Monday, June 14, 2010

Growing box, growing beer belly

I'm super late on planting my Grow Box because of all the travels. We're never home!

Jeff is away tonight, which meant I could eat dinner later than we normally would. I left work right at 6, made a quick stop at the Jersey City farmers' market (got a jalapeno & cheese empanada from Made With Love Bakery) and immediately upon arriving home, changed into shorts and pulled out all the Grow Box stuff. And then I realized I need two bags of dirt and I only had one. Dammit.

I had to move the car anyway, so I hightailed it over to Home Depot. Their garden section is finally fully operational, which means I can drive right up to the roof deck and put the dirt directly in my car. I love that.

Upon pulling out of Home Depot, I looked across Grove St. and there was the Buy Rite Jeff and I had heard about in Philly. Yes, a Brooklyn-based importer at a Philly Beer Week event told us about this new(ish) alky store. Well! Let me tell you, the beer selection is PHENOMENAL.

The beer manager is a really nice, young NJ native. He steered me toward an Old Rasputin Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout that he got specially from North Coast and which was not otherwise sold commercially. How could I pass that up? Yes, $21 a bottle and we already have tons of beer, but there was no turning that down.

I can't believe I'm even drinking a beer right now. We have rather a lot of beer on hand right now. But somebody's got to drink it.

After this past weekend, our livers no doubt need a rest. We were in Philly for the end of Philly Beer week. Philly sure does appreciate its beer. Jeff attended a couple of events before I arrived on Saturday (I was off meeting internet friend Jeanne and her adorable family for the first time). At one he ran into a Danish brewer who we'd met in Copenhagen last year.

On Saturday night we went to a guided beer and food pairing dinner at a new restaurant slash beer store called Hawthornes. Apparently this is a thing in Philly. Jeff went to another restaurant slash store on Saturday. It was kind of strange to have people walking through to buy beer during dinner, but otherwise it was a lovely event. We made the store our last stop on our way out of town on Sunday and picked up a mixed six-pack to lug home. You know you're in trouble when you get a mixed six, which is 10% off, and you still spend $40.

After dinner on Saturday, we went to a new bar called the Head House (I think?). As soon as we walked in the door, we realized it was the former Zot. I liked Zot, but this one seems pretty good, too. We were kind of blitzed at that point, and we didn't try the food, so I can't give it a full review.

On our walk from Hawthornes to the Head House, we passed by this amazing mural wall. We could not tell what it was in the dark, but luckily, thanks to Yelp, on Sunday the Philadelphia Magic Gardens came up on the list of nearby attractions. So glad we took the time to check out Zagar's work.

On Sunday we also: had an extreme beer brunch (not guided) at the South Philly Tap Room, stopped in a cafe that sells an extensive array of craft beer and also prides itself on its quality coffee, had snacks and more beers at the Devil's Den, and finally ended our eating and drinking extravaganza at a Vietnamese restaurant in a little Vietnamese enclave we happened upon.

So, yes. My liver needs a break. But like I said: who's going to drink all this beer if not me??

Oh, and the empanada was delicious. A++ would eat again. The NJ blueberries are also my favorite blueberries in the world. I just ate half a box for dessert.

And in the Grow Box I planted a Japanese eggplant, 2 sweet peppers, and 2 fish peppers (not sure what these are; they are heirloom seeds I got last year and the plants didn't make it last year, so I'm trying again with them). There might be more room in the box, but the instructions indicate that's plenty, so I'll see how it goes. I also put 2 basil plants in where the carrots failed. Nothing I've planted in the ground so far has done so hot. The cilantro and dill also never came up. The hot peppers finally did start growing, but they are still teeny tiny, so I'm keeping them inside for now.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oh bureaucracy

There was no line at the 34th St. and 7th Ave. post office just now, if you can believe that. I thought what the hell, I'll go to a human. I put my packages on the counter and the woman behind the counter looked at me and said, "how can I help you?" Um. You can mail these packages for me?

She put the first one on the scale. The package had media mail written on it. She proceeded to read me every single mailing option, including one that would cost me over a hundred dollars. I guess that one gets there yesterday. I cut her off and said, "whichever is cheapest, presumably media mail." She replied, while pointing at a sign above her computer that was too far away for me to read, "it's the law. I have to read you all your options."

She kept reading. I cut her off again. "Are you going to have to read these options for all seven of my packages?"

"No!" she said huffily.

"I thought you said it's the law."

"It is, but I don't have to if I don't wanna."

"So, are you going to read me the options on all my packages?"


Wow. What?

I said, "I thought since there was no line this would be the quicker options since you could enter the info faster than I could on the automated machine. But clearly that is not the case after all." I gathered up my stuff and went to the machine.

I have not gone to a human at that post office in a long time due to the fact that there is always a huge long line. I have no idea why there was no line today, but now I understand why there is usually a huge long line. I wonder when that ridiculous law went into effect?

Oh hey, look! I'm blogging. How about that.