I love living in an apartment. I love knowing that a lot of people are around me. I love the noise and the proverbial "Hubbub" of people buzzing around. I'd probably live in a condo over a large house any day. Unless it's a townhouse or a brownstone in Manhattan or Williamsburg, but that is neither here nor there. I'll think about that when I can afford a $20 million dollar mortgage. Well, maybe $5 million in Williamsburg. A bit more doable.
Sometimes, however, you miss out on things when you live in an apartment community. Like the ability to have a backyard and with it, a barbecue grill. There is a community grill in our courtyard by the pool (another thing that you don't get in Manhattan unless you are spending $5000 on a one bedroom), but I refuse to use it. Refuse! Who knows what has been on that grill?
But there is a wonderful invention for the stove: the reversible grill/griddle. Sure, it smokes your kitchen to the point where you can't see what you are cooking and it stains your stove top with grease that drips over the side, but hey, you're renting! Once you choose not to re-sign your lease, it's the landlord's problem! (For all future landlords, I'm totally kidding. I clean it up. Please don't reject me from renting your apartment just because of harmless snark.)
Yesterday, I whipped out my handy grill/griddle and prepared for our memorial day feast. A few friends were coming by, and I hit up Harris Teeter (best. supermarket. ever.) for some food. My boyfriend and I prepped for a few hours. We (I) created a fantastic menu:
Hamburgers with a remoulade made of cornichons, capers, parsley, mustard, and mayonnaise
Grilled chicken with a balsamic barbecue sauce and Tropical Fruit Chutney
Shrimp and Avocado Salad with an Mango Dressing
(Recipes to follow)
Our friends show up, and as we are enjoying some sangria on the balcony, I head in the kitchen to "fire up the grill" (aka- turn on the burners and wait for the griddle to heat up). I place the burgers on the grill (don't press down or you'll get dry burgers!) and grill away. I notice a pool of grease starting to fill the little grill crevices, but think nothing of it. It's getting smoky, but I'm used to that. A flame momentarily flickers out over the side of the grill- nothing different. I smack furiously with my spatula. But it fights back and pops up again. Again, I smack it away. Smack, smack, smack! Next thing I know: POOF! Half of my grill is on fire.
It's funny what runs through your head when you have a slight kitchen fire. Thought number one. "Oh, Sh*t". Thought number two: "Water!" Thought number 3: "NO!"
I look around me and grab a pan to cover the flame. Quick thinking! I looked at my guests out on the balcony through a haze of smoke and told them about their newly flambeed hamburgers. Oddly enough, only one hamburger suffered any damage- the one that I beat to a pulp with my spatula to get the flame out originally. That poor, crumbled, charred burger never knew what was coming.
But the burgers were perfect. Char grilled on the outside, super juicy on the inside. Pretty much a success. I'd use that technique more often if I didn't care about my personal possessions or the 500 other apartments in my community.