Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Things I'm liking right now

Disclaimer: I am lazy and not bothering to italicize titles in this post.

FX network
Justified, The Americans, The Bridge (new this summer), It's Always Sunny (which is moving to FXX).  Pretty solid lineup.  I feel their dramas rival AMC's Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The Killing, etc.  The difference is, sometimes the AMC shows lack in fun factor.  Justified and The Americans never forget that television, while now a proven delivery system for art, is still fundamentally about entertainment. 

Reasonably priced bourbon
I just finished a bottle of Breckenridge bourbon from Colorado, good stuff, I really feel the snowmelt proofing water was noticeable.  But didn't blow my socks off, and I know I paid $40 something for the bottle.  I start to compare everything back to Buffalo Trace's namesake entry, which I can get for sub $25 in PA, $43 for a handle.  It has as much flavor as just about any bourbon save for the super rare, super pricey stuff.  Other bourbons in this category would be Four Roses yellow label and Old Grand Dad.  I also recently had some Elmer T Lee single barrel ($30).  Mr. Lee passed away last week, get some now while the bottles are still of his choosing. 

Simple, common, beer
I'm on the same trajectory with beer.  I love trying new beers, hunting down special releases, and going to beer week events to get a glass of Bells Hopslam or Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout.  I even had a few sips of Westvleteren this year, supposedly the best beer in the world.  Never had Pliny the Younger or Elder.  It's fun, but chasing down one offs can get old; and rarity tends to overrate things.  And while there is no end in sight to the craft beer boom, that doesn't mean they are all good.  Half the time, when you try a new beer, you wish you would have just gotten the one you know you liked.  I love beers that started me on the craft beer journey, like Chimay Red.  And it doesn't get any better than Victory Summer Love with some grilled dinner on a warm summer evening.  Summer Love is not sexy, the opposite of a "special" beer, that's what makes it so great.

Bike riding around Philly
My wife has been biking around the city for a few years, as she goes to school at Temple and works part time in Old City.  I commute to Jersey so need a car for that.  But I just got a bike from Craigslist, and have been really enjoying it.  It's a great workout--my wife is kicking my ass at this point--and the best way to get around town.  Provides more range than the subway, plus it's free.  And no parking issues.  Last night we biked to West Philly for a free Shakespeare performance in Clark Park.  Even brought a picnic.  Drivers: share the road!

I follow recipes from two books, Weber's New Real Grilling and Steven Raichlen's How to Grill.  Raichlen is awesome, it's a great first grill book bc/ he really gets into technique, tools, and provides a ton of recipes, from a quick grilled steak to a 6 hour BBQ pulled pork.  All his recipes are simple to follow.  His PBS show is good, too.  The Weber book is good, too, not too many ingredients in the recipes but tons of flavor and value.  Things I've grilled recently--pork and chorizo burgers, rum glazed shrimp on sugarcane skewers, honey glazed chicken thighs, Mexican style corn, flank steak with creamy poblanos, and plenty of veggies (green onions, asparagus, peppers).  Even dessert: coconut milk dipped grilled pineapples with cinnamon sugar.  Nothing like cooking over an open flame.  I prefer charcoal.  I grill all year round, but multiple times a week in the summer.

Mason Jar cocktails
I have gone to two events recently where open containers may be frowned upon: Phillies fireworks and The Tempest in a public park.  Simple solution-pre mix a cocktail in the jar, preferably one that looks like lemonade or limeade, e.g. mojito, daquiri, porch swing.  Bring some seltzer, club soda, or 7 up to top off and you are good to go.  Nothing like drinking under the stars, or fireworks.   This trend of ours started when a friend said, somewhat jokingly, "meet us at the fireworks and bring drinks!"  I took it as a challenge and produced.  I'm not saying I invented this technique, as I saw others doing it, too.  But many of them were lazy and filled mason jars with wine.  That works too, I suppose, for the oenophiles out there.  But the fun is in making it look like you aren't drinking.

Marathon training
My wife and I signed up for the Philly marathon this November.  The full 26.2.  So far so good, but this is week 2 of 17 weeks of training, ha.  I'll let you know how I'm doing in the fall, when the midweek training run is longer than most runs I've ever done, and the long runs top out around 20 miles.  Still, I'm excited to challenge myself and get in serious shape.

What are you liking right now?


  1. I'm liking: this post, especially the reminder of all the good dinners you've made lately, and the acknowledgment that I'm kicking your ass in biking.

    Also: being outdoors, balancing my work reading with true crime (via Longform, and the new book "Lost Girls" about the Long Island serial killer, how empty Temple's campus is in the summer, and full body toning class with a crazy lady named Lulu who shouts tonelessly into a mic along with the songs she selects for our background music.

  2. a full marathon, that sounds tough. however, i'm sure you you can complete it being that you were on the prestigious magnolia mustangs soccer team many years ago and we occasionally ran almost a full mile during practice.

    also, you may want to check Nicole for performance enhancing drugs, you know all these cyclists are doping, that may be why she is outriding you.

  3. I'm liking how you must have used a time machine to write this blog since it shows a post date of 31 July. I'm also liking how you pointed out that you are too lazy to italicize the titles in the post, but it probably took more energy to actually write that than it would to set the italics. But most of all, I'm liking that we were able to set up a reunion weekend with less than 3 months of prior planning. Can't wait to see you guys at the beach.