Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The CSA Begins!

**A draft post I found from about a year ago.**

Remember how I always talk about eating locally?  It's usually how I explain my travel exception from being vegetarian.  (It's also how I attempt to defuse the tension when someone offers me a piece of chicken, and I explain that I don't eat meat, and they start apologizing profusely.  Why do they do this?  They were being nice, and offering me food...).

Now, it is time for me to eat my words.  Literally.  (Ho ho ho...aaaand that's a groaner.  Sorry.)  My CSA from Rocklands Farm has begun!  I'm excited to incorporate more of what is local and seasonal into my diet, and see where it takes me.  I used to spend hours looking at recipes, and then just buying whatever I needed from the co-op, if the fruit stand or the farmers' market didn't have all the ingredients.  It's still a little frightening to jump out and run with my own inspiration (how do I know it will be good if a famous food blogger hasn't vetted it?), but with work, hours of recipe meditation are not in the cards.  Now, I just have to show up in the kitchen and see what happens (and it really hasn't been a challenge so far- greens, gorgeous greens, more eggs than I know what to do with, and a few other odds and ends like thyme and broccoli rabe).

Eating local (or trying - who knows where those mung beans came from) and the chance to meet David Lebovitz!!! led me away from de-stingering nettles to the Dupont Circle Farmers' Market.  While working up the courage to go up and talk to the man, I toured the market several times, and ended up with goat cheese (two kinds, I know), fingerling sweet potatoes, Fuji and Gold Rush apples, midnight and golden beets, and a giant bag of sweet, young carrots.  It was hard to resist the ciders, the yogurts, the pickles, the heads of lettuce, the rhubarb...  You have a CSA, Kemper!

Last night, I made a 101 Cookbooks-esque meal of French green lentils, shredded radish, carrots, arugula, cotija, a wine-poached egg, and some greens I don't even know the name of.  Let's see where tonight takes me.

Baying Hound Brewery

Rockville, my current city, suffers from what a former roommate called "Instant Life".  The city center was inflated overnight, snapped into place, and is ready with its veneer of character for People! Bustle! Business!  It looks as if it could be interesting -- and I do love the library -- but somehow my eyes just pass over it without stopping.  Nothing pulls me in.

There are many good things about the city center, and other developments like it.  Rockville Town Center is walkable, close to the metro, it has a market (albeit an exceedingly pricey one) and a library and clothing shops and restaurants...  I can't judge it too harshly, but it fails to inspire.

Character overfloweth, however, on the other side of the Rockville Pike, at the Baying Hound Brewery.  It sits amid autobody shops and storage sheds, and looks mostly like your friend's garage who happens to make (a lot of) beer.  A current roommate and I walked over after dinner, and each ordered a flight.

The six-beer flight included:
  • Darwin: a sour beer -- or, American Wild Ale, as they called it -- pretty decent, not eye-openingly sour, rather fruity in fact.  Almost like a mix between a saison and a sour.
  • Dog Breath: technically a malt liquor (no hops at all) that they infused with wormwood.  Medicinal was the best you could say about it.  The man behind the counter said, "It's the least bad it's been," -- it seems it started out undrinkable.
  • Dog Park: an IPA.  Not bad, I probably wouldn't go out and purchase a six-pack, but then a California girl is picky about her hops.
  • Hrotgarmr: a Viking ale (that is, as close as modern health codes allow them to get to a Viking ale)
  • Lord Wimsey Pale Ale: I enjoyed this one.  Flowery, light, drinkable.
  • Originators Belgian: My favorite by far.  Very drinkable, especially on a warm spring evening.
It is fortunate that the Originators was such a success - it is the beer they made in honor of a local ska band, and the only one they have been canning so far.  In general, I still find this brewery a bit unreliable.  They seem to have no problem serving beer that they do not think highly of (and we buy it, so I understand the motive from a business perspective), and a particular beer can vary a great deal (in quality and flavor) from one batch to the next.  You never quite know what you will get.

On the other hand, that is in a way part of the charm of the place.  The bartender wears dragon rings, the TV runs through a series of local trivia questions, there's a popcorn machine, and Celtic punk plays in the background.  The crowd is small, but solid -- other citizens interested in exploring the successes (and failures) of the slow, organic growth on the other side of the Rockville Pike.