So Long, Summer
Does Labor Day usually mark the end of summer? I feel like, at least symbolically, it starts with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day. Then again when you live in Los Angeles it could stay unseasonably hot well into September or even October. I’m pretty sure at least once since I moved here it was 100 degrees out in October.
Nevertheless, the past few months have been quite busy for me. I intended to post more frequently then I have, but sometimes life gets in the way, y’know? Since I never got around to devoting space to all the antics and adventure I intended to share, I figure I’ll combine them all into one post. This should serve two very important purposes. First, it’ll give you a peak into how I spent my summer. Second, it’ll allow me to free up some space on my camera roll. I mean…like…why do I still need 17 photos of a pizza I ate back in July? Because I was going to blog about it? Whatever!
So according to me, summer starts on Memorial Day, which was May 29th. Right around that time I brewed another beer. Actually I might have started it on Memorial Day and then bottled it 4-5 weeks later, in mid/late June. This one was a saison made with Belgian yeast and dry-hopped with Simcoe, which I’d hoped would compliment the banana/clove/bubblegum thing well. The results weren’t as tasty as the IPA I brewed previously, but it was decent enough that I dubbed it #YASQUEEN and labeled the 40 or so bottles I was able to fill.
Late June also included Dinner Club meeting at Rossoblu, the aforementioned pizza (which it turns out I don’t feel like sharing a photo of because it’s a place I order from all the time), and a Mets / Dodgers game with my friend and co-worker who has since moved overseas. That was the game the Mets lost, like…12-1. Afterwards I was so mad I punished myself by eating a chiles toreados taco from Guisados, which is easily the spiciest thing I have ever tried to consume in my life. It took about 45 minutes for feeling to return to my lips and for my esophagus to not feel like I’d swallowed bleach or lye or something.
The first week of July included a day trip to San Diego to see a Padres/Dodgers game. That ballpark is so much fun, it makes Dodger Stadium feel like the sad old piece of shit it is. I got to enjoy a burger from Hodad’s for lunch (with Pizza Port beer to wash it down), enjoyed beers from the outfield bar (which devotes taps to all things local, from AleSmith to Alpine to the bigger craft and macro brewers), snacked at the Stone tasting room right next to the ballpark, wandered around Little Italy for a bit and had a great meal at Ironside. Later in the month I made a whole day of the Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation release party, which included stops at Bottle Logic, The Bruery, Smog City and Monkish before a quaint dinner at Abigaile in Hermosa Beach.
August was probably the most busy month of my summer, as it included two weekend trips. You’ve read all about the Las Vegas adventure with Ian and Ben, but just a week before that I in Palm Springs for a little R&R. It’s hard to fathom relaxing when it’s 112 degrees out, but with enough pool (and shade!) and beer and Yahtzee, it’s definitely possible. I spent the majority of my time in Palm Springs cooling off in the pool. I made venison and elk sliders for dinner one night, and watched the peak of the Perseid meteor shower from a lawnchair in the yard.
All Summer long Sundays were devoted to Game of Thrones viewing parties. Boy did this season suck. Nevertheless I kept going to friends’ to watch and imbibe and eat and try to make the most out of what was easily the worst of the show’s seven seasons.
In between Palm Springs and Vegas my old roommate/good friend Ben visited LA from Boston. We had to find time to get some meals together, so he came to dinner club at Rosaline and we made our way to Monterey Park to load up at Mandarin Noodle House. Later that same week I finally got to enjoy the lobster mac and cheese from The Sherman, which I’d been lusting after since it start popping up on some food porn-related Reddit page.
You’ve surely read all of my posts about Psycho Las Vegas by now, so I won’t bore you with any more details. It was definitely the highlight of my summer. As great as all the bands were, it was better to get out of town and hang out with good friends outside of whatever weird criteria is placed upon meeting up when I travel back east. It’s always, “I’ve got three hours on this day,” or “We can maybe do this if I have time.” To have three days to just hang out and catch up and enjoy ourselves made the weekend so much more satisfying.
The weekend after Vegas was the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball I attend with my friends each year. I had a major wardrobe malfunction a couple hours before the ball so I had to basically wear exactly what I wore last year. This year felt like more of a race to get as drunk as possible than years past. I think it might have had something to do with the new system of selling drink tickets you had to then cash in at one of the bars around the hotel. It overcomplicated the process of getting a drink to such an extent we were comparing which bartenders had the heaviest pours, where the shortest lines were, and running around like mad trying to liquor ourselves up. I also grossly overestimated how many drink tickets I needed for the night, so that didn’t help my Sunday morning hangover AT ALL.
If Labor Day marks the end of summer, then the season concluded with an epic beer share and BBQ yesterday in Pasadena. For quite some time I’ve been attempting to attain a complete Cycle Weekday set (in short: once a year a popular brewery in Florida releases one beer for each day of the week in very limited quantities). When I finally completed my set, I asked some friends to pony up some of the more desirable/expensive bottles from their cellars so we could enjoy everything together. Yesterday we cooked up some spicy italian sausage, some beef and chicken kabobs, some veggies, and drank a whole shit ton of very strong beers. From the Cycle set I had to say my final rankings were Monday (maple bourbon barrel aged coffee cinnamon imperial stout), Wednesday (cinnamon hazlenut bourbon barrel aged imperial stout), Friday (Stranahan’s barrel aged Dos with Vanilla and Cacao), Tuesday (“Garbage sout”) and then Thursday (maple bourbon barrel aged imperial stout). My buddy Chris opened his 2014 vintage New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb, and John opened his batch 3 (2016) Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight. As if that wasn’t enough, we went on a little pub crawl around Old Town Pasadena afterwards. Dinner was sushi. I was a mess all day today.
I’m scrolling through this post and pretty much my entire summer revolved around eating and drinking. I’m not sure whether I should be impressed or embarrassed. I guess it beats sitting around the house doing nothing all the time. I hope y’all had good summers as well. With any luck, you were able to find the strength to block out all the negativity and bad news that’s permeated the globe these past couple months to turn off your brain and do something(s) enjoyable. Sometimes living well (or trying to) is the best way to forget our troubles.
My schedule is relaxing a bit so hopefully I’ll have time to post more in September. I definitely owe you some mix tapes, so I’ll try to get on that starting Sunday. Until then…
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – A Song Of Summer [MP3]
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