Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Five

The Excuse

Wow. Will you look at that. I have a blog!

Well, if I have any reader[s] left out there, I do apologize. I have been slacking quite a bit on the blog. I don’t really have any other excuse besides that I needed a bit of a break. It wasn’t that I planned on a break, but I really just didn’t have the desire for a while to sit down and type anything out.

Fortunately for me, and I guess you[1], I am back and ready to go. The one warning I will give you is the next couple of months might be a bit sporadic, but that’s just because of my schedule and not because of a lack of motivation.

The Week[s]

It’s been so long I actually had to go look at where I’ve been recently.

3 weeks ago found me in San Jose. Despite the fact that I haven’t been blogging in a while, I still know the way. A trip to San Jose is generally, well, a trip to San Jose. This was a huge shift in mentality after the fun week I had in New York. While it was nice to do dinner with friends, and I’m not discounting that in the least, it certainly wasn’t New York.

IMG_0602 The following week found me back in Tampa, FL. Tampa is nice as it’s an opportunity to see friends, which I was able to take advantage of. On in particular was kind enough to invite us out for a trip on his boat, which couldn’t have been better. The weather was perfect, the sunset was gorgeous, and needless to say a great time was had by all.

IMG_0604 Then life got interesting. Well, busy, anyway. This week I was teaching in Rochester, which is about 6 hours away from where my father and mother live. Since I was this close I had to stop by, especially since my father was hosting a “Gathering” and I hadn’t seen my mother in quite a while. The weekend was an absolute blur, seeing me land in Burlington, drive to my fathers, and then drive back to Burlington to see my mother, before driving out to Rochester. Phew! Fortunately, I did not get my annual speeding ticket in Vermont. But all was not lost; there was good beer to drink.

IMG_0608 And in case you  didn’t already pick up on it, I was in Rochester this week. I know I’d been to Rochester, or at least the area, years ago but I have no real memories of the place. I certainly won’t have a lot of memories to leave with as it was a typical business trip, but I did get to jog along the Erie Canal. I will say this much about being a runner[2], it’s a great way to see an area.

The Travel Note

See the five

The Restaurant The Cocktail Bar

I’ve been visiting a lot more interesting cocktail bars than restaurants lately. I think a big part of that is I’ve been visiting places I know I love and haven’t felt overly adventurous in the restaurant department. That said, I have come to the realization that this fact needs to change, and thus begins my quest to find a good cocktail bar in San Diego.

A Yelp search led Karin and I here on a fateful Friday night, and while I did wind up giving the place four stars it's not quite what I was expecting. Let me explain...

My wife and I took the little hidden elevator up to the second floor to this place - you can see the sign, but it's very easy to walk right past the elevator you use to actually enter the place. When the elevator door opens you're instantly greeted by a great lounge atmosphere. There's a little dining area, nice bar and a huge patio.

There's also a stage where there was a piano player and singer playing. I dug the music (they were very talented), and I appreciated the low volume level (you could actually have a conversation), it was actually a bit too low (you couldn't understand what he was singing).

On to the main reason to come to a cocktail bar - the drinks.
I want bitter. I want savory. I want, well, I want basically the exact opposite of what this place serves. They have a huge menu of fufu drinks which Karin loved. Me - I wanted a good manhattan. We ordered, and the manhattan I got was good but nothing special. Karin loved her drink.
When it came time for the second I decided that since I was in Rome... I grabbed the menu and looked for something that I thought would be up my alley - "cool as a cucumber", which is gin and muddled cucumbers. Karin, of course, went for another fufu drink.

The following sums up the approach of the bartenders at Martinis Above Fourth: Karin's drink involved no less than four different liquors, a martini glass with chocolate sauce drizzled inside of it, and I think there may have been lemon juice squeezed fresh between the thighs of a virgin. Mine? My drink involved the following steps:

Add pieces of cucumber to bottom of glass.
Fill with ice.
Fill with Hendricks gin.

Don't get me wrong - my drink was actually very tasty. And again - my wife loved hers.

And this leads me back to the point I made at the top of this review. This is not the place I was expecting. But I had an absolute blast. And while I'm generally not looking for fufu drinks, when I am I know where to go. And I also know where to take Karin when she wants to get her drink on.

The Five

Every week I go through airport security at least once, if not twice (coming and going), and it amazes me the number of people who still struggle with this process. Granted, I’ve done this many times (no less than 50 times so far this year). But there are still simple things I see people do constantly that get themselves into trouble, or make the process more excruciating than it has to be. There are really just a few things that, if followed, will make your lives easier.

  1. Accept the fact you’ll be in line for a while. There’s nothing you can say/do that’s going to make the line move faster. Just accept it and your life will be easier.
  2. Wear easy to remove shoes. Granted, I do violate this one when I wear Chucks, which are a PITA to take off. But I do unlace them while I’m waiting.
  3. 3 ounce bottles in a zip top bag. It’s very easy. Yes, that means anything spreadable, sprayable and pourable. The number of times I see people having those items pulled from their suitcases is innumerable.
  4. Have your ID and ticket ready when you reach the front. Ready does not mean in the bottom of your purse.
  5. Above all else – do whatever the TSA agent tells you. Shoes, socks, patdown, bag search, whatever it is. Arguing is only going to delay your trip through TSA, or worse. I’ve witnessed my fair share of arguments, and never once did the passenger win.

[1] Really, after all, blogs are rather narcissistic. It’s more about me, isn’t it? ;-)
[2] Can I call myself a runner now?


Shelly said...

I'm all for the fufu drink too! Now you know where you can take both Karin and I for a good drink!

jersey said...

Now you'll just have to arrange for a trip back to San Diego.