flying vie

cruising down 38th street today after an extremely challenging hour at the gym, a bright green food truck, resplendent with photos of giant fruits, caught my attention. the clean sunlight was bouncing off this thing with such intensity, i had to shield my eyes.

around university city, shitty food trucks are ubiquitous and i usually pay them no mind (except for you, my beautiful magic carpet). so it doesn't quite surprise me that i hadn't ever noticed La Vie, boasting fresh juices and smoothies. i don't often spring for commercially made smoothies - so expensive!! - but my sore muscles immediately started screaming for some fresh carrot ginger juice. i wandered over to the truck to check out its offerings.

to my dismay, there was no evidence on the menu of fresh juices. their online menu lists them as an option but that wasn't clear in person. i suppose i could have asked the guy working, but...i didn't. anyway, what i saw were two menus: one for fruit smoothies (yawwwwn), and one for green smoothies. just when i was about to walk away, i read the "tropical green smoothie" description and was reeled right back in. avocado, broccoli, mango, orange, pineapple and ginger?! i relented. fine! fine. this will make my body feel so good, right? so i got in line, placed my order (extra ginger, please!) and waited. and waited. and waited.

for lack of nothing else to do, i took this photo of the cool orange wheel well of the truck. if you go to la vie, do not expect it to be a quick experience. it was kind of hard to see inside the truck, but i'm pretty sure the dude working in there was cutting everything to order. this is a nice touch that guarantees absolute freshness, but takes forever. also, he let everything whiz around in the blender for a very long time. the results, however, were rather magnificent.

this smoothie was truly blended to perfection, with nary one un-pulverized piece of broccoli or ginger! my request for extra ginger did not fall on deaf ears, either: the smoothie was as spicy as it was fruity. the avocado lent a nice creaminess, but a bit of a weird texture. if the idea of something resembling snot in even the tiniest way makes you uncomfortable, you might want to steer clear of the tropical green. maybe the sweet spinach (banana, blueberry and spinach) or the go green (broccoli, cucumber, pineapple, mango, orange and ginger) would be better choices? i thoroughly enjoyed it though, and had pretty much drank it all by the time i was back at my office. a small green smoothie set me back $3.75, which is too pricey for a daily treat. but, considering how often i shell out at least that much money for beer, ice cream, caffeinated beverages and the like, this is a totally worthy expenditure of four bucks. as hoped, it made me feel wonderful and i've been flying high all afternoon!



best coast // beast coast

well, by all accounts, the trip to san francisco was a raging success. we ate, we drank, we had extremely fun times with friends. we saw sights, relaxed, wrote postcards, ogled adorable dogs and their often adorable-r owners. the weather was sheer perfection: warm, breezy, humidity free. the kind of weather that just makes you super psyched on life; the kind of weather that allows you to eat a massive breakfast burrito and still feel energized and lusty. every day we woke up, walked outside and saw the cloudless sky, we'd giggle. "hey, look! another gorgeous day!!" no wonder californians generally seem more chilled out than most on the eastern seaboard.

it is also entirely possible that the deeply caffeinated, high quality coffee that these folks start their days with has something to do with all the good vibes, too.

if the caffeine gets on top of you, there's always a cold, hoppy beer just moments away from gently bringing you back down to earth.

can't even get into the breadth and depth of the amazingness of the food we consumed - that's fodder for another lengthy post entirely! you know, it's hard not to make east cost/west coast comparisons sometimes. by many accounts, the bay area is a nearly ideal city. there's just so much goodness there.

yes, it's expensive, and the economy is in major trouble. there are surely myriad social, political and practical problems that i'm not even remotely aware of, not being a resident of that city. but each day as i wandered around the mission taking it all in, i wondered to myself, "why is it again that i live in a gritty, troubled city full of hardened, pissed off people?" still, stumbling out of the philadelphia airport on thursday and taking in that first breath of dank, humid oxgyen, i felt the unspeakable joy of Coming Home. the feeling of home-ness is so hard to define that it's almost mystical. you just know it when you feel it...



vacay, it's ok

not much to report from the rest of beer week besides sipping on a few cans of this new beautiful canned beer, working my ass off, and trying to find a few hours here and there to take care of business and relax. what can i say? my beer week plans always seem to get away from me. i'm resolved to not care about it, though. there's always next year.

plus, i'm in full on, full swing (pre)vacation mode! ryan and i leave tomorrow for a week in san francisco and santa rosa. we'll put in some seriously necessary face time with brother steve, and BFF john s. i decided to celebrate my last day at work until next friday by spending my precious lunch hour watching a few innings of the phillies game and drinking a nice, crispy wheat beer at a local watering hole.

boulder sweaty betty - so good!

new shades

i hereby resolve to take tons of photos of all the food and drink awaiting me in northern california. expect a mega post upon my return!



beer wk: sunday boozy sunday

what better way to delay the consequences of a fun saturday night of beers and excessive high fiving, than a boozy brunch with a beautiful broad? that's how i started my sunday - met up with my friend D for the beer week special allagash brunch at the pope. over pancakes, tofu scramble and 2PM beers, we kicked off what would be the first of a multi-hour hang out sesh.

wish every brunch was an allagash brunch

D is a seasoned bartending veteran and a true beverage connoisseur , so i followed her lead when she ordered the allagash vrienden, which turned out to be a stunning ale in the flemish sour tradition. it was, we learned, an allagash collabo with new belgium brewery, brewed with dandelion greens and elderberries (the two breweries even blended their special yeast strains! isn't that cute?). the quiet amber liquid in this glass is the stuff beer week dreams are made of: tart, fruity, strong, and just the right amount of weird. i loved every little sip. i had hoped to catch a bit of the live set by our pals the glotones, but alas, they were breaking their gear down when we arrived.

after our plates were cleaned and cleared, D and i hightailed it over to her place of employ - and the only place in old city i'll regularly patronize - the khyber pass pub. they were in the midst of a supreme beer week jam: saison sunday! ten rare and immensely intriguing saisons on tap. oh dear.

the first of quite a few tulip glasses to grace the bar before us was la moneuse by the belgian brewery blaugies. malty, barn-y, aged to a nice warmth, but still wonderfully effervescent on the tongue, this was a classic saison. literally the perfect beer for a sunday afternoon, though perhaps a brasserie in belgium would have been a slightly more perfect place to be drinking it. no matter: a dim bar in philadelphia with D was a really good place to be, too.

i must confess that i forget which saison was second on my list. the sun was still shining a bit too brightly for the level of tips i was feeling, but our spirits were high, and we were deep in one of those great, rambling conversations. amongst a hundred other things, we talked about men and relationships, food and dietary choices, and going fishing as little kids. the third (and last?) saison i ordered was voodoo brewery's bitchin' camaro. this farmhouse ale is apparently a very new release from the brewery. so new, in fact, that there wasn't really a description for it on the draft list, and in the column listing abv there a mysterious "?." i distinctly remember that the last line of the description read something like, "any beer named after a dead kennedy's song can't be bad." though D wasn't crazy about it, i liked the hefty, malty, boozy kick in the teeth it gave me. if you're already getting loaded on super high quality beers on a sunday afternoon, why not go big?

after dutifully chugging some water, we called it a day, and headed home. woozily walking down walnut at sunset, we hugged on the corner of 6th street. D said she was going home to take a nap, but i was headed off to band practice in east falls. being tipsy on small quantity of good, strong beer is a distinctly light, energizing feeling, with 0% hangover. alright, alright...maybe just a 5% one.



beer wk, day II

philadelphians, rejoice! beer week is upon us. you may find yourself musing, a bit confusedly, "but isn't every week beer week?" if you partake in regular happy hours, distributor perusals, geek outs with the dudes at hawthorne's, backyard/park bottle top pops, etc. then the short answer is Yes. but capital B Beer Week offers hundreds (almost a thousand, some report) of special events across the city and the region in celebration of suds, the geniuses who craft it, and the nerds who love them. the past few annual Beer Weeks have expired with me consistently feeling like i didn't take advantage of enough of the awesome happenings, and this year i am determined to not let that happen. it's really too bad that i am as yet iPhone-less, because they've even rolled out a beer week app to help keep track of all the madness! seriously. dumb-phone laden as i may be, i won't let this one slip away without sampling at least half my weight in saisons, double IPAs and other such glorious libations.

so, i had to work on friday night, and thus missed the official first day of beer week. however, i did jam a few much needed pints of sixpoint at the abbaye afterward, so maybe that counts for something? last night, post-ballgame, ry and i decided to bike over to fishtown to the 'it's a firkin riot!' event at johnny brendas. the night air was cool enough to require a denim jacket, and the ride across town was just lovely. we rounded girard to frankford ave. to the familiar, fuzzy sight of this fine bar.

inside, our pal herbie was spinning all manner of british tunes, and hoisted above the bar in a purely brilliant set up (whoever built this thing deserves many accolades), was a row of the firkins, tapped and pouring beer like there was no tomorrow. for a quick and painless explanation of what a firkin is - by a badass bearded brewer dude no less - see here. the firkin loft was even outfitted with packs of dry ice (i think) to keep the beers mildly chilled. i can't get over how cool this apparatus was.

the $5, 10 ounce pours allowed for a wide variety of tastes, but i was most impressed by the weyerbacher verboten, a belgian style pale ale with all the crispy, clean, gentle fruity yeasty-ness i could ever ask for. these went down easy peasy. a little too easy...

i also tried the standard pils, a new local collabo beer that was a delightful quaff. as a few sweet friends joined us at the bar, our glasses were emptied and refilled as our tab did grow. herbie kept it solid at the turntables, and the place just got more and more packed out. i hazily realized that one potential down side of these beer week shenanigans is the increased presence of douchey dudes. i almost NEVER get approached by men at bars, but last night i was hit on by not one, but a handful of drunk, drunkie drunk drunk amateurs. i will give a certain red-cheeked young fellow credit for at least using "what beer should i order?" as a pick up line, instead of whatever other hack bullshit the ladies of the world must endure.

the bike ride home was punctuated by a stop at maoz, followed by an impromptu 2am viewing of the film indecent proposal. in a stroke of luck, i don't have to work my usual shift this morning, and so could sleep in, rock some brunch, and prepare for the day's beery activities...long live my liver!