Monday, February 27, 2006

The End of Sport

As in, both the Olympics and my arduous, plodding journey through Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch. Now begins my foray into The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. Having seen the movie already (which you all should toally go see, too, if only for the moment that made Elliott hide his head behind my shoulder), it makes reading the book easier, already having a picture of the characters in my head. (Note: I am not always this lazy of a reader, but Tristram Shandy doesn't matter all that much to me.) What I really, really want (cue the unfortunately appropriate song by the Spice Girls) to read right now is Howard's End, but alas, I have yet to find a good used copy (Forster deserves better than an old library copy.) Meanwhile, I feel like I'm trying to satisfy a hunger for pad thai with spaghetti and hot chili sauce.

Speaking of food, here's what we--okay, fine, Elliott's been up to in the kitchen.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

In my defense, phagia also means just "eating"

Since I finished On Beauty, I have completed a total of... one book, Nick Hornby's Polysyllabic Spree. I have attempted more books than that, of course, but I just couldn't bring myself to finish the horribly written one about the time traveling man, and I'm still working slowly through Horby's Fever Pitch, which is really, really about football. English football, about which I know nearly nothing. But now that I've read more than half of his oeuvre, there's a compulsion to finish it.

So in lieu of reading more books and writing about the ones I've read (the joint goals of my blog), I've been cooking. Granted, only on the weekends when Elliott is here, but it's such a time suck. For example, it took me three hours to make beef stew yesterday. It turned out really well, though. See?

And tonight I made creme brulee again because it's a really simple dessert. (Of course, I've been feeling under the weather this entire weekend and dunno if I really want dessert anymore.) Elliott, um, attempted meringue puffs. Let's just say that he broke a pastry bag. We'll see how that turns out.

But the point is, I've been busy while not reading. Really.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Oh, gastronomic bliss!

Elliott and I had our first grown-up, prixe fixe dinner at Chez Panisse last night. The menu included:

Green garlic soufflé with leeks and Parmesan
Monterey Bay squid stuffed with greens and herbs; with paella rice
Grilled Sonoma County Liberty duck breast with dried cherry sauce, warm escarole salad,
pancetta, and duck livers
Candied kumquat and Page mandarin ice cream Pavlova

It was the best meal I've ever had in a restaurant. The food was excellent, of course. The souffle melted on the tongue; the squid trumps Delfina's calamari; and the duck was a perfect blend of crispy skin and savory pink meat. None of this was surprising to me, of course. The birthplace of Californian cuisine can do no worse. What was surprising and delightful was the restaurant itself. The downstairs part of Chez Panisse only spans the length of two large rooms, but it seems bigger because the walls are covered in semi-reflective bronze-colored sheets of metal, which also warmed up the space (something much appreciated last night).

The meal was probably also the most leisurely one I've had in a while. It was almost 11 by the time we had dessert (we had an 8:30 seating). There's something of a relief in letting someone else dictate what you should eat and when you should eat it, especially if that someone's a chef at a world-renowned restaurant.

All in all, not a bad showing for our second anniversary.