“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
-Robert A. Heinlein
Guess it’s time to start planning my invasion.
The Nob Hill Holiday Shop & Stroll - one of my favorite nights of the year in Albuquerque.
Central Ave., the old Rt. 66, turns into a boulevard perfect for an evening ramble with friends and family as it will be once again closed to cars and opened to pedestrian traffic from Girard to Washington. Along the way you’ll encounter street performers, carolers, plenty of Santas, pet adoptions (?), live music and more.
There really is no better way to celebrate a random Thursday in December then celebrate your city. 2011 marks the 16th year of the Shop & Stroll, put on by Nob Hill Main Street.
And this is an excellent opportunity to remind you of my favorite current topic – shopping locally. Some of the best local stores in town are in Nob Hill. And if the stores are too crowded (the popular ones sometimes are) do some window shopping, get a snack and return this weekend to buy.
See you at the Shop & Stroll. I expect you to show off your best mosey.
Poster by Nob Hill Main Street. For more information on the Shop & Stroll, you can check out the NHMS Facebook page.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lawn care accounts for a national average of 50 percent of all household water use annually. Ouch.
In this Albuquerque Journal story by John Fleck, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority is working to reduce high-water use household and some commercial lawns by is increasing the rebate for lawn removal and installation of xeric landscaping.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2012 the rebate for replacing water-hogging grass with less-thirsty xeriscape will increase from $.75/sq. ft. to $1.00/sq.ft. Of course, some limitations apply, so here are all the details. This link has the old $.75 rebate, I assume it will change to $1.00 after Jan. 1.
The City of Albuquerque also others other outdoor water-saving rebates including money off the cost of multi-setting sprinkler controllers, grass removal equipment rental, rainwater harvesting rebates and more.
Can’t think of a better resolution for 2012 than to go xeric.
On another nerdy topic, can we talk about how the name “Water Authority” always makes me think of the water-controlling e-Protectorate in that 80s classic Solarbabies?
The City of Albuquerque is once again covering the city’s parking meters at city business hubs to encourage local shopping. From November 25th through December 27th at meters in Downtown, Nob Hill and Old Town, shoppers can park for free for two hours. Here are the specific free-meter locations:
Downtown – Central and Gold between First and Seventh
Nob Hill – Central from Carlisle to Girard
Old Town – Parking Lot on Rio Grande and Central
Here’s hoping you locally shop your pants off.
During college the night before Thanksgiving was the BEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR to go out and catch up with friends that had moved away. On that special Wednesday in late November, an outing to Anodyne would bring you face-to-face with high school friends, college friends and everyone in-between.
Having always stayed in Albuquerque, I’m not sure how the conversation went on the Wednesday night for friends that had ventured home for Thanksgiving, but I always imagined it went something like this:
Friend: “Hello Family.”
Family: “Welcome home son or daughter, want to play some Boggle?”
<Boggle-playing ensues for a few hours>
Friend: “So, errr, I’m going to go see if I can catch up with a few friends.”
Family: “Don’t stay up too late.”
Friend: “Of COURSE NOT.”
Friend <now at Anodyne>: WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!
So now the question is, with college far behind, is Thanksgiving Eve still old home week in Albuquerque?
An experiment may be in order …
As I cooked up Brussels sprouts this evening, I thought about how disappointed the eight-year-old version of myself would be that I was making such a dreaded food. And not only that, but I was planning on eating them. Yuck. But eight-year-old Alexis never had them with butter. Because butter makes everything better.
Thanks to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for this deliciousness.
Spicy Buttered Brussels Sprouts
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 lbs. Brussels sprouts – ends removed, chopped in half
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (reduce this if you’re not the spicy type)
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan (Brussels sprouts take up a lot of room).
Sauté garlic until fragrant.
Place Brussels sprouts into pan on med-high heat and brown thoroughly. (I do mean thoroughly. It’s all about the the Maillard reaction).
Once Brussels sprouts are brown, even blackened in places (15-20 minutes), mix in the red pepper flakes lemon juice. Use your discretion on the amounts of two ingredients. Don’t overdo it too much on the lemon juice or you’ll have soggy sprouts. Eat a sprout to test and make sure they have a fairly crunch consistency. If not, cook for a bit longer.
Finally, throw the butter the pan and and mix with the sprouts until just combined.
Season with some salt and pepper and serve.
Filed under Food, Recipes
If you’re looking for some local holiday shopping possibilities, Etsy is a way to buy local and support local artisans. Check out this link for local Albuquerque Etsy finds.
Because who doesn’t like a sock puppet kissing block for Christmas?
Image from Albuquerque artist Rebekah Potter’s Etsy site
And who doesn’t need dangly earrings?
Image from from Albuquerque Etsy shop Blue Quail Crafts. In the interests of full disclosure, Blue Quail is my friend Kate, which doesn’t make her jewelry any less awesome.
Here’s Kate’s blog post on New Mexican Etsy artists.
Horrifying at it seems, the holiday buying season is right around the corner. Or, if you set your shopping clock by Starbucks’ ubiquitous red seasonal coffee cups, it’s already here. Remember, even if you choose to shop at a chain or big box store, those stores are contributing to the local economy in terms of wages, benefits and taxes. However, if you shop online at a store without a bricks-and-mortar presence in Albuquerque, the city stands to lose out completely, including sales taxes (we call them gross receipts taxes here). Incidentally, if gifts aren’t your thing, consider donating to a local charity on behalf of your recipients.
There are ample local shopping opportunities in Albuquerque and below are just a few recommendations. Feel free to place any additional suggestions in the comments, and I’ll create a new post with your suggestions added (and credited).
The A Store (All sorts of cool furniture, decor, kitchen stuff, gifts)
Finally. A Geeks Who Drink victory. After countless Wednesdays and Sundays of pub trivia, the evening’s trophy was ours. The “trophy” was actually a $20 gift certificate to O’Niell’s which is a bit hard to split between six people. But whatever. The prize is irrelevant. Stomping the competition is what REALLY matters.
One team member pulled “Waiting for Godot” out of god knows where. And yours truly knew “Dune” was set on the planet Arrakis. Of course everyone knows that, Duh.
We also killed in in the serif vs. sans serif font round.
And all you other players that night? This is what the Spirit Fingers of Winning look like. Better luck next time. Losers.
One small pumpkin
2-3 cups chicken and/or mushroom broth
2-4 tablespoons red chile or red chile flakes (depending on your spiciness tolerance)
Salt and pepper
Cut small slits in pumpkin and roast at 350 degrees for 1 hour until very tender.
Remove from oven and cool.
Peel pumpkin, cut and remove seeds and pumpkin innards. Save seeds for roasting.
Roughly chop pumpkin and place in slow cooker.
Cook for 2 hours on low.
Use stick blender to blend pumpkin into a purée.
Add 2 cups broth and red chile, continue blending.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to cook for at least two more hours to allow flavors to blend.
Add additional broth as needed to prevent soup from becoming too thick.*
Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.
*Note: If the soup becomes too thick (as it’s hard to judge what “small” pumpkin means), just add more broth, it will be fine. Make sure to add broth in small quantities as a thick soup is better than a thin one.