Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 30, 2017 Lunch – Mucho Gusto. Dinner – Sautéed Shrimp, Fresh Garbanzo beans, tomatoes, onion, and carrot

September 30, 2017 Lunch – Mucho Gusto.  Dinner – Sautéed Shrimp, Fresh Garbanzo beans, tomatoes, onion, and carrot

We woke up early and arrived at the Stephen’s Estate sale in Santa Fe.  I found a picture of Buddha for $15.00.  Suzette bought four lovely steel baskets, some fabric, and several glass sculptures.  We then drove to another garage sale and finally another estate sale off Santa Fe Trail where a Suzette found a lovely wicker outdoor set, a large Hawaiian basket and two purses.  I found a small carved donkey with a load of wood and a six inch Sabatier six inch chef’s knife for $1.00 each.

We called Amy to see if she wanted to join us for lunch.  She called back and suggested we meet at Mucho Gusto.  We drove there and ordered the soup that was delicious, corn kernels, onion strips, some slices of zucchini squash in a delicious clear broth.  When Amy and Vahl arrived we ordered enchiladas, Vahl regular, Amy ordered enchiladas with a green tomatillo sauce with feta cheese, and a Suzette and I split an order of Enchiladas Suizos sauced with a pleasant chocolate mole sauce and a mixed salad with a orange honey dressing.  All dishes were served with good black beans and we asked for sautéed vegetables instead of rice.   Amy told us that the chef at Mucho Gusto was the chef at Old Mexico.  The food is true Mexican style food, not New Mexican style food and is exceedingly clean tasting.  We will return.

We then drove to Restore and picked up the frame we picked on Wednesday and Suzette found several screens.  We packed all of the items into the back of the little white truck and drove back to Albuquerque.

We had discussed cooking the fresh garbanzo beans we had shucked last night with shrimp.  We
decided to sauté those ingredients with some fresh chopped tomato, onion, and carrot in oil, butter, and white wine.  Suzette added some pasta to my dish, which was wonderful.

I put a new bottle of 2016 Chateau Belles Vignes from Loire Atlantique I bought recently at Trader Joe’s for $4.99 into the freezer for about 30 minutes, but it still needed a few pieces of ice.  We both loved the wine.  Vinvino gave it a 3.8 and all the reviews were very positive.  They all said it had nice citrus acidity but also good fruitiness.  Suzette and I both liked this wine and agreed with with the reviews that this wine was as good as most New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.  This is the best white wine for the money I have bought for the money this year.  I will buy more if it.

Bon Appetit

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 27 and 28, 2017. Chili and Wine To the Trade Tasting and Book Club

September 27 and 28, 2017. Chili and Wine To the Trade Tasting and Book Club

There are events that alter our normal schedule of shopping and cooking.  The two above are two of them.

The Chili and Wine Festival is the largest food and wine event in New Mexico.  The Grand Tasting that occurs on Saturday that typically includes 150 wineries and 100 restaurants typically fills three large tents and sells 2,000 or 3000 tickets.  The lines for food and wine are long, but it is a really fun event.  The drawback for me is the cost, $150, and the huge lines that require you to wait ten minutes for a taste of wine or food, so we go only once every five years.

Alternatively, we attend the To the Trade Tasting every year for several reasons.  First, it is free and, secondly, there are hundreds attendees instead of thousands, so you can talk and drink and eat without any waiting.

There are 90 to 100 vineyards and importers, one half affiliated with National Distributing on one side of the hall and the other half on the other side affiliated with Southern Glazer Distributing.  In the middle between the two halves is a long forty to fifty foot table filled with all the latest luxury items offered by Sysco. This year we enjoyed the large 15 count boiled shrimp, the roasted oysters on the half shell, and the roasted suckling pig.  At one end of the table were the traditional cheese and charcuterie and then desserts, but things got progressively more elaborate as one progresses toward the other end of the table where two chefs stood, one cutting slices from a standing rib roast and the other cutting slices of meat from a whole suckling pig that appeared to weigh fifty to seventy-five pounds.  There was a nice dish served in a plastic cup with a spoon, creamed bay scallops with celery root cubes that I liked very much.

Among the wineries were some of the best, I drank Heitz Martha's Vineyard, which was lovely, Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mary Edwards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, which was my favorite wine of the day.  We drank dozens of other wines until I could not accurately taste them because I swallow rather spit out he wine.  Each winery or importer offers from four or five labels to a dozen and a half, so there are up to a thousand different wines to try.  I tried to limit my Tasting to interesting wines I had never had before and probably tasted forty to fifty wines in the little over two hour period.  I forgot which ones I tasted after a while but Suzette marked the ones we liked on the entire listing of wines that she picked up. I do recall that I enjoyed a fresh 2017 release rose’ from France.

We grabbed three bottles of Cold Icelandic water as we left a little after 5:30 and returned to our car in the basement parking lot. I drank a bottle of water and drove home sipping as I drove to keep alert.

 When we returned home a little after 7:00 we collapsed and watched the Vietnam War and then went to bed.

I had eaten lightly during the morning, yogurt and fruit with granola and a bagel with cream cheese and whitefish around 11:00 because I knew the Tsunami of food and wine was coming.
Thursday –

Food strategy for book club day is the opposite. I try to eat a regular diet and a light dinner before attending, because food is usually not emphasized. I ate the usual granola and yogurt with blueberries and peach for breakfast.  Then a salad with the PPI steak and roasted potatoes for lunch.

When Suzette returned home at 5:00 she made a chicken salad with the PPI pesto rubbed chicken breasts, celery, tomatoes, and onion in Mayo and stuffed three leaves of Romaine lettuce with the salad for each of us that we ate with glasses of the PPI Concannon Sauvignon Blanc.  It was a delicious light dinner.

Charlie drove us to Keith’s house for the discussion of Code Talker by Chester New, the last of the original 29 Navajo code talkers.

Keith and his daughter had prepared some Navajo food for our group.  There was a large loaf of oven bread from Jemez Pueblo served with slices of cheese and baked shortbreads from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center topped with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert and a tray of small chicken tacos with cheese and sliced lettuce that were delicious.

I took notes.  Every one liked the book and Nez’ personal history of growing up as a Navajo before, during, and after WWII. He lived in Albuquerque and worked at the Veteran’ Hospital, so there was that personal element.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26, 2017 Lunch – Taj Mahal Dinner –Pork, Onion, and Apple Tapa on fresh spinach

September 26, 2017 Lunch – Taj Mahal  Dinner –Pork, Onion, and Apple Tapa on fresh spinach

I splurged and ate ½ bagel with cream cheese and white fish with a bit of sliced onion and a cup of coffee hot chocolate.

Peter Eller came at 11:45 and I drove us first to Donut Mart on Coors at Sequoia to pick up his six bialys plus three bagels and I was given four bagels also.  God bless The Gaubas.

We then drove to East Ocean, which was closed until Friday, so I drove us down Carlisle to Taj Majal where we had a wonderful lunch and I thanked Peter again for selling us the Illa McAfee at a good price.

             Tandoori chicken, saag, curry, onions, and beef meatballs with tamarind sauce and riata

I called Suzette at about 5:45 and she said she was on her way home.  We decided to make the Spanish tapa that roasted pork loins with apples and onions in a chicken stock. Oregano, and cognac sauce.

I sliced a sweet onion and a gala apple and went to the garden and picked six or seven sprigs of oregano.

I also fetched the bag of spinach.  Rather than preparing a separate spinach dish we decided to simply lay a bed of spinach in each pasta plate and to make more sauce to cook it with then heated pork dish and sauce.

This worked well.  The spinach blended into the pork dish as a pleasant vegetable accompaniment.

I opened a bottle of La Granja Rose’ from Spain (Trader Joe’s $4.99).

At 7:00 we watched the Vietnam War about 1969 and 1970, including The Kent State Massacre.
I was blessed I knew that Kent State was the end of the anti-war movement, if the government was willing to fire on peaceful protesters.

I went to Sweden for a year at the end of the summer and worked at Karlgren’s Revisionbyra, a CPA firm in Gothenburg, for the year 1970-1971 almost completely cut off from American culture, so I did not have to face the awfulness of a society out of control.

I gained many insights into Swedish culture, which in those days was still charming with a pleasant colloquialness.  For example, I lived at a student dorm at the eastern edge of Gothenburg.  Once I asked a flat mate, “Are there trolls? When she answered “Yes.” I asked, “Where do they live?, thinking I had sprung a trap on her.  But she took me outside and pointed to the line of low hills about forty mile away visible on the eastern horizon and said, “Over there.”   The low hills she was pointing at were called Trollheten, which in Swedish means Home of the trolls.  It was moments like this that made me realize I was living in a completely different culture that the one I had left in the US and
glad that I had a temporary exit from the culture wars in the U. S. for a year

That does not mean that we were immune from the impact of politics in Sweden.  Many friends in the ex-patriot community were draft resisters and military deserters, so America's war policies were constantly the subject of conversation .

One small footnote.  I represented several of the deserters in proceedings by the State Department to revoke their U.S. passports.  I did not succeed in stopping the revocation of their passports, but several years after the end of the Vietnam War the U.S. granted amnesty to draft resisters and restored  their passports.

Bon Appetit

September 25, 2017 Lunch – Sumo Sushi Dinner – Steam Cooked Chicken breast coated with Pesto, steamed Asparagus, and Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes

September 25, 2017 Lunch – Sumo Sushi  Dinner – Steam Cooked Chicken breast coated with Pesto, steamed Asparagus, and Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes

I ate yogurt, granola, blueberries, a bit of peach, and milk for breakfast.

I called Robert Mueller and we agreed to meet for lunch at 11:45 at Sumo Sushi at Third and Marble across from the federal courthouse.

Robert brought his dog, Lothar, a perfectly trained German Shepard that lay quietly beside him during the 1 ½ hours that we ate and talked.

Robert is on a modified Adkin’s diet of meat and vegetables and has lost 18 pounds, so we both ordered the sashimi salad for $16.95, a bed of greens dressed with that lovely ginger dressing that I like so much covered with about a dozen strips of raw salmon, tuna, and red snapper.  I also ordered a bowl of deep fried tofu stuffed with wood ear and shiitake mushrooms cooked in a broth, my favorite dish at Amerasia, which shares the building and kitchen with Sumo.  Robert liked the stuffed tofu and gladly dipped the wedges into the hot savory broth,

We also ordered green tea and were pleasantly surprised to be served a pot in which a metal basket was inserted under the top that filled with loose green tea. It was delicious.

I enjoyed lunch and our conversation and lingered until 1:15 and  then said goodbye and returned home for my 1:30 appointment.

I worked until Suzette returned home at 4:30.  I had been following Mike Verhagen’s Facebook postings from Wisconsin to Taos during the last few days, so I called him on the chance that he had arrived in town and he had, so I invited him to dinner at 6:30.

Suzette and I rode halfway to Rio Bravo and returned home at 5:30. Suzette washed three Yukon Gold potatoes and I diced them into pieces and Suzette tossed them in a gallon freezer bag with olive oil and salt and roasted them in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes until lightly golden brown and crispy on the edges.

After cutting up the potatoes I took a shower and shaved.  When I returned to the kitchen Willy had arrived and Suzette had brushed the chicken breasts with the fresh pesto she made yesterday and put them into the steamer oven to cook and had sliced yellow tomatoes from our garden and beautiful variated red and white tomatoes from her Los Lunas garden and made a Caprese salad by alternating fresh basil leaves and slices of fresh mozzarella and then dressing the salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing.

Willy took a ride to the bosque and returned a bit after Mike arrived around 6:30.

The only thing left to do was steam the asparagus, so I snapped the tough ends off about 25 stalks of relatively thin asparagus and put them in the steamer with water so they were ready to steam. I discussed what wine to drink with dinner with Suzette and we decided on a light red wine. Since Mike had mentioned a chianti I fetched a bottle of 2010 Lionello Marchesi Castillo di Monasterio Chianti Superiore from the basement.

When Willy returned we started steaming the asparagus, I asked Willy and Mike if they wanted a piece of toast. When they said, “Yes., Willy sliced four slices of the Le Quiche Bakery wholewheat bread I had bought last Saturday at the Farmer’s Market and toasted it and spread some of the basil Mayo he made on the toast.  Soon  we were ready and Suzette plated the plates with ½’of a chicken breast, asparagus, and roasted potatoes and Willy added several pieces of toast and I poured the Chianti.

Suzette and Mike after dinner

We watched Dallas play the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night football without the sound. Mike appears to be a Cardinal fan, perhaps because his brother lives in Phoenix.  When we finished dinner, Willy left and I toasted several more pieces of bread and served the Brie cheese from Ste. Mere d Isigny and opened a bottle of Cherry Blossom Pinot Noir (Trader Joe’s $4.99, the best value in an everyday Pinot).  After the cheese I served a piece of 72% cocoa Belgium chocolate that we ate with the last of the Pinot.

 A bit before 9:00 I poured glasses of Calvados and we moved to chairs closer to the TV and watched Episode Seven of The Vietnam War until about 11:00 that covered the last half of 1968, particularly turbulent period in both Vietnam,  the U.S., and around the world.  It seemed like there were riots everywhere.

At 11:00 we said goodnight and went to bed.

Bon Appetit

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 24, 2017 Brunch – BLT Sandwich, snack – cold artichoke, Dinner – Eggplant Parmesan and sautéed spinach

September 24, 2017 Brunch – BLT Sandwich,  snack – cold artichoke,  Dinner – Eggplant Parmesan and sautéed spinach

Back to a more usual schedule of cooking and shopping today.

Suzette made egg BLT sandwiches for us this morning around 9:30

I ate mine open faced on a single piece of toasted Le Quiche wholewheat bread.  Suzette ate her sandwich on a bed of romaine leaves. We both drank the homemade V-8 juice Suzette had made with the juice of a lime squeezed into it.



We then rode to Montano and back and then rested.

At about 1:30 we drove to Costco and bought Saran, pork sirloin, chicken breasts, Clamato, a package of sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, more romaine lettuce hearts, and plastic bags.  On our way to Costco we decided to make eggplant Parmesan with the eggplants in our garden with sautéed
spinach tonight and sautéed pesto rubbed chicken breasts tomorrow evening.  We the stopped at
Southwest Distributors and bought 18 eggs, 1 gallon of milk and a 20 oz. bottle of catsup.

When we returned home we were a little hungry so I made a dipping sauce with 3/4 cup of mayo, juice of ¾ lemon, and 1 T. of fresh minced dill and we each ate an artichoke of the four I bought at Trader Joe's last Tuesday with glasses of Concannon Sauvignon Blanc.   The Concannon was one of the best wine values of all time.  It was bought for 3 bottles for $10.00 at Jubilation 5 or 6 years ago and was still fresh and vigorous today. I think I bought 3 cases of it and this was the last bottle of it.

After our artichoke snack I dozed off on the couch and when I awakened at 4:30 Suzette had picked the three eggplants in our garden and one-off the large green squashes and a couple of patty pan squashes and the basil and had brought the PPI meat sauce I made a week ago in from the garage and announced she was ready to cook dinner and make pesto.

Eggplant Parmesan

Suzette sliced the eggplants and the green squash into ½ inch slices.  Then she coated the slices with a mixture of Progresso bread crumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and then sautéed each slice to cook them.  She then placed a light layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a ceramic baking dish and the layered alternating slices of cooked eggplant, a basil leaf and ½ of a slice of fresh mozzarella over the entire dish and the covered the slices with the rest of the meat sauce.  She then sprinkled the top with a generous handful of grated Parmesan cheese and baked the dish in a 350 degree oven for one hour.

While the Eggplant Parmesan was cooking I minced 1 shallot and three cloves of garlic and cleaned about 1 lb. of fresh spinach and Suzette made pesto with basil, toasted pecan pieces, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a bit of medium red chili from Chimayo.

Willy came over around 6:30 and he and Suzette made basil Mayo while I talked to Luke.  Then after the basil Mayo was made Suzette cut about a three pound piece offf the pork sirloin and seasoned it with sea salt and pepper and placed it in a Pyrex baking dish and put it in the oven to roast with the Eggplant Parmesan.  At 6:30 I opened a bottle of 2014 Oak Ridge Ancient Vine Lodi Zinfandel (Total Wine $14.99) to open up and Suzette boiled a handful of vermicelli pasta.  Then at 6:50, when the vermicelli was done, I sautéed the shallot and garlic in 1 ½ T. of olive oil and the added the spinach and tossed it in the olive oil, garlic, and shallot sauce to coat and cook it, while Suzette set the table in the TV room and poured glasses of Zinfandel. When the spinach was cooked in a minute or two, Suzette took the eggplant dish out of the oven and we served ourselves and I turned on Episode Six of the Vietnam War, which was January to July of 1968, one of the most consequential periods in the history of the U.S. in the last fifty years, in my opinion. Because it included the Tet Offensive that turned the tide of attitude in the US from trying to win the war by battle to resignation to seek peace by negotiation and forever changed the landscape of American politics when Bobby Kennedy and
Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated; a heavy dose of American history in an hour.  Suzette’s
comment was, “I never knew any of this happened.  I was too young to remember it.”

My response was “you had to have lived it. Actually I was in Denmark during the summer of 1968, so did not feel the direct impact of the death of Bobby Kennedy.”

My personal opinion is that the death of Bobby Kennedy was the end of any chance that the U.S. would develop a liberal democratic society during my lifetime. I think history has proven that to be correct, especially with Nixon’s Southern strategy, the rise of right wing conservatism with Ronald Reagan, and the election of Donald Trump.


ThevEggplant Parmesan

My plate

After the Vietnam War episode we cleaned the kitchen, I removed the Gravad Lax from its curing medium and washed off the filets and dried them and wrapped them in Saran and put them in a sandwich bag and put it in the fridge meat drawer.

I then poured a cognac for Suzette and a grappa for myself and we read for a few minutes and then went to bed at 10:00.

Suzette marveled at how much wonderful food we had cooked with food from our garden.  We al
agreed that the dark berry fruit flavor of the wine complemented the acidity of the tomatoes in the meat sauce perfectly.  Suzette liked the wine.  I noticed on the back label that the vines date back to 1934 and the wine tasted dense and had a rich berry flavor with just a hint of Zinfandel spiciness.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 23, 2017 Lunch – Squash Noodle Enchilada Casserole, Dinner – 30th Anniversary of The Center For Ageless Living

September 23, 2017 Lunch – Squash Noodle Enchilada Casserole,  Dinner – 30th Anniversary of The Center For Ageless Living

Today I started with ½ bagel smeared with cream cheese and garnished with whitefish and a slice of sweet onion with a hot chocolate.

At 1:00 I heated a wedge of PPI Squash Noodle Enchilada Casserole garnished with a dab of sour cream and a few slices of avocado and drank a New Belgium beer with it.

Gravad Lax

Before lunch I also made Gravad Lax by combining 2/3 cup of salt, ½ cup of sugar, and about ½ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper in a mixing bowl and then coating all four sides of two salmon filets with the mixture and placing them in a baking dish that held the filets snugly with layers of fresh dill weed that Suzette brought home on the top, bottom and in the middle between the two filets.  Since I had already cut and cleaned the salmon filets and placed them in an appropriately sized dish the process of mixing the dry ingredients and layering them on the salmon required only about ten minutes.

At 2:00 we drove to Los Lunas and I helped Suzette set up for her 30th Anniversary Party with the help of about a dozen employees.  I just opened and positioned pieces of coral on the two serving tables, set up the two Paella cooking burners and trays, and placed vases of sunflowers on dining tables.  The kitchen staff prepped and cooked the meal, which was baked paella, fresh oysters garnished with either mignonette sauce or cocktail sauce, and bread pudding in the kitchen. Then the food was brought to the food line where the two Paella stations were located.  There were two other tents set up; one for beverages were water, iced tea, and champagne were served and another at the end of the Paella line where the fresh oysters were served.  Suzette made a large sign for the oyster serving tent that read “Oyster Shack”.

I recognized and said hello to several staff members from the spa and sat with Pavlov's, Suzette’s financial adviser, and Carolyn, her TV ad sales person.  Pavlov's talked about working in his family’s diner in Carlsbad in his youth and Carolyn discussed her days of being a wine rep in California.

At 4:15 the attendant staff assisted about twenty clients to two long tables and the other nine or ten tables began filling up with family and guests while the “Up the Creek “ band tuned up and set the sound levels on its amplifiers.

At 4:30 the band started playing and one tray of fresh oysters with either mignonette garnished with fresh micro-grated lemon peel and another with oysters garnished with cocktail sauce.  Large containers of Paella were ladled into the Paella pans and the gas burners were lit to keep the Paella hot and food and beverage service began.
It was a very merry atmosphere with lots of good cheer, champagne guzzling, and eating.  Many people danced as the band played an assortment of music.  Suzette gave pearl jewelry to all the employees and thanked them for their service and read a poem.

The party was scheduled to last from 4:30 to 6:30, but when we left at 6:45 the band was still playing and people were dancing.  I consider the party a huge success.

We drove to the NHCC for the second night of music.  It had rained so the acts on the open air stage set up in the Plaza Mayor were delayed so we were able to hear one of the divas and her band from Argentina that we thought we would miss and then stayed until 11:00.  My favorite was a four person band named DDAT that was actually from NM that included a Navajo rapper and trumpet player, who were amazing.  I concluded immediately that the linguistic requirements to speak Navajo, must train one’s mouth to handle delicate nuances of sound masterfully.

The group Suzette liked the best was a six man choir from the country of Georgia in the Caucus Mountains who sang and accompanied themselves with small ukulele type instruments and small flutes they said were traditionally played by shepherds.

It was a busy and fun day of food and music.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, September 23, 2017

September 20, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean. Dinner – Cedar Plank Grilled Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli and Cauliflower Couscous, Asparagus, and Rice

September 20, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean.  Dinner – Cedar Plank Grilled Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli and Cauliflower Couscous, Asparagus, and Rice

I ate ½ of a bagel smeared with cream cheese on which I laid chunks of whitefish with a cup of coffee hot chocolate.

At 12:15 I drove to East Ocean to meet Aaron for lunch.  He ordered sweet and sour chicken (batter dipped chicken supremes that were then cut into sections and doused with that ubiquitous red sweet and sour sauce).  I actually am fond of that dish also and ordered it as my side dish with Moo Goo Gai Pan, which is about ten different canned and fresh vegetables stir fried with strips of chicken and tossed in a thickened soy and chicken stock sauce.

We then met with Karim regarding VinDacia until almost 3:00 and afterwards we stopped at Trader Joe’s where I bought artichokes, yogurt, cognac, ruby port, two bottles of Chateau Rouvier, two bottles of 2016 Carayon Rose’, two bottles of La Granja Viura/Verdejo blend, a bottle of Aquino Chianti Riserva, and a bottle of Tuatea New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

I drove home, called a Suzette, who was busy, and then rode to Montano and back.

I changed back into my clothes and went to meditation from 6:00 until about 6:55.

I returned home just in time to see the beginning of episode four of the Vietnam War series on PBS.

Suzette already had dinner in motion.  She had deflowered some cauliflower and broccoli and chopped it into small pieces resembling couscous in the Cuisinart and had put it in a large skillet with heated butter and olive oil to cook.

She then sliced the ends off about twenty thin stalks of asparagus and put them in the steamer with water.

Then she soaked a 1x6 inch cedar plank and lay the salmon filets that we had marinated in teriyaki sauce for about 28 hours and grilled them on the propane grill.

The salmon might have been over marinated because the skin did not crisp, but the flesh was as succulently tender as any I have ever eaten.

While a Suzette was grilling on the patio, I stirred the couscous to cook it evenly, steamed the asparagus, and re-heated the PPI cooked rice.

Willy joined us for dinner.  He and Suzette drank water and I drank a glass of tonic water with the juice of ½ lime mixed in.

We watched Vietnam until the episode ended at 9:00 and then went to bed.

Bon Appetit

September 21, 2017 and September 22, 2017. Lunch – Salad and Sushi Hana. Dinner – Indian Pueblo Center catered dinner. And Gruet champagne and snacks

September 21, 2017 and September 22, 2017. Lunch – Salad and Sushi Hana. Dinner – Indian Pueblo Center catered dinner. And Gruet champagne and snacks

Not much to mention.  The best meal was probably the salad I made on Thursday.

      Egg, salami, tomato, grated Parmesan, romaine lettuce, and radish slices

At 1:45 I went with Bill Turner to Sushi Hana upon Friday.  We both ordered bento boxes with stir fried soba noodles.  Bill ordered shrimp and I ordered beef on mine, plus the bento box has four pieces of sushi, five pieces of tempura, salad with ginger dressing, an egg roll, and a slice of watermelon, served with plum sauce and teriyaki sauce.  I had eaten a small bowl of our squash noodle casserole at noon and was not very hungry, so I took ½ of my meal home in a box.

We did not cook dinner either evening.

Thursday evening we were invited to a catered dinner and seminar presented by Suzette’s financial advisor, Pavalos, at the Indian Pueblo Center. Suzette ordered salmon and I ordered beef.  Her salmon was a 5 or 6  oz. filet on a bed of m asked potatoes with a stalk of baked broccolini. My beef substituted a 5 or 6 oz. entrecôte nicely grilled to medium rare.  Dessert was even better, a small rectangle of dense flourless torte .  I had to eat both mine and Suzette’s and have a cup of decaf coffee, as we heard a lecture on Social Security.  The lecture made one important point; that the best thing to do is to defer receipt of your social security to age 70, which will garner a 32% greater monthly payment.

Friday night was even more interesting.  The Gruet wine club had a reception for release of its new sweet champagne, named Doux, and its current allocation of wine to members from 5:00 to 7:00.  Suzette and I went at around 5:45 and when we arrived there was a good crowd and the parking lot was filled, so we had to park behind one of the employees trucks on the neighbor’s side of the loading dock.

We waited in line for of complimentary glass of champagne, which today was Non-vintage Blanc de Blanc.  When we arrived at the counter to receive our glass of wine, Suzette ordered the three cases of Brut champagne for her 30th Anniversary party and I organized my allotment by substituting two bottles of 2012 Blanc de Blanc instead of the Merlot and Pinot red still wine offerings and added a bottle of Tamaya Rose’.
We the found a seat, put down our glasses of champagne, and attacked the appetizers.  There were also two trays of appetizers; one tray of cubed ham, roast beef, and turkey, Swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese and the other four types of olives, baby Pickled peppers, and pickled caper berries.

We each had two plates of appetizers for dinner and at around 6:45 had the pourer fetch our wine and with the assistance of a warehouse worker load it into the Prius.  Went then drove to the National
Hispanic Cultural Center  for the first evening of Globalquerque, a weekend of world music on three different stages.  Our favorite was the first act we saw, a trio playing traditional music from .Mali, named Kali and the last group, a French Argentinian trio playing a harmonica and two electrified guitars.  I have gotten over the excitement of a singer or group using moog or synthesizer enhanced loops of their voice or instruments, which several still use because it seems to me to create a modern sound that alters the traditional instrumentation.

I am also in a group of mostly TCU alumni curmudgeons who blog about TCU sports and  Fort Worth.  Yesterday there was a blog about Fort Worth becoming funky, in a musical sense that made me remember my earliest musical experiences in Fort Worth.  Here is my blog entry.

I offer some of my earliest musical experiences.

 I guess I was raised in what I would call the proto-funk era in Fort Worth.  For example, I recall going to a club on North Main where Ray Sharpe performed his relatively famous hit "Linda Lou." in the 60's.  I guess I would call that my introduction to Fort Worth Funk.  "I have a girl and her name is Linda Lou."

The epic event in my youth was Heard Floore, Jr., who was one of our Boy Scout Post members booking the New Lost City Ramblers, with John Cohen and Michael Seeger (Pete's younger brother) to play at TCU in 1963 or 1964.  It was my first real life introduction to the Folk Era and I felt I had been to the top of the mountain.

I recall in 1965 going to my first rock concert.  It was the Kinks in Will Rogers Coliseum and it was promoted by Mack Cohen, who was a family friend and music promoter in Fort Worth

I want to thank Dee for the informative Star Telegram article.  Fort Worth has always been funky.  Remember Hank Wills and the Texas Playboys.  It was a center of Texas Swing.

And talking about clubs.  When I was young growing up in Fort Worth, there was an area downtown called Hell's Half Acre were there were bars and who know's what.  I recall a bar that was a block long that extended from Main street to Commerce St. right on the cattle drive route "Commerce St.) near the south end of downtown near the T&P railroad tracks, where cowboys could stop and have a drink at the end of the trail.

Here is the Wikipedia description.  “Hell's Half Acre was a rough and rowdy precinct of Fort Worth, Texas originating during the early to mid 1870s in the Old Wild West.
The half acre block was originally designated from tenth street to fifteenth street while intersecting with Houston street, Main street, and Rusk street with Throckmorton and Calhoun streets established as boundaries. The Chisholm Trail and Texas and Pacific Railway were branded as the economic driving force leading to the progressive development of the rambunctious red-light district.
Hell's Half Acre consisted of boarding houses, brothels, gambling parlours, hotels, saloons, and a sparse assortment of mercantile businesses. The twenty-two thousand square foot ward caught the glimpse of such Old West personalities as Bat Masterson, Butch Cassidy, Doc Holliday, Etta Place, Luke Short, Sam Bass, Sundance Kid, and Wyatt Earp.
By 1919, Fort Worth's "Third Ward" was disavowed as a den of iniquity due to the law enforcement efforts of Jim Courtright and the Protestant orations of John Franklyn Norris.”

The North Side around Main St. near the stockyards was an equally rough area, with a similar assortment of bars, whore houses, and boarding houses.  It was the end of the trail, where the cattle were delivered to the Swift and Armour packing houses.

Bon Appetit

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19, 2017 Lunch – Salad and a PPI Meal Sauce Stuffed Patty Pan squash. Dinner – Green Mole Casserole

September 19, 2017 Lunch – Salad and a PPI Meal Sauce Stuffed Patty Pan squash.  Dinner – Green Mole Casserole

 I toasted 1/2 bagel and smeared it with cream cheese and laid whitefish on it and ate it with a cup of tea.  I then went to court at 9:00.

At lunch I wanted a salad, but we had slim pickings. I used some romaine and cut up a dill pickle because we had no regular cucumber, I sliced the last two radishes and the last green onion.  Then added some prosciutto and Dubliner cheese.  I heated the PPI stuffed Patty Pan squash and poured a glass of Aquino Chianti and enjoyed lunch as I started reading the New Yorker article on Ken Burns, the film documentarian.

At 4:00 Suzette came home with package of two salmon filets and a bag of asparagus.  I made teriyaki sauce and marinated the filets in a freezer bag filled with teriyaki sauce after cutting the matching Center sections off for Gravad lax.

We decided to go to TaLin at 5:40 to buy crystallized ginger, shallots, and dill.  There was only shallots, so I will need to improvise for the Gravad Lax.

We wanted to use up the green mole, so Suzette decided to make a green mole casserole.  I peeled and thinly sliced two chayote squash while Suzette chopped and sautéed some onion, garlic, and slices of portobello mushrooms.  She then stripped the skins, stems, and seeds from some roasted green chili she brought home.  She filled a baking dish with layers of chayote slices, sour cream, green mole with pork, black beans and masa, then the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, more chayote slices, and finally grated cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese and baked the casserole in a 350 degree oven for an hour.

Starting at 7:00 we watched the third episode of the Vietnam War on PBS.  At about 8:15 we ate dinner with a bottle each of Negra Modelo.  The casserole looked terrible, but tasted great.  I ate two portions and I was not hungry, because I had eaten a peanut butter and honey sandwich at 5:30 before we left for TaLin.

The casserole

It was fun to convert a PPI into an interesting dish, thanks to Suzette.  Now we have a PPI casserole that should last the rest of the week.

Bon Appetit

September 18, 2017 Lunch – Egg salad salad and antipasto sandwiches. Dinner – Grilled Ribeye steak with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli and cauliflower

September 18, 2017 Lunch – Egg salad salad and antipasto sandwiches. Dinner – Grilled Ribeye steak with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Today I went to pick up bagels at Donut Mart at 10:00 and talk to Tahir.

He was kind enough to give me 7 bagels and 8 oz. of cream cheese and we talked about business for a while.

 While at Donut Mart I received a call from Rachel, so I returned home to meet with her and we prepared a letter.

She left at 12:30 and I decided to eat a light lunch.  I filled a plate with romaine lettuce leaves, spread some PPI egg salad over the leaves and drizzled some Cesar salad dressing over the leaves also.  Then I laid some of the PPI slices of Comte cheese on the two remaining slices of Nativo wholewheat bread and melted the cheese in the microwave for 22 seconds.  Then I placed slices of salami on one slice and prosciutto on the other slice and drank water for a light lunch.

Suzette came home early and at 4:30.  We decided to grill steak so I fetched an aged ribeye that had been rubbed with salt to thaw and then we rode to Rio Bravo and back.

Shortly after we returned at 5:45 Willy came by.  We all agreed to eat dinner together and watch the second episode of the PBS Vietnam War series at 7:00 after Willy took a walk in the bosque.  Suzette then cleaned and baked the last five russet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for an hour.  I filled the steamer basket with broccoli and cauliflower flowerets and sliced seven medium portobello mushrooms and 2 T. of sweet onion and three cloves of garlic and plucked the leaves from several stems of tarragon and parsley.

Sautéed Mushrooms

At 7:00 when Suzette began grilling the steak and we turned on the heat under the steamed vegetables, I began by sautéing the onion and garlic in 1 T. of olive oil and 3 T. of butter.  After a few minutes when the onions softened I added the mushroom slices and sautéed them for about ten minutes until they were coated with oil and began to lose their light color.  I then added 1 ½ tsp. each of tarragon and parsley leaves and 2 T. of Amontillado sherry.

I opened and poured a new bottle of 2009 Chateau Le Grand Faurie that is Appellation St. Emillon Grand Cru controlee recently bought at at Trader Joe's. It’s 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 5% a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec for $17.99.

It was very smooth and had a bit of character but I can truthfully say that I enjoyed drinking the bottle of the 2012 Chateau Rouvier for $12.99 more (Trader Joe’s).  The lesson to be learned here is the one that applies also to restaurants, a highly rated Winery or restaurant can produce a bad wine or meal occasionally.  Also, there are new wineries that can produce great wine that were not in existence when the Appellation system and designations were created in the 1800S.

So a designation of Grand Cru is not always a guaranty of quality.

I sliced the steak that was cooked to medium.  Aging beef will usually make it more tender, which will allow it to cook more quickly.

We enjoyed dinner and the Vietnam War episode on American involvement in Vietnam before the end of 1963.

Bon Appetit

September 17, 2017  Picnic Lunch at Los Luceros.  Dinner  New Recipe. Baked Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Tomato and Meat Sauce and Catalan Chard

While I toasted two slices of Le Quiche whole wheat bread and spread them with goat cheese.  I put rabbit pate’ on one and smoked white fish on the other, Suzette made a potato, Comte cheese, and mushroom scrambled eggs for breakfast.

After breakfast we went to the garden and we picked chives and tarragon.  Suzette hard boiled six or seven eggs, chopped celery, and added mustard and mayonnaise to made egg salad to which I added the chopped chives and tarragon.

Suzette packed our picnic basket with a container with the egg salad, plus a. Thermos full of Gruet Tamaya Rose’, a container of Italian antipasto, a container of Kalamata olives, and one of the hearts of romaine. I toasted and buttered  4 slices of Nativo bread and added them to the picnic basket.

We drove north at 9:45 and stopped at the Santa Fe Flea Market at Cuyamungue, where I spoke to Rosa Rakovich, who used to own Rosa’s.  We then drove west on NM 502 into the Pojaque Valley, an area we had never seen before and visited several studios in open for the Art Tour.

At 1:30 we drove 30 miles further north to Los Luceros to the Harvest Festival where we sat and ate our lunch and then toured the Los Luceros State Park.  The most impressive part of Los Luceros was the Territorial period house bought and renovated by Mary Cabot Wheelwright in 1923, who was part of that group of independently minded women who moved to New Mexico in the early part of the 1900s, many of whom were artists, like Georgia O’Keefe and Olive Rush.  The walls were made of three foot deep adobe, so although it was a warm afternoon the inside of the house was cool.

Here is a picture of a fireplace decorated by Olive Rush in the large upstairs sala.

We then drove back home.  We arrived home at 5:30 and suzette rested and I watched the Cowboys lose while I opened and de-seeded the four patty pan squash we has grown in our garden.

When Suzette got up at 7:00 she filled the squashes with the meat and tomato sauce I had made with tomatoes from the garden at her Center for Ageless Living and ground beef and herbs and garlic from our garden and a couple of onions.

She then sprinkled the top of each squash with grated Parmesan cheese we bought at Costco and cooked the stuffed squash for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees.  The smaller squash was fully cooked but not the larger  squashes.  The way to know if the squash is cooked is it changes color from its original white color to a darker grey color and looses its original pulpiness.

We decided to cook chard as a green vegetable, so I went to the garden and picked a large handful and a few leaves of purslane in the driveway.

Willy arrived as I was picking the purslane, so I stopped and came in and cooked the

Catalan Chard.

I melted 2 T. of olive oil in a large skillet and sautéed 1 diced medium gala Apple and then added ¼ cup of piñon nuts and sautéed until they turned golden brown.  Then I added ¼ cup of dark raisins and sautéed them briefly.  Then I added the about 12oz. of de-stemmed and cleaned and dried chard cut into bite sized pieces and the purslane leaves and reduced the heat and stirred them in and covered the skillet with our wok cover to cook and wilt the greens.  After a couple of minutes they had cooked and we were ready to eat.

I opened a bottle of 2010 La Principe Delaguardia Crianza from Navarra, Spain (Trader Joe’s $5.99).  The wine had strong tannins that were not fully integrated into the wine, which is characteristic of younger Tempranillo wines.  It was okay but not one to rush back to the store to buy.

We enjoyed dinner while we watched the heart rendering beginning of the Vietnam War series on PBS about the French conquest, administration,  and war of liberation fought by the Vietnamese against the French.  Catalan Chard is one of Willy’s favorite dishes.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 16, 2017 Lunch – Costco. Dinner – Mansion Players Dinner Theater at Center for Ageless Living

September 16, 2017 Lunch – Costco. Dinner – Mansion Players Dinner Theater at Center for Ageless Living

It was a busy food shopping day but not a very big food eating day.

I ate the last of the Gravad Lax on a red pepper and cheese bialy and we then rode to Rio Bravo.  Then I showered and dressed and we drove to the Farmer’s Market down the street and bought a loaf of whole wheat bread for $6.00 from the French Le Quiche baker and eight lovely ears of multicolored native corn from a grower in Espanola for $10.00.

We the drove to Costco, where we bought Yukon Gold potatoes, romaine lettuce hearts, shredded cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese, a velocity of Dubliner cheddar, a triple source Swiss Gruyere AOP cheese, half and half heavy whipping cream, portobello mushrooms, cleaning supplies, and a case of New Belgium beer.  Then we ate
Polish dogs.  Suzette ate hers without the bun and I only ate ½ of my bun.

We then went home and rested and Suzette made us a snack of PPI green mole with Pork, chayote, and black beans over PPI mashed potatoes and we split a beer.   I watched TCU beat SMU 59 to 39 and then we drove to Los Lunas to the Center for Ageless Living for the dinner theater presentation on the stage in the park by the Mansion Players, which is a community drama group, that put together a musical review about New Mexico politics, delivered in the form of altered lyrics to popular songs of the 50s and 60s.  It was quite clever and entertaining.  At intermission each person was delivered a plastic box with their choice of either a Cesar Salad with three real anchovies topped with slices of roasted chicken and a piece of grilled focaccia or a chicken salad sandwich and a small green salad with choice of dressing.  Suzette and I chose the Cesar salad.

After dinner delicious Bischochito cup cakes were distributed to all.

It rained heavily during the performance but the stage and tent held up well to the assault of rain and wind.   The performance ended after 9:00, so we drove home in the dark with lightning dramatically lighting the sky in jagged lines.

When we arrived home the Texas USC game was still going and with a minute to go Texas was ahead, but then USC tied with a field goal and went on to win in an exciting double overtime finish.

I could not sleep so I watched San Diego State College beat No. 19 ranked Stanford in an exciting game marked by a 19 minute delay due to the failure of the stadium lighting system at 3 minutes 58 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.  So a fabulous day of entertainment, lots of good food shopping, but no food cooking.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 15, 2017 Lunch – Vinaigrette. Dinner – Grilled Lamb Chops; Tzatziki; Bacon, Spinach, and Corn Salad; and Roasted Potato Chunks

September 15, 2017 Lunch – Vinaigrette. Dinner – Grilled Lamb Chops; Tzatziki; Bacon, Spinach, and Corn Salad; and Roasted Potato Chunks

Today was dominated by the presence of Southwest Productions shooting a commercial at the house beginning at 8:00 a.m. and the filing of Willy and my taxes.

I ate yogurt, a little granola, blueberries, and milk for breakfast.

Willy came at lunch to send his authorization to file his taxes to the accountant and the we rode bikes to Vinaigrette and ate lunch.  I ordered my usual Frisée Salad with a poached egg and pancetta lardons.  Willy ordered a combo lunch plate with ½ of a baked turkey sandwich and ½ of an Omega salad with avocado chunks.

Here are the pictures.  Willy also ordered a carrot and turmeric drink.

After lunch I rode home and finished writing checks and mailing my tax payments to the various taxing officials.

Around 3:30 the Southwest Production folks left and I began thinking about dinner.

I knew we had lamb chops, so I decided to make tzatziki, roasted potatoes, and a salad.

Tzatziki - I peeled, seeded, and diced one medium cucumber Suzette had brought from the organic gardenr at her Center for Ageless Living in Los Lunas.
I diced about 1 T. of red onion into the bowl of cucumber and added about 1 tsp. of salt and let the cucumber and onion sit while I prepared the potatoes.

Then I drained the liquid that had accumulated and added 1 cup of yogurt, squeezed in two small cloves of garlic, and the juice of ½ lemon.

Finally, I picked about seven or eight sprigs of mint from the garden, rinsed and de-stemmed about ½ cup of leaves, chopped the leaves finely, and added the chopped mint to the Tzatziki and covered it with Saran and placed the bowl in the fridge to chill.

Roasted potatoes –

I scrubbed the dirt off four medium sized russet potatoes and diced them into irregular wedges.  I placed the wedges on a cookie sheet and dusted them with 1 1\2 tsp of salt and drizzled about 1 ½ T.
of Spanish Olive oil on the wedges and tossed the wedges to coat them with salt and oil.  I the baked them in a convection oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees until they were slightly browned.

Salad –

I was inspired to make an elaborate salad by the salad de jour last night at Frenchish.  I tore the last
bit of a head of Bibb lettuce and about 1 cup of spinach leaves and rinsed and spun those.  Then I
diced two radishes and ¼ of a cucumber and placed those and the lettuce in a salad bowl.

Suzette arrived home as I was slicing the kernels of corn from a cooked ear we had in the fridge and was frying two pieces of thick sliced bacon, so she helped me watch the bacon, while I peeled, pitted and diced two small avocados into the salad.  After the bacon was cooked to crisp Suzette removed the slices from the pan to a paper towel to drain the fat and began cooked the corn kernels in the bacon fat.  While the corn  kernels were cooking Suzette fetched the apple cider vinegar, she added ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, about 1 ½ tsp. of sugar, and about ¼ cup of olive oil to the bacon fat and corn to make a warm dressing while I chopped the bacon into small bike-sized pieces and added them to the salad and fetched a bottle of 2015 Valreas Cote Du Rhone Villages (Trader Joe’s $5.99) and
opened it.  Suzette asked if I had added any tomatoes and when I answered in the negative she went to our garden and gathered about eight to ten that had ripened. I  diced five of them and added the diced tomatoes to the salad.fetched glasses and poured some wine for us to sip while we finished
cooking. I returned the roasted potatoes to the warm oven to keep them warm.

                Tomatoes from our garden
Suzette lit the propane grill outside and heated it, while she salted the chops with sea salt and fresh
pepper.  She then grilled the chops to medium rare.  When Suzette brought the chops in we decided toeat outside, we poured the corn and dressing onto the salad    and I tossed the salad ingredients to dress the salad.  Suzette put two grilled lamb chops on each plate and spooned a small pile of roasted potato chunks on each . I poured glasses of red wine and placed a pile of salad on each The 

We carried our plates, the bowl of Tzatziki, silverware, napkins, and our glasses of wine to the table under the gazebo in the garden just as the sunset was turning the clouds in the south pink.

We lingered over our dinner and wine. I noted the disappearance of flies, suzette surmised that there must have been a cool night that killed them.

Suzette ate only one chop and I had trouble finishing the food on my plate, so we hypothesized that our stomachs were shrinking from our new life style.  We discussed the events of the next two weeks, which will be packed with interesting activities.

After putting up the PPIs, having blogged for four hours last night about Frenchish Restaurant, I became tired and lay down and went to sleep before 9:00.  Suzette has been working hard lately and she soon joined me in bed after she checked on the condition of her 94 year old father, who had suffered a dizzy spell and a fall and had to go to the hospital in Hershey, PA.

Bon Appetit

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 14, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean. Dinner – Frenchish

September 14, 2017 Lunch – East Ocean. Dinner – Frenchish

I ate a whitefish on goat cheese open faced sandwich around 9:30.

Then at noon I picked up Peter Eller and drove us to East Ocean for lunch.  Peter asked my opinion about what he should order and I suggested he order BBQ pork with Lo Mein noodles and fried shrimp, which he loved.  I ordered my new usual, Moo Goo Gai Pan and sweet and sour chicken without any rice  East Ocean serves a wonderful egg drop soup and hot tea with lunch.  Moo Goo Gai Pan has the most vegetables; bok Choy, onion, baby corn chunks, water chestnut slices, sliced bamboo shoots, mushroom slices (my favorite), celery, broccoli flowerets, fresh snow peas, and chicken.  It is decidedly not on the diet, but I have never stopped loving sweet and sour chicken; usually chicken supremes chopped and battered and deep fried and then sauced with that awful red dye sweet and sour sauce.  I can’t resist it.  If it shortens my life, so be it.  There were five pieces of chicken on today’s plate.

                                           Moo Goo Gai Pan with Sweet and Sour Chicken

After lunch we drove to Sprouts and bought blueberries on sale for $.98for a 6 oz. plastic container and I bought four lb. of sweet onions for $.50/lb.

I felt great after my lunch and when the sky became overcast, it sprinkled a bit, and the temperature dropped around 4:00, I decided to ride to Montano and back.

Shortly after I returned home at 5:00 and lay down to watch the NBR Business show on PBS, Suzette arrived.

I took a shower and got dressed in my black on black Chinese silk shirt that I had found on the discount rack at the silk factory and museum in Suzhou, China for $20.00, probably because it was a XXXL Chinese size that fit my XL sized American body perfectly but probably fit very few Chinese, and black jeans while Suzette searched the internet to find a restaurant for dinner.  Barry and Dave with Southwest Productions and their crew are coming tomorrow to shoot a My Chart commercial in the house, so we decided to go out on a dinner date rather than mess up the kitchen by cooking at home after Loyda had cleaned it spotlessly today.

After my shower we considered the options.  Suzette wanted to go to a restaurant on the Central core.  By 5:45 we settled on Jennifer James’ new restaurant “Frenchish”.  I had tried her earlier restaurants,
but not since she was awarded semi finalist recognition by the James Beard Foundation and had not
tried her new restaurant.  We found a parking spot 1/2 block away beside Mariposa Gallery and walked across Central to Frenchish at 3509 Central (the old Ella Rose store that was and may still be owned by the folks from whom I bought the property at 3213 Central in 1985).


We were immediately impressed by the modern design and open layout of Frenchish when we walked in.  We were seated at a two top banquette with a view of the entire restaurant, including the open hot line and cold line.  Jennifer James stood at the end of the hot line and oversaw everything, which I found interesting.

There was a happy hour menu with a few lighter appetizers and drinks that was served until 6:30.  We started our meal with a Salad de Jour from the Happy Hour menu, which was locally sourced romaine lettuce, bits of Toulouse sausage, red onion, radish, cooked corn kernels, and thin slices of red Thai (prik) chilis ($6.00).  The small salad produced a powerful punch of flavor that woke up the taste buds in our mouths.

Our waiter was wonderful.  He was knowledgeable about the preparation and ingredients in every dish and very agreeable with our desire to share dishes.  He mentioned a number of specials including a Sauternes poached foie gras served with toast points and red currant preserves substitution for the foie gras treatment mentioned on the menu, which I immediately ordered ($18).

Then he mentioned fresh steamed mussels.  Since we had decided to add the salad, we chose ½ lb. of mussels for $7.50 rather than 1 lb. for $15.00 and we agreed on the Parmesan Crusted Veal Paillard with roasted potatoes and a tomato and arugula salad ($22) for a simple four course meal that gave us a chance to share four different dishes in the American French style of dining that puts the salad course first, instead of after the entrée, and then reverts to the French order of appetizer, fish course, and then entrée.  Since we had cherry Clafoutis and cognac awaiting us at home we did not need the palate cleansing effect of a salad between out entrée and our dessert, but, if we return for a full six course meal, we may eat the salad after the entrée and before the dessert.  As we were eating, I noticed that the couple next to us ate a lovely plate of Morbier cheese garnished with fresh mission figs as an appetizer that would be a lovely choice for a light cheese and dessert course ($12).

After we and the waiter worked out our selection of dishes he excused himself to place our order, leaving us to peruse the extensive wine list.  We immediately were drawn to the section labeled “$25.00 bottles” and immediately saw a bottle of 2015 La Petite Perriere Rose’ of Pinot Noir from France that turned out to be a Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc blend from Appellation Controlee Aix en Provence that had more acid backbone than fruitiness, perhaps because of the addition of Sauvignon Blanc and also because it was one year old and had lost some of its fruitiness.  Suzette liked it a lot and as I sipped it and we added ice cubes to it, I did also.  It was a good neutral choice for the wide array of foods we chose.

The wine was served first, soon followed by the salad.  Soon after the salad the foie gras was served, three small slices of chunks of foie gras cooked into a terrine.  Our waiter explained that the thick layer of fat on the top of the slice of terrine wax the result of the poaching process in which the
Sauternes exchanges place with the fat in the foie gras and the fat floats to the top of the terrine.  I was impressed that there was someone in the kitchen who had made a study of poaching foie gras and by the delicate flavor of the sauternes flavored goose fat.

After the meal I told Jennifer how much we enjoyed the meal and she introduced the lady who made the foie gras dish.  I told her, “Good fat” and we shared a collective foodie smile and moment together.

I prefer the softness of baguette and butter to toast points with foie gras, so I ordered bread service for $3.00, a warmed super crusty Sage Bakery mini baguette that was super soft on the inside served with a small ramekin of delicious butter.  I recommend the bread service.

Having forsaken my diet, I cut the baguette in half and slathered both insides of the warm roll with butter and placed a piece of foie gras on one piece of bread and garnished it with some red currant preserves and a few sprigs of baby arugula and took a little trip to food heaven and France in the same moment.

We noticed several other couples ordering foie gras and a rabbit terrine, which gives me great satisfaction in the level of sophistication of the dining public in Albuquerque and the prospects for Frenshish’s  continued success..  In fact, I predict that if Frenchish continues this level of Cuisine, Jennifer will be cooking a meal at the James Beard Foundation within two years. She is as good as any of the new American chefs I have recently encountered and Frenchish is good enough to attract quite a buzz.

Soon after we finished our foie gras we were served the steamed mussels and the veal paillard dishes, which worked great because we dipped pieces of roasted potato into the white wine, garlic, mirepoix flavored sauce in the bowl in which the mussels were served.  The mussels had been steamed to perfection; plump and juicy, making me grok that September was an “r” month.  The mussels were served with large spoons that were perfect for lifting a spoonful of strips of the thinly julienned leeks and carrots and broth to one’s mouth.  We loved the succulent mussels.

We were getting full but not so full as to prevent us from making short work of the pounded and tender slab of veal encrusted with bits of Parmesan cheese.  I must admit to being too sated to carefully analyze the light sauce on the veal, but I guess it was a light butter and Marsala sauce, perhaps made in the sauté pan with the dish.  The veal was served with lightly baked cherry tomatoes and more fresh baby arugula, which must be the favored green by fine dining restaurants this year because I am seeing it a lot.


The final surprise was the bill, which was only slightly over $87.00 for the four courses, bread service, and a bottle of good wine.  I had that momentary French Bistro feeling as we ran across Central in the cool damp “after it rains” air to our car and drove home.

This was such a special night that I fetched the bottle of Otard XO I had bought in the duty free shop in China seven or eight years ago to pour shots for us to sip with the cherry Clafoutis garnished with whipped cream.  I also had a cup of Earl Grey tea with my dessert and cognac.

A great evening of food.

Bon Appetit