Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This past weekend was a pretty big one for me and my family. I'm the youngest in my family, not just between my brother and I, but of all the grandchildren on both sides. I am also the last one to graduate college, which was accomplished on May 18th. I got my Bachelors of Science in Food Service Management to go along with my Associates of Science in Baking and Pastry. My Grandmother Jo was able to drive in from Utah to see me graduate, which put me over the moon on the happiness scale.

After graduation we had a get together with some friends and family. We of course celebrated with excessive amounts of food. Throughout the afternoon people milled around the dining room table snacking on a veggie tray and conversing about life, with a general feel of merriment.

If graduating from college wasn't enough I also turned 22 on May 19th. Again we had a small get together with just family this time, and was mostly to eat up the leftovers from the day before. I'm planning on going up to Blackhawk/Central City to go do some gambling with the money I got for my birthday. I figured this year I've had enough bad luck that I'm due for some good, so why not try it out there. Also at my favorite casino there they give you a present if you come in during your birthday month, last year I got a cup that I love.

My plans for now are to keep working at Tipsy Cupcakes and Desserts. Try to move out of my parents house and live life to the fullest.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chinese food

I've had two recent experiences with Chinese food, and they were complete opposites. I ordered delivery from New Ya Ting and I went to Mr. Panda's Super Buffet.

Mr. Panda's Super Buffet was some of the worst food I have ever had, let alone Chinese. It included dishes like beef broccoli, and had a whole section of seafood, with crab legs. I love crab legs, in my mind it is pretty hard to ruin crab legs for me, and yet Mr. Panda's ruined them. First off they were served cold, which wouldn't be that big of a deal to me, but they were absolutely water logged. I got over that, but I couldn't get over the fact that when I poured what I thought was butter over my crab meat and took my first bite there was a taste that didn't belong. A feeling that this wasn't truly butter. I tasted it by itself and realized that it was butter flavored shortening, which completely ruined crab meat that wasn't perfect to begin with.

Let me compare dish to dish now,
Cheese wontons: Mr. Panda's were over done and there wasn't any cheese inside. New's were perfectly crisp and filled with delicious creamy cheesy goodness.

Beef broccoli: Mr. Panda's had tough and chewy beef with fall apart broccoli, not to mention it was a little on the cold side. New's was a little salty, but nice tender beef with broccoli that was still a little crisp.

Egg rolls: Mr. Panda's were not crisp and still drenched in oil. New's had a bit of excessive grease that dribbled down my arm when I took a bite, but the crunch was worth the dribble.

Orange chicken: Mr. Panda's was just spicy, no flavor or hints of orange. New's had a small kick to it, but also had a bit of sweetness and a wonderfully fragrant burst of orange.

Service (in a roundabout way, not the traditional sense)
Mr. Panda's staff was friendly enough but did not seem to be on point about what they were supposed to do. They were slow at clearing the discarded plates, and when asked a question they were very confused and could not give a straight answer the first time you asked. New's delivery driver was early with our food, and made sure that we got everything we ordered. He even came back up to the door when he realized that the egg rolls we had ordered were still in his car.

The same number of people went to the buffet as when I ordered delivery. For the buffet it cost us around $60 for four. The delivery was around $40-50 with delivery fee for four, and we were able to get multiple meals out of it for a couple of days. I would gladly pay for the delivery any day, on its worst day it is still better than the best day that Mr. Panda's could do.

Monday, May 6, 2013

GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms

There is so much controversy about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that I thought I would jump on the chance to write a little bit about it.

The good
We are in a drought, but we still need to produce food. GMOs to the rescue. These plants are bred to survive in drought conditions, which is something that we need badly. They are also being designed to have a higher yield, enhanced nutrition, and other consumer benefits. We need to be able to produce the most amount of food with the highest nutritional value using the least amount of water. While it is not available at the current time these are promises for the future, which at the rate the population is growing is some places we might need to have those GMO crops sooner rather than later. 

The bad
 We don't know exactly how these modified organisms are going to affect humans. There could be a long term affect that we don't know about yet, such as an intolerance to certain food or allergies or our bodies weren't made to eat something like a GMO crop.
They are harming the environment because they are herbicide resistant and they use of certain herbicides does damage to the soil. It is also aiding in the production of super weeds and super bugs.
The GMOs are things that do not happen naturally and when they are introduced into the environment there is no controlling what might cross breed and what those cross breeds might be capable of.

How I feel
 I have mixed feelings about GMOs. I feel that they are going to be necessary in the future but I also don't like the idea of not knowing what harm they could do to human beings. We already know that they are harming the environment since they are designed to be herbicide resistant, which means that we are having to find more harmful substances to destroy the super weeds that the GMOs created. I'm not really for or against GMOs, I am for more research into the subject. I will be for GMOs if they turn out to do more good than harm, but for now I am sticking against them until we know more about them.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hospital Food

Disclaimer, I talk about being sick to my stomach. Not in a gross detailed way but I do say throw up a few times. Also at the end is a picture of my stomach post-operation.
I have been in many different hospitals, never the patient though, until this year. I would go visit my mom while she was working. I've visited my sick friends, to give them moral support. Since I was just there for a few hours at most, I never felt the absolute need to eat from the cafeteria, I could just leave and find some place that had a place in my mind as being better. Most recently I can recall being at the hospital with my best friend while she was giving birth and when the support team got hungry we went down the street to Panera instead of eating at the cafeteria.

A few years ago my dad was hospitalized for weeks and I remember going down the street to Jimmy Johns instead of the cafeteria for lunches because it was quick and a little bit of a break from the hospital. During that time it was hard during meal times because I would be the only one making meals and I don't know how to make much. I do know how to make a few things from scratch but I never seemed to want to and when I did I would make the same things over and over again until I was tired of them. I would make my mom dinner on nights that she would come home from taking care of him and that would be scrambled eggs and toast. I remember one day that my dad was allowed to have pureed food and it looked and smelled disgusting. They had liquefied eggs and hash browns, I'm sure there were other items but I just remember those two, and I thought to myself "who purees eggs?" and "if I'm ever hospitalized and put on a soft foods diet I would never order pureed eggs."

This year has been a pretty rough year for me. At the end of December I was diagnosed with mononucleosis (mono) or the "kissing disease", not a huge deal, I could live with that. I was told not to go snowboarding because the spleen can become enlarged and if it gets hit really hard while enlarged it would rupture and I would most likely die from internal bleeding. I was fine with that, I could wait a year to go snowboarding. Toward the end of January, I was feeling pretty good, didn't have any symptoms that persisted and I went snowshoeing with my brother and his wife. I got a sore throat and was pretty sick with that for about a week, it just felt like the flu. Thursday the 14th of February I started to feel funky, I was running a fever and my tonsils had swollen up. By Saturday I was unable to swallow anything and went into the ER. They re-hydrated me, gave me some pain meds and steroids to help with the swelling, and sent me on my way.

A few days later I went in to see an Ear Nose and Throat doctor to see about getting my tonsils out. That was really hard to get scheduled, during the course of scheduling it was set up for three different days. They ended up taking my tonsils and adenoids out on the 28th of February. I recovered better and quicker than anyone thought I would. After recovering from that I started to have some left side abdominal pain, my primary care doctor thought that it might still be mono related and that my spleen was enlarged. She ordered an ultrasound to check. My spleen was fine, but they found that my gall bladder was full of gall stones and would need to be taken out at some point. I wanted to wait until after graduation to do it so that I wouldn't have to worry about taking any days off from school.

Saturday morning on April  27th I started to get some pain after eating, but didn't really think anything of it. I went about my day, even going into work and working a full shift. I was in a bit more pain when I came home that evening, but I went to bed and woke up with no pain on Sunday. I ate something and the pain came back, again I ignored it and went to work. It got worse throughout the day. My mom debated taking me into the ER, but consulted a friend that is stomach doctor. He said that it could wait and I should consult my primary care doctor in the morning. Monday morning I went in, and they drew some blood and felt my stomach. They sent me on my way and told me that if the pain got worse to go to the ER. I ate some food and the pain got worse. I ignored the pain and went to class. While in class the pain started to shoot up to about an 8 out of 10. I went home. That is when things took a dive for the worse, I started to throw up anything that touched my stomach. I was starting to run a fever, my mom decided it was time to take me to the ER.  By 1:00 am Tuesday morning I was admitted to the hospital and told that I would be having surgery to remove my gall bladder later on that day.

2:30 pm Tuesday afternoon I was in surgery.  I don't remember much after that until about 6:30 pm when I was finally allowed to eat. I ordered some chicken noodle soup with crackers and apple juice. The soup came in this heavy duty black bowl with a flimsy plastic lid to keep the heat in. It was much like the Campbell chicken noodle soup in a can, it might even have been out of the can. All I know was it was some of the best chicken noodle soup I have ever had, maybe that was just the fact that I hadn't had food in over 24 hours. Those pureed eggs might have even tasted good, who knows. The hospital discharged me because I was able to eat and keep the food down. I got to sleep in my own bed without being woken up every so often by nurses checking on me. I am doing pretty well, in some pain still but that is expected after surgery.

I really wanted to see my gall bladder after they took it out, but the surgeon wouldn't show it to me... oh well it probably would have grossed me out anyways.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Murphy Creek Tavern

My house is out in the middle of nowhere it seems. Sure there are other houses around it but there aren’t any shopping areas close by, and the closest stop light is at least five miles away. It is hard to find places nearby to go out to eat at because of where I live. When the community down the road from us advertised their clubhouse served dinner it was a must try.
The clubhouse is very small; at full capacity it might seat 50 people, including the small bar, three televisions are mounted to the walls. The wait staff is very friendly and seems to enjoy their work. They are attentive without being overbearing and make sure to keep drinks filled, while requests are filled for mayonnaise and other condiments.
Since the class talked about fish and chips ($11) in class I’ve wanted to find a place that did fish and chips and just hoped that it would be good. Murphy Creek paid up with some golden, crispy fried fish, only one side was a little soggy because it was laid on coleslaw. The chips had an overdone brown to them, which would normally be associated with nicely crisp French fries but I was let down with half.
Build your own burger ($8 plus $0.50 per topping) is where the customer gets the choice of toppings to add, it comes stacked with the usuals of lettuce, tomato, and onion. It was ordered with sautéed onions and mushrooms and cooked to a medium rare. The burger was cut and showed a perfect medium rare, the flavor just bursts in the mouth while the juice ran down the forearms. The strange part of this burger was that it came with both the raw and sautéed, don’t get me wrong I love onion, but that is a bit excessive.
It was not after five pm when I visited the establishment, I was unable to order the prime rib dinner, I settled for the French dip ($9) which had prime rib meat. The meat was juicy and tender, the au juis barely needed for anything besides a flavor booster. The bun could have used a little bit more crisp to it so it could hold its own against the au juis a bit better.
Overall this place had me hooked just because of the proximity and has reeled me in with the food.

Best part was some pretty awesome fish and chips, in a land locked state.

Worst part: had to listen and sort of watch on the televisions the golf game.

Bar Food | 1700 Old Tom Morris Road, Aurora, Colorado 303-361-7310 | $6-26 | Mon-Thurs 8:30 am- 8pm, Friday 8:30 am- 9 pm, Sat 8am- 8 pm, Sun 8am- 5 pm | all forms of payment

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fondue Night

One year while living in Germany, my family and I went on a ski trip to Switzerland or Austria, I can't remember which, it was the Alps, I know that much. After a long day of skiing we went out to dinner at a place that had some fantastic fondue. The thing that I remember most about the place is our server. He had pants on that were cow patterned and I loved them the moment I saw them, I wanted a pair for the longest time. I finally got a pair for Christmas last year, Merv and Maude got them for me.

Occasionally Betty, Johnny and I have a night were we have fondue. We use to buy a package that was really good, but the store stopped carrying it and we were forced to find a recipe and make it from scratch. Even though we have a recipe it never comes out the same way twice. We don't always have the same kind of cheese. I'm pretty sure that it still wouldn't come out the same way twice if we did have the same kinds of cheese.

The whole point of this post is to let you in on the crazy that is me. I got excited because I was at work and I was wearing my cow patterned pants. I came home and it was fondue night. It brought me back all those year to when I first saw cow pants and wanted a pair for myself. Here is a picture of me in my cow pants having fondue, don't judge. Also, that is Johnny in the picture, being his usual grump self.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Arada, Ethiopian Food

I've visited a lot of places in my life, more than some people dream of. I have been to over 25 different countries and countless cities. Living in Germany had its advantages, if you wanted to do a day trip you could take one to another country. When I say that something is a bit of an adventure I sort of know what I'm talking about, and this time it was.

Ethiopian is quite unlike anything else I tried, sure there might be things that are recognizable such as the tomatoes from the tomato salad or the chicken pieces from the Doro Alitcha. The flavors are completely unique though, along with the serving style. I quite enjoyed the way the meal is supposed to be eaten, with your hands and pieces of the imjera, the spongey bread like serving dish. I am a savage at home and try to use as few utensils and dishes as possible, at a restaurant I am mostly polite and civilized. Betty might disagree here, she likes to scold and reprimand me sometimes when I'm not behaving they way she thought she raised me. I'm just doing my part to conserve water by not using utensils, or a better excuse that I might make up later to justify eating with my fingers because it is fun. Back to the point that this restaurant was enjoyable for me just for that reason. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves for the majority of the time spent there, Maude had said that it was unusual for it to be so empty.

Our server was attentive without being overbearing, she made sure our glasses stayed full of water and was sure not to disturb us while we were consuming. This really surprised me because I would have thought with as empty as it was I would have though she would be bugging us a lot due to boredom.

I'm sure I have said it before but I'm saying it again, I do not enjoy foods that have a lot of spice. Things I eat should not make my mouth feel like I swallowed a burning coal, there should be discernible tastes, most of the items we ate were not that spicy, the ones that were were very spicy. The yemiser wot was especially hot.

Yatakilt alitcha was my favorite, with the steamed potatoes and carrots that had a slight sweetness to them, maybe I was imagining that, it was a break from the spice of the yemiser wot and the siga wot. The injera was a very interesting piece to the dish. It was almost like a tortilla in the uses for it, by itself it had a very vinegar taste but was easily masked. The texture was the weirdest thing and hardest to describe other than a sponge, I know that doesn't sound very appealing but it is better than it sounds.

The Yater Alitcha was a yellow pea dish that did not have a lot of flavor to it. It looked much like a corn mash.

Yemiser wot was a lentil dish with a berbere or a red pepper sauce, I only got spice and heat off of this, making it my least favorite.

Gomen is a steamed greens dish, it was my second least favorite. It had almost no taste to it and what taste it did was not very pleasing.

The siga wot and doro alitcha were the only two dishes with meat in them. The siga wot was tender beef in a berbere sauce, this was a little spicy but was nothing compared to the yemiser wot. The doro alitcha  was chicken that was bland, but the sauce had a garlic taste to it, that redeemed the chicken slightly.

Overall: I enjoyed the experience but I would not return, because I did not enjoy the food that much. It was not horrible food and I know people like Merv and Maude enjoy it, but I can do without.

Best part: Having the restaurant mostly to ourselves and our service.

Worst part: The price, it was pretty expensive.

Ethiopian | 750 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 303-329-3344 | $10-18 for single person entrees | Tue-Sat 11:30-10pm | all major credit cards