Goodbye, Kitchen

Posted in food, home cooking, personal at 10:45 pm by wingerz


We bought our place for its incredible, spacious kitchen. It was the centerpiece of the condo – nearly 300 of the 948 square feet were devoted to it. We put it to great use, entertaining frequently. Hopefully future kitchens will live up to this one, but I’m not holding my breath. Assorted memories:

Hanging out. Jen and I spent a lot of time at the kitchen table and counter chatting and working on our laptops. It was nice and bright. The previous owners left some great barstools (which we also left behind), and we hooked up some speakers so that Jen could listen to Justin Timberlake.

Learning to cook. My fascination with America’s Test Kitchen didn’t start until after we moved in. Just about all of my skills were developed on those wide, expansive countertops and lovely gas stove. It didn’t always turn out great and I set the smoke detector off once every few weeks, but it was such a pleasure to cook.

Brunch. A great way to showcase both cooking ability and a ton of our kitchen appliances. Pancakes, waffles, blueberry muffins, bread, and scrambled eggs usually made an appearance – sometimes all at the same brunch. Dessert for the following few days would be toasted waffle quarters with whipped cream and maple syrup.

Dinner. My favorite meal of the day, especially in the company of friends. We could fit about 10 people cozily for a seated meal. My typical summer Saturday was spent going to the farmer’s market to get produce for dinner that night. Love our expandable kitchen table, so it’s coming with us to California. I hope I succeeded in my goal of never sending anyone home hungry.

Last meal cooked in the kitchen: Rib-eye steak, seared to medium rare, with a side of asparagus.



Posted in personal, pets at 11:25 pm by wingerz


Hung out with Olive and Lucy (and their parents, Ben and Lauren) earlier this week. They wouldn’t let Lucy near me because she is not a big fan of strangers. Olive got to hang out for a bit on my finger, but she quickly scurried up my arm to my shoulder.

The parrots were very good with their feet – able to hold on with one foot while eating with with the other.


Ellen and Will’s Wedding

Posted in family, personal, wedding at 10:32 pm by wingerz

central park

A week after going to Palo Alto for Feng and Grant’s wedding, it was off to New York to celebrate with Ellen and Will.

They had a distinctly New York wedding. I ended up being a gopher for both the bridesmaids and groomsmen, so I went from our hotel across the street from Bryant Park down 5th Avenue to Ellen’s old apartment building. A Central Park fountain provided a beautiful backdrop for photos. They had their ceremony at the Marble Collegiate Church, and the reception down the street at Cipriani. The food was outstanding. It was great to hang out with Jen’s family again. Jen delivered an amazing toast that had most of the room alternating between chuckles and tears.


From a Friendster testimonial, dated 7/4/2003: Hearing her cheerful “Hi Wingerz!” always brings a smile to my face. Whether we’re in Saratoga, San Francisco, Boston, or New York, she’s always up for a good meal and some dessert. Likes: sushi, Serendipity (the dessert place with the $12 sundaes, not the movie), working out, reading, swing dancing, oatmeal raisin cookies, travelling, and her sister. Dislikes: I’m not really sure since she’s always in such a good mood. She’s like an older sister to me. Two wonderful girls in the same family – it must be the genes. :) A few of the tastes have changed but she’s still her same ol’ cheerful self and we love her for it.

We’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with the newlyweds this past year. They have always been fantastic, generous hosts when we come to visit New York. Will also cooked Thanksgiving dinner for us and came out to California for Christmas. It’s been good to welcome another guy into the Liao family; we’re no longer outnumbered, but somehow the girls will probably still get their way.

making her getaway

Goodbye, TV

Posted in personal at 8:52 am by wingerz


Our TV is a beast. It’s a 36″ CRT. Not LCD, not plasma. It’s got some serious heft to it.

The TV came into our lives in 2002. Six of us shared a house in Somerville, and our living room TV was 19″. One of my IBM friends upgraded to a 57″ for the Super Bowl and sold the 36″ to us for $500. Given the amount of time we spent playing video games and watching sports, it was one of our best purchases. We all spent some serious quality time with it. It stood on our $20 Kmart TV stand built for a much smaller TV (say, about 19″) and wobbled precariously whenever when one of us had to squeeze under it to muck with the input wiring.


The TV has been moved several times: to 21r, to the (SECOND FLOOR) apartment Grant and I shared, to storage, and to our condo. Each time it’s been pretty much a nightmare; we still talk about the time it got stuck in the stairwell and we had to call Nick to help us get it out. Fortunately there are photos (and scratches on the TV) to prove this.

Despite its great sentimental value, there was no way in hell this thing was coming with us to California. When selling the TV for $50 on Craigslist wasn’t successful, I listed it for free and received dozens of responses. It is now going to a home with four boys, all home for summer vacation, replacing a recently broken TV. Their dad looked pretty relieved as we loaded the TV into his van.


Posted in food, home cooking at 12:44 am by wingerz


A few years ago I posted the ATK hamburger recipe. This summer I tried one of the variations, which involves mixing in 3 oz. of cheddar (or your favorite cheese) in with the ground beef. The result is a nice burger infused with cheese. As it cooks, a lot of it makes it out to the surface, so you get a cheese-coated burger. It was a bit salty for me, so next time I’ll probably reduce the amount of salt that goes in.