28 March 2009
Obviously, everyone around here is tired because our lives are so hard. Look at Jacky, for example. Just sitting around causes the light to beam off of his fur and create rainbows and butterflies- and this is on a cold rainy day. He is exhausted. I am waiting for a pair of pants to arrive from Australia- completely draining.
27 March 2009
I have two food events that I must report on. They are different for many reasons but both were fun and tasty meals. The first was at Hot Pot City, a very exclusive restaurant that my friend Emily told me about. Its like a buffet... but then you cook everything in your own little hot pot of broth. Kevin and I went there on a Tuesday afternoon or something and ate our selves silly- noodles, pork, veggies, barbeque broth- the whole deal. Emily brings up this restaurant frequently and this is usually what she says: "OMG you have to go to Hot Pot City it's so good the whole time you are there you moan 'HOT POT CITY IS MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT MMMMM OH GOD'". And she was right- at one point through a whole mouthful of burning hot noodles I think I really did moan that whole run-on sentence. The waitress thought it was perhaps the funniest thing she had ever seen that I was taking photos of the food. She stood behind me, peering into the viewfinder, cheering "Nice photo! That very good!" I really felt like a pro.
This week my grandparents are visiting so I took them and the rest of my fam to dinner at the restaurant I work at. The service was outstanding- look at our super hot server next to an absurdly handsome Kevin! We had a huge tasting menu and many bottles of wine including a bottle of 2007 Antica Terra. My friends make this wine and this vintage is absolutely wonderful! I was very happy, though it made me miss them terribly (they had a baby and for some weird reason don't come in for dinner anymore. NOT COOL GUYS.) We ate octopus with lemon rind, soup of rhubarb and fois gras, carrot and bean sprout salad- too many dishes to remember. The best part though was my grandmothers story of punching a guy out on the dance floor on a dude ranch in Montana. As she remembers saying to her friend at the time, "We are not at Mount Holyoke anymore."
Last night my family and neighbors all came over dinner and my aunt Leslie brought over the almond blossom cake that I posted about a while back. Ok, she makes it so much better than I do, and I have come to believe that if you have a newer oven you should bake it at 325 degrees, not 350. My oven is new and over-bakes the damn cake! Her oven is vintage and even though she burned the top this time, it was still gooey and insane on the inside. I shake my fist at that cake! Either its the oven thing or I am just missing the touch.
Anyway, I just went down the slide at the Mount Scott pool like 4 times with my cousin Pearl. I am exhausted! I have a special staff meal photo shoot that I have been meaning to post from last week, but that will have to wait. That's called a cliff hanger guys, get used to it.
17 March 2009
This is a tiny chocolate molten cake made in a mason jar by my new hero. This lady is a baker, a chocolatier and a food stylist. JEALOUS! Plus her website is beautiful. But most importantly, the cake was dreamy. It was so moltenous and delightful, I almost had to cut off Kevin's hand, lest he steal one more bite of it (supposedly we were sharing. Bad idea.). This cake was a gift from my personal chocolate dealer, David. His willingness to allow me to enjoy other chocolates is, I think, very brave. Though he has nothing to worry about- I'm a sucker for bacon caramels (duh) and will never stray. Except for these little cakes. Can you see the tiny glasses of milk looming in the distance? And the tiny spoons? And the elephant tray? Dream snack.
16 March 2009
I typed this entry on my new cursive typewriter. I want to weep all over its keys, its so beautiful. In fact, I'm having trouble staying away from it. Cursive. Typewriter. So I typed MY BLOG on to PAPER (fine it was Kevin's idea) got misty over its simple charm, and then put the paper in the pathetically sleek and unoriginal scanner. But now I can't get the file onto/into my blog. And that is why the internet is stupid and I only like my typewriter.
So you'll have to read regular computer words, which are ugly and mean. Seriously though, my Royal typewriters (I also have a coral Royal Safari, which I also adore as though it were a new born kitten) and the relentless efforts of spring to cheer me just might be working. I actually walked around my neighborhood smiling at people today. It has been raining, hailing and then sunning at twenty minute intervals for the past few days, and I just can't get enough of this nutty weather. I appreciate the sun when its here, and then quickly jump into bed to watch another episode of 30 Rock when it rains.
I know you'd all rather read about me flipping out on customers behind their backs, but its just sunspots and dewdrops around here lately so deal with it.
13 March 2009
I decided I wanted to make hand-pies the right way, and that meant learning how to make puff pastry. It was time consuming but actually not very hard. This is because I am the lucky owner of a vintage butter shaver. This tool enables me to shave butter into tiny slivers while it is still frozen- and it remains frozen. Frozen butter is essential to any crust that you want to be flaky. Every ingredient should be cold, some say even the flour should be chilled (control freaks/perfectionists) for a truly flaky texture. If you have a Cuisinart then you can use that instead of the butter shaver and probably save a lot of arm energy (the ancient tool I have requires great strength and stamina, two things I regrettably lack). But anyway, I made the dough properly, learned all about folding and turning it, and then rolled it out and filled it with strawberry rhubarb preserves that I made last spring! I felt like I was cheating on spring by having rhubarb so early, but since it was legit from last spring I am forgiving myself for jump-starting the season. I also made little sugar and cinnamon twists for the little babies that live down stairs from me- they loved them.
I did not do a photo essay the way that this awesome baker did, but you should take a look at her blog and watch the little video to understand the puff pastry process- and then you should DO IT! I did it on a cold day when I could rest the dough outside- keeping it cold is important! I'll say it again! Keep the fucking dough cold!
Anyway. Aside from baking pastries for babies and thinking about summer, I've been working a lot of private parties for groups of doctors. This is something I find very interesting because I feel like I am getting insider information. For example, last night I learned how many injections must be made into the areola after breast augmentation surgery to keep the nipple looking real. Last week I learned about depression. I often want to ask questions during the lectures, but have learned that they don't like that. They want to eat their salads and look at slides of the uterus, without comments from the waitress or supporting staff. But last night, the lecturer, asked ME questions, and I had to tell him to stop. He was in the business of facial reconstruction, and he was looking at my face. I told him he was making me paranoid, and he said he that he gets that a lot.
02 March 2009
It was a weekend of truly INTENSE eating and heightened emotion. Our famous sous chef Dave has decided to up and leave us to devote himself to chocolate. On his last night of work, he made a staff meal to remember. You may remember a post a while back about meatball subs? Well apparently Jack, my fellow server who had not been working that night, has been pissed ever since he read about those sandwiches. He actually felt angry with me over my excessive poetry devoted to meatballs. WELL, Jack is no longer mad because Dave made them again for our final staff meal together. Tangy tomato sauce with "a whisper of spice", tneder balls the size of clementines, grated cheese for the top, and chewy vietnamese rolls. We all sat down together. The back of the restaurant was empty and so we could really spread out and talk dirty to our sandwiches. My dad and Kevin had come in for drinks at the bar, and Kevin actually joined us for a sub for old times sake. We drank beer, we ate, and eventually dare each other to eat more. Caroline, my heroine, ate 6 meatballs, while Nick, my hero, at 7. The next day Caroline had another and declared, "There, 7 meatballs in less than 24 hours. Happy?". Yes, I am happy.
Yesterday was Dave and Caroline's going away party. Wow- writing that down makes it a little more real- this is going to suck! I will miss them so much. Anyway though, again, absurd amounts of eating was done. It was kind of sick actually. My friend Laura and I went a little too far with the deep fried french toast and bacon pecan caramel sauce. Well, it might also have been the cornmeal waffles with creme fraiche, the latkes, the insane coffee cake, the scrambled eggs, the smoked salmon, the sausage and bacon, the bloody mary's and the mimosa's. We tried them all! It was so shocking to my belly- which has seen a lot in its day- that I felt just like I did that time in New Orleans when I puked. However, I pulled my shit together and went to the arcade with everyone, where Holly and I played Dance Dance Revolution (right? Is that what it's called?). I have never played that game, and didn't know that I was going to have to dance so hard... It made me feel much worse. I could not eat for the rest of the day or night- not even when Kevin fetched Lebonese food. It was sad, but at least I did not actually throw up this time. I think it's only appropriate that this was the condition I was left in after Dave's brunch. I'll miss you Dave!*
*Dave and I will be hosting a dessert night extravaganza at least once a month, starting next month. I can't reveal too many details because we don't know them all yet, but know that we will be making many desserts and you will be eating them all in one sitting, tasting menu style. You're welcome.