Vietnamese Coffee

Even as the more vivid details of our Vietnam vacation recede into the ever more distant past, something as simple as Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk can bring it all back on occasion. This past weekend, I took just a sip and was reminded of the days at our resort in Phu Quoc, when we developed a brief ritual of taking a seat by the window in the restaurant level of our resort, and starting the day with a small cup and saucer of Vietnamese coffee.

We followed our coffee with a combination of breakfast treats, including a pho bar and bahn mi. Aside from the smorgasboard of Vietnamese delights, there was a large selection of western morning foods as well, though we avoided the boring fare, like cereal. We concluded the daily decadence with an assortment of tropical fruits, my favorite being passion fruit, though the juicy dragon fruit and mango were equally memorable. The juices from these fruits trickled down the back of my hands, dried there, and interacted with the island sun, causing a strange dark patch to appear. I discovered that what I initially thought was a sunspot (expanding at a freakish rate) was actually a temporary tropical fruit scar when I casually consulted with a physician friend via Gmail.

While on the island of Phu Quoc, every morning, we ate and drank slowly in this way, enjoying the contrast between the smoky, dark coffee, and the pellucid, bright island atmosphere, treating ourselves to the ocean view and sea breeze floating in through the gigantic windows like a quiet new dream.

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.