And here's Alan and Abbie together on the back porch steps. Alan had an appointment late morning and into the early afternoon and so the plan was when he got back that we'd take a trip down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor district. I just love that whole area and was really looking forward to seeing it. And the heat - though in the nineties - was less humid so we felt we could press on with it.
After Alan left for his appointment, I grabbed a big glass of water and headed out onto the porch. But, the longer I sat on the porch and read (rereading The First Five Pages for about the fourth time now; it's a book on writing style and form that I find really helpful) the worse the sky began to look.
At one point after checking email, I went to weather.com and there was a massive storm heading toward the coast. It was so bad that warnings were posted to take cover when it approached. It just started to sprinkle when Alan got home but he was certain that it would all blow over fairly quickly.
Nope. It got worse, and worse, and worse. The wind blew in ferocious blasts sending torrents of rain pouring straight down against the steaming pavement, sometimes so hard that the view of the distant trees was obscured. That was a hard rain. No way would we be going to the Inner Harbor today!
While sitting out on the porch and watching all of this - and sipping a little wine - we decided that we should cook a Portuguese dinner from the speciality cookbook that Alan had - our great-great-great grandfather was from the Azores and he had been experimenting with some of the dishes. So, we went in and selected one of the recipies - Pot Roast Azorean-style - that not only sounded great, but for which we had almost all the ingredients for on hand!
The only thing we lacked was some hot red peppers for the sauce. Who would figure that a Portuguese dinner would call for hot red peppers? But Portuguese cooking is really an amalgamation of many middle eastern cultures as well as Greek and Spanish, so there it was and we needed it. The storm abated briefly and so we scooted out to a local market. No luck there so Alan took us up to a major speciality store - Wegmans - where we found, get this: hot red Thai Chili Peppers. Ok... I told him I'd do most of the cooking if he'd do prep work and thus if the sauce was too hot he could lay it all off on me. He thought that a great idea and we purchased the aforesaid hot red Thai Chili Peppers...
We officially swung into full cooking gear around 5:30 with the opening of what turned out to be a marvelous Bardalino and culminated in an even more marvelous dinner feast around 7:30.
After that, Abbie went in to watch some tv and Alan and I were back out on the porch. There was a marvelous cool breeze blowing and the wet smell from the storm was all around us. It was another late night, but what a night it had been!
Coffee Friday morning was a special Italian blend: Lavazza. Though smooth and good in it's own right, I could recognize the difference in quality and taste from Thursday's Guatamalian Antigua. I think I got spoiled Thursday...
One of Alan's son's Scott, an attorney and CEO of a specialty social services organization came by for lunch. It was great to see him as it had been years and years and years since the last time. After he left, Alan and I did more Southern Porch Sitting and a lot more discussing of the structural aspects of the novel I had written. I am waiting for about a week of open time to do the final edits on it before calling it complete. Alan has been a tremendous asset to me as not only a sounding borad for the development of the project but also keeping my ass out of technical quicksand. Though I seem to be fairly competent all around, there have been time where he has laid the wood right to me.
The origianl plan for dinner was all of us going up to Wegmans super deli and buffet, but Abbie was beat on her feet; she had left early that morning to go up to Amish country with friends and they had really been all over. She suggested that Alan take me to the Orchard Market Cafe which has Persian food. Regardless of my limited previous experiences with middle eastern food, Alan noted that Persian/Iranian food was much lighter and had wonderful sauces. Well, I was all excited to give it a try. It turned out to be not only such a wonderful meal but dining experience itself. It's just a little place tucked way back off the road in a small mall, but man! what a great meal that was! Oh, and we killed a bottle of some kind of white Portuguese wine that we had bought at a nearby liquor store as the cafe is BYOB. Couldn't find an Iranian wine so: Portuguese. Why not?