Monday, August 31, 2020

Brown Sugar Bourbon Pork Chops

One of the things I love about Hello Fresh is that, even if I decide not to order from them, I still have access to their vast array of recipes. This week, I looked at my upcoming meal options and decided that while Brown Sugar Bourbon Pork Chops with Apple Pan Sauce, Scallion Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Green Beans sounded good, I figured that I could make an attempt at this recipe without relying on Hello Fresh to source the ingredients. After all, McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Seasoning, which the recipe relies on, is easily available at most grocery stores. And I don't know what kind of apple Hello Fresh is planning to send, but I went with a Honeycrisp.

The dish easy enough to make. You basically just season the pork chops (I took a butterfly chop I had and cut it in half for two servings) with the McCormick Grill mix, cook them in the pan, let them rest, then cook the apples. Just before the apples are done, you add the pork chops back in order to warm them back up. Instead of mashed potatoes, I just went with a package from The Little Potato Company. Overall, it was a decent meal, and I'll be interested to see how it compares to the Hello Fresh version when it arrives next week.
Expectation









Reality









Monday, August 24, 2020

Ghost Of Tsushima And The Poison Darts

One of the best aspects of Ghost Of Tushima is the attention to detail. For me, that attention to detail is exemplified with the poison dart and hallucinogenic dart weapons that you'll get somewhere in Act II.  Watch the video below and you'll see me test the darts on a semi-stealth (though I chose not to wear the stealth-based armor) takedown of the Forest's Edge Camp. When an enemy gets hit with a poison dart, instead of just dropping like a stone, they actually get sick, vomit and then die. And, when they're hit with the hallucinogen dart, they get confused, rage out, and the attack everyone in sight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Credit Card Scammer Calls His Manager

Clovis is always happy to get a call from someone offering to lower the interest rate on his credit cards. When asked for his credit card number, Clovis, ever the befuddled blunderbuss, Clovis couldn't come up with it easily. At one point, he started singing "Take Your Time (Do It Right)". Then, Clovis started giving out the customer service numbers. The rep got angry and started yelling at Clovis until, several minutes later, Clovis finally understood and gave out his credit card number. The number must have been wrong, because the rep put Clovis on hold and got his manager to try to close the deal with Clovis, which didn't last long because Clovis put the manager through the same paces.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Ghost Of Tsushima

I have a personal policy that I will not pre-order video games. I've been screwed over way too many times and have decided that it's better to be late to the party than to be stuck at a lame party. It was difficult to resist pre-ordering Ghost Of Tsushima, though since it appeared to have everything that I like in a video game. Ghost Of Tsushima is an open world action/adventure RPG that follows a samurai on a quest to protect Tsushima Island during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The game was released on July 17 as a PS4 exclusive. After reading many positive reviews, I picked it up right after I got back from my Gulf Shores vacation. It reminds me a lot of "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" which is a game that I absolutely love. That being said, Ghost Of Tsushima isn't without its glitches. There are sneaky ways to cheat at resource collection and there are some barrier glitches here and there. However, after three weeks of playing this game, I've yet to encounter anything game breaking. One funny glitch that I encountered involves a woman at the Golden Temple constantly falling off the stone steps. If you watch the video I uploaded, you can see her in the upper left-hand corner.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Took My COVID-19 Test

I went in for a COVID-19 test earlier this week, not because I have any symptoms, but because I've been back from Gulf Shores for two weeks and wanted to make sure I didn't pick anything up. It was a simple test, with the nurse swabbing my nostrils for about 20 seconds each. It wasn't painful or overly invasive. It felt like someone picking my nose and removing some particularly large boogers. 48 hours later, my results are back: I'm negative for COVID-19.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Garlic Shrimp & Chorizo Meatballs

I was looking through some Blue Apron meals options last week and was interested in ordering the Garlic Shrimp & Chorizo Meatballs with Saffron Mayo & Romesco-Dressed Corn. I was about to place the order when I thought that I could just buy all the ingredients and make the dish myself. It didn't look too terribly hard to do, as most of the ingredients are easily sourced and the amounts needed are clearly specified in the recipe.

The only thing I had any issue with was the romesco sauce that was needed to dress the corn. Blue Apron would have provided it for me, but, since I was doing this recipe without the safety of pre-made sauces, I would be on my own. My local grocery store didn't have any, so I decided to search the web for a recipe and make it myself. Several options for making romesco sauce are available on he Internet. It's basically just tomatoes, roasted red peppers and some spices (depending on which recipe you use). I don't know how this stuff is supposed to taste, but mine tasted like a tangy tomato sauce with a tiny kick.

The only real issue I had with this recipe is that my chorizo meatballs collapsed and fell apart. What came out of the oven were meat piles rather than meatballs. I suspect that the chorizo I used wasn't fatty enough to bind together with the breadcrumb mixture. But, I'm still just an amateur at all of this, so I don't know. I'll be more vigilant the next time I attempt meatballs.

Overall, I enjoyed the dish. The meat piles had a nice kick to them and there was a nice garlic flavor in the shrimp. I'd probably be willing to make a second attempt at this, though it will probably be a while before I do.
Expectation









Reality









Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Otto Keeps Giving The Wrong Number

Otto got a call from a Credit Card scammer spoofing a well-known Wells Fargo phone number. When asked about his debt load, Otto, flushed the toilet and told the rep that he had spent a lot of money of Beanie Babies so he had a huge amount of debt. What came next was about five minutes of the rep trying to get Otto's credit card number with Otto constantly giving him the customer service numbers. Otto eventually figured out what the rep meant by "Membership Number" and gave him a sixteen digit number, but must have misread it because the rep said it was invalid. The two of them argued over whether or not Otto was messing with the rep. Otto got so upset that he threw up.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Home Again

We drove back home this weekend. Five people and a load of luggage can get very cramped, even in a mid-size SUV. But, we powered through, drove the entire route in the course of a day and wound up home just before midnight on Saturday. We had a great trip, but, before returning to reality this week, I want to mention a few things that were too brief to make full posts about:
"Really???"
  • We had lunch one day at ACME Oyster House in Gulf Shores. I had tried several times to get into the New Orleans location over the years, but it has always been packed. So, it was a nice surprise to walk into the Gulf Shores location for a late lunch and find it nearly deserted. We had raw oysters, char-grilled oysters, gumbo and onion rings. It was a very pleasant lunch. 
  • Other touristy places like LuLu's, The Yard and Lambert's were doing social distancing well, but the wait times were enormous, so we didn't bother trying to get a table at any of those places. 
  • We had a nice, socially distant lunch at The Hangout where we had snow crab for an appetizer and cheeseburgers for the entrees. There's a lot to do there besides eat a meal, but the side shows and activities apparently don't pick up until evening. 
  • There was a shark bite incident one town over from us at Orange Beach on Friday. We had been in the water early that morning and noticed a lot of small fish schooling around the area attracting flocks of birds. A pod of pelicans even swooped in very close to us to gobble up some fish. So, it came as very little surprise to us that predatory marine life was out in the area. Thankfully, the victim at Orange Beach only had to get a few stitches and will make a full recovery. 
  • My daughter was thrilled to find a store called Faux Paws Dog Shoppe when we went to The Wharf at Orange Beach. She bought doggo a bunch of cute things including a bandanna with "Wiggle Butt" etched on it. 
  • The girlfriend and I got some drinks at the Kentucky Mist Distillery at the Wharf and, to be honest, we weren't impressed. Certainly not for $8 a drink. 
  • We stopped at a Popeye's on the way back in order to sample their entry into the Chicken Sandwich Wars. Their Spicy Chicken Sandwich is very good. I don't know if it's better than Chick-Fil-A, but at least I can eat it without feeling guilty about contributing to a company that hates on homosexual marriage. 
  • Doggo was happy to see us upon our return but not overly so. Boy Boy clearly took great care of her. 
It seems like a lifetime ago when I had said that "family vacations are a lot of work". But, this trip has convinced me that I was wrong with that statement. At the very least, a family vacation won't SEEM like so much work so long as you actually enjoy where you're going and the family you've got in the first place.