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Posted in May 2012

Creating the perfect salad dressing

I have a confession. I use bottled salad dressing. I am embarrassed to admit it and had to do something about this.

Bistro West Steakhouse at the West Inn and Suites in Carlsbad is one of my favorite restaurants for many reasons; they have their own organic garden, their chef is incredibly fun & talented and the food is outstanding. I reached out to my pal, Chef Eugenio and he eagerly agreed to help me to learn something new for 49 Before 50.

We hopped in the car and drove over the garden. It is a beautiful piece of artwork filled with rows of vegetables and strawberries. (Carlsbad is famous for strawberries and they are included in many of the dishes at Bistro Steak). Chef Eugenio helped me to learn what produce looked perfect and was ready to be picked. We gathered our ingredients and headed back to the kitchen.

I am intimidated by cooking. I make a few great salads, but when it comes to combining things to make the perfect dressing, I am at a loss. Chef Eugenio guided me throw several variations of salad dressing, incorporating the assortment of different fresh options into them, giving each one a different flair. I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of making a home-made dressing and I am grateful to my friends at West Inn and Suites for helping me to learn something new for my 49 Before 50.

High Performance Racing!

I am very good at driving fast. The Highway Patrols of California, Arizona and New Mexico can vouch for that. I have slowed down on the highways and decided to satisfy my need for speed by learning to drive a real, high performance, race car at the Bondurant School in Phoenix.

The facility is known as “The Fastest 60 Acres” in America. It is a multi-configuration, 1.6 miles course with 15 turns. I had pictured zipping round and round like at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This experience, with all the turns, proved to be more challenging than I anticipated.

My instructor, Danny Bullock, greeted me at the front desk and did not waste any time. He outfitted me with the proper equipment including a head sock and helmet. We went through the course, turn by turn, and Danny explained the “science” of driving. I did not realize how calculated every move is when it comes to driving a high performance racing vehicle. These drivers are incredibly knowledgeable about physics and engineering. Kind of blew my mind at how much thought is required. After reviewing the safety guidelines and a brief classroom driving lesson, Danny put me into a car and had me drive a few laps.

I was feeling pretty confident soaring around at a whopping 60 MPH. I had listened carefully to Danny’s instruction about when to ease up on the gas and when to accelerate. This was much harder to actually do than I anticipated. You can not let your concentration lapse or take your eye away from what is coming next for even a tenth of a second. I was truly fatigued after my drive. When I got back, Danny invited me to hop into his car for some “hot laps”. OMG. I didn’t even make it through one full lap before I used the previously agreed upon safety word to tell him to stop. He begged me to let him blow through the straightaway once. That was all I could handle :)

Halfway there!

The adventures continue! I took some time to travel and have a whole bunch of new experiences that are ready to be shared. I’ve been all over the country from Boston to California with stops in Texas and Arizona, putting together the next group of adventures. The more of these I participate in, the more I learn about myself and other people. This has been a truly amazing journey and I am excited to see what comes next.