercises into my fat loss methods. I figure that I will be able to do three days of upper body and two days of lower body weight training every week with two days off. I will start with the cardio to warm everything up. I will move to the weight machines to tone myself and hopefully build some muscle. At the very least, I will be able to burn off some of the fat that surrounds my muscle so that I will start to look better. I will get a picture up here soon to serve as my before picture and I hope that you all will follow along as I make my transition from fatty to sexy. Enjoy the journey and give me any advice or encouragement you have along the way.