Bringing New Meaning to ‘Kitchen Nightmares’

I actually saw this story a couple of days ago thanks to Gawker, one of my main sources for all things weird and head-scratching. It came across my Twitter feed with some irresistible teaser. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but I do know that it included the words “dwarf,” “Gordon Ramsay,” “dead,” and “badger,” and that was enough for me. The full story in the Daily Telegraph was even more intriguing.

“Dwarf porn star Percy Foster who was also Gordon Ramsay’s double has been found dead in the most bizarre of circumstances.”

Ramsay’s “double”—that part just really stumps me. As far as I know, there isn’t a great need to a wee-Ramsay in a lot of porn movies. But then again, what the hell do I know? I just can’t imagine (nor do I want to imagine) a scenario where our esteemed chef is working in the porn industry, but then needs to step out of the frame and be “doubled” by a dwarf.

Also: there’s actually some dispute (apparently) over whether it’s proper to title the late Mr. Foster a “star.” More like, a novice, according to Gawker. Which leads me to wonder: at what point can one be labelled a “porn star?” Are there a certain number of movies or a particularly tricky move that raises one immediately to the esteemed porn heavens? Maybe I should Google that……Anyway, back to our report:

“Percy Foster’s 107 centimetre (3’6″) body was discovered partially eaten in a badger’s den in Wales.”

Hmmm, he doesn't seem that scary, sitting in his little house.

EWWWWWWWW. Partially eaten? How much is “partially?” Is it weird that I’m wondering which part? It is. It’s weird. Right? I mean, does a badger start with the toes and work its way up? Or does it eat your face!?! Blech. I don’t want to think about this anymore. Wait, one last question on this part–is this like one of those honey badgers? Y’all already know about the honey badger right? You’ve seen the Youtube video, right? Oh come on! Everyone’s seen it. Don’t make me elaborate. Moving on:

“The report says the 35-year-old was found, deep in an underground chamber by Ministry of Agriculture experts ahead of a planned badger-gassing program’.”

What’s that you say? A ‘badger-gassing program?’ Is this a thing? Is it annual? Is it because they are so obviously keen on human flesh and therefore a danger to small people like, children?? And how on earth does the badger pull someone, even a small someone, “deep in an underground chamber?” Are these things freakishly strong? I’m actually kinda scared now. And looking at Petunia with a bit more respect, I must say.

Come into my den and I will eat your face off. I even have glowing eyes, I'm so scary.

“Investigators have not ruled out the possibility of suicide, according to the report.

Adult film producer Dexter Yamunkeh said ‘Percy was a little guy with big problems… He was doing well but was under pressure like everyone else in this god damn industry.’”

Really? Suicide? Is there not an easier way to go about killing oneself? I can think of several ways and I’m not the least bit suicidal. It’s honestly about the most obscure way I can think of. And, Dexter, can I call you Dexter? You seem really (and understandably) quite upset with this job. You might want to consider a career change.

“In a recent interview Foster, star of  X-rated movie Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, It’s Up Your Arse We Go,  spoke of his excitement about his growing career as Ramsay’s double.”

First off, awesome movie title. I feel like I already know what to expect with this title. There’s no real confusion or mystery – clear as a bell. Second, again with the whole “growing career” thing. Please, please, please enlighten me about how this is a career.

‘Porn lookalikes get more money than normal actors. Dwarf lookalikes are as rare as hen’s teeth and so can command top dollar. I’ve already ordered a new BMW and a diamond-encrusted Soda Stream,’ he said.”

Alright. I guess I have to accept his explanation. I mean, that’s not what I would look for in a porn, if I were in the market for one. Which I most vehemently am not.

Also, I’m more than a little sad that this little dude isn’t going to get a chance to enjoy his BMW (Would that be a small car or a normal-sized one, by the way? How does that work?) and “diamond-encrusted Soda Stream,” which apparently turns normal water into sparkling. OK, and by the way, does this sound like a man about to commit suicide? He was actually making plans and enjoying his money.

All told, I’m very suspicious of this whole suicide thing. I suspect, per usual since I’m a paranoid freak, foul play. I think someone took out the poor little fellow. Someone should track down those other dwarves from “Hi-Ho Hi-Ho” and see if their stories check out. Or that angry adult film producer. Might be a case of jealousy. Or, and I hate to point fingers here (actually, finger-pointing is one of my favourite hobbies), but maybe we should all be taking a look at Mr. Ramsay himself! Maybe he doesn’t want some dwarf porno star (allegedly) making money off his likeness. AND, he has a well-documented temper (hello? “Hell’s Kitchen?”) 

Or maybe he just tripped and fell in the hold and the badger was startled and attacked. Whatever the case may be, I am now adding badgers to my list of animals I am going to do my best to not piss off. Which is basically all animals.

That badger is freaking scaring me! No, really, he is! Just look at those teeth. Yikes.

Lies I’m Not Believing: Michaele Salahi Kidnapping

 Hold on to your fake Redskins cheerleader pom-poms. Everyone’s favorite Real Housewife of DC and one half of the White House state dinner crashing duo has left her husband, I mean, been kidnapped, according to her husband. (I love that he went to TMZ with this).

  “Real Housewives of D.C.” star Tareq Salahi believes his wife Michaele Salahi was abducted in Virginia yesterday … but he’s afraid the cops aren’t taking the situation seriously … TMZ has learned.

TMZ just spoke with Tareq … who tells us he last saw Michaele at their home around 11 AM ET yesterday … right before he left to go to their winery.  Tareq says Michaele told him she was going to get her hair done — but she never went to the appointment … and she’s been missing ever since.

Tareq claims he got a call from Michaele late last night … from an unfamiliar Oregon cell phone number… and she told him she was going to her mother’s house, located minutes away from the Salahi home. 

Tareq says he was suspicious — so he called Michaele’s mother … who told him she hadn’t spoken with Michaele and was unaware of her plans.  That’s when Tareq — fearing Michaele had been abducted — called the Warren County Sheriff’s Dept. for help.

But Tareq claims deputies told him she had already called them — informing them she was OK and just dealing with some “family issues.”

Tareq tells TMZ … he believes Michaele had been FORCED to make the phone calls by her abductor … and believes she is in very real danger … especially because the Salahis have received death threats in the past.

Tareq says he’s considering going to other law enforcement for help because he feels the Warren County Sheriffs are not taking proper action. A rep for the WCSD tells TMZ cops are not releasing any info about the situation at this time.

Tareq has issued a statement saying, “We are reaching to the public pleaing [sic] desperately for your help.

Listen here, Tareq. You seem like a sorta nice guy (er, whatever). What I mean to say is that you seem to genuinely care about this woman. Alas, I don’t think the feelings are returned, my little polo-playing friend. It’s blatantly obvious to all of us that she’s left your broke ass. Probably for some dude from Oregon, by the looks of it. Missy, er Michaele or whatever, has decided that poor doesn’t look good on her, thanks so much, but peace out. I’m sorry. I know this must seem very harsh to you. Better to accept it and move on.  

Conversely, you can continue to deny your abandonment and cling to the kidnapping theory. If you choose this option, I’ve provided you with my top 10 reasons why Michaele Salahi might have been “kidnapped,” as you say.

1)      Judges are such meanies: stalling this Saturday’s bankruptcy auction. Hmmm, seems there’s an auction of items from the Salahi’s Oasis Vineyards scheduled for this very Saturday, including some 8,000 bottles of wine, trucks, and even corks! I’m not sure if a kidnapping will stall a bankruptcy auction. Creditors gotta get paid, yo.

2)      To get some free publicity for the Oasis Winery super-awesome comeback. Despite this very pertinent deadline and the sell-off of all their crap, the kray-kray Salahis were actually planning quite an ambitious a comeback. They were advertising the reopening of the winery on September 24 with a gala event called “A Hollywood Oasis.”

3)      To make that big bully Montel Williams totally sorry. Unfortunately, the forever-embroiled Salahis again drew fire with their planned comeback, this time from Montel Williams, of all people. Montel Williams has threatened to sue them because they used his name as one of the ‘celebrities’ who would be at the reopening of their Oasis Winery. They also listed his foundation as one of the event’s supporters.

4)      To build buzz for Michaele’s new hot dance single. Maybe Michaele was nervous about singing her new single, “Bump It” at the winery re-launch event.

 (There is just so much awesomeness in this video. If you click on no other link, just click on this one. Wait till you get to around the two minute mark where her thin voice starts to waiver.)

Sample lyrics:

“Rhythm is the bass that will make the crowd jump.

“Will someone please hurry up and dance with me. Cause I’m alone on the dance floor.”

“Like I’m so hot and you’re so not.”

And my favorite line:

“Release me from the cage, I belong on center stage. Animal.”

5)      To make FamousDC feel bad for not paying Michaele for that event she wasn’t actually invited to. Maybe they couldn’t get invited to another FamousDC event after getting kicked out of the last one.

6)      Because kidnapping is easier than learning how to dance. The Salahis were this close to finalizing a deal to appear on Dancing with the Stars AUSTRALIA . Maybe that deal fell through?

7)      Rejection from Bravo God Andy Cohen. He said hell-to-the-nah to their offer to move to Beverly Hills and appear on the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

8)      $300 seems like a lot for some crappy wine. Nevertheless, the Salahis ruined this poor girl’s graduation party last month, and stole her $300.

9)      To get back on Celebrity Rehab – wait, is Stockholm Syndrome an addiction? Maybe Michaele’s still pissed she got kicked off of Celebrity Rehab. For not having an actual addiction. “Hmmm, note to self: gotta get one of those addiction things to get on TV. Love, Michaele”

10)  For attention. No, that can’t be right.

UPDATE: Thanks to the fine reporters at TMZ, this post is already obsolete. (Seriously guys, you couldn’t wait?) While searching for more photos, I found out that Michaele did in fact run off with another dude. A guitarist from Journey. There’s a joke in there, somewhere, about Journey-ing far away from her husband, or really living up to that “Don’t Stop Believing” sentiment, but whatevs. End of story. I hope.

Missing Out on the Missoni Madness

Hey! Did you hear the super big exciting news rocking the retail world today? Target started pimping out a new line of Missoni products today!!! That’s right – the super obnoxious zigzag knit that you probably DON’T remember from the 1970s is back! And at Target!

“Starting September 13 and only through October 22 will you find the 400 piece collection filled with Missoni’s signature zigzag prints and patterns at Target stores and at Target online.

Missoni for Target brings a rich heritage of signature prints and patterns to apparel and accessories for women, men, girls and baby, as well as home furnishings.”

And women across this country lost their ever-loving minds.

No, please no.


People (and by people, I mean women) started lining up hours before the stores opened, according to some reports. Poor, time-constrained professional women brought the Target website down trying to buy zigzags online. Merchandise was gone in minutes.

Seemingly-normal women took to Twitter to harass Target over their downed site or to provide minute-by-minute updates on the re-stocking patterns of area Target stores. Here’s a few typical tweets from this morning:

“RT (name of idiot “fashionista” redacted): Ooo—looks like they’re unpacking a bunch of Missoni goodies at the Suitland, MD @Target:

Things are looking up in MD! Greenbelt @Target will be putting Missoni shoes, shower curtains, and plates on the floor in the next hour.

I was at the alexandria target since 5am!! I got most of my musthaves online at 5:30. I was following by minute on twitter”

According to my friends over at Cardigans and Couture, a woman at a Boston, MA Target was so excited she left her baby in the car. Let’s let that sink in for a minute. A woman, highly desirous of some zigzag knit scarf or other hideousness, forgot she even had a child. In her car. In a parking lot. A concerned citizen reported the abandoned, locked-up child to Target customer service and an Amber Alert for the errant parent went out over the stores loudspeaker. I wonder if that stupid woman dropped her scarf and went to find her child or waited until after she’d paid her $24.99.

Now listen, I love me some Tar-jay Boutique just as much as the next girl, I really do. But seriously? Y’all do know this isn’t real-straight-off-the-runway, one-month’s-rent price tag Missoni, right? I mean, you probably won’t be seeing Rachel Zoe using this stuff on photo shoots with Demi Moore and giraffes or anything (although Zoe and Moore are allegedly big Missoni fans – but, like, the real stuff. Not the Target swag).

As you may have gathered, I’m not a big fan of the Missoni knits. I remember them from the 1970s. I’m pretty sure my mom had a whole closetful of earth-toned, knock-off Missoni-wannabe sweaters, cardigans, sweater skirts, etc, etc. that she would wear layered under some suede, fringed vest. Blech. I wish I still had that crap lying around – I bet I could sell it on eBay right now, claiming it was from Target, and make a fortune.

Next up on the retro radar: Cosby sweaters. Oh wait. That's Missoni too.

Also: I mean, talk about a one trick pony. Someone at Missoni back in the day figured out how to knit a zigzag and you build a whole empire around it? On the one hand, I say “bravo to you,” Missoni, for making us all think that you did something most grandmothers who knit can do. Your jeuvos are grande.

But on the other hand, would it kill Missoni to be a bit more diverse? Maybe punch it up with say, oh, I don’t know, how about a nice, well-done solid color knit? But nooooo, you can’t do that, can you Missoni? And now, all fall and winter, we’re going to be gagging from all the Target-acquired Missoni clogging up the DC streets. Great. Thanks. 

Old people. Rocking Target Missoni. Look how happy they are with their bargain! Mo'money = mo'Fixodent.

To be fair, something I rarely strive for, there are a few cute things. I saw some thin headbands I thought were kinda fun. And there are a few houseware items I wouldn’t throw out, including some groovy vases.

Oh crap – that 70s vibe is already sinking in. Ugh. Guess I better break out the rust-colored, corduroy bell bottoms.

Hotel Crashing: The W Austin

Aaaannnnd, I’m back! Did you miss me? I would say I missed blogging, but that’s kind of a lie. OK, let’s just say I did miss blogging (there was plenty of brag-worthy stuff to share), but I drowned my sorrows in copious amounts of barbecue, queso, and chicken fried steak.

That’s right. There are men chopping brisket behind me.

But, my absolute favorite pain-numbing agent while I was torn away from my blog was actually a hotel.

See, unlike my little friends who just travelled on North Korea’s first cruise ship, XFE and I were ensconced in luxury at the W Hotel in Austin. And man, was it swanky. Total rock star treatment for three great nights.

The W Austin is located in the new and trendy 2nd Street district, which meant plenty of shops and eating within walking distance. We ate at two nearby places including the newly-opened and very good pizza and wine place, Coal Vines (I had an amazingly awesome pizza with ricotta and tomatoes when I arrived in Austin late Thursday night, well after regular dinner time) and the newest outpost of hipster hangout Jo’s coffeeshop (I can only vouch for the chorizo breakfast tacos – decent, not great).

XFE also ate at Lambert’s (without me that Thursday night), but was disappointed. He’s become quite the brisket snob, and thought that while the crust on Lambert’s brisket was good, there wasn’t enough smoke on the meat. In case you were curious.

But back to the W. Thanks to XFE and his platinum Starwood status, we got upgraded to a “cool corner” suite, which has three rooms – a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom with large Jacuzzi tub, separate shower stall and enclosed toilet.

Cool corner suite at the W Hotel Austin

Design wise, everything had a very cool Western-bohemian aesthetic, with a few nice Austin music touches throughout. There were lots of tufted leather ottomans with oversized hammered silver trays on top of them, tastefully embroidered curtains, and colorful accent pillows on the large gray velvet sectional in the living room. The artwork on the wall reflected the fact that Austin City Limits has a new studio on the property, with pictures of musicians on the walls. The 52-inch TV in the living room was ridiculous.

Cool corner suite at the W Hotel Austin

But perhaps the best part of the corner room was the views. Our corner suite looked out over the rapidly changing downtown landscape and nearby Town Lake. Oh, and that view? It was also available from the Jacuzzi tub.

Cool corner suite at the W Hotel Austin

Cool corner suite at the W Hotel Austin

The toiletries, as with all the W’s we’ve stayed at were Bliss products. Nice extra amenities I hadn’t seen before included individually-wrapped loofah sponges and eye-makeup remover. The bathroom vanity had a mirror with a cool white design etched along the edges that I would totally have stolen if it wasn’t so large. Also, the silvery textured wallpaper was super glamorous. My only quibble with the bathroom was that they just had a regular old shower head in the glass shower. I was expecting one of those rain shower thingies. It just seemed odd to go standard when everything else had been bumped up.

View from the cool corner suite at the W Hotel Austin
View from the cool corner suite at the W Hotel Austin

We did use the gym one day – it was huge and very nice. Everything you could possibly need and then some. I did wish the treadmills had fans on them, though. The large windows let in a lot of sunlight and I got pretty sweaty, but that’s par for the course with me.

Since we’ve both been to Austin a few times now (and are returning again in October), we spent most of our down time at the pool, instead of running around town. The pool was unbelievable. Just gorgeous. We had it pretty much all to ourselves on Friday, but it was definitely crowded on Saturday. Lots of beautiful people the likes of which I never encountered in my seven years of living in Austin. The pool area also had great waitresses like Dawn who were willing to bring you nice tall mojitoes that went down pretty smooth in the 100-degree heat (but it’s a dry heat!). The security guy checking the list at the pool entrance is probably pretty necessary (I bet a lot of interlopers try to get in there), but the neon green wristbands seemed a bit much. Like we were going to the club or something.

Pool at the W Hotel Austin
Pool at the W Hotel Austin

Speaking of clubs, the downstairs bar areas were jammed packed while we were there. Again, with the types of people I’ve never seen in Austin. It looked like a “Most Eligible Dallas” in that place. We stopped by the one of the three bar-type areas that made up “The Living Room” each night, but only for one drink. It was pretty dark and crowded and service was (understandably) hit or miss.

With so many great restaurants in Austin, we did not eat at the W’s restaurant, Trace, but a quick look at the menu definitely has my curiosity piqued.

Overall, the entire staff from valets to check-in managers was great, and efficient. I look forward to our next stay at the W for the Texas Monthly BBQ Festival. I have a feeling that after all the eating we’ll be doing, we’ll need that extra large oversized bathtub.



Do Not Get in a Hot Tub With a Weatherman Carrying Dog Collars

Some crime stories are just so mysterious and bizarre, I cannot let them pass without comment.

Take this story for example (Major, major props to the New York Post, by the way). In it, our hero, a rosy-cheeked young weatherman in nice, rural Arkansas is awoken after a fun, all-American Labor Day weekend in a hot tub with a dead naked man next to him.

Well, naked that is, except for a dog collar. Because that’s of course, what you wear in a hot tub.

"Nope, nothing weird here. Just a few dudes in a hot tub. Enjoying Labor Day."

The lead on the NYPost story is pretty funny, in only the way that a weird and unexplained death of a young person can be:

“An Arkansas weatherman didn’t predict he would wake up in a hot tub with a naked dead man, but that’s exactly what police say happened.”

See what they did there? Predict? Like the weather. I think it would have been better if they had said “An Arkansas weatherman didn’t forecast he would wake up…” But that’s just me.

“The mystery began Monday night, when KARK 4 News meteorologist Brett Cummins arrived at the home of John Barbour around 11 p.m., the report stated. The 33-year-old weatherman brought Williams, 24, with him. Barbour said he did not know the doomed man.”

“They then began to drink and use illegal narcotics,” an investigator said Barbour told him. “Mr. Barbour stated he was not sure of the drugs that they were using but that they were snorting them.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop the clock. First, the weatherman’s name is Brett Cummins? OK, moving on. I don’t like this Barbour dude one bit. He seems a bit sketch to me. He just lets people come to his house, use unknown drugs right in front of him for a couple of HOURS,  and use his hot tub for who knows what, and he doesn’t even bat an eye. Sus. Pect.

“About two hours later, Cummins and Williams went into the Jacuzzi to have a drink, and Barbour later joined them, police said. Shortly afterwards, Barbour said he left the two and went into the living room, where he fell asleep on the couch.”

Uh-huh. Sure he did. That dog don’t hunt. I’m not buying it, Barbour. Not buying it at all.

“Barbour told police he awoke about 8 a.m. Tuesday and could hear Cummins snoring in the hot tub, the report said. He proceeded to gather glasses in the bathroom and wake up Cummins before realizing Williams was dead.”

Yikes. That all sounds very dangerous. Glasses near the hot tub? Someone could get seriously hurt. Oh wait.

“Dexter’s head was lying behind Brett’s left shoulder,” Barbour told police, according to the report. “After Brett awoke they discovered that Dexter was not conscious and his face was a different color.”

Eeeeewwwww! A different color? Like, dead color? And the weatherman was cradling a dead head in the nook of his neck all night?? In a tub full of water??

“The meteorologist was horrified, the report indicated.”

I’ll say! I don’t need a qualifying, “the report indicated,” to tell me that. That’s just a fact that doesn’t really need to be substantiated, NYPost.

“Brett screamed and became ill and left the bathroom and vomited on the carpet in the living room,” Barbour told police, according to the report. The weatherman then left the house, but insisted he would return. “Cummins did return to the residence and gave a statement to investigators,” according to the report. No details of what he said have been released.

OK, first, rude! I bet that Barbour dude was pissed when the weatherman vommed all over his carpet and then took off like that. No wonder Barbour is totally throwing him under the bus for this whole dead guy thing. He’s probably annoyed that he was left to clean up this mess and deal with the cops.

“When police arrived they observed Williams….with a chain around his neck,’ according to the report. “The chain was silver in color and consistent with what I believed to be a dog collar.”

As opposed to what other types of collars, pray tell? And when and under what circumstances did this whole dog collar thing enter the picture, I wonder?

“An autopsy is underway to determine what killed Williams, but so far no charges have been filed in his death.”

KARK 4 News stated online Tuesday that “Brett will not be on the air as he is mourning the loss of his friend.”

Wow. Just wow. That is one crazy night. Definitely makes my weekend look very tame indeed.

"Anybody seen my dog collar?"

And according to this story, weathermen get in trouble for weird stuff a lot – like filing false police reports, lewd behavior in public, drunk driving, stalking and harassing! Yep, weathermen are a creepy lot. That’s not just something they made up for the movies. 

"Loud noises!"

Wonder what makes them snap? Is it because they’re in front of a green screen all day, imagining where states are supposed to be?

10 (or so) Questions for My Favorite Reality TV Shows

Holy jobs agenda, y’all, work has been kray-kray the last two days. I’m leaving tomorrow for Austin to attend a wedding on Saturday. I am beyond excited to be returning to God’s Country, even if it’s apparently on fire. I’ve lived through natural disasters before. This better not impact my barbecue and margarita consumption, though.

But the thing about going out of town is you have to do a lot of ass covering to get the hell out of work. And while my ass is not very substantial (ok, almost non-existent), I still have a lot of covering to do. (Speaking of booties: it looks like they have identified the infamous NoVa Butt Slasher! But still no arrest. WTF?? You have his name and car details. What the what??)

By the way, blogging may be a bit sporadic the next couple of days (no Totally Pretentious Food Truck Review), but you should totally read all my other posts in the meantime. And if you’ve already read them once, read them again. Although, I’m pretty sure there might be a Food Porn or two.

Also: seriously, reread yesterday’s booger post. My pictures were jacked by my computer, but I’ve fixed them. Honestly, you wanted to see the photographic evidence, didn’t you??

All this running around has got me feeling nostalgic for this past weekend. My personal-chef-for-life XFE and I had a delightful Labor Day weekend full of good eating (highlights included a seafood boil), celebrity magazine reading (including a riveting edition of a magazine I don’t usually buy, Star), napping (for me and Petunia at least), and catching up on a few of my favorite reality TV shows.

But as much as I love these shows and their all-inclusive access into the lives of mundane individuals with personality problems, sometimes, I’m left wanting a bit more background information. So, I’ve compiled a list of burning questions for my favorite reality show characters.

(1) Abbie Lee from Dance Moms – Can you expand (PUN INTENDED) on your former dance career? Specifically, how did you gain soooo much weight? It’s obvious from the way you hound on your students that you are quite concerned with appearances, so perhaps you can clear up this little mystery for us.

(2) Courtney from Most Eligible Dallas – Girl, I love you. I really do. You tell it like it is, which is a character flaw I can totally relate to. And, you like your wine, which I also can appreciate. But you have got to get down off that high horse sweetie! And, more annoyingly, please explain to me how Neill having a child is like a “slap in the face” to you? Get your own damn child! Although, seeing you being all awkward around Major and given your love of the wine, perhaps you should just go ahead and hold off a little bit longer on that life plan. Also: Can you please tell Drew to stop smoking that electronic cigarette? It’s bad. Really, really bad.

“Drew, I need to talk to you about a very serious fake cigarette matter.”

(3) Bonnie from Big Rich Texas – Please tell me where you got your PhD. Just because you’ve BEEN to a plastic surgeon multiple times does not make you a doctor. By that logic, I’d have a PhD in celebrity gossip. By the way, when this does become available, I think I should get an honorary degree. According to Bonnie, she has a PhD in Physiology, a Masters in Microbiology and a BS in Pre-Medicine. I challenge you, Bonnie, to even spell ‘physiology.’ No peeking.


"What do you mean you can't inject me with smart?"


(4) Dave Hester from Storage Wars – How scared were you when your brother showed up at one of the storage auctions being filmed for the show? And producers, why haven’t you further exploited that crap?!? I thought for sure we’d have a dysfunctional family drama running through the season. You guys are nothing but a bunch of teases! Also: Can you ask Darrell Sheets if he owns any shirts with sleeves?

(5) Will Hayden from Sons of Guns – When are y’all going to run out of crazy hybrid gun ideas? I can’t think of any other combinations you can possibly pursue. And do all these guns really sell? Is there a huge need for a shotgun with a taser attached? It actually looked kinda awkward to operate. And which gun are you going to use on that shop dude when he finally hooks up with your daughter, Stephanie? Because they are building that scenario up like crazy.

(6) Bert on Project Runway – Listen, I have a lot of sympathy for the fact that your husband died of AIDS and you turned to alcohol to recover. I’m proud of you for fighting your way out of addiction. But why are you so full of piss and vinegar? You seem like you’re capable of being nice, but you just choose to be crotchety and argumentative. Do you need a hug? Also: Can you please tell the producers that 90 minutes for this show is just far, far too long? Someone inevitably falls asleep while watching this and we’re on the verge of deleting it from our DVR lineup forever.


"I just want to be alone with my blanky and my thoughts."


(7) Jeff Lewis from Flipping Out (BTW: We have the season finale on the DVR so this may be out of date already) – Can you really not see that Gage is evil incarnate? He’s a scythe running through your office, mowing down anyone who preceded him. I fear for Zoila and Jett. I really do. Although, watching him take care of Casey after her back surgery was quite touching. But mark my words, more heads will roll if Gage has his way. He wants you totally reliant upon him.


"He will be mine and only mine!"


(8) Lindsay Jackson from Toddlers and Tiaras – I actually don’t watch this show, but a coworker told me about this little stop at dysfunction junction in the kitchen at work this morning. Did you really stuff your four-year-old-daughter’s shirt for a Dolly Parton skit? Seriously?? What the what?? I’m not exactly gearing up to be mother of the year or anything, but even I know that’s wrong. And super creepy.

(9) Paul Sr. on American Chopper – Do you really think you’re ever going to rebuild a relationship with your son when you keep trash talking him all the damn time? You look like an ass, and make him look better and better the more you open your trap.

(10) Cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey – It’s not a question so much as a request: just stop having parties, please. People keep getting in fights and getting hurt. When people fall on their face on a stone floor, chip a tooth and then keep on drinking wine, something’s not right. And that whole trip to the Catskills earlier this season still gives me the “Deliverance” chills. And all this back and forth on slights and disrespect is snoring. None of you are exactly Miss Manners. Please, just stop entertaining. 

Honestly, she should be shot for those pajamas.

I have to go now. Rachel Zoe is on and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on after that. I don’t know when I’m going to have time to eat or pack.


That Reminds Me…When is Discovery Channel’s ‘Gold Rush’ Coming Back?

Now that we’ve covered the fact that you should not poop in somebody’s yard, can we talk about in-the-bathroom etiquette? Please? Just for a second?
What? Doesn't everyone have a royal couple in the throne room?

Someone at my workplace fancies themselves an Alaskan prospector because they like to go digging for golden nuggets. They like to explore the caves, as it were. They like to manually extract mucus from their nasal cavities, so to speak (well, not really “so to speak,” more like, “exactly to speak”).

And they like to show off their treasures by sticking them on the walls of the bathroom stall

Clinging to the grout.

Bear in mind, this is (ostensibly) a WOMAN doing this, since I do (almost) exclusively use the ladies powder room (*Disclaimer: Unless I’m in a club and have had multiple beers and the girl’s line is just too damn long and no one really seems to be using the men’s room at all and I’ll only be a second, so it’s really not a big deal, right? Or, if I’m tubing. Then I pee with nature. Quite happily, I might add).

Anyway, back to the Madame Booger-Sharer. It has happened on multiple occasions, so we can’t blame it on a visiting guest. Other co-workers and I have talked about it on previous occasions, speculating on who this disgusting individual is, assuring each other it was no one in our immediate group.

Stage 4 clinger.

Still, a Booger Digger dwells amongst us. Probably wearing normal workday clothes, from Ann Taylor or something, and eating normal lunchtime foods like a Lean Cuisine heated in the microwave oven. I bet this person goes directly from putting her chicken alfredo in the microwave to walking down the hall to the bathroom. (shudder).

The last time I encountered the little crusties clinging to the grout (just last week,) I had my camera with me. You know, so I would have evidence for when I blogged about it. BEHOLD.

That’s right. I JUST DID THAT. (Number of times the automatic toilet flusher went off while I was documenting this latest transgression: 5.)

But while we are on the subject, there are a couple of other pet peeves I’d like to bring up (of course, because when do I ever stop at just one thing?).

Ladies who use toilet seat covers: You’re obviously a lady of discriminating taste, concerned about hygiene. You would never dream of allowing your thighs to touch a toilet seat that has been used by other thighs. So why, oh why, do you leave your used toilet seat covers clinging helplessly to the seat when you are done? There is it, gently lifting with every breeze, until some poor hapless pisser such as myself, is confronted and confounded by it. The last thing I want to do when going into the bathroom is to gingerly pick up your used toilet seat cover and toss it into the bowl. This leads to some awkward kick-the-paper game that’s difficult to accomplish and dangerous in a small toilet stall.

Stop mocking me toilet seat cover.

Also: Do you think that after grooming yourself, brushing your hair and cleaning the hair out of said brush, you could throw the accumulated hair away? I know it must give you much satisfaction to see it clump up at the bottom of toilet bowl, like a dark spider ready to startle the next hapless victim who comes in to tinkle. But it’s quite startling. And, really, disgusting.

Those seem to be the main transgressions. I want to assure you, Dear Reader, that I do work at a very nice place with lots of well-paid and seemingly normal people. Has anyone else encountered any of these situations?

I’m actually thinking about taking the pictures of the Bathroom Booger Collection and making a “Lost” poster to post throughout our floor at work. “Lost: golden nuggets. Last seen: women’s bathroom on September 2. Friendly, comes to name ‘goldie.’ Please return to owner for reward.”

Maybe I should just work from home.

Food Porn: Palladio at Barboursville Vineyards

My opposite-sex-partner-for-life XFE and I don’t really celebrate an anniversary per se. We met, we started dating, but I never really remember exactly when, and I don’t know which date we should commemorate: when we met, or when we had our first date, or when we had our first kiss? I know we met in October, fairly close to Halloween. But we’re not a stickler for the “love” holidays – we don’t really do Valentine’s Day, or even New Year’s Eve (which, to me at least, seems like a “couples” kinda holiday as well), and we don’t do anniversaries.

What we do every year, however, is celebrate Fall Fun Day. It’s in honor of one of our first dates, which was a drive out to a couple of Virginia wineries. Again, I don’t remember the exact date or the names of the wineries we visited that particular year, but I do remember it was a beautiful fall day and my stomach was full of butterflies I was so excited to be sitting next to this amazing person on our way out to a day of who-knows-what.

So we replicate that day every year. Usually in the fall. But this year, since our fall is getting pretty busy, we kinda did Fall Fun Day a bit early. And, we focused on just one place instead of the 3-4 we usually go to.

We first went to Barboursville Vineyards in January on our way to an amazing restaurant in Chilhowie, Virginia, which turns out, is a hell of a long way from DC. So we broke up the trip and stayed a night in Charlottesville. And we went to a few wineries along the way.

Barboursville blew us away. It’s a gorgeous setting, but lots of wineries have that. Since it was January and there was a ton of snow on the ground, we were pretty much the only folks in the place which meant we got a lot of individual attention. And the tastings were very generous. There must have been about 15 wines and the tasting price was only $5. Most importantly, the wines were amazing. We bought a ton.

And, we got the low down on their Italian owners, Zonin Wines. That lead to a visit to the Zonin headquarters and museum when we went to northern Italy this past March, and for me at least, it was one of the highlights of the trip. We were treated like rock stars by the folks at Zonin. So we definitely have a soft spot for Barboursville at this point.

This trip to Barboursville was a bit different because we were going for a tasting (which was much more crowded and less personal), sure, but we were also going for lunch at their restaurant, Palladio. We had heard great things about the restaurant, but on our first visit, we were still full from an earlier meal, so we had to skip it. This time, we made sure we’d be hungry for our 12:30 lunch reservation for a four course tasting menu and wine flight.

The dining room at Palladio is a bit old fashioned, not much to look at. The service was great, very friendly and attentive without being overbearing or pretentious. The chef, Melissa Close Hart, has been named one of the 25 best chefs in the mid-Atlantic region by the James Beard Foundation, so we had pretty high expectations and were not disappointed.

The wine flight was 3 of Barboursville’s Reserve wines – Nebbiolo 2008, Cabernet Franc 2008 and Octagon 2006, which the winery is justifiably famous for. This is a wine that was served at the president’s inauguration lunch. And it is really, really good.


XFE started with a house-made charcuterie plate that had duck prosciutto, bresaola with an olive tapenade, and a house-made salami with cheese. I started with a warm goat cheese flan with a beet puree and golden beets. I go back and forth on beets – sometimes they’re just too earthy for my taste. Both starters were very good, the flan was just the right texture, the duck prosciutto was very gamey but delicious.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the next course, XFE had gnocchi with peaches, speck, a bourbon reduction and basil. It the dish I had my eye on, but considering our main course choices (he went with veal and I had fish), it made the most sense that he take the lighter second course. I went big and heavy with a risotto with braised rabbit, rosemary, tomatoes, and cipollini onions. It was amazing. Both dishes were great and we ended up swapping plates a number of times.


As I said, XFE had the veal chop for his main and it was awesome. It came with fingerling potatoes, Swiss chard, mushrooms and most awesome of all – house-made bacon lardons. That’s big chunks of smoky delicious bacon for those uninitiated into this bacon greatness. My fish dish was lovely, if not quite the showstopper of XFE’s veal. I had cobia and polenta. I’d never heard of cobia, but it was great. It’s a firm flesh white fish, very buttery. It stood up well to the herbed polenta (perfect crispy nuttiness) and the pickled fennel salad, which I was less in love with. I just don’t eat fennel enough to know if it was great or not.


For dessert, XFE was again the winner with his trio of chocolate a warm tart with dark chocolate sauce, white and chocolate Bavarese (basically, semi-soft discs) with a raspberry sauce and chocolate-almond “salami” that was pretty fun and very delicious. My tiramisu was very good, but it’s hard to beat chocolate-almond salami!


It was a great meal, very pleasurable, no real misses. The pacing was perfect, the service smooth. The price was fantastic – four-course lunch was $52. We upgraded to the reserve wine flight for another $20.

Which left us plenty of money to buy a case of Barboursville’s wine, including an entirely unnecessary magnum of Octagon 2005. Petunia would have preferred a case of Whisker Lickins.

“What do you mean you didn’t bring me anything? Now you’re gonna get the bitchface!”

Totally Pretentious Food Truck Review: Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

One of the forefathers of the food cart revolution here in DC, the Fojol Brothers began serving their unique travelling culinary carnival to hungry masses during the Obama inauguration. Pure genius. I don’t know if you remember the inauguration, but it was freezing cold. And crowded. And people needed to eat. So good on the Brothers for being innovators.

Also: The Fojol Brothers and they’re truck are fun. Delightful even. They wear bright and colorful costumes, fake mustaches. They play music and put quilts out in the park on which they invite patrons to sit and eat their lunch.

I partook of the Fojol Brothers repast once last summer. I remembered two things: the service was pitifully slow and the food was quite messy. They improved on one area, but alas, not the other.

On the service, I’m relieved to see they’ve gotten their act together. I got there at 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. It was a fine, if sunny day, and I picked Fojol’s because the line was in the shade. There. I said it. It wasn’t because I wanted to give them another chance at impressing me. It was because my comfort had beaten out my stomach.

Despite the presence of a fairly substantial line, Fojol’s was fast. Harkening back to my previous messy experience, I bound back to the office with my food in hand 10 minutes after my arrival.

On to the menu: Fojol offers entrees in 3 sizes – an amuse bouche size that they call, “dingo” ($2), a plate with two choices ($7) and a plate with three choices ($9).

They offer two meat dishes – this day, it was butter chicken and curry chicken, and three vegetables – the mysterious “mix,” pumpkin and lentils. They also have lassipops for $2 but the only flavor left when I got there this time was ginger.

I picked the three choice option, and was served multiple dishes that evocatively showcased the culinary expertise of said Brothers. All of this bounty was resting on a bed of fragrant basmati rice. An awful lot of rice – too much, actually.

My first impression when my food was handed to me was that this biodegradable hippie container is not equipped to handle this saucy food. It felt quite unstable.

Upon opening said container, I was presented with a large mound of food that looked rather the same. I could hardly distinguish between the lentils and the pumpkin.

Let’s start with our meat course, in my case, the butter chicken. Butter chicken is Indian dish where chicken that is marinated in a yogurt based marinade filled with aromatic spices is served in a buttery and creamy tomato based sauce. Fojol’s butter chicken was a full flavored dish that was uncompromisingly meaty with more than a hint of creamy spiciness.

The lunch went a bit downhill from there. The lentils (green) were swimming unabashedly in liquid. They were overcooked and mushy, making each mouthful a painful exercise in mastication. Maybe the choice of a different, more complexly textured lentil would have provided the saving grace.

And what of the pumpkin, you ask? The overall texture of the pumpkin side dish was a bit off-putting. I felt like I was partaking of some fine foods from the Gerber collection. The pumpkin was very baby-food-ish. Only a couple chunks of recognizable pumpkin in this sad little dish.

Overall, I was not impressed with my two visits to the Brothers Fojol. Despite their illustrative history and their joie de vivre, their dishes remain chaotic and uneven.

Coupled with the fact that they offer no naan (my favorite part of an Indian meal) and no drink options (No fine wines or delicate sparkling waters to cleanse the palate!), I’m afraid I can only muster two wheels out of four.

Excuse Me, Does This Look Like a Toilet to You?

So a weird thing happened to us a couple of weeks ago and I’m just now over the trauma of it enough to blog about it.

Someone shat in our backyard.

Specifically, someone took a poo in the teeny tiny space between our neighbor’s fence and our storage shed. Just feet, or maybe yards, I don’t know, I’m not good with spatial measuring, but alarmingly close to our house.

Don’t worry. I did not take pictures of the excrement.

It was, ostensibly, a lovely weekend morning. My head gardener XFE and I were doing a little sprucing of the back patio area. He wanted to get rid of some evergreen, bush thingys, and transplant a nice but overgrown sage from our front “yard.” (It’s really not a yard but an oversized vegetable box, I guess you’d call it).

Because we didn’t want to carry the two evergreen bushy things through the house, we had to use the very narrow space by the shed to carry the items out to the back alley and around to the front of the house and the street curb for eventual pick up. I was given that honor.


It wasn’t until I was coming back from my first bush trip around the house that XFE spotted it. Actually, first he asked, “where are all these flies coming from.” Then he saw the source. A dark and substantial streak of dried fecal matter running down the side of our lovely light blue shed, and pooling down around a drain overflow pipe. There were also used restaurant napkins, if you catch my drift. We could only speculate on how long it had been there.

After much gagging (XFE) and incredulous eye bulging (me), XFE, ever the gallant gentlemen, used a plastic bag to pick up and dispose of the restaurant napkins. Our high power water nozzle was deployed and XFE set to work removing all signs of the stain. It took forever (he was quite thorough), but his work was flawless and very much appreciated. I stood by with an outdoor broom and guided the water towards the patio drain.

View towards alley
How does one even fit in here?

It was quite the bonding morning. No one was in the mood for breakfast after that.

But even more disturbing than the physical aspect is the fact that someone came onto our property to take a crap. We spent a lot of time (actually, mostly me. XFE really didn’t want to talk about it) discussing how and who and why such a thing could happen. My immediate thought was that it was some inconsiderate drunken club kid late at night while we were sleeping mere inches (ok, yards or even feet. I really struggle with this measuring thing) away. XFE’s way-more-logical theory is that it was a construction worker of some sort working on a project nearby.

Or, maybe it was magical poo like Hanky.

Whichever, whatever, it felt so incredibly invasive. I’d almost rather they had broken into the place. (That is not a suggestion to any would be pooper-burglars. It was just a vulnerable moment for me).

By the way, the transplanted sage which had been the picture of health over the last two summers died within hours of being transplanted. Which is odd because I would have thought poo would be like, nature’s fertilizer or something.