Monthly Archive: October 2010

We’re Still Here!

Well, it’s been 2 weeks since our last post.  No we didn’t fall off the face of the Earth.  I just had to get through a very big event and the Beer Guy, sweetheart that he is, was there helping me every step of the way.  Well…maybe not EVERY step of the way, but in his defense, I did walk 60 miles last weekend!

“Why?” you may ask.  I participated in my first Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Walk in Atlanta.  It was an exhausting, but exhilarating event that I will most certainly do again.  During the walk these were my accommodations

I mean, if a girl’s gotta camp, it really SHOULD be in a pink tent, right?

I survived my first EVER camping experience and I have to admit, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  However, I did have a place to take a hot shower and brush my teeth, didn’t have meals that came out of a can or had been previously freeze-dried, and my pink tent was not pitched in the woods.  So…I maintain than I will not be going on any camping trips anytime soon as I understand that these amenities are not typical of camping trips.

You see, I’m what the BG likes to call a “Fancy Nancy.”  (We have nieces who love those books.)  “Who is Fancy Nancy,” you ask?  Well, according to Wikipedia

Fancy Nancy is a wild, young girl with a larger than life personality, who adores all things fancy. She always dresses extravagantly, wearing boas, tutus, ruby slippers, fairy wings, and fuzzy slippers. Nancy loves using big fancy words such as “iridescent”, “ecstatic”, and “extraordinary” and anything in French”

Ok…there may be some similarities.  Knowing that with the 3-Day Walk I would spend 3 straight days walking, two nights camping, using port-a-potties, and showering in a mobile shower unit, long before the walk ever started I made arrangements for our post-walk evening in Atlanta.  I decided that after all that hard work I deserved something fancy!  And I did…I REALLY DID!

Enter The W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta.

It is an ultra-modern boutique hotel owned by the Starwood Hotel group which also owns Westin.  I don’t know what the W stands for.  Maybe the hotel is just too cool for a whole word for a name. Whatever it stands for I LOVED it!  This was our room

Superb, no? Oh, and THIS was the view from the fourth wall of our room which was a floor to ceiling window!

We were on the 15th floor.  Downstairs there was a VERY sleek and modern indoor/outdoor bar. Sadly, I was tired enough that shots of this fabulous bar escaped my camera.  The BG did manage to get a couple shots of me while we were there.

It is a testament to just how tired I was that I didn’t care at all how out of place I looked dressed like that amongst all the hip and trendy bar patrons.  While there we split an appetizer of sliders

and I had a Black Raspberry Martini.

I needed a pink drink to commemorate the weekend’s festivities.  We later had dinner at a cool restaurant around the corner called  Tap.  BG’s going to be telling you all about that one soon.  Our dinner there was delicious, but I was so tired I could barely hold my eyes open long enough to finish it. Needless so say, I slept HARD in that sleek and modern bed I showed you.

The next morning, I had a 75 min massage and a mani/pedi lined up at The W’s Bliss Spa located on its bottom level.  Once again I was too tired and zombie like to bother getting any pics.  But I tell you what, those spa treatments were just what the doctor ordered!

The bottom line is, that The W Hotel was a gorgeous luxury hotel with great service situated in what appeared to be a funky and eclectic neighborhood in Atlanta. My only regret is being too tired to really explore either.  The BG and I have agreed, we will most certainly be returning to The W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta at our first opportunity!

Cheers, y’all!
Wine Girl

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/451

It’s Chili Weather

It’s in the air.  You’ve no doubt felt it, as have I.  I’ve been waiting for it since it left last spring.  You know what I mean, right?  The CHILL in the air.  It was 37 degrees in the Queen City yesterday morning.  The leaves are turning.  Football is in full swing.  The jeans and light sweaters have been resurrected from the back of the closet.  It’s officially CHILLY outside.  That means…

It’s time for CHILI inside!

Here’s how to make My Momma’s Chili…which just happens to be the best EVER!

First you start browning the beef

If that looks like a lot it’s because I double the recipe.  (It’s always better the next day because the flavors really mesh.  So I like to make sure we’ve got a few days worth prepared.) Meanwhile chop the bell pepper and the onion

(I hate chopping onions and I don’t like big chunks of onion in anything so I cheat and use the Cuisinart Food Processor)

When about half the beef is browned add peppers, onion, and minced garlic and continue to cook until all the beef is browned, then drain.

My mom always cooked this recipe in a soup pot on the stovetop.  In recent years I have found that a slow cooker works just as well…if not better.  So, next transfer the drained beef and veggie mixture to a slow cooker or soup pot, whichever you have or prefer.

Next up are the canned ingredients

(I have dreams of going all Martha, starting a community garden and eventually using my own canned tomatoes for this, but for now TJ’s will do.) First the diced tomatoes

Then the tomato sauce

Then the beans

My mom’s recipe calls for kidney beans, but I am just not a fan of those.  I much prefer black beans so I substitute those.   (I also think that the contrast of the black against the red of the chili base looks prettier.  So it’s really a win-win.)

Next up are the spices

the water (remember, I’m doubling the recipe.)

and the tomato paste.

Then give it a good stir, cover it, and let it cook.  If you are using a slow cooker, put it on the low heat setting.  If you are cooking it on the stovetop, then simmer.  Either way it needs to cook for a couple hours, stirring occasionally, so that all the flavors meld together.  You’ll know it’s ready when it smells fantastic and all the ingredients look homogenized rather than separated in the pot…like this

To serve it you’ll need corn chips and cheese.  I realize that the addition of corn chips is a little “low brow,” but, trust me, it’s worth it.

Cover the bottom of your bowl with the chips, top with a couple ladles of chili, then sprinkle with the shredded cheese.  Personally, I like a few corn chips on the side for added crunch.

Of course you’ll also need a good brew to rinse it down.  I sent the Beer Guy on a beer run and he came back with this deliciousness – Rogue Chipotle Ale.

Many of our favorite beers are from the Rogue Brewing Company and this one has just been added to the list.  I must say, it’s smoky flavor, crisp mouth feel, and slightly heated finish were the perfect accompaniment to the Chili Dinner and the Chilly Weather.

Go ahead make this dinner for yourself and look for this great beer in your area.  Here’s the full recipe

My Momma’s Chili

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne red pepper (or more for spicier chili)
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 small can tomato paste

Brown meat, onion, pepper, and garlic in a skillet.  Drain.  Add all ingredients into a soup pot or slow cooker one at a time.  Mix well.  Bring to a medium boil. Stir often.  Turn down to low heat.  Simmer.  Cook until all tastes have blended together.  This can simmer all day, just make sure that it is not too fast or too high or it will scorch.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy the warm chili in your tummy while the weather is chilly outside!

Cheers, y’all!
Wine Girl

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/401

Um, ok…

What you don’t want to see while walking down the stairs in a semi-comatose fog after a nearly 3 hour nap because you woke up at 6am on a Saturday to do your last 18 mile training walk…

I don’t even wanna know.

Cheers, y’all!
Wine Girl

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/431

Connecticut Road Trip

Ok, I have a confession to make.  We suck.  We were not able to get our posts done nightly while on our Connecticut trip so we thought we would just post them daily once we returned and make sure the “publish” dates corresponded to the dates of our trip.  You know, published retroactively.  Sounds like a good idea right? Well we’ve been home for two weeks and that plan has pretty much fallen apart.  I’ve been waiting on BG for a couple posts and he has been crazy busy with work since we returned.  Long story short…I’m not waiting anymore.  I’m just gonna move forward and get caught up.  He can then post his musing on our recent New England travels as he sees fit.  Today, I’ll give you a little pictorial run down of our Connecticut Road Trip.

By now you’ve read about our fun lunch in Westport,

our apple orchard and fall fun,

and where we landed in Philly, but you don’t know where we went between Point A and Point B. Here’s the gist…in pics.

We used this as our guide

(P.S.  There is so much more info in this magazine than we had time to utilize this trip.  I’m totally saving this and we will take a New England fall trip than includes Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine in the future.)

We headed to Devil’s Hopyard State Park

then to East Haddam, CT

where we got great views of leaves and the Connecticut River from Gillette Castle.

We then drove through Bristol, pretty much just because BG’s family lived there before he was born.  We saw this

From there we made our way to Litchfield, CT – a perfectly quaint New England town, by the way.

We were a little thirsty while in Litchfield so we popped in here

and had a couple of these.

We then made our way through Mohawk State Park

en route to West Cornwall.

We continued down the side of the Houstatonic River

(Did you notice that my hair matches the foliage?)

towards Kent which, according to Yankee magazine, is the #1 place for New England Fall Leaf Peeping.

We were hungry when we got there.  Apparently EVERYBODY else read the same Yankee magazine article that I did because the tiny town of Kent, CT was P-A-C-K-E-D!!  The only place we could get in to eat was The Villager.

All I can say about that is – meh.  It was not quaint or delicious, nor was the food or service bad…just nothing special.

In my attempt to “go with the flow” for this trip and not plan it down to the minute, I failed to realize that taking in the best of Kent’s foliage would require a 5-7 mile hike.  I ask you – Do I look like I’m wearing appropriate hiking attire?

Those are 4″ heels.  No, I’m not hiking.

It was also nearing 4pm and we needed to get to Philly that night…5 hrs away.  So we barely skimmed the surface of Kent’s New England Fall goodness

and vowed to come back when we can stay in a B & B and really take it all in.

We hope this wet your appetite.  It certain did ours.  We will be headed back for another New England Fall Trip when we can go in October, stay longer, and cover more ground.  It probably won’t be for two years, though, as we are planning a trip back to San Francisco and the Wine Country next fall.  Don’t worry, though.  I’m saving my Yankee magazine.  So if you need any suggestions in the meantime, I’ve got the scoop!

Cheers y’all!
Wine Girl

Permanent link to this article: http://kitchendoesnttravel.com/blog/archives/400