Monday, May 30, 2011

On Saturday we went into Georgetown to shop at Dean & Deluca. Driving in that neighborhood sucked beyond description. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, so every hipster yuppie douchebag and his (fraternity) brother was out, and nobody seems to pay any attention to traffic signals there. We finally parked in an underground lot, walked two blocks to the store, where we stumbled around it in excitement bordering on hysteria for an hour or so. We ordered some food and sat down outside to eat. We then walked down to the riverside and back toward the car. Neither of us had any desire to stay in that area any longer, so we paid the ungodly parking rate (I want to say it was twelve bucks for just over two hours) and left as quickly as traffic would allow.
We headed next to Alexandria, Virginia, which is basically on the other side of the city (I think) and a world away. There was some kind of Civil War reenactment celebration or other going on there, which made for good people watching.
We walked by the waterfront, and went through a large restored warehouse that has been converted into a collective of art studios. We ate ice cream and went on a short tour of a tavern where George Washington used to dine. After playing tourist for awhile, we went to meet some friends for dinner in yet another part of town. We ate at an Ethiopian restaurant where all of the women were jaw-droppingly gorgeous and spoke very little English. The food was fine, but nothing to write home about. The most difficult part for me was not really knowing what I was eating, but again- language barrier.
After dinner we went to one friend's apartment, where we drank Bell's Two-Hearted Pale Ale and played bocce ball on a rooftop court (the balls lit up so we could continue to play after the sun went down). We really enjoy the company of these particular friends, and we don't get to see them nearly enough. It was a beautiful night, and the view from this roof was terrific. I could almost see myself living in a place like that, until we made our way back to street level and had to deal with all of the traffic and the people again. Parking was also not easy. I had forgotten about that.
When we got back to the house, the b.h.'s sister's mother-in-law was in, and we sat around and chatted a bit with her before bed. This woman could be cast as the stock character of "Jewish Mother-In-Law on any sitcom you choose. She is utterly hilarious, super opinionated, has great stories to tell, and manages somehow to sound judgmental every time she opens her mouth. She cracks me up. The next morning we all had breakfast and then the b.h.'s parents arrived. We hung out and talked with them for awhile before shoving off to New York.
Customer: "Is the person in charge of beer here?"
Me: "Um, what do you need help with?"
Customer: "We're doing a German beer tasting, and I was wondering-"
Me: "Let me see if Pete is here. If not, I can help you."

I walk into the back, take approximately five steps, and then completely forget the entire conversation until two hours later, at which point it obviously doesn't matter anymore. Brilliant.

I'm going to blame that on Brooklyn.

Our vacation was loads of fun, revolving (as most of them do), around food, drink, and rock. The drive to D.C. felt like it took forever. We stopped for dinner in Pennsylvania. A friend of the b.h. lives there and we met her at the restaurant where she works. The food was fabulous and the beer list overwhelming. I had gnocchi with locally foraged wild mushrooms and an IPA from Green Flash. Next we stopped at a grocery store and loaded up on beer that is not available in our neck of the woods. We rolled in to the 'burbs at around 11pm, having made an unexpected detour leaving PA. Thank the gods the b.h. has an iPhone (which I have dubbed The Hitchhiker's Guide)or who knows where we might have wound up. His sister and her husband live in a subdivision full of townhouses that all look exactly the same. In fact, the subdivision across the road has exactly the same pond with the same silly looking fountain and a whole bunch of the same houses in it. It was bizarre, and after that many hours on the road, a bit surreal. It took us ten minutes to figure out which was theirs even after we knew we were on the right block, because it had no distinguishing characteristics except for the house number, which we couldn't see in the dark. It was lovely on the inside, of course, though I find the idea of having three floors in such a small house rather ludicrous.
On Friday we went into the city. We saw the National Portrait Gallery and the Botanical Gardens, and stopped off at the National Sculpture Garden so I could have my picture taken with the National Fanny. (This is obviously not the real name, but for fuck's sake look at that thing. I took a lot of pictures but there has been a thunderstorm happening for nearly three straight days now so I'm not going to retrieve them from the other computer. I just know that the minute I plug it in lightning will strike and I will lose every picture I have ever taken.
We went for an early dinner at a place called the Liberty Tavern, where it turns out the chef is an alumni of the b.h.'s Culinary School. It was fabulous. I had an appetizer, salad, entree', and dessert, as well as a beer and a cup of coffee. (Don't judge.)
After we went back to the cookie cutter and watched Big Love until we fell asleep.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I went to yet another fantastic Wine Show last week. It was much smaller than the others, but it featured only really good wines, and many unusual ones I had never seen or heard of before. My favorite was a rose of Nebbiolo, basically a sparkling Rose of Barolo. It's called Erpacrife, and I liked it so much I ordered one for us. WIll probably save it for the last dinner at J and J's before J (male) heads back to Sweden in June. Very excited.
Also, I got the new WIll Johnson EP in the mail the other day. Perfect timing, since we're going on a massive road trip tomorrow and everybody knows that the best way to really *listen* to a record is in the car at top volume. We're headed down to D.C. to see the b.h.'s little sister and her husband, and then up to Brooklyn to see our friends K and R and the lovely and talented boys of J. Roddy Walston and the Business. I am absolutely bursting. I am so sick of the Oddfellows Local 151 bullshit that my eyes are turning brown. Oh, to be free for Six. Whole. Days. I will be reporting back to you (with photos) on our return. TTFN, darlings.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vermont has a very particular fashion sensibility. It is difficult to describe and mostly unremarkable, lots of clogs and flannel like it's the nineties, as well as a healthy dose of muck boots with skirts on the ladies. One thing that I consistently find disturbing/amusing, though, is that people of all shapes and ages and sizes walk around in what I can only describe as leggings. By this I mean very, er, form fitting long pants usually with either a short jacket or a tucked in shirt. It's a winter fashion, and I am not certain if this is a form of ski gear that I am not familiar with or what, but it almost always disturbs me. They are never, ever attractive, even on the forty something regular LG customer who either spends a lot of time at the gym or is secretly related to Selma Hayek. Picture, if you will, these pants on Jack Black. Or Woody Allen. Or how about your grandmother? This is just one more reason I am so looking forward to Spring.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I have just attended the most extraordinary dinner. I was invited by Roger, the rep from one of my wine distributors. The party was a small group of people like me, from wine shops of restaurants, as well as representatives from these two vineyards:

Met all met at The Hen of the Wood, a fabulous local-centric restaurant down in Waterbury. I got to taste and learn about Chablis, which made me think that perhaps I am more of a white wine drinker than I think I am. We had mixed local cheese plates and pickled leeks, and for an entree I had goat's milk gnocchi (the only vegetarian option- I'm not that fond of dairy and carbs). It was stupendous. I was sorry not to have room for dessert.

There was a rose' of Zinfandel as well as a couple standard reds from Storybook, and I was pleased that I was able to pair them well without having to consult a book. My instincts are getting better, it seems. I met some great people and learned a few things about selling upscale wines from a woman who runs a shop in a very touristy and money-driven town not far from here. Obviously not from a wealthy background herself, she reminded me of my family. She was very salt of the earth and happy to share her secrets.

That's all, I guess. I can't really put the rest of it into words. I do hope to have more of these opportunities in the future.
"Can you tell me where the coffee is?" asked a scrawny gray-haired woman with a lazy eye. Her tone was anxious. Her tone was that of a person with a gaping wound asking the way to the Emergency Room. I started to answer, but before I could utter more than two words she immediately cut me off.
"Oh! You have that Beaujolais Village?! Do you have it in- oh! you have it in the small bottles! How much is it?"
Once again I started to answer, and once again she cut me off.
"Oh, I love that. But I don't want any today. But I was just wondering how much they were." Every statement she made was delivered rapid-fire. Her son (aged around ten, I would guess) looked exhausted and apologetic. I started back in the direction I was already headed. She grasped my arm.
"Can you tell me where the coffee is?!"
I pointed in the general direction and walked off as quickly as I could.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Last week was yet another where I somehow managed to overbook my limited free time. I went to Burlington on Monday with A and did some shopping. We spent a lot of time outside because it was sunny and very warm. Tuesday I went to work and then over to Sven's to do a photo shoot when I got out. After that I went to Plainfield to do some gardening.
Wednesday was another wine show, so I headed off alone to the Country Club in Burlington. I found a number of wines that I would like to carry. I had a real plan this time, and since I was alone it was easier to navigate. I have learned not to make eye contact with or pause next to the table of a company whose wines I know I will not carry.
After I got out of the show I went into Burlington again, this time to buy a tank top and a belt that I have had my eye on. I went home and picked up the b.h. and then we had dinner at The Alchemist, which was terrific.
Thursday work and go home and watch a movie and fall asleep early, Friday the same, Saturday work until six and then home and them take the b.h. to work at the 3 Penny, where there was a very large beer festival going on. I had missed all of the outdoor special cask activity, for which people had driven from many surrounding states, but A and I found a seat inside and some beer I had not had an opportunity to try before. We chatted with each other and with various people we knew who filtered in and out (inevitable in a town of 8,000), and she left around ten and I went home. Got a text from another friend an hour later and went back to the bar for another round. Caught up with him for an hour or two, then the b.h. got through working and we headed home.