While recuperating from even relatively minor surgery is, by design, ridiculously boring, it’s necessary so that one can do stuff afterward. And because there’s a lot of stuff that I want to do, I’m following doctor’s orders to the “T.” Mostly.

These long hot summer days have spurred my creativity in the kitchen. I’ve been living on fruits and veggies and other summer foods almost exclusively. Because there’s such a (cheap) abundance, I’ve gotten a little creative with some of the foods, and searched for and made up some recipes to enjoy that are Vegas-heat friendly.

On Wednesday, for example, to celebrate the one week anniversary of my knee surgery, I braised a small brisket with caramelized onions, garlic, celery, allspice, carrots, and red wine. For my summer veggie dish, I made an amazing kale salad of fresh kale (of course), chopped white onion, parsley, diced fresh tomatoes, fresh lemon juice, EVOO, fresh pressed garlic, and toasted pine nuts. Thanks to Whole Foods for the recipe inspiration.  As an aside, when I pan toasted the pine nuts, I toasted them just a little too much which added a slight bacon-y flavor! Summer fresh and filling, the salad was the perfect accompaniment to the brisket and pasta dinner. Accompanying this meal was a generous glass of 2003 Parker Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfect for a summer evening.

I’ve been experimenting with different types of slaw, dips (including both grilled avocado guacamole and roasted tomatillo and garlic salsa), fruit salsas, and marinades. I’m as healthy as could be expected under the circumstances – actually, I’m feeling pretty good!

Talk about an “Only in Vegas” moment – the weekend before my surgery saw an Elvis impersonator competition at the Fremont Street Experience. OMG. How much fun was that! I was able to take a few photos there and had hoped to stay for the entire “Ultimate Elvis Weekend” to watch the local Elvis Tribute Competition. But that weekend was an extraordinarily hot one, and I swear it felt like it was 1000º at the Fremont Street stage. My photos were just okay – I had to break out the telephoto lens because every Elvis fan in the US was there and I was standing at the rear of the crowd – but I think I got the gist of the event. Enjoy!  By the way, this competition was one of several throughout the nation.  The final competition will be held this month in Memphis.  You can check out all of the details at Elvis.com!

And before I get ridden out of town on a rail by the Vegas Wineaux Wine Club, here’s a quick slideshow of the Bastille Day celebratory tasting we did at Wendy and Thierry’s home (yes, he’s from France!). It was a lot of fun with fabulous French wines galore. Vive la France! Interesting note – the club membership seems to have a particular fondness of Rhône and Chateauneuf du Pape wines.

And last but not least, there’s one more thing worthy of note. I’m a fan of Sunset Magazine, but they rarely mention anything about Paso Robles. If you haven’t gotten the August issue, please run out and get a copy. They have an insert where they are actually covering a few of the wineries, restaurants, and other businesses in Paso. It isn’t much, but considering that their usual coverage of wine country is Napa period, this is a big deal!

I will be returning to work shortly, and will keep y’all updated on great stuff in Vegas. The next weekend is a big one for me, so stay tuned for more! Coming soon – Total Wine and Lee’s Discount Liquor. Is there a war or not?

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