Friday, December 28, 2007


Baby Crumpet helping to put up the tree. She put all the ornaments on one branch, roughly 1 feet from the ground.

The cats love drinking the water from the tree well. I'm going to invent a cat drinking fountain that looks like Christmas Tress and make millions.

For Christmas the cats got a new three-sided scratch post. Much happiness follows.

We're spending the holidays in Boston & Maine. Much new pictures & stories to follow (also our annual holiday party in Seattle).


Mom teaching Baby Crumpet how to paint

Doesn't her smocks make her look like a Hogwarts student?


The 2nd book of our culinary book club was SALT: A World History by Mark Kurlanky. Members: Gracie, Darcy, David, Shelley, Big A & Ku.

First, the meal. Then, the book.

We start at David & Shelley's house with a multiple courses of cured meats (i.e. mini flank steak) and crudites with cocktails.

Then moving to our house for the main course - a vertical tasting of grilled pork chops brined and rubbed with different salt - kosher, sea salt and himalayan pink salt. All the pork were cooked the exactly same way and it was amazing you can really tell the different flavors of each salt and how it was brined and rubbed. Even better there were no consensus on which salt/style were the best, proving there is no one way to do things but truly what you prefer.

THE BOOK is a classic example of cultural history where there is no central storyline or thesis, the author simply loosely follows a chronological order in telling a parallel topic - how salts are made and how it affected world & human history.

The parts on historical impact was the most interesting. Tidbits includes how salt played a major part in the American Civil War (without salt you can not preserve and therefor can not feed an army), changed the fishing industry from Cape Cod to Itlay to England and how salt were once so important it was a form of a currency (the word soldier referred to paying the army in salt; or the phrase worth his salt; the word salary).

The part on how to make salt through the ages were more uneven. The best part included interesting personalities (i.e. the founders of Tabasco sauce started out as salt miners on Avery Island in Louisana - which is pure rock salt). But otherwise you can only read so many chapters about the different ways the Chinese or the Roman created new ways to evaporate brines.

Verdict: highly recommended if you're quick to skip the selected boring parts.

Note: Kurlanki has written many other notable cultural history books including titles on Cod and the Basque people. I also enjoyed his book 1968 which chronicles the student movement through out the year happening in that fateful year.


Uncle Stuart drops by to visit Baby Crumpet.

Menu: cedar-plank salmon, roasted asparagus & sweet potatoes

Crumpet news round-up

T-minus 3 weeks to two-year birthday (Jan. 19th)

Bought her a real bed. Retired the pack 'n play. Much rejoice and jumping on the bed with occasional rolling off in the middle of the night and crying.

Knows her ABCs - can do the whole song.

Can count to 10 in English on her own. Spanish & Chinese with help.

Food festish. For awhile loved cheese. Then ditched cheese and can't get enough of olives. Recently it has been fish and now it's apricot. Really, really, really likes chocolate.

Favorite book - the Dinosaur series from Jane Yolen

Favorite thing to do with daddy - going to Jamba Juice

Favorite thing to do with mommy - going to Starbucks

Favorite video #1 - video podcast from Sesame Street ''word of the day''

#2 - YouTube - anything with dogs or cute animals

All videos are named ''Elmo''

Welcome Nathan!

Team Mia welcomes Nathan - son of Regina & David!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Many of you wanted to know more about the land-sea vehicle to took to get to Deer Island

More info here

The LARC-5 (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) is an Army amphibious vehicle originally used in the 1960's to ferry supplies from ships to shore. Its total possible load is 5 tons (hence the five after LARC). Although no longer manufactured, all three sizes LARC-5, LARC-15, and LARC-60's still see service both within and outside the military.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Postcard from Mazatlan

Keeping up with our tradition of ''no shoes on Thanksgiving'', Baby Crumpet took her parents & grandparents to Mazatlan for a week long vacation.

Mazatlan is in the Mexican state of Sinaloa and boost the largest fishing fleet of the Pacific coast. It is especially well known for sports fishing (marlin, sailfish, billfish). The town is relatively young, the original tourist zone were set up in the 50s and it is quiet compared to the mega resorts of Cancun & Puerto Vallerta. Its key features include the Vieja (old town), the Malecon (ocean sidewalk) and two beautiful islands (Stone Island and Deer Island).

Naturally the first thing we do is eat. Mom & Dad found a place called Panama that quickly became our favorite. A chain of 3 locations Panama is especially popular with Mexican tourists & locals (we saw virtually no foreigners the entire week) and features a large menu with fun combinations. Their tortilla soup was outstanding and the chocolate flan should be declared an illegal substance.

Another favorite was Taco Martin. None of the staff spoke English so we simply ordered one each of their 8 kinds of tacos. Some were the usual - carne asada, y pastor...etc. But others, as we later found out, were more, er, adventurous (brain, eye, cheeks + one called head we still not sure what that meant). Taco Martin also served a ''soupy'' guacamole as well as whole beans cooked with bacon that were delicious.

Feeling tough, we tried another local, Mexican-only joint Taco La Carreta. The placed served just 4 kinds of tacos - carne asada, y pastor, lengua (tongue) and tripa. The taco man could easily get a job in Vegas as Blackjack dealer as his hands flew at incredible speed in turning out tacos (see video here). These tacos were AMAZING. Did I mention they cost 70 cents each? We ate, a-hem, 25 tacos in 20 minutes. They also served a ridiculously good horchata (rice milk w/t cinnamon) and tamarind drink.

Another local favorite was the central market, where they sell everything from whole slaughtered cows to jewelry & dresses, often right next to each other. The top of the market were little restaurant stalls that served a simple & wonderful fresh cuisine with dishes like camarone mojo de ajo (shrimp in garlic sauce), fish baked in tin foil & cream sauce and grilled pork chops with lime. You sit outside on a patio and watch the busy city traffic go by. The kitchen was small & the old ladies cooking & serving were all smiles. You feel like you're eating at her house even as you compete with pigeons & bees for your food.

OK taking a break from food. We took two trips out. First was to Stone Island on a Catamaran called - seriously - Titanik. Skipper said it's ok because it's spelled with a K. Riiiiight. We got picked up at our hotel by a truck, who also picked up tourists at other hotels but also made some mysterious stops for seemingly no reason (running drugs?). You take the boat out to the island where for the next 4 hours you can do anything you want. Mom & Dad wrote the ''banana boat''. Adrian & I did horse back riding near the beach while we all did a lot of sitting around and drinking from coconuts.

The Deer Island transport was a used US Army sea-land transport that had been painted to look like a shark (see photo). This alone would have been worth the price of admission but it got better. During the trip we discovered the skipper were also reading bible stories. Not making this up. We did the ''turistico el cheapo''. Basically the ''shark'' dropped us off at the island and promised to pick us up 2 hours later. You can see the other ''turistico el richo'' arriving via catamarans, tents, volleyball nets & servers with coolers full of booze. Anyway, we had a great time snorkeling & building sand castles with Baby Crumpet. The beauty of these islands really lie in the fact that there is nothing to do (not even a single restaurant on them)

An ubiquitous site around Mazatlan is Senor Frogs (any of you ever been to South Beach or Cancun knows it well). Just between our hotel and the town we saw 7 of them. It turns out it is owned by Grupo Anderson, the Mexican business that also owns other vacation-themed fun bars such as Carlos & Charlie and got their start nearly 50 years ago in Mazatlan with a restaurant called El Shrimp Bucket which still stands today.

There are 2 main ways to travel around town, bus or open-air taxis called Pulmonias. Buses are, well, buses. They're made more exciting by the fact that the bus driver are often watching football on TV while driving. The open-air Pulmonias are just awesome. A cross between the tuk-tuk from Thailand with golf chart and a gas lawn mower, they offer a quick & scenic way to travel around town and each driver have their own music taste, from Mexican ballads to reggae.

The weather were sunny & 86 degrees, everyday. General depression settled in when one day the temp dipped to 84 degrees but it was quickly resolved by some shrimp cocktails and a trip to the swim up bar. Life is good, and that is how Baby Crumpet likes it.

More Photos Here.