On Friday we dined at Trattoria Toscana. We ducked out of cold sheets of horizontal rain into the cozy restaurant and nourished ourselves with a thick Tuscan soup with beans, carrots, and kale. We warmed ourselves with a cheery chianti and then laid into our pastas. I had a gnocchi dish with meat ragu. The gnocchi were edible pillows from heaven. The runner overheard us discussing politics as he refilled our wine and agua minerale, and he asserted his support for Clinton's more-liberal immigration policy. He was from Colombia, you see.
Oh, and then we topped off dinner with the best tiramisu I have ever eaten. It was creamy, richly coffee-flavored, and just sweet enough. Even the husband was enraptured, and he is not normally a tiramisu fan.
On Saturday, we had our omnivorous friends over for dinner. They are very enthusiastic about food, but don't seem to know much about it. This gives them a certain freedom, a certain culinary innocence that lets them think outside the box, and makes their enthusiasm infectious. They brought offerings to the feast: sesame dumplings filled with red bean paste (my favorite dim sum, as they knew) and a reisling.
We devoured the dumplings with the cheese and crackers we had put out. (When planning the meal, had we debated appetizers for a while before remembering the party these friends had hosted when they put out cheese without crackers. Not just hard cheese--brie. We decided that we must put out cheese and crackers, as an unspoken tutorial. Also, we were curious whether these random-but-enthusiastic eaters knew how to use crackers.
Our guests suggested we drink the reisling with appetizers, but I knew they would go perfectly with the baked golden delicious apples we were serving for dessert. I therefore limited the food randomness and held the reisling. It was glorious with the apples: serendipity.
In between, we had lamb pre-marinated by the good people at Trader Joe's. G. roasted said lamb with potatoes, carrots, celery, and pearl onions tossed in olive oil and herbs. It came out wonderfully, and went nicely with the tasty red wine (a rioja, G. tells me).
We had a terrific time, laughing, eating, talking, and playing a lively game of Apples to Apples. And it was so gratifying, I must admit, how appreciative and enthusiastic our omnivore-friends were about the cooking.
Sunday: leftover cheese all day.
Ironically, I taught a workshop about holistic approaches to IBS treatment feeling totally overstuffed with cheeses.
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