Festivus 2013

Just like my waistline over the holidays, our family Festivus is expanding. In usual style, we all met up for some fun. This year, we headed to Milwaukee for a long weekend of laughing and playing. New to the Festivus is B.i.l.’s GF’s fam: J’s sis, A, mom, P, and dad, D which made for some slight confusion given that her father and my father share the same name. It turned into Big D and Little D. I’m not sure either one of them liked it but I think A came up with it and it worked just fine.

We stayed at a hipster hotel, The Brewhouse Inn and Suites. The décor is industrial hip and the Brewhouse serves up some tasty business. Probably the best chili I’ve ever had (not to mention the cheese curds they put on top of said chili).

M.i.l. and F.i.l.’s room was the biggest so it became the de facto hang out place.

Hanging Out

We did the usual holiday thang and opened some presents.

N hearts his new graphic novel.

N hearts his new graphic novel.

B.i.l. and J with presents!

B.i.l. and J with presents!

We ate. We ate well.

Egg white omelet with spinach and feta with avocado on top.

Egg white omelet with spinach and feta with avocado on top.

The challenge was getting all 12 people to move or sit at the same time.

J is just too cute.

J is just too cute.

We managed to do it without too much of an ordeal.

Not an easy feat.

Not an easy feat.

There was manscaping in the form of a contest.

Ho ho ho?

Ho ho ho?

I’m just happy that the full mountain man beard is long gone.

N's Beard Entry

There was shopping and food gawking at the local market.

Yes, please.

Yes, please.

And some fierce competition. First in the form of a Pong Tourney.

Ready to Play

Then the classic Euchre Tourney.

Oh nice!

Oh nice!

Some of us had a drink or three.

Caught in the act. Look at my Dad's response. Priceless.

Caught in the act. Look at my Dad’s response. Priceless.

Some of us are just high on life….

The cutest bunny ever.

The cutest bunny ever.

All in all a fun and crazy Festivus 2013.

We're all smiles.

We’re all smiles.

Who am I kidding, here's the real picture.

Who am I kidding, here’s the real picture.

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From Scratch

You might know that N and I spent about 12 years in L.A. and recently moved to Michigan. It’s not easy starting over with a new house, a new job (now on its third and final iteration thank you very much) and a new area that can have all 4 seasons in the span of a day (well, almost). Trying to build a friend network is hard. Weird thing is, that’s been the easiest about moving to the Sticks. And I wouldn’t even call these people friends. I’d call them family. In the span of a few years we’ve cultivated a pretty cool family here that we can rely on and–best of all–have fun with.

That’s not to say that we don’t also have a pretty damn good time with the family we were born into. Our recent trip to Minneapolis was proof that laughing should be considered a workout when you are laughing all the time. B.i.l. and his lovely lady J hosted us for a long weekend of delicious food, drink and fun. Oh Minneapolis you are such a foodie town.

The first night was drinks and then pizza. N and I were giddy because we’d heard all about Lola’s.

Lay off me, I'm starving!

Lay off me, I’m starving!

We did not know that we’d have to wait almost 2 hours so when we finally got our booth, we ordered–no joke–5 pizzas (a GF for me!), the squash special, pizza oven roasted cauliflower, olives and for dessert: ice cream with EVOO and salt. Oh. Good. God. We had little in the way of leftovers and I could not wait to put on my yoga pants (AKA: expandable waist pants for the pizza belly I harbored) and sleep it off.

The next night was equally remarkable. Japanese sushi and robata grill? Yes please.

Happy and you know it. Ready to put away some major amounts of grilled business.

Happy and you know it. Ready to put away some major amounts of grilled business.

Even the drinks were pretty cool.

Of course I went for the pink citrusy drink with the gummy bear.

Of course I went for the pink citrusy drink with the gummy bear.

My B.i.l. is one happy dude.

B.I.L. Hearts Japanese Food Too

And since the addition of J, he’s floating on air.

A sake toast.

A sake toast.

Getting back from the ‘Sota we went from this:

Fall colors galore.

Fall colors galore.

To this:

Snow and a very disgusting melting pumpkin ready for compost.

Snow and a very disgusting melting pumpkin ready for compost.

In the word of Clay Davis from the Wire: Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit!

You know you miss it.

I was so hoping for late snow this year and it was earlier than ever. Before we knew it Turkey Day was here.

Time for Turkey Day 2013

Time for Turkey Day 2013

K and B hosted the Feast this year with the rest of our TC family.

Roasted to perfection.

Roasted to perfection.

Everyone brought a few dishes and we ended up with way too much delicious food.

K carving away with his electric knife.

K carving away with his electric knife.

The alcohol was flowing freely and so was the conversation.

J and N on Turkey Day.

J and N on Turkey Day.

The gravy was made, the turkey sliced and the potatoes out of the oven. One last photo op.

Some of our Turkey Day family members.

Some of our Turkey Day family members.

I made this:

Well composed plate.

Well composed plate.

E did this:

E's Paleo Diet pic.

E’s Paleo Diet pic.

It was over too soon. But during dinner we had plenty of time to talk about plans for TC’s Little Fleet Pizza Night hosted by K of Pizzeria Dante.

K, N and THE Pizza oven.

K, N and THE Pizza oven.

They ended up making 22 pizzas. I got to serve ’em up in my Ramone’s tee while N got to dress the pies.

Pizzeria Dante's sous chef.

Pizzeria Dante’s sous chef.

This led up to a crazy pre-Christmas night with K and B that was comprised of copious amounts of guac and chips and K’s tasty chili while watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the real version) and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. And it’s been snowing, snowing, snowing.

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Trick and Treat

Our driveway is about a quarter of a mile long. I honestly never knew a driveway could be that long and I never thought such a driveway would lead to my home. But it does. All 0.25 miles of the gravely sandy mess. We frequently have people driving up to our house mistakenly thinking they are on an actual road rather than our driveway. We know this because they round the corner up to our house and immediately turn around and zoom off.

A few of our neighbors have cutesy “street” signs at the start of their driveway: Lavender Ln, Sugar Shack Rd, etc. That seemed not only like a hassle but just not us. So N and his friend K devised a pretty bad ass way to announce our driveway.

Our handcrafted driveway sign.

Our handcrafted driveway sign.

This “shield” has our address laser-cut into the Cor-ten steel. We’ve got some solar powered lights behind to light up the numbers at night. The sign conveniently shields sight of our nasty garbage can and pretty soon there will be a shelf for the UPS dude to use in the winter (they can’t use our driveway when the weather is bad–too dangerous. Sheesh!).

I was admiring the finished product and driving up our road in a bit of a daydream when I passed this:

Friend or clown?

Friend or clown?

I slammed on the breaks and threw the car into reverse. What the hell?!?

That’s right. A giant mylar balloon of Big Bird. I’m not a fan of clowns and I consider Big Bird to be a big ass clown of sorts. I mean, I don’t and never did hate Sesame Street but I’d much rather watch a cool cartoon than hang on that Street. And we are tucked so far into the woods that it is freaky to think that this balloon just ended up there. I’m considering this to be a trick in the spirit of Halloween. Honestly, I’d much rather just have some candy.

Candy corn!!!!!

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Diva For a Day

I’ve never considered myself a diva. But when my M.I.L. signed us up to run the DC Wine Country Run Like a Diva half marathon, I no longer had a choice. I’d have to be a diva for a day.

After almost a year of nursing a nagging knee issue, I had finally started back into running, albeit very (very!) slowly. At times it felt like I was dragging my leg along with me to finish a measly 3 or 4 mile stint of jogging with walk breaks. I was out of running shape for the first time in years. It was discouraging but also exhilarating to be back outside in motion again. I slowly got the confidence to let the cat out of the bag to my Dad (the daily runner and multiple-time Boston Marathon qualifier) and my M.I.L. (the running a marathon in every state/multiple Boston Marathon finisher/tri-athlete/Iron Warrior). They are both avid supporters of the sport (although for different reasons I suspect) and of me.

When my M.I.L. found out, she decided that my birthday present would be signing us up for a half marathon. Once the applications and entry fees were paid, I really couldn’t go back on it so with a lot of anxiety and hesitant exuberance, I started training. I have always loved the training process leading up to a marathon or half marathon. For me, running is my meditation, my Zen. Unfortunately, the actual race day is probably the worst part of it. There is no room for meditation and rarely any space to spread out your stride. I put this aside as I ramped up my long runs from 4 miles to 10 miles.

Like everything else in life, the time to go to the race crept up. We flew out on a Friday early afternoon and N’s parents picked us up from Dulles and whisked us over to the “Diva Boutique” (aka race registration packet pick-up).

I’ve not seen this much pink in….I don’t know, maybe forever. And the crowds of women. The thumping of House music. It was intense. We got our race bibs and wandered around the (obnoxiously) loud race expo looking at gear and such. There’s only so much of that a claustrophobe like me can handle though so I got a shirt and N and I waited outside the expo while my M.I.L. bought running inspired jewelry. My dread was growing.

I put it aside, though, and decided to have a nice relaxed dinner and c’est la vie. Dinner was a fantastic surprise, really. We found Tuscarora Mill in the Market Station area and asked about a table. I gave it 50-50 because it looks like the kind of place you’d need a reservation. But disco! They had a table immediately.

Small plates and some adult ginger ale? Yes, please. I ordered the asparagus salad that came with truffle aioli, egg, shaved Romano and bacon. I don’t usually dig so much on swine but this salad was outrageous. For my main I got the seafood salad and a side of sweet potato polenta. Note to self: sweet potato + polenta = major deliciousness. I will make this at home. I also had some of N’s bacon braised brussels sprouts (also ridonk). And to drink: Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Pretty sweet name, right? This beer kind of sneaks up on you and is honestly, way too easy to drink. I didn’t mind.

We decided that night that we’d meet at 6:15am to head over to the race start—a mere 11 miles from the hotel. For a 7:30am race start, we figured we’d have plenty of time to get there and stand in the port-a-potty line before the race got underway. About 2 miles down the road that morning, though, we had a rude awakening. Traffic. And not just heavy traffic. More like a parking lot traffic. We had the GPS recalculate our route and we did a quick U-turn. We thought we were being clever. And we were pretty damn clever until about 4 miles from the parking area. I guess the race director didn’t calculate the number of runners (4500 or so) with the number of cars to drive said runners and the fact that the winery hosting the event has basically 2 roads that funnel into one road to get where you are going. Cluster-f@*!c ensued. We watched as the clock raced past 7:30am and headed directly for 8:00am. And then some. It was very uncomfortable. Obviously. The 11 mile maybe 20 minute drive turned into a 90+minute creep fest as we car-accordianed our way to the parking area.

We weren’t the only ones and we weren’t the last to arrive. Our 7:30am race ended up started at 9:00am. Which meant that my 5:30am breakfast was pretty much all burned off by the start. At mile 3 I was already hungry. Not a good sign. By mile 6 of the supposed “pretty flat” race course (read: excessively hilly), I was having serious doubts about whether I could complete this Diva bitch of a race. Every couple of miles I treated myself to some sour gummies (aka my “energy chews”) and forged ahead. At mile 10 something miraculous happened: I got a second wind and some hope. By mile 12 I was actually feeling….good?!? I turned to my M.I.L. and said, “Let’s kick this last mile’s ass!” She looked at me like I was nuts. It was probably a hypoglycemic moment but whatever, it happened. So we started booking and passing. Truly exhilarating. At mile 13 instead of a handing out one last paper cup of water or Gatorade, they handed out tiaras and hot pink feather boas. I’m not kidding. So here we are, booking it with boas and plastic tiaras and looking utterly ridiculous in this sea of hot pink dresses and tutus and the last 0.1 can’t come fast enough. In the finish chute they give you a red rose and then they have these big, muscle-bound men with no shirts on award you with a medal the size (and weight) of a small child. The sparkling apple juice in a plastic flute never tasted so good. And the cookies? Thank god for chocolate.

The mile or so walk back to the car through a hay field was less than ideal but not surprising, as this race was pretty ill-conceived logistically. I will say this: the runners were the most friendly and laid back participants I’ve ever encountered in a race.

I made a realization though. Races are not for me. And I’m ok with this. It’s ok for me to run for myself and myself only. I don’t need the validation of a medal or a t-shirt or the push to keep training from an outside source. I also don’t need to schedule a race in order to make travel plans to get out of dodge every once and a while. And: I can run again!

It was kind cool, though, to see my M.I.L. in her tiara and boa-induced Diva-liciousness get a big bear hug from our medal presenter. He looked at her and said, “I’ve been waiting for you alllll day!” That, my friends, was worth the hassle.

Post-race Divas!

Post-race Divas!

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Number 9…..number 9…..

The 9th year of the Traverse City Film Festival has come and gone. This was our 3rd year attending and in our usual glutinous fashion, we oinked it up by attending 11 films.

It all started last Saturday with the pre-festival “Friends” only screening of Sole Survivor. This documentary told the story of several of the only 14 sole survivors of major commercial airplane crashes. Sounds depressing as hell, right? It wasn’t though. The movie focused on a man named George. He was the sole survivor of a 1985 plane crash when he was 17 years old. This was the story of George’s survivor guilt and his journey to connect with some of the other survivors. He went so far as to fly to France to meet up with a 14  year old girl who had survived a plane crash and a 9 hour ordeal clinging to a piece of plane in the ocean until she was rescued. The coolest thing about these “Friends” screenings is that the director and some of the cast come onstage after the film and get to talk a bit and answer some questions from the audience.

What the heck is a Friend of the Film Festival? It just means that we shelled out a few extra bucks last year in exchange for the ability to buy tickets a week before everyone else and of course the free film screening that isn’t shown during the festival. I’m failing to mention the free popcorn, soda and cake at the film screening and the likelihood of running into the man running this whole show: Michael Moore.  Not too shabby for a tiny little town, eh?

Thanks Michael Moore!

The real deal for us started Wednesday evening with a 6:00pm showing of the Big Easy Express. This was such a great way to start. I am even more in love now with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and why hadn’t I heard of Old Crow Medicine Show? And it goes without saying that Mumford and Sons is just great music. This was one of the best concert docs I’ve ever seen. I was smiling like a jackass by the end of it and tapped my toes over to our 9:00pm show that night: The Last Days. This is a Spanish twist on the apocalypse and while there were no zombies in it, those living in it tended to resemble zombies none the less. In an American style, though, there was hope at the end. I’m cool with hope.

Thursday at noon we saw a French absurdist movie called Superstar. What would it be like to suddenly be incredibly famous? Two words: total ass. I can’t believe that more celebs don’t end up having seizures because of the damn paparazzi. Having privacy is awesome.

Thursday night we went all pseudo Christopher Guest with Orenthal: The Musical. So this guy calls himself a playwright and gets some friends to cast a musical based on OJ. Yes, the white bronco, ill-fitting glove, Judge Ito dancing OJ.

A side note: about 100 birds just landed on my front lawn. God help me.

Ok, it wasn’t this bad but there were at least a hundred birds on the lawn and then flying all over. My dad would have been freaking out.

Friday finally came and my anxiety bloomed. What were we thinking? It wasn’t about the noon show though. We felt comfortable with a noon show. And honestly, it was one of my favorites: Into the White. It was filmed in Norway and told the story of 2 crews being shot down in WWII–one German and one British–and how these enemies managed to survive some wicked harsh conditions. I’m a total slut for Norewegian movies. This one also had a fair amount of German which I’m also a total whore for. Yay me.

So you might be wondering, what the heck is she so anxious about? Well it wasn’t about the Norwegian movie. It was about the fact that we were slated to see a 9pm and a midnight show. Ugh. I’m too old for this shit. That was my mantra during the day anyway. But with the help of a coffee after the 9:00pm showing of Room 237 and a sugar high sponsored by Sour Patch kids, I made it. Room 237 is a documentary about these total freaks who are obsessed with The Shining and have watched it over and over and then over again. One woman created maps of the hotel in order to show that there should not be a window in the GM’s office. Another had a theater play the film forward and backward–at the same time–to see what kind of superimposed images Stanley Kubrick placed in the movie. Because, afterall, Mr. Kubrick was a genius who studied sublimal images. He also, by the way, was contracted by the government to film what they called the Apollo landing. Ah, conspiracy theories. You gotta love it.

Room 237 was the perfect set up for the midnight showing of The Shining. And none other than the man himself, Mr. Michael Moore, sat right in front of N. Which, because of the laxity in the seat, meant that he was nearly sitting nestled in N’s lap.Ah, the perks of Traverse City.

I gotta say. The Shining is still scary as hell for me. I was lucky to sleep without any nightmares after the show.

Our noon show the next day was tough to get to given that we went to bed at 3:30am. Here’s what I found out: I really am too old for that shit. Now I know and I can work on acceptance. So the noon film was actually 8 short narratives. All of them were pretty fantastic. One was a love letter by the director to his real life wife who is/was pregnant (Lauran Ambrose–I heart her). The River. What a beautiful little movie.

We went home after the show and passed out for about 2 hours and had just enough time to eat some dinner and head out for our 9:00pm showing called Unhung Hero. This was hilarious. This poor guy proposed to his girlfriend at a UCLA game on the Jumbo-tron and she said no and fled the scene. She later told him one of the reasons she refused was due to the small size of his junk. Crickey! This led him to search the world for ways to enlarge his business only to figure out that it’s not really the size that matters. I’m not sure if he was convinced of that or not. I should have stuck around for the Q & A afterwards to offer my services. He could use some therapy. So could we all.

Fatigue set in severely by Saturday night. I somehow managed to rally for our last film on Sunday. A cool experimental documentary called Your Day is My Night. It’s about immigrants living in NYC’s Chinatown who live in tiny, tiny spaces and sometimes have to endure a shift-bed situation. One of my favorite things about documentaries is when you really get a feel for what a person and their world is like. With this movie, you could feel it for sure.

All in all a wild and crazy week for this typically extremely habitual lady. Now it’s time to go back to my regularly scheduled programming with a bedtime of 10:30pm. Ahhhh…..sleep!

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A Festivus

This year’s Festivus was different than the last decade of holidays. We usually get both sides of the fam together in a ginormic house somewhere fun and go balls out for a week or so. This year, we took a break from the madness (sort of) and split things up. We spent a couple of days at my parent’s house “downstate” and then had N’s family to our house for a few days. It worked out but I think we all missed the big get-together. Usually there’s some wild cooking and a Euchre tourney. This year we continued the cooking craze but the Euchre tourney was skipped in favor of a Cribbage tourney.

There was some present opening.

N sporting a sweet faux earring. It's an ornament that my m.i.l. found from decades ago. And the sack knit "hat" was done by my s.i.l.

N sporting a sweet faux earring. It’s an ornament that my m.i.l. found from decades ago. And the sack knit “hat” was done by my s.i.l.

 

And general hijinks.

Sadly, despite her "facial hair" my s.i.l. was not eligible for the Annual Beard Carving event. Sweet stache sistah!

Sadly, despite her “facial hair” my s.i.l. was not eligible for the Annual Beard Carving event. Sweet stache sistah!

 

This year’s Festivus meal was outrageous if I do say so myself. N came up with the idea (as usual–his brain swims in creativity): Top Chef meets Chopped. We broke into two teams–boys against the girls–and had to come up with a small plates menu that included a variety of foods mentioned in holiday songs:

Egg nog, marshmallow, pear, pumpkin, carrots (this was not due to a song but rather due to an ass load built up from our crop share), celery root, candy cane, fig, chestnuts (we could not find these at the store so N got and used water chestnuts to my dismay). Lost of sweet stuff. We were allowed to check out cookbooks and recipes online (thank god) and here’s what we came up with:

Our soup: spicy carrot soup with curried pumpkin seeds, fresh parsley, garlic croutons and a garlic marshmallow (that's right and it was not nasty!).

Our soup: spicy carrot soup with curried pumpkin seeds, fresh parsley, garlic croutons and a garlic marshmallow (that’s right and it was not nasty!).

 

Their soup: pumpkin with egg nog, bacon and fresh herbs.

Their soup: pumpkin with egg nog, bacon and fresh herbs.

 

Dueling salads: quinoa with chicken, spinach and pear and mixed greens with pear, blue cheese and homemade marshmallow candied pecans.

Dueling salads: quinoa with chicken, spinach and pear and mixed greens with pear, blue cheese and homemade marshmallow candied pecans.

 

Braised buffalo with celery root puree. This was dessert.

Braised buffalo with celery root puree. This was dessert.

 

Festivus dinner drink: a shot of Kahlua, a shot of vodka, a shot of egg nog reduced with candy canes and milk to top it off. Oh. Mah. Gawd.

Festivus dinner drink: a shot of Kahlua, a shot of vodka, a shot of egg nog reduced with candy canes and milk to top it off. Oh. Mah. Gawd.

 

The dinner spread (minus the salads).

The dinner spread (minus the salads).

 

Festivus dinner time! Note the enormous beards on N and b.i.l.

Festivus dinner time! Note the enormous beards on N and b.i.l.

 

After eating our delicious dinner, it was time for the 2nd Annual Beard Carving event.

This was so ridiculous I laughed every time I looked at him.

This was so ridiculous I laughed every time I looked at him.

 

With the right amount of product, the ends of his stache were coiled magic.

With the right amount of product, the ends of his stache were coiled magic.

 

My s.i.l. and I enjoyed our drinks while the men-folk were working on their facial hair projects.

I'm rocking some sweet kinky hair in this pic. Who cares when you are enjoying a delicious drink with your fam?

I’m rocking some sweet kinky hair in this pic. Who cares when you are enjoying a delicious drink with your fam?

 

My m.i.l. and f.i.l. patiently awaited the results of the event.

How cute are my in-laws?

How cute are my in-laws?

 

The winner?

Two jolly men post beard sheering. For the second year in a row, it's a tie.

Two jolly men post beard sheering. For the second year in a row, it’s a tie.

B.i.l. and his sweet lady.

B.i.l. and his sweet lady.

As usual, the time went by too fast. I must say, we went to see Lincoln and that movie is fantastic. Dork alert: it made me want to study things that I don’t know. Plus, DDL is awesome in the movie. See it.

Here’s to a loving family, good food and wonderful times in 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For the Love of Basketball

Or in my case: for the love of visiting NYC. We met up with the b.i.l. and his lovely lady J last weekend to eat our way through the city and watch Michigan crush West Virginia University (sorry b.i.l.).

Thursday night was kind of epic. We went to a place called Atera for  4 1/2 hour food circus with bite after bite of mind-blowing dishes. About 20 courses total. Luckily most plates contained a maximum of 2 bites or I would have been in a food coma by the 3rd or 4th plate.  Instead of a food coma, though, I think we all experienced some food nirvana. If you make it through this whole post, a gold star for you!

Savory macaroons

Savory macaroons

Another "snack"

Another “snack”

Mini lobster rolls. The "bread" melted in your mouth like a macaroon.

Mini lobster rolls. The “bread” melted in your mouth like a macaroon.

 

These were like savory angel wings.

These were like savory angel wings.

 

Pickled quail eggs with bread (mine was a GF cracker). We had a hard time figuring out how the hell they made these eggs.

Pickled quail eggs with bread (mine was a GF cracker). We had a hard time figuring out how the hell they made these eggs.

 

These looked like cigars and had gluten so I had something special this round.

These looked like cigars and had gluten so I had something special this round.

 

My "cigar" was a carrot fruit roll-up. It was ridiculous.

My “cigar” was a carrot fruit roll-up. It was ridiculous.

 

These looked like rocks but were like an airy, crispy nugget.

These looked like rocks but were like an airy, crispy nugget.

 

These "noodles" were like calamari but very, very noodle-like.

These “noodles” were like calamari but very, very noodle-like.

 

Oxtail broth with sea urchin. Oh. mah. gawd! This was out of control.

Oxtail broth with sea urchin. Oh. mah. gawd! This was out of control.

 

Diver scallops with fermented cabbage leaf and miners lettuce.

Diver scallops with fermented cabbage leaf and miners lettuce.

 

Fluke with warm bbq'd onion and emerald lettuce.

Fluke with warm bbq’d onion and emerald lettuce.

 

Lamb tartare. This was phenomenal.

Lamb tartare. This was phenomenal.

 

Pastrami duck heart with tender young veggies and red watercress. I get points for trying this. I donated most of mine to N. He likey.

Pastrami duck heart with tender young veggies and red watercress. I get points for trying this. I donated most of mine to N. He likey.

 

Bread and "butter." This butter tasted like cheese. The boys wanted to eat the whole log. And nearly did.

Bread and “butter.” This butter tasted like cheese. The boys wanted to eat the whole log. And nearly did.

 

"Noodle" in a dashi broth. We think the noodle was something like squid. Really tasty.

“Noodle” in a dashi broth. We think the noodle was something like squid. Really tasty.

 

Brined hake with wildflower honey, sweet potato, yogurt and chickweed. Freakin' awesome.

Brined hake with wildflower honey, sweet potato, yogurt and chickweed. Freakin’ awesome.

 

A terrible pic of the cerleriac with mushroom meringue.

A terrible pic of the cerleriac with mushroom meringue.

 

Roasted quail with fresh peanuts and burgundy cold (I don't know what that means).

Roasted quail with fresh peanuts and burgundy cold (I don’t know what that means).

 

Beef strip with bordeaux spinach. Wow.

Beef strip with bordeaux spinach. Wow.

 

Pear with almond ice milk. The first of several dessert bites.

Pear with almond ice milk. The first of several dessert bites.

 

Banana split with spiced marshmallows and candied parsley root. Again. Seriously?!

Banana split with spiced marshmallows and candied parsley root. Again. Seriously?!

 

Churro with salsify, cinnamon and white cardamom. Who doesn't love churro?

Churro with salsify, cinnamon and white cardamom. Who doesn’t love churro?

 

Truffles. Like we needed more dessert. I guess we did because we ate all of this too.

Truffles. Like we needed more dessert. I guess we did because we ate all of this too.

 

The finale: bourbon cask ice cream sandwich with almond and vanilla. You had me at bourbon cask....

The finale: bourbon cask ice cream sandwich with almond and vanilla. You had me at bourbon cask….

 

Several things about this restaurant: there was no sign out front. That takes some major ballsack. The cutlery had its own wooden holders. I would have stolen my holder  if the restaurant served more than about 12 people at a sitting (ok, maybe I would have….). They also serve their tasting menu with a wine pairing. We just ordered our own drinks this time. The dinner lasted so long that they had to move us to the lounge area downstairs to eat our dessert courses. This is the kind of place that could totally be really stuffy or way too hipster and uncomfortable but chooses not to. The music selections were fantastic and our many waiters had good senses of humor (after a glass of wine apparently I have no qualms about “that’s what she said” jokes–oy vay!). And last: a 3 mile round-trip walk is so good for digestion. I heart NYC.

Random: Saturday late morning we started to see clumps of people with Santa suits on. Wft? Oh, that’s right. It was Santacon. And as the day wore on, they were EVERYWHERE. And they were hammered. Thousands and thousands of Santas.

Santacon 2012. If you are in college then you probably know what this is. I had no freakin' clue.

Santacon 2012. If you are in college then you probably know what this is. I had no freakin’ clue.

 

The basketball game was in Brooklyn so we went early and some NY pizza.

B.i.l. and J pose with the pizza.

B.i.l. and J pose with the pizza.

 

Pizza!

Pizza!

 

And then the game. Gotta love those Wolverines!

Meechigan!

Meechigan!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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