proof positive

Sorry for the absence in posting. Had a scary emergency this weekend, followed by a grueling day trip to Atlanta for work on Monday(not there long enough to eat anything good, though.)

I’ll try and post a lot this week to catch up with things. Moving on…

Last night, I met Sadie and Cali for dinner on the Hill at Belga. We were going to try the new place on 8th, Cafe 8, but we decided against it, mainly because it was closed. It seems they’re only open Wednesday through Saturday, 4-11 and Sundays for lunch. Something having to do with the ABC license. Cali is my former roommate, and when we still lived together on the Hill, Cafe 8 was a champagne/jazz lounge called Ellington’s on Eighth. I’m a bit upset I never made it before the place closed, but oh well.

Belga was outstanding as always. I had a fantastic beer- their Christmas something or other, I’ll have to take better notes next time. Medium brown ale with lots of spice- sort of like Maudite, but a bit nuttier, and a little more subdued on the spiciness. I also had a stunningly presented endive salad with some sort of crispy prosciutto, goat cheese and grapefruit. Delicious (full disclosure: I gave the grapefruit to Sadie and Cali…I’m not so much a fan.) As for the main course, Cali opted for rabbit two ways, and Sadie went with roasted chicken. Not being particularly hungry, I had crab and chicken “sigaars” which I didn’t finish, and then left at the restaurant when we departed. Dessert was AMAZING- a selection of crazy chocolate dishes. There was a chocolate ice cream, almost like a semifreddo, the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had (in a demitasse cup,) chocolate creme brulee (I have a weakness for creme brulee. Seriously, it’s a problem. That and meatball sandwiches will be my downfall,) chocolate mousse, and one other thing I didn’t get to before Sadie and Cali devoured it (my bad- clearly I should have known not to be shy.)

Because I also have a drinking problem in addition to my eating one, I enjoyed my dessert with a basil champagne cocktail. Sadie hates it, saying it tastes like pizza. I, however, ADORE the taste of basil. Back in the day, (ie last year) when I lived less than a block away from Belga, one of my favorite components of brunch was that basil cocktail. Mmmmm.

After dinner, Cali went home, and Sadie and I chatted and missed our transfer on the metro. Getting off at Metro Center, we decided to head to Proof. I went for the first time this past Friday, after work for some champagne with friends.

This is where I get to one of the things I don’t like about Proof. Glasses are offered in 2, 6, and 8 oz. pours. (five to six ounces is a standard pour, eight is probably a little closer to what you pour at home.) I asked for a taste of the Malbec (2005 Sottano from Mendoza,) and she replied that she could only offer the 2 oz. pour, which is $2.75. I am not averse to paying for my drinks, but what bothered me is the waste. I don’t need 2 ounces to tell you whether I’m going to like it or not. Just give me a splash and be done with it. Our bartender didn’t add the 2-ounce pour to the bill, just the two glasses Sadie and I had. As a former restaurant employee though, I find myself back at the waste part of it- how many people end up not paying for those two ounces? wouldn’t it be better to give them a literal taste, and then not waste the wine? Maybe these are only questions that bother me. BTW, I ended up with a Priorat (2003 Los 800 from Spain)- delicious.

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kitchen=zen

I really enjoy cooking. It’s my zen time. Some people knit, some people paint (although I do a little of that as well)- I cook. It’s not that it’s calming so much. I’m nothing if not a perfectionist when I’m cooking. I’ve been known to throw entire meals out, not because they necessarily tasted bad, but because they simply didn’t turn out the way I intended. It’s one of my neuroses.

It’s just comforting. I know what to do. I know how to do it. I can listen to NPR and cook until the cows come home. I don’t mind the dishes. I don’t mind the cuts, the burns, the ruined key lime tarts, the cakes that fall, the overcooked fish. I love it all. And I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it as well. (Maybe that’s why Carolina’s still friends this me)

Sadly, in light of recent events, the kitchen is no longer the sanctuary it once was. Which is really a shame, because I can’t cook for fewer than 6, which benefited my housemates quite a bit. For a while, I made dinner for everyone at least once a week. I made an early Thanksgiving dinner, and over Labor Day weekend, OtherFemale’s parents stayed with us for a wedding, and I put out a great spread for all the relatives she had in town, key lime tarts not withstanding (my key lime pie was the SHIT though.) The first weekend we were all in the house, we had a massive housewarming BBQ. I like a house full of food and full of people enjoying the food. That’s how I grew up. But that’s alright. Honestly, I find a strange comfort in banishing (some of) my housemates back to boxed macaroni and cheese, frozen risotto, and tomato sauce out of a can. I can’t imagine a fate much worse than eating crap food.

Luckily, I happen to know some fabulous people willing to let me cook in their kitchens for a free meal. Now I just have to find some room for all the fun new toys I’m hoping Santa will bring me. And the ones I already bought. And hope the housemates don’t break them like they did my stemless champagne flutes.

spam-a-lot

There are a lot of things I love about Gmail. I love the chats. I love that you can use AIM now. I love the labels and the ability to Google your mail.

But most of all, I love the spam filter. Why, you ask? Because it gives me recipes. Tasty little gems like Vineyard Spam Salad, Savory Spam Crescents, Spam Fajitas (I like to call them “Spamajitas,”) and the oh-so-healthy Spam Veggie Pita Pockets.

Maybe one day, I’ll be able to find a Treet cookbook