I'm not even going to pretend that I had time to post in the past few weeks. So instead of back dating posts and trying to remember what happened at every point since February, I'm just going to start recapping with pictures interspersed wherever applicable. So here we go!
Kitchen Day 3: Cheesecake, Creme Caramel, & Creme Brulee
I have no idea how to make French accents in blogger, so I'm just going to pretend that all of these French words are spelled/accented correctly.
Kitchen Day 3 was the last day I would be in class before I left for Seattle to visit my brother and go to the Olympics in Vancouver. Since our flight was leaving at around 2 p.m., I was only able to stay for the first few hours of class. Brooke and I put together our cheesecakes and creme caramel, and then I had to get going. Sadly, I missed creme brulee and still haven't had the chance to try it on my own, but I'm pretty sure that as long as I can make custard (which I've got down pretty well at this point) then creme brulee wouldn't be too much of a stretch.
Chef Katie was nice enough to bake off my cheesecake for me and use it to demonstrate un-molding during the next class and put it in the freezer for me so I could pick it up when I got back from my trip. I ended up giving the cheesecake to my friend Casey and her family who raved about it and said it was the best cheesecake they've ever eaten. I will have to make sure to try a piece next time I make one that comes out that good.
Creme caramel a.k.a. flan, was also pretty simple. We made caramel first, just heated water and sugar until it browned to a nice caramel color. Then we poured the caramel into small individual ramekins and let it harden, then poured the custard on top. I had to leave before they were baked, so I'm not sure how it came out, but it looked pretty f*ing delicious to me, so there you go.
Trip to Seattle and Vancouver
On 2/24 we flew to Seattle from JFK. The flight was pretty uneventful considering I can't remember what happened. The woman who had the seat next to Elise was nice enough to switch with me, so I got to sit with her and Jason, so that was nice. It's always better to be able to touch the person next to you without feeling weird about it. I listened to the Twilight books on tape for the majority of the trip. As embarrassing as it is, I decided to read the books after seeing the first Twilight movie. I'm not going to say that I am now a Twilight freakazoid and don't ask me what fucking team I'm on, I so don't care, but I liked the movie enough to be curious about the books. After hearing from Casey and Elise about how utterly ridiculous the story line was, I decided to see for myself. I'm never going to say that I enjoyed them 1/4 as much as the Harry Potter series. I am a true HP fiend at heart, and I am not one bit ashamed to admit it. However, being apart from the fiance for so long makes me really into love stories and happy endings. I was particularly interested in the Twilight movie because of the whole, "I can't kiss you even though I'd kill my rabbi with a pork chop to stick it in you right about now" mentality. The anticipation was very sexy to me and I got interested real fast.
Anyhoo, Dan picked us up from the airport and we hit the Seattle Ikea because Elise wanted to show Jason some of the furniture that she has so expertly picked out for his apartment that she doesn't live in yet. I wandered around and scoped out a few things that the fiance and I will be needing for the new condo, if and when we actually get our hands on it. I sat on a few of the couches and looked for some china cabinets that might be useful to us in the new place. Afterward we went to meet Dan's friend Christina for fo. I had never eaten fo before, and I will definitely try any food once, but it was not my favorite. Dan and Elise were really into it though so I just ate my meat and bean sprouts quietly until it was time to go.
We packed up our things for the Vancouver trip and then went to bed. We left for the Olympics in the morning after triple checking that everyone had their passports.
Apparently Dan had read the Twilight books as well and asked me to put on the audio book where I had left off over the car stereo. Let me tell you, my 27 year old brother Dan gives an amazing commentary to teenybopper drama novels. We had a great time laughing at him making inappropriate hand gestures and comments along with the audio for most of the trip.
We passed through the border to Canada with no incident, switched the GPS to kilometers so we wouldn't accidentally speed through Canada and break Dad's one and only rule for our trip, "no international incidents". We drove through the Olympic traffic of downtown Vancouver, parked the car and went to the will call office to grab our tickets for the Women's Gold Medalist Curling event we were to see the next day. Then we went for a walk to find the Olympic Superstore (touristy souvenirs) which was incredibly well hidden and once we finally found it after making several laps around the mall had a 3 block long line, and we decided to skip it, get back to the car and go to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park is a beautiful 1,000 acre park whose main attraction is little area with a totem pole exhibit. We checked the poles out for a while and then did some serious damage at the gift shop. They were carrying a lot of Olympic merchandise and since we didn't end up getting anything downtown, we bought all sorts of crap. The saleswomen were really nice and helped us pick things out for about an hour or so. We had a lot of gifts to buy for everyone back home.
After that we made another little trek to the Cappilano Suspension Bridge Park that I had been wanting to visit ever since I saw the pictures of Mom and Dad there with Dan a few years ago. It was beautiful and really cool. Here are some of the better pictures.
After this we drove about an hour to our hotel, picked up dinner and hit up a liquor store, and then settled into bed while watching Olympic Women's figure skating. You've got to love Canada, they took American cash for everything and had two liters of delicious hard cider in multiple flavors. Why isn't America so accommodating?
Let's face it. Jason snores like a beast. My Dad is a terrible snorer, one you can hear from the opposite side/floor of the house, but Jason blows him out of the water. This is why Elise warned us, and equipped us all with ear plugs. I fell asleep fine and it didn't really bother me. Dan however, couldn't sleep at all, and unbeknown to us spent half the night screaming at Jason, throwing pillows at his face, and kicking him to make him shut up. At some point in there I did hear Dan say that he had had enough and was going to sleep in the bathtub, but I wasn't quite coherent. Apparently Dan slept in the bathtub for a few hours until he accidentally turned the water on himself. Add that to the fact that Dan is in incredible pain and needs surgery on his shoulder, and he was just about ready to kill Jason the next morning. We hit up a Denny's for breakfast and drove to the Olympics.
We spent a good 40 minutes looking for a spot in the parking structure of one of the local train stations. Finally we were able to stalk a nice Canadian man to his car, and Elise got out of the car, followed him to his spot and stood in it while he left. Everyone was jealous, but we had already claimed him. We got on a train for free with our curling tickets and traveled a few stops and then took a shuttle to the arena where the event was being held. It was raining at this point and we waited in line for security for about 15 minutes. After being very mildly molested by the security guards we made our way inside the arena and promptly got some Molson's at the concession stand.
We got to our seats with about an hour left until the event was scheduled to start, so we just got situated, people watched, and watched the staff prep the ice and the curling stones for the match.
Let me just say that everyone we came across in Canada was incredibly nice, polite, considerate, and helpful. 95% of the people in the arena were Canadian, and there was a lot of national pride going on since their team was in the gold medalist match. As far as I saw, we were the only Americans in the bunch. The people around us were so nice and explained the entire game to us as it happened. We were curling novices compared to the rest of the people at the match and they were more than willing to fill us in on the rules and what kind of strategy they thought the teams were going to use and why. It really enhanced the experience for us, and gave me a great appreciation for curling, way more than I would have had, had the Canadians not walked us through it.
We rooted for the home team, cheered, rang our cowbell, and chatted with everyone around us. It was a really good time and I would absolutely do it again. The Canadians ended up losing to the Swedish, but Silver is still pretty awesome and we continued to show pride for our seriously terrible countrywomen who placed 10th out of the top 10. Yeah that's right, U-S-A! It was pretty dark by the time we got out of the arena and we decided to walk back to the train station this time. We made it back to the car and drove the 2 hours back to Dan's place then promptly passed out.
Things I noticed while in Canada:
1. Everyone is super polite. One Canadian fan was heckling the Swedish skip, yelling and making a scene. Someone a few rows ahead of us stood up and simply called, "Excuse me, do you think you could be quiet? Thank you." Dan and I were laughing so hard at this. If we were in America, someone would have cursed him out and decked him by now.
2. The Canadians did a great job of running the events. There were volunteers everywhere directing traffic, everyone was friendly and helpful, pointing you in the right direction and answering questions. Their crowd control was great, and there were even people sitting on ladders with megaphones giving people directions and also giving the scores and outcomes of other events that were happening at the time.
3. Canada seems to be entirely on the honor system. No one checked tickets at the train station, there were cops everywhere and no one even asked. And yet, Canadians were lined up at the ticket machines buying them anyway.
4. When we went to go to the bathroom, Elise and I pushed open the normal door with the ladies room sign and suddenly found ourselves in a tent that was outside the actual arena completely filled with upwards of 50 porta potties. Totally not what we were expecting, but hilarious nonetheless.
5. Everyone was so friendly. I had conversations with the people on all sides of us in the stands, and everyone was nicely chatting it up on the lines for the bathroom and drinks. Asking where we were from, about RPI, how we got into curling, why we traveled to Canada, how the drive was, etc.
6. Even though you would expect mounted police officers to be, you know, mounted. There were mounties all over the place but none of them were actually on horses.
7. You can set off fireworks in the bedroom, and Jason still isn't going to stop snoring or wake up in the slightest.
8. The accents are adorable. They do say aboot, and other things like that, but mostly they sound like they're from Minnesota or something. And they don't curse. I felt like a drunken sailor on leave the whole time we were there and was constantly trying to hold my tongue.
I'll get through the rest of the Ketchup post tomorrow, it's almost 1 a.m. and I have class tomorrow. Until next time,