Dead Week and Finals Week – Lived off Sarpino’s, the occasional dining hall meal, minimal sleep.
Last day of Spring Quarter- Paris Club and Aviary
Awesome awesome. We started with a bottle of Reisling, croque monsieur fingers, and a foie gras and short rib terrine. (A terrine is a sort of roughly blended mixture of meat, not unlike a pate, refrigerated in a mold.) I had duck confit with dried cherries for my main. The dining area is very open and efficiently packed, sort of like Cafe Iberico but more reserved and less chintzy. Dinner was wonderful, the food was delicious – a perfect way to begin an evening out. Come here with people who make you laugh.
The one gripe I have was that the waitress inspected our ID’s for about a minute each – long enough to put me on edge as to whether she intended to eject my of-age friends from the establishment. To be fair, this should probably be registered as more of a nota bene than gripe, as I’ve often been told I don’t look a day over 20. I can’t really hold the scrutiny against her.
Afterward, we took a cab to Aviary for drinks. When we arrived, there was one table available for our group of four – a standing table, by the kitchen. We ordered a round – a Ginger, a Root Beer, a Rooibos, and a Blueberry, and a few selections from the “bites” menu. Watching the mixologists work in the kitchen was engaging and the source of much speculation, but standing for 90 minutes did end up being a bit of a bother. The presentations were fun and though I didn’t think any of the drinks were blow-your-socks-off amazing (though I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about cocktails, and in retrospect am worried that my experience may have spoiled me for bars in the future), for under $20 a drink, it’s easily justifiable for a night out and has wide appeal to all types of drinkers (unless you plan on getting blitzed, I guess.)
The next morning, I flew to London. I am told the food has improved over the past few years. Most of it was good. We did eat at La Petit Maison (on Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation) which was very good. The pork belly and lamb stand out in my mind as being especially great, the treatment of the proteins and vegetable accompaniments was technically flawless. Each course was flavorful and well balanced – after the mains arrived, the table fell quiet so we could taste each bite properly.
Norway was okay. We stayed on the Queen Mary 2. The food we actually ate in Norway was forgettable, though favorites include smoked salmon and pancakes with raspberry jam and sour cream. The food on the ship was very good, though almost all of the menu items seemed to be fairly standard luxury cruise fare (read: generic “fancy food.”)
I give the country of Norway three stars:
When I arrived back home (after a brief interlude in LA for my cousin’s wedding), I immediately set to work undoing the damage I had done to myself over 3 quarters of school and 2 weeks of indulging in Europe. I followed a raw food diet for about a week and gradually adjusted to a less extreme “healthy” meal plan consisting of low sodium soups, salads, health bars, and snacking on fruits and vegetables. (With the exception of a few allowances for baking extremely fattening desserts, namely, Crack Pie and Better-Than-Crack Brownies.) I combined this diet with working out 5x a week (note to self: difficult to adopt strict workout routine on a raw food diet) and went from running barely a mile before collapsing to completing a 10k less than 3 weeks after my return.
And now it is the last day of July and I have just finished summarizing the last two months of my adventures in eating. From here, I will likely post simple lunch and dinner ideas/recipes, which may be worth revisiting when I am back in Chicago for the school year. It’s great to be home and have such a bounty of fresh produce within arms reach, but a part of me still misses the Chicago restaurant scene. I will post about eating adventures here if I come across any of note (SF Street Food Festival on Aug. 20th, perhaps?) but any food writing ideas are welcome.
Happy summer. Go eat a peach and bask in the sun.
PS, If you do feel like staying in, here are two highly recommended recipes I have test driven in the past week for you to try your hand at: http://momofukufor2.com/2010/02/momofuku-milk-bar-crack-pie-recipe/ and http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/08/better-than-crack-brownies/.