PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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The Dirty Den

aububon bar

I don't drink a lot of martinis in bars, but when I do, I always order the same thing: dry Grey Goose martini, straight up, with olives. It's a clean, clear, cold drink, with a treat at the end: three pimento-filled olives to chew off a toothpick.

I had the occasion to order this very drink recently at a bar named Audubon, on Beacon Street near Fenway. My old friend Dave with was with me and ordered a dry Ketel One martini with a twist. His son Gus ordered a Cosmo, and I ordered a beer.

The waitress went off and soon returned, saying "I forgot what you ordered." I told her, "Orval." A beer. 

But soon I demurred. Why not have a martini, since Dave and Gus were drinking spirits in martini glasses. So I jumped up and found the waitress as she was typing our order: "Actually, I'll have a dry martini, Grey Goose, with olives," I say.

OK, what happens next is the God's honest truth: first, a drink is put before Dave, which is identified as the "Ketel One Martini," but clearly contains olives. Dave, as a non-olive consumer, says something along the lines of "I really don't like olives. I ordered my drink with a twist." So, as any good food establishment will do, they take his drink back. Meanwhile, my drink is put down, and I take a sip: this is a dirty martini, I'm thinking, not a dry martini. Before the waiter can leave, I alert him to this error: I just want a dry martini. Grey Goose. With olives. And then Dave reiterates: And I want a Ketel One martini, straight up, with a lemon twist.

Seems like the waiter understands. Sort of. Soon, he returns and puts down a martini with a very long, twisted lemon rind in front of Dave. Dave takes a sip and declares to me: this is a dirty martini. With a twist. This may be the very first dirty martini with a twist ever made by a "professional" bartender, and it's just befuddling. So, by now we've ordered zero dirty martinis, and have received three of them (assuming that the first martini delivered to Dave, which looked like it had a splash of olive juice in it, was dirty).

Dave decides he'll suffer through his dirty martini with a lemon twist.

It takes a little time for my martini to arrive, maybe another five minutes, and when it does it has olives on the side. Clearly, they are being careful here. But, when I take a sip, it's yet another dirty martini, packed with salty olive water, which to me is borderline gross.  

Not joking!

This is not a bar that's just learning the ropes. I've been going to Audubon for decades. It's like we were at a house party where the host makes up a pitcher of dirty martinis and you have no drink option except dirty martinis, or variations on that. ("Would you like your dirty martini with a twist?")

Moral of the story? Stick to beer. 

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Souper

I have made it through many calendar months of my hitherto short life without having spooned any broth, consommé, stock, or even hot water into my mouth. This is not that unusual. The warm summer months don't put me into much of a soup mood. I prefer a cold drink on a hot day, believe it or not. Occasionally, I'm treated to a bowl of creamy, cold zucchini soup by my better half, or an amuse bouche of gazpacho at a local eatery.

Recently, it came to my attention that January is National Soup Month. It turns out also to be National Hot Tea Month, National Oatmeal Month, and National Slow Cooking Month. The latter I might refer to as National Braising Month, but efforts to reach wider audiences have caused the National Month Naming Committee to go with phrasing that people can understand without having to reach for a dictionary (which, I imagine, not many people possess these days in a form that one has to "reach for"). On the darker side, January is also Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and National Bath Safety Month, the latter reminding us that not everyone has been careful enough when they draw a bath for their wee-little or aging family members. So, lots of causes to be mindful of in January.

Soup is the one drawing my attention these days. First, because the prepared food section of our local supermarket has inexplicably been unable to keep up the quality of their minestrone. It's either a supply chain problem, or a staff retention problem. Maybe both. But my wife won't eat the stuff any longer. Second, because we had a bone-in ham pre-Christmas, which gave me the opportunity to use the bone for French Canadian split pea soup a few days later.

Not French Canadian Split Pea Soup

Now that we're in the middle of National Soup Month, I made a batch of chickpea and harissa soup (a.k.a "lablabi"), a Moroccan concoction (say that 10 times fast) that is far spicier than what us New Englanders are used to but is perfect on a frigid day. I've eaten this stuff three times for lunch this week, as my employer has asked me to work remotely until at least January 24th, and I have a kitchen at my disposal. Then, yesterday, in a bold move, my wife served us sausage and spinach soup for dinner. So, although I am no stranger to soup, yesterday was one of the few days in my life when both lunch and dinner were unquestionably soupy.  

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Digest This

When you encounter an advertisement of smiling people handing varieties of Yoplait yogurt to one another other, you probably think, "Hey, gee, those people are passing along a healthy, fermented dairy product, packed with hundreds of millions of good bacteria that aid in digestion."

What do I see when I view the same advertisement? I see a lot of single-use plastic.

I am almost 100% certain that one cannot buy yogurt in any form in my local supermarket without it being packaged in plastic.

Wait! That is unless my supermarket happens to offer one of the Yoplait brands that appears in that same commercial, which turns out to be a French variety of yogurt called Oui. The process for this variety may be a little different than others, but I care less about that than the fact that Oui comes in a "glass pot" with a foil top. When packaged as a 4-pack, cardboard is added. Ergo, no plastic at all.

Yeah, I know, you don't really care. Because "plastic is recyclable." Oh is it? Maybe sometimes. But just because you throw your waste into single stream recycling bins doesn't mean it will ever get recycled, at least according to this scary Frontline report, with horrifying images of the oceans and beaches awash in unrecycled plastic.

Anyway, you might not think or care about it and keep on buying your yogurt in plastic packaging. Meanwhile, I am going to start shopping for yogurt the way I shop for eggs: avoid the plastic packaging.

(Since when I have ever gotten environmental on you in these pages, anyway?) 

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Rock Show

You kids don’t know about rock shows because you were too little when rock shows were suddenly made illegal, but now they are legal again, and I have an actual ticket to one of these.

OK, not a ticket per se; I have an entry pass via an app on my phone. So cool! I almost opted for a physical ticket, mailed to me via the pony express, but I worried that the ponies wouldn’t be vaccinated and would be snorting away without masks on, spewing pony nose dew all over my precious physical ticket. Then, who knows, we all get the horse variant, and then China doesn’t allow us into their country because they start calling it the “American Horse Virus,” which causes liberal Chinese to decry the racist language against American Horses.

It could happen.

Anyway, I’m sure you remember what a rock show looks like, if you were of age before they became illegal. The sound. The lights. The beer. All of us screaming until we’re hoarse.

Maybe it is called the “American Hoarse Virus.” But that’s no better.

The best news in all of this is that the Sinclair survived. And so did The Osees!

 

 

 

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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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