“He’s got a rubber bootie” . . . and a moist towelette!

moist towel1I was taken by surprise when eating at a new restaurant in Oceanside, CA. I had sticky finger (that just sounds wrong) after eating a wonderful Salmon Salad and needed the ol’ moist towel for a bit of clean up before we flew out to Concord. Anticipating that Fresh Grill Bistro would have the little prepackaged towels to clean hands from eaters of their BBQ ribs and such, I didn’t immediately  find them and was directed back to the condiment table next to the coffee stirrers. What I found were full-sized wipes that could also be heated and served to the customer. Wow!, these are cool. So I grabbed four just for the novelty and because we were getting ready for a 3-hour flight. “These could come in handy”, I said to the pilot.

So we make it to Concord, CA, our destination for an afternoon game of golf and dinner with some family. First we take in a quick, . . . and I mean quick game of nine hole golf. The first three or four holes, it’s like we felt rushed to play speed golf. We were running to the tees, then running to shag our balls that had gone off the club, then running back. By the time we had arrived at the 9th hole, we had picked up two other two-somes to make our final hole a six-some.golf What was even more funny is that we all sucked just as bad. My final 9th hole shot went off the club well, but traveled over by this tractor in a ditch, as did the ball from one of the other players. As we approached the area to look for our balls, we found what appeared to be a dried up pond that had the golfer’s dream . . . BALLS! Everywhere. There were so many balls in there that had seemingly be unearthed by the tractor. golf balls2The other guy and myself just started loading our pockets, golf bag and hands with as many free balls as we could hold. Crazy! It’s the best hole of golf EVER!

We travel about 30 minutes away from our hotel, golf area and airport  and arrive at The Dead Fish in Crocket, CA.  dead fish2The Dead Fish, a  is located along one of the San Francisco Bay area inlets and across the water from the California Maritime Academy. We had a really cool table outside that allowed us to enjoy both a view of the bridges, but also the Academy. It was picturesque; just I didn’t get any . . . uh, pictures. What I did get were some bad ass muscles done up in a frying skillet like I’ve never had before. These muscles and such were served up, along with the other various appetizers and some awesome cocktails. The only thing I asked of the server was that he bring some great bread with all of the apps to soak up all of the juices.dead fish1

Speaking of servers, this restaurant had really terrific food but, I don’t know if it was just our server or the “service” in general; but, our guy just seemed to lack the knowledge I was kind of hoping to have from a server for this class of restaurant. Maybe I just didn’t understand this class of restaurant. I asked our server about his recommendation for wine. He said, “I really don’t know anything about wines”. I asked, “do you have a Sommelier that can help me with a selection”? He said, “uh, what’s a Sommelier”? About that moment the tip just plummeted because I began to feel like a real CritDick-cal “ASS HOLE” in front of my brother and my Nephew. But that’s Ok, because I got the last laugh, I think, . . . with “Server Dork”. He asked if he could remove the cast iron muscle skillet from the table. I quickly took the last of the bi-valves and put them on my plate. He touched the side of the once-hot skillet and said, “ooh, that’s too hot, let me get someone to take that”. I briefly touched the side of the skillet and found it to be quite warm, but not too hot to handle. I jokingly said to the server, “Man up, Dude!” Laughter erupted as the young server scurried away to have a buss person quickly snatch it up bare-handed. So, although every entre and appetizer was quite delicious and very tasty from The Dead Fish, the service was truly off from what I would have expected. We really had a good time, and the food was good. I would like to go back some day. I’m glad there are restaurants like that out there.moist towel2 What made this restaurant even more special is the fact that they too had those full-sized wipes to clean your hands. Holy crap, that’s twice in two meals in the same day that I’ve first seen these. I snatched those up and took them into the plane. Gonna be some serious wiping going on now!!!

The next morning we head out early to catch a quick breakfast again with my nephew and again eating at another place I have never been to. This time we hit The Original Pancake House. Ok, I know it’s no culinary wonder, but the breakfast was pretty awesome. I ate enough that morning to sustain me in-flight for a several hours. My worry was ensuring all of that food stayed in that morning instead of having to squawk for an emergency landing. I would rank The Original Pancake house just below The Broken Yolk, but just above IHOP, that sits just above Denny’s in the ranking.rubber bootie

Before we begin the second leg of the journey, we make our way to the plane to rid the cargo area of extra stuff like a surfboard and rubber bootie. I don’t know what all that is about, but I was told there was also a fake beard in the bag also. Kids nowadays! Sheesh! As we prepare the plane for flight and do our walk around and preflight checks, I couldn’t help think of the movie Meet The Fockers; where during the police scene, the Sherriff that’s searching the RV comes out and says, “Check it out . . . he’s got a rubber boobie!”rubber boobie


Man-Bro Airborne Road Trip – The Fresh Grill Bistro, Oceanside, CA

How many pilots are out there? Probably a lot more pilots out there than we think. Many folks I have talked with over the years seems to know of a pilot or someone who has a pilot’s license. My brother is just such a pilot. He has been flying small light (that’s kinda what they’re called) aircraft starting with the ol’ Cesna 172/182 and finally purchasing his own Beechcraft Bonanza A36. Bonanza A36The Beach A36 is very nice and a comfortable 4-6 seat configurable single engine aircraft with a wide array of electronics (avionics) that make small work out of flying. My brother really likes to fly and he’s quite good at it; however, his wife hates flying. So, my brother mostly flies by himself to destinations throughout Southern California. Recently he asked me if I wanted to travel up to the northern part of California (Humboldt) to see his daughter while she’s in school (Humboldt . . . duh!); stopping for the night in Concord to see his son, tour his son’s school, the California Maritime Academy, and going out to dinner for his son’s birthday.

I looked at my schedule and was able to find a gap between my school quarters, class schedules, work schedule and my wife’s schedule to allow me to participate as co-bro-pilot for him in the right seat. I am no pilot, “but I did just stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night”. (Sorry, I had to do that . . . again!) I know how to do everything except land . . . that’s the tricky part. Anyway, My brother and I had planned this Friday get-away weekend of flying up north and returning to the work week on that Sunday. What is it they say about “best laid plans”? Exactly. The plans kept changing slightly as we added new dimensions and subtracted others. None too late though as everything was almost perfectly planned and even more perfectly executed.

So now I again ask you about knowing a pilot. You know a pilot . . . how many of you know a pilot that also flies around with his own mechanic? Well, I’m not really his mechanic. I know how to fix most anything on his aircraft because I worked on various aircraft for 20 years while in the Navy, but I never became certified to repair aircraft on a civil aviation Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate. Which is even more funny because I maintained specialties in my education and military experience that is considered so special, that I can teach those same A&P mechanics, even if I have no license (A&P). Ha!, top that one!

So now here’s this pilot flying around with his mechanic. We talk about all kinds of shit while flying, many things related and unrelated to aviation all while searching for the next call for traffic in the area. “Bonanza Six-Six-Four-One-Mike (6641M), traffic eleven o-clock, southwest bound, 8 thousand feet, two miles”, squawks the Air Traffic Controller (ATC).  We both look frantically in the sky just below our horizon in front and slightly to the left of centerline searching for anything, a shimmer, a shadow or maybe a silhouette to make identification of anything that may or maybe not become a “factor”, as it is called in aviation. “There”, I shout. Pointing with my finger as the aircraft swiftly approaches; than just a swiftly, sneaks out of our sight. With both aircraft traveling over 150 miles per hour, they come and go quickly so finding them is critical. Sometimes you find them, other times you see nothing of the sort. Another call comes from the radio, “Bonanza 6641M, traffic no longer a factor”. That went on for a good solid hour while traveling through the Los Angeles Airport controlled airspace. There are a lot of aircraft around that joint; it is very hectic.

So our little excursion of what we’re calling an airborne road trip started for my brother from Oxnard, CA. He flew down to Oceanside to pick me up. I met him and my Father and Mother at the Oceanside Municipal Airport so we can all go to lunch at Fresh Grill Bistro http://freshgrillbistrooceanside.com/ ; a new Mexican, American BBQ fusion kind of joint. My Father seems to know just about everyone from different functions around town, so everywhere we go he seems to get started with conversations. First thing, he introduces me to Chef Christian just as some lady comes up to him and asks him about his dog. My Father’s trying to introduce me and interact with someone who knows him, but he has yet to recognize. All of this confusion at the ordering counter, I’m surprised the person taking our order kept things straight.

fresh grillThe Fresh Grill Bistro seems to be nicely decorated, have adequate space, and they have an outdoor patio area their hailing as “dog friendly”. They even sport their own coffee-house called the Caffeine Bar. I decided to go with the Chef’s personal recommendation of the Grilled Salmon Salad; which, for some odd reason, I was hoping was on the menu. I knew I was going to have BBQ for lunch the following day, so I wanted something fresh, light and delicious. Chef Christian pulled through on this dish. A decent sized serving and full of great flavors with walnuts, feta cheese and balsamic dressing. I did however notice that the perfect grill marks on the presentation side of the fish, was not the same as that of the hidden side (down against the rest of the salad) where the fish was quite a bit more charred, almost to the point of being unacceptable even for this “grill bistro”. The flavor was there and I like my food with a bit more texture, so it did not bother me, but it was something worth noting. I guess it’s something only this Dick would notice, and I gotta write it if I want them to fix it for my next visit.

My Brother and Mother both had the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. They quickly discovered the bun was not up to the task of the chicken breast. My mother and Brother both deconstructed their sandwiches and ate with a fork and knife because the bun just flattened and was useless for this particular sandwich. The Grilled Chicken demanded a heavier bun or roll. My Father had the Pulled Pork Sandwich that used the same bun. The bun was fine for his sandwich and he had no complaints about his dish. The Fresh Grill Bistro offers many different items on their menu and they also boast senior specials that got my Father’s attention. I did glance over at another table and saw a huge BBQ plate of ribs and brisket. That was a large serving and it looked as though I better order it when I try their BBQ on the next trip. Give the Fresh Grill Bistro a try. Let Chef Christian know what you think. I believe he has something here, perhaps with just a minor amount of twerking . . . I mean tweaking.Miley-Cyrus-2224429

So we head into the San Francisco Bay area and land in Concord, CA. We play a quick round of 9-hole golf, head out for dinner, call it a night and head back to the hotel. The next morning we eat and head across the desert to Lake Havasu City where we are to take a Colorado river trip down from Pirate’s Cove in Needles, CA. We meet our family and friends up river for an afternoon boat ride down the gorge and through the channel under London Bridge and enjoy a bit of sun on the way. That story just a bit later . . .Golfing

U2 overheadFlying now from the San Fransico Bay area toward Lake Havasu City in Arizona, we found ourselves along a similar coridor that we used to travel from Los Angeles (LA) up to Concord. The coridor is situated over areas of the high desert above LA. Areas like Palmdale and Lancaster. There are several military installations out in that area; and, like flying around any place that has a lot of air traffic, there are frequent calls about other aircraft sharing the same airspace. “Bonanza 6641M, traffic 2 o-clock, 8 thousand feet, four miles . . . a U2”, the controller calls out. “Call when you have in sight”. “41M, Roger”, my brother responds. Just about then I notice the U2 about 2000 feet below us passing just under and slightly behind us. I found this pretty entertaining video about the U2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PmYItnlY5M&noredirect=1.

So that leg of our journey was pretty cool. How many folks in the sky can say they’ve seen a U2 “Dragon Lady” spy aircraft actually flying . . . but below them?

I give this adventure 9-holes of really shitty golf! I would give it 9-holes of good golf, but we know better!


Michelle Malone, another “House Concert”. AWESOME ! ! !

Michelle Malone came out with another great video. And If you haven’t seen nor heard of her, she’s shaping the music scene. Watch her new release here

 . . . and read my story about her. Impressive!


malone4If I can just say one word, “Wow!” These house concerts promoted and put on my Two Worlds Connect http://www.twoworldsconnect.com/  and Cattle Call L.L.C. Events are just amazing.

What a privilege it is to sit amongst 25 guests rioting (yeah, 25 folks rioting . . . LOL) and raging (yes, we were definitely raging) for this great national recording artist, Michele Malone; with her characteristic slide guitar licks reminiscent of Derek Trucks (Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks Band and Tedeschi Trucks Band). two worldsShe was definitely throwin’ down. Tonight, Michelle was partnered up with her good friend Trish Land on her percussional-istically (word?) exhausting beats of the tambourine and other hand instruments; and vocals supporting Michelle’s renditions of her older and newer recordings. This duo tore up the sounds as they intermixed songs with ridiculous and sometimes awkward humor. We were entertained for hours. malone1

Michelle comes to us from Atlanta, GA. I had a few small-talking moments with her by the pond and along…

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Red Bull, “It Gives You Wings!”

red bull6To look back at the trendy drink of Red Bull and Vodka (yes I know it’s simple), one must first look back at how this drink began. What is known as the “first energy drink” created, has paved the way for numerous products along the same line claiming to utilize “natural” and “health beneficial” ingredients. This trend in energy drinks has spawned a completely new era of beverages consumed by younger generations that used to be into “sodas” or “pops”, otherwise known as “soft drinks”. Along with creative marketing and carefully executed product links and placement throughout various sports of rising popularity, Red Bull has become synonymous with the aggressive adventure sporting industry that is also synonymous with today’s youth. red bull1

Other brands sharing the same popularity in energy drinks are companies like Monster and RockStar. All with very well executed marketing campaigns; these other products can be, and are often times consumed mixing with alcohol, usually Vodka. In reality, these energy drinks that contain ingredients like Taurine and B-Group vitamins, they also contain heavy amounts of Sucros and Glucose, but massive amounts of caffeine. It is said, and the company slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings”. (Red Bull.com, 2013) The trend of these energy-fueled drinks is what has become popular with the youth – it keeps them going all night! There was even a surge of energy drinks produced that contained a certain amount of alcohol right in the can.red bull2
When looking at beverage service and the trends in popular drinks that can be, and are served, in a restaurant or bar; or even possibly owning a night club with a bar and/or food service, it is important to understand your client. The younger client ordering this drink could tend to be more active in your establishment, possibly being hyper-social. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there are known dangers associated with the large amounts of consumption of energy drinks (i.e. Red Bull) let alone the dangers associated with the consumption of large amounts of alcohol. It has been said that giving caffeine to a drunk is like now having an awake drunk. Some patrons may think that’s fine. But studying the industry from a business standpoint, I feel this could not only endanger the person consuming the products, but potentially those around them.red bull7
Red Bull says this on their website, “Inspired by functional drinks from the Far East, Dietrich Mateschitz founded Red Bull in the mid 1980’s. He created the formula of Red Bull Energy Drink and developed the unique marketing concept of Red Bull. In 1987, on April 1, Red Bull Energy Drink was sold for the very first time in its home market Austria. This was not only the launch of a completely new product, in fact it was the birth of a totally new product category. Today Red Bull is available in more than 165 countries and more than 35 billion cans of Red Bull have been consumed so far”. (Red Bull.com, 2013)

Long Beach; California; Red Bull Flugtag; Òflying dayÓ  Rainbow Harbor; splash land; challenges; Challenging; brave; brainy design; build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 30-foot high flight deck in hopes of soaring into the wild blue yonderÉor ofHow can anybody really resist such antics as the Flugtag; Red Bull’s own adventure sport targeting crazy flying inventions that have wings . . . or sort of! Wikipedia explains it like this, ” is an event organized by Red Bull in which competitors attempt to fly home-made, size- and weight-limited, human-powered flying machines (max 10m/30 ft, 150 kg/330 lbs). The flying machines are usually launched off a pier about 30 feet (9.1 m) high into the sea (or suitably sized reservoir of water). Most competitors enter for the entertainment value, and the flying machines rarely fly at all. Flying_pub_flugtag_2003

Now that we have a history of Red Bull, we can now get somewhat close to the beginning of the trendy drink of today, the Red Bull and Vodka, also known as Vodka Red Bull. Although there again is no specific start date for the creation of this alcoholic beverage, it has to be somewhat around the time that Red Bull was first introduced in the USA . . . one only knows it would probably be from some college student needing to study for a final exam, yet want to get his or her drink on and still be able to get some work done while others are partying all around. Plus, once that student finally finishes the homework assignments for that evening, he or she is not playing catch-up with the rest of the dorm. red bull5The “Vodka Red Bull” is still a popular trend in the restaurant/ bar industry, because Red Bull remains popular amongst our youth. The younger generations demand to have a good time and stay with the party, so the trend is to have a Red Bull and keep flying, just add Vodka to stay with the party. Plus, staying youthful and remain with the youthful crowd of adventure sport enthusiasts, it’s very trendy to say you’re having a Vodka Red Bull. The demand will continue as long as the successful marketing campaigns of these companies continue to drive consumption of these energy drinks as a daily routine!

Works Cited
Cambrel, Keith. “Mixing Alcohol & Energy Drinks May Spell Disaster.” WWW2 Webserver. Potsdam, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2013. <http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/HealthIssues/1043185105.html&gt;.
“Red Bull the company – Who makes Red Bull? Red Bull Origin :: Energy Drink :: Red Bull.” Energy Drink – Red Bull Products & Company :: Energy Drink :: Red Bull. Redbull.com, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2013. <http://energydrink-us.redbull.com/company&gt;.

Motivated Chefs and Artisans needed

Still looking for motivated Chefs to help create events at no cost to you. We will give you the money to buy the product. All we ask is that YOU, “Chef” create and represent yourself of your accomplishments. There are continuing opportunities and we want to feature your abilities.

If you have a commissary kitchen and are wiling to strut your stuff, let me know. Events as early as next week, then again early in October. We’re also looking for wine and beer pairing/showcasing opportunities.

Let me know if you are interested and we will work our tails off to make things happen.



Hey Meester . . . , Don’t forget your Cannoli ! ! !

So I have to drop them a line because I now have a story.Mangia

Looking at the menu selection, I was eyeballing a New York Steak Sandwich being offered. Just as I was about to make up my mind, she took the sign down, indicating the sandwich was no longer available on the Mangia Mangia Mobile Italian Gourmet food truck today. I yelled, “I was just about to order that”. She yelled something back that idicated I probably needed to try something else. It may have been her telling me to order the middle finger sang-wich. So I looked at the menu a bit more. I then turned my back to the truck and went to look at the other truck.

I kinda became disinterested in the other food truck by Corvette Diner because they just didn’t seem to interest me. Nothing special stood out. Just when I was about to again turn back to Mangia, I just happened to notice that Corvette’s is a creation of Chef Deborah Scott of the Cohn Group. Heck, I like her, and I pretty much have liked everything from the Cohn Group. Whatever, I turned away anyhow.

As I again approached the Mangia Mangia truck I happened to notice french fries being flipped by hand in a bowl in the kitchen. I asked what kind of fries those were today. The response suprised me, “these are pesto fries”. SOLD!!! Just so happens I like pesto and I like fries. I had seen the Mangia Mangia truck many times here on base before, but since I’m Italian, I am very particular about any Italian food places I may try. I had known about Mangia’s Meatball Lolipops from a previous brief conversation I had with the owner at an earlier date, so now I had two reasons to try this truck. Fries and the meatballs.  I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity this time. mangia1So I ordered the Pesto Fries and the Steak Sandwich. “Uh, you’re kidding right”, the gals asks me. “Oh, sorry”, I say. “I’ll have the Steak Sandwich and the fries”, I again retort. I think at that time she was thinking middle finger again, but instead I got the “stink eye” . . . “fine, I’ll have the Meatball Lolipop and the steak sandwich . . . I mean the fries”, . . . I quickly clarified.  I seriously thought she was going to quickly squeeze her way through the ordering hole and choke me. Fun, and yes my story is a bit . . . , just a bit, fabricated. She was nice and so was the fry flipper. We were all enjoying ourselves at the government’s expense.

Now, being just a bit curious about how good these food trucks are, I just had to ask the question, “is there anything I just gotta try?” The young lady taking my order suggests, “you may want to try one of our cannoli”. Wow, now you’ve got my interest. I look at them through the refrigerator glass display casing. “Yeah, I’ll also have the cannoli”, I holler. I figure I would give them a try also along with the meatballs and the fries. Takin’ it all in. Way too much food for me, but I had to give ‘er the ol’ college try. So I tell her, “make sure you remind me to grab the cannoli from the fridge when I leave, if I forget.”

Hey, is this Marine giving it back?
Hey, is this Marine giving it back?

So my food is served and I have become enamored at the size of the portions and make it almost back to my car and some Marine comes running after me . . . “Hey Meester, that food truck is yelling at you”. I immediately realize that I had forgotten my cannoli; but the memorable staff on the spaghetti wagon remembered to remind me about my memory lapse (or . . . something like that).

So, I ended up sharing all of my food with my boss. The fries alone were a huge portion for the price. The cannoli were quite good, (most are) . . . but not great.

Give Mangia a try and say hello to the staff running that truck. They work hard for the Marines. They should; because the Marines work hard for them.

mangi3I’m gonna give them a fork full of twisted spaghetti. And when you visit their truck, you’ll understand why. (hint . . . look below the ordering counter and just above the iced drinks).