Question of the Day: World’s Best Beer

20 09 2007

Framboise
What is the best beer on planet Earth?

Submitted by Remmy Van Hornie.

Well, I haven’t changed my mind since January, when I proclaimed—in answer to a different QOTD—that Lindemans Framboise was “the best thing since sliced bread.” It’s a Belgian Lambic beer flavored with raspberries. If you like funky Belgian beers (yum), and if you like raspberries (double yum), this might just be your gold standard. The beer is sour, and it’s sweet, and the balance of those two properties is (to my palate, anyway) ideal. By contrast, I’ve previously blogged about how a Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise was simply way too sour for me. The Lindemans gives you both sourness and sweetness.

By the way, I’ve also been drinking quite a bit of Lindemans Pomme lately. If you like apples, you might want to give the Pomme a try. It’s like drinking the best Green Apple Jolly Rancher you can imagine. As that suggests, it may be a little too sweet or candy-like for some. Not me, though. The Pomme hasn’t displaced the Framboise as my favorite, but I think it’s downright delicious, too.

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Question of the Day: Kitchen Essentials

18 08 2007

Fresca
What are the 10 foods you must have in your refrigerator and/or your kitchen cabinet?

Submitted by Carol.

Well, I don’t know about the “must” in this QOTD. That makes it sound like I might become unmoored if I ran out of peanut butter or something. I’m not that neurotic. But here’s a list of 10 items you can usually find in my kitchen.

1.) Fresca — And I’m not talking about those newfangled Fresca flavors like Black Cherry or Peach. I want the original in all its grapefruit-y glory. There’s almost always a fridge pack of Fresca on the top shelf of my refrigerator. Fresca is the soda of the gods…. (P.S. Writing this caused me to check out Wikipedia‘s entry on Fresca. It’s strangely interesting, and there’s even an LBJ story.)

2.) Yogurt — I have a cup of yogurt every day with breakfast. (Notice that I said “with” breakfast. There’s more breakfast to come!) Stonyfield Farm is my favorite, especially Key Lime, Blackberry, and Luscious Lemon. Recently, though, I’ve fallen for Woodstock‘s water buffalo yogurt. Yes, it’s made from water buffalo milk. From Vermont (of course?). I have a thing for water buffalo these days, apparently.

3.) Apple juice — I get teased for this by some co-workers (freak alert: I eat breakfast at my desk), but I have a small toddler-sized box of apple juice every morning. Hey, apple juice is fattening! You should only have so much.

4.) Cereal — I do love my breakfast, huh? In addition to my cup of yogurt and apple juice, I always have a small bowl of cereal, too. When it comes to cereal, I’m absolutely devoted to the Maple Buckwheat Flakes from Arrowhead Mills. The cereal is crunchy and makes me think of pancakes. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a helluva combination. The cereal’s also gluten-free, but I just like it because it tastes good.

5.) Rice milk — I feel kind of ooky if I drink “real” milk, or put it on my cereal, so I use Rice Dream instead. It’s more milk-like than soy milk. And it’s sweeeet on my palate. Yum.

6.) Cottage cheese — Hey, I don’t have this for breakfast! It’s a lunchtime staple, though. I buy 2%, which is the Goldilocks-just-right amount of fat in cottage cheese. IMHO, anyway.

7.) Whole wheat crackers — I buy Health Valley’s whole wheat crackers, which, according to the current box, are “now organic.” Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s changed. In the past few years, the Health Valley crackers have, um, obtained a buttery-finish and about 10 more calories per serving. Must all good things eventually change? Hmph.

8.) Soup — I like plain ol’ Campbell’s tomato soup.

9.) Cereal bars — I frequently have some kind of granola/cereal bars as a snack. Lately, I’ve been buying Caribou Coffee Snack Bars (Caramel High Rise is my favorite, I think) and South Beach Diet’s High Protein Cereal Bars (make mine peanut butter, please). When I eat one of the Caribou Coffee bars, I feel like a coffee shop opened up in my nose. (Yes, that’s a good thing.) The South Beach bars are more peanut butter-y than peanut butter.

10.) Lindemans Framboise — Yes, good beer is a kitchen essential.

(I really can’t believe how, well, commercial this post is. What’s next? Will I try to become a contestant on The Price is Right?)





Question of the Day: Grown-Up Boot Camp

1 07 2007

What are three things you want to learn, and three things you can teach others to do?
Submitted by bookishbiker.

Hmm, it was easy to think of three things I want to learn, but I had a hard time thinking of three things that I’m really “competent” enough to teach. That sounds like I need to rush myself to the self-esteem clinic, huh? (Maybe I just have high standards for teachers….)

Things I want to learn:

  1. How to play the guitar – As you’ve probably noticed, I’m sweet on singer-songwriters. Sadly, I’ll never be one. I can barely keep a melody in my head—let alone sing like a human being (maybe I should put singing lessons on this list). But I could probably play the guitar. Lessons, please.
  2. How to speak German – I took one year of German in high school (I focused on Spanish), and I fell in love with the way it sounds. I’ve forgotten nearly everything I learned that year, but I’d like to start again.
  3. How to meet a beer-loving, sports-craving, brown-eyed handsome man – Actually, he doesn’t have to have brown eyes.

Things I can teach others:

  1. How to write a damn good memo – To bring home the (tofu) bacon, I write memos for a living. Actually, at this point in my life, I mostly edit others’ memos. A good memo should be organized, pithy, and fluid. I can also make sure your mechanics remain, um, sharp.
  2. How to enjoy a vacation in Oklahoma – Tulsa’s beautiful, full of art deco architecture. Or I could find you a great powwow to visit in Oklahoma City (or elsewhere). There are lots of good hiking opportunities, too, as there are many different terrains to enjoy. (I should obviously get paid by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.) When I was in high school, I won a scholarship through a series of exams about Oklahoma history…so I know some good back stories for you, too. Maybe I should just lead a tour. (I could also be a fairly good guide on a tour of DC’s Mall.)
  3. How to think critically about sports – I have a graduate degree in sports sociology, and—when I was in grad school—I taught a senior-level course populated mostly by P.E. majors. Really. So I have actual experience getting sports fans to think about issues such as race, class, geopolitics, etc. It won’t take any of the joy out of being a sports fan, I swear. It’ll just make you a smarter sports fan.





Question of the Day: My Current Top 10

14 06 2007

What are your top 10 most-played songs currently?

It’s hard to say what my current top 10 is….  Current since when?  But according to iTunes, these are the 10 songs I’ve listened to most—since I got an iPod back in September 2004:

1.) “Best I Ever Had,” by Gary Allan (from Tough All Over) (up one spot since I last, um, reported on this, back in September 2006);
2.) “Insensitive,” by Jann Arden (from Living Under June) (down one);
3.) “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” by Lucinda Williams (from Sweet Old World);
4.) “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” by Sheryl Crow (from The Very Best of Sheryl Crow) (and I don’t even particularly like this song!);
5.) “Headed for a Fall,” by Jimmie Dale Gilmore (from Braver Newer World) (up one);
6.) “Broken Arrow,” by Rod Stewart (from Encore: The Very Best of Rod Stewart, Vol. 2) (up one);
7.) “Coffee, Coffee, Coffee,” by Freedy Johnston (from Real: The Tom T. Hall Project) (up six!);
8.) “Let’s Stay Together,” by Al Green (from Let’s Stay Together) (up two);
9.) “What Kind of Fool,” by Gary Allan (from Tough All Over) (also up six); and
10.) “Give Me One Reason,” by Tracy Chapman (from New Beginning) (down five).

What dropped out of the top 10 since September 2006?  “Letter from an Occupant,” by the New Pornographers (from Mass Romantic); and Jasper Steverlinck’s cover of “Insensitive” (from Songs of Innocence).





Question of the Day: I Scream

2 06 2007

Braum’s Ice Cream
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

I’ve mentioned it before, but Braum’s peppermint ice cream, which I grew up loving, is probably my favorite ice cream. You can’t get Braum’s ice cream much beyond Oklahoma, though, so I have to make due with sloppy seconds. Right now, I’d say my favorite flavor was a Ben & Jerry’s flavor—probably Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, or Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch, or maybe just “plain” Coffee (see a pattern?).

I actually don’t each that much ice cream. I like for my jeans to fit, and eating ice cream is the quickest route to a new waist size…. So when I’m looking for some cold sweetness, I often opt for sorbet, water ice, or a lime popsicle (actually, a “frozen fruit bar“). Since it’s already hitting 90° nearly every day, I’m looking for some cold sweetness a lot—especially after the long, hot walk home from the train station after work.





Question of the Day: Should’ve Seen Them Live

20 05 2007

Talking Heads Flatt & Scruggs Jimmie Rodgers Hank Williams
Which band or artist which is no longer performing or alive would you have loved to have seen?

Submitted by Rev Stan.

Talking Heads: Yes, I could see David Byrne sometime, but it wouldn’t be the same as seeing the Heads—my favorite rock band ever. If I could go back in time, I’d have to see them at CBGB’s, right?

Flatt & Scruggs: Yes, I could still see Earl Scruggs, and I really should (sometime very soon), but I really wish I could’ve seen the preeminent bluegrass act of all time (sorry, Bill Monroe fans).

Jimmie Rodgers: Um, no. No, there’s no way I could’ve seen Jimmie Rodgers, the father of country music. But wouldn’t that have been great?

Hank Williams, Sr.: When CMT named the 40 greatest men of country music, Hank Williams was somehow only No. 2. I mean no disrespect to Johnny Cash, but that’s just nuts. Hank left a mark on country music like no one else. I wish I could’ve seen him.

Who else? I feel like I should pick someone like Mozart, but I’m not at all sure I want to go back that far in time. I like microwave ovens and modern refrigeration and antibiotics….





Question of the Day: My Life In Technicolor

1 05 2007

Exercise
If you could pick a cartoon world to live in, which would it be? Why?

Submitted by Scio, Scio.

When I read this, I immediately thought of The Jetsons. I want my own personal, Mini Cooper-sized spaceship; a robot who does the housework; a food dispenser that’ll immediately prepare anything I can imagine; an elevator tube in my living room; the best puppy in the galaxy; and regular vacations on Venus. That sounds nice, huh?

But now that I think more about it, the world (um, universe?) of The Jetsons—socially, anyway—was stuck in the 1950s. George and Jane had a very traditional marriage, with George going off to work every day while Jane stayed home to manage the house. They had two children, a dog, and a maid. George was a corporate wage-slave. Hmm, I wonder…. Do you think George had a cool gay friend who lived on the same floor of the Skypad Apartments? Was he able to find a date?

So, I just don’t see myself fitting into George Jetson’s world. J, I see, says The Far Side is her world. And I think she’s onto something. I like zany—animals that talk, the off-kilter, the downright surreal. Maybe I ought to pick the world of Bizarro or The Quigmans or F Minus….

I’d still like to have the spaceship, though.