Dan and Paul drove up on that Saturday afternoon with their sweet ol' woofer Claire.
I made fried chicken strips for dinner, along with a couple of my staple sides from the fall and winter: spicy butternut squash and roasted cauliflower with garlic. I dipped the chicken strips in beaten eggs with Cajun seasoning and salt blended in and then dredged them in gluten-free King Arthur flour that Tracey had given me at Christmas. After frying the chicken in a mix of canola and olive oils in my big cast-iron skillet, I seasoned it with more of the Cajun spice mix and salt, and we served it with purchased duck and red pepper sauces.
I fried up more chicken for our guests, and Tony and D&P helped set up for the party. I knew Eugene was bringing frozen latkes that his cousin had made and that we'd heat up in the oven. That was one of the reasons I had decided to try making fried chicken: I figured we'd have a little fried-food, Hanukkah-ish theme going on.
We had a good crowd, in addition to D&P and Eugene: Hal and Stacy, Hanif (but not Mark because he was still in North Dakota), Jack and his friend David, Bri, Rich and Vince, John and Keiko, and Lou. Most everyone was looking at the TV in these photos because it was getting close to midnight.
The next morning, D&P and I got breakfast at Cafe Minerva, a cute little place on W. 4th Street I've walked past innumerable times and had been meaning to try. My Uova al Pomodora was awesome. D&P know the drill by now: to pose with their plates. :-)
A little while later, Tony and I ate at presumably-gluten-free-friendlier Le Pain Quotidien with Vince and Rich. Even though LPQ has claimed to be able to accommodate GF orders, Tony has always been somewhat skeptical—because pain is in its frickin' name and gluteny bread is everywhere. We noticed that the menu now acknowledges, in exact wording I can't recall, that the restaurant can't guarantee a GF experience. And Tony prefers a restaurant that admits to such a possibility rather than pretending to be completely safe when it knows it's not. He got the fruit bowl. I got oatmeal and a chia seed muffin. What a great way to start off the new year: two brunches. Woot! :-)
That night, I took a photo of the large building to our west that had the cutest Christmas tree perched on a northernmost terrace. It's cuter in the embiggened version you'll get if you click on it.