Thursday, May 31, 2018

151/365/Food in 55/Everybody’s Got an Opinion

People are judged—even vilified—for things they will or won’t ingest. Vegans. Vegetarians. Meat eaters. Omnivores. Drinkers. Sober people. Smokers. Cleansers. Dieters.

Organic. Local. Sugar, processed food, or not. What did you just put in your mouth? Someone hates you for it. What do you refuse to eat? Someone hates you for that, too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

150/365/Food in 55/Last Two Cocktails

Pepino Diablo-ish* 
2 ounces Tanteo jalapeno tequila
1 ounce cucumber juice
.5 ounces lime juice
.5 ounces St. Germain
Shake. Serve. 

Cancelled Honeymoon**
1 ounce Cynar 70
1 ounce St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
1 ounce passion-fruit juice
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1 ounce cinnamon syrup 
Shake. Serve over ice, burnt umbrella garnish. Skull mug optional.

*Attempting to recreate a drink I had at 44½ (New York City)
**Rhum (Portland, Maine, now closed. This is the only drink I ever ordered there, and it made me so happy. The bartender set the umbrella on fire right in front of you, its charred remains left for your enjoyment. It’s likely I will never attempt to gather these specific ingredients and make it myself, but I should. Posting here just in case I need to find the recipe.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

149/365/Food in 55/Still Drinking

(Kate’s) Killer Cocktail* 
Muddle fresh rosemary with half a lemon juiced.
Add ice.
2 parts rye
1 part Aperol
1 part St. Germain
Shake. Strain. Top with fresh rosemary.

Cucumber Martini
3 ounces Hendricks gin
whiff of dry vermouth, if that
cucumber juice to taste
Shake gin and vermouth. Top with cucumber juice and stir.

*Barrows House (Dorset, Vermont)

148/365/Food in 55/Guess What? Cocktails!

Stuart’s Strega Drink* 
1.5 ounces Finger Lakes Distilling Gerwurztraminer grappa
.5 ounces Strega
.5 ounces honey syrup (1 part water/1 part honey)
.75 ounces lemon juice
(shake, pour)
top with champagne
sprig of fresh thyme 

Pegu Club
1.5 ounces gin
.75 ounces curacao
1 teaspoon lime juice
dash bitters
dash orange bitters
Shake and strain.
*The Green Russell (Denver). Stuart was my bartender, and it was a situation in which he asked what kind of flavors I liked and he made something up on the spot (allegedly). Took me almost 2 years to procure the first ingredient, and then the distillery stopped producing it altogether. If Stuart had told me he was using grappa and Strega, I would have told him I didn’t think I’d like it. That’s when I love what bartenders do—balance flavors you wouldn’t necessarily like singly.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

147/365/Food in 55/And More Cocktails

Black Cat Rye Sour*
.75 ounces Domaine de Canton
sugar cube soaked in celery bitters (we use a tiny bit of quick-dissolve sugar)
.5 ounces grapefruit juice
.5 ounces lemon juice
1.5 ounces rye
Shake. Serve. 

White Lotus
2 parts Cold River vodka
1 part Domaine de Canton
1 part lemon juice
Shake and serve.

*Black Cat Bistro (Boulder, Colorado)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

146/365/Food in 55/Even More Cocktails

2 ounces rye
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth (ideally Carpano Antica)

Late Night at OOB* 
“Rum, other things, shame”
1.5 ounces Plantation Three Stars white rum
.75 ounces lime juice
.75 ounces Falernum
.5 ounces pineapple juice
Shake and pour over ice
Top with Angostura bitters, spray of absinthe, freshly ground nutmeg

*Portland Hunt & Alpine Club (Maine; OOB, Old Orchard Beach)

Friday, May 25, 2018

145/365/Food in 55/More Cocktails

Elder Sage*
2 ounces Hendricks gin
1 ounce St. Germain
.5 ounce lemon juice
dash grapefruit bitters
Shake and pour.
Float smacked-sage leaf.

Rabbit Fighter*
1.25 ounces Smith & Cross rum
1.25 ounces pomelo (or grapefruit) juice
.25 ounces lime juice
.5 ounces Strega
1 dash Scrappy’s cardamom bitters
Shake, strain.
Top with star anise.

*Vedge (Philadelphia, high-end vegan)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

144/365/Food in 55/Some Cocktails (no haiku)

Celery Gimlet*
2.5 ounces gin
1 ounce celery juice
.5 ounce lime juice
.5 ounce green chartreuse
.5 oz apple cider vinegar
3 dashes celery bitters
Shake and pour.

Klio Thyme**
2 parts Grey Goose vodka
1 part St. Germain
.75 or a tiny bit more lemon juice
Shake and pour.
Top with fresh thyme.

*Eventide (Portland, Maine)
**My own (French) invention in honor of a friend’s recently departed pet.

143/365/Food in 55/College Staple: Bulgur and Black-eyed Peas

Sauté a cup of bulgur in some butter/oil. Add diced onion. Keep sautéing. Drain a can of black-eyed peas, reserving the liquid. Add water to the liquid to make a cup. Add the liquid, cover, stirring occasionally til done. Add the black-eyed peas and let them get warm. Top with soy sauce. Is this right?* 

*I made this at least once a week in college. But I don’t have it written down (thinking I could never forget it), and this could be all wrong.

142/365/Food in 55/Oysters

Pemaquid. Long Reach. Basket Island. My hotel was just on the other side of the snooty, I-once-saw-Willem-Dafoe-there oyster place, obviously the best spot for a 3:00 snack. Even at that hour, it was crowded. I love New England/Canada oysters so much. And because they are animals, I’m glad they are expensive. An appropriately rare treat.

141/365/Food in 55/How I Cook

Open refrigerator. Scan inventory. Identify what must go. Determine what goes with that. Chop things. Then (a) Throw them in the wok. Cook rice. Put wok things on rice. Top with tamari. Or (b) Sauté some of the chopped things. Place them on a pizza crust. Bake, then top with not-cooked chopped things. Serve. Eat.

140/365/Food in 55/Gelato

If I walk into a gelato shop and there is no hazelnut on offer, how can I possibly take the shop seriously? In Portland, I’m loyal to the shop whose owners moved here from Italy. An American place opened across the street. They are okay, but not Italian. They cannot be counted on for hazelnut.

139/365/Food in 55/That’s Where My Money Goes

Much of my disposable income—by which I mean income I dispose of—goes to high-end food and drink. I sit at bars next to friendly people who, it turns out, have great business success and multiple houses. They’d be surprised to see where I live, all that money (well, not much to them) swallowed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

138/365/Food in 55/Grapefruit

I love grapefruit, so that month I was taking blood-pressure medication devastated me, much to the surprise of the local medical community, who claimed no one had objected before, and not one seemed to know whether I needed to avoid Campari and grapefruit bitters, which is a pretty goddamned important detail if you ask me.

137/365/Food in 55/Some Kitchen Love Stories

Vitamix blender, Breville electric wok, coffee grinder, French press, martini shaker, jigger, citrus squeezer, fine-mesh strainer, bronze lizard bottle opener, Le Creuset Dutch oven, rice cooker, modern cake tester, microwave, All-Clad risotto pan, no-stick fry pan, flamingo swizzle stick, favorite soup/salad/pasta/yogurt bowls, microplane cheese grater, chopsticks, knives, daily utensils, glassware, corkscrew, gas range, bottom-freezer refrigerator.

136/365/Food in 55/Keep Out

Some things should never have sugar in them: Coffee (Tim says people who use cream and sugar don’t like coffee, they like coffee-flavored cream and sugar). Pickles (dill, please, not sweet). Chicken salad and egg salad, which must contain no relish (sugared pickles) or Miracle Whip (sugared mayo). Mayonnaise should never have sugar in it.

135/365/Food in 55/Lunch

I just ate at Duckfat and managed to NOT order the Belgian fries, which is crazy, but I had the duck and kale salad, which contained smoked duck breast, crispy skin, succotash, orange, duck egg aioli, and sour cream vinaigrette and was every bit the flavor explosion that the server assured me it would be.

134/365/Food in 55/LÄRABAR

Nature Valley. CLIF. LUNA. I’m serially loyal to a snack bar, then suddenly sick of it. Could LÄRABAR be my foreverbar? Its sugar is dates plus other fruit. “Food made from food,” only a few ingredients, all recognizable. GF, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher. Finally! But guess what? I’m getting sick of them.

Monday, May 21, 2018

133/365/Food in 55/Corn

The summer I was twenty, after a summer of counseling campers, I drove to Indiana with Paul, who lived there. We visited his family’s farm. In the cornfield, his father pulled an ear from its stalk, husked it, held it out to me. I took a bite. I remember how sweet it was, how perfect.

132/365/Food in 55/Hoffman’s Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Each time I’ve gone to Maryland this year I’ve managed to go to my favorite ice cream place for my favorite flavor: their particular coconut chocolate chip, with the shavings of chocolate instead of chunks. If I’m there in summer, I might opt for peach. But only after I’ve had my favorite at least once.


131/365/Food in 55/Cocktail Haiku

for the end of days and resurrections*

three gin, one vodka
one-half lillet blanc, shaken,
not stirred, lemon twist

the last word
green chartreuse, lime juice,
luxardo maraschino,
dry gin, equal parts

corpse reviver
gin, lillet, cointreau,
and lemon juice, equal parts,
with an absinthe rinse

*A rerun, but I am behind. Cheers, y’all.

Friday, May 18, 2018

130/365/Food in 55/Gummies

It’s the texture, I think. I dislike jellied fruit (as in fruitcakes), gumdrops, jelly beans, and all things gummy (bears, Swedish fish, vitamins, whatever). Someone was telling me about marijuana gummies. (Who was it? Were we drinking?) I hate gummies so much that I don’t think I’d even want to try those. I’d rather smoke.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

129/365/Food in 55/Shoo-fly Pie

My from-the-south officemate had never had a shoo-fly pie, so I brought him a wet-bottomed one back from Lancaster. He should have found me an apple pandowdy, which he was familiar with, and I wasn’t, which is strange, because they are both Pennsylvania Dutch, so why know one and not the other? Here’s Dinah Shore:

128/365/Food in 55/Old Bay Steamed Shrimp

In Baltimore I jumped at the chance to eat shrimp steamed in Old Bay seasoning. Hadn’t had any in years. I had to share those perfect, expensive examples, but I got more (less expensive, less perfect) at that new bourbon bar in Westminster, then they appeared among the appetizers at the wedding. Major cholesterol score!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

127/365/Food in 55/Eat Right 4 Your Type

In fact, now that I’m glancing at it, this book wants the type B person to avoid almost everything I love and do not avoid: eel, lobster, lox, oysters, shrimp, yellowtail, ice cream, sesame oil, peanut butter, sesame seeds,* tomato, coconut, black pepper, distilled liquor, seltzer. These particular seafood items are occasional. The rest? Uh-oh.

*Also pistachios.

126/365/Food in 55/Anchovies

So here’s what I don’t get: I love anchovies. Isn’t it weird that I don’t like blue cheese or olives but I love anchovies? It seems like they would hit sort of the same taste-bud notes. According to Eat Right 4 Your [Blood] Type,* I should avoid blue cheese and olives. But also anchovies. Damn.

*Not that I am a true believer in these things. I just found it interesting when it said to avoid something I hated but wanted to like.

125/365/Food in 55/Blue Cheese and Olives

I want to like them. I’ve worked my way up to a mild gorgonzola. If the olives are chopped up finely enough and there aren’t too many, I can eat them in things. Some of those dried, oil-cured black olives are okay, almost palatable. Green olives look unnatural. I will not drink a dirty martini.

124/365/Food in 55/Macaroons

We got cupcakes for the after-dad’s-memorial-service family dinner—some were even gluten-free and vegan for Alison—and when I picked them up I grabbed a bag of macaroons, which the baker comped me because she’d gotten our order wrong, and I love them so much more than cupcakes and ate almost all of them myself. 

123/365/Food in 55/Peanut Butter

Barely a day goes by without my eating peanut butter. It’s usually part of our breakfast smoothie (pairing especially well with strawberry and blueberry). I spread it on crackers midafternoon. A peanut-butter-and-almost-anything sandwich works for me: bacon when I was a teenager; these days with arugula or spinach. Natural and unsalted, please. Chunky or smooth.

122/365/Food in 55/Winter Salad

The winter seasonal salad at B Good (citrus and avocado) has become my go-to takeout lunch in Portland on cold, busy workdays. I get it several times a week: red-leaf lettuce, grapefruit, orange, avocado, pistachios, goat cheese, fennel, lemon-mint vinaigrette. It’s not everyday, but it’s close, and I don’t seem to tire of it.

121/365/Food in 55/Donuts

I keep thinking I still like donuts. When we were teenagers, my sister and I could split a dozen in a sitting (me four, she eight). They have to be the cake kind, not fluffy. Now when I get a donut, they disappoint, and I feel, well, off afterward. I think it might be over.

Monday, May 7, 2018

120/365/People in 56/Jamie and Paul

We’re seated with Jamie and Paul, Michael’s wife’s cousin and husband who just bought a house in Vermont. Jamie is one of three first cousins we’re seated with—the fun table. He is a painter; Paul teaches at the upper-echelon college my next-door neighbor didn’t get into. We exchanged information. I hope we’ll be real friends.

119/365/People in 56/Kimberly and Johanna

We met when they were 11 and 9, our youngest group-house roommates; now, at their half-sister’s wedding, they are 43 and 41 with sons of their own. They’re as excited to see us as we are them, Kimberly gushing about our positive influence in a way that makes me teary, Johanna giving me the lovingkindness lowdown.

118/365/People in 56/Michael and Emily

Michael has learned the father/daughter dance that Emily has choreographed for the wedding. At least I assume she has taught him; she is a danseuse. It is the waltz “Edelweiss,” a song that makes me cry no matter what, and tonight it is perfection: Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever…

117/365/People in 56/Tom

“I have to say something,” Tom says, when Amy leaves the table. “I’m falling in love with your sister.” He pauses, then corrects himself. “I am in love with your sister.” We don’t believe that anyone needs our approval to be happy together, but Amy’s happier than we’ve seen her in years. And we do approve.

116/365/People in 56/Eduardo

The three of us belly up to the bar, order cocktails, look around. Across the bar is Eduardo, Amy’s friend. She goes to say hello; he comes back with her. He’s already ordered the double shots of tequila that materialize, changing the course of my evening. So much better than the cocktail, which I drink anyway.

Friday, May 4, 2018

115/365/People in 56/Monty

Monty brings the good stuff, wine most of us can’t afford that’s nothing short of sublime. If it’s your birthday or you’re hosting something big, he’ll quietly slip you a special bottle to put away for later, just for you. He’d give you the shirt off his back. His risqué humor annoys his wife, delights me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

114/365/People in 56/Petr

Petr shares his best alcohol with us: Czech slivovitz, Havana Club rum (Cuban), tonight the Alchemist beers (Skadoosh, Focal Banger, Heady Topper, Alena) and Collective Arts basil and cranberry gose. He knows we know what we’re drinking and we know he does too. The good stuff for those who appreciate and love. And we love him.