y'know, sometimes i understand how the karmic balancing thing works. really bad crap over here, really great stuff over there.
went out with some friends the other night, and ran into two friends having big birthday parties thrown for them. HB to andrea and yanna! hope you got to party like the rock stars that you are. (the boa and tiara were an especially nice touch.)
and i've heard from two friends this week who are now engaged (or close to it). i'm so happy for you both! or really, for all four of you... and in a phrase i readily admit to having stolen from pamie -
Passion and Happiness to you, always.
i also had a wonderful dinner out the other night, which provided a fabulous balance to the rest of what's been a very rough week all around. since i don't feel like writing about the icky stuff yet, you all get to hear about dinner. 8)
there are a couple of weekly papers that keep up to date on the latest gossip in town, among that being what's cooking in the restaurant world. and there was a rumor that Upstairs at the Pudding was going to be moving soon. if you're not familiar with harvard square, the pudding is upstairs (natch) from the Hasty Pudding theatre. the food there is fabulous, and i've been treated to lunch on their third floor terrace a few times. but i haven't had dinner there yet. since there was a chance they might be moving, this seemed like as good a time as any to go. i also wanted to treat earl to a very nice dinner, as he has been my godsend this week. called and made reservations last week for this past thursday, and asked if it would be possible to request a table outside. turns out they note your preference, but no guarantees. this is all fine... because if you're patient enough to wait a little bit at the bar, they will find you a table outside.
engaged couple #1 came in while we were at the bar, and it was great to see how happy they are. our bartender was quite entertaining, in a low key, good service kind of way. and 20 minutes later, we had our table on the terrace.
the wooden terrace is small, in a cozy way, and the space divided up in a nicely intimate way. the place is filled with plants - all kinds of herbs and ornamentals - that climb the walls all around, so that you can really forget you're in the city, a block off the main road. and the plants are ... well, let's just say my tansy plants never made it to tree size. fragrant, colorful, pretty. and there was a little glass bowl on our table, filled with little tea lights.
and then we ate. oh. mi. gawd. stunningly good food. we started with the grande antipasto, and shared it. there were so many different tasty things on that plate that it could easily have been dinner. some standard antipasto fare (all well done), but also some unusual things. stuffed squash blossoms (which reminded me a bit of artichokes), broiled quail, some tasty cheese i'd never tried, lots of olives, a few italian meats that are hard to get here... with the best bread and olives going.
but wait! there's more! (did i mention that there were no calories in any of this food, as we were celebrating?) earl had the cowboy steak, with what he said were the finest onion rings he's ever tasted, a really tasty potato salad out of fingerling potatoes, and devilled eggs. i had the truffle stuffed duck breast, with fingerling potatoes and baby onions, parsnip-something puree, and an orange ginger sauce with little ribbons of candied ginger in it. i'm not a big meat eater, but would *gladly* have gone back for more of any of it.
and yes, we did indulge in dessert. ;) shared a hazelnut creme brulee, accompanied by a very fine vintage tawny port.
all this, on the candlelit terrace, on a clear warm night, with crickets chirping away (albeit from speakers, so sue me, i thought they added to the atmosphere). does life get much better than perfect nights like that?