The Favorite Day started out as not such a favorite day, but it steadily improved until the bitter-sweet end, around 1:30 a.m. Lunch from Gastronomique was kind of mixed. It was fascinating to see whose interest, among my officemates, was piqued by the food and who was totally turned off by the turkey sandwich (aka turkey cheesecake). Some people clearly want a turkey sandwich to be some sliced turkey, some lettuce, some mayo, maybe some cheese and mustard and a tomato on a white roll. Others seemed rather taken with the notion that it can instead be some giant chunks of dark-meat turkey slathered in french goat cheese topped with whole cranberries and honey-dijon sauce. My favorite butternut squash soup got mixed reviews, too. I happen to like it because it tastes like melted butternut squash ice cream; others seemed repulsed. But whatever. As long as my boss liked it, I'm happy. And others liked it too. Seemingly.
The party at the Beinecke was also a bit of a letdown. Not as many folks showed up as I thought or hoped would; the wine was seriously dreadful; the mood was less than festive. I left the swanky digs feeling a little bit overdressed and overhopeful.
But then I arrived at the Union League and had a jewel-toned Kir Royale set in front of me no sooner than I had admired Lisa's. Everyone from Andy's firm (and various hangers-on, like me and Sonya and the other spousal-equivalents) showed up looking sparkly and cold and excited and breathless and grateful for an occasion to get dressed up. The giant, ornate room may as well have been all ours. We ate oysters, we drank lots of wine, we ordered our own desserts, we got cheeses for the table. My entree was a gorgeous, meaty and rich piece of haddock that had been lightly smoked at the restaurant, set atop a snappy but lush little bit of cassoulet. Heavenly. It sopped up enough alcohol that I could even have a Poire Williams with my chestnut dessert crepe. We were all giddy and tipsy and the night never had to end.
And then, just when it seemed like it might actually end, after saying our good-byes and thank-yous, we young 'uns conspired to hie to the Firehouse
for nightcaps, including our collective first taste of the G.O.A. -- a cocktail named with pursed-lipped affection by the owners of the bar for the firm that designed it. It was actually delicious and surprising and nuanced and subtle and bold all at once. And grossly overpriced. At last we all went out into the cold cold night and said goodbye, and Andy and I drove home to our little house with cute Christmas lights and everything felt cozy. It didn't turn out to be my favorite day, but it was a pretty damn lovely December night.
Actually what I said to Andy last night after consuming one too many almond cookies at Sonya
and Ted's house was that I was feeling LOGY
. He did not know what "logy" meant, so then he called me a loogie. Which is kind of how logy feels, to be honest. Loogie-like.
Christmastime is such a nice vacation from reality. You can eat all the sugar and starch and consume all the alcohol you want (until it makes you start feeling logy) and no one bats an eye. My stepmom has even seconded my motion to have Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding for our Christmas breakfast, and she is the Queen of the Atkins. Working backwards from a delicious but time-pressured lunch today with Tom and Jen at Bentara
, I have consumed the following in the last 48 hours:
- Beef Keretuk with rice
- Pear received in Christmas package from one of Andy's firm's contractors
- Douglas Fir tip tea
- Chicken Pot Pie covered in mashed potatoes at Anna Liffey's
- Several almond cookies
, which made me logy but not sick
- Several gingersnaps
- Wolaver's IPA
- Egg nog with rum
- Milk chocolate truffle received as part of same Christmas package
- St. Marcellin cheese on crackers
- Panettone bread
- Vanilla Haagen-Dazs with Creme de Cassis on top (A note on this: we had this for dessert at Burke and Michele's house. I passed Michele on my way out of the bathroom and thought she had said something to me from the kitchen. I asked her to repeat herself and she said, "Oh, nothing... I was just talking to the ice cream." I have not heard a more adorable sentence in a long time.)
- Several drinks made from gin; a couple more made with aquavit
- Spaetzle with vast amounts of cheese and caramelized onions courtesy of Burke
- Cheese, chocolate, bread, oil, and Egyptian spices
- Cheeseburger with frites at Rudy's and a Smithwick's
- Several pieces of that sort-of fancy Choxie chocolate from Target
- A chocolate truffle or two from the Christmas package
- I forget everything we had at Rich and Sue's house, but I do remember lasagne and three kinds of dessert. And cheese. And rich dark beer.
You see? It is revolting to look at. And yet this list seems not uncommon. Tonight we are atoning with brussels sprouts. With blue cheese. Yeah, and some glazed pecans. Wanna come over?
This is a rambling post covering odd topics. For example, I am not sure that I have ever discussed Amazing Doughnuts I Have Known on this blog. Those three doughnuts are the doughnut I had at Voodoo Doughnut
in Portland, OR that consisted of a maple bar with two strips of bacon lying wantonly atop the frosting; the coconut doughnut from Whitney Dougnut in Hamden, CT; and the Grilled Doughnut from the Yankee Doodle
right here in the Have, mere steps from where I work. That one they split in half and grill in butter and bacon grease, then serve it to you with a couple of extra pats of butter. And if you think that's decadent, wait until I make the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding
that appeared in Food and Wine
a couple of months ago.
Also, I have to apologize for maligning the sushi place here in New Haven called Miya's. See, when I last lived here, the place almost gave me food poisoning. The sushi chef was so nice to me, giving me all this free stuff, including free mussels that he probably just needed to get rid of. As soon as I ate them I wondered whether I would live to see the morning, and wrote Andy a note before I went to bed telling him that if I died, he should sue Miya's. Here is the thing: since then, they have gotten a new, incredible chef. The menu changes all the time and is like reading a novel. The roll combinations -- something I don't order very oftne because they are too filling and bland -- are filled with the most bizarre and great combinations of ingredients. Truly "American Psycho" food -- if you have ever read that book, you know what I am talking about. '80s chefs gone overboard with their starfruit and goat cheese combinations. But this is actually good. I owe a debt of gratitude to Michele and Burke for convincing me to give it another go, and I owe an apology to everyone to whom I have blithely told "oh god, Miya's is the worst sushi I have ever had."
Another debt of gratitude to Michele and Burke for introducing me to Mile-High Coconut Cake from the Good News Cafe
. The cake was almost wet with coconut syrup and filled in three layers with moist coconut meringue. MMMMMMMMMMM.
On a non-food-related note, I hear a rumor that the City of New Haven is holding a raffle. The lucky winner holding the Golden Ticket gets to press the button setting off the blast which will take down the Coliseum's parking garage in a huge crash of steel and cement and exploding and seismic events. This is due to happen sometime mid-January. I need to know where to get these tickets! If you know, please share.
ETA: Andy found the link! If you would like a chance to blow up the Coliseum, donate some canned food to the Connecticut Food Bank
Good Things to Come
Wednesday, December 14th is shaping up to be my Favorite Day this year. Here is a sneak preview of the day's events:
- Lunch: Catered by Gastronomique (the usually-delicious takeout place well known to loyal readers of this blog) for my department -- I am especially honored by this since one of my bosses asked ME to recommend the caterer! Ooh la la!
- Cocktails: All-library holiday party in the lovely and swish Beinecke Library
- Dinner: No-holds-barred bacchanal at Union League with Andy's firm -- I understand that last year they arrived at 6:30 pm and closed down the restaurant.
is some entertainment for youse, in the spirit of the holiday season. I haven't even seen this movie, and I still laughed so hard I was in danger of peeing.