Archive | September, 2011

Wish I were there! But since I’m not…

12 Sep

One of my co-bloggers lives in New England, and I will say right now that I am jealous. For me, the perfect meal for any kind of warm day is crispy fried clam strips and a lemonade (mostly because I wasn’t old enough for beer when I actually lived in New England). When night or fall’s cool breezes start to chill, the same meal is fine with the addition of clam chowder. The real stuff, not the bullshit paste stuff that most places sell. Seriously.

Allagash White Ale

This was delicious!

Anyway, there aren’t too many places you can get good New England-style seafood down here. I now live in the state that considers Old Bay a way of life. As with many other things, I think I’m probably in the minority in my dislike of the stuff. My Google search for “wtf is with Old Bay?” didn’t yield any results. The point of this particular rant was that you often get a hearty dose of Old Bay whenever you order any kind of seafood dish in this state. And that sucks.

HOWEVER, there is a place in Bethesda that is catering directly to me and other New England transplants. I’ve been there twice now, and will go again this week if certain people who don’t even know this blog exists decide to have our band practice in Bethesda. *ahem*

For happy hour, they have a couple of great deals: 1) you buy a lobster roll (tasty!) and get a draft beer for $2.50, and 2) an order of fried wholebelly clams and a really nice can of beer for $10. I didn’t get the clam deal because I am a surprisingly picky eater. (I didn’t choose what the clam ate, so I don’t really want to eat what the clam ate secondhand.)  They do have clam strips, though, and I plan on asking if I can get the deal with them, next time. I got the buttered lobster roll, and this lovely glass of Allagash White Ale. You can see Beer Advocate’s rating, but I will also rate it: Maine beer. Tastes like spices. Goes with lobster. Love it.

Deliciousness: *****
Social Anxiety Soothing: **
Table Dancing Probability: 3% (fear of falling into the lobster pool should keep your feet on the ground)

Freddy’s Lobster and Clams
4867 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814


The truth is, I like cocktails.

6 Sep

So when I talk about “dressing my truth” (I am not even going to link to it…but I’ll go ahead and Google it for you:, I am talking about dressing for cocktails.

As Mad Men tells us (and I know I believe everything that Don Draper says), there was a time in our country’s great history when people drank so much that the only way you could differentiate between during-work drinking and after-work drinking was by the outfits people were wearing.

Cocktail Attire

Gratuitous photo of me wearing a fancy dress and gloves and holding a martini (photo credit: KH--thanks, doll!)

Most days, I wholeheartedly believe that we, as a society, should still be doing this. I mean, maybe it’s better that we aren’t sipping Dewar’s on the rocks to get through that tough 2:00pm meeting, but we could definitely treat cocktail outings as dress-up occasions. This is how I feel when I think about the burgeoning (or fully-burgeoned, perhaps?) cocktail culture we have here in DC. For those who have not heard, craft bartending is kind of a big deal in this town. There are plenty of speakeasy-style cocktail joints here that you can visit if you want fresh exotic juices, house-infused specialty bitters, and perfectly cubic crystal clear ice cubes. There are also lots of regular old bars (usually tucked away in fine restaurants or hotels) with seasoned barmasters, all pushing the envelope with cocktail recipes as a matter of course.  

If there are so many people out there making beautiful cocktails, shouldn’t we be out there looking beautiful while we drink them?

Of course, this line of reasoning can lead straight to laments on the “casualization” of America (which is what we have to thank for this, this, and THIS) and/or to something even more esoteric, like the skirt and heels as the shackles of female subjugation. (I don’t make this shit up, people…it’s just something I may or may not have heard when I was in graduate school.)  

Then there are the days when I just want to drink in my Snuggie. I am aware that it would be considered gauche (at the very least) to take it out to bars, but there’s no earthly reason why I shouldn’t be able to throw my Snuggie on over my ratty jeans and old college t-shirt and use my warm-yet-mobile arms to mix a cocktail in the comfort of my own home. Right? Right?? Well, when I really think about it…if I’m going through the trouble of mixing something good, I should consider my home cocktail experience worthy of a little bit of style. I should bust out the nicer jeans, at least. Maybe throw a blazer on over the t-shirt. If I really wanted to wear the Snuggie, I could pop open a beer, or crack a bottle of reasonably-priced wine.

I know the conventional wisdom is to dress for the job you want, not the one you have. But in the case of beverages, I think you should always dress for the drink you are drinking. It’s not because anyone else will care (as one of my co-bloggers so astutely observed), but I do think that dressing up to drink becomes part of the enjoyment of said drink. For example, the martini I’m pictured with above is nowhere near even being in the running for the “best I’ve ever had” list. But I remember it because I was dressed up to drink it (and because the bartender I ordered it from somehow heard “dirty martini” as “three martinis”…I had to ask for extra olive juice, and well-dressed hijinks ensued).

So, what do you think?* Dressing for cocktails–yea or nay?

*(It’s brass balls, right there, to ask a question on a blog that doesn’t really have any readers yet. But I did it anyway. Oh yes I did.)

Champagne taste, Miller High Life/Mello Yello budget…

2 Sep


I’m the third musketeer in on this joint, hailing from the grand Colonial confines of Boston, Mass. It’s been a while since the silversmithing days of Paul Revere, but people get by. One if by land, two if by sea, and five makes the N.K.O.T.B.

Where was I… Oh, for the record, no. A lot of people don’t talk like Peter Griffin. They don’t all drink Pawtucket Pete, either. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the only folks in tricornered hats and lobster bibs are the tourists. It’s mighty difficult to actually find a parking space for one’s cah ovah in Hahvihd Yahd. Ya can get theyah from heyah, but you’d best take the T.

For all its historic glory (with a nod to Bill & Ted on this, Keanu Reeves’ 47th birthday), though, Boston has an underbelly as well. Granted, Roxbury pales in comparison to, say, West Philadelphia, but it’s downtrodden all the same. And if you’re going for the abandoned furniture/trash in the street chic, look no further than my neighborhood of Allston.

Boston is a fascinating city, completely walkable in a reasonable amount of time given the right weather (i.e., no Nor’easters). What gets me is how in my neighborhood alone, rents range from “meh” to “WTF?!” from block to block, and even with a delectably large liquor store situated at the main intersection, right next to a bus stop, people still insist on throwing down multiple dollars for single beers in one of the many watering holes interspersed throughout.

This is not appropriate d-double-oh d-double-oh style. (And for the record, that “Beastie Boys Fight” short film or whatever the fuck that was that I saw on TV the other day was NOT FUNNY in the least.)

Many moons ago, in the woods and parking lots of West Chester, PA (TWO words, not like Westchester, NY), Jackass was born. With the revolution brought by this series came a resurgence in popularity of the Champagne of Beers, Miller High Life. Four or so dollars for a sixer back in the day became six or seven dollars, but that’s still about a dollar per beer.

Yet these trendy fools park their asses at the bar on any given night and throw down those four dollars for just one High Life.

This is not LIVING the High Life. That’s fakeassery of the trendiest kind. And you probably don’t even watch Jackass.

In an attempt to quell this disturbing trend, the marketing geniuses behind the High Life line created a series of commercials in which two deliverymen reclaim beer from inappropriate uses and/or settings. One such commercial features a beer salesman at a dog show; another, a velvet-rope-lined establishment asking more than the price of a six-pack for an individual bottle. Each time, the deliverymen shake their heads, load the cases of beer back onto their carts, and wheel them away.

The marketing team went further a couple of years ago by sending the same two deliverymen to individual residences, bearing endorsement contracts for “average” folks who happened to enjoy the High Life. This all went well until they rang a doorbell and were met by some guy shaving his chest. Fortunately, the deliverymen walked away from that one.

This begs the question of whether anyone realizes the irony of these commercials. Yes, by subtle self-deprecation, Miller has likely drummed up sales of the High Life. But, in doing so, even more stupid people will jump on the train–wait, no, that’s Coors Light–and will order up the High Life in its overpriced form in lieu of taking it home with them.

Well shit.

I know that I like the finer things in life, and I do appreciate a good, cheap beer that doesn’t necessarily taste cheap. I’ve found that in Miller High Life. I’m also known for having a taste for expensive things, however, as evidenced by a fine parade of handbags and footwear. Balance the equation and you’ll realize that there’s champagne on either side. Just because I’m not drinking it out of the Stanley Cup (yet) doesn’t mean that I never will.

The moral of the story is that if you actually worry about the image that’s projected by what you drink–whether you’re “slumming it” with Schlitz or raising your hand (and your nose) when you order your martini “up” with olives and only the best vermouth–well, son, the truth is that nobody cares.

It tastes good and brings back memories of fat fucks throwing themselves into bushes. Long live the High Life.

Audi 5000,