Mario Batali's version of chicken saltimbocca is not the healthiest weeknight dinner I've ever made but it was both delicious and easy (even if it did involve a trip to the liquor store for vin santo...for which I subbed a Washington state dessert wine).
Instead of pork on sandwiches, our smoking season kicked off with pulled pork tacos topped with cilantro cream, cheese, guacamole and sauteed onions. Plus, a few apples and radishes from that salad. The tacos were good.
Dixon and I spent yesterday in DC, at the Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum (and also at lunch with Erin). We got on a MARC train at 9 am and didn't arrive back in Baltimore until almost 5. It was exhausting but totally fun.
I have written a ton of articles about oysters this spring (none of which have appeared in print just yet). I've learned a lot and had a great time doing it. The highlight was a photo shoot with in the Sun studio, featuring oysters from Ryleigh's and Thames Street Oyster House. Afterwards, I got to take home some of the leftovers, which Cooper and I demolished on a sunny Friday afternoon.
It is crush season again. Finally. (That's what we drank with the pork.)
Not pictured: the fun and surprisingly good lunch I had with my friend/former Canton roommate at MaGerk's in Bel Air (a spicy shrimp wrap that was really nicely cooked and served with a side of edamame) or the amount of time I spent considering the Sun's 50 best restaurants list (I didn't help with it but after much thought, I don't disagree with any of it...and it reminded me that I really need to get to Bottega).
And no Easter is upon us, which means Dixon and I have some egg-dying to do today. Considering how long it took to arrive, this spring certainly is flying by.
(In case you don't want to follow the link, here's the key half-quote: "...recent scientific findings linking gratitude to increased optimism, stress reduction and a better night’s sleep.")
That's not the reason to write them, of course. You write them to make the people who did something nice for you feel good. But feeling good has always been a by-product of thank you note writing for me. I feel good when I cross "thank you notes" off my to-do list - satisfaction in completing something. I feel good for the same reason when I put them in the mailbox. And I feel good later on, if I get a compliment on the note itself (those compliments used to be for my notes...now they're for Dixon's. And let's be honest, getting a seven year old boy to write thank you notes is, in fact, a gigantic accomplishment.)
I'm embarrassed to say that I'm a little more slack than I used to be in the thank you note department. I sometimes do send an email when I used to send a handwritten note. I shouldn't - this article was a good reminder that nothing replaces a personally written card.
Plus, email doesn't provide any excuse to buy new stationery. And...yes to new stationery.
Cooper and I are going to Paris for a few days next month - it'll be his first visit to the city. I can't wait, of course. I've been thinking a lot lately about the last time I went to Paris, which was almost nine years ago and right around the same time I started this blog. I was with Cooper's sister, Missy, and his cousins Sarah (aka Sarah G.) and Gilly.
It was hilarious and ridiculous and so fun. Our last night there, we had a totally gluttonous meal that started with a ginormous seafood tower.
I'd eaten a lot of oysters before that night and I've eaten a lot since. But that's still one of my most memorable seafood experiences. This is what I wrote about it at the time:
Our last meal in Paris was a big one - we wanted to eat absolutely everything we hadn't yet had, and we almost did. Unfortunately, none of us ate any onion soup while there, but that was just about the only thing we missed.
Our meal started with some of the more exciting food we ate: fines de claires (oysters) with crevettes roses (shrimp) and bulots (what we think are periwinkles). The oysters were served with a delicious vinegar and shallot sauce that perfectly balances the salt and sweetness of the oysters. And the bulots, tiny snail-like creatures in little shells, were served with a homemade mayonnaise (that I tried and liked - convincing me that I do like mayonnaise, just not the store-bought type).
When the seafood was brought to our table, we were all more than a little overwhelmed - it came on large platters that made it look like a meal for forty. Somehow, though, our American appetites got us through it. After the first course, we had escargots, steak au poivre with potatoes dauphinoise, and a firm white fish. And dessert, too.
And ate nearly every bite of it.
So the next morning, as we ate our final croissants at the airport (fresh and delicious, despite the fact that we were at the airport) we all felt as though we'd done our stomachs justice in Paris. And though I did crave American food on the flight home...four days later I'm now ready to go back.
When I get busy with work, I get way behind on my food-related reading. You should see the pile of magazines currently sitting in my basement. And forget about reading food blogs - that feels like a frivolity my schedule just can't handle. (Obviously, regular blogging here takes a hit, too.)
Lately, though, I've been making an exception for Food and Wine magazine's new blog FWx. I'm not sure exactly when it started (not that long ago, apparently) - I just know that a few weeks ago, I realized that all the Food and Wine Facebook links that interested me were heading over to this new website, which was really more of a blog, called FWx.
Apparently it's designed for Millennials but - considering I am in no way, shape or form a Millennial - it has broader appeal. Posts like this apple and coffee-tasting tutorial are what keep me interested. Informative, succinct, funny and actually useful.
Exactly the right size and style for a quick break between PowerPoint slides.
This week has mostly been about work, work and more work - but before all that, we had a super fun weekend. Friday night, my high school friends Pete and Liz, who live in Maine, were in Annapolis, so a bunch of us - several of the "known since kindergarten" crew - got together at McGarvey's:
Pete & Liz are the ones making out. So gross.
Crab dip, crab cakes, burgers, oysters. Beer. There are so many things McGarvey's does right. I have been there a zillion times and I never get sick of it. It's the setting of so many of my favorite memories.
On Sunday, we hosted a small St. Patrick's Day brunch at our house ("brunch" means people come over from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.). We had smoked salmon and radishes and shamrock cookies from my sister and Alicia's cabbage noodles and Jen' reuben dip and lots of Irish bread and bangers (thank you, Trader Joe's) and mash and - the centerpiece - homemade corned beef hash (this recipe), which is not pictured because I was too busy cooking the hash and eggs to stop and photograph anything.
It was so festive and fun:
Everyone was in the spirit and ready to have such a good time - from the little kids to the grandparents.
On Monday, it was back to the grind again. But at least we have the memories of the weekend.