February Tasting Notes


VooDoo Doughnuts - Voodoo Doll, Lemon Chiffon creuller: I'd never actually been to a VooDoo Doughnuts before, but I know the one just off Burnside downtown always had a line, so I went to the one just off Sandy on the east side, because I had never seen a line there. Well. Apparently this is an old Taco Time or something and the line squiggles all around the inside. If you look in the picture below, you can see them - the cash register is to the left, out of the picture. I stood in line for about 20 minutes for two doughnuts...both were good, but I think doughnuts just aren't our thing anymore. What I couldn't believe was how many people ordered multiple dozens. Are you kidding me?! Do you know how many calories are in those things?!

Sizzle Pie - Don Caballero slice, Wake and Bake slice: Sizzle Pie opened on East Burnside a couple months ago and every review I've seen goes on and on about how great their variety is and how awesome the pizza is. Those people must be stoned. Our slices were a little burnt; my Wake and Bake slice didn't even have yolk on it (three eggs on the entire pizza, of course I get a slice with no yolk...); and I just wasn't impressed with the sauce or really much else. Can't see myself going back with so many other good pizza options in town.

Pacific Pie Company - sausage roll, Sunday roast lamb pie; beef and pinot pie, chocolate caramel tart, chocolate peanut butter pie: Pacific Pie Company first caught our eye at the Beaverton Farmer's Market a couple years ago, where they sold wonderful single serving Australian pies (check out the menu - beef and stout is fantastic). This was actually my first visit to their store on Ankeny, though they are moving now to a new location (bigger, more seating). I picked up the sausage roll and roast lamb pie for dinner (lamb) and brunch (sausage roll) and both items were very, very good. Then, with Valentine's Day upcoming, they had a special pie - the beef and pinot - along with an array of sweet pies. The sweet pies they didn't always have at the Ankeny location (but believe they will more often or always at the new place). The beef and pinot was so balanced, the wine providing a perfect balance to the beef, mushrooms, and everything else. If they had this on their menu all the time I'd have to buy one every week. The two sweet pies, though, were the real star. To be real honest, these might be two of the best desserts I've had in Portland. The chocolate caramel tart was hard but not too hard to chew, and the chocolate peanut butter pie melted in my mouth with goodness. I can't wait until the new place opens, and I can't recommend Pacific Pie Company highly enough.

Corbett Fish House - walleye fish and chips: I had never had walleye before and this is one of the only places in town to get it, plus they are know for fish and chips so what the heck, right? And they were good - very good. The breading and spices were tasty but not overdone and the fish was cooked perfectly. The fries were fine, nothing special. But would I go back...that's the question. Well, as I said, the food was good. But this dish cost me $16 for three relatively small pieces of fish. Perhaps the fish is expensive, I could buy that if it's true (no idea), but their halibut version is $17.50 - way more than anywhere else for food that is as good and the customer receives more. No complaints on the dish, just on the value provided and the claim it's the best in town. It's good, but the cost probably knocks them out of the running.

Cafe Velo - chocolate chip cookie: Portland Monthly magazine did a piece on Portland's best chocolate chip cookies and Cafe Velo made the cut. They use the famous Jacque Torres recipe, which we have found at home is good, but not as good as this recipe from The New York Times which tweaked it. For the better. Cafe Velo's rendition was not as good as the Torres one we made at home and not nearly as good as the NY Times version. Apparently it's time to open our own bakery.

Also, check out the two restaurants of the month that merited their own reviews: Roost and Little Bird!

Roost: There is a restaurant at the corner of SE 14th and Belmont called Roost. It's not a big place, perhaps seating 40 or so, and the decor is sparse. Not sparse in the sense of poor or underfunded, but sparse in a minimalist sense, all black, white, pine, and stainless steel. Read More!

Little Bird: Last summer I had one of the best meals of my life at Le Pigeon, a tiny French restaurant on East Burnside in Portland run by Gabriel Rucker, one of the most acclaimed chefs in Portland. Around that same time Rucker announced he would be opening a new restaurant in downtown Portland, a French bistro named Little Bird. It finally opened in early December to very good reviews and we've been meaning to make it over there, but didn't make it there until the other day for lunch. Read More!


Grendel's Coffee - mocha: VooDoo, Sizzle Pie, and Pacific Pie Company were all part of a couple hour walkabout in same general area on East Burnside. The last stop there was at Grendel's Coffee, a small neighborhood-type place across Burnside from Le Pigeon. The menu has no surprises but the mocha was a very solid offering. That's good, since there is no close alternatives.


Great Divide's Smoked Baltic Porter: I think I've mentioned this one before, but it's the best smoked porter I've tasted. I need to go buy more. Again.

Southern Tier's Blackwater Series Choklat Stout: This is the second Southern Tier brew I've tried (if you remember, the Creme Brulee was far from a favorite). I was skeptical about this - but yes, bought it anyway - because of the previous experience, but that skepticism proved to be completely unfounded. Imagine if you can the flavors of your favorite mocha. Now imagine those flavors seamlessly blended with a well-balanced stout. Does that sound like a tasty beer? Yes, yes it does. And that beer is this one. Stock up and thank me later.

Blue Moon's Grand Cru: Last year's Grand Cru I like to a certain extent, but this year's was much better. The balance between the citrus and ale flavors was more seamless and they complemented each other, rather than pulling at each other a bit. I also think this year's version had a higher level of accomplishment in the beer component, providing a little more complexity to the flavors. Blue Moon gets a bad rap in the craft beer world because they are owned by Coors, but this beer definitely deserves some attention.


Sokol Blosser's 2007 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir: We bought this wine because we wanted a nice pinot to go with a beef dish we were making, but after the first couple sips we decided it really wasn't something we wanted to drink. It had way too much spice and tannins for our taste buds...so I found a recipe I've been meaning to make for a while and used the rest of the bottle to make coq au vin (the recipe from Alton Brown I pointed out here). Drinking the wine - not so great. Cooking with it? Fantastic!


Little Bird Bistro

Last summer I had one of the best meals of my life at Le Pigeon, a tiny French restaurant on East Burnside in Portland run by Gabriel Rucker, one of the most acclaimed chefs in Portland. Around that same time Rucker announced he would be opening a new restaurant in downtown Portland, a French bistro named Little Bird. It finally opened in early December to very good reviews and we've been meaning to make it over there, but didn't make it there until the other day for lunch.

Little Bird is open from 11:30am to midnight Monday through Friday and 5pm to midnight on the weekend. For lunch they serve an array of French favorites as well as Le Pigeon's famous burger.

We were promptly seated, arriving just after 11:30 and before the lunch rush (plenty of office buildings nearby), and served some fresh bread. We decided to order the burger again because it was so good at Le Pigeon, and the coq au vin (chicken cooked in wine). I was intrigued with trying their coq au vin because I had just made my own (this recipe) a short while ago and wanted to see how it stacked up. (As always, click on the pictures to make them larger.)

Little Birds came atop a potato puree with pearl onions, chunks of slab bacon, and mushrooms. On top of the chicken was a slice of toast smothered with chicken liver mousse. The mousse was very rich, decadent, and just the right amount - not sure I could have handled more. The chicken was perfectly done, with a crispy skin and nuanced flavor from the wine sauce. Mushrooms I usually avoid like the plague, but these weren't bad at all when infused with the flavors of the sauce. And the potatoes? Yum!

The burger is apparently quite popular. We were seated in the balcony so we could see everything coming out of the kitchen and at least one-third of all the orders were for the burger. Ours we requested medium and it was cooked perfectly. The flavors were just as we remembered, though it seemed to have a heavier hand with the horseradish. It wasn't enough to be overpowering, but clearly noticeable. The Little Bird version of the burger comes with fries (or salad) cooked in duck fat, which is different than the roasted potatoes Le Pigeon serves - and there were very disappointing. In fact, I think they were burnt, and I didn't get any flavors really at all. Next time? Salad.

Just for fun, here is a gratuitous food porn picture of the burger cut in half:

Looks quite tasty, doesn't it?

We had planned on dessert going in (dessert at Le Pigeon was transcendent...), but for lunch they only had three options. We opted for the bon bon plate, just some small bits of sweet to round out the meal.

Starting from the bottom and going counter clockwise: candied orange peel and kumquats, espresso fudge, salted caramel truffle, pistachio toffee, chocolate peanut butter bon bon, and a huckleberry jam-filled white chocolate bon bon.

All of them were good. The candied orange peel may have been my favorite while Wifey loved the salted caramel truffle. One couldn't go wrong with any of these, really, and it was a nice balance of flavors.

We will definitely go back to Little Bird, probably for dinner next time. Or, maybe we'll just go for dessert!


Novel: The Collage

When I decided to write a novel I thought I had this great idea, but I also felt as though I needed a little something more to help me get organized. Then back in December I read about this class taught by author Lani Diane Rich (via Tawna Fenske's blog) called Discovery, for fleshing out a novel idea. So I signed up.

Lani teaches various techniques for writers to get a feel for their story, plan it out and build it up, before actually starting the writing. We've done various exercises to help do that, but perhaps the most interesting so far has been creating a collage.

The idea behind the collage is to create something visual representing your novel, something that tells your story.

The great thing here is I kind of wanted to do something like this anyway. Since I am writing a mystery/thriller story, I wanted my collage to be something visually representing that kind of story. My idea was to make it look like an evidence board in a police station, something like what you may have seen on Dexter or Flash Forward.

So I bought two bulletin boards, two feet by three feet, to use as my base, and mounted them on the wall.

Next I had to gather materials to put on the board. Wifey had some construction paper and we came up with some cross stitch thread as well, along with a huge pile of pushpins.

First I needed a backdrop to mount my specific pieces on, so since my story is set in good old Portland, Oregon, I pinned up some old maps of the city.

Then it was time to fill in specifics. My original idea was to put characters on the left board and pictures representing key scenes, actions, or settings on the right. I wanted the pictures on the right to tie to specific places in the city, but given that much of it happens in the same general area that proved to not be possible.

Also, the characters - one of our previous exercises was to "cast" the characters in our novel using actual actors. Those pictures represent my characters.

The final piece was to use the thread, wrapping it around pushpins, to tie characters to events and settings, and then back to other characters. This is what really gave it the feel I wanted of something that would be in a police station. (And let me tell you, police stations must have people who only do this - tying off those threads took me over two hours just for the few shown. Yikes!)

And voila!

It actually turned out better than I expected, since I don't think of myself as very creative in this way. It's not perfect, but it definitely looks like what was in my head. I need to still add more to the right board. Also, I really like the maps, but they are also very busy and colorful, which makes it a little distracting. Perhaps I could have gotten around that by making the construction paper borders thicker. The color of the strings also has no meaning on this board - ideally they would.

But hey, it was actually pretty fun and I think it will be very helpful. It's to the wall on my immediate right as I sit where I will write the novel, so anytime I have a case of writer's block I can lean back in my chair and lose myself in what's on the wall, looking for some inspiration.

And yes, I would definitely recommend Lani's class over at Storywonk. It has been helpful already!


Careful With Reviews

Amazon.com product reviews crack me up. I do look at them a lot of the time before buying something (which, if groceries were sold on Amazon, I'd never have to leave the house to shop again), but I've usually decided to make the purchase by then. If I've got that far, I'm just looking for an obvious reason NOT to buy something.

So instead of looking at the 95 of 100 reviews who think the product is awesome, I want to see why the other five didn't like it.

Almost always this do very, very little to sway my buying decision. And it's not because these people have issues with the product I deem as low risk or unlikely to apply to me (although, the person who complained about their network attached storage server not being able to work off a Linux server from a remote site was once instance where, yeah, it didn't apply - and I made half those words up), but it's because the complaint literally is not valid.

I pre-ordered a book once, can't recall the name, but it was still three months from release. One person had given it a negative review because they didn't like the author's last book after it was turned into a movie - or maybe it was because they were turned down for an autograph. I can't remember and both are about as relevant. Or not relevant, as the case is here.

Before I decided to read Hello Kitty Must Die, I read the customer reviews and they cracked me up. One person didn't like the book because it didn't have enough sex. (I don't recall seeing a promise of a ton of sex, either. However, read the book, it's fantastic.)

None of those things have anything to do with the quality of the writing in the book. They aren't concerned with how it was written or anything like that. And yet these comments contribute towards the overall rating of the book in a negative way, despite not really having anything to do with the book. Drives me crazy. I suppose the only way to counter that is to write positive reviews of my own? Sure, like I have all day to do that...

Perhaps my favorite negative review had to do with someone complaining about how Amazon is horrible because they had a delayed shipment on the book (or whatever it was). The reviewer explicitly said they love the book and would give it five stars, but gave it one because of the shipping issues.

What? How is that relevant to the product itself, which is the only think those stars are attached to? How is it the product's fault Amazon made a mistake? (For what it's worth, I have always been quite pleased with Amazon's customer service.)

Context people, context...


Misaki's Famous Face Rub

Misaki does a lot of cute things, but some of them are even cuter than others. Perhaps the most amazing and unpredictable is something we call the "face rub."

The face rub consists of Misaki, well, pushing herself around on the carpet face first with her back paws while her front legs go down to her knees, effectively serving as skis for her to slide on. When she's done she pops back up onto four legs and looks at you with a face saying: "What? Nothing just happened here." It's not like she's embarrassed, but more like it's just something that doesn't need discussion.

When this first happened the day after we got her last year, we thought maybe she had an itch or something was wrong with her, but it doesn't seem to be that. After awhile we decided it was just part of Misaki being Misaki and decided to get it on film.

The problem with that is timing. I'm not going to follow her around all the time with camera, so we had to figure out when she was likely to do it, and then be ready.

It seems this behavior is most likely to occur when:
1 - She gets up in the morning after sleeping in her crate.
2 - She gets out of her crate when we get back from the store or something, a little bit of time after the zoomies.
3 - Shortly after a meal.
Still, those are general times. Sometimes it's right away, sometimes it's not at all. We've also figured out it's possibly to induce face rubbing with a particularly excitable set of petting (holy crap that sounds so, so wrong...). Get her worked up enough and she has to do the face rub.

Which, of course, means we can get some pictures. The ones that follow here actually came after she came back from outside, which was right after a meal.

First comes the dropping to the front knees and rubbing on the left cheek.

Look closely at her neck. Yep, she's dirty. Apparently face rubs happen outside in the dirt too. With Misaki being a typical cleanly Shiba, pointing this out embarrasses her to no end.

Then she rolls over to the right cheek.

Then comes the pushing from the back legs and scooting across the carpet.

Switches back to the left cheek...

And again onto the right.

And she pops back up to her feet.

Perfectly normal. And perfectly entertaining.

My hope is to one day get this on video - then you can get the full experience, replete with Misaki's cute little purring/grunting/groaning noises accompanying the rubbing.

Uh oh, considering how annoyed Misaki was here and mad we were figuring her out here, I have no idea what she's going to say on her blog about this...

UPDATE: Well, it didn't take long for Misaki to weigh in...


Title is Important, Right?

I imagine very few people would disagree about the importance of a good title for a book. Some may talk it down a bit and say what's inside is the most important, but that's probably only true for writers with established followings, people like a Tom Clancy, a John Grisham, or a James Patterson (not that their titles are bad, those are just examples).

For someone just trying to break into the biz, like yours truly, a nice, snappy title is definitely important.

Now I don't even have a book yet - far from it, actually - and I know that a publisher may very well call it whatever they want (I'm easy if it's gets the thing published), but at the same time I have this project I've started and I don't have a name for it.

Well, I do have a name, but in all honesty it blows. I knew that even before Wifey raised her eyebrows when I gave her the current name (which is definitely better than the first name).

I'd like to be able to call it something, something snappy, clever. Something that when I tell people the name of what I'm working on they will instantly be intrigued. As a new writer, that's what will get someone to pick the book up off the shelf and read the synopsis, or to click on More Detail in some listing on Amazon.com.

The next book on my reading list is called Hello Kitty Must Die, by Angela S. Choi. Now, I found this book via some online review, so I didn't pick it up randomly off the shelf, but that title reached and grabbed me. It says "READ ME, I'M AWESOME!" I have heard great things about the book, but the title by itself is worth a lengthy conversation at a dinner party (you know, if I went to that sort of thing).

Not only is this title great, but it also gives insights into the book. It has nothing to do with Hello Kitty, but is instead a story about a girl breaking the bonds of a stereotype. Well, and a serial killer. That's not the point. The point is this title has so much depth to it, it demands notice.

Just imagine.
"So what are you reading?"

"Hello Kitty Must Die."

"Wow. That sounds interesting..."
Blah blah blah.
Now what if the title were something more restrained?
"So what are you reading?"

"Things Happen Fast." (This is not the working name of my novel, but it's about as lame.)

"Oh. How about the Blazers?"
See what I mean? I want a title full of intrigue and cleverness, and yes, I want this despite the fact I don't have a novel yet. It's not logical, but it would help wrap my head around the project.

Yes, it is this easy for me to distract myself. Why do you ask?


Checking Out Roost

There is a restaurant at the corner of SE 14th and Belmont called Roost. It's not a big place, perhaps seating 40 or so, and the decor is sparse. Not sparse in the sense of poor or underfunded, but sparse in a minimalist sense, all black, white, pine, and stainless steel.

Roost has been on the periphery for us for a couple months now, having read multiple places online about people unsure about visiting because it had generated no buzz. How good could it be, then, right? In a city like Portland where new restaurants, ones who adhere to high quality standards, generate buzz weeks and months before opening, Roost had none of that.

Still, people said the food was fantastic, and then they openly wondered how long it could survive without the buzz and crush of visitors enjoyed by places like Tasty N Sons and Irving Street Kitchen. Visit while you can, people write, because it may not last forever. On one hand that's a sad thing, that a restaurant supposedly this good doesn't seem to be getting the equal treatment, but then again if crowds aren't your thing and Roost is making ends meet it could be the proverbial diamond in the rough.

In Portland, that just means an undiscovered diamond in a city of diamonds.

Roost serves dinner Tuesday through Sunday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday, so after another review in the same vein read the other day - very good food, wondering about business - Wifey and I decided to check it out.

If you click on the link above you see a picture of Roost from outside at night. During the day the restaurant's name is barely noticeable and the lighting inside so well directed it's not even obvious whether or not it's open. We arrived at just after 10am thinking there might be a bit of a Saturday brunch rush, but were only the second customers. The staff is polite and let us choose our seats, so we took a two-seat table in one corner.

The walls are white and the ceiling high. The lights that hang are also white, as are many of the chairs (the rest are black, and some are black and white). The temperature inside is nicely warm, but the feel of the place is cold, if that makes sense. Of course, if the food is good do I really care?

I ordered coffee (French-pressed Stumptown, of course - $2) and for our entrees Wifey ordered a ham and leek tart with two fried eggs, parmesan cream sauce and watercress ($12) while I picked braised beef with roasted potatoes, two poached eggs, and toast ($12). We also added on a side of bacon ($4).

Coffee was good, as Stumptown almost always is. My entree came and, well, wow. Just wow. In a deep plate, almost a bowl, sat a very generous serving of melt-in-your-mouth beef in it's own braising juices. On top of that were the two perfectly poached eggs and around the edges were potato chunks soft on the inside with a perfect outer crunch. Sure, they lost some crunch sitting in the braising liquid, but that only added to the flavor. That liquid was thick and rich, with obvious notes of fresh pepper as well as plenty of other savory flavors. The toast was cut thick, almost an inch, and seasoned with a variety of flavors. To be honest, that might be the best toast I've ever had, and it complemented the meal perfectly.

Wifey's tart was equally delicious. All of the flavors worked well together in a perfect melody and about the only thing wrong with it was it was missing watercress. When I say wrong, I mean it didn't match the menu, but really neither of us cared there was none of the leafy green. The puff pastry in the tart sat nicely raised and still soft, even before soaking up some of the egg yolk and liquid from the cream. A well sculpted forkful, with each of the elements on the plate, was perfect. The bacon was also good. It was a tad dry for me, but Wifey thought it was perfect.

Can you tell we enjoyed it? We had brought the camera and didn't even remember to get it out before we started eating because everything looked so good. Roost is the type of place we'd go more often if we lived closer and we can't wait to try it for dinner.

Oh, and did it get busy? Not really. After we finished our meal and left, about 40 minutes later, it wasn't even half full. As we drove off to do some errands we passed many other brunch-type places, ones well known to be barely average offerings of food, and they had lines out the door. Sure, admittedly $30 for two people for a brunch not including any kind of alcohol may be a bit steep, but it's easy to spend less also.

While part of me would love to keep Roost a secret, I also want it to be successful enough to stick around. So do yourself a favor and go there. Do it this week. Find out for yourself.


Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

There are times in my life when I wish everything was easier, simpler. One of those times is the annual going through of stuff to decide what is no longer necessary and can be sent off to the Goodwill or some other charitable entity. Or, if no other options, can be used as garbage can filler.

These are the same times I look at a pile of stuff and wonder what the hell was I thinking when I spent good cash on it?!

I don't want to make it sound we are pack rats or anything, we really aren't. And over the past few years we have become much, much better at not buying stuff we don't need or won't use very much. Still, it happens.

It's hard getting rid of things that cost whatever dollar amount, even if you really don't use them. I try to rationalize by telling myself the money isn't coming back no matter what, it was spend x amount of months ago, so it really doesn't matter anymore. That may or may not make sense, but it's good enough for my conscience.

One example is compact discs. I have a box of about 400 or so of these things. They have been ripped and put into iTunes and I have only twice in about four years gone back out to look for something. And I've bought two CDs in the past three years, both of them albums I wanted that just happened to be cheaper from Best Buy than they were digitally (and there was a third, which wasn't offered digitally at all).

Now I have this box of CDs, taking up space in my attic. And that 400? Wow...that represents a lot of cash spent, most of it at least seven or eight years ago. Some were bought used, some were gifts, some were free from Columbia House (though, as we all know, nothing is truly free from there), but most of them I bought. Heck, conservatively putting a $10 cost on each of them totals $4,000...and that's probably too low.

Now? Now these discs are practically worthless. And those VHS tapes and VCR I have, both which haven't been used in five years or more, are completely worthless. Heck, most of the DVDs we have are close to worthless too, in this age of streaming video via Netflix to the PlayStation 3 or straight to the PC.

I ask myself, do I really need to keep this stuff? How about the collection sports cards I have accumulated over the years? As they sit in boxes, am I getting anything out of them? Or is it time to downsize those too?

Ooh, kitchen gadgets. We love the kitchen gadgets. In the end, though, these single use items aren't necessarily better than the multi-use ones - or just a knife - and we may use them once a year. But still, they take drawer space and our kitchen isn't very big. How much do we really need?

And this idea of simplification running through my head isn't limited to stuff. I'd like to simplify my commute, so I don't spend 1.5 hours of the day driving 14 miles each way to work and back. Imagine working only 10 minutes away, what I could do with a whole extra hour!

I have this absurd ideal in my head of living in a small town where everything I need is in walking distance, but I know my tastes are not small town tastes. That town in my head probably doesn't have 12 different lunch options and stores that specialize in things like salt or olive oil or beer.

I'd like to be able to walk to the grocery store, perhaps daily if I like, and find high quality goods. I'd like to be able to walk or take a quick bike ride to work, or simply work at home. I wouldn't mind a smaller home if it was planned properly.

It's interesting how my point of view on life has changed in the past few years. It seems more often than not now when presented with an option I ask myself if something makes our lives easier, if it's really, truly worth it. I've started to ask myself if I really need it.

Do I need to BUY that book? Or can I get it from the library?

Do I need to BUY a disc, or should I just stream or download it?

Do I need to ATTEND a game, or am I fine watching it on TV from my couch?

I don't think this is an admission of laziness, though it could probably be construed that way. Instead, it's figuring out what really matters, what's really important to me, and embracing it in any way I can. It's why I've decided to write a book. It's why I feel the way I do about my job (predominantly the location). It's why I've given some thought to living somewhere else (though that's a ways down the list, unless finances suddenly make Maui affordable - not holding my breath).

Asking one's self "What's better for me?" isn't always taking the easy way out of something; sometimes it makes everything else more enjoyable.


Bengal Fight: A Pictorial

There is a lot of feline-on-feline violence in this household, but for the humans it's pretty damn entertaining. Most of the time we can't capture it on film because we just never know when it will happen, and by the time we grab the camera the cats are either interested in what we are doing or have already pissed each other off enough to run off.

The other day I managed to get some fight digitized. In retrospect grabbing video would have been better, but the pictures turned out okay.

This fight stars Moochie and Lilo, the two spotted Bengals. Since Sera was not involved no claws were used and no blood was rendered. Moochie is the larger one, at about 19 pounds over twice Lilo's size. Still, she doesn't back down.

The scene was on top of this cardboard box that shipped me a new dry erase board for the office. Our cats love the cardboard, and this just happened to be right next to the couch. The glass edge in each picture is the from a side table where the camera usually rests. I tried not to move too much while getting in position so as not to distract them.

Take it away Moochie and Lilo!

Lilo was on the cardboard first, but Moochie decided she needed company. Lilo was not pleased by this decision.

Aren't those spots on Lilo's belly cute?

Moochie is significantly stronger than Lilo and it only takes one paw to put her in her place.

Despite the size difference Lilo has no compunction about clocking Moochie in the side of the head.

Feinting is a key talent in the Bengal fight. Here Moochie is feeling her out, like a boxer throwing jabs that aren't necessarily meant to do any actual damage.

Lilo attacks! Check out the look on Moochie's face as he gets smacked.

Moochie and Lilo may not use claws when they fight (Lilo doesn't have any and Moochie seems to understand this), but biting is routine.

Now Moochie is getting a little fed up and going on the offensive. Check out Lilo backing up, losing her place on the cardboard.

But she won't back down easily. Here Lilo rises up on her back legs to use both front paws to smack at Moochie.

That last move by Lilo was the winning one. Moochie backed off and left, leaving Lilo as the Queen of the Cardboard. For now.

Just another day in the MyNWX household, full of violence and wrestling for control.