Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ogunquit - 23rd Annual Christmas by the Sea 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009 - I was really looking forward to attending the chowder fest in Ogunquit, Maine with my husband and one of my best friends and her husband. We arrived in Ogunquit on a cold and windy day to stand in line outside the community center waiting to get into the chowder fest. Someone came out and told us we could also enter around the back of the building through the craft fair downstairs. My friend and I decided to do just that so we could look around at the crafts a bit. The husbands stayed in the line outside.

When we finally made it upstairs, we were disappointed to see so many people. Equipped with our long underwear, the place heated up quickly. We were instructed to NOT stay in line, but to just go to any table we chose to get chowder. We tried that. It didn't work. One of the husbands noticed it appeared there was a line that had formed on the right side as you came in. We decided to join that and it made a huge difference.

I think we were there for two hours for something that should have taken about 45 minutes. They let way too many people in at once considering the unorganized way it was run. I don't think I've ever seen anything more unorganized. You would think they would have figured it out after 23 years! It would have been much more pleasurable if they had directed everyone to go to their right and just keep going around the room. People would have been in and out in about 30 to 45 minutes.

I have to wonder if they knew we were from out of town and intentially mis-directed us. Apparently we were cutting in front of people and didn't even realize it. If you make it to the 24th Annual Christmas by the Sea 2010 chowder fest, go immediately to the right once you've purchased your ticket. We, for sure, won't be attending the chowder fest again!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cranberries / Griffin House

Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom - November 14, 2009.
Griffin House opened for the Cranberries. I have to say I was very impressed and I don't say that all too often about an opening band. Well he's not really a band, but a solo act. He has some great music. The acoustics could have been a little better (although it might have been the position of one of the speakers in relation to my left ear). He talked about pulling into Hampton Beach on the tour bus and what a ghost town it was. Picture a strip along the beach with businesses all boarded up. It really made me think about it -- what November is like at the beach to anyone not from the area. I can just imagine what it must have felt like to them. A scene from a Dean Koontz book where the tour bus of a famous band is hi-jacked and brought to this deserted area. Held for ransom. They must have wondered how the place would possibly fill up that night without a soul in sight. Of course it was a sold-out show.

Dolores puts on a great show. It had been 15 years since I had seen the Cranberries. She hadn't changed a bit nor had her voice. The energy was still there. I think it had also been 15 years since my husband had attended any concert. Luckily every time I looked at him he looked like he was really enjoying the show. It was amazing how the crowd was older. Thinking about it, if someone was 25 on their last tour, they would now be forty. Yikes! Dolores would have been only 23 the last time they toured and now is 38? Yikes, again! I hope we see another reunion tour in 15 years. (Wow - 2024?)


Monday, November 9, 2009

Natural Healthy Concepts

I placed an order for vitamins last week with this company for the first time and it arrived today. I'm very impressed!!! I will definitely do business with them again.

KitchenAid Grinder

I purchased a KitchenAid food grinder attachment a couple months ago for my stand mixer. I was having a hard time finding ground sirloin, so I decided I would occasionally grind my own. With the recent outbreak of e.coli and at least one death in New Hampshire, I've decided I'm not buying any more commercially ground beef.

Back to the subject...I love the grinder. It attaches to the mixer and works like a charm. It is necessary to put the bowl onto something to raise it up, but that is not a big deal. A pair of food-service gloves, a package of on-sale sirloin and I'm in business!

Oh ya, and BTW, after washing the parts, I dip them in a sink full of water and a small amount of bleach, then I wash again (since bleach is corrosive) ... just in case.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shark Tank

If you haven't seen the Shark Tank on ABC, you are missing something big! I think it is almost as funny as Two and a Half Men. There are two Kevins...a nice Kevin and a "not-so-nice" Kevin -- we'll call him NSN Kevin. He's someone you love to hate...someone who is eager to insult everyone! I like Barbara, Nice Kevin and Daymond, but I must say NSN Kevin and Classy Robert make the show. Robert loves to annoy NSN Kevin and is good at it! Just watch it...you'll love it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

LG enV TOUCH - Verizon Wireless

I've had my LG enV TOUCH a little more than a month. Since my last phone was an everyday LG flip phone, this was a bit of an adjustment. I went with the Touch rather than the enV 3, not so much for the Touch aspect, but for the bigger size of the keyboard and especially the bigger screen. The bigger screen allows me to see the Caller ID w/o glasses. I've also set the ring to tell me who is calling rather than using a traditional ring or music.

It seems every day I'm coming across new features. There is a small bar on the touch screen that shows if you have a missed call, voicemail, something in your calendar, etc. You just touch it to go to it (instead of going through a menu). You can also drag and drop things like calendar, alarm, web addresses, etc. to the front screen (desktop).

This phone did not come with a stylus, but you can use the "pen" option (a fingernail works) to add contacts or calendar appointments. It also came with a USB cable that allows you to transfer information and charge the phone with your computer. The qwerty keyboard inside is large. If you turn the front sideways, you get a qwerty on the touchscreen too.

The salesperson at the store told me there were no speed dials. I was glad to find he was wrong! The speed dials are set after the number is entered. Flip the phone open, highlight the number (in yellow) and hit "options" on the right soft key. #1 is "Set Speed Dial".

I didn't really think I'd have much use for the mobile email. I must admit it was nice to be able to respond to a business email the other day when I was not at home.

Oh ya...and I have VZ Navigator. It was free for a month so I decided to try it. Smart move on Verizon's part...now I don't want to cancel it! It is really an amazing feature, but priced a little high -- no, a LOT high at $9.99/month. I guess it is worth it for the security of knowing you have it if lost.

The only downsides I'm finding so far...
1. Screen is not oleophobic -- you'll want to purchase screen protectors.
2. It has re-booted itself a couple times (or at least I think that is what happened - suddenly saw the Verizon logo).
3. It is a little large and heavy (but I knew that).
4. A call to 911 would take much longer than on a flip phone - wake up the phone, slide to unlock, hit the "phone" button, THEN dial 911 and hit send. The 911 downside is big BUT I've found it makes sense to just put it to sleep in the phone position.
5. Battery does not last long if you're using the browser.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Google Barcode - Something to Think About

I love today's Google doodle, the barcode. In fact, I love all the Google doodles. I even like saying "Google doodle". The bar code doodle on Google's home page contains a link that will take you to the same place "bar code" takes you if entered into the Google search field.

According to the Telegraph.co.uk, Google is celebrating the bar code's 57th anniversary (although it was originally slightly different than the straight lines we see today). It was not used in a supermarket until June of 1974 on a pack of Wrigley's gum.

I'm definitely showing my age here, but I remember standing in line while the cashier had to punch in the prices of everything. The cash register receipt did not give any specifics of anything purchased either -- just the prices and totals.

I wonder, what would it be like today, without the barcode? Thanks Google for giving us something to think about.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sagamore Inn - Sagamore, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Another trip to the Cape found us at Sagamore Inn for a dinner before heading home. My first experience of clams on the Cape, was a couple years ago, on the way to P-Town. It was not a good experience. The first one was full of sand -- not a good thing. I tried another, just in case - just as bad. My friend finished them, and I quivered at every crunch.

This year a restaurant we stopped at said on their menu, they could not guarantee "no sand in the clams". I had never seen that on a menu and feared it must mean a good possibility of, you guessed it, sand in the clams!

Back to the Sagamore Inn... My dinner consisted of fried clams and shrimp. Although there were many more clams than shrimp, they were all delicious.

My friend ordered the lobster ravioli special that included the ravioli, chunks of lobster, and scallops covered in a light Alfredo sauce. Very delicious! Both meals were much too much for us to eat in one sitting and we both took home doggy bags. Our next trip to the Cape will include dinner at the Sagamore Inn.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Popcorn, Indiana

BJ's had a sample of Popcorn - Indiana's Gormet Kettle Corn Popcorn and OH MY GOSH!!! I was delightfully surprised at the taste. It is described on the bag as "crispy, crunchy, sweet and salty". It's all that and more! It literally is a melt-in-your-mouth popcorn. Just the right sweetness and salt. It's a must try!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hannaford's Cape Cod Chicken Salad

Just tried Hannaford's Cape Cod Chicken Salad w/Pecans -- yum!!! One of the best chicken salad's I've had. Would love to get the recipe if anyone has it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keurig Coffee Maker

I gave up drinking coffee several months ago. Before that, I was drinking decaf for quite some time and figured - what's the point? Considering I've heard that coffee contributes to an acid body and an acid body contributes to cancer so I was trying to stick to green or Melaleuca tea. Since my husband was now the only coffee drinker in the family, I said "sure let's get one," even though I was afraid I would start drinking coffee again. After searching around for the best price, we purchased the Keurig about three weeks ago at Sam's Club.

My biggest complaints were:

1. I knew I would go back to drinking coffee (which, of course I did) because of the convenience of making just one cup.
2. the cost of the K-cups (of course now I was certain there would be two of us drinking coffee, not just one).
3. and once we got it home - the noise.

I was very impressed with the taste and convenience. Who wouldn't be? BUT I was not impressed with the noise (stay with me on this). I could not believe that in the 21st century, a company was not able to make a pump in a coffee pot that would be much quieter. Of course the way it works is to pump the next cup into the holding area to be heated after brewing a cup of coffee. Several mornings it woke me up, when my husband used it while I was sleeping. My bedroom is at least 50 feet away from the Keurig, so I was disappointed at the loudness.

Recently, (luckily within 30 days of purchase) I made a cup of coffee for a friend and the Keurig got caught in the "brewing" mode so that I couldn't make a second cup. Boy are we glad that happened! We returned it for another and this morning my husband got it all set up and primed it. He made his first cup and said, "great, another broken one!" since he could not hear it pumping the water into the heating reservoir. He hit the brew button again and surprisingly watched the water level go down without hearing a thing. Apparently the last one was defective from the start. This one is quiet as a mouse! The point I'm trying to make -- if yours is noisy, take it back!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Island (Movie)

I just finished watching the movie, The Island. It is classified as a thriller, though I would call it more of an "action" movie. I am not usually into action type movies, but I found myself actually liking this one. CAUTION: If you are going to watch this one, DO NOT read the back of the DVD jacket; it pretty much gives away the entire storyline. Reminds me of Double Jeopardy. Unfortunately I knew how that one was going to end.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright is a must read. A book that is partly predictable and partly unpredictable, about a couple who were married for almost 40 years. When they die, their children come home for the funeral and learn their father wrote their mother a letter every Wednesday starting with their wedding night. (Do the math on that!) With a couple surprises along the way, I found it delightful. Once about a quarter into it, I could not put it down. Caution - if you read it, you just might start writing your own "Wednesday Letters".

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bob's Clam Hut, Kittery, Maine

I have to say these were the best clams and onion rings I have had in a very long time (probably since Petey's in Rye)! The fish chowder was also very good, but unfortunately, the clam chowder was only ordinary. This is an order-at-the-counter type place with an adequate dining room.

If you are in the area of the Kittery Outlet Malls in Maine, and love fried clams and onion rings, I would recommend trying Bob's.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DeLonghi Toaster Oven

I recently purchased a DeLonghi toaster oven (actually called an DeLonghi Electric Oven) after finding several good reviews on the Internet. I had been to Macy's at Christmas and decided if my current one died, that was the one I would get based on the sleek appearance. Of course about a month later, it died. The DeLonghi is only a little smaller than my last one, but it looks much smaller on my countertop.

I'm not as thrilled with this oven as I thought I would be. The racks do not slide in and out as well as I would like and when they are in the out position, they tilt downward. The first time I removed something, I almost had hot grease all over me -- I caught it just in time. Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing something? I just checked the book again. I can't figure out why a rack for any oven would not have a stop of some sort and why it would not stay level.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer Partial Review

I have made it to approximately page 200 of Breaking Dawn (fourth in the Twilight series) and surprised I've made it this far. I am really having a hard time getting into this one. This series is written in the first person. It seemed okay that the first person was changed at the end of the third book, but I'm not liking it so much in this book.

So far I would have to give it a D, although I'm hoping that will change very soon or I might never make it to the end.

I would definitely say this is not a book for young children.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse is third in the Twilight series. I just finished reading it this morning. I loved the first three quarters of the book; it really kept my interest. The last quarter, I wasn't as excited about. Again, I didn't find anything too suggestive for young children in this one. Will be starting the fourth, Breaking Dawn, in the series tonight.
I guess I'll give it a B+

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Moon - Stephenie Meyer

I just finished New Moon (second in the Twilight series) by Stephenie Meyer. Although the book kept my interest, I did not think it was as good as the first one, Twilight. I found several times throughout the book saying, "please, just get on with it". I do not normally read quite this much or this fast, but since the 1st, I've been sick :-( and in bed for most of the past 6 days. This book does not have the racy parts that book #1 has.

New Moon gets a B+

Not being as thrilled with #2 has not kept me from starting Eclipse, third in the series, though I've only read Chapter 1.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight is the first in a series of four books written by Stephenie Meyer. I'm hearing it's the new craze for teens and tweens. I must admit, I did not think I would like any book that involved vampires, but I was delightfully surprised.

The whole time I was reading Twilight, I was considering my 10-year-old neighbor (well 11-year-old neighbor -- she just had a birthday) and if it was appropriate for her to read. She, I think, is on book #3, Eclipse, and has really enjoyed them. She told me she was not allowed to read book #4 because of the content. Can't wait to see what is in that one!

Well, moms out there, I guess I have to say I think you are the best judge. There is no sex in the book, but it is quite racy. There's lots of "breath on my skin" type stuff and Bella does have a nighttime visitor in her room. The main character, Bella Swan, is 17. It seems to me like it was probably written for that age group.

Stephenie Meyer, you get an A+ for twilight.

Monday, March 30, 2009

KitchenAid stand mixer - 5 quart Sam's Club

I finally had a REAL chance to put my new KitchenAid stand mixer to the test this past Christmas, I made 8 loaves of banana bread. I made four loaves of banana bread at once and realized very quickly that maybe I should have made only three at one time; it barely made it. But the loaves of banana bread were not the real test; it was the one batch of potato rolls.

The potato roll recipe that I've made for many years in my old stand mixer was always a problem when I added the last cup or two of flour. At that point, the bowl would be overflowing and I would have to quickly shut it off. I knew this recipe would be the real test. I wish I had remembered how large the bowl was on my last stand mixer before I purchased the Kitchenaid stand mixer.

The potato rolls recipe calls for 9 to 10 cups of flour. The box on the Kitchenaid stand mixer said "11 Cups Flour Power", so it seemed it should be the right size. It worked like a charm. I probably could have gone with the next model down, but I'm really glad I went with the 475 watts and 5 quart bowl. I never went past 4 power with the banana bread or the potato rolls. I can't even imagine how fast this thing would go on #10! At the time I purchased this, it appeared that Sam's Club had the best buy on this, with Amazon.com right behind.

Downside?: I'm not sure if it is a downside or not...This one is a bowl-lift design -- I do find it a little annoying when trying to scape the bowl. I'm not sure if the tilt head design might have been better. Before I purchased, I searched the internet for reviews and found reviews that said the bowl-lift design was better. Some say the tilt model has more moving parts to break or get food stuck in. I'm not sure I understand why there are two designs. It seems they should only sell the one that is better. If you're looking for the tilt style, you'll have to go somewhere other than Sam's Club. Try this: Standmixers
on Amazon.com

Would love to hear your comments!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hot Tools curling iron

I have FINALLY found a curling iron that works on my hair! I've probably purchased 15 curling irons in my lifetime and 14 of them have ended up in the "curling iron cemetery". Since the only complaint I have with my Hot Tools flat iron is that it gets my hair too straight, I figured it might make sense to look for a HotTools brand curling iron.

I was able to find a 1 1/4" one on eBay for, if I remember correctly, approximately $25 including shipping/handling. The specs on this note that it gets up to a temperature of 430 degrees. I believe it is 85 watts and has an 8-foot swivel cord. No wonder my other ones wouldn't work -- they ranged between 22 and 25 watts!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cuisinart Food Processor Pro Custom 11 Review

Just before Christmas I decided to retire my 17-year-old Braun food processor. I decided it was time to be on the look-out for a new one, since some of the plastic parts were breaking. This food processor has been really good to me. If I hadn't heard that Braun was no longer making them for the US (which I'm not sure is true) I would have bought one in a flash!

I was not looking forward to spending lots of time researching which food processor might be the best, so I decided to cheat. A friend of mine had recently purchased a Cuisinart and I knew she had put a lot of time into researching them. I happened to see an ad on television that Macy's had the Pro Custom 11 for only $99. Aside from Macy's, the lowest price I could find on this 11-cup processor was about $150. Given the savings, I decided to purchase it.

With all the cooking and baking I did during the Christmas season, I was able to give it a pretty good workout. The motor is nice and quiet. I was disappointed that it did not come with very many accessories. It came with 3 discs: a shredding disc and the 2mm and 4mm slicing discs. It also came with a spatula, knife blade, dough blade and flat cover. I keep the knife blade inside because it does not have a holder for it like the Braun. The food pusher cover does not come completely apart for cleaning.

I do believe that Cuisinart has become the leader in food processors and I'm not so sure I understand why. I wish I had looked around before I purchased this one and I believe I would NOT have purchased a Cuisinart.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kitchen Aid stand mixer - 5 quart Sam's Club

This is a 475 watt professional mixer. Before purchasing, I searched online for reviews and found that this "bowl lift" style was better than the "tilt head" style. I'm not sure yet if I would agree. I will be making potato rolls for Christmas which will give it a really good work out. I'll let you know more after the potato rolls.

I'm very impressed with the noise level and the motor power. I have used it quite a bit and have not yet gone over "3". This seemed to be the best value at Sam's Club.

Monday, March 2, 2009

TGI Friday's Jack Daniel's Sauce

Just sold some Tupperware on eBay and while checking it over to make sure it was clean, I noticed one of the lids was not. Washing it, I could actually smell the TGI Friday's Jack Daniel's Sauce. Yum, Yum, Yum!!! If you have never tried it, I would highly recommend it. I usually purchase a quart bag of it in the bar and marinate steak tips from Sam's Club or BJ's. I leave them in for a couple days, put them in vacuum seal bags, let them freeze overnight, then vacuum seal the bags. They are always a hit with the family and company!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ninety Nine, Hooksett, New Hampshire

February 19, 2008 Ninety Nine, Hooksett, NH

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. The portions were too small for the price. We were however, very impressed with the mashed cauliflower. We could not quite identify what spices were in it, though. Garlic? Parmesan maybe? Dessert looked good, but was a big disappointment.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Petey's Summertime Seafood, Rye, New Hampshire

Petey’s, Rye Beach, NH
April 3, 2008

Friends told us they enjoyed eating at Petey’s when they were in Rye. Yesterday we were feeling rather cooped up from the record snowfall this winter, and decided to take a ride to the beach. We decided supper at Petey’s would be in order.

We first did a drive-by, since we love to ride up Route 1A for sightseeing and since we had arrived a little too early for supper. The parking lot was packed. We decided to continue up the coast and take a walk around Odiorne Point State Park in Rye , which is about 3 miles from Portsmouth. There were only 4 other people there – it was great. The temperature was 54 degrees and the shining sun felt wonderful. Only a zip-up sweatshirt was necessary. It was not exactly sun bathing weather, but nice enough for a short walk near the beach.

Back to Petey’s…From the outside, you can tell it’s a “paper plate” type of place. My baked stuff shrimp even arrived in what appeared to be a paper casserole. I did not allow the presentation to disappoint me before tasting and yes, it was delicious! I’ve always rated a restaurant by its baked stuffed shrimp. There was actually a restaurant in Manchester I tried once. They did not have baked stuffed shrimp on their menu and I never went back. The way I see it is, if a restaurant serves good baked stuffed shrimp, they probably excel at everything else on their menu . That theory has worked for me so far.

The rolls were hot and yummy, and I enjoyed a baked potato and coleslaw with my baked stuffed shrimp. I think it is extremely rare to find good coleslaw, when dining out. I would usually rather just make it myself. It was not the case at Petey’s – it was the best I’ve had in a long, long time (well aside from KFC’s of course).

My husband’s meal was fried clams, scallops, French fries and coleslaw. I keep telling my husband the correct New Hampshire way to pronounce "scallops" is that the “scall” portion of the word is pronounced like the word “wall” not like the word “pal”.) The clams and scallops were also delicious! I did not try the French fries until they were reheated this morning so I won’t comment since they were not fresh.

Petey’s also has a full bar. I ordered a rum and coke and I think there may have been more rum than coke. I ordered a second one and after a few sips I realized I needed to add more coke or I would not be walking out when we were finished eating.

My only complaint - “no substitutions” on the menu. Your meal comes with coleslaw and your choice of French fries, baked potato or rice. Those were the only choices. I asked, just in case, if onion rings could be substituted and the waitress said, “onion rings are only available as a side order”. I knew that ordering a side of them would be way too much food. We both took home portions of our meals. They were very large portions -- it is highly unusual for my husband to EVER have leftovers.

54 degrees and the sun was shining...that was yesterday. This morning it is 36 degrees and snowing.

I rate this place an "A-". It would have received an A+ if they allowed onion ring substitutions for the French fries (I'm not a big fan of French fries).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paul Blart Mall Cop

I am a big fan of Kevin James; loved his show, "King of Queens". I probably enjoyed this movie more than other movies I've seen at the theatre because my friend and I had the only seats. Yes really the only ones! We were able to talk during the movie, which I've never done before. I have to say it felt a little weird to be able to just say something out loud and not worry about disturbing anyone else. Anyway...I really liked it. We laughed a lot and didn't have to worry about how loud we laughed. It was a little on the dumb side, but very, very funny. It wasn't Night at the Roxbury dumb/funny...this is hard to explain. I would definitely recommend it and would watch it again.
I'd give this an A-

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shogun, Hooksett, New Hampshire

SHOGUN Hooksett, NH

February 16, 2008 was the 47th birthday of a friend of mine. We decided to be different and try the Shogun in Hooksett, NH. They had never been there…my husband and I had both been there a very, very long time ago.

It starts out with the birthday girl….since we hadn’t been there in so long, my friend’s husband decided to make reservations. We really couldn't remember if reservations were required. He made reservations for 5:15 PM. We agreed they would pick us up. When they had not arrived at our house by 5:15 PM, we called their cell phone. They were still about 10 minutes from our house. They had called and changed the reservations to a later time. Even that time still wouldn’t work -- they would still be making us late, but we didn't mind.

We arrived at Shogun a little before 6:00 PM. After telling the hostess we had reservations, she checked their list and promptly seated us (there was no waiting line). Ok, so if you’ve ever been there before, you already know you don’t need reservations, they probably don’t even take reservations and reservations wouldn't even make any difference. They just seat you at the next available table. It was quite obvious once we were seated and the whole time we were there, there were available seats.

Ok…so we arrive just in time (bear in mind our friend is having a birthday) to hear the staff helping with a birthday celebration. The head birthday singer, sounded like, well, ok…a cat that had it’s tail stepped on…..no, maybe a chicken …no…I’m not sure…it was a sound I’ve never heard before. Hmmmm…how would we describe it? …. a be-headed chicken??? A screech owl? I’ve never heard a be-headed chicken, so I’m not quite sure., but that would be the closest, I think. It would have been fun to embarrass my friend, but I didn’t even want to put MYSELF through that noise again. So we kept the birthday thing quiet. I looked over and there was a child who looked to be about 4 years old . He actually had his hands over his ears! I wanted to do the same, but at my age, it would have been VERY inappropriate!

Our salads were served; bagged iceberg. You know the one, yes that one, with shredded carrots. It was very interesting….it was served with some sort of teriyaki salad dressing. I have to say I liked the dressing but would not want to eat it every day.

It was very confusing to know what to order. There seemed to be a communication problem between the languages when we asked questions. We felt very lost and didn’t know what to ask or what to order. I ordered the Sukiyaki steak and my birthday friend ordered the Terriyaki steak so we split a $19.95 dinner for two (yes to make it more confusing, we had a coupon). Service was very poor. I had a Love Potion – brandy, amaretto, and passion fruits -- it was GREAT!! Our waitress didn’t come back to the table to ask if we wanted another drink, but we finally waved her down for another one.

Of course our cook was very talented. The shrimp tails went in his shirt pocket, the lobster tails in his hat. It was a lot of fun to watch everything cooked in front of us. But! BEWARE!
If you are allergic to seafood, be careful. The steak was cooked in the same area on the grill as the seafood. I’m so glad my daughter was not with us. We just found out that she is allergic to scallops.

The Japanese sauces they used were great…but again, if you have any allergies, beware. We didn’t really know what sauces were being added. Also, if you are a little germophobic, you might just have a couple of issues.

Dessert – I remembered having a “fried ice cream” many, many years ago. Since I saw it on the menu, I thought, “maybe it was here”. I remember loving it. I quickly searched my memory bank. It was this big scoop of ice cream with a slight coating around it. How did they do that, I remember asking myself? How do you fry ice cream without it melting? It always looked like it had not melted at all. Ok, when they brought our desert, I knew something was wrong. This dessert had a very thick cooey coating, and the ice-cream measured about a tablespoon. Disappointed, this was NOT the “fried ice cream” that I remembered.

My friend pretty much begged us not to mention it was her birthday. I think if she knew she would get a whole year of free dinners, she STILL would NOT have wanted us to mention it was her birthday….was it the dying chicken voice?

We went back to our house and discussed the reservations. Ok, we all admitted they were a joke. They did seat us in the next available spot (they did not hold any table for us), but that was ok. We had a really good laugh over it. It was pretty funny that he made reservations, then actually called to change them when we were going to be late. They probably were laughing at us, too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Silo's Steakhouse, Merrimack, New Hampshire

SILO’S STEAKHOUSE, Merrimack, New Hampshire
January 26, 2008

I had driven past Silo’s Steakhouse a million times (well it seemed like a million anyway) but never stopped for lunch or dinner. A friend asked if we wanted to go there for dinner with her and her husband. They had really enjoyed dinner there about a month before. It sounded good to me. I was really looking forward to going out to dinner, since we had not been out for dinner in quite some time.

We called ahead at 5:15 PM to be put on the waiting list and were quite surprised to hear that it would be at least an hour to be seated on this Saturday night. We thought for sure we would be the only people looking to go out to dinner so early.

When we arrived, we decided to wait at the bar and enjoy a cocktail. Ever notice how a cocktail seems to make time fly by so much faster? My husband spotted oysters on the half shell. I, of course, was thinking, “YUCK!”. I try to stay away from anything uncooked unless it’s in the vegetable or fruit department. Of course, my husband enjoyed the oysters. My friend and I decided to split a cocktail shrimp, since we were both starving. That too, was delicious.

I decided to have the special - a strip steak smothered with scallops, shrimp (and I think it was) a mornay sauce. It was unbelievable! I ordered the Silo’s own stuffing to go with it -- the stuffing was good. Although the salad was fresh, I’m not a big fan of vinegar-type dressings. Next time I’ll have to remember to ask if I can get it without the dressing. The steak was very good other than my second bite included gristle, which was stuck in my back molars until I made it to the ladies room to discreetly remove it. Speaking of gristle….

About halfway into our enjoyable dinner, my friend stood up and moved toward her husband. I could tell, looking at her, that something was seriously wrong. I realized she was choking. The two husbands were engrossed in conversation. I said to her husband, “She’s choking!” He reached up and gave her the Heimlich and she began to breath. I quickly looked around at our neighboring diners and it looked like absolutely no one noticed what had just transpired. I was very relieved, as I know my friend would have been very embarrassed to think people had watched. Choking in a restaurant, I’m sure, would be a little embarrassing for anyone. It made me think about how lucky I was. I could have lost one of my best friends in an instant. We spoke on the phone the day after and agreed on a few of things:

1. No one should ever worry about spitting food out in a restaurant or anywhere in front of other people.

2. Restaurants should always have paper napkins on the table to go with their cloth napkins (personally I prefer paper anytime to cloth). It seems it would be more polite to spit food into a paper napkin if necessary, rather than a cloth napkin.

3. Every restaurant should have a Heimlich dummy in the lobby. All customers should have to pass the test of dislodging the food stuck in its throat before they are allowed to order any food. Okay, maybe this one is a little far-fetched, but you get the picture.

I think the intensity of the moment caused us all to want to cry, but we continued our evening as if nothing had happened. Even though we had this terrible event, I would highly recommend this restaurant.

This was a real first for me …well I must say my first in a restaurant/public place. I have had two episodes at home with my husband. Maybe I’ll save that for a later blog. But I will just say, never let your husband fall asleep with a throat lozenge in his mouth and never let him watch Two and a Half Men while eating hard candy or anything else.

Speaking of Two and a Half Men….it has to be, by far, the best sitcom on TV right now. For me, it replaced Everybody Loves Raymond, when it went off the air.

This place get an "A-". I would have given it a higher grade if not for the vinegar dressing on the salad.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

House of Blues and Better Than Ezra, New Orleans, Louisiana

HOUSE OF BLUES, December 20 and 21, 2007

We ate dinner here 2 nights of our trip and had no complaints. Of course the main reason for our New Orleans trip was two Better Than Ezra concerts at the House of Blues.

House of Blues, New Orleans, December 20 and 21, 2007

I have attended numerous Better Than Ezra concerts (at least 15 maybe even 20 – I’ve lost count). I have not yet attended a bad one. These 2 concerts were not any different -- they were both great. It was my first time hearing Merry Christmas Eve (which btw is one of my all-time favorite songs) live. I have to say, though, I was a little disappointed that I only heard it the first night, not the second. I especially felt badly for those who had not been there the night before and missed it.

I’ve met Kevin, Tom, Travis and Jim several times. They are a great group of men who seem to truly appreciate their fans. When they’ve been promoting their CDs, they have held several “Meet and Greets” for their fans and have always seemed happy to sign any memorabilia presented to them.

I’ve heard the BTE Christmas shows are always sold out so if you want to attend, make sure you get your tickets early. Check them out at BETTER THAN EZRA.
By the way, who is this “English Dave” who Kevin always says “hi” to?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Johny Po-Boys, New Orleans, Louisiana

Johnny Po-Boys, 511 St. Louis Street, New Orleans, LA 12-20-2007

This one I don’t really want to tell anyone about, because there was never a line. If too many people find out about it, there very well might be lines on my next trip back. I probably would not eat breakfast anywhere except here on a return trip.

They have tables, but no waiters. You need to order at the counter then go up and get your food. We didn’t have any problem with getting up to get our food – it kind of helped wake us up. I admit it would have been annoying for dinner after a lot of walking, but for breakfast, it was just fine.

The prices were great and the food was great. So please….keep this one a secret just between you and me!

This place rates an A+!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Port O Call, New Orleans, Louisiana

Port O Call, New Orleans, LA December 20, 2007

I admit when my daughter told me her two friends wanted to go to Port O Call when they arrived from the airport, (I think it was at about 9:00 pm) I was not all that thrilled, especially since I knew we would be walking there. I think since we had arrived, the only thing we did was WALK!!!

I think I don’t want to say too much about this place. I’ve actually heard they are famous for their hamburgers. They are supposed to be the best in New Orleans. I have a motto, if I can’t say anything nice, I try not to say anything at all. Well, let’s just say, if I return to New Orleans, I won’t ever be eating at Port O Call.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cafe Du Monde, New Orleans, Louisiana

Café Du Monde, New Orleans, Louisiana, December 18, 2007

My daughter has been to New Orleans several times. Of course she would not let me be there more than 12 hours without bringing me for a beignet at Café Du Monde and a Hurricane at Lafitte’s. Both were quite yummy as well as the coffee. As you might be able to tell by looking at the picture, the Hurricanes came first, then the beignets.

What can one say about Café Du Monde except don’t miss it when you are there.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Historic French Market Inn, New Orleans Louisiana

Historic French Market Inn, December 18, 2007
December 18, 2007

We arrived in New Orleans on Tuesday. I hadn’t flown in approximately 14 years! I still can’t believe anyone even coaxed me onto a plane. I did, of course have anxiety medication with me.

When we arrived at our hotel, I was a little disappointed at the size of the room at the Historic French Market Inn. There were 3 of us sharing one room – myself, my daughter and my daughter’s friend. The cleanliness (you might think this ironic as you read on) of the room, however, made up for the small size. The staff who met us at our arrival also made up for the small size of the room. After a day of traveling, it is always nice to be greeted by friendly staff.
The next morning, as we proceeded to the elevator, there was this tiny little mouse in the hallway. Since he (I think it was a “he”, but I didn’t check) was dead, it didn’t bother me all that much. I am sorry to say that I was happy he was dead.

Two of my daughter’s friends would be arriving to join us on Thursday night. Both rooms had been booked in my daughter’s name through www.hotels.com, so we needed to be available to check them in when they arrived. We got the call that they were on their way from the airport around 8:30 PM. We proceeded to check them in and get their room keys. We knew we had about a half hour to wait for them, so my daughter said, “let’s go check out their room”.

We decided that was a good idea. Remember I said, “I was a little disappointed at the size of the room”? After opening the door, we all just looked at each other with a “wow” look and a “let’s switch rooms” look. There were 3 of us and only 2 of them. We quickly went back to our room, gathered all of our belongings, and cleaned the bathroom (the beds had already been made). These were REALLY close friends who had stayed at our house, so we didn’t worry too much about the room being spotless.

We thought we were pretty funny, switching rooms like that. Well, you will see pretty quickly how the joke was on us. I started to unpack my toiletries at the sink when a “bug” came out of nowhere…I looked at it and screamed….it looked at me and screamed (well, okay, maybe it didn’t really scream). I jumped backwards and it ran off. It was the first time I had seen a bug of that type. I guess it best not to put any name on it since I’m not an entomologist; let’s just say it was a “bug”.

I and my fellow travelers, being from the Northeast, were not used to seeing bugs, especially in December. I was quite disturbed and went down to the desk to complain. They quickly reassured me that bugs are quite common in the south and after such a downpour of rain the day before, they were not surprised. None-the-less, I slept with tissues in my ears for the rest of the trip.

This place gets a “B”, even in spite of the “bug” and the smaller room we started out in. I would recommend this hotel and I would stay here again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Saunders at Rye Harbor, Rye, New Hampshire

SAUNDERS at Rye Harbor, New Hampshire
October 22, 2007

Cynthia and I decided to take a little jaunt to the beach for a much needed break from work. Yes, that’s the beach, New Hampshire, and October all in the same sentence. This must be a first for me!

When Cynthia came to pick me up, we gabbed and gabbed and had so much to catch up on, we didn’t even get in the car until 11:00 AM. Unfortunately, we really don’t get to see each other all that often (we only live about 10 minutes from each other - go figure).

It had to be one of the most beautiful October days in New Hampshire that either of us recall. The beach chairs, towels and sunglasses were packed. The sun was shining and we were headed to the beach! The glow of the autumn leaves was such a happy sight, it seemed to shorten the drive. Columbus Day had come and gone, it was a school day and we expected Hampton Beach to be boarded up and deserted. Our Monday morning arrival surprised us with many cars lined up and people already there enjoying the sun and beach.

When we arrived at the beach, I was starving! Usually Cynthia is the hungry one. We decided to go to Saunders at Rye Harbor.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a very pleasant young man who informed us that the outdoor seating had already been taken. He told us we could take a seat right outside the bar, order anything we wanted from the bartender, but we would have to wait on ourselves. Since we are the do-it-yourself types, we didn’t have any problem with that. We perused the small luncheon menu and decided we liked the idea of the brushetta and lobster roll, although neither of us wanted to overdue the wheat intake today.

We asked the bartender if we could have the lobster salad on lettuce rather than a roll. She gave us a most amiable reply that yes, we could. Much to our pleasant surprise, the host brought us our dishes and flatware for our appetizer, and our bartender delivered our meals. A glass of Francis Coppola Chardonnay went quite well….wait a minute….a bottle would go even better, wouldn’t it? We asked out friendly bartender if our “glasses” could be changed into a “bottle”. Again there was no problem with that.

Both the lobster salad and bruschetta were fabulous! The only complaint we had for the entire visit, was that the quantity could have been a little larger. We wondered how many meals we would have had to order, if our husbands had been with us. The prices were reasonable and the accommodating staff really helped make our lunch a very pleasant one.

Saunders receives an "A+" even though the quantity was a little small. Visit their website at Saunders at Rye Harbor

Marconi Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, September 2007

Marconi Beach (Cape Cod National Seashore) Cape Cod, Massachusetts
September 2007

Leaving Clem and Ursie's we headed back to our motel, we decided we would still make our 2nd annual Marconi Beach stop. The rain had started to pickup, but since Marconi Beach is Cynthia’s favorite beach (she hasn’t been to Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda yet), I didn’t mind a rainy walk on the beach. (Deja Vu, I remember it raining last year for our Marconi Beach walk. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen Marconi Beach in the sun.) Thankfully, the rain had changed back to a drizzle by the time we arrived at the beach. It was deserted on this rainy September afternoon.

Enjoying a nice walk along the beach we were able to spot a couple of seals. I thought they were sea lions, but Cynthia said she thought they were seals. According to http://www.capecodstranding.net/, “Here in the North Atlantic, we only have what are called “true seals,” not sea lions or fur seals.” I knew we only had one or the other, but I had mistakenly thought they were sea lions. Since I had grown up in New England and Cynthia in the Midwest, you would have thought I would have been the one to get it right!

We were not there for long, when we heard thunder off in the distance. It was kind of nice hearing the rumbling off shore. The thunder and lightening grew increasingly stronger and was coming much closer. Finally I said, “let’s go” and we made a run for the car. Okay, so ya, maybe I screamed “LET”S GO!!” and tore up the stairs as fast as I could. I kept looking back, but Cynthia wasn’t moving too quickly. I do have a huge respect for Mother Nature.
Just as we closed the car doors, the skies opened up, and a crack of lightening streaked down right next to us. This was a dramatic ending to the wonderful day we still managed to have in spite of these very disappointing events.

We of course will always love the Cape and will continue to visit, but hopefully our next trip will provide much better weather and a much nicer meal in P-town.

We arrived back at the hotel rather late and ordered pizza (more on that at a later time).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Clem and Ursies - Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Clem and Ursies, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cynthia and I were both looking forward to our 2nd annual Cape Cod trip for much needed rest and relaxation. A couple days before we left, Cynthia was thumbing through a Travel and Leisure Magazine in a doctor’s waiting room. Just as she found a restaurant offering a “lobster for two for only $25,” in Provincetown, Cape Cod, her name was called. Don’t we all know that is guaranteed to happen; just as you find something interesting in a magazine, here is the nurse calling your name!

After her appointment, Cynthia called and gave me as many details as she could remember. I immediately Googled the information to see what I could find. We were in luck…there it was! At the magazine's website, I found it was Clem and Ursies in Provincetown, Cape Cod, offering “lunch for two-  $25 for fresh lobster with drawn butter.” Along with this special was a good review of the restaurant. Sounded too good to be true.

The day we decided to head out to Provincetown was not only a rainy, dreary one, but it was also quite windy. We decided it would be worth searching out this $25 lobster lunch. When we arrived at the restaurant, we were the only ones there -- we had our choice of seats. A diner-type restaurant, we inquired at the counter about the lobster special. The clerk had no clue what we were talking about, so I dug deep into my purse and pulled out the information I had printed from the magazine’s website. He went to get the manager and she, too, knew nothing about the special. She would not honor the special from the Internet, which was quite disturbing. So much for that. We decided we were really looking forward to that lobster lunch; we were there, we didn’t really know where else to go, so we ordered it anyway. We paid approximately $80 for our meals with one glass of wine each and then went to find a table.

The table we chose overlooked a beautiful parking lot in the back of the restaurant (yes, being facetious here). We pretended it was ocean and the neatly painted white lines on the asphalt were waves. Planter boxes flanked each side of the doorway leading to “the ocean”.

After quite a long time of waiting (probably close to an hour), and desperately needing another glass of wine, the nice waiter came and told us that one of our lobsters had fallen on the floor. We looked at each other and knew we were both thinking the same things. Hmmm…they came from the floor of the ocean and we were certainly not going to eat the shell as we were only interested in what was inside. Cynthia said, “they are crustaceans, how about just rinse it off and deliver it.”

The waiter said in his cute island accent, “I know what my side of the floor looks like, but I don’t know what the cook’s side of the floor looks like.” That did make us chuckle, even though we were becoming annoyed.

We were tired of waiting.  Thoughts went through our minds:  Was the floor really that dirty? Had they accidentally cooked only one lobster? Did they think we had ordered only one? Did they have to run to a store to purchase another lobster? or Did they need to go check their lobster traps? Whatever the reason, we both felt as if we had been waiting an eternity!

Before arriving at Clem and Ursies, we had come from a little shop where we met a local artist who invited us to her gallery. We planned on paying her a visit after lunch, but the way this meal was going, it was looking like we would not have time. We also wanted to make it to Marconi beach!

Our lobsters eventually arrived. What a terrible disappointment; both lobsters were sadly overcooked! Though they looked great sitting there in their bright, red shells, they were rubbery and tough. It was well over 2 hours before we were back on the road. Any future Cape Cod trips will NOT include Clem and Ursie's.

This restaurant was the start of our wanting to review restaurants (and anything else) hoping our reviews might help other travelers. We don't understand how any magazine could give this restaurant such a high-caliber review.

I give this restaurant a "D."  If it were not for the waiter's pleasant personality, it would have received a lower grade.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hot Tools flat iron

As you can see from my picture, my hair is quite curly. It's actually a lot curlier and frizzier than what you can see in the picture. I think I had a lot of product in my hair to tame the curl and frizz on the day that picture was taken.

I've had my Hot Tools flat iron for quite a few years now. Personally, I don't think I look very good with stick-straight hair. When I use the flat iron, I pull it down the shaft and when I get to the end I "curl" it under. I need to go down the hair twice, (which is definitely NOT recommended and a little bit of a pain) to completely remove the curl/frizz. "Curling" it under gives it a little bend at the end and helps keep it from looking too straight. I try to be good about using products to protect my hair from the heat. Matrix Sleek Look are my favorites.

This iron is easy to use and gets really hot. Even though I need to use it twice or go down the shaft a lot slower, I would recommend it. I can't quite imagine using something that would get any hotter. My model is Hot Tools Professional Model 119 and is 170W and they seem to be going for approximately $20 on eBay.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Breaking Dawn update - Stephenie Meyer

Just a quick update on Breaking Dawn. I've made it a little past page 400 and am still not loving it :-( It picked up a tiny bit, but not much.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rainbow Vacuum Cleaner

I've had a Rainbow for approximately 23 years and I even sold them for a short time. Owning a Rainbow means you never have to smell that "dreaded vacuum cleaner smell" again and also means you aren't spewing the germs from inside the bag, back into your house each time you turn your vacuum on. The filter is a basin that you fill with water and of course water is nature's best filter. If you can handle having to empty the basin and rinse it out each time, you will absolutely love a Rainbow!

If you are a fan of Everybody Loves Raymond, you may have seen the episode that featured the "Humm Vac" which was actually an e Series Rainbow vacuum. Patricia Heaton purchased a Rainbow, then gave referrals which led to Philip Rosenthal, Ray Romano, and Lew Schneider (writer) all purchasing Rainbows. Of course those referrals also led to the Humm Vac episode which originally aired on March 19, 2001.

Gary Unmarried

When I looked for other Gary Unmarried fans, I have to say I was quite surprised I only found myself. Check it out on Wednesdays at 8:30 PM ET.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Holiday's Bar and Grill, Auburn, New Hampshire

Holiday's Bar & Grill, January 19, 2009

Although we were there for lunch, we ordered from the dinner menu. I opted for the scallops that were described as "fresh sea scallops baked with white wine, lemon butter and a cracker crumb topping". My first bite told me that I didn't care for the orange spice that I could see on the top; it does not seem to be a good choice for scallops. The only spice I could think it might possibly be is paprika?

My friend ordered the sirloin tips. We ended up splitting the tips and scallops. The sirloin tips were good, but the marinade was certainly not the best I've had. Would not order either of these again. My friend had the French onion soup, which also included an odd tasting spice that was visible around the edges of the cup.

The salad was very good with fresh vegetables and fruit (yes tomatoes and cucumbers are fruit).

This was probably my 4th or 5th visit. I don't know why I keep going back. The service was adequate.

I would give this restaurant a C.

About Me

My photo
Lydia Blogg is a decorator/designer who specializes in designing and fabricating custom window treatments. When Lydia realized she loved her weekend remodeling jobs more than her office job, she made a career change. Through years of hands-on experience, she has become expert in decorating, custom window treatments, interior/exterior painting, tiling, sewing, refinishing furniture, flower arrangements, home and office efficiency solutions, home repairs. She has years of experience in accounting and the list goes on.... Lydia loves to write and is currently working on a weight-loss book. If you have a blog you think Lydia might like to follow, please email her at lydiablogg@gmail.com. Lydia's motto: "It's just as easy to be nice as it is to be mean and rotten!" PLEASE NOTE: The artist has a copyright on all art work on this blog - Thank you for not copying them.