The bar for extra virgin olive oil qualities is fairly low. Apart from some chemical tests, the law essentially says that it has to remind you in odor or in taste of fresh olives, and it can’t have any defects. The typical defects defined by the law are rancidity; fustiness, which is a fermented taste; and earthy, which is dirty olives. Each is connected to a flaw in the oil-making process. The law doesn’t say that it has to have any positive attributes apart from reminding you of olive fruit, so it’s a fairly low bar. Nonetheless, a lot of oils don’t clear it.
I used my better-than-before smartphone camera to take a few photos (the store is a visual treat) while Sherry gave my personal-chef-of-a- wife a tour of the store’s offerings. We got a short lesson from Joe on how to properly do an olive oil taste test: swirl, sniff, slurp and swallow. Who knew? We came home with three bottles of something and I expect we’ll be regulars.
As we were about to depart, Robbie mentioned to Joe that our three sons were foodies and that two of them manage the two Blue Door Pub locations in the Twin Cities. Joe laughed and said that he and Sherry are longtime Sunday regulars at the BDP in St. Paul where they’ve gotten to know our son Graham quite well.
I went to take photos of two of my sons, Tyson and Graham, doing a tandem skydive yesterday near Baldwin, Wisconsin. When I got there, they surprised me with an early birthday present: "We’re paying for you to go, Dad." I needed no arm twisting. As I wrote back in July, I don’t have a bucket list. But as a bit of a thrill seeker, my list would likely have more than a few adrenaline rush experiences, skydiving among them.
Tyson paid the extra fee to have them video his jump. The above photos are actually screenshots of the video. Yes, they’re poor quality, but they’re enough of a teaser until he gets the video posted.
I love extreme roller coaster rides but nothing I’ve ever ridden compares to this. Dangling your feet out the door of the plane for 15 seconds at 13,000 feet is thrill #1. A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n. The first 15 seconds of the plunge is thrill #2 and it was the biggest rush I’ve ever felt. Nothing else comes close. The next minute of free-falling is thrill #3. Weightlessness rocks! Add spins to it for an extra kick. The final 10 minutes of turning and spinning after the chute is deployed is thrill #4. They hand you the steering straps so you can experience how easy it is to control the chute. Landing is thrill #5.
John Bucsko, co-owner of Skydive Twin Cities (with me in the right photo), was my tandem guy. He said this has been their best year ever despite the recession. It’s a first-class operation. The staff was fun and friendly, the plane was top-notch, and all their preparation routines smacked of a rigorous approach to safety. I watched them pack their chutes. It was like a prayer service. Complete silence as the focused completely on the task at hand.