Saturday, May 30, 2009

Food As Art

If any of you were checking out my Twitters on Friday night, you may have noticed that I was attempting to document the over-the-top 25 course meal Don and I were having. The tweets may have been semi-incomprehensible since I was trying to type on my iPhone under table so as not to be rude in a super fancy restaurant. Also, the food was so complicated, it was hard to keep up with all the details, so I'm going to go over our freaky meal again here.

Also, I WISH I could have taken some pics, but I was crossing the line enough as it was with all my Twittering...

We decided to also get the wine flight along with our meal because their pairings are always so nice and we find that it's a great way to not only enjoy the meal more--but to learn about some cool wines too.

So we started out with a champagne cocktail that had a bit of orange liqueur, chartreuse and also Aquavit that lended a very subtle licorice flavor which was going to play off the first dish or two.

The first thing out was two kind of roes--steelhead and Arctic char--which were served up with very creamy and foamy garnishes. It was fantastic!

Then we switched over to a delicious Reisling that was very citrusy and not as sweet as some of the Reislings I've had before. They paired this with a very cool dish of a bite of foie gras and daikon followed by a tiny bowl of soup flavored with daikon, shiso and yuzu. I have no idea what shiso and yuzo are, but the flavors were of strong citrus in a very pure and beautiful way--and perfect with that wine!

Oh--I forgot to mention that they placed a crazy centerpiece on the table--basically a black clay vessel that we were told to "explore, but NOT turn upside down." It was an organic shape and extremely cold to the touch!

We moved next to a Kerner accompanied by a platter that had a shot glass with a clear liquid inside--"distillation of Thai flavors. It was so interesting because it smelled so spicy, but the distillation process rendered away any heat and all that was left was the pure (and delicious!) Thai flavors. So we drank that down and followed it with pork belly and cucumber (along with a lot of other things I'm forgetting!) on a bed of lettuce.

The next course was a cute little palate cleanser--a white almond encased in a gelee in juniper with a tiny bit of salt, sugar and some other spices at the four corners. It was served on a guitar pick-looking thing! Very refreshing.

The next two were similar flavors, but done different ways and both served with Pinot Gris--

the first was one of my favorites of the evening--soft-shell crab in a batter of Chinese five spice and surrounding it--fresh peas with sesame and duck confit.

The second was very similar flaors, but served cold with creams and foams. It was fantastic!

Then came "Black truffle explosion" which was kind of a ravioli bite filled with--exactly as promised--and explosion of truffle inside. There was also some romaine and Parmesan involved.

The next course was incredible--inspired by the 1902 L'Escoffier cookbook. It was an onion tart with squab (or "pigeonneau" if you want to be all fancy-like) and it was served on a very ornate place with very ornate silverware and a delicious and a rich Margeaux served in etched depression glass. I would like to eat like that every night!

I think it was around this time that we noticed our centerpiece vessel was developing an icy frost on it.

A few of my old-time faves were uo next: a piece of bacon wrapped in butterscotch leather (also with apple and thyme) hanging on a trapeze, a tempuraed sweet potato with bourbon and brown sugar served on a smouldering cinnamon stick and then a mustard ice cream with little balls of passion fruit sorbet.

At this point we switched over to a sparkling rose and had the "hot potato/cold potato" which is an inventive little bowl of cold potato soup in which a hot potato, black truffle and butter are dropped in at the last second and eaten together.

A "yuba stick"--I don't know what yuba is, but it's crunchy and delicious--wrapped with a prawn, miso and "tograshi."

Then we moved on to a sake and were served an incredible white asparagus soup with these globules of honey floating in it--I can't give it a description to do it justice!!

Now another wine--an Aucerrois--very floral and delicious, served with the "seafood and flower" extravaganza. This was another creamy/foamy concoction that had scallop, shellfish and honeydew along with "pillows"of lilac--and they tasted just like lilac smells! There were also beautiful little edible flowers sprinkled throughout.

A tiny bite next--grape, lamb, ash and frisee--but served on an antenna that you were supposed to eat "hands-free".

I LOVED the next one--a take on "Americen barbeque." First, something was poured into our centerpiece--which must have had dry ice in it--because a beautiful fog emerged and settled all across our table, along with a smokey aroma. The dish was a tender cube of Wagyu beef with a cube of potato encrusted in salt & vinegar potato chips! It was served with a packet of "A-1 sauce" in powdered form that you sprinkled over the dish. So cool!

Then another palate cleanser--a little pillow filled with a fizzy lemon craziness--it exploded in the mouth!

Now we started moving into dessert mode--the first one was a shot glass with some kind of pomegranate liquid inside and. floating in that, was a "ball of yogurt." You drank the whole thing and the yogurt exploded in your mouth.

The next one may have been my favorite of the night--a clear tube filled with a gel-like hibiscus, then a creme fraiche, then a bubble gum tapioca. You sucked it all out the tube at once and it was incredible!!

There was also a "transparency" of raspberry with rose petals and yogurt which was a thin, crispy creation.

Then, to my surprise, we were served my very favorite dessert wine--Bigaro. I highly recommend it--it's a beautiful pink color, fizzy and has flavors that remind me of cotton candy!

Speaking of cotton candy--the next dish had it--but sweet onion cotton candy! That was resting on a bed of rhubarb done up all different ways and goat's milk cheesecake! Plus--the plate was placed on a pillow fillow with "lavender air" so as the plate compressed the pillow--the lavender aroma mingled with the flavors. It was all perfect together!

Another dessert was milk chocolate mousse, malt ice cream and all kinds of freaky blueberry stuff.

I think at this point I got a special birthday treat which was a big truffle with warm vanilla cream pored over it. I also forgot to mention that port that was served!

Finally, we ordered some espresso and were served the final course of the evening--a little chunk of frozen strawberry pound cake served on a vanilla bean in a mound of powdered almond. When we were done with the cake we were instructed to dip the bean into the powder and eat it that way.

And that was the end! The way I respond to this chef and his creations is the same way I respond to seeing an amazing painting or reading a fantastic book--he is an artist and his work is not only amazing to look at but sublime to eat. It was truly an adventure to have this meal!!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Little Miss Diva

Pickle has always had diva-like tendencies--but it seems the older she gets, the more dramatic she gets. Just an example of some of her antics over a 24 hour period:

--She takes a bottle of water with her to bed at night and last night at about one in the morning I heard her over the baby monitor calling to Gooser who shares a room with her. "Gooser! I need more water in my bottle! GOOSER! I need more WATER in my BOTTLE!"

Luckily, he can sleep through anything, so she eventually gave up and went back to sleep.

--Yesterday for no apparent reason, she poured one of those drinkable yogurts all over the floor near the dog dishes. I got mad and asked her she did it and she shrugged and said "It was just a joke." (That's her new line.) I said "Well, it wasn't a very funny joke." and then she burst into tears and sank to floor sobbing with her face in her hands. "I sorry Mommy! I really really sorry!"

--Also yesterday, she threw off her Crocs in disgust "I can't like these shoes." she said (She says I "can't" like instead of I "don't "like.) Then again sank to the floor howling "I need my SPARkle shoes! I need SPARkle shoes!" Once I got something sparkly on her she ran off happy as a clam.

Of course, I think a lot of this diva-ish behavior is because all four big brothers spoil her rotten.
She has them completely wrapped around her cute little finger!
**I'm going out for a belated birthday dinner tonight at this totally over-the-top restaurant. There will be 25+ courses--all really wild and I thought it would be fun to Twitter it as they come out. So starting around 8:30 EST I'll start--follow me on Twitter (it's on my sidebar) if you want to check it out!

And please join CANDID CARRIE and check out what going on at her PHRIDAY FOTO PHIESTA!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I can't believe it, but it's my one year "blogiversary" today! It's hard to imagine why I decided to start a blog in May--my busiest month of the year. I must have had so much "material" with all that was going on that I was inspired to start writing about it. Within my first two days of starting, I wrote ten posts!

So enough about that--right now I'm very behind in my blogging and I need to catch up with an update of our Memorial Day weekend. We went to our getaway house and had an amazing time.

The pool was open for the season and luckily the weather cooperated so we logged in a lot of swim time.

Here's Gooser enjoying the water--he doesn't actually know how to swim yet, but I'm going to sign him up for lessons this summer.

Pickle had fun playing with her brothers in the water.

Oh--here she is modeling her new bathing suit!

Here are the three big boys taking a break from their pool game to pose for a pic. The game involves paddling around in those too-small boats and hitting each other with those noodle things.We went to one of our favorite restaurants--the one that serves cotton candy for dessert!

I was getting all punchy with the cotton candy cones. Here I am as a unicorn:

And when I asked Don to take my pic with "devil horns" he said "I think you've had too many martinis!"

Gooser got in on the action too!Some excitement on the trip--we found a turtle!Don rescued him from the side of the road right before he was about to become road kill. He spent the night in our ball pit wading pool thing, but the next day we let him go.Random portrait of my Rolleiflex! So far I am NOT getting such great pics with it--must keep practicing!We went down to the beach to set off some fireworks and I attempted to get some group shots--but Pickle just wouldn't cooperate.

These were the "best" ones I got--and that's not saying much.

But I was able to get some decent non-group pics. Here's Pickle enjoying the beach:And dancing on the beach:Relaxing in the sand:"Downward-facing dog!"Andy and Gooser:Patrick:More Gooser:I got a decent sunset pic:And a sunset with trees:And I got a good shot of our pool too--the sky was so beautiful--it was hot pink!I also did a photo shoot in the backyard. One evening, the light was so pefect and I was begging the kids to let me get their pics in this amazing light. They were playing and didn't want to be bothered--but I got a couple.

Pickle glaring at me--but look at the light!

The light! The light!Gooser glowing in the light:Patrick engulfed in the light:And finally, we went to a low-end fun fair. I thought it would be a good place to get pics with my Rolleiflex--we'll see how those turn out--but here's one of the kids with a really makeshift rendition of Shaggy and Scooby. What happened to Shaggy's upper lip?Whew--that was a looooooong post! Here's to another year of blogging!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blog Slump

I have to admit--I'm in something of a blog slump. I'm coming up on my one year "Blogiversary" (I have to check the exact date--but it's late May) and this has never happened in my almost one-year of blogging! I think that it's just the general busy-ness of May that has me in so many directions I'm having a hard time focusing.

I haven't even been taking pictures. In fact, I went through my picture files tonight in hopes of finding something good to blog about, and there was just nothing new.

I went all the back to January and stumbled on these pics:

I have absolutely NO memory of taking these and NO clue why the kids are staring in terror at a giant casserole (meat loaf?--I'm not sure what it is). It's a mystery!!

Anyway, we're off on a mini-vacation for the Memorial Day weekend--which will hopefully include some swimming and sunning. I'll be back next week--let's hope with some good pics and fun stories.

Have a great long weekend!

Oh--one more thing--who's going to BlogHer?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Anoles and iPods

I'm feeling very lame because I hardly took any pics of Teddy's birthday. I'm blaming it on the month of May. May is hands-down the busiest month out of my year--so many birthdays, anniversary, then add in all the end-of-the-year school stuff and throw a couple of holidays in. Not to mention the fact that out house is still on the market.

So anyway--I blanked on the pic-taking, but Teddy did have a nice birthday! His present requests this year were an iTouch and and anole (little lizards) and that's what he got.

I managed to get him a little cake (banana!) for an after school party:

Those little holes in the side are from Pickle poking and sampling the frosting.

And I got him TWO anoles--a male and a female. Maybe I'll be an anole grandma soon? (That would be a good band name!)

This is the male--since I'm sure you're all wondering, you can tell the difference between male and female anoles because males have longer snouts (you're welcome!). Teddy is beyond thrilled with his new reptile friends and they live in his room now.

He also got the iPod Touch (not pictured) and a new pair of Nikes (not pictured) and we went to a Japanese restaurant (not pictured).

So--kind of a lame recap, but he did have a self-proclaimed great birthday!
I'm the mom of TWO teenagers now. Ugh.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weird Stuff

I'm super tired and my brain isn't functioning properly and I don't think I can write anything that makes sense right now--so I will leave you with a couple of treasures that I've gotten recently:

This is my "face purse" and I got her on Etsy:

I think it might be hard to tell in this picture--but the face is totally 3-D--like the nose is protruding and the mouth is sort of open. OMG I love it! Pickle has a love/hate with it, as she loves purses, but is terrified of something she calls "The Face." So I think she kind of wishes it were her purse, but is also sort of glad it's mine.

Pickle and I went to an antique store today and found all kinds of goodies. This was a stand out:

I want to hang it along with my framed teeth--I think it will be a good match. Don is lukewarm on it--but I'm sure he'll come around and see how great it is--right!?!

Oh and oops--today is Teddy's birthday!! He's is that possible? I will update with his festivities and gifts (they're going to be good!) tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Art Show

I've been a blog-slacker. We had a very busy weekend--so busy, that I've been trying to catch up with all the stuff I should have done over the weekend but didn't have time for.

The art show that I had a piece in opened on Friday and we all went. I didn't win a prize or get a solo show--but I wasn't expecting to. This was an older painting that I entered last-minute but it gives me something to work towards! Maybe next year I'll have a spectacular piece that will win?!

I wish we had taken more pictures, but it was crowded and chaotic and we were trying to keep track of the kids. There was a really nice food spread and wine, etc. that I wish I had documented--but Don did take a few of me with my painting:

The other one next to me got a solo show!

I've been hard at work on getting some new paintings/drawings completed. I've got three that are getting close to completion, but it's a long process! As soon as I'm finished I'll show you some pics.

Oh--some exciting news! We had our school benefit over the weekend too (I told you it was busy) and one of the live auction items was a week in the Virgin Islands in a beachfront villa--we won it! It sounds SO beautiful and amazing and we'll probably be going sometime this summer. The kids are out of control excited.

Time to go get caught up on some blogs...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Pickle!

I have been taking a LOT of Pickle pics lately--she's turned into such a willing model and since most of the day it's just the two of us--we have lots of photo shoots.

Today I used my new Rolleiflex for the first time--I took a couple rolls of Pickle, then we headed downtown to hit the streets and try to get some interesting people pictures. Point blank--I totally chickened out. I saw so many cool people that would have made great subjects--a policeman with long crazy hair smoking a pipe, a punk rock couple in colorful clothes, a homeless man holding a Dunkin' Donuts cup--so many great possibilities, but I was too scared to ask them if it was ok to take their picture.

I think I need a standard line to approach people--I don't ever want to come off as creepy or anything--so if anyone has a great suggestion as to how I can approach a stranger and ask if I could take their pic, I'd really appreciate it!

So I've taken the film in to be developed and when it's done, I'll have to figure out a way to share it with you--maybe I can scan them?

Anyway, here are some other pics I have taken of Pickle this week!
Happy Friday and please join Candid Carrie for some Phriday Foto Phun!

My Dirty Little Secret

I'm not sure why I'm telling/showing you this because it's SO embarrassing--but somehow I'm doing it anyway...

My bedding is out of a horror movie. No seriously--it's BAD.

Now, in my defense, it started out as beautiful bedding from the Pottery Barn and I loved it. But we've had it for years...and years and it's probably been washed about a million times. But I still loved it because all that washing made it super soft.

But recently and kind of suddenly it just started wearing out--like getting a little threadbare, so I started looking into buying new bedding. Point blank--shopping for bedding is NOT fun. I tried zillions of Internet searching, moved on to department stores, back to the Pottery Barn--nothing. Nothing I even remotely liked.

The search continued and the bedding deteriorated rapidly--to the point where it was literally in shreds. I didn't know what to do. On the rare occasion I saw something I actually liked, there was always a glitch--like they didn't have the right size, or it was discontinued, or dry clean only. Or--OR--hand wash and line dry only! Can you imagine? Where/how was I going to hand wash and line dry a king-sized duvet cover??

In a moment of desperation, I almost went through with that hand wash purchase--but then I had visions of an all-too-familiar scene: kid at my bedside in the middle of the night--"Mommy I feel like I'm going to throw up" and then blah all of the bed. Then I pictured myself hand washing the thing in the bathtub at 3 a.m. and I quickly dismissed that idea. I contemplated getting "interim" bedding until I found the perfect thing, but it's all so expensive!

Meanwhile, the whole top part of our duvet cover had ripped open with loopy strands that threatened to strangle us in the night. Don's pillowcase was in tatters and the sheet was even falling apart.


The shredded sheet:


The remnants of Don's pillowcase:
The mangled duvet:
When I got up this morning, I couldn't take it anymore. I decided that nothing was going to stop me--I was not going to sleep on the bedding another night.

My first stop was Anthropologie--a store I love that seemed to have some cool funky bedding. Of course, nothing was easy there. The one duvet that I kind of liked was out of stock in my size and there were just no other options.

But then I noticed the way one of the display beds was done up--the duvet I liked (it was kind of plain) with a multi-colored quilt folded at the bottom of the bed and lots of funky multicolored pillows. I thought maybe if I got the quilt and pillow stuff there, I could go elsewhere for just a plain duvet.

So that's what I did! I bought the quilt and some pillow shams and headed off to Bed, Bath and Beyond with Pickle in search of some sheets and the duvet.

I think Dante made a mistake and left Bed, Bath and Beyond out as one of the circles of Hell in his Inferno--it's horrible in there!

The florescent lights and the commingling of the ten thousand candle scents and the extreme lack of employees! Not to mention that despite the fact that the word "Bed" is prominently showcased in their name--they have little to no bedding. Everything was either butt-ugly or so picked over there was nothing in my size (or both).

Somehow I chanced on a weird little clearance rack with a plain cream-colored duvet cover. Then I scrounged up a sheet and some pillowcases--and finally my bedding quest was over!

Way better, right?
Pickle thinks so!