Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Mate's Favorite Fritatta Sandwich

Another slippery sandwich.

A stovetop frittata is just as easy to make as a baked one--you don't have to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen to accomplish this tasty gastronomic feat.  Use any type of veggie you like for filling:  I vary mine on a regular basis so Bruce (Captain and currently Head Writer in our creative wacko place) doesn't tire of the taste and texture.  The cats love the smell, but haven't yet explored the taste; Syri has played a short round of soccer with a garbanzo bean!

First Mate's Favorite Fritatta Sandwich

3 eggs, well beaten  (or use 4 egg whites)
1/4 cup carmelized sweet onion* (optional)
1/2 cup cooked mixed vegetables
1/8 cup of rinsed black beans and/or garbanzo beans
several slices of Pepperjack or cheddar cheese (to taste)
sliced ripe tomato
2 leaves (at least) Boston or Romaine lettuce, washed and patted dry
Pinch dry parsley
Pinch dry basil (or thyme or rosemary, if you prefer)

Dijon mustard
Greek unflavored yoghurt or olive oil mayonnaise
2 Miami onion buns (or just onion buns:  whole wheat buns also work well)
Olive oil

With fingers, coat 8" non-stick pan with a tiny amount of olive oil (mainly for flavor).  Begin heating pan, add eggs.  Immediately drop in veggies and beans, scattering them across the surface of the eggs.  Sprinkle with herbs. Cover, reduce heat to simmer (you want a nice thin crust on the bottom of the eggs with only a little browning).  Cook until set, about 5-7 minutes.  Eggs may puff a little, almost like a souffle.

Meantime, toast buns.  Add mustard to the bottom inside, put yoghurt (healthier) or mayonnaise on the inside top.  When the eggs are completely dry, divide them into three or four portions with a non-scratching spatula depending on the size of the buns.  Put one portion on the bottom of a bun, add cheese to taste, and layer the next portion of egg on top of the first so it softens the cheese.  Tomato and lettuce come next.  Close with top of bun, and enjoy.  Relatively fast, and hearty.

* If you prefer, add the caramelized onions
atop the mustard instead of with the rest of the vegetables in the eggs. Works well either way.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Trip to the Sprecher Micro Brewery

Very Interesting Places…

Sprecher Micro Brewery
Hmmmmm.  My partner Bruce’s son is on the western side of the Atlantic puddle with us for six weeks, a little summer vacation from France.  I’m wondering about things to do with a teenager who focuses on computer games, eating, and sometimes practicing his flute.  My oldest and smallest cat Brika won’t let Noel play with her as much as he wants--she gets tired of lying on her back with ears, nose, tail, and paws in the air, eventually righting herself with a dismissive “Trrrrurrr!” and a through shake, and stalks off beyond his reach.  She is NOT a toy, even though she looks like one.  There’s only so much television to watch, especially considering the amount of repetitive ads between shorter and shorter plot segments.  Going out would be good to get Noel some fresh air, but there has to be a goal—where, what…

Aha, eureka, a tour to see/hear about/taste one of Noel’s favorite things, Sprecher Root Beer!

Bruce called the company, and found that they offer several tours per day for a small per-person fee.  So we left Burlington with the car air-conditioner blasting, in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm, for north Milwaukee.  The trip took nearly an hour and twenty minutes.

Sprecher has moved from the industrial complex near the landmark Rockwell clock tower to a one-story building confronting a residential neighborhood in Glendale.  It was, according to our tour guide, once an elevator factory.  (They must have had quite a basement to test their product, or a trans-dimensional tower!)  We arrived early.  That was good, because parking was at a premium.  The small lot holds 12-15 visitor’s cars; otherwise, street parking is available.  One vehicle left just as we got there, and Bruce pulled in.

Sprecher Griffin Griffon Milwaukee Beer Brewery
The rain had stopped by that time. Two black Sprecher griffins guarded the entrance, allowing the precipitation to drip from their beaks and wings.  We walked between them into the gift shop, which resembles an aging area for kegged beer.  Around the walls were things to buy:  clothing, caps, and glasses featuring Sprecher’s black and yellow logo.  And case after case of soda, including something none of us had ever seen before:  hard root beer.  Bruce checked us in at the register, where we received odd-looking fluorescent orange wristbands.  We adults fingered the tabs on ours, marked in black “Beer Sample Stub Void if Detached”, and compared them with Noel’s plain one.  He could sample all flavors of Sprecher soda:  Bruce and I could get four tastes each of fire-brewed beer.  (Being the designated driver, Bruce intended to limit his choices.)  And oddly enough, the place doesn’t smell like a brewery:  only a slight tangle in the conditioned air belied we were within rock throwing distance of major beer production.

We soon found out that the company doesn’t run on Greenwich Mean Time, but instead follows Sprecher time:  our watches, compared with the clock on the wall, showed the tour started six minutes late.  A blond young man who appeared to be in his twenties finally loped into the room carrying a glass mug half full of water, and encouraged “You guys” should gather near the double door leading to the brewing area.  Us guys formed a full tour:  there were between 30-40 grown-ups and children following him.  I half expected the guide to pull out an instrument and begin playing like a Pied Piper as we trailed him into the next room.

Sprecher Beer Brewery Milwaukee
Owner and Master Brewer Randy Sprecher learned to love European style beer while stationed in the military in Germany.  After his mustering out, Randy returned home to the Milwaukee area, and began experimenting to try and produce his version of German beer.  He was successful, and the Sprecher brewery was born in 1985, the first microbrewery established in Milwaukee since Prohibition.  It is growing, and is moving into several new markets with both root beer and beer.

Several large tanks sat on the concrete floor of the brewing area, with pipes connecting them both overhead and under foot.  We were warned to watch our steps.  There were fewer vats than I expected.  Except for the group, only one man was in the room, caretaking whatever filled the fermenting vat at the moment.  It was also somewhat noisy.  Our guide had to yell his spiel, and often partook of his water.  He passed around mugs of malted barley and pelleted hops so we could feel and smell them.  Some brave individuals even tasted them.  Not very flavorful at this stage.  They needed some encouragement.

Sprecher Beer Brewery Milwaukee
Sprecher products begin with boiling water in a huge vat.  This proves their proud claim to “fire-brewing”.  Little additional carbonation is forced into the beverage just before finishing, which is one of the major differences between European and American beers.  (This is good for me:  many New World-style beers and most sodas give me carbonation hiccups, which I manage to retain between 4-12 hours each time.)  The majority of beer ingredients, except for the more exotic flavorings such as California orange peel, come from Wisconsin.  The main sweetener is local honey.  Members of the tour laughed when our guide reported that Sprecher sells its used malted barley (called mash) after brewing to local farmers for cattle feed.  He claimed this is why Wisconsin cows are so much happier than California cows.  Several tour members applauded their appreciation.

Sprecher Beer Brewery Milwaukee
We paced through the aging room, where vats of beer are allowed to rest and gain character.  It was cold:  exhalations from individuals hurrying through painted pale clouds in the atmosphere.  Felt good to me!  The tour gathered again in the bottling and labeling section, which was MUCH louder than the brewing area.  Our poor guide had to strain to be heard over the constant clink of bottles racked in humming machinery.  He told us the production line itself is an old one from a Coca-Cola bottler.  We noticed three or four loops of things happening:  beer (or soda) funneled into brown glass receptacles, caps affixed, labels slapped on one, sometimes two, sides depending on the beverage, and the bottles slipping gently into cardboard boxes, ready for distribution.  Again, there seemed to be only one person working here.  Fully automated.  The noise from the bottles was oddly sweet, somehow mixing well with the artist-painted mural on one wall representing Randy Sprecher’s memories of Bavaria.

Sprecher Beer Brewery Milwaukee
The tour was released into the tasting room.  We formed a line, consulting our brochure as well as the lists near the bar, to make the best selection.  Of course, Noel chose root beer.  I got a Mai Bock, which is a light spring lager that tastes of flowers and has a long, complicated finish.  Bruce chose the hard root beer, which was exceptional.  We returned to the line for more tastes:  the sodas are served in a paper cup, but the beers are presented in etched Sprecher tasting glasses, which we got to keep.  Not being fond of dark beers, I didn’t favor the Russian Imperial Stout.  The Hefe Weiss was okay, but not quite to my taste.  Noel decided that the Cola flavor was fairly standard, and didn’t like the cherry cola combination.  He’s going to stick with straight root beer, which is one of Sprecher’s top sellers.

One can spend a very pleasant afternoon at Sprecher.  This was both fun and informative.  If you haven't tried it yet, I’d say it’s one of Milwaukee’s Very Interesting Places

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Captain's Apple Salad

Janet Deaver-Pack Salad Apple Recipe
I've been working on this recipe for awhile.  The first dressing was a dijon vinaigrette, which was good.  But this version, which includes a lite raspberry vinaigrette, is even better!  For a cool summer side dish, this is very tasty.  It offers plenty of crunch, and since it replaces mayonnaise with yoghurt, it contains less calories.  The Captain of Games here (Bruce) likes it very much!

Janet Deaver-Pack Salad Apple Recipe2 large sweet apples, skin on, coarsely chopped (Fuji, Delicious, jonadel, Gala, etc.)
3 ribs celery, strings removed, chopped
1/4 cup Chardonnay (Barefoot, Tisdale, Liberty Creek)
1/2 cup walnut pieces (more or less to taste)
2 heaping teaspoons plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon good lite raspberry vinaigrette (I used Kraft this time, which is a bit sweeter than I'd intended:  I've also used Penzey's Spices Raspberry Enlightenment along with a bit of red wine vinegar and brown sugar)

Put apples in a bowl.  Add Chardonnay and toss until all pieces are coated so they won't discolor.  Add celery and walnuts.  Stir.  Add yoghurt.  Stir thoroughly.  Add raspberry vinaigrette, and make certain you don't overdo it (you want the raspberry taste to come after the apples and walnuts, just a hint of a bloom in the back of the mouth).  Chill for several hours, and serve.  Serves four. Yummms all around!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

When Pigs Fly...and the Roast that caused it

I've invented a new Slippery Sandwich, inspired by Bruce Heard and his son Noel:  "It's noon, and we're hungry.  What are we going to eat?"

I just happened to have half a pork loin roasted and ready, so...but I need to tell you what I did to that piggy before making the sandwich!

Positively Scrumptious Pork Loin

Cut the fat from the top and bottom of a drained 12-inch length of pork loin.  Grab a Pyrex or ceramic roasting pan and carefully line it with about 20-22 inches of foil, making certain to center it.  Tuck the ends of the foil into a loose roll toward the pan on both ends (you'll use them later).  With a mortar and pestle (or with a battery-operated herb grinder for wimps), persuade some dried Rosemary to fall apart.  Sprinkle about a teaspoon and a half on the top and bottom of the meat.  Do the same with a half teaspoon of dried Basil, and the same amount of dried Parsley.  Add a little more than 1/4 cup of cheap Chardonnay to the roasting pan, making sure the foil contains it.  Put the pork loin in the Chardonnay, and add 5-6 circles of finely cut leek (either white or green) to the top and sides of the meat.  Tuck into a 380-degree oven for half an hour.  Take out at the half hour mark, unroll the ends of the foil, bring them together over the roast, and seal both those and the sides.  (This doesn't have to be a tight seal.)  Roast for another 40 minutes.  Check roasting time with a reputable cookbook, and take your oven into consideration--if it's wonky like mine, desired doneness may take more time.  Remove, and cool.  Ok, serve part of this hot for dinner with mixed vegetables and couscous with pine nuts.  Anyone who's within smelling distance will have his/her nose in the air, wondering how you're getting the kitchen to smell so wonderful.)

The Sandwich:  When Pigs Fly

1 medium Vidalia onion (any sweet one will do)
Large pinches of French thyme, parsley
Splash Chardonnay
6 thin slices of the pork roast (above), cooled
Slices of medium sharp Cheddar cheese (enough to cover bun)
2 Miami onion buns
Dijon mustard
Plain yoghurt
Slices of ripe tomato (Beefsteak or a Heritage variety)
Extra Virgin olive oil

Peel the onion, cut into quarters.  Then divide into narrow pieces starting at the crown or the bottom, using the whole onion.  Put a little olive oil in the pan just for taste, and heat.  Add onion, and saute. Toss with often with wooden spoon. As onion begins to carmelize, add the French thyme and parsley.  When the pan becomes dry, add the Chardonnay, toss again, cover, remove from heat, and set aside.

Cut the Miami onion buns in half.  Toast.  Spread one side with Dijon mustard, the other with about a teaspoon of the plain yoghurt.  Put a heaping serving spoon of the sauteed onions on half of the bun, layer with Cheddar, and add the meat.  Warm in microwave oven for 30-45 seconds (just until cheese begins melting).  Add two or three slices of tomato, top it all with the other side of the bun, and serve immediately.  Eat OVER a plate, or you'll have the insides racing down your chest.  It is a Slippery Sandwich, after all.

Two Yummms on this one from the boys, and a profound Purrr from Brika, who will do nearly anything for some bites of this tender, flavorful pork roast!  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Chocolate Fest???

I'm adding my bit to the post Bruce put up yesterday regarding Burlington, Wisconsin's Chocolate Fest:

In one word, yuck.

If it's called Chocolate Fest, why is the carnival part so much larger than the chocolate part, which is supposed to be the main draw?  And why is there so little imagination to the whole thing?

The parking is $5, or if you're intrepid enough to walk two blocks, you can find it for free.  So we walked in along (cough!) a very dusty (cough! cough!) road.  At the ticket booth, we were unpleasantly surprised to find out that the entrance fee was $8 each.  We were given two tiny Nestle Crunch bars, then we walked two more blocks through the noise and chaos of a typical carnival, with the usual garishly lighted rides, blaring music, and hawkers.

We anticipated what we'd see approaching the big white tent housing the chocolate division of the festival.  Entering, we found the place hot (even though it was in the low 60s outside), and very chaotic.  I could hardly see anything because of people crowding the tables set along the edges of the tent.  Someone was yelling countdowns over a loudspeaker, which made conversation impossible.  People from Nestle, a Burlington-based company, were baking tiny cookies, but we had to get our hands stamped and stand in line to get the single-bite goodies.  The flavor was excellent, and they were right out of the oven.  At least Nestle wins points from us for that.

Bruce and I expected to see chocolate comparisons, gourmet chocolates of all sorts (including European), and chocolate experiments going on, but we were disappointed.  There were about 12 tables lining the outside edges of the tent that offered either hand-dipped or hand-made chocolates, but most of what I saw was chocolate-covered popcorn.  One booth had a little chocolate at the front, and several shelves of original-recipe jams.  That's not chocolate.  This is Chocolate Fest.  The countdowns being yelled over the loudspeaker were for a children's chocolate-eating contest, and there was a section where kids could beat on huge chocolate blocks with hand tools.  The only venue for adults to enjoy in that end of the tent was the man carving chocolate blocks into statuary.  That was fun for about a minute.

We discovered that to taste any chocolate in the room, we were expected to buy a $6 Tasting Ticket.  Another $6 on top of the $8 entrance fee, and the $5 parking?  Not on your life!  We didn't even taste the chocolate being offered at one table for fifty cents per one bite in a teeny muffin cup.  We did find other chocolate for sale, but it was bags of Nestle products that we can find in any local market.  Talk about frustration!

At that point, we were so disappointed that we left.  We had our hopes set on buying some really delicious gourmet chocolate to take home, and we exited with nothing but irritation.  Lesson learned.  Until Chocolate Fest expands to fit its name and gets some reasonably-priced samples in their tent, we won't be back.  We may never go back.  We're also telling all our friends about our terrible experience.

On the way home, we stopped at Gooseberries Market, and bought three bars of 60- and 70% non-alkali processed REAL chocolate for less than the price of one Tasting Ticket.  We went home and had our own Chocolate Fest, a much more satisfying one than the event we paid for.

Delicious messy sandwiches

My partner/co-author Bruce has persuaded me to put a couple of recipes up for my Slippery Sandwiches.  They're slippery because the ingredients can scoot away from one's mouth and fall out the back of the bun, and therefore difficult to eat.  But delicious, and very satisfying, especially if you're hungry or just need some vitamins and minerals in their natural states.  These make a great lunch, and everything's in one package.  So here goes:

Egg, Onion, and Veggie Slippery Sandwich

2 free-range, vegetarian-fed eggs (or one if you have a smaller appetite)
thinly-sliced Vidalia onion (two to four slices, depending on how many eggs)
Miami onion bun
plain Greek yogurt
3 slices Pepper Jack cheese
Several slices red bell pepper
Two or three slices of tomato, depending on size
Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Dry parsley
Red pepper flakes

Put a thin film of oil in a non-stick saute pan, and heat.  Arrange the Vidalia slices in the oil, allow to cook until they're soft.  (You may have to add a little liquid:  I use a splash of Chardonnay.)  Crack eggs over  onions, add parsley and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking, covered, until the yolk is as solid as you like it.  While the egg cooks, toast the Miami onion bun until golden.  Apply the yogurt to one or both sides, depending on your preference.  Remove the eggs from the pan and cut apart, being sure to slice through the Vidalia onion with a plastic spatula.  Transfer one egg to the bottom part of the bun, add the cheese, then put the second egg on top.  Add sliced red bell pepper, tomato, and spinach.  Put on the top part of the bun to (hopefully!) hold it all together, and enjoy.  Lots of texture, and great taste too. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Return trip from Nice, with stumbles

Bruce and I got back from southern France a few weeks ago, one day later than we'd planned and sans luggage.  We flew out of the airport in Nice early in the morning and made it to Amsterdam without difficulty.  By the way, the Amsterdam airport is wonderful:  it’s very spread out, but well-organized and varied as to shops, with excellent signage.  If I had to choose an airport in which to spend a few hours on layover, it would be this one. 

Then we found out a mechanical difficulty disabled the plane we were supposed to take from Amsterdam to Chicago.  Our carrier KLM, after a couple hours wherein they delayed the flight twice, couldn't find an available jet anywhere in their system.  We milled around the airport for awhile, buying presents for our cat sitters, and talking to several wonderful KLM people who were doing their utmost to find everyone a flight home, most via Paris.  Bruce had the brilliant idea of flying to Dublin, which is west, instead of going north.  Eventually we got the booking, and received our precious new tickets.  During the delay, the airline gave us more vouchers than we could use for meals in the airport, phone calls, and discounts on future trips.  The best one was for an overnight stay at a hotel about 15 minutes by shuttle from the airport, necessary because the flight to Dublin didn’t take off until early the next morning.  The KLM people said again they were sorry for the inconvenience, pointed us toward the door outside, and said goodbye.

The translated name of the hotel is Toucan.  We didn't expect much, and were pleasantly surprised.  It sits beneath the path of landing jets, and is also adjacent to a major highway, but it was QUIET!  Whoever soundproofed this place knew what they were doing.  The room was austere in its Danish ultra-modern style:  white and chrome, clean lines, nothing extraneous, no facial tissues, but everything else (which was important because our luggage was still somewhere between Nice and Amsterdam).  There was a duvet covering the twin beds pushed together to make a super king-sized bed that must have had four inches of loft to it.  And a peculiar rendering of the portrait of Vincent Van Gogh on the wall which appeared made up of large pixels, with a beer bottle cap as an earring.  That was the only color in the room.  We freshened up as much as possible after we figured out how the unusual shower worked, and headed to the bustling restaurant at the front of the hotel for dinner.

I thought we might be relegated to a restricted menu because of the vouchers, but the maitre d’hôtel waved us right in, inviting us to help ourselves.  And oh my gosh, I've seldom seen anything like this buffet!  First on the menu were five foot tall towers of fresh fruit, surrounded by everything you'd want in or on your coffee offered from an extended wooden serving bar about five yards long.  To the right were stands of fried fish, fried chicken, and other fried bits that looked yummy.  The next stand was square, and featured several kinds of sausage and cured meats, also steak tartare.  Over there was an overwhelming number of salads. Another display featured pasta. And right next to that were three kinds of shrimp, lobster, and other seafood goodies.  AND behind that was an extended display of desserts.  Not to mention an extensive hot buffet.  The tasteful seating area was almost hidden behind the food, set with crystal goblets, white linens, and brocade chairs at tables for eight diners.  Copies of famous Low Country paintings hung on the gold-colored walls above wooden wainscoting.

That was it: I quit looking at the food and savoring the ambiance, and ran toward the plates.  I hadn't been hungry before seeing and smelling this place.  Everything tasted as good as it looked, too.  Their house Chardonnay was not only included in the voucher, it was also an excellent compliment to nearly anything they served.  There was no way I could taste everything, but I did my best.  I estimate I got through about 1/10th of it by eating no more than two bites of any dish.  Talk about variety!  And everything was really, really tasty.  Bruce and I met at our table to share comments about the food, and to trade bites of particularly delicious delicacies.  After dinner, we returned to our room, read our books for awhile, then snuggled down for a night’s rest.  And I slept through most of it, which is very unusual.

A similar feast happened the next morning for breakfast.  Everyone who wanted coffee made it from one of two cappuccino/espresso machines, and the serving bar loaded again with fresh fruit also offered different types of cream, creamers, and other condiments, as well as green and black teas.  Muffins, Danish pastries, croissants, several types of toast, perfectly scrambled eggs with two kinds of sausage, a pile of bacon, fried fish, hash browns, poached fruit in spiced simple syrup, and three kinds of yogurt with various toppings were on the menu, and there was more.  And more, everywhere I looked to the left and right.  Having the feeling that we might get stuck somewhere, we loaded up, again enjoying the variety and the excellent cooking.  The cappuccino from that little machine was great!

Good thing we ate well.  The flight on Aer Lingus to Dublin was absolutely packed, and as a bonus featured a crying baby right behind us. Upon arrival in Dublin we were directed toward US Customs because of our wandering luggage.  This was my first time in Ireland, and Bruce wanted to celebrate that with a glass of Guinness.  The first person we consulted in Customs was a kindly woman who said it would only take ten or fifteen minutes to connect with our luggage. After that time passed, she escorted us back to what I can only describe as a "containment" room for people who carried more than the accepted allotment of liquor or cigarettes.  A tall dark-haired square-faced officer who obviously didn't want to be working at that place on that day told us to sit down, it would only take ten or fifteen minutes more, (notice a theme here?) that we were required to be on the premises to identify pictures of our luggage when he found them. 

Right. We were there for our entire two and a half hour layover, getting more and more irritated with each passing moment.  Bruce and I went up to the officer's desk three times, asking if we could do anything to hurry the process along, as in calling Aer Lingus to verify that our luggage had even made it to Dublin in the first place.  Our officer-guard called another seven or eight people to his desk, one by one, to charge them customs fees; otherwise, he spent the entire time tapping slowly with six fingers on a computer keyboard, staring fixedly at the screen and ignoring us.  He finally picked up the phone, called a number, and said, "You've got to get someone down here and explain it all to these people."  As if he didn't want to, or he was too important for that dirty little job.  Grrrrr. Within minutes, a customer service supervisor from Aer Lingus came to us and explained that she was certain our luggage was all right, but it was still was in Amsterdam.  Then an Irish-accented voice on the PA system called our flight.  Sigh.  The Customs officer finally relented and allowed us to leave, without enough time to obtain our Guinness, to board our flight home.

I must have looked pretty stormy when I got on the plane.  In my opinion, and Bruce's, we'd been detained due to an unacceptable reason while that US Customs officer did next to nothing aside from making us wait in his uncomfortable hard-edged precinct.  It seemed as if he was making us be where he was because he knew we didn't like it either.  A dark-haired female flight attendant leaned toward us soon after everyone on the flight was seated, and with a lovely Irish lilt asked, "Is everything all right?  Is there anything I can do?"  We gave her the short version of our wasted two-plus hours with no Guinness in the Dublin airport.  "Ah, I'm so sorry for that," she replied. "Could I bring you some nice hot tea?  I find that when things go wrong, a cup of tea helps."  We agreed, and within minutes were holding two cups of scalding, strong black tea.  It smelled good, and tasted even better.  Because of its heat, we had trouble finishing the tea before takeoff.  I asked the brand:  it was Lyon, one of the most favored teas in Ireland.  (I'm still trying to get some from an Irish import store in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  They were out until sometime in April.  I'm anticipating its arrival.)

The flight home was painful for me because I had a sinus infection. It affected my Eustachian tubes, which sent stabs of pain from my throat to my head and face every time the plane changed altitude or pitch.  Or sometimes just when the infection decided I needed to know it was alive and well and lurking inside.  I tried to ignore it and concentrate on my Kathy Reich book.  We also had an argumentative curmudgeon and his wimpy wife sitting behind us, who complained about nearly everything.  He even objected to Bruce shifting in his chair because it made the movie impossible for him to watch!  Otherwise, it was a good flight with an excellent pilot and crew.  I'd fly Aer Lingus again without hesitation.  After landing at O'Hare, we spent time with a young lady from Aer Lingus giving descriptions of our luggage, and she assured us it would be delivered by courier on Saturday at the latest.

We dragged back to the apartment after more than an hour's drive, greeted our ecstatic cats, and began getting back to normal for work, and blogging, and cooking, and everything else.  When it came, the call about our luggage finally arriving at O'Hare was very welcome.  The courier arrived with it at 9 pm that night.  Even though there were some odd labels on the suitcases, the only casualty was one bent knitting needle.

Good for KLM.  Good for Aer Lingus.  Bad for US Customs in Dublin.  Good for the young lady at O'Hare who found our luggage and routed it correctly to us in southern Wisconsin.  Bad for my sinus infection, because my ears still aren’t normal.  Things could have been worse.