Beneath an Ice Pack- I turned 45 on Saturday, though the real drinking came on Thursday. It began at dinner. A couple of pints of Evolution Beer with my Martguerita pizza at some fancy new bar here in my Baltimore neighborhood. Then I got a ride over to my weekly poker game where I had half a bottle of red wine, a couple shots of dark rum, some Fernet Branca and, for reasons that are still unclear to me, nearly a pint of pickle brine.
I also won ten bucks.
On the birthday itself, I scaled back the booziness and focused on food. First I Went to Trinacria, a local Italian deli that’s been around for the better part of a century, and had the eggplant parmesan for lunch. For dessert there was the sweet potato pie the gf baked for me. You yankees (ie. northerners) need to learn that it’s better that pumpkin. For dinner, we hit the best sushi place in town. The highlights included live sea urchin, which they kill fresh for you, and grilled yellow tail cheeks.
Real fish lovers know that cheek meat is some of the choicest. Sadly, many Americans are clueless, though the Chinese and Scottish in particular are hip to this delicacy. The cheeks are where it’s at. Whenever you get a whole fish, plucking them out is a must. But of course, the typical whole fish isn’t that big, so cheek meat is usually a sweet little morsel of joy.
But yellow tail tuna? Them some big bucks, and their cheeks are enormous. A full-on appetizer just by itself. And damn good.
The only disappointment for the meal was that the waiter didn’t mention until after bringing the check that they also had monk-fish liver available.
Is anyone still with me on this one? Anyone at all?
Anyway, there was also the chilled, unfiltered sake to bring the booze back into play. Most of you can at least dig that. And for those who can’t, go cry in your Bud Lite.
Afterwards, we went home and I finished it all off with a Ferent Branca (seriously, it’s the world’s best digestivo, though most people hate its strong medicinal flavor) and, are you ready for it . . . some funyuns. Oh yeah.
And that’s how you cap off a great birthday.
Now here’s how you cap off a mediocre Monday sports column . . .
College Football: Other than occasionally ranting about the exploitation of the players, I don’t cover NCAA football very often. I Just don’t care that much about second-tier “amateur” sports. Why waste my time with that when I can watch pros?
But lemme drop a quickie: Rutgers and Maryland possibly joining the Big 10? I can certainly see why those decidedly mediocre programs would want to escape to a real conference. But it sounds like a crass move by the Big 10 to cash in on the lucrative television markets in DC/Baltimore and especially NYC.
I’ve got news for them though. I really don’t think New Yorkers are gonna be lining up to watch Rutgers take on Iowa. The official conference of corn-fed white boys might wanna think this one over.
Real Football: Wearing some 1934 throwback jersies, the Pittsburgh Steelers look like they escaped a bumble bee prison. Or maybe a bumble bee hospital is more like it given all their injuries. Either way, it wasn’t enough as they went down to the Ravens. Bring back the black n gold.
MTM brings back West Coast Craig, tomorrow. Grote2DMax is on a Pickle Brine Bender.