Friday, July 19, 2024

Est Est Est

Est Est Est is an Italian restaurant in Downtown Dayton, located on the south side of the historic Arcade.  My choice for dinner was the delicious braised short ribs with demi glaze, garlic broccolini, and fontina gnocchi.  They have a large wood-fired pizza oven, a variety of pasta, and Happy Hour specials.  Explore the menu at the link below.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cooper's Hawk Wine Tastings

One of the benefits of our Cooper's Hawk Wine Club membership is a pair of monthly wine tastings.  Each tasting consists of eight small pours and you can follow that month's recommended selections or make up your own slate.  While I normally go exclusively reds, I changed it up in July and went all whites, including a taste of sparkling wine, oaked and unoaked Chardonnays, a Gewurztraminer (my fav), and a few others.  For some reason, I think I can get through these tastes in 45 minutes, but as Gourmet Chef Elaine and I get talking, that's nowhere near enough time.  Next time I'll shoot for an hour and pay more attention to the clock.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Snaking The Condensate Drain

As I mentioned yesterday, we had water leaking around our furnace which I thought was strange as the furnace doesn't have a water feed to it.   The technician monitored the various pressures involved and looked for a cause, but other than the clogged compressor, couldn't find one.  He even poured water down the external drain pipe (the piece of white, vertical PVC pipe shown below, and it flowed out to the drain without an issue.

But it only place water could be coming from is the evaporator coil and collected by the condensate tray.  From there it flows through a short piece of pipe to reach the drain pipe.  I figured that must be the place it was clogged, but what did I have that I could snake down and around the pipe in tight quarters?  The answer was a long, plastic wire tie.  I worked that into the pipe and sure enough the water started flowing and gurgling.  Problem solved.  Lots of learning on this problem, helped by the drawing of the air conditioning system at the link below.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Cleaning The Compressor

Chalk up another thing I never considered: cleaning the vents on the air conditioning compressor.  I was amazed at the amount of grass and other gunk that was clogging the cooling fins, which was causing the unit to exert extra effort to remove heat from the refrigerant.  The trick is to hit the vents at an angle to dislodge the waste from the fins, not shoot the water directly at it.  While this didn't resolve the water leakage issue we had (more on that tomorrow), it noticeably reduced the noise the unit was making.  It's now on my twice-a-year list of home maintenance chores.

Monday, July 15, 2024

ManaBloc Plumbing System

The device below is a ManaBloc Plumbing System.  Instead of a set of continuous hot and cold water pipes, the house's hot (red) and cold (blue) water comes into this junction and is distributed via PEX piping to each appliance, shower, dishwasher, etc. via its own feed.  Water can be turned on and off here eliminating the need for individual shutoff values which always seem to be in places difficult to access.  You can read more about ManaBloc and its benefits at the link below.

Friday, July 12, 2024


When I received the Buffalo Chicken sandwich below the two monster chicken breasts were stacked on each other and I immediately knew what tomorrow's lunch was going to be.  I don't know if the picture really shows their true size and between them, it was close to a pound of chicken.  I do know that the side of mac-n-cheese was both delicious and unnecessary.  So if you're really hungry, Doubledays is the place to go.

Thursday, July 11, 2024


Pantalones Tequila is the brainchild of Matthew and Camila McConaughey and is the smoothest tequila I've ever had.  We had to bring the one you see below back from Texas as it's unavailable in Ohio liquor stores.  It's 100% blue Weber agave and aged for 15 months.  The Anejo version below has flavors that include vanilla and a sweet combo of butterscotch with brown sugar and won double gold at the 2024 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  This one should be used for sipping only.  Using it in a margarita would be a sin.

More information and to see if you can order it online is at the following link.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Zoom, Zoom Grandpa

Texas is just a bit different and nothing in the picture below would tell you, but the speed limit on this road is 70 mph.  In this stretch of road, traffic would take off for a mile or two, hit 70 mph, and then hit the brakes for the next stop light.  Stretches of the road where there were no stoplights and had a wide median were marked 75 mph.  Residential speeds were either 30 or 35 mph instead of our familiar 25 mph.  Not only are things bigger in Texas, they're faster.

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Covered Garage

Several houses in the Pebble Creek neighborhood in College Station, Texas featured a garage design we had never seen before.  As you can see below, this house has a three-car garage with the roof extending about six feet in front of that to provide shade for another three vehicles.  Keeping your car out of the sun when it's nearly 100 degrees and under a bright blue sky is a really good idea.  Jumping into a car after it has been subjected to this kind of temperature is a bad idea.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Lost Airpod

On our Southwest flight to Texas, the airpod in Gourmet Chef Elaine's left ear fell out and disappeared. We looked everywhere, under the cushions, on the floor, and between and beneath the seats.  Several passengers and a flight attendant joined the search, lighting up their smartphone flashlights.  Nothing.  

After exhausting all possibilities, we returned to our seats, resigned to have to buy another pair. But then Elaine checked a place only she could check, at least in public, and found it ... in her bra. 

I had to make sure that all the people who so graciously helped in the search knew it had been found and of course, they wanted to know where we found it.  We shared where it was found and one guy immediately asked who had found it.  That cracked everyone up.

Friday, July 5, 2024


Gourmet Chef Elaine sweetened up some Kielbasa with brown sugar for a nice change of pace.  The Kielbasa, which was fully cooked, was placed in a frying pan with a little water and covered to get it steamy hot.  When hot enough, the water was drained, brown sugar added, and stirred to get the Kielbasa coated.  This made a great dinner but with some toothpicks could serve as an appetizer.

Thursday, July 4, 2024


We're not big white wine drinkers and we only have a few favorites like the bottle of Massone Massera Gavi shown below that we can only find at Dorothy Lane Market in Centerville.  It comes from the Piedmont region in northeastern Italy and is made from the Cortese grape.  Best served very cold, it's crisp, refreshing, and bone dry.

I recently took a couple of bottles to a party along with several better-known whites (e.g. Chenin Blanc).  Nobody knew what Gavi was and neither bottle was opened.  My feelings, and taste buds, were not hurt when I had to take them home.  If you're ever offered a chance to try Gavi, you should certainly say yes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Killer Windex

It's summertime and that means, despite your best efforts, flies will find their way into your home.  Gourmet Chef Elaine's answer to that is not smashing them with a flyswatter but spraying them with a shot of Windex, even if they are flying around and not stationary.  The fly is grounded and easy to finish off with a paper towel.  It's a brilliant hack and while Windex says it kills 99.9% of germs, it's 100% effective on flies.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

The Naughty Bench

The swimming pool at Walnut Grove Country Club recently added a red and black bench, as shown below.  It's located next to one of the lifeguard chairs and its purpose is to give misbehaving children a place for a ten-minute timeout.  It allows the lifeguard to keep tabs on the offender without distracting them from keeping eyes on the pool.  But just knowing that acting up will make you the unwelcome and very public center of attention should be enough to get children to obey the lifeguard's directions.  Brilliant!

Monday, July 1, 2024

Black Barn Pickleball

The field shown below was the location of Smiley's Golf and Baseball Center on Linden Avenue which closed nine years ago and has been an eyesore since.  A few months ago the twelve acres were purchased by Black Barn Pickleball with the intent to create the largest indoor pickleball facility in Ohio.  They may also include some outdoor courts as well.  More information is at the link below.