Voyaging Vittles

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In this part of the country, food trucks have become all the rage.  They are mobile dining experiences and travel around to different locations throughout the week.  I’ve tried them twice before.  The first time was when I read about a Lobster Roll truck, and trying/hoping to recreate a Lobster Roll experience I had at Red’s in Maine, I went down there.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t Red’s.  Well, this is Minnesota after all and while we do have a lot of lakes, there aren’t any lobsters in them.  Perhaps my expectations were a bit high.

The second time I tried one was at my favorite outdoor market, the Mill City Farmer’s Market.  This truck was run by Chef Shack.  They create a lot of great food and one of their menu staples is the mini donut.  It’ll set you back $7, but they truly were some of the best and most memorable mini donuts I’ve ever had.

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I’ve heard about purported mass gatherings of food trucks here and there, but always forget to go…until last weekend.  I made it to an event that had 18 trucks in one spot.

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

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The approach I took was to survey first, review their menus, then go back to whatever I had to try.  Well, that was the plan anyway.  Until I got to this truck, offering a Mango Fritter for $2.  That was how it began.  We had dessert first.

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Next was my daughter’s pick, the Empanada truck.  They had food that sounded safe for her (aka not spicy) to try: the Mac-N-Cheese and the Cheeseburger Empanadas.  They were good, but pretty bland for my taste.

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The place I wanted to go back was to Andrew Zimmern’s truck for the smashed potato running at $3.  A lot of these trucks will set you back $9 or $10, but I wanted to sample a few different things.   I was looking for some smaller portions so I wouldn’t get filled up on one dish.

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I could tell by their appearance these were gonna be good.  In fact, I am pretty sure they were the most amazing potatoes I’ve ever had in my life. They were creamy inside, crunchy skins, salty, garlicky, OMG can-I-get-another-order-of-these good.  I thought about going back, but I wanted to have room to try something else.  What I decided on was the Moral Omnivore truck.  Their menu had some very interesting things on it.

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I decided to go with the Curried Mushroom Fries since they won an award for something and I love anything with curry in it.

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They were good and unique.  Very fried and very mushroomy.  I don’t know if I’d buy them again, but if someone else did, I would probably sneak one or two of theirs.

I also decided to get the Beet Mac-n-cheese to bring home for one of my other kids who happens to like beets.  I sampled a few bites of it after they were done (they didn’t eat it all).  It was very interesting and good.  The red onions were a bit overpowering.  I liked the crunch they offered but I would have opted for a milder, maybe a green onion so it didn’t become the dominant flavor.

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What happened next can best be described as a post-Thanksgiving-dinner-like induced coma.  I felt intoxicated from eating too much and there was only going to be one cure: sleep.  I do not know how people sat in a beer tent and drank after, before or during that event, but they did.  Maybe it’s a timing thing that I haven’t yet figured out.  Something like: beer, food, break, beer, food, beer, food, sleep.  Too bad I live so far away and had to drive.  For those who live in the area and had the afternoon/evening off and could walk, it was a great plan for the day.

In the end, there was one thing I couldn’t forget.  Those potatoes.  In fact, I might have to track down that food truck one more time before the snow starts flying.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have the pleasure to try a food truck someday.

Gummy Bear Pool Party Cake

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It’s birthday time over here and that means it is also cake making time. I am one of those people who prefer to make cakes at home.  One reason for that is I have a kid with peanut and nut allergies, and that is the only way I can be certain about ingredients and control any cross-contamination issues.  Secondly, I’ve never cared for the “crisco” types of frostings that come out of a lot of bakeries.  You know the kind where it sticks to the roof of your mouth and it has a greasy feeling like it will be around for awhile.  The frostings I make at home have butter, and cream cheese, and vanilla and powdered sugar so they taste better and when you swallow them that’s the end of the story, except for the calorie counting part of it.

I thought someone out there would enjoy watching this Gummy Bear Pool Party Cake being made.  I actually made this same cake last year.  My daughter and her birthday-mate/BFF asked for it after looking at pictures of last year’s cake, but I was secretly hoping I could mix it up a little.  I decided I would make a Gummy Bear Ocean Beachfront Party Cake and surprise them.  It was going to have a sailboat with gummy bears in it, and gummy bears on beach chairs and gummy sharks and umbrellas.  There were going to be waves and the sail was going to announce the birthday girls’ names and birth date.

I made the cakes in advance and I will admit that while I detest most bakery and store-bought frostings, I have made plenty of made-from-scratch cakes and in my opinion, the box cake mixes from the stores are just as good if not better than home cake mixes.  Not true for frosting, but very true for cake mixes.  For this party, I decided to make two boxes of cake mix, to be sure I have enough cake.  I made two 9×12 pans of chocolate cake, then sliced them both in half (horizontally) and frosted each layer, so that when they were put back together, the order went like this: cake, frosting, cake, frosting, cake, frosting, cake.

Please visit my website for more instructions and photos showing how this cake was made:

http://www.lisabondphotography.com/blog/gummy-bear-pool-party-cake

FAQS with Justin Hayward

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Justin Hayward is the celebrated singer-songwriter from The Moody Blues.  At some point, he became the frontman for the band, despite being a latecomer to an already existing group, probably because he is the main singer and lead guitar player. Or maybe it could be chalked up to his insightful and philosophically introspective reflections of life and love.  Maybe it was his melodic voice or skillful guitar playing.  Or maybe it was the long list of songs he has written over the years, this compilation credited to The Moody Blues’ website:

“Justin’s much-respected and comprehensive songwriting and recording career can be listed under various categories, as follows:

Compositions for The Moody Blues:
“Fly Me High”
“Leave This Man Alone”
“Cities”
“Tuesday Afternoon”
“Nights in White Satin”
“Voiced In The Sky”
“Visions of Paradise” (with Ray)
“The Actor”
“Lovely To See You”
“Never Comes the Day”
“Are You Sitting Comfortably?” (with ray)
“I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Hundred”
“Gypsy”
“I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Million”
“Watching and Waiting”
“What Am I Doing Here?”
“King and Queen”
“Long Summer Days”
“Question”
“It’s Up to You”
“Dawning Is The Day”
“Procession” (with the band)
“The Story In Your Eyes”
“You Can Never Go Home”
“New Horizons”
“You and Me” (with Graeme)
“The Land of Make Believe”
“Had to Fall in Love”
“Driftwood”
“Top Rank Suite”
“The Day We Meet Again”
“The Voice”
“Gemini Dream” (with John)
“In My World”
“Meanwhile”
“Blue World”
“Meet Me Halfway” (with John)
“It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart”
“Running Water”
“Your Wildest Dreams”
“Talkin’, Talkin’” (with John)
“I Just Don’t Care”
“Running Out Of Love” (with John)
“The Other Side of Life”
“Slings and Arrows” (with John)
“I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”
“Want To Be With You” (with John)
“River of Endless Love” (with John)
“No More Lies”
“Vintage Wine”
“Breaking Point” (with John)
“Miracle” (with John)
“Deep”
“Say It With Love”
“Bless The Wings” (That Bring You Back)
“Is This Heaven?” (with John)
“Say What You Mean (Part 1 & 2)”
“Hope and Pray”
“Once Is Enough” (with John)
“Never Blame The rainbows For the Rain” (with Ray)
“Highway” (with John)
“English Sunset”
“Haunted”
“Sooner or Later (Walkin’ on Air)” (with John)
‘Foolish Love”
“All That is Real is You”
“Strange Times” (with John)
“The One” (with John)
“The Swallow”
“Water”
“We Can Fly”
“Don’t Need a Reindeer”
“Yes I Believe”
“December Snow”

A lot of those songs were written when he was in his late teens and early 20s, making this list even more amazing.

The discography is long and one can argue many songs would be the one to pick as his #1 Best.  A very strong candidate must surely be “Question”.   Written in April of 1970 when Justin was 24 years old, it hits all the notes musically, philosophically, in its complex arrangement, and melodically.  Here is a wonderful video from the 1970s, most likely one of the early performances of it:

Here is another great rendition, this time Justin is performing an acoustic version of it by himself.  Note how well he carries this on his own.  Never mind the complacent crowd, at least they seem to be somewhat roused by the end.  I wonder if some of them wanted to dance but felt they should just go along with the crowd and stayed seated.

And lastly, I sadly missed the Moody’s performance in late August here in Minnesota.  They played at the newly remodeled Northrup Auditorium but tickets were priced especially high and it just wasn’t in the cards for me right now.  Fortunately, someone videotaped it for our viewing pleasure and here is a brand spanking new version of it.

I have a feeling I will be talking about The Moody Blues or Justin Hayward again in the future.  I am a renewed-old fan of theirs, it actually all started about 25 years ago and involved a box of Suddenly Salad, shrimp impostors, a Magritte poster (“Golconda”), In Search Of The Lost Chord, and my friends Jes and Martha, so thanks a lot Jes, this is all your doing.  Actually, I really mean that, thanks Jes and thanks to The Moody Blues for reminding us still, after all these years, to think a little deeper and for raising more questions than answers.

Until next time, and I do hope they become more frequent, thanks for stopping by and I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the change to the fabulous colors of fall.

A Short Video from Via Lucis

Originally posted on Via Lucis Photography:

A couple of years ago, PJ and I made a few short videos from our photographs. This one features music from “Requiem for my Friend” by Zbigniew Preisner, including the astonishing “Lachrimosa.”

Note, this is best when viewed full screen.

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Ornaments for the National Christmas Tree

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Excitement is building in Minnesota this year as the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will be coming from the Chippewa National Forest, located right here in our great state.  The tree has been chosen and it is 65 feet tall.  Along with the tree, our state will be donating 10,000 ornaments to help decorate it.  There are several contests running to encourage artists and citizens to create works of art to send along the way, and one of those is taking place at our wonderful State Fair.

The contest has some criteria to meet including the ornament has to be less than 12 inches tall, it must be 2 or 3 dimensional, and it has to weigh less than 1/2 pound.  It also has to include one of the following features from the state park logo: an eagle, Ojibwe floral bead work design, spruce or balsam fir tree, and/or elements of nature found in Minnesota such as lakes, rivers, or ecosystem.

I was able to convince my youngest daughter to design an ornament.  I also decided to do it with her since they had an adult as well as a youth category.  The prizes were substantial.  First place was awarded $100, 2nd $50 and 3rd $25.  Those are big prizes for the State Fair.  Most creative or educational ribbons only award $8 for first place so this was definitely worth putting some serious effort into.  Here is what we created.  My daughter’s is first (she wanted to wear her Christmas sweater for the photo).  Mine is second.

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

 

Please visit my website for more content on this blog, including photos of the other ornaments:

http://www.lisabondphotography.com/blog/ornaments-for-the-national-christmas-tree

A Summer Kaleidescope

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Many of summer’s good times at my house have revolved around my kids playing sports.  This year, I have especially enjoyed watching the 13-year-old boys steal bases.  When they started stealing a year or two ago, I can’t quite remember when it was, they were unsure of themselves, only running when the base coach told them to.  Now they are very comfortable with it and seem to enjoy taunting the pitcher, laughing and teasing, hopping back and forth between bases, just waiting for their chance to run.  By the time they get a little older, the fun of it seems to wear off and it becomes a lot more predictable.

Please visit my website for a video and more images:

http://www.lisabondphotography.com/blog/a-summer-kaleidescope

Thanks for stopping by!

Indigenous Thoughts

Bondseye:

I like what she’s doing and thought you might too.

Originally posted on The Girl in the Little Black Dress:

Dear Reader,

I seemed to get overall positive feedback from my blurry photo overlays and, as I said, I made a bunch. So please, enjoy more disoriented photos with wistful sayings. Thanks to Mind Body Soul Stylist (http://elyshalenkin.com/category/blog/) who came up with a perfect name for these things I have been creating, I have decided they will be called my indigenous thoughts.

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This quote though.
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I think I took this on a Saturday, but the idea is still nice.
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This is sappy, but it kind of goes with the one before. And I think I actually took this on a Friday night so that’s fancy.
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And they did.
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« Lawn inhibited.” I made this woman who looks so rueful into a rebel.
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From an 11 pm bus ride in December.
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I took this on a boat.
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I miss this place so much.
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Oh god, this photo makes me so sad. There…

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Jack White vs. The Black Keys

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All right, I just came right out and said it.  Many a person has weighed in their opinion on the above match-off, and it’s my turn to get on a soapbox about it too.  First, the good and then, the ugly.

If you follow Jack White at all, you may know what he was up to on Record Store Day.  Being the genius trend setter that he is, he didn’t just follow the crowd and release an album to the record stores to sell on RSD.  No, he recorded his own brand new record in his own recording studio.  Then the lucky attendees got a copy of the record, all in the same day, to take home with them.  I was not one of those who got to attend this event but a few of those records have shown up on Ebay and they are getting more expensive by the day.  I’d like to have one but I am going to hold out and hope these recordings at least become available to the general public sometime soon.

There is an 11 minute video synopsis of it here:

Thanks to this video, I finally know what it really means to be “in the groove” and my personal favorite line from the “Lazaretto” title track is “When I say nothing, I say everything.”  That would be good advice for him to take on his stance with people copying his music.  More on that in a minute.

In the meantime, you can hear the track from side “A”, “Lazaretto”, which will be included on his next Jack White III Cd of the same name to be released in June, next week in fact.


Just as interesting, is the “B” side of that record, a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Power of My Love” and thank goodness it is available as an audio recording, at least temporarily (it’s already been taken down from YouTube, so I’m not sure how long this link will work).  This song is firing on all pistons and I can’t get enough of the musical complexity it serves up.  If you watched the video you got to see a little of it, but I wish it had included the entire song.  At least we know it was recorded so I suppose it will surface one day.

http://songs.to/#!pl=23bbfd3d39aed9ed6ce43688a4628d3fe77dc84c

Now for the ugly.  Unfortunately, Jack decided to throw a little more fuel on the fire he started over The Black Keys allegedly stealing his material.  Thoughts were spoken that should have been caught in the brain’s filter, the one right before the vocalization happens, but it’s happened to many of us, and it recently culminated when he was quoted in the latest Rolling Stones magazine issue, of which he is gracing the cover, as saying “I hear ads where the music’s ripping off my sound, to the point I think it’s me.  Half the time, it’s the Black Keys.”  He has since taken to explaining himself, saying there was more to the story.  People are choosing their sides and as much as I love Jack (I own just about everything he’s produced but also own everything The Black Keys have ever produced), I am pretty sure that he A) did not invent the guitar or drums and B) did not invent music.  Let’s hope that he can save face.  He has since issued a public apology on Third Man Records’ website.  You can read it here:

http://www.thirdmanrecords.com/news/view/an-apology-and-explanation-from-jack-white

Despite it being called an apology, it has such a bite to it that it reminds me of when I make one of my kids apologize to another one but they’re still mad and they still think they are right.  Like when they yell it at the tops of their lungs or whisper “sorry” so quietly even I can’t hear it and they are facing the other way toward the wall.  It sounds like someone made him write that letter but he still believes he is in the right.  His ego may have gotten too big for his britches and I’m sorry to even think that cause I basically think he’s the King of the music scene for the last decade or two.

If I were his advisor, I would be advocating actions speaking louder than words here, and I personally suggest he start with that Black Keys and White Stripes mix-up I dreamed up in my post from May 2012.

http://www.lisabondphotography.com/blog/dark-days-are-through-in-minnesota-the-black-keys-were-in-town  

He is a brilliant musician but such grandstanding really is not terribly becoming and perhaps more than a bit tarnishing to his otherwise shiny Rock God image.  Music is a lot like photography in this regard…there are a lot of guitar players and a lot of photographers and it’s pretty darned tough to prove that somebody stole your ideas or copyrighted your work.  If you don’t want it to get out there, then you shouldn’t publish it.  But I think both bands have a good following, many fans are like me and appreciate Jack and The Keys with equal enthusiasm, and I think Jack would be worse off if he wasn’t producing his stuff and frankly we would be too.

What if it’s all just a big publicity stunt?

As for The Black Keys, they seem to be playing their cards right.  The Keys are lying low and any response I’ve read gives Jack an easy out saying such things like “we’ve all said stupid stuff.”  Like, it’s all right man, and then the hug with the back slapping, you know the way guys do.  So far, they sure seem to be taking the high road.

The Keys will be touring in support of their new album this summer and fall.   I pre-ordered their newest release “The Black Keys Turn Blue” (which I think Jack would have titled “The Black Keys Turn Into the White Stripes” but never mind cause we’re trying to move on here), for one reason only. So I could get the pre-sale super secret ticket access code.  I generally prefer to buy that kind of stuff (records, cds) locally so I can avoid paying shipping costs.  But I had another goal here: realizing my dreams of being in the front row and I had every hope that they were going to come true at last.  I marked my calendar for the pre-sale date.  I set 3 alarms: the oven timer, my Ipad timer, and my phone alarm.  They were rigged to go off 10 minutes in advance so I could be in the right place at the right time:  logged in to the website and registered, with my fingers eagerly waiting to type in the magic code.  When those alarms went off, I was in position and then waiting, waiting, waiting for my turn to get into the virtual waiting room and finally, bam, I’m in and it says “pick your section from the drop down menu.”  Yes, this was the moment I had been waiting for!   Then the bomb dropped. There was only one option.   “General. Admission. Floor”.

What??????

I had been duped.  #1) I am older than The Black Keys.  #2) I am short.  Don’t they realize us old people no longer choose to fight through those crowds on the floor.  Been there, done that.  I have a reputation amongst my friends for being able to weave my way to the front with the best of them.  But that was then.  Now, I want a seat and some elevation so I can see.  Plus, I probably have a camera in one hand and a beer in the other and those two things are not conducive to crowd-weaving.  I am not up for sneaking through the crowd or arriving the night before so I can sleep on the concrete and wait for the doors to open and run like heck to end up in the 21st row on the floor because they saved the first 20 rows for radio giveaways and people more important than me (my cat thinks I’m important, but he isn’t handing out concert tickets).  So hesitantly and with trepidation, I bought the tickets anyway because I didn’t know what my options would be after that.

Naturally, the next logical thing was to wait for general ticket sales.  Several days later, I was back at the computer, waiting for the gates to open. First try out of the chute, I land Row B tickets in the section right next to the stage.  Directly across from me, on the opposite side of the stage from where my tickets are, the first two sections are being reserved and sold as premium seats with ticket prices starting at $275.  So it seemed my payday came after all, but the old-fashioned way and with a little bittersweet sauce on the top of it because now I have 4 tickets to see The Black Keys.

As for Jack touring, well apparently he isn’t too pleased with his perception that people having stopped clapping because they are too busy texting at his shows.  I’ll admit to being someone who might be a delayed clapper because I have to put down something I am holding such as a beer or maybe a camera.  It’s hard to say where this will end up but I sure hope he gives us another try at the concert thing.  Maybe we could get some signs going that say “Everybody please put down your crap and clap”.  Until next time…enjoy the beginning of summer and thanks for visiting!

Classic Car Show, Part 2: The Night Gallery and Happy Mother’s Day

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As mentioned in last week’s blog, I promised to show a couple of cars from the evening part of my workshop under the full moon.  If you’ve tried night photography with light painting you may already know one of the challenges is that objects do not show the accumulated (flash) light that has been painted on them, thereby leaving no evidence of how heavily or lightly it was applied or retained.  Digital photography is a world of help here and in the days of film, I bet it was a real guessing game as to what was happening.  I can’t think of anything else similar to this process where you are doing something almost imaginary (into thin air) that then appears on some other medium.  Maybe it’s like playing a musical instrument.  It disappears as it is created unless something is recording it.

For ease of reference, I am putting the daylight image first and the moonlight image second.

 

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

©2014 Lisa Bond Photography

A discerning eye might find itself thinking “Gee, if I were her, I would have moved that cardboard box in the lower right out of the way,” and I just want to say that is exactly what I was thinking when I was there but after it was already dark.  I decided to rather carefully lift the box, having been previously warned about Black Widow Spiders and other potentially toxic nocturnal creatures.  Sure enough, when I lifted the corner there was a spider sitting right there staring up at me with all eight of its eyes.  I don’t think it was a Widow, but it didn’t matter.  I kept a non-stop beam of flashlight on it for probably 10 minutes waiting and watching to see where it was going to run off to.  It didn’t budge, probably because it was blinded from the light.  I thought about killing it, but that didn’t seem right since this was the spider’s home, not mine.  I’m sensitive about that stuff.  I’m sure the spider is too.  I knew as soon as I turned off the flashlight it was going to crawl straight toward me and probably up my pant leg or get into my camera bag for a surprise visit in my hotel room later.  So I left the box, finished my work prematurely, and moved on to another car.

Please come on over and visit my website for more images:

 http://www.lisabondphotography.com/1/post/2014/05/classic-car-show-part-2-the-night-gallery-and-happy-mothers-day.html