Monday, January 26, 2009

Cuba Libre

Tim and I rarely venture into the city even though we live about ten minutes from the center of Philadelphia. We tend to stay in our little nook of the suburbs. However, we went into Philadelphia to take part in Restaurant Week where upscale restaurants offer a three-course meal for $35. Our friends, TC and Laura, joined us for an evening at Cuba Libre, a Cuban restaurant that I have been wanting to try.

First of all, I love mojitos. They are the kind of cocktail that I like to enjoy at restaurants rather than make my own, but after enjoying a passion fruit mojito and a cherry mojito at Cuba Libre, I am inspired to make my own at home. We'll wait for summer for that.

My appetizer was a plate stacked with pork ribs! It was smothered in a guava BBQ sauce. Just like all ribs should be, they were cooked well and had lots of tender meat to pull off of the bone. TC, Laura, and I all had the ribs as our first course. I followed the ribs with a lime-garlic marinated chicken dish on top of a black bean croquete...I have no idea what that means, but it was like a black bean crab cake sort of thing without the crab! It was covered in a mango sweet and sour gravy.

Finally, my third and final course was the dessert. Normally, I do not get dessert at restaurants because I am so full from my dish, but it was part of the experience. TC and I enjoyed Tres Leche de Banana which is a vanilla sponge cake soaked in three different kinds of banana milk and a chocolate-banana mousse on top. It had caramelized bananas on the side too.

I realized on my trip to Cuba Libre that I really shouldn't wait until restaurant week to enjoy the yummy food that Philadelphia has to offer. I should make it a goal to go to the city at least once a month and try a new restaurant.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009

No matter your politics, today matters.

This is going to be good for our country on so many levels. There is nothing that I can say that hasn't already been said about this moment, but it matters to us all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tales of the Grocery Store

Well, it is that time on Midwestern Position when I share my observations from the grocery store. I love grocery shopping, but my passion for groceries is slowly fading with my time in Philly. However, this morning was great. The following is a chronological list of events that took place at the grocery store.

1. A woman 'raced' me to the carts. I did not know that we were racing, but it was made clear to me when she put her hand on the cart that I had just grabbed. She said, "I'll take it."

What? Really? Okay. Because there are 35 more carts sitting here for me to take.

2. When I was choosing my bunch of bananas, a woman was muttering under her breathe about how they never have quality bananas. How "could it kill them to get the GD bananas out before they are all yellow?" I felt that she was addressing me, but I have always found it best to just walk away.

3. I was called "BABE" three times at the deli counter.
"What do you need, Babe?"
"Which turkey, Babe?"
"Have a good day, Babe."
I don't object to this term of endearment. It entertains me.

4. While waiting in line for my deli items, they had sample sandwiches on the counter. Even though I do not enjoy free samples of food at the grocery store, I observed a man eat three of them. Yes, the line was that long at the deli counter that I could see this man come back two more times for a sandwich while he shopped.

Midwestern Endorsement: William Fitzsimmons

My newest music obsession is a man named William Fitzsimmons. He is the kind of artist that one should listen to only if they are comfortable in the melancholy state. He sings songs about lost love, what could have been, and how it should feel when a person feels absolutely terrible with their heart cracking slowing. I love it. But, I am one of those people who enjoy a sad song more often than not. It is folky and nostalgic. Both things that I am prone to like. His story is interesting too. Now, I will stalk his website with hopes that he will make his way to Philadelphia.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Midwestern Recipe: Coconut Cake

I have tried many different recipes for coconut cake. I like my cake to be very flavorful and I think this recipe is the best I have tasted. I made this for a small dinner party on Saturday night and it was a crowd pleaser. I made it with two round cake pans, but it would be just as delicious in a 9x13, but you might not need to use as much whipping cream for the frosting.

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoon white sugar
1 bag of coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, water and coconut flavoring. Beat for 2 minutes and pour into 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

In a medium bowl, combine coconut cream with sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth. When cake comes out of the oven, poke holes into it in even rows using a large fork or chopsticks. Pour milk mixture over, allowing it to soak into the cake. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in the refrigerator.

Rock Band

Check us out! We almost look like a real band, but not quite. We are doing our best playing Rock Band with my friend's Play Station 3. Unlike Tim, who was good at all of the instruments, I found my groove on the bass. I was kicked off of the drums more than once.

We invited Laura, TC, and Stephen over for dinner and Stephen shared his Rock Band with us for the evening. My favorite song to sing was "When We Were Young" by The Killers. Tim impressed us with "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones. Now, I am going to do my best not to run out and buy Rock Band and a system to play it on.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

101 Things

I am trying to think of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I know my friend Carmyn has developed a list, but there is something about right now in my life that inspires me to come up with this list.

It seems simple enough, but it has to be realistic. It has to be measurable. It has to be well-rounded. It can't just be all home improvement items. I am sure I could fill the list with that topic. I am afraid that if I write 101 goals on one topic, I will get bored. I do this every year. Last year, I had 12 goals in 12 months. I don't think I did any of them. However, I am ever hopeful and ever ready to attempt goals. AND...101 days is a long time. I have categorized it into the follow themes...

Home Improvement

With such a wide array of themes, it is important to have simple and more complex goals. Even though I have not completed the writing of the goals, I have started on my goals. The start date was December 13, 2008. The date for completion is September 10, 2011. Wow. That is a long time from now. I have already crossed two items off of my list.

9. Host a Holiday Party
12. Make a cheesecake.

Well on my way.