21 January 2008

old fogey

my birthday week has been very good, for reasons both related to my birthday and not.

a) sunday i made a cake. it was easy as pie (haw), tasted difficult, and ages wonderfully. recipe to follow. i also went to the italian store and bought myself some prosciutto, sopressata, pate de campagne, and truffle mousse.

b) monday we made a charcuterie plate out of the stuff from the italian store with capers, cornichons and toasts. that was nice. also i mail-ordered myself a pair of flannel-lined pants. i've wanted some for years but they were always too expensive, and i figured i didn't live in a cold enough climate that i couldn't just tough it out for a few freezing days instead. but i caught them on sale, very sale, and i am after all in the frozen tundra of just-north-of-virginia now; so i got them and they came right away and i am feeling very self-congratulatory. the high today was 25 degrees, and i didn't need to wear three layers of pants like i used to do.

c) tuesday i had an interview downtown and it went shockingly well. details in a future post wherein i muse about service, work and stuff like that. also jennie was in town overnight for a conference and we met up for a quick dinner and drink, which was a great surprise.

d) wednesday we took advantage of "restaurant week": josh and melissa and sarah and i got a last-minute reservation at ardeo, a vaguely contempo-mediterranean, semi-fancy restaurant. the idea was 3 courses for $30. i had a deceptively boring-named "beet salad" (tiny cubes of golden beet, tiny cubes of a golden gelee of something citrusy, halved tiny tomatoes, and micro-mache i think, with balsamic vinaigrette), a veal meatloaf with wild mushroom gravy, potato puree, and wild broccoli (i'm sorry to say that i broke from my don't-buy-veal habit in order to try 'wild broccoli', but happy to report that wild broccoli is kind of awesome), and an underwhelming dessert of raspberry sorbet that tasted lipglossy but was cradled in a very competent brandy basket and (surprisingly, unseasonably) fresh blackberries and strawberries. everyone else's food was very good too, maybe better than mine -- the fish especially, it was so impossibly tender it almost didn't seem like fish but rather some kind of fish-tasting velvety substance, like the concept of microsuede.

d2) also wednesday sarah mail-ordered me a selection of goat cheeses and a bamboo cheese board. a beautiful gift. so far we've tried the classic chevre buche (mild and creamy and addictive), the chocolate mini buche (cocoa through and through, but not sweet; simultaneously intriguing and offputting, so only small bits at a time), the blueberry mini buche (only on the outside; very nice, though i think the concept works better with cranberries), and a firmer, stinkier round whose name i forget (nothing compared to a camembert, but still, very pungent for a goat cheese, and i've been averse to pungent cheese lately, mostly because of the way it lingers on the palate). three more to go, all harder types.

e) thursday josh was going to be away all day so he booked me a really long massage at the four fucking seasons. unfortunately it snowed all day and the place was in georgetown (i.e. poor public transit access) so i ended up calling a cab. didn't cost as much as i'd worried. the massage itself was amazing and left me soft and pliant, this sounds weird but i felt like i had ocean-fresh calamari between my shoulderblades instead of the guardedly tough flesh i usually keep there. the massage therapist was great too, so kind and knowledgeable, i wished we could be personal friends so he could give me massages and advice and goodbye hugs all the time. afterward i septn about 45 minutes in and out of the steam room, which was filled with eucalyptus or something, almost too much of it, and wished it didn't feel rude to go completely naked. i drank cucumber water. josh picked me up and we ate sushi that was both fresh and cheap, a rare find.

f) friday i found a new coffee shop with jim. it's small and maybe not so good for being talkative, but comfy and warm and they make the only good "chai" i've had in months, and by chai i mean the tea-spice-latte concept, which i would like if people didn't try to sneak lethal doses of sugar into it. but this one is only slightly sweet.

g) laura has been visiting us this weekend. tacos, bookstores, empanadas, a disappointing hookah bar, blueberry pancakes, the smithsonian - natural history, a lot of driving, more cheese, and getting updated on office news. each of these is a sub-topic in its own right. it's been so good to catch up / hang out with her. also, which would you give up if you had to choose between cheese or oral sex?

g2) new books: "the color of violence", eds. incite! women of color against violence; and "media control", noam chomsky. stuff that got added to my list for later getting: angela davis, more patricia hill collins, arundhati roy's nonfiction (yes! she is twice-famous now), the revolution will not be funded (also by incite!, has been on my list but they were sold out of it this time, have been thinking about it so much lately), a people's history of the u.s. THE MAP BOOK (yes of howard zinn fame - also has been on the list but rather costly), and stuff by tim wise if i can find it. the bookstore is busboys and poets (named for langston hughes, who was both), it's a pretty good place. i think this forthcoming post i mentioned will also bring up my reading list. maybe.

i'm forgetting things too, i think. the bad part of this week: worried i'd be late to get laura from the airport, i rushed onto the first southbound train that came by, which turned out to be green line and not yellow, and didn't realize the problem until well past the last chance to switch over -- not until after i'd crossed the anacostia, even. shit, embarrassing. had to go back north, switch over, then go south again. also: saw an irritating poster in the (wrong) train car that i was in. also: despite bundling up, my gloved fingers felt ready to fall off in today's windy cold. face too. but not my legs! so basically, not much to complain about.

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