Journal

Those four years, I wrote compulsively, afraid I’d one day forget the details of days that were starting to melt and months that were starting to blend. At 18 I started marking time by reference to days out drinking and categorizing eras according to romantic interests of the moment. In between the bleeding, blurry, evenings, I documented the color of the leaves in my morning tea, described the exact shade of gold flecks found in his eyes only in a certain light, and recorded the pattern of sunlight creeping in through the pergola on the cafe patio. I was wearing a plaid skirt and fishnet shirt that day, and carefully noted clouds in my coffee on lunch break. This was the summer I worked in a teeny bopper retail store; on this particular day, my friends had gone skydiving.

I did not know that when I was 33 I’d read the deliberate loops and lines and still could not remember anyway; familiar though the handwriting may be, it was as if it was written by a stranger. This stranger was a bit neurotic and disjointed, vaguely touched by hackneyed angst. The whiskey-laden scrawls on some of the pages were less grand than Jack Daniels would have you believe, but rather, vacillated between nonsense and maudlin nostalgia. The stranger woke up at 9:00 in the morning on a Saturday one weekend (early for her), to a phone call from an old man from the coffee shop who wanted to talk about nothing in particular. She thought he had meant to call her friend, but she ended up talking to him anyway, after taking a seat on the kitchen counter of the sorority house, apple in hand.

The next time I saw the old man, he told me the tragic tale of his wife inexplicably leaving him, fleeing to Japan, and absconding with their child, when in reality he had been convicted of possession of child porn.

I eventually went skydiving, and it felt like flying, but I didn’t write about it.

 

Henna Part 2

After waiting about a day and a half for the dye to release, I tested the henna on my hand, and it stained an orange color, as the instructions had indicated. I used an applicator bottle that came with different sized tips, and after experimenting with the thickness and speed of the dye coming out of the tip, I initially chose one of the thicker applicator options, but felt the lines were still too fine, so I went for an even thicker one and from there just went for it freehand. Maybe a little risky, but it’s temporary and all for fun anyway.

 

The paint dried a dark greenish black color and looked really cool, but once the dried henna peeled off (all over the house, every time I bent over or brushed by something, oops), the end result was pretty light. To contrast, the henna I did on my hand was much darker and noticeable, perhaps because the skin on the palms is thinner/softer?

  

Coming Back From The Desert

Sometimes you get greedy. You have a good weekend and you don’t want it to end so you delay by stopping at random places on the way home to extend the good times. This is not a bad thing.

On our way home from Anza Borrego, we stopped by Hill Top Winery in the Valley Center area. shareBearPic895 shareBearPic897

Cute location, though the day was a bit overcast and cold. It was nice to have a couple of glasses of wine to warm up.

After that, we hit up Valley Center Brewery. This was an unpretentious place with a divey-feel, located in a nondescript strip mall. They are able to do this and still have great reviews because their beers are pretty damn good.

Woods Valley Cream Ale: 4.3% ABV. Nutty, vanilla, smooth, light. Very nice cream ale.

Hunza Hill Hefeweizen: 7.2% ABV. Quite the bold one and quite the alcohol content for a hefeweizen. Saison flavors, fruity, warm, with a little bit of a tart edge.

Burnt Mountain Road Smoked Ale: 6.5 ABV. This is a barrel-aged smoked red. It tasted a bit like campfire and leather, in a good way, if you can imagine it. It was unique.

Hellhole Canyon Stout: 6.5% ABV. Smoky, full, deep, tastes of bourbon and coffee.

Morning Star Circle: 5.0% ABV. Belgian IPA. Smooth, creamy, floral, and slightly nutty. It was apparently dry-hopped with lavender which is pretty interesting.

Our bartender was very friendly and helpful. We had a fun tasting experience here. The bear sitting at the other end of the bar was quiet, but I think he was having a good time too.

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Modern Times In The Desert

We joined family up at a campground in Anza Borrego recently. We had just bought a case of a Modern Times variety pack from Costco, and had never tried it, so we brought some to the desert with us. Modern Times has been around for some time now, but I will totally admit I was in no hurry to try it because I had a lingering prejudice against canned beer. Well, after this, no more.

First of all, the red IPA was my favorite, though that’s no shocker. It was deliciously hoppy, powerful, and everything you want in an IPA, except red. It wasn’t timid like typical red beers. It was a brave and wonderful IPA. Their Hoppy Dank Amber was almost just as good for me. It was hoppy and dank indeed. In fact, it had a similar flavor profile to the red IPA, which made it awesome. It didn’t even taste like a typical amber, which can be a bit subtle, indecisive, and boring. On the contrary, this hoppy dank amber was assertive and badass. As you can see on the labeling below, it has 85 IBUs. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s highly irregular for a mere amber beer.

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The tropical wheat was on the lighter and brighter side, but also excellent. I tasted some passion fruit in there, and this actually might be one of my favorite lighter beers, owing to my predilection (or indeed, passion) for passion fruit. I cannot wait for it to be summer so I can drink this on the patio, under the sun, while one of my cats circles my lap jealously. The rustic saison was probably the weakest link of the variety pack, though this is not to say it was not a good beer. Just a little less well-rounded and complete than the rest.

Biking To San Diego Beer Works

A couple of weekends ago, we took a nice bike down Pacific Coast Highway and stopped at San Diego Beer Works. I’d been wanting to check this place out for some time now. On our way, we stopped at the beach in Cardiff and took a dip. The weather was beautiful and perfect. The flat, coastal terrain was also perfect because my bike is a piece of crap from Wal-Mart.

My flight of tasters at San Diego Beer Works –

Batch #1 IPA: Brewed by 21st Amendment. 7.2% ABV. The tart hits you first. Then some citrus. Full-bodied, and a malty finish.

Hop Shovel IPA: Brewed by Bear Republic. 7.5% ABV. Hoppy, very floral, and crisp. The color is light for an IPA. There’s something about it that stings a bit, is almost spicy.

Summer IIPA: Didn’t catch the name of this IIPA. It’s by Bottle Logic. 9.0% ABV. It was an orangey golden color. The flavor was almost syrupy, and there was something in there that was slightly reminiscent of rubber bands.

Nitro Milk Stout: By Artifex Brewing. OMG, so amazing. Smooth like water. Smooth like cream. A beautiful, light, puffy, head. I was really in love with this one despite my usual preference for IPA’s.

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As beautiful as that beach is, it’s not actually the beach we biked by. This is actually some 10 miles up the 101. Close enough though.

Get In My Beer Belly

Went up to LA for the weekend, and my dear friend took me to this cute little gastropub in K-Town called Beer Belly. They had a decent beer selection, though I wish they offered more IPAs in pint-sized servings:

She started with a Seafarer by Three Weavers Brewing, a Kolsch, and I ordered the East to West IPA by Ballast Point (I know, so original of me – San Diego resident goes to LA for the weekend, and first pick is a San Diego beer). The East to West IPA was fresh, hoppy, floral, light, and citrusy, like IPAs tend to be (pictured above, in the goblet-style glass). It is also a very typical quality for Ballast point – well-balanced, smooth, satisfying. Ballast Point rarely disappoints, of course.

When the Seafarer came, I grew curious, because it was an amber color. I don’t usually get very excited about Kolsch beers, so this unusual color (for a Kolsch) caught my eye. I tasted it and rather enjoyed it. It was malty, fresh, nutty, and had a smoky aftertaste. My friend thought it was actually a bit floral. Well, turns out it wasn’t a Kolsch. Our server brought the Vapor, a California Common by Faction Brewing instead.  So the Seafarer ended up being her second beer, and I got the Vapor the second time around. The Vapor is the darker one on the left, and the Seafarer is to its right:

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The food is also worth mentioning. We indulged in all kinds of health items including duck fat fries, and pork belly chips. No regrets. We ordered two types of wings: buffalo and volcano. Volcano was the spiciest, and my preference, though both were really good. By far the most interesting was the kimchi ragu, which was a kimchi tomato stew that topped with meatballs and an egg in a little skillet. Very interesting and delicious.This place is listed on Yelp as “American,” but it is located in K-Town after all, so I suppose they had to get with the program. This isn’t a food blog, but this one is totally worth mentioning, especially when paired with an IPA (or even the Kolsch, since the flavors in this dish are so strong already).

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