It hasn't been a picnic* this month, what with Tony and me having been plagued by winter allergies of some sort. (Actually, Tony now thinks he had a cold and is almost over it.) But on Feb. 4, Tony and I had a wonderful dinner with stellar company at The View restaurant atop the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
It was Hanif's idea to go. I hadn't heard of The View, but I was intrigued by the idea of a rotating restaurant. I knew there was one out in Seattle but didn't know there was one here.
Tony felt secure that TV would be able to accommodate him. Along with Hanif and Mark, we were joined by Eugene and another Mark, who comes to the Game Party.
The food wasn't revolutionary—ha!—but it was very good. I didn't take notes of the exact names of the starters and entrees we had like I normally would do. Maybe it was the altitude affecting my brain.
We enjoyed everything we had, though the dessert didn't live up to Game Master Mark's expectations. And I concur.
Everyone except Tony got the beef entree; he got fish. And everyone but Hanif got the dessert that was called Boston Cream Pie and was a desconstructed version of one. Hanif's dessert was a deconstructed Black Forest Cake. His looked better, and he really liked it. Tony couldn't have either of the main desserts, so he had berries. We both got a quite good salad for our starter.
Here's the Boston Cream Pie.
There was nothing wrong with it, but it didn't live up to our waiter's very enthusiastic endorsement.
And here's my entree. The beef was super tender and tasty. And glossy!
Here's the boy in his window seat.
The view from The View was cool. And it was interesting to see different parts of the center of the restaurant, which doesn't move, show up from time to time. We sat through almost two complete revolutions of the dining area.
Here's a group shot of everyone (including me reflected in the glass) outside the hotel. From left to right: Mark, Eugene, Tony, Hanif, and Mark.
On Feb. 8, I was able to leave work a little early in advance of the blizzard, which actually didn't turn out to be that bad here in the city. It wasn't long before I changed into my union suit for a cozy night of snow watching ...
... and dinner eating.
Tony made chicken nuggets and sauteed spinach. And we drank the 2011 Peter Jakob Kühn Oestrich Lenchen Riesling. I didn't note my impressions on my iPhone note pad, but I must have liked it a lot because I took a close-up photo of the bottle, which I do so I won't forget the name of a wine we would like to buy again.
The next morning, I took a photo of our terrace showing what I would guess was about the 6 inches of snow we got overnight. It's hard to tell exactly how much snow fell because it was whipped around a lot by the wind.
I walked Missy to the Union Square Greenmarket, where the wind was continuing to blow like mad. We saw a male basset wearing a purple coat and booties.
Missy seemed to want to meet him, and I certainly did, so we followed him and his human into the Petco. Once inside, Missy lost interest, so we barely interacted with him. Maybe she thought, "I get enough basset hound at home." She was more excited about meeting a sweet little corgi mix named Olive, whose (I presume) lesbian mommies chatted with me for a while. I didn't get her—or their—picture.
Tony gave me a valentine with a festive chihuahua on it, and I gave him one that said, "I love how we grow together."
Because Tony is a big fan of Cointreau and, more specifically, of Cointreau and chocolate together, I substituted that liqueur for the vanilla extract. For the chocolate, I used Enjoy Life semisweet chocolate chips, which are produced in a gluten- and dairy-free facility. And that chocolate is superb, with a fruity undertone. We often eat some of the chips, right out of the bag, after dinner.
We tasted the mixture after adding one teaspoon of Cointreau and again after two teaspoons and didn't think the orange was coming through strongly enough. So Tony suggested adding some orange essential oil he'd gotten a while ago from Atlantic Spice Co. That did the trick.
The finished truffles didn't look all that great because I first put the chocolate out in the greenhouse to cool while I made dinner. It solidified completely before I could scoop the chocolate into balls. So I put it in the kitchen and we watched the series finale of 30 Rock, which was only OK. By the time I got back to the chocolate, it was too soft. But I just went with it and made gloppy truffles.
On Monday, a day off, I made truffles again, this time flavored with peppermint oil and consisting mostly of Taza stone-ground-chocolate bars (plus two ounces of the EL chips). Tony thought their texture was fine, but I didn't think it was quite as good as before, maybe a little grainy, so I'm going to stick with the chips for future batches.
Also on Monday, I washed up the nasty squirrel chew toys in our bathroom sink.
Missy likes to retrieve them when we throw them across the room.
The day before, Tracey, Mike, and Matt came in to catch the Oscar-nominated animated short films with Tony and me. Before we left to meet Tony at the IFC Center, TM&M ate the last three of Tony's orange truffles. (He had told me I should offer them to them.) Here they are, with Matt in midchew.
I didn't think the quality of the movies was anywhere near as high this year as in previous years. My favorite was Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare." It was fun but nothing amazing. One of the additional films, which wasn't Oscar nominated but was considered to be very good, was The Gruffalo's Child. The boys and I were psyched to see that because we'd enjoyed The Gruffalo so much two years ago. But it felt like an unnecessary retread of that story, only from the perspective of the gruffalo's daughter instead of the mouse.
We weren't disappointed in our dinner at Gobo after the movies. We all enjoyed everything we had and tried samples from each other's plates.
Earlier this month, I was living for a very clever song sung by Kristin Chenoweth called "What Would Dolly Do." I sent the YouTube link to Paula, who loves loves loves Dolly Parton.
*This theme worked better when I had something picnic related to write about.