madbaker: (mammoth garlic)
Wendy and Josh came over last night. The original plan was to make a blitzkrieg shopping trip to Bitters & Bottles before going out to dinner, but between him getting off work late and Giants game-day traffic, there wasn't enough time. Instead we drove over the hill to Third Rail, which is a new-ish bar less than ten minutes' drive away (too many steep hills in between to walk comfortably) for a pre-dinner cocktail.

Did I mention that Third Rail makes their own jerky, and does jerky pairings to go with their (very nice) drinks? We did not actually try said jerky due to aforementioned dinner plans, but I'm sure it will happen at some point. I liked the place and when I want a high-end cocktail that's close by, that will be a go-to.

We quickly drove home and got a cab, since the restaurant is close enough to the ballpark that finding parking was likely to be impossible. Plus this way we could have another cocktail with dinner! We went to Cockscomb -- Dawn and I went there last year for our anniversary and it's much better with four people. We split the "hot mess", foie and roasted pig trotter, which was excellent; a ramp "fondue" which was really just a plate of melted cheese and ramps, good but not spectacular; and lamb chops and shoulder, which was quite good. Obviously rather rich and we didn't finish the lamb.

Neither the wife nor I slept all that well after the rich food and booze, but it was a fun night out with friends. I'd do it again, but not any time soon please.

madbaker: (disgruntled clown)
I had a very nice day yesterday. It was the wife's birthday. I took the day off to spend time with her; we did a bunch of good low-key things, like seeing the Monet exhibit at the Legion. Which was fabulous, and well worth seeing.

Sadly, today's workload was "thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges." I had about three days' worth of work jammed in. I got as much done as I could, and I really hope I got enough done that we can leave on time for the event tomorrow.

I'm ready to fall down and go boom now.

madbaker: (scary clown)
Last week was okay, and parts of it were pretty good. I've been falling behind on sleep though, which colors everything.

A very nice party Saturday night both helped (social activity, lots of good chattage and terrific milk-washed punch) and hurt (went to bed around 1 AM, still woke up by 6).

madbaker: (Laurel)
Yesterday's wedding was lovely. It fit them very well, which is the best thing I think you can say about a wedding.

Traffic was appalling. The wedding was scheduled for 4 PM; we left a bit before noon, on the theory that it would take us two hours to get there, leaving plenty of time to check in to our nearby motel, change, and get there. Ha! We got to the room a bit after 3 PM. Everyone was apparently going to the beach in Santa Cruz, the mushroom festival in Gilroy, or the car-racing thingy in Monterey. Stop and go the whole way.

Still, we made it - we got to the theater around quarter to 4. The couple had built in extra time and with all the panicked messages, pushed back the ceremony until 4:45 to allow more people to arrive. We had fun.

Getting a motel room nearby turned out to be the absolute right choice; there was a car accident in Salinas which caused yet more traffic jams. If we'd tried to drive back it would have been another 3+ hours, and this time it would have been fighting sleep. Instead we had an adequate, relaxing night; a better-than-expected breakfast at a local diner; and an easy trip back marred only by the Giants not playing well on the radio.

Scallops are cooking sous vide and chicken legs will follow for tomorrow night's dinner. Today should be a nice low-key day - what's left of it, anyway.

madbaker: (Galen)
I got a new pair of shoes for the '20s party last night - some modern wingtips. I needed a new pair of dress shoes anyway, and while these are more formal than I normally wear, it was good to complete the outfit. The party was fabulous and I had a great time dressing up and seeing friends dressed up in ways I normally don't see them. I got several compliments on my vintage '20s vest and jacket. I've never owned a vest before, so I wasn't entirely comfortable in it. It fits fine; I'm just not used to being confined like that. The only down note was accidentally popping a jacket button because I forgot to unbutton before sitting on a couch. Oops. (The jacket was that comfortable, not that I am pushing the size.) The wife spent the last week sewing a new outfit for herself and looked really good - especially with her vintage fur drape.

The inevitable fate of shoeboxes when you have a cat, of course, is that the cat decides that I got it just for him.
Read more... )

madbaker: (Torg)
Whitechapel looks fabulous. They really got the feel of an old tube station (to my mind, anyway). The drinks were very good. I wanted to try more, but work night and all. Two disappointments: they were out of steak and oyster pie; and it's too loud. Next time I want to sit in the far back bar to see if it's any quieter.

Also, apparently Bourbon & Branch is closing. I can't confirm this via Google but if true, it would be a shame.

madbaker: (Saluminati)
The upstairs neighbors were kind enough to get me a birthday present spot in last night's class at 18 Reasons. I had never gone to any of their classes; I'm not a member, although I believe the curvy upstairs neighbor is. It was fun. We made a bunch of porchetta-inspired dishes that are quicker and easier than making the real thing. Or even the semi-real thing that I've done, which is a pork tenderloin wrapped in a half belly. I haven't made that again because it feeds 20...

The starting menu for the nine of us: Pork tenderloin in bread; organ-stuffed roast chicken; porchetta-spiced roast rabbit; radicchio-anchovy salad. We also made some pasta with pan dripping sauce and a ricotta-almond pudding.

The class was good. I was on Team Chicken. That took 45 minutes longer to cook than the teacher intended, mostly because of the meat stuffing. It was okay - not spectacular, but fine. The rabbit was quite good. The salad was superb and the pork tasted like a (good) standard porchetta. I will be making the last two at home. I can't make rabbit, as the wife won't eat it. I don't think the chicken is necessarily worth doing.

It was a bit difficult to get up today, because I was awake for a few hours around midnight. The wine converting to sugars, no doubt. But I had fun and learned some things, as well as having good chattage with the other students.

madbaker: (KOL)
My birthday present, aka the Anova sous vide thingy, is supposed to arrive tomorrow!
I've put a library hold on one of the many recent home sous vide cookbooks to get an idea as to how it works. [ profile] desperance, this may also need to be an excuse for us to come down for a visit so I can pick your brain. With wine.

madbaker: (Gunnerkrigg me)
My boss gave me a small gift card for Morton's Steakhouse last year. Which was a nice thought, but it's not big enough to have a dinner, and we don't go to steakhouses often. (Especially chains, even if they're high-end. We've gone to House o' Prime Rib and Alfred's here in town for birthday or anniversary occasions, and enjoyed them both.)

So I'm meeting the wife at the bar after work for a drink and hors-d'oeuvre. I'm looking forward to it.

madbaker: (Gunnerkrigg me)
Bourbon & Branch was lovely, as usual. It may be the first time I've gone there that it wasn't crowded (I think they would have let us stay past our allotted reservation, if we'd kept buying).

So tired today because I got to bed late, but not hungover at all. I'll take that.

madbaker: (KOL)
We wanted to go to [ profile] hrj's garden literary party, but... we needed down time.
Instead of socializing with friends and having fun, yesterday I made bread, wrestled with the new laptop (two falls out of three, I think I won on points), and other low-key domestic issues.

Today is Quicken for bill-paying, dishes, folding laundry, and other low-key domestic issues.

madbaker: (Torg costume)
Twelfth Night: I didn't feel like I experienced the event much. I spent a fair amount of time/effort trying not to be That Plague Vector Guy - I started coming down with a cold on Wednesday, but there really wasn't any way to not show up given the play obligations. So I spent some of Saturday in the room, snoozing. I did go to court but it was basically because I needed to sit down Right Then.

We got bumped and bumped for our play starting time. Not surprising as court will almost always go long. Disappointing though; every half hour later loses a significant portion of our audience. Our performance of Twelfth Night... it was a bit slow to start, but I was happy with it. I have yet to see the video but there were good laughs and reactions. Even part of a standing o at the end. Valgard, the Drama Doctor, made a point of telling us how much he enjoyed our performance.

Dinner was delivery Thai food in a room and chattage for several hours. Then I went to bed. I didn't feel that well Sunday; I'm not really sure why but it certainly wasn't a hangover. The wife drove back which helped, since I didn't have to concentrate on driving and could just veg out. Today I called in sick. I've run a few errands, but mainly I'm trying to get rest and recovery. Back to normal work tomorrow regardless.

Xmas post

Dec. 26th, 2013 07:48 am
madbaker: (Giants)
The lamb came out very well. It was nothing like the roast lamb with green chiles that I grew up with, but that's all right. I mis-premembered about dessert. The house-made eggnog ice cream stayed in the freezer, because I made marmalade suet puddings instead. With brandy marmalade cream sauce over the top. They were lovely.

The wife liked her running rabbit bracelet. She gave me a Giants polo (a tasteful SF in the logo spot; I could actually wear this to work on a casual Friday) and two center-field bleacher seats for mid-April against the Dodgers. Yes, I love my wife.

madbaker: (Yakko)
Happy birthday to [ profile] tafelspitz, aka the fuzzy upstairs neighbor.

madbaker: (Gunnerkrigg me)
Christmas was lovely.
We drove to my dad's and cooked dinner for him. I am fairly sure this is the only time his oven has been used. A 1947 sherry to start (my dad's contribution). Pork shoulder with a dry rub, braised in wine with apple and onions. Brussels sprouts, wild rice, a radicchio salad (this week's Resolution Recipe, to be posted later), and a baked yogurt pie with pomegranate seeds for dessert.

He gets lots of company with the other residents, but I think he appreciates us spending time with him.

Yesterday we had a fairly lazy day, with champagne and cranberry-orange muffins. We watched a rebroadcast of a Giants post-season game. Then we braved the rain to drive to [ profile] etaine_pommier's place for a spectacular roast goose cooked by J!, along with other tasty dishes. Then we were introduced to Cards Against Humanity with w&J and Joe & Leisa.

Today came too soon. Now I have to get back to work.

madbaker: (feast)
Dinner at Leopold's last night for the fuzzy upstairs neighbor's birthday. Much good chattage with friends, good food, good beer. I'm glad I don't do it very often, for a variety of reasons. It was an excellent time, however.

...wait, I'm meeting Ysabella today after her work to hang out and catch up before going to a sewing workshop. I suspect booze will be involved.

madbaker: (feast)
We got together last night with [ profile] goldenstag and [ profile] aastg, ostensibly to celebrate her impending employment but really just to socialize. Good couple drinks at Smugglers' Cove, even if the bartender screwed up Hirsch's second mai tai and tried to BS his way out of it.

We thought about hipster pizza to soak up the booze, but it was a 45 minute wait just for a table. So we walked down to the burger place and had adequate burgers in a place we could hear ourselves talk. We definitely came out ahead there.

madbaker: (Torg costume)
I've often thought that the best wedding is one you look back on thinking "That suited the couple perfectly." Along with "I had a lovely time."

Both those statements apply to Karen and Chaz' wedding yesterday. The bride and groom looked fabulous. The weather was perfect, the Rengstorff House in Mtn. View was a well-suited venue, and good food and booze with well-dressed friends.

I loved the turtle-and-cat cake topper, too.

madbaker: (fud)
We went to a lovely cocktail party at [ profile] etaine_pommier's yesterday. It wasn't a traditional cocktail party: she has gone completely insane with making her own bitters, so the excuse was to try the 15 or 20 different types she's made. I have hesitated to make anything beyond the Buddha's Hand bitters, because I would have the same over-reaction. We are evil twins, after all.

Very interesting variety, some of which worked better than others. We tried all of them in unflavored fizzy water and then had one cocktail each (about the right amount for not being hung over today). Also corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes that she made. We brought some of the latest cured meats; the Bologna fish wasn't ready yet but was still quite good. The nduja will benefit from more hanging but was fabulous. (Mmm, organ meat and chiles.)

Today was brunch with the wife: homemade sourdough English muffins, pencil-thin asparagus, poached eggses, and foie gras from 4505 Meats. And lambrusco, because we needed bubbly booze with it all. Spectacular and I'm not eating anything else until dinner.

What I'm reading: Matthew Hughes, The Damned Busters

madbaker: (Laurel)
I had a good time.
There's more, but that's what it boils down to. )
What I'm reading: James Corey, Leviathan Wakes


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