Monthly Archives: March 2008

Late Harvest in March

I finally decided to open the bottle of Apex Late Harvest Semillon, a pleasantly sweet dessert wine. I’m hoping I can drink enough of it since it doesn’t look like it’ll keep well in the fridge.

There’s been quite a bit of drinking going on in March. Not only on celebratory occasions like Andy and Reggie’s birthday party last weekend (we all suffered horrible hangovers the next day), but also during the week, either at home at the dining table with a decanted Malbec or at the Diesel store at Union Square where I double-fisted vodka and Red Bull cocktails while watching breakdancers from Planet B-Boy do their thing. One way or another, there’s usually some sort of alcoholic beverage in my hand after 5PM. It’s not something to gloat about – I’m only willing to write about drinking so I can perhaps step back and think about what has been good, bad, and ugly about consuming alcoholic beverages. Minus the excessive moments of throwing back shot after shot of nigori followed by long sips of Sapporo (and subsequent embarrassing behavior), I think drinking a nice microbrew at a burger joint or a fancy $14 cocktail with pana cotta at a swanky West Village restaurant are enjoyable ways to pass the time.

And during this time, I’ve developed a fondness for Guiness beer. I used to think that a glass of Guiness would be too thick and too filling (and too caloric), but after a snowboarding trip in February, where I easily downed four glasses alongside a massive burger, I began to crave the silky cream-topped drink at various moments. St. Patrick’s Day was a perfect day to show Guiness some love. My friends and I found ourselves at Ginger Man not too far from our office downing several glasses of Guiness while chomping on greasy Irish sausage with mash potatoes and thick gravy. We ended up at Schiller’s Liquor Bar on the Lower East Side later that night, and I finished the night with a nice crisp Pimm’s Cup. But back to the Guiness – the past couple of days, my co-workers and I have found ourselves at Galway Hooker, another bar close to our office, where we’ve taken advantage of Happy Hour in its waning minutes, ordering Guiness at $4 a pop. It’s a crowded place with unpleasant Midtown finance types, but we’ll take good-priced beer where we can get it.

Aside from the drinking, March has been a month of healthy running. I competed in my first race since high school, taking part in a 4-mile race for the Colon Cancer Challenge in Central Park a few weeks ago. It was in frigid 32-degree weather, and there were moments when I entertained thoughts of giving up, but I surprised myself and finished the race in just over 33 minutes (8:17/mile split), way below the 36 or so minutes I had expected for myself. I’m currently training (hopefully harder next week) for a 6-mile trail run in early April. While I am no way in great shape, it’s been rewarding to feel my body become more and more accustomed to running. I notice it most now on my run up the hill to Prospect Park. It’s about four avenues on a not-so-subtle incline, and what used to leave me gasping for air by the third avenue has become a nice little warm-up by the time I reach the park. I don’t think I’ll ever pursue something as punishing as the marathon, but I can see myself running more of these mini 4 and 6-mile races in coming years.

While drinking alcohol and running may not be perfectly complementary activities, eating pairs well with both. I’ve become more obsessive about what I eat these days. Aside from a late-night drunken binge at Waffle House in Atlanta a few weeks ago (the grits tasted like Elmer’s glue), I’ve been more discriminating about my food. This week, for example, Melanie and I have made a concerted effort to not eat out. Although we did succumb to a Brooklyn Restaurant Week dinner at Rose Water last night, we’ve been good about making our own meals. Today, for example, I made a white bean salad that included zucchini, tomato, basil, and chorizo which lasted for lunch and dinner. Tomorrow, I plan on making a sandwich with sopressata, roasted peppers, goat cheese, and baby arugula (if only I had a panini press!). Making my own meals has been both therapeutic and great exercises in creativity and efficiency. Rather than relying strictly on recipes, I’ve tried to make do with available ingredients, forcing myself to come up with workable combinations while making sure perishables are used before they go to waste. Melanie’s been especially good at this – she made an excellent loaf of banana bread from browning bananas and a delicious pasta sauce using frozen bacon. Next week, I think I’ll try to branch out into some more unfamiliar ingredients – perhaps duck or fish?

A few more glasses, and I should be done with the Late Harvest bottle. And then it’ll be time for sleep, perhaps a run tomorrow morning, and a sandwich-making session. I forgot to mention – sleep is real good these days, too.