I haven’t written in fooooorever. So why should I write today?
To that I say, Why not?
I am getting ready to head out to Bar Del Corso for dinner. This restaurant, known for sexy pizza in a far-flung but hip neighborhood of Seattle, has been on my list of must-go places for over a year.
Lately I have been so bent on saving money and cooking at home, that I haven’t been getting anywhere with that list. In fact, when my friend Emely suggested we go tonight I initially suggested we do a yoga class instead. But then I realized that this was the third time Emely has asked me to go to BDC with her and I would be an idiot to say no again.
I went online to scope out their menu and nearly had a fit. How could I ever choose between Burrata and heirloom tomatoes with ‘sexy sea salt’ and fried risotto balls? They make six kinds of pizza. I am most excited to try the Manila Clam Pizza with garlic, goathorn peppers and Grana … but how will I narrow it down among the Salame Piccante, Funghi, Ortolana and Margherita? I know that my sis-in-law Rachel feels my pain. Particularly because she is likely reading the menu in Arizona right now and cursing the lack of teleportation technology.
Alright, my ride is here. Gotta go!
Earlier this week I went to a pop-up dinner put on by my co-worker Shauna Scriver, and her pal Mary Lokar. They took over someone else’s restaurant for the night and cranked out some seriously badass food. Their project is called Entropia … that night we enjoyed four courses of delicious Oaxacan food with some daring combinations.
Take, for instance, the sopa of the second course: caramelized onion broth with chicken liver, pickled carrots and green olives.
Let me tell you, the food was fierce. During the tamale course (a wild mushroom tamale with salsa verde and a chicken tamale with Oaxacan black mole) I couldn’t help but pause to update my Facebook status to say, “I feel like I’m swimming in magic right now. In reality, I’m eating tamales.”
I ate said tamales with such speed and enthusiasm that I forgot to take a picture of them. (Sorry…)
It’s really hard to pick a favorite anything, but the campechana from the first course blew my mind. It was a sea food soup with octopus, shrimp, tomato, jalepeños and radish. It was served with a tiny egg tostada and saltines wrapped in a crisp, wax-paper envelope.
And the dessert course could only be described as a mouthful of awesome. They called it “Chocolate con Chili” and it had the lightest, moussey-est texture with just a hint of heat. The dulce de leche sauce, Shauna told me later, was made from boiling condensed milk in its can.
Shauna promises me there will be more Entropia dinners in the future. More tamales, more campechana, more magic … I, for one, can’t wait.
Lately it’s been seeming like I need to officially quit blogging since I have been pretty bad about writing here for sometime now.
But there’s something comfortable about Under The Table. When there’s something on my mind, be it good, bad or ridiculous, I can bring it here and write and say whatever I want.
And I am truly thankful for that. I am thankful that the Internet gives me this platform, and I appreciate the people who will read what I have to say, no matter how infrequent my postings may be.
It’s a New Year, a time for setting goals and making resolutions. I’m resolving not to give up. For now, that’s the most I can promise.
I’ve been wanting to make a pie, so I could come back here and tell you how centering it is to make pie … how baking has helped me cope.
Two weeks ago I was at home by myself on a Monday night. My guy and I had talked about going out for pho, and I was waiting to hear from him. While I waited, I cleaned the floors of my apartment and started some laundry. I tried to think of where we should go. Ba Bar? Than Brothers? I thought, I don’t care what we do as long as we get to hang out. I hadn’t seen him in almost a week.
I got a text asking if he could come over. He wanted to talk.
He did. We did … and then it was over.
Maybe making a pie would’ve helped. But there has been no pie. Even though it’s almost Thanksgiving. Even though I’ve had a lot more time to myself lately.
Last night, I again found myself at home alone on a Monday night. I was doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom and the parallels were obvious. Two weeks is no time at all. Two weeks is a lifetime. I am still at the level of being upset, but somehow beyond the ability to cry, or demand that my friends take me out for alcohol and karaoke (yes, that happened.)
So I was at home by myself and my sink was making me crazy. When I visited my 19-year-old brother in Portland last month, I was humbled by his spotless apartment. If my little brother can keep his bathroom that clean without making a fuss about it, then so can I, damn it! Last night I finally busted out the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and vowed to never let my sink get gross again. I scrubbed the tub and Cloroxed every corner of the room. I even cleaned all the gunk out of my eye pencil sharpener.
The more I cleaned, the less I thought about all the things I want but can’t have right now.
I debated whether I should write about this. I didn’t want to get too personal, but it felt too weird not to write about it. And honestly, it helps me. I hope, on some level it helps you, too. Even if it’s just a bit of entertainment as you’re avoiding work the day before a holiday.
A holiday for which I am very excited! And just so you know, I did offer to make the pie (this is what I had in mind.) But I lost out to my grandmother. If Grandma calls pie duty, you can’t really fight that.
So there’s no pie to distract me from my life right now, but there’s bourbon for cold nights, gelato from Lisa, lunch with Monica and helping Emely paint her new place while we drank Italian wine from old paper coffee cups (“I detect a hint of mocha on the nose…”)
And now, I have a really clean bathroom. I’m quite happy about that.
Thirteen years ago this month, I made my first pie. It’s hard to believe I was doing anything worth mentioning thirteen years ago. I guess that means I’m getting older.
When Thanksgiving rolled around that year, I got it in my head that I wanted to make blueberry pie from scratch. (Never mind that blueberries are way out of season in November. There’s a reason why pumpkin and apple pies dominate the holiday.)
Theresa, my pie mentor, may have mentioned this to me early on. In any case, I didn’t listen (I was 13, after all.) I wanted to make blueberry pie. Theresa was a close friend of my then-step-mother and our families got together for Thanksgiving that year. She had more talent and enthusiasm for baking than any other woman I knew, and I was lucky to have her guidance.
The following year my family had shrunk due to divorce, and we celebrated with my Dad’s cousins who were in from California. I made blueberry pie again that year, and everyone was dutifully impressed that I’d made the whole thing from scratch.
I made blueberry pie a few times after that, but it never really became a skill. The truth is, I didn’t really like the pies I made. The crust was spot on, but the filling was soupy and bland.
But now I possess a new level of confidence and curiosity (in the kitchen, and in life.) There are a hundred thousand recipes for blueberry pie out there … maybe it’s time I tried a new one.