Soccer vs. Football

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

I love weekends for two reasons:  Soccer & Football.

Friday nights I play defensive midfield for my Indoor Co-Ed Soccer team.  Even the most casual spectator watching us flounder around on the field would have to agree that we play “Soccer”, which is a far cry from traditional Outdoor Soccer, which is an even farther cry from traditional Football.  My intense love for the latter drives me to play and I enjoy every single minute I spend out on that artificial field.

Football – specifically British Premier League – rounds out the rest of my weekend, providing we’re not on International Break. I’m a Gooner, a die-hard fan of the Arsenal Football Club.  I love watching the Gunners play; I turn down all manner of social invites to stay in and watch them play. I refuse to even answer the door anymore if someone knocks during the match.

One could argue Soccer & Football are one and the same, but in my American mind there are some very important distinctions:

  • I play Soccer and watch Football
  • Soccer is a game; Football is a match
  • Soccer is played on a field; Football is played on a pitch
  • Soccer players wear flats or cleats; Football players wear boots
  • Soccer is generally viewed as “meh” whereas Football has support all over the world

There are similarities too:

  • Soccer & Football are happening this weekend
  • I love them both fiercely
  • Both are making me a better player
  • My addiction to one fuels the other
  • My friends are sick of hearing me talk about them

 

All Hail The Weekend. 

Harvest Gathering Spirited Dinner

I was an honored guest at a recent 4-course Spirited Dinner hosted by my good friend Angie Jackson, The Traveling Elixer Fixer, and the supremely under-appreciated, madly talented Chef Eric Boodt at Old Dog Tavern.

The evening began with a gin-based Glass Onion cocktail, one of my favorites because it’s more savory than sweet. What can I say? I like my cocktails to have a little backbone.

Our first course was Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Chestnuts.  I didn’t care much for the chestnuts, even after Chef Eric told us a few of them exploded when he roasted them.  Another Glass Onion cocktail (Beefeater London Dry Gin, Glass Onion Shrub (Apple Cider Vinegar/Shallots/Ginger/Pear), Fresh Lemon Juice, Fee Brothers Gin Barrel Aged Bitters, Simple Syrup, Fresh Thyme Garnish) made a delightfully acidic chaser for the maple syrup and chestnuts.

Everyone agreed the second course was Chef Eric’s coup de resistance:  Turkey & Goat Cheese Croquettes with Cranberry Gastrique. I can’t even begin to describe the perfection of this dish – we were still discussing it by the end of the dinner.  This course was cleverly paired with a Ginful Apple cocktail (Broker’s London Dry Gin, Grand Marnier, Indian Summer Apple Juice, Fresh Lemon Juice, Fee Brothers Orange Bitters, Wafer-thin Apple Slice Garnish with a Dusting of Fresh Grated Cinnamon), completing the Autumnal theme.  My apple slice had a perfect star in its center!

The third course was the most unique offering: Sweet Potato and Duck Pierogies with Mocha Drizzle.  I had never tried Duck prior to this dish and I was pleasantly surprised.  Chef Eric butchered a duck, rendered it, made the meat into sausage, then fried the pierogies in the duck fat. The mocha drizzle was especially appealing to me as a coffee drinker.  This dish was served with the rye whiskey-based Oh Hell, Rye Not? cocktail (Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Muddled Orange with Spiced Orange Marmalade Syrup, Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters).

Dessert rounded out our fourth course: Pumpkin Pie Creme Brulee.  It was delicious, but I was too full so I pawned it off on a late arrival. I wasn’t inclined to share the even more sumptuous cocktail pairing, a Ginger Vanilla Sidecar (Courvoisier Cognac, Cointreau, Ginger Vanilla Syrup, Fresh Lemon Juice, Lemon Twist Garnish).

cocktail

Glass Onion

First Course

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Chestnuts

Second Course

Turkey & Goat Cheese Croquettes with Cranberry Gastrique

Third Course

Sweet Potato and Duck Pierogies with Mocha Drizzle

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Creme Brulee

Despite a small attendance (which I believe makes for a much more intimate, enjoyable experience), the Spirited Dinner was a great success. My sincerest compliments to Chef Eric Boodt and the phenomenal Traveling Elixer Fixer, Angie Jackson!

Video

Wednesday Earworms: Echoes

I’d Die Without You by P.M. Dawn

Woke up with this song’s piano solo echoing in my mind, even though I haven’t heard this song in ages.

No fav lyrics for this one – I mostly just hear the piano behind Prince Be’s soothing, soulful vocals.

The Early Bird Just Gets Cold

Happy World Run Day! I’m reporting live from Pretty Lake where local run group The Dirty Herd is hosting a Trail Run to benefit the camp. I misread the details and arrived an hour early, but that gives me extra time to wake up and acclimate to the chilly morning. We have gusty winds and overcast skies; current temperature is 43. Maybe a few sun salutations will help warm things up before the gun goes off at 0900.