Monday, October 16, 2017

Goodbye AOL Instant Messenger

As some of you know, AOL IM is going away effective December, 15th 2017. Many of us who grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s remember how much we used to rely on IM to communicate with one another- especially if those were your coming-of-age years. These were the days before text messages were replete on cell phones. If memory serves me right, cell phone texts used to cost 10 cents per message or you'd have to pay extra for phone plans to include them. Most millennials will balk at the idea these days.

4 of us decided to log back on for the last time before the service is complete taken down for a last hoorah. We discussed so many things- corny pop culture pictures, things we wished we did differently back in school, and reminisced about how many friends we made across the country that we never would have if it weren't for IM.

Here are some pictures- and captions- of the hour long throwback we enjoyed.

Robert Downey Jr. (famously known as the 'Iron Man' hero these days,) sports his 90s fashion.

Mood rings. Every high school student knew of someone who wore one of these.

N'Sync. Even back then you could tell Lance was different than the rest with his meticulously arched eyebrows.

Bejeweled glasses. Yes, this was a thing for quite a few years.

Lil Kim! In her famous (or infamous) MTV VMA look.

LOLs over whoop ass alliterations. Sorry, we're still a bunch of nerds.

Deliberating Snap Chat while bidding adieu to AOL IM. Life moves on...

Planning a get together IRL (in real life) SATC (Sex and the City) style. Acroynm throwbacks galore!

Whoop ass discussions. Unlike our IMs back then, we used several graphics to convey ideas like most of our cultural ethos does now.

SATC hair choices. Some things are better left in the past. Some, not all.

And gleaning over some oldies (like the Powderpuff Girls- or PPG if you're a diehard fan like one of us) that have taken on a more inclusive, diversified look.

Baby Phat lounge wear that all the hot, sexually-active wannabes wore to school

The first American Idol winner- a real moment like this

Dehlea magazine. They have since gone out of business.

Not to mention, Cam'ron and his pink flip phone

Some Throwback Cartoon Network shows 

Oh, Cisco. Your thong song was definitely THE spring break song.

Paris Hilton and her so early 2000s looks.

Strechy tops. These were a thing for a minute with the girls.

Why do I still love Kelly Rowland so much?

I remember these. You could throw them down a stairwell and they'd still work. Unlike our dainty I-Phones these days.

This would be a chick you'd like to cyber stalk on MySpace

And believe it or not, this was a thing with some outliers in the social high school hierarchy

Oh look, it's JLo keeping it 'real' in her 'I'm real' song. With suave LL Cool J!

As all things must come to an end, we finally closed a very long chapter in our internet history. AIM was one of the first apps to go online in 1997. It was immensely popular back then generating widespread use of many acronyms such as LOL, BRB, ROFLOL, ROFL among others that are still in use today. Thanks AOL AIM- for all the memories- good and bad. You facilitated in helping shape many an impressionable teen to who we are today.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 Annual Dinner for 12

The Menu

Eggplant with Sun-dried Tomato and Basil (sundried tomato, walnuts, pine nuts, basil, olive oil)

A Southern Classic- Buttermilk Pie. Served with fresh Strawberry Reduction

A new favorite- Sweet Corn Pudding

Lemon Chicken with Dill. So easy and so delicious!

Slow-cooker country Ham.

Cream of Mushroom with Water Spinach and Crostini

Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Easter Lunch

Fresh corn in cream cheese, Light fruit salad with fruit, mini marshmallows and coconut, Honey and berry glazed ham, peas and artichokes, honey glazed carrots, cheesy bacon potato casserole

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Feb 2017: An Indian Feast

Good friends + lots of food = a memorable time. 

Nothing succeeds quite like excess.

Half-n-Half: tart strawberry puree with sweet lassi spiced with green cardamom

Vegetable 'pakoras'. Usually the vegetables are cut-up in same sizes and then mixed together. I preferred to keep (and fry) them separately. Served with warm sweet-n-sour tamarind sauce.

Signature cocktail: pureed mango, club soda, blueberries, mint, and optional alcohol (in this instance, Tito's vodka)

Plain and garlic naan varieties. Requested by popular demand!

Tomato rice speckled with lightly fried onion seeds.

Chicken tikka masala.

Hariyali shrimp: fresh fennel, cilantro, mustard seeds, onion, garlic, and ginger.

Saag Paneer: large pieces of fried paneer cubes in creamed spinach

Rajmah masala: a vegan red kidney bean dish

Gulab jamun: Milk curds (precisely, 'chena') deep fried and then soaked in syrup

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ellie Lou's BBQ- disappointing at first, but unexpectedly delicious by the end

Firstly, I have to state that I did some research before coming to this restaurant. I try not to because the experience should be more than the hype... but I had heard good things about this place from some friends. All the way in west Orange county close to Gotha and Winter Garden, some light online menu reading was in call. 

So let's get the disappointment out of the way (and then on to the deliciously surprising food). I had a gameplan- order the in-house smoked sausage and two orders of their in-house pickles (garlic and jalapeño). They didn't have either. Matter of fact, the worker said they had discontinued them. I had checked the website the day prior, so I still had that plate of food on my mind. The food ordering is done at the counter and they drop off the food to you when it's ready. My friend saw that I was scrambling for another option so he recommended that I opt for the Texas Cheesesteak ($10.29) instead. Which I did with a side of fried green tomatoes, texas toast (extra), and collard greens (extra). I wanted to try the cheesy grits side but they were out of that as well. I was looking forward to getting past this debacle and onto some serious barbeque.

Sorry guys! Need some time to rethink my order. So many delicious sounding choices...

... so little time

Texas brisket cheesesteak. Ruined me for life. Can't look at another cheesesteak without comparing it to this again. A little more cheese sauce for me would have been better but wow, the meat tasted great

YUM. My last-minute food order didn't disappoint at all. The chopped brisket in this sandwich was amazing. A few pickled jalapeños dotted it here and there and the cheese sauce was not overwhelmingly slathered on. For some cheesesteak lovers, this may not be something you immediately like. But take it from me, with meat this good, you don't want a sauce to smother and blanket the BBQ flavors. This fusion mix-up of southern and a classic northern meal was fantastic. Great mouthfeel as you bite through soft bread, generous brisket, and an appropriate hint of cheese sauce and jalapeño. A definite must-try for anyone who's interested.

The sides were really good as well. Of note, the collard greens were ON POINT! Perfectly tender, not completely mushed up, nicely seasoned, with small bits of thick cut bacon. I have to credit the bacon fat that probably flavored the collards perfectly. The fried green tomatoes were also good. I didn't particularly like the remoulade pairing, and I ate them as it. The tomato disks are smaller sized and thinner cut than other southern establishments that you may visit so keep that in mind when you order them. 

Interior of the establishment. Not the greatest pic, but you get the idea.
Slider Trio ($8.99). With pulled chicken, pork, and turkey. The choice of bread (they are calling it 'Challah') really made the difference. Soft, chewy clouds of southern barbecue goodness.

The other sides that I tasted were the Mac-n-Cheese which was nothing to write about. Pretty standard and it could have benefitted from a Panko breadcrumb topping just to cut through the monotony of the one-note flavor. It lacked that southern depth that true Mac-n-Cheese lovers yearn for with cheesy nuances of texture as well as taste. On the other hand, their 'Settler's Beans' (not pictured) where beyond delicious. Instead of using just baked beans, they also used red kidney beans which really revved up the eyes and the palate. They were sweet, well-seasoned, and yummy. Definitely try this is if you love baked beans with Texas toast. 

IN A NUTSHELL: Good food even though some false advertising between the website and what's really available is currently occurring. The establishment did mention that they are changing up their menu. Beyond that, the food was incredible- and definitely worth the drive if you don't live close-by. A friend of mine mentioned that he would just travel back here for the barbecue. Service was also very good- they stayed on top of replenishing drinks and offering to-go boxes when it became apparent that we were done eating. Serviceware is plastic here so it may not be the best choice for people that want to sit down and be waited on from start to finish. But, if you are going for the food, you'll definitely find something on the menu that you like. I personally love the mash-ups between different cuisines while still retaining classic southern barbecue (they have in-house sauces on tables that you'll like too) ideas.

Ellie Lou's Brews &BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato