30 Days of No Caffeine, No Alcohol: Week Three

La-la-la-la-la, warm it up. La-la-la-la-la, the boys are waiting.
Photo by Kate McLean
La-la-la-la-la, warm it up. La-la-la-la-la, the boys are waiting.
The (death) march continues.

Really well-disciplined people that lead a healthy lifestyle, that are totally in control of themselves, I don’t know many, but I would imagine they would tell you the hardest part of a 30-day abstinence diet is the beginning.

Listen up Bethany, it isn’t. The hardest part of a 30-day no caffeine, no alcohol diet is the middle because it’s been forever already and there’s still a whole other half of forever to go.

A big thanks to the outflowing of support during this time like Sarah, my best friend of 15 years, who when I told her over the phone responded with, “Hahahahahhahahahahaha.”

Or Tony Vallone, who replied in solidarity, “Me too.”

"Wait, not even ristretto T?"

"Oh yeah, well, of course I still have that." I sensed him grinning over the phone.

This isn’t the first time he and I have been sentenced to restrictive health regimens. Espresso abuse? That’s us. Dining out? We form a drinking team— meaning I drink all of my portion and later on in the meal he scoots his glass over which I finish too. Kind of like a boozy, baby bird. But hey, there is no reason why Brunello, Amarone grappa and the like should go to waste—which is probably why I’m here in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, aside from one sugar crash backing up into the next, I feel great, and I think my synapses are synapsing much faster, but it’s like— I’ve never spit so much good wine out before. Satellite Saint-Emilion merlot/cab franc? Dope Napa rarities like Proof, made from pre-phylloxera petite sirah root stock? Should have swallowed that. Or Sonoma’s Ulises Valdez 2013 Zinfandel made when he was still alive? Fuck. Me.

To possibly acquire a few bottles of Proof, it is distributed by Vintage Select Wines.

Here are some moments:

Day 14: My body would like to give a warm welcome to the solid food category making its debut today at 2 p.m., both the Cake Batter Shake from Sonic Drive-In and Steve Winwood were helping to spike my pulse—Tots too. It was hot as shit outside and while I practiced yoga in the car and at the same time photo documented the moment, before I could visualize the milkshake hitting the hot seat and spreading everywhere, I felt the milkshake hitting the hot seat and spreading everywhere. I was immediately no longer back in the high life again.

But fortunately, Marshalls & Home Goods was right around the corner and if any place could revive the spirit it was MHG with its unfathomable selection of chairs, pillows, etc. As I stared blankly at the aisle of a thousand candles, I could feel the namaste immediately wash over my chi.

But what I really wanted to enjoy to celebrate being child-less, boyfriend-less and overall blissfully unobligated on this beautiful, hot as shit afternoon was a Michelada Petroleo from Cuchara. Named “petroleo” for the addition of umami Maggi seasoning which gives the drink a petroleum spill appearance, this variation is as positively lip-smacking as it is thirst-quenching.

Sonic Drive-In, 2720 Washington, is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. Open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Open Sunday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Cuchara, 214 Fairview, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and Tuesday through Thursday. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and closed on Mondays.

Day 16:

  • Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch Caramel with granola and yogurt— for a special jump-start to your day, try a scoop of butterscotch caramel mixed with anything.

  • Half of a PayDay, half of a Charleston Chew, half of a Cow Tales while recording Pre-Shift with Kate and Brossa.

  • Finally got that Blood Bros. BBQ Pastrami with Breadman Baking Company Rye and thanks Terry Wong for hooking up a Banh Mi pâté set up for those delicious pork belly nugs. They were sold out, but Kevin, who works there shared his mac and cheese noodles with me— so three bites of that and then a Cherry Limeade and half of a cupcake.

  • Leftovers from Blood Bros. BBQ.

  • Thirteen gummy bears.

  • Two dark chocolate sea salt English toffee bites—turns out chocolate has caffeine— don’t care.

  • La Croix sparkling lime

  • One cigarette (two)
Blood Bros. BBQ, 5425 Bellaire, is open Wednesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Breadman Baking Company products are available at these Whole Foods Market locations: 701 Waugh, 2955 Kirby, 4004 Bellaire, 1700 Post Oak, and soon 1407 S. Voss.

Day 17: Let’s discuss napping, but in particular, sugar crash-induced naps. The sugar crash nap is a “cat” nap that’s been body slammed into REM sleep from the ShackBurger and cheese whiz crinkle fries that just hit the small intestine. Dreams during sugar crash naps are either vivid or total black out, some can even lead to “daymares.” The “daymare” can get as scary as talking to dead people and be as awkward as your parents walking into a room full of vibrators while you're holding six of them. Oh, and definitely try the Salted Caramel milkshake from Shake Shack.

Shake Shack, 1002 Westheimer, is open Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. And Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Which brings us to the halfway mark milkshake tally. Lay it down for them, Kelis:

  • Vanilla Milkshake from Whataburger
  • Vanilla Malt Milkshake from The Hop
  • Salted Caramel add Malt Milkshake from Shake Shack
  • Cake Batter Milkshake from Sonic Drive-In
  • Orange Dreamsicle ice cream added to morning health shakes, homemade
Day 18: Swooped by Houston Wine Merchant on the way to work to admire its Bordeaux selection as well as pick up some birthday pirate juice (Equipo Navazos Oloroso Sherry) for my boss Brian Brossa and was gifted two Laredo Taqueria barbacoa tacos from store manager Antonio Gianola. Gianola has been preaching Laredo’s tacos ever since the first time he visited and ordered one of everything. Crisp, fresh-pressed flour tortillas wrapped around a snug portion of juicy face meat topped with razor-sharp green sauce was the water-bottle squeeze, quick-stitch to push me back into the ring.

Laredo Taqueria, 915 Snover, is open Monday through Saturday 6 a.m to 6 p.m.

The Houston Wine Merchant, 2646 S Shepherd, is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Day 19 aka National Doughnut Day for everyone who didn’t get the message that yesterday was National Doughnut Day: Well folks, that means a visit to Duck Donuts. A dozen, fresh-fried, expertly crafted cake doughnuts clocks in at a little less than $20 and makes for excellent team building snack before the shift. And the two I ate silently by myself in the car will always hold a special place in my memory—probably more short term memory than long, but still.

Duck Donuts, 3157 W Holcombe, is open every day 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To be continued...