Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Free Margaritas" for Single Females in Bathing Suits (Must have ID)

     There's nothing like climbing (a few) mountains to get your appetite revved up. I am talking about food here people! What did you think I was talking about? Get your heads out of the gutter! What happens in the tent stays in the tent. 
     Picture this: a nice drive to Alder Lake in the Catskills for some wilderness camping. (That means no bathroom, which means the most serene number two situation you can dream of. Think cool breeze in your tuchus.) We found our campsite; the only site left which had totally been trashed by a bunch of dirtbags. We are talking extreme filth. Clean up time was worth our very hidden campsite. 
     Campsite: The Big Lebowski. Each time we walked with a carload of supplies by our neighbor he gave us a friendly wave. He was living full time on his campsite which was pimped out with a dartboard and surrounded by tiki torches. I love saying hi to people. I have zero shyness about waving to everyone and even though most people in New York are horrified by my friendliness and don't wave back; I am never discouraged.
      Our neighbor was my kind of man: old, hairy and crazy. He was basically the Dude from Big Lebowski, only skinnier and long bearded. Very dude-like. He offered us his wheel barrow. I still think Markus should have taken him up on his offer. I really wanted to be his friend and you will see why. 
     Campsite The Hangover. We walked by the ultimate party campsite on our way to collect water from the natural spring. Let's put it this way: beer funnels and toilet paper everywhere.
     A little lunchy time. Roasted eggplant dip with a hard boiled egg on a potato roll. A true delight with a cold Negro Modelo. Let's call this the culinary height of our camping. It was all down the mountain in terms of food from here.
A little relaxation lakeside and a walk downstream. Great day. 
     Campsite Eastern Promises. Brighten Beach was also camping on Alder Lake, with no shirts on and huge handsome German Shepherds. On a stroll around the lake before dinner; the Eastern Promises crew was screaming profanities across the lake at The Dude, trying to get him turn his radio down. Eastern Promises, I recall your jerks where chainsawing firewood all afternoon. Who does that? And what is wrong with Guns n' Roses' November Rain? I'd rather hear music than your dumb fat voices cursing like animals. We were looking forward to a nice hike up and away from all the riff raff.

 Dinner that night was good. Thanks Trader Joe's for the surprisingly decent boil bag Indian Food. Markus was very happy eating his baby poop. I think he even ate my baby poop. That sounds weird.
     We watched Fantastic Mr. Fox on the tiny iphone screen and thats how our campsite got its name. Best line in that movie and in any movie: "I can't help it, I'm a wild animal." Love it!
    Sunday was hike the crap out of the mountain day. We collected some water and met some camper's from Camp Sideways (I could smell the Pinot Noir on their breath), who told us that there was a BEAR! near the spring trying to get at the hanging food bag that belonged to the camper's who were staying in the lean-to. Let's call their campsite The Edge
     I am deathly afraid of bears ever since I watched The Devil Bear Scoopy Doo episode as a young child. I kept calm and hiked. 
     Along the way we actually met The Edge hikers who started bragging about the bear as if its cool to have a bear stalking and killing you in the middle of the night. Not for me, thanks.
     A girl described him as, "so cute, splashing in the spring." 
     "Nice to know you guys!"
     They didn't have a chance.
     The 7 mile hike up with 30lb packs on our back was grueling! But well worth. At the top of the mountain was a fire tower, where you can see 360 degrees around the entire mountain range. New York is hell of a green state. 
     The evening festivities were cocktails and appetizers at 5pm at the fire tower then dinner reservations at a new Thai place at 7pm. Yes, whiskey flask, cheese and crackers. No complaints out of either of us. One of those most romantic dates I've been on yet. 
     Thai is so hit or miss in general. It really was the most unrewarding dinner I ever ate after the longest hike up a mountain ever! Your Pad Thai, Trader Joe's, should be discontinued.
     That night we camped in a random spot  we chose in the woods below 3500 feet elevation. Up past that you can't camp or build fires. We figured out why: everything was so dry up there; it was a breeze to light a campfire, while down the mountain in our lakeside camp was not as easy. Hence the fire tower. 
     We found a nice spot out of earshot of the another set of lean-to campers. Campsite My Cousin Vinny: two guidos and one guidette. Unfriendly. Most likely from Howard Beach, Queens. They were very neat and the next morning the lady looked like she was hiking out of the beauty parlor. Hair perfect. Nails done. By then I looked like a total hag. My hair was so greasy I think it was flammable, especially at that elevation.
    That night we watched The Edge, a movie about camper's stranded in the Alaskan Wilderness who are being stalked by a man eating bear. Not a great idea for someone who is such a wimp when it comes to bears or any suspense thriller. 
    That night our mountain campsite got its name: Campsite Alvin and the Chipmunks (are douche bags) because we undoubtedly camped on top of a chipmunk rave party. All night they were scurrying around our tent all high on something. And after watching that scary movie they sounded much bigger than chipmunks and I wish I wore diapers that night because I could not step foot out of that tent to pee even though Markus reassured me whatever out there was tiny. A combination of fear and tree roots up my butt, (even though I spread a foundation of moss under our tent), made for a restless night.
    Next morning we hiked back down the mountain and to camp Fantastic Mr. Fox again. On the way I met a frog. He was the laziest, fattest, wartiest, cutest thing I have ever seen. 
    By the end of the hike, we were eating nuts and dried berries nothing worth mentioning, but this is when the camping got really funny.
    It was a hot Memorial Day and there were a lot of young lakeside bunnies in bikinis enjoying their day off. The dude wanted some company so he posted a classified ad outside of his campsite that said:
"Room and Board for Single Females. Free Lobster if you make me smile." Yes! The Dude. I was starving and I know I could make the dude smile, but when I mentioned to Markus I wanted to go he silently shook his head in disapproval most likely for fear of my life. And he loves lobster so it says something that he didn't pimp me out to the Dude for some free lobster (even though I was ready to pimp myself out.)       
    The Dude, knowing that the bunnies might not pass his campsite, also wrote an enticing message on his van in the parking lot that read: "'Free Margaritas' for Single Females in Bathing Suites. Must have ID." He mispelled suits and what does the "free margaritas" in quotation marks suggest? I so needed to be the Dude's friend. It would have been a perfect time to borrow his wheel barrow, too. Now that sounds creepy. I am definitely one to get myself into bizarre and ridiculous situations, but even I was not ready to walk into that campsite. I would have been asking for whatever was coming.
    On our final trip to the car, we stumbled upon the My Cousin Vinny campers. They were changing in the parking lot car side. Wise thing to do. As we are walking toward our car, one of the guys bent over right in sight of us and pulled down his pants and bear assed us. Fat and hairy and beary! Wow! I never in my life thought I would see that from that angle, ever! It was definitely not the view I was expecting to get when Markus asked me to camp with him on Alder Lake, thats for sure. I will sure never forget it, though.
   Five hour car ride home in holiday traffic plus a 5 Leaves dinner equals an awesome end to an awesome camping trip.

Roasted Eggplant Dip
1 egg plant cubed
2 shallots chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic whole
tomato paste
ground cumin
balsamic vinegar
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
olive oil

    In a 400 degree oven roast the eggplant with the shallots, coated in olive oil and salt and pepper until soft. About 5 minutes before they are done, add the garlic cloves. In a food processor blend the roasted eggplant with the rest of the ingredients to taste so that its a sweet and sour balance between the vinegar and the honey. Enjoy with bread.


Rocco Galatioto said...

Love your post; it's obvious you had a great time.
However, you neglected to mention how you cooked the frog.

Morta Di Fame said...