Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let's hope it's true

(Thanks to Cyn for pointing this one out!)

ETA: A great update on the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Dine Out: 212 Market

Last week was our Fall Break Weekend. We had a half day on Thursday and then off until Tuesday - a wonderful, well-needed break for both students and faculty. I celebrated by having my dine out night on Thursday - and my meal was delightful.

I went to 212 Market, which bills itself as "Tennessee's First Green Restaurant." They were certified thru the "Green Restaurant Association," and they were graded based on things like water efficiency, having sustainable food and furnishing, having a full-scale recycling program, and being Styrofoam free. And here I thought they just served a good meal!

As you can see above, it's a pretty restaurant - right across the street from the world famous Tennessee Aquarium. I had scoped out the menu beforehand, and had eaten there numerous times, so I had pretty much decided on my meal when I arrived. There was a pretty good crowd there - several groups of what looked like business associates, and a few "dates." (There was a group of 7 sitting next to me - isn't it funny how there is always one person whose voice carries? So that you hear their every comment, but none of their companions' rejoinders?)

I had a spinach salad. I know, this seems to be my go-to first course, but I really do like it - and theirs had a nice vinaigrette, sliced apples, Gorgonzola and bacon. Mmm. For my main course, I went with something off the appetizer menu: a petite filet mignon, on a "bleu cheese-olive cream & pecorino-white truffle sauce. Wow! The filet was so tender - just the right size, maybe 3 oz. - and the sauce was an incredible accompaniment. Since I'd done so well by having the smaller meal, I of course had to have dessert - a peanut butter mousse pie. I felt like my membership in Weight Watchers should be rescinded! The nicest surprise came at the end: my server asked if I was headed to the Chattanooga Symphony (which I was); they give a 10% discount to Symphony patrons.

The Symphony was really wonderful. They featured Tchaikovsky, performing his Symphony #5. However, the real treat was in the first section: Piano Concerto #1, featuring guest artist Michael Chertock. The Concerto is, of course, a real showpiece. It can show off an artist's talents (and weaknesses), but Chertock was totally up to the challenge. I had chills listening to him run through the piece - and his performance elicited a long, standing ovation. After that, the Symphony was a little bit of a let-down, although still enjoyable. (I must admit that after that big, lovely dinner, I was a little drowsy thru the second act!)

This is the first year I've regularly attended the symphony, and I'm really, really enjoying it. It makes for an elegant night on the town, makes me feel special and "cultured." As a way to treat myself well and to take care of myself, these little excursions have really been beneficial.

Bon appetit!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


“Red Smith used to say he loved ‘the music of the game,’ ” the late Ned Martin, the voice of the Sox for 32 seasons, once reflected. “What a great line. There is a music to it! There’s an orderliness to it as well. Yet you can still see something in almost every game that you’ve never seen before. That’s the beauty of baseball; it’s never predictable, even though it never changes.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday Dine Out: The Terminal Brewhouse

I realized that I forgot one Wednesday Dining write up! Two weeks ago, I went to the Terminal Brewhouse, a new micro-brewery downtown. It's right next door to the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo; in fact, the building in which it was housed was once a hotel, and also housed one of the first Black-owned businesses in the city.

The pub opened last spring. I actually had lunch there once before, but this time was meeting a bunch of my friends for a birthday celebration. We had hoped to sit outside in the Biergarten - but it was a rare cool evening here, so we opted to move inside when we were ready to eat.

The food is pretty good. I had their wood grilled pizza - way too much for one meal, so I had leftovers (which reheated pretty well). Some of the other entrees looked good - especially the vegetable lasagna. On my previous visit, I'd had the buffalo burger and sweet potato fries - both were awesome (and I kind of wish I'd gotten them again, although I wanted to try something a little different).

The main feature is, of course, their beer! Last time, I had as my appetizer the beer sampler - which isn't on the menu! I decided my three favorites were the Maibock, the Belgian White, and the Oatmeal Stout. So this time, I had the first two. On the second try, I decided that I really preferred the White. It has some fruitiness to it - almost similar to my current favorite by Leinenkugels, Sunset Wheat. I wanted to go with the Stout for dessert, but... I am not a dark beer drinker, but this had some incredible chocolate and caramel undertones. If the weather had been cooler...

It's a fun spot. They have three levels around an open middle. The first floor is the bar and casual dining. The second floor is for real dining, and leads out to the deck. The third floor is reserved for parties - the night we were there, there was a lingerie part going on, so you can imagine the hooting and hollering coming from up there! Wild!

I would definitely go back, though maybe for a happy hour rather than a meal. And I have to go back for that Oatmeal Stout as the weather gets cooler!

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"Snap out of it!"

Okay, I've allowed myself one full day to wallow in my post-Red Sox season depression. It's funny, I don't remember feeling this down last year - but that may have been because of the way they exhausted me during the playoffs. Nearly losing to Cleveland, then the epic comebacks against the Rays. Phew.

But this year we're three and done. Swept. In some ways, the playoffs reflected the regular season. I love this team, and loved watching almost every game. But I really wasn't sure we had what we needed to go deep in the playoffs. Certainly, my angst was multiplied by watching that Yankee Juggernaut. They look like a steamroller - and we certainly didn't do well against them in our last few outings. I'm afraid we would have been toast in the ALCS. Now it's up to the Angels to call on whatever emotional vibes they've been using and knock out the Yanks. Still, it would have been nice to go further into the playoffs - or to have at least played all five games of the ALDS.

But you must admit, this decade has been a good one for the Red Sox and its fans. And I like to think we're on a three year cycle. Won in 2004. Swept in ALDS in 2005. No post-season in 2006. Won in 2007. Lost in ALCS in 2008. Lost in ALDS in 2009. Ergo => another World Series Championship in 2010.

In the meantime, one of my favorite recent photos by my pal Kelly:
If I were a catcher and this freight train was approaching, I'd be cowering by the backstop!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

When does Spring Training start?

This illustrates how I feel this morning: deflated.... Oh, well, time to heat up the Hot Stove!

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Enough Said!

Wally and I agree!

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wednesday Dine Out: Table 2

One of our local radio stations runs a promotion they call "50/50 Fridays." You can go online at 9am on any Friday, and purchase a gift certificate for half-price. Sometimes it's for a restaurant - which is how I acquired a $50 gift certificate for Table 2. I bought it back in the spring, then set it aside for a "special occasion." My friend Jackie reminded me about it a few weeks ago, and suggested I look at the expiration date. Lo and behold, it expired on October 10th - so I decided that I best use it this week for my Wednesday dining out night. And what an excellent decision that was! It was undoubtedly the best meal I've had so far on this journey.

I really did try to get to the restaurant later - didn't arrive until nearly 6pm. There were two tables occupied on the outside patio, and one inside. So I had my pick of them. The decor is cool, as you can see from the photo above from their website. When you enter, you pass thru a long drapery, and all of the booths are draped (although I've never seen them closed!) I actually sat at the second table to the left in the above photo.

They were offering a five course "tasting" menu for $60 - but I decided that was too much food for me. So I ordered a simple spinach salad and one of the night's specials: Kobe Flatiron Steak, Warm German Potato Salad, Mustard Aioli, Asparagus, Port Demi Glace.

As I was enjoying a cocktail and awaiting the first course, I had a great visit with one of my former students who is now a chef at Table 2. He's had a great career so far at several local restaurants, and is getting ready to go to France in February for a year to cook. He said, oh, let me send you a little something special, and slipped off to the kitchen. So after my salad, the waiter brought over an appetizer for me to try - some grilled duck, sliced and placed on a bed of veggies. Yum! And then came the main course. Oh, my! The steak simply melted in my mouth; the demi glace sauce was wow; and the potato salad and asparagus were perfect accompaniments. And with a glass of red was wonderful.

These Wednesday dinners have also proven wonderful for my soul. After a stressful few days, how great it is to relax with a wonderful meal and a wonderful glass of wine. It's a signal to my body that it can start to wind down for the weekend.

So, this Friday, those half price coupons will be offered again - and I'll be online quickly to pick up a couple. I can't wait to go back, although if I go solo again, I think I'll sit at the chef's table right by the kitchen. It would be a great spot to watch all the action in the kitchen!

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What a game!

First, let me correct an error on the last post. The Red Sox are only playing two in Anaheim. My gut feeling: we split the games out on the West Coast, and come home to Fenway only needing to win 2 out of 3. And winning two in a row at Fenway? Well, how many times have we done that this year?

Meanwhile - what a game in Minneapolis last night!

AP Photo via Yahoo Sports

It had to be one of the most exciting games ever! Although I don't agree with Orlando Cabrera, who called it the best game he'd ever played in. Weren't you there for Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, OCab? I'll chalk that up to heat of the moment. Still, to have them finish tied at the end of the regular season, tied at the end of nine innings, tied until the bottom of the 12th...Wow!

Anyone who says "baseball is boring" should be required to watch that game. Now, let's hope the Twins can ride that momentum train into New York for tonight's game vs. the Yankees. If the Twins could pull out a win tonight....

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Time to rest and recharge those batteries

Just a few short days to rest and get ready for the playoffs. The first three games are in Anaheim - which could mean some late nights! GO SOX!

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

My hero

When I go off on my various Red Sox road trips, my erstwhile companion is my Boston-based buddy Kelly, she of the awesome photos. But the fact is, we have a third companion. His name is Steve T. Ferret. In many ways, he's an ideal companion - he's quiet; he doesn't take up much space; he never complains about a lumpy bed or getting squished in an overhead compartment; and he's always game for a photo.

He also has become one of the RS Players' favorite photo companions. On Friday, Big Papi jumped at the opportunity to be photographed with the ferret who is becoming a legend.

Classic! (and it goes without saying: Photo by SittingStill!)

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Friday, October 02, 2009

The Baseball Project Live!

One of my favorite albums - er, CDs - for over a year now has been by a group called The Baseball Project. It's made up of four great "indie-rock" artists: Steve Winn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, and Peter Buck. Legend has it that McCaughey and Winn met when the night REM was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Scott is the "unofficial" 5th member of REM). They began chatting about their mutual love of baseball and how each had considered recording some baseball-themed songs. The result was "Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails," released in the summer of 2008.

I have almost worn out the CD. It's filled with great baseball stories - Harvey Haddix, Curt Flood, Black Jack McDowell. Songs with poignancy and depth.

So, I was so excited to discover they were playing in Atlanta on their tour this fall. I got a ticket, debated whether it was wise to go to a dive bar in East Atlanta on a Sunday night....And threw caution to the wind and headed south.

And it was awesome! They played at a tiny neighborhood club called The Earl. A small crowd - probably only 100 or less in the audience.

Here's Peter Buck - better known as lead guitarist for REM. When I told him that I loved the CD - some of the best stuff he's ever done - he looked at me as if to say, Dude, don't you know I'm in another band?
Scott McCaughey has played and recorded with REM since 1994. Really cool. When I told him that I had nearly worn out their CD, he grinned and said, You do realize that CDs don't actually wear out?

Steve Wynn is all kinds of cool. I wasn't familiar with his recordings with Miracle 5, but I am definitely going to! He has a really cool travel diary that he emails to his fans - but instead of describing their gigs, he seems to spend a lot of bandwidth on what they're eating! I told him that his diary always makes me hungry. His response? Really? Well wait until you read tomorrow's installment!

This is drummer Linda Pitmon. I have a major girl crush on her - women rock drummers are just so cool!

The group came out and mingled with the crowd during their break - and I got their autographs. Total fan girl!

It was such a fun show - and well worth the less than 4 hours sleep I got to start the week. Their cd is simply awesome - and they have just been laying down tracks for the second. It includes songs about Ichiro, Tony Conigliaro and Bill Buckner!

And if you're interested in hearing some of their music, this site has a downloadable version of their show in Chapel Hill, NC

The night after their Atlanta show, the Baseball Project played in one of their "hometowns," Athens, GA. They were joined on stage by two surprise guests from REM: Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry, who retired from the group and hasn't played with them since 07. Not being greedy - but that would have been cool!


Thursday, October 01, 2009

I love this town!

Every time I hear this song on my iPod, I visualize Boston. It really sums up how I feel about the Hub!

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