April 23, 2011

Nemo and Bambi's Dad (Updated)

Update:  I got into a fight with my netbook in the middle of composing this post.  The netbook may have won, but it fights dirty with tactics such as publishing posts prematurely and then shutting everything down to run updates.

I killed a deer...probably.

I was driving to work one morning in early April when it happened.  My commute is not like most; instead of four-lane highways, I travel back roads.  Rather than fast food restaurants and shopping malls, I see farms and livestock...and deer.

Since I don't remember too much leading up to the hit, I was probably zoned out a bit in that "I drive this route twice a day" way.  I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and hit the brakes.  I'm so glad I did because this deer was BIG.  Of course, in my mind, he kept seeming bigger and bigger as I related to story, but he was still big.  I knocked his legs out from under him a bit, he fell over onto my hood and then kept running.  Fortunately I had completely stopped by this time because several more deer followed.  No one was behind me, so I just sat there for a moment thinking how glad I was that I had been able to hit the brakes.  If I hadn't, I'm pretty sure I would have had a giant deer through my windshield.

I vaguely recalled seeing pieces flying when I hit him, but I couldn't see any damage from inside the car so I naively thought that perhaps it wasn't so bad.  I started driving again, no issues there.  Then I pulled into a church parking lot a few hundred yards away to check for damage.  The door won't open.  Yep, there's damage.  So I get out on the passenger side and walk around to find:

So, a busted grill and my Nissan emblem popped off.

Close-up of the grill and hood (and fur, ew!).

Broken headlight.

And the bumper that got smashed into the fender that got crammed into the door...

Anyway, I was able to drive the remaining two miles or so to work and then had it towed to a body shop in Knightdale.  I probably could have driven it, but it was 26 miles and I didn't want to press my luck.  State Farm was great and got me hooked up with a great body shop that arranged the tow for me and reserved a car for me which we picked up later that same day.

My little Versa is called Nemo because he has a lucky wiper on the passenger side.  To keep with the theme, I named my "new" car Bruce.

Bruce is a Dodge Charger, which I always thought were kind of cool.  It was fun to have a powerful car for a little bit.  The novelty began to wear off when after a week I still couldn't park the damn thing and I had to drop another $60 on a second tank of gas.

After two weeks and one day one got my Nemo back.  I can once again practically park sideways in a parking space again and still be cool.  I love my car, and the fuzzy doggie paw print steering wheel cover, too!

April 22, 2011

My Latest Food Obsession: The Monte Cristo Sandwich

On my recent trip to Anaheim and Disneyland, I ate some delicious things.  Being in California, I also ate some very fresh and healthy things.  One meal in particular stands out: the famous Monte Cristo sandwich from Cafe Orleans at Disneyland.  While it was definitely not healthy, it was at least wisely paired with fresh fruit as a side; french fries would have been overkill on the fried food front.  As it was, I focused on the meat and cheese containing parts while Mom "I'm just going to have a salad" took care of the corners for me.

The almighty reference, wikipedia, proclaims the version I had to be the traditional version, but with an addition.  That means the sandwich is completely dipped in fluffy, funnel cake-like batter, deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with a berry puree.  The addition was a common one in some areas of turkey to go with the traditional ham and Swiss.  The turkey was probably unnecessary since it was so mild it was essentially unnoticable when compared with all of the other flavors.

I had heard of the Monte Cristo sandwich, but I didn't really know what it was. Furthermore, I realized that I couldn't remember ever having noticed one on a menu around Wake County.  Though, I must admit that I don't usually pay too much attention to the sandwich sections of menus, especially if there is a Reuben listed near the beginning of the list.  I'm a sucker for pretty much anything involving sauerkraut as long as it is not of the Bavarian variety.  See shredded brussels sprouts for my opinion of caraway seeds.

In doing internet research around the Triangle in search of the elusive Monte Cristo, I have learned one thing: beware of imitations.  Yes, I know regional variation allows for the sandwich to just be fried on the outside.  It is even acceptable for the whole thing to just be thrown between a couple slices of French toast.  While both of those do sound tasty and might have pleased me previously, I have had the Cadillac and can now never turn back to tamer versions.

I have been ruined forever for anything but the original.  I have considered the improbability of powdered sugar on a ham and cheese sandwich and found the contrast delicious.  I have delighted in the crisp, fluffy batter encasing soft, fresh bread and its salty, smoky contents.  I have dunked in the berry puree until there was but a sad smear of it left in the cup.

Monte Cristo Sandwich - I will have you again, even if I must resort to cooking you myself!