Boats Against the Current


The title of this blog comes from the closing sentence of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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Pretty proud of the portraiture on this roll…

The Smirnov

My friend Popov is hosting brunch for a few people this weekend and kindly asked me for my Bloody Mary recipe. I thought it was only right to give it to you guys too. 

The history of the Bloody Mary is controversial, but one legend holds that the drink was first served to Vladimir Smirnov (of Smirnoff family fame). The now famous name supposedly came from the American bartender’s inability to pronounce  ”Vladimir” (I don’t get it either). In honor of that absurd story, I think we’ll call this “The Smirnov”

  • 1 oz. Vodka — I prefer Absolut, but a nice potato based vodka like Smirnoff may be more traditional.
  • 3 oz. Tomato juice — Quality matters here. Either invest in the good stuff or make your own. 
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce — This is essential.
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon juice — The amount here can fluctuate depending on how much “acidic bite” you prefer.
  • 0.5-1 oz. Pickle brine or clam juice — This is my secret weapon. My mother tends to add two ounces of clam juice, but I suggest that you try it before you make that kind of commitment. 
  • Sriracha, cayenne pepper, freshly minced chili peppers, garlic, or the classic tablespoon of horseradish — I tend to enjoy setting my mouth on fire so the application of “heat” is dependent on taste. If you hope to cure a raging hangover or you plan to engage in post-brunch “extracurriculars” you may consider increasing the number of numbing agents. …Just a thought. 
  • Celery, olives, peppers, pickled green beans, cocktail onions, kabees  el lift, and/or tomolivesPersonally, I think this particular cocktail is an excuse to consume those leftover pickled items lurking in the door of your refrigerator. You can’t go wrong.

Add everything, sans pickles and celery, into a glass and stir vigorously. At this point, some people insist on straining, but I think a “hardcore” Bloody Mary should be served, dregs and all, over ice in a mason jar. The straining tends to sacrifice too much heat and flavor. As long as you can act like a grown up and avoid the grit that settles at the bottom there’s no need to wash another glass.

Garnish with pickles, celery and/or twist of lemon.

Bonus Tip: If you make these in mason jars, they’re not only portable, but you can load in all the ingredients, screw on the lid, and shake them until they’re properly mixed. 

Existence is Futile

  • Robot: What is my purpose?
  • Rick: You pass butter.
  • Robot: *looks at hands* Oh my god.
  • Rick: Yeah. Join the club pal.

The Surface (read: NOT A ZUNE) autocorrects my name to “Bryanboy”. What’re you tryin’ to say Microsoft?

Another New York Ode: The Great and The Ugly

In no particular order, here are two lists that sum up the weekend. I tried to achieve some kind of balance, but it was impossible. 

The Great

  • The subway/train system — Literally 10x faster than the DC Metro.
  • The Cambodian version of a bánh mì — The pork belly and braised pear was like some kind of religious experience and sitting on the child size stools upstairs at their original location was equally glorious. 
  • The Met — What’s not to love? Highlight: Egyptian artwork that has retained its original color for three thousand years.
  • The temperature — As we frequently remarked, it was a perfect day. 
  • Land — We did a lot of eating and it was all fantastic. 
  • Irving Farm Coffee — Because E has taught me that, when it comes to brewing coffee, attention to detail is everything. 
  • The company — E, and his DARLING friend M, turned the whole adventure into a priceless memory. 
  • The skyline — I can see why people could get carried away.
  • Wandering around Hofstra University — Because the constant deluge of humanity in Manhattan would drive me mad. 
  • Oregon Trail II, Rick and Morty, and Hitchcock films — Because doing all of this with another person who enjoys it as much as you do is incredibly fulfilling. 
  • Midnight geriatric snacks — Because high fiber cereal, frozen berries, and Greek yogurt is revolutionary. 
  • The oddly meditative and comfortable bus trip to and from DC and NY.

The Ugly

  • Some dude vomiting loudly (or possibly suffering from TB) into a trash can.
  • NYC: Proudly rolling in its own filth since 1624
  • Leaving E behind *sobs*
  • Dying “seconds” after an elderly woman more than halfway to Oregon City.