…And Other Beast Coast Adventures
What else did I do while I was in New Jersey? Oh, you know…lots of things.
I arrived late Monday evening. My sister was on her way home from class at the time so she retrieved me from the airport. She had to read for class the following day so we stayed in, had a couple beers, and I introduced her to Westworld. It all made for a tame first night in town.
The days before the holiday were spent mostly in and around town. I drove over to an old high school friend’s house for a few hours on Tuesday. I got to meet her newest child (I think she’s about a year old?) and played ball with the slightly less new child (I think he’s three?). One night I had all-you-can-eat sushi with father and sister, and one night I ordered my favorite pizza with mother and sister. We met some friends and bars, and had some friends over to watch movies and drink.
Thanksgiving you can read about here.
On Black Friday my sister and I drove down to Carton Brewing in the Highlands. Then we met our father for a steak dinner. Carton opened five years ago, well after I moved to Los Angeles, but I love everything my sister has sent me from there. I was very happy that my first visit coincided with a fresh release, the Imperial Black Ale called Epitome. We basically ran the line sampling everything they had on draft and cask. One of my sister’s friends who lived nearby met us there and provided some comic relief. I enjoyed pretty much everything I tried (the standouts were be fresh Boat and Nitro Milk), which was not at all surprising. The owner of Carton, Augie, is one of the sharpest minds in the game. He’s got a great podcast too, which you should definitely subscribe to if you consider yourself a food/beer geek.
Over the weekend I got to spend time with more friends. First I met Ian, his wife, and their baby for Korean BBQ out in his area (what is it, the Lower Hudson Valley?). My sister’s friend is a beer director nearby so we met up with him and imbibed while munching on fancy cheeses. Afterwards Ian brought us to his favorite coffee shop. I brought back a pound of coffee which I’ve since cold brewed and will try tomorrow morning on my way to work. Elsewhere over the weekend I headed to Hoboken for an intimate bottle share that featured some rather epic bottles (think Armand 4 Autumn, 10th Anniversary Utopias) as well as delightful spirits like Four Roses Private Selection (OESO), Widow Jane Wapsie Valley, and Harlen D Wheatley’s CLIX (159 times distilled vodka produced by Buffalo Trace). I slept well that night.
The last few days in town featured the requisite lunch trip to Wegmans, quality time with the extended family, and lots more food and drink. The burger at Chatham River Grille is as good as advertised but I think I still prefer HAT Tavern, Cloverleaf and and Winberies when it comes to the best the Morris/Essex/Union area has to offer. Shockingly I’d never been to Estiatorio Lithos, so we went there for dinner one night. My last night in town consisted of a peking duck dinner with my father, then packing up the remnants of my record collection from his house and moving it to mom’s. Apparently he needs more room for furniture storage (so selfish of him! it’s not like I’ve lived in LA for ten years). Alas, the “East Coast Wing” of my record collection now resides at my mother’s condo. It’s a slight inconvenience for her but I can rest easy knowing I don’t have to worry about it being thrown out on a whim. Oh, and it rained pretty much non-stop those last two days in town, which made transporting the records SO MUCH FUN.
The return flight was atrocious. My seat mate probably should have been made to purchase two seats. She also wept openly before takeoff (apparently her back hurt). She moaned loudly during our ascent (which was a bit rough due to the storm). She complained that she couldn’t send text messages at 35,000 feet (I didn’t think that was allowed…). She brought stinky food aboard with her. She claimed her power adapter didn’t work so she asked if she could borrow mine (for 80% of the flight). For whatever karmic mistake I made that resulted in this affront, I would like to apologize.
Here I am now. Entertain me.
Future – Thought It Was A Drought [MP3]
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