Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Old, Tired, and Happy...

We've got to be the luckiest people in the world.

Last night, our dear friends Christophe and Julie, the owners of Tuscany Restaurant, hosted a wee soiree to celebrate my 50th(!) birthday. Actually the word "wee" doesn't really apply when you get 20+ hardcore food fanatics trying their best to outdo each other at a potluck!

Our good friend Jesse, despite the obvious handicap of being from Spain, somehow managed to assemble a truly epic paella, which was as large in flavour as it was in size. Everyone seemed to be channeling their "inner Martha", as beautifully presented and extremely tasty appetizer plates magically appeared. Fantastic cheeses, magnificent pate, glorious home baked breads, and teeny stuffed nibbles of every description disappeared all too quickly.

Tuscany has a fabulous wood burning oven, so Christophe and I decided to put it to good use. A couple of months ago, the two of us, along with our friend Park Heffelfinger (the owner of the Memphis Blues BBQ chain) decided to dive into the deep end of butchering our own hogs. Park brought over three entire halves of pig, and we spent the morning naively breaking them down into the various cuts, which was a huge adventure to say the least. It looked an episode of The Sopranos by the time we were done. We both saved the saddles from our pig halves, and from that we combined them into the most gargantuan crown roast of pork ever. We brined the entire thing along with some bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary fresh from our garden, then roasted the beast on the wood burning oven with some nicely aged cherry wood I brought along. There's nothing quite so satisfying as standing in front of a warm oven with a glass of wine, watching your piece of art get nicely brown. The sauce was made with the magnificent mushrooms I collected on Saturday. Was it good? Ooooooohhhh yeah, baby......

Laurel, being the Goddess of Baking, made the one dessert that I have a weakness for: cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake. A chocolate caramel cheesecake. The likes of which induces a Homer Simpson-esque drool and moan at the mere thought. There were other things too. A vertical tasting of Nota Bene. I think a salad or two was in there. Perhaps a vegetable or two. Yummy wines, and some thoughtful gifts to boot.

But the biggest thing? Looking around, realizing that I was fifty years old, and that I loved everyone in the room. Everyone should be so lucky.

1 comment:

Tapas and Dim Sum said...

Eat. Drink. Laugh. Love.

Thanks for opening the door and sharing.