Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Sick Of Winter

As usual at this time of year, I begin to suffer from the pain of too much winter weather. After a while, it just gets the best of me. It’s so omnipresent, so relentless. Day after day it’s there, waiting to pounce on me every time I leave the house. I can’t take it anymore. I’m crying uncle. I’m sick of snow, especially the dirty, icy snow that lingers forever. I’m sick of coats, scarves, gloves, hats and hat hair. I’m sick of removing layers of clothing every time I enter overly warm office buildings, commuter trains and residences. I’m sick of scraping ice off the windshields of frozen cars. I’m sick of tingly fingers. I'm sick of blowing my runny nose. I’m sick of the loud, ancient, inconsistent radiator heaters in my house. And I’m sick of enduring a blast of arctic air every time I step out of the shower.

Don’t get me wrong; winter has not been all bad. I’ve squeezed every bit of enjoyment out of the Winter Olympics. That Shaun White kid is amazing. Even Lindsay Vonn and Bodie Miller have lived up to the hype. But overall, there’s too much figure skating and not enough speed skating. I want to see dare devil athletes barreling down hill or soaring through mid-air, not prancing around a skating rink.

I’ve also enjoyed rocking the fresh gear that winter requires. I love my Nike ACG duck boots and my Ralph Lauren wool riding jacket with the matching vest. And my K-Way ski jacket was a big hit; even my 20-year-old nephew told me it was cool. But now I’m sick of it all. All the corduroy and suede, and Gortex and fleece and black and grey. And all my sweaters that seemed so cozy in November are now all worn out. They’re now too misshapen and linty and I’m sick of them. Sure, maybe I should invest in better sweaters and stop messing around with these cheap-ass Banana Republic ones. But they'd have worked out fine if winter weren't so damn long.

Sure Christmas was a blast, it was and always will be my favorite day of the year. And there was plenty more winter fun to be had. I’ve skied Beaver Creek, CO, wiped out in Eagle Rock, PA and sledded Flood Hill, South Orange, NJ. I’ve taken Gondola rides up the Vail Mountain and marveled at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. I’ve gone snow tubing and raced snowmobiles and had snow ball fights. I’ve built snowmen and pushed snow blowers. I’ve even triumphed over my 7 year old in our annual backyard Snowbowl.

But enough already. No more snow. No more shoveling. The truth is, I’d trade all of the winter frolicking for one day at Virginia Beach or the Outer Banks or even the friggin’ Jersey Shore. I say March 21st can’t get here soon enough. Bring on March Madness, Easter Sunday and Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. And somebody please fire up a grill. I’d give anything for the smell of charcoal right about now. I am looking forward to one fine 80 degree day in mid-June, just before Tiger tees it up again at the US Open, and just after the Cavs beat the Lakers for the NBA championship. I guarantee you on that day, I’ll be a happy guy. I'll be wearing plaid shorts and a Carolina Blue tee (no more boring, cold-weather-appropriate navy). And my iced coffee and spanking white Stan Smith sneakers will represent all that is right in the world.

I’m sick of winter.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

50 Observations About Food

  1. The older I get, the more I prefer Salsa to Catsup.
  2. There is nothing that can be made better, that cannot be made better with a few drops of Texas Pete Hot Sauce.
  3. Please, take it easy with the mayo.
  4. It’s actually comical how much cream cheese bagel shops tend to slather on bagels, even when you only ask for a “smear.” My local shop tends to add enough to feed a family of 4 for a week.
  5. I’ve never tried a tuna melt. It just doesn’t make sense.
  6. Butter. Use sparingly. Margarine. Not at all.
  7. I’ve learned to tolerate wheat bread. But white still makes me happy.
  8. The best ice cream in the world is called Seventh Heaven. It comes from a dairy in Trenton, NJ called Halo Farms. This is not up for debate.
  9. If you’re going to eat a cheeseburger, make it a good one (say Five Guys). And you’ve already crossed the line, so you might as well go ahead and get the fries and Coke along with it.
  10. McDonald’s French fries. Competition is none.
  11. Best fast food sandwich. Chick-fil-A. I wish I had one right now.
  12. Best breakfast sandwich of all time. The Egg McMuffin. A stunning achievement in efficiency, cost effectiveness, convenience and taste.
  13. It’s not dessert if ice cream is not involved.
  14. The prepared foods at Whole Foods are average at best.
  15. The processed foods at Trader Joe’s are world class.
  16. People in Philadelphia take their sandwich making seriously. Walk into any deli anywhere in the city and you can bank on getting a masterfully prepared hoagie.
  17. By the time you are 7, your cereal preferences are set for life. Currently for me it’s Kellogg’s All Bran mixed with Cheerios and a splash of Honey Combs. I don’t know, it just works.
  18. Fruit for lunch. Veggies for dinner.
  19. If she can’t make great scrambled eggs, that’s a bad sign.
  20. The richest man in the world can’t get a better doughnut than Krispy Kreme.
  21. There is nothing more sublime than going to a really nice restaurant -- great ambiance, great wine, great conversation – and ordering a phat juicy cheeseburger.
  22. It’s really hard to screw up pizza. But the good folks at Domino’s give it their best shot.
  23. Fried chicken should be prepared by somebody’s grandmother. She should be from down south and partial to cast iron skillets. If all of these stars don’t line up, lower your expectations.
  24. Tostitos. I hope somebody at Frito Lay received some sort of lifetime achievement award for inventing those things.
  25. You pretty much only need plain, blueberry and cinnamon raisin bagels. All other varieties will end up being picked over in the break room.
  26. Thanksgiving. Don’t worry about counting starches. Yes stuffing is essential. But I also need rice and bread and wouldn’t be mad at potato salad.
  27. Speaking of potato salad. Mustard based only please.
  28. If we’re talking mass-produced cookies, then I gotta say Thin Mints are the best. I respect the Oreo, got love for Nutter Butters, but Thin Mints stand alone.
  29. For the entire 14 years of our marriage, my wife and I have gotten each other a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake for our birthdays. We’ve never missed a year. It’s the little things. That’s what love is.
  30. Sherbet is better than you think it is.
  31. In general, soup is too watery. I like mine thick, more stew than soup really. When I open a can of soup, my first step is to pour out half the broth.
  32. Potato chips are like crack. I can’t have them in the house.
  33. I wish I liked oatmeal.
  34. I’ve never been comfortable using chopsticks. I mean, I can get by, but I can’t help thinking that it would be much easier to just use a fork.
  35. My wife makes the world’s best brussel sprouts; slow roasted, drizzled with expensive olive oil and seasoned to perfection with imported sea salt. I still don’t like them.
  36. Half of a deli sandwich is not enough, but a whole one is too much.
  37. Everyone loves sliders.
  38. Even at the most elegant wedding reception, pigs in a blanket are a welcome sight.
  39. It’s fine to have salmon, grilled asparagus and other fancy fare at your cookout. It’s just not necessary. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken. Done.
  40. Why is Sweet & Low so much sweeter that actual sugar?
  41. Wait, on second thought, don’t answer that.
  42. There is an inverse relationship between things that taste good and things that are good for you.
  43. You can spend hours making a great pasta sauce, or minutes making a damn good one. Here is the easy way: Step 1) Open Jar, Step 2) Pour into pot, Step 3) Heat.
  44. The window for eating bananas is much too small.
  45. Ritz crackers. That’s keeping it real.
  46. Guys, steer clear of white wine. It's hard to look gangsta while sipping Pinot Grigio.
  47. I was 28 years old on the day I had my first cup of coffee. I haven’t missed a day since.
  48. Coke Zero is a modern miracle.
  49. I don’t care if the large is only 25 cents more, I can’t possible eat that much popcorn!
  50. A cold night, a warm blanket, a hot drink, a good book.