Short Sale Revisited, Plus Alligator

That was then, this is now. Tonight we went to meet with our real estate agent and sign still more papers. In the process, we clarified our closing date. Escrow will close on October 6. Huzzah!

To celebrate (and to let the traffic die down a bit), we went out to dinner. On our trip to the office, eastward along Ventura Boulevard, we had identified a number of possibilities. However, we agreed that there was one leading contender: Brats Brothers.

The restaurant–a railroad-car of a place, only 10 feet wide–offers a wealth of brat options. They have everything from Bavarian (smoked pork and beer) and Swiss (mild veal and parsley) to Peking Brat (duck and fig) and Wild West (buffalo and burgundy).

I had a German (veal, pork, onions, parsley) with sides of Grandma’s Sauerkraut and grilled onions. Mr. Sandwich had a Black Forest (mild smoked pork) with roasted herb potatoes and chili. Both were excellent, and all of the sides were delicious.

Then we went really crazy and ordered the Swamp Thing. It’s sausage made from smoked alligator.

That’s right. Alligator.

I know what I’m supposed to say here. “Tastes like chicken!” But it doesn’t. It tastes like pork.

Also it was a little too spicy for me. So next time–and there will be a next time–I’ll stick to something more like the Swiss. Or the Peking Brat.

Eat hearty!

The Plumbing Circle of Life

I don’t know what part of the continuum we’re on at this moment, but it isn’t a good one. Right now, as I type, the plumber is snaking the drain because the water is backing up into the tub and the toilet. Yes, again. At 10 p.m.

Here’s a video of the tub:

And here’s where the water pours out of the drain pipe, when in fact it should be draining out the other direction. You know. DOWNHILL.

We are so moving.


Lately I’ve been losing my library books. First it was Debra Winger’s Undiscovered, her odd but interesting memoir about her career and personal life. To make matters worse, it’s overdue. I looked at home, in the car, and at work. At least I finished it before losing it.

Then on Saturday, at the salon, I started reading Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons. I used to love her books (most of them) and at some point decided that her writing was overly descriptive and her characters unrealistically tormented (also she reuses names between books, which I find annoying when one of those names is Sibley) (plus she used “okie-like” in both a novel and her book of nonfiction, which made me put down the latter before finishing it).

But in spite of that I’m halfway through, and I want to read it, and I can’t find it anywhere. I’m starting to think I left it at the salon. And I’m also starting to wonder what’s up with me and losing library books.

And then today I took one more look through my basket at work, and solved at least half of the problem. Debra Winger, you are officially Discovered.

Good Eats

This afternoon, Mr. Sandwich and I headed to Santa Monica for the Los Angeles BBQ Festival. The event was held in a parking lot at the base of the Santa Monica Pier. By the time we got there, three of the eight vendors were out of food–but that didn’t keep us from sampling several of the remaining options.

Two were from Missouri, and at least one of them still had food available. We decided, though, to concentrate on the local vendors so that we could go to the actual restaurants. Also, the line for the out-of-state style was incredibly long.

The weakest of the three was Baby Blues BBQ, with pork ribs. The ribs themselves were okay, but the sauce was so vinegary that it made me feel like I was on the verge of wheezing.

Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs had a fantastic beef rib and a hot link that was spicy, but not too hot. I’d definitely stop by their brick-and-mortar location for a full meal.

Our favorite was the BBQ Smoked Brick Chicken from Gus’s BBQ in South Pasadena. Flavorful, moist, tender–everything that BBQ chicken can be, and too often isn’t. We liked it so much, we went back for seconds.

Apparently when it comes to barbeque, Mr. Sandwich and I are like ravening beasts.

Thank goodness for wet towelettes.

We’re Movin’ On Up

Not to a deluxe apartment in the sky, but to a three-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath house with an actual garage. Assuming everything goes well, that is.

The home inspection went reasonably smoothly–a few things to address, but nothing insurmountable. Now there are more papers to sign, and a loan to finalize, and a tenant to . . . well, let’s say encourage to move out. So it’s not really a done deal, is it?

Potato Mania

This weekend, Mr. Sandwich and I made a trip to Salt Lake City and Idaho. Well, mostly Idaho. And considering that we flew to Utah on Saturday and came back on Monday, there really wasn’t that much of anywhere.

I can say, though, that Idaho is beautiful. We only saw the stretch along I-15 between Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls, but the mountains, valleys, and farmlands were breathtaking.

As we were driving north, we saw a billboard that said only

Then. as we approached the town of Blackfoot, we saw one of those brown highway signs that indicates a cultural or historical site. It said “Potato Museum, next exit.”

I turned to Mr. Sandwich and said, “If we have time on our way back, I totally want to stop there.”

This may seem odd, but I love potatoes. I love them so much that one year I gave them up for Lent. And it was the hardest Lenten sacrifice I ever made. I did really well right up until Thursday of Holy Week, when partway through dinner I said, “Wow. These potatoes are really good. These potatoes are. Oh. Potatoes.”

After leaving the highway, we followed additional signs and wound our way through town for a couple of miles. And then we found this:

Irresistible, no?

But perhaps you need more:

Lured in by the king of potatoes, we took the tour. It cost $2.50 each with the AAA discount, and the exhibits traced the origins and spread of potatoes (thank you, Columbian Exchange!) and presented an array of farming techniques and equipment.

On our way out, the woman at the desk said, “Oh, since you paid for the tour, you get these.” She handed us each a carton of freeze-dried Nonpareil Homestyle Hash Browns. And do you know what it says on the top of the carton?