The Table of Our Dreams

This post has been a long time in coming.  While it doesn’t have anything to do with food, it does have a lot to do with our future meal times, and eating and enjoying meals is just another facet of the entire cooking process, right? 

Back in August I had the pleasure of going to GenCon and one of the vendors was the amazing Geek Chic.  Geek Chic sells heirloom quality custom gaming furniture.  Art, Lance and I are all gamers of some sort and, since we were in need of a new dining room table anyway, getting one with all the bells and whistles seemed like the right thing to do.  These tables, and the company, are amazing. 


I dragged Lance into the vendor hall to see the tables, I took pictures on my phone and sent them to Art, and I made a down payment.  Nine months later, I have the table of my dreams.


The first time I saw the Emissary was in the hall at GenCon.  The one in this picture is a bit smaller than the one we bought.  I believe it’s 3’x5’ and ours is 4’x6’.  This one is in cherry and has a GM drawer pulled out at the end. 


Here’s another view of the same table.  The two outer leaves are in, leaving the dropped play surface open in the middle. 


You can sort of see the cup holders in this picture as well as the drawers on the sides.


And here’s a picture of the 4’x4’ Emissary.  (I think.)  Then time passed.  We saved up our nickels and dimes, Christmas gift money went to the table fund, and we were finally able to place our order in January.  From there the wood went to the mill and I tried to contain my excitement. 


May finally arrived!  The wonderful folks at Geek Chic sent us a baby picture of our table being constructed!  (The Geek Chic people all have amazing email handles like “enabler” and “accomplice.”  Just another detail that made working with them enjoyable!) 

On my drive up to New York I got The Call.  Our table was going out on the truck soon and we’d be getting it early this week!  Why does shipping take so long you might ask?  Because Geek Chic sees a table as a relationship and they actually send Geek Chic employees out with their tables to make sure everything is assembled, perfect, and explained. 


Arrive it did, late tonight. Here it is coming out of the truck with our fantastic (and obviously passionate about their products) deliverers.  You can see the cherry of the side and the bamboo of the drop surface.  Gorgeous bamboo.


Still outside and in the box.  I was trying not to bounce too much in my excitement. 


Look at that beautiful bamboo! 


While not quite as beautiful, the underside of the table is still neat. It’s got 6 drawers and the notched area on the top side is where the “ejector button” resides.  It’s there to lift the first table leaf for easy removal. 


Standing on its own four legs.  The dropped playing surface is about two inches deep.  Perfect for miniatures and everything else. 


Here it is with all five leaves on.  The leaves all have a teeny bit of gap between to allow for expansion that will occur with heat and humidity changes.  Although you can’t tell from this picture, the wood grain matches between the front of the drawers and the sides of the table.  And the wood?  It’s simply beautiful.  We opted for natural cherry and the grain is lovely. 


The diagonal pieces of wood there are the supports that allow us to set up the table the way it is set up in the GenCon pictures.  This allows for both raised and dropped surface without the fear of dice rolling under the raised leaves.  The shininess of the bamboo is due to an acrylic sheet.  This sheet acts to hold and flatten various maps or grids for every game you’d want to play.  Wet and dry erase markers can be used on it as well. 


This is the GM drawer.  It has a privacy screen/book prop as well as a nice, large surface for books and papers.  Underneath the flat desk panel is drawer space for more storage. 


The other three sides of the table have five player drawers.  These have flat tops that act as desk surfaces and the tops also open up for even more storage.  The drawers all lock in the open position and have flipper thingies that allow the drawers to be closed again. 


The metal inserts for the cup holders, which you can see in pictures from GenCon, are currently en route.  In the meantime we’ve got six cup holders to help protect the table and gaming supplies from tipped drinks.  The cup holders can latch anywhere that doesn’t have a drawer or the ejector button. 


It’s stunning.  I’m having a hard time finding the words to do it justice.


Because the company rocks, they gave us a cute dice rolling tower.  This will help us deal with our withdrawal from the great sound that dice made on our old tile table!  All the joins in the tower are laser cut and it’s amazing how smooth the sides feel!


Our Emissary, in all of its glory and very well worth the wait.  Complete with dice tower and old chairs.  Finding new chairs that can withstand long meals and gaming sessions will be our next challenge.  We can easily fit 10 chairs around this table.

We could not be more pleased with our table or our experience with Geek Chic.  If you’re a gamer of any sort, or even just someone who likes to be able to work on puzzles over the course of a week without having cats destroy things while you sleep, this is the table for you.  I truly believe that this is a heirloom quality piece of furniture that will be passed on to whichever niece or nephew shows the most interest in gaming.  This table is a functional piece of art and we’re just thrilled that Geek Chic was there at the right time and place when we were trying to decide on a table replacement!

5/24/2010 News

Today is my first blogiversary!  I can’t believe I’ve been blogging about food for a year already, time has flown!  I’ve opted not to make a huge elaborate meal to celebrate my blogiversary.  Instead, since I was a mathematician in a former life, I’ll be posting lots of blog statistics because I find those things to be fascinating. 

My first recipe post was Ham and Cheese Macaroni Bake with Peas.  Since then I’ve posted 415 more (recipes which averages to just over one new recipe a day.  That average decreases with time, not because I cook less but because in the early days of blogging every recipe needed to be posted.  As time goes on and I revisit (recipes, fewer need to be posted because they’re already here.  My most prolific month was June 2009, my first full month of blogging.  It had a whopping 71 posts. 

My most used recipe category is, and will probably always be, chicken.  It’s got 83 (recipes. 

Sadly, I only started tracking statistics with the help of Google Analytics back in February 2010.  During that time my blog has seen 9,703 visits with April being the busiest month so far.  Traffic keeps increasing every month which is very promising!

The majority of my readers from the United States and most of those are from California.  My own state ranks 4th behind New York and Illinois. 

Most of my readers use Firefox, Windows, and have a 1280x800 screen resolution.  1.7% of you view my blog from your iPhones. Hooray for iPhones!  .06% of you are early iPad adopters.  Sadly I don’t fall into that .06%. 

The majority of readers find my blog through google searches and searches that send people to my blog most often involve some combination of the words slow, cooker, roast, and chicken. 

Black-Bottom Cupcakes and Slow Cooker Roast Chicken with Crispy Skin are, by far, my most popular (recipes. Bacon Swiss Quiche, Crunchy Buttermilk-Coconut Chicken Fingers, Ham and Cheese Macaroni Bake with Peas, Marinated London Broil, Slow Cooker Honey Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Dijon, and Slow Cooker Lemon and Dill Salmon with Spinach follow close behind.  Delmonico, Le Cirque, Mesa Grill, and TenPenh are my most popular restaurant reviews. 

Last but not least, 927 people have read “Who are you people?”  This is probably my favorite number to see increase since I tend to think of it as being in line with unique readers. 

This past year has seen quite a few major changes but my favorite is the beautiful banner artwork painted by my dear friend Lierre

The next change on the horizon is making the switch from my current content management system (Joomla 1.5) to the newest release. Joomla 1.6 is currently in beta, but it has features that I’m too impatient to wait for so I’ll be implementing it sooner rather than later.  This might make my blog a little buggy in the beginning, but Art will be on top of things to ensure everything continues to run smoothly during the beta phases.  The most notable improvement is that I’ll finally be able to put (recipes into multiple categories.  Keep your eyes peeled for new categories like “Slow Cooker” and “Almost Vegetarian.”

It’s been a great year in food here and I have the feeling that the year to come will be even better.  Thank you all for your interest and support – knowing that people read makes the whole project even more enjoyable and festive!

Holiday Cookies 2010

At the end of 2008 I had the brilliant idea to send out cookies to a few friends for the holidays.  The cookies were well received and, since I don’t bake that often, I enjoyed having an excuse/reason to do a lot of baking without the problem of then wanting to do a lot of eating. 

I wanted to do the same thing at the end of 2009 but the year got away from me and I just ran out of time.  After Christmas I had the somewhat less than brilliant idea that I should bake and send cookies to significantly more people.  In fact, I should send cookies to friends and family all over the US!  With the help of Art and Lance, I compiled my list, noting how many people were in each household I wanted to gift.  The list quickly grew to over 100.  Ack. 

Then, continuing in my not so brilliance, I decided that I should bake 10 different types of cookies.  10 is a nice, round number you see.  I went through my recipes, asked a few people for advice, and came up with the following list as a good mix of spicy, chocolaty, and nutty. 

Anzac Biscuits
Candy Cane Cookies
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Mint Crinkles
Double-Chocolate Cookies
Pepparkakor (Gingerbread)
Lemon Sugar Cookies
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Pecan Powder Puffs

And, since I’ve got to make sure that everyone gets at least one of each type, some quick math led to the realization that I would be cooking around 1000 cookies. 

1000 cookies. 

I’m not sure I have room for that many cookies in my house!  I realized that minor detail about space after I shopped for all of the ingredients, though, so I’m now committed to this course of insanity. 

Behold, the ingredients required to cook 1000 cookies. 

Baking supplies