Woke up in the middle of the night to write this entry.
Think all the birthday beer was giving me crazy dreams.
I went to Old Stein Inn in Mayo this past Sunday night, after the football games were over. It's a great German place up the street. My parents were nice enough to bring two of my best friends along with us. We had crab and cheese suppe, fresh pretzels, schnitzel, wursts, pork shanks, red cabbage, sauerkraut, spaetzle, fried pickles and more. It was wunderbar. One of the best places to eat in the Annapolis area.
I was forced to take a Jager shot, and was not forced to drink one of my favorite beers I have ever had, the Aventinus Weizen Eisbock from Germany, which is a fairly whopping 12% abv. They created eisbocks by freezing the beer and removing the frozen head from the beer. This leaves a beer that is higher in alcohol, less bitter, and more concentrated. If the Aventinus comes in singles its usually wrapped in brown paper, so its a nice birthday presentation. It gets a 99 from RateBeer, and is the most reviewed eisbock on BeerAdvocate, a good indication of awesomeness. The eisbock seems sweet at first, but it goes incredible well with the rich, heavy German dishes. Schneider-Weisse actually bills it as a digestif for after the meal, so maybe I just love sweet beers. Every sip you take leaves your wanting more. I'll leave the full review to the Beer Geeks cause I get too excited about this guy to notice anything besides how much I love it.
Last Sunday, a few of us got together at my good friend Kristin's new place and watched the first Redskins game of the season. She loves us so much she picked 2 dozen fresh crabs and made the most incredible crab dip I have had. Stuffing my face with the little bits of crab before she could get them in the dip probably enhanced that memory for me.
I discovered that I love football for the same reason I love being Jewish (no, obviously I don't keep kosher); gatherings are always an excuse to eat delicious, homemade food with people you love. These two Sundays I spent time with a large portion of my favorite people in the world. I can't complain.
I began my love affair with pro-football when I lived with a guy who loved to watch, and have friends over every sunday. I remember an early warning, a week or so after we started getting serious, that if I wanted to be with him, I would have to understand that Sunday's were Football Days. So I made them Kitchen Days as well. Every Sunday I could I would devise a dish that took enough prep to keep me busy at half times (and during the boring parts of Redskins games las season) and took long enough to cook that I could leave it in the oven nearly all day, and we would watch football, and feed friends and family, and the kitchen would smell awesome all day.
At Kristin's, We opened the Avery, Samael's, a beer I brought back from my last trip to cBx, one I can't get at home. It was oak aged and nearly knocked me off my feet at %16.5abv! (According to the site its 14.5%, but I swear I saw 16.5, can anyone confirm this?) Freaking amazing stuff. She also made cornbread in a cast iron skillet greased with lard, which I happily didn't realize until after i tried to dip my finger in the batter/butter on the side of the pan and couldn't figure out why it seemed to be the most amazing butter ever. Classy, I know.
She and her man-friend love spicy foods and have a cabinet dedicated to all of their hot sauces. He made 4-alarm chili with fresh tomatoes, lean beef, and some hot peppers from the farmers market at Clock Tower Place on Forest Drive. We soaked burgers in chili and crab dip and went nuts. It was a deadly combination for anyone with a sensitive stomach. It also gave me the idea for a chili cook off between my friends, and Fall is good chili weather so hopefully this season we can work that out.
AFTER the meal, we sat in a daze and watched the Redskins look awesome enough to actually keep us awake, getting us ready for an exciting season. And Kristin, true to form, made us chocolate, bailey's, and fresh oreo smoothies, since I had graciously informed her it was National Chocolate Milkshake day. And now, I have gone to the gym everyday since.
Life is good. The leaves are changing, the last of the heirloom tomatoes are being scarfed down, and the romas are being turned into sauce.
Get outside and enjoy it.