Nectarines in Lemon Verbena Syrup

Nectarines in Lemon Verbena Syrup layered with cake croutons and whipped cream
Today, you get a rant and a recipe…

The Kafkaesque idiocy of city government is highlighted today as I run an errand I’ve been rightly avoiding for 14 years. I’m visiting City Hall to pick up guest parking permits, an easy sounding task. When I enter the drab 1960’s lobby, I grab a ticket from the machine (similar to what you do at the meat counter). There are only three people in front of me for parking permits – perhaps this will be easier than I imagined? I wait. And wait. And wait. While I wait, I wonder what government policy requires a homeowner to personally visit City Hall to obtain temporary parking permits. Americans bank online, pay property taxes online, buy and sell every commodity imaginable online and yet, I’m required to physically visit a building midday (which, if I was still working, would mean taking time off work). I don’t blame the city worker behind the counter for the molasses-slow process, although she’s admittedly moving at DMV employee speed. Each resident seems entirely confused by what they need, each carrying a large packet of information to the counter. This shouldn’t be this difficult. Finally, after 40 minutes of waiting, my number is called – “D2035 at Desk #19.” When I get to the counter, I’m asked to write down my name and address. I wonder what the city does with these handwritten forms. Transcribe them into electronic documents? Save them for seven years? Track permit request traffic flow? By this time, I just want to Kaizen the shit out of this place. Then, I’m asked for my driver’s license, a utility bill, and my car registration:

City Employee (Looking at his computer): “Who is Enrique?”

Me: “He was a previous owner (Who sold the house in 2001!)”

City Employee: “Who is John Woodman?”

Me: “He was the owner who sold the property to me (In 2003!)”

City Employee: “I can give you the temporary permits today, but next time, you need to bring in the Grant Deed to your property so we can update our records.”

So, City Hall needs a copy of my Grant Deed from 2003 (14 years ago!) to update their records so I can get temporary guest parking permits? Oh, and by the way, I need to go back in October to get a new set of permits for next year.

Don’t make me go back…please. Here’s an hour of my life I’m not getting back.  I hate pointless time-suck errands.  What a waste of an afternoon.  I need a sweet treat.  This recipe helps take me back to my happy place…

Nectarines in Lemon Verbena Syrup

I’ve been trying to use up summer’s plethora of nectarines and lemon verbena. This simple recipe is a favorite – the verbena syrup makes sliced fresh fruit special enough for company.


  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup lemon verbena leaves
  • 3-4 nectarines, sliced
  • garnishes if ice cream, whipped cream, cake or cookies


  1. To make the syrup, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved completely. Add lemon verbena leaves, stir well, cover and let steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Strain leaves from syrup.
  2. Drizzle nectarines with about ¼ cup of lemon verbena syrup. Serve nectarines and syrup with ice cream, whipped cream, or even pound cake croutons. Remaining syrup can be kept for a few weeks in the refrigerator. I use it in lemonade, ice tea, or drizzled over Greek yogurt.


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