Thursday, September 27, 2018

Incubating the Time Away.

Someone came in the other day and we were talking about Cave things, Cave secrets, maybe. Which exist. And she said, you should write a book.  This has been suggested before, and considered.  Though there ARE some pretty good Cave secrets, in the 10 years your Resident Troglodyte had been amassing them none are SO salacious, and so aplenty, to warrant a book.  Maybe a pamphlet.  A zine could work.

The second blog post was January 31, 2009.  The first one, posted the prior day, was merely us announcing ourselves: our address and a few key words by way of surrounding neighborhoods. We still store wine for someone who lives in Hong Kong, but the guy in Holland moved to Florida. The people in Mexico are new. We have in the house Indiana, Texas, Arizona, Minnesota, and a different Florida. The guy who lives in Puerto Rico finally got his wine all there.

Yes, the blogging has waned.  After 10 years we've all settled into it. While life still happens here, the inspiration of it has normalized. Also, a lot about The Cave was about becoming. Anyone here circa 2006 walked into this.

Now it is this.
The building was renovated, the troglodyte was renovated, yes, lots of becoming going on here over the years. Right now, we simply ARE.

This is new, though. 10 years of empties, the place was starting to look like I might have a problem. Bottles piled and scattered and dusty, the bulk of them most generous donations to the cause. These are the bottles that ruined me. I finally got around to building a place for them, and also for the all the beer empties that were sitting on the top of the hall rack, so deep in the dark you couldn't see them. Unlike the wine, most of these were emptied by their owners. The gnome was a contribution, too, via The Izzy. Our Guardian Gnome.

I found the rack pictures on the desktop and never used them, so here they are.  I also found these pictures, all of a stash of wine from a locker that was turned over. We've turned over a few lockers in recent years, some an abandoned mystery, others owners who were ready to let go. When Suitcase Boy took over the contents of one of them, he handed me a box of dubious leftovers.  Well, HE called it that.  All but one bottle was so magnificent I am certain he was being coy with grand generosity.  The one finally educated me what a corked wine tasted like.  Wet newspaper, just like they say!
(*click on images to enlarge*) 
P.S. I don't actually care what old wine tastes like, just look how beautiful those bottles are.

After editing this picture I actually saved it as "1967 Heaven"

Also hanging out in the files doing nothing were these two pictures, recent enough. I believe they fell open one Saturday, though I can't be sure.  My condolences to the gentleman who lost them. I vaguely recall they may have been curious and delicious.

Yes, The Cave continues to settle into itself in ways that both are and are not the same; the wine here is not the only thing that continues to incubate gracefully. Cheers.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wine cold brewed coffee.

This was handed to me before the weekend.  If you think thought it might make it through the weekend, you were mistaken.

There is little forthcoming info on this stuff, so here's what it is:  Alloy Wine Works Tin City Americano Wine x Coffee. The back of the label reads, "Red wine grapes co-fermented with coffee beans."

It also reads, a collaboration with HoneyCo.

After doing a bunch of stuff on my day off, I headed out for a Trader Joe's run, a walk of about 20 minutes one way.  But first, I tried about half a glass of this stuff.  Let me tell you this: this is some weird, dense, alcoholic-black licorice-black cherry-cranberry juice-kind of stuff, sweet-like.  Also about 15 minutes into my walk it suddenly became a good idea to try a cold brew with wine and coffee. Science experiment!

Right, it's been a while since we've done one of these.  The last coffee one was a Guinness and coffee cold brew, and that was delicious. Why not wine?  Probably because it sounds terrible*, but now I am walking up to Trader Joe's, slightly floating, really, realizing $3 wine is the perfect thing for something that might be really awful. Kismety!

The current coffee is Yukon from Starbucks. Sort of medium, I opted the milder Merlot so it wouldn't overpower the coffee. Also my smallest jar so I wouldn't cry when I realized I just wasted a bunch of good coffee on this whole idea.

It's a 2-scoop sized jar.

Wine to fill.

A thorough stir.

Enjoy the rest of that fantastic wine. 

And wait 12 hours.
(actual blurry picture,  not-wine induced.)

PS: recycle.

Next morning it gets strained.  Rinse the jar, refill with cold brew.
Actual color was a dense brownish red.
But the real question was, Wait, it's 7:30 AM. When does one drink this?  It's too early for wine, but at night it's too late for coffee.   After some deliberation, I decided it was exactly the right time to taste this.  I mean - in the interest of science - to note the results. Which I did.  Note.

Findings: despite the wine, actually not at all bad.  Much more subtle and straightforward than the candy crush of the Tin City Americano. With good wine it would be better.  Also, someone suggested white wine. They thought something neutral like a Chardonnay, but I'm thinking a Riesling could be amazing.

(*...though come to think of it, we did do the Great Kalimotxo Experiment way back then. The cola profile could have suggested wine's compatibility with coffee.  Bad on me for not sooner realizing this.)

(Day four, this has settled into a very delicious thing.  Because wine is shelf not-stable, it doesn't make sense to brew any larger a batch unless it is widely shared or you drink a LOT of both wine and coffee all day long. So if you never open wine becauce you can't finish a bottle, enjoy some and cold brew the rest.)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Wine Porn of the Day

Or: What's on my desk is way better than what's on your desk.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Eras and Ends.

The Cave opened in 1982.  1982, coincidentally, is considered one of the better vintages of Bordeaux. 1982, coincidentally, is the year Robert Parker showed up to tell everyone that. (Some think it was only an OK year until Mr. Parker convinced us otherwise.)  If you bought a bottle of Chateau Lafite upon release - like a lot of people here did to begin their collections - you paid around $40.  Today, a 1982 Chateau Lafite sells for $3,000.  (Inflation alone, it would be about $100 today.) A 2015 bottle will now set you back, depending on the bottle, from $600 - $1,700.  Bordeaux is no longer the stuff of beginning wine collectors.

Eras and Ends. 

The Era: I called Vern near the holiday and was getting no answer.  Vern, if you are just joining us, was your master of ceremonies before I, and it is directly because of him you all are now suffering me.  After a few calls I emailed his daughter and prepared for sad news and waited. HA! THERE IS NO SAD NEWS. Vern was under the weather and in the hospital a few days but is now back to his old self and I finally talked to him earlier today.  He sounds good enough, it was good to hear his voice, and as usual he bade me to tell everyone he says Hi.

Vern says, Hi.

The End: The singular privilege of being your resident troglodyte is my job description: I am the keeper of stories. There are many layers of story here. The building is a story, The Cave is a story, every bottle here is a story - someone's - and there are the stories that simply happen. Some I post and others I don't or won't, because.  One of The Cave's  better stories moved to Washington recently and came in this week to close out his lockers.  Sadness. So now I am at liberty to tell this story.

That's Steve on the back left.  He's been here since 2001. Three lockers. His buddy, the guy front left, I have no idea his name. There was never one without the other.  Both great guys.  They'd come in, Steve always in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, go into the cellar, be in there a while, you'd hear them laughing a lot, and then they'd come out carrying a case each.  The first time we all met they also were carrying two empty Mike's Hard Lemonades - which I offered to dispose of and they said thank you and then laughed all the way home.

One time after a long time and much carrying on, they came out carrying a case each and two PBR tall boys. This is the stuff of Awesome. This is Those Guys from That Era.

All the friends came in to help Steve move his lockers. It only took about two hours. This was some very funny two hours, let me tell you.  Old guys who've been friends for a long time are funny.  At one point I went outside and this was the top of the AC out there.  I was like, wow, when did that even happen? How did I miss THAT?


Here's a better look at the line up. 

And then they were gone.  Like every good story, the emptiness of The End.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The archeological dig of the old Hotel Glendale, Part 2.

Part 1
(click on pics to enlarge.)

HAHA, just when we all thought this blog was, in itself, HISTORY.

Things are actually wrapping up here in our little subterranean neighborhood.  The new electrical housing is built and progress is visible in the clearing of the great dumping ground. One of the items being discarded was this old electrical box, possibly an original.  It fell into The Cave recently, and I looked at it for a while trying to figure out what I could do with it.  And then, VOILA!  A bottle of wine would fit in that!

And then the great confluence of NOW: The box, the bits of scattered history, the trenches soon to be cemented over - we need a time capsule. And now we have one.

Here's what's in The Cave Time Capsule. I know, it looks like a bunch of garbage.  Sorry, no. Let's take a closer look.

The first of two bottles of wine. "Especially selected for your pleasure from Gil Jones' private stock."

Gil Jones, along with Mr. Day and the Broadway-Glendale Company, built the Cave.  GIL BUILT THE CAVE!  I drank this with him one day. Gil still cellars here. All this is about as legendary as it gets.

The other bottle I put in is this one. For years it's been next to my desk.  This is the first bottle of wine a customer ever gave me. Before it - before coming to The Cave - I was a non-wine drinker.  Occasionally maybe a bottle from Trader Joe's.  I was very satisfied with my $5 purchases. A year or so ago I tried that Trader Joe's bottle again and it was terrible.  The Cave has ruined me, all of you have collectively ruined me.   This was the first bottle to do so.  The elegance and nuance in this bottle was like nothing I'd ever before experienced, and with it my new job became clearly defined: do everything necessary to allow THIS.  I will never be a wine aficionado, but I understand THIS, and that's all I need to know.  That and more about AC than I ever wanted to know.

An original invitation to the Grand Opening of The Cave, December 15, 1982.

A pack of cigarettes in memory of Joe Burns, the first troglodyte. Also a smoker. I had his business card but it's disappeared. These I found in the storage room behind a shelf when I first came to work here and was doing the Big Clean. It was this, or the broom with his name on it.  The broom didn't fit.  People still tell me Joe stories.

The photo of Vern in his overalls, holding his pipe.  Vern Homer, your second emcee. Writer of poems, singer of songs, lover of seas. Without him I'd not be here.I still call Vern twice yearly. 

 The rotary dial from the original Cave landline.

A couple of post-its to represent the third troglodyte, years 1-8.
 Small gifts from customers, a khachkar brought back for me from Armenia, and an origami heart made from a $1 bill.

This Thomas Hardy Ale bottle medallion, because it was delicious, and to represent the beer people. And sharing delicious things.

Why not?  The shards dug up from even longerer ago.

The paper bits I tucked into this envelope. The Cave address is on it but also because it's my favorite example of desperation: "Please get my very late payment IMMEDIATELY before you sell (drink) all my wine like you just emailed me you were about to do."

Sunday evening I picked up the boards we've all been trying to wheel very heavy cases of wine over - for a very long time - to dig the hole for the time capsule. Maybe it will survive, maybe it will get infested or other elements will have their way with it.  Either way it is a very satisfying errand, this story that is us that gets to stay on in some manner.

Because with all that has passed The Cave remains. Story continues. So we bury our offering to the wine gods to say thank you for everything, for our fortune that we have this story, and for every bottle that opens up from here to become new stories.  The wedding, the graduation, the birthday, the family get-together, the dinner with friends, the quiet evening with Netflix and popcorn, the girls night, the first date, the fiftieth year, the horrible day at work, the great day at work, the screaming kids, because it's raining, because it's delicious, because it's Friday, because it's only MONDAY?!?, because because because: Cheers.