Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tea

I love me a good cup of tea.  I grew up drinking tea and like most tea drinkers, I have strong feelings on what makes a good cup and can be a little obnoxious about it.  It’s my tea or the high seas, I say (<– I don’t actually say this).

I’m Irish. I’m allowed to have an opinion on tea.

First, some background: my mom’s mom is from Ireland and the Irish love them some tea.  In my family, tea is served constantly – any time anyone stops by, at family gatherings, before meals, after meals, during meals.  The kettle is always on.

This Father Ted clip pretty much sums up Irish people and tea (and cake).  (And if you haven’t yet seen Father Ted, please Netflix that biz immediately.)

You’ll have a cuppa tea. Ah, you will. Ah, go on.

The Irish tea tradition, as I understand it from my own family, is different from the British tradition, where people drink tea with lemon and honey and sugar and things like that.  Irish people drink tea with milk and maybe some sugar.  No lemon slices.  No honey. Also, we like our tea strong – none of this weak tea business.

Given my upbringing, my taste in tea is rather narrow.  In my house (and in my grandparents’ house, and in my cousins’ and aunts’ and uncles’ houses) you’re probably only going to find one brand of tea: Red Rose.  Red Rose, as it turns out, is not actually an Irish tea.  It’s actually from – wait for it – Canada. Who knew?  But, like Irish tea from Ireland, it’s made up of a blend of several black teas from Kenya, Ceylon, India, and Indonesia.  So Red Rose tea tastes Irish.  Plus, in every box of Red Rose tea, there’s an adorable figurine – beat that, Barry’s Tea.

Anyway.  I like a strong cup of black tea with milk. For many years, I could handle very little else in the tea department. I’d have the occasional cup of green tea because it’s good for me and has an inoffensive flavor, and I’d always drink tea at a Japanese restaurant, but I never went in for anything exotic, flowery, or fruity.  I still don’t.  And I take active offense to herbal “tea.”  My husband was laboring under the delusion, before we met, that his beloved cup of “peppermint tea” was actually tea – it’s not. Sorry, honey. It’s an herbal infusion, which contains no tea and therefore will not pass my lips.

However, living in other countries has forced me to broaden my tea horizons a little bit.  In Argentina, I got way into yerba mate, which is actually an infusion of leaves and twigs from the yerba tree.  Sounds gross, but is actually delicious and causes pleasant heart palpitations!

And I’ve even tried rooibos, which is a tea native to the Western Cape province of South Africa and is quite popular here (although I tried it for the first time at a Starbucks in DC before I left).  Turns out, though, that rooibos is actually a tisane, which, according to Wikipedia, is “a catch-all term for any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material.”   Hm.  Nonetheless, South Africans drink their rooibos with milk, which makes me think it might not be so bad.

What’s your favorite kind of tea/tisane/infusion?  Do you share my distaste for anything herbal? Are you going to run out and buy some Red Rose tea right now?  I hope so.

I’ll leave you with this odd little cocktail recipe I found online – instead of an Irish Coffee, it’s an Irish Tea:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs loose black tea, or 1 tea bag
  • 1 oz whisky
  • 1 oz milk or cream
  • 1 tsp sugar

Preparation:

Brew tea in hot water for 3-5 minutes, then strain out tea. Add whiskey and other ingredients, then serve.

Yum.

Book review Tuesday: My Life in France (Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme)

As a writer, I feel that it’s part of my job to constantly read.  Which is good, because I would do this anyway.  Even during my law school and attorney days, after long days of reading dry-as-a-bone legal documents and cases, I’d come home and read fiction for hours. In fact, looking back over my twenty-five or so years of literacy, I can’t remember a single period where I wasn’t reading at least one book for pleasure. Simply put, I can’t imagine my life without good books.

In that spirit, and in the interest of keeping things spicy here on the blog, I am going to introduce the occasional book review.  I can’t promise the reviews will be weekly or even monthly, but I’ll try to write about books that struck a chord with me.

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Over the past few months of intensive international travel (first to Asia and now to Africa) involving long hauls on planes, I’ve torn through quite a few excellent books, some of which I’ll probably discuss here eventually.  But one of these books in particular struck just the right note of being inspiring, entertaining, and educational: My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme.

My Life in France is Julia Child’s memoir, which she co-wrote with Prud’homme, her husband’s nephew.  It covers the early years of her marriage, when she and her husband Paul were newlyweds living in post-World War II Paris, all the way through Julia’s immense success as a cookbook writer and TV personality, to Paul’s death in 1994.

Along the way, Julia and Paul lived in a number of places thanks to Paul’s job as an exhibits officer for the US State Department, including Marseilles, Norway, Germany, and Washington, DC.  But it was Paris that stole their hearts.  It’s clear from Julia’s writing about her time in Paris that the city, even in its bedraggled state after the war, was her soul’s true home.  The city energized and inspired her. She loved the language, the people, the wine, and, most importantly, the food.

Julia started off as a novice in the kitchen and, inspired by the food in France, decided to teach herself to cook.  She describes the initial process this way:

Surrounded by gorgeous food, wonderful restaurants, and a kitchen at home –and an appreciative audience in my husband – I began to cook more and more.  In the late afternoon, I would wander along the quay from the Chambre des Députés to Notre Dame, poking my nose into shops and asking the merchants about everything.  I’d bring home oysters and bottles of Montlouis-Perle de la Touraine, and would then repair to my third-floor cuisine, where I’d whistle over the stove and try my hand at ambitious recipes, such as veal with turnips in a special sauce.

Eventually, Julia went on to the Cordon Bleu to receive her formal training.  She then began to collaborate with two Frenchwomen, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, on a cookbook designed to teach American home cooks how to make French food (which later became Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which sits on my own bookshelf today).  The rest, as they say, is history, but it was great fun to read about how she made the transformation from home cook to famous chef, author, and television personality.  Part of the secret to her success, as it turns out, was good old-fashioned obsessiveness and attention to detail.  The lady did not give up until she was happy with the result, and it paid off.

What I loved most about this book – apart from its absolutely charming descriptions of day-to-day life in 1950s Paris and the mouthwatering dishes that Julia both created and consumed – was the picture it painted of Julia’s marriage to Paul.  They had a true partnership.  Paul encouraged Julia in her cooking, helping her to set up her kitchen at home and later to photograph her dishes for her cookbook manuscript.  And Julia supported Paul in his career, which was often frustrating and demoralizing.

They also had a tremendous amount of fun together, traveling the French countryside, cooking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company.  Julia describes traveling in Italy with her family, without Paul, and how different it felt from her trips with Paul:

Paul and I liked to travel at the same slow pace. He always knew so much about things, discovered hidden wonders, noticed ancient walls or indigenous smells, and I missed his warm presence.  Once upon a time I had been content as a single woman, but now I couldn’t stand it! . . . When we returned to Paris on May 3, I fell into Paul’s arms and squeezed him tight.

Julia and Paul’s annual Valentine’s Day card from their time in Germany

Julia and Paul both worked hard but also greatly valued their time with friends and family.  They hosted parties, organized weekend getaways, and attended dinners.  They cultivated close relationships with a variety of people and were loyal, thoughtful friends.  Perhaps my favorite paragraph in the entire book is the following, describing Julia and Paul’s decision to travel to France in 1963 to see friends, despite Julia’s incredibly busy TV and writing schedule:

“I just don’t know if we have the time for a trip to France right now,” I sighed.  Paul nodded.

But then we looked at each other and repeated a favorite phrase from our diplomatic days: “Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people!’”  In other words, friendship is the most important thing – not career or housework, or one’s fatigue – and it needs to be tended and nurtured.  So we packed up our bags and off we went. And thank heaven we did!

I love that attitude, don’t you?  Al and I also try to prioritize people over other things – life is so short and relationships are so precious – but this can be difficult to remember when career and chores and other stresses threaten to overwhelm.

This book felt particularly of the moment for me when I read it a few weeks ago.  Like me, Julia accompanied her (supportive, loving) husband to a new place because of his job.  She was not content to be a housewife and so she set out to do something productive and enjoyable with her time.  For Julia, it was French cooking, and for me, it’s writing.

I wrote a bit here about how I’m trying to take a page out of Julia’s book and throw myself head first into my work, my marriage, and my new surroundings.  So far, so good, although I feel confident in saying that Johannesburg in 2012 is a bit more of a challenge in the charm department than Paris in 1948.  But even if Joburg isn’t my soul’s true home, it may just be the place that I start to make my dreams come true.  And I’m so grateful to Julia Child for the inspiration.

Drakensberg Mountains

This weekend marked our first real weekend away from Joburg, and it was all I hoped it could be.  Al and I and three friends (Josh, Ken, and Elli) spent the weekend hiking, braai-ing, and drinking in the Drakensberg Mountains and, let me tell you, it was glorious.

The Drakensberg Mountains run along the western edge of the KwaZulu-Natal province and also border Lesotho.  There are a lot of resorts in the Drakensbergs, but we decided to stay in the Royal Natal National Park, which, according to my guidebook, “is famous for its exceptionally grand scenery.”  This turned out to be no joke.

View from our hike

However, reaching the park was no easy feat.  The drive from Joburg was a harrowing five-hour ordeal involving a two-lane highway full of slow moving trucks and fast-moving cars, long stretches of unsealed/unpaved roads littered with potholes, and, for most of the trip, pouring rain.  Oh, also, we left Johannesburg at 7 pm – probably not the wisest choice, in retrospect.   We made it, though!

We stayed right in the park in the uber-charming Thendele resort.  The five of us rented a self-catered, six-person cottage with a fireplace, TV, kitchen, and, most important, outdoor braai area.  Priorities!

This was the view from our cottage’s back patio.

Our cottage:

It was okay, I guess.

After staying up until 2 am on Friday drinking wine and eating biltong, we got up at 9 am on Saturday, ate a filling breakfast, and then set out on what ended up being a rather epic four-hour hike.  The hike took us past several waterfalls and required that we scramble up wet, moss-covered rocks and ascend a chain ladder.  For those of you who have never climbed a thin, swaying chain ladder set against slick, wet rocks, go ahead and skip it.  We all pretended we weren’t scared by it, but I’m reasonably sure we all secretly thought we were going to die on that ladder.

View from “The Crack”

On our way back down from the midway point of the hike, we were passed by a group of very tough looking Afrikaner guys wearing compression leggings and huge backpacks, who informed us, quite gravely, that “the pressure is dropping” and that we needed to get back down the slippery rocks before it started pouring rain. Then they jogged up the rocks and we lost sight of them.

When they passed us again ten minutes later, going back down, one of them – in his eagerness to outrun the dropping pressure, I imagine – slipped on the rocks and fell so hard on his back that we all gasped and cringed, sure that we had just witnessed a spinal fracture. “Are you okay?” we all asked him.  “Fine,” he said cheerily, as he popped back up, brushed himself off, determined that he had no broken bones, and continued on down the rocks at a brisk clip.  These Afrikaners don’t mess around.

After our hike, we uncorked some wine and settled in for a braai – salads, steaks, sausage, garlic bread, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, and even cookies for dessert.  Stuffing myself silly with wine and food has become my main weekend activity here, but what am I supposed to do, not partake in the local delights? That would just be culturally insensitive.

This guy, and his friend, decided to join us for our braai. He was very bold:

Guinea fowl?

After stuffing ourselves with food, we went inside and started a fire, and, of course, drank more wine. Are you seeing a pattern here?

The only thing missing? S’mores.  I’m thinking s’mores need to become a braai staple. I also realized this is the second blog post in which I’ve mentioned s’mores. I might have a problem.

Some other highlights of the trip, for me, included several baboon sightings and this sign warning us not to feed said baboons:

I also saw this in the park’s “curio shop,” and had to really make an effort not to buy it.  By the way, what do we think – is headache powder to be snorted, or applied directly to the head? I couldn’t decide.

All in all, a great weekend.  South Africa is feeling more and more live-able every day.

Weekend away

We’re taking a weekend trip to the scenic Drakensberg mountains and will be gone until Sunday afternoon. So there will be no blog updates this weekend, but I’ll be sure to fill you all in as soon as I’m back.

In the meantime, please enjoy this ridiculous photo of some of the services offered at the beauty salon next to my gym.  I better make my appointment soon!

Enjoy your weekends!

Driving

Big day, guys.  Today, Al and I became the proud owners of a 2008 Toyota Yaris.  We went to the “car dealership” (full disclosure: it’s a repo lot) this morning and then I attempted to drive myself back home, following Al.

But first we had to get gas at a specific gas station, because the dealership/repo lot had given us a voucher for 100 R worth of petrol at a nearby filling station.  They told us the station was easy to get to: “You just go right, then right, then right.” That seemed easy enough.  I got behind the wheel of the new car and Al drove the rental and we set off to find the gas station.

Next thing we knew, we were driving through Alexandra (known as Alex), a township in Joburg.  This was not ideal.  It was my first time driving more than a block on the left side of the road (and on the opposite side of the car) in South Africa, and I immediately was forced to navigate through a sea of people, trucks, motorcycles, and general sketchiness.  Our GPS was chirping at me in an Irish accent to “turn left” and “enter the roundabout” but I couldn’t turn left and didn’t see any roundabouts, so we ended up doing several, highly stressful laps around Alex before we made it to the gas station.

Alex

Good times.

After we finally found the filling station, I followed Al back to our apartment building and we managed not to end up in any more slums.

Before leaving for his office, Al told me I did “great” except to watch for left-hand drift. Huh? Apparently, being accustomed to being on the other side of the car while driving, I tend to drift over to the left while driving here, which is probably a nerve-wracking experience for anyone in the lane next to me. Not for me, though – I was blissfully unaware of any such drifting, and will probably continue to be.

There were also a couple times while I was driving, especially after turns, where I had to remind myself, LEFT SIDE. I want to be driving on the LEFT SIDE.

I’m sure all of this will get easier.  In the meantime, since it’s raining lions and dingos today, I have big plans to take the car to the gym, which is one block away.  It’s good to have wheels!

Politics

I voted early this year and, to my delight and relief, missed most of the election week hubbub, except for the inescapable flood of Facebook posts from friends and acquaintances earnestly urging me to vote, or, even better, to vote for one candidate over another.  Ugh.  I mean, when will people learn that social media is not an appropriate way to influence voter behavior?

[Pause]

And now, for a lengthy blog post on my personal political leanings.

Just kidding. I would never do that to you.

The thing is, I really don’t like politics. I consider myself a political moderate, which makes political discussions of any stripe tiresome for me.  I get annoyed with both conservatives and liberals.  My conservative family thinks I’m a liberal and my liberal friends, I suspect, think I’m a conservative, or, if not an actual conservative, a closet conservative. I’m neither of these things, for the record.  Honestly.

I’m patriotic, not partisan!

For me, talking politics is exhausting, boring, and unproductive, so I don’t do it.  I hate the meaningless catchphrases and tropes that people rely on in political arguments.  I hate the manipulation of facts and the filtering of truth to suit any given agenda. I hate every talking head on TV. I don’t get jazzed about individual candidates unless I know them personally, and even then, I only get so jazzed.

Nonetheless, I am a registered voter (independent, thank you very much) and I have voted in every federal election since I was eighteen.  And to think, I used to be a Michigan voter! Ah, how I miss the days when my vote actually counted.  It’s frustrating to think that I went from being a swing state voter (for my first election in 2000) to voting in California (2004 and 2008), and now DC (2012).  Well, at least it feels good to vote, even if I might as well throw my ballot into a giant bonfire and cook s’mores over it for all the difference it’ll make. Mmm. S’mores.

Whether my vote made any difference or not, I woke up this morning to find that President Obama was reelected. It wasn’t until I saw it on the news that I consciously realized how much I cared about the outcome of this election and allowed myself to feel relief.  But that was all I felt: relief.  No jubilation, no exaltation, no dancing in the streets.  Like Obama said, there’s a lot of work to be done. Duh.

Now that the election’s over, I’m most looking forward to the slowing up of the deluge of obnoxious Facebook and twitter posts, both celebratory and teeth-gnashing, that I’ve had to wade through today.  These people and their political posts – the sheer nerve!

Anyway – If you’re looking for something fun and non-political to check out today, please enjoy this video of a Corgi jumping into a lake.  I promise it’ll make you smile.

The Wizard of Loneliness

The Wizard of Loneliness was the title of a book I read in middle school.  I remember literally nothing about the book other than the title.  I even looked it up on Amazon and read the description and still didn’t remember anything about it.  It obviously made a big impression on me.  Nonetheless, the title popped into my head today because I’ve been thinking a lot about loneliness.

Being lonely when you’re actually alone somewhere is a heavy burden, and I’ve experienced it several times.  I’ve brought it on myself, of course.  Over the past eight years or so, I’ve had the habit of showing up places where I know absolutely no one – or close to absolutely no one – and staying a while.  I did this in Cuba (2004), Argentina (2009), and Brazil (2005 and 2010).  The times I’ve felt most acutely lonely in my life were these times, when I found myself in a foreign country with few friends and, even worse, few distractions.

I distinctly remember dreading Sundays in Brazil, both times that I lived there, because Sundays are family days, when Brazilians get together with their loved ones to eat long lunches, drink beer, and catch up.  On Sundays, I’d take myself to the movies or go to the gym or sit in my apartment doing crossword puzzles, waiting for the day to be over.

When I went back to Brazil in 2010 for work, I wasn’t prepared for the riptide of loneliness that sucked me out to sea as soon as I got there.  It was easier the first time I had moved by myself to Brazil, in 2005, because I had been truly alone – no boyfriend back home – and I was twenty-three.  It must be said that meeting people tends to be easier when you’re single and twenty-three. But in 2010, I had left behind my then-boyfriend (now husband) and it hurt, almost physically, to know that he was still in Boston with our friends, while I was completely and utterly alone in a city of 20 million people.

It took me a long time to make good friends in Brazil, both times that I lived there.  Making friends as an expat in Sao Paulo requires a Herculean effort.  I forced myself to go to Meetups and Internations events and then forced myself to introduce myself to strangers, to walk up to clusters of people talking and ask if I could join.  I set myself up on blind friend dates.  I accepted every social invitation I received, even if it was for something I didn’t particularly want to do.  Eventually, it paid off, and I made friends, some of whom I’m still close to.  But man, it was hard.

Here in Johannesburg, things are different.  I feel a small tug of loneliness during the day, as I begin to write, take my gym break, eat a solitary lunch, and return to my writing.  Usually, by the time I wrap up my work for the day, there are several long hours before Al will return from work.  Without friends to visit or talk to, those hours can drag by.  But I’m not experiencing loneliness as a lodestone around my neck the way I have before.  I know that, no matter what, on weekends, I have my husband to cook dinner with.  I won’t ever have to go to the movies alone.

But while I relish the solitary lifestyle of the writer (I have always worked best when left alone), I also want to have the option to close my computer and go meet friends for drinks or dinner.  It’s a big burden on Al to have to be my only companion in this country.  Even though he is endlessly fascinating and wonderful and I love being with him, we both realize I’m going to be miserable if I spend the next eight months here without my own group of friends.

So, I’m starting the process again of reaching out, of joining Meetups, of contacting friends of friends.  It’s hard. And slow. And difficult without a car and GPS.  But it’ll happen.  No Wizard of Loneliness in this house.

The Elusive Joburg

I’ve been in Joburg for over a week now and I am still trying to get a sense for the city.  It’s difficult, since, as I mentioned, until we get a car, I’m effectively housebound and can only explore on foot the small radius of shops and restaurants immediately surrounding our apartment complex.  And a girl can only visit the Pick ‘n Pay so many times before things get a bit stale.

But during my two weekends here, Al and I have gotten into our rental car and tried to see some of the city.  The weird thing is, we’ve only actually driven into Joburg itself once or twice.  The rest of the time, we’ve stayed in the suburbs (one of which, Craighall Park, we live in).  The suburbs are quite spread out and the gathering places, for the most part, seem to be fancy shopping malls.  Consequently, my experience of Joburg so far has largely consisted of driving from one fancy shopping mall to another.  The malls are lovely, but I crave an actual city with a street life and neighborhoods and freestanding shops and restaurants.  I know this must exist somewhere in Joburg but I haven’t found it yet.

On Friday night, for example, Al and I went to a shopping center called Melrose Arch for dinner.  We chose a restaurant called Meatco that specializes in – wait for it – meat.  After an absurdly long wait for our food (over an hour), we found ourselves drunk on red wine and starving.  When our steaks finally came, we devoured them like animals.

Africa-shaped steak (unintentional)

After dinner, we walked to a pop-up bar in the same shopping center.  I found the experience rather disheartening.  The bar, which had the potential to be interesting and different, was filled to the brim with cookie-cutter douches in expensive clothes.  Perhaps that sounds judgmental, but I’ve found that the specific breed of douche that exists in highly unequal societies (see, e.g., Brazil, South Africa) tends to be much douchier than your run-of-the-mill douche.  I am a student of douches, and this is my studied conclusion.

But the drinks were good! And scientific!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this weekend because, first, we should have our car by then (a used Toyota Yaris) and, second, we have lots of fun, interesting Joburg-y things planned. We’re planning on going to a famous farmer’s market in the city and we’re having dinner with one of Al’s mom’s friends, who works for the Canadian High Commission in Pretoria.  Should be interesting to get his perspective on this place.  Lots to look forward to and lots to discover.

Braai

On Saturday evening, Al and I hosted our first braai (barbeque).  Braai is the Afrikaans word for barbeque or grill.  In a traditional braai, the meat is cooked over wood, but nowadays a lot of South Africans use plain ol’ charcoal briquettes just like everybody else.

Al went to the store on Saturday and purchased a barbeque, charcoal briquettes, and a twenty-two piece braai set (we might have gone a bit overboard).

Our new baby

We spent the afternoon preparing food.  Luckily, our apartment was sparkling clean since our new maid, the adorably named Precious, got the place ship-shape that morning while Al and I sat around awkwardly and wondered if we should offer to help.  We North Americans aren’t good with domestic help.

View from our balcony

Our menu consisted of rump meat, boerewors (a type of South African beef sausage), and biltong, plus my famous horseradish beet dip, guacamole, and cookies-and-cream popcorn, which turned out to be a huge hit.  Seriously, if you want people to like you, make them cookies-and-cream popcorn. They will be putty in your hands.

In preparing the side dishes, I had to make some adaptations based on what I found at the Pick ‘n Pay.  For example, I couldn’t find jalapenos for the guacamole, so I substituted little green chilis, which pack a more powerful punch and need to be used judiciously so as not to knock over one’s guests.  I also couldn’t find prepared horseradish for the beet dip, so I used something called “creamed horseradish.” Sounds a bit gross, but it did the trick.

Our guests arrived around five and we all set to eating and drinking until we were fit to pop.  Or maybe that was just me.  Oddly enough, only one of our guests was South African.  The rest were from Germany, America (f*** yeah), Nigeria, and Botswana.  Pretty sweet. Anyway, a good time was had by all (see photographic proof below) and I think we’ll be hosting many more braais in the future, despite our meat hangovers today.

Yum.

The Colony Arms

Al and I are the type of people who think, if we’re gonna live somewhere, we’re gonna have a neighborhood bar.  We were roundly unsuccessful at finding a Neighborhood Bar in Woodley Park, where we lived for the past three years in DC. The closest thing we had to a Neighborhood Bar there was a foul little establishment called Medaterra whose only redeeming quality was the cheapness and largeness of their martinis.  We went there maybe twice a year.  Not exactly “Cheers” material.

But here in Joburg, it’s going to be different, by gum.  Last night, in search of a good Neighborhood Bar here in Craighall Park, we traveled a block up Jan Smuts Avenue (which Al has taken to calling Jan Smut Avenue given its large number of sex shops) to legendary local bar The Colony Arms.

The Colony Arms, in all of its strip mall glory.

When Al first got to Joburg a month ago, numerous people stressed that he simply must go to the Colony Arms for a “John Deere,” which is a potent concoction of sugarcane alcohol (much like my beloved Brazilian cachaça) and – you guessed it! – cream soda.

(Side note: they LOVE them some cream soda here in ZA.  Al points out that Canadians also love cream soda.  Must be a Commonwealth thing?  God bless the Queen and cream soda?  According to the (highly essential) Wikipedia page on cream soda:

“In South Africa, Creme Soda is often referred to as the “Green Ambulance” (predominantly by students), as it is believed to alleviate the effects of hangovers. Creme Soda is also used as a mixer with cane spirit (an inexpensive alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented sugarcane). This is commonly known as a “John Deer” (cf.John Deere and its green logo), “Cane Train”, or “Green Mamba”. Cane spirit is chosen due its ability to go relatively unnoticed.

Gotta love that. All of that.)

Anyway, we popped into the Colony Arms expecting great things, given the amount it had been talked up, but it was pretty meh.  Despite an advertisement promising two-for-one drinks on Foxy Ladies’ Thursday, we paid two-for-two for our beer and glass of wine.   We stayed for the one drink and then trundled on home.

In doing some research today on The Colony Arms, to see if it had any storied history I should be aware of (it doesn’t), I came across this hilarious article, entitled “Where The Girls Aren’t: The Colony Arms,” which describes the feel of the establishment thusly:

The Colony Arms, or ‘The Colonic” as it’s known by to its denizens, is not high on atmosphere; it’s in a shopping mall for God’s sake. With its bland as tupperware interior, tiled floors and bare walls, the place gives you the impression it gets hosed down the morning after, not swept. The bar staff are friendly enough, and service is quick and attentive.

That pretty much sums it up.  It was fine.  But nothing life-changing.  Not necessarily Neighborhood Bar material.  Then again, on Saturdays they have karaoke, so I could be swayed.  And, according to their website, they also have beer pong.  Despite incorrectly conflating beer pong with Beirut, which is a DIFFERENT AND SUPERIOR GAME (just ask the entire West Coast of America), I like The Colonic’s attitude. This place could win me over yet.