Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taco Breakfast

I repurposedmany of the taco ingredients for breakfast the next morning, with the addition of bacon and fried eggs.
Winning combination on the whole. I only recently started cooking bacon in the oven, but I'm quite pleased with the results.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cheese and Tacos in the Country

The next day I did some work, and I'm not sure what M. did. Then I locked my laundry in the laundry room and we spent a number of hours trying to figure out how to unlock the door. This included M. getting a ladder, my trying to open the door with a card much in the same way, our trying a variety of old fashioned skeleton keys, and M.'s mother eventually suggesting that A. break down the door. So the day had some highs and lows. Perhaps the highest of the locked laundry room saga was when A. managed to open the door without breaking it down; that was pretty great. I brought a few cheeses up to enjoy before Saturday's diner, which included a black and blue blue cheese, an aged manchego and a goat camembert.
I made us taco dinner that night, which involved a lamb/beef meat mixture, homemade guacamole and pico de gallo, black beans with peppers, and rice. I also made a shrimp option in a green/tomatillo sauce, but its photographic qualities were found lacking.
After dinner we played a rousing and challenging game of Catan. I ultimately won, but it was touch and go.

Cocktails, Foie Gras and Duck c/o Bolete

Though we weren't unable to meet up for New Year's, M&A were on the east coast for the holiday season, so I did very much want to see them. This ended up possible the weekend after New Year's. The Saturday I drove out to the country to see them, A was still visiting with friends and family in New York, so M. and I went to Bolete just the two of us. This was a bit of a last minute plan, so we weren't able to get a reservation in the dining room proper. Instead we made ourselves comfortable at the bar, where I ordered one of their special cocktails, which had blood orange in it among other things.
M. tried their bone marrow consomme dish. I tried the broth and boy was it rich, but in the best possible of ways.
I chose to try their foie gras two ways: a little paté disc and a seared lobe served on brioche with huckleberry jam. Oh man. This was a no joke tasty plate. Delightful to look at and transformative in the buttery, buttery wonder of well prepared duck liver.
Oh yeah.
The color balance of the photograph above is wacky. Definitely not that green in person.
We then split the seared duck special entree of the evening, medium rare, which was served on a bed of risotto with, if I recall correctly, some very tasty mushrooms.
Mmmm. Yes. Such good stuff. Though I spend a fair amount of time up in the Bolete region, I rarely go alone, so it was good to both see M. for the first time since our Adirondacks meet-up while also enjoying a fully satisfying dinner. Thanks to M. for the entirety of the evening, which we concluded back at the house with fire, champagne and more talk.

Lamb Times at Lunch

Another work lunch, this time a lamb gyro. Tender meat. Plenty of Tzatziki. From Zorba's.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Micheladas and Tacos c/o La Calaca Feliz

In early 2013 I met up with CPM. She was on break from the grueling school/commute schedule that has caused a sincere lack of CPM or pizza/puppy/wine nights and it seemed right to meet up, have a few drinks, and generally fill each other in on the goings on in our respective lives. We had this meeting of the minds at La Calaca Feliz. I ordered a michelada and I believe CPM did the same.
We also each ordered snacks. I chose to try the special bass tacos of the evening, which were quite tasty...though I'm not a huge fan of the pureed squash element that graced this dish, which shared a flavor profile with the gordita I enjoyed back in June. I think CPM had the carnitas tacos and seemed quite pleased. My favorite part of my plate was definitely the perfectly cooked and seasoned morsels of fish.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Sandwich of 2013

My first sandwich of 2013 was actually a wrap. So I guess the title of this post is a bit misleading, but I generally lump wraps in the basic sandwich category. In this particular instance, it was a tomato wrap with a 'cajun turkey' themed filling, which included coleslaw, spicy mayonnaise, smoked turkey, and perhaps a few other things, like spinach and cheese.
Other than the fact I was in the office, it wasn't a bad way to start the new year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Year's Eve Oysters, Salad and Champagne c/o McCrossen's

For the last two years I very much enjoyed spending New Year's Eve with M&A and members of their respective families, but this year that was not to be.  I toyed with the idea of doing as I did when I first moved to Philly: pretend that the holiday was not taking place and stay safely at home, acoiding the crowds, the cold, the lack of person to kiss at midnight, and the terrible difficulty of finding a cab. No fanfare. This is an appealing approach in part because the next day is, for me, just another day at work. In other words, New Year's Day isn't a holiday, so one can't enjoy themselves too heartily if they are required to wake up at a decent hour and use their brain in any meaningful way.  While staying in certainly had its merits, I ultimately decided that I'm not getting any younger, and that I'll have plenty of years later in life to enjoy the curmudgeonly and shut-in like tendencies I've described above. So, instead, I joined up with LW and Ak for a different plan. A plan that involved leaving my house and getting a bit dressed up. But it was also a plan that allowed us to skirt some of my least favorite aspects of the holiday. It was in the neighborhood, so no worries about cabs. And we had a reservation, so no worries about finding a place to sit. You probably won't be too terribly surprised to learn that we ended up at McCrossen's. For eating, I chose to try two of their specials: the fried oysters and the salad lyonnaise. The oysters were definitely crispy, but not quite as daintily fried as the oyster that came in the chowder I enjoyed in December.
 I'm a true lover of a good Salad Lyonnais, and this one's egg to frisee ratio was pretty good. I would have actually enjoyed just a smidge more dressing.
 The one thing I'll need to do a bit more research on, is just what champagnes we enjoyed, and the order in which we enjoyed them. Over the course of our evening we consumed three bottles. All of which were good, though the first two were particularly delightful.
 I dressed myself up a bit. That bow is from a gift box. Classy.
 This was ringing in the New Year proper midnight style. You'll note that T. has both the champagne of beers and a glass of champagne. Or wait, is Miller High Life the champagne of beers? So perhaps Coors Light could be, like, the Prosecco of beers?

 Now this is a funny photograph because it seems very much like AK is trying to tell me something, and I am far more intent on a photograph.
Well it was definitely a more boisterous evening than the NYEs I've enjoyed of late. But it was a balance on the whole, or at least in many a way. In other words, I was able to function at work.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Another Round of Lunches Sponsored by my Employers

The busy season continued upon my return to Philadelphia, and with that busy-ness came the subsidized lunches c/o our employers. On this particular day it was pretty standard wonton soup, and a mystery tofu dish that tasted better than it looked.

And on another day, a curry lunch special of some kind from Tiffin.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Christmas Dinner

After our champagne and cheese hour, it was time for the main event, in which I had no hand. NC Catherine handled the meat and and potatoes, and I think J was responsible for the veggies that graced the table.
Above are the very cheesy scalloped potatoes NCC put together, and a salad that made us feel like we were totally within our rights to take seconds on the cheesy potatoes. The logic there is flawless.

Ah meat, glorious, glorious meat. I forget what this was, but NCC did a great job of making sure there were cuts of nice and rare meat for those of us who gravitate towards the pink, while also ensuring those who prepare their meat more well done could also fare quite well.
I must admit, I kept eating and eating, drinking and drinking. It was hard to stop when everything was so good!
Working to prevent unnecessary double chins, maybe?
Cousins as cousins do.
These were ostensibly to get a sense of the lighting conditions for a group shot of the whole family clan, but it went a little awry.

This terrifying photograph is of J. and myself doing 'Gagnam Style.' Terrrrrifying.
The green belt is a Christmas gift from NCC. I will not tell you what we're laughing about, but we know. Oh, we know.

Then Dad got into the action.
And did his funny weird face.
Eventually the dogs got bored and wanted in as well.
And that was pretty much a wrap for Christmas. We all walked the N.'s back to their house, stayed up a bit more and then poof! holiday times were over.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Christmas Drinks and Snacks

Christmas morning met us with many a present under NC Catherine and J.'s tree. To gird our spirits while wading through the process of opening such bountiful array of presents, we enjoyed mimosas.
Many a present was given.
I will allow that perhaps the present that most raised my spirits was this set of fire gloves that NC Catherine gave me. They are going to be super useful on camping trips and when I need to move a particularly stubborn log in any indoor fire. Very pleased was I. So much so I felt the need to point at myself and make this face while still very much in pajama mode.
Dad, opening what I think turned out to be...a jar of cornichons!
NC C. made a lovely breakfast cake with apricot glaze if I recall correctly.
And bacon, of course. After our very thorough and lengthy present opening start to the day, I don't really know what happened. I must have done something? Napped? Read? Can't be sure at this point. Whatever it was, I am sure it was productive and interesting.
As the hours passed J. and I put together two plates of snacks for pre-dinner time social hour with NC C. and J.'s friends the N.s. This involved a cheese platter that included tallegio and delice de bourgogne, and a plate of freshly cut apples and two different kinds of cheesey crackers/straws.
All within spitting's distance to a fire.
Our morning's mimosas were of the cheap-o champers variety...but for the evening we went a classier route.