Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gilding the Lily

Jesse's visit to the Have was excuse for all of my favorite New Haven indulgences that I can only have a couple of times a year when company comes: grilled doughnuts at the Yankee Doodle, mashed potato pizza at Bar (we couldn't decide on a red or white pie, so we got white with sausage and red with bacon, a combination that Jesse called "pork two ways"), eggnog lattes at Starbucks (okay, those are not New Haven-specific, but they are seasonally-specific). Jesse bought $50 worth of salmon at Bud's Fish Market for Thanksgiving dinner and, despite her carsickness, she indulged me in my favorite drive along the coast up to Stony Creek. On our way home, we had a very timely phone call from Ham, who was on his way to Thanksgiving in Vermont (site of Waffle and Dessert Madness last year). He stopped by and we all went to meet Andy for drinks at the Firehouse.

Then Thanksgiving. Everyone came over. Everyone brought wonderful things to eat and drink. We stayed up eating and drinking those wonderful things until 2 a.m. Some people rang our bell as others were leaving and stayed even later to eat Triscuits with cream cheese and candied jalapenos. It poured rain and we had lots of candles inside. Thanksgiving with friends just cannot be beat for coziness and good cheer. Photos here.

So what did we do with a half of a Princesstorte and half a turkey and a huge pot of delectable turkey stock made by Andy and piles of mashed potatoes in the fridge? Why, we left it all there and went to spend scads of money on another enormous dinner, this time at Prune. This was the one thing Jesse demanded we do in New York. We arrived in the city and proceeded immediately to Prime Burger for lunch. Jesse took off with Pat to see the "new" MoMA building while Andy and I wandered over to Takashimaya to drool over everything, then down to this lovely new wine store at the South Street Seaport (man, I hadn't been there in years). We will be going back to that little wine shop when we don't have hours to wander aimlessly while carrying heavy bottles. We braved a small horde at Century 21 for a few minutes, but then decided to escape to slightly less crowded quarters in the streets of TriBeCa and SoHo. Here is our new favorite plae to stop to decompress when in the throngs of post-Thanksgiving weekend shoppers: Wine Bar. *Some* of the wines are good, but the setting is all good.

And from there to Prune, where we ordered half the appetizers on the menu, including these little meat dumplings in broth and yogurt sauce that were so tiny and spicy. Andy and I ate appetizers and a little of Jesse's and Pat's lamb shanks for dinner. Jesse almost fainted with happiness when she was able to scrape out and eat some of the marrow from the lamb bone. I wish I could send her some bones through the mail for Christmas. And I had one of the best desserts of my life: a "Breton butter cake", made from layers and layers of buttery pastry, glazed with sugar and orange flower water, caramelized, and served with a glass of Beaumes de Venise. Sheer buttery chewy burnt-sugar bliss.

We ate turkey soup and corn pudding from scratch the next day and felt virtuous. I loved having Jesse around to cook with me -- it was like having a second set of hands and a more organized brain. I didn't need to explain or specify anything because we cook so similarly, it's uncanny. Especially since we didn't learn to cook together at home. Bebe, come back and make a Buche de Noel with me!

Oh, and by the way, did I mention that a couple of days before Thanksgiving we went to Le Petit Cafe with Kyle and Sabrina? So it is not like we had very empty stomachs before Thanksgiving, either. At least with K&S at the table I was too embarrassed to hog all the bread and truffle butter for myself. Roy gave us a vat of chestnut and mushroom soup to take home (since Andy had characterized it as "subtle") and promised to take me to the next big Connecticut SYSCO show in February so I can marvel at the vastness of the universe of industrial food. AND! David Kamp is coming to Le Petit Cafe to read from The United States of Arugula soon! Stay tuned!


At 3:34 PM, Blogger m said...

that all sounds amazing... but really, the Sysco show is what drove me to comment. You must must must go.

And make them make better salad dressing, while you're at it... Sysco Italian at roadside diners is so tragic -- and so identifiable. (Leave it to me to eat salads at those places.)


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