Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Massage Anyone?

"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats." -- English Proverb

Yes - that's Mac mounted atop Walter, performing his magic.

Most dogs love to be touched. They love to be patted on the rump, petted on their head and scratched behind the ears. They even love to be brushed. Well, at least my boys do. Whenever Walter or Henry are petted and stroked, they hum with pleasure and stretch their legs out or paw me for more when I stop.

The one thing Walter and Henry do not agree on when it comes to petting is the Cat Massage. Mac, our 18-year-old cat loves to climb up on the dogs’ backs and start kneading. Mac has tried it on Henry a couple of times and Henry gives him such a look of displeasure, he quickly realizes he is not welcome and looks for a more willing customer.

And he finds it in Walter.

Mac can climb up on Walter’s back, dig his soft, de-clawed little pads deep into Walter’s neck and back and meow for as long as his little heart desires. This sometimes goes on for half an hour. Walter submits every time. Mac seems to get as much pleasure being the masseur as Walter gets as the recipient of the massage. Quid Pro Quo.

Maybe Walter just doesn’t have the heart to knock Mac off or maybe he really does enjoy it. I tend to believe it is the latter. I think it is truly the ultimate massage and Henry just doesn’t realize what he is missing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Not your Run-of-the-Mill Happy Hour

"And do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends."
~ William Shakespeare

I work in the bio-tech region of San Diego located in a section of La Jolla known as University Towne Centre. It’s a great area to work – I can get there without having to battle the freeways and there are all kinds of hotels, shopping and great restaurants nearby.

From time to time, co-workers will get together to enjoy some down time after work doing what we all fondly refer to as “Happy Hour”. Now, there are happy hour places, crammed with people drinking draft beer and well drinks for half-price off during happy hour and eating buffet-style mediocre bar food at best. But not at Truluck’s - a wonderful steak and crab house in the Aventine Center right next the La Jolla Hyatt. They have a different kind of Happy Hour. Guests can sit in outside patio seating surrounded by those wonderful warm patio heaters and gas fire pits. Inside is a low-lighted, atmospheric restaurant infused with the smells of their famous crab dishes and other savory seafood selections.

Truluck's happy hour drinks include top shelf spirits such as Grey Goose Vodka Martinis and a wonderful selection of fine wines at half price. And their appetizers – well these are not your mediocre, run-of-the-mill bar-food variety. They offer dishes such as warm goat cheese with sweet chili and pecans served with crunchy French bread, hot crispy shrimp and seafood and crab or steak sliders that are truly out of this world. And all for such reasonable prices that I keep on waiting for them to change the menu or raise the prices now that they have lured in and netted their clientele. But they don’t. It’s the same fabulous food and prices every time we go there. And as a bonus, their wait staff is super friendly and accommodating.

Each time I visit Truluck’s after work, I always take a “to go” box and bring some food home to Brian so he won’t miss out. So, next time you want a not-so-ordinary upscale happy hour experience without the upscale prices, check out Truluck’s if you can locate one. They also have restaurants in Texas and Florida. It is a delicious and delightful experience.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dog Tails with Foxtails and Bumps on their Noodles!

These are NOT a few of my favorite things!

We like to take Walter and Henry to these dusty little bike trails in the nearby parks where they can go off leash and go exploring in the bushes and chase bunnies. It’s fun for them and it’s a nice, pleasant walk for us. It seems harmless enough to let the boys run free and wander around to sniff out the nooks and crannies of the park. But the truth is - a real danger lurks in the high, dry, wheat-like grass that grows in abundance in this part of the country. I am talking about "foxtails". They call them foxtails because of their resemblance to a real fox tail. They look soft and billowy and harmless as they sway in the summer breeze but the truth is, they are like fish hooks. Once they attach themselves to your dog, their little deadly barbs dig in and catch the skin and make it extremely difficult to remove them from your dog without the help from a Vet.

Henry got a couple embedded so deeply into his butt, they became infected and painful before we were able to have them removed. And the scariest part is, these deadly things can get into their eyes and their nose and their ears where they may not be detected until your poor dog is in terrible pain with infection.

Walter has frequent yeast infections in his ears because he is allergic to so many things. It is something we have become accustomed to and so we constantly clean his ears and give him ear drops. So, when he was scratching at his head near his ear, it was not that unusual. But one time he scratched so hard that a bloody lump started forming on his head near his ear, we took him to the Vet. Lo and behold, it was not the lump on Walty’s noodle that we had to worry about. The Vet looked in his ears and found a foxtail burrowed deep in his ear canal. Thankfully, she was able to reach in with tweezers and remove it without harm to Walter's eardrum.

So, after all this, we now do "foxtail checks" on our boys after they are exposed to areas that have this deadly grass growing. We also use the “furminator” to comb their coats and remove burrs and other debris from their fur. Keep an eye out for excessive sneezing or extremely teary eyes or infected looking bumps. It could be a foxtail making its way deeper and deeper into your beloved pooch.

We didn’t have foxtails in the mountain paths of Colorado, but then again, we had rattlesnakes. So, I guess all regions have their own hazards! We just have to learn what they are and try and keep our curious and carefree pups safe when they are out having fun.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

From Pizza to Sushi

Fifteen years ago, people were making jokes about sushi being bait, and now, in parts of L.A. -- not in Japanese neighborhoods at all, especially on the West side -- it seems like there's a little sushi bar in almost every mini-mall. ~ Russ Parsons

Brian and I are pretty traditional when it comes to food. I am the more daring of the two of us. He generally won’t venture into Middle Eastern, Indian or Thai cuisine so I usually have to find another dinner partner when I want to try a new restaurant.

Coming from Colorado, we did not have a huge selection of good seafood so we were pretty much stuck with beef and chicken and pasta or even buffalo or elk when we were adventurous. Now that we are in California, the choices of seafood are endless. I was an East Coaster so I grew up on seafood but Brian, who lived most of his life in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, just didn’t have much fish in his life until now. He has discovered that he loves salmon – something I could never get him to eat in Colorado. We live right around the corner from one of the best fish markets in San Diego – El Pescador on Pearl Street in La Jolla. They have a fabulous array of fresh seafood and clam chowder and also cook lunches and dinners on their inside grill to eat in their small restaurant or available for take out. So, because of the proximity of this fish market and Brian’s new-found love of fresh fish, we are regulars at El Pescador.

The one thing we really have never tried is Sushi. It’s that weird fear we have of the unknown. Raw fish? Are you kidding me? We just never tried it. Until recently. At first we just tried the “rolls” – California rolls, shrimp rolls, salmon rolls…….and then finally even ventured on to eel rolls! So far, so good. And then finally, one night, we totally surrendered and ordered the raw fish – salmon, tuna and white fish. And to our delight, we loved it all! There are at least seven Sushi restaurants in our little La Jolla village alone. And some of them are really fancy and expensive. But we have found a great Sushi place just down the street from our house called Fugu's – which not only has good food at reasonable prices, but they deliver, too – Saki and all!

Anyway, my point is, you have to try new stuff. It’s fun and it’s good for you! We know there are millions of people who have already climbed aboard the Sushi train a long time ago and that we are latecomers, but better late than never.

We used to order pizza every Friday night and now we get Sushi. Not that we will ever give up pizza entirely. That just won’t happen. But we feel a little bit healthier since we have made the switch. And it makes the pizza taste so good when we finally indulge again.