Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quality, Not Quantity

Sunday morning. Spring forward they say. Nothing like losing an hour and waking up already feeling behind. Not sure who came up with this concept. Outside of getting more daylight at the end-of-the-day, I'm not a big fan of moving the time back-and-forth. We'll just have to make the best of it in some way or another.

Just came back from Scottsdale. We make an annual trek to play some ball and watch Spring Training. Always fun to hang out in the desert. We did get rained-out our last day there. Still nice to be away from the office for a couple of days.

That You Run And Never Tire
I've now been on dailymile for the last couple of months. I find the platform very motivational and informative, especially seeing the distance and times a lot of the athletes are accomplishing out there. It definitely keeps me motivated to get my workouts in. I've participated in a couple of challenges and found that I have been somewhat able to keep up with my mileage goals per week/month. What I'm finding now is that I've plateaued and need to work on my pace. Speed work, hills, etc. come to mind. Not my favorite, but if you want to run faster, you need to run faster. Does that make sense?

Later this month I'm scheduled to run the Los Angeles Marathon. At the moment, it doesn't look like I will be running it. The same weekend of the race, I am scheduled for my Intro Sommelier exam. Both are in Southern California, but I had to choose one over the other. Unfortunately, I am also on a waiting list to take this exam, but I want to be available since I do not know if I will have the opportunity to take this exam any other time this year. For the meantime, I am staying with my training (race or not), with the hopes of completing one of the two this month. More on that later.

The Music Never Stopped
Not much to report on since the Elton John/Billy Joel concert. I did hear that Billy has gone back to his wife and left the tour. Rumor has it Elton is not very happy about it. Elton could and should tour on his own anyway. Would love to see him perform mainly his pre-80's material.

Ryan Adams is probably my favorite artist. When I mention his name, I always get, "yeah, I really liked Reckless and Cuts Like A Knife." Uh, no, that would be the "other" guy, the Canadian Bryan Adams. Or I get the "oh, he's the guy who married Mandy Moore". Yes, that's the guy. Well, if you know the story, Ryan left his band The Cardinals last year to take a break from music. He's now concentrating his art and writing. If you know anything about Ryan Adams, he has a fondness for heavy metal and the Grateful Dead. You can definitely hear the influences in many of his live performances which are much better than the studio work that is available to the public. Ryan's break from music has been short-lived, as he is releasing a metal recod. As his site states, "we're going to begin pressing ORION - - my most legit METAL record - - on vinyl next week." Take a listen. I like it and looking forward to hearing the rest of the cuts.

Sip The Juice
Interestingly enough, I have not tasted alot of wine (outside of my Scottsdale weekend - thanks Sanctuary! in the last several weeks. Mainly book studying and prepping for my exam. I always find interesting the wine notes/reviews after I have tried something. Here are some wines that I did taste that actually left a good impression on me, especially the Malbecs:

Chariot "Gypsy" 2008
Thanks to @jasonswineblog for turning me on to this Trader Joe cult classic. Nice garnet color, berries on the nose, and probably very versatile with food. This release from the Jim Neal Wine Company is value priced (as most Trader Joe wines are) and would make a good daily table wine. Check it out!

2006 Creta "Roble" Tempranillo - Ribera del Duero, Spain
90 Points - Jay Miller - The Wine Advocate
"The 2006 Roble is sourced from a single vineyard at 850 meters of elevation, the highest vineyard in Ribera del Duero. The wine was aged for 4 to 5 months in French and American oak. Purple/black in color, the nose reveals cedar, mineral, damp earth, and assorted black fruits. Powerful on the palate, this tannic, structured effort has superb depth and grip and should evolve for 3-4 years. Drink it from 2011 to 2020"

2007 Bodegas Colome Malbec - Argentina
92 Points - Wine Spectator
"The purple-colored 2007 Malbec Estate spent 18 months in French oak, 20% new. It has an excellent bouquet of lavender, spice box, black cherry, and black raspberry. Ripe and full-bodied on the palate, it has plenty of spicy, savory black fruit, good balance, and a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. Give it 2-3 years and drink it from 2011 to 2019. "

2008 Gascon Malbec - Mendoza, Argentina
90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
"A bright purple luster draws you in, and the nose is bright, clean, focused and full of wild blackberry. Balanced in the mouth, with sizeand tannin but plenty of acidity and fruit. Tastes of blackberry, vanilla cream, molasses and spice, and the finish brings it on home. Sincere and excellent for the price."

2006 Duckhorn "Paraduxx" Zinfandel Blend - Napa
91 Points - Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
"Full and fleshy in feel, if still a bit astringent on the back end, it is beginning to hint at complexity to come and deserves to be left alone for some three or four more years."

Just Stay Hungry
I am now 100% vegetarian, at least until June. I orginally started this in prep for Lent. After a couple visits to my doctor, I then decided an adjustment to my diet in combination with my training would do me good. And it has. I've been pleasantly surprised at the variety of vegetarian food choices. I love trying new food, new cuisines, and this has given me the perfect opportunity. I really thought my Spring Training weekend in Scottsdale would be tough on the vegetarian diet, but it was not. Portion size aside, it was actually very easy and I was happy with some of the dishes I was able to try. Here are some of my favorites from my trip:

Scramble ~ A Breakfast Joint -
This Phoenix spot reminded me of Pluto's (, but for breakfast. A modern, comfortable joint that had fast and friendly service and a great menu selection. You can tell that "cool" people hung out here. I ordered the Veggie Omelette which was delicious when I topped it with some Garlic Cholula sauce. By the way, if you are going to be a breakfast restaurant, you better have good coffee. This place had "damn" good coffee with an offering of a Breakfast Blend and an Italian Roast. I went with the dark roast Italian. A great way to start the day in the desert.

Maria Maria Restaurant -
Truthfully, I was reluctant to go to this restaurant. I think mainly because the location of this restaurant was within a Tempe outdoor mall. I'm not really into "malls" and did not feel like going to one on my vacation. Anyway, this is a chain of restaurants that are located in the Bay Area, Tempe, and Austin. The restaurant is a collaboration between musician Carlos Santana and Chef Roberto Santibanez. The restaurant was named for Santana’s Grammy winning song “Maria Maria,” the restaurants’ look, sound and feel are inspired by the passion and spirit of the music of Santana. I really loved the decor, especially alot of Santana's artwork. Staying with my veggie diet, this is what I ordered off their vegetarian menu:

Maria’s Chile Relleno - Ancho chiles stuffed with roasted zucchini, red onions and potatoes served over melted cheese and roasted tomato chipotle sauce topped with crispy sweet potatoes and zucchini. This was accompanied by a side of Fried Plantains topped with Cotija Cheese & Cream. Very tasty!!! I'm looking forward to visiting the other locations here in the Bay Area. Hopefully they are not in a mall also. Nice work Carlos.

Frasher's Steakhouse and Lounge -

Went here on a tip from a local radio personality (@knbrmurph). Frasher's is just on the outskirts of downtown Scottsdale, away from the craziness. This restaurant is American cuisine with a St. Louis theme. Smoked babyback ribs, chicken, and pulled pork. One of the members of our group was from St. Louis and raved about Toasted Ravioli. I am not a big fan of ravioli. In fact, I hate it. I have never liked the "pocket of food" drenched in tomato sauce. Since this was toasted, I decided to give it a try. I have to say, I was sold. I really liked the crispyness of the ravioli and the melted jalepeno cheese inside. I hear the toasted ravioli stuffed with meat (veal, pork, beef, and Italian seasoning) is even better. I ordered a St. Louis Style Veggie Pizza. More crispyness, the thin crust was topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions, and green bell peppers. I asked them to add black olives (my favorite), but had to settle with green olives since they were not available. Good thin crust pizza, with a perfect portion size (10 inch). I only wish they had more vegetable toppings available. We ended the meal with the Gooey Butter Cake. I am not big on desserts (and cake at that), but this thing was unbelievable. This is Frasher's Signature dessert. Golden brown sponge cake baked with gooey goodness then topped with our Bailey's and butterscotch-caramel sauce. You can't go to this spot without partaking in this cake. It's that good. We'll be coming back!

Last Thoughts...

Our visit to Frasher's, a St. Louis themed restaurant, was very enjoyable with the company of Jim Hendry, Chicago Cubs GM.

Still saddened by the Pink Pony’s demise. In case you missed this article:

On my next visit to North Carolina, this will be one of my first stops. A Ryan Adams-influenced pizza joint. Getting good reviews too. Sticks & Stones Clay Oven Pizza

The brine is back! I cannot believe they are marketing Sea Monkeys again.

I'm not feeling too good about my BOILERS this week. NCAA tourney time starts next week. Let's hope for the best. GO PURDUE!

This blog was brought to you by Reflection Eternal - Just Begun, Ryan Adams - 29, and Neil Young - Greatest Hits.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention here! Look forward to trying some of these other wines soon. Cheers, Jason