Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meal of the Month: September

Where has the month gone? September was a whirlwind. I had a busy schedule, and was in the midst of some pretty intense stuff. It sucked the life out of me. All the while, in hopes of my pending move, I slowly began to prepare myself. How did I do that? I ate in my neighborhood every chance I got. I’m not kidding. Every opportunity I had, I made friends come to me. I planned out ‘last meals’ at all of my favorite neighborhood spots. Many places that I hadn’t even gone to in a long time—but now was the time.

There was brunch at Rex Café with two old friends—that have known me since junior high school! An awesome meal at Pesce (really, can’t they PLEASE share that special limencello recipe with me?), a night of burgers and beer at Polkers, delicious Thai food at Little Thai with two neighborhood friends, sushi at Okoze (get the hamachi collar!) and an amazing night of ZA pizza and wine at Café Meuse after with my girls (remind me that two for one ladies night isn’t always a good idea!)

I also manage to venture out of the hood still (how could I not?) Five Happiness for dinner with my dad, Contigo for yummy tapas (and to scope out my new hood!), brunch at Foreign Cinema to celebrate a friend’s birthday, a little trek to Pizzeria Delfina on a warm Sunday night, tapas at Esperpento (in the dark! The restaurant lost electricity while we were there!) and catching up with my friends JT and Troy, and a delicious meal at A16 with some great girlfriends.

There was the day of seafood with Sarah, Evan, Eric and Brandon—a trip up to Hog Island for fresh oysters, followed by a craving for crab, so dinner at PPQ.

No meal of the month in any of those meals? Nope. Not yet.

There were lots of meals at home, lots of leftovers, lots of simple meals whipped up at the last minute trying to use what ever I had in my pantry, and lots of friends over for wine (hey, I’d prefer to drink the wine rather than move the wine.) There was a mellow night at a friend’s house where dinner was a simple salad—and oh, watching “Sound of Music” with her little 3 year old (who is the BIGGEST three year old I have ever seen. I LOVE him!)

There was the amazing meal at Canteen, followed by nibbles and cocktails at Nopa (hey, a friend was in town from NYC, I had to take her out and show her around!) We had the most delicious tomato gazpacho ever at Canteen (although it was more like a consume to me), followed by an eggplant dish that I am still craving. And followed by Nopa’s awesome flatbread which was sweet summer corn, pancetta and arugula (or rocket as my friends Down Under might say) that night. YUM.

There was the special night when the restaurant that my friend is executive chef at opened. Out the Door Bush Street was the latest to join the Charles Phan empire, and my friend Grace is at the helm. The nibbles were AMAZING. I’m pretty sure I had more than my fair share of the bacon marmalade quiche, a few too many shu mai’s, and that every bite was better than the last. My second OTD experience of the month? Brunch. Yes people. Breakfast, Charles Phan (and Grace!) style. AMAZING. Poached eggs over a braised beef brisket and potatoes, fried eggs with pate, steamed pork buns, and the best Vietnamese iced coffee. But no. Sorry Grace. It was a top contender, but not meal of the month.

There was the simple meal at Beretta. Where we didn’t even order pizza. And we only shared a small handful of the small plates. And I was exhausted. And still needed to get home to pack for a trip to the East Coast. But it was after I had signed all of the papers for my new home, and had just finished my final walk through. And it was Beretta. And it was with two good friends. And I was on a high. That was definitely one of my meal of the month highlights (and umm, why have I not ordered the panzanella salad before??)

But no. Also not the meal of the month. Why? Because this month, two of my favorite people in the world got married. And my September Meal of the Month was not one meal, but three meals. To kick off the wedding festivities, my friend Jonathan and I met down in the Peninsula to hang out with Bahram the Thursday night before his wedding. We’re a little bit of the Three Musketeers—friends from college and we share a special friendship. And Jonathan, the man marrying Bahram in just two more days, was a surprise to Bahram that Thursday night, Bahram didn't expect to see him until Friday.

The three of us, who hadn’t all been together since April, had a mellow night. Dinner at a local hot spot in Palo Alto, NOLA. We enjoyed the warm summer air, and enjoyed catching up with each other. It was one of those special nights. When three friends were able to catch up, make fun of each other, laugh, and prepare one of own as he ‘grew up’ and headed into married life.

That next night? A very special rehearsal dinner that I was privileged to be a part of. At a quaint restaurant in Carmel, Cassanova was the site of the dinner the night before the big day. And watching the happy couple as they were surrounded by their friends and families was so special to see, and to be a part of. The food and wine was delicious. But the night itself was more spectacular. I was in the midst of a love fest. And was finally meeting all of these very important people that I had heard so much about.

The happy couple at the rehersal dinner

To top it all off? The wedding. The wedding itself was magical. These two people that had known each other for almost 10 years, were being joined together. And I couldn’t think of two people more perfect for each other. After the ceremony and reception? The first dance. And amazingly hilarious and surprisingly staged first dance. Followed by…not dinner, but MORE DANCING! The entire room was on the dance floor! Friends, family, children. All on the dance floor dancing up a storm. All before dinner. Now that’s my kind of a party! When we did sit down to dinner? The most wonderful and delicious Persian feast. My favorite Persian rice, and a number of other dishes that afterwards, I swore I would learn to make.

The Three Musketeers

As usual, my Meal of the Month was so much more than just a meal. To me, it’s hard to single out the food without taking into account the surroundings, the company, and the overall experience. My trio of Meals of the Month were all about that. And was special to me because of the people I shared it with. I wish Bahram and Kristin a lifetime of happiness together…and a lifetime of amazing Meals of the Months that they’ll share…hopefully some more with me.

1 comment:

  1. I was just at Hog Island at the Ferry Building last week, mmmmgood.