Archives For August 2012

One of the secrets of ComicCon: the nearby hotels are some of the coolest places you can hang out. We spent several evenings lounging in the Marriott Marquis and Marina bar, surrounded by bustling attendees and celebrities, and we loved taking a break from the Con to lunch at the Marina Kitchen, also located at the Marriott.

For lunch, we couldn’t help but start with their warm potato chips, which are covered in cheese and crispy prosciutto, with a chive crème fraiche on the side. The warm housemade chips in and of themselves were excellent, but add all that other goodness? Forget about it. It was love.

(warm potato chips)

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Gaming Lounge Adventures

Ashley Walton —  August 27, 2012 — 2 Comments

Sometimes you just feel like blowing off some steam and playing a video game in the dark at home,  just you and the comforting glow of the screen. But sometimes you get the urge to play with others. Hopping online with friends, you can connect with people miles away while you lay snuggly in bed, a book as your mousepad. But sometimes you get the wild urge to leave the house, and that’s where gaming lounges come in. Gaming lounges are a unique place. You don’t have the dissonance of playing at home with a bunch of peers far away– you take comfort in being in the same room as your comrades, not to mention you also meet new people.

Last week, I went to a gaming lounge with my husband and his little brother, and we played Left 4 Dead II for several hours. Since there were only three of us and it’s a four-player game, the fourth player was the computer. So, when zombie hoards ripped us apart, we used all our med packs, unlabeled pills, and healing supplies on ourselves, leaving the computer to fend for itself, since it wasn’t a real player. However, sometime within the 3 hours we played, a fellow comrade from the gaming lounge joined the game and we hadn’t noticed the name change. So, we’re not exactly sure how much time passed while we left the poor guy mangled and bleeding alone before we realized it was no longer the computer but an actual person! Once we realized our mistake, I called out, “Sorry, dude!” and healed him with a med pack, and a guy from across the room looked up and said, “Thank you!” And the four of us banded together and were a much stronger force with the computer player out of the picture.

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A recent rental release, The Raid: Redemption is totally worth the drive to the nearest Redbox. As far as kung-fu movies go, it doesn’t get much better than this. Be warned, The Raid is pretty damn violent– the entire movie is almost packed end-to-end with fight scenes, which include various weapons, plenty of hand-to-hand combat, copious amounts of blood, and some visceral details. To be sure, this film has some of the best fight scenes I’ve seen since Oldboy (without all the weird familial relations). In the brief intermittent scenes between scores of violence, this film masterfully builds tension. I suggest finding a teddy bear to hug or some food to gnaw on, lest you bite your nails incessantly (though on second thought, the food might not be a good idea given the gore). In addition to the awesome fight scenes, this film also has a satisfying story, which many kung-fu movies lack for me. If you’re even marginally interested in kung-fu movies, this is a must-see.

* Note: Not surprisingly, I completely disagree with Roger Ebert yet again. Between this and his Avengers review, I’ve decided he hates films and fun, and I vow to never mention him again on the blog.

We love chicken thighs. They’re usually pretty inexpensive, and it’s a nice, rich piece of meat that’s difficult to screw up. They’re also smaller than chicken breasts, so they cook faster and you can get more of a crispy surface area on the outside.

Here’s what you’ll need for chicken thighs with a mushroom wine sauce:

1 1/2 Lbs boneless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp flour
1 C chicken broth
1/3 C chardonnay
1/2 C cream
1 Tbsp parsley (or Italian seasoning mix)

Take your pretty chicken thighs and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add chicken and brown the outside (about 2–3 min a side) until it has a gorgeous golden crust. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Brown mushrooms in skillet and then add the garlic. Stir in flour until blended. Then stir in chicken broth and chardonnay. Add that chicken back to the skillet, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 20–30 min. Stir in the cream and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley or Italian seasoning before serving. Get ready for a party in your mouth.

*Note: we served this with baked asparagus. So easy: place asparagus with salt, pepper, and olive oil on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15–20 min. Done.

A Very Geeky Wedding

Ashley Walton —  August 16, 2012 — 1 Comment
I’ve been a slacker about the blog, mostly because right after Comic-Con I married my best friend and ran away on a honeymoon. But I wanted to share some of the details from our geeky wedding reception. It was everything I hoped it would be and more: casual, fun, and completely suited to our personalities.
(walkway)
After a long first day at Comic-Con, we debated whether to brave the superhero-clad crowds in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego or just call it a day and order room service. Let us tell you, we were so glad we decided to go out and experience this awesome thai food.
The atmosphere was dark, nice, and romantic. Large french doors opened to a cool night patio and the place was doused in lots of warm, inviting colors. And the best part: it wasn’t too crowded, and the service was fantastic.