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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Eleven questions

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I came across these questions from the lovely Hannah J. Holmes in my Reader, and thought I’d give them a whirl because: a) Insta-content! I haven’t gotten around to editing/culling our 700 (no joke) Disney World pictures yet, so that recap will have to wait, and b) They’re interesting enough to give some insight into the respondent without being as tiresome as the usual “A to Z”-type memes. I’d love to see your responses, either in the comments or in a post of your own! Here are mine:

  • Let us begin with the most important matter: Do you like cake? Why or why not? I think the answer here is obvious: it’s half of my blog name, you guys. I am a cake fan, but also a bit of a pie die-hard. In the eternal battle of cake v. pie, I’m going to have to be Switzerland. It doesn’t to anyone any favors to declare the supremacy of one over the other; excellent cake and pie are wonderful, and mediocre/bad cake and pie can bring a party right down. I’m sure there’s an extended argument to be made for crust v. frosting, but it’s too early to contemplate baking and whipping together butter and sugar.
  • Have you ever been to Paris? If you have, tell me about it. If you have not, would you like to go someday? I’m lucky enough to have been to Paris twice. The first time, I was twelve, and was just there for a day (I was visiting family in England, and we did the obligatory Eurostar/bus tour). The second time, I went with GP and his parents, and…this happened. I can’t wait to go back (we sort of have to, right?), but there are many other destinations on the list before we can make a return trip.
  • Given the choice, would you rather go out to eat at a fancy restaurant or stay home and order takeout? Provided that I have something to wear, some cash to spend, and am in good health, I’ll choose to go out to eat any time. This has mostly to do with my predilection for fancy food and dressing up, but also the lack of good delivery food in my neighborhood: our options are limited, I believe, to Indian, pizza, and maybe Thai.
  • Similarly, would you rather go out dancing or or stay home with a warm blanket and a good movie? Here is a poorly-kept secret: I am not a “club” person. Between the dodgy dudes and alarmingly strong drinks made with alarmingly cheap alcohol that I survived as a member of a sorority in college, my desire to be bumped around by a lot of sweaty strangers is nearly nonexistent. On a Friday or Saturday night, the warm blanket and good movie (or even mediocre movie, I’m not too proud to admit) win out most of the time. That said, I wouldn’t rule out a cat-alarming dance party in the living room!
  • What’s your opinion of Ugg boots: cute and comfy or too ugly to meet the sun? As the owner of a legit pair of chocolate-brown Uggs, I’m going to have to split the difference: yes, they’re sort of ugly, but they’re comfy as hell and are basically like being allowed to wear slippers in public. I generally wear them on weekends only, and have a strict set of rules about what they can be worn with (the only pants that get tucked into them are the jegs, and the thought of wearing them with anything but jeans makes me sort of itchy).
  • Now onto the second-most controversial shoe known to man: What is your take on Crocs? While I will admit that, in a moment of pre-Disney weakness, I considered purchasing a pair of Crocs flats (there is a lot  of walking around at Disney World, you guys, and people seem to go ape over these shoes), I stayed strong and resisted the urge. The traditional, clog-type Crocs? Ugly as sin, and only vaguely cute on children. Don’t get me started on the idea of Crocs (which are shoes that have holes in them) as appropriate kitchen footwear, Mario Batali.
  • Do you sing in the shower? The car? The opera house? I hum in the shower, sing my lungs out in the car, and have anxiety dreams about singing in opera houses.
  • Do you have any unusual fears or dislikes? Well, no. Because it’s not unusual to dislike birds, which carry disease and are living dinosaurs. (CREEPY, is what I’m getting at.) I do like them as a design element, but will straight up kick a bird in its face if it comes too close to me.
  • Have you ever seen snow? If so, do you remember your first snow? My first memory of “going to the snow” (which is what Central Valley Okies call it, or at least the ones I’m related to) is probably from when I was about six, and we tobogganed down a medium-sized hill in the lower Sierra. I’ve made up for my lack of early-life snow by marrying a dude who both snowboards and is from a place where it snows in the winter– which means that recreational winter trips include a lot of me staying inside and reading.
  • Would you rather play in the snow or spend a day at the beach? Beach, but only with some sort of shade. I’m not an entirely crazy person, you know.
  • Do you peel your banana the right way or the wrong way (meaning from the bottom or from the stem)? I’m going to have to take issue with the phrasing of this question, because this article clearly proves that the “right” way to eat a banana is from the bottom to the stem. Hence, I eat bananas the right way, but not in the way that this question seems to think.
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#1: Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

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I was lucky enough during the holidays (barely a couple weeks after I’d originally created and posted it) to begin checking items off my 30 Before 30 list. The first one to be completed was, completely coincidentally, the first one, to eat at at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The criteria for this particular one was a bit arbitrary, even if the Michelin guides are pretty reputable: there are quite a few restaurants in the area that have one or more stars, and just because I had this one meal doesn’t mean I would turn down an invitation to Manresa or The French Laundry. (Of course not, I’m not hopelessly ridiculous.)

As a Christmas gift, my grandma opts to take us all out to a nice dinner rather than having to buy a sleigh-ful of gifts. This works out well for her, as it simplifies her Christmas errands, and it works out even better for us: shalom Christmas, shalom awesome meal! This year, we went to The Plumed Horse in Saratoga, which has one Michelin star. Because their holiday bookings were so, well…booked, we ended up at the chef’s table, which has a big window so that we could see into the kitchen as our (and others’) meal was being prepared. There was no Gordon Ramsay-style shouting, just a lot of precision and very shiny pots and pans. And the food! Oh, the food. We had a seven-course tasting menu (plus a couple add-ons), which consisted of…

Caviar and blinis

Lobster cannoli

Seared Yellowfin tuna with Ankimo Torchon (and a little more caviar)

Black pepper and Parmesan souffle with uni and Dungeness crab fondue

Seared foie gras

Kobe beef with shaved black truffles

(Slightly blurry, sorry) Pineapple panna cottaIce cream atop tapioca with foam

Bruleed bananas with sorbet

Raspberry sorbet and layered gelatin

We ended the meal, as you might imagine, completely stuffed and at least a little tipsy (not pictured are the cocktails, ice wine, and various reds and whites that complemented each course). It was fantastic to get through a first 30 Before 30 item, and all the sweeter to have enjoyed it with my family.

Sorry my arm looks like a football player's thigh here-- but I'm wearing the Mad Men dress!