Truman Capote once said, “In this profession, it’s a long walk between drinks.” Tis true, as I discovered in the December chill last week.
I knew my night would end up at Grace’s to see my friend behind the tender bar there, but first I decided I would end my three year boycott against Chaucer’s, a neighborhood pub located at 20th and Lombard. It is named for the great writer of the Canterbury tales, Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer’s used to be a great place, oozing character with plants aplenty, free drinks for birthday patrons, and enough dollars bills taped to back bar mirror for the bartender, Jack, whose been pouring there for 26 years, “to start a retirement fund.” But when the owner suddenly died and the place was sold to the owner of South Street Souvlaki, things started to change. Treasured employees left, the plants left, and a lot of the people that had been coming there for years left. But last night, I just got over it. Maybe it was Jack (who played Creedence all night and looked like a band member himself), or maybe it was my perfectly poured O’Reilly’s stout. But, alas I will return, and I might even bring my beer club along with me.
Here comes my long walk. ‘Twas spent scratchin’ me noggin’ on what to write about this week. I am actually so indecisive that my roomate bought me one of those Magic Eight Balls that you turn upside down to get a decision on whether or not you should like the boy sitting next to you in math class. It’s been g-r-e-a-t. I just asked the brainy ball if I should go for a run today, “Outlook not so good.” Perfect!
I arrive at Grace, the lovingly restored Tavern (23rd and South area). My friend Reese works there, and Philly Bar patriarchs Tom Peters and Fergie Carey are the men behind the graduate hospital gem. It still has the original tin roof painted red, the original back bar, and even keeps the bottled beer in a cooler from the 1950’s. And the bottled beer in the said cooler ranges from Rochefort 10 (all time favorite) and Tripel Karmeliet to local favorites like the Troeg’s Rugged Trail brown ale.
Their burgers are delicious with a variety of toppings. Just ask for it one temperature under what you would prefer. Their fries are similiar to Monks…same seasoning, same sauce, but with a thicker cut.
While at the tavern, I occupied myself by reading this fairly new magazine, “Imbibe.” Two quick things I will pass on to you Goodtimes blog readers thirsting for new knowledge…
In it’s prime, Grenadine was a sweet ruby colored syrup made from fresh pomegranates way before pomegranates were hip enough to make it into Stephen Starr’s martinis. Orginiated by the french, who call pomegranates “grenades”. It has evolved into a syrup consisting of some artifical citrus flavor, water, sugar, and the ever lovely Red No. 40. BUT it doesn’t have to…. you can make your own
First things first – no one even says it the right way…the “ch” should be a hard “c” not a “sh” sound. And they weren’t always “neon red.”They were an artisanal product of Eastern Europe’s Dalmatia,made by macerating marasca cherries in maraschino liquer. When it was introduced to the U.S., the cherries had immediate popularity, but the Marascas Liquer they were soaked in was 86’d during prohibition. Not quite as exciting as the moonshine replacement for liquor, but manufacturers started using artifical sweetners, colors and flavors that led us to the current day neon red we are dishing on sundaes.”
To check out authentic recipes for both see www.myspace.com/beerlass blog.
To follow up on my christmas wish list, I only got three things I has asked for
1- a new alarm clock
2- the back of the Philadelphia Weekly had a Somnia Furniture ad this week. Thank Goodness.
3-I bought myself knee highs.
The New Year is upon us. I’ll wrap up with a quote from Geoffrey Chaucer himself, “Time and Tide wait for no man.” It’s kind of like what Red said in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” I don’t know who said “Shit or get off the pot”…but I think it’s kind of the same thing. You get the point.
2007. Let’s make it our best year yet.