Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Projects - Vegetable Garden

Let's just hope this stuff lives.

This week we planted a small vegetable garden in our backyard. On my way home from work, I picked up a few plants from the local hardware store: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, chili peppers, jalapeno peppers, okra, cucumbers, and basil.

Wheeled home the garden supplies in our grocery cart.

Before: transplanted these to the front yard to replace some dead plants.

After: two red pepper and two tomato plants.

Also, I made a compost box out of an old plastic bin we were going to toss.

Ready for kitchen scraps and grass clippings.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Road Trip - Boston

Boston Common (the park, not the Anthony Clark TV show)

Monday was a national holiday, and we decided to double down and take Friday off, too. We took the train up to Boston for a four day weekend. It was the first time for both of us, and we spent our time checking out some history and eating lots of New England foods.

As soon as we dropped off our bags, we found a bowl of clam chowder and lobster roll. The soup was so good we went back for our last meal, too.

We spent most of the weekend walking around the Freedom Trail and checking out Revolutionary war sites.

We actually spent a large share of our weekend in cemeteries.

We were both captivated by the ghastly images carved into the headstones.

I think we need to bring this style back.

We saw these BMXers in Boston Common our first day, and Kathryn was obsessed with them the rest of the trip.

This was, without a doubt, Kathryn's favorite image of the weekend. She was pretty proud of how this picture turned out.

The town had a lot of tributes for Memorial Day, including this collection of flags for fallen Massachusetts soldiers in Boston Common.

We were fortunate enough to get together with one of my good friends from college and his wife - current Bostonians (and unfortunately, IU fans).

Cliche Mike's Pastry visit.

Some cliches happen for a reason, like outstanding cannolis.

I opted for the chocolate covered lobster tail because it sounds way more New England.

Kathryn and some reenactors at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Old Ironsides

Kathryn on board.

One of the highlights of the trip for me - Real World: Boston house.

We spent the better part of the late afternoon lounging in the grass in Boston Common. This was our view.

On the wharf getting ready to go whale watching.

Beautiful view of the city as we pull away from the docks.

Enjoying a beautiful sunny day.

Wonderful views of the sun-drenched harbor islands.

Wait, what?

Trying to enjoy ourselves despite the fog, the cold, and the wind.

The only whale we were able to see was on this beer bottle, but it's OK because the beer was also warm and flat.

The wind nearly gave Kathryn dreadlocks.

Miraculously, it cleared up just as we were heading back to port.

Eating Out - Russian

Almost had to wait in a post-Soviet sized line to get this food.

Russia House (Russian)

I turned 30 last week, which you wouldn't have guessed by how young I look in pictures (I know). I decided to celebrate the only way I know how - try new foods from a restaurant that intimidates me in many ways. I was intimidated by Russian food because I thought it was just cabbage, pickled fish, and crippling depression. I was intimidated by Russia House because it seems like a place for cool Eastern European mobsters. Turns out, it's only half full of mobsters, and the menu offers plenty of options - although most are still intimidating.

  • I don't like vodka. I think it tastes disgusting, and like most people, I had a night where I accidentally drank too much of it and paid the price for days. When we sat down to order, I saw no other option than the 6 vodka sampler, served with only lime and orange slices and a few olives. There were 4 vodkas infused in house - raspberry (awesome), coffee (amazing), sour cherry (even better), and buffalo grass (what?). The other two were unflavored "sipping" vodkas, only one of which was palatable. Kathryn helped me a bit, but I barely made it half way through the sampler before throwing in the towel.
  • We split the perogi appetizer which were quite delicious. Unlike the Polish variety, these were made with a fluffy pastry shell. For dinner, Kathryn had a lobster and cream sauce dish served in a similar pastry shell. I meant to order the duck breast, but instead I got pork loin with rice and braised cabbage. It was pretty tasty though, and I was afraid if I didn't eat whatever they brought me, the vodka would get the best of me.
  • For desert we splint blintzes filled raspberry sauce and cottage cheese. They were a bit disappointing, but preferred to the standard cheesecake and creme brulee options.
  • All in all, it was a pretty successful adventure.
At the very beginning of the sampler - still so optimistic.

Eating In - BBQ Grill

The American dream...

Our new home is the first place we've lived with a backyard (or front yard for that matter). This means one thing - I finally had the opportunity to get a gas grill. Fortunately, we were able to pick up a slightly used grill from someone nearby via Craigslist. I wasted no time and started grilling within an hour of getting it home. Here's a peak at the good life...

Kathryn chopped up the pineapple while I grilled the burgers.

The end result - hamburgers with grilled onions, grilled pineapple, and (of course) UTZ potato chips.

This also marked our first dinner on the deck.

The very next night - grilled pork tenderloin.

Later in the week - steak and grilled onions with Mexican style grilled corn on the cob.