Archive for category Food and Drink

Big boy training wheels on a very manly mannerism

I’m a very manly man, or so I’d have you believe. I’ve spent my whole life trying to convince you of that, but I’m afraid I’ll never really quite believe it myself. If only there was just one more thing, some magnificently beastly thing that would separate me from the wee girlies while at the same time oozing enough sophistication to keep me within sight of their budoir doors… but what could it be? And also, it’s just got to go well with butter.

A manly man has a beard and a gun. Check and check. He also smokes and drinks. Two more Nike swoops. But those are easy ones, and it can’t be helped but noticed that there are hundreds of checkboxes I’m not going to be able to scratch off. Like hunt. And fish and clean dinner with the same knife. And never cry. And de-emphasize hygiene. And own a hog. And prefer boots. And ride bareback. Interpret as you will, but ability and choice have conspired against me in this matter. So I guess a more realistic mask for myself would be of a gentleman of moderate-to-above-average-manliness. But what am I going to put my butter in?

Single malt Scotch.

I’m an absolute beginner in the world of whisky-without-an-e, but I’ve built up a miniature collection, and I can already tell I’m going to enjoy my expensive little hobby very much.

In my stash at the moment:

  • The Glenlivet 12 year
    This was my introduction to Scotch whisky. The first bottle was a Christmas gift from my boss, and now I buy it regularly. It’s my “drinking” whisky, and I buy it in the 1.75 liter size at Discount Barley Products, Inc. It’s ridiculous, because it’s a glass jug with a handle… but that doesn’t affect its taste one little bit. The flavor map at calls it “light & floral,” and I think I’d buy that. The Glenlivet is also my first choice in sleeping aids. So, as a medical expense, I am allowed to buy unlimited quantities of it. This works out quite nicely for me, as you can imagine. The original bottle also came with samplers of 15-and-18-year varieties, but they sort of disappointed me: the 12 year has an edge to it (it is whisky, after all), and smoothing that down through maturation and different finishes just seemed to change the character too much. I liked them, and they were good… but I guess the name Glenlivet invokes certain expectations of flavor and drinkability.
  • Glenfiddich 15 year
    Another gift from my boss, but this one hard earned through weeks of overtime and sleep deprivation. The Scots call Glenfiddich the Budweiser of whisky, but I just call it magnificent. As with The Glenlivet, this is how I now expect Glenfiddich to taste, and I’m not sure how the other varieties will sit with me now that I’ve appreciated this one so.
  • Ardmore 10 year
    Though it apparently ranks low on the smokiness scale this one seems very peaty to me, and is the only Scotch I’ve had that I think is improved by a little water. It’s not as subtle as the others and definitely isn’t my first choice in alcohol therapy, but it definitely has its place in my collection. The overriding flavor of the Ardmore reminds me of my English blend pipe tobaccos, and I’m dying to try it with a nice smoke.
  • Glenmorangie 10 year
    I’m not yet through even my first bottle of the stuff, but I’m willing to go ahead and say that Glenmorangie is my favorite single malt Scotch. It always disappoints me that it doesn’t give off the come-hither aromas that Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet do, but the flavors are subtle and balanced and nothing short of wonderful. The guy at my new favorite likka store highly recommends a sherry-cask-finished Glenmorangie (the Lasanta, I think?), and I’m eager to give it a shot when he has it in stock again.

There are several others I plan on trying, such as Ardmore, Glenkinchie and of course the Glenmorangie Lasanta, but it’ll be a few more months before my little allowance and I have recovered sufficiently from all the winter purchases I made (Christmas, Lynn’s birthday, our anniversary, two bottles of Scotch and a mess of games from the Steampowered holiday sales). Besides, there are other gentlemanly pursuits on my list… and almost all of those require budgets of moderate-to-above-average-manliness.

I guess, too, I should pick up some really, really cheap Scotch for the stupid butter first. I’m not wasting any of my mainline whiskies on sissygirl confections.

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Big Carter is just adorable

So I took Big Carter out last night for his 30th birthday, and was accompanied by TJ and Douschebag (nope, not his real name — how’d you guess?).

First we went to Doulie’s, a famous grease dive over where midtown intersects the foothills of downtown (aka the trendy ghetto), and stuffed ourselves with burgers and fries and onion rings and fried shrimps and itty bitty little bottles of Coke.

We sort of felt like little puntzes, drinking out of little sissy bottles like that.

Then we went to the Alien Abduction, which is a pretty cool bar at the old train station downtown. They have 200+ different beers to choose from, many of which are on tap, but we only tried 13 of them between us. Or maybe it was only 11… Big Carter kept ordering the same thing, I think.

Yes, he’s sort of a puntz.

TJ ended the night with some queer-as-Seattle apricot ale. I say that not because TJ is a fairy (though he acts that way a good bit of the time) but because Pyramid apparently comes from Washington State.

Yes, he’s also sort of a puntz.

We found a free couch in the “biergarten” area, and most of us snuggled up on it together. Douschebag sat separate, though, which was good. He had a good mackin-on-the-waitress vantage point, and pushed that as far as it would go. At one point I think she asked him if her boobies were too big.

What a puntz.

We sat there for a while, stinking up the place with our magnum-sized cigars, and then the cover band from Waukeegan started up in the other room. It wasn’t good. But then, neither was the conversation it was interrupting.

We were mostly telling Douschebag what a puntz he was.

Then after a spell, a decision was made on high to move the band from the main bar out to the room we were in, and we were asked to vacate the comfy little spot we had stained with beer, cigar spittle and bodily fluids. Very unrighteous. Douschebag complained to the not-owner-but-maybe-manager-or-something-chick, though, and scored us another round on the house.

What a puntz. A helpful one, I reckon, but still a puntz sumprema.

Carter with his puddy tatNot-manager came by later, and by then Big Carter was sitting by himself on a couch they had relocated to the bar area for us. The rest of us were a little too self-conscious to lounge out in the open like that, but Carter’s different in the head, and he had no problem. He was all stretched out and chewing on the little smoldering chub of a cigar he had left, and not-manager thought he looked just like Jason Alexander. “He’s adorable,” she proclaimed, and almost sort of squealed a little bit. “Look how cute he is with his little cigar and poofy little hair. Awww…..”

She thought he was just the cutest little puntz she’d ever seen.

Of course, when I told our waitress her boss thought Carter was a cutie, she finished with, “…Like a little baby!”


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Yummy Vegan Snacks

My cholesterol-conscious boss, whose wife recently convinced him to go on a completely vegan diet, read somewhere that eating half a raw onion a day could significantly increase HDL levels.

So? Yesterday I caught him nibbling on a big, fat wedge of raw white onion smeared with peanut butter.



Big Ol' Greasy Bag of Goodness

My aunt and uncle in D.C. introduced Lynn and me to Five Guys a couple of years ago, and it instantly became our favorite hamburger place in the whole wide world. I think at the time there were only a few stores in and around the D.C./Virginia area, so we didn’t have many opportunities to eat there. Fortunately for us (and I mean ALL of us) the business has really taken off on Space Shuttle Franchisefrenzy, and their footprint has expanded like crazy in recent times. So now we have a Five Guys here, with three more scheduled to open around town.

Anyway, I was afraid that a franchise location might just be a poor copy of the original: maybe the atmosphere wouldn’t be what I remembered; or maybe they wouldn’t be as generous with the fries; or–and this was the worst possibility–maybe my fond memories would just turn out to be unrealistic fabrications generated from all my aunt’s and uncle’s hype about mediocre food, proving once and for all that there’s no greener grass anywhere. Yeah, that would have been bad.

As it turns out, there wasn’t a thing to worry about, and tonight Lynn and I had the best burgers we’ve tasted since last Christmas. It’s rare that we find common ground in this area (she likes fatty, greasy meat and I prefer lean beef), but we’re in 100% agreement on this one. In fact, I’m prepared to sacrifice any future diet plans I might have otherwise had if that’s what it takes to ensure their survival here.

Go. See for yourself. And take me with you. I’ve almost finished digesting my bacon jalapeño cheeseburger, so I’m ready to get back in there. Hooah!

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Fun in the Kitchen Hai Phong Style

Lynn has been invited to cooking classes at the filthy-factory-cum-uppity-shopping-center by her friend Lorraine in the past, but they’re wicked expensive and she’s always turned down the offer.

She got another invite today, to an $80 Viet cooking class… and, well, after a listen-through of the agenda, I gave her the green light on it. I figure it’s a small price to pay to have lemongrass chicken six times a week for the rest of my life. Hmm… I’ve always thought I’d be dead by 51, so maybe this is the reason…

Anyway, there’s that and the ugly-but-oh-so-good summer rolls, some kind of Frenchie Vietnamese dumplings or something, and a few other things. And, zang, if it sticks, I’ll be eating gooder than good around here, and also possibly thinking about trucking her off to the Thai cooking class in January or February or whenever. Mmm… spring rolls… all the stinkin’ time……………


Happy Little Piglet

Lynn played housewife today, for the second Wednesday in a row, and it was awesome! She went shopping at the members’ warehouse dealy and bought about 350 pounds of meat, plus more of those lens wipes that I’m always leaving everywhere I go like some kind of blind man’s breadcrumbs, plus she did about a zillion things around the house and whatnot that she’s been wanting to get after, PLUS I came home for lunch and had a homecooked dinner of fried chicken nuggets (these were no premade chunkies, either), squash and field peas with bacon, PLUS I came home from work again at the end of the day and had beer-battered fish and onion rings and hush puppies and okra. Today put me over my weekly limit for fried food, but I can most certainly get used to this when she starts being home an extra two days a week. Not that I would expect to be able to waltz on home from work for homecooked lunches twice a week, but I shan’t complain when the opportunity presents itself.

I’m lucky because she’s the best cook I know (who is actually a real person and not a chef). A lot of guys’ wives do well to get a plate of microwaved mac’n’cheese on the table, but not my Lynn. I may have gained about 600 pounds since we got married, and I may die when I’m 40, but I certainly can’t think of a better way to go.

They say there are lots and lots of things in this world that can kill you, and that the trick is having the fortitude and know-how to stay away from the deadlies. Well, I say something’s going to catch you anyway, so the real trick is embracing the deadlies that you most enjoy!

So… salut to you all, and a good night! 🙂

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