I ordered some salami making supplies last night. Spending $50 on starter cultures and beef middles should not make a grown man this excited. I don't think it is healthy. All 3 will get used next week in a batch of Tuscan Salami as preparations for Thanksgiving start. I can't believe I am already thinking about Thanksgiving. This year will be the 10th that I host. I keep expecting people to start finding other plans. Things change. Stuff happens. And through it all, the guest list is pretty much the same. In fact, probably half the crowd has been to every one of them. A very nice tradition.
I went out of town for work last week. I kind of dread this trip. Every fall, the squad I am in goes to check out the same site on the other side of the state. We went as far as you can possible go from Albany and still be in New York. There is only so much small talk a group of guys in a car can make. The round trip was just under 1000 miles of driving with breaks for work. I grew up in the burbs. I live in the burbs. I think I kind of need the burbs. Too much wide open space tends to freak me out. It is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but I don't think I would make out there.
This was the first year I actually enjoyed the trip. Got up and left early Tuesday morning. Drove to the site. Worked until 4. Put in a good day of work on Wednesday. Everything went well. We went out to dinner to this kind of...well it was almost out of the movie Roadhouse. Burger was nothing special but the wings were good. Three of the 5 of the squad went back to the hotel. I stayed with a co-worker to see what kind of happenings happened as it got later in this place. The crowd was a total mix. College seniors, farmers, guys from a basketball league, few couples. Our waitress/bartender was amazing and unique to say the least. Very energetic, very sarcastic and just plain fun. Did I mention the wad of tobacco behind her lower lip? No shit. She got a little tipsy as the night wore on (Southern Comfort and Red Bull), but she never stopped the dip. She always had some chew going. She's telling us stories about stuff that's gone on there - wow by the way (Phairhead if someone is throwing you a bachlorette party, I have a good game for you guys) - and she's got chew and a plastic spit cup the whole time. My cheap Scotch brand of choice is J&B and I drank it all night there for $25. That price included soda for my partner in crime. He doesn't drink - more for me. And then just when you thought the scenery couldn't get better, someone starts setting up a Karaoke.
I've only been drunk enough to stand up there once. And sing backup. Barely. And I was in Wisconsin, with several hundreds of miles between me and anyone I knew that wasn't standing next to me. Never again. No one should have to hear me sing. Not even the soap in the shower. Only a few bar patrons sang. It was mostly the people that set it up. They were decent. There was one guy that only sang Elvis songs. A lot of country. But it wasn't very loud. You could still have a conversation. The whole night was just a good time. I definitely couldn't do it every night. It looked like there were people that did.
Getting up the following morning was a little harder. But I got by, got the next job done and checked into the next hotel. It was close to a casino. Around 10:30, my partner in crime (same one from the bar) hit the poker tables. At a little after midnight, I left with $203 more than I walked in carrying. What a rush.
And so, for the first time, I actually enjoyed my visit to the Southern Tier. I was actually a little sorry to leave. I can't imagine what kind of trouble I'd get into if I lived near that bar. I'll stick with the safety of making salami in the basement and just head out that way for an annual visit.
One last thing if you are still reading this...there's a guy in Southern California that is very active on the wood fired oven site. He is essentially my online hero that may or may not remember I exist. Do you have an online hero like that? We exchanged a few emails about 6 months ago. He just posted about curing his own olives because apparently in Southern California, you can walk up to an olive tree in a public park and pick all the olives you want. Last time I checked, that was not an option at The Crossings. Anyhow, he later posted about making his first batch of sauerkraut. I told him that homemade sauerkraut makes kick ass Reubens. He replied very exited about making a Reuben. Props from my online hero...I'm having a good week.