This year’s favorite things

In the tech category, Rails 2.3, Redis, and the Engine Yard Cloud. offerings have got to top the list of things that improved our ability to deliver products and simplified solutions for us. Github also tops my list of services that have become a way of life. The tech world spins quickly though. Curious to see what’s next. In all cases though, it’s not the tech or the code but the people. All these projects or companies have seriously dedicated people working on them. *That* is what makes these things go. Rock on people.

Quoc Pham fixed shoes
Rapha scarf, Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover
Outlier Black Empire Tee
Stormy Kromer shirt
Rapha Lightweight Softshell
Panache Cycling Houndtooth socks
Outlier hoodie
dogfishhead 90 minute IPA
jeff jones silver headbadge
hed ardennes
king cages ti water bottle cages
harriman local loop
Chris King ISO Hubs
Starting line with Team Fatty at the Livestrong Challenge Philly
Fall riding rocks
Mad Alchemy Mango Love
Taza Chocolate Mexicana helping the dev team persevere
Laying down some fresh tracks in the snow

There might be a few more… time will tell.

Bluepoint Brewing Oatmeal Stout


Not long ago, my friend Evan decided I (and the team) needed to taste some Bluepoint Blueberry. Of course, he brought other varieties when the time came (we try and taste four varieties in order to get some sense of the brewery as a whole and not just a single flavor or batch) he brought a growler of Oatmeal Stout. I do enjoy a stout. Seemingly almost any stout.

This one however was particularly smooth and rich. Seriously. No… seriously! Sure it was helped by the lack of preservatives that bottled beer contains, but even so, this was wonderfully balanced.

There was a bit leftover when all was said and done, so I cooked it down with some roasted onions and placed it on a number of different vegetable sandwiches. This classic recipe for brats works really well for all sorts of things, I find if you;re not using it with a meet product that sour things and spicey things help to balance the sweetness of the onions and stout. So an eggplant wrap with chipotle, tomato, and the onions is awesome. You can also add some Tahina to the onions to further thicken, and balance some bitterness against the sweetness. (and blend if you’re using it as a dressing or spread). The Bluepoint Oatmeal Stout worked exceptionally well for all these cases as well.

In a couple of weeks we’ll be using a similar recipe, but we’ll be cooking outside over hickory and oak. You can in fact smell the yumminess.


The onions here are about midway through the thickening process…

Catching up on a busy Friday…

UK_181_1_3--220-220.jpgI can feel the cool weather returning, and my bike rides getting cold (I generally have to ride early.) The Lightweight Softshell pictured here (which may not be continuing in the line) is a perfect complement piece for these midway days. It’s light and folds down to nothing, yet it’s rain resistant and wind blocking and nice enough to wear off the bike. I recommend purchasing Rapha out of season as the prices reflect the quality, but by all means… do get some into your bike kit. It’s wonderful stuff. Unfortunately for me lovely gear bought for me last year will be somewhat large on me this year. So it goes.

img_1170_small.jpgA friend at work noticed my shoes the other day… I promised a link. My well worn (and much beloved) 5.10 Guide Tennies. The Stealth rubber is awesome outside, but be careful inside, you can easily leave scuffs (which you can remove eraser like, but still. Super adjustable, with just the right amount of stiffness in the sole. An approach shoe, it’s an excellent all arounder and joy whether doing some hiking, a bit of climbing, or just hanging around. Of course, it well suited to those common occasions when you’re doing all of those, and I’d add an excellent shoe for “casual” biking as the sole has some stiffness to it which makes comfortable for pedaling with good energy transfer. I wore out the previous pair in just such a fashion but their demise was the result of my stubbornly riding my commute in the rain, and getting covered in liquified goose crap. Everything else (bike included) washed up nicely. The shoes were going to reek forever. So it goes.

IMG_0158.JPGNext up is the continuing tastings at work. We trying craft beers, and having a minor blast doing it. This is round two we’re looking at. The Blue Point Blueberry Ale was the one everyone loved that days. Kudos also went to the Troeg Troegenator on that day. A follow up tasting brought enjoyment from the Southampton IPA. For me, We didn’t have the sort of food that compliment the Hop Rod Rye… it might have gotten a raw deal. Next tasting in a week. So it goes.

Next up date is tea. IMG_0171.jpg Green tea specifically. This is part of the “vanquish the last vice” effort. I try and find what I think is the habit or vice that is most destructive to me and remove the most destructive portion. In my case that would seem to be the copious quantities of Diet Coke I drink at work. I’ve replaced that with drinking green tea. makes this simple with their IngenuiTEA pot. A simple strainer mechanism makes it super easy to get hot water and leaves in and tea out in about 3 minutes. A 4 cup sized device means there’s not really enough for our group. So it goes.

IMG_0173.jpgThe last of today’s updates was some artisanal hand made, fair trade, you got love people who care this much Chocolate (that’s correct capital “C” in this case) from Taza. The team was celebrating yet another launch, and so as is our way, a bit of chocolate is handed out to celebrate the achievement. In this case the Guajillo Chili, Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Cacao Puro varieties were loved in that order. Folks loved the crunchy nature of the chocolate (it’s stone ground so bits of sugar and cocoa nibs remain). The Cacao Puro probably didn’t get a fair shake since it came last, and had to compete with others. The Vanilla was considered a bit too subtle. So it goes. IMG_0169.jpg

A bad day, some great beer (Dogfish Head)

So it’s been kinda rough (it’s all relative, but ya know.) Work has been a challenge, it’s still rainy on the weekends, and Lisa has been going through some health stuff… and some great folks have passed away recently.

A couple guys were let go at work. And it’s never easy, and they were good guys. To clear the air we arranged our team room more to our liking. It helped clear the air, set a new spirit, brought some of the lightness that comes with cleaning and clutter removal. But it wasn’t quite enough.

We got a chance to work with someone new on some of our stuff this week. Matt has been really cool to work with, we’ve got the start of some excellent improvements. Living as he does way closer to Philly than I, he was able to procure some excellent beer which is hard to get up here.


Some friends had long ago recommended Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, but it was not easy to get the varieties around here, and I had only tried one. But it lent enormous promise to this undertaking.

Matt understands the awesome power of beer, and in true braveheart, knight of the realm, heck or high water fashion, dragged six packs and four packs of Raison D’Etre, Indian Brown Ale, Pano Santo Marron and 90 Minute Imperial IPA (all from Dogfish Head) up from down there to us here in the Big City. Considering it’s like a 3 hour train ride and haul across town… it was much appreciated.

We made some room in a little known fridge for six bottles and got to work. At the end of the day, with one last meeting to go, we broke out the varieties for some tasting to go with the meeting. Now anyone who has cracked a cold one when a group has been working hard and fighting the good fight knows the positive impact a good beer can have… this wasn’t a loud, chugging keg thing… it was a tasting, an exploration, a gentile experiment in the possibilities and hard work of others… a small bit of sensory payback for a hard working team enjoying the work of other hard working folks (beer this good cannot be easy to make!)

And the Dogfish Head did not disappoint. Mark had this to say about the Palo Santo Marron “I love the caramel flavor! One of the best brown ales I’ve ever had.” Evan said “If I had to assign a number between 1-10 the Raison D’Etre would get an 11” (and I’d agree, I loved it! Lively and filled with flavor, beautifully balanced, with a rich earthy color).

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of “Hi, c’mon on in, the meeting will be over in a few minutes, grab a glass and have a taste (pause for pouring, sniffing, tasting… ah and then…) “You guys sure know how to live!”. Which is is exactly why the effort was made to procure Dogfish Head. The team deserved to feel that level of care and appreciation. Done.

Dogfish Head… simply amazing. (If you’re reading along here, make the effort to try some.) It’s a shame they don’t sell sampling packs…


We’ll be doing this every two weeks, suggestions about highest quality craft beers are welcome…