Sunday, September 30, 2012

Senior Club Pie Tasting Contest

Being a judge at a pie tasting event sounds like a dream job to me.   With this in mind I accompanied my husband, Deacon Rex, who was asked to be a judge at the annual Senior Club Pie Tasting event at our church.  I tagged along to take pictures and see just how yummy such a responsibility could be. 

My husband was joined by Deacon Joe, who was returning as a judge for the second year in a row. These guys were asked to choose the top three pies mysteriously provided by some of the 44 attending Senior Club  members. As some members explained, their specialties were cakes and cookies so they left the pie making to the five who carefully put forth their blue ribbon best.

Key Lime pie was the first one tasted. I happen to know my husband is not a pudding pie person, and tangy pudding pies are not his thing. I love key lime pie and have made them myself. If I want  a slice of key lime pie, I had better order it in a restaurant and plan to eat it all myself. My husband is not likely to want to even share a piece with me. Secretly I knew that this lovely pie probably wasn't going to rate the number one spot with him.  If I was a judge, it would most likely be in the running. 

Next taste was the Pineapple Chess pie. I "hear" it was an immediate favorite. The presentation of it was beautiful, no flaws, ribbing on crust perfect and no internal flaws to the texture or top of the pie. I love chess pie and adding pineapple made it even sound wonderful to me.

I thought the apple berry pie might be a winner as my husband's favorite is always apple pie.  As you can see the broken crust didn't add to the presentation and the symmetry was lacking.  I wondered if the combination of apple and berry would be sweet enough, and not so tangy, to win the judges over.

The Raspberry Peach Double Crust pie was fourth in the line-up. The crust appeared to be a little uneven but I liked the familiar cuts in it since that's how I'd do it. 

The last pie to be judged was the Raspberry Peach Streusel pie. It had an oatmeal crust on it rather than the traditional pie dough which gave it an interesting look. By the time I had photographed the last pie,  I was ready to take a fork and go down the line myself sampling them. Gosh every one looked delicious. 

With all five pies sampled and tally sheets scored, the challenging responsibility turned serious.

With pens in hands, the judges calculate their observations.

Deacon Rex ponders what to do. Scoring must have been very difficult.

The judges compare their results to see if they can agree on the three winners. 

The Senior Club members anxiously wait for the announcement of the winners of the pie tasting. Their monthly meeting agenda carried on but the members knew their own taste of the pies was coming soon. What a fun meeting to be at this month. 

The smiling judges have determined the winners. They reported it was a very difficult decision as each pie was wonderful. The senior deacon, Deacon Rex, was given the dangerous task of announcing the winners. He was prepared to run for the door! 

The third place winning pie was pie number four, the raspberry peach pie.  The proud cook, Alice, came forward to get her gift bag.

Second place went to Joann for her apple berry pie.. Pie number three. 

First place winner was the pineapple chess pie, lovingly baked by Armella. She wasn't at the meeting but she had slipped in earlier to drop off her pie. The big surprise was that the cook was Deacon Joe's mother. He was given her bag to take to her. When he delivered it to her, he told her that he had reported to the Senior Club that she had paid the judges $100 to come in first place. She was mortified as she's a lovely lady who would never do such a thing. I hope that ornery son told her he was just teasing her. 

After the winners were revealed, everyone was invited to pick up a plate and fork and try out the pies. I managed to get a spoonful of three different ones, including the first place winner. It was a divine way to spend my Saturday morning. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rita on Pilgrimage

Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
 "For the greater glory of God".
I have had so much fun with my Roaming Rita blog, that I decided to start a second one called Rita on Pilgrimage:

I have many stories I want to tell about my spiritual travels and experiences. This new blog will be filled with personal tales of life as a Catholic woman, wife, mother and grandmother. 

I hope you'll enjoy my variety of stories and will follow along with my posts. 
See you here at Roaming Rita  and over at:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Best Wedding Cake in Denver: Das Meyer

Das Meyer Fine Pastry Chalet is a hidden jewel located in Arvada, Colorado. It is an award winning Wedding Cake bakery with renowned  master baker and owner Dennis D. Meyer.  The family runs the business and the same familiar faces have greeted us customers all through the years.  I feel like I've watched the kids grow up and now they have children of their own. They have been in business since 1982. 

When I moved to Arvada 15 years ago I lived on the street behind this amazing place.  I was pleased to discover I could wander into this delightful bakery and be served a cup of coffee to go with the luscious pastry I had chosen from the display case.  For years I often met friends for a danish and coffee all the while admiring the wedding cake samples on display throughout the bakery. Four years ago our middle son and his bride ordered their wedding cake from Das Meyer and on one of my milestone birthdays I treated myself to one of their small decorative cakes for my celebration. Of course, it was a Das Meyer cake at our oldest daughter's bridal shower as well. 

Last Saturday our youngest daughter, Mary, was joined in wedded bliss to her sweetheart, Gabe. There was no discussion about where their wedding cake would come from. Das Meyer has always been our local favorite. The only thing left to decide was the flavors and design for the cake. Every Saturday, except during December and January, Das Meyer offers cake tastings of at least 15 different specialty flavors. This gives a bride and groom and up to 2 guests an opportunity to sample their delectable flavors. On the Saturday we attended, the place was bustling with engaged couples and families. As we sampled different choices of cake, we had multiple photo albums stacked on all the tables with wedding cake designs to peruse. This was helpful in finalizing how our daughter wanted her wedding cake decorated. Below is the lovely and delicious cake we ordered. The cake flavors decided on were strawberries and champagne , chocolate lovers and Godiva white chocolate with swirl pattern white butter cream icing.  

Mary and Gabriel cutting their Das Meyer wedding cake, September 15, 2012.

Wedding cakes may be a specialty at Das Meyer but they have an assortment of other delicacies that make a trip there worthwhile. 

Cookies, cakes for all occasions, strudels, danish, tarts, petite fours, fruit breads, flaky cinnamon rolls and more are available for any party, event or for your own eating pleasure. My favorite time to stop in Das Meyer is on Saturday. Their Saturday only offerings are large cinnamon rolls and savory stuffed croissant pockets . The croissant pockets come in four yummy flavors.  The choices are ham with mushroom and Swiss cheese, spinach and feta cheese, mild green chilies and cheddar cheese, and chicken in buffalo wing sauce with ranch and cheddar cheese. Since I can't decide on a favorite, I buy one of each and cut them into fourths to equal one whole one. I get the best of all four flavors that way. I count on my family to help eat the other 3/4ths of each pastry which they are always happy to do.  

Das Meyer has it all, service, fabulous products, atmosphere and reputation. If you are looking for a place  you can trust to handle your order for your large to small event, Das Meyer is the place. For a wedding cake, it's the best place in the Denver area. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Yellow Submarine Ride at Catalina Island

Do you see the Yellow Submarine in the middle of the picture?

The yellow submarine you're looking at is the SS Nautilus, a semi-submersible boat that gives tours of the Marine Preserve on Catalina Island. 

On one of our sailing trips to Catalina Island, my husband, Rex, and our good friends, David and Christy decided to play tourists and take a ride on the SS Nautilus. It was a fun excursion and we had a great time on our 45 minute ride. 

To board the SS Nautilus, we went down the gray metal ramp and climbed down a ladder into the belly of the submarine. It's not a place for anyone who is uncomfortable in closed-in spaces although the surface of the water is always visible through the port holes. 

When we pulled away from the pier and started our under water voyage, the flat screen TV displays came alive. With red blinking lights and warning bells, we are informed that we were descending into the waters. Bubbles shot out around our windows as if we were truly on a deep sea dive. An audio track continued to play as if we are on a real underwater mission. 

Once our adventure commenced, the scenery out our portholes was magical. Kelp beds sparkled from the rays of the sun shining through from the ocean's surface. 

The long stems (called the stipe) floated to the surface and the leaves (called the blades), waved gently as we passed by. 

I had often seen the kelp (seaweed) on the surface of the water when we steered around it in our friend's boat or kayak. I found it fascinating to see the length and appearance of it under the water. 

After a short ride, it was time to push a button by our porthole and fire a fish food torpedo. When the torpedoes exploded in the water schools of fish swarmed our windows. Pieces of fish food, floated in the water and mobs of Opaleye Perch scrambled to partake in the food. After our first free torpedo, we had the option of buying more which we did. We were like excited little kids pushing torpedo buttons and drawing the fish to our portholes.  

The brightly colored orange fish in this picture are the Garibaldi fish which are California's state marine fish. They look like giant goldfish and may grow to up to 15 inches in length. By law they are protected in the California coastal waters.  

The fish followed along with us knowing a torpedo of food could come their way at any minute. The fish go wild grabbing the food in a feeding frenzy with every push of a button. Watching the fish scramble right before our eyes was quite the entertainment. 

After our 40 minute underwater excursion, the captain invited us to climb the ladder and exit the hatch where we could stand on the top of the submarine as we cruised back to the pier. It was a easy reminder of how sights and sounds can trick us into believing we were on a real deep sea adventure (as long as we didn't look upward to the surface of the water). The air was warm and sunny and it was a beautiful day to ride below and on top of the water. I think if I played tourist again, I'd seriously consider another submarine ride with Catalina Adventure Tours!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Segway Ride Was On My Bucket List

I have a very active Bucket List with a long lineup of things I would like to do. One of these items was to ride a Segway. My plan was to go over to a nearby golf course and see if I could go for a ride on one of theirs. As it turned out, the Segway came to me. 

In case you're not familiar with what a Segway is it's a trademark name for a self-balancing personal transportation device with two wheels. A user stands between the wheels and by shifting their weight can move the Segway forward or backward. To turn, the user uses the control on the handlebar. It takes a little training and practice to feel at ease on it but once you have it figured out, off you glide. 

My Segway glide happened at midnight in Omaha, Nebraska. My husband and I were on a road trip and had just stopped  at a motel for the night. As I was getting out of our car the night security, John, zipped up to my car door to greet us. I pointed to his Segway and said "riding one of those is on my Bucket List." Immediately he said "well, let's take care of that right now." As my husband unloaded our suitcases and checked us into the motel, I was out in the parking lot at midnight having a Segway riding lesson. 

John trained me well. He kept his hand on the Segway until I could prove to him that I had understood his instructions. Then he would test me and let me move the Segway till I bumped into him. He wasn't going to turn me loose on my own until I could safely glide. 

Finally I got his go-ahead and I had a blast riding the parking lot. I was having so much fun, that I  hoped my whoops and hollers weren't disturbing the sleeping guests. 

John and I parted with hugs, smiles and as Facebook friends. I will be sure to stop at that same motel for another glide if I'm ever roaming through Omaha again.  

Many towns and tourist places have Segway tours available. Riding a Segway you can cover more area than if you were walking and yet see things up close as if you were a pedestrian. Check your local area or places you are visiting for Segway tours. It's a delightful experience.  Have you glided on a Segway yet?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Colorado English Motoring Conclave, Sept. 16, 2012

The Colorado English Motoring Conclave is coming to Oak Park, Arvada, Colorado, right across from my backyard! This year the conclave will be held on Sunday, September 16, 2012. Come one, come all! 

Every year I look forward to the opening ceremony with the bagpipers and drummers.  They walk through the park drawing crowds around them. It's exciting watching and listening to them. I wish I had an mp3 recording to play along with this post for you. 

At this amazing car show there are over 500 British cars and bikes on display. Since any British car is welcome you will see all kinds of vehicles in a variety of colors, shapes, and conditions.

For all you Harry Potter fans, below is a model of the enchanted flying Ford Anglia that Ron Weasley flew to Hogwarts in The Chamber of Secrets. The car got them to school but then lost power and crashed into the Whomping Willow. The car drove itself into the Forbidden Forest where it later reappears to rescue Harry Potter and Ron Weasley from yet more trouble. The car is endearing to those who have seen it in action. Besides, who wouldn't love a flying car?

You will also see cars and motorcycles from all the British Colorado clubs.  These clubs join together in planning and promoting this annual event;  Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Lotus, MG Car Club, MG T Register, Morris Minor, Rolls Royce, Sunbeam, Triumph, TVR, Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing  and British Motorcycle Association.

This Rolls Royce is a real beauty. How would you like this one in your driveway? 

A whole row of cool!

Wouldn't these next few cars be fun to cruise around town in? Just for fun can you help me identify each of these next 6 cars? You can put answers in the comments section. I like to take pictures of awesome cars, but I'm no expert at knowing exactly what I'm looking at. Even if you can only name one or a few cars, enlighten the rest of us. If you don't know what they are, ask around. I'm sure someone can name them all. 

Car A:

Car B:

Car C:

Car D:

Car E:

Car F:

Below is an Austin-Healey owned by a neighbor of mine. I see her driving down the street in it.  It's definitely a fun and awesome way to get around. l admit I'm a bit partial to any convertibles.

Inside view of the Austin-Healey.

Mini-Coopers are frequently seen on the streets these days and they were not shy in their showing at the car show. These cars strike me as being cheery and playful.  I know a police officer who has a cute Mini-Cooper and as a joke her co-workers picked up her car and turned it sideways in her parking spot at the employee's parking garage. I'm sure it was cause of great merriment for the entire department.

Note the signature of John Cooper on this car. John Cooper was a British car racing legend and with his father founded the Cooper Car Company. Eventually he developed the British Motor Corporation Mini. Before he died in 2002, the Cooper name was licensed to BMW.

I Love the "Actual Size" decal on this car. It made me laugh.

Even a woody mini was showing off its stuff. 

This is only a small sample of the fantastic cars on display at the annual Colorado English Motoring Conclave, or, car show for short. 

Also at the event you will find food vendors.  When you get there, get in line early, the lines get long. The Rocky Mountain Triumph Club collects food for the 9 Cares, Colorado Shares food drive effort so bring a can or two of food to donate. 

Hope to see you here!