Thursday, February 26, 2009

Walk-In Cloffice

We have company. Some friends recently moved here from NYC and they are living at our house until they find their own place. Our 800 square foot home now holds four girls, three cats, nine fish and a dog. It has turned into a fraternity house, complete with a lot of empty beer bottles and Playboy's Miss March centerfold up on the wall. I'm not making this up.

Then there is the issue of my office, which doubles as the guest room. My office has temporarily moved into our closet. I call it my walk-in cloffice. You can see what it looks like in the picture above. It's actually kind of peaceful, but it is also a good excuse to avoid doing work.

This is what my former office at home has transformed into:

Notice the greenish fish tank on my desk and the litter box under it.

You may be wondering why I don't just use the office at Felicia's. Well, besides the fact that it has no heat, I would have to share it with her:

The Felicia office is dark and creepy, pretty much an extension of the basement which came complete with a pit that is good for holding girls, lotion and small poodle-like dogs.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mixology Monday: Making Hard Cider

Sometimes I think Leah worries too much. Global warming, she says. Oil crisis. Nuclear war. Bird flu. Water shortage. Can the government control the weather? she says. Where are the honey bees? What's going to happen when we cut down all the trees? She speaks of solar panels, living off the grid. We need to build a green house, she says. Make the garden bigger. Study lacto-fermentation. Use barrels to catch the rainwater from the roof. Last year, she put a wood burning stove in our house. In case we lose our electricity and natural gas supply, she said. Leah's latest question: when we are forced to return to a simpler, self-sufficient life, who is going to make our booze?

That caught my attention. Shit, what if we didn't have any booze? Now THAT is a problem. Leah's solution, as always, is to make it herself. Her ideas started flowing when she discovered a swollen jug of cider that had been forgotten in the back of the fridge. As she took it out, the top blew off, spraying the kitchen walls and ceiling with sticky, fermented cider. There was a little bit left in the jug, so we drank it and it was damn good.

Leah decided then to try to make her own cider. It started out as a small experiment, but she quickly took over the kitchen counters. She started fermenting her first one-quart jar in September, and she will be bottling it soon, hopefully with no further explosions.
But wait, there's more! There was a little side effect of the cider fermentation. One of the gallons of cider turned to vinegar, and grew a strange slime on its surface as it sat on the kitchen counter. I was creeped out, but Leah got excited. It's a mother! she yelled. Apparently she had inadvertently grown a SCOBY, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It is a thick, gelatinous frisbee creature that floated on the top of the cider.
What do you do with a mother? Leah added black tea, orange spice tea, water and sugar to the cider vinegar. The mother sunk, and now a baby (a new mother, basically) has grown on the surface. The baby will be eventually placed up for adoption with a happy family who likes to make and drink weird fermented stuff.
Why, Leah, why? We are both afraid to drink the concoction, but Leah is going to get our friend Diane to try it. Diane will try anything, and she has a little hippie in her blood. She is a big fan of kombucha tea. Kombucha is made by a similar fermentation process. If you have never tried kombucha, here's what you are missing: It's alive, effervescent, and tastes like a cross between vinegar and ass. It's supposed to be good for you or something like that. I am holding out for the hard cider. Sorry, neither Leah's hard cider nor her kombucha-like cider tea will be available at the Lounge. And Leah wants me to tell you that she is definitely not a hippie.

This post is participating in today's Mixology Monday, hosted by Rowley's Whiskey Forge. This month's theme is making hard drinks for hard times, and nothing beats making hooch from scratch.

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Foodie Detour: Chocolate

This is what you missed yesterday for Valentine's Day at the Lounge: Leah dipped strawberries in chocolate, and you could say I made homemade Twinkies, if it was legal to use "homemade" and "Twinkies" in the same sentence, which it isn't due to a thing called a trademark. So we'll say instead that I made homemade Twinks which consisted of canoe-shaped chocolate cakes filled with brandy alexander pudding, topped with semi-sweet chocolate frosting and garnished with strawberries. Who says food isn't art? I did not take pictures of the brandy alexander pot de cremes sprinkled with loco hot cocoa. By the time I made that dessert, I had already licked like 17 spatulas covered with cake batter, pudding, melted chocolate, pudding, fresh whipped cream and pudding. Being bloated took precedence over taking photos.

I have not been into the Lounge yet today, but there might be V-Day leftovers. At the least, there will be sweet music by Mary Lorson tonight at 7pm.

Photos taken by Leah on the ever-sexy handy-dandy iPhone.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bar Incident: Credit Card Clogs Toilet

Credit Card Fiasco Ends in Staff Spending Spree
by Amelia Sauter, Feliciated Press

ITHACA -- Plumbing specialist Ken Sanderson responded to a distress call at 508 West State Street in Ithaca last Thursday, January 29 at 7:51pm. Upon arriving, he found Felicia’s Atomic Lounge owner Leah Houghtaling plunging the women’s toilet without success. “Something unnaturally huge must be in there,” she reported to the official. “Or maybe a cell phone.” Sanderson, principal of Sanderson Heating & Plumbing & Refrigeration & LaRouche Fan Club & Youngevity Vitamin Supplements, attempted to snake the drain. Under pressure, the two finally removed the toilet from the floor which caused Sanderson to exclaim, “Now there’s your problem!” Houghtaling reached into the pipe and pulled out a dripping credit card upon which was imprinted the name “Amy Gonzales.” The crisis was averted and no arrests were made. Staff recovered from the incident by embarking on a spending spree with Amy’s card which only ended when the card was maxed out. “I really love my new ’57 Stratocaster,” supervisor Earl “Guy” Lorshbaugh IV stated. The credit card was thoroughly disinfected by a hazmat team before shopping. Amy Gonzales could not be reached for comment.