I do hereby officially name 2008 as the Year of the Appa!
The last meal of 2008 was had at the Mission Beach Cafe with my friend Ryan Crowley. It consisted of 5 courses and here they are:
kobacha squash soup with quince, himalayan truffle, cayenne whipped creme
ancho cress, roasted beets, chevre, totated almonds
wild mushroom ravioli, black trumpet mushrooms, squash/porcini broth, shaved gouda
blue bottle coffee crusted bavette steak, roasted purple potatoes, baby artichokes,
passion fruit bavarian cream cake with shaved whiite chocolate, kiwi, raspberry sauce
I brought a bottle of 2004 Monte Rosso by Rosenblum that went perfectly with the meal. Suffice to say, it was a delicoius way to end 2008!
And so 2008 officially comes to an end, and it's been a pretty decent year, filled with lots of up's and down's. In the end, it was a year that I learned a lot about myself and because of that, I'm becoming an even better person. Suffice to say, you can teach an old dog some new tricks, but after 28 years of behaving a certain way, some of those changes come very slowly and with much difficulty... but that's ok... and so, in the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett, I say good-bye to 2008 and welcome 2009:
"Yesterday's over my shoulder, so I can't look backwards too long. There is just too much to see, waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can't go wrong!"
All the best to you and yours,
12/26/08: I had a really nice Christmas! On XMas eve, Matt Consola and I went down to his parents house in San Jose for dinner. It's always a treat to have dinner with Ralph and Anna because the food and company are always amazing! That night we Anna out did herself by making a wonderful dinner that centered around a huge pot of cioppino (fish stew with scallops, dungeonous crab, mussels, steamers and other good stuff!) and a huge pot of baccala (salted cod that was served in a tasty tomato sauce). Of course there were plenty of appetizers and fixings to complete the meal and for desert a slew of cookies, bread pudding and digestives to finish it off. Amazing!
On Christmas morning, Clarice and I got up and I made a pot of coffee. Then it was off to the tree where we opened up a couple of presents (Uncle's Josh and Andy back in NH sent her out a very sweet care package) and then made a few phone calls to wish the family a happy day.
Around 2:00 I headed over to Oakland where I met up with Scott "Perky" Seidel. He and I went to college together and have remained in touch ever since. He and his wife Tanya currently live in Bedford , NH with their 2 daughters. Scott is a pilot for FedEx and was assigned to sit on standby in Oakland, CA for 3 days. His 'standby shift' ran from 4:00 AM - 3:30 PM each day, and he had to be at the hotel waiting for a phone call that entire time. I stopped by and hung out w/him for a couple of hours and did some catching up and then at 3:30 pm we were out of there and headed over to Ashish and Jill's for XMas dinner.
Any dinner gathering at the Parihk's house is going to be a good eating experience and this was didn't disappoint. Irene (Jill's mom) went above and beyond (as usual) and made a fantastic meal. After nibbling on some tasty appetizers and drinkin' some good wine, we all sat down and out came the plates. Each one had 4 lamb chops, 2 medallions of lamb (from a roast), polenta, and a brussel sprout & bacon mixture that was to die for. The meal was absolutely amazing, and after 2 full plates, I did finally reach the 'full' stage :) We'd end up hanging out till about 7:30 pm and then I took Scott back to the hotel so that he could get some sleep.
On Friday, I took it easy and just relaxed. That night, Ben Daniels would come over and we'd have dinner over a Il Cantuccio in the Mission, which was very chill.
On Saturday, I met up with Scott again and at 3:30 pm we headed up in to San Francisco. We drove around the city for a bit before coming back to my place. After hanging out for a bit, we went to Little Star Pizza for a deep dish pizza dinner. Mmmmmm, yummy! And then, I'd take Scott back to the hotel and he'd take off the next day back to NH to rejoin his family. Though I wish he got to spend XMas at home, I was thankful to have him around for the holidays :)
On Sunday, I spent the late morning/afternoon repainting the bathrooms in my apt while my friend/landlord Matt Consola was doing some painting/work in his apt upstairs. Around 4 PM, his parents and I figured it was time to eat, so after driving around for 20 min deciding on where to go, we ended up at Espetus Churrascaria, which is a Brazilian Steakhouse, for dinner. ROFL, nothing like a nice light 14 course meal of meat to top off an already amazing week of eating!
That evening, Justin returned from his boyfriends house. He had been over at Charlie's place since the past Tuesday, and the two of them spent Christmas together. He stopped in for 24 hours and then took off to go spend another week together. They would spend New Years eve together, and then fly down to Palm Springs for a dog show (Charlie shows Boxers) on New Years day and then hang out in San Diego through the end of week. That night I made a really tasty pasta sauce (ingredients included 1/2 a bottle of red wine, bacon, ground turkey, onions, peppers and mushrooms) and played some Warcraft.
On Tuesday, I joined Matt Consola for a quick trip to IKEA where I spent eight dollars and picked up this little pet tent for the mows. They don't really have a relazing place to chill, and as you can see, they are loving it! I put a few old towels on the bottom of it, and they've barely left it in two days :)
12/19/08: Tonight was interesting. I got to meet Charlie Vose. He and Justin have been spending a lot of time together over the past few months, and though Justin hasn't officially called him his boyfriend, it's pretty apparent that's where they are headed. I wanted to meet to him, so before going out, Charlie came in and spent an hour hanging out. We shared some wine together and got to talking. Charlie is 48 years old and is an attorney for the city of Oakland, CA. He's been there for 18 years. He went to school in Boston at Northeastern University and knows the New England area pretty well. During our chat, I found out, his family owns property up near Port Clyde, ME where Paul Barnes and I have hung out for many years. It made for a fun conversation as that's a small corner of the world not too many people know about. Charlie's biggest hobby appears to be dog shows and he's been showing dogs (boxers) for many years now. After about an hour of chatting, he and Justin took off for dinner and I have to say Charlie made a nice first impression.
12/04/08: Last night was an awesome night. I took Ben Daniels and Matte Zovich to see Australian Pink Floyd at the Fillmore last night. The band was absolutely amazing and short of seeing David Gillmore or Roger Waters, this is not to be missed. They played the entire set list from The Wall and for the encore, came out and performed Learning to Fly, Great Gig in the Sky, Wish You Were Here, One of These Days, and finished it up with Brain Damage & Eclipse. An absolutely fantastic night at the Fillmore!!
Hats off to this band for keeping the music and alive and blowing our socks off. LOL I'm still grinning :)