This is why you visit my blog: to relive holidays that happened two weeks ago.
Actually, I thought it had been even longer than that. I'm not as far behind as I thought. Sweet!
My next entry will be about NYC fooding. Pinky promise. But first, I need to give props to the awesomeness that was Michelle's (and husband Brian's) Memorial Day festival-splosion of barbecued pork.
So that's how I decided Michelle and Brian were two of the coolest people on Earth. I already knew this from reading Michelle's most excellent cooking blog, Thursday Night Smackdown, where she cooks things I will probably never make myself, my excuse being that her kitchen is 500.23% awesomer than mine. Or most people's. I have photos; you shall see. And then you will judge.
Starting over. Michelle invited lil' Internet acquaintance me—along with whoever else I could force to eat pork, in this case Lee Anne, John, Lauren, and Jones—to her barbecue bash. I was quite excited. And then more excited after seeing the pork in its state of pre-barbecue. So pink. So raw. So much potential to be delicious.
Beloved Arizonian friend Lee Anne hopped into my car (she had been staying with me for a few days in NJ by that point, if that clarifies things...as in, she did not just teleport from Arizona) and I whisked us off to the faraway land of Jersey City. What should've been a 45 minute ride ended up being more than an hour due to me getting lost and unintentionally driving along the Pulaski Skyway, which looked exactly like one of those levels in a racing game where you're perilously driving beneath endless metal rafters on a ramp whose height appears to enter the stratosphere, and then being dumped in a part of NJ that felt ripe for a good ol' murder (had a bit of that "deserted, abandoned auto yard" aesthetic), and then taking about 10 minutes to parallel park my car in front of Michelle's apartment in such a way that wouldn't block traffic. You know the last time I parallel parked? Over four years ago when I got my driver's license. And the only reason I was able to do it on Memorial Day was because John acted as my personal driving guide, telling me exactly how much to back up, when to turn, and how much to go forward. Because I am just that hopeless.
But then civilization was reached. Cue the choir of angels.
Liquid refreshment came in the forms of alcohol and non-alcohol. I went for the non, which mostly consisted of Boylan's sodas. I must've drank at least three of them. Or five. Or four. Or a greater number. I was making up for all the sodas I failed to consume in the past 5+ years.
Oh, it was also hot and humid, if that explains my sudden chugging. ...Although I wouldn't call it hot compared to the oppressively ass-kicking weather we've been having in NYC these past three days. And I mean the bad kind of ass-kicking, which also includes brain-melting and sweat-dripping and the feeling that I will never be clean again because all of NYC's filth has become part of my topmost layer of unscrubbable hybrid sweat-skin.
This entry has too many words. Needs less reading, more photos.
There's Lee Anne, taming the hammock!
There's me and John after kicking out Lee Anne. ...Actually, she forced me into the hammock. The nerve.
And check out them fall-off-the-bone pork ribs, yeah!
And check out them glorious shreds of barbecued pork, yeah!
And dig in, because there are 60.21 pounds to get rid of!
I got a little bit of everything—ribs, pulled pork sandwich, taters, roast olives (provided by Marc), corn muffin, and probably more. I mostly remember holding the ribs with one hand, pulling it apart with my teeth, and barely having to chew the tender meat chunks. That's the way it should be. All of the time.
Tired of sitting in the sun, I retreated into the apartment to bask in its glorious modern-day comforts, including shade and cushy furniture. Let me take you on a tour of Michelle's awesome apartment so that you'll look at your own and weep with feelings of inferiority (at least, that's what I did).
The kitchen: it is lovely. So shiny and new. If I had a nice kitchen, maybe I'd cook more! Or not. It'd probably be a waste.
The living room: it is also lovely. Lots and lots of neatly arranged books, happily colored furniture, and soothingly blue walls. Books and comfortable chairs to smack my butt in makes for an extremely enticing combination. Someday, I too will have a living room like that. I'd have to start getting more books though.
A statue of Domokun eating nori-topped rice crackers, HOLY CRAP! It blesses everything it touches with giggly cuteness.
The bathroom: IT HAZ SPACE INVADERS (er, not really pictured here, but there were scattered about). In sticker form! That's the most exciting bathroom I've ever seen in someone's home.
Michelle's blondies were the first dessert I indulged in. While I've never had a thing for blondies (which Jones preferred to call "chocolate chip cookie bars," which is so not the same thing!), these were especially good. A bit of coconut was present to give an extra layer of chewiness, not so much to impart any flavor. I also had one of her homemade lemon pie bars, which I must've eaten too quickly to take a photo of.
Last on the eating list was Marc's Fire and Ice Opera Cake consisting of almond joconde cake layered with mint buttercream and white chocolate mousse, and topped with ginger-turmeric ganache. Oh hell yeah, it was good. Like the barbecued pork, this cake seemed to melt instantly on impact with my mouth—almond laden cake, buttery frosting, and all. The icy mint was more prominent than the fiery ginger, but not overwhelming.
As soon as I got home from the barbecue I thought, "Damn, I should've eaten more pork." The moral of the story is that when someone cooks lots and lots of barbecued pork and graciously offers it to you, you should eat more pork than you ever would in any other setting. It may not be a contest, but you can pretend it is if that'll help you real the all-important goal of not realizing that you should've eaten more as soon as you get home.
Many thanks to Michelle and for my friends who came along to make THE BEST MEMORIAL DAY EVER (admittedly, not a difficult title to hold since I tend to do nothing of any significance for the holiday, but I don't predict following years to be as awesome)!