Wednesday, September 30, 2009

dating


i, personally, find dating quite complicated.

the intricacies, etiquette, etc. etc. are rather troublesome and mind boggling. the games, in particular, are flat out annoying. this is a perspective that i've had ever since i can remember, which is probably why i never really dedicated very much time to thinking about dating or relationships...or placed much emphasis on either aspect as part of my "life goals". i have probably thought more about men and dating in the past 8 months than i have for the last 20 years. this recent attention doesn't translate into a sudden fascination with the subject. this recent attention translates into the foodie hunter reciting "what have i learned from this and what do i do to ensure that i do not make the same mistakes again?".

see...ever practical i am.

there are many ironies here....that despite this dismissive perspective and my admitted cluelessness or lack of "radar" when knowing when a guy is interested...this is the longest that i have ever been single...and, well, i like it. a lot.

i was reminded of this the other day when i stopped into a local place that serves indonesian and singaporean food. i'm still on my "must try 1 new thing or place a week" kick and hence my stopping into this place. while i was looking through the menu, i couldn't help but remember a date i went on with a guy from singapore who took me to an indonesian place in the city. i remember we had this fried egg thing that i liked a lot, so i was diligently looked through the menu to find it. while i was looking through the menu, i remembered that singaporean guy was trying to "test me" by ordering gizzards and hearts on our date. he wanted to see if me and my american foodie hunter self was willing to eat something like that and was actually quite condescending about it.

this is not the best way to get into the foodie hunter's good graces.

did i get on my little soap box about eating offal ever since i can remember and how "treats" were things like who got the chicken heart with the congee or slices of offal fresh out of a pot were snacked on while other things like pigs feet or stock including sublime marrow bones were cooking in the kitchen?

nope, i just took a big scoop, put it on my plate, pretended like he wasn't doing what he was really doing.

needless to say, we didn't see each other for very long.

just thinking about experiences like that one are almost enough to temper my usually voracious appetite. note, that i said "almost". as after i ordered and the tahu telor bali (fried hard boiled eggs with chili sauce) arrived....

as well as my nasi uduk jakarta (some spicy beef, egg green onion omelet, a fried curry-spiced chicken on the bone...and a scoop of an anchovy peanut salad thing)....

here is another shot so you can see the garnish....


i was very much focused back on food and not so much on prior dating experiences. i dug into my food and started chomping away....


i really enjoyed the tahu telor bali quite a bit....



and i must admit that my favorite of the lunch special i ordered was actually the fried crispy anchovies and peanut thing....very tasty!!!


as i was finishing up the meal,



i thought more about the dating thing. i suppose some things don't change.....dating still continues to not be a priority for me. i mean, if i meet a hard-charging, driven, intelligent, super duper intense person who i have a connection with...well, then i won't be stupid (well...hopefully i won't be stupid....i do identify opportunities for a living)....but i'm not exactly seeking it out either.

i think this is one of those rare things that the foodie hunter will leave in the fates' hands. what will be...will be. is it possible to be a dating pacifist?

hey, did i just make up a new term? if so, that would be cool! i think i'll google it...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

community

there are obviously quite a few things that i've been processing about and have not been writing about. a dead giveaway are easy breezy blog postings.....you know....the postings that just kind of skip along from one food topic to another....but not really saying anything about what i am thinking, feeling, or experiencing. sometimes i don't say anything because i don't know how to verbalize it. sometimes i don't say anything because things are too raw. sometimes, my superstitious self, believes that by writing things down....and drawing attention to them...that vengeful and envious gads will swoop down to take it all away.

how i feel really does depend on the day.

today, i feel quite humble. quite humbled by the community of loved ones that i am very fortunate to be a part of. over the past few weeks i have had many opportunities to spend time and catch up with many loved ones.....laughing....in some cases weeping....in other cases cringing as i face certain relative truths that i had not been facing....but always feeling fortunate.

today, i received a note in the mail...

which hearkens to another era. there is something about a hand written note that is very different than an email. it was a note from BF about our brunch at beretta and had some kind words in it. even without the note, i know how lucky i am to have met BF and DB and fully aware of the influence that they have upon my life. also, this past sunday, a group of us met up for dinner. everyone that attended contributed a different component to the dinner....whether it was providing the locale......


admiring, prepping, and making the food....









(btw: this is the best friend making a yummy warm spinach, red pepper, and mushroom salad)




or bringing some wonderful stinky cheese....


bringing and sipping the wine......


it really was a community effort.

i pretty much ran around taking pictures....and being delighted at all of the potential culinary deliciousness that was going around around me. these days, i find taking pictures to be very important, particularly when complex dishes such as grilled pork confit, roasted figs, and rice soubise....


are on the menu (this was CK and LM's contribution)....or the bay area public debut tasting of the best friend's dad's homemade wine...

or having AB's lovely pear cardamom upside down cake.....


with bay laurel caramel, freshly made mascarpone, and small glass of sherry. no i don't have a picture of her final plating, but i bet you can go to nopa and see it for yourself if you want. i think this is currently on the menu.

the food was amazing.

yet what was even more amazing was the company. here was a group of people from various backgrounds that all had a shared appreciation of the food as well as a clear awareness of the effort and the complexities of the meal in front of us. we enjoyed the food....absolutely....yet, there were also the passionate discussions, laughter, and the camaraderie that comes with confidence in who we are....and what we bring to the table.

i think this sunday dinner experience as well as the experiences with additional loved ones over the past few weeks has made me very contemplative about community, what community means to me, and how it feels to be in the company of a community that consists of passionate, driven, and intelligent people.

it feels quite humbling.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

barolo quest

so i was up pretty late...completely hopped up on caffeine from my imbibing of blue bottle coffee yesterday. i woke up pretty lazy and decided that i would head over to paul marcus to grab a bottle of barolo for the dinner party tonight. this is going to be an epic dinner party. normally, i don't make a special trip across town into rockridge for the express purpose of purchasing a bottle of wine...but i was pretty certain that i wanted a bottle of barolo and paul marcus wines in rockridge carries quite a few of them. what's the special occasion?

CK and her hubby are cooking the main dish which is, and i quote:

"Pork confit. Pork shoulder spice brined for 2 days then slow cooked in duck fat for 5+ hours. Chilled for 24 hours and then sliced in disks to be grilled on a mesquite fire to get a nice crisp. This is served with roasted figs."

yup.

and is that all?

nope.

the best friend is bringing over a couple of bottles of homemade wine that her father made...which promises to be quite yummy....

AND (yes...there is an AND)

AB is making dessert. AB currently of Nopa and formerly Citizen Cake. sigh.

don't you wish you had my life at this moment? i love my life. i'm so freakin lucky and amazingly fortunate.

so with those components....one must pay the proper homage. hence, the barolo for the pork. i also bought a lovely 03 haut-medoc earlier in the week for the party as well.


again, proper homage to the effort and contributions of the other members of the party.

yet, i had no idea that going to paul marcus was going to be an adventure today. i had no clue that there was a festival happening in rockridge which blocked off many streets.

thank goodness that i had my camera on me...and was able to stave off my annoyance by taking some pics of the festival








not to mention admire the roasting piggy outside of oliveto



i breathed a sigh of relief when i made it into paul marcus though....


it is a very calming sort of store and the thought of so much good wine in one place does wonders at de-stressing me. i always find good stuff here. after i purchased the bottle of barolo, i made my way back to my place. yet, alas it took a wee bit longer than i was expecting to get back since the bus i was on decided to break down and go all smokey.

i mean, i can't really make this stuff up.

it just shows how sometimes you really don't know what is going to happen when you wake up in the morning. who knew that getting a bottle of barolo would become such a quest?


paul marcus wines, www.paulmarcuswines.com, 5655 college ave # 103, oakland, ca 94618-1583, +1 (510) 420-1005

Saturday, September 26, 2009

plum habanero conserve. again.




i actually started making my plum habanero conserve this morning but didn't taste the fruits of my labor until just a few minutes ago. this batch turned out quite nice. i started out this morning with quite a few plums and plucots...





sliced them up....










then grabbed a few of peppers that i bought from the old oakland farmers' market yesterday (i only used two)....




sliced those up.....






and dumped everything into a pot with some agave....






stir.....simmer.....






stir.....simmer some more....





and volia! done.






then just set it aside for a while until i was ready for it. the reason why i wasn't ready for the conserve until a few minutes ago is that i took a break from work stuff in order to go grab an acme sweet baguette from my local market as well as some creme fraiche from the cheeseboard. technically, it really is dinner time....but who says that you can't have homemade conserve on artisan bread with a large dollop of creme fraiche?






those of you dear readers that have been with me since the begining of this blogging adventure fully realize that i do this quite often. this is one of "my regular" things that i eat at any time of day. i find the tart spicy sweetness of the conserve coupled with the creamy silkiness of the creme fraiche to be an absolutely perfect pairing. the crunchy and chewiness of the bread also makes the experience very satisfying.






it makes me feel like i am taking care of myself despite these crazy ass hours.