Monday, February 14, 2011

Cool Bistro

SMITTY’S GRILL PASADENA – When you walk into Smitty’s Grill, 110 South Lake Avenue in Pasadena California (626-792-9999), you feel like you just entered a steak house on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The atmosphere is warm and cozy. Have a famous Smitty’s martini at the bar with their wonderful homemade potato chips as a snack. The menu is American comfort food; chicken pot pie and meat loaf are our favorites. But the salads, fish and beef are all excellent. Save room for a hot fudge sundae for dessert. As we have said for many years the culinary world ends east of Pasadena and Smitty’s is the place. A Rink Rats rating of 1 -10, we give Smitty’s a 9.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN - Donald Rumsfeld, "Known and Unknown: A Memoir": National security adviser Condoleezza Rice "was a polished, poised, and elegant presence. I decidedly was not. One time Rice and I were sitting together in an NSC meeting, and I was wearing a pinstripe suit - one that I very well might have owned since the Ford administration. The suit was so well used that the pinstripes on the right leg above the knee were worn off. Rice noticed this, frowned, and pointed discreetly at my leg. Looking down at my suit, I noticed for the first time the missing pinstripes. 'Gee,' I whispered to her with a smile, 'maybe Joyce can sew them back on.' Condi's eyes widened. ... Often [NSC] meetings were not well organized. Frequent last-minute changes to the time of meetings and to the subject matter made it difficult for the participants to prepare, and even more difficult, with department of their own to manage, to rearrange their full schedules. ...

OBAMA TO CHAMBER: DROP DEAD - FORTUNE'S Nina Easton writes: "President Obama 'strolled over' (his words), across Lafayette Park to the Chamber ... where he made the case for a new spending agenda, offered a robust defense of regulation and his much-dreaded healthcare reform, scolded business to produce more American jobs and pay their executives less, and argued that industry should follow his lead ... The President exhorted business to 'get in the game' and start hiring. That plea would have had more resonance if businesses weren't staying out of the game in part because of wariness over healthcare costs, a range of new banking and environmental regulations coming down the pike, and tax cuts that were only extended two years."

WHY CALIFORNIA IS IN TROUBLE - S.F. Chronicle's Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross report: "New city records show that former Police Chief Heather Fong - who retired in 2009 - received a grand total of $528,595 in her final year. The goodbye check included her final year base pay of $187,875, plus $303,653 for unused vacation, sick and comp time, plus $37,067 in other pay. Now that she's gone, she's pulling down an annual pension of $229,500 for life. Former Deputy Chief Charles Keohane, who exited in 2009, received $516,118 in his final year - $325,503 from accrued vacation, sick time and premium pay."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Geoff Ball …famous All-American floor hockey goalie, Charles Barkley (48), High Downs (90), Matt Groening (57), Ice-T (53), Jim Kelly (51), Erma King …famous Grandmother and Mother, Roger Penske (74), Gretchen Pugliese …famous hockey mom, Rene Russo (57), Maria Suffredini …famous Princess, John Travolta (57), Vanna White (54).

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Tuesday 2/15, Clarkson College Golden Knights (13-14-2) at St. Lawrence University Skating Saints (9-15-5) 7:00 PM ET, WSLU network. You all have heard of Michigan v. Ohio State, Notre Dame v. USC, Albion v. Adrian, but the biggest rivalry of them all is Clarkson v. St. Lawrence. Such famous alumni as Dave Taylor, Mike Keenan, Jacques Martin, Jerry York, Brian Macfarlane and Bernie McKinnon, make this game even more traditional and special. No matter what their records may be, this is HUGE. Appleton Arena in Canton, New York will be rocking. The Hoot Owl orders extra kegs of beer for this one. Rink Rats likes the Skating Saints to win and begin the push for a playoff spot in the ECAC, go SAINTS.
Season to date (2-4).

$3.73 TRILLION – This is President Obama’s FY 2012 Budget, a 216 page nightmare. If I was starting out my career these days I would be very nervous about the future, this budget is a prime example.

PART I: GRANADA REPORT – Niece Alex B. writes about her studies this term in Granada Spain. Now into her third week and settling in to her apartment with 7 roommates, “I don’t know what I did to deserve this place but I should keep it up because this is by far the nicest place I will live in for probably the next 15 years”, she writes. “Our shower I’m pretty sure is nicer than my car being that it has about 12 different showerhead options with a radio, fan, and CD player.”

“The people in Granada are …warming up to us. “The men are extremely manicured and are very into their looks.” “Family is very important here and even my friends who are in homestays are expected to be home for family time every afternoon. I’m sure you’ve heard of it but siesta is a period of time Monday-Friday from about 2-5pm where stores and restaurants close and everyone goes home for lunch with their families to eat the largest meal of the day, nap, and spend time together. This is why I am made for Spain: I am encouraged to nap. It. Is. Awesome. After that, stores open again and don’t close till about 9 o’clock where you have a smaller dinner and it’s less of a big deal. Lunch is definitely the most important meal of the day, especially for families.”

“The food in Spain is delicious. Ham, bread, potatoes, cheese, and a boatload of olive oil can be found in pretty much every meal. Often cured, ham is used in literally almost every dish I have had so far. Even the potato chips are ham flavored. Also, the Spanish omelet is very popular. It is an omelet that is about 2 inches thick and loaded with potato and olive oil. Pretty much anything you get is going to be soaked in olive oil but it is so delicious here that you get used to it. By far the most amazing thing about Spain is the tapas. I think it translates into “small plate” but it is basically an appetizer at the beginning of every meal. However, only in Granada, every time you order a drink you get a free tapa. Let me just reiterate that: every time I order a beer (which is usually like $1.50) I get a plate of free food. And, even more amazingly, with every drink you order you get a bigger and better tapa. Apparently this used to be a tradition all throughout Spain but Granada is the only city that still does it; making it one of the cheapest and best places to study abroad. So, usually it starts out with some olives and sliced ham on bread, and then it might become a omelet on toast, and then a seafood dish. The best place we have gone so far is a little bar that is $2.20 for a beer and each person gets their own panini and fries and the second round is a hamburger and fries. We usually drink beer when we go out to tapas bars but a drink called “tinto de verno” is very popular here which is basically wine and Fanta. Sangeria is popular but more so in Northern Spain. Southern Spain, the Andulcia, is all about tinto de verno as well as being recognized as completely different than Northern Spain."

Thank you Alex B. next week we continue with her adventure.

Next week, a politics update, the words of the month and (a week late) Dear Rink Rats.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
February 14, 2011

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