And birthday week continues through April 7…

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There’s something so lovely about beer in the afternoon.

Drinking at night is fine and often quite festive, but it’s never as relaxing as drinking in the afternoon. It’s more like having coffee or tea, a nice way to sit and watch the day go by, except time seems to slow down even more with booze. Maybe it feels healthier to have a buzz in bright sunshine?

Leslie and I separately discovered how much we love drinking during the day, but once we found the other felt the same way, we declared it would be our new birthday tradition. We’re particularly lucky to also share a love of schnitzel, spaetzle, wieners, and all the other things that go so well with beer in the afternoon. For her birthday last November, we went to Loreley on the Lower East Side. Since it was my birthday, I forced her to walk all the way to Avenue C in the East Village.

Even though it was depressingly cold for April, the sun was shining like it was spring, and Zum Schneider felt warm and cheerful. We got there just as they were opening, and everyone seeemed to be in such a good mood. There were no crowds, no lines, just a couple of happy people chatting over full beer steins.

The pretzel was very, very good, particularly with the excellent mustard. We also got the spaetzle plate with cheese, onions, and bacon, and the “O’Batzda,” which is very accurately described as a “cheese spread of brie and blue cheese made w/ onions & beer.”

The weisswurst tasted just as they looked. Boiled and white. Solid food, all of it just as good as expected. My schneider weisse amber beer was smooth as smooth could be.

It was a very meaty weekend. The night before, Sharon and I had had baby back ribs and chicken wings from Smoke Joint in my neighborhood. Her eyes lit up when I mentioned a barbecue place had opened in Fort Greene, so I couldn’t say no, even though I knew we were going to Keen’s Chophouse for dinner on Saturday. I owed her a steak dinner, and after almost a year of thinking about it, she was hungry for meat. Her recent trip to India only whetted her appetite for cow; she even had a nightmare that she was thwarted from eating her steak.

I had their famous mutton chop, she had the sirloin. I thought the waiter’s attitude towards us, two Asian women, changed markedly when we ordered two huge pieces of meat and asked for the scotch menu. The meat was intense. Very good, though i couldn’t eat more than a third of that crazy mutton chop. A French couple sitting two tables away from us literally swiveled their heads as it came to our table. Sharon, impressively, finished her steak. As she put it, “All you have to do is apply yourself.”

But I was the one who insisted that we have dessert, a butterscotch sundae.

Next week, I am going to be vegetarian.

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