Peet's Holiday Blend - We've been excited about Peet's Holiday Blend in the past and this year it sounded good, with plent of beans going into the 25th anniversary special. It promises smoothness and we found that - but it might be too smooth, if that makes any sense. It needs a little more flavor to it in my opinion - makes a good coffee for mixing things into it though, like chocolate and caramel.
Spella Caffe - I gave this cart another chance and I just can't get into it. This time I ordered a latte - which had some serious kick to it - but the flavor didn't really grab me. No idea why. I even ordered beans this time too, a Panama single origin bean. To me it's like the Holiday Blend - way too smooth. I want some more flavor.
Caffe D'Arte - This coffee place is on NE 15th between Broadway and Weidler, right by Lloyd Center. We went to one in Seattle on a food tour and the drinks were pretty good, so we decided to check out Portland's. Plus, we had a coupon for a free drink. We tried the caramel sauce latte and the truffle mocha and weren't excited about either one. Both the caramel and chocolate flavors just seemed to be of lower quality - they detracted from the overall flavor of the drink, which you never want. Add this to the fact we got beans in Seattle we didn't really like, and I'm crossing them off the list.
Ponderosa Meats - Everyone loves a good butcher, right? I confess - I used to think it wasn't a big deal to go to a specialty butcher, never really seeing a need. But we get this circular in the mail every week with an ad from Ponderosa Meats and a coupon for a free pound of ground beef when you spend $10, so once a couple years back we actually went. After one trip we were hooked. They have excellent prices on chicken, beef, and everything else. We no longer go out for steak, because we can get better cuts of meat here for a third of the price - and we can grill it ourselves. Their Hoss burgers are fantastic (three kinds of beef ground together) and they just recently added Kobe beef burgers, which we haven't tried yet. They can cut anything you need and also do this thing they call the Baconator. You have to see it - words can't describe it. It's a heart attack special to be sure, but would be a great item for a BBQ party. We will get it, some day. Anyway, great place, friendly service, good prices.
George Morlan Plumbing - Monday I came home from work and noticed there was water all over the garage floor. Upon further inspection it was flowing out of the top of the water heater. Joyous. So I turned the water to it off and then had to figure out who I called. Not just a regular plumber, right? Nope, you go to the self-proclaimed Water Heater King. Of course by the time I called it was end of the day on Monday, so their first opening was Wednesday. Fine, whatever - it's nice to have family close by to borrow a shower in these instances, but not having hot water does suck. Really, there aren't any other words to describe it. Anyway, the guy was supposed to be out between 12 and 4, but finally called at 4:30 saying he was late and would be at our place by 6. At least he called - I've had people just not show up before. He made it at 5:30 and within a few minutes knew it wasn't salvageable. So the next day he came back out with a new water heater, did the install and everything in about an hour and a half, and it all works good now. Jim was very friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and I think I got a decent price. He also repeatedly apologized about being late and about how busy they were (hey, it happens), and thanked me multiple times for being understanding. Apparently some people get angry when it can't be fixed immediately. Sure it was a hassle, but I'm good for 15 years now, I guess.
The Strain - Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan - This book was super creepy. Yep, it's another vampire book, but it's definitely not in the same vein as the Twilight books or Sookie Stackhouse's Southern Vampires (which I'm working on). These vampires are pure evil and they spread like a disease. It's scary (which I usually don't say), graphic, and this first book in the trilogy reads like a movie. Considering del Toro is a director, that probably shouldn't be a surprise. I'm sure it'll be on the big screen...and I can't wait for the second book to come out.
Ochocinco - Chad Ochocinco - I've been a fan of Chad Johnson/Ochocinco since his one season with the Oregon State Beavers in 2000. We have stacks of his rookie cards and he even made us fans of the Cincy Bengals. To me he's always been fun, while a lot of others simply think he's over the top. Sometimes he is, but he sees his job as entertainment, which it is. This book, written from his point of view, gives the reader a fantastic look inside his head, his mindset, and his approach to the game. My favorite part is the mini-essays written by coaches, family, teammates, and other friends (such as Baltimore Ravens stud linebacker Ray Lewis). Given the fact this is Chad's book you might expect them to be all pro-Chad - they aren't. It's all real. People keep looking for more with Chad, but what you see is what you get. It should be enjoyed. Thumbs up on the book - it's a fast, light read, and fun if you like the NFL.
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen - I love Transformers. Loved them as a kid, still love them now. I had lowered expectations for the second movie because the first disappointed me a tad (though not because it wasn't better, but more because of my own initially high hopes), but this one surprised me. The story was better and the Transformers were, well, awesome. Sideswipe...I want that car. Lots of action, very little real violence, fantastic special effects - just don't expect more from it.
The Proposal - This was a light-hearted and amusing flick with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. I admit, I like both of them. Reynolds has cracked me up since Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place was on TV and Bullock ever since after Speed (not including). I'm pretty sure Reynolds doesn't actually act, since every character he plays seems to have the same sense of humor, and it seems to be the same one that comes out in interviews. But you know what? I don't care - his sarcasm cracks me up. Bullock was a little unbelievable as a hardass publishing executive, but still, definitely recommend it.
Then She Found Me - We found this on Netflix that we could watch instantly on our Roku box and thought the casting seemed pretty good. I mean, Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick...it couldn't be bad, right? Whoops, we were wrong. There was a reason we'd never heard of it before. I'm pretty sure Broderick didn't think he was going to get paid for this movie - that's the vibe I got from him. I'd avoid this if I were you.