Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Big July Adventure: Part Two: This Thread Is Useless Without Pictures

We returned home from NYC to start our last week all in one place, stopping at Uncle Bernie and Aunt Mary Ellen's house for a cookout.

Correctly for my idiom, I'll mention food in this post too. Bernie has shouldered the mantle of making homemade ice cream in the tradition of, and using the recipe from Granddad Roth. I think Bernie also inherited Grandad's ice cream maker. The ice cream is an uncooked, custard (or French) style, the recipe for which Grandmother says comes from one of her cookbooks. Regardless, it was excellent. When it was ready, Bernie gave Jennifer, Tristan, Zoe, and Mike (a friend of Bernie's,) and me spoons and the dasher to clean off. I'll happily add this recipe to my collection, as the Roth/Prizer traditional family recipes cookbook is embarrasingly thin.

Monday it was back to work for me, via VPN software that makes working from just about anywhere with a stable Internet connection possible. At lunchtime, Jennifer and I went to Chris's Pizza Pie in NorCo for a grinder. After dinner, Jennifer, Tristan and I went back to the Gelateria in Kimberton, since J & T had never been there. I got Tiramisu and Nocciola (hazlenut) and Jennifer got. . . . . Since two larges comes to nine bucks and change, Tristan had to sponge of Jennifer and I.

Tuesday was Independence Day, so everyone had the day off. We started at the Goodwill Fire Company's pancake breakfast. Evidently, this is a long-standing Roth tradition that we just heard about this year. We met Grandmom, Bernie and Mary Ellen, Uncle Roger, Aunt Linda, and cousins Laura and Julia. There were plenty of pancakes, french toast, and sausage to go around. I sat with Tom Mattingly, a friend from Owen J. who is now the chief engineer and fire truck driver for one of the local fire companies. We also got to check out the giant heavy rescue truck they call "Da Heavy" (don't get me started on this) that is dedicated to Grandad, and features a sweet plaque with Grandad's likeness on it. We also checked out the Ahrens-Fox, which was Grandad's favorite fire truck.

The weather was fairly warm and muggy, but we sat under the shade of the old firehouse's awning. The kids enjoyed the parade, especially the costumed Star Wars characters. This was the first Pottstown Independence Day parade I've been to since 1976, I believe. Of all the parades I've seen in my life, this was one of them.

For the second year now, we went to Ludwig's Corner to see their fireworks. It's $10 a car, and since all of us (and Mom and Dad) can fit in Dad's truck, we took that again. (Note to self: get there at 8:00 next year). It was while we were waiting there that I discovered that my Minolta Dimage 7Hi had a faulty sensor, and would be inoperable until I could get it repaired. That's part of the reason for the dearth of pictures here. For me, being camera-less is very uncomfortable. I did my photography with the Canon on "fireworks" mode, and enjoyed the impressive high and low-altitude show they put on there. Afterward, when we were maybe 100 meters from the car, we heard an incredible growing "hiss" sound, followed by the feeling of the sky opening up on us. From that short distance to the truck, we all were completey soaked. I don't think we could've been wetter.

Wednesday, July 5th.

Back to work for me, once again from the folks' house. That evening, Jennifer and I went to Philadelphia to Monk's Cafe at 16th and Spruce for Jennifer's birthday dinner (her birthday is the 13th.) It's a Belgian pub that was highly recommended by my GSK manager. I started with a traditional Belgian red ale that tasted a little Worcestershire-y to me. I thought it would go great with steak. Jennifer had a Hoehgarten, a biere blanche with hints of citrus peel and corriander seed. For entrees, Jennifer had the charcuterie (sausage) platter, and I had my favorite Belgian food; Moules Frites (mussels and fries). The mussels were Brugges-style, and Belgian fries are generally regarded as the best in the world, these being accompanied by homemade bourbon mayonnaise. These were followed with a second order of fries. For dessert we had something claiming to be creme brulee, but was really kind of a chocolate and custard torte. It was excellent regardless. On the way out of there we saw a chick on a scooter almost get T-boned by a Honda on Broad Street. No trip to Philly would be complete without a visit to South Philly, so we went to Pat's King of Steaks to pick up a "Pizza Steak-with (onions)" for Dad, and a regular "Wiz-with" (cheeze wiz and onions) for us for later.


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