Old Fogey Friday

I enjoyed last night more than I’ve enjoyed previous gatherings at my home. It was because people came out for the sake of visiting and enjoying dinner. Not like the old days of Friday night pre-party drinks leading to a late night of drinks.

Most of my friends have matured. Myself included. Those feelings of suffering a hangover are long behind us. Casual drinks and good food are much more enjoyable. And that’s what we experienced.

Last night our BBQ started at 7pm. By 9:00pm the first of my friends started to depart. Then the next wave of people were leaving just before 10:00pm. By 11:00pm everyone had gone home. I couldn’t have been happier. Everybody left with full stomachs and a smile. No weird drama, no drunk shenanigans, no mess to clean up. I was in bed by midnight.

I’d call that a successful dinner party. Those are the kinds I’d like to host more often. Good friends and good food makes for a good time.

I Missed My Wife

My wife was out of town for a work function over the past few days. I missed her tremendously. So I’m throwing her a BBQ party tonight!

Ok, I’m lying.

The BBQ is for my friends and coworkers. Many of my friends are my wife’s friends as well.

But I still missed my wife while she was gone. So I plan on having a great time laughing and clowning around with her at the BBQ. Time to go get ready to entertain!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Food Court

Yesterday I did something that I haven’t done in years. I bought food in a mall food court. Maybe it was planted in my head because of Stranger Things Season 3. Maybe it was because I was hungry after my dentist appointment and I needed food. In reality, it was the nostalgia of the life I had prior to kids and being a Mall Rat.

So I hit up the Orange Julius for a bacon cheese dog and an original Orange Julius beverage. I let my kids have a sip of this drink that screamed sentimentality in the recesses of my brain. It was my go-to food break back in the day when I wasn’t buying mall sushi.

The reason for our visit to the mall was for my 15 year old to meet up with some friends from school. One of those friends is moving away next week, so they wanted to hang out. My son and I wandered the mall together and after a couple of hours, we returned to the Food Court and hit up another vendor. This time New York Fries. I was never a fan of their French Fries, only ever eating them maybe twice before. But my son wanted some poutine, so we grabbed some. We found out later that my daughter and her friends had done the same thing.

When I was a teen/young adult, the mall was the place to meet up. Even if it meant walking laps around the mall and not buying anything but a 25¢ coffee in the food court just so you weren’t kicked out for loitering. The mall I was at yesterday seemed quiet.

Perhaps Shopping Malls are a dying breed. Maybe they’ll make a comeback. Only time will tell. All I can say is that I can go another 20 years before I have another Orange Julius and it wouldn’t bother me one bit.

My Wife’s Coworkers

I attended my first ever Baseball Game last night courtesy of my wife’s work. Meaning that this event was with my wife’s coworkers instead of mine like we usually do. This time I got to be my wife’s “Plus One” and meeting her coworkers IRL was a neat experience. I’ve heard so much about them and I’ve occasionally “seen” them while they do video conferencing. But to talk and mingle with them in person was neat. Kind of like an extended family that I’d never met but could relate to easily.

The energy within the large group was astounding. Laughs and photos were going on while food and beverages were being consumed. Lots of SHOP talk was happening. They all had a great time.

My wife’s coworkers really make her happy. She has developed some fantastic relationships with many of them. I’d say I’m jealous, but in reality I’m happy inside. I’m happy because my wife is happy- and she deserves this happiness the most..

Baseball

I’m not exactly the biggest Sports guy around. But last night my wife took me to my first ever baseball game. I enjoyed the experience. Here are my highlights:

It was pride day at the field, so there was a ton of amazing and fun people around. Lots of love to be shared, that’s for sure.

I did the typical baseball thing as well. I enjoyed a hotdog with mustard and an ice cold beer. (I’m glad it was paid for, because sporting events and food is far too expensive.) Watching the game at dusk really added to the enjoyment. As the sun set- the field lit up creating a beautiful glow.

I got to met one of the costumed mascots and took an obligatory selfie with him. As for the game itself, I couldn’t tell you who won in the end- I cheered for both teams as the night went on.

My wife and I both liked the fact that it seemed pretty retro and old timey at the field. With a kid in the back of the field swapping numbers the old fashioned way. He seemed really happy in his job since he had the best seat in the house.

Would I attend another baseball game? Sure. Maybe with some bigger names teams from the MLB. It was definitely a lot of fun.

Unassuming Funday

My day yesterday was filled with meeting up with friends while in Calgary. It was fun and magical in many ways.

First was a lunch with a friend of ours we originally met at the Calgary Expo eight years ago. He and I shared stories of our kids, work and caught up on life. It was different this time around because we weren’t at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo having a weekend of laughs in between sales. It was a condensed, pleasurable, laugh riot meal.

Before dinner, we went to the Skyline Luge again. This time we brought my wife and met up with some other Speed Skaters from Langley. It was a laugh riot, again! My wife really enjoyed it and in the end was upset that I had already done this earlier in the week without her.

Afterwards, we went to visit our other friends again (these were the ones we met up with earlier in the week at Gorilla Whale). This time we met up at the their home. We were introduced to a large stuffed shark that tried the devour two of my kids. Later we fooled around with the Occulus Quest. The first quality VR to not need a big computer or extra wiring. It has a life span of 2hrs, which we fully used up.

It was also great to see my wife immerse herself into the game system. My wife hadn’t tried any VR like the rest of us did three years ago when we went to Silcon Valley (read about it here: Button Mashing). Unfortunately, now she wants one. We’ll see what happens in the future- maybe the excitement will wear off.

Or maybe she’ll be escaping into a whole new environment.

Wandering Calgary

I took our daughters out for the day as we wandered around Calgary. First was a stop at the Olympic Oval to check in on my son’s speed skating camp. (The whole reason we are here in Calgary). Then we went for lunch at an amazing Ramen restaurant that I had been to a couple years ago.

The ramen place we went to was Shiki Menya. Still just as delicious as always. Still just as busy as well. We had to wait outside until a table came available. But worth the wait. So tasty.

Afterwards, we walked into the central part of Calgary. We were hoping to go into the Calgary Tower, but due to a mishap last Friday- (read here: Calgary Tower Elevator ), that means unfortunately for our visit to Calgary- the Tower is shut down for an investigation.

But we saw a really neat sculpture just up the road called the Wonderland Sculpture. It is a fantastically large piece. Looking like a human head made out of metal mesh.

Calgary is a neat city that feels big and small at the same time. Besides the weather changing every 15 minutes, it also seems that driving everywhere takes only 15 minutes. Or there is the public transportation that seems to be widely used. A lot of the ideas and designs should be implemented in Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs that’s for sure.

We only have a couple days left here and a few friends left to visit.

17 Years Old

Our oldest daughter turned 17 yesterday. With it came another turning point into adulthood and a fantastic dinner with some friends of ours.

Starting off the day, she wanted a piercing through the cartilage on the upper part of both ears. So we stopped at a place in Calgary called Tribal Expression. The store was clean; the staff were professional and courteous. They also offered a reference to a piercing location near our home- one province over- which eased my mind a bit more.

During the process I still got to be “Daddy” as she wanted to hold my hand while getting the piercings done. That made me feel good inside. Plus, our daughter is happy with her new hoops she got installed for her birthday. Oh, and I was $148 lighter in my bank account.

Afterwards, we stopped at the nearby Starbucks in order to get the very “Instagram Worthy” Tie Dyed Frappuccino. This gave my girls a chance to share pics online and have a good bonding moment while I recovered from the cost and noticeable perforations that are now in my daughter’s ear lobes.

Later in the evening we meet up with some old friends in Calgary at a restaurant called Gorilla Whale. There were hugs and stories to be shared as we all tried our best to contain our excitement of meeting up again. We love these two and they have been long standing friends of ours since we first started going to conventions.

Not only was the company great, but the food at the restaurant was a fantastic mix of Japanese and Western creativity. I opted for the Godzilla burger- which contained wagyu beef, foie gras and unagi. (Cow, duck liver, and eel). The food was awesome and reasonably priced-ish. (I think I’ve spent more money on a regular excursion for sushi at our regular joint.)

All-in-all it was a good day of our daughter experiencing the joys of adulthood. Treating yo’self, sending time with old friends, and enjoying a night out at a fancier restaurant than usual. I hope she continues to enjoy and experience life to its fullest.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Random!

Barbecue Brisket Baby!

Over the past few years, I have been perfecting my ability to make a smoked bbq brisket. I usually only end up making three or four of them a year. That way it keeps the family desiring more and doesn’t overdo the enjoyment of the meal. Last night was the largest one I have ever made.

We do not have a smoker, so I have become resourceful in using our bbq. I put a smoker box on the side burners and place the brisket on the opposite side. I keep the temperature between 200° and 250° allowing the indirect heat to slowly cook the meat over the course of a few hours. Every hour or so, I add some more water soaked hickory wood chips. But before the meat goes on the grill- I have to prepare it.

We have found the best cut of meat for the price is down at the Costco in the USA. Once I open the meat I give it a quick rinse and pat it down with paper towel. Sometimes I’ll trim some of the larger fatty bits if it’s over an inch thick. Then I salt the entire thing, followed by pouring some soy sauce and brushing bbq sauce all around it. Next I add a dry hickory seasoning on the entire brisket to create a crust once the meat is cooked.

As the brisket smokes, my entire neighborhood smells heavenly for hours. (It’s amazing how olfactory senses can add to the enjoyment of a meal.) Last night I also made a different type of potato salad. I roasted some cubed potatoes tossed in olive oil and covered in garlic, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. I baked the potatoes in the oven for 30 minutes turning them every 10 minutes so as not to burn the bottom.

Afterwards I allowed the potatoes to cool in the fridge before adding some chopped up fried garlic sausage, a bit of mayonnaise and two mashed avocados. The meal turned out beautifully. We shared our dinner with a couple of friends and only ate about half the brisket. That means leftovers for lunches!

I love making brisket.

Berry Good

Living in the countryside means fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available. There’s a place I stop at throughout the summer that has cheap hothouse peppers in red, orange and yellow that are extremely tasty. I love to sauté them on the bbq with a bit of garlic or red onions.

We are also close by to not just one, but two berry farms. I love eating Fresh Berries in the summer. It means that I’ll be making more waffles, smoothies, putting berries in my sparkling wine, toppings for yogurt and ice cream or just eating them straight out of the bowl. Juicy, healthy treats.

Today I stopped by both berry farms. Mainly I wanted to see the difference in quality and price. Krause is all flash with a winery and food available. While Driediger is mainly just berries. Both have U-Pick available which is nice for a morning out with the family. Honestly, even though most people love Krause for its high end look, Driediger has better quality berries that are sweeter and lower in price as well. I do enjoy Krause for a bike ride to sample wine with fruit.

Whichever you choose to hit up, just remember that you’re supporting a local business. Which always adds sweet karma to your meals.