Monday, 29 April 2019

Triviawhack

I hadn't been at Trivia in Viva saloon for aaaaages. With my recent addiction to Jeopardy (a new find for me since moving to the USA) my thirst for trivia has grown so it was indeed time to get back to honing the old brain cells of a Thursday eve.

I joined a team that was coincidentally made up of a group of regulars who for one reason or another did not have people from their team there.

As you can imagine, with many trivia regulars on our team, we were strong competitors and in fact (spoiler!) we won the overall competition. It was however a real team effort and some of the questions were answered by collaborative effort/common consensus.

But! There were some questions that were answered by one person and one person alone.  Which got us to talking and thinking. What is the word for this?  What is the word that you can use to report how many questions you answered that no one else on your team knew "Yes, it was a good night, we won, and also I got 3 xxxxxxx's which I was delighted with"

My suggestion was that we needed a word like googlewhack. My definition of a googlewhack is when you enter something into google and it returns literally one search result only.  On further investigation today I find out it is broadly that...but with some rules and parameters etc.  Read more about it here.
Anyway long story short it appears that the word we may have invented to describe our trivia situation is TRIVIAWHACK! So if you and your trivia team start using this word you read it here first, it was coined by a group of trivia afficianados in the Southernmost city of the US, Key West Florida.


Oh! And for the record! I got ONE triviawhack that night.  I can't even remember the question now (ooops, come on brain!!!) but the answer I provided was Raleigh, Sir Walter Raleigh.


Thanks to Megan, Jeff. Robert, Jenni, Matt, Cliff, Debbie, Drew et al.  And the wonderful Chris as MC. Keep triviaing on!




Tuesday, 23 April 2019

In no particular order...

In no particular order here are some of the things I have been getting up to lately!

Good news! I finally got into the swimming pool!  
I am a cold person, simple as. I just can't do "cool" water, and finally the water hit a temperature that I can do...more than can just do...adore...it is absolutely perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold, refreshingly perfect.  And fun! It feels like I am on holidays every time I jump in!

I ate a corn dog for the first time in my life.  It's disgusting and amazing in equal measures. It's a hot dog (savoury) covered in what tastes like pancake or donut batter (sweet).  I will never eat one again as I am afraid I would then have to eat one every day of my life forever more. 

As you can see from the tv I am also watching a lot of ice hockey.  It's Stanley Cup playoff season.

I met up with friends in La Te Da

I ate out on my own.  I had dinner in Bagatelle which I loved.  It has a vintage old Bahamian feel to it and the food was second to none.  It was nice having time to myself and it reminded me of my time living in Dublin city.

Around my neck is a coin from the Atocha (Spanish treasure galleon) which was shipwrecked and went down in 1622 off the coast of the Florida Keys.  It was located, and salvaged by Mel Fisher in 1985.

I attended a beautiful food and wine pairing in The Roost, food by the incredibly talented Martha Hubbard of Isle Cook.

I attended the opening of a wonderful art exhibition at the Custom House Museum.  A show showcasing the wide range of Richard Peter Matson's exemplary talent - ranging from his oil paintings of houses, to his beautiful portraits, to his ads of the 1960s' during his career in New York city working for J Walter Thompson to his 1980's tongue in cheek greeting cards to his intricate decorative eggs.  It reminded me how much I miss all the art stuff that I had got used to being surrounded with while being part of that world with Pigsy 

While at the Custom House museum I couldn't not stop by the Diana Nyad exhibit - a reminder to "Never Ever Give Up"

Barbecue Tales Part 12 - Chicken

Tuesday night! Nothing fancy, but very tasty all the same!

A big plate of barbecued chicken, mmm.  I will be having chicken for lunch tomorrow :)

Dinner is served!
Lovely grilled chicken with Wild Rice. 

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter Sunday in Paradise!

Easter Sunday is a big deal at home in Ireland.  Well in my family anyway. We have a big dinner similar to Christmas in my parents house with all attending.

Yesterday was no different with my sister Katie travelling from Galway and Enid making her way over from Southside to North on the bus(!!).

It was however very different for me this year!

Winn Dixie Easter pie
Pie debacle:
Patrick went off on Sunday morning to do some grocery shopping and came back with No Key Lime Pie. Drama and despair (on my part) ensued.  It turned out that Publix was closed (nice for their employees, bad for someone desperate for Key Lime Pie like me) and the pie in Winn Dixie is never as good as the Publix one.  Faced with No Pie or Second Best Pie a decision was made to take a trip back to Winn Dixie to get some Key Lime Pie.

Side note.  The Publix Key Lime Pie is so special there are internet articles about it

So with the pie ensconced in the fridge and dinner planned for the evening what to do for the day?  Well first I cleaned my house from top to bottom.  Those of you who know me well know I am not the most domesticated person (housework bleugh) but it was way overdue and it felt so good, and still does today, to have it done.  After that I took myself off downtown to meet up with Dawn for a little drink.  Totally unplanned but you know me I find it hard to refuse invitations!

Andie and Dawn were in the Green Parrot where Tony, Andie's husband, and his band were playing.  Latin jazz funk, very cool.  The Green Parrot is fast becoming my favourite bar in Key West - cool atmosphere, good drinks, GREAT bands and music, and free popcorn :) It was a fun afternoon with some good craic chat and conversation with the laydeez.

From there Dawn and I went to La Te Da to their "Sunday Tea Dance". It was pretty animated and raucous. It reminded me of Apres Ski in Europe - 4pm in the afternoon and everyone is jumping around and dancing on tables like it's 2am in a nightclub.  Ok so  that's Apre Ski in Chamonix, France,  La Te Da wasn't aaaaaas wild as that.  But for a slow Sunday afternoon on a sleepy Duval Street (at that time of the day) it definitely has the most action going on.

And then that evening I got to eat the most fab dinner ever of SurfnTurf - steak and lobster tail.  The lobster tail, although looked small before cooking, revealed a big massive lump of meat which with a small smathering kerrygold butter was divine. The steak was lovely too.

And the Key Lime Pie...dear God the pie. It may be only the second best pie on the island but last night it got my gold medal  Good job Winn Dixie!

After dinner I watched an old (recorded) episode of Jeopardy.  I had watched it before but was happy to watch it again because I am Completely Obsessed With, and Addicted, to Jeopardy.

It was a great day!



Monday, 15 April 2019

Taste of Key West

Late in the day I heard about Taste of Key West and I decided to go.  Well to say I am happy about that decision is an understatement!

It was a wonderful event - well ran (thank you and well done to all the bright yellow t-shirted volunteers) with a fabulous selection of quality food vendors and an impressive beer and wine selection.

We arrived and were able to skip the long line to buy tickets because our tickets were already booked and purchased online.  I chose a wine glass and my date went for beer. The wine tents were right beside us at that point (handy, lol, wink) so I sought out and FOUND a nice well rounded Argentinian Malbec (yay!).  We then moved to the beer tent where a Canadian beer caught attention - Unibroue.  And with that we were off to the food!

 I shall do my best to remember all the food - I think I remember what each thing was but alas my memory may be lacking when it comes to what restaurant it was from.  That would be the Malbec's fault oops.

Although we had planned on sharing plates/each taste, that went out the window when we saw the shrimp and lobster roll slider.  We got one each and sat down right beside the ocean to enjoy it.  It was actually a really good call (a) it was very very good and (b) we were both starving so it was good to eat a good base to take the edge off.
Next up was Paella from Santiago's Bodega and it was everything we could have hoped for from the best Spanish restaurant in town - and this from two people who have ate Paella actually in Spain many times.

Our third sampling was my favourite! Tuna ahi from Matt's Kitchen on Stock Island.  Big chunky cubes of thickly marinated tuna. topped with pistachio, peanut and coconut it was both sweet and savoury.  I also thought it was one of the best portion sizes for just 3 tickets.
Shrimp and rice from Hogfish on Stock Island - the shrimp was excellent, the rice just "fine" and in fact "just ok" compared to the earlier Paella.

Things went a little downhill with our next choice.  Lamb meatballs from NineOneFive were bland and boring. Very disappointing. Redemption came in the form of the following dish; pulled beef taco with honey and siracha aioli. Nice job  by the Casa Marina (Waldorf Astoria).

Next up was my choice.  Don't judge but I went for something from a chain, but a quirky chain! Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar was serving Shrimp and Grits and it was good.  It was good! Honestly!

Last up was an amazing gumbo.  I really wish I could remember where this was from, for the life of me I can't. At 6 tickets it was the most expensive thing that we tried, or even saw, most of the food was 3 or 4 tickets per serving.  The wine and beer were 3 tickets.  It was however, worth it in both quantity and quality.  Hearty and delicious, a mix of meat (sausage, chicken), seafood (white fish, mussels, shrimp and crab) with clumped white rice in a perfectly balanced soup.  It was a good end to the savouries!

A finish of key lime pie mousses - one from Lucy's (1 ticket) and one from the Kennedy CafĂ© (2 tickets) brought the night to a perfect end.  I preferred the Lucy's one btw!

Well done again to all involved in this wonderful event and I hope it raised lots of funds for a great cause A.H.Health and Housing, Munroe County.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

A weekend of weekends!

Where to start?

First up, an amazing dinner cooked at home on Saturday.  Lobster! Read all about it here.

That fab dinner was followed by a quick spin on the bike to the new amphitheatre in Key West.  It's a wonderfully cute venue surrounded by palm trees, planned and built perfectly for great atmosphere and sound.  We found a good raised spot and settled in for a good evening.  By settled in, I mean went and got some food (pretzel bites and chipotle sauce - pretty good, and good value too) and drinks (pretty poor selection and seriously expensive in my opinion).
...Ah well, at the end of the day I guess we were there for the music and there is Very Good News to report there.

The Revivalists were just terrific! Kicking off with the ebullient "Celebrate" the scene was set, and they ran with it - raising the roof with a 2 hour set of fantastic musicianship  (their sax player is AWESOME, their lead singer throwing himself around with the energy of a man who knows how to enjoy living in the moment had the crowd in his hand from the second he bounced on stage). Culminating with a 3 song encore; a wonderful cover of the Travelling Wilbury's, "Handle with Care" (which happens to be only one of my favourite tunes ever), and their superb "Wish I knew You".  And their third and final song; the melancholic and melodic "Soulfight"...what a song...what a message...what a band.

It's just easy listening music at the end of the day.  But it's good easy listening. It's got edge, it's got soul, and it's quality. Really, really enjoyable night.

And then Sunday! Ah Sunday.  A surprise invite brought me to IHOP.  Woohoo! That was super!  It was also fun driving in a jeep with the roof off. What a novelty after 3/4 months of only being on my bike. I do like car rides.

After a quick pitstop at the bike shop to get a tyre repaired and buying a drinks container for the bike I decided I needed some beach time.  I had a lovely couple of hours to myself on the Southernmost beach getting some Vitamin D and contemplating life.  'Twas good.

Sunday finished up with another good home barbecued dinner, of pork tacos, washed down with Cuba Libre's. Afterwards a little cycle to White Street pier to watch the famous Key West sunset and set intentions for the week ahead.  Ahahahahahhahahhaa! Ok Amy, too hippy, too hippy!
Seriously though, there are awesome sunsets here, no two ways about it.  And check out the photo of me below.  There were some amazing para sail boarders out doing their thing right beside White St pier.


Yeah it was a good weekend! And I didn't even mention Friday night - a lovely night out meeting gal pals, and chats over cocktails.  I do like after-work Friday night drinks.

I do like weekends like this!


Barbecue Tales Part 11 - Lobster


Take one lobster.  Slather it with good Irish butter and garlic. Grill. Eat.



I recommend an accompaniment of chilled, ice cold veuve cliquot.  Failing that, vodka and wine work too ;) 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Utilities!

A while back my cousin Kasey (waves to Cousin Kasey!) asked for a blog post on American kitchen utilities versus Irish utilities.  So here it is Kasey!

American utilities tend to be bigger (and better!) than ours back home. That is, except for my gocky cooker!!  Or "stove" as they call it over here.
Seriously! Would you look at it.  My mam, when she was visiting me in January, commented that she had the same one circa 1981.  Ugh. I never use it.  Thank God I have the option of barbecuing over here!

The microwave however is cool! As you can see it is nice and big - much bigger than Irish ones.  It is nice and strong too. What is cool also is that there is an extractor fan inbuilt underneath it.  So it very cleverly works as both.  How about that eh?!

I think you can see that the dishwasher is the similar to Irish ones.  Very slight differences in where you load cutlery and the washing cycles etc., but nothing major.

 The fridge! The fridge I like! So much bigger than Irish ones.  I placed the can of diet coke on the left of the photo for scale.

Hmmm.  I probably should have taken a photo of the inside of the fridge.  Guess what is in there?  Big American products lol.  The container of milk is gigantic compared to Irish milk.  Three or four times the size of Irish milk I would estimate.

What is also cool is the freezer (a) it fits loads and (b) inside the freezer is an ice maker.  How cool is that?

And then we come to the washing machine (top loader) and  front loading) dryer .  A dryer! The luxury of it all astounds me.

I know this sounds a bit mad (what with all the rain over in Ireland), but dryers are just not that common in Ireland.  And frankly they are very expensive to run/use a lot of electricity.  We mainly "line dry" in Ireland.

Washing machines are so much better over here.  Their cycles run in half the time, and the clothes come out twice as clean.  Go figure!  

So that is pretty much it!  I do hope you found this post somewhat interesting, comments or questions below are very much appreciated!

And in case you are wondering.  These are the brands of  my utilities
  • Stove - Summit
  • Microwave - General Electric
  • Dishwasher - Kenmore
  • Fridge - Kenmore
  • Washing Machine - General Electric
  • Dryer - General Electric
Edit.
A regular reader of mine (in the USA - links in with me from twitter) gave feedback that a rental property in Key West is not neccessarily representative of the whole of USA/all utensils/  They are right. And maybe I should have made it clearer from the outset. I have seen much more cooler cookers/fridges/microwaves on my travels across the US through the years.  Being completely honest I actually am not really happy with the standard of mine in my rental.  I would much prefer more modern, sleeker, stainless steel etc.  But hey! I live in Paradise.  I can't complain.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Life in the Tropics


I've always been a target for mosquitoes, so no surprise I am getting bitten alive here in Key West!  I have lumps/bites/welts all over me.  Not the most attractive as you can imagine! Plus also a pain - they are so itchy and scratchy. Last night they woke me up at 3am, so bad and itchy that I had to go get my anti histamine cream and apply all over before I could get back to sleep.

So I am going full Rambo on them! I think the most important thing is to tackle the source.  I went to CVS and bought the Raid on the left (green spray) so am going to use this religiously in the house and (newly named) Tiki Lounge.  It should also be noted that Key West/Florida have a fairly aggressive spraying regime (ground and air) so I can only imagine what it would be like if that was not in existence.  Last week a notice was left at the house saying they had sprayed, plus giving good advice on preventing them - the big takeaway I took was not to have standing (stagnant?) water (e.g. rain water/flower pots) left around.  I took action and emptied anything like this I could I identify in my yard.

Finally! Important note! 
This blog post is not a complaint!! I love living in Key West.  This is just something I have to live with.  Paradise is worth it!