Birthday Bust

Last week, we tried to make my 25th birthday "happen." They say that you're supposed to know everything about yourself by 25. Well, it's a good thing I know that I like cocktails. 

Birthday drinks with Sara and Jess 04/26//12
I also know that I like the beach. More specifically, a warm, sunny, and calm beach. That's why I opted to have a post-birthday get-together at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, a notoriously frigid, foggy and windy beach. I know myself so well

Thinking we'd spend the night in the city, we took our beloved Winnebago. After purchasing three over-priced, heavy boxes of firewood, we searched around for a decent parking spot and prepared coconut steak skewers for grilling on the beach.  

From the shelter of our lovely Winnebago, we were unaware of the severity of wind conditions on the beach. Merely saying it was windy is an understatement. It was whipping. Sand was blowing everywhere. Not really ideal beach grilling conditions, ya know? 

After Marc, Jess, Robbie and Vera arrived, we basically stood around staring at each other, cold, pissed and hungry. 

Knowing our steak skewers weren't gonna cook themselves, a grill solution had to happen. And quick. After a lengthy period of silent, aggravated brainstorming, Pete got to work. When Pete's around, there's always a solution. He's quite the clever problem solver, I'll have you know. 

The biggest conundrum was eliminating wind flow over the grill, so we wouldn't get stuck with sand-covered steak. Utilizing our over-priced, heavy boxes of wood and a tarp, Pete was able to build a wind barrier. Beneath that, he and Marc dug out a giant hole for the grill. Worked like a charm. Birthday success! 

The skewers were perfect and sand-free! As the sun set, the wind died down a bit, but it was still really cold.  Bonfire to the rescue! We gathered our chairs around and stayed toasty around an impressive and well-constructed fire. The same can not be said of the three "let's take shots" ladies to our north who continually squirted lighter fluid onto a small flame. 

After valiant attempts to drink cold, sandy beer, it was time for s'mores, obviously. Right after Pete retrieved all the yummy ingredients from the Winnebago, a shovel-toting cop approached us, informed us of all the illegal stuff we were doing and then promptly pooped on our party. Just as the fire was getting good, he killed it with piles of sand. Birthday fail. 

So much for my birthday party. Not the first time the authority has rained on my parade. Anyways, we packed up our makeshift campsite (in the dark) and were rushed out of the parking lot by the police. So much for spending the night in the city. We weren't interested in driving around for overnight parking so instead, we just head back to Mountain View. 

After a luxuriously restful night of sleep, Pete and I spent the next day washing the bonfire smell out of our clothes and utilizing leftover goodies from the bonfire. 

First, and most importantly, were the s'mores. But how to roast the marshmallows without firing up an entire grill? I suggested the use of a lighter or a candle, but Pete reminded me that eating those fume remnants may be disastrous for one's health.  

Saves-the-day Pete had a better idea: he would make a bitty grill out of a beer can just for our roasting needs. And so we drank. Oh, PBR, how we've missed you! We used to drink this stuff all the time, but ever since we moved to California, we've gotten a little fancy. The 24-pack of PBR we bought for the bonfire was never even opened, so we had plenty to spare. 

After we finished drinking the "grill", it was time for punching holes. Pete used a fork to create an airflow through the can. The more holes, the hotter the grill. 

Next, we brought our project outside. Placing a single piece of charcoal on top of the holed-side of the can, Pete doused said charcoal in a generous amount of lighter fluid. 

And then it was onto the flames!

We patiently waited for the charcoal to come to white-hot temperature. And boy, was I craving some s'mores! This moment couldn't come soon enough!

Finally, it was grilling time! Sitting on our uncomfortable bucket, I steadily (and sometimes not-so-steadily) held my marshmallow over the charcoal. 

Discomfort set in quick and I had to compromise my marshmallow grilling stance. I sacrificed looking cool (and the possibility of my hair catching on fire) for the promise of a perfect marshmallow. 

And, by golly, it was DELICIOUS!

Even Mr. "I Don't Like Sweets" Pete enjoyed his portion. 

We skipped out on free dinner that evening in order to bring classy back. We had an unopened 8-pack of hot dogs leftover from the bonfire and they were calling our name! We hadn't eaten a hot dog in...oh, a very long time. 

Don't worry folks, we still got a little trashy in us after all! Nothing like some PBR and copious logs of "meat" to cap a mediocre weekend. 

And, by golly, they were DELICIOUS!