In Which I Visit an Animal Crematorium (for Funsies)

Does it need a caption?

Oh, how did I get to that point? Well, I suppose because I have a curious group of friends, in both meanings of the phrase (And in the best possible ways). It was perhaps two weeks ago when Kayla, Hannah, and I had a conversation about how adults should be able to go on field trips and by such learn fun things about our communities around us. It was a smidge over a week ago when a group of us were introduced to a man named Aaron, who worked at a pet crematorium. Now, once the topic had been brought up, he politely tried to keep details from us. We had none of it, and after a half hour discussion filled with our questions and a heavy dose of dark humor, the question was broached if he ever gave tours.

It is not surprising to learn he had not done so in the past. But that would not keep him from giving us one in the future. And we all magically had the 20th off. Because holidays and also because we had plans to close the bars down on Sunday night. For funsies. Gosh I love the adventures my friends drag me into.

Sunday night was an adventure in and of itself, (and not really as crazy as you are imagining it. I had a single amaretto sour, which was very good, and laughed hysterically most of the night),and Monday we awoke a bit too early and after getting some obligatory coffee, Kayla, Lisa, Kathy, and I found ourselves entering the Pet Crematorium.

Aaron started our tour by role playing his job with us, asking about our now-deceased pet and our options for cremation. The fictional pet was named Ralph, he was a pot-smoking 20lb beta fish who died when rubbing alcohol was added to his bowl. Because why not. Aaron then walked us out past the dog park to the pond where ashes were sometimes scattered. It was a beautiful little spot, with a resident goose who was known as “The Undertaker.”

The Undertaker

 Then of course we saw the actual workings of a crematorium. We watched as Aaron took paw prints of the deceased dogs, we saw the giant freaking jet ovens and the aftermath of that oven, and the large grinders where the bones were later processed. It was all somewhat gross but in a fascinating way. And I was with a group of people who had to know everything, like what the heck the green residue on the bottom of the oven was (much googling says it’s just random minerals) which made it doubly awesome.

And then we got into a long pun filled discussion about it on Facebook, and let the whole world know just how weird we are. I wish I had more pics, but I don’t think I could have beat Kayla’s epic Snapchat story anyway.

10/10 would totally go on weird field trips again.


A Belated Happy Birthday to Me!

I’m 24! Oh my. A double dozen years have I now lived. I mean, that and almost two weeks. Because I was going to post about it and then I got a cold and then a massive work load of things which kept me from posting. But here I am now!

I had an epiphany for how I wanted to celebrate, for I had always wanted to do a chopped challenge. You know the TV show, Chopped? I’m a bit of a foodie and love the Food Network, and have certainly watched some Chopped. I always love thinking through what I would be doing with the ingredients. So I asked my Dad to create me an appetizer and entree basket. (Dessert was relegated to gingerbread cake with caramel gelato. I wasn’t going to risk that on a chance basket. Yum yum.) Dad got totally into into it. He in fact got a little sadistic with it. I think he had almost as much putting it together as I did carrying it out.

My first basket

For the app round he gave me bok choy, kiwis, onion potato chips, and scallops. He knew I’d never eaten scallops, let alone cooked scallops, let alone liked much seafood in general. Oh, he schemed. But I was happy for the challenge. I tried breading them in the potato chips, but the chips kinda fell off. Didn’t keep me from cooking them to a perfect condition though. Also they weren’t half bad. I put them on top of a seared bok choi wedge, added some red onions for taste, and then had the bright idea to blend the kiwis with some rice wine vinegar. The dressing was honestly one of the best things I made all evening. I’m going to try it on fruit salads, though I don’t think it would be amiss on a regular lettuce one either.

Plating is harder than it looks

I plated with time to spare. Yay! It needed some apple, or something to give it a bit more dimension, but overall wasn’t half bad. It’s not the prettiest thing on the plate, I have some serious work to do on my plating skills.

Seared bok choy salad with potato chip crusted scallops and a kiwi dressing.

Second basket!

Sirloin steak, blue cheese, dark espresso chocolate, and candied peanuts. Hmm.

Sweet potatoes with candied peanuts and chili powder.

Lots of sweets here. I chopped the peanuts and added them to a skillet with sliced sweet potatoes and some chili powder. My most favorite thing of the night! A little sweet, a little spicy, and sooo good. Especially the second batch, which I didn’t burn.

Blue cheese stuffed steak with chocolate wine sauce, served with candied peanut sweet potatoes

They let me run a little over on time, because I started late on the steak (lesson learned there) and faced with a raw meal or a cooked one, they let me fudge on the time. This turned out a fantastic dish. I’m lucky there was enough peanuts with my peanut gallery eating them while I cooked  (haha, pun intentional). It was a great evening with my folks and we all had a lot of fun! 10/10, will definitely be doing it again.

The next day saw me celebrating with some of my girl friends. We went out to Walkers Grill downtown, a place I’ve always heard great things about. It was fantastic. I had a Basil Haven drink (it had St. Germaine in it, one of my all time favorite alcohols) which I must recreate at home sometime, a chipotle flatbread, and some blueberry tart thing for dessert. Yummy Yum. We talked for hours and had a delightful time.

Photo credit to my beautiful Kayla Kay

23 years of age had a lot of hits and a lot of misses for me. But overall I loved my life adventures. The two days I celebrated my birthday on were certainly a cap to it all.