I stopped into Zeke’s Coffee in Lauraville this afternoon to say hi to the Toddfather and pick up some beans. While I was there, he gave me an impromptu primer in small-batch coffee roasting and let me shoot a few pictures.
Zeke’s takes pride in buying beans from single plantation growers, insuring the beans are of the highest quality, and roasts them in small batches using hot fluid air, much like a popcorn popper, for a consistent and even roast.
They’ve been in business since 2005, and their coffee is featured in restaurants and cafes across Baltimore. The selection has grown by leaps and bounds since I’d been there last, and they have a huge selection of organic and fair trade varieties. I can’t wait for tomorrow morning’s cup!
On the subject of food and friends, I should also mention the excellent meal we shared with Mr. and Mrs. Scout the other evening at the Salsa Grille, a Spanish/Latin American restaurant hidden in an otherwise unassuming strip mall just inside the Beltway. While the bench seating was a little uncomfortable, the atmosphere was friendly, the wait staff was attentive, and the food was delicious. I had the Caribbean Paella (I know, I know, but I wanted chicken and seafood) which was large enough for two people but good enough to make me try to eat the whole thing. I left impressed enough to move this to the top of our local restaurant choices.
After dinner, I tempted our company with the promise of cake, and we stopped into the Catonsville Gourmet to see what they had left. Even though the wait staff was closing up for the night, they carved us four slices of cake, offered us milk and coffee, plied us with water, and made us feel at home, something I doubt we’d find at most other restaurants where the chairs were already up on the tables. (Their service has always been nothing but impeccable). We were finally able to get Mrs. Scout the carrot cake she wanted for her birthday, while Jen and I were able to satisfy the craving for chocolate cake we’ve had for a week. And, because we were commenting on it but did not order it, they gave us a slice of Smith Island cake on the house. Their desserts are all from Sugarbakers, and they did not disappoint. It felt great to get out and enjoy good company on a random Tuesday given the rapidly approaching Life Event. Especially with cake.
Jen has gotten the baby’s room as close to done as possible; this weekend I will be moving the office downstairs and clearing out space for a third bedroom so that we might finally be able to clean something. Mr. Scout will be by on Saturday to install the final door while I try to tie up a bunch of unfinished projects before the weekend evaporates. (The lawn? I mowed it this evening, for the first time in a month.)
…he compared Defector to a neighborhood bar, no pun intended. “This is our little business—we just need to have these margins, pay our employees, and that’s it,” he said. “No one who owns a bar is thinking, ‘I can’t wait for NBCUniversal to come offer to buy my bar for a hundred million dollars.’
The Columbia Journalism Review does a great piece on Defector, the sports/commentary website born from the ashes of the old Deadspin blog. What an amazing concept: building a self-sustaining business to provide a healthy lifestyle for its employees, not to make the founder rich. Venture capital is a virus. I subscribed almost two years ago and I’ve never regretted it; the writing is that good.
I’ve had Afterlife by Arcade Fire going through my head for the last couple of days. The original song is excellent; I didn’t know until I looked up the lyrics that James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) produced the album; that explains the excellent groove this song sits upon.
I remember seeing the music video I’ve embedded above when it first came out nine years ago: Produced by Spike Jonze and starring Greta Gerwig, it’s an amazing live-action production and performance of the song.
When I was a kid in New Jersey we had six channels to watch: the three main networks, the Fox affiliate (FOX 5, before it was Nazis, home of the Godzilla creature feature at Halloween and It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas), Channel 29 (home of Star Blazers and M*A*S*H reruns), and PBS. One day I caught a show on PBS that had a guy dressed in odd pseudo-military clothing who taught kids how to draw, and the first time I saw it I was VERY interested in watching the rest of the shows. Unfortunately it never followed a schedule that made any sense and so I wound up only seeing a handful of episodes.
Fast forward to college, when my friend Tim and I were talking about random stuff and shared a common memory from youth: the drawing show on PBS. Turns out it was produced here in Maryland by MPT, and turns out he was a guest on the show as a kid for one of the episodes!
Fast forward to last night,when the same subject came up and I was talking about it with my sister-in-law. I had to find it, and the Internet provided: a series called Secret City, where the host tought kids to draw all kinds of different things. Enjoy:
We are the parents of a teenager, which means she would rather sit and watch incomprehensible YouTube compilations of TikTok videos instead of enjoying mass-market media with us. It’s not for lack of trying; there have been multiple series we thought she’d enjoy that she’s waved off in favor of screamy narrated speedruns of games she’s never played. So it was a surprise when we sat down as a family for the first time in forever to watch a TV series together: Willow, the follow-up series to the 1988 movie. The first couple of episodes were challenging to get through from a narrative perspective; the writers set up almost all of the main characters as assholes, treating each other poorly and generally being unlikeable. It wasn’t until the fourth episode or so where the character arcs all thunked into place and people began redeeming themselves. The rest of the series is solid: the production values are to-notch, the acting is great (in spite of the writing) and the action is generally OK. We’re looking forward to finishing this series out.
The second series Jen and I have been watching is Andor, which has been absolutely stellar from the opening scenes. It’s sad to say, but watching a Star Wars series written for adults is refreshing; having recently rewatched The Force Awakens for the first time in several years I was struck by the amount of fan service and yuks there were in lieu of real stakes. Andor’s main story is that of a lovable rogue for the first three episodes, pivoting to a study of bureaucratic fascism and a heist story for the next set. Personally, the Empire is scarier to me when it’s depicted as a faceless omniscient DMV with tall ceilings than it is as a bunch of Stormtroopers lined up waiting to get shot at. We’re only four episodes in but we’re riveted and can’t wait to see what happens next.
i love it! the room is beautiful. such a sweet yellow. we had cravings for chocolate cake this week, too.
Can’t think of a better evening than one that involves Salsa Grill AND carrot cake. You guys are amazing friends!
What a sunny, happy baby room. Looking forward to seeing the little Dugan gal soon!