05 January 2005

Ann Arbor rocks my socks

i spent new years, and two day on either side, in lovely ann arbor with my lovely lady. it was a good extended weekend for eating because it's so much more fun when you're cooking/eating with someone. a someone who is willing to cook with me even though i'm a bossy brat in the kitchen sometimes. the weekend, in summary:

  1. we started my vacation with a lovely breakfast at mchill's with her out-of-town aussie and nick. huge pancakes and coffee. and so nice to see friends!
  2. dinner at Grizzly Peak with a's parents, who are of a somewhat different religious persuasion than i. but i think we got along famously. and i enjoyed my chicken sandwich with pub fries. a has remarkably different culinary style than her folks, who haven't tried artichokes, mussels or any number of other things that she dies over. well, maybe she doesn't die over artichockes. i'm not sure. i do, though.
  3. much better than the very tasty Grizzly Peak dinner were the Pigs in a Blanket that a's parents brought me -- something of a peace offering, i think. these were not your typical canned weiners wrapped in pilsbury croissant dough. they were the traditional dutch treat from Russ's in Holland. we ate them with weekend highlight #3,
  4. brunch w/buddies at their very nice house with their very very nice stuff, including a lovely matching creamer, sugar and butter set from pottery barn (the registry being a primary perk of officially tying the knot, in my opinion). we used new years eve leftovers to make veggie omelettes and cooked up the "Pigs," which were properly eaten with ketchup. we talked about home ownership, the advantages of a finished basement and other such grownup topics.
  5. dinner at Argiero's Italian Restaurant, thanks to a's financial aid check. thank you loaning institution! we split fried calamari and a gorgonzola salad, the latter of which was better than the former. for dinner i had a sizzling hot plate of eggplant parmesan, smothered in parmesan-y goodness. it was fantastic and i barely managed to get through half of it. i'm sure a's dish was tasty, but i can't remember it, so lost was i in my heaping pile of eggplant, cheese and tomato sauce. for dessert, we split tiramisu, a dish that strikes me as either being an astounding success or abysmal failure. argiero's wins! it was fabulous, though not as good as the elusive perfect tiramisu i had five years ago in san francisco's north end. i dream of that tiramisu almost daily.
  6. highlight #5 was our new years eve banquet, for which we spent an entire day preparing (that doesn't include grocery shopping). a likes to cook and i like to cook, so you get the two of us together to throw a party and we lose any sense of self-control. we made, with a's roommate:
    • cucumber cups stuffed with cilantro salmon
    • antipasto containing roasted asparagus, eggplant, garlic and red, yellow and orange peppers, gerkins, pepperoncini, marinated mushrooms, artichoke hearts,
    • a meat plate
    • a cheese plate
    • a pickle tray
    • tapenade
    • goat cheese pesto dip
    • thai peanut noodle salad
    • pear relish with crostini
    • white bean salad
    • raw veggies with dip
    • nacho cheese dip with chips
    • mochi
    and our friends brought
    • red pepper artichoke dip
    • pineapple upside-down cake
    • brownies
    and a flurry of other foods that i can't recall at the moment. i believe about 1/3 of the food was consumed. maybe we should have told folks to skip dinner.
  7. a good post-new years hang-over breakfast at friends' house of pancakes and waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and coffee. i don't drink so much any more and was feeling the few whiskeys, the glass of champaigne and the beer i'd had more than i'd expected. thank you carbs and grease for bringing some respite to my tummy.
  8. last and most exciting (though new years was a close second), was my chicago style polish sausage and cheese fries at Red Hot Lovers. to say that i've been craving cheese fries is sort of like saying that animals crave oxygen. i ate my polish (with ketchup, mustard, neon green relish, peppers and salt), my cheese fries (with i generously shared!) and a small diet coke (watching the calories, you know), became almost immediately comatose and absolutely elated. it was everything i'd hoped it would be. there is nothing that can compete with the cheese fries. and the company was swell, as well. nice to see people show up, despite their disinterest in Red Hot Lovers (and i think i changed some minds on that day).

so it was a wonderful time. with wonderful food and company. my cooking situation in eugene is is so dire, with no one to cook with or for. it was so nice to have that opportunity in ann arbor.


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