Archive | August, 2013

The best beer I’d never noticed

25 Aug

Kate and I drank these Tsingtao beers and ate hot pot and were hungover the next morning…from the hot pot.

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Melanie and Kate tested, Jesse approved.

I’m finding myself really attracted to crisp, light lager-type beers lately. I think it’s the oppressive end-of-summer heat (although the night pictured was distinctly autumnal). Or maybe it’s the heavy food I’m gravitating toward right now. Either way, all I really want to drink is something light and beery that won’t make me think too much about flavor profiles or hoppiness or mouthfeel. I want it to be there, in a bottle or a glass, to wash down the scallop and noodles that I’ve just cooked in boiling chili oil with Sichuan flower pepper and dunked in sesame-peanut-chili-soy-scallion-garlic sauce. Tsingtao does this with aplomb.

Rating:
Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: *
Table Dancing Probability: 1% (You try dancing on a table with a giant well of boiling chili oil in the middle of it.)

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Not drinking is okay.

23 Aug

That would probably be rule #1 of Booze Therapy, if we had rules like Fight Club. You can talk about Booze Therapy all you want, though…talking is important.

Anyway, the new man I mentioned in my last post doesn’t drink. I, on the other hand, occasionally contribute to a blog called “Booze Therapy,” for chrissakes. So you know what’s great about that? It doesn’t matter.  I do drink a bit less than I used to, but I don’t necessarily drink less often. Part of this is because my man doesn’t drink. But certainly, part of it is because I’m so much happier now that my life is different, I don’t think it’s necessary to engage with alcohol as more than an epicure.

Not drinking is okay. In fact, I think Kate and Christie are cooking up a post about their recent cross-country road trip, during which no booze was consumed at all.

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Never pictured it quite like this…

However, I did promise a post about ouzo. That’s a picture of the ouzo I drank on Santorini. I think my love affair with Greece started with a brief love affair with a Greek boy, back in my formative years. He used to write poetry about his idyllic summers in the Cyclades, and I hung onto every word like a bee on honey. (Yes, Internet. I have a type, and that type is “sensitive artists.” So sue me.)

Here’s a little something I wrote a couple years ago about that particular little (fruitless as usual) high school crush:

Then there was the Greek statue, the tall, lean muscled man-boy who looked as though he rubbed his skin with olives every day. Her wildest fantasies were his memories, cliff-dives and ouzo and making love for the first time on a black sand beach, speeding through all the necessary touches because he was afraid that the girl’s father might discover them. He had a particular knack for admiring her from afar, and he took care to make sure that she noticed it. She would not have gotten tired of the furtive glances, the words of his favorite love poems recited cautiously in her presence.

Right. So…I mentioned ouzo in this rumination because he talked about drinking it (even though we were all just high school kids then), and for some reason, I pictured drinking it out of something like an obsidian sake set. Actually, that was the exact thing I pictured, even though I’d never even seen a sake set back then (although I did know what sake was because I liked anime).

Flash forward 15 or 16 years, and I suddenly find myself on Santorini, staring out over the sparkling blue expanse of the Aegean, where I have just gone swimming with my boyfriend, two nurses from Boston University, and countless European tourists who either didn’t care that the path to the swimming area between the cliffs was marked “DO NOT ENTER, DANGEROUS FALLING ROCKS” or perhaps just didn’t know because the warning wasn’t printed in their language. I am living the life I dreamed of at that particular moment of youthful folly and holy crap this restaurant has ouzo and I’ll be damned if I don’t order some.

Imagine my surprise when it came to the table and looked like that, all creamy white and in a little glass with ice! Of course, by this point in my life, I’m familiar with absinthe and other such beverages, so when I taste it, I’m no longer surprised at the presentation. The weather is a balmy 78 degrees or so, with a warm, salted breeze coming in off the water. Although I expect things flavored with anise to be heavy because they are intense, this is light and refreshing. I don’t know why I never pictured ouzo with ice in a glass, but now I know I will never picture it any other way again.

I think back on the time in my life when everything was a delightful mystery, and while I have some nostalgia for that, I also relish the pleasure that only knowledge can bring. If I were being really heavy about this, I’d say something pithy about the fruit of knowledge, but this is a drinking blog. And not just any drinking blog–it’s a drinking blog where not drinking is okay. So…do what you want! Enjoy life.

Of mythological proportions…

21 Aug
This is beer. It is cheap in Athens because there isn't any work there. Look out, "The Economist"...here comes Booze Therapy!

This is beer. It is cheap in Athens because there isn’t any work there. Look out, “The Economist”…here comes Booze Therapy!

Holy crap it’s a new post!

I have hereby come to the conclusion that either my life is a telenovela, or it’s been way too long since I last updated this blog. Since my last post, I’ve moved to a different state, gotten divorced, changed offices, found a new man, had a crisis of “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?” and decided to go on vacation in Greece. This post is a little bit about that vacation.

So, basically, I’d always pictured myself as a cool, jet-setting world traveler. Then I sat at home and watched while all my friends who actually were cool, jet-setting world travelers went on adventures. Then I met and fell in love with a guy who, if he tattooed the list of countries he’d visited or lived in on his arm, he’d run out of arm well before he ran out of countries. And I was like, “What the hell am I doing with my life? What can I write about if all I see are my home, my office, and the inside of a Metro car day in and day out?” We’d had a road trip to New England planned, but not booked yet. The morning after my little personal crisis, I told my man that we were canning that trip and going to Italy or Greece instead. Of those, he picked Greece, so I guess Italy’s next on the list.

My well-traveled man hates flying, actually. So by the time we got to Athens, he was a little cranky, we were both exhausted and starving, and even though I wanted to fully embrace the opportunity to stuff myself with recession-priced Greek delicacies, I knew I also wanted a Greek beer. The one I drank is pictured at right. They have this beer stateside, too, but it’s what they had at the taverna in our neighborhood. Plus, it has a crisp, light, pleasant flavor that didn’t compete with the giant feast we’d ordered. AND, as an added bonus, it came in a 16-oz. bottle. The winner was me. I can also write a bit about ouzo, but I think I’ll save that for another post.

I recommend this beer.

Rating:
Deliciousness: ****
Social Anxiety Soothing: *
Table Dancing Probability: 1% (I think jet lag somehow fixed it so that I was not tipsy in the slightest after consuming this beer. It was either that, or the massive quantities of excellent, heavy food I consumed while drinking it.)

P.S. If you happen to have commented on this blog, oh, say, last year…asking for wine-buying tips for people who want to drink good wine without going broke…don’t worry! We heard you. We’ll think about this and get a post up.