Friday, June 22, 2007

A bottle of Pinot Grigio just doesn't go as far as it used to

Or maybe it goes too far. A friend came over after work today and together we polished of a bottle of chilled-not-quite-enough Pinot Grigio that I picked up on my way home. Took maybe an hour, with lots of blah blah blah in between. But it seemed liked it disappeared way too quickly. I squoze out the last few drops by wringing the neck of the bottle -- try it next time, I swear it works. But it didn't really help the contents last longer.

Fast forward several hours and I find myself still unable to do any meaningful work. Oh sure, I can pass for intelligent, but I assure you the resemblance stops there. I just don't understand how all those famous writers used to work under the influence of multiple (and large!) doses of distilled spirits. Unless they were all lying. Or maybe they were just better drinkers than I am. Ever notice how it's always the macho men who make these claims? I'll bet Joan Didion or Margaret Atwood or Toni Morrison ever talked about how they used to go out and drink the night (or day) away and then go home and polish off several brilliant chapters. Events conspire against me.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Getting to feel like home

I'm finally starting to feel like I live here instead of just visiting or pretending. Yesterday I bought new lampshades for the bedroom at a store called - appropriately - Just Shades. And guess what, that's what they sell.

I've also been collecting take-out menus from some of the restaurants nearby. So far I have ones from a Thai place (really good!), a diner (great fries and burgers), an Italian place that makes wood-fired pizzas (haven't ordered from them yet) and an Asian fusion place (haven't ordered from them either). I need to get one from the Chinese place on the next block. There's also a place called Cafe con Leche. I'm not sure what they serve but it's a pretty safe bet that it's Mexican of some sort. I have to scout out the area for others.

There's a market right on my corner. I hesitate to call it a supermarket because there isn't anything super about it. It's more like a rabbit warren. The aisles are just about wide enough for two carts to squeeze past each other. There's not a super amount of any one kind of thing, but there's a little bit of everything. And they do have some good produce. It's also open 24 hours, which doesn't mean anything to me, but it's a good place to go for a loaf of bread or some milk or things like that. Shopping here is an activity which requires a very different mindset from the 'burbs. It means going to many more places and buying fewer things at each of them. No more throwing all the bags in the back of the car. Now it's a matter of thinking, "can I carry it all?" I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and dragged the stuff home on the bus. This is why rotator cuff injuries are a common ailment in the city. Seriously, that's what my physical therapist told me when I was doing rehab on mine after surgery. She told me that it happens because people walk around the city carrying things all the time. Eventually the wear and tear causes the tendon to, well, tear. So you don't need to be a big-league pitcher to have rotator cuff surgery. I am proof.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Over-chocolatey chocolate

Since making the jump from milk to dark chocolate, I've been boldly going where my tastebuds never went before. I've been trying all kinds of "dark" and "semi-sweet" and "special dark" and all kinds of other, way goofier nomenclatures of chocolate. And I have been introduced to chocolate elitism, which if you don't know, is very similar to coffee elitism. I swear I heard these two people in Whole Foods involved in a passionate argument over whether Madagascar chocolate was tastier than Guatemala.

Anyway, the other day I was on line at the so-called gourmet grocery in my new neighborhood and they have all these imported chocolate bars at the register. My friend picked out two and we brought them home. 75% cocoa and 85% cocoa. For comparison, I think Hershey's Dark (which I like a lot) is maybe 60%. The 75%, I have to say, I really did like. It had almost a fruity flavor and there wasn't any fruit in it. But the 85%, that's where I draw the line. It's just too intense. And not in a good way. It has no charm, no finesse. It's just a bludgeon of chocolate on your tongue. When eating chocolate becomes as much of a chore as eating vegetables was as a kid, well...why bother? Then again, maybe it's just this brand. Lindt Excellence. One of the cool things is that there are so many brands and types to explore. It could take years to complete this project!