As much as I've liked the warm temps lately, it so far out of the norm that it's made me uneasy. Today it's supposed to be in the 60s which is still 20 degrees above normal. I'm looking forward to knowing how to dress for the day. Really--jeans, tee, cotton sweater, regular (mismatched) socks, tennis shoes. See? Normal. For March (March, people!) in Green Bay. The way we were going this last week made me think that by July 4th we'd be getting temps of 130 and up! No. Way. Jose. Totally not gonna happen. Last night was the Titletown Brewing Beer & Food dinner. We had tapas. They set up small tables for the diners and other tables around the room with a pitcher of the paired beer alongside. We were handed a 4 oz. tasting glass when we filed in and invited to visit each station, take a tiny bit back to our table, sip and eat, repeat. Things started slowly but in very little time people were comparing notes, laughing and talking. My favorite was the Chorizo & Potato Croquettes. Oh my, they were little fried balls of deliciousness, spicy with a cooling creamy red pepper sauce on top, just a dab to enhance the flavor. They were paired with Johnny "Blood" Red--not my fave of the beers, (you remember that I am not a beer person, at all, right? but, DS, I'm learning) and I thought the spice of the food overpowered the beer. Next for me was the Shrimp & Brie Crostini paired with Hopasaurus Rex IPA. Oh. My. God. The major grapefruit flavor of the beer made the sweet shrimp and brie leap off the toast and the herb pesto was the perfect compliment. Yum. Next on my hit parade was the Chicken Empandas, paired with Dark Helmet Schwartzbier, where the roasty malt went well with the toasted pastry. Then there were the Prosciutto & Pear Tartlets with Bleu Cheese alongside Willie's Wee Nip; these went together well because they were opposites, the beer was sweet and caramel-y while the cheese was salty. This was the only one where I wanted a bigger bite so that the flavors were stronger to stand up to the beer. (Listen to me, talking like I know what I'm about beerwise) The Pork Pinchitos Morunos were skewered, rubbed and roasted pork paired with One Hop Wonder: Mt. Hood beer. I went back for another serving of Hopasaurus Rex with that and I wonder if I cheated myself out of a taste treat with the change, but I dealt. The Tuna Ceviche was served in endive leaves and paired with Canadeo Gold. As much as I've loved ceviche in the past, this one left me strangely unmoved. Maybe I need to be sitting under the blazing Caribbean sun on the bow of the boat, or on the dock next to the boat, where the fish was caught, under the tree where the limes were grown, or maybe it was the beer. I don't know, but I was slightly disappointed that I didn't like this one more. I was also disappointed in the Bacon-Cheddar Puff with Pastrami Pate, which was paired with Leaping Monkey Brown Ale. The pate was the gooey center of the puff and an unhappy surprise with the first bite. Too bad. (KZ took the ones Cookie didn't eat, put them in a Ziplock snack bag I unearthed from my purse, and took them home to her husband, GZ, who she said would love them.) For dessert (dessert, yes, dessert with beer; my son and daughter-in-law are food geniuses) we had freshly grilled Banana, Nutella, & Marshmallow Panini paired with Bridge Out Stout fortified with Chambord. Since I'm really not a raspberry person the beer was meh for me, and the sandwich kind of was too. My palate was chock full of the spiciness of the chorizo croquettes (did I mention that a person could go back to a station? more than once?), I suspect that the sweetness of the dessert was a mere distraction, and not a welcome one either. You do understand that my "glass" of beer is no more than an inch in the bottom of a 4 oz. tasting glass, right? (what DIL1 calls "a no,thank you" portion) I am not a beer drinker or any good at drinking wine or spirits either. I like them, I just get tipsy really fast, and I don't like that feeling at all. Besides after a mere 2 drinks I can be relied on to be topless on a table, dancing. Nobody wants that. Not even Durwood. I am so glad that Cookie & I started going to these. It's a great night with great food and interesting people for the low, low price of $30. Can't be beat.
March 21--Mindanao, Philippines, Dadabwaan (Drum). You could see where the drum had been held between the player's knees, that his skin oil had darkened the wood. Jane smoothed her hand on the surface feeling the mother-of-pearl inlays cool beneath her fingers. She imagined that she could feel the beat of the drum, the heartbeat of the player that came before. She traced the carved leaves that made the drum look like it had been made by putting found objects together in a new way.
That's when the thimble-full of beer I'd had over the course of the evening took its toll and send me to dreamland. I just had a brainstorm--I should take a couple growlers of beer with me when I go to The Clearing in the fall to share with the other campers. Wouldn't that be nice? I think I'll do that, and I'll be sure to keep my shirt right where it belongs. *nods with confidence*