Sake 101….
August 28, 2012

It was a stormy afternoon outside Pabu at Harbor East,
but inside, it was all smooth sake….

Yeah, what I know about sake would fill a thimble. Seriously. So the idea of going to sake school(Sake 101 they call it) at Pabu at the Four Seasons at Harbor East, to learn how sake is made, how to tell good sake from bad(oh there is bad my friend), how it’s (properly)served, the history of the beverage was interesting enough. But when you get to taste sake throughout the class? I’m all in.

These are the sakes we tried….no I cannot
read the labels. But so pretty…I wanted the center one for a vase!

Lesson number one: Sake is not hot battery acid you drink at 3AM  with bad sushi. This was quite a revelation to most of us, as that’s exactly what we’ve done in the past.

Lesson #2: Sake is not rice wine. It’s also not a beer or a spirit. What?? Sake is unique unto itself…(however it is brewed like beer soooo…..just sayin’).

Here is your sake professor..a.k.a. The Sake Lady….she know all!

Ok, I love edamame, but this fire roasted soy coated thingies
were just AMAZING….I want some right now.

No we did not just drink…we also ate. Delectable goodies like fire roasted edamame, and squid salad….really yummy stuff….

Beautiful, no? And we got to devour it!

I wish I could tell you that I am now a sake expert, and can order with aplomb from the extensive sake menu at Pabu….but that’s not be true. But no matter….I know tons more about sake now than I did before, which brings us to Lesson #3: Sake is served cold. COLD!

Oh, and there are two more Sake 101 classes(9-08 & 10-13) at Pabu, about which you can read details here. For only $25…it’s fun hour…and you learn something too. Win-win in my book. Here’s sake in your eye….

Girls’ getaway…..what REALLY goes on…
November 12, 2010

The view for the weekend....nice, yes?

Ok, this weekend I’m headed down to the Magothy River….that’s where my friend Crissie lives. Her husband is headed to Australia for a business trip, and her youngest son went off to college this fall… it’s a perfect time and place for a girl’s retreat. And yes, we still call ourselves girls. A woman’s retreat sounds so….stiff, doesn’t it?

A true chick flick...and I never saw it!!

Anyway, I will drive a few people from Baltimore to her house  tomorrow morning….I’m packing comfy clothes(heavy on lounging), my walking shoes( I know they’ll want to go for an exercise walk), a bottle of wine(come on, it is the weekend), a tub of homemade pimento cheese that I prepared this week(love it on crackers with wine), salad greens(I’m in charge of salad-does that mean they don’t trust me?), and a Netflix movie I’ve been saving(Letters to Juliet – doesn’t get any more chick flick than that).  Nook optional, for the occasional quiet reading time….which I doubt comes.

We have a lot to talk about… at college, kids at their first job, kids getting divorced, kids hoping to have kids….and our respective husbands of course. There’s a lot that goes on in our lives….like yours. And the hubbies always wonder what we say about them behind their backs. That reminds me of a line from the Winona Ryder version of Little Women spoken in response to a question by their male neighbor  Laurie, who wondered what the March sisters do over in that house all day. His tutor replies…..”Over the mysteries  of female life, there is drawn a veil , best left undisturbed.” You said it, brother. You said it.

A glass of wine? I think I will....

But it will be good to relax, kick back, and catch up with some old friends(not that they’re old…we’ve been friends a long time…ok, we’re pretty old). We’ll laugh, make hurts all better or try, and attempt to solve all the various problems of our offspring . Lofty goals, I know. But it will be good. I hope you have as lovely a weekend….play nice, don’t throw rocks, call an old friend, and come home safe…’cause we miss you!

It’s Friday people!! And I’m kicking caffeine…really.
August 28, 2009

Goodbye my love, my French Roast....thank goodness Zekes makes it in decaf...

Goodbye my love, my French Roast....thank goodness Zeke's makes it in decaf...

Yes, and this particular Friday is starting off with no coffee…, ummmm…let me restate that. No coffee that really means anything to me today, as in ….no caffeine. Did you hear me? I said NO CAFFEINE!!! That means by this afternoon, perhaps earlier, I will feel as though my forehead was in a vise, that keeps tightening, tightening….yeah. I’m really looking forward to that. And if this afternoon on 11 News at Five, I look like I’m thinking about a cup of coffee from Zeke’s in Baltimore, it’s because I am. Thank goodness they make a French Roast in decaf.


Why on earth have I decided to go cold turkey on caffeine? Because my doctor told me to. Simple as that. I was having some not happy feelings in my chest, like feeling my heart beat too fast, which if you’ve never experienced, is not a good feeling. More like a bad feeling.  So the verdict…no coffee, no tea, no alcohol…and the coup de grace…no chocolate.(sound of crickets)

Come on!! I stared at him in disbelief….many of  the little things that make life enjoyable? You just slice them out of my life? Why not just reach inside and… take another little piece of my heart, now baby…oh, sorry, that was Janis Joplin. Anyway, I offered weakly, “I have cut back on caffeine…this morning I only had a half a cup of coffee.…”. He stared at with a look that said , “oh, you little ignoramus, you just don’t get it, do you?” And then actually said, out loud, “I didn’t say cut back, I said NO caffeine.” I don”t smoke thank God, because I’m sure he would have snatched that too, if I did.

So, this morning, without any urgency at all because what difference does it make,  I brewed some decaffeinated coffee. That’s a sad thing. I’ll have some deffeinated tea mid-afternoon(but will be gobbling Tylenol for the headache no doubt). I won’t eat any chocolate, even though I make a mean dark chocolate sauce that is so fabulous over vanilla ice cream.  I won’t have any wine even though it is Friday night people!!! I have a big pitcher of decaffeinated iced tea in the frig instead. Yegads. There it is …my sad  little tale of woe. I know, count my blessings, you’ll get over the coffee thing, things could be much worse . All this I know, but I’m allowing myself one day of wallowing in self pity. OK, maybe half a day. And then I’ll move on to my caffeine free existence. Sigh. Have a good weekend, play nice, and come home safe.

The Wine Club
July 3, 2008

Earcavio-91 points!We started a little club here at WBAL earlier this year…The Wine Club…for those people here who like wine(like me) and a group of other like minded people. The idea was Gerry Sandusky’s.  And let me say this…Gerry is a man who is a …I don’t think connoisseur is putting too fine a term on it…of wine, and he will spend much more on a bottle of wine than I will. Which I think makes me 1. cheap and 2. lacking discernment.  The first one, definitely, and on the second point, maybe not.

I bought the above bottle of Ercavio Tempranillo at The Wine Source in Hampden…great wine store, with my favorite wine seller, Paul Cudone. He knows me well…and understands that I have a mental price point over which I will probably not go to drink some wine. Ideally, I like to find a good bottle under 10 bucks. Not always easy, but there is a lot of good wine out there for 8 to 12 dollars or so…I don’t care what Gerry says. Idiot.

So I have brought him a bottle  of the Spanish Ercavio, after they sent me an email saying it had “generous red fruit and a hint of dustiness“(really?), and was rated 91 by the Wine Advocate (Robert Parker)…if you know anything at all about wine, you’ll know who that is, and if you don’t, get an online subscription and start reading up. He’s the man (from Maryland), with the million dollar nose. I’m not sure what that means but it sounds important. I’ve interviewed him several times, and I can tell you he is the nicestman you would ever want to meet, and as far from a wine snob as you could ever get. So when the WA gives a wine a 91, and it’s under 10 bucks….it is soooooo on my radar screen. (See? discriminating.)

Anyway, I shall give the bottle of Eracavio to Mr Sandusky and see what he thinks. And if he loves it…gotcha!! See? Good wine doesn’t have to be expensive…I mean, it can be, certainly, oh hell yes,  but it doesn’t have to be.

Cat Amongst the Pigeons!The members of the Wine Club each have a month to pick a wine for the 10 or so members…this past month( June) was Deborah Weiner’s month. June came and almost went…and there were a few threatening notes left on her desk about pay up or else, where’s your wine, cough it up…juvenile stuff like that. But she did get it in….on the last day of June….and she picked one of my favorite Australian reds. Cat Amongst the Pigeons….they make several varieties, and they are delicious….no doubt about it. I took a picture of John Sherman’s bottle on his desk…it’s sitting by his Peabody Award. Thinks he’s so smart. Oh, wait, he is.  The wine has been sitting on his desk for two days, and amazingly enough, no one has “borrowed” it. So far, but July 4th is coming up and you know what Country Boy Eddie always said…”You snooze, you lose.” You may be wondering who on earth is Country Boy Eddie…that my friends, is another story. From another planet. Tune in tomorrow.