Monthly Archives: July 2014

~ Brasserie Beck ~

I was crazy starving.  I’d skipped breakfast, ran around in circles with my hair on fire all morning (some people call it doing errands), and it was nearly 3pm.  Mama gets cranky when she misses regular doses of fat and sugar.   Thank God for the caffeine.

We were in the Kentlands and My Captain suggested we try Brasserie Beck, a relatively new Belgian restaurant here in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  To be honest, I would have eaten anywhere at that point. I would have eaten anything.  I’d have gnawed on My Captain’s arm if I could catch him.

We sat down on the lovely patio, and ordered drinks to celebrate…lunch!  My Captain ordered a beer called Houblong Chouffe, which sounded dirty to me, frankly.  It was described as a beer that had undertones of banana bread, apricot, and allspice.  I gave him a concerned look.  Surely a guy could have his mancard taken away for drinking beer with undertones of banana bread?

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But he liked it well enough.

I had a sparking wine called Biutiful Cava, and was by far classier than Mr. Banana Bread Beer, sitting next to me, that’s for dingdang sure.

The appetizers came out, and the party in my mouth began!  We started with a watermelon goat cheese salad.  There were bits of onion, chive, and other savories mixed in with heirloom watermelon of pink and yellow.  My tongue was like, “Ah! Summertime watermelon!  Wait….Whaaaaa?  Is that salty goat cheese?  Holy Crap is that yummy!”  And it said all of that in a bad French accent.  Don’t ask me why; I’ve no idea.

 

2014-07-09 14.54.02And with that wonderful salad we ordered a small cheese plate, since I was feeling snooty and was drinking sparkling wine.  I started lifting my pinky because it seemed apropos.  And I used the word apropos because that is the kind of word someone who raises their pinky when they drink would do.  See how consistent I am?  Clearly I have blue blood somewhere mixed in with my horse-thieve ancestors.

Where was I?  Right, cheese tray.  I can’t remember the KINDS of cheese we ate..but I can tell you that between the Portugese and Italian goats/blues/swisses…mixed with the onion relish and quince preserve…I was in a new world of flavor.   It was like my palate was Dorothy, and we’d left black and white Kansas and had entered high-def deluxe colorchrome Munchkin Land.  What I’m saying is the cheese/preserve combos were all singing to me with their little flower hats, and high pitched voices.  I had my ruby red slippers on (size 11, wide) and was ready to roll down that gastronomic yellow brick road.

THEN the main course came.   I knew we were in for an adventure when My Captain was given a paddle in preparation for it.

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Which is entirely different from being paddled.  Though that would have been an adventure as well.

Why did he need a paddle?  As a trivet for THIS:

2014-07-09 15.21.23HOLY shellfish, Batman!   Mussels in Applewood smoked bacon and truffle cream, thank you very much!  I thought My Captain’s eyes were going to roll back into his head on the first bite.

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He tried to get me to taste it, but, and please don’t hate me for this, I just can’t bring myself to eat mussels.  I know, I know, you think less of me.  But wait!  I can make it up to you…I ordered the Croque Monsieur…

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This was the most amazing open faced ham sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life.   The ham was Rosemary ham from Italy, the parsley crisp fried, and the béchamel sauce ladled on top of it was so delicate I wept.  (Though to be honest, delicate or not, I could have drunk that stuff by the buckets.  I’m no stranger to vulgar displays of overindulgence.)

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Both of our entrees were served with French….er…Belgian fries (or Pommes Frites) and aioli sauces….garlic, vinegar, and red curry.  I’ll never eat fries with ketchup again.  (A blatant lie, but it sounds good.)

We saved some for My Captain’s lunch tomorrow at work, and also so we’d have room for dessert…because clearly we were going to need to try the sweets at this phenomenal restaurant.  We started with the chocolate gateau…which to be fair should have just been called a mousse.  It was rich….and I’m talking rich like Bill Gates rich…chocolate, on a Grand Marnier cream swath (again, I could have drunk a vat of that), with fresh raspberry sorbet scooped on top.

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Artfully plated!

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Look at that.  Ay Carumba.  And the taste?  Well, here’s the action shot…NO ACTING!

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The entry….

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The commitment…

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Oh. Holy. Crap.  I wept with joy.  Creamy, chocolaty, orangey (which rhymes with nothing at all), raspberry-y…it was fabulous.  How could they top that?

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Gee, I don’t know, how’s about with a little Fresh Cherry Crème Brulee action….

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complete with gold leaf garnish?

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Look at that.  Look At That!  LOOK. AT. THAT.  That, my loves, is cherry juice.  Fresh beautiful, voluptuous cherry juice.  This was by far my favorite dessert.

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And I used the gold leaf to accessorize my redneck-pink cotton polyester Kmart blouse.  Because that’s the way I roll.   Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

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And lastly, our patient and kind waiter, Demetri, brought out the best coffee EVER..on a silver tray to go with my newly gold-plated tooth.

All I can say, friends, is that if you are in the area, you have…have…HAVE to try this place.  It’s not dinner, it’s a freaking gastronomical adventure.

The one downside?  We had to make some tough choices in order to pay our bill.  Lunch for just the two of us came to over $100.00…which frankly we had not nearly planned on spending for a single meal.  Firefighters can’t eat out like that AND pay for things like children’s clothing.  So something had to go, and we’re sad to say at least one of our kids will have to go naked for a while.  We can’t agree on which one it will have to be, though, so chances are it will be whichever one pisses us off next.

Any bets on who that might be?

 

 

 

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~ Dammit, Captain! ~

The Fourth of July was stellar this year for me, not just because I got to ride INSIDE the firetruck for the parade, but also because it finally happened! 

We captured a picture of Lt. Tom!

The man who for years has most comically avoided my camera, and hence Mama’s Stories!

After years and years of getting photos like this:

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Or frustrating backside shots like this (he’s on the right, obviously.) :

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And teasers like this:

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I got his handsome mug on the camera!  Technically, it was Adam who did it, but whatever!  It worked!  We got gruff, strong, quiet, smart-as-a-whip, gentle giant, big-hearted Tom on camera!  You have to realize this is a huge accomplishment.  He’s big, but he’s fast, and wiley.  I’ve had nothing but outtakes on him, and he laughs at me about it.

So I was feeling pretty smug about it. And this morning, while snickering at my victory, I opened our drop box to pull that golden photo up for publishing…..

BUT. IT. WAS. GONE.

My Captain had cleaned out the drop box!  He deleted Tom’s photograph.

Dammit, Captain!   !@#$##%$$#@@@!  WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??!!!  @#$#%^^^@!!!%$$#@!!!

Friends, I think he’s working with Tom.

All right boys……

GAME ON.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~ Parade Perspective ~

My Captain’s shift pulled duty today, July 4th, this year.  Bummer, right?

Not so fast, there, Bucko.

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Do you know what firemen often are asked to do on the Fourth of July?  Can you say Parade?!

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I’ve never experienced a parade from the inside out before, and My Captain’s shift graciously allowed me to tag along.  I was determined to behave, and be cool.

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Don’t say a word.  Not. One. Word.  As far as you know, I was totally cool, and wasn’t jumping up and down in my seat the whole time.

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I was exposed to an interesting perspective of parades today, of how the firefighters feel when they are getting so much attention.

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On the one hand, they appreciate the enormous gratitude people send their way.

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And they can’t but help to love the exuberance of the children idolizing them.

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But on the other hand, they are uncomfortable with all of that attention.  They don’t do what they do to be idolized.  They do it because it needs to be done.

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Period.

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But they understand the world loves a hero.  Heck, the truth of the matter is that the world doesn’t just love heroes….it needs them.  We need to know heroes are out there.

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The guys on the shift understand this, so they go to the parades, with very little mumbling, and they wave to the nice people.

And today, as a bonus, after the parade, My Captain’s crew stopped by a local neighborhood that had asked if their kids could see the fire engine.

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When we got there, Master Firefighter Mike (one of My Captain’s favorite drivers) hopped out and yanked open all of the compartments for the town’s folk to check out,

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and then the hordes came.

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My Captain was swarmed almost immediately.

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And poor Adam!  He manned the receiving end of the walk-through for the kids.  It got to be comical.

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My Captain would shake hands,

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and Adam would receive a kid to put back down on the ground.

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And then My Captain would shake some more hands (or high five them!),

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And Adam would receive another kid to put down on the ground.

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And My Captain would….

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And Adam would….

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My Captain….  (actually here he isn’t shaking hands.  Here he is reassuring the little one that he wouldn’t put the loud, scary sirens on).

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Meanwhile, Adam unloads another….you get the drift!

But the kids weren’t the only ones to swarm….the adults were full of questions too!

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So My Captain listened and answered.

2014-07-04 10.32.04again….

2014-07-04 10.32.02and again….

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And after they did all of that,  the town’s folk gave them flags!

2014-07-04 10.34.45Here ya’ go, Adam.  Please play responsibly with these.

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And Doughnuts!!!

Which was kind of unfortunate.  There were already several boxes of doughnuts at the station…

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In addition to homemade goodies as well.

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And all of that sugar made them comatose in short order.

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No, really.

Who knew that being idolized could take so much out of a person?  Who knew that the pressure of all that gratitude being thrown at them would bring them to their knees (or, er, butts, as the case may be…)

(And the REALLY sad thing here is that they were only able to rest for like 10 minutes before the next 911 call came!)

Well, regardless of the embarrassment for all the attention, these guys felt blessed.  How could they not, with so much affection thrown at them from every generation?

And me?  I was just happy as a little girl to ride in the back seat.  I mean, a Cool girl.  Not a giddy one jumping up and down on the seat with excitement.  No, Sirree.  Not me.  I would NEVER do that!

Happy Independence Day, Friends!

 

 

 

 

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~ King Me! ~

Do you remember last summer in  ~ Picnic In A Hurricane ~ when My Captain built a picnic table strong enough to withstand a Class V hurricane?

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This year, I embellished it.

Behold the blue tape.  The blue tape was everything here.   Once that was down, the supercalifragilistic-aint-nothing-gonna-peel-this-paint Primer was applied.  Two coats.

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Then contact paper.

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I painted white over the primer, and then My Captain’s showed off his anal-retentive skills with an Exacto knife on the contact paper.

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And we had ourselves a template.

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Can you see the squares?

2014-06-18 12.15.09Then I applied the blue paint for the blue squares.  (Because blue paint for red squares would be weird.)

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It took several coats.

Long story short, when everything dried and we peeled all the layers of contact paper and tape off….VOILA!

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Please don’t start about the less-than-perfect way I painted down in the cracks of the table.  I’m not a pro, man!  I’m just a housewife/former medic/ former martial artist/ former whitewater kayaker/ former landscaper/ former bartender.   Painting Cracks was never in my job description.  Quit pressuring me!

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Once I’d finished with the checkerboard, I went ahead and painted a khaki colored edge around it, because Martha Stewart would have wanted it that way.   And I’m all about pleasing dear Martha.

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Our first players were none other than Em and Critter.  I had not made any playing pieces, so they made do with saltwater taffy and lemon drops.  Frankly, those were way better than anything I would have come up with.

Except they couldn’t ‘King’ each other because they kept eating the pieces.

I didn’t hear any complaints, though.

 

 

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~ Pee On The Floor A Little Bit ~

I’m a world-class talker.  A hell of a story teller.  A master at public speaking.  I can work a room like nobody’s business.

It’s been said I’m full of crap.  I take that as a compliment.

We all have our strengths.  Mine is the Gift of Gab.   No one knows if I’m that way because I was one of four kids and had to fight to get attention, or if I was dropped on the floor as a child.  But whatever the reason, I excel at loquaciousness.

I talk a lot, too.

And I’m chatty and garrulous.

And I own a thesaurus.

There are few people in my inner circles who can tell when I’m dead serious, straight up sincere, or spinning a joke.  And the master of those few people is My Captain.  He can call “Bull-shit” from a mile away.  Usually, he does it lovingly.  But sometimes…sometimes he does it without words.

I’ll be entertaining myself hugely by weaving an outlandish yarn with someone, and he’ll shoot me one of these looks:

0702141912aand I’ll know I’m busted.

Nothing gets by him.  Oh, believe me, I’ve tried.

And if you don’t think that I quiver in fear when I receive one of these nail-me-to-the-wall looks,  you’re sadly mistaken.  If I was a puppy, I’d probably pee on the floor a little bit.  Heck I’m not sure I haven’t done that anyways, when he’s given me that look.  My Captain is not one to be trifled with.  A smart woman would stop trying.

Which tells you a lot about my intelligence quotient…..

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