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.

Dream

When your sleeping breath heaves out a tropical breeze

Whispering across the steady streams of my back the waves of my spine

The warm rhythm of ripples does not end until I am in a dream of

Hot white sand on my thighs palms rustling behind

And the cerulean crystal expanse before us is urging us to rise with the sun in paradise

So I blink

To find my lonely flesh

Stale without you

Bristling at the rain

Sinking under the weight and ash of the sky

Belching Beaver

Belching Beaver is another nearby brewery. Often, I see the ocean on my way to work and feel fortunate to have such a view so close by. Just as often, I cruise over to one of the many beer tasting rooms near me and feel insanely lucky to be so close to so many good beers.

Easy Beaver: 4.7% ABV. Session IPA’s are all the rage now, so lots of local breweries have started making them. This one was hoppy and floral, and finished with a bold bitterness. It was light and perfect for a session. Definitely a fantastic summer beer. IPA’s, although amazing, can get a bit heavy after a couple; their textures are also prone to changing when the sun’s out and the beer warms quickly. Sessions sort of solve this problem.

Great Lei: 6.5% ABV. Haha, get it? Funny, but the beer itself is sort of cute and sweet, as opposed to sexy. It’s an IPA, but with coconut and pineapple flavors. It’s much more pina colada than IPA. It’s definitely fruity, and a little too sweet for my tastes. It does transport you to a tropical island for a bit though. You’ll know what’s coming before it hits your lips too; it smells strongly of coconut and pineapple. Another good summer beer, if this type of beer is your thing.

Hop Highway: 7.3% ABV. Another IPA! They just don’t get old for me. Piney, fresh, hoppy, sassy, and a bit carefree.

Beaver’s Milk: 5.3% ABV. I finally switched it up from the IPA’s. This is a very smoky milk stout. Full and smooth. Not as good as their peanut butter stout, though well-balanced.

Sour Puss: 3.9 % ABV. A Berliner Weisse beer. Still open to trying new things. Still not really liking sour beers. This was fruity and very tart. Reminded me of a really crisp, unripe, tart apple. Which isn’t always a bad thing – but just not really a beer to me.

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