10 June 2007

Summertime... and the living's (almost) easy...

So, it's been a while since I've updated my blog, mostly because I've been lazy (everyone, by now, should know how lazy Tran can be). Anywho, I think the last time I posted anything was when I came back from STL with Ben. I'm sure much has happened, so I'll try to recap.

Cooking club is in full swing. Members are usually the same group, with some additions every once in a while. I also started to go to this Variety Meetup, and it's really cool. Annie, the organizer, has been kind enough to set up a lot of events in the summer for people to go to. I'm hoping to have the time and money to do most of them, but we shall see.

My sister, Anni, was in town for Memorial Day. We did a lot: had dinner at A Chef's Kitchen, spent a day at Busch Gardens, grilled out at the house, went to the Beach, breakfast AND dinner at Cracker Barrel, and we hit the Prime Outlets in Williamsburg. It was a lot of fun having her in town. Pictures from our dinner at A Chef's Kitchen below:

Soup Course: Basil and Summer Squash Soup

This soup was surprisingly good. I'm not usually one for pureed soups, unless their it's tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. It was paired with Anton Baur 2005 Gmork Gruner Veltliner. It's been a while, so I can't remember if I liked it or not. I think I did.

Salad Course: Sesame Noodle Salad with Spring Vegetables

This salad was TO DIE FOR!! I loved the dressing (which included peanut butter). It was a bit heavy on the dressing, but good nonetheless.

Poultry Course: Grilled Quail with Strawberry Balsamic Compote and Skillet Baked Cornbread

I've had quail before, but only at wedding receptions held at Chinese restaurants, and the quail is always served the same. Good, but nothing new. This quail was delicious. And, of course, the cornbread was great. This dish was paired with a Tegernseerhof Rose. I'm not a fan of rose, but Anni enjoyed it, so I bought her a bottle, which we had with our BBQ that following Saturday.

Meat Course: Steak Oscarof Hereford New York Strip with Colossal Lump Crab Meat Sauce Glacage and Roasted Potatoes

I LOVE STEAK! If I had to choose one meat to eat for the rest of my life, I'd have beef. Although, I may not last very long as a result of that. The dish itself was AWESOME, but I didn't care too much for the Pinot Noir that was paired with it (so I didn't take note of what it was).

Dessert Course: Dark Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream

By this time, both Anni and I were so full that we split one dessert and took the other home. I love chocolate more than I love steak, so I tried my best to finish it off. Anni doesn't enjoy coffee at all, so she didn't like the icing very much, but the cake itself was yummy and very moist.

Here's a picture of the sugar sculpture Chef John made. It was pretty cool watching him do it actually, and may be something that I'll try at home some day. Only, the sugar is very hot, and I fear that I'll burn myself (which would be an unfortunate addition to my myriad of scars).

The rest of her trip was pretty great. I had fun at Busch Gardens, although we had to leave early because I was feeling pretty ill. Also, we didn't get to ride on Griffon (the new ride) because the wait was three hours long, and we didn't think it'd be worth it. The beach wasn't very nice on the day we decided to go, a bit overcast and not very many waves. But we did get to see some of the VA Beach Steel Pier Classic Longboard competition that was taking place that weekend. On Memorial day, we hit the outlets. Probably was a bad idea, since neither of us should have been spending money, but I was able to find a lot of nice things on sale. So, I'm happy we went.

Later that week, Ben and I went to the Waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. Annie had free passes, so a bunch of us went as part of her meetup group. It was pretty cool, but small. A few hours there was more than enough time to do everything. It was also nice because it was a weekday, so it wasn't very crowded.

The start of June (and summer) means that LARSS students are returning to NASA. Martin, a kid from last summer, is back in our branch. He seems better now than he was last summer, which is good for him. John, a roommate from last summer, is also back. He and Ceci came over for dinner last week. Hopefully we'll all get to hang out more while Ceci is in town. At the end of the month, she leaves for a two month vacation around the world (surfing in Indonesia and Hawaii, hanging out in Thailand and New Zealand) before she heads to Stanford to start her graduate studies.

This past weekend was Harborfest down in Downtown Norfolk/Waterside, which marks a year since the first day I met Ben. We had dinner with Gaetano and Rohit and Joe's CrabShack (not the one we met at, but the one closer to the house). And then we headed down to see the concert and the fireworks show. We only got there in time to see Kool and the Gang (missed Los Lonely Boys and 38 Special). It was a good show, and a good time. The fireworks were crazy (in size, and number). We didn't stay out on Granby Street because Rohit had to catch and early flight to Hawaii this morning. He's going to be there all week for a conference.

Now for the bad news. This morning, Gaetano noticed that his PS2 was missing from the living room. Apparently, we had left one of the sliding glass doors unlocked, and someone came in and stole his PS2, along with his controllers and all his pirated games and his wallet, which was sitting on the counter (in its usual spot). We think it happened sometime between 12:30am and 7:30 am, since Gaetano was up at 7:30 and would have heard someone coming into the house. Rohit left around 5:30am to go to the airport, but we haven't been able to talk to him yet about it (since he's in flight right now). Without thinking, we went to the police station, rather than calling them to come to us. They told us there to go home and call the police station to report a burglary. As far as we can tell, they only took the PS2 and his wallet, since all our computers are still here and everything else seems to be in order. Gaetano is in the process of taking care of all that, but he had a lot in his wallet (DC driver's license, Italian driver's license, some money, lots of random stuff, and worse of all, his SS Card). He had to put a fraud alert on his credit and still needs to call around and take care of some bills and stuff. The officer came by and went around trying to talk to the neighbors to see if anyone saw anything, but no one answered their doors (stupid neighbors). Anywho.. everything seems to be in order except for the missing stuff, so it's rather unfortunate for Gaetano. I got lucky, since my backpack was sitting on the counter with my laptop in it.

As to work and research, it seems to be going well. I've started running experiments, which means that I'll soon be done with running experiments and focusing solely on writing (YAY!). I think that's it for now. I'm skipping out on book club this month because I don't really care to read the book (Confessions of a Crap Artist). Our next cooking club meeting isn't until July 1, Brunch at Marlita's. The next big thing is Adrianna's wedding in New Orleans, which I'm super excited to be attending. I still can't believe she's getting married! Till then, I'll try to keep up with this.. and perhaps create some exciting events of my own to blog about.


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