Saturday, May 18, 2013

Carlsbad Flower Fields - Bah

So, every year, the Armstrong Nursery in Carlsbad grows these fields of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus. I've seen them my whole life, driving by the nursery, the beautiful hills full of rows and rows of color.

I didn't really know much about them before, my family never really made any effort to go see them up close, and quite frankly, other than seeing them from the freeway, I never knew exactly what time of year to expect them. (The fields just closed for the season as I wrote this blog).

 I got this picture off the internet :)

This year, I had to go to the mall, that's located right in front of the flowers. When I pulled up to park - there they were! AND I wasn't on any time of time schedule, so FINALLY! I was gonna go see them up close!

Or so I thought. Walking up to the nursery, I started noticing these huge fences around the property... Not around the nursery, but in the back, around the flower fields. We're talking 10-12 feet of pure "you cant see though me" glory. Weird.... So, I walked around for about 10 minutes, looking for the enterance (apparently, I started on the wrong side) and when I finally found it I noticed gates and ticket takers. That's cool, ok, what like $5 to see the flowers, not totally unexpected, but I could handle that. NO! It was $11! Its not that $11 is all that much money in the grand scheme - but, I literally wanted to walk up, see the flowers, take a picture, and buy a bouquet of them. That's it, like 5 minutes of their time. Absolutely, not worth $11. Childhood dream, smashed.

On top of that, when I came home and looked up the fields online, I noticed that there was a Photography Rules page.... forms to fill out and usage agreements.

Bah. I was totally disappointed. Luckily, I took all these photos from not their property. So, I'm allowed to post them. The whole thing just seemed a little weird.... a little... sad. I'm starting to think all businesses are taking after the Disneyland model - only the financially well-off get to go. Oh well, I'll get to see them from afar for the rest of forever - honestly, I think their prettier that way anyway :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Smile! Strawberry

As, I wrote earlier in the blog, I planted a small container garden on my patio. Well, I got my first harvest!

A little tangy, but super delicious!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tanzanian Peaberry Obsession

This morning, like every other morning, after getting out of bed, I headed straight to the coffee pot.

Today, though, I realized something funny about our small collection of coffee - we had two different Tanzanian Peaberry coffees, from two different roasters in our cupboard. I knew we liked it, but I didn't realize we gravitated towards it! We always try to taste peaberry coffees - they are special in the fact that only 5% of coffee beans are peaberries. The difference is, normally two coffee beans grow within a single coffee fruit, with a peaberry only one grows. These beans are rounder because there is no other bean to share the room in the fruit with, and the most common type found on the market is the Tanzanian variety.

Normal beans in front.

So, I figured I would give this coffee tasting thing a try. Side by side, a Tanzanian Peaberry tasting. I mean, how hard could it be? I've read descriptions of coffee before "smooth acidity, with notes of citrus and cherry." Who couldn't do that?! Me. That's who. But whatever, I tried! So, I made them in my French Press. Each exactly the same way. I drank each black.

So, here are my notes. I didn't cheat and copy the bags or websites:

The Roasting House, Virginia City, NV, $12.00/lb - This is a lighter coffee, acidic, not heavy on the tongue. It is slightly bitter (which I attribute to the acid). To me it tastes like coffee - there aren't many underlying flavors. While it was brewing it smelled like caramel - but not so much after it was poured.

World Market, Tanzanian Peaberry, $9.99/12oz - This is a darker roast than the other one. It has a sweet smell, but again doesn't transfer to the taste. It has a forward acidity, but its not overwhelming or unpleasing. Also, very coffee tasting, without many underlying flavors.

Both coffees are wonderful morning coffees. I've noticed breakfast blends are usually more acidic than others, and I'm thinking this is because breakfasts are usually sweet (doughnuts, muffins, syrups, etc.). It was nice to taste both coffees, and be able to actually taste that they both started out the same - similar flavor profiles, similar acid, etc. By the way, this 'acid' that I keep describing, is a hard thing to describe. Its the word I am using to explain the flavorless tang that both coffees have. The coffees both have flavor! Duh, but each has a tang that can't be described by the coffee taste.

The actual roaster The Roasting House uses
Now, re-reading the review, I don't think I made either one sound very good... But they really are. If you like coffee flavor, and aren't looking for something sweet - these would be perfect for you. The World Market version is my favorite of all the World Market brand coffees. The Roasting House is this awesome little micro-roaster in the historic Virginia City, NV. Look them up here - its an awesome, super friendly, little mom and pop shop.


Monday, May 13, 2013

No Squandering Today!

In my last post, I was griping about squandering my last day of freedom! Well, today, I took full advantage of my first real day off from work!

First, I woke up, made coffee, watched a little TV... you know the usual.

Then around 10am, I went and returned the stuff I've needed to return. Then, I went skirt shopping, which I failed miserably at. So, to sooth my soul, I hung out in BevMo for a while and decided to do everything in my power to like Gin & Tonic. I bought some premium tonic water and 4 different kinds of gin to try (tiny, little bottles, don't worry).

While the gin and tonic were cooling, I made some lunch, then strolled down to the beach. Moonlight Beach is exactly 1 mile from my house. Its amazing. Downtown Encinitas is right there. There are volleyball nets and nice white sand. Plus, today was a perfect beach day. Super warm, clear blue skies, light breeze. Perfect. Reading a book and listening to music while sprawled out on a towel next to the ocean... yeah... a little slice of heaven.

After peeling myself from the sand, I returned home and made myself a Gin & Tonic. Which, by the way - was pretty darn GOOD! Who knew?! I usually find myself hating gin (mostly because it tastes like pine tree) but a splash of it in combination with this premium Fever Tree Indian Tonic! - the drink sang of causal summer days.

While sipping my new found drink, I made use of some old tomatoes and started a new blog in the process (feel free to check it out here). This ended up taking MUCH longer than expected (as canning usually does).

So, now, I find myself sitting here, comfortable and happy. Feeling like the day was darn good and my butt now belongs square on my comfy couch.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Last Day of Total Freedom

I have all but pissed away my last day of total freedom! Tomorrow, I start my new job! So, I was thinking that today I would do something grand! But instead, I've relaxed... Apparently, my brain (and body) were telling me Grand could wait for a day off.

I didn't even take any pictures of my not grand day... Hmmm....