Tag Archives: beef

Fantasy Tuesday: A Day with the Cup

stanley-cup.gray

A lot of times, thinking about the things you don’t have (and likely never will) can be depressing. But I recently discovered that taking a somewhat “realistic” approach to a fantasy can bring a little bit of lightness to your day. Like, go from “Wouldn’t that be nice” to almost planning for the opportunity—whatever it may be. Sure, it sucks that it’s not going to happen, but maybe this is like when they tell you to smile even if you feel like ass—that there’s still something physiologically beneficial to the act. And nothing says “Tuesday” like a forced smile.

(P.S. Please don’t ever tell me to smile when I feel like ass, or I will give myself a reason to smile, and it will involve violence.)

Anyway, here is the first of three fantasies that I will try to play through to their logical outcomes.

A Day with the Cup

Interestingly, I never really thought about what I’d do if I, like someone on the winning team, got to spend 24 hours doing whatever with the Stanley Cup.

Seems right to take it to your hometown, as many folks do. So I guess my day would involve a trip to Bradenton Beach, where the Cup would be the mold for the top of a sandcastle before being filled with ice to keep my beers cold.

It’d also have to take a moment on the Asolo stage, and then I’d do a soccer-themed photo shoot with it at GT Bray.

It’s also logical to take the Cup back to where you first started playing—for real Cup winners, this invokes memories of mite-ish beginnings and that oh-how-far-I’ve-come kind of vibe. My hockey roots are decidedly more shallow.

But I could see it do just as well around a table at the rink’s Beef O’Brady’s (back before it was a preschool, a church, an OK bar, a bad bar, and then a horrible steakhouse). No, Beef’s: a few tables pushed together, with all the old crew, and the crew that have come since. And select favored opponents. And every single soul who ever showed up just to watch us play and then hang out afterward. With a pile of wings, keep the pitchers coming.

And, while we’re fantasizing, make it on a Sunday night before a Monday holiday—so nobody has to worry about going to work in the morning.

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Money-Saving Tips

Some of the ways I’m making $80 last two weeks this pay period.

Food:

Starbuck’s tasty Greek yogurt breakfast parfait with honey and the special no-sog packet of granola and slivers of toasted coconut? Easy enough: a big container of Greek yogurt, some honey (or agave nectar you have lying around after your homemade margaritas adventure), box of granola cereal and some shaved coconut. Mix the yogurt and honey in a Tupperware container, then lay some cellophane on top and put the granola and coconut in there.

yogurt

Put the lid on, and everything’s ready to go for whenever you wanna mix it all together.

Find things that are awesome and appetizing when reheated, and cook a shit-ton of them: Black beans and rice, brandied chicken breasts, spaghetti carbonara, stroganoff. The kicker for me is that they have to be super-appetizing, otherwise after-work dining out wins. Which tends to mean they’re pretty fattening, too. This is where money-saving runs headlong into calorie-saving. Money wins. As does my tummy.

Volunteer for food contest judging.

meatloaf

Gourmet lamb meat loaf with roasted tomato jam, goat cheese and asparagus risotto. For? Free.

We’ve got weekly contests for finding various local food “bests,” and week before last, it was meatloaf. I’m not saying it’s the healthiest thing to do, but traveling all over town to sample four different kinds of meatloaf saves you money on dinner, that’s for sure.

Likewise, embrace the work luncheons you’re obligated to attend.

chicken

Any time you’re getting free risotto, you’re doing something right.

I wasn’t exactly psyched about today’s cancer luncheon, but teriyaki chicken on creamy risotto with asparagus from the Ritz? Yeah, that’s a deal.

choc cake…oh, and there was chocolate cake.

Biking to the grocery store encourages limited and lightweight purchases. I am not a motivated enough beer-drinker to ride 4.5 miles with a case of Bud Light on my back. Plus, this works in favor of calorie-consumption, too.

Booze:

Invite considerate, lightweight friends over who will bring a 12-pack, drink one, and leave the rest for you.

Take a chance on a $2 hockey raffle ticket.

raffle beer

Hoptical Illusion alone is worth the $2. Plus: bonus mugs!

The key here is that “improving my chances” was too close to “throwing my money away,” so I took a single, low-risk chance and got myself eight fancy beers. Win.

And lastly, obey these booze-buying words of wisdom: “You should always think about cost per ounce vs. credit card interest.” In other words, don’t buy the smaller bottle just because you’re short on cash; put the handle on the Visa and congratulate yourself for being a smart shopper.

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Day Off No. 4

Apologies for the delay, but on Friday, after I got everything written out, WordPress ATE MY DRAFT, and I had to wait until I didn’t want to kill things anymore. Which takes a while, obviously.

So: Thursday. Thursday was our Anna Maria Island day. (And as an added bonus, I actually managed to sleep in until 10, so that was a good start.)

First up was beach. I love Bradenton/Coquina/Cortez/whateveryoucallit beach (the one that stretches south of Cortez Road). Debby did do some damage, but it’s a great demonstration of the importance of sea oats: The water obviously came right up and over the oats, but the erosion stopped at their roots–so now there’s this nifty sedentary study of a shelf of sand, and then waves that wash up much further on the flattened beach than they used to, leaving only 20 feet or so of sand. It’s still an awesome beach, though.

We lounged. We swam–the water was just cool enough to be refreshing, but warm enough so you wanted to jump right in. We played catch with our cool little Waboba-ripoff skippy ball thing. We swam around with our masks on and searched underwater for shells. It was perfect.

From there we walked dripping to Joe’s Eats and Sweets for ice cream, since Joe’s made a big impression during our office ice cream-a-thon, and salty lips love cool, creamy sweetness. Waffle cones of butter pecan and almond, and before lunch, too, because that is what you do on days off.

For lunch, as per the plan, we hit up Skinny’s–arch rival to our beloved Duffy’s. But we picked Duffy’s only because we loved their burgers by a lot, but we’d never tried Skinny’s by comparison before. This was our chance to make an educated decision.

Skinny’s: two TVs, both on SportsCenter. Good sign.

Skinny’s is an AC-less Old Florida shack right across the street from Manatee County Beach. It’s the perfect draw for beachgoers–close and casual, super-friendly and heavenly satisfying, with its own quirky-but-simple ordering rules. Burgers are Skinny (single) or Fatty (double), with cheese and bacon if you want, but your condiment/toppings options stop at “mayo” or “no mayo.”

I’m sorry, have we met? If the question is “mayo or no?,” the answer is always YES.

Also, tater tots. Tots are always a yes.

And yes, the burgers, they are juicy and delicious.

And yes, I’m still a Duffy’s gal.

I mean, I’m not going to turn down a Skinny’s burger–not on your life–but it wasn’t the kind of transcendent must-eat-this-burger-and-all-of-its-brethren experience I’ve had at Duffy’s. It’s just the way my beef has lain.

Stuffed and a tad overheated, we got in the car and just…drove. What a lovely thing–this must have been what all the old people were savoring while I was a bored and impatient child in the back seat. (Although I imagine they didn’t savor it too much with me there, heh.) We wound our way north to get to know the island. And then we wound up at one of my top 10 favorite places in all the world: Anna Maria City Pier.

Wood underfoot 100 yards out into the gulf; Skyway backdrop, sea breeze and cold beer, afternoon sunshine and a deep breath.

Doesn’t. Get. Better.

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