I've never lived on the West Coast but I've visited a few times and I think I like it. The weather and the people seem more moderate, and it would be neat to live near Russia. The biggest drawback, though, would be that East Coast televised sports start too early out there.
I went to a bar in Santa Monica once to watch a Patriots game at 9:30 in the morning. That's arguably too early to start drinking but certainly too early to subject your sober self to the impolite company of 100 grubby ex-pat Pats fans yelling about the Yankees in a city full of people too smart to care.
And you can't watch New England games at home on the West Coast unless you have some sort of exotic satellite computer cable TV that's already out of my price range even before I start stretching my budget to accommodate what the western brewsnobs assure me are Darwin's own pale ales. (I drink crappy yellow pitcher beer when I watch sports here in Boston, but I'm told that's not allowed on the frontier.)
I prefer to do all my football-watching as late in the day as possible, so I was sort of bummed out when I realized that last week's Pats/Bills game started at 1 p.m. I had to work at the bar until 3 a.m. on Sunday morning and then I had to drink until 4 a.m., because otherwise why bother working until 3 a.m.?, so I woke up late and started the day a bit behind in my radio-listening and newspaper-buying (I hardly even read the damn thing anymore, but I try to carve out enough time to at least go throw the $6 out the window every Sunday morning).
This pregame rush-around was further scrambled by an ill-advised trip to the grocery store. Research assistant Emily and I found ourselves in uncommon possession of a working automobile for the weekend, and we'd promised each other that we'd use it to stock up on more than our standard backpack's worth of groceries.
This is apparently the same promise millions of other people in our neighborhood make themselves on Sunday mornings, most of whom tend toward the unambitious and infirm. The store was packed and I was cranky.
One particularly crowded snack-aisle convention of the North Cambridge Velour Sweatsuit and Semi-Recreational Walking Stick Society caused me to break out what Emily calls my petulant teenage chimp routine, in which I swallow half my face with my lower lip while imaginarily smashing things with my too-long arms. This display of impotent aggression got me neither of the things I coveted at the time: pretzels and eviction from the store.
By the time we got home and put the groceries away, I had less than 30 minutes to turn the day around. I honestly didn't want to drink because it was beautiful out and I had a lot to do, but I also didn't want to wreck Emily's day of rest and football, so I did the only noble thing and Bloody Married my rapidly happied self halfway into the bag by halftime.
Buoyed by vodka and certain victory (the Pats led 21-10; then other, lesser football things happened in the second half), we headed out in search of rumored $1 oysters in Harvard Square. The line for the oysters was too long, but we found good seats at the outdoor bar and settled in to drink $3.50 Narragansett tallboys and watch another couple hours of Pretty Tom dominating the NFL.
Well, the beer came through, as it always does, but the quarterback didn't. Man, that sucked. But this is a new week and a fresh opportunity to stick to my pledge to watch the entirety of every Patriots game at home. This week, the good guys will be defeating the unclean beasts from Oakland by a score of 41 to 17. Emily and I will be feasting on Bloody Marys and deviled eggs. Join us, won't you?
For the Bloody Marys
It was was tough to come up with an Oakland Raider-themed drink. The original Trader Vic's was in Oakland, which makes it more of a Mai Tai town by my reckoning, but I can't think of a clever way to incorporate rum into anything resembling a Bloody Mary.
Editor Erin points out that, given Oakland fans' penchant for bloodshed, it may be most appropriate to just stick with Kenji's original recipe. Let's do that: a straight Bloody Mary, maybe a little heavy on the blood, with a paper umbrella.
For the Deviled Eggs
This was easy. If Northern California stands for one thing, that thing is weed. And if the Raiders stand for one thing, that thing is incompetent management. The last time the Raiders went shopping for a quarterback, they came back with $40 million worth of Jamarcus Russell.
So you know that when you send Al Davis out for a bag of pot, he brings you back an entirely different kind of herb. Use the standard Mark Bittman deviled egg recipe, but replace the suggested greens with nice, fresh oregano.