No Rain

{Drinks this bright frighten away the rain}

{Drinks this bright frighten away the rain}

{Pinwheels...not a lick of real food product involved in their creation. And we don't care}

{Pinwheels…not a lick of real food product involved in their creation. And we don’t care}

Sometimes you learn a fact that threatens to shake your grip on reality…I recently found out that Mallomars are only available seasonally.  Whaaaa?

For whatever reason I was craving Mallows (as I call them), something that, when I thought about it, I haven’t done for about five years.  At the third store I finally found Pinwheels, a fine substitute.  I’m still troubled by the creepy faux-Mallow that was at every store – the Whippet.  WTF?  Okay, first, a Whippet is a dog.  Does this mean they grind up and layer greyhound-like canines into their cookies?  I suspect so. You know why?  Because the part that makes Whippet cookies creepy is a blood-red goo layer (they claim it’s raspberry).

Let’s take a look at the history of humans…prehistoric man, crouched around a fire holding sticks pointed to sharpness with rock edges.  With ears constantly tuned for predators they huddled around the fire and roasted marshmallows on the ends of those pointed sticks before sandwiching them between graham crackers and adding several squares from a Hersheys chocolate bar.  Never did they add a layer of freakin’ raspberry gel.  Yet, the makers of Whippets believe this is necessary.  And you know who makes Whippets?  A company named Dare.  Yeah, they Dare you to eat them.

If chocolate, shortbread-like cookies, and marshmallows were supposed to have raspberry associated with them then early man would have named the aforementioned treat ‘smoraspberries.  But they didn’t, did they? I rest my case. Oh yeah, and Jessica was the one who told me Mallomars are seasonal.  After reading this article my additional love for rain and Beaujolais nouveau parties makes sense. Having been born in September I am an autumn baby, genetically predisposed to things that come out in the fall.  Jess also said the Pepperidge Farms version of Tim Tams (see last post) are  seasonal as well.

This week on the stoop the skies threatened us with some awfully dark gray clouds but we did not fear because we had No Rain:

Start by making lemonade (or just buy someone but this is kinda fun):

  • juice of 4-5 lemons (you can use more if you want it more lemony)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Strawberries (optional)

Tip before squeezing the lemons: Roll them on the counter while applying pressure with the palm of your hand. It allows for more juice to be squeezed out.

In a small saucepan heat the 1 cup water and sugar over low to medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts. You’ve just created “simple syrup”.  You can also buy simple syrup. You can either wait for it to cool or put it in the freezer until it’s cool enough to add to the 4 cups of cold water that you have put in that one pitcher that’s up on that high shelf, you know that pitcher you never use and you always think, “I should get rid of this because I never use it” but you really do like it and then you read a recipe for lemonade and you’re like, “Knew there was a reason I kept this. I’m so smart.”

We dropped a handful of fresh strawberries in the blender and pureed them to add to the lemonade, gave it some variety and Jess said it was very refreshing. She also said some mint would have been good but once Stooptails has started you’re not allowed to go out for other ingredients. Ya just use what you have around the kitchen.

  • 1 cup lemonade with ice to 1 – 2 shots vodka. (I had two shots but Jess was sleepy having just come back from a trip to Wisconsin so she only had one.)

Evening’s Theme Song – Ghosts” The Jam

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – Pinwheels. Corn tortilla chips with guacamole (we cheated and bought a package of spice mix and added it to mashed up avocados). Personal cantaloupes (these are cute little cantaloupes that are not a ton bigger than a softball. Thank you 5th Ave farmers’ market).

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

  • Häagen-Daz’s Black Cherry Amaretto gelato freakin’ rocks. I’ve always been a Ben & Jerry’s girl but on our way home from the airport I made Jess buy me ice cream (payment for picking her up, even though I volunteered to do it because I know I, personally, am creeped out by 99% of town cars and taxis).  The Häagen-Daz shop had the BCA flavor so I got some with jimmies (aka chocolate sprinkles) and was seriously impressed by the richness of flavor and chunks of real cherries.  And having had gelato in Italy I can say HD holds their own just fine.  Besides, how can you not support a company that supports the bees and their crisis? (Not to mention their first retail store was in Brooklyn, the coolest borough.)
  • Not enough people monetize their effort when doing dumb shit. Is driving a washing machine out to the middle of nowhere and dumping it really cheaper and easier than – depending on what part of the country you live in –  the $25 to take it to the dump or pay for one of those stickers for the trash people to haul it away?
  • The above being said, we then wondered if forest creatures are actually delighted when a GE washer shows up in the woods. A ready-made house!  And if it’s one of those stackable units you have a two-family condo.
  • Talking about running is like consuming too much alcohol. You start to think, “Yeah, I could do that.”  Then it’s, “Maybe, I’ll do that.”  Next comes, “I think I’ll sign up for that.”   The next morning you wake up and realize you’ve registered for the 2014 Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon.  Don’t drink and talk running, people. It’s just not worth it.  (I didn’t actually sign up for the Bataan, however I am still considering it for 2015 since I’ll be out of town for the 2014 run.   But I am registered for the Tunnel to Towers run in September. If anyone is liquored up and reading this, I could use a bit more help toward my fundraising goal of $1000 to this awesome charity.  I have no shame – Do you have $10?  We’ll name a drink after you.  But if you like animals more than people, consider instead donating that $10 to Jess’s fundraising goal toward her run for the ASPCA.)
{Mr. Strawberry says, "Yes, people do tell me I look like the monster plant from Little Shop of Horrors."

{Mr. Strawberry says, “Yes, people do tell me I look like the monster plant from Little Shop of Horrors.”

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I Don’t Want to Talk About It

{it's always wise to separate basenjis from booze}

{it’s always wise to separate basenjis from booze}

{when Tim Tams are in the area all focus should be on them}

{when Tim Tams are in the area all focus should be on them}

{When the zombie apocalypse comes, we're going to set up our fortress in these condos just because they're so cool and conveniently close}

{When the zombie apocalypse comes, we’re going to set up our fortress in these condos just because they’re so cool and conveniently close}

When someone walks into the room at the beginning of a drink-mix session and asks, “You’re using boxed wine?” you know what they really mean is, “Why in God’s name do you have boxed wine?” There is only one suitable answer…I Don’t Want to Talk About It

  • 1-3/4 quarts red wine (basically, a 2 qt pitcher that you leave enough room in to add the rest of the ingredients)
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups Triple Sec (this was supposed to be brandy but more on that later)
  • 1 shot seltzer/club soda
  • Sliced and cubed fruit of your choice

Combine the wine, orange juice, Triple Sec and fruit in your pitcher, stir gently and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.  When ready to serve pour into glasses (make sure you get some fruit in there), top with shot of seltzer and add ice.

The booze gods had not forgotten that Stooptails was built on the theory of “use what you have around the kitchen”.  Our idea to add brandy (as one finds in many sangria recipes) was thrown out the window when it was discovered Chef Eric had left an empty bottle of brandy on the liquor cart.  This was to remind them that they were out.  It’s not a good reminder tool.  But we suspect the booze gods engineered it on purpose because Stooptails is about creating, not copying. So…Triple Sec.

Evening’s Theme Song – “Seven Bridges Road” by Dolly Parton

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – Watermelon (if you’ve read our other posts you know our affection for this water-filled joy in fruit form).  Gratify Foods gluten-free sea salt thins (holy cats, are these things good!).  The pretzels were supposed to be served with peanut butter but we were out.  Enter Stoop-guy Chris’s suggestion: tahini.  Tohum brand golden sesame tahini, to be exact.  If you like natural unsweetened peanut butter you should try tahini as a dip. I’m jus’ sayin’….

Wasabi Explosion mix: Basically – little rice crackers, wasabi beans, wasabi green peas, honey roasted soy nuts. When Jess pulled open the packaging it, true to the name, exploded all over the kitchen (it should be noted we didn’t realize the actual name of the snack mix till later in the evening. We’d just called them bar snacks. Perhaps if we’d noticed the descriptive title, Jess would have used more caution…and safety glasses).  The dogs, however, loved it.  And it resulted in the best quote of the evening, “They were like hungry hippos descending on a bar piñata.”

And the Snack pièce de résistance: Arnott’s Tim Tams. If you’ve ever been to Australia you should have had Tim Tam chocolate biscuits (aka cookies).  It’s two shortbread-like cookies with a chocolate creamesque center, covered in chocolate (there are many varieties now but that’s the original style).  A few years ago Pepperidge Farm started offering them seasonally so you can get them in the States but they aren’t *quite* the same.

Jess’ friend-of-a-friend recently returned from a trip with some (since anyone who has had a Tim Tam requires that anyone going to Australia must bring some back).  When Jess texted, “I have Australian cookies that are delish” for Stooptails snacks my first thought was, “I wonder if they’re Tim Tams“.  Later, when we were in the store foraging I asked what these Australian cookies were that she had.  She said the name and we were like a couple of 12 year olds at a boy band concert. Squealing ensued. I shared with her the fact that my friend from Sydney, who visits on an annual basis, knows the fee for room and board with us is Tim Tams. Seriously, these things are such a cult cookie that when I first saw the Pepperidge Farm ones I was so excited I had to call a friend to prevent myself from grabbing the nearest stranger and shaking them passionately while screaming, “TIM TAMS!”

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

  • You can’t mock Miley Cyrus as a singer if you haven’t listened to her version of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”  However, you can still mock her for dressing like a skank. Not even her version of her honorary godmother’s “Jolene” can rectify those fashion choices for someone that young.
  • We wouldn’t have wanted to live in the super awesome condos up the block because then we wouldn’t have a stoop. However, they’ll make good fortresses when the zombie apocalypse begins.
  • Bear Mountain State Park is a good place to trail run.
  • Bear Mountain State Park has eastern timber rattlesnakes that like to sun themselves on running trails.
  • Bear Mountain State Park doesn’t warn you that Bear Mountain State Park has eastern timber rattlesnakes.
  • Bear Mountain State Park has small, vague maps and, often, equally small, vague trail markers. However, they do have markers that say, “Vandals stole this sign.”
  • Doodletown is on Bear Mountain State Park maps but could not be found. Maybe it only appears for one day every one hundred years. That one day is definitely not August 4th.
  • We suspect Bear Mountain State Park wants you to get lost and/or injured so they will have to rescue you and then charge you for the rescue; thus earning money for operating costs…and signs stolen by vandals.
  • Darwin may want to be known as Stoop Doggy Dog but he’s actually the canine version of Brendan Fraser’s character in “Blast from the Past.”  Poor Darwin.

 

Smokin’ Alone

{Dreary jail time for drinks}

{Dreary jail time for drinks}

Sometimes the weather knows just how you feel.  It rained this last Sunday (July 28) during our usual Stooptails time.  Ya know why?  Because Jess was out of town. She’s in Barcelona and, with the weather, I am meloncholy (hmm, note to self: plan drink involving melon.  Oops, back to being sad).

My original cocktail idea for this week involved rum, lemonade and ginger ale. If you’re ever trying to create your own drinks don’t tell anyone you’re considering anything involving rum and the word ginger.  I had at least three people tell me, “that sounds like a Dark & Stormy.”  I confess that about all I knew of a Dark & Stormy was that I thought it involved dark rum, possibly the kind with a seal on the label.  By the third Dark & Stormy comment (and after I looked up the recipe) I had to hold back a reply of my own, “Well, you know what? It’s not. It’s not a freakin’ Dark & Stormy!  So bite me! And by the way, your shoes are ugly!”  But I didn’t say any of that.

However, that was when the booze gods intervened.  I’m cramming to read as many plays as possible before I start an acting conservatory in September. There’s a line in Langston Hughes’s play Tambourines To Glory

Big-Eyed Buddy (aka the Devil) says, “Only squares drink ginger ale with scotch, sugar.”

Stoop-guy Chris and I have a about eight different single-malt scotches in our apartment. One — Ledaig — had been lingering for awhile due to its heavy smoky flavor and, well, (covering the ears of the Ledaig bottle) its not-so-easy drinkability.  It seemed appropriate that a meloncholy, square kitten such as myself should work with that and hang out in the entryway, separated from the stoop by bars, Smokin’ Alone:

  • 1 part Ledaig ( since Stooptails is easy-going, you just use any whisky you want, but the smoky flavor was kinda cool)
  • 2 parts natural ginger ale
  • 2 parts lemonade/iced tea (I accidentally picked up peach flavor and I recommend that)
  • 1 part seltzer or sparkling water/club soda

Combine whisky and lemonade/iced tea (thank you, Arnold Palmer) with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for about ten seconds or until the outside is as cold as you like. Strain into glass, add ginger ale and fresh ice and stir in seltzer.

Evening’s Theme Song – the sound of hard rain hitting asphalt and running down a Brooklyn gutter.

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – Daddy-O, I was only satiated with sorrow.

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

I determined (through a long, deep discussion with myself) that Stooptails is, at its core, not about booze or Brooklyn. It’s about making time for what keeps us sane — laughing with friends, venting the week’s frustrations and then making fun of those who frustrate us, celebrating each other’s victories no matter the size (because running one more mile than you’ve ever run before really is a big deal).

I hope that readers try the Stooptails we develop as we progress through this blog. And I especially hope they try them in the company of good friends.

Blinded by Lime

{The only way to break a heat wave}

{The only way to break a heat wave}

{This post is brought to you by Glutino. Yay GF snacks!}

{This post is brought to you by Glutino. Yay GF snacks!}

{So easily amused by friends with eye patches on}

{So easily amused by friends with eye patches on}

Mom called it “garbage night.”  When we were kids, about every fourth day was when mom had to purge the ‘fridge of leftovers. Everything was laid out and reheated and you mixed and matched what you wanted. Stooptails, like garbage night, was started to get rid of random alcohols we had.

This week’s Stooptail started with the fact that Stoop-guy Chris had been roped into buying a bottle of Campari by the guy at the liquor store. The guy suggested it when Chris asked what mixers should be a staple in your home bar.

If you are like us and you have seen Campari at bars but never knew what flavor it was, I suspect you’re like most of the known world…including the people who make it. When we googled “Campari” the first two things we saw were the Campari website with this sentence, “The unique and unmistakable Campari flavor, the basis of cocktails served all over the world” and “Campari is an alcoholic liqueur, considered an apéritif, obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water”.  Uh-huh. Well, that told us a fat lot of nothing.

For the record, the flavor of Campari is bitter and weird. And bitter.

Since Jessica also wanted blueberry-infused vodka we started with those two ingredients. When the original recipe resulted in something bitter, yet somehow flavorless, we started searching through Jess’s ‘fridge to see what we could use to make a drink with Campari that actually tasted good.

By the end, the kitchen counter had enough liquids spilled on it to be a mixer on its own, Jess would have left my retinas scarred with citrus juice if it hadn’t been for the barrier of my prescription glasses, and we came up with Blinded by Lime:

  • ½ shot of Campari
  • 1 shot of blueberry-infused vodka (one pint fresh blueberries, muddled in half a fifth of vodka and chilled in the refrigerator for at least six hours, preferably overnight)
  • 2 shots San Pellegrino mineral water
  • 2 shots hard apple cider (ours was naturally fermented, which means it was a container of apple cider that had been in Jess’s ‘fridge since Thanksgiving of last year. That’s not a date used for humor, it really had been in there that long.)
  • ¼ lime

Combine Campari, vodka, apple cider in cocktail shaker with ice and shake about 10 seconds or until the outside of the shaker is as cold as you like. Strain into glasses, add San Pellegrino, squeeze in lime and add fresh ice. Drop in a few blueberries.

Evening’s Theme Song – It’s Too Hot For Words” by Billie Holiday

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – Glutino pretzels, soft and hard cheeses, crackers and chocolate covered strawberries, which are stupidly simple to make and never fail to impress. Just make sure your strawberries are dry; even drops of water will mess with the consistency of melted chocolate.

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

  • Gluten-free pizza is like methadone. You don’t really want it but if the alternative messes you up, you’ll take it.
  • Eating while very drunk (aka “drunk eating”) make you look like a dog with peanut butter on the roof of its mouth. This was realized after guest drinker, Jen, described other guest drinker and her husband, Doyle’s actions while attempting to eat pizza after a night of bar-hopping. Hand/mouth coordination is lost and food is guided toward the mouth in any direction except straight on. Exaggerated chewing also is displayed.
  • Jess shared with us that she has twice heard someone in the building on the other side of the backyard having sex loud enough to make her blush and leave the room. We estimated it’s about half a block distance between the buildings. We determined that when we finally leave New York, nothing will surprise us.
  • Guest-drinker, Jen, shared the story of her trip to Amsterdam with her 21-year-old cousin whose bucket list for the trip was: “Reefer. Hookers. Anne Frank Museum.” in that order. Despite the fact that the story involved him in the shower at 4:30 a.m. repeating expletives in a low moan like some kind of dipsomanical Gregorian chant, we think he’ll evolve into a smart person just for the Anne Frank bit.

Hot Mess

{We were so discombobulated we forgot to take the drink photo till late in the session}

{We were so discombobulated we forgot to take the drink photo till late in the session}

{Ruby Jo will never say no to blood & bones}

{Ruby Jo will never say no to blood & bones}

{Stoop Doggy Dog Darwin gets his pirate on}

{Stoop Doggy Dog Darwin gets his pirate on}

You know what part of you should never generate sweat?  The backs of your knees. Seriously, when you’re doing nothing, literally nothing, but standing and feel sweat sliding down your calves from the backs of your knees it’s too damned hot. Why on earth does that part of the body need pronounced sweat glands, anyway?

New York’s current “moist where you shouldn’t be” heatwave had us off our game this week. We were tired and plagued with various headaches or stomach aches. We ended up tweaking our intended recipe. Ingredients were purchased, then discarded. Several variations were attempted. Dogs were forced to wear eyepatches. This kind of heat drives people to madness. This kind of heat leaves you with a Hot Mess:

  • 1 part tequila
  • 2 parts ruby red grapefruit-tangerine juice (we purchased it from the store as opposed to making a home blend)
  • 1 part orange juice (squeezing half an orange gave us about one shot)
  • 2 parts seltzer or club soda
  • 1/8 lime
  • honey and sugar to rim the glasses

Put enough honey on a small plate to dip the rim of your glass in. Do the same on a second plate with sugar. You can also wet the rim with water before dipping it in the sugar but we find honey makes it stick better. However, don’t do what OGD (original guest drinker) Karoline did and use too much honey. This makes for a cool effect but a messy glass.

Combine tequila and both juices in a shaker with ice and shake till the shaker feels cold. Strain into glass, add seltzer/club soda and squeeze in lime slice. Gently stir and add fresh ice.

{Too much honey equal cool effect}

{Too much honey equals cool effect}

Evening’s Theme Song – “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” by Loretta Lynn

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – This week’s Stooptails was brought to you by Tostitos.  Their Hint of Lime Flavored Corn Tortilla Chips and Zesty Taco Dip are both gluten-free.  Store-bought guacamole made its way on to the stoop but I’ll be honest, I can’t say, “No way” to guacamole. Kettle corn finally made an appearance but in the heat it seemed a little too much on the sweet side. And thanks to a layover in the Nashville Airport following a Myrtle Beach getaway, some Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee visited the stoop (gotta say, however, it doesn’t hold a candle to last week’s Fraktals. I considered selling one of Jessica’s kidneys to get enough money for a lifetime supply of Fraktals).

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

  • RoadID – Nothing more relaxing than hanging  with friends, snacking and drinking, and discussing the consequences of being mowed down by a car while running. RoadID is a super simple way to have emergency info available. If you run or bike you should have one. If your friends or family know you run or bike and haven’t purchased one for you…they don’t love you.
  • Coming up with a good blog title can be tougher than writing your wedding vows. OGD Karoline is revamping her blog but is having a bear of a time with the name. (And this is not one of those cute baby bear cubs like the kind presented by zoo keepers. This is an angry, angry bear who just lost three Gs to raccoons during poker night.)  A front runner was “Books & Balance”  because she’s a teacher who reads (and reviews) during the week and gets fit on the weekend.  As of press time things were still undecided.
  • Jessica and OGD Kar decided the style and attitude from the borough of Queens can be summed up with the phrase “Let it blow”.  While at the Rockaways Karoline narrowly escaped serious injury when an uprooted beach umbrella blew towards them and jabbed her in the hand.  The owner of the umbrella (who was fishing, so he wasn’t even under it) retrieved the bumbershoot of death and wordlessly shrugged. Makes me wonder if pirates were forced to wear eyepatches after careless beach umbrella accidents.

Best quotes of the evening:

  • “It sucks being out an eye.”
  • “Can you Clorox Wipe a dog? Because I would if I could.”
  • “I just want a regular bear.”

Natural Progression

Natural Progression, brought to you by watermelon and Pretzel Crisps

{Natural Progression, brought to you by watermelon and Pretzel Crisps}

{masters of disguise}

{Masters of disguise}

{The life of a Freegan}

{The life of a Freegan}

We announced that naming a drink must be an organic process; one should not force a name on a drink. “Like a natural progression” my boyfriend, the chef, said. So, with that logic in mind, we give you the Natural Progression:

  • 1 shot of cucumber-infused gin (we infused our bottle with sliced cucumber and ginger over night). The longer you let the gin infuse and the better ingredients you use, the better it’s likely to taste.
  • Fresh mint for muddling
  • approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar (this was off the cuff for us, so start with a little and move up from there depending on how sweet you like your drink)
  • One lime
  • Tonic or soda water

Muddle the mint with sugar and just enough gin to make it moist, then add muddled mint and sugar to glass. Fill glass with ice cubes, then add infused gin and fill with tonic or soda water. Garnish with a slice of lime and slices of gin-infused cucumber.

Note: we did not measure our gin using a jigger. Drunkenness ensued.

Evening’s Theme Song – “North Side Gal” JD McPherson from our new favorite Seattle-based radio station.

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – Watermelon, Pretzel Chips, corn tortilla chips & salsa, hummus. I learned that it’s not funny to add non-gluten free snacks (Pretzel Chips) to Stooptails snacks when serving a Natural Progression (drunkenness and monitoring Maria’s food aversions don’t mix. I wonder if she’ll ever forgive me.)

Things determined, decided upon and discussed:

  • The Natural Progression is the most dangerous cocktail we’ve made thus far. It could’ve been the 95 degree heat (or the fact that we didn’t measure our pours), but it’s so refreshing, it went down a little too easily.
  • Stoop-Guy Chris (Maria’s weird runner husband) is hoping to run the 2015 100-mile Western States Endurance race. These were the replies he received: Guest Drinker (our original guest drinker, Karoline’s, boyfriend Jeff): “I broke four miles today!” The Chef: “I drove that distance last weekend and I was tired.” We’re all behind ya, Chris.
  • Endurance runner Charlie Engel is crazy. After running across the Sahara Desert and the U.S., he spent 16 months in jail for mortgage fraud. In trying to remember Charlie’s name, we discussed Karoline’s dad, Richard Engel, who works at GE and received highly-classified e-mails from the folks at NBC when journalist Richard Engel was a hostage. Lesson learned: I have early-onset memory loss and anyone who does things to the extreme ends up in jail.
  • What we decided we’d all go to jail for: Stoop-Guy: “killing someone with my bare hands so other inmates would think I’m too crazy to mess with,” me: pulling off an Ocean’s 11-worthy heist,” Guest Drinker: “anything but tax evasion, because that’s lame,” Maria: “something illegal but morally right, like overthrowing an evil dictator. She’d later be busted out by the A-Team,” Karoline: “something lame, but completely epic and flamboyant when she does it, like dine and dash on a $100,000 restaurant tab” The Chef: “something disturbing, like a really creative killing that will later inspire a movie character” (my boyfriend, folks).
  • Stoop-sitting has its practical uses: checking out the free books, movies and CDs left over from our neighbor’s yard sale.
  • Add this to your bucket list: an Outstanding in the Field dinner.
  • Last week was so hot, Guest Drinker took 11 showers in four days. We all guessed less.
  • Don’t eat cucumber garnishes that have been soaking in gin for 24 hours. It’ll add to the drunkenness.
  • Don’t drink Grappa unless you’re a guy. The girls in attendance weren’t into it.

And our favorite quote: “I can’t see because I have an eyepatch on,” from our favorite guest drinker, Karoline. This is why she’s always allowed on the stoop.

 

 

Everything’s Fine

{Everything’s Fine}

HB and Ruby

{HB and Ruby – Behind bars where it’s safer for everyone}

You know how sometimes when you make plans but chaos tries to interfere and by ignoring chaos your plans work out just as you thought they would? (It helps if you say “yes” at this point.) This week’s Stooptails played out very much like that.

And the cocktail’s name reflects that – Everything’s Fine

The guest Random Bottle of Booze was Creme de Cacao (also knows as Creme de Whatever because no one ever seemed sure of the exact pronunciation).

Equal parts:

  • Brandy
  • Kahlua
  • Creme de Cacao

Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream (Yes, you should use B&J’s because less air is whipped in making it more dense and it melts slowly.)

Combine first three ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake about ten seconds or until the outside is chilled to your desire. Strain into wide mouth glass and top with large spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s. We discovered that as the B&J’s slowly melts it seeps into the drink, not only adding to the flavor but acting as ice to keep the drink cool.

Evening’s Theme Song“Perpetual Blues Machine” by Keb Mo

Evening’s Stoop Snacks – Popcorn. This was supposed to be Kettle corn but the store didn’t have any; however, as our theme reflected, everything was fine. The saltiness of the popcorn complimented the sweetness of the drink (and Jess’s chef-boyfriend, Eric, told me how to pop microwave popcorn in a pot on the stove). Snack two: A “spectacular chocolate cashew buttercrunch” knows as Fraktals. A friend brought me a bag from Canada and this stuff is like the meth of the candy world. Seriously, order yourself some. Now.

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

While in Provincetown, MA for the weekend with boyfriend Chef Eric, Darwin Dog, and rainy weather, Jess learned the following:

  • Theme weeks are very common in P-town. They do not, however, consist of themes like we had for high school spirit week. No Western Week or Wear Your Clothes Backwards theme. No. Definitely not those types of themes.
  • When you realize that your boyfriend’s idea of driving on the beach to come get you will not end well – verbalize this. It can take up to two hours to get a 2005 Nissan Altima out of the sand.
  • It’s a safe bet to assume a man is gay when he’s playing the piano and singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” to a Golden Retriever.

During Stooptails, we learned the following:

  • Four dogs, five people, two grumpy neighbors, and a pizza delivery guy make things a bit chaotic but in the end you’re with friends and…everything’s fine.
  • Commit to your crazy. Old female neighbors in housecoats – one on either side, mind you – just stare at you when you’re having a good time. Don’t be wishy-washy! Stand on your stoop and shake a broom at us, or something. (And for the record, we weren’t even being loud.)
  • One of the best games to play on the New York subway is “Gay or European?”  There will always be at least one dashingly handsome, slim man, dressed impeccably no matter the weather and you and your friends have to figure out if he’s a gay local or a European tourist before he speaks and reveals the truth.
{Trying to be a gentleman will just get you stuck in the sand}

{Trying to be a gentleman will just get you stuck in the sand}

Daft Pink

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{Daft Pink}

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{Guest drinker}

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{DJ Stoop Doggy Dog}

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{Peaceful part of the beach}

There’s an expression, that I can’t quite recall, used when you address a topic and then the universe brings it back around to you not long after. I think it’s something like, “When you address a topic the universe often brings it back around to you not long after”. Or something like that.

In our previous post, we mentioned names one should avoid when naming one’s child. Madison was on the list. Proof for our argument manifested on Sunday when our quiet day at the beach was overrun by a family of howler monkeys.

As if the Juicy Couture baby carriage they slogged through the sand wouldn’t have suitably summed up the personality types that had descended ten feet from our peaceful nest, their cluelessness drove it home.

They were bafflingly loud. And repetitive. Any given question was asked an average of five times. It was like having a parrot for a waiter. “Do you want some chicken? There’s some chicken; do you want some? Do you want some rice? I brought chicken. It’s in the  plastic container. It’s in there with the rice. Do you want to go down to the water?”

These were not separate spread out questions/statements; they were strung together in one long monologue. A figure-eight infinity loop of chicken and rice and going down to the water, spoken at a volume one might use if next to a Cessna single prop. And the first time the mother called to her very young daughter our group had a moment of staring at each other, disbelievingly. “Madison! Do you want to go down to the water?”

We were nearly impaled, twice mind you, by one of their beach umbrellas that was dislodged by the wind. The first time, they didn’t notice we had it until a good couple of minutes passed. They were very sorry. We know this because they loudly professed their apology…three times. We lasted thirty minutes before pretending to leave for the day, when actually we moved down the beach to find the Rockaways’ non-howler monkey section.

Needless to say, when we got home we were ready for drinks. This week’s stooptail was named after a surreal giggle-inducing moment when we were at yoga on Saturday. The teacher had some kind of random mix going. How random? Two examples: Fleetwood Mac and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”  I can honestly say I’ve never held Downward Dog while murmur-singing about trying to get laid.

We present a Daft Pink:

Equal parts:

  • Tequila
  • Triple sec
  • Lemonade
  • Blueberry juice (in our case it was leftover juice that had been strained from simmering blueberries while making pie filling earlier in the week, so there was sugar mixed in).
  • Club soda or seltzer water

Combine all ingredients except the club soda/seltzer in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake about ten seconds or until container gets cold enough to your liking. Strain into glass and add club soda and fresh ice.

This week’s guest drink, Karoline, thought pomegranate-blueberry juice would taste good too, in place of the blueberry (especially since not everyone will be baking blueberry pies close to the time they’re making cocktails).

Evening’s Theme Song – “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk 

Evening’s  Stoop Snacks – Homemade seven-layer dip and a Daft Pink go very well together. Dark Chocolate M & Ms kinda don’t go with either, but they’re awesome so they’re allowed to stay. And watermelon is joy in fruit form. It should be invited to every event. Hitler probably never had watermelon as a child. If you’re ever audited, bring watermelon.

Things determined, decided upon, and discussed:

  • We should all try to live with the same joy and abandon as that naked toddler we saw running on the beach.
  • We should not be afraid to use as much sunblock as guest drinker Karoline’s boyfriend, Jeff. So much sunblock that it never quite soaks in and you end up looking like a hungover mime.
  • The topic of water containers/fuel belts used for long distance runs can take on Middle East Peace Talk seriousness and length after a couple of Daft Pinks. (Guest drinker Karoline will be running her first marathon – the 2013 NYC. Jess will be running with team ASPCA in the Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon. I will be doing the Disney Tower of Terror 10-miler that starts at 10 p.m. so I don’t have to wake up early for a race. And ever-present stoop-guy, Chris, will have about 31 marathons under his belt come that time. (We think Stoop-guy Chris is weird.)
  • If there is a guest drinker of the week that person shall drink from the Hear-No-Evil Monkey Cup. If there is a male present he shall wear an eye patch (procured from the same bar as the aforementioned monkey cup).

Odd quotes you walk in on that make you regret having left the stoop:

  • “The carrots are in the mailbox.”
  • “Darwin has changed his name to DJ Stoop Doggy Dog.”
  • “The gym’s yoga mats look just like Tijuana blankets, we had to pull out the tequila for a picture.”

The Rockaway Sunburn

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{Welcome to Stooptails, Darwin. Enjoy a summer in the foyer}

For as long as there has been modern Brooklyn, there have been stoops (before that it was Breuckelen and stoeps). The word’s origin can be described as, “an uncovered platform before the entrance of a house, raised and approached by means of steps.”

Here in Brooklyn , there are stoop sales and stoop talk. It’s the understood area where you leave things you want to give away. It’s where you dump your cheating ex-’s stuff so people will think you’re giving those things away and damn-straight that cheating ex- will think twice before two-timing with that bartender at that bar down on 5th Ave…if that sort of thing were ever to happen.

And come summer, the stoop is where you hang out. Summer is a time for trying new things, is it not? Over here on 22nd Street, my neighbor and I have ushered in a tradition of Sunday cocktails (or Stooptails) on our front steps to ring in warm weather and help ourselves get over the fact that we have no outdoor space to call our own. We’ve decided that enjoying summer evenings entails sitting on the stoop, pulling out the snacks, mixing up some tasty drinks and letting our pups sulk on the other side of our storm door till they fall asleep. And how was our maiden venture into stoop bartender-dom, you ask? A rousing freakin’ success.

Here’s the recipe for our first concoction, named for one of our favorite summer hangouts and the unfortunate result of what happens when one gets distracted after applying only one part of the body with SPF-anything…The Rockaway Sunburn:

◦   1 part vodka

◦   1 part triple sec

◦   2 parts mango/pineapple/guava juice (or any fruit juice combination you have)

◦   Splash of seltzer water

◦   Fresh ripe raspberries for garnish (we muddled about a pint and a half and added them to a fifth of vodka about two hours prior to give it extra flavor. Muddling can be done with a proper muddler bar tool, done gently with a mortar and pestle, or done with a fork in a bowl just lightly enough to mush up the berries.)

Combine vodka, triple sec and juice in cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds or until you feel the outside of the shaker reach the level of coldness you like. Strain into glass with ice, add that splash of seltzer and top with a few raspberries. Gather your snacks and go sit outside!

Conversation and music are vital parts of the Stooptails experience.  For our inaugural evening we spun up Spotify and, at one point, my brain focused in on the music and the following was determined:

Evening’s Theme music: “Express Yourself” by Labrinth.   Acoustic version of “Good Life” by Onerepublic (It was that perfect moment of tuning in through a stoop buzz and hearing, “this has gotta be the good life”).

Hanging out on a stoop involves conversation that either slides from topic to topic like oil down the back of an eel, or is yanked frenetically from one subject to another as the Rockaway Sunburns move from two to three servings. Things we determined, decided upon, and discussed:

  • Across the street atop building 290 there is a rooftop garden. It has a trellis. It’s awesome. We secretly hope the woman we see up there enjoying it slips off the roof and plunges to her death so she can’t enjoy it anymore.
  • Pretentious, horrible children’s names. Examples: Skylar, Mason, Madison.  Look, we know that when you tell your friends you’ve chosen to name your unborn child Skylar they’ll say, “What a pretty name.”  But someone needs to tell this to you straight…they’re lying.  Unless they’re missing a tooth and wildly gush, “I LOVE THAT NAME!” In which case, they’re telling the truth. They’re also white trash.
  • Using the term “my partner” to designate your heterosexual boyfriend or girlfriend. The only exception is if you’re a yoga instructor or Stevie Nicks. If you’re neither of these, you sound like you’re a member of a central California commune circa 1971.
  • Yoga…Brooklyn-style. Hearing firetrucks wail by outside and your instructor casually drop the f-bomb are natural. General yoga observation – Bikram instructors are mean. Seriously, Google that sentence and you will get results. We, as creators of Stooptails, prefer Hangover Yoga at The Cobra Club on Wyckoff Ave. The owners run a bar and a yoga studio. They know that some people who do yoga are extremely into their health. They also know some people feel a-ok, loosey-goosey after a drink and that’s a mighty fine attitude with which to start off a yoga class.
  • A beautiful woman walked by. She cast a sour look in our direction – I can’t say why. The stoop buzz gave me the ability to not harbor any animosity; I feel bad for her. She doesn’t understand the good life associated with stooptails.
  • We learned about Johnny “Dogs” and his Italian mastiffs. Apparently, back in the day when our landlord was a kid you couldn’t do anything bad without it being reported back to your parents by a neighbor. And God forbid that neighbor was Johnny. His mastiffs had heads the size of bowling balls. I know there was more to the story but the stooptails make things fuzzy. Just believe that hearing about a man named Johnny “Dogs” from a Brooklyn born Italian-American as the sun is setting, and the sirens are crooning far in the distance and the vodka and hummus are mixing as they should (and on a stoop, vodka and hummus mix, trust me), you know that you are living the good life.

*To donate to the cleanup and rebuilding of the Rockaways or to learn about volunteer opportunities, click here.