Wednesday, May 25, 2005

This will be, probably, one of our last shows in Cleveland (and possibly ever), so I encourage everyone to come on out!

The first A Month Full of Wednesdays was where we debuted Subliminal Self, so it's kind of fitting that it be one of our last shows.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Some quick beer reviews..

I'm not, generally, one to buy a 12-pack of beer. After all, most microbrews don't even come in 12-packs. But, when I found that the Shipyard Brewery (hailing from Portland, Maine) was offering their 'Captain's Pack' (featuring 4 of their 'English-style' ales) for only $9.99, I jumped on that.

Featured below are reviews of these 4 brews:

Old Thumper Extra Special Ale - A solid 'English Bitters' style ale with a pale blonde color and a solid head. I found it best served slightly warm, which smoothed out the flavor a bit. Overall, a very drinkable beer. Tasted like what I imagined to be served at the rural pubs in Genevieve's English mysteries, both subtly sweet and bitter, nothing fancy. A simple good brew.

Export Ale - Another Ale, this one with a strong amber color. Very hoppy right out of the fridge, but when warmed a bit, the sweetness really came out. Again, best to leave this one out a bit before drinking. I wasn't as impressed with this one as I was with 'Old Thumper'. Though the hops gave it some bite, I thought the beer was just kind of bland. Very drinkable, of course, but nothing to get excited over.

Bluefin Stout - Deep chocolate color, though the head was not as strong as your standard "Irish stout", which the Bluefin claims to be. Otherwise, has all the characteristics of the solid stout: bold coffee flavors, slightly chalky and full-bodied. It reminded me a bit of Mackeson's XXX Stout, but without as much sweet up-front.

India Pale Ale - Probably the biggest disappointment of the lot. Maybe it's me, but when I drink a IPA, I want that kick-in-the-pants hoppy bite. I want something that really bites back and the Shipyard IPA simply didn't. Sure, it did have a hoppy flavor, but it was too mellow and smooth for my tastes. It was a drinkable beer, but if looking for a good example of an IPA, I'd look elsewhere.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Our weekend, part 2:

Okay, where did I leave off? Oh yea, so we got home in the early afternoon on Saturday. We had a simple lunch of leftover chili and some grilled cheese sandwiches and decided to head back out to enjoy the beautiful weather. So, we hooked the bike rack on the car and went down to the Towpath Trail. It was a great day for biking south, as a tailwind kept us going at a pretty good clip for about 8 miles. But, when we decided to turn around, it was a different story. The wind that was once our friend battled us the whole way back and we felt lucky to have not pressed our luck to have gone farther.

For dinner, Genevieve took control of the grill for some very yummy grilled veggie sandwiches, served with grilled corn and a bowl of grilled peaches (covered in a vinegar and sugar sauce). We ended up having lunch outside, as well, since the weather was so nice. This was also the first time we had hauled out the grill this year and look forward to doing more very soon. Unfortunately, a grill of the size we have now won't make much sense in NYC, so it's going to have to go before we leave. So, we'll take advantage of it while we can.

Sunday was the most relaxed day of the weekend. We started the day with an early morning walk in the Chagrin Metroparks. Since we'd biked the day before, we decided to hike instead and followed a ravine path for about a mile each way, which seemed like small potatoes when we normally cover 20+ miles on the bike in just a little bit longer of time. But, it was a fun easygoing morning. Dinner was my modification on a Thai stir-fry chicken recipe, with tofu instead. It turns out quite good, though I missed the Thai basil we normally use (which gives it that distinct flavor).

...and that was about it. Besides some movie watching on Sunday.


Our weekend, part 1:

As Genevieve mentioned in her blog, this past Friday was our five year wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we both took the day off of work and enjoyed a 3-day weekend together. Friday morning, I made our weekly trip to the West Side Market, picking up our groceries for the week, as well as supplies for a picnic that afternoon. I put together some tofu wraps with tapenade, sun dried tomatoes and onions, soaked in balsamic vinegar. It's a recipe I used to make quite often, but hadn't done in quite awhile. We took those and headed out to the Rocky River Metroparks, to the spot where we were married. Luckily, the weather held up much better than it did five years ago, when it was (even for Ohio) unseasonably cold. Instead, though it was a little chilly, we were able to enjoy our lunch and rest a bit in the brief Ohio sun.

Then, we got home and packed up for a small trip. After dinner, we planned to drive to Norwalk to stay at The Victorian Lady Bed & Breakfast for the night. Dinner was at The Flying Fig, a restaurant we've been to a few times and enjoy quite a bit. It felt weird eating so early (since Norwalk is such a drive, in order to get there at a reasonable hour, we had to have dinner at 5:30), but the meal was, as always, excellent. We both started out with a salad (Genevieve: a spring salad with strawberries, walnuts and feta. Me: a Caesar salad with prosciuto) before moving on to our main courses. Genevieve got a fried tofu dish served over soba noodles. I picked out a seared duck breast over a duck roulade. Both dishes were excellent, though the sauce in my duck dish was a bit too salty. We finished off by sharing a molten chocolate cake and some french press coffee.

Once dinner was finished, we headed out to Norwalk, which took less time than I thought it would (just a bit over an hour). The Bed and Breakfast was beautiful and we stayed at the Graham Suite (which you can see on their site, linked above. The name was kind of a misnomer, as I thought a suite had to involve multiple rooms, while this was simply a very large bedroom and bathroom). The bed, a king size, was huge and fluffy beyond belief! I've found that many bed and breakfasts try for one of two things: country charm or great opulence. This one was of the latter.

Breakfast was a bit of a mixed bag, though through no fault of the owners. It started off with a plate of deliciously moist muffins and poached pears, in syrup with homemade whipped cream and berries. All of it was excellent. Unfortunately, though, the main dish was an individual serving of soufflé (with ham) served with sausage. Though I enjoyed the rich soufflé, the inclusion of ham made it inedible for Genevieve. We, unfortunately, had forgotten to mention that she was a vegetarian and, by the time we had sat down to breakfast, I believe it was too late. Still, the food was awesome.

We took a scenic route most of the way home, stopping over in Crocker Park to get some groceries at Trader Joe's and take a quick walk through the Farmer's Market that was there that day (which was okay, but not terribly impressive. I still refuse to believe anyone is growing apples in Ohio at this time of year)

To be continued...


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

We take a temporary break from food talk for an important message.

"Cleveland to get first Wal-Mart after all "

After City Council rejected the idea, it seems Major Jane has gone behind everyone's backs and worked out a deal to bring Wal-Mart into the Steelyard Commons. There's, apparently, nothing that can to be done to stop it now. They didn't announce it until it was past the point of no return. This pisses me off to no end. WHY do we want to turn our cities into the 'burbs! The homogenization of America, through stores like Wal-Mart, sickens me. At least before, I could say "Well, those are the 'burbs, I don't have to worry about that in the city." Apparently, this is no longer the case. I really wish I was living in Cleveland for just another few months, just to vote against Mayor Jane.

From the PD article:

"Schneider hopes to land Target, Best Buy and Staples, along with a half-dozen or more restaurants. He would not name the potential restaurants but said they would most likely be chains such as Applebee's, Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse. "'s going to be like North Olmsted. great. Sure, I know, I'm not going to be living in Cleveland for too much longer, but 1) I like Cleveland, I love my neighborhood, I don't want to see this happening and 2) I see this as being symptomatic of a larger problem in cities across the country. I once took a business trip to Eagan, MN and, even though I had to fly to get there, there was literally no difference between the area I stayed there or the 'burbs around here. I could have easily been in the 'burbs in Cleveland as in Minnesota. DO we really want our country to look the goddamn same, wherever we go?

Anyways, enough ranting. Read the article here


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"It's okay, honey, everyone has that problem every once in awhile..."

Yes, my meringues fell flat (well, almost), last night. This is a source of frustration for me. The first batch I ever made, besides being too small, was sticky, chewy and lacked the airy texture that defines a good meringue. The second batch, well, they were mini Frisbees, full of crunch, but flat, flat, flat. Genevieve and I thought that, maybe, it was that I wasn't beating the egg whites enough. In fear of going past the point of no return (where egg whites go from "stiff peaks" to clumps of goo), perhaps I was being too careful. So, this past time, I beat them more, until the whites were stiff enough to form sharp peaks. Still, after a bit in the oven, they fell. Not as flat as last time, but with decidedly less mass than they started. Now I am left with few variables to play with:

  • Temperature. Most recipes, including the one in Joy of Cooking, quote 225 degrees. Unfortunately, my oven only goes down to 250 and any attempts to measure something lower have been unsuccessful.
  • Time. Though the Cooking Light recipe I've gone by uses a time of 2 hours or so, I've found that many other recipes list less time (Joy of Cooking gives me 1 hour). Perhaps the long cooking time is doing them in?
  • Movement. Maybe I need to leave them alone more? Not check them until I am pretty sure they are done. Avoid doing an Irish Jig in the kitchen?

So, I am stuck.
Any tips from my readers out there?


Monday, May 16, 2005

A million and one uses for Strawberries..

I'm still amazed. We found a way to use a while box of strawberries (6 pints) in a matter of days. During our weekly trip to the West Side Market on Saturday morning, Genevieve decided that she wanted to make strawberry jam. So, we picked up the previously mentioned box of strawberries (as well as the obvious pectin and mason jars). So, on Saturday night, while I watched the most disappointing 'Alien Planet' on Discovery Channel, Genevieve was sterilizing jars and boiling water for the pressure cooker/canner. She decided to do a three berry (Strawberry, Raspberry & Blackberry) mix, which turned out most deliscious.

Then, on Sunday, we had (inspired in part by Cooking Light and mostly by Genevieve's mom, who made a far superior version of this when we visited last) strawberries in a meringue shell. Unfortunately, the meringues did not turn out. Previously, when I'd attempted to make them, they turned out a little sticky and chewy, I assumed from too little cooking time. This time, the recipe called for a full 3 hours (!!) at 250. I ended up taking them out after 2 and half hours, when they were definitely done. In fact, they ended up being overdone and fell into a cracky mess at the touch of a spoon. They still tasted good though.

Then, of course, Fruit Salad!

Lastly, I am finishing up the final pint just as a snack to take to work. Most yummy!


Thursday, May 12, 2005

A trip to the Dentist..

Okay, look, I'm not going to bore you with all the details: how I have a whole slew of work to get done or how I need to keep better track of flossing or become a very prime candidate for periodontal disease. Instead, I'd like to focus on one aspect of my visit: the waiting room.

You see, in this waiting room was a television and attached to this television was a DVD player and the DVD playing on this player...oh my. Imagine a 30 minute loop of some guy telling you one of the following items:

  • You are going to get periodontal disease and your teeth are all falling out
  • There's so much bacteria in your mouth right now, your teeth are all falling out
  • You have an ugly smile, which means your teeth are falling out
  • Insurance blows and they will not cover you when your teeth fall out
  • Gum disease is slowly killing you.

You get it..
So, for a nervous guy, like myself, this was like watching 'Crash' before going on a road trip with a bunch of creepy strangers. I don't think these feelings were too unexpected though. I mean, they don't play videos on throat cancer when you go to a Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor. They don't constantly spin videos on sudden infant death syndrome in the maternity ward. Why? Because it would freak people out. Seriously, it's enough that I have to go in and fess up to my doctor that I hadn't had my teeth cleaned in 10+ years, I don't need to see some guy tell me how gum disease is going to cause me to die in my sleep at 30.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Genevieve and I are going to the dentist today. This will be the first time I've been to the dentist in, literally, about 10 years or so. Maybe more.

I have no toothaches, no loose or missing teeth and I brush regularly, so I suppose I don't have too much to worry about. But, having not been since I was a kid, my only notions of the dentist are those of a little kid (i.e. complete terror). I just wish they could put me under, take care of me and send me on my way, groggy and with a mouth full of cotton.

It's a big "doctor visits" week in the house, as well. Byron had to go into the vet last night. As most of you know, last year Byron developed a small circular bald patch on his back, between his shoulder blades. Well, the other night, it reappeared. Considering how the first time it happened, we waited awhile to see if it would heal (which it didn't), this time we took him right in. They gave him some shots and the usual meds and ointment that we need to give him on alternating days. It wasn't a good day for Byron, overall. During the day, we had some maintence men come in to work on a clog in drain in the back house (which is on the same line as our house). This involved going into our basement and they, apparently, were not paying attention, as we came home to find Byron nowhere in sight! We called to him and heard him yell back..from under the house!! He had been under the crawlspace for half the day! Luckily, being a good (and frightened) kitty, once I opened the door to the basement and called to him, he appeared in the space under the stairs and we picked him up and dusted him off.

Anyways, so Audrey is also scheduled for a vet appointment today. She has this chronic ear fungus that occasionally gets bad enough that it spreads to her eyes. So, we have to take her into the vet to get more meds for that. We're told it's something that probably started when she was a kitten (she was rescued from a crackhouse over near Metro - which is also why her growth is stunted). I shall be glad when all these doctor visits are said and done.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Sickness does not agree with me

Maybe this seems like an obvious thing. After all, who really likes getting sick? But, I'm not someone who goes gentle into that good night. Maybe that's why, despite the waves of queasiness that started on Friday, I still made lunch on Saturday, even though the smell made my stomach churn or biked 20 miles on Sunday (during which time I felt fine, I should add.)

At first, I thought I had Mi Pueblo burritos to blame (which Greyson and I had before band practice on Friday and have made both Genevieve and I sick in the past), but as the sickness worked on through to Sunday, I doubt that was truly the cause. As a minor reprieve, my sickness did not start winding up until practice was almost over. So we did get a couple new songs worked on (including one downtempo/ambient song which is turning out to be very interesting and fun). I am hoping to get together a show in the next few months. I just need to figure out a bill that'll give us a chance to play with some new acts.

I seem to be feeling better this morning, though I still have no appetite.

On the upside, I did get to spend alot of time outside on Sunday. Besides the bike ride, I hung out with Genevieve while she was planting new additions to her garden (and was led around the backyard by Byron on a leash. I tried to take Audrey outside, but the leash bothered her too much.) I am glad winter seems to finally be done in Cleveland.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

"You know, this makes me want a burrito."

I wanted to thank everyone who came out to "Unsilent Movie 4: Santo vs. Frankenstein's Daughter", last night. It made us laugh, it made us cry, it made us scream "to Hell you should go!"

Extra thanks to the rest of the "orchestra pit": Mike (Tofu), Bob (Fluxmonkey), Matt (20goto10) and Shawn (Dust_Head - thanks for the sustain pedal!). I had a great time!


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Unsilent Film 4 is tonight! The show starts at 8:00pm at Rain Nightclub (4142 Lorain Ave. in Cleveland)

For more information, head to:

See you there!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Show Review - 5.2.05 - Hungry Lucy & Bloodwire

Let me start by saying that War-N Harrison & Christa Belle (of Hungry Lucy) are two of the nicest people I've come across in the music business. I first got introduced to Hungry Lucy back in 2002 when booking the lineup for SynFest, an electronic music conference and concert. Their first album, 'Apparitions', had just been released. I was impressed with it and worked with War-N to bring them up to Cleveland. They put on a great show, as they have every time I've seen them since. I was saddened, though, as running around helping out with the rest of the show prevented me from simply sitting down and enjoying their set.

The next time around was in 2003, during the tour for their second album, 'Glo'. This time around, instead of booking them, we (Subliminal Self) got a chance to open for them. It was probably one of my favorite shows of ours and favorite shows of the year, period. Yea, we were still, at that time, working out the kinks of our live performances, but it was still great fun and I got a chance to sit down an enjoy a good show, after we were done.

Skip forward to 2005, now they're on the tour for their 3rd album, 'To Kill a King'. I'd heard from War-N when he was booking the tour, to see if I'd be able to arrange the Cleveland show (and, of course, open for them). Unfortunately, at the time, I was working two jobs and Greyson was still off the radar, so I really didn't have the time or energy to put into making the sort of show I felt they deserved. So I was delighted when I discovered that they were still coming to Cleveland (along with Bloodwire) and playing a free show, nonetheless.

Doors opened up at 9:00pm (and, like a goob, I showed up on-time). Hungry Lucy were still soundchecking at the time, so I sat down, spilling some beer on myself in the process, when I discovered that the couch doesn't really have any spring left to it's springs. They went on at 9:40 to a mostly empty room. That's not to say the *bar* was empty. Mondays also happen to be 0.50 PBR draught nights, so the "I'm so ironic" indie rock crowd was there in force. But, they weren't moving from the bar for anything. So, the band played to about 5 people (unfortunately, no exaggeration), probably the smallest crowd I've seen for them. Like true professionals, though, they proceeded to put on a great show, complete with their trademark video projections, the quality of which I've seen improve by leaps and bounds each time I see them. The video is usually some abstract film, very well edited and filmed (I believe this is the realm of the singer, Christa). I'd be very interested to see them release a DVD of just the films. They performed songs from all three of their albums, with the older songs updated to liven them up a bit. I was a bit saddened that they didn't play one of my favorite songs from 'Apparitions', "Bound in Blood", but they did have a great set, playing songs like "Bed of Flames", "Fearful" (my favorite song from 'Glo'), and "You Are". They also had the addition of some live drumming from War-N (which worked really well) and a bit of live keyboard from Christa (which worked fine. I mean to say that it didn't really add to the performance, for me, but didn't take away from it either. It simply was.) Overall, a great set. I didn't want them to stop.

Once they got offstage, I said hello to War-N, who, even though I've only really met the guy twice before, he knew me and treated me as a good friend. We shot the shit about how their tour was going; I bought some cd's ("to help pay for gas"), etc. I've seen, from their online forums, they treat all their fans like that. This is awesome. I've seen bands avoid fans, running to the backstage once their set is done and I've seen bands hang out behind the merch booth to sign autographs after the set, but very few who treat their fans simply as their friends who came out to the show. Instead, they have an amazing rapport with their fans, one which, I believe, will give them the loyalty that will make people go out of their way to support them (at least, so I hope).

Anyways, up next was Bloodwire, a band who, to be honest, I hadn't heard much of. I browsed through their website, before the show, but not much more than that. I was very impressed, though! Again, like Hungry Lucy, Bloodwire is another couple/duo with I-Li Chang (on vocals and guitar) and Shawn Brice (previously of Battery fame, on keyboards and guitar). They ran through a set which one person described as "European sounding" electro/industrial pop. Particularly, their songs "Hallway" and "Remains" blew me away, both becoming instant favorites. It's, by far, the best thing I've heard come out of the breakup of Battery. This 70-year-old guy in a windbreaker, who danced his ass off during most of the set, also enhanced their performance. You, truly, expected the guy to drop and start breakdancing at any second. This was how energetic and absurd this guy was. The crowd loved him, the band loved him, I want to pay this guy to come to *my* shows. The show ended at 11:30, amidst cries of "encore!" (unfortunately, Bloodwire, being a new band, has a very limited catalog and had played through all of it). Oh, Genevieve will enjoy this; they also played a cover of "Three Imaginary Boys". What is it with these electronic acts covering obscure Cure songs?

I'm already looking forward to the next Hungry Lucy tour.


Monday, May 02, 2005

Genevieve's mom was in town this weekend. It was, overall, a pretty relaxing weekend, though alot of cooking went on :)

On Thursday night, we headed to Lopez (see previous blog entry). Susan (Genevieve's mom) got a chicken enchilada dish that was excellent, Genevieve got the same thing as last time (a mushroom quesadilla) and I tried something new..the Mexican Lasagna. Though the lasagna was good, it wasn't nearly as tasty as the duck quesadillas I'd gotten last time. I mean, I love cheese as much as the next guy, but there is a point where it overpowers a dish, no matter how flavorful the other ingredients are, and this was one of those times. It was hefty though and ended up not only being my dinner that night, but lunch the next day. Oh, we also split an appetizer. I forget the name, but it was this goat cheese dip with roasted poblanos and artichokes, served with fresh made chips. Very yummy.

Friday, I made dinner at home. I served a pita pizza with roasted eggplant and fontina cheese. It was good. Nothing outstanding or worthy of writing at length about, but certainly tasty.

Saturday (Lunch) was portabella burgers with basil mayo, served with a side of my "famous" chili fries (without the Tabasco). The burgers were good, but as always, a bit messy. I am hoping to one-day figure out how to make a portabella burger that doesn't ooze mushroom juice. I tried squeezing the mushroom to death, while cooking, but that didn't seem to do much, other than cook the 'shrooms quicker.

Saturday (Dinner) was a basic garlic tomato soup and garlic croutons topped with french goat cheese and rosemary served with a french salad on the side. The tomato soup is very basic stuff. I believe I've even printed the recipe here. But, it's still good.

Sunday, we skipped breakfast and had a deliscious brunch of cinnamon french toast topped with berries in a sweet wine sauce (there is a french name for this, but I, sadly, can't even spell it), served with sweet potato hash. We've had this as a decadent sort of dinner before (strangely, never for actual *breakfast*) and it proved to be excellent, as always.

Sunday, dinner..oh, this was my favorite. My taco bar. It's a dish where I basically can make the sort of food I love to make and it has the whole "assemble your own" thing that is great for people with different tastes and spice tolerances. Here's the run-down:

  • Homemade Tortillas
  • Roasted Poblanos
  • Roasted Corn
  • Smokey Kidney Beans with Lime
  • Avocado slices with lime
  • Lime Wedges (I love the lime ;)
  • Cumin Spiced Potatoes
  • Shredded Queso Blanco
  • Chipotle Cream
  • Basic Cooked Tomato Salsa
  • Romaine Lettuce