Thursday, January 19 2012
Today was Gretchen's 41st birthday, the tenth to be celebrated with me. I started the day by making her a fruit smoothie using her Vitamix blender, a task that is usually part of her morning rituals (not mine). At around noon Gretchen went off to Woodstock to get a massage from Cornelia, the only person she feels is qualified for this particular job. (For my part, I don't actually like massages very much, which is somewhat ironic given that I lived for two years with a massage therapist.)
While down in Maryland, I'd ordered a couple books from Better World Books to give to Gretchen as birthday presents, but since they failed to arrive today, I was forced to make something instead. I ended up painting a tiny acrylic painting of Eleanor's face on a canvas measuring only two and half by two and half inches and then attaching a tiny handmade birthday card (written on a one inch by one inch piece of corrugated cardboard) to its back using double-sided tape.
For Gretchen's birthday dinner, the original plan was to drive over to Tivoli and dine at Luna 61. As we set out, though, a light snow was falling (enough for us to choose the Subaru with its all-wheel drive), and by the time we got to US 209, there was enough blowing in sinister swirls in front of us that I decided we should just find a place in Kingston instead. So we parked Uptown, bought a bottle of wine at the new Uptown wine store (according to Google Maps, that would be Blue 57 Wine & Spirits), and intended to go to our favorite local Indian restaurant. But Gretchen saw some good vegan options in the menu at a more traditional button-down American-style restaurant, so we went in there instead.
The place was called Boitson's and it had a nice murky old-wood-and-mirrors ambience that somewhat compensated for the rather crowded seating arrangement. They had four or five different IPAs (none of which were on tap; that have a bar but no beer taps), and I tried the two I'd never had before. Surprisingly, both of these were presented in cans as opposed to bottles. The first of these was Snapperhead IPA, which was much maltier than I like my IPAs, though it was still fairly good. The second was Bengali Tiger IPA, which was so bitter that it actually reminded me of the occasional mistakes I make when tasting random plants and mushrooms in the forest. It was drinkable, but just barely. I'll never be ordering another one of those again. (Interestingly, though, it has a 99% rating by the bros at BeerAdvocate.com.)
As for the food, Gretchen ordered a chick-pea-and-fennel stew, gambling correctly that her most-hated spice would be almost undetectable (how could she have known?). She said it was good, though not any better than something she could have ordered at the Indian restaurant (it certainly looked the same). As for me, I ordered the veggie burger, which was built around an enormously-thick patty and not-all-that-good bread rolls. The side of fries was very generous, but they were the floppy greasy kind typically served at good restaurants. (I prefer the crispy kind one gets at such places as American fast food restaurants.)
While our meal was pleasant, I can't say that I have much reason to go back to Boitson's. There are better veggie burgers at the mall, better stews at genuinely ethnic restaurants, and better beer options at Skytop Steakhouse. Still, they've made a good effort with their beer curation (most of which are from New York State, with a few others for inflexible douchebags), so they still win a coveted Colbertian tip of my hat.
Enough snow had fallen during our meal to make the drive home somewhat treacherous. Nothing too bad happened, though when I made a left at one Uptown intersection, I turned too sharply and my rear wheels when sliding out around me, pivoting on the front wheels. From then on, I went slowly (no more than 30 miles per hour) and slowed way down before attempting turns.
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