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Later today, Elsa and I head off to Safari West. We’ll be “camping” (HabeshaChild style, meaning in relative luxury, with – you know – beds and toilets) overnight, and then taking a wildlife safari tomorrow morning. So exciting!
I’ve been to this place once before, and found it charming (though I’ve been ruined by actual safaris in Africa, so this seems quite tame in comparison). Elsa’s never seen anything like it, and I think she’s going to love it…
We’re going with my friend Kris and her kiddos, the same family who we joined on the trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They are terrific, Elsa loves hanging with the kids, and I won’t have to worry about a helicopter parent or someone who might get stressed out by Elsa’s mercurial nature.
The wildlife is going to be fun I’m sure, but perhaps most of all I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch of our tent-cabin, after getting the kiddos to bed tomorrow night, and popping open a bottle of wine and just relaxing for a bit of actual adult conversation.
just had a spectacular dinner – here.
oh my goodness:
an amuse bouche of sauteed scallop with lobster foam, paired with a glass of Diebolt-Vallois Champagne;
first course: white bait roe (very fine grain caviar) with butter-soaked toast, paired with a Gruner Veltliner from the Wachau (by Domaine Wachau);
second: white asparagus (the most amazing I have ever tasted) with smoked ham and watercress, paired with an Alsacian Pinot Gris by Domaine Josmeyer;
third: lemon-braised arctic char with spring vegetables, potato cake and chili butter, paired with a Hautes-Cote de Beaune from Jean-Yves Deveney;
fourth: grilled medallions of veal (I know, I know) and braised brisket of beef, with almond-potato creme (wow!) and turnip rosemary sauce, paired with a Barbera d’Alba Piani from Giorgio Pelissero;
fifth: two lovely cheeses (one hard and salty, and one nice and stinky and blue) with truffle honey and fig, paired with a gorgeous Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer;
desert: variations on rhubarb – some kind of rhubarb crumble, a rhubarb reduction juice shot thing, some pickled rhubarb, and a nice little portion of pannacotta, all paired with a Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes.
all I can say is thank god for a long walk back to the hotel.
and thank god the investment bankers were paying.
i’m loving the photo updates from my fabulous sister who has been staying with Elsa.
this may be my favorite – it’s the dance of joy from a little girl who is not normally allowed many french fries… which (after bacon of course) may be her favorite food.
Elsa and I LOVE Aunt Kate (and not just for the french fries).
I’m on day two of an über-low-carb eating plan, which I am hoping to sustain until I leave for Sweden in about 10 days.
And I hate everybody and everything.
My big jeans (I have 3 sizes of jeans in my drawers – don’t you?) are getting tight, and I am not going to buy new ones. And I don’t want to sit for 17 straight hours in too-tight jeans, no matter how good a seat I get on that plane. Also, I have a smokin’ hot red pencil skirt that I’m dying to wear for my first meeting with the investment bankers – just to show ‘em I mean business and to distract them at the same time. You know… “damn, that lawyer drives a hard bargain. but I also want to buy her a drink. wait, did I just give on that indemnity provision?!?!” But I need to lose just a bit so I can actually breathe whilst wearing it.
So – anyway – seems there will be no carbs in my immediate future. Which makes me cranky. (Where “cranky” = “super bitchy“.) Eventually, the cravings will lessen a bit, but until then, everyone in my immediate area is in danger, as lashing out is a favorite of mine. And then there is my fondness for harsh criticism of any food which I am actually permitted to eat, like the disgusting protein shake I had for breakfast today.
(Seriously, if someone would make a protein drink that tasted even a teensy bit better than the weirdly-grainy, overly sweet, viscous concoctions currently available, they would make a million dollars. From me alone. For I am too lazy to use a blender and make my own.)
I was surprised – nay, SHOCKED – to find that today’s offering in our corporate cafeteria not only fit the eating plan, but actually looked (and tasted!) nice. Behold, pecan-balsamic-crusted salmon on a nice little salad. Not one fucking carb to be found, but I liked it anyway.
Kind of disappointing though, because I was really in the mood to bitch about it.
Will be grilling these, with a balsamic glaze, then sprinkling with blue cheese, then devouring…
I had an awesome girlfriend/culinary double-header yesterday…
A joint birthday lunch – which I hope will become an annual event – with the lovely and fabulous Natasha (my bday was Weds, her bday is today) at Town Hall (where I had perhaps the best burger ever – topped with fontina and (yep) bacon) and sampled Natasha’s truly amazing fish and chips).
This was followed by dinner at A16 with the inimitable Q, which included burrata (love), delish roasted beans, an incredible tuna conserva/onion thing, and a funghi prosciutto pizza that was nothing short of transformative. Also, many glasses of awesome Italian wines.
I have one more birthday celebratory thing planned – on Saturday – and then I am going to need to get seriously serious on the intake reduction. My trip to Austin was so much fun – photos still to come, I promise - but I pretty much threw all restraint out the window when it came to food.
So it’s been a nice long interlude of stuffing my face with too much of everything. And who doesn’t love that? But my biggest pair of jeans is now getting tight, and I refuse to go buy clothes to accommodate my recent expansion.
So it’s back on the wagon for me. After Saturday, that is.
Unlike Suzanne, who could not give a rat’s ass, I have a big ol’ crush on Tony. He’s just such a culinary badass, swears like a sailor, and he doesn’t care at ALL what you think of him. Which I find terribly attractive.
Anyway, he has a new book out, Medium Raw, and is doing some kind of restaurant/book signing tour this summer. And, on his swing through the SF Bay Area, a few lucky people get to eat WITH him at a local restaurant called Left Bank – the spot where Suzanne and I were eating lunch that day.
And check out this sign that was posted in the bar- see this? It is SOLD OUT.
But I am going.
I am going as the guest of my beautiful and amazing friend Jennie, who is a fellow foodie Tony freak, so we can geek out and moon and swan over Tony like complete idiots. Jennie planned ahead and snagged tickets months ago.
Suzanne, I’m glad you won’t be fighting me for Tony. Jennie, you are the best, even though I’m prepared to elbow you into the foie gras if necessary to get close to him. And Tony, I’d do you in a New York minute.
On Mondays, I sometimes get to work at home. And when I do, it is PRICELESS.
Besides laundry, dishes, and other various housekeeping things I can get done, I have HOURS of silence, in my own home. Something that almost never happens. And I can get so much actual work done!
I’m telling you, when I’ve had it up to HERE with my job, I remind myself that I occasionally get Mondays at home, and it makes me want to stay.
On most at-home Mondays I take India for a walk at lunch time, then come back and scour the fridge for lunch items that I’m too lazy to bring to work. Today I am having leftover coffee-crusted steak over a broccolini and mushroom saute. None of it made be me – but who cares? Doggie bags are the best.
I’ve been on a grits bender lately.
Tonight I looked in the fridge and saw a bunch of chard and a bunch of aging leeks and had a small inspiration: Grits Souffle’ with Chard and Leeks.
It’s a riff on this basic grit souffle recipe sent to me by Paige. (Sauteed the leeks in bacon fat with some shallots, then added some white wine and the chard – cooked it just long enough to wilt it, not to turn into mushy greens. Then combined that with some leftover cooked grits, eggs, half-and-half, two handfuls of grated cheese, and threw it in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes(ish).
I’m telling you, it is maybe the best thing I’ve ever made.
You dropped your snack! What to do?
Look no further (click on the image to embiggen it):
[Hat tip to SF Foodie]