Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recent Kitchen Endeavors

Joe and I have this really great thing going, in my opinion at least, that on Sundays he cooks 5 or 6 dishes for us to eat throughout the week, and I clean.  I would rather clean a toilet than cook (or do laundry, while I'm being honest).  I'm just really lazy about the goings on of a kitchen, and Joe enjoys cooking, so it works.  And just for the record, I help with the dishes.  Anyway, this past Sunday he made paella.  It's the third or fourth time in the past year that he's made it, and I think it gets better and better every time.  He even bought a special fancy pants paella pan.  For those of you who know us, he obviously doesn't add any meat to it, but he does add (get this) HOMEMADE seitan.  What a guy!  Check it out, and if you want a recipe just let me know.

In addition to the paella, I've been meaning to post the apple pie we baked on November 9 in honor of Carl Sagan's birthday.  If you're not familiar with the famous quote, here it is:

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. --Carl Sagan

Joe often says this quote, in Sagan's voice--it's priceless--so baking an apple pie only seemed appropriate.  Now, I do have to disclose that I've never really been an apple pie person.  I know, I know!!  I'm basically not a real American, but for not liking apple pie, I can definitely say that this one turned out damn good.  We had a goal of doing a lattice crust, and I'd say we succeeded.  Is your mouth watering?

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For our last day in Reykjavik we decided to explore a little bit more of the city, low key style--no guided tours, no expensive tickets.  We spent the morning roaming a courtyard of sculptures by Einar Jonsson (one more time for kicks: Einar, son of Jon!), which was waaaay more interesting than I expected.  This man was a talent, as you can see.  I wish I would have photographed the titles of these pieces, as it having been three months since I've seen them I can't really remember.  I wish I could, because the titles are what really provoked me to study the piece I was viewing at the time.

OK, check out the musculature on this beefy fellow!

Side view of a sculpture.

And the back.

I know this piece is titled Grief.  I think I can confidently say this is my favorite.

Spring? The Birth of Spring? Something like that.


This one should be titled Raaaaaaaaar!

This one should be titled Gross Man Acting QUITE Inappropriately with Bull.  As you can see, Joe is shocked.  Disturbing.  Just nasty!

Sparks.  This depicts the birth Aphrodite.

After the Einar Jonsson sculptures, we made our way to a super old cemetery we had seen a week prior while walking home from that joke of a "World's Largest Pub" trip after I tinkled in the trees.  You can see why it caught our attention.  We just had to go back during the day and explore.  Some of the headstones we saw were from the late 1700s.  I love that the cemetery looks like it's in the middle of a forest.  And everything was covered in moss.

OK, here's something we immediately noticed about Reykjavik: there were cats everywhere.  We would be walking along a neighborhood street and encounter three different cats.  Most of them had collars on, so I wasn't worried that they were homeless, and most of them were quite sociable.  They gave us our cat fix while we were away from our Francis and Sherman cats.  This little guy was guarding the cemetery, we figured.

As we left the cemetery it started to rain, so we took shelter at what had become our favorite coffee place of the trip, Babalu.  I loved the eclectic decoration of the cafe.  There was a shelf dedicated to Flintstone paraphernalia, none of the tables matched, and several of the walls were covered in maps or record album sleeves.  I loved it.  I want whoever decorated that place to come to my apartment and do whatever he wants to it.  And the soy lattes were delish!

After the cafe we went to Bjarni Fels Sports Bar to watch a soccer match between Chelsea and Manchester United.  Despite the game being preseason and neither of the teams being from Iceland, there was still quite a turnout at the bar.  It was really fun to be a part of; to be among a group of people that really got riled by the game.  The only other international soccer game I had ever taken the time to watch was between Germany and some other country while Joe, Joe Jovanovich, and I killed time before a wedding while in Wichita, KS.  As you can imagine, the audience wasn't nearly as enthusiastic. I did not take pictures here, because I would have felt like a creepy tourist.

As we walked around the city that evening I began to regret not having taken more pictures of the neighborhoods.  We were having so much fun traveling and vowed to continue on to other countries, and I decided I should do that ever so cliche act of making sure to take pictures of a certain something in each country we go to.  So here are some items to consider repeating in the future:

City Hall.  I want to know why St. Louis' city hall isn't sitting on top of water, because this was so cool.

Residential window.

Pay toilet!  Or, more specifically, Joe about to go into a pay toilet.

The grocery store we often visited to buy more Ramen because there weren't many restaurants with vegan options.  In this case, the local 10/11.

A typical neighborhood street, of course.

This doesn't fit into any category.  I just liked that there was a bird on every post.

An exit sign

The following morning we left for Keflavik airport.

Um, WHY did we carry so much stuff?

The ride home was fairly uneventful.  The lines were long, and, I'll just say it, Customs was a bitch.  Soooo, I guess that's it?  This is the end of the Iceland posts?  Hang on, I'm asking Joe if he has any final thoughts.  He says he was a little put off by how touristy the country was; it felt like Jamaica or something (I agree).  He's really glad we went because he's always been interested in Iceland and wanted to see the country, and it's hard to believe that we actually got to go.  We both know there are definitely some things we learned about ourselves as travelers and as a couple.  Overall, I had a great adventure.  If you followed all the posts you know there was a lot to do and a lot to take in.  There was so much gorgeous scenery and lots of interesting things to do.  So, as my last official sentence on the subject: Iceland was WONDERFUL!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Colleen and Joel: A Spooktacular Wedding!

The scene: Halloween 2009 in Chicago.
The players: One of the coolest couples I know, my friend of 11 years Colleen and her man Joel.
The plot: An amazing wedding day of ceremony, luncheon, trolley ride and costume party, and oh yes, pictures!


Thanks, Colleen and Joel for involving me in your wedding.  I love you!