February 22nd, 2012

Speaking of gift ideas, here’s what I want my family & friends to go in on for me:

A monocycle! Or a monowheel (pedal powered), or maybe a two-seater dicycle. If I want a weekend cruiser, why not something that looks like it came from sci-fi!

Gift Guides

February 22nd, 2012

One idea I had for this blog is to start creating interesting gift guides, though many websites already have all the cool stuff I’d want!

Ex: - handmade stuff can be cool :)

I may add more links to cool sites, but I do still want to find or create a good gift guide for dads …I seriously never know what to get my dad for christmas or his birthday, etc.You can only have so many golf shirts..

Say Cheese: Parrano

January 20th, 2012

Parrano_CheeseI bought this Dutch cheese to try at a dinner party with Tim, Holly, Andrew and Nick. I’m trying to improve my cheese knowledge, which includes learning how to use the cheese-serving utensils I got for Christmas… turns out a regular knife can work just as well, but I’m going to keep practicing with the utensils!

As far as the cheese goes, we all thought it was very good. It was very creamy and sweet, and the description of a “butterscotchy flavor” was right on the mark. It was a bit like a mix between a Parmesan and a Gouda. The flavor was overall very light still, so when we tried it with a cracker it was overpowered to the point where you got the texture of the cheese only. Luckily I had learned a good cheese-serving tip that day: you’re not usually supposed to try nice cheeses with a cracker, instead the crackers are present as a pallet-cleanser! In fact at nice cheese tastings, cheese pieces will be cut off in odd, sometimes chunky shapes (as opposed to nice slices) to discourage eating atop a cracker. Apparently eating with a cheese fork or with your fingers are both acceptable.

But back to the cheese: I really liked it! The Parrano hit the right marks for me in being creamy and a little sweet and nutty. It could go well with a variety of wines and beers, and would go great on a plate with meats or fruits. I wouldn’t use it in any heavy cooking because the flavors would be overpowered, but it could be used to add some creaminess to some dishes. One interesting suggestion on the Parrano website says to try it on top of a slice of warm apple pie!

Say Cheese: Doux de Montagne

April 16th, 2011

Image of Doux de Montagne cheeseThe cheese displays at Whole Foods and other groceries have long been my favorite drool-zones…if only I could buy them all! Trying new cheeses has always been a hobby of mine, and recently I even had a foray into making them (some decent mozzarellas). So now I’ve decided to use this blog to track and comment on the cheeses I try, and to start us off: Doux de Montagne.

It has been over 5 years since I last had this mild, semi-soft French cheese, and it’s just as good as I remember. The cheese is easy to cut through, and though it is a bit sticky it doesn’t cause the troubles and mess that cutting a very soft cheese can bring.

The taste is overall very mild and slightly sweet, which makes it an adaptable addition to any meal or appetizer. On a Wheat Thin cracker it is sweet and light, and doesn’t get overwhelming/tiring like a more potent cheese might. We also tried it with a bite of steak (courtesy of my roommate, Andrew), and it was amazing how the cheese tasted so creamy and full! Doux de Montagne would also go well with fruits and light wines, and can be a nice feature in a cheese platter.

Overall, Doux de Montagne is a very easy-to-like cheese. I don’t think it hits any extremes for flavor or texture, but it sits nicely in the middle and thus can be enjoyed by all.

Shanghai World Expo: Shiny but Hollow

August 11th, 2010

The first I heard about the World Expo was on the Thinly Spread blog thanks to Joe’s recommendation that I visit during my stay in China this summer. And I was not in the minority, considering most Westerners have no clue that a World Expo has been underway for almost four months now. However, hop 12 hours East and you can’t go a day without word of the Expo! Seriously, I was in a mall in Beijing and there were about 20 locals crowded around a tiny tv in the back of a shop, watching looped video coverage of the Expo…and I passed them in the same spots 35 minutes later…

Chris in front of China Pavilion

Luckily, this July I spent six hours on a Sunday traversing the over 5 square kilometer Expo ground, and came away with the awe of having just seen the greatest carnival ride of my life. I was ready the whole time for a guy to hop out from behind a screen and say “ahaha you caught us, it’s all just smoke and mirrors.” Because there was something just off about the whole thing.
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