1. I returned to Target. I added one more dipping bowl for herbs/spice while cooking and made another of the little bowls into my kitchen counter receptacle for garlic cloves and fresh ginger. I also added four bowls to the cupboard. I'll use these to put chopped vegetables in whenever I, say, stir fry, saute, or make soup. I find it easier to put chopped vegetables in a bowl and then put them into the pan or pot than to transfer them off the cutting board. This is another step, thirty-five years in the making, of having my cooking area organized the way I want it. I guess it's about time.
2. I sprang into the Sube and crawled up the Balitimore-Washington Parkway to the vibrant, bustling Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport to pick up Vicki, who flew in from Seattle and will be spending the next few days with us. The stilted traffic going back toward Beltsville gave us plenty of opportunity to talk about a bunch of things.
3. The Deke had nailed down a table for the three of us at Old Line and our server, James, had a taste of Lagunitas' sour ale, Dark Swan, waiting for me. I liked it a lot, but prefer to drink sour beers after dinner, so I ordered a glass of Troeg's winter IPA, called Blizzard of Hops -- and what a blizzard it was, and I'm not talking Dairy Queen -- I'm talking a sleet storm of citrus and pine, a chaos of flavors. Our food came out -- the three of us shared an order of calamari, of feta cheese flatbread, and of hot chicken wings -- and I switched gears. I'd never tried Atlas Brewing's Town and Country, a Belgian Strong Ale, aged for nine months in red wine barrels. I loved this beer. James and I agreed that with each gulp the beer started out tasting like a good Belgian beer, but finished like a wine, making it a superb, tasty, and fascinating hybrid.
Drinking this beer transported me back to the good old days at the Bier Stein in Eugene when Shane and the Troxstar and Loren and I had occasional Belgian Beer Blowouts. Shane could be relied on to purchase us a bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne, which I loved, and this Town and Country beer, brewed in D. C., reminded me of that beer and those great nights sharing bottles of Belgian beer at the Bier Stein. My favorite beers are not only packed with flavor, but packed with good memories as well, and Atlas' Town and Country served up both.
(That reminds me -- Shrove Tuesday is coming up on the 28th and our last Belgian Beer Blowout at the Bier Stein took place on Shrove Tuesday, March 4, 2014. It was epic. Our own Mardi Gras. And a beautiful thing.)