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2014 Comes To Those Who Wait

2 Jan

bubblesHappy New Year! If you’re one of the few people who is actually reading this blog, THANK YOU. If you’re the person who has asked us how to buy wine without going broke, JUST WAIT ONE MORE WEEK OR SO. We will have something for you. We will have something just as good as the Louise d’Estree Brut NV, which I used to make the cocktails in the picture. I also drank some of it by itself, and have I got some news for you! It tastes nice! The bubbles are small and plentiful, and what little sweetness it has is fruity and a little acidic. Asti it ain’t. For $8 at Trader Joe’s, it was a very pleasant and very affordable way to ring in 2014. To thank you for your patience, here’s a champagne cocktail recipe that can also be made in a very tasty low-alcohol version with sparkling cider instead of sparkling wine.

Traditional champagne cocktails call for dropping a bitters-soaked sugar cube in the bottom of the glass, adding a bit of cognac, and topping with champagne. Cognac is fun for me when I fly Air France, but otherwise, it’s not my thing. Here’s the recipe; I hope you’ve had a recent refresher on logic operators:

Champagne flute
sparkling wine or sparkling apple cider
generous dash of vanilla cordial or cake-flavored vodka
Angostura bitters
orange peel
(IFF you are using cake vodka) a sugar cube

In the bottom of the flute, put either a generous dash of vanilla cordial and a couple of drops of bitters, OR a sugar cube with a couple of drops of bitters on it and a generous dash of cake vodka.
Then, top with champagne or sparkling cider.
Then add an orange twist. I should probably make a tutorial for this, as I had no idea what this was all about until recently. For now, just know that you twist the piece of orange peel over the glass, and then you drop it in.

Then you drink! Here’s the lowdown on the bubbly:

Louise d’Estree Brut NV
Rating:
Deliciousness: *** (great for cocktails)
Social Anxiety Soothing: **
Table Dancing Probability: 45% (Sparkling wine is always a celebratory affair.)

Trader Joe’s, $8

Sometimes, social anxiety soothing is necessary.

20 Dec Hello! I'm on the left! The Washington Monument is to the right, not pictured.

Last night, We Were Pirates played a show at the W Hotel’s POV Lounge. It was a different kind of show than usual, in a different (classy! except for when people get stabbed I guess) venue, and I don’t really get nervous about shows, but I was pretty anxious last night before we went on. Then some more friends arrived and I realized I needed a drink. I wasn’t really drinking because we wanted to be sure to have a stellar performance, but it was at this point that I also realized that needing a drink does not: a) automatically make you an alcoholic, or b) always have to end in sloppy drunkenness.

So (I did that thing where you start a sentence with “So,” which is apparently all over social media and such) I sidled up to the bar with my friends and tried to figure out what to drink. My drink special choices were $5.50 Miller Genuine Drafts (not a bad beer – I’ll always have a soft spot for it because it’s the first beer I drank at a college party where I was like, “Oh, wait, I have stepped over a line. Beer is not awful. I could actually decide to drink this and enjoy it.”) and $8 “Cherry Manhattans” which… yeah. I had a sip of someone’s and it was like those chocolate cherries filled with medicinal liqueur. Although someone else bought me one after the show and it strangely was not as foul. And then I realized we had a band tab, and I could get whatever I wanted for free, so I asked the magic words:

“What do you have for scotch?”

That, my friends, is when at the end of a long list of sundries, I parroted, “Yes. Lagavulin.” Because I know some people who like that stuff. I also know myself well enough to know that I needed two rocks in it. And upon my first sip or two, all anxiety vanished, and then we played a ridiculously good show. I took occasional sips between songs, which was amazing and not like chugging beer or guzzling a Jack and ginger with a straw, which is what I’m ashamed to admit I usually do between songs. Repeat mantra: Needing a drink does not always have to end in sloppy drunkenness. Drinking is okay. Sometimes it’s more than okay; it’s necessary. And I am totally okay with that.

Rating:
Deliciousness: **** (add or subtract one star depending on whether you, you know, actually LIKE scotch)
Social Anxiety Soothing: *****
Table Dancing Probability: 50% (Depends on the venue. At the POV Lounge, the people watching is so good, there’s no need for you to actually dance. And no, I don’t mean there were fancy famous people there like we’ve all been led to believe. I mean there were lots of drunk people sloppily making out and bumping and grinding on the dance floor and climbing onto the windowsills and making silly poses with the Washington Monument. So you just leave the table dancing to that crowd, why don’tcha.)

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.)

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.

I went out and drank a cocktail…

18 Jul

…and it came in a jar.

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So, for a little bit of shameless self-promotion…I have a play up at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival. It’s called A Year of Giving, and it’s the inspirational true story of an unemployed man’s plan to give away $10 a day for a year. It’s at the Goethe-Institut Gallery down in Chinatown, and it’s getting some decent reviews so far. You should check it out.

After seeing that last night, some friends and I went to Bar Louie. That’s where I got the above cocktail, which was called the Mason/Dixon and was Sweet Tea vodka, lemon vodka, tea, simple syrup, and a lemon wedge. It was decently strong, but holy crap, it was SO sweet. Right after I squeezed the lemon in, the flavor reminded me of eating powdered iced tea from the canister (which I used to do because I was a total sugar fiend in my past life). It was good once I let the ice melt for a while.

Rating:
Deliciousness: ***
Social Anxiety Soothing: **
Table Dancing Probability: 5% (The music was, admittedly, bumpin’…who wouldn’t get down to late-90’s high-school dance tracks??…but seriously, I would have needed all the rest of the drinks I had that night to start dancing there.)

Bar Louie (DC, Chinatown)
701 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
http://www.barlouieamerica.com

Magic Hat Numero Nerrrrrf

26 Oct

Oh, Love Potion Magic Hat #9. You are an excellent movie beer. I first saw tasted you at my mother’s house DC9 Nightclub in 1993 2004, I believe. My favorite thing about you is Sandra Bullock’s fake mustache your refreshing apricot flavor, which I actually just REALLY noticed for the first time very recently after the movie unexpectedly came on an obscure cable channel at a late hour drinking a bottle of Yuengling first, then drinking this delicious elixir immediately after.

Okay, but seriously, enough of that nonsense. I knew this beer was good, and I knew it had some apricot “notes” or whatever I’m supposed to say here, but I never really noticed until drinking it right after drinking Yuengling. Don’t get me wrong; I love Yuengling. I love it because it is cheap and available and offered to band members presenting drink tickets at the bar at DC9 and many other fine establishments that have live music. At DC9, however, Magic Hat #9 is $5.50 per bottle, which puts you fitty cent over the allowed spending limit for drink tickets. Can’t you just turn in a drink ticket and fitty cent and be good to go, you might be asking? No, no you cannot. That is AGAINST THE RULES. So what you do is you drink two Yuenglings because you get two drink tickets (or in my case you drink one Yuengling because you are not actually playing in any bands that night but you were given a drink ticket by a pregnant lady in one of the bands that is actually playing) and then you switch to Magic Hat #9 and are instantly refreshed. So then you drink two of those.

And then you switch to whiskey. And then you dance. You dance a lot. You jump up and down for at least one entire song, which is a lot of jumping. You twist and turn and mosh (because it’s 1994) and headbang (because it’s 1993) and skank (because it’s 1995), but you do not breakdance. You leave that to Erik Estrada (for real, this guy is having a baby with the pregnant lady in the band, and before lawyers find this and sue me for defaming him or whatever, it’s A DIFFERENT ERIK ESTRADA), because for him, it is 1986. And that was a good year for The Real Erik Estrada. I think. I dunno. I was six. I did watch CHiPS (is that how it’s spelled? I could ask the internet but I don’t want to), but I have no way of knowing if it was actually on at the time or just syndicated.

Rating:
Deliciousness: *****
Social Anxiety Soothing: ** (***** when followed up with Bushmills)
Table Dancing Probability: 0% (not enough tables)
Floor Dancing Probability: 88% (and then you are struck by lightning and transported back to the future)

DC9
I think I posted about it before, maybe
But if not you can Google the address
It’s on 9th just south of U St NW
It was closed for a while but it’s been open again for months
There was some controversy
If you don’t know about it, you should read about it
Also when you go there you should eat Ethiopian food first at Etete, which is basically next door
And maybe get your hairs cut at Salon Revive, which is where I get my hairs cut
Okay, when did this become free verse?

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.

Rating:
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
http://www.freddyslobster.com