It’s been a loooooong day. But I will spare you the details of my trials and tribulations and instead wax poetic on how awesome of a night we had last night, and give you some pictures of tasty things. Deal?
So last night Chris and I went out with a group of students from my culinary class. It all started at the end of the school day, with a few of us deciding to go out and have a beer at a local burger place. One beer turned into three or four, which led to a semi-drunk proposition of gathering our respective spouses and dragging them to the restaurant where several of the students work. Chris and I had already been to this restaurant a time or two, since it was the only place we could find that would let us have Willie out on the deck with us when he was a tiny puppy. In Colorado, every restaurant allows well-behaved dogs on the patios, but here that appears to be a no-no. I think it has something to do with the…quality of dog ownership in the area. Think gang members with trained-to-be-aggressive pit bulls and chihuahuas (breeds that are both fine with proper owners, but have potential to be very bad in the wrong hands). Anyway, it’s an amazing restaurant, and was amazing again last night.
I’m taking into the consideration that one of the student’s spouses was our server, another student was working the garde manger station in the kitchen, and another student who was eating with us is also a chef there, but it was really a fantastic experience for these reasons:
–I was still drunk, and got progressively drunker as the night progressed, which was awesome for me except for that with the addition of alcohol my normally loud and blunt attention-getting behaviors become even more loud and blunt (but I think at least pretty amusing).
–They gave us complimentary “truffle fries,” which were crispy shavings of potato with parsley, truffle oil, and parmaggiano all over them. And then I was all over them. And then they were all over me, because they were actually fairly messy to eat. Still, OMFG so good.
–Chris tried foie gras. I was unwilling to do so (still both a)believing that it’s an inhumane practice and b)not being super excited about eating any liver, let alone diseased liver). He said it was “an experience.” I was, however, super excited about the snobbery that can be linked to having a table full of culinary students, littered with things that included truffles and foie gras, while drunk off my arse
–The chefs came out to visit our table and discuss food-snobbery
–We got shushed several times by the management (if I remember correctly) because we were a bunch of loud motherfuckahs on the patio of a very high-end and semi-romantic restaurant.
–The garde manger guy, who reminds me of my little brother in that he is a misogynist with a wicked sense of humor, came out to visit and began loudly swearing in front of all of the restaurant guests. That cheered me up.
–I got to try a drink called a “Moscow Mule” which was totally delicious and was served in an icy copper cup. It transported me back to a time when one had to wait in bread lines outside of the Kremlin in the biting cold. Silly Ruskies.
–I drank most of a bottle of prosecco.
–My entree, a chopped Kobe steak with brandy and caramelized onion glaze, was pretty damned tasty. I then realized they had a chopped kobe burger that was made out of the same meat but was $10 cheaper. I was too drunk to care.
–I wasn’t the only one who ordered dessert. I had the sticky toffee pudding, which tasted amazing and like it had 6500 calories–mostly butterfat–but I again was too drunk to care. The other girl had nutella crepes, which were indescribably good as well.
–One of the appetizers had black trumpet mushrooms, which is a fungus I adore.
–We decided it’s a “finer things club” like on the Office, and we’re meeting again next week at a restaurant that is owned by the family of one of my classmates (the girl who was out with us). It’s apparently very highly regarded, so it should be a great time.
–The group of people is genuinely, in my opinion, comprised of the very best and brightest and funniest people in the class.
It felt good to bond with people who live in Texas. I’ve always really enjoyed Kyle and Brandon, but adding the others to the mix made me feel like a part of something good. And I don’t care if that makes me sound like a lonely old bag who has a group of church kids come to her house to help her clean her attic and eat stale sugar cookies and look at a photo album of her cats, later saying “it made me feel young again.” I’m happy.
I’m also happy because of the food we’ve been making as of late. Like this pork loin with roasted pears and leeks and a stone-ground mustard crema, finished with homemade chicken glace.
It’s an adaptation from a recipe that was in my Williams-Sonoma catalog, and it was excellent. It was served over a flavorful garlic barley, and stuffed with rich pesto. Heavy on the cream, but that just made it rich and delicious, and also not able to eat more than a spoonful of the sauce for fear of extraneous thigh-jiggle taking root in my trouser department. BTW, how wrongly neglected is barley? It’s like this chewy, nutty, hearty little grain that’s kind of like brown rice if it were to develop a personality and maybe start going out and meeting people instead of sitting at home alone waiting mournfully for the nation to realize what a total gyp regular white rice is, nutritionally. I lurve barley. Especially cooked in thick beef stock with garlic and olive oil and parsley. Give it a try.
A good balancing act was achieved by making a big ol’ pile of vegetarian sushi another night. We got these bitchin’ little soy wrappers with flavors like sesame, spinach, and turmeric. I think seaweed tastes like total gonad so I’m usually limited to tuna nigiri. That’s partially because of my stance on any fish that isn’t a raw tuna, but partially because of the whole seaweed business. Anyway, these wraps eliminated the worry. They were stuffed with sushi rice (natch), carrots, mirin-marinated tofu, cucumber, radishes, green onions, aaaand that’s pretty much it. I served them with thai sweet chili sauce and meyer lemon cupcakes. Aren’t they gorgeous? Like a little rainbow of vegetarian delightful-osity. It’s a great thing to have in your food-repertoir in case you ever meet a completely hot vegetarian and want to deceive her re: your appreciation of a good piece of sashimi, but don’t want to give up the idea of serving sushi with enough sake to guarantee she’ll be taking off her hemp-shirt at some point in the evening and showing you her braless basoombas.