30 March 2010

Lest We Forget

Lettuce not forget that this blog is strongly tied to food. Delicious food. Our consumption of mass quantities of food - often at restaurants. If you think Max has been a barrier to eating out...you are wrong.See? His favorite place to nap is at a restaurant. So when he gets tired, we go out to eat. It works like a charm. Recently we went with his buddy Tate to an Ethiopian restaurant. It was delicious, but not overly so.
Matt and Alissa were there to enjoy with us. The great thing about Ethiopian is that you just have to love the bread and using your hands. Oh, and sharing. Sharing makes me smile!
See the joy as we share? Scrumptious.
Another great miracle of food in our life is Caitlin's recent receiving of Rick Bayless's cook book for Mexican food from our friend Rochelle. I don't necessarily know much about Rick, but I love his restaurant XOCO - so I was intrigued. Caitlin cooked these absolutely amazing enchiladas from the book and they blew my mind. They make those chicken enchiladas that girls used to make you on Sundays at BYU seem like piles of dump in comparison.
Seriously, how good do those look? Yeah, well...the taste as good as they look. You rule Rochelle!!!

29 March 2010

My 2010 Personal Mantra

If you know the Phatwoods, then you know that Ewood likes to come up with a personal mantra each year that represents what his life will be about that year. It could be "The Year of Food" to "The End of the Lameness." Well, I have always appreciated that tradition and thought I'd try it out this year. A few months ago I was sitting with Pam, Dave, Mike and Caitlin and we decided to give it a try. Conversation with Mike went like this:

Jeff: "Mike, what is your mantra for 2010?"

Mike: (after thinking for a bit) "Spill Blood."

Jeff: "Um, spill blood? That's your mantra for 2010."

Mike: "Yeah, I think it really represents what my year is going to be all about."

Pam, Dave and Caitlin also came up with some mantras...all of which failed to shock like Mike's. They were more sensible, like "The year of opening doors" and "Living life by the moment."

Well, I think I have come up with a mantra for 2010 that really represents what I want to accomplish this year and who I'd like to be. You see, I am now a father, a full time employee for the man, a young men's leader, etc. Basically...I have assumed several roles of responsibility. I have been feeling a general sense of death to the childish part of me. As such, I came up with the following:


What does that mean for me. Well? Here is what I wore last week to work:Now I recognize that orange socks and a bright purple sweater don't represent anything radical here...just remember I work at a conservative health care company where blue button up shirts and khaki pants are the unwritten rule. But just because I'm a marketing manager, doesn't mean I can't have fun. Just cause we have a baby doesn't mean we can't go out and explore the city, eat out and have fun.

I think this mantra really suits me...just like them socks.

25 March 2010

Are You From China???

Last Sunday we had a special guest over to cook us dinner. Our friend Chunqing went to church with us and then came over to provide a home-cooked Chinese meal. We had not had the pleasure of having Chunqing cook for us, so we were pretty stoked - PLUS we didn't have to cook anything ourselves. Bonus!
Chunqing quickly got to making dinner. We had a really awesome chicken that included a bottle of Pepsi. It also included pretty much all of the following sauces:Yep - Chunqing is the real deal. She's not one of those fake Chinese girls who pretends she's Chinese but really just comes from Connecticut (Christine). And we found out her skills are legit.A vegetable and noodle dish. Delish dish!
Well seasoned tofu and then the chicken of which I spoke earlier. I have to be honest, it was really good. I loved the chicken and Caitlin loved the tofu. In exchange for this meal we let Chunqing play with precious Max. Isn't that all anyone wants in life? Thanks for the great meal!

24 March 2010

Cheron Some Delicious Foods

Hey Max. What are you waiting for so patiently with your monks?
Are you waiting for all your friends to come over to celebrate Cheron's birthday??? You bet you are! It was Cheron's birthday a week or so ago, so we had some peeps over to celebrate.
First - some of Max's biggest peeps. We gots Gwen-dawg, Davis the Mavis, Ella Awesome and Will.I.Am in da house.
To start off our celebration, we began with making Cafe Rio salads. This was definitely the best pork recipe I had had to this point in our many years of doing Cafe Rio knock offs. Good work cooks.
All the important goods were there, including homemade guacamole.
And a birthday cake - GERMAN CHOCOLATE! My favorite! This was Lauren's recipe, and it was freakin' delish. I seriously wish I could spread the frosting over my entire body and then whenever I'd get hungry and I could just eat some of myself.
Our parties now adays involve a lot of sitting around, talking and watching babies do there thing.
Telling stories of our crazy adventures and taking pictures of the ones happening right now.
Ella was rockin' a sweet faux-hock that night which was dope. She's probably going to be a rock star later in life of some awesome chick band.
Our reason for the season - Cheron. She blew out those candles with serious vigor. Its hard to take her birthday too seriously since she is like 10 years younger than the rest of us. You did it Cheron! Another year! Keep em coming.

23 March 2010

Chocolate Babies?

Back to Stevey vacation time. So Friday and Saturday of Stephen's vacation took us all over for quite a few different adventures. It was a rather nice and warm 50 degree on both days, so we went out for a bike ride. We ended up at the Evanston Art Museum which is housed in this awesome old mansion/house next to the lighthouse.

Later we made a Brother's Burger King run. Caitlin, who is wise beyond her years, new that there was a good chance we would be there...so she stopped by just to see with her girls Lindy and Heather (and babies/Max's chicks Jane and Ella). They did not stay long, because they know the sacredness of BBK...it is not to be disturbed. Later that day we went to Alice in Wonderland (boooo) and then to Flat Top for dinner. Feef liked Flat Top - like, a lot.

On Saturday morning, we went down to eat at XOCO (I believe this ended up being Stephen's favorite meal of his trip). After that we walked around enjoying the sites and sounds of downtown.

The Cobbs...how could I not take a picture?

Caitlin dropped us off in Lakeview about an hour before the main event of the day...so Stephen slowly started walking toward the park on Lake Michigan. If there is one thing I know about Stephen, it is that he loves to take naps in parks in the sun. Insane amounts. We have napped in New York, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, etc. The kid likes naps in the sun. He found this trailer in the park and we laid down and slept for 45 minutes.

Despite the warm sun, there was still lots of ice in the lake.

I told Stephen to go ice skating, but he did not trust that ice. Wise boy.

Then it was time for our Chicago Chocolate Tour of Lakeview! Our guide began to instruct us about the history of chocolate and what we would be seeing/tasting that day.

We each got our own cocoa bean...which was extremely bitter, but cool nonetheless.

Our first stop was at Parasuco for chocolate gelatto. We were able to sample as much of anything we wanted to. My favorite was the above - Chocolate Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel.

The place is cute and Caitlin will definitely like it once the sun comes out for good.

I also liked the chocolate black cherry.

Then we stopped at the House of Fine Chocolates. We each got several samples of rum balls and other deliciousnesses.

If you know me, you know I like peanut butter and chocolate. This place had many choices in that category.

The owner came out to instruct us of his chocolate house. He is a second generation owner.

I ended up buying a homemade peanut butter cup, which was the best chocolate item I have ever tasted in my life.

Next stop? Bobtail for ice cream. This tour was a little heavy on the ice cream end considering it was a chocolate tour...but I can't complain.

Our guide gets jazzy about how delicious our samples are going to be.

Hot chocolate and three different flavors of chocolate ice cream. I can't remember what made this hot chocolate special, but it was awesome.

Next stop - Chicago Popcorn Works. This was my least favorite stop on the tour. I think chocolate covered popcorn is kind of a stretch for a chocolate tour. Also, it wasn't as good as Garrett's - which is the Chicago popcorn staple. I don't know...it just didn't work for me.

But that didn't stop me from having samples!!!

Our final and most interesting stop - Baladoche. This place is super hard core about chocolate.

For example, they have Belgian chocolate locked in cases that only the owner has a key to. He flies to Belgium every couple of months and buys tons of this chocolate because it wins the top chocolate awards internationally every year and is fully endorsed by the royal crown of Belgium. Each bar is like $12. That tube of truffles is like $50. They have one chocolate item that is so pure they make you sign a waver if you don't eat it in 2 days or you can't take it out of the store. Intense.

The owner let us sample small, small bits of it - and it certainly was delicious...but I don't think my pallet is sophisticated enough to appreciate the extreme difference. I did notice that the dark chocolate didn't have the bitter taste that is often associated with dark chocolate because they grind the beans down super thin which apparently gets rid of that chalky taste. Amazing.

And that was Feef's trip. Awesome.

22 March 2010

Two Pimped Out Heartbreakers

William and Max (shown here in their matching Ralph Lauren Black Label baby outfits tailored specifically for the young playa) showed off their style recently for the papa-razzi. These two are going to break some hearts together. Please note that this picture really shows off the reddish tint that exists in Max's hair.
The moms - trying their darndest to raise two courteous, respectful boys by taking them to church each week. Pssh, good luck.

20 March 2010

Hot Doggy!

Did you know that Saturday was NATIONAL CORN DOG DAY???? I bet you didn't - otherwise you would have gone to your local hot dog stand, pronto pup provider, or even grocery store to get some corns dogs to celebrate. I know I did...I called up some friends and headed over to one of my favorite places to get hot dogs: Wiener...and Still the Champion (I'm not making that name up)Here was the motherload. They had a special to celebrate the occasion - all corn dogs $1.25. We got this gigantic place of cheese fries, six corndogs and a soda for like $13. Insane. Literally loco.
Excuse me, can I get some fries with my cheese? Jeez. I think I ordered the large cheese fries - HELLO!
My partners in crime. Even precious Hannah downed her share of corn dog.
Was I in heaven? Well - that is a corn dog and spicy aioli dipping sauce in my hands. Yeah, I think I enjoyed myself. Happy Corn Dog Day!