Happy 420 day to all who celebrate it. I do still remember those days, decades ago, when I was young and free, and had entire days that I could waste away sitting on couches, listening to music, and letting the mind float freely through the ether.
Lately I can barely find a night off to unshackle myself from the electronic devices that tether me to the interwebs. But last night I was able to enjoy a rare evening of bar hopping. I couldn’t resist popping into The Hollow to see what cheese Eric from The Cheese Traveler would bring, and what dishes chef Anna would prepare to pair with some of the beers from Ommegang.
The notion of darts paired with Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout was too tempting to pass up as well. So I dusted off my set of tungsten-nickel alloy darts, with Union Jack flights and headed off to play at The Olde English Pub. What I learned is that there aren’t a lot of dart players in the Capital Region. But that’s okay. It was therapeutic to throw a few arrows.
Today, The City Beer Hall is doing something special for what they are calling Day of the Dank. I hope to find some time to squeeze in a quick trip and get a whiff of what the kitchen is cooking.
But since we’re on the topic, maybe we can talk about holiday appropriate munchies.
Regrettably, I can’t remember what I used to munch on in those college days. I do remember completely attacking bags of chips, and thinking at the time they were the best thing ever.
Of all the potato chips my favorites were Herr’s salt and vinegar. Of all the salt and vinegar chips, Herr’s were the most intense I had found, with a pronounced tangy punch. But I had a girlfriend in college who swore by the Herr’s red hots. Spicy potato chips are also kind of badass. Both had a way of cleansing the palate and were effective at getting the juices flowing.
These days, I don’t keep potato chips around the house. Mostly because if I buy potato chips, I’m going to eat potato chips. And even if I don’t eat them all in one sitting anymore, invariably I am the one who is going to finish the bag. So I’m going to own those thousand calories.
My strategy has been to make salty snacks harder to obtain. But I do always keep a bunch of popcorn kernels around. It’s not hard to make popcorn on the stovetop. It’s stupid easy. And doesn’t take very long.
In a nod to healthy eating, I even toss the popcorn with olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast. Although I have to confess, that I actually prefer this combination of toppings to melted butter. It’s super delicious, and not quite as heavy.
It does occur to me that perhaps this might be a result of my heavy hand when using butter.
But for the most part, my munchies are largely satisfied with a combination of apples and walnuts. It’s my go to snack. Because it’s refreshing, made from whole foods, satisfying, texturally interesting, and a delicious balance of fat and sugar. I also love the interplay of bitterness from the walnut skins and the fruitiness of the apple.
If I’m feeling really decadent, I’ll replace the apple with some very dark chocolate. And if I’m feeling ultra decadent, instead of walnuts with the chocolate, I’ll munch on toasted Italian hazelnuts. Then when I eat them together, I’m effectively making gianduja in my mouth.
These munchies really do hit the spot, and I don’t long for those buffalo chicken pretzel nuggets that I adore. Nor do I wish for a giant tub of cheesy poofs. But don’t get me wrong. If those things were in arms length, I’d eat myself sick on them.
Which is exactly why I don’t keep them in the house.