Monday, October 31, 2011

September Round-Up - 2011

Nearing the end of September, I realized it would be the first month since April that I didn't spend at least a few days out of town. And that would just not do. So a friend and I decided to take an overnight trip to the Madonna Inn, with a stop at Hearst Castle. I hadn't been to either since about 2004, and there were changes to both: At Hearst Castle, you can now wander around the grounds all you want after an indoor tour, which means if you want to hang out on a lounge chair by the pool for hours, you can. (Can't go into the pool, of course, but still...) And a pool was also a relatively new addition to the Madonna Inn. And a really, really nice pool, at that, complete with a fake rock waterfall and two hot tubs. The fact that the place has existed for years without it is kind of amazing since it is now, to me, the main reason to even go there. (Along with the pink steakhouse, of course.)

But oh my goodness, it is Halloween night, and it's almost coming to an end, so I should probably get this round-up over with!

Movies Seen: Eight, with five in a theater. Click through to read my reviews of "Contagion," "Moneyball," "I Don't Know How She Does It," and "Killer Elite."

None of the DVDs I watched was memorable in any way, good or bad.

Books Read: Six. Click through to read my brief thoughts, where applicable: "Love Sick" by Sue William Silverman. "A Paper Life" by Tatum O'Neal. "Walks With Men" by Anne Beattie. "Found: A Daughter's Journey Home" by Tatum O'Neal. "The Walking Dead – Vol. 8" by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. "Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shtyeyngart.

Fancy Dinners Out: Five! Living large! I finally went to the House of Prime Rib, after many, many years. In fact, I think I was a kid the last time I went. I love it, especially how the meat is wheeled around the room in a silver zeppelin, but have to say, I was a little disappointed with my prime rib! I ordered it medium rare, which is how I always order it, and it's done me well in the past, but this time, it was just too well done. Not pink and slightly bloody as it should be, but pretty much cooked through. The sides were good, including the awesome salad that they spin tableside, so that almost made up for it. Almost.

Ironically, I had the same problem at the Gold Rush Steakhouse at the Madonna Inn, once again with prime rib. (Michele ordered a New York steak, medium rare, and it arrived perfectly cooked, so I'm not sure what the issue is! Other places I've ordered prime rib medium rare has always been fine, so, I guess I was just cursed this month.)

Meat was also on the menu at Absinthe, where I had the burger. This was perfectly cooked, and perfectly delicious.

I also had dinner at Jaspers Corner Tap, which isn't particularly fancy, but is relatively new, so on the list it goes. Stuck to smaller bites, with some mac and cheese, deviled eggs, sausage bites, and a chopped salad. Deviled eggs won the evening.

Finally, had one of the best Caesar salads I've ever had at Nizza La Bella in Albany, along with some very good French onion soup.

Live Shows Seen: None, unless you count the swing dancers that were performing at the Madonna Inn the night we had dinner.

Shoes Bought: One pair, these vintage "lizagator" pumps, found for under 20 bucks on eBay.

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