Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ice on the Lake, Pine in My Cup

When the days get dark early, that means the lake gets nasty and then freezes in the most interesting ways. Today, I spent the better part of the afternoon out on the lakeshore up off of Bryn Mawr Avenue, fueled by the infamous (in my world, at least) double chicken platter at Aloha Eats. I love the lake in the winter, especially up where I was today--no one is out there, it's quiet as can be, and really quite lovely. Big ice drifts form, creating an artic landscape, but what I love is how the water freezes on the little piers during the wetter, windier storms. If you carefully walk out there, you'll see some of the strangest formations--ice that looks like gingerbread icing covering the metal posts and cables, big shards of ice crushed up against the concrete--and hear some really cool creaking and cracking noises from the ice below.

Of course, standing out there for a couple of hours creates the need to warm up, and if you feel like you've been pickled a bit too much lately and want to leave the big strong dark beers out of it, heat some milk with a bit of sugar, cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate. Put in a pinch of salt, chile powder (the kind that's just chiles ground up--no cumin or anything else, and certainly not "taco mix"), a bit of cayenne, and some vanilla. Whisk it all up nice and hot, then drink it down. It'll do the trick. Of course, a little bit of hooch never hurt, either. And if you should get a pine needle in there from your Christmas tree, well, we'll call that good luck.