Reboot. Recharge.

When all else fails, just shut it down for 5 seconds and turn it back on. Just like new!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spin cycle

I taught my Spin class this morning, and used a great playlist, so I thought I'd share it. The songs were "spin" minded. Here we go:
1) Roads, Strangefolk
2) 'Round the Wheel, String Cheese Incident
3) Spin, Trey Anastasio
4) Ride, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise
5) World Keeps Going Around, Bill Withers
6) Lines and Circles, Strangefolk
7) The Wheel, Edie Brickel and the New Bohemians
8) Go Faster, The Black Crowes
9) Circle of Friends, Better than Ezra
10) On the Road, String Cheese Incident
11) Where are we Runnin'?, Lenny Kravitz
12) Spinning, The Innocence Mission
13) Spinning, Zero 7

If anyone is interested in this, shoot me an email or a comment and I'll send it out to you.
Ride On!!!!

Bye Bye Pickler

YES! There is an American Idol God! Thank you America. You know, I've watched Idol for all these years and have never voted, not once. Kellie Pickler was voted off last night, and it is about time. Man, she was god awful.
My pick for final 3: Katherine, Elliot and Taylor. I would actually be happy if any of them win. I think Katherine has the purest talent, Taylor is the most fun to watch, and Elliot's story is so sad, that I almost wish he'd win...but for real, he does have a pretty nice voice.
Paris and Chris are good in their own right, but I don't think they'll pull it off. I personally do not enjoy Chris. I think he sounds like every other singer out there right now (in the Pop land). Paris has a beautiful voice, but I almost feel like she is too sophisticated for the pop world, and would be best suited in a different genre.
Well, you know, when it comes down to it, they will probably each go on to do something successful in the music industry. This batch of singers seems to have the most talent of all 5 years. We'll just have to watch and see!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

3 thoughts for today

I have recently discovered cinnamon toast, again. I used to eat it all the time as a kid, but don't usually eat it now that I'm older. I made it for my kids the other day, and I ended up eating it, because it was so good. What could be better than a warm piece of bread, slathered in butter, and covered with cinnamon and sugar? Probably not the best thing for one to eat, but hey, my kids are young and they could both use some extra pounds. Me on the other hand......

So, my guy, Reggie Sutherland, on the Next Food Network Star search, made it to the final 2, but America voted, and voted for the other finalist, Guy Fieri. I'll watch his show (which premieres June 25th), because he's good. I am disappointed though, as Reggie had such a nice way about him. Way to go Reg, on making the final 2!!

Last random thought for today: if Kellie Pickler doesn't go home tonight (American Idol), I might cry. She is SO BAD. No, she is not even bad, she is TERRIBLE. And she is such an IDIOT, I can't stand to hear her talk. Please, Mr American Idol God, Please do us all a favor and send Kellie home.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Schwartz's Deli

I had a great dining experience last night, in Montreal, at Schwartz's Deli. I was told they have the greatest smoked meat of anywhere, and I think that statement is probably correct. I sat at the counter, because the place was PACKED, with a looong line out the door. Seating is communal at tables of 6 or 8, I think. I was alone on business and didn't want to deal with sitting at a communal table and having to make small talk, so the counter was fine. It gave me a birds eye view into the ins and outs of Schwartz's anyways: I feel like I had the "true" Schwartz's experience.
The deli is "Hebraique" which means its kosher, and that means no dairy, thus no cheese. But man, you don't need cheese. The smoked meat, basically brisket, is AMAZING, and you don't need anything else with it, not even mustard. I got the smoked meat sandwich, which is served hot, on light rye, with yellow mustard on it already. Sides are extra, so I got a pickle and some fries.

The bill was a whopping 9 Canadian dollars. A true bargain....but lets go back to the Schwartz's experience.
My server was Alex, a young guy, probably about 25 I'd say. He was the low man on the deli circuit.
Counter guy #1: "Alex, wake up"
Alex: "What do you mean, wake up? I'm up!!!"
Counter guy #2: "Alex, count the bread we have left"
Alex, after counting 2X: "72, we have 72"
Counter guy #3: "Alex, put 4 half sours in a bag for me"
Well, I found Alex to be a good server. He pushed some sides on me, thus the pickle and fries.
"No slaw" he asked. No slaw, I answered. But it did look good. No mayo on the slaw. Probably vinegar based.
The smoked meat was sensational. It was flakey and moist and with just the right amount of fat. By the way, you get to pick your level of fat - I had the medium amount; you can pick heavy or lean as well (lean = why bother???) The meat was bright pink, with a nice crust to it. Some of the more well done pieces flaked apart into little chips. The bread was perfect, having been just sliced from the loaf. The fries also were just right. They were little, crispy fries, which I salted up. At one point I had to say to myself, Sharon, stop eating the fries or else you are going to explode. In fact, I think I said that to myself more than once as I continued to eat and eat until I had eaten just about everything I was served.
My good friend Scott told me about the Karnatzel, basically Pepperoni, that they make and sell. The Karnatzel are shaped in long, thin, cylinders, bent into a half circle, about 12 inches long. I told him I'd get some to bring home. Alex had already given me my bill when I asked him, how can I get some Karnatzel??
Alex: "You want Karnatzel? How many?"
Me: "How about 3"
Alex: "3? OK"
Me: "Do you wrap them up special to go"?
Alex: "Special? No. We wrap them up regular"
Ok then! I got my 3 Karnatzel, wrapped up regular, to go, and paid my bill.
It was a great experience, and I left there not caring that the button on my pants was about to pop off!!!! I will make it a point to try to eat there on any return trip to the area that I make.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Snack site

One of the greatest websites , EVER, is
On this site, they review snacks, snacks and more snacks...snacks of all types.
Take for instance the Cape Cod Jalapeno and Cheddar chip, which, I just happened to try and really like. Here is what had to say about them:

"Taste: These are very good chips. They've got all the great crunch and wiggly shape of Cape Cod's regular potato chips, combined with a very tasty and somewhat hot jalapeño flavor. You don't really notice the cheddar flavor that much, because it's overpowered by the jalapeño, but the combination of the two flavors makes these extremely tasty. The taste is moderately hot, and it leaves a hot aftertaste in the back of your throat, but it's not supermegahot.
Aroma: Mildly strong jalapeno smell with even milder cheese".
I agree, whole heartedly. The flavor was distictively jalapeno, which overpowered the cheddar. I did get a bit of nasal drip upon eating these chips, which wasn't actually so bad.

Each time you go to the site, a random snack is on the home page. I just checked out the site, and an Israeli snack was featured: Dip and Munch Pretzels, Sesame and Herb. Here is the review: "Taste: These were flat pretzel sticks, a bit under 2 inches in length, coated with lots of sesame seeds on one side. The density of sesame seeds was about twice as high in reality as it was in the pictures on the bag. The pretzels tasted good, with a nice sesame taste. Unfortately, I didn't have any dip on hand when I ate these, but the shape would make them ideal for dipping into something. Aroma: Kind of a toasted sesame aroma".

Chips are definitely one of my downfalls. I have a hard time resisting them. A favorite chip of mine, which we cannot seem to get here in Massachusetts, is the Ketchup chip. Lays has a delicious Ketchup chip, which you can get readily in Canada. I happen to be going next week to Montreal, and so, you know what I'll be coming home with.....the Lays Ketchup chip is a thin, crispy, yellow chip, covered in the Ketchup flavor, which gives the chip a maroon color. And yes, they do taste like ketchup. There is a vinegar flavor to the chip, but not like a typical Salt and Vinegar chip does - it's more subtle in the Ketchup chip. Definitely on of my favorite chips.
Here is's review of the Lays Ketchup chip:
"Taste: These are really good ketchup chips. The flavor powder is an impressive deep red, which contrasts strongly with the potato color, so you can easily tell which chips have the most ketchup flavor. When the ketchup powder mixes with the saliva in your mouth, it makes it taste like you're eating ketchup on a chip. You get tons of ketchup powder on your hands when you eat these, so bring a napkin. Aroma: Smells like ketchup".

I was checking out the Jobs page of It looks like they need a pretzel I hear a career move calling to me? I do enjoy are the qualifications for pretzel editor:
1. Knowing the difference between Rold Gold and Snyder's of Hanover, by taste. (I can do that, I think)
2. Being able to argue on both sides of this question: Which is better, pretzel rods, thin pretzels or pretzel sticks? (Hands down thin pretzels)
3. You must be able to chew on a pretzel rod as if it were a cigar. (Are they kidding??)
4. Knowing the difference between Angus Crunch and his brother Justo. (Have no clue)
5. Ability to discern pretzel staleness at its earliest stages, 5% and less. (I have a built in Stale-o-meter)
6. Being willing to jump onto a plane to Borneo to see their newest pretzel creation. (I didn't realize they had pretzels in Borneo)
Hmmm, I think I qualify....They are also looking for a Cheese Puffs editor....not as appealing to me, though, I do like cheese puffs, in some regards. They are waaaay to artificial for me to eat on a day to day basis.
Anyways, check out the site and look for the review of your favorite snack food!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Passover

This is a very funny Passover song, Who let the Jews out: OY GAVULT!!!!
(Click on OY)....

Made a wonderful dinner last night, chicken soup and matzo balls (with help from my almost 4 yr old, Max), Slow cooked Brisket and veggies, was great. Can't wait for dinner tonight!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yankee Doodle Dandy

I made homemade pasta last weekend, and used my Kitchen Aid pasta plates for the first time. I used the Macaroni extruder plate. In the picture, it is the middle plate, with the 6 small circles.
Worked out pretty well. I used a basic pasta recipe: 3 cups pasta flour, 4 eggs, 2-3 TBS of water and some salt. It was nice and supple. I let it rest for 15-30 minutes and then attempted the extruder. The dough was very soft, and I was worried that it would not extrude well, but it did. The manufacturers instructions called for putting the mixer on 10 and letting it rip, making 15 cm stands of macaroni that you cut into smaller pieces later. 10 was way to high of a setting. I ran the mixer on a moderate speed, like 6 and let approximately 2 inches extrude before stopping the mixer and using a paring knife to cut the macaroni from the plate.
After letting the macaroni dry for a couple hours, I cooked it off. I made a mornay sauce (basic cheese sauce) using a mix of monteray jack, mozzerella and cheddar, that I put on the macaroni for the kids. For the adults, I sauteed some asparagus, peas and smoked salmon, and added some of the mornay sauce (thinned out), and put that over the macaroni. Yum. It was great the next day as well. I think I'm going to try the lasagna press next go round.

The 15 minute question

Do you know people that you need to be diplomatic about talking to, time wise, because you know that you might get stuck talking to them?
That just happened to me.
I went into one of my supervisors' offices to ask a single word answer type of question, and it turned into a 15 minute conversation. This person loves to tell me what he knows, and so, he answered the question, and kept going, and going, and going. I actually attempted to end the conversation about 5 times. I got out the door at least 3 times, where my back was to him, and he kept talking, so I had to turn around and walk back in his office.
It was painful. I make it a point to never talk to him close to 4pm, the time when I go home each night. This guy is the same guy who gets in real early each day. I'm talking 6am early, and he loves to comment on what time he gets in, just to make sure we all know.
He also makes it a point to round the floor to see what time we are all getting in. I know, it's lame. Ah, but what can you do. Releatively speaking, I come and go as I please, and answer to no one, so I can't complain.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cooking Reality

I am in the midst of cooking reality heaven. I am watching The Next Food Network star and Bravo's Top Chef. Both shows are interesting in their own right, but totally different.

The Next Food Network star is structured so ultimately, America gets to vote on who's going to get the next show on Food TV. Hosted by Marc Summers (Unwrapped), the contestants endure a new challange each week, sponsored by a different Food TV star, who then is a guest judge.
The challenges are cooking demos, 5 or 7 minutes, where the contestant chefs have to demo a signature dish, reading from the prompter, following the cameras etc. They have a select amount of time before hand to prep all the "swap outs" since they only have 5-7 minutes for the demo. There is a panel of 3 other judges as well (including Bobby Flay), and between all of the judges, they have been eliminating a contestant each week. I'm not sure, but I think when it gets down to 2, America gets to vote.

My current favorite is Reggie Southerland. He has the makings of a good TV chef, funny and charismatic. He just needs to loosen up a bit.
I can't stand a couple of the contestants and hope desperately that they get eliminated. THey would be Nathan Lyon and Carrisa Seward.
Nathan is SO full of himself, I'm surprised his head doesn't hit the ceiling. Plus, I think he is full of shit half the time.
Carissa is annoying. She uses the term "yummy" to describe the food she is cooking and one time she even said "BAM"! No lie.

One of the contestants, Andrew Schumacher, is boring, but I like his style. Perhaps if he could "kick it up a notch" he'd be fun to watch. His cooking technique looks to be quite strong, but right now, SNORE!

I think I would be happy watching Reggie. He can be flamboyant and sassy, 2 qualities I think make TV chef. Plus, his food looks like it tastes pretty good as well.
Next Food Network Star is on the Food Network Sundays at 9pm.

Top Chef, on Bravo, is a totally different ball game. On this show, the contestants battle each other in both an immunity challenge, and an elimination challenge, each episode. In the immunity challenge, one person is selected by a guest chef local to the San Francisco area (as this is where the show is taped), to gain immunity. This contestant can not be eliminated in the Elimination challenge, held the next day. The contestant chefs have crazy assignments, like take $20, go into a gas station store, and get the ingredients to make food for the immunity challenge. One of the elimination challenges was to actually make a sweet food item to serve at a party at a famous sex shop, for 50 cross-dressers and various and other sundry guests. Entertaining, to say the least.

The star chef and judge on the show is Tom Colicchio, of Craft in NYC. He can get pretty hard core in his assessments of the contestants. Another judge is one of the editors of Food and Wine, Gail Simmons. She in her own right, is also hard core and pretty tough on the contestant chefs. The host of the show I find terribley annoying, Katie Lee Joel, none other than Billy Joel's wife. She apparently has an illustrious food career in food writing as well as helped to open a successful eatery on the hamptons in NY. Still, I find her tone at times, to be condescending at best. Each week, Tom, Katie, Gail and the guest chef pick the bottom 3 chefs and tell someone to "pack their knives" and go home.

There are 2 contestants that I can honestly say I HATE with a passion: Stephen and Tiffany.
Stephen is a Sommelier who has an EGO the size of another planet. I mean, this is an ego like I have never, ever seen before. What I am finding with him is that he seems to miss the point of the elimination challenges, which have been geared at a particular crowd. He does not necessarily connect with the group that he is cooking for, and just tries to wow the judges. Ah, you should have seen the look on his face when during last weeks challenge, he was in the bottom 3! It was classic. He generally makes fru-fru food, without substance, that if I had served to me at a restaurant, I'd probably be insulted.
Tiffany, along the same lines, has a pretty big ego as well. Her food on the other hand, looks pretty delicious. She just has issues getting along with the other contestant chefs, and can be quite rude to them. She also has trouble some times connecting with the group she is cooking for, not wanting to budge from her upscale style. This has proven to be detrimental; when cooking in one of the elimination challenges which happened to be for a group of children, her "team" (as it was a group challenge), lost the challenge. She then had to face the judges, where she basically went off on them saying that she should not have to change her style to please the children's palates. Tiffany happened to have immunity that week, and could not get voted off, otherwise Colicchio told her outright, you'd be gone because of this attitude. He posed the question of her "if someone came in your restaurant and asked you to prepare something totally against your cooking beliefs would you?" You can guess what her answer was.

My pick for winner of Top Chef is Lee Ann Wong, a chef from the French Culinary Institute in NYC. Her cooking looks impeccable, and her style is classy. I hope she goes to the top.
The winner gets $100,000 to enhance their culinary career and gets featured in Food and Wine Magazine, as well as gets to cook at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen.
Top Chef is on Bravo on Wednesdays at 10pm.