Nov. 7, 8am: Congrats to Dom Costa on his successful write-in campaign.
Nov. 7, 6pm: I’ve been invited to guest bartend at Community Forge in Wilkinsburg for an event called Help or High Water, “a volunteer fair to connect Pittsburghers.” Basically, every few months Pittsburgh Cares gets a bunch of nonprofits together in a room with booze and invites people to drink and sign up for volunteer opportunities. Getting shitfaced for a good cause is easily one of my top three favorite reasons to get shitfaced – along with quitting a job and tolerating family over the holidays. Voodoo brought Hoodoo and White Magick, which I’m calling “Black Magick,” while I’m behind the bar. Red Star Kombucha is making a cocktail called “Secret Boyfriend,” & Maggie’s Farm donated a keg of “Dark And Stormy.” This draft list sounds like a great divorce story. Revival Chili is outside serving this crazy spicy chili and I’m bout that life. They are also dedicated to second chance employment – hiring former inmates, because America has no problem paying them $2/day to fight fires, but sees no use for them once released. Trash.
Nov. 9, 9pm: Hootie, owner of Blowfish BBQ, is down at Brew Gentlemen in my hometown of Braddock. He stewed up some wild shit and I was too busy inhaling it to really listen to what it was, but I’ll try my best to describe what I remember. He smoked three animals – pig, cow, and chicken – then pulled them apart and threw them in a stew with tomatoes, okra, and other things before putting that on top of smoked mashed taters. BRUH! Smoked. Mashed. Taters! Unlike his smoked shrimp mac that I’ve been begging him to bring back, this will be around for the winter season. It pairs well with the Mexican Coffee oatmeal stout from BG. I’d imagine it pairs well with anything on their menu. Those guys are among the Pittsburgh elite.
Nov. 18, 7pm: Felonious Munk, one of New York’s most prominent comedians, is in town for a weekend of shows at Arcade, and I have the honor of hosting his stay. Our cirrhosis tour included Apis Mead, Mindful Brewing, some Pabst I found in a fridge at Arcade, and an after-hour roast session at Hambone’s with Ed Bailey and John Dick Winters. We’re now in the Basement Bar, winding down and sipping slowly.
Me: So, honey wine is an Ethiopian thing? (He’s Ethiopian)
Munk: Yeah. It’s called tej.
Me: Word. I’m interviewing you now. So, feel free to expound and be wordy.
Munk: It’s good. Ethiopians are the Irish of Africa. We all have drinking problems. But we handle it so well that no one says anything about it. Ethiopians have tej lounges, where all you drink is this sweet wine. But to handle it you get up in the morning & eat quanta firfir. That’s our hangover remedy. It’s injera soaked in berbere sauce and has small chunks of beef jerky in it.
Me (after 30 minutes of Googling “burberry sauce”): You’re from New York. You lived in Chicago for several years. I don’t travel much. What’s the beer scene like in those areas? Do you have any favorite low-key spots?
Munk: Chicago is the better scene between New York and Chicago. There’s a closer proximity to Milwaukee. There are a lot of craft brewers in Chicago, and a lot of restaurants based on the concept of making their own beers. There is a place called Dry Hopped, it’s about three doors down from The Laugh Factory. They have excellent crafts and a really good burger with an egg on top. My favorite spot is actually a comedy spot called Cole’s. Cole’s bar has one of the longest running open mics in the country. They also are a cool, low-key spot for beer. You’re gonna get your traditional PBRs and old styles, but also some really good craft options.
Me: Fuck. Marry. Kill. Bourbon. Honey wine. Beer.
Munk: Marry honey wine. That’s family. Fuck bourbon all day. In fact, bourbon fucks me. Kill beer.
Me: If you had a message for Pittsburgh, what would it be?
Munk: Thank you for keeping me drunk. Touchdown! Those have been my experiences since being here.