July 19, 2006

Things That Are Okay

Just so you all don't think that this blog is only a place for me to vent my spleen at things I dislike (the Anaheim White House, medical billing offices, Tan Nguyen and his signs, the TSA, etc.), I've decided that I need to call out things that I do like from time to time. So here goes:

  • Favorite Wine Store: The Wine Exchange in Orange. I don't even need to preface this with favorite local wine store, because this is just about the best that you'll find. Unparalled selection, great prices, and tastings twice a week. If you want to know more about wine, look at their event calendar and pick one of their under-$20 tastings — a dependable choice is the "Features Presentation" that they hold at the beginning of each month. You'll get to taste a wide variety of interesting wines that beat the heck out of what you'd find on your supermarket shelf (and often those wines are cheaper than those supermarket bottles) — and after the tasting is over, you can go back out into the store and buy the bottles that you liked the most to take home with you. The staff is friendly and pretension-free; nobody will look down their nose at you here, and they'll tailor their recommendations/explanations to your experience level.

  • My Gym: For the past few months, I've been going to Koloseum Gym in Fullerton. If you look at their website, you'd think that it'd be full of hyper-muscular men and women looking at normally-physiqued people like me with disdain (... I crush you like bug! ...), but it's not. There are an abnormal number of extremely sculpted dudes there, but they mostly keep to themselves over in the free-weight area, lifting insane amounts or practicing their poses in front of mirrors. All of the other clients are pretty normal, and everybody lines up nicely over at the drinking fountain. They don't have a hydrotherapy room or whatever you might be looking for over at a Bally's or 24-Hour Fitness, but they've got more weight machines and stairclimbers and what-not than I'll ever need, and at ~$18/month, who cares? The place used to be a Gold's Gym before the owner took it independent; you can still see here and there where he hasn't gotten around to painting over the previous branding.

  • Our Neighborhood Japanese Restaurant: Osaka, in the shopping center at the corner of Lincoln and State College in Anaheim. You won't confuse their food for Great Cuisine, but it's a good, dependable, low-cost place to go for a sit-down meal on a weeknight. Every neighborhood needs someplace like this. (We had our favorite quick-Japanese place in San Jose — Bento Express — and we came back to find that it had closed. We took it as A Sign that we'd gotten the hell out of that neighborhood right on time.) Don't confuse Osaka for the dollar-Chinese-food place next door — Shelby went there once out of curiosity, and she turned out sorry that she did.

  • Cookbook of the Month: Weber's Real Grilling, by Jamie Purviance and Tim Turner. Actually, we've had this one for a while now; I bought it months ago after reading about it in Sunset magazine. It hasn't steered us wrong yet. Unlike some other cookbooks, whose recipes all focus on marinades that you have to prepare 5,000 hours before grilling, there are lots of knockout sauce-based recipes that only require the making of the sauce itself as prep time — great for those (like, um, me) who aren't into planning ahead very far. And despite the corporate-focused title, there are no sermons about how much better your grilling would be if you would just buy a Weber grill.

Posted by Kevin at July 19, 2006 08:10 AM
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