Too long between Guinness draughts
I just finished off a nice can of Guinness. In a plastic cup. On a train. It only bothered me a little bit that a pint of Guinness is only 14.9 ounces. But the taste was exquisite. When I was really drinking the stouts, I preferred Murphy’s to Guinness, especially on tap, but having that last pint, in a plastic cup, on the train, tasted just like a Murphy’s Irish Stout after downing a pint of Anchor Steam’s Old Foghorn (on tap) while hanging out with Tom McTeirnan at Tubby’s in Hauppauge. After drinking the bitter barleywine, Murphy’s tasted like liquid chocolate. On the train, too, drinking that can of Guinness, yum… liquid chocolate.
Today was a pretty good day for unexpectedly delicious treats. I grabbed some coffee that my wonderful wife brewed before she left for work. I think it was Amaretto-flavored. I don’t sweeten my coffee, and flavored coffees tend to be rather bitter without sweetener, but I’ve gotten used to it. At any rate, today I thought I’d pour in some Silk eggnog into the coffee, and it was rather tasty. I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like, but it actually reminded me of an eggnog latte from Starbucks.
I’m going to backup here. Silk’s eggnog, like all the Silk products, is made from soy. So, yes, it wasn’t a milk-based product; it was soy. I know several folks who would be repulsed by this, and I used to be one. But when I worked at a vegetarian kitchen, they didn’t feel comfortable with animal’s milk in the refrigerator, and I reluctantly tried some Silk in my coffee. The plain flavor didn’t do much except cool the coffee down. But the vanilla and hazelnut flavors were pretty good. All alone, soy-milk is chalky, but when it’s in coffee, it’s pretty smooth.
And then there is the soy-milk eggnog. I like eggnog, but it’s so rich that I can usually only have one cup a year, and then I’m good until next Christmas. Two years ago, on a whim, I purchased some Silk soy eggnog. It’s definitely not as creamy as the real thing, but it was delicious and it didn’t leave me feeling like I just drank 12 oz. of liquid butter. I could have two or even three glasses of it in a season.
Another thing that’s increased my consumption of eggnog, and led me to appreciate it even more, is discovering that it’s made for whiskey. Get a decent Bourbon in there and it’s a jolly Christmas season. Grind a bit of nutmeg on top and it’s kind of like Jesus was born to just experience this. Putting whiskey (or rum!) and nutmeg in Silk eggnog allows me to have more than one, which, of course, is the point. The milk/cream version is richer, and a slight bit tastier, but the Silk-version doesn’t lack for anything.
So, back to breakfast, I had my coffee with the Silk eggnog. No whisky, though. Then for lunch, I had a sandwich that my wonderful wife had purchased for me the night before from The Good Steer in Lake Grove. The Good Steer has been around for 50 years. It’s a Suffolk County institution. It’s mascot, on the sign in the parking lot, is a smiling bull’s head with a halo between his horns. Many of my friends referred to it as angel cow. I now live two blocks away from the Angel Cow, and they have great burgers, shoe-string onion-rings that my wife has a love/hate relationship with, and a nice turkey-meat Reuben. That’s what I usually go for when we eat there. Just give me rye bread, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut grilled together with Thousand Island dressing to dip it in, and it would buy it. The turkey meat is in there to justify the $12 price tag.
The Good Steer has a cole slaw that people who would never consider eating cole slaw actually eat, and a pretty decent red-potato salad. I had both of those with my cold, left-over sandwich for lunch. Reubens are meant to be eaten warm, but I don’t really care at what temperature I eat my food. Well, let me be more specific, I prefer cold food unless it’s French fries or white rice. Anything else, congealed or otherwise, I’ll eat right from the fridge. So my Reuben was cold, but it was so so yummy with the cole slaw and potato salad.
And on the way home from work, I wasn’t really hungry. I often get something in Penn Station, just because I’m bored waiting for my train and can’t resist temptation, but, tonight, nothing grabbed me. I didn’t feel like a beer, either, until I thought that I hadn’t had a Guinness in a while. For those people who don’t drink beer, you may not be aware that Guinness, and other Irish stouts, are in a class by themselves. Comparing a Guinness to any lager (like Budwiser) is like comparing a stylish hat to white jockey shorts. Sure, they’re both technically clothing, but only one of them demonstrates my extremely refined tastes.
The major problem with buying beer in Penn Station, though, is the lack of vessels to pour it in. I’m a firm believer in letting the scent of beer be a part of the experience of drinking beer. As much as I prefer bottles over cans when purchasing a beer at a store, I prefer pouring a bottle into a nice pint glass when I drink it, because bottles trap the aroma of beer. Guinness is one of the few beers that I buy in a can, because of the amazing widget that adds nitrogen to the beer upon opening. (Other than Irish stouts, Sapporo is the single beer that’s better in a can than in a bottle.) But drinking straight from a can of Guinness is an awful beer experience. It’s foamy and soapy—not yummy. But when I went to see what the beer vendor was selling, I saw a stack of plastic cups next to him. I got the cup, and the beer, and waited for my train.
I finished it before the train left the tunnel on it’s way towards Long Island. It was chocolatey and delicious. I had, honestly, forgotten how good a can of Guinness was. I think I have to pick up milk when I get home tonight. I think I’ll get me a 4-pack of Guinness, too, when I’m at the store. I’m going to let the deliciousness continue this weekend.
Posted by Jonathan at 01:11 AM, 15 December 2008