Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blog 7 (not of 9)

  I wanted to call this blog 7 of 9 but then thought people would think I was only doing 9 all together and not get the Star Trek Reference.  Or expect an entire Blog on great cyborg Artificial Chests.
  Well, I guess that's it for this blog, like really, a picture of 7 of 9 what more do I need.

  Ah, but now on to the writing task at hand.  It is another overcast Saturday and we find ourselves once again sitting at the kitchen table with our protagonist.  Mrs. McDonald is sitting doing a last minute attempt at writing a paper.  It is actually a weird thing to sit and watch.  Of all the papers, thesis, homework etc.  Mrs. McDonald has been pretty much on top of each assignment.  This one, however, not so much.  I think it might have to do with the subject matter, Anne of Green Gables, not being very challenging.  Well on the surface.  Maude Montgomery touched on many subjects that where rather taboo at the time, some of which may even raise an eye today.  The height of the suffrage movement, women not yet having the right to vote, racism and the book it seems was very political.  It is nice to know though that my ancestors were thought highly of.  Those Irish and Scotsmen could sure work.  Okay made that part up just to see if Mrs. McDonald reads this.
  If you have ever read Anne, or followed the CBC tv show, you know she was a little bit of a trouble maker.  I just hope that Mrs. McDonald does well.

  I was going to write in this blog more about my trip to Mexico and the food and the sun and my running in to Mrs Crys, however, a few things have sparked me to write about my little trip to Key West.

  Now one of my goals when I travel the world for my job is to eat somewhere interesting.  In this case I knew in advance I was heading to Key West.  So I used my favourite tool and "Googled that Shit!".  I wanted to find a place worth eating at and a place worth writing about.  This place was actually the first place I have ever gone to eat with the specific goal of writing about it.  So one would think it should have been the first blog!  Nope, wanted to work on my writing skills a little first.

  Key West is a town on the southern most reach of Florida, it is in a chain of islands and the best way to get there is by boat.  Few cars and a crumbly and eclectic architecture, Key West just makes you want to write and drink.  I guess that's why Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet both love the place so much.  Surrounded by beaches, water and lime trees the menus reflect of the island reflect whats easily at hand.
  The island is home to the first of the Jimmy Buffet's Margaritavilles- so would make sense that this is where I went.  BUT NO!  That is too predictable and too cliche!  As well way too many tourists.  Hate people.
  My destination, Blue Heaven.  A little restaurant hidden in the heart of Key West.  The day I arrived was probably one of the wettest days of anywhere I have ever been and I lived on the north end of Vancouver Island!  However, I was not to be dissuaded from my pursuit.   It was raining so hard that the roads were flowing like rivers.  So, with my Disney poncho in hand I headed in.  I knew the address of my destination, however, I did not know the town, and being Canadian I was not about to pay for the roaming charges to use my data on my phone to GPS it.
  The town on first glance has the same trappings as every other cruise ship port.  Diamonds, Emeralds, more Tanzanite than you can shake a stick at, colour changing t-shirts, and bamboo clothing!  The mainstay of the cruiseship industry!  Once you get past the initial trappings you find a little more of the island life that people come to Key West for.  Most of the houses look like the were painted with Home Depot miss-tints. Sure when the trend first started back in the day I am sure it looked artistic and whimsical.  Now it looks a little purposeful and forced.  Don't get me wrong, the town looks old- just looks looked after old.  So after wandering around, critiquing the architectural whimsy of this southern Florida town, I finally found my destination:  The Blue Heaven.  Now this place is old, looks old, and has a great old story behind it.  From pool hall to bordello, ice cream parlour to cock fights, as well as a favourite hang out of Ernest Hemingway.  Interesting side note.  The man got around.  I have been to more places that say "Ernest was here"  than I would think possible.  Anyways...  The place is eye candy.  My fav kind.  So I take my soaken ass into this place and sit down at the bar.  What I did not know was that this place closed at one, good thing I got there at 12:45!
  Even though the staff was really interested in getting off work and home, it was after all Super Bowl Sunday.  Hmm Maybe should have mentioned that earlier, well would have if plot had anything to do with blogging!
  Damn it! okay, definition time ....  Love when you stop the blogging process because you really like a line and test it with Mrs McDonald and she doesn't get an inconsequential reference.

Something purely aesthetically pleasing, that is, pleasing to the senses. Can be a person, a film, a sunset, a flower, or anything else you can see.

Thank you Urban Dictionary!

  Anyways now back to the previously interrupted episode.  Going into to Blue Heaven I was already aware of the menu and what to order.   Lobster Benedict and Key Lime Pie!  Yup that's what I wanted and that's what I got!  Another interesting fact.  Baileys Irish Cream, not that well known in Key West.  So I had to settle for Kahlua and Coffee.  Not as good that's for sure.  Anyways, the Lobster Benedict was something I wish I had stumbled upon opposed to knowing well in advance that this is what I wanted.  It was good, however, remember closing time.. well the lobster tasted forgotten and washed out.  The hollandaise sauce was yummy, but isn't it always.  Well what separates this from others was the twist of lime used instead of lemon.  Lime over lemon in my books.  So that saved the whole meal.  Lobster by default is not the best thing in the world.  In this case it tasted like it had been sitting in warm water for too long,  Most of the flavour was washed away. The Key Lime pie, well now that is what saved the adventure.  A big delicious serving of glowing green yummy.  I am not sure what is different about a key lime to say a regular Florida lime but I certainly like it.  The pie was one of those "Mile High" variety.  That of course makes all things dessert better.
  All in all this is a place I would for sure visit again.  The building it self speaks of the history of the island and surrounding area.  Key West is just 70 Miles from Cuba, so the influence of the Cuban People as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis is evident all around.  This place taught me to lower my expectations and be less Foody.  I think I went in wanting more than the food is even capable of delivering.  Hopefully I get another shot at the food.

  As always, please feel free to comment and follow me!

My Lovely Breakfast at the "Blue Heaven" 

Yum Yum Yum Key Lime Pie!

The "Blue Heaven"  Note the rain.  It was raining really really hard that day.  Although it was still really warm.

The remnants of a US Navy base.  

See the Weather SUCKED!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Numba Six, and running out of catchy titles.

  So this blog thing is kinda fun and kind of addicting.  I have always wanted to do this sort of thing, chat on about the fun stuff that happens and of course the food side.  Love discovering food.  Food Porn has become a staple of our television viewing.  Yup Food Porn.  Things like Man Vs Food, Rachel Ray and of course Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives.  Just as a teaser there is an upcoming entry on our Food Porn Visit to Sin City. Well actually I will probably do three for that event.

  The weekend is coming quick and Mrs. McDonald has found out that one of her favourite stores is having a Sidewalk sale.  So that means the children don't eat this weekend.  Well okay an exaggeration.  If you have met the kids you would know that neither would starve.  It is of course a busy weekend in the McDonald house.  Most are.  House work, yard work, cooking and hopefully sneak in date night.

 So Facebook has told me one of my besty friends is moving away from me.  Not that it's a big deal.  The last time I saw her was an accidental visit in Cabo San Lucas.  Still have a bottle of Tequila with her name on it.  Well her and Mrs. McDonald.  How would that be fair.  Anyways.  I was in Cabo for work, I know raw deal. It was one of those rare trips were we sailed into Cabo on two convective weeks.  And Cabo was a two day deal.  So it worked out to four days in Cabo, over two weeks.

  Wow! I can really see that this entry is going to blather on.
  SO!!! Lets add some Bullets!  (For my friend Coach T!)

  • Breakfast at "Baja Cantina"  
  • Snack at what I think was called "No Worries bar and Grill" 
  • Jet Ski
  • Breakfast at "No Worries"
  • Shopping...
Their, Bullets!  Now not sure if I need to even carry on with this the bullets say it all.

  All I can really say is if you end up in Cabo for what ever reason head to the Baja Cantina Marina.  We went there for breakfast, well it was our dinner.  We worked through the night on one of the many ships we work on.  I would mention the name of the ship but it would be no "Wonder" if I end up being sued by the Corp.  Anyways.  After the brief early morning safety meeting with Mr LeC, Mr C and Mr C Sr., haven't asked permission to use there names either, we hopped aboard the tender and headed in to Cabo.  Now I must say the reason we were heading in was I had never been to Mexico, however, it was old hack for the other three.  I certainly would not have been happy to just go to sleep.  I have made it a point to try and get off the ships for even 30 minutes at each port of call. Glad I did. AGAIN!

  The Baja Cantina is almost at the end of the Marina in Cabo.  There is a strip of bar / restaurants and it sits in the midst of these.  We walked looking for a place to eat and this place shined just a little brighter than all of the rest.  With it's palm frond thatched roof, open deck and it just looked classy.  Most of the restaurants have the guy out front in your face about coming in to there restaurant, I think it so you don't make it to the Baja.  Polite and humorous staff, great view of the marina and a great breakfast menu.  The great thing about this breakfast is that it was in a really sunny spot with three great friends,  I have known them for almost half my life.  We have shared weddings, births, anniversary's and the occasional bad day as well.  We work together and play together, yet the two never cross.

  Back to Baja.  The thing I like to see most in a restaurant is that it has to encroach on all of the senses.  This one kept them fairly busy.  Baja Cantina claims to be home to some of the biggest fishing derby's in the world, so they have pastel paintings of hundreds of fishing boats all over the bar.  As well being right on the waterfront a few of those boats are right there to look at.  With it being open birds fly around in the trees that nestle the deck.  Music is playing, yet not to loud to drown out conversation and you are caught up in the chit chat of passerby's.  Not much of an argument about how awesome the smell of the morning salt air is.

  When I go to restaurants in far flung lands I try and have something that I have never had before or something that might be a specialty of the area.  I was drawn to the huevos rancheros.  Now I am not sure if this is a Mexican original dish or one tailored to American visitors but it is good.  Especially at the Baja Cantina.  Add a Caesar and your breakfast is complete.  Okay even just the Caesar.  I am not a big fan of Caesars but every one in the group was in so I was in.  A delicious concoction of vodka, clamato and horseradish to taste.  It was really really good.  A must have drink if visiting.  The breakfast was a wonderful surprise to my morning.

  I don't class my self as a foody, I just love food.  I don't need some form of scientifically enhanced concoction to know I like it.  This was simply prepared and visually pleasing. I knew from the menu what I was getting.  Eggs with all the Mexican food regulars.  Tortillas, refried beans and salsa. What more can you ask for from breakfast.  The conversation was the regular mix of work, family and everyday life.  A great morning, one that I reflect about on a regular basis.  Well this entry has gone on a bit longer than I thought it would so I will leave it at this.  The other bullet points will just have to be the add on for another day.  Stay tuned for Waverunning and Breakfast with Crys. 

If by chance you read my blog all the way through, please leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you, were you are from and of course what you think.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

5: The Toaster Continuum

"Your Mom wants to know if you want her toaster oven?"

  A gloomy Saturday morning finds our Heroes on there way to Kelowna to deal with Mrs. McDonalds Grandmothers will.  Just so there isn't any confusion, Her Grandmother is alive and kicking, however most of her family is crazy so it was a necessary trip.    Kelowna is one of those trips that seems close and far at the same time.  Roughly 700 Km ( about 430 Miles).  We launched our trip around 8 in the morning, after a few little things to get done, like coffee and gas we were off.

  Stopped for Coffee at the Timmies in Abbotsford, no this isn't the food section of my blog but it is coming and it is YUMMY, and starred at a collection of exotic cars.  Ferraris, Porsche, Mazaratis and a BMW.  Yup one singular BMW.  We passed them a few times, they passed us a few times.  Good thing the RCMP weren't out in force. Well for them, anyways.  We jumped in line for a bit with them.  150 - 160 KM/Hr (100 MpH).  It was a nice day up in the mountains so worth the drive.  Not sure where we would put the toaster oven.

  Getting in to Kelowna my lovely travel companion, Android Navigator, made short work of telling me how to get where I was going with several U-turns.  Made to Great Grans no problem.

  After a lengthy chat with the Grandma, Mrs McDonald and her Granny were off to the bank to deal with banking stuff and I went for a walk.  Really didn't feel the need to go to the bank.  Across from the apartment complex were she lived was the topic and destination of "Food".  "Maybe if we put the Toaster oven on top of the Microwave?"  So I wondered over to this beacon of food glory.  Valoroso Foods in Kelowna is an Italy food / deli store.

  Just walking in to Valoroso you are over taken by the rich aromas of this Italian market.  You quickly realize that Italians use Balsamic like we use Frank's Red Hot sauce, they put that shit on everything.  They even have a Balsamic on Ice Cream.  Balsamic is good but not sure if it's Ice Cream good.  After wondering around and wishing I had brought along a cooler for the trip home.  So So Many good things for my belly.  Meats, cheeses, pastas, breads, did I mention Balsamic?  Oh and Espresso Machines.  $1500 and up.  Thats alot of money for a little cup of coffee.   Besides, if we bought an Espresso Machine were would we put the Toaster Oven?  When you enter the store they sort of horseshoe you from one end to the other, making the best use of the space.  However to leave, you pass right by the prepared food deli counter.  You can quickly see why Italians are happy.  Different sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, deserts and little appy things.  YUM.  After my eyes soaked up all of the delights in this counter I decided upon a little Pizza Sandwich.  I figured by the time Mrs. McDonald was done at the bank I could bring her back and I could double dip on the experience.  This sandwich was amazing, probably the best sandwich I have ever had.  Well one of anyways, I remember a sandwich I had in Stewart BC but that's another blog.  The bread was almost pizza dough like but made into bread and cooked with a marinara sauce on it.  Inside was a yummy yummy salami and some cheese that can only be described as melted deliciousness.  I only wish I had remembered to ask what kind of cheese it was and buy it all up.  The sandwich also had the panini treatment to warm it up.    I sat outside and soaked up the sun with my new found edible friend and a bottle of Orangina orange soda.  I was so happy with the decision to double dip this place.  So after enjoying the sun and the oh so yummy sandwich I wondered around Kelowna building up my appetite to revisit Valorosos.

  A return to the apartment building for the signing of the wills.  7 copies, don't want it to be said that Mrs. McDonald and her Grandma are not thorough.  Having to find two witness' that know her grandmother and as well know who they are was a small task.  Oh and be able to sign there own name.  I can't wait to be old.  A couple of the residents were enjoying the being old part.  "There is a J in my name, I don't like signing J can I use a Z?"
"Well how do you normaly sign your name?"


"so the J is ......"

Well that was quickly finished and we said our goodbyes and headed over to Valorosos.  Man that place smells sooooo good.

I thought that I would try something different this time but I so could not manage.  I once again got the Pizza Sandwich.  Mrs. McDonald got a Potato wrap.  Shredded potatoes, fresh basil, tomatoes in a wrap.  As well we got a couple Ascolona Olives.  Meat filled, deep fried yum.  To finish off our Italian dinner, Cannolis.  Not sure why I haven't had these before.  Well if I did have them before, whomever made them butchered them.  These cheese filled creations are and awsome use of the cheese family.  Mrs McDonald sampled my Pizza Sandwich, she quickly realized as good as her wrap was it paled in comparison to the Pizza Sandwich.

Well it was time to head back to the coast.  "Well I guess since we don't really have a spot for the Toaster Oven, we shouldn't take it."

The trip home was brainstorming on how to recreate the Ascolona Olives.  Listening to old country and enjoying the trip.  A quick nap in Merrit before hitting the last stretch however was probably not the best of ideas, well that and the Extra Large Tim Hortons Coffee.  It was just enough of a recharge to allow us to be suckered in to night at Gabbys by one of my Best Friends and her boyfriend.  Bar stories are bar stories so not much to add in my blog.

Anyways, I have tried to re-create the Olives with some success.

I will be trying them again soon at which time I will create a blog worthy recipe. Oh!, and we are heading to Ikea to buy a new cabinet for the Toaster Oven!


The Worlds Best Pizza Sandwich.