Thursday, August 28, 2008

chocolate soufflé and a double birthday!

This past weekend was another trip to Austin- Mom's 59th! Thursday night was spent at Sago- the new modern Mexican pick in the Triangle- with my mom and a high school friend of mine. We devoured the brisket enchiladadas with the chocolately mole sauce along with the butterflied grilled shrimp tacos with chipotle crema, a cabbage jicama slaw and avocado. Drinks of the night were Mexican mojitos and martinis with Herradura, lime and a blackberry puree- perfect for the spicy company.

Friday was equally delicious- with Eddie V's, you can do no wrong. Tonight was the official celebration for my Mom. Despite her reluctance to be part of the seniors boat, she is looking pretty damn good- stylish, champagne hair, a lot of energy and perfect, creamy skin. Mom and i sat at the bar waiting for the rest of the Brennan clan. Martha- the quirky, hippy sister...fluent in Spanish, extremely intelligent and has the most funky, beautiful jewelry from around the world. Patti- my godmother...the conservative, yet outspoken sister who is reluctant to embrace my "foodie" ways..I'm trying to crack her. And Becky- the youngest sister, blonde and beautiful....on the inside and out. Unforunatley m.i.a. was Ellen, the middle sister... crazy, vivacious, recently-divorced but having the time of her life. And finally, Becca, my grandmother- strong, resilient, beautiful silver hair and as quick-witted as a teenager.

Drinks started first...a dry pinot for Mom, Martha and I and margaritas for the rest of the table. Our waiter recommended the special- soft shell crab with sliced grapes, blanched almonds with a sweet pepper sauce...followed by the infamous crab cakes. Dinner ranged from lightly fried prawns with a blackberry horseradish sauce, Hong-Kong style steamed sea bass with bok choy, crispy sea bass with crab fried rice and filet. My night quickly changed from a posh atmosphere with waiters in ties to cheap beer and jaegar shots on bar stools (while simultaneously drunk texting my boyfriend..I know he loves it:)

Saturday was "thank God for gays day!"...just kidding. Mom and I went to San Marcos for her bff Alberts' fabulous 45th birthday celebration. And yes, Albert is gay, and extremely chic I might add. He's the seemingly straight middle-aged metrosexual complete with an unbuttoned Paul Smith with his chest hair peeking out, his summer white D&G watch and one hand perpetually attached to a large glass of vintage merlot...and of course, I loved it. Thank goodness for afternoon cocktails because my hangover was creeping up from the evening before...enter Albert with a white wine remedy. The afternoon was spent in their eclectic, yet quaint backyard along with other mother and I were the only straight party-goers which made everything THAT more exciting. Hummus, crostini, grilled eggplant with pine nuts and shrimp were passed around...grilled zucchini, squash and salmon were the finale. After a few drinks, we ventured back to Austin and freshened up for dinner.

The dinner locale was Roy's for some Hawaiian fusion. We started with the most heavenly lobster pot stickers I've ever put in my mouth followed by a sushi roll with King crab, asparagus, avocado and topped with rare Wagyu beef- clean and delicious. The cocktail of the night was a Stoli bluberry lemondrop..I was already on drink 2 when our heirloom tomato salad came, followed by a simple surf and turf of filet with garlic aioli and soft shell crab with a citrus slaw. My girlfriends from high school, Tyler and Adrienne, met us for dessert and after dinner coktails. After I inhaled the chocolate soufflé, we set off for a night on west sixth. Our night of drunken antics ended with a 3a.m.
breakfast of buttermilk pancakes and spicy breakfast tacos at the infamous Magnolia cafe.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Le Crueset and a Kentucky boy

New job, new love upcoming venture into the culinary world begins quickly followed closely by the joy (and rigor) of a long-distance relationship.

A pleasure-driven visit to Nashville resulted in the chance encounter with my new beau...a nervous first date of spicy tuna with avocado and salty eel with crab ended in a return visit three weeks later. Along with my "falling in lust", the shopping and Nashville cuisine certainly kept me busy. A notable venue was in the heart of the begin, a tart blueberry rosemary martini was in hand as I scoured the menu. First course- squash blossoms filled with buttery Jonas crab on top of an Asian matchstick medley straight from the rooftop herb and vegetable garden. Grilled radicchio, Camembert and fresh figs were perfection followed by an okra, sweet corn and ham hock soup.

The next Nashville venture was reviving the kitchenware collection- solution: Le Crueset of course. Two hours after I walked through the door, my Mom and I left content with a kiwi skillet, teal buffet and white ramekins. Whole Foods was the next stop...Allison and I were the chefs du jour for the evening. On the menu for the boys- an antipasto with briny olives, salty cheese, garlicky hummus, oil infused artichokes with prosciutto and rosemary wrapped mozzarella...gnocchi with handmade meatballs...we didn't even make it to the homemade chocolate ice cream with toasted hazelnuts...and we can't forget the plethora of smooth Merlot and citrus-y Pinot. The food matched the company and my last night with my new Kentucky boy ended in tears....thank goodness for Chapter 2...