Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Bus


I had a vivid dream last night. I was on a school bus, seated somewhere in the middle. I was next to the window - a faceless person sat next to me, wearing a white shirt. I was squished in my seat.

I told jokes - as I tend to do. Lots of jokes. But no one really reacted. Then Anna Kendrick got on the bus, and I called out, "Hey, did you buy your ticket for the long way round?"

Silence. Crickets. Awkward. Wherever I searched for a friendly face, I was greeted with eyes looking downward. My cheeks burned. Anna scoffed and walked to her place at the rear of the bus, where the popular people go. I was mortified and defeated.

And then I felt a hand take my own. Behind me sat Jimmy Fallon. He smiled at me; a knowing, kind smile. He's told lots of jokes. And I'm sure some of them didn't go as he planned. But he kept telling them anyway. That's why he was so nice to me.

It was a comically tender moment. The rest of the world faded into black - the bus, the snide looks, the judgment was gone. I closed my eyes and held hands with someone who understood what it's like to not be where you want to be.

*****

Earlier this week, I applied for a quick press trip to Las Vegas with a food blog network with which I'm involved. I was thrilled at the thought of someone sending me somewhere to watch, learn, experience, and write. They contacted the chosen person yesterday. I didn't get a call.

I really thought I would get it. I thought that the universe was finally stacking the odds in my favor. That someone in the "industry" finally saw my blog and said, "Hey, she's a pretty good writer." I think about this a lot; if only they would look at my blog - if only they would take a minute to see what I can do - then they would know. They would see.

But that didn't happen. And so the doubting thoughts seeped in. Maybe they did look at my blog, but I'm not actually that great of a writer. (Nah, that can't be it.)

In my disappointed unconscious I created a world on an old yellow bus where someone did see me and my talent. I made up a place that accepted me when I felt rejected. It's only natural, I suppose.

My writing is not where I want it to be. My blog is not where I want it to be. And the only thing to do is to keep at it. Keep writing about getting healthy. Keep writing about food. Keep writing about life. Keep telling jokes, no matter how hard they may fall.

Some of them are bound to get a laugh.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gratituesdays

1. Getting in my 5,000 steps (and then some) before breakfast.

2. Feeling the love from another local blogger.

3. My once-a-month treat - and knowing how to spell it without Google's help.

4. Warmer mornings.

5. Longer days.

6. Pumped up bass and new car smell.

7. Bright pink shoes. Bright pink anything, for that matter.

8. House on Netflix.

9. Making progress on the office-to-creative-space project.

10. Remembering to write this post this week.

Monday, April 21, 2014

SHAKE IT: Craft Cocktails at Gadsby's Bar American

A few weeks ago, I had an idea: I was going to make a cocktail using DRY lavender soda and gin. As soon as the subtle lavender flavor touched my tongue and mingled with the sharp tickle of carbonation, I knew it would pair amazingly well with gin.

And then I went to Gadsby's Bar American and Chad Spangler made me a real drink. Ironically, it was also lavender and gin based.

Chad's version was, to say the least, much more sophisticated than my idea had been. Gin, honey, and lemon, topped off with a lavender cloud. What's that, you say? Oh, just a bath of water, lavender essential oil, and protein stabilizers made frothy with the clever use of a fish tank pump.

Before I took my first sip, Chad encouraged me to smell my drink. That concept seemed strange to me, despite the fact that as a foodie, I know that a large part of a tasting experience involves the sense of smell. But to smell a cocktail? Won't the alcohol fumes make you cough? Apparently not when it's a well-made cocktail. Go figure.

It was heavenly. Light and floral, but not cloyingly so. A hit of acid from the lemon, a smooth sweetness from the honey. It was just perfect. And of course it has me rethinking how I'm going to make my own lavender-gin cocktail.

Gadsby's is one of the first collaboration projects from the restaurant group that includes Chad and Chef Robert Gadsby. I'm pretty sure you already know I kinda sorta absolutely dig that place. But
back to Chad. To put it simply, he's kind of a big deal.


And not to trivialize his work at all, but he's really, really good looking. As in Bradley Cooper good looking. As in when I was standing between him and the Sous Chef the other night, I lost my senses for a moment. Just a moment, though. I got it back. Except for any time he shook the cocktails.

I was at Gadsby's that evening as part of a HoCoBlogs party (they just keep getting better and better!). Chad took us on an interactive and educational journey. He talked about Prohibition - how before alcohol was outlawed, bartenders were seen as the aristocracy of a restaurant. Bartending was a trade that people studied for years to perfect. After the days of Prohibition, newly-hired bartenders (the old pros were long gone by then) found themselves behind a bar, holding tools they knew nothing about - and until recently, true bartending has become a bit of a lost art. The days of quick fixes and artificial sweeteners and neon-red cherries were the norm up until recent days, with a new crop of bartenders, including Chad, embracing the artistry and passion and science and creativity that truly put the "craft" in the term craft cocktail.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice. Painstakingly-brandied cherries. Smoke-infused Manhattans.

Art in a glass.

All throughout his talk, Chad was mixing drinks for us to sample. His movements were smooth, precise, and practiced. His knowledge was extensive, and he delivered the lecture with the same zeal that I see in the Sous Chef when he talks about plants or in myself when I fit Haagen-Dazs into a healthy lifestyle.

Raw, powerful, heart-bursting enthusiasm.

Chad's passion for bartending echoes a similar passion I've seen in Chef Gadsby's approach to food. Gadsby's Bar American is a bit of a rarity in Columbia, in that the chef truly engages with the food. The bartender truly engages with the cocktails. I can only think of a handful of other Howard County restaurants where I've had a similar experience.

You can taste the passion here. On the plate. In the glass.

Go see for yourself.

P.S. Chad, if you're reading this, I'm wondering if you can make me one of these the next time I'm in Gadsby's - you know I have a soft spot for floral:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Food for thought

"I don't like coffee, but neither do I like it when I fall asleep and my head hits the desk."

-  Brian Andreas




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

8 exceedingly pleasant benefits of going for a walk that have nothing to do with losing weight

1. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes - all at once. And that's the best kind of multi-tasking.

2. You can increase circulation, which can speed up healing.

3. More oxygen to your brain = more amazing, interesting, and unique thoughts to share on Facebook.

4. If you time it right, you can come home to: a fully charged cell phone/laptop, a finished load of laundry, or a clean washer full of dishes.

5. If you do it regularly, you get to go shopping for walking shoes more often - and these days, walking shoes come in freakin' fantastic colors and designs.

6. You can strengthen your legs, butt, and thigh muscles, not to mention your core - always a plus.

7. If you do it outside, it gives you a big dose of Vitamin D, otherwise known as the happiness vitamin.

8. More time with your thoughts = you're that much closer to figuring it all out. And that's pretty much been our goal as humans ever since we decided to walk on two feet.

Walk well.