2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fairtrade Kit Kats Are The BEST!

irish kit kat

A few weeks back my folks went to Ireland. When they came back they brought us some surprises, including a Kit Kat for my wife and I and a bottle of amazing Jameson’s Irish Whiskey for me. I don’t have the proper vocabulary to describe how good the booze is, but I can say that the Irish Kit Kat, which is actually made with Fairtrade cocoa, was SO much better than the ones you get in the states. I’m no Fairtrade warrior, but there’s no denying the difference in taste and quality here. The wrapper reports that there’s 66% milk chocolate in this bar while I have no idea what’s in the Stateside stuff. I do know that the US bars tend to have a chemically aftertaste that is completely absent when dealing with this better, richer, more flavorful chocolate.

On a side note, I went to Australia and New Zealand between seventh and eight grade and grabbed a few different foods that we had over here, but sported different labels. Kit Kat was one of those and I’m pretty sure that the label hasn’t changed since then (or at least not much). This was not only a tasty treat, but also a nice trip down memory lane.

Vacation Bonus Food Pic: Salmon & Risotto At Lobsta Land

Well, gang, this is the last picture I snapped of food while on vacation. The nicest restaurant we went to was a place called Lobsta Land and I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember exactly what I ordered. It was salmon and risotto as you can see with, I want to say, some kind of lemony sauce and artichokes involved in there somewhere. I just remembered that it was supposed to have crab meat somewhere in the mix too and I’m not sure if it did. Anyway, I remember liking the dish, but can’t quite remember the details.

Restaurant Review: Torches On The Hudson

If you’re like me, you were unaware that the past two weeks were actually Restaurant Week in the Hudson River area. I found out on Thursday and was tasked with setting up a dinner for us and a few other couples. I did some looking around and decided on Torches On The Hudson, a place down on the Newburgh waterfront. The Restaurant Week menu looked interesting and everyone else was down, so I made reservations for Friday night.

The way Restaurant Week works is, there’s a set menu with a few choices for an appetizer, entree and desert. You pay a certain amount of money and get one of each. I decided to get the Fish Tacos, Country Bacon Rigatoni and the New York Cheese Cake as well as a few whiskey drinks called Honey Slams whose make-up I don’t quite remember, but were good. These are the Fish Tacos, which the menu describes as “Grilled Basa, Quick Sofrito, 3 Sauces (Salsa Roja, Lime infused sour cream and Avocado emulsion).” I’ve never had Basa before, but it was actually pretty tasty. It kind of looked like tuna when it’s shredded up. The fish itself was a bit spicy, but nothing compared to the Salsa Roja or the Avocado emulsion. I’m not the biggest fan of spice, so I mostly went with the sour cream. Even so, the tacos were tasty and juicy and I would get them again. The Country Bacon Rigatoni (“Crisp Hickory Smoked Bacon, Scallion, Cracked Pepper Cream and
Toasted Four Cheeses.”) was super tasty, but also very salty. The combination of the bacon and the four cheeses made the dish heavier than I realized when I ordered it. I guess I didn’t read the whole thing very well, just got excited when I saw bacon. Had this been the only thing I ordered, it would have been just fine, I believe, but between the Fish Tacos and the Cheese Cake, it was far too much. What I should have done was have my wife, who didn’t get food off the RW menu, pick a desert that she wanted and then I could have just passed it to her. Oh well.

Overall, the ambiance of the restaurant was great. It’s actually split between a bar/club and a restaurant that’ fairly well separated by a huge fish tank filled with some pretty gigantic fish. Lucy love that part. My only complaint is that, if you split the check between more than two parties, there’s an automatic 20% gratuity added to the check. Now, I don’t have any problem with this in theory, but the practice wound up not being so great for us. We got the definite impression that our waiter decided not to do his best with our table after he discovered this. Sure, we were asked if we wanted a second round of drinks, but our waters were never refilled and we were there for about an hour and a half. Overall, his service was very slow, which could have been because the place was busy, which it was, or he could have been putting his time in on other tables that weren’t automatic. Or, he might just be a crappy waiter. Had the tip been based on our experience, I defintely would not have gone with my usual 20%.

So, if and when we go to Torches again–like I said, it was a great place with tasty food and you really can’t beat eating with a view of the Hudson River–I will make sure not to have this particular person as a waiter. Otherwise, it was a good time.

Buying Food On The Internet

After getting back from vacation, I went to start my car and it shook something fierce. Not wanting to get stuck on the side of the road with the baby, I decided to try something new: ordering groceries on the internet. Usually I buy my groceries from Hannaford, the farm stand or the farmer’s maket, but between the questionable car and the baby, I figured my time to get groceries was limited and went with Shop Rite‘s online purchasing option. Basically, they have their entire stock online, you can search for anything from very specific kinds of cereal to generalities like “broccoli.” Everything I wanted was on there which was pretty great.

You can either go in and pick up your order or have it delivered. I went with the latter which wound up costing an extra $20 or so. That might seem like a lot and frankly it kind of is but I won’t be using this service every week or anything. I also figured that eating out all week would add up to $20 pretty quickly, so it seemed like a viable option this time around. They give you a two or three hour window for delivery and the guy who dropped them off was nice and everything was in good shape, so kudos there.

Overall, I have no complaints about either the web or delivery service. It’s a little pricey, but what do you expect for groceries delivered right to your door step. Now I just need to get my car fixed and hopefully have enough money in the bank to keep cooking…