What I Learned This Week: #209

Monday, August 30 – Monday, September 6, 2021

The Week in, Whoa, September Already?: That’s it. On September 1, I simply could not believe it was September and summer was, essentially, over. I don’t think I drank enough gin and tonics or rum and cokes to make it FEEL like summer. Now it’s too late. Oh, and I guess the song of summer in my estimation is Stay, by Kid Laroi with Justin Bieber. At least I had a song of summer!

The Week in the Holiday Weekend Activity: To end the summer, I went out BUSY. Work got out early on Friday, so I had a Happy Hour with my coworkers. Then, I went and met a friend to visit her Happy Hour with her coworkers. Then I went to the Reds game and watched them get spanked by the Tigers. On Friday I went on an afternoon bar crawl, and then went to the FC Match to watch them lose in the 89th minute. Sigh. On Sunday, I went to a friend’s house to view the City’s biggest fireworks show of the year, the WEBN fireworks on the River. They were awesome. And then, one last thing on Labor Day proper, I went to a cookout. Now that’s getting the most bang for the buck for the holiday weekend.

The Week in Holiday Weekend Cooking: I got to do some holiday cooking, too. Not mentioned above, but on Saturday, my team at my part time job decided to bring in and share cookout food without the actual cookout. These folks can cook, so I did not want to hold back on my offering. I made Classic Coleslaw from the Serious Eats site and it was, hands down, the best mayo based slaw I’ve ever made. (I have a thing for vinegar slaw, but that’s for another time).

For the fireworks party I riffed on Chicken Cordon Bleu and made a Chicken Cordon Bleu casserole for the crowd. I cooked some cubed chicken and threw some Canadian bacon in that pan to pull out the extra moisture from the pork. Then I made a basic cheese sauce with Swiss cheese and a good glob of Dijon and dried mustard seeds. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and thyme and stirred it together. In the casserole dish I topped the cheesy pasta with a Panko/Swiss cheese topping (seasoned with seasoned salt and paprika), and popped it in the oven. Turned out great.

And finally, and easier, for the Monday cookout, I took a dozen or so farm fresh tiny potatoes, tossed them in Penzey’s North Woods seasoning, a pinch more salt, and olive oil, and blasted them in the over at 450 until tender. Simple and delicious.

The Week in “The Court Street Experience”: The great Lords of real estate in downtown Cincinnati spent a lot of time and money remaking the traffic on one block of Court St. between Vine and Race. With expanded sidewalks and less lanes of car traffic, this could be an interesting, new space for downtown program, but right now it’s not much.

A new bar, Pilar, named after Ernest Hemingway’s boat open in a corner spot. It’s a neat looking bar, though nautical, much lest literary bars are rare here in the midwest. Also, my bartender was kind of surly and when I asked what drink I should try at Pilar, a cocktail forward bar, he grunted out, “Beer.” Okay, schmuck. I got a rum and coke as a compromise. The bar is brand new and it’s still Covid as far as service is concerned, so I will try them again.

Across from Pilar the new Burger place Bebo’s had the friendliest of counter help assisting me an my pals as we picked from a small burger and fry menu. I always start with the basic burger when I go to a new burger joint. And, honestly, I don’t really love a lot of extras on my burgers because they are too big to bite into and too messy. My basic burger was a real patty (like, formed by hand) and I liked it a lot. The other burgers on the table looked as big as my head, but got good reviews, too. The fries were well cooked and seasoned and that is a very good sign. The Court Street experience is starting off as a mixed bag. I’ll wait.

The Week in Old Co-workers I’m Glad to Run Into: Walking home from work I saw a man sitting on a stoop as I passed by and we greeted each other, but I kept walking. A few steps past, I turned back and asked if he used to work at TJ Maxx. He did and we knew each other and we spent a few joyous minutes catching up. Loved it.

The Week in Old Co-workers I’m NOT Glad to Run Into: On the other end of the spectrum, at a park in the suburbs, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an old coworker I instantly recognized and instantly know I did not want to get closer to. We had a very ugly end to our work friendship, but I still always wish the best for her. I kind of wanted to peek to see of I could glean any information without talking to her. It soon became clear that she had spotted me, and it seemed she wanted to see what she could see. Anyway, if you gave two first year acting students the assignment of “Pretend you don’t see each other,” it couldn’t have turned out worse than what me and this person did. Hilarious. And we did not make “official” contact. Whew!

The Week in Taffy: Finally, on a happy, end of summer note, a co-worker came back from their beach vacation with a bag of salt water taffy. It was soft, sweet, and delicious. I had a weird week with a abrupt summer end, but that tasted of taffy felt as good as good gets.

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