I discovered (OK, I didn't discover - Dave poured me a glass of) a fantastic and very affordable French red at the Thames River tasting on Friday night that, alas, I will be unable to continue buying because the distributor has decided not to import it any longer and Jim is down to the last twenty cases he will ever get. I have a feeling the two bottles I purchased will not last very long, so I am in the process of checking couch cushions and coat pockets to see if I can scrounge up enough money to go buy some more. In the meantime, if you get the chance to purchase some Chateau Villerambert Julien Minervois 2003, I highly suggest you do so.
Ate a gigantic cream puff
Noe and I went up to Mass to attend the Big E, which is basically a state fair for all the New England states put together. There were tons of animals, rides, displays...and food. This fair had more food vendors than I have ever seen in my life. In addition to the normal midway vendors, there were also regional vendors along the Avenue of States and, in one building, the famous Big E cream puff. I am talking about two bagel-sized mounds of flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pastry with a baseball-sized scoop of cool, refreshing cream sandwiched in between and dusted with a liberal amount of powdered sugar. Noe was all for splitting one until he saw them and decided he would rather have one all to himself, leaving me to polish mine off on my own. My only complaint was I was way full when I was done.
Collaborated on a home-cooked/home-grown meal
Katie, Amanda, and I are all into food, wine, and gardening. Katie's parents have a farm. So when Katie invited us girls over on Saturday night for some chicken, we knew that she didn't mean McNuggets. Katie roasted up a fresh chicken raised by her father's students, I provided picked-that-day veggies and herbs for appetizers and side dishes, and Amanda (the would-be pastry chef among our group) made us a delicious rum cake with espresso buttercream frosting for dessert. The dinner part would have made any slow-food advocate proud (and it tasted fantastic) and the cake was as good as any creation that my friend Richard ever served up at The Earle. (Of course, our real dessert was a trio of Cotes du Rhone...)
Played with sea lions
I've been a docent at the Mystic Aquarium and Insititute for Exploration since the beginning of the summer. I love it, but repeating the same information and safety announcements over and over (sometimes to people who have no intention of listening) can get a little old sometimes. So when a volunteer position opened up every other Saturday morning in the Marine Theater - which houses the aquarium's three California Sea Lions - I jumped on it.
It's mostly un-glamorous work - cutting up fish for the shows, keeping the prep area clean, etc - but the big payoff is seeing the trainers get to work new behaviors with the animals from the ground up, and...enrichment. I get to give them toys and Jell-o and any other things that the trainers come up with that is a safe change to their everyday environment. I get to be right by the edge of the pool and throw things in for them to chase. I have never been that close to an animal like that in my life. Let me tell you, if you got to stand right in front of Boomerang and throw him Jell-o cubes, you wouldn't mind cutting up a few fish, either.