On that Saturday afternoon, Mike, Matt, and I got lunch at Frankies Spuntino 570. It was actually the guys' second choice, after Barrio 47. But B47 couldn't seat us without a reservation, which I hadn't thought to make.
Everything was top-notch at FS570, except for the waiter's bringing Matt a prosciutto sandwich instead of the meatball one he'd asked for. When Matt finally got it, the sandwich was terrific. (I had a bite.) The meatballs were elevated by raisins and pine nuts.
Mike got the Sweet Potato and Sage Ravioli in Parmesan Broth. I got one of the Frankies Classics on the menu: Eggplant Parmigiana.
The guys love a Caesar salad, so, to start, they split the Romaine Hearts With Caesar Dressing. My starter blew me away: Winter Citrus With Sette Anni Pepper, Almonds & Parsley. The orange and grapefruit melded so perfectly with the peppers, the parsley added some green notes, and the almonds contributed crunch, which every diehard Chopped fan knows you need to have on the plate to please Amanda Freitag.
On the way out, I snapped a photo of the French bulldog artwork I had been admiring from my seat. The woman below it got all excited when she looked up and noticed the drawing, and she pointed it out to the kids who were with her.
When Tracey and David picked up the nephews, we all got brunch at Smorgas Chef. (I had suggested Barrio 47, but she didn't like the looks of its offerings.) The menu for SC listed some gluten-free items, but Tony had only coffee. The wait staff didn't seem on the ball. We had to ask for basics, like salt, pepper, and sugar. And the woman who seated us said our reservation wasn't in the book even though I'd gotten an e-mail confirmation from the restaurant itself, not OpenTable—and she wasn't at all concerned about it. There was a large unoccupied table, so we didn't have to wait, but if she wanted us to return someday, she should have made some assurance that our reservation wouldn't be ignored again the next time.
And another gripe: The fruit on top of my waffles was just about all honeydew melon. How about some variety!? :-) The house syrup was good, though, and the bacon was crispy, like I'd requested.
Our mystery dinner guest the night before had brought the 'phews some milk chocolate hearts from Varsano's. He's such a nice guy.
Mike, Matt, and I played some video and nonvideo games while they were here. I had bought Centrifeud and TelepathyPro for Tony's iPad because I thought we'd all enjoy playing them together. Tony was a party pooper and didn't join us. The three of us really enjoyed Centrifeud. M&M kicked my ass all over the place, but I did manage to beat them one time. We tried Telepathy only once—it's going to take some practice to get the hang of it—before moving on to a few rounds of Telestrations. It wasn't as much fun with only three people compared with the big group at Christmas, because you would get a drawing of your original word pretty quickly. You'd know what it was supposed to be, and you had to decide whether you would know what it was based only on the drawing in front of you.
On Monday, I made an homage to Frankies' citrus salad. Mine had lettuce, though. And no peppers or parsley. And in place of almonds, I gave it some crunch with toasted, cardamom-spiced butternut squash seeds. To drink, we had the enjoyable 2011 Ampelidae Marigny-Neuf Sauvignon Blanc, which was a bargain Tony and I picked up at Moore Brothers' 16th annual 10% Off Everything Sale. I'm not thrilled with this photo but ....
For our main course, I made flounder that I'd bought at the Union Square Greenmarket that day. I dipped the fillets in beaten egg and dredged them in flour and then put them back in the egg and coated them with bread crumbs seasoned with Penzeys' Sunny Paris blend. I put them in the fridge for a while, so the coating would adhere better when I fried them. I was very pleased with how they turned out. And so was Tony. On the side, we had the flesh of the squash I'd taken the seeds from. And I had leftover mashed potatoes and celery root heated and lightly browned in a pan with a little oil.
On Wednesday, I got a couple of Ponderosa lemons at the USGM from the nursery on Long Island that sold me my hellebores. Ponderosa lemons aren't grown commercially, according to the Wikipedia article I linked to. They're grown as ornamental trees, which is why the nursery stand had the fruits. Tony and I thought they tasted somewhat different than a conventional lemon. Maybe a little perkier. They're thought to be a cross between a lemon and a citron. I never knew the citron was a different type of fruit. I thought it was just the French word for citrus.
Tony made us a couple of Aviation cocktails that evening using one of the PLs.
I made a top round roast—that I also got at the Greenmarket—for dinner. (I'd had the day off from work.) I put carrots in the roasting pan with the beef and also mashed up some potatoes and rutabagas.
The next day, I made a salad dressing using the remaining PL. And we had leftovers plus brand-spankin'-new Brussels sprouts. The salad greens included sorrel from Two Guys From Woodbridge.
When I was incapacitated from the flu, Tony signed us up for the Winter Warrior Challenge compost program. Before I dropped our compost off yesterday morning, I joked that I was going to pick a half-rotted apple out of our pot of compost with my teeth and spit it into the bin before giving a growl to prove my warrior bona fides.
While I was there, at our local Greenmarket on Abingdon Square, an older, straight couple was dropping off their compost at the same time. After they left, Bonnie, the sweetie who runs the compost program there, asked me if I knew who the guy was. He was Barry Benape, one of the founders of the Greenmarket program back in the '70s. Thanks, Barry! For making one of my favorite activities in the city—shopping at the Abingdon Square and Union Square Greenmarkets—possible.
Granny turned 94 yesterday. Holy crap. Dad and Jean took her to DeLisi for dinner.
And they gave her a cake from Century Bakery. Tony and I sent her a cute card that I wish I'd taken a photo of. It had a frog on the front made using the technique of quilling. She got that yesterday, on time. I hope her present arrives tomorrow: this plush Siamese cat from Melissa & Doug.
I took Missy and Rudy outside in the high wind yesterday to brush their fur. It had been a while since I'd done that. I took a great shot of Missy with her hair flapping in the breeze. Once it gets warmer, we'll get her groomed, so her coat doesn't look so unruly.
For lunch today, Tony made what's become a staple for us of late: Moroccan-style beef stew with dried fruits served over rice. He upped the spice a bit this time, and we both agreed that it was too much. But the stew was still enjoyable.
For dinner, after I returned from the Game Party, we had a simple, vegetarian dinner of roasted root vegetables, a salad, and another wine from Moore Brothers.
The roots were, clockwise from upper right, a (regular) rutabaga, a Gilfeather rutabaga, a Gold Ball turnip, and a purple-top turnip.
Before I left for the Game Party, I peeled and chopped them and put them in the fridge in a bowl of cold water with a squeeze of Ponderosa lemon juice. When I left the party, I texted Tony, and he put the drained veggie pieces in the oven with oil, salt, and some fresh-grated nutmeg. They were quite tasty.
The wine was the 2010 Three Old Vines Field Blend Contra Costa County. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that special either. It was bold, with lots of black fruit, but it didn't seem very sophisticated. The Moore Brothers tasting notes said, "In a cool cellar, expect another 7 years of development." If we had a cool cellar, we could have waited, and we probably would have enjoyed the wine more. But we don't.