Sunday, December 18, 2011

The 12 Pubs of Christmas

My flatmate Susan is from Cork (in Ireland), where apparently a pub crawl called The 12 Pubs of Christmas is the norm in December. The title explains it all- one outing, 12 pubs, sometime around Christmas. We decided to organize a Melbourne version in our own neighborhood- apparently 34 is not to old to be a co-organizer of a pub crawl, for the record.
One of the perks of planning activities is that you get to make them convenient for you (pub #12 just happened to be located around the corner from our apartment, what a coincidence!). Plus, there are a lot of good bars and pubs and I haven't had a chance to check all that many of the out, so why not hit 12 in one day? A few weeks ago we did a reconnaissance mission on our bikes and mapped out a route containing 12 pubs. The date was set, the route and schedule arranged, the flyer designed, and we sent it around to our Melbourne friends, not really knowing how many people other that the two of us would partake.
The big day arrived and we headed out to Pub #1 with our props, a red felt cowboy Hat of Shame, which would be worn by anyone whom arrived late or was deemed to have committed a shameful act. We also happened upon a harlequin romance called Gentle Rouge, with a ridiculous cover and even more ridiculous (and very porny) conent. All latecomers had to read aloud a passage of Gentle Rouge (and there were some doozies, full of words like 'bountiful' and 'thrusted')and through the course of the evening, a few strangers got roped into dramatic readings as well.
One thing that came in handy is that Australian bars typically serve pots, a half-pint size of draft beer, which we drank instead of full pints. Even in my college days I don't think I could have handled 12 pints in a night.
The evening went along much more smoothly than expected- we had about 16 people at the max, and at least some of the group did make it to all 12 pubs, with much hilarity along the way. One bar turned out to be a classy restaurant (oops), one bar was completely sketchy with the worst entertainment I've ever seen (a man playing keyboard and singing along to recorded hits in a room covered in wallpaper and lava lamps...I can't even describe how bad it was), a digital scale provided much amusement to the scientists of the group, and pretty much everyone wanted to talk to us wherever we went (a trashy paperback is a great conversation piece).
I did post the pictures on Facebook and felt a little bit silly- "oh, that's a lovely photo of your baby in front of a Christmas tree. Here are some photos of my friends on a holiday pub crawl! Totally the same thing."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tortilla Española Failblog

If you've ever been to a tapas restaurant, you've probably had tortilla española, which is essentially the Spanish version of a potato omelet. Although the ingredient list is simple (eggs, potato, onion, oil, salt, and pepper), I've never actually tried to make one, mostly because I was intimated by the process, which typically involves flipping the semi-cooked tortilla halfway through cooking. I mean, that's just asking for a kitchen catastrophe. However, today I was craving some potato eggy goodness, so I found this recipe and decided to give it a shot. As directed, I cooked the potatoes and onions in oil, then added the egg mixture and cooked and rested. Then it came time for the big which point I learned that the bottom half of the tortilla was stuck to the pan and the top was a blobby mess. Well, that's what I get for buying my non-stick cookware at the Australian version of Walmart. I reassembled as best I could, but the result was more like scrambled egg with potato than the beautiful tortilla española I had envisioned. The side view wasn't as ghastly, and at least the blueberry muffins (clearly, a reasonable accompaniment Spanish food) I made while the the potatoes were cooking came out well.

Score: Tortilla española 1, Eileen 0.
Now on the Christmas wish list: a decent non-stick pan

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Sorry for the lack of posts- I've been meaning to take photos of the new hospital and post about it but haven't had a chance.
So in the meantime, check out the Top 25 Damn You Auto Correct entries of the year.

I do suspect some of these are fake, but even so, I still laughed so hard tears came out of my eyes.