The Unrepentant Individual

...just hanging around until Dec 21, 2012


October 1, 2008


Big News — Dip Into Delicious!


Joanna and her sister Tara have been a busy pair. Over the last 6 months or so, they’ve been hatching a whole new business, and it just went live!

Krispy Dips

I’ll let their description cover it for you:

A Krispy Dip is the grown-up version of the crispy marshmallow treat you loved as a kid.

We start with our signature recipe for the original “Krispy” square made from real imported Madagascar vanilla, creamery butter and the gooiest marshmallows we could find. Each hand-crafted square is then dipped in the finest chocolate and topped with an array of decadent toppings including rich caramel, real espresso beans, sweet coconut and roasted nuts.

Customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us. Every order is dipped then shipped to ensure quality and freshness. We are dedicated to providing a superior product that you will come back to again and again. So come dip into delicious!

They’ve worked very hard to create a truly unique and elegant product. For those of you looking for new gift ideas for friends and family over the holidays, you won’t be disappointed. And for anyone who either owns a small business or sends out corporate gifts to thank important clients, they can do customization to give it the personal touch. They’ve already been involved in a wedding, a baby shower, have provided Dips for an LA Dodgers function, and will be doing a major function later this month with another SoCal sports team. They’re even working towards entry into local gourmet markets.

And last, but most certainly not least, they taste great. If anyone happens to be a fan of dark chocolate and espresso, the espresso bean flavor is my favorite. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and that one blows me away!

So head on over and give it a look. It truly is a new and refined twist on a familiar treat, and it’s sure to please!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:29 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Business, Food, News, Personal Life


June 29, 2008


Back From Chicago

Last weekend was my little sister’s wedding, so the family and I headed back to Chicago for the ceremony. Joanna and Wyatt flew back this past Monday, and I stayed in the midwest until Friday for business.

Wyatt, as usual, was a little angel on the airplane. When he was around my family (who he doesn’t know very well), he did take a few days to warm up to them, but by Sunday was doing well. He did have a lot of fun with his cousin Jack, who’s now about 2 1/2 years old… Jack (and his parents, of course), are moving back to San Diego from Texas, so that should be a lot of fun.

Soon to be best of friends!

The family outside the church after the wedding.

Wyatt gets Pizzeria Uno– the best pizza in the world– at 10 1/2 months? What a lucky kid!

He was very interested!

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:14 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Baby, Food, Personal Life, Travel


March 12, 2008


Pittsburgh & Cedar Rapids

My old camera is a piece of junk, so I might need to be buying myself a new one. Yet, I managed to get two decent pictures so far. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera ready for the World’s Biggest Truckstop, but I’ll try to get that one on my way back on Friday.

What I did get to do is visit a pretty phenomenal brewpub. I had to swing by anyway to drop off some beer for a homebrew competition, and because my hotel was only a mile from the brewpub, we decided to have dinner there on Monday. The food was great and the beer was awesome. The place is a steakhouse; my coworker had some prime rib and loved it. I had a salmon dish, and while I thought the salmon was slightly overcooked, the meal was still pleasant. And the beer… The beer was great. I had samples of about 5 different brews, and all were very well-brewed, very tasty samples. The only complaint I’d have is that the beer they market as an “American Amber” ale is quite clearly an American Pale. But however you classify it, it’s delicious, so I’m not going to nit-pick. The brewpub is Hereford & Hops, and I highly recommend it.

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The next night, we went over to Primanti Bros, which was right next door to the hotel. I had seen the restaurant on the food network, and was sorely disappointed in the meal. Quite frankly, their “famous” sandwich seemed bland and tasteless. They did make a good spicy deep-fried pickle appetizer, but when the main attraction of the restaurant needs to be drowned in ketchup just to be palatable, it’s not a good sign. I can only hope the the location I visited (Cranberry Twp, PA) was an outlier, because there is no reason a restaurant that puts out food like what I had last night should be celebrated.

Tonight, we went for a true celebration of globalization. We went to a Japanese/Chinese restaurant, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At that restaurant I drank beer from Colorado and Oregon, while my Midwestern cohort downed some Sapporo. I wasn’t ready to eat sushi in Cedar Rapids, but apparently there’s decent turnover of the stock, due to a large number of out-of-towners who eat here. But if they’re surviving in the area, they must be doing something right.

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The Unrepentant Individual linked with Chalk Another One Up For South Swell
Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:40 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, Travel


March 7, 2008


Weekly Travel

One thing that I’ve struggled with since moving most of my political blogging to The Liberty Papers has been a lack of focus about what I write about here, and often a lack of content. I dabbled in college football for a while, post about brewing and Wyatt, but still have no clue what I’m supposed to be doing here.

So I’ve decided to muddy the waters even further. With my new job, I tend to travel a heck of a lot more than I used to. I’m often traveling twice a month, maybe 35% of the monthly work days. At the moment, I think I’ll be out 10 of the next 15 work days on actual travel requiring flying somewhere, and doing local Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego travel another 3 days of that time. If I keep this up, people at the office might forget who I am, particularly if I keep losing weight!

Since I’m on the road so much, I think it might be worth carrying a camera along with me and trying to document some of it. I try to keep a clear line between work and blogging, despite the fact that some of the customers I work with are doing really cool and interesting things I’d love to post about. But I spend plenty of time on these business trips trying to scope out new restaurants and brewpubs, seeing cities and parts of the US that I rarely see, and generally trying to do something more with my time than simply follow the airport-hotel-customer-airport routine. In addition, while I often find myself rather busy, I sometimes get stuck in a city with nothing to do and nobody I know in the area.

So I’ll be doing some travel blogging. Part of this will be reporting on where I’ve been and what I’ve done, but another part will be letting folks know where I’m going. If you live in or near the city that I’m traveling to, drop me an email (I get email on my phone, so I’ll be able to get it anywhere). If I have time in a city and nothing to do, I just might be interested in heading out for a beer to discuss parenting, politics, beer, Purdue, or just about any other subject under the sun. Or, if you simply have any particular knowledge or recommendations for the city I’m visiting, let me know, as I’m always looking for the local specialties.

This coming week I’ll be getting into Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon, and leaving there on Wednesday afternoon. I head from there to the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, sticking around until Friday when I fly back to California. I’ll be dropping off some beer for a local homebrew competition in Pittsburgh and sampling the food and brews of Hereford & Hops, but still have no good leads on where to dine and drink in Cedar Rapids.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:38 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, Travel


February 6, 2008


A Million-Dollar Idea?

No. It’s not a million-dollar idea. But it’s a good idea, if I say so myself! And, because I’m that kind of guy, I’m only posting about this idea because I can’t figure out any way to make money off of it!

As a new parent, and having watched many other parents, I know that romantic dinners with your spouse seem to disappear once the kids arrive. I recently made reservations for my wife and I for Valentine’s Day, and it’ll be her, myself, and Wyatt out for the evening. Luckily, Wyatt is still young enough that he’s reasonably well-behaved (and immobile) at restaurants, so we shouldn’t have much trouble. But it’s a pretty nice restaurant, and if he was anywhere between 18 months and 4 years, I’m guessing we’d probably get our asses thrown out of the place.

But there’s a problem. Luckily for us, we have family in the area, so if we really wanted a night away, there are people we trust to leave in charge of Wyatt. And grandparents are known for volunteering for that sort of thing. But not long ago, we were living in Georgia, and there were only a very few people we knew well enough to leave as a babysitter. Trying to get a babysitter, at what we have learned is a relatively large cost ($5-10 per hour, which can add up quickly), would make it nearly impossible for us to go out for a “nice” dinner on a whim. And society has become more like we were in Georgia, with young couples moving away from family to follow jobs, than it is for us now, where young couples live in close proximity to family.

So how can “nice” restaurants, the ones who cater more to romantic dinners than your loud obnoxious family-friendly everyday eateries, cater to these young affluent parents? I think the answer is simple: have a room and a small staff devoted to taking care of kids!

Imagine, you want to take your wife to a nice steakhouse, but you know that your two-year-old won’t sit still for the 90-120 minutes that it will require to have a fine dining experience. You could leave your child with a babysitter, but then you constantly worry about what’s happening at home, and you have the thought in the back of your mind that even if you “got a call”, it might be 15-60 minutes before you could make it home. More often than not, you’re probably going to forego the dining experience in favor of something more convenient and accessible to a family with children. If you do choose the dinner, you know it will be a stressful experience where you spend more time worrying about whether your babysitter is watching R-rated movies while your child cries in a corner than tasting succulent medium-rare filet. And worst-case, you can bring your kids with you, which will probably ensure you spend your whole meal embarrassed by their behavior while the tables adjacent to you mutter nasty things about your lineage under their breaths.

But what if the restaurant had a “kids room”, staffed with one or more people who are good at entertaining children. Throw some toys, some books, and maybe a few TV’s in the room, and the kids will be more than occupied. Feed them some chicken tenders and let them play with other kids, and they’ll be excited to go out for a nice dinner. And if you worry about what they’re up to, you can go over to the room and check on them, because they’re barely out of arm’s reach the whole time!

The restaurant gets increased business from patrons who otherwise might not visit. The other patrons of the restaurant get a noise-free environment where they’re not subjected to the screaming kids. You get a great meal with your spouse, without having to worry about what some babysitter is doing in your home. It’s win-win-win!

As I said, I can’t necessarily call this a million-dollar idea, because I can’t figure out a way that I can make a million dollars from it. But I’m sure that the aggregate profit that could be realized by high-end restaurants due the increased business they attract could be well in excess of that million dollars. While I may never get credit if this idea is realized, I’ll rest easy knowing that I can enjoy the results: stress-free dining when my kid(s) aren’t around (but other parents are), and stress-free dining when I bring my kid(s) with (because I know they’re being cared for and entertained right around the corner).

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 10:56 pm || Permalink || Comments (8) || Trackback URL || Categories: Baby, Business, Food, Ponderings


January 31, 2008


Good News

The wife and I had our 2-week weigh-ins with Weight Watchers. She’s lost nearly 10 pounds, and I’ve lost 10.6 pounds. I’d say that’s a pretty successful two week!

So I’m well on my way to meeting my goal: to lose weight so quickly that people think I’ve got a disease!

For me, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought. To get as many points a day as I do, I usually finish the day with points left over. If I avoid cheese and mayo, I can power down a footlong Subway roast beef sub and it’s less than 30% of my points for the day. That’s pretty filling.

I think I might have even done a little better over those first two weeks, but I did some business traveling in the middle there, which always finds me eating crappy airport food and drinking beer in airport bars, which is not the easiest way to get through this. But to lose more than 10 pounds in two weeks, I’m pretty proud of that.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 8:07 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, Personal Life, Weight Loss


November 30, 2007


The Subjective Nature Of Taste

I came across this post by Doug a while ago, and have meant to comment on it for quite some time. While his post is largely a question of whether there can truly be a wine “expert”, since there is subjectivity to taste, the key that I saw was this quoted passage from his source article:

What these experiments neatly demonstrate is that the taste of a wine, like the taste of everything, is not merely the sum of our inputs, and cannot be solved in a bottom-up fashion. It cannot be deduced by beginning with our simplest sensations and extrapolating upwards. When we taste a wine, we aren’t simply tasting the wine. This is because what we experience is not what we sense. Rather, experience is what happens when our senses are interpreted by our subjective brain, which brings to the moment its entire library of personal memories and idiosyncratic desires.

What got me thinking about this was an experience I had at the Great American Beer Festival in October. One of the “need to try” things on my list was the Samuel Adams Utopias, a beer unlike any other I’ve tried. At 27% ABV, it’s strong, and due to the way it’s brewed and packaged, it’s a still (uncarbonated) beer. So I stood in line at the Sam Adams booth, I pushed my way up front, I got my 1 ounce taster, and I hated it. I couldn’t stand to even drink the stuff. I simply though it sucked.

But an interesting thing happened. I got a chance to try the very same beer at a beer/food pairing event the next day. Instead of being in a loud convention hall, I was in a nice quiet restaurant. Instead of pushing through hordes of people to get my glass filled, I was seated comfortably chatting with fellow beer lovers. And when I tasted the Utopias, suddenly it had changed. Of course, it hadn’t changed a bit, but I was in a completely different frame of mind when I got the chance to taste it. Suddenly it tasted great! It seemed (as is intended) as a perfect end to a nice meal. Sweet and complex, with a definite “beer” character that you don’t find in a brandy (as it does have hops), but not overpowering or harsh, as I had thought before. When I had a chance to sit down and drink it slowly, I was able to appreciate the subtle flavors inherent in the beer rather than simply feel the warmth in my stomach that something so high in alcohol will bring.

The beer which I had decided merely a day earlier that I’d never buy a bottle of (it’s well over $100 for a bottle, so it is a difficult decision) now seemed like something that might be a good thing to keep for special occasions. And I might end up doing that, as it has just hit its 2007 release here in California.

But it proves that a lot more goes into the taste of anything than simply its ingredients. Much of what we taste is due to what we’ve brought to the table within ourselves.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:48 pm || Permalink || Comments (1) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, News, Science


June 27, 2007


The Jaw Has Abandoned The Frontline

…I hate it when that happens!

Arthritic jaw could sideline Japanese eating champ

Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi is being treated for an arthritic jaw that could douse his hopes for taking a seventh straight title at the annual Independence Day hot dog eating competition on Coney Island.

Last year, the 165-pound (75-kilogram) champion won his sixth straight Yellow Mustard Belt at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest by devouring a then-world record 53 3/4 frankfurters in 12 minutes.

A California man broke the record earlier this month by chomping down more than 59 franks in 12 minutes.

But earlier this week, Kobayashi, 29, said on his Web site blog that his “jaw has abandoned the frontline” during his training for this year’s July 4 event.

“Already I can’t open my jaws more than just a little bit,” he wrote. “There’s no pain only if I open my mouth about enough for one finger. More than that is painful and I can’t open it.”

A specialist diagnosed him with arthritis of the jaw, he wrote.

Kobayashi, you must compete! The world needs you!

I think I saw this on an episode of Heroes at one point…

Eat the hot dogs, save the world.


Below The Beltway linked with Not Sure If This Qualifies As A Sports Related Injury
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June 26, 2007


Raspberry Wheat

I bottled the Raspberry Wheat last Wednesday, and cracked the first one open today. At bottling time, it seemed to be very heavy on the raspberry aroma. But then, it being warm and flat, I knew that it would mellow a bit with cold and carbonation. Today, that was definitely the case.

This beer hit its mark. I built some body into the recipe (unlike the agave), because the raspberry is more flavor than fermentable. So it’s got a decent body, a good wheat undertone, and a definite raspberry aroma and flavor. The raspberry has given it a good red hue. It’s got some haze similar to a hefeweizen, which isn’t really all that desired in an American wheat style, but it’s not really a bad thing.

This is a nice summer beer, and definitely one I’d call a success.

Also on the bright side, a week of age has helped out the agave wheat. I might not need to make any modifications to that one in the keg.

I think I’m starting to put together the repertoire I’ll need when I start a brewpub… And I already have the head chef (the wife) getting started on ideas for the food menu… :-)

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 12:44 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, Personal Life


May 7, 2007


Bachelor Chow, Part 2

I was showing off pictures a few weeks ago of things like red meat and vegetables, elaborate fajitas, and the like. I chose not to show any pictures of tonight, because it’s little more than a broken man.

With the move coming up, I’ve been packing like a madman. I stopped cooking a few days ago, because I packed up the cookware. I’ve thrown away the various additives that don’t transport well and are cheap (vinegar, flour, etc). And tonight for dinner I polished off the leftover roast beef sub I bought for lunch.

Hungry in the evening, I started looking around in the freezer… “Hmm”, I thought, “there’s some mint chocolate chip ice cream in here! That’ll hit the spot!”

So I pulled it out of the freezer and opened the cupboard. “Ahh hell, I packed up the bowls…” Then I opened the drawers. “Ahh shit, I packed the silverware too!”

So it was off to improvise. I looked around and I saw a slightly non-conventional spoon. It was marked with a stamp that said “1 tablespoon” and was on a keyring with other, similar, spoons. And I didn’t have a bowl, but I still had the tub the ice cream was sitting in.

So I sat down with a 1 tbsp measuring spoon and a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream to end the evening… Gluttony, thy name is Brad.

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 11:22 pm || Permalink || Comments (3) || Trackback URL || Categories: Food, Humor, Personal Life


April 22, 2007


The Fire Will Set You Free

So, tonight was fajita night… This is how I do it:

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We got some beef, some onion, some red and yellow pepper, and one special ingredient. One whole habanero pepper… (I actually cut out some of the seeds/membrane, because I’m not insane, but I leave enough in there to make it hurt).

One of the disadvantages to my wife being out of town is that I have to cook for myself. One of the advantages, though, is that I can eat all the things she doesn’t like. She’s an exceptional cook, but doesn’t have quite the heat tolerance I do. I usually have to poke and prod to get her to put a serrano chile into a Mexican dish. So this was a nice little treat.

However, with a post like this, a public service announcement is in order. Kids, don’t eat a whole raw habanero pepper. It’s a religious experience… You know, the “lake of fire” kind…

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:15 pm || Permalink || Comments (15) || Trackback URL || Categories: Food, Personal Life


April 14, 2007


Why My Wife Is The Perfect Woman

As mentioned, she’s out of town in advance of her sister’s wedding, helping to get things arranged. Unfortunately, that meant that we spent our 4-year anniversary apart. So what did she get me? (Note: disregard how I managed to mangle the crust getting it out of the pan…)

Lou Malnati's

Yep… She shipped me Lou Malnati’s pizza. A slice of home (Chicago) in a box. Any of you unfamiliar with a Chicagoan’s love for pizza may not be that impressed, but I know my buddy Sober John understands. The kegerator she got me last year for Christmas was an awesome gift, but this has a true personal touch.

Nothing gets a man through a bachelor Saturday night like deep-dish sausage pizza…

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 9:16 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Food, Personal Life


April 12, 2007


Good Eats Beer Show

I came across the episode of Good Eats related to homebrewing on Google Video today… This was the show that got me thinking about brewing. Although there are a few things that AB does in his brewing process that no experienced brewer would do, it’s a rough approximation of brewing from extract. A few minutes in, where the homebrew store clerk is telling him that all-grain is a day-long process, that’s what I’m currently doing (although it’s more like 5-6 hours, not a full day).

I’m finally getting to the point where I’m consistently making decent beer. In fact, my neighbor’s batch (for which I formulated the recipe) is so good that we might enter it into a homebrew competition tonight, if he can get his wife and kids to let him leave the house :-)

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 7:44 am || Permalink || Comments Off || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, Pop Culture, YouTube


April 4, 2007


No Lambic! Cheezborger Saison!

Since the discussion of lambic in the comments to my grocery post, I decided it might be a good idea to break out something other than an IPA for once. So here’s what I’m drinking:

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It’s a Hennepin Farmhouse Ale, in the Saison style. Most beers are fermented at very specific temperatures, to ensure that the flavor is tightly controlled. Lagers are at refrigerator temps, most ales are in the 60-68 deg F, with most Belgians up in the mid 70’s, where the yeast throw off some funky stuff. Saison’s are up in the 90’s, where the character of the yeast really starts to impart a quite unique character.

The Hennepin site (linked above) mentions some food pairings. I think I’m going to wait until after I finish this bottle before I start cooking my three-alarm tacos, because I don’t think those flavors will quite meld…

Posted By: Brad Warbiany @ 6:21 pm || Permalink || Comments (2) || Trackback URL || Categories: Beer, Food, Personal Life


April 3, 2007


Grocery Inflation

I blame the money supply.

Ever since my wife went out of town, my grocery bills seem to have doubled. She would come home every Saturday talking about what she’d bought for the week… “I’ve only spent $39, and I’ve got us food for a week!”

Well, now that she is out of town, I can’t seem to spend less than $75 for the week. And I’m only feeding myself! And I didn’t even factor in the cost of beer!

Now, I could suggest that maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m buying little more than large quantities of meat and fresh vegetables. And that since I haven’t figured out portion control, I’m pretty much eating enough food for three (oddly, I’m not gaining weight?)… After all, one night last week I had a little over a pound of salmon ($15) and a little over a pound of asparagus ($3). Tonight I had over a pound of sausage/peppers/redonion, which came in a ready-cut package, and two ears of corn on the cob. Maybe quantity and choice of food have something to do with it? Nah…

It can’t be my eating habits, my lack of shopping acumen, or anything of my own fault. I prefer to blame inflation. Damn you, Ben Bernanke! Damn you to hell!


The Unrepentant Individual linked with No Lambic! Cheezborger Saison!
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