So, it’s 9:30 on Monday night and I just made a large bowl of pity popcorn as a way to procrastinate and avoid writing about last weekend. Not that the weekend was bad, far from it. It’s just that I had a trying day (#firstworldproblems, yo) and have zero interest in looking at a computer tonight. But here I am and, halfway through the salt and the butter, I’m realizing that this is a very appropriate way to close out this weekend. Let’s review.
The weekend begins and ends with good coffee, in this case, Bella Donovan from Blue Bottle in Williamsburg. At $8.50-per-half-pound it was a bit of an extravagence. On the other hand, it was possibly the best coffee I’ve ever made. I
stolegently borrowed the burr grinder from work, so that I could be a complete nerd about the process.
For three years now we’ve boiled lobsters with JP and Sheala—how the budding tradition started is a good story for another time, but it involved a pregnant woman walking all over Red Hook with a blood thirst for lobster meat. At any rate, this is the real deal, pure summer slathered in butter.
- Sheala made an amazing blueberry pie with the perfect amount of salt in the crust. The lobsters were cooked to perfection. Maggie made a minty salad and I brought young saison. But the fries… my God, the fries. Triple fried! Crispy! Yet mealy! Great with ketchup and/or butter! I know it’s weird to have an amazing lobster dinner and rave about the fries, but you had to be there. On the long walk home through Park Slope, Maggie confessed that she may have created a commons issue with the fries—"I think I had more than my share."
- On a side note, Charlotte hadn’t been feeling well and was kind of a fussbudget for most of LOBSTERFEST 2011. She dug deep and set it all aside when the fries appeared.
Chili Garlic Sauce
I have yet to find a food that can’t be significantly improved with chili garlic sauce. It’s the perfect condiment, even better than sriracha and, not surprisingly, made by the same folks. In this case, two eggs over easy for Sunday breakfast.
We met up with Caitlin for lunch on Sunday, intending to hit up the Calexico cart at Madison Square Park as that was sort of a halfway point between Crown Heights and Astoria (as the subway flies, anyway). Alas, the truck was nowhere to be found and we had to settle for Qboda which was fine because I was inhumanly hungry. Charlotte, too, was being a stinker when we went over to Eataly to experience New York City’s newest gourmet grocery and super smørg. She had a rare meltdown while we waited for coffee, so I got her a couple of mini cookies—OK, four—and she made a miraculous recovery. My World’s #1 Dad t-shirt should arrive any day now.
Caitlin had to run to a dinner party so we parted ways late afternoon after a leisurely walk up to Bryant Park. Charlotte, napless all day, finally succumbed, dropping her half-finished cookie on Mags and falling fast asleep on the train home.
Pasta w/Italian Beer
This might be the last picture ever taken of Charlotte in her high chair. The other day she called the high chair the “baby chair” completely out of the blue and has refused to sit in it since. This is dinner Sunday evening. Maggie made a really fresh and bright pasta (with Charlotte’s favorite pasta: bowties) that had slivered CSA peas, sliced red onion, feta, mint, basil, lemon, and olive oil.
- In her mind this means that she is ready to sit in our seats and eat just like us. The reality might be playing catch-up with her vision, but we’re taking the opportunity to brand anything we’re tired of—diapers, mostly—as “for babies.” We’re scrambling to get a booster seat, but in the meantime, Charlotte has been getting by by eating on our laps or stealing our seats when we get up.
Of course this wouldn’t be a 2011 weekend without some fuss about beer. I swung by Doug & John’s new community brewery/homebrew store to pick up some bottles and ended up staying for a bit to try some beer and get some advice about my first saison test batch. I didn’t start bottling the second test batch until late, finishing it up around 9:30. The second test batch is a much fuller beer, and much more potent too, an unintentional and, so far, undetectable 8%. It’s the one on the right, warm and uncarbonated. The first batch is on the left, showing off its fancy new carbonation after a week in bottles.
And to finish out the weekend, back to the coffee. Late Sunday, I ground the last bit of the Blue Bottle coffee and put it in a mason jar to make concentrated iced coffee, which is an amazingly simple thing that I never do: ⅓ cup dry beans, ground + 1½ c. water, let it sit overnight on the counter or in the fridge, doesn’t matter. Strain the coffee grounds after 12 hours, add water and ice to taste, and refresh thyself.