A Cook and a Geek Reviews: The Banner Saga

Gloriousness!The good, the bad, and the other issues.

If you just want to know what I think, I’ll put it up front right here. Because I’ve got a lot to write about afterwards and I won’t force you to wait for the end result. Like Stoic would have. Zing!

Game Grade: A– In spite of its brevity, and some mechanical shortcomings, the work that went into The Banner Saga still shines through. A laudable addition to the increasingly neglected Strategy Role Playing Game Genre, and a promising first installment to a hopefully increasingly successful trilogy.

Kickstarter Execution Grade: B– Stoic Studio made lofty promises with an ambitious delivery date. They delivered late but still delivered a good product. Communication horrendous at the finish line making all of their other efforts colored with a heavy splash of backer irritation. A simple update about the DRM-Free version would jack this up to a B+ easily.

On January 12, 2014, roughly a year and two months after the estimated release date according to their Kickstarter, Stoic Studio finally released the critically acclaimed The Banner Saga.

After trying to wait for the DRM free version for a while (more on this later) I finally caved and downloaded it through Steam. [Note, I have no real issues with Steam aside from technical network reasons that I won’t go through now, except for to say that a DRM free download would have been much more preferable for me.

Timing issues aside, The Banner Saga (hereafter referred to as TBS) has delivered a truly great addition to the world of strategy role playing games, one of my favorite and most neglected genres, not in small part because it’s a great game genre where you can eat a sandwich in one hand and play the game with the other.

Now for the review proper. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

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A Review of The Speakeasy SF:

speakeasy cook geek

It is hard to give a comprehensive review of Boxcar Theatre’s latest project, The Speakeasy SF, without spoiling much of the mystery that makes the experience so magical. So instead I’ll speak in generalities and offer some advice.

Before you even arrive on the site, a clandestine set of instructions sets you up to think that this is going to be somewhat different. You’d be right, but you’d probably underestimating the amount of effort that’s been put into this immersive production. From the moment you start to make your entrance, the experience begins, and prepare to subtly realize that maybe you have just been transported to a different time and place.

So, advice? Have an open mind, be inquisitive, look around. Be good at following instructions, and questions discreetly. And get a drink as soon as you can, it definitely adds to the whole experience. I recommend the Jungle Bird. And if you can do all this, I’d bet heavily on you having a great time.

Boxcar Theatre’s Website: http://www.boxcartheatre.org/

The Speakeasy SF: http://thespeakeasysf.com/

For tickets: http://thespeakeasysf.com/

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Happy New Years, from A Cook and a Geek!

No recipe this time, just a warm wish from me to you.

2013 was a good year for me. My professional outlook has improved dramatically, I’ve strengthened relationships with friends and family. I’m looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

I know 2013 wasn’t good for a lot of people though, so I hope that for you, this year takes all that away and gives you something much better.

And for those of you that had good years, keep that momentum going!

Have a safe New Years Eve everyone!

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A Rib Eye Roast for the Holidays

1 Cook Geek Ribeye Roast Christmas 020

Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, and Happy Holidays to everyone.

You can take that as spiritually or as secularly as you’d like.

But if you’re in that giving sort of mood, I will unobtrusively mention that my e-cookbook, Farewell To Foie Gras: The Food and Drink of Arduise, is now Pay What You Want on DriveThru, and it makes a great (virtual) stocking stuffer, if you’re really a last minute type!

Something about Christmas just makes me want to roast things, so I considered it a wonderful Christmas eve opportunity this year when my parents brought home a 6.5 pound rib eye roast and asked me to look for some recipes for the night.

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The Update Post–A long time coming!

Hey readers, it has been a while, and I promised to give an update post on where I’ve been and what has been going on. Well, here it is.

Things officially got crazy for me around the end of 2012, and here we are, almost at the end of 2013. I had mentioned that I was substituting, and seemed well on my path to becoming a teacher. Plans switched suddenly and thanks to some connections, I ended up working at a startup as a QA Analyst. I think I’ve managed to become even geekier by landing a job in tech.

It’s been a blast and I’m still having a lot of fun there. I’m not going to say what the company is here, but if you snoop around enough I’m sure you could find out.

I will post this picture of Maisy though, who is often at the office.

takesallsorts 027

Her title is Officer of Morale, and she does a damn good job of it too.

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A Taste of Summer–Parisienne Gnocchi

Hi, and thanks for checking out the new post. I know it’s been a while, and I’ll do one of those “sorry I’ve been gone, here’s what I’ve been up to” posts later, but I don’t want to cheat you guys, so for now, here’s an actual recipe. Today, I made Parisienne Gnocchi for the first time.

Prior to this experience, my experience in both making and eating gnocchi has been with potato gnocchi, which seems to be a bit more common.

Parisienne gnocchi on the other hand has no potato at all, and instead is made from pâte à choux. It’s somewhere between a dough and a batter to be honest, not quite fitting neatly into either category. I’ve used it before to make gougeres, so I was curious to see how this different this application would be.

Cook and Geek Recipe Parisienne Gnocchi 001

Pillowy, savory, with just enough of a bite to be substantial with a nice hit of cheese to let you feel positively spoiled when digging in, this is one hell of a recipe that I’ll definitely be using in the future.

It’s a very versatile dish, and in Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio (where I adapted this recipe from) all sorts of delicious suggestions are made, from clam sauces, bacon and corn, or even butternut squash are suggested.

Today I kept it simple with some tomato based approaches, detailed herein.

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Rocket Raccoon Removal

I don’t often share my posts on Crisp Comics but I thought this one was particularly poignant.

If you’re a Rocket Raccoon fan, raise a ruckus!

http://crispcomics.com/marvel-cuts-rocket-raccoon-from-upcoming-guardians-of-the-galaxy-movie/

NoRocketRaccoon

Oh noooooo!

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At Least Two Fifths Whole Wheat French Bread

Yeah, it has been forever. A few weeks ago I finally finished my six weeks of intensity.

Who knew that taking night classes four nights a week, doing long term substituting, and lesson planning would take so much out of you? Hubris. Oh yeah, I was sick the last week of subbing as well.

I came out of it pretty well, and I’ve been catching up on things. Cooking hasn’t been exactly high on the priority list sad to say, but I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things.

Actually I’ve been cooking, just nothing really new, and thus, not really worth blogging. I’ve been sticking to old reliables, like pizza.  Well, not entirely true, I’ve made some orange syrup since my dad purchased a sodastream, and I’ve roasted some tofu.. ok, I’ve just been too busy to blog.

So, to get back to old reliables, I’ve made some bread again, just sticking to some of things I’ve picked up from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio, and replacing some of the flour with whole wheat. And it actually worked!

At least 2/5ths of the flour used was white whole wheat flour. So that’s why I’m calling this “At Least Two Fifths Whole Wheat French Bread.” If someone has a better name I’m listening.  Some people would actually just call this whole wheat French bread since there’s whole wheat in it, but I’m all about honesty here. Honestly and really long names.

Actually it may almost be one half whole wheat French bread, as you’ll see.

two fifths whole wheat bread Cook and Geek Recipe 002

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Busy Start to 2013

First of all, happy new years to all of you, and thanks for sticking with me.

Secondly, here’s an indoor s’more. Golden grahams done up in a Rice Krispies treat style, with chocolate.

funweekendwithjeremy 066

With the food portion of the post done, thanks for coming again. I’m sure you all have noticed I have not been posting as much, so I thought I’d come and let you all know what’s going on.

It’s been a really busy 2013 for me, and the franticness actually began before Christmas in 2012. My grandmother passed away and that was a really hectic time. It got the family together in a hurry though, and I think we’re stronger for it, if a bit sad.

After the funeral there hasn’t been much time for rest. I thought I’d add a factoid that is directly relevant, in that my family is trying to eat more vegetarian, and so far we’ve been able to eat vegetarian every Sunday since then. Unfortunately with my time constraints and lack of practice, I have been unable to do this for the rest of the days of the week due to the following.

I’ve started the new year swinging with a long term sub position and two night classes plus a little bit extra. Sleep has been precious, and cooking up anything is quite a stretch to say the least.

Hopefully as I get into the swing of things, they will be getting easier, but for now, I just wanted all of you to know why things have been quiet here.

Hope you guys have more time to breathe than I do!

-Brian

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Just taking the time to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Stay safe, eat some good food, and have a good time.

Best,

Brian

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