Weekly Update: 3 Weeks of Catchup
Apologies for the lack of updates, I have been very busy with the transition from my internship to being a student again. The beginning of semesters are especially hectic as one is figuring out how the weekly schedule of the semester is going to shake down. As well, you have your typical welcome back banquets which, while nice, take up an exorbitant amount of time. Anyway, let’s get to the updates.
Week 1: Trip to New Liskeard
Immediately after my internship, I took a week long vacation to New Liskeard to spend time with my parents. While they were at work, I focused on my cycling and put in over 300 miles during the week. The point was to culminate the cycling with an unsupported solo century ride. For the uninitiated, a century ride is 100 miles. Solo means that I rode by myself the whole time. To give you a sense of why that makes things harder, riding in a group can reduce your effort level by 20-30% depending on how tightly packed you are. This is due to the reduction of air resistance. Finally, unsupported means that I carry everything I need during the ride with me on the bike. I.e., food, water, tools, etc. Lots of century rides are supported in that every 20 miles, you can get off your bike, go to the washroom, and eat a peanut butter sandwich that was prepared by someone else. Of course, supported century rides usually cost money and are fund raising events. I did my ride as a challenge to myself and this is the “hardest” way to do it. You can find my ride here. As you can see, it took me 6.5 hours and I just did 10 laps from home to Dawson’s point.
Other activities that I enjoyed were the bon fires and late night chats with my dad, playing (and subsequently buying) the board game 7 Wonders with my parents, and cooking with my mom. My mom and I had a fun time breaking in my new air fryer and BlendTec blender. We made ice cream, TVP sloppy Joes, seitan riblets, tried to make falafel, and many sweet potato chips. The TVP sloppy Joes were definitely a hit. Overall, the food was a success but inspiring my mom to start cooking healthy food again was much more important.
To close the week, I got to see Chris for a little bit while he was prepping his house for sale which was a nice surprise because I did not expect to see any of my siblings. Unfortunately, I missed seeing Sarah by literally a day.
Week 2: Back to Princeton
After New Liskeard, I drove back to Princeton for the start of the semester. Again, thank you to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History for keeping me awake during the drives. I also listened to one of his podcasts during the century ride. The week back to Princeton was rife with departmental events and the classic introductory lectures. I got a new roommate, Graeme Baker, a friend from undergrad that did the exact same program as me. He is just starting his PhD in applied math with a focus in probability. So, the first week back was full of catching up with him and getting him settled to the American life (getting a cellphone, credit card, the other “fun” stuff). Graeme seems to have befriended every Canadian on campus and we now have a solid core of Canadians (and one Wisconsinite) for Whiskey Wednesdays where we discuss a variety of topics and let the drams of Scotch contribute to the conversation as the night progresses.
The highlight of the week though was Drew coming to visit me. We got up to a lot of stuff in the 36 hours he was here. Drew took some photos so those are below. This is how his visit played out: He flew in Friday night, I picked him up at the airport and we went to Dbar to catch up over a couple of drinks. It is here that I invented a variation on the Old Fashioned. 1.25oz rye, 1.25oz Monkey Shoulder Scotch, 3 dabs of Angostura bitters, heaping spoon of sugar, orange wedge, splash of cherry juice. To make it, muddle the bitters, sugar, and orange wedge. Add the whiskey, cherry juice, and ice then stir. Garnish with a cherry.
Saturday, we woke up and I gave him the tour of Princeton before we headed to New York City. In NYC, we caught a matinee showing of The Book of Mormon. As someone who does not like musicals, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack after the show. It is also the brainchild of the creators of South Park with the music by the same guy who did Let It Be in Frozen so the whole production was phenomenal. I do not want to spoil the play, but the level of satire can only be described as genius and the humor so entertaining that I was grinning ear to ear the whole time.
After the play, we went to my very first Michelin star restaurant. We went to Nix as they are a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and not insanely expensive. That being said, I can easily say that this meal was the best meal I have ever had. I now know the difference between fine dining and normal dining. The first thing you will notice is the level of service. You will feel especially catered for at these places. The second is the level of precision and freshness of the food preparation. It was abundantly clear that the food we were eating was purchased very recently and came out of the oven seconds before being served to us. Have you ever had pita bread be so fresh that it tears under its own weight? To exemplify how fresh the food is, the dessert we got had to be preordered so that they could start cooking it immediately as it took 45 minutes to make. Everything we got was phenomenal and would have a hard time ordering other things on the menu if/when I go back.
Our meal went like this: appetizer of tandoor bread and an avocado, edamame, and ginger dipping sauce. Two entrees, one of cauliflower tempura with steamed buns (pic below) and Miso-honey avocado, daikon, bok choy, with black truffle. Honestly, picking between these two was difficult. But I would say the avocado with the black truffle was probably the best tasting of the two but the whole dish of the tempura and the buns was a better experience when you incorporate the various textures. Finally, we finished the meal with the special dessert, a tandoor grilled pineapple with vegan cream. I describe it as a smore’s in pineapple form. It was absolutely delicious and the perfect way to end our time in NYC.
After dinner, we rushed back to Princeton so that I could bartend for Glow Party - Dbar’s biggest party - and so Drew could see the Princeton graduate students in action. Here is a video he took before the masses filled that room. Needless to say, it was an awesome night.
Sunday morning, Drew and I casually strolled the Princeton downtown where we stumbled on a music festival. We enjoyed the music over some nice artisan cappuccinos and ice cream from Princeton’s famous Bent Spoon. Drew described it as the best sorbet he ever had so I considered that the best way to end his visit to Princeton. We parted ways at the train station and I headed to the Dbar to cleanup from the night before.
Week 3: Back to the Grind
This week was the first real week back at Princeton where there is no more free food and the work has commenced. I am still on a regular cycling schedule and have settled back in Princeton. Now that everything has calmed down, I am committing my Sundays to meal prepping and writing my weekly update so that these monolithic posts should become more digestible as I do not miss multiple weeks. In terms of noteworthy events, there was nothing too special this week. I am currently sitting watching the Patriots losing to the Detroit Lions. Not too happy about the current score but happy that the NFL is back in season. However, I am getting quite tired and have to do a problem set tomorrow so I am heading to bed.
Until next week,