The Spark(plug)

IMG_1254Sometimes all it takes to get you back on track is for you to grab your Sweetheart, pull on your working jeans and steel toe boots, take the little white pickup truck over the mountain (max speed 45mph), put the windows down, turn Hitkicker Country on the radio up, and get a new sparkplug for the chainsaw. Take a deep breath, notice this everything, feel that spark. Then go cut some shit down.

Montauk

moonriseAnd then we packed up the F-150 with surfboards, bikes, lounge chairs, coffee, guitars, scarves, whiskey, tents, necklaces, and bahn mi’s and headed out to Montauk. We judiciously used our lack of showering and/or anywhere with a roof to go to avoid becoming embroiled in any of the overarching Montauk sceneyness, and pretty much spent all of our time gazing at the ocean, getting into it, surfing/watching the surfers, eating fried seafood, and drinking beer. That, singing songs, killing a Thursday NYT crossword, and waking up to infinity stretching off into the distance and it was an alright time indeed.montaukcampsiteditchplainssurfboardssunsetThank you to AMR for the snap of the surfboards and for inviting me along for a little tag-team-third-wheel.

Night Magic

One of those nights of the incredibly full moon we all walked from the river’s edge inland to the no-lane road that lopes along the border of Canada to light giant sparklers and dance in our own circles to their woozy comet trails. When the last one burnt out, we lay in the middle of the road spooling out in either direction knowing, somehow, no one would be coming along and looked up at the stars, made almost dim by that huge moon. It was night magic.

Tall Ships

After glimpsing them in New York harbor during fleet week, and seeing them streaming sails across the mouth of the Chesapeake, Daddy and I cruised down to Harborfest to see the stunning tall ships in all their furled glory. I told you I love ships. Gilded figureheads in the golden hour, fireworks amidst the riggings at sundown, all the ships in the harbor sounding their horns at once, a rude and glorious symphony—as from Whitman:

Chant on, sail on, bear o’er the boundless blue from me to every sea,
This song for mariners and all their ships.

ps. and a very happy birthday to Sweetheart… I can’t wait to share the celebration!

Cold Brew: Brewhaha!

It started in 2007. Ann Marie and I had moved to E.7th street in the winter and it was our first warm weather in our 6th floor walkup. And by warm weather I mean it was hot as blue blazes. She worked from home (inexplicably, marvelously, and exclusively by fax), I was bartending and it was an amazing time of long, jort filled days. We had taken to drinking whole pots of espresso in highly sugared three-quarter-tasse cups during our first New York Februaries but now that the clothes were coming off and the air conditioners had not yet been delivered to deliver us from July evils we needed something different. Enter New Orleans Cold Brew Coffee. The superbly easy, utterly delicious, and super cheap wiles of coffee concentrate suited us like ugly on a monkey. Deep, dark and smooth, not at all bitter, inky and mellow, a little milk, lots of ice, it was perfect. One by one, like bad girls, we got everyone we knew hooked on it. Our mothers bought toddys and perfected the 8’oclock cheap brew, Molly downed it by the mason jar, Andrew drinks it hand over tervis-tumbler-fist, it put Sara back on caffeine, and McKay discovered it abroad (and sent back the picture above).

A Missive from the West Coast: Stumptown has started selling Cold Brew Shorties:The Verdict? From Ann Marie:  Not as good as ours. Its the chicory. Chicory= crucial.

The Recipe that Started it All:

1 pound dark roast coffee and chicory, medium ground

10 cups cold water

Ice

Milk.

1. Put coffee in a nonreactive container, like a stainless-steel stockpot. Add 2 cups water, stirring gently to wet the grounds, then add remaining 8 cups water, agitating the grounds as little as possible. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 12 hours.

2. Strain coffee concentrate through a medium sieve, then again through a fine-mesh sieve.

3. To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice, add ¼ cup coffee concentrate and 3/4 to 1 cup milk, then stir. (Concentrate will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.)

Summer Joy: Cucumber Sandwiches

Today I had one of the summer’s most marvelous delicate treats: the cucumber sandwich. When I was little Mama and I grew cucumbers and tomatoes in half barrels down the length of our driveway. I loved the curlicue tendrils that got so grabby and brushing off the little white thorns that grew from the bumps when they were ready to pick. Mama would have a tomato sandwich and me– always the cucumber. Nothing has changed.

I go white bread, crust on, no toast, Duke’s mayonnaise on both sides (sometimes I have to bring this special from Virginia, other times they randomly/awesomely have it at Fairway), salt, pepper, and chips. This is probably the only sandwich in the world (outside of PB&J) that doesn’t agree with a pickle. After all, a pickle is just a cucumber that sold its soul to the Devil. And the Devil was Dill.