Sunday, May 16, 2010
Grapefruits & Goodbyes
I spent a bit of time in the great state of Texas last year. Austin, Texas to be exact. I went out there with a friend to visit a music festival, drink sweet tea and cheap beer, and get my years fill of pulled pork. I've always fantasized about being a Southern girl- with a cute little twang, debutant stature, and family heirloom recipes for fried okra and peach cobbler. But alas, I am a Southern girl from the great state of California. San Fernando Valley, California to be exact. A SoCal girl who awkwardly can't wear high heel shoes, has an heirloom recipe for dijon chicken from her Irish Grandma, and opts for saying words like "Ciao!" "Adios!" and even "Peace Out!" (yes- an embarrassing residual from high school...) instead of Goodbye. But I do think I have some real Southern blood in my veins- I wear rustic leather boots with jean shorts, I love lard, I proudly use the word "y'all" whenever possible, and I honestly admit to enjoying a good queso dip (even though I know well, that queso dip isn't really cheese at all.) But most importantly is that some of the most genuine, inspiring, and closest relationships I have in my life, have all come from those great Southern states. So I am pretty convinced that I am attracted to these folks because I am just one of them, thats all there is to it!
I was back to Austin a few months after my first visit to dabble more deeply in the food scene. Pulled pork Sandwiches from Iron Works BBQ, Gingerbread pancakes from Magnolia Cafe, crepes and cupcakes from Airstream trailers, crawfish boils, cheap beer in personalized koozies, softball sized grapefruits and peaches, and breakfast tacos with an endless bowl of queso dip on the side. But best of all, the city is filled with the scent of smoky BBQ, and the songs of constant live music all day! And no matter how hard the humidity is weighing on your chest, or how bad it is to tame the mass of curly hair that has tripled in size- happiness is found in the city of Austin.
My friend Sean and I traveled back and forth from Santa Barbara and Austin last summer in search of live music and good eats in each others cities. We camped and hiked up the California coast, stopping at hippy bakeries and seeking out quality coffee. And I introduced him to my favorite cocktail alongside California Oysters- The Greyhound Proper. Quality Gin mixed with fresh grapefruit juice, over ice, with a candied grapefruit rind. He jumped right on board with the lovers of Greyhounds, and soon we were drinking sweet Texas grapefruit juice and gin, out of mason jars in the Austin sunshine.
1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
5 oz of fresh grapefruit juice (Texas grapefruits... of course)
combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. pour over ice into a highball glass and serve with candied grapefruit peel. Enjoy!
I got to spend a day with Sean just this past weekend while he was in-between flights on his way to New Zealand. He sold his belongings, moved out of Austin, packed a backpack and is moving to New Zealand for a year of adventure and unknown. I love it when people make choices to take charge of their life and independence like that. To answer the call deep inside you that just wants to run to a far away place, filled with nothing and no one familiar, climb a mountain, sleep in a van, think, read, acknowledge, be, and just breathe in your own existence. Traveling alone is the most rewarding thing I have ever done for myself, and I know it will be for him too.
So I dedicate this post to Sean. And his adventure of a lifetime. To answering those questions, walking those trails, and creating those stories that will shape his life forever.
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you
And if you listen
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
May you travel safely
And live your time
Away to its fullest
More enriched and free
To balance the gift of days
Which call you
And most importantly- May you bring me some quality farmstead cheese, and arrive back with a ferocious appetite for Barbeque and Greyhound Propers. Bon Voyage and Good Luck, Sean!