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I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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Entries in food (7)


A Sour Mood Indeed

I’m written about my love for high-acid wines. Some of you who have shared a meal me know that my love for low-pH comestibles extends to food as well. I’ve said before that if you want to get me to like something, all you have to do is pickle it. As I’ve started to true explore beer this year, I’ve discovered that principle extends to sour beers as well. This meant that when — during my required pilgrimage — I discovered The Trappist had just hosted a sour beer tasting on Tuesday and still had a variety of them on tap, I was rather pleased.

Here’s what I managed to taste while I was here:

This acid obsession reached its peak at lunch today, when I had the Supplication, a salad of arugula and persimmons with red wine vinaigrette, and a plate of pickled carrots, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and green tomatoes. I think I was trying to pickle myself.

It was heavenly.


Fitness: None

Perspective is Required

About two months ago I ran across this post on Lifehacker that resonated with me. I’d already been making gradual changes to the way that I eat, and cutting out meat before dinner seemed like a reasonably small step. So in September I decided to try it. The only real sacrifice was that I stopped having sushi for lunch. I have been trying to eat oily fish three times a week, which was a little tricky to do in seven meals, but overall it was surprisingly easy to do.

When you’re taking small steps, it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come. If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be a vegetarian for two-thirds of the day, I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s hard to see a glacier moving, too, until you look back and see how much distance there is between where it used to be and where it is now.


Fitness: Ran 4 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 404 words, 343 seven-day average, 287 average, 53909 total, 1091 to go for the week; 2-day streak

Portland, Day Two

We are no danger of starving in Portland.

When last we left our hero, he was waiting for his lovely bride so they could go get some dinner. We ended heading over to the Oregon Brewers Festival for a little while before finally heading to dinner at Veritable Quandry. Their wine list was impressive; we ended up enjoying a pair of rosés while we waited on the patio for our table, which were a perfect match for the summer evening. When we finally sat down, I had the good sense to order the roasted wild mushroom & baby spinach salad with buttermilk blue cheese & pancetta vinaigrette. We decided to share and devoured it as soon as it arrived. Gwen opted for the Wild Oregon King Salmon with orange vinaigrette served with bulgur, pistachios, mint, cucumber, radish, yogurt & cumin. I had the Oregon Black Cod wrapped in prosciutto with shaved fennel, Dungeness crab, fingerling potatoes & lemon aioli, the last of which was really the key to the dish. And despite the hour, we just couldn’t resist desert, so Gwen got the Warm Black Beauty Plum Tartlet, and I had the Peanut Brittle Banana Split, which was absolutely delicious with the glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry I ordered. Dinner ended up being both later and better than we usually eat, so by the time we stumbled back to our hotel around midnight, we were happy to get to bed.

Today Gwen was off to classes at Sock Summit, which left me on my own to find for myself. I had a very nice run along the riverfront before heading out in search of an early lunch. I ended up at Kenny and Zuke’s, a delicatessen recommended to us by at least three different people. It was transcendently good — the pickle platter taught me that I don’t dislike sweet pickles, I’ve just not had well-made ones. The Ken’s Special, a pastrami sandwich with chopped liver, coleslaw and Russian dressing, was amazing, especially when washed down with a Henry Weinhard’s Cream Soda, whose sweetness cut through the fat, salt, and vinegar of the rest of the meal. And I am now horribly tempted to find a way to incorporate the grumpy chef I watched for a good half-hour from my counter seat into a bit of fiction, because he was such a wonderful character. So overall, I survived my abandonment.

At noon I headed back to the Oregon Brewers Festival, which we had started sampling the night before. My new-found beer tasting knowledge was put to good use. I managed to taste at least a quarter of the 80+ beers on tap here, and I think I got through the ones I’m most interested in. It wasn’t as fun without a tasting companion — Gwen and I got stopped twice last night because “we looked like we knew what we were doing.” I ended up bailing before I got crazy busy, which was just about when Gwen got back from her classes.

We ended up going to Grüner, which was lovely. The weather was quite pleasant, so we decided to sit outside and ended up at a stylishly black-lacquered picnic bench. They had a flight of four German rieslings made in four different styles which we each decided to get and build the meal around. With the sparkling and the dry we split an appetizer and a salad — the charcuterie plate (speck, spicy coppa, soppressata, house-made mortadella, liverwurst canapés, country pâté, mustard, and pickles) and a salad of green beans, blackberries, goat cheese, hazelnuts, duck cracklings, black currant vinaigrette, and crispy shallots. With the Kabinett, I had the choucroute garnie — a plate of bratwurst, saucisson, cider braised pork belly, house-cured pork tenderloin, covered with sauerkraut and served with sweet mustard and yukon gold potatoes. It paired wonderfully with the wine. Gwen’s sweet & sour rabbit marinated in red wine and braised with spring onions, carrots, juniper, black pepper & rosemary, with chive-potato dumplings didn’t go as well, so we indulged our wine geekery and ordered a glass of Blaufränkish, which did go with it. For desert we split the cheese plate and the honey-walnut cake, accompanied by an Auslese riesling and something I’d never seen before: a Pinot Noir Trockenbeerenauslese. (This will either make sense to you or take too long to explain why it’s unusual.) It ended up being just as good as the dinner from last night, but both lighter and earlier. We took advantage of the not-yet-late hour to stroll along the riverfront before heading back to hotel.

So yes, I’d say were doing a pretty good job of eating and drinking our way across Portland.


Fitness: Ran 3 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 262 words, 333 seven-day average, 266 average, 32180 total, 320 to go for the week; 16-day streak

It Was an Ensalada Gaudalajara With Added Black Beans

Today, I started thinking that salads are real food.

I’ve written before about shifts that I’ve made in my attitudes about eating. Over the last several months I’ve been making a few more, specifically a shift away from eating so much meat and toward more vegetables. What happened today is that I noticed I no longer think about vegetarian dishes as something that I eat instead of what I want. Salads — good salads — are something that I enjoy eating. I’ll probably never become a complete vegetarian, but I realized that I no longer think of meat as “real food” and everything else as filler.

I had this epiphany as I was getting ready to order lunch. During the meal, two women stopped to ask me what the salad I was eating was, because it looked so tasty.


Fitness: Rest day
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 0 words, 203 seven-day average, 251 average, 26406 total, 1594 to go for the week

Because It's Always About the Food

Gwen and I hosted a Fourth of July Party yesterday, and we now have a ton of leftovers. That’s good, because things turned out great.

Gwen made a delicious strawberry cream cake, her lemon-glazed green beans got rave reviews, the pork ribs were tasty (if a little tougher than I could have like), but clear winner was the Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad. I made it based on a recipe in the back of The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbeque, reproduced roughly as such:

Quarter and slice eight Persian cucumbers. Mandolin half of a red onion. Combined both with two table spoons of kosher salt in a mesh colander. Place the colander over a bowl to catch the liquid. Fill a gallon-sized Ziploc bag with water and put it on top the cucumbers and onion to weigh them down. Let sit for three hours.

Discard the drained liquid. Combine with two cups sour cream, half a cup freshly chopped dill, six tablespoons cider vinegar, two teaspoons sugar. Mix until even. Salt and pepper to taste, serve chilled. Makes 8-10 servings. (This is a double batch.)


Fitness: Rest day
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 481 words, 273 seven-day average, 255 average, 24723 total, 1277 to go for the week