I really wanted this week to be gumdrops and lollipops, but it just didn’t work out that way. My daughter has an inner ear infection, which, if you’ve never experienced a toddler with an ear infection before, is awesome. My dad also got an ear infection, which differs only slightly from a toddler having one. (The difference between a toddler getting an inner ear infection and a gentleman-of-a-certain-age getting an inner ear infection is that the toddler won’t make the hospital think she’s having a heart attack or a stroke. Seriously, what is it with getting older that makes doctors think that everything is either heart attack or stroke? Lousy statistics.) We went back and forth with our financing company for the house. (Not to worry – success.) I also listened to way too much Elliott Smith this week. Not good. Like Salinger. Should be consumed in measured doses.
And then Amy Winehouse died. We couldn’t possibly do TSB this week without mentioning Amy Winehouse and her brilliant, too short career. (We even shipped guests in from the UK to commemorate the event. Well, all the way from downtown Playa del Carmen, anyway.) Winehouse’s talent was undeniable. Sadly, so, too, was her eventual end. A very sad, tragic death, which must give us all pause as we remember our late twenties – those years that mimic the awkward teenage years of our adolescence, but ramped up with credit cards and baggage. Know this, ye lads and lasses in your early twenties: the years between 27 and 29 are the roughest; if you can’t just get past them, you can get past anything.
So what better way to dismiss a long week like a nosy neighbour peeking through your curtains than with a night of food, drink, and friends?
Our guests, Paul and Victoria, joined us for libations as we sat around the pool, talking about Scotland, trading dirty jokes about animals (and now I can only remember the really insulting-slash-offensive ones … of course), and eating the occasional spring roll.
On The Menu: Vegetarian Spring Rolls with Teriyaki Ginger Dipping Sauce, Vegetarian Sushi, Chicken and Beef Satay with Peanut Chilli Dipping Sauce, Apple Blackberry Awesome Cake with Cream
If you want to chase the blues away, drink white wine and include a heavy regimen of dipping sauces in your diet. The spring rolls tasted exactly the way spring rolls should – crispy, hot, and delicious. The perfect pre-dinner snack.
The satay was fun to make. Grilling meat and poultry while drinking wine and talking with friends. What else is summer for?
And yes, I called the dessert Awesome Cake. That’s because the dessert was a thing from outer space. Warm and soft, the mix of berries and apples, sour and sweet, combined brilliantly with the cream.
And throughout all of this, there was the wine. Well, the first bottle, anyway …
Wine: Lapostolle, Casa, Sauvignon Blanc, Rapel Valley, Chile, 2010, $205 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles
This is an effervescent wine; it drinks more like a gewürztraminer. (That’s a wine, right?) Very sweet, but pleasantly so. Super fruity. This is a great summer wine. It tastes like sitting outside on a deck (or a dock) with friends, one of whom has a guitar. Cara loved it. She described it as “yummy.” We all agreed.
In between courses, we sat with our friends and talked about great hotel lobbies. And horrible ones. The worst one (which got me compliments on my Scottish accent) was in Glasgow, The Grand Hotel. A classic bait and switch: beautiful pictures that were nowhere to be seen in reality. One of four elevators worked. The heating and air conditioning had not been hidden, but hung, exposed, from the ceiling. A retro-fit Dr. Frankenstein would be proud of. In World War II, the hotel had been used as a triage hospital for wounded soldiers. The way you knew this was it still had the crash plates on the double-swinging doors in the hallways for the gurneys to rush through. That, and it smelled like ghosts.
But the topper for that “grand” hotel was the receptionist. Nightmare Sally, wearing a button shirt, two sizes too small, who acted like our checking in was the last thing she needed today. “Great,” she thinks to herself. “Customers.” After our incredibly brief perusal of our room (wallpaper peeling from every wall, blood on the bedspread, tiles coming off the shower walls, no curtains on the bathroom window which overlooked the concourse of the Central Station terminal … one storey up) we politely asked the receptionist if it was possible that all of the rooms in the hotel looked about the same as ours, or if there had been, perhaps, a mistake. She looked at us with all of the contempt that the Scots can muster for tourists (considerable) and said, “Well … there-are-two-hundred-and-twenty-two-rooms-in-the-hotel-I-can’t-know-what-they-all-look-like-can-I?” Bear in mind, this hotel charged £150, at the time worth about $340 USD. Not exactly a bargain.
The best lobby, also in Glasgow, was across the street. It featured an Indian restaurant and a twenty-four hour bar. In the lobby! The rooms were nice, too.
Dinner finished, the night winding down, we opened the second bottle of the night.
Wine: Casa Rivas, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, D.O. Valle del Maipo, Chile, 2007, $173 MXN
A very interesting wine, this one. Very big. Lots of bite at first, but it mellows quickly. Kind of like an indecisive vampire – or a really picky one, at least – kind of annoying. “I want to suck your blood! Or do I?” Not terrible, just a little annoying. This wine feels like sitting around a kitchen table, talking about books, politics, or celebrities. While we enjoyed this wine, it is one that you would have to be in the mood for. I wouldn’t call it easy to drink, but it’s not hard on the palette, either. I would recommend trying this wine for yourself, especially if you like a wine with moderate tannin to it. Using the aerator helped this quite a bit, but I found this wine too tart without it.
Like I said: just a little annoying.
And so, as the sun peeks over the horizon on another beautiful day in the Caribbean, we bid you good week. If you want a transcript of the dirty animal jokes, please email us and we will forward you one or two.
Until next week,