Author Archive

WPC – Eclipse – Ooh, Shiny Distraction! – Photography

08/21/2017

eclipse, hdr, shiny, distraction, wpc, 2017

eclipse, hdr, shiny, distraction, wpc, 2017

Both from the same image.

Need more shiny distractions, click here.

WPC – Elemental F – Fish, Fowl, Food, Fight – Photography

08/11/2017

wpc, fish, fowl, feed, elemental, water

To see what Holmes thinks, click here.

Casone Toscana IGT – 2010 – Wine Review – Trader Joe’s

08/11/2017

trader joe, casone, toscana, 2010, review, wine, price, IGTAugust 11, 2017
I was especially excited to see this on the TJ selves. It’s a 2010 IGT wine from Tuscany.  It’s not normal to see a 7-year-old wine at TJ, especially at this price.  Just the added storage costs alone is reason to charge more for a wine that’s been around an extra few years.

While the Italian wine classification is not supposed to be a reflection of the quality of the wines, in my experience the better the classification, the better the wine. The IGT classification is a lower classification, more specifically one that is usually broader in scope as to the grapes and methods used to produce the wine.

Now in my limited and personal experience with Tuscan wines, the IGT wines are edgier and less refined than the higher classified (more restrictive) DOC and DOCG wines.  I’m sure there are some exceptions to that experience.  And those exceptions likely command a higher price than the wines I usually review.

My question in picking up this wine is, how does aging affect an IGT red wine?  In theory a red wine improves with age up until a point where too much age negatively affects the wine. Most of us personally know how that too much age thing works with people.  The rest of us will find out.

While I didn’t review this particular wine back when it was 2 or 3 years old, compared to similar IGT wines from the era that I have tried, this is a big step up.  This wine has smoothed over the IGT rough edges leaving a very nice, really smooth, mellow, nothing bad, or even close to bad, fine Tuscan red wine. And an absolute bargain. I hope there’s still some left on the shelf.  Price:  $10.99

Trapped – Series 1 – 2015 – TV Series Review

08/11/2017

review, Trapped, tv series, murder, crime, police. Iceland

August 11, 2017

A torso stabbed 7 times, a ferry from Denmark and a fierce blizzard arrive at the same time in a small Icelandic harbor village.  The story that unfolds over 10 episodes is mesmerizing.  If you’ve never binge watched a series, this could be your first.  Oh, and if you’re ever stuck at home by bad weather feeling sorry for yourself, take a look at the weather in this village.

This is a story and substories that slowly unfold in front of us, all nicely tied together at the very end.  Along the way are unanswered questions and clues, but never enough to predict how everything will end.  All the action takes place in an unlikely sleepy fishing village where everyone knows everyone, but hidden secrets lurk beneath the surface.  Some of the secrets are personal, but some are larger crimes such as fraud, human trafficking and murder.

Left to untangle this tightly wound web is an unlikely 3 person police force led by a police chief from the big city.  That in itself is one of the substories. How does a big city detective end up in a small village?  Isolated from outside police help by the blizzard, these 3 people learn to overcome their weaknesses and human frailties to solve the current puzzles as well as another puzzle from 7 years earlier.

Speaking of human frailties, there’s enough of these to go around in this small village.  Most of them are the result of broken relationships and unlikely people sleeping with each other for unlikely reasons, even in somewhat unlikely ways.  All of these treated with the utmost discretion (considering) with only fleeting and mild nudity.

If you liked the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy (Millennium series), this is of similar style.  I don’t know what it is about Norsemen and Norsewomen, but they seem to know how to tell a good story and program computers (no computer programming in this story).  Maybe it’s the long winters?

The entire Trapped Series 1 is now showing free for Amazon Prime members.  Individual episodes are also currently running on the cable channel Viceland (check your local schedules).  The series runs with English subtitles in the US.

Trader Joe’s – Asparagus Risotto – Food Review

08/11/2017

trader joes, asparagus risotto, italy, frozen entree, review, price, calories, nutritionAugust 11, 2017

On first opening the package you’ll notice two strange things, broken up sheets of frozen sauce and plain white rice.  More about these later.

When prepared according to the package directions, this risotto obtains a nice light yellow/green color from the  creamy sauce. The sauce has a wonderful flavor and texture. The rice has a nice bite to it.  It’s not overcooked.  A fair amount of thin green asparagus is distributed throughout in the form of inch long pieces.  These pieces also lend a touch of green asparagus flavor to the sauce.

Obviously this was not prepared in the traditional manner. The rice is parcooked separately from the other ingredients. The sauce also appears to have been cooked separately, flash frozen in thin sheets and then broken up in pieces. The asparagus also is likely cooked or partially cooked separately. All three components, we could guess, are then combined in a frozen state in the bag and shipped off.

trader joes, asparagus risotto, italy, frozen entree, review, price, calories, nutritionThe package will make enough for two (maybe three) portions as a side dish.  In this case, I ate the whole package as a main dish, thoroughly enjoying it all.

There may not be an army of nonnas standing over stoves, constantly stirring in broth to Arborio rice until the moment of perfection, making risotto in the traditional way. However what comes out of this package is almost as good. And by definition, it can never be as good as Nonna’s. Know what I mean?

Price $2.99

Calories  160 per serving (3 servings per package)

WPC – Architexture – Photography

08/06/2017

textural, wpc, monochrome, geodesic dome

For more textures,  click here.

Trader Joe’s – Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina – Food Review

08/06/2017

trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, gnocchi alla sorrentinaAug 6, 2017
This is pretty good stuff, but you might not think so as it cooks.

Straight from the freezer this is a mixture of the frozen gnocchi (small flour dumplings) and frozen flying-saucer-shaped chunks of sauce. Heating in the microwave is a two stage process. After heating for 4 minutes, the mixture needs a good stir.  At this point you’ll wonder, what have I done wrong, as the sauce and gnocchi appear very watery. After stirring, put it back in the microwave for another 3 minutes and the magic happens.  The second heating totally changes the appearance, by thickening up everything into a coherent whole.  Pan heating instructions are also provided.

Throughout the cooking process the gnocchi retain their consistency.  After heating they have a nice chewy texture in the mouth.  The sauce thickens nicely thanks to the cheese in the sauce (that’s the magic).  This allows the sauce to coat and cling to the gnocchi.  The combination of the complex, but not over the top, sauce and chewy gnocchi works extremely well.  A sprinkle of parmesan is always useful, but really not needed.

trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, gnocchi alla sorrentinaFor us, the package yielded two modest servings working out to around 300 calories each.  The package claims three servings.  Even though our portions were only 300 calories, the gnocchi were very filling – and tasty.

Price $2.99     Calories  200 per serving (3 servings per carton)

Click on images to enlarge

Trader Joe’s – Chicken & Vegetable Wonton Soup – Food Review

08/06/2017

trader joe, wonton soup, price, calories, nutrition, review, chicken, vegetableAug 6, 2017

With cold, or at least cool, weather just around the corner, soup is in season.  This is a surprisingly good soup for those kinds of days, or really any kind of day.

The broth for this soup is very nice. There’s a slight sweetness to the broth, but also a bit of rebellion from green onions. As you work your way to the bottom of the bowl, where the white and black pepper settle out, the broth becomes more adventuresome. The broth has a medium consistency.

The wontons (dumplings) in the soup contain a chicken-based filling. While not as flavorful as the broth, the wonton filling is still good with noticeable vegetables interspersed throughout.  If you can manage to cut a wonton in half, letting some broth seep in, the filling is even better. The package contains a caution to, cook thoroughly. If I had to guess, the soup is not precooked. It took the full five minutes in the microwave to reach the required 165 degrees.

(more…)

WPC – Satisfaction – Flowers Within – Photography

08/03/2017

rose, knockout rose, pink, petals, detail, soft

If this doesn’t bring satisfaction, click here.

Trader Joe’s Popcorn Chips – Food Review

08/03/2017
trader joe's, snack, popcorn chips, review, price, nutrition, caloriesHonestly, I picked these up just to see what they were.  Popcorn chips, how could that be?  That’s making a snack food out of a snack food.  It ain’t right.

If you’ve ever had mini rice cakes, these are very close to that experience.  The “chips” are airy in texture and dry in the mouth.  There’s just a hint of salt and sweet for flavor.  Aside from that, there’s not much to these – except some calories.  And as much as these are unexceptional, the whole bag disappeared within a couple of hours.  That’s what a snack food is.

trader joe's, snack, popcorn chips, review, price, nutrition, caloriesPrice $1.99 (4.5 ounce bag)

Calories 110 per ounce (28g, about 17 chips)


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