Tony and I had a low-key Valentine's Day. He made Barbecue Beef Short Ribs with potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker. I made a salad with raw, shaved gold beet on top and a dressing made with lime juice and Penzeys Tsardust Memories seasoning:
To drink, we had The Whole Shebang Tenth Cuvée, a California red blend I'd picked up on sale, for $11.98, at Central. The shelf talker referenced the linked "20 Wines Under $20: Reds for Winter Moods and Foods" New York Times article. I enjoyed the wine more than Tony did; I found it to have some pleasing notes of cherry and sweet spices.
Tony and I exchanged cute cards:
He knows I love any reference to me as a furry beast. 😆
We also got a wonderful valentine from Mark and Hanif that alluded to my nickname at the Game Party:
Dad visited us on Saturday into Sunday. He and I had our usual pizza lunch at Market Pizza in Stockton. For dinner, I breaded and pan-fried skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces. I cooked gluten-free penne and made a simple pasta sauce with some finely chopped onion and Penzeys Pasta Sprinkle. And I put together a salad with celery (for Tony and me) and a simple vinaigrette made from white wine vinegar, sunflower seed oil, and yet another Penzeys herbal blend: Parisien Bonnes Herbes:
Here's a photo of Dad and me taken by Tony:
To drink, we had the M.A.N. Family Wines Chenin Blanc that Tony and I had found to be a terrific bargain back in December. I drank only one glass because I was going to be driving Dad to the Bucks County Playhouse to see The Everly Brothers Experience Presented by The Bird Dogs.
Dad and I thought the show was fantastic. Zachary (who's on the right in the photo) and Dylan Zmed sing the parts of Don and Phil Everly, respectively, and they play matching guitars. Their backing band was also very talented, though only drummer Burleigh Drummond is named on the website above. Maybe the guitarist and bassist are fairly new to the group.
The Zmed brothers had a nice banter with each other, and they talked a lot about the Everly Brothers' history and the songwriters behind their biggest hits, including wife-and-husband team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. They performed a couple songs by other artists in the style of the Everly Brothers—Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues"—and a couple songs the EBs recorded but were better known as hits for other artists: Little Richard's "Lucille" and Buddy Holly and the Crickets' "Not Fade Away." They also performed a song written by Dylan Zmed called "Kindness Is Magic" that I thought was quite good.
The next morning for breakfast, Dad and I had danishes he'd bought at Century Bakery, which, ARROHK1, employed me when I was in high school and which is now for sale. Then Dad helped us hang some artworks on our walls, including these prints of some fancy-looking varieties of pigeons I'd bought several years ago, IIRC, at the holiday market in Union Square:
Dad and I went to Country Griddle for a pancake brunch before he headed home to Bridgeton.
That night for dinner, Tony made halibut using the sous vide machine I gave him for Christmas. He's been cooking with it a lot even though this is my first mention of it on the blog. He's made steaks, chicken, salmon, and other kinds of fish, too. The beauty of this precision cooker is that you can't possibly overcook something, so long as you set the temperature correctly.
Tony also concocted an amazing chunky-and-spicy raw-carrot puree to use as a sauce for the fish. It consisted of carrots, olive oil, coconut milk, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, and salt. I ate the rest of the puree for lunch yesterday on top of pasta, with a little reserved pasta water stirred in to thin out the puree a bit.
For the side, I roasted cauliflower with onion and red chili flakes. Here's a not terribly pretty photo of my plate:
And here's the inevitable salad I made: with red bell pepper and a vinaigrette seasoned with marjoram:
Tony and I have started the process of putting our house on the market and moving to the Fort Lauderdale area. Our realtor came by yesterday, and we talked about what we ought to do to get the house ready for a buyer.
What follows is a slightly edited reproduction of an email I sent to members of my immediate family that explains why we want to leave Hunterdon County and head to Fort Lauderdale. (We're also going to consider its gayer neighbor, Wilton Manors. We definitely plan to rent at first.) I'd previously told my family we were thinking about moving; this email confirmed it.
There are many reasons for this decision. The biggest one for me is that we feel bored and stagnant where we are. We don't regret moving here from New York, but there's not a lot tying us to this area. The New Hope–Lambertville area is beautiful and has some wonderful things going for it, like the Bucks County Playhouse and the farmers' markets. But we hate having to drive everywhere. And when walking the dogs, we have two options: up the road and over the bridge toward 523 or down the road toward Headquarters, past the house with the barking dogs.
I'll occasionally see a friendly neighbor: Dana, who lives in the house in the bend in the road near the bridge; either Mike or Bill, the gay couple who lives behind the old schoolhouse; or Bonita, the woman who lives down the street in the other direction with her basset hounds (and husband). But we haven't become truly connected with any of them, and that's definitely partly my/our fault, because we haven't really settled into this house, because we've kind of always suspected that it was a transitional place. It's also been more of a fixer-upper than we reckoned on, and though we've made progress on painting and other projects, our hearts haven't always been in it.
We also feel like we're spending a lot on taxes without getting much back in services. In Delaware Township, we don't even get trash and recycling pickup; we have to pay a private company for that.
Work is another issue. I want to find full-time work again, or at least have a good amount of part-time work, and the vast majority of editorial jobs in this area are pharmaceutical related, which has zero appeal to me. And I'm not up for commuting into the city again. I could maybe handle a couple days a week, but a job with as much responsibility as I would want to have would expect me to be there just about every day.
We also, quite frankly, want to live somewhere warm and sunny. The older we get, the more we dislike winter. And it'll be easier to sell frozen desserts year-round in Florida than in New Jersey—and I will definitely want to get back to Huge Hound again at some point even though I'll almost certainly have to put it on hold for a while.
This wasn't an easy decision. I really enjoyed being able to visit the 'phews at college by driving only a fairly short distance. And I especially feel bad about moving far away from Granny and Dad. But Fort Lauderdale is easy to fly to the Northeast out of. And it's a wonderful spot to visit. ☀️🌴🌊
1As regular readers of Hawleyblog know.