Saturday, June 25, 2016

Budget Realignment

Due to an unforeseen decrease on the income side of our budget, a realignment was required on the spending side. One of the easiest cutbacks on spending is entertainment. I love to travel and eat at restaurants and blog about it. That is on hold for now.  Budget seemed like a obscure profane word!
We budgeted before and still had a wonderful time while the kids grew up. An attitude adjustment was in order. Eat well and have a good time on a frugal budget!  The credit cards  are paid and will stay that way for a while. With a little effort one can self entertain. Food and wine, in good company, tastes just as good on a budget. A three dollar bottle of Charles Shaw is on par with the forty dollar bottle at the hotel bar. What shall I blog about? Our food for sure! Look out for some budget home cooked meals. Lets start with a dinner at my place. Teriyaki marinated pork loin, creamy polenta and grilled green beans with tomatoes. What would you pay at a restaurant? The total food cost for this meal was under six dollars. A bottle of Charles Shaw added three bucks to the tab. Under ten bucks for a huge dinner for two! That is pretty darn cheap way to entertain.
Dinner at my place!

Friday, April 08, 2016

A Work in Progress

Emeryville Public Market

Any long term reader knows we like to take the train when traveling, boarding at the  Emeryville Amtrak Station for all our destinations. Before this train trip to Portland we hung out around the station. We were in hungry mode so we strolled over to the Emeryville Public Market. What a change is happening there! New stores and food shops shine. They have opened up the place in what I would call industrial chic style.  For a food photographer, the skylights provide an abundance of natural light. We wandered a bit and decided on Koja Kitchen, a Korean/Japanese fusion, fast - casual restaurant,  that started as a food truck. Avril chose the chicken Koja, burger style with garlic rice cakes subbing in for buns. I had the beef bowl, a rice bowl with lots of flavorful toppings. Both items were wonderful! In this age of Instagram Koja Kitchen's plating was camera ready, no styling or fluffing necessary. Feast your eyes!
Chicken Koja - Koja Kitchen Emeryville
Beef Bowl - Koja Kitchen Emeryville

Friday, April 01, 2016

Burger Burger!

Been traveling a bit and find that burgers are a go to item on our journeys. Even at some high cost hotel restaurants there is usually a reasonably priced burger on the menu. Portion sizes are always huge and we can normally split an order. In the downtown Portland area there many happy hours menus offering cheap wine and burgers under nine dollars. Wine and burgers! I scrolled through my photos of the last couple years and found lots of burgers. This collage should make you want a burger!
Burgers a plenty!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

I Toast You!

There has been much written about toast lately. Depending on what side you fall, it is the best thing happening or it will lead to the hipster takeover of the world. Blah! Toast has been around forever. It is as healthy or unhealthy as you make it. Toast is simple, inexpensive and in my little world very photogenic. Enjoy!
Toast My Way

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Blog Support Runaway Weekday

Before being charged with blog neglect and have to pay blog support, I best get back in the game! We made it a point to stay out of the crowds at Superbowl. Loads of people and high prices is not my idea of a good time. Avril had a job interview in the city Tuesday after the Superbowl. Rather than drive to the city or getting up before dawn to bus it, we decided to grab a room the night before. Hotwire produced a four and half star room at the Omni Hotel for a great price. The day before it would have been four times the price. We took the Larkspur ferry to San Francisco, after driving around for half an hour looking for a parking space in their lot. I hope the SMART Train connection happens in my lifetime! In the city Superbowl was still evident. They had begun to dismantle the structures that had closed the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street but the huge building signs remained.
Superbowl Signs

I has been a while for me being in the financial district and I was amazed that everyone walked eyes buried in their cell phones! We checked into the Omni. It is a beautiful place and remarkably quiet even though it is in the middle of traffic anarchy.
Omni Hotel San Francico

Omni Hotel San Francisco
It was cocktail time and we decided to try the bar at Bob's Steak and Chophouse, located adjacent to the lobby. Avril had a cosmo and I, some savignon blanc. The drinks were $17 each!! Admittedly they were huge and came with a sweet, hot and addictive bar mix.  The people watching was fantastic. This is a place to see and be seen! Dress nice.
Bob's Bar at the Omni Hotel San Francisco
The next morning  I walked next door to Starbucks and grabbed coffee to fuel Avril for her meeting. It went well and she is hoping for a positive result. Still loving San Francisco!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

I've Been Everywhere

The Johnny Cash song "I've been everywhere,"  plays in the background as I pen this blog. The song has been used in multiple commercials for travel and is appropriate for my travels of late. I have been absent from my blog instead choosing the instant gratification of Instagram and Twitter to mark my travels. I'm slowing the pace here and playing blog catch up.

The final stop on our Alaska cruise was Victoria B.C. All cruise ships that board in the U.S. must have one stop outside the country to comply with U.S. law. This is quite O.K. with us. We love Victoria and have been here on several occasions. We decided to check out Fisherman's Wharf, a short walk from the ship port. I was expecting something commercial like the San Francisco Wharf. Instead it was a low profile wharf with a cute combo of business, residences and fishing boats. Add this to the places we could live. We had no plans or agenda, just to go with the flow. I have found the best adventures occur spontaneously! We wandered about and just then a water taxi showed up and we leaped aboard!
Fisherman's Wharf Victoria B.C.
Water Taxi Victoria B.C.
Downtown Harbor Victoria B.C. 
On of our favorite spots to photograph in Victoria is the Empress Hotel. There is such a beautiful garden area with lots of flowers ready to pose for pictures.
Rose Empress Hotel Victoria B.C.
Here is where the spontaneous adventure occurred. We knew there were bee hives on property and as we approached there was a bee keeper working. He wore no protective gear but both he and the bees were real mellow. The bee keeper explained he was winterizing the bees. Avril has always wanted to keep bees so this was a totally awesome experience! I was in photographic heaven! Can you plan this stuff? A free show included.
Bee Keeper Empress Hotel Victoria B.C.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Glaciers - Icebergs and Irish Coffee!

A wonderful part of our cruise was traveling up Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier. No getting off and on the ship,  just a scenic journey with spectacular views accessible from a deck chair. As we entered the fjord I took up position on Lido Deck aft. I secured my deck chair,  garbed in  my warmest gear, with cameras ready. I was overlooking the stern pool watching were we had been. Having taken this trip before, I knew when we arrived at Sawyer Glacier the ship would turn around affording me a brilliant view of the glacier. Avril likes to be more mobile, so she wandered about using what photographers call the run and gun.
Entering Tracy Arm Fjord Alaska
Avril - Intrepid Travel Photographer
Tracy Arm Fjord Alaska

Tracy Arm Fjord Alaska
By now the crowds had begun to get larger. Princess, in method of marketing genius,  had a crew member rolling around a cart selling made to order Irish Coffee. He has made up a chant to sell his wares. "Oh we... get your Irish Coffee...make you happy... make you beautiful.... Irish Coffee oh we!"
Irish Coffee vendor Golden Princess Alaska Cruise
As if on cue, two modelesque guys striped down to bathing suits and jumped into the warm pool. I wonder if they provided a well thought out photo opportunity or were just a couple of spontaneous, wild and crazy guys!

Warm pools and icebergs Princess Alaska Cruise

Tracy Arm Fjord Alaska

Sawyer Glacier Alaska