Friday, December 14, 2007

dinner for three

dude. this month is all about excess. and paying attention. and getting much more than i was expecting. and learning how to process it all. and last night was another amazing chapter in this month-long journey.
ready for this?

jesse and becky wanted to take me out for birthday dinner so we went to this place called purple downtown and had the most amazing 3 hour long dinner ever.

we started with cocktails.
a french 75 for becky, an old-fashioned for jess, a sidecar for me

then small plates.
gorgonzola stuffed dates with pine nuts and saba, celery root and gruyere custard with pear, bitter greens and port reduction, ahi tuna tartare with lupini beans and charred scallion vinaigrette, porcini brown butter cake with mascarpone mousse and
pistachio gremolata, duck confit with le puy lentils and pickled red onion, wild mushroom strudel puff pastry and roasted pepper coulis.

we took our time with these. each had such a beautiful flavor, my god it was awesome. the small plates were quite small, but the taste was so huge, it felt like
you were eating a whole lot more.

then, cheeses with wine pairings, and for extra measure to add flavor sensations:
sliced apple, quince paste, marcona almonds, marinated olives, and a honeycomb.

half a glass of wine for each pairing, one for each of us, but we all tasted each of them with the cheeses as we picked at all of them. the cheese board came with thin dry cracker bread, and the extras were delish.

then dessert with wine pairings.
syrah brownie (as in the wine), pumpkin creme brulee with prieuré d’arche, chai bread pudding and brown butter chestnuts with a moscato, molasses stout cake, candied ginger and butterscotch sauce with a madeira, and carrot cardamom gelato and carrot cake.

yes, five desserts. again, they were small, but packed a punch. and three half glasses of wine to go with. the bread pudding and its wine and the molasses stout
cake and its wine were super amazing...and the brownie didnt need the wine with it, cuz it was already there as a sauce. that was perfect.

and then, after dinner drinks:
becky had tea and fernet branca, jess had averna amaro, and i had pastis

then we were giddy and satisfied and ready to go home.

and, get this: they paid for it. i told them i would only be willing to not pay if they promised that we could do this same thing for each of their birthdays
too. they agreed. we will now do an amazing dinner for each of our birthdays every year we live together. woot!

but yeah, that was kinda draining and energizing at the same time. i felt so good afterwards, but was really ready for bed. we got there around 7:30 and left at around 11:30. so, wow, thats 4 hours.

while we were there we had a conversation around luxury and privilege and taking things for granted and money and what we use it for. i have a very strong desire to have a really nice meal once in a while and am happy when i have enough money to do so but tho i hope to always have money for that, i will never be the kind of person that takes that sort of luxury for granted. i think partially this has to do with my catholic upbringing. i have very strong associations around eating with other people. thats the center of the catholic mass--breaking bread together. for me, to be able to make food for other people or to take them out to a nice meal and sit and enjoy it together is a really necessary and important, dare i say spiritual, need in me. and because of that im always going to be very present to the meal. both the people and the food. and last night we were very intentional with each bite and sip and it felt really good to be paying that close attention to everything, including each other. not forgetting the atmosphere too, which was kinda weird and felt like it was full of people who were not paying attention to much. ugh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Daemon, schmaemon.

okay, kids.

i gotta tell ya, im really excited about the golden compass movie. i know there are purists out there that are upset about it and are boycotting it and all that kinda crap, but hot damn, itll be pretty!
its playing at the cinerama here in seattle (big screen, what!) so i think we should get a group to go.

and if youve read the books and are as excited as i am, you should play this game and then tell me what your daemon is. cuz its kinda crazy. i mean, 20 questions and you know what my soul looks like? yeah, right. but still, its kinda cool.

and if you havent read the books, lemme know so i can get you a copy of the first one, stat. then you must read it (well, all three of them) immediately, and then we can talk.

but until then...
every person in the world of these books has a part of them, a daemon familiar, that is a separate entity outside of themselves and takes animal form. when growing up (until puberty or, more correctly, loss of innocence) children's daemons can change shape depending on mood or necessity. your daemon's form is very indicative of your personality and can betray what you are thinking/your motives more easily than your face. it always takes the form of the "opposite" sex as yourself and thinks separate thoughts and has separate emotions and sometimes separate experiences than you, but you two are of the same stuff, you share a soul and the connection between you is the strongest bond in nature and you cannot be physically separated by more than maybe ten feet (unless you are a witch...) or you both will feel physical pain--your hearts will ache severely and you will get nauseated to the extreme.
upon reaching maturity, your daemon will settle into a specific animal form and no longer change at whim. this form speaks volumes as to the type of person you are. so this means that people, upon first meeting you, can learn a lot about you just by looking at your daemon. which is kinda disconcerting to me, but well, its a fantasy world and is supposed to be working on image-based metaphors, so i should just let it go.

but this idea of having a daemon made its way into my psyche somehow, and i really do think of the world in terms of what type of daemon people have. its the first question i ask people when i learn they have read the books: whats your daemon look like?

once my friend shoe (or 'xiu') asked me what my three favorite animals were, and why. and i thought about it for a second and answered as follows (i think this was the right order):

the raven, cuz it is a big, awe-inspiring dark thing that is so striking against the sky. and its loud. and it can FLY, for gods sake. and it has been a nickname of mine starting in jr high. (and i love e.a.poe.)

the fox, cuz it is effing beautiful, and mysterious and nimble and wiley. like a wolf and a cat mixed, or something. and my moms maiden name is fox. and well, to tell you the truth, i was in love with the disney robin hood as a child. (ive always had a thing for red-heads...)

the raccoon, cuz it is cute and playful and smart and stubborn. and in grade school i had a dream that became a story about where their masks and tail-rings came from. one of my best pieces of writing as a kid. and i once bonded with a roving family of raccoons in grinnell. we shared some ice cream.

After I answered, he smiled and told me that it was a psychological test. The first animal was how I see myself, the second how I am seen by others, and the third is who I really am.

at which point i laughed ruefully and became totally amused that i tend to go by 'rayvan fox' and wear a grey and white hat with black ears attached to it...sheesh.

[drawing by clyde petersen]

and now this game has told me i am:

spontaneous, modest, competitive, sociable and fickle.
(which, you know, is not wrong...per se...)

and therefore, i have a jackal daemon. named cleon.
(how close are jackals to foxes? pretty damned near, id say...)

a jackal sounds slightly more sinister, but maybe its just trying to be a combination of a raven, a fox and a raccoon. ah, well. ill take it.

(i think i got an ermine before, when i took it months ago when i first learned about the movie website...but i always said my daemon hadnt settled yet...)