Saturday, January 25, 2014

Delta Rae is coming back to the Cat's Cradle

and this time, I won't miss them.  Though the concert isn't until early March, I'm already psyched.

Enjoy the first song from their last album.

Friday, January 24, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 4

A list of the various ways in which this travel day sucked:

1. Up at 5:35 to shower and begin the trip.  Why the odd number?  Wake-up call was late, which led to rushed shower and general grumpiness.

2. Window seat next to a 6'2" woman with the sharpest elbows in the world, one of which she kept in my space until we finally had this conversation. 

Me:  Please get your elbow out of my space.

Her:  It's not in your space.

Me:  It is when it crosses the armrest between us.

Her:  It doesn't.

Me:  Look down.  It's over the armrest now by two inches.

Her, after looking down:  Humpf.

She then moved her elbow so she was merely taking up the entire armrest. 

3. Woman who came out of the plane rest room I was about to enter saying, "Oh, it's not good in there.  I tried, but it's not good in there."  She was right:  it was not good in there.

4. No time for lunch.

5. Middle seat on the second flight.

A list of the various ways in which this travel day did not suck:

1. Sped through security thanks to TSA PreChek.

2. Breakfast at PDX was a pre-made egg-salad sandwich, the sort of take-your-stomach-into-your-hands food roulette I love to play.

3. Bandwidth on both legs, so I landed nearly caught up on today's work.

4. Exit rows both legs, so though my back ached from shrimping up the whole time, my legs were fine.

5. Both flights landed on time.

6. My bag arrived.

7. I'm home!

Overall, number 7 makes this a very good travel day indeed.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 3

Very interesting work meetings that I cannot discuss filled the day.  Sorry about that.

The evening was work, packing, work, a lovely dinner at Le Pigeon, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and work. 

I have a 5:30 a.m. wake-up, so that's it for today.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On the road again: Portland, day 2

Up early after very little sleep, email and meetings, more work, a nice dinner with colleagues at the hotel's quite decent restaurant, and more work until very late. 

A typical work day on the road.

No more from me today.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On the road again: Grand Cayman, Cayman Cookout, day 6 /
Portland, day 1

I awoke earlier than I wanted by far, but later than normal, to another perfect day in Grand Cayman.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Sorry about the blackness of the overhang in the upper right corner.

Flying to Portland is going to provide quite the shocking change in weather.  As best I can tell, the weather back home is even worse.

Again, though, it's impossible to complain given that I got to enjoy so much time here. I certainly understand why some folks who can afford to do so spend the winter in places like this.  I don't know if I would, but it would certainly be tempting, were I ever to have that much money (which I won't).


I wrote the above section of this entry while still on Grand Cayman.  I'm writing this piece on the plane to Portland.  So far, the travel day has gone reasonably well, but it certainly hasn't been fun.

Due to the flight schedule, lunch was at the Grand Cayman airport's one food stand.  The airport's free Wi-Fi connection worked, so I could catch up a bit on email. 

The flight to Miami was splendid, a trip in first class that was productive and gave me all the water and Diet Coke I wanted.

Going through customs and baggage handling in Miami, however, was a nightmare of incompetency and long lines.  I did a reasonable impersonation of a calm person when necessary, and I made it to my gate on time, though just barely, so I can complain only so much.

Of course, I now have to hope my bag is waiting for me at PDX.  If not, I'll be in trouble.

My next layover was in DFW, where I met a colleague who's joining me on this trip and spent a little time in the Admiral's Club.  Sadly, this flight was late to take off, so we're not due to hit PDX until just before midnight Pacific time.  Oh, boy.


I hit my hotel room, as I expected, about one a.m. PST, so it was a very long travel day indeed.  Still, I and my luggage made it, and I had first class the whole way, so I'm not complaining.

Sleep beckons.

Monday, January 20, 2014

On the road again: Grand Cayman, Cayman Cookout, day 5

Today, the weather was absolutely perfect, warm but not hot, breezy but not windy, and the water in motion but not rough.

Click on an image to see a larger version.

I got a lot of sleep, which is always a great treat, did a little work, and then hit the water and the beach.  Like many pale-skinned people, I don't tan well, so I was careful not to burn today.  Eating lunch on a chair by the ocean was a huge treat. 

I spent a chunk of the afternoon in the water and on the beach, then returned to the room to work.

I love the way the light fades over the ocean here.

A good day with too much work for an island, but, still, an amazing island that I love.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On the road again: Grand Cayman, Cayman Cookout, day 4

Today remains overcast but with calmer seas than the past two days.

Click an image to see a larger version.

As I've said, despite the less than perfect weather, it's impossible to complain about being here.

The first event I attended today was the Bon Vivant Champagne Brunch Cook-off, a combination fancy brunch and cooking contest.

The brunch came from stations spread through and outside of the huge foyer outside the Ritz's main ballroom.  A variety of chefs, some local, some from the Ritz, and some from sponsors, offered a huge range of both savories and desserts.  I managed to limit my consumption enough that for the first time at this event I left not feeling overly stuffed.  That's not a great diet achievement, but it's a tiny bit of progress, particularly in the face of a lot of very tasty food.

The cooking contest pit two local chefs, each of whom had a sous chef accompanying her/him, in a one-hour cook-off.  Both worked hard, but both produced way too much food and served dishes that demonstrated little plating skill.  Cooking in front of a crowd of foodies had to be tough, though, and even tougher was having to present the plates to the panel of judges:  the executive chef for all the Ritz Carlton hotels, whose name I did not get; Anthony Bourdain; Eric Ripert; and Daniel Boulud.  Jose Andres would normally have judged, but he had to leave yesterday to prepare Michelle Obama's birthday dinner at the White House.  As excuses for leaving an event go, that's a pretty damn good one.

Despite the weak plating, I applaud the efforts of the local chefs, and Gina (whose last name I did not get) deserved her win, at least from what I could see of their dishes. 

Next up was the traditional artisan market, which has largely morphed into a bunch of food and drink stations adjacent to a book signing that featured all the guest chefs.

Bourdain and Ripert sold out of their books, which is a big improvement from previous years' signings, and most of the other chefs also sold out their stock.

A view of the fading daylight from my balcony. this place never ceases being beautiful.

The final event of the show, as always, was the gala dinner at Blue by Eric Ripert.  Each of the guest chefs cooks one of the courses of this meal, and the result the past two years has been an excellent dinner indeed.  This year's menu promised to continue the trend.

They served the first course, the three appetizers from Rick Bayless, as we stood outside Blue and drank and talked in the gentle early night.  Each was fresh and bright and delicious.  As I said in an earlier post, I must become more familiar with Bayless' food.

I enjoyed every single course, but my favorite by far was this heart attack on a plate from Martin Picard. 

A perfect piece of foie gras sat atop a cheese-covered hunk of bacon, which in turn sat on a pancake, and the whole thing was drizzled in and surrounded by a spiced maple syrup.  It was amazingly good, rich and strong and sweet, Picard out, as Bourdain tweeted, to kill us all with deliciousness. 

This event, the entire Cayman Cookout, is another of the many experiences I've been lucky enough to enjoy that I wish I could share with all my friends. 


Blog Archive