Muddle & Wilde

What sounds like the name of a pair of bumbling, ineffectual British TV detectives is actually a new project by two of the most creative, beautiful women I know — Muddle & Wilde, organic drink mixes “handcrafted in small batches.”

Laura and Moira

Rereading the grammatical structure of that previous sentence, I realized it could be interpreted that my two friends are named Muddle & Wilde. They are not. They are Moira and Laura, two mothers at the elementary school where my daughters go — and are friends with their daughters. And we are friends with Moira and Laura, and so were impressed and excited when we heard about their venture. More

Pliny, Deconstructed

The third in the author’s three part series about his all-consuming obsession with locating and purchasing at any cost Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder beer.

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Driving home with my big game prize — six bottles of Pliny the Elder — I began contemplating the grand ordeal that had been my barely one-month relationship with the beer.

A few days before, I’d called my favorite wine store, which was listed on the Russian River Brewing Company’s distribution list, but where I’d never actually seen Pliny before. I asked the gentleman if they carried Pliny.

Pliny, crowding out the other beers in my fridge

Pliny, crowding out the other beers in my fridge

“We get it sometimes, usually on Tuesdays.” This was a Monday. “The delivery usually comes around 1 p.m. Why don’t you call sometime after that and see if we got any. It sells out fast.” More

A Mansion of Dreams

When I was a lad, saké was something warm and exotic we drank at the local sushi bar that served underage kids. Not ones for moderation, we used to do something called a “saké bomb,” where we would drop the small ceramic cup of hot saké into our glass of beer, and then down the whole thing.

Saké Still Life (with Sushi Knife)

I remember once, several bombs in, I chucked a California roll at my friend Pat, sitting a few seats away. It hit him on the forehead and fell into his saké-and-beer. He lifted the glass, drank the bomb and ate the roll at the bottom in one epic gulp, and we all applauded. More

Italian Summer in a Glass

“The days were long and the nights were long and the life was good.”
—Gertrude Stein, Fiesole, Italy, Summer 1908

A few weeks ago, drinking and dining with my friends/neighbors/mortal enemies (envy is a terrible thing) Chris and Glennis before they left for a week in Venice, Italy, we got talking about Campari.

Chris was pontificating that Europe had an appreciation for bitter foods and spirits that you don’t see as much in America. That set me to forming theories and pontificating in turn about how bitter as an entire taste realm was absent altogether from American cuisine — we like our sweet (OH, how we like our sweet!) and our salty, we’ll dabble in sour. But bitter is completely unrepresented — replaced, perhaps, by fried. And more salt. More