decadence at the pizza place
Saturday, January 5 2019
Colin the cabinet installer came by briefly during Saturday morning coffee to pick up some tools he needed for some weekend work at his place on the south slope of Ohayo Mountain. Hearing he was on the "good side" of that mountain reminded me of a guy I knew on the north side of that mountain who lived in a place where the sun set in November and didn't rise again until late January. Colin said he had a big old building that used to be owned by someone who stored well drilling rigs in it, so it's cavernous. He said he'd added an upstairs and is thinking about making it into a AirBnB unit, which got us naturally to talking about landlording. Colin told us of a horror story back when he owned a house some dozens of miles west of here and rented it during the time he and his wife were in England both getting master's degrees in oceanic archeology. The tenants were apparently terrible and managed to live in his house for a whole year without paying any rent, forcing Colin into foreclosure on it. The kicker, though, was when Colin tried to warn a new prospective landlord of his former deadbeat tenants and the guy paid him no heed. Sure enough, they got to live in that guy's place for free. "They were gypsies," Colin said, though he wasn't sure that term was appropriate anymore, at least outside of England. He used it in the general sense, as the family was at least partially Greek. Always the vegan propagandist, Gretchen sent Colin home with some of her homemade vegan yogurt.
After drinking my coffee and eating four pieces of buttered toast, I turned my attention to the kitchen, where my first project was to install what I could of the new InSinkerator boiling water tap. I began by using a hole saw to cut a four inch wide hole through the shelf holding the big farm sink in place so that I would be able to reach my hand up to just below the countertop and attach the tap from below. By this point, we'd found more installation instructions for the damn thing, but we were being told to do impossible things with provided parts that just didn't fit. In the end it didn't matter: I could intuit what I needed to do to make it all work. I was still left with a water inlet pipe that was too short for my needs, meaning I would need supplies from a hardware stores to complete this project.
Meanwhile Gretchen wanted to select paint for the small amount of wall that would need to be painted in the kitchen. So we decided to go together to Herzog's in Uptown Kingston. I should say that the options for extending the short supply pipe for the hot water tap at Herzog's weren't great; the best I could do was buy a refrigerator icemaker supply kit that featured plastic, not copper, hose. Fortunately, though, it had all the pieces I needed to form compression fittings to extend the pipe I needed to extend. Meanwhile, Gretchen was fussing around with the colors, trying to come up with a grey that wasn't too dirty looking. Because of my evident talent with color, at least when it comes to painting portraits of critters, Gretchen respects my sense of color, so she kept asking for my opinion. I pushed for a particular grey that I found kind of "warm" but not "brown." That meant it had a trace amount of red in it, but not much yellow (we're talking subtractive colors here, where the primaries are red, blue, and yellow).
Back at the house, I managed to get the hot water tap working enough to make us both cups of tea. In the process, of course, I managed to accidentally blast myself with a jet of high-pressure water from the old dishwasher supply when I randomly bumped the lever on its ball valve. That supply now goes to the hot water tap, so such accidents are now impossible.
This evening, Gretchen and I went on our usual Saturday night date, this time to Catskill Mountain Pizza. On the drive over, I was driving, and conditions were so foggy that I actually had to come to a complete stop at one point because I had lost all visibility. (I never drive into a visual void; there are plenty of YouTube videos showing why this is a bad idea.)
Catskill Mountain Pizza was kind of quiet for a Saturday night. Fortunately, there was no live music (evidently they've stopped doing that on the weekend, which is great). Our waitress was also the bartender, and she had a friendly no-nonsense attitude that perfectly fit our mood. We approached dinner from an attitude of complete decadence, each of us ordering separate large pizzas with the understanding that we would have plenty of leftovers tomorrow. We also ordered a plate of fries and I had not one but two double IPAs, making me drunk enough that Gretchen (who drank nothing but water) had to drive us home. By then the fog had mostly lifted except for the southern half of Dug Hill Road. The quality of the pizza at Catskill Mountain Pizza is highly variable, a consequence of a youthful, often stoned kitchen crew. Tonight was a good night and the pizza lived up to the "Delicious Pizza" verbiage on the generic pizza box. The only problem was the black olives on Gretchen's pizza, which, she said, tasted "like bad breath." "In a good way?" I asked. "No," Gretchen declared. She picked them all off as best she could. My pizza was topped with mushrooms and banana peppers, and the banana peppers might've been off too, but that just made them taste somehow like anchovies, and definitely in a good way,
Something tonight had caused me to remember an old comedy cooking show I'd used to watch back when I was a teenager in Virginia. It was called Cookin' Cheap and I remember finding it hilarious. Just two folksy Appalachian lads making various dishes in a cheaply-appointed kitchen using recipes sent in by viewers. Gretchen was intrigued, and so tonight she and I watched an episode I found on YouTube. It had it all: a horrible dish that contained far too much sugar and looked disgusting. And then there was the gumbo that contained far too much meat and olive oil. But weirdest of all were "the Cook Sisters," a segment where the two hosts appear in drag and make a mockery of grandmotherly kitchen advice. Despite the shocking amount of meat and questionable cooking talent on display, Gretchen found it at least as amusing as I did.
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