All deadbait Wants for Xmas…

Made it to Partners & Spade yesterday after wading through gobs of shoppers in Noho/Nolita/Soho while looking for a little something something for my wife. I’d tell you where I shop but since my wife reads the blog on occasion I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.

Score! W.M. Brown red wine vinegar (splashing it over the broccoli tonight for an improptu get together over a couple of brined roasters). I also picked up Partners & Spade edition of “Air Conditioner Graffiti.” I collect books on graf, stickers, street art, stencils, from all over the world, must have well over a dozen books. My fav has got to be Supply and Demand (Shepard Fairy) and Tristan Manco’s Graffiti Brasil.

Exhausted. Stopped at PEELS for biscuit, sausage, cheddar-scrambled eggs and a Lagunitas.

Lots of blogs are doing the “what i want for xmas thing”…beats the sterility of the Amazon.com Wishlist I guess. What do I want?

PEACE …is that lame? Ok, then I’d settle for…

from right to left

  • Krocodile Spoon (works on Lake Trout, Brown Trout this time of year)
  • The New Brooklyn Cookbook
  • Filson Belt (black)
  • Orvis Helios Fly Fishing Kit (I’m terrified of becoming addicted to this expensive hobby)
  • Klein Tool bag (leather)
  • Bell & Ross Vintage Officers Watch
  • Field Notes
  • Kings County Distillery Bourbon (avail only at the distillery)

I just moved from “regular” to “contributing” member of the Sierra Club, Nice! remember, give yourself a gift that gives too!

Give Yourself a Gift that Gives

Its ok I tell you…its ok to give yourself a Christmas gift. Many people do. At some point in the year, you have to stop and remind yourself you care about that face in the mirror–that you want him to be happy, to grow, to be appreciated. Oh sure, you hear the TV prattle on about giving yourself the gift of time, gym memberships and crap like that, but I find the best gifts to myself are the ones that tend to pay dividends to others. A couple years ago I joined the Sierra Club. That was a gift a long time coming that lives up to a commitment I made twenty years ago…to care about my impact on the Earth and leave it better off for future generations. Last year I gave myself a month off between an old job and the new one. Not sure if my wife appreciated that one–both of us being home at the time, but I like to think she did.

When I was a kid growing up in Cleveland, my parents used to take my brothers and sisters and I to the Cleveland Arcade every Christmas.

A magnificent arcade of glass, steel and bronze (one of three great arcades on Euclid Avenue), we shopped at the toystore where ceremoniously,  I would pick out my own tin soldiers each year. I know, I know you could have Transformer or G.I. Joe action figure…but there amid the glow of christmas lights reflecting off the bronze banisers, amidst the smell of fresh popped popcorn and roasted nuts, I wanted to buy my own sharpshooter or mounted knight.

Cleveland knew how to hold onto its Christmas spirit during the “rust-belt” years better than anyone else. That’s why they could film A Christmas Story there in the mid-80s without a bit of prop or scenery. The Higbee’s that Ralph visits to sit on Santa’s lap? It was exactly the same thirty years ago, even though the film was supposed to be set in the 50s. Sadly, the old Higbee’s is to become a casino soon I hear.

Ok, enough waxing poetic, this year’s gift to myself was strictly fun and it definitely promises to provide dividends to my friends if they’re willing to wait.  Tonight I took a homebrewing class at The Brooklyn Kitchen.

Adding the malt extract to the wort
Sanitized bottles waiting patiently
Two-week old brown ale ready for bottling

I took home a couple of bottles of the last classes brew, Dirty Water Brown Ale, I think they called it. It needs two more weeks conditioning in the bottle, but I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’m thinking of making a Porter or a Winter Ale for my first attempt at homebrewing this weekend. Brooklyn Kitchen has no shortage of malts and hops which I look forward to sorting through this weekend.

Now, I also like playing “secret santa” and generally enjoy the surprise that comes with getting a gift. But how does one be one’s own “secret santa?”

I like what Partners & Spade have cooking up this weekend. Apparently pre-wrapped gifts will be available at their space Saturday from 12 – 6pm. Also on tap, goods from a great purveyor (and blogger Matthew Hranek), WM. Brown. Best Made Co. will have something there too. I’ve been dying to try WM. Brown’s charcuterie so I’m definitely stopping in. I wonder if Hranek has given thought to doing some brewing up at WM. Brown? Either way, I’ll be picking up at least one more gift for myself.