Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Benedict's Hers and Hers and His (and Hers)

This was a busy one.

Justin, a good friend from college, came to visit, and we ate ALL THE THINGS.

Justin was a bartender at the Firehouse, which was my bar of choice. He also happened to live down the street, and be a generally great human being. So we hit it off pretty well. We would spontaneously go to Princeton for a Ween show, or to Maryland to see our friends' percussion group play. 
 He's a very easy going person, and is generally willing to put up with whatever crazy shenanigans I subject him to, and this was no exception. I wanted to introduce him to as many of my fabulous friends as possible.

We started on Friday night with some Mendelfriends, Nathan and Dave. After an apertif at Kelly's Lounge, we headed to Abay, armed with two bottles of wine. 

I can't remember what we picked to eat, but half of it was Vegan and the other half was whatever the opposite of vegan is. 

The next day we walked to Brgr with Thrill
Which was perfection as usual.
(Side note: I finally had a hard milkshake from Brgr. And I may never be the same again.)
And he got to hear the now famous story of BA v. The Retaining Wall.

Later we went over to Shaira's for a Floor 30 dinner party, where a good number of things happened:

1. Shaira and her sister Ruby made tons of amazing food:
Stuffed Peppers, Spiced Chicken with Yogurt Sauce, Couscous, Smoked Salmon Crostinis, Grilled Peach and Brie Quesadillas. 
2. Lots of N'Sync videos on Youtube
3. Aidan gave us her very own Drunk History lesson where she covered everything from the Roman Empire, to the Salem Witch Trials, to Adolf History. I am still kicking myself for not filming this, as Aidan is the funniest person alive.
4. Jess and I were threatened with physical violence for not eating enough, even though we had both unbuttoned our pants at that point.

And finally, we brunched with K and her sister, who was also visiting. We went to the New Elbow Room, where all four of us ordered the exact same meal.

Crab and Asparagus Eggs Benedict
and Mimosas.

After which we watched My Fair Lady and The Odd Sea, the musical that Justin himself helped create.

No matter how long it is between visits, Justin always manages to make me feel like I'm home.  He has seen me at my best, and my worst. 
He's a good friend. And I'm happy to have him.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daycay: StayGay



CHUPASHOPERA: The opera-going, underwearing-buying monster

You may remember last gaycation being a wild spectacle of travelling whimsy. 
This gaycation was all about doing familiar things in a very different way.
Originally, the plan was to gay it up Cincy style by staying the weekend, catching a Reds game, etc etc. Instead, this time:
We went to the opera IN CINCINNATI
We went underwear shopping AT FREDERICK'S OF HOLLYWOOD
We took the day off work TO GO TO A BASEBALL GAME

We got tickets to one of our favorite operas, Die Zauberflote, at the Cincinnati Opera, and took off early Sunday morning for the middle of Ohio. One of the great things about travelling with K is that a 5 hour car ride doesn't feel nearly that long when you're singing TLC at the top of your lungs.
We found a Japanese Hibachi next to the mall, where we completely gorged ourselves before heading over to Fredrick's to spend way too much money on BONKERS underwear (Corsets? Garter Belts? Lacy Things? All of the above.)
And then there was the opera.
This was the first time I've seen Die Zauberflote live in German, and this one had PUPPETS.
For those of you who do not know, a hefty portion of my relationship with K revolves around an almost unsettling affinity to puppets and Muppet movies. It's endearing, in a way.
The opera was everything I hoped it would be, entertaining, spectacularly sung, full of puppets (yes I will stop with the puppets now), and including some really yummy sugar-free peanuts at intermission. 

In the spirit of daycation, we turned right around and headed home. Which turned out to be much more taxing than either of us had anticipated. We stopped at Ruby Tuesday, somewhere in Bumblefuck, Ohio, which is usually a pretty mundane dining experience.  Instead we managed to completely off-put another waiter; and eat turkey burgers, Smashed cauliflower, and some sort of Italian sweet cake like the queens we undoubtedly are. At this point we were pretty exhausted, hence the two rather distressed looking pictures you see above. That cheddar biscuit was delicious, despite the horrified face I was making.
Our GPS sent us on an atrocious side road, and we ended up back home at 1:30 AM. Lesson Learned: Cincy Daycay is a ballbuster.

The next day, we recovered by leisurely making our way to Lawrenceville to go to the Round Corner Cantina before going to see the World Famous Pittsburgh Pirates play the Chicago Cubs.
We sat outside under an awning, and it immediately began raining as soon as we got our pitcher of margarita. Good timing.
Three kinds of salsa, two kinds of taco, and one kind of awesome later, we headed to PNC Park.

Our seats were impeccable, almost directly behind home plate. Every man who saw us trying to take pictures of ourselves eating a footlong hotdog in tandem offered to help. Baseball Helmet Sundae. Soft Pretzel. I honestly don't remember how the game ended, because all I remember is being incredibly happy.

So there you have it: The long overdue tale of gaycation/daycation/staycation. 


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shepherdess' Pies

I'd like to invite my favorite guest blogger back to tag team this experience with me. Take it away, K:

I’m not sure where to start this post.  So many points would be pertinent choices from which to jump.  Let’s try a seriously abridged crack at each one and see how that shakes out for us.  *Ahem*
1.        Since puberty, I have had crazy, jacked up hair, defying not just my wishes, but really nature itself, and all reason, to boot.  Nobody fucking knows how to cut my hair.  I can say and have said, that I have never gotten a good haircut anywhere besides Philip Pelusi (a local salon chain that has some signature (“volumetric”) way of hair-cutting, the details of which are a total mystery to me).  I can also say, and have also said, that I have only gotten good haircuts at Pelusi salons.  Wild.
2.       Pittsburgh’s South Side is the urban neighborhood equivalent of a cum dumpster.  It’s precisely where people go when they’re looking to drink til they blackout/ vomit in the street/ have sex with a stranger in a public bathroom. Parking there is the worst nightmare you could produce from the sickest recesses of your nasty little mind.  I hate the South Side and seize every opportunity to never fucking go anywhere near it.
3.       British food has a reputation for being terrible.  Actually, it’s very delicious.  Pittsburgh’s very own British Pub (Piper’s) has a glowing reputation for its delectable English/Irish fare.
4.        BA and I do most things together, most of the time.  Surely you knew that already.
This seems like a decent foundation for the tale I’ll now begin.
Once every 6 weeks to 4 months, I make a pilgrimage to Pittsburgh’s South Side for a haircut.  I usually try to do this at a time when the nonstop bacchanal over there hits a lull.  As I really do my best to not go to the South Side for any other reason, I often have other things in mind that I wouldn’t mind doing, since I’m there anyway.  On this particular occasion, I convinced BA to meet me over there after work for a trip to the CD Exchange to sell some crap movies for tuppence, a pop-in to the Milkshake Factory for some red velvet ice cream (what?!), and a post-haircut trip to Piper’s, where BA had somehow never yet been.

Ice Cream Not Pictured

That the ice cream was delicious goes without saying.  No one is terribly surprised that the haircut was a great success.  The real heart of this post is what happened once B and I rolled into Piper’s.
The hair cut, BTW, is completely amazing. I literally squealed with delight upon seeing it.
Our waiter was a preposterously genial Irish fellow who flirted like mad with both of us the entire time and earned every cent of his tip.  We started with a couple of beers (Full Pint White Lightning and a Summer LOve which actually tastes exactly like Love) and an appetizer that could best be described as some kind of cheese, some kind of butter, and some kind of mountain of bread and apples.  I don’t know if she remembers more specifics than that.  Whatever kind of whatever it was, it was ridonkulicious.

 Ploughman's Platter
Complete with a discussion about the difference between Merkins and Gherkins. 
I learned what a Merkin was and K learned what a Gherkin was. The More You Know, I guess.

The main event, and really the point of the trip to Piper’s in the first place, was the magnificent order we subsequently placed for 

Mine was lamb and roasted chestnut and sheer heaven.  B’s was a more traditional beef triumph.  Both would’ve been monstrous in size even if we hadn’t eaten a thing all day.  From the perspective of two classy broads who had snarfed ice cream an hour before and just put away a small village’s worth of some-kind-of-appetizer, the task at hand was, shall we say, imposing.

Oh come on, were you really wondering if we ate it all?  BITCH PLZ. We housed that shit, and that Irish waiter couldn’t have been prouder. (At one point, distressed beyond the telling of it, staring down about half of a shepherd's pie, I contemplated throwing in the towel. After much chiding from my lovely counterpart and the also lovely in a very different way waiter, I grabbed my fork with conviction, declared MAN UP!, and continued to visibly distend myself).  It took us days to return to our original size, shape and level of abdominal comfort.  But our glory has never been more vast.

So a new tradition is born. Coiffures and Copious Consumption.

Mystery Meal

Well, This is embarrassing.
It seems that I've had so many delicious meals, with so many amazing people, that I literally can not keep track of all of them any more.
For example, I found this picture:
 Any ideas? Anyone?

SImplicity: Nostalgia

Remember your favorite snack when you were little? Mine was Ants on a Log:

Peanut Butter and Raisins on Celery.

Still pretty great

Friday, September 9, 2011

It's like Lorin Maazel, but with one A and it's my first name

Have I mentioned that I have the most amazing and talented friends ever on the face of the entire planet? Because, well, I DO.

This being the case, I have had not one but two good friends of mine recently depart to pursue their callings as people-who-create-awesomeness-and-make-the-world-a-beautiful-place-ers. Both Mendelfriends, both altos: The section will never be the same without them.

First we wished farewell to Sally B, whose outdoor picnic farewell featured my very first tasting of a Turducken. I am still kicking myself for not getting a picture of this. And I can't find the video of Sally's reaction which I would REALLY love to share because it was quite literally the fastest I have ever heard anyone speak English in my entire life.

A few days later, a group of us, including KP and new friends Mark and Matt, ventured to Burgatory for more hilarity and gorging.
(Just to clarify the timeline, this trip to Burgatory was the day after my first adventure there with Bill the Thrill. 
No I'm not at all ashamed of myself, why do you ask?)
Bison Burger. And some slightly disappointing Rosemary Fries.

We had the cutest little waiter. His name was Tilman. Sally asked if that was anything like Wolfgang Tillmans, to which he replied:
"Yeah, but with one L and it's my first name"
So we spent the rest of the night mocking him behind his back. 

Sally is an amazing photographer who is now living in NY making her dreams come true. She is witty and hilarious and super nice and knits like a feind. My favorite memory of Sally is sitting next to her during the Holiday Pops concert when the 13 year old piano soloist came on stage dressed like a gay bellhop. Without hesitation (or precedent), we held hands to keep from bursting into laughter. My second favorite memory of Sally is purchasing all of her (and her neighbor's) VHS tapes at their first yard sale. They are currently sitting stacked in my room as a monument to our friendship. Cheers, Sally.

And then there was KP.

You may remember KP from my having mentioned her once or twice or maybe thrice.

So we invited some Mendelfriends to MaryColleen's for a cookout and a truly excellent evening.
MC's house is perfect for get-togethers because as soon as you get there, you feel like you're home.

I was completely manic about this party. I made tiramisu cups, an entire Mocha Hazelnut Swirl cheesecake, and some lemon amaretto cheesecakes squares with raspberry sauce. I needn't have. There was so much food that we were all visibly distended by the end of the evening. KP even got her own personal sack of Scott's Famous Balls. 

I love KP because she thinks mustard yellow is a neutral color, because she still gets excited by how great music can be, because she has the most winning smile, because she shows her love through bakes goods, and because she gives the best hugs in the known universe. 
And because she brings me back amazing chocolates from Austria

I am going to miss them. SO MUCH.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things that are making me happy

This should be dated the weekend right after 4th of July. I was playing a game of Things That Are Making Me Happy, because I had a really really good weekend

1. Blueberry Picking with KP
and one beautiful pint of raspberries. Yum.
KP and I got up early on a somewhat dreary Saturday and drove to Sewickley to spend 2 hours picking our own berries. My freezer is now stuffed with blue goodness. I smell a pie in the hopefully not so distant future.

2. Waffle Brunch with KB and AJ
Waffles with oh so many toppings
Followed by a nap. YES.

3. Someone else feeding me one of my favorite meals

A special Saturday Edition of Family Dinner, Homemade Chicken Marsala
One of my favorite dishes, impeccably made by Papa KB

4. Hard Milkshakes and Harry Potter 7.2.2

Raspberry Creme Brulee Milkshake and Chicken Nachos
This was my first Burgatory experience, after an epic underestimation of its popularity earlier in the year. Worth. The. Wait.

And YES. I saw Harry Potter 7.2 twice.

5. Love

6. Babes in Shorts

Not verything that makes me happy has to be edible right?
Though it certainly helps. 

Another milestone weekend in the Delicious Summer Saga. Thanks everyone.