Rants and Raves

I need to make a list

I was listening to the interview of Dave Chang on Hot Ones the other week and there’s a good question that Sean asks him about supporting restaurants during the pandemic (skip to around 13:09), link below

“What are some tangible things that diners can do to ensure the restaurants that they love stick around?”

from David Chang Sweats Like Crazy While Eating Spicy Wings | Hot Ones

Since I’ve watched this I’ve been trying to think of my rotation list and have drafted some down which I’ll share later.

“Get your spots and support them unconditionally.”

Do you have a list?

Add them in the comments below if so, I’m curious.

Troubled Blood – big and entertaining

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I saw it on a list of the CWA Ian Fleming Award candidates (along with the Robatham author I had read recently…). I went in blind not knowing anything about the characters or even that the author’s name was a pseudonym – although I found that part out pretty quickly after adding it to Goodreads. But I was trying to avoid spoilers so I tried to avoid seeing anything about the story online.

I usually don’t start at #5 of a series of previously established characters- but that didn’t matter here. Good character depth and really well written.

I was a bit impatient in the middle – it’s a long book – but that’s because a lot of mysteries I read are pulp and I was thinking that this case would be solved quickly. I also read this as an e-book that’s why I wasn’t grasping that this would be that a long tale. But it was worth sticking out.


View all my reviews

Article: Changes in Tastings in Wine Country

Wineries will be firmer about appointments. There will be more options, many with food and at different prices. Many or all of the visits will move outdoors. And the average tasting will be long – figure 45 minutes or more. It will also be more intimate, which in most cases will surely be great but also could mean a long, hard sell for the winery’s wine club.

via The Grape Collective and Alder Yarrow’s blog

A Quote from Simon Sinek

This quote resonated with me.

The goal isn’t just to hire people who need a job, it’s to hire people who believe what you believe.

If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.

(from Start with why – link below)

July Book Updates

Book updates since the last book related post in September.

I’m not going to list every singe one that I read, but maybe some that you may find interesting. For the full lists of what I’m reading or going through, you can follow me on Goodreads.

Eat a Peach by David Chang Different from what I thought it’d be, but in a good way. Lots of interesting passages about depression, mental health issues and some behind the scenes history about stories which I thought I knew the whole picture.

Atomic Habits – 5 of 5 Stars -I found this very movitvating, especially during Quarantine

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam M. Grant
Interesting and well-written. I’m not sure I’ll do the follow up exercises to check on my personal and/or work profiles yet, but maybe at some point in the future. Looking forward to reading the author’s other work.

Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village by Jan Jarboe Russell. New perspective and information for me about a chapters in Roosevelt’s life.

Depth Charge – by Jason Heaton – a fun adventure in the spirit of Clive Cussler

Eight Million Ways to Die: A Matthew Scudder Novel. Block really starts painting a clearer picture of Scudder’s addiction.

The Crossing – Harry Bosch #18 from Michael Connelly. I like Bosch ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

American Rule – Jared Yates Sexton – a depressing quick take on America’s uglier side. A quick catchup on how we got to where we are with some “conservative thought”.

A Rage In Harlem – Chester Himes – more noir than I knew existed from an author I should have heard about before.

Morning Pages – Partially Through The Program

I posted on Instagram recently that I had started doing Morning Pages. I was curious if any of my friends had done it too. Thanks for your comments in that post.

Coincidentally- I do think that reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits (or re-reading it recently) was a good motivator to keep me in the Morning Pages “program”. It’s a 12 week committment! I’m at about week 8 or 9 now.

I have gotten in to the daily habit of writing three long hand pages. It’s hard and there are days I don’t want to do it. But it’s oddly addictive and it seems to clear my head out in the mornings.

I’ll write a longer post once I finish. But I’m still interested in your writing habits and practices.

The one thing I do want to add is that I thought I was picky about my pens and paper before, but I’m a million times more attentive to my “gear” now. For example, the journal picture below shows a nice knock-off moleskine type journal that we would give out to guests at our office. But that paper bleeds a bit with certain inks and when you’re trying to write three pages every morning you pick up on it.

Answering Your Questions About That Pizza Oven

I recently posted a video to Instagram of me using an Ooni gas fired pizza oven when we were housesitting. I received a number of questions from you all basically asking the same thing: “Worth it?”

I wanted to give you some feedback and hopefully answer your question.

First I just wanted to say that I think the Ooni oven is a really well made product. It’s light, it’s relatively small (it can fit on a smaller table), it’s easy to hook up and get running and it’s very easy to clean up.

Notably, the interior pizza stone on the inside is removable and can be cleaned off if needed. Most of the time you can just do a “burn off” and flip the stone over to do this process. But you could use a grill brush after a burn off if needed.

That said- here’s my attempt to answer your question- “is it worth it?”

Yes and no.

Do you have outdoor space? Do you like to make multiple pizzas for one meal? Do you have a family and maybe each person wants their own pizza? Do you entertain frequently?
If so, go for it.

Do you live in a small apartment with no outdoor space? Do you really only need to make one pizza to share for dinner?
Then no, skip it. Get a baking steel.

The recommendations as an alternative idea for the “no”.
When my friends bought their ovens (I have multiple friends with the Ooni), I received a birthday present called a Baking Steel. You may have seen them in use on Kenji Lopez-Alt’s videos. The Baking Steel is perfect for making pizzas on indoors in an oven. The version I have is also flippable and can sit on the stove as well. I used mine as a part-time griddle and also as a pizza steel.

It works in any oven, but excels in ovens where the broiler element is up top. Sadly, my broiler is one of those old-school drawer types that sits below the main oven compartment. But it’s still great.

I recommend the Baking Steel for anyone as it has multiple uses. You can even use it to make smash burgers (video below). That said- if I had outdoor space, I’d have an Ooni too.

Let me know if this helps or if you have any other questions.

Here are some pics from the Ooni and my Baking Steel. Some useful videos below as well. Both Andris from BS and Kenji have loads of videos. Kenji has a lot using the Ooni as well as his Steel.

Misc Links

I totally agree with this editorial from Vinograpy:

Bringing a bottle of wine to a restaurant right now says quite clearly, “Drinking what I want to drink from my own stash is more important to me than your survival as a business.”


https://www.vinography.com/2021/04/during-the-pandemic-corkage-is-a-crime

James Hoffman has great videos on Coffee and I’m always watching his. I found these enjoyable last week:

And I love this one- check out the slow-mo of the filter basket flexing at 2:37

Also- I’m not sure why the algorithm started suggested these types of videos to me (I must have been looking up a song) – but I wind up putting on videos like the following on in the background:

I’m not sure why I put some of those on, I don’t like all EDM. I do like that Analog Journal channel on YT though.