A Literary Feast

Posts by Lena Webb

A Fino, A Benzo, an Oloroso

Posted on April 18th, 2013

A slow, rolling terror had me reaching for a Fino. Slowly, terroir tried its best to take the place of a Benzo. The half-life was too short; brine, adrenaline, made me cry out “Oloroso!” Having my fix, and wanting to mix, down went the Fino, and a Benzo! Oh no. And if I must (and I must) pick an agonist for intensification of the effects, Fo sho, Oloroso. Amber waves of ocean syrup, nuts, berries, grains, and tangs to which You can’t say no. And, now, Oloroso translates to “OH GOD, MY LEGS DON’T WORK” Dios mio, dios mio. Just sit for a bit and cast off your FitBit, you’re going to be here for a while as you know.

Notable And Potable Vol. 19: A Rum For Dr. Jane

Posted on April 20th, 2012

The opening credits of “Jane’s Journey” show a nearly 80-year-old Dr. Jane Goodall first packing and then enjoying Johnnie Walker Red Label on a plane to Africa. She holds a Collins glass containing a generous pour of the whisky while reading an academic paper as the clouds rolls by. That’s how Dr. Jane rolls. Even if all you do is read the Wikipedia article on Dr. Jane, you’ll quickly realize you are learning a little bit about a genuine badass. She is the only human to have been accepted into chimpanzee society (she was kicked out in the end, which is badass in its own right). She earned a Ph.D. from Cambridge University without having a B.Sc. (her undergraduate education started with a self-funded…

Sea Meat

Posted on March 16th, 2012

My favorite watermelon region is the stratum of tart, crisp, pale pink flesh that starts just above the rind and extends for about an inch. When I was nine I ate my watermelon with a paring knife. My mom would eat the sweet, gritty, seed-filled mouthfuls of the melon’s core and then donate the remains to me, her weird kid. With my trusty blade I would slice off thin strips and hold them up to admire their translucence before munching away on the marvelous texture. One time, a thought popped into my head and I said it out loud after preparing a delicate fillet– “Sea meat!” That was pretty much it. No one heard me and I was never asked to clarify the term…

Notable And Potable Vol. 17: The Spirits Are Willing, And The Flesh Is At Cocktail Week

Posted on February 13th, 2012

Being the cocktail festival neophyte that I was, I went to Portland Cocktail Week with stuffy journalistic goals of remaining focused, attentive, and slightly sober. In retrospect, I did pretty well– filling an index card with notes during a noontime blind tasting of eight tequilas held in a room warm with bodies and practically damp with agave fumes, achieving a buzz just enough to get me doing live band karaoke and befriending a man who designed a robot, partying with said robot, waking up feeling spunky enough to start my day with a mezcal tasting– and so on. I had managed to achieve a harmonious tripartite homeostasis with my intake of nutrients, water, and spirits, and I held onto it. Until the last day.…

Notable And Potable Vol. 15: One Drink If By RV, Two If By First Class: Converging On Cocktail Week

Posted on November 9th, 2011

Although the main reason for driving and RV across the country was to help my friend with her move, Portland Cocktail Week was my ultimate destination. And I was reminded of this every time our large vehicle encountered grooved pavement and the box of miscellaneous spirits and liqueurs we had on board would rattle. Like the promise of immeasurable wealth jingling in the ears of all those people who made a similar pilgrimage out West for the Gold Rush, the clinking bottles kept me moving forward towards the liquid lode that surely awaited me in Portland.

Notable And Potable Vol. 14: Cross-Country Cruise Culminating In Cocktails

Posted on October 20th, 2011

ed note: Greetings, friends! We are coming back from our hiatus with a vengeance in November, much like a culinary, literary Bruce Willis, with hot festival coverage concerning two of our favorite things: cheese and adult beverages. Lena Webb and I will be reporting from Portland Cocktail Week, and the intrepid Marie-Laure has been busy attending glittering cheese festivals abroad in Europe. Tune in for the new coverage! Salut! And now, for a trailer-park missive

Notable And Potable Vol. 13: Sure You Can Can, But Here Are Some Tipple Tips

Posted on September 1st, 2011

After spending months pruning and trellising, hunched over among the bees in the shade of the pungent leaves singing “where is my twine?” it’s finally tomato season. Between the Septoria, potato leaf beetles and mini-monsoons we’ve been experiencing, I’m all too eager to see them off the vine and sealed away safely in jars. But no matter how nice it will be to have home-grown tomato sauce in the winter, I still need to go on my annual tomato bender.

Notable And Potable Vol. 12: My Fair JÄGER

Posted on August 19th, 2011

Jägermeister is the Eliza Doolittle of the digestif family. While ordering drinks containing Cynar and Fernet Branca somehow turns you into a dashing, daring connoisseur, asking for something with Jäger imparts a kind of scuzzy feeling. Like you just realized you forgot to brush your teeth this morning, and now you’re asking for Jäger. Because most drinks with Jägermeister involve fire, Red Bull, and Bad Choices, it’s hard to take this spirit seriously. If Jägermeister were a person, it would be a man who cuts the sleeves off his t-shirts to make tank tops.

Notable And Potable Vol. 11: Drinking To Forget (About Pestilence And Pathogens).

Posted on July 15th, 2011

Part of gardening is learning to let go. It’s so easy to get attached to the first tender cotyledons that pop up from your seed trays in mid-March, those dazzling little green gems that make your eyes salivate* for spring. You make silent promises to each and every one that you will do everything in your power to help it grow up and contribute to the best harvest possible. But before you know it the temperatures are dangerously high, primary leaves are dotted with blight, and the insects are hungry. Losses will be incurred. There are plenty of tips and tricks for preventing blights and insect damage in your garden, but here I focus on a few drinks to steady your hand after scraping…