Monday, April 8, 2013

Mixed Plate: Raising the Bar (or at least up six steps)

Have you ever taken all your glassware out, to reorganize or just take stock of what you had, stashed away in your cupboards? I did that with all our beer, wine and cocktail-related glasses and came to a big conclusion: We Are Such Alcoholics. 

Cheers to reorganization - pour me another while I watch you reorganize - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Don't worry, we weren't subjects of a friends/family intervention. More like a Furniture Intervention. We did some recent decor upgrades earlier in the year -- the Mister and his achy vertebrae were dying for a new bed. We did the Portlandia thing and got an organic, locally-produced bed from Seattle-based company, Soaring Heart, which I'm sure the mattress had an epic story attached to its origins, much like that Portlandia episode about disturbingly locally-raised chickens. We also had to get a new non-locally produced, non-organic, likely Made in China/India/Philippines platform-style bed frame from CB2 (which is basically Crate and Barrel for rich college kids), because these schmancy Seattle-andia mattresses don't use box springs and that was what we had for the last epoch or so, give or take twelve years. The locally-sourced bed on the not-locally-sourced bedframe must have stirred my nesting loins into finally tackling something that had been pawing at me like a rabid monkey -- or maybe that's just Indy -- getting a new home for all our bar glassware.

New bed, new buffet/credenza, but still same Indy - Photos by Wasabi Prime
You know you're truly All Grown's-Up when you're shopping for things called buffets or credenzas. Somewhere between doing your own taxes and getting a mortgage is the space where credenzas live. They're a wily lot, those seemingly pointless oversized pieces of furniture. I remember most all-grown's-up homes having a large buffet table and China cabinet, usually set aside for holiday dinners where the "good plates" were used (versus the ones labeled microwave-safe) and a long line of holiday foods were set out. I had a plain, somewhat rickety side table that I would use for displaying some family heirlooms which always freak people out -- a lot of old, decorative display dolls from Japan. I'm not a weirdo doll collector, I just can't bear to part with them, they've been in the family for so long and I'm clearly a sentimental hoarder. That space was being misused as I should have had a storage buffet there instead of the creaky old side table that doubled as a dinner table when we first moved into the house and had no furniture.

Blame the Portlandia Bed, because after seeing how nice the new bed looked, I was reminded how poorly mismanaged our kitchen space was. Every time I did the dishes, it was like a horrible game of Jenga to try and fit everything back into our towering pile of stuff, most notably, our bar-related glassware. You know this game of which I speak, because you also have cabinets dangerously overstuffed with stacks of novelty and local brewery-branded pint glasses, wine glasses of all shapes and sizes, several of which you may have drunkenly stolen from wineries and hotels. Clearly, our glass is full of class.

We are alcoholics - Photos by Wasabi Prime
To the Internets, Batman! I got to credenza/buffet-shopping and picked one that fit the space where the ghetto side table was using and likely had the storage space to contain all our drunkahol glassware. My no-fuss, online furniture drug of choice is Overstock because the shipping is free, even on ungodly-heavy stuff. If I had to pay by the pound on this thing, I'd need a second mortgage. What I didn't realize was that getting furniture from Overstock is akin to spinning the Wheel of Online Shopping Fate, and it fell on: good news, it's delivered already assembled... bad news, it's heavy as f%&# and it needs to be moved up a short flight of stairs to get into the dining room.   

Luckily, we had good, strong friends who were available to help lug the thing into place, and in the meantime, I got to taking stock of our glassware, which was quite an experience. I had no idea we had so much boozeahol-related glasses stored in our cabinets! I had old wine glasses from college, which I know sounds fancy, at least until you find out we were drinking cheap beer out of those things. Putting everything out onto the kitchen counter and dining room table was like watching our liver's lives flash before it.

Holy crap, we had a lot of drunkahol glassware - Photo by Wasabi Prime
College, Oktoberfests in Leavenworth, many breweries throughout the Northwest and a staggering amount of beer festival sample glasses -- frankly, I started culling the herd immediately. I kept the most-used items and ones with sentimental value, but a lot went to Goodwill. It felt good to whittle the already stupid-large collection of glassware to something only somewhat stupid-sized. It was enough to be able to fit into the new buffet/credenza and still have room to grow, which is perfect. 

Ahh... order has returned to the Universe - Photos by Wasabi Prime
Being able to organize everything to where Brock's beer glasses could take one section, Scotch and specialty sipping glasses had its own spot, and my wine and cocktail glasses had their own home felt OCD-Fantastic. I could even store some extra bottles of liquor that I found stashed in back of a cabinet because we were running out of place to put things and it just got forgotten there. I reorganized all our liquor as well, using a wine storage tower to devote a whole shelf just for Scotch/Whisky-related bottles and another shelf just for the most-used mixers and liqueurs. Just being able to see everything we have makes it so much easier to enjoy it, since it's so convenient to just grab what you want, select the right glass and have that nightcap. It's also nice to keep all the cocktail-mixing tools and wine openers and stoppers in drawers separate from the kitchen, so I'm not fumbling over that stuff while looking for a slotted spoon.

While this isn't a typical edible-related post, the accessibility of one's kitchen speaks a great deal to the level of happiness of the people trying to use it. I like keeping the cocktail hour-related items separate from the cooking items. It puts them back in a place of specialness, that a nice glass of wine, a cold beer, or a cocktail is a treat, and that using the right glass for the right drink is far less of a chore, now that I don't have to wonder how the heck I'm going to put it back once it's been washed.

In the end, a feng-shui-ed, well-organized kitchen and dining space just means more time to get back to what's important -- Releasing the Kraken.

Let's GET. IT. ON. It's five o'clock somewhere - Photos by Wasabi Prime


  1. Oh my gosh. I need a credenza. Or an intervention. Or both. I'm in the same boat that you found yourself in when it comes to the kitchen. I've started taking out anything that I haven't used in the last year and storing it in the garage for a garage sale that will be happening sometime this spring or early summer. Look at you, all growed up using a credenza. Well done.

    1. I feel Next thing you know, we'll be shouting at rowdy kids to git off our lawn.


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