Tuesday, March 24, 2009

21 Rounds with VOLT: Part 1

A not-so-secret secret: Saunter and I like to eat. Sometimes we like to cook, then eat, but to be honest we're also a big fan of letting someone else cook and allowing us to handle the eating part of the equation. Every six months or so the DC Metro area holds "Restaurant Week" during which eateries all about town roll out a prixe fixe menu for a very reasonable price (usually in the $30 range). It's a good deal, especially when there are a number of restaurants listing dishes on their menu that exceed that amount by themselves.

Back in early February, we discovered that the next DC Restaurant Week began Feb 16th. This was surprising, as lots of places had put on specials during the week of Obama's Inauguration, and we did not expect to see more cheap deals out so soon. No complainers we, Saunter and I set about vetting possible destinations for gluttonous adventures.

Paging through the listings, Saunter asked me if I had ever heard of VOLT. I thought they were maybe a prog-rock band from the UK who were big in the early 80's, which did not go over well. Ignoring my inane musings, Saunter mentioned that it was a restaurant out in Frederick, Maryland (about 50 miles from DC) that had been getting rave reviews. Intrigued, I went and looked up its web page, and directed Saunter's attention to the page describing its dinner menu.

"They have a 21 course tasting menu, with seating in the kitchen."

Which is how we ended up in Frederick, Maryland, in late March, staying at a B&B within walking distance of the restaurant. We arrived in the early afternoon, heading out from DC after I had finished Aussie Rules footy training. This gave us ample time to get acquainted with the B&B and then pass out for a timely nap (something of a post-footy tradition with me), before spending some time wandering out Frederick before dinner.

Frederick itself was an interesting town - quite pretty in parts (particularly the area around Carroll Creek), but with a fair number of empty or boarded up storefronts. A pile of arts and crafts stores lined the main street, and at the far end of the city centre there was a pawn shop (the $$$ kind), a porn shop (the XXX kind) and three separate tattoo parlours. We killed the remaining time before dinner poking about in the different shops, more than one of which I could not imagine turning a profit... but then again, what do I know.

The Table 21 (the name given to the "in the kitchen" 21-course affair) seating was for 8:30pm, so we decided to slide into the venue at 8pm in order to relax and enjoy a cocktail or two before din-dins. VOLT itself is situated in an old brownstone mansion, so the inner configuration was a little quirky, somewhat dictated to by the original layout.

We perched ourselves on a couch in the lounge, inbetween a couple of small groups of folks, allowing me to steal the odd glance at the TV behind the bar - so I could keep mysely appraised of the March Madness basketball. Saunter ordered a "Norwood", which contained Southern Comfort, Apple Cider, Rum, Maple Syrup and a splash of lemon. I was tempted to order a Manhattan, but instead plumped for the tastefully named "Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale". Yes, such a thing exists.

We timed it well, finishing our drinks right as our seating time arrived. I spoke to the maitre d', who told me that the other couple had not yet arrived; apparently Table 21 is for up to four people, and given the nature of the meal everyone needs to kick off at the same time - which meant we were waiting on a couple of strangers to show up. Just as I was about to crook my finger at the bar-keep, the other half of our foursome (Molly and Blake) arrived, and we were ushered towards the back of the restaurant. Our culinary adventure was about to begin!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Never Out of Style: Hellmuth-bashing

Hi there kids. I'm just killing time on a Sunday, playing in my most favourite-ist satellite in the world, the 11:30am satellite into the Sunday Million. During these I tend to just play very ABC, and try and let everyone else kill themselves. As such, I don't really need to pay heaps of attention, so it's a good time to troll through my blog reader. While doing so I came across this little post by Paul Phillips, one of the all time Hellmuth-haters (you may remember PaulP from the classic "jopke" and "all the mobneys" posts). The post is on of those curently-hot xtranormal adaptations of the fantastic back-and-forth between Helmuth and Hoss_TBF (allegedly one of the top short-handed LHE players out there) and a couple of other folks on a 300/600 table atUB.

Here's a link to the blogpost put up by Hoss_TBF himself, and (inevitably) the 2+2 thread devoted to the chat. Some of my favourite lines?

HOSS_TBF: phil, this is sincere: maybe you should do your breathing

HOSS_TBF: exercises

HOSS_TBF: i honestly do not want you to have another panic attack

PHILHELLMUTH: I really should


HOSS_TBF: you are a nice guy

PHILHELLMUTH: but I ran four miles and feel great

PHILHELLMUTH: but U right I do need to settle down

PHILHELLMUTH: just beat after beats seems unbleieavbel

PHILHELLMUTH: steamed me up way too much

PHILHELLMUTH: I prob need meds, never takin em before though

PHILHELLMUTH: BEST hand syndrome I have

PHILHELLMUTH: made me millions

HOSS_TBF: instead you lost both with worst hand?

HOSS_TBF: i wonder if they gave out anti-bracelets

HOSS_TBF: how many you would have

PHILHELLMUTH: U wanna play bad so be it

PHILHELLMUTH: Ill play even tighter

HOSS_TBF: sweet heavens xmas has come early

PHILHELLMUTH: plqys every single pot

PHILHELLMUTH: and pays off like a slot machine


HOSS_TBF: *exactly* like a slot machine


PHILHELLMUTH: I sit here on the sideleines folding

PHILHELLMUTH: like an 11 time champion

PHILHELLMUTH: and y'all just get lucky

PHILHELLMUTH: never seen a guy win with 10-4 off suit more than you

HOSS_TBF: i prefer the term "10-4 doublesuited"

PHILHELLMUTH: U make a lot of good checks vs me hoss

PHILHELLMUTH: I better have em look at this session, security

PHILHELLMUTH: even if you get me tonight, I'll show you the nuts all year


HOSS_TBF: you'll see them, too

HOSS_TBF: cause it'll go check check check check check check

PHILHELLMUTH: congrats this is my biggest loss in two years playing online

PHILHELLMUTH: Limit holdem

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Internet Badassery

One of my modern heroes/idols/whatevers, Merlin Mann (known for 43 Folders, You Look Nice Today, and about a bazillion other things) posted today about this crazily talented guy who is creating these pretty amazing YouTube mash-ups, which are frankly too awesome for me not to pass on as well (not to mention pointing you at Merlin , if you didn't know about him, which you might have).

There are a lot of commas in this post.

Anyhoo, this guy Kuitman (huh, he has a Wikipedia page as well) has a site with these mash-ups which might be worth your time to check out. In the meantime, feast your eyes and ears on "The Mother of All Funk Chords". Check it out.