Arch

Arch

I had a half day off today, starting at noon, so I took a little ride out to the airport in the middle of the day, just for funsies. Just kidding, the airport is never fun… although it wasn’t bad today.

I was there to have my interview for TSA Global Entry, and I actually had a really great experience. I showed up early, followed the signs, and was welcomed into an office by a friendly TSA agent. We went through all the documentation, he explained the program to me, took my picture and my fingerprints, and I was accepted on the spot. I’m officially not a terrorist. πŸ˜‰

On my way out, I saw this statue, which originally I thought was some sort of Transformer. I didn’t get to read much about it (I had plans after the interview), but it is sort of like a Transformer, made out of Pittsburgh bridges. It’s (His?) name is “Arch.” I thought that was pretty darn cool, and I kind of love it.

Yay, Pittsburgh, for giving me warm fuzzies. πŸ™‚

 

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Californian Mules

Guess who found a way to make orientations fun by way of a purchase from California? This girl!

(We need canned Moscow mules here in PA; this was delicious!)

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Cider Brunch Work Sandwich

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I had the great fortune to be invited to Threadbare Cider’s blogger brunch this morning, and it was the perfect “filling” to the work “sandwich” I experienced this weekend. I worked late last night and tonight we had the largest and craziest event I’ve ever seen, so a cider brunch in the middle of it all was a fantastic idea.

Threadbare is owned by the same folks as Wigle Whiskey, and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve loved me some Wigle over the years. The name comes from a story about Johnny Appleseed, and you should absolutely stop by and take a tour to get the full effect, but let’s just say I was surprised there was a Pittsburgh connection to the story and now the name and business make total sense. However, the team at Threadbare can tell the story way better than I can remember it, so go see them. They’re good people.

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Upon entering Threadbare, I was presented with my choice of cocktails. I chose a bloody mary, mostly because I was curious to experience a cider-based bloody. I was apprehensive at first – in my head, tomato juice, clam juice, and cider absolutely do not go together – but no kidding, it was amazing. I was glad I tried it, and I sucked it right down. While I waited for the other bloggers to arrive, I looked around a bit. The space itself is rather unique, and very modern. We were treated to a video of the construction while we were there, and I didn’t realize just how much work had been done on the place – it looked pretty intense. But it looks great now – lots of stainless steel and wood and some really neat wallpaper that looks like it was painted.

We got a tour of the place before we sat down to eat, and on the tour we got to sample the ciders that Threadbare has been producing. I *think* the first one we tried was their Dry cider, which almost had a white wine type of quality to it. I imagine it would be great in cocktails; it was rather unobtrusive. After the Dry cider, we tried the Farmhouse cider (I may have the two confused; it was hours ago, but it feels like days ago after the night of bartending). The Farmhouse cider was still very dry – I believe Meredith, one of the owners and also one of our tour guides, said that their sweeter cider still only has about 1/6 of the sugar of the lowest-sugar mass-produced cider on the market. That was nice to hear, because one of the reasons Angry Orchard and the rest of the mass-market ciders kind of wear on me is because they’re too sweet. I get the feeling I could drink this stuff throughout the course of the day and not get sick of it. We got to see the cool laboratory area before we moved on to the last cider, which we found in the room where all the cider was “cooking.” The last cider was their Wild cider and it was my absolute favorite by far. It’s unfiltered, so it looked kind of murky, and it tasted completely different from the other two ciders. It was slightly sweeter, in my opinion, and tasted… funkier… but in a really good way. One of the other bloggers went back for seconds (and then thirds) of this one, and I was so tempted to snag the last one, but I had to be semi-coherent for work in the afternoon so I didn’t. Unfortunately for me, the Wild cider isn’t sold in bottles (yet), so I guess I’ll have to be back. πŸ˜‰

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We eventually made our way back upstairs to the dining room area, where we were presented with some appetizers. We started off with the cheese board (called “The Curd” on the menu) and the pickled vegetables (“The Brine”). The cheese was delicious (because cheese, duh), but I was most impressed by the pickled cauliflower (soooooo good) and the crackers, ironically. I hope I’m not misstating this (again, long day), but the crackers are made from the leftover grains from making the Wigle spirits. They’re salty, but not too salty, and they have a very unique taste to them. As someone remarked while we were eating, Wigle should package the crackers and sell them; they were that good. We also got to try a Dutch Baby Pancake, which was a first for me. It’s listed as a brunch special on the menu, and it was topped with lemon, whipped cream, and nutmeg. It was different, but it wasn’t my absolute favorite thing on the menu. That honor is reserved for…

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Pizza! Three different types of traditional pizzas were brought out for our table, along with two gluten-free polenta pizzas. The first one I tried (upper left) was the Threadbare Hash, which had potatoes, peppers, onions, mozzarella, sausage, and scrambled egg on it. The second (upper right) was the Cabbage pizza, which was topped with scrambled egg, shiitake aioli, and katsuobushi (dried tuna flakes). The Cabbage pizza looked really cool when it came out – the heat from the pizza caused the katsuobushi to “wave” (check it out, it’s a real thing!), which in turn caused all the bloggers (including me) to create Boomerang videos of it. I’m not smart enough to figure out how to make my blog pictures move, so just trust me – it looked cool. The polenta pizzas were okay, but they’re not really my thing. The polenta was a little too thick for my taste (instead of a crispy pizza crust, it made for a thick chewy crust), but the flavor was good. If I had to avoid gluten, I’d appreciate the alternative. My favorite of the pizzas, though, was by far the Kale pizza. I know. I KNOW. But let me tell you, this was unlike any pizza I’ve ever had. The kale was crispy on top, the egg was sunny side up (which normally I don’t like, but it worked on this!), and there was tomato sauce and mozzarella, but the best part was the cumin oil. The cumin oil imparted a light spiciness to the pizza that I wasn’t expecting and it tasted amazing – it was just the right amount to make me wonder what I was tasting without hitting me over the head with it. I kind of wish I’d doubled up on the kale, because it made me a happy kid.

I had to leave for work after the pizza was served, and I left with a very full, happy belly. All of the food was tasty, and the cocktails were delicious. Add onto that the beautiful new space, the friendly staff, the reasonable prices, and the fact that you’re supporting a family-owned and operated local business, and there are lots of reasons why you should check out Threadbare Cider for brunch. Hopefully I’ll get back there soon, and with any luck I won’t have to leave early to go to work! πŸ™‚

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Closed For The Season

Closed For The Season

When I got to work this afternoon, I was greeted with one of the best sights imaginable – no furniture in the courtyard. That means that our season of hauling out a second bar for cocktail hour is over, which means much less work for us. Sure, the courtyard is beautiful, but personally, I like it a lot more when it’s closed. πŸ˜›

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Five Things Friday: 11/17/17 Edition

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Hello there, friends! Happy Friday!

I’m so darn thrilled that the past two weeks of insanity are nearing an end – I still have plenty of things going on, but the really crazy parts are over… thank goodness. Plus, it’s almost time for turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and PIE, so I’m almost a happy kid again. πŸ™‚

  1. Currently Reading: Unfortunately, I didn’t have any time this past week to continue reading Go Set a Watchman, and in the meantime, my library loan expired. But on the plus side, I flipped through my entire backlog of magazines on the different flights this past week, so I’m caught up on those. At some point I’ll try to renew Go Set a Watchman, but I might just enjoy letting my brain turn to mush for a week or two.
  2. Currently Eating: More leftovers. Today’s lunch was leftover Chinese from last week at work (if it’s cold, it doesn’t go bad, right?) and dinner was leftover disappointing fish & chips from the Minneapolis airport. The weird thing is, though, all I want to eat is raw tuna. What on earth does that mean? Am I deficient in something? It’s just so strange because I normally don’t like it all that much. But these days, man, I can’t get enough. I might have to go find another poke bowl for lunch tomorrow before work!
  3. Currently Watching:Β Fireworks! I had to go to the volunteer chapter after work and I’d forgotten it was Light Up Night downtown. As soon as the person I was with left, I heard loud booms. I looked out the window and then raced up to the roof to catch the fireworks show. If I had to be “working,” at least I got some entertainment out of it.

    Earlier this week, I learned how to sync my Netflix account to the hotel’s TV, so I ended up finishing Schitt’s Creek. Tonight I started watching The Great British Baking Show season 4 on Netflix, so Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are in charge of my entertainment.

  4. Currently Loving: I hosted an orientation for another new volunteer leader this evening, and oddly enough, it was for someone I’d never met before. The volunteer has actually been around for two or three months longer than me, but she only volunteers on Saturdays (and I’m almost always off on Saturdays because of work). It was so nice to meet her and get to know her; she’s delightful and she’s going to be a great leader.

    I’m also loving the fact that I don’t have another business trip planned until at least January. I feel like I’ve been doing more than my fair share of work travel for a shared services resource who’s supposed to be based in the Pittsburgh office (as opposed to onsite consultants, who travel for more than half of the weeks in the year) – I’ve certainly gotten around this year! I wouldn’t turn my nose up at taking a fun trip while I have some vacation time planned, but I also don’t hate the idea of staying put and trying to get some rest.

  5. Currently Anticipating: Thanksgiving! And having some days off!

    I have to work two days this weekend, so I’m not super-pumped about that (I just want to sleeeeeeep), but then my schedule lightens up a bit. I have a blogger brunch on Sunday (right before work, which should make for an interesting afternoon/evening), then I work Monday, I have to host another new volunteer orientation Monday night, I work half of the day on Tuesday, and then I’m OFF. Well, off from work, anyway. Tuesday afternoon I have to go to the airport for a global entry interview and then I’m really free.

    I’m taking the rest of the day on Tuesday and all day Wednesday to catch up on sleep and laundry, and then Thursday is turkey day with the pupperonis! I do love me some turkey and puppies. We never really plan much in terms of Black Friday events, but I imagine I’ll stay the night at my parents’ house until Friday night. Then Saturday it’s back to work again… but at least I have some time to finally try to decompress from all of the stress I’ve been dealing with lately. Hallelujah.

That’s it for this week, folks! Happy weekend!

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Slow Poke

Slow Poke

It took many, many hours of travel, but I’m now firmly back home in my house.

Yesterday never really ended for me – after I posted last night, I packed my bags and got a shower, but then I had a bit of an anxiety attack that kept me up all night and before I knew it, it was 3:53am and my alarm was going off. I got up, threw my stuff in my car, and drove 40 minutes in the pouring down rain to get to the airport. I thought I’d have a ton of time – who on earth is at the airport before 5am?! – but I was wrong. When I arrived, I laughed at the ridiculously long security line… and then I shut up real quick when I realized I was only seeing the first third of the line. Apparently in Sacramento, they split the security line up into multiple chunks, so you end up waiting over an hour but it doesn’t look like you’ll be waiting that long. So awesome… not.

Anyway, I made it to my gate just as they were getting ready to close the doors. The important thing here is that I made it.

At some point while I was disembarking from the plane, I tore a hole in my favorite jeans, right in the inner thigh… so that was a bummer. And then I wandered around the Minneapolis airport for over an hour trying to find halfway decent food and was sorely disappointed, only to discover I had more time than expected because my flight was delayed. Funny how I can go for years without flight problems and suddenly every trip I take is riddled with delays and other issues.

Eventually I made it to Pittsburgh and I was starving. I’ve been craving raw tuna for days, which is really strange since I don’t really like raw tuna all that much. I did some internet searches and didn’t really come up with any options that sounded good near the airport, so I drove to the Market District at Settler’s Ridge to see what they had and to wait out some of the rush hour / Steelers game traffic. Imagine my delight when I discovered they now offer made-to-order poke bowls! This was exactly what I was craving and finding it really turned my day around. I got the tuna option with brown rice, avocado, cucumber, cabbage, onion, sesame seeds, and the spicy poke sauce and took it home with me so I could eat it while watching Netflix. It totally hit the spot, and I’m so happy I decided to stop and see what MD had – I figured I could at least find sushi there if nothing else, but I got exactly what I wanted and I was very happily surprised.

I was supposed to attend the Board of Directors reception for volunteers this evening, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go. I would’ve had to deal with traffic (ew), and also the anxiety attacks lately aren’t just because of work… there’s other stuff that contributes to them. I appreciated getting texts from several people asking where I was, but I wouldn’t have been much fun tonight. Instead, I enjoyed my poke on the couch and I’m planning to get a bath and head to bed early since I didn’t really sleep last night at all. Self-preservation, meet self-care. πŸ™‚

Tomorrow’s already fully booked up during work hours and after work, so there’s very little rest for the weary. Best get to it!

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