falafel for lunch
Saturday, January 19 2019
Normally on a Saturday morning, Gretchen and I would have his & her coffee in front a roaring fire in the woodstove. But today being Gretchen's birthday, we drove south to New Paltz and breakfasted at Commissary, the vegan café. Gretchen got a croissant, a shortbread, and other things one can never normally find in vegan form. We both had oat-milk cappuccinos, and I had the socialist soup (for which one can pay whatever one chooses; I went with the recommended $6).
The main reason for being in New Paltz, though, was to enjoy a lunch of the best spaghetti in the Hudson Valley. The champion of that contest is still New Paltz's Plaza Diner. But after snacking at Commissary, we weren't quite ready for lunch. So instead we walked part of the perimeter of the shopping center, starting at Bank of America and continuing through the cold to a bustling healthfood store near the shopping area's northeast corner. We ducked in to warm up and ended up doing some shopping. It smelled so much like curdled human body odor in there (perhaps because of the mix of available bulk goods) that Gretchen actually stuck her nose in my armpit to see if it was me. But I never have much body odor in cold weather (even though I bathe only every two to four days and never wear either underwear or deodorant). The store had lots of unfamiliar healthfood and ethnic brands, and the prices were great, so we stocked up on things like olive oil, pasta, flat bread, chips, and pouches of premade Indian food. I happened to have a Stewart's plastic bag in my pocket, which helped us transport these things back to the car.
We had our usual spaghetti dinners at the Plaza Diner, and the french fries were unusually good.
Back at the house, the idea was that Gretchen would hold court for people coming to wish her a happy birthday and wanting to see the kitchen post-renovation. The first to arrive were Carrie & Michæl, and then later Eva and Sandor appeared. It was all very chaste and Methodist, with people drinking tea from the hot water tap and eating leftover birthday cake (that Gretchen had baked for herself yesterday). Michæl told us what it was like heading a department at a local university and about the unpleasantness of advising students. I said that if I were advising students, all I'd say would be, "Figure it out!" (which is always said in the manner of an elderly Jewish man).
The the daylight burned away and the storm approached, I became increasingly anxious, knowing my window for gathering any more firewood this weekend was closing. So at some point I snuck out through the garage with the chainsaw and backpack and found one of the nearest possible skeletonized oaks for salvaging, knowing its wood would be ready for immediate burning. It was a medium-sized red oak on a forested knoll just east of the Farm Road about 400 feet from home. I managed to salvage two backpack loads from it, though as I finished bringing it home, our birthday visitors were in the process of leaving. Happily, nobody seemed upset that I'd snuck off to salvage firewood. Sometimes I think I get a pass with social niceities because I'm such a weirdo.
After a lupper of leftover spaghetti, Gretchen and I watched a goofy Zach Galifianakis vehicle entitled Masterminds on Netflix. It purported to be based on the true story of the biggest bank heist ever, and it was a perfectly watchable comedy. But there's something about Galifianakis that just doesn't work. He's often playing a weirdo, but not any kind that actually exists.
The "Mitzvah Wall" as it appeared today at Commissary in New Paltz.
Me at Commissary today. Photo by Gretchen.
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