Yesterday, we decided to go to Spec’s on everyone’s recomendation. We looked up the address and tried to enter it into the GPS – which would have nothing to do with that address. The little Magellan has been good to us for several years now, and it might just be about time to replace it with an updated unit. I understand that even the updated maps for this model leave a little to be desired, and they are quite expensive. It is on the edge of becomming an unsupported unit. Fortunately, there is such a thing as google maps. We printed out a map that we would use for our trip. The original plan was for us to go to the St. Arnold Brewery after Spec’s as breweries and wineries are some of the most fascinating places to visit out of town. It was a St. Arnold ale that Curtis had shared with me the previous day. The brewery is a logical nine-mile step further than Spec’s, so it jut seemed like the thing to do, and the Magellan did like that address.
I brushed my teeth, and shaved with my brand-new straight razor and only nicked my face and neck three or four times. I can tell that once I get the hang of it, it will take me less time, and produce a cleaner shave than I’ve been able to accomplish with any prior equipment. I consider a mere three or four cuts to be quite a success for the first try with such an apparatus. It was about 11:30 when we headed out for our daily adventures.
We got to Spec’s, which is a liquor store the size of a Wal-Mart. Think Beer Heaven, or Beer Nirvana, if you will. The employees touted it as the largest liquor store in the world, and I have no reason to doubt the truth of that statement. There were isles upon isles of beer, wine and spirits. They also had specialty foods, a deli, glassware, barware, specialty soft drinks, and a walk-in humidor. We found so many things that we would love to own, but finally pared our purchasing down to under the $100-mark. With very little effort, we could have topped the $1000-mark, had the funds been available of course. A store employee nervously approached as I handled a Riedel Sommelier Zinfandel glass. This was approximately a 30-oz glass, mouth blown by some guy in Austria, and I have been unable to find it on Riedel’s website. I suspect that this glass was part of a custom run. At $100 per stem, it was a relative bargain! But it did not come home with me, as I left behind a lot of things that would have been wonderful to bring home. They stocked goods that I’ve only ever seen in catalogs before. It was truly amazing. Once I had gotten comfortable in the store, I called my dad since he is a beer buff.
“Dad,” I said, “If you could have a six-pack of any beer in the world, what would it be?”
“I don’t know. I’d have to think about it. Why do you ask?”
“Because I’m in the biggest liquor store you could even imagine, and I bet they’ve got it.”
“Wow! I don’t know, but it would probably be something German. Listen, I’ve got to go.”
So, we made our way over to the German beer section. The friendly and helpful staff sent their in-house German beer expert to help us. That gentleman knew A LOT about German beer. I identified the couple of German beers that I knew were not available at the local OK liquor store. I wound up getting a bottle each of Flensburger’s Dunkle, Gold, Weizen, and Pilsner. I also picked up five bottles of Pinkus Certified Organic Munster Alt to break out for Sunday lunch. If all of the Flensburgers make it home, I’ll give them to Dad. We also bought the tiny steel beads that scrub your decanter for you – I’ve been wanting to pick up some of these for a while, but I’ve never seen them in real life before. I found some of the anchovy-suffed olives that I love to make dirty martinis with. These are soaked in chardonnay. We also bought a $20-jar of cherries.
“What,” you might ask, “could possibly make a jar of cherries worth $20?” And so, I shall tell you. They are a particular variety of French, wild-growing cherry soaked in liquor from Griottines. More specifically, they are wild Morello cherries in liqueur and Kirsch. They are like tiny little bites of heaven, and will garnish many of my Manhattans until the jar is tragically empty. Because of Draconian liquor laws in Oklahoma, these are impossible to legally buy or sell in my home state. OK liquor stores can only sell alcoholic beverages. They can’t sell glasses, tobacco, food, or anything but booze. Any non-liquor store cannot sell anything with an alcoholic content exceeding 3.2% alcohol by volume. Since this jar of cherries is food with an alcoholic content of 15% by volume, it cannot be sold in a liquor store or any other kind of store in the state of Oklahoma. We should petition the Nafeh’s to do something about that. I wonder if I can order them when I run out…
Another French item that we purchased that I didn’t realize was available in this country is Edmond Fallot Tarragon Dijon Mustard. If you have never had artisan-made green mustard on a rye sandwich, you are missing out on a life experience. Heck, I’m a mustard lover anyway. Anything but French’s-style plain yellow mustard in a plastic bottle is fair game as far as I’m concerned. I probably could have blown a full $100.00 on mustard alone in that silly store, honestly enough.
We got the #14 Scottish Kilt sandwich for lunch and split it. What is it about smoked salmon and cream cheese made into a sandwich? That’s the kind of food God eats – I’m pretty sure. We each picked some essoterric soft drink to have with our lunch, and I can’t remember the name of either. Jenni got some kind of orange drink with ginger in it, and I got some kind of botanical cola. They were both tasty. There were soft drinks that I didn’t know were available here as well! We bought several bottles of Mexican Coca Cola. I don’t know why we can make the stuff taste that good in the U. S. Strange. Also, they have some exclusively Peruvian beverages that I have not seen outside of Peru. They had Inca Kola (a fizzy, yellow liquid that tastes something like anise) and chicha (a bizarre purple beverage made mostly of blue corn juice). Jenni and I split a bottle of cold chicha, which is chocked full of antioxidants and sugar.
After all of that, we decided to skip the brewery. That evening, we met up with Kay, Curtis, and Andrea and went to a sushi joint for dinner. The sushi was decent, and the Sapporo was cold. Over dinner, I asked Curtis if he would like to smoke a cigar after dinner. He sarchastically commented that he hated cigars, and I couldn’t force one on him. After dinner, Andrea went home as she had to get up early for work, and the remaining four of us returned to Kay’s back porch. I broke out two of my Nat Sherman cigars that my friend Beej bought for me in New York City. I really enjoyed mine and apparently curtis enjoyed his as well, since he smoked it until he had about 1/2-inch of cigar roach stuck on a toothpick. That’s about when he gave up on that one. Curtis, Jenni and I had Maker’s Mark on the rocks, garnished with our high-dollar cherries and then a bottle of Gautier VSOP cognac that Kay had stuffed in a closet. Jenni and I also sipped on Sauza tequila. Kay sipped on a rose that she preferred over the hard stuff. We had a great time chatting and laughing until it was nearly morning.
There was a large, mean, ugly cat that came to make trouble with Kay’s menagerie of domestics and steal a little food. Jenni correctly identified him as a Scottish fold. Man, that was an ugly cat! The pictures I’ve seen of them on the internet are odd looking, but that individual was one ugly bastard!
I believe that I had more to drink, but I lost count. My head told me that I had more than that to drink when I woke up this morning. It was a great time – the kind of time that vacations are about. I hope to have more to report tomorrow.
Oh, by the way – I caught a small gecko in our bedroom this morning. That was interesting.