Monday, December 6 2021

decorations, a spikey throat, and a good meal

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday. Seeing as it's already the sixth of December, I trust that Holiday busyness is starting to heat up for you. That's happening for us. Marissa worked overtime in our shipping department this past weekend. In the corner of the room, a dozen neatly wrapped, taped, and labeled cardboard boxes lean against the wall, waiting their turn to get shipped off. Eventually we'll get to relax and enjoy the holiday season, but for now we've got a whole pipeline of Christmas shopping to get through. Buy, click, wait, open, wrap, label, send - repeat.

At least we have pretty holiday decorations to look at while we work. Marissa slung most of the decorations up while I was napping through my head cold last week. Little known fact - holiday decorations aren't just good for the aesthetic. If you ask Minnie, they are also good for chewing. This morning, I caught Minnie plucking another shimmery piece of tinsel off our Christmas tree. She pulled it into a den of blankets like a fresh kill. She chewed off each of the silvery styrofoam berries like it was a delicacy. Blessings come in all forms. I'm sure glitter and styrofoam is an acquired taste, but I'll just stick with coffee for now, thank you.

Sip. Rodney has a day off for his school's "staff day", and that proved to be convenient. Over the weekend he developed a soar throat, but that's just my best guess for his own colorful language. "My throat feels spikey," he said just before unleashing a flurry of wet barking coughs.

A spikey throat. I love it when kids have to use the limited words they know to describe a new phenomenon. Rodney is like a caveman or a medieval doctor trying to precisely describe his symptoms. A spikey throat? Perhaps an excess of heat in the gut, or maybe he just has too many bad humours. We had better break out the leaches and holy water.

We tried to get him to take it easy yesterday. He spent some of the afternoon under a blanket, but most of the time he just wanted to jump on the couch in his underwear. "I need to do my exercises so I can get strong again," he said. More of that Rodney pseudoscience.

Spikey throats aside, we had a great weekend. As an end of the year gift, my boss told me to take Marissa out to dinner. We hired a baby sitter on Saturday and took an Uber to this place in town called Pig and a Fur Coat. Marissa and I grabbed a seat at the bar while we waited for our table. After we sat, we immediately recognized the somolier from the year before. "We have a few very good memories with you," we laughed. She must see a lot of people, but given we only eat at this place once a year, her face is mentally burned into a handful of wonderful food memories.

I hope you've eaten breakfast, because I'm about to do the whole food blogger thing and give you the play-by-play. The meal opened with a dry sparkling wine and four milk bread buns. What can you say about buns? They were incredible. A little whisp of steam escaped the chewy, fluffy interior. Each time I pulled one apart, it was like watching a tiny miracle in my hands.


Next was the foie gras. Duck liver makes Marissa squeamish, but this arrangement was so alluring and subtle, it could turn any hesitant eater into a bonified duck liver fan. The foie gras was cut into small coins, placed on a airy donut hole nestled in a little pile of balsamic jelly. Marissa ate hers in four delicate bites. I popped the whole thing in my mouth like sushi.


We slowed things down with a farmer's salad. We teased through tuffs of roasted kale glistening with citrus dressing. Each white glob at the end of my fork proved to be more surprising than the last - sometimes it was fresh apple, sometimes a soft piece of squash, and some times a perfect chunk of Wisconsin cheese.


Next up was the yolkified raviolo. The Bordeaux blend served along side the pasta dish almost stole the show, but the seemingly simple piece of al dente pasta hiding under a crouton and piece of bacon had its own secrets. We audibly gasped as a beautiful golden yellow egg yolk ran onto the plate. It was like a ravioli sunny side egg hybrid - the work of a mad scientist.

Also, a full two days after eating this dish, it dawned on me that raviolo is the singular form of ravioli. If you're just eating one of them, it's a raviolo.


It was time for the grand finale - the dry aged ribeye. I wish I had taken more time to enjoy the beautiful shaved turnip and flakey potato decor, but at that point my reptile brain had fully taken over. But maybe that's how a good steak is meant to be enjoyed. It should be a little dehumanizing. It should make you feel like a wild hyena for thirty seconds. It should give you a fleeting moment of carnal bliss where you don't have a care in the world except for the chunk of meat in front of you.


We finished up the dinner with a slice of cheese cake served with a small pour of Tawny port and a shot glass of in house mint liquore. They were serious about the mint. There was so much minty flavor extracted into that tiny shot of elixer, the herbal heat actually overwhelmed my mouth as if I had just bit into a ghost pepper on a dare. But after a moment, the heat subsided, and there was nothing but warmth and comfort flowing from my brain all the way down to my guts. After that finish, I was content to let Marissa have the lion's share of the cheesecake.


That was a good meal. Hope I didn't make you too hungry. Thanks for stopping by today, have a great Monday everyone.