Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Feaster

Matt took Friday off of work so we could spend the day together as a family. And by spend the day together, I mean I got to sleep in and have him cook me breakfast and then watched him play video games with the kids before lunchtime rolled around and we all got out of our pajamas.

Because you can't go to a pizza buffet in your pajamas.

The kids were pretty good in the restaurant, but that may have been because Matt teased them with a special surprise if they behaved. That worked for the first half of the meal, but fortunately Eve was entertained with the Parmesan shaker for the second half. Who knew it tasted so good in pink lemonade?

The special surprise was a trip to the mall to go jump on the big thing next to the food court that we always say, "We're NOT paying $7 for you to jump on that in the middle of the mall." But it was rainy and Matt threw caution to the wind.

Eve was happier with the carousel. She likes horses with feather dusters glued to their noses. Really, she just likes feather dusters and I'm hoping to develop that into a love of dusting because I can't ask Nat to take on anymore on top of the cooking, vacuuming, mopping, and taking out the trash.

My parents came down to visit on Saturday bearing the world's most awesome bubble guns- the first bubble product that my kids have owned that do not require any adult supervision. And they shoot out anywhere between two hundred and six million bubbles at a time.

I seriously have the energy to let them blow bubbles in the backyard for hours without my help. Hours!

That evening, Matt and I went out to celebrate our anniversary at Herons. (In actuality, our anniversary fell on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring this year, because we let the werewolves determine when we celebrate. But it just didn't feel right leaving our family to go out on Easter Sunday, so Saturday night it was.)

We arrived earlier than our reservation to enjoy the deck. Not because we enjoy leaving these children.


I got something called a Grapefruit Fizz because it sounded healthy. The only thing healthy about it was the amount of booze in it. Which I'm not opposed to, provided you have snacks.

Oh, goody. You brought snacks!

Once inside the restaurant, we couldn't decide on anything on the menu, but that wasn't because the waiter wasn't trying to sell us on loads of awesome sounding stuff. And where it all came from. It was a lot like this.

Let's just do the Chef's Tasting Menu and let him decide what he wants to feed us so I can stop reading this menu with indecision. And add the wine pairings, too. After we told the waiter this, he said, "We'll take care of you from now on." What? Is he coming home with us? I feel oddly comforted.

Would you like still or sparkling water?
Umm, whatever the stuff that comes out of the tap is fine. I already had some sparkly stuff outside and I don't want to tempt the heartburn gods.

The chef has a gift for you.
Really? I hope he saw my Amazon wishlist.
Here is a fresh chicken mousse topped with balsamic glaze, raisins, and pine nuts.
Well, this is a first for me; I've never been given chicken mousse as a gift before. But now I know what everyone is getting for Christmas.

Would you like some freshly baked bread? We have apricot and goat cheese scones, raisin and fennel bread, and sourdough.
How many failed combinations did you try before coming up with these? Completely awesome, especially if you use butter the way I use butter. I use butter like addicts use dope.

This strange looking concoction was pineapple topped with crab and then a very thin layer of avocado with some other green things that I cannot remember. I enjoy that all the food will be coming out on gargantuan plates with two-bites of food.

But of course, we're dressed up so we gotta take ten minutes to eat it. That's how you do fancy.

A while later, I noticed two servers out of the corner of my eye with gigantic bowls and the leftovers of someone's food. We made eye contact and they turned around and went back into the kitchen. It was strange, but seemed like a fancy way to bus a table.

Then another server came out and put down some spoons and within seconds, the two men reappeared. Ohhh, those weren't the leftovers of someone else's bowls, those were OUR bowls.

On the side of the bowl was a small scoop of blue potato salad with smoked trout. That was it. It's been a while since I was in culinary school, but I'm pretty sure vichyssoise is a soup of leek and potatoes. Although maybe the grapefruit fizz made me read something that wasn't there.

Just as I was slowly processing the events, the men presented two small creamer bowls filled with the soup and poured it into the bowl with the potato salad.

I wish I had taken a pic of the over-sized spoon that we used to eat it. I think someone had a few too many grapefruit fizzes in the back and thought it would be funny to watch me eat this soup with a serving spoon.

Next up was my favorite course, the foie gras topped with berries and served over grilled brioche. I -heart- foie gras even more than I -heart- Taco Bell. Even more than I -heart- Pillsbury Funfetti Cupcakes baked in foil liners topped with Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip icing!

You better believe that I would say, "Hey, what's that over there?" and then steal your foie gras if the opportunity arose.

Now this looks like Farmer Brown's chicken encased in prosciutto over top of some peas and wild ramp with morels. And an artsy smear of pureed potatoes.

Yes, this chicken was from Farmer Brown. I know because they told me so. I like that I was told in a way that would suggest I already know who Farmer Brown is. And the potato smear? Well that just looks like fun. I want to be the chick in the back who is painting with the food.

The last course was some kind of coconut custard topped with pistachio crumbs and a Kaffir lime foam. (I have seen a similar substance come out of Dan's mouth when he's bored and has had too much milk.) It was accompanied by pickled strawberries and rhubarb, and some pink stuff that looked and tasted like crushed-up astronaut ice cream. Only the strawberry part, not the whole neopolitan bar. Come on, that'd just be crazy.

But wait! The pastry chef has a gift for us, too. I'm hoping for some more mousse.

A truffle filled with Grand Marnier, some sort of filled lemon cookie, a miniature rum cake, and a banana-passion fruit gumdrop.

As much as I make fun of the small portions, I realized after hours of eating and drinking that I was full, but not uncomfortably so. If I ever become independently wealthy, I will take YOU out with me next time I go on a 4-hour-eating marathon.

(Only if the chicken mousse doesn't pan out.)

After all that food, I happily got into bed and slipped into a food coma. I was awakened to little kids asking me to open candy that the Easter Bunny had left them. What was the Easter Bunny thinking? Why didn't he bring candy that small children can open by themselves and hide and eat under the dining room table?

We had our own little Easter egg hunt in the backyard. If you don't cut your weeds, it's easier to hide the eggs.

A lot of people like to have a fresh, light Easter menu. I, however, channeled my inner-Cracker Barrel. Fried ham, deviled eggs, limas, green beans, creamed corn, candied carrots, macaroni and cheese, hash brown casserole, 10-layer salad, throwback '70s gelatin salad, and rolls to sop it all up before we dove into the coconut cake. I ate four times as much food as I did the night before in an eighth of the time.

That's efficiency.

As we sat glued to our chairs, the kids performed an impromptu song and dance. "We love God! We love the earth! We love our booties!"

I'm disappointed Mom and Dad didn't even make it into the top three.

Daniel had been so excited about Easter, saying, "I can't wait for Easter! I've been dying to meet Jesus." Apparently he was so distracted with all the ham that he didn't notice the J-man wasn't there.

After my parents left and the kids were in bed, Matt and I got some Japanese take-out and enjoyed the warm night outside before finding out we both got each other copper torches as anniversary presents. We are so awesome we can barely stand it.

A little Mad Men, a little EastEnders, and a lot of food. It was a good night. I could eat take-out and watch TV all night long, provided there is a way to pause the programming on account of the many pee-breaks my 60-year-old bladder necessitates.

Monday morning marked the last day of track-out for Nat, so we headed out to the zoo. The NC Zoo is special because it is very hilly, and it is very possible to take different paths in which you do nothing but walk uphill. And if you add in the dark jeans that soak up all the sunlight with the heavy stroller full of kid crap that they just HAD to bring, I'm totally walking off at least one of my courses from Saturday night.

Remember the world's most awesome bubble guns? Daniel had to bring his.

"I want to bring this!"
No, Daniel, we are not bringing toys into the zoo.
"But I want it!"
You don't even have the bubble solution, it's just the gun!
"But I want to bring air!"

I gave in. It wasn't worth it in the hot parking lot to argue with the kid. Turns out, he's way smarter than I am. As soon as it got piping hot in the zoo, he whipped out the bubble gun and used it as a fan to cool himself with. Ah-ha, so THAT's the air!

I confiscated it after saying, "Hey, what's that over there?"

The best part of the zoo for my kids is watching the chimps, although sometimes I wonder if the chimps are watching my kids thinking, What an interesting species. Don't knock on the glass, it will only excite them and who knows what they'll fling at us.

They love the fact that you can see the chimps' booties. They love the fact that the chimps smell their own feet. If these were the only two things that any animal would do for the rest of my childrens' lives, they would die happy. And probably smelly, because I'm pretty sure you pick up interesting odors at the zoo.

The second best part of the zoo is climbing on animal statues. It made up for Nat's disappointment that she could not climb over the fence to climb on the animals.

"Well, if we climb into where the zebras live, we'll have to stay really still."
No, Natalie. We are not making contingency plans for that.
"But, if we climbed over, which I know we're not allowed, we would have to either stand still like a statue or pet the zebra softly."
No, there is no "if"- you are just NEVER going to do that.
"BUT, if someone climbed over we would either have to stand still or ask the zebra if we can ride it!"

Have you wondered what the hell kind of person climbs into the pit with the tigers before being mauled? I have a feeling as a small child they sounded a lot like Nat.

They'll stick their heads into anything. Please don't let a lion open his mouth really wide after Nat scales the fence.

The weirdest thing I saw were white alligators. That's right, they are albino. There was someone there lamenting the fact that these poor animals wouldn't last very long in the wild because they can't hide with that bright skin.

Umm, that's okay with me. I've never met someone who said, "Gee, I wish there were more alligators in this world. And ants. And termites."

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, I was coveting the Heron's food at the same time I was laughing out loud.

    Food foam always makes me smile. But I smiled more thinking of Dan's version of bored milky mouth foam.

    I will have to try Heron's tasting menu. It smacks slightly of French Laundry.