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The Waffle Endeavor

June 22nd, 2013 by

Mindy and I have heated discussions about what we can have in the kitchen. We’ve argued about the beefy KitchenAid Mixers (not yet), panini grills (living on borrowed time), toasters (finally found a good one), microwaves (never again), blenders (replaced with an immersion blender), ice cream makers (inconclusive), sous vides (for science!), dish ware (heath and stackable restaurant supply glassware), mortars (granite, soon to be replaced with basalt molcajete), cookware (all-clad and seasoned cast-iron), and lots of other things too.

Waffle-makers would be one of these. For as long as we’ve had these arguments, I’ve been exceedingly against getting a waffle-maker. They are big and unreliably electric, and our kitchen is small and I hate shit that breaks (cuz they don’t make anything like they used to). The idea was floated that there existed cast-iron waffle irons that would not have the same drawbacks as electric waffle makers. I was able to find only one waffle iron (#1100 Old Fashioned) on the entire internet! However, no one that I could find had ever tried one on an electric stove-top like we have, nor could I find any record of someone trying to season such a beast. Whatever! We got one and did both.

The first step was seasoning, and fortunately the internet has an opinion on seasoning cast-iron. It involves flaxseed oil and about six treatments. Normally, this wouldn’t be so bad, but these instructions require drying almost all of the oil off before polymerizing in the oven. It was not so fun on the craggy surface of the waffle iron. Still, I’ll be damned if it didn’t work! It was so non-stick, that the waffles still came off even when I forgot to oil it first!Tyler Grinning and Making Waffles

The next step was choosing a waffle recipe (I’ve never made waffles before, or pancakes, or most anything else you can eat). I just so happen to be tremendously obsessed with bacteria and fungus and sprouting beans and in general using life to prepare my food for me. So naturally (pun-intended), I went for a fermented waffle recipe. Turns out, waffles made without yeast are the brown ales of breakfast pastries—they’ve got a hole where flavor should be. Fermented waffles, on the other hand, have an aftertaste that’s right up there with the finest yeasty lagers.

I’ve always been weak on execution, and last weekend was no exception. It was tricky to get the heat-output of the electric stove right, the timing right, and being unable to get both sides properly cooked made me feel like a busted toaster. Fortunately, the seasoning performed admirably, and the recipe itself tasted great.Tyler Displaying a Fresh Waffle

But this weekend, though! My technique improved and the waffles were much better—the best I’ve ever tasted! At last, I have a way to burn through the gallon of maple syrup I unreasonably purchased! I’m thinking I might re-season one of our cast-iron skillets and try a similar recipe with pancakes. It feels weird to be this excited about breakfast…

Best. 30th Birthday Gift. Ever.

November 21st, 2011 by

To celebrate the end of my 30th rotation around the sun, I invited some friends to Crawfish King in the International District last Saturday. I’d never been there before, but a friend from work whose culinary taste and skill I admire recommended it. I’ve been to Crab Pot and had a good time, but this place makes Crab Pot look like Sizzler. Anyway, we got crawfish and sauce all over ourselves and it was fantastic.Fantasy Statue

Even before we ordered food, my friends had perched a cardboard box of unusual size upon the table. After navigating (with assistance) the styrofoam puzzle within, an incredible form emerged: two chicks at the same time.

The statue was purchased from a strange store in Leavenworth that appears to specialize almost exclusively in naughty statues. Our favorite is a busty pirate named “Trixie”, but she is also life-sized and requires some creative engineering to fit on a coffee table. My drinking buddies understandably opted for the table-top version.

I’m sure Mindy is reevaluating our relationship accordingly. ^^

I finally got the bike I really wanted

January 30th, 2011 by

Lovely Bike, side shotSo I finally got a bike that does exactly what I want it to. I kinda put off ordering it, because picking the right frame is really hard. Furthermore, since I’m getting it with components installed, choosing all the little pieces can basically go on forever if you let it. Everything in the picture came installed on the bike, except the pump and the pedals. I got my shit together and ordered the bike in mid-November and the bike arrived just shy of a month later.

Lovely Bike, front shotThings I wanted to change from my old bike: cantilever brakes, stronger rack with longer support structure (so loaded panniers don’t swing back and hit the tire), more clearance between wheel and frame (for fenders and bigger wheels), stronger and long-lasting all-steel frame, bar-end shifters, Brooks seat, and wheels that support cassettes rather than failure-prone freewheels.

I’ve almost got the seat and handlebars adjusted to where I want them, but it takes a while to find that perfect position. Every time I ride, I readjust things a bit. I’m also starting to wonder if I like bar-end shifters more than downtube shifters or not (unfortunately, I didn’t realize my new bike doesn’t have downtube shifter bosses — argh!). Still, everything I didn’t like about my old bike is gone now, and I’ve yet to hate anything about the new bike. Even the Brooks seat, which is supposedly really hard until you break it in, feels just fine to me.

Lovely Bike, side shotA couple months ago we had some thieves come through the apartment complex and steal a bunch of bikes from the community bike racks. The bikes are hung by bike mounts and a cable hangs down from them with which you can use a lock to tether the bike. Unfortunately, the cable is very thin, so it was trivial for the thieves to snip ‘em and toss the bikes in a truck. Fortunately, my old bike looks like shit (awesome shit), so it was passed over while several other bikes next to it were disappeared. But knowing that my new bike is not likely to get passed over, I decided to invest in some precautionary measures. I got the thickest U-Lock available and a very thick chain to tie around the wooden boards supporting the community bike rack. At least now the bike rack is the weak point and not a crappy cable.

Lovely Bike, close-upI’m happy with the bike so far. While I was getting groceries today, I even had a hot hipster chick tell me I had a “beautiful bike” and compliment the double-toptube. Yay, bikes!

In Ukraine

July 5th, 2010 by

Purrrrrr

From Munich, we flew in to the airport in Kiev, Ukraine, where Vlad’s uncle kindly picked us up. The next day, we wandered out to see Kiev’s Golden Gate, which was a lot of fun to climb inside. Nearby was the kitty statue pictured here with me.

To get to the Golden Gate and just about everywhere else that we visited in Kiev, we went by subway. Subways in Ukraine tend to be highly stylized, with mosaics and marble and granite used to beautiful effect. This seems to be fairly common in eastern Europe, and it was one of my favorite aspects of the trip. A few subways were also very deep, presumably for protection against nuclear warfare, with high-speed escalators just to get people in and out in a reasonable amount of time.

Kievo-Pecherska Lavra
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Whoa, these wine glasses are serious business

March 14th, 2010 by

Hey y’all. Mindy posted some pictures of our new wine glasses a while ago and it’s high time I ‘splained ‘em.Stacking Wine Glasses

These wine glasses are the sequel to our fantastic beer glasses and they use the same serious-business, full-body tempering (apparently using heat and not chemicals). The tempering requires an increase in glass thickness, but results in strong and stable, long-lasting glassware. They’re extra short for stackability, which also adds a bit of stability. I like ‘em, and Mindy’s even warmed up to them.

I conned Mom and Dad into getting a set of 12, cuz I had to order ‘em by boxes of 48 for $200. I found the best deal at ReStockIt.com with free shipping and some sort of discount (they have sales a lot). I’m going to give the 6 of them I have left over to Dieter. Hopefully these will hold up to the harsh realities of Dieter’s roommates. I’ll be bringing them down the next time we come to visit, hopefully in the next week or two.

Sneakertubes

December 26th, 2009 by

I can’t believe I made the train today. My bus came a couple minutes early and I was pretty sure I was screwed. The only other bus I could possibly take was ten minutes up the hill and even then I doubted it could get me to the train on time.

So then I whooped out my tubephone and discovered that the ten-minutes-away bus was leaving in less than five. And since I had nothing to lose at this point, I huffed it up the hill with my overfilled backpack and suitcase.

Wouldn’t you know it? I just barely made it. Which is good too, cuz the train also left early (though, with me on it). Hooray for creative bussing!

And now, if you’ll direct your attention to the eastern sidebar… and assuming you have logged into your Raving Amicks account, you will notice that I have updated our stalker page for Mason. Please peruse it at your leisure.

Tune Out Turn Off Drop In: Belkin Conserve

August 31st, 2009 by

I have a big pile of media equipment under my TV, so when Dieter suggested that someone try out the Belkin Conserve, I got all excited and started running around the house plugging random things into holes. Turtle-y Media CenterThe Conserve is designed to force electronic devices – which usually continue to slurp and gargle power even when they’re off – to truly dislodge and leave the power in the wall where it belongs. We have one 26” Samsung flat-screen TV, as well as an Apple TV, an electric sheep, and five video game consoles (Wii, PS2, N64, Super NES and NES), which means we have ample equipment with which to test out the Conserve. (more…)

Playful Boobies

August 21st, 2009 by

The Boobie TrappeHere’s the picture of that cool tavern sign I told you guys about. I just put it up on my wall a couple hours ago. It replaces the venerable Japanese-styled cloudy mountain painting, which goes back into the poster tube.

Keep a close eye on your boobies, lest they wander into my trappe!

Sitting in Seoul

December 3rd, 2008 by

UPDATED 2x at end…

I just wanted to let everyone know that Mindy and I have begun our trip without any problems. I found some free wifi at the airport, yay! BTW, Mindy and I give Korean Air all thumbs up!

UPDATE 1 (4:17 PM on Wednesday, December 3rd): Mindy and I have been hanging out in Mumbai for a bit now. Our flight to Hyderabad should be boarding soon. We’re safe, but tired. And could probably use a shower.

UPDATE 2 (1:57 AM on Friday, December 5th): We continued our trip to Hyderabad without issue, and boy is the Hyderabad airport nice. It’s only 1 or 2 years old and is way better than both the domestic and international Bombay airports. Parthu surprised us by being there when we arrived (I was just planning on calling him and waiting). Unfortunately, it looks like he got a little sick, but still was very helpful in getting us to our hotel, and the hotel was pretty much exactly what we had hoped for. I’ll update with a new post later.

Chasing Mason

November 16th, 2008 by

Mindy and I were able to catch up with Mason today, so we interrogated him a bit and I’ve added it all to the “Mason’s Whereabouts” link on the sidebar. Keep in mind that the link will not work unless you are logged in, for obvious reasons. Here’s a picture to whet your appetite: Bein' a badass at the Ale House

And he’ll be coming with Dieter and Mindy and I for Thanksgiving.