Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mmmmmm, ice cream!

So my dear friend Sandy emailed me last week and asked if I would be home on Tuesday afternoon to accept a package that was time-sensitive. Um, I can be. What time and WHY? She wouldn't say, but I could tell she was just giddy about it. Turns out it wasn't quite sensitive enough that I couldn't go the gym early and then head home, which I did. I arrived home at 5:45 and found this styrofoam cooler on my doorstep:

Oooooooh, I've heard of this stuff!! Oprah loves it!!!

I carried it in and tore it open to find six delightful little pints of ice cream and sorbet inside, still frozen rock solid. Yippeeeeeee - guess what I'm having for dinner!

Man, how do you decide where to start?? Actually, it was easy. You start with the sorbet. Then move on to the GOOD stuff. (No offense to sorbet, which I do love. But c'mon, ice cream has CREAM. And FAT. And tastes sooooooo yummy.)

First up:

This was amazing sorbet - creamy tasting and bursting with sweet raspberry flavor.

Next up:

Oooooh, so refreshing! Light lemony flavor with just the right amount of tart to give it that bite that I love from lemons.

And now for the good stuff:

This one I was a little hesitant about, given my aversion to fruit mixed with chocolate. Sue me, but I think chocolate should be pure and unadulterated. Unless it's mixed with a nut flavor, then it's OK.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was! The black raspberry flavor was really rich, and holy smokes - there are some huge chunks of chocolate in there!

Next up:

I have never been a huge peanut butter fan, with the exception of Reese's Peanut Butter cups, although I am learning to like it more and more. Wow, another pleasant surprise! The peanut butter flavor is distinct without being overpowering, and again with the huge chunks of chocolate. Can't beat that.

The first of the two I was really looking forward to trying:

Mmmm, chocolate and almond - two of my favorite flavors. The only thing better than either of them individually is the two flavors combined. This did not even come close to disappointing - I could have easily eaten the whole pint in one sitting. DIVINE.

And finally, the piece de resistance. Turns out I really did save the best for last!

O. M. Gaaaaaaawd. This was INCREDIBLE. I love coconut, and there are actually big chewy flakes of coconut in this, not just fake imitation coconut flavoring (I'm sure there's that too). I couldn't actually stop at just one small spoonful of this stuff like I did the others. I had two heaping spoonfuls and savored every last calorie. Good thing Che doesn't love coconut - this one is all mine! And will be gone by the weekend, I'm sure. Thanks, Sandy - you are the BEST.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Where The Wild Things Are

Most people who know Che well know that he is a HUGE fan of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. It's his favorite childhood book, and he still worships Max and company. Back in 2000, Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn) collaborated with Sendak and released these action figures of Max and company:

I promptly bought up the whole set on eBay for Che for Christmas that year, and they've been a favorite of his ever since. He was loathe to remove them from their never-opened packaging, but he really wanted to display them, and I'm glad he did. They were on display in our house in Austin but they've been in a box since we moved here, although he plans to dig them out this weekend and put them back out. Each figure, except for Max and Goat Boy, is about 6" tall, so the whole scene does take up a bit of room. I think they're going in our "game room" (aka dining room, which is occupied by a pool table - sigh).

In any event, my dear friend Emily, who apparently paid attention when she visited us in Austin (and has probably been around Che when he's been wearing his favorite Max and company t-shirt), sent us these wonderful nesting dolls from Russia for Christmas:

Che's eyes lit up like a little kid's when he saw them. The pictures don't do them justice, but they are fabulous. The artist that painted them is so incredibly talented - they are a spot on replica of Max and his friends. And just for fun, I took a close-up of each of the dolls.

Tzippy and Moishe:

Max and Bernard:



And my favorite, Max sailing in his boat:

Em, if you're reading this, thanks again - you rock.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve is generally a pretty quiet evening for us. Last night, we joined friends (who happen to be my bosses) for dinner at Furio. They were doing a special prix fixe menu for NYE, which turned out to be fabulous. I wish I had thought to bring my camera so I could have taken photos of the meal. Bummer.

In any event, the meal consisted of five courses. We had our choice of two items for most of the courses; for the main course, we had our choice of four. First course for most of us was the Peppercorn and Herb Crusted Ahi with a Potato-Leek Cake. The ahi was seared a little better than rare, which is not my favorite, and the peppercorn was a bit overpowering for me, but everyone else loved it. I did, however, savor the potato-leek cake, which was excellent. While we were enjoying our ahi, Dave was enjoying his Baked Oysters with Lemon and Olive Oil Drizzle.

Second course for me was the Baratta Cheese Pizzette with Baked Plum Tomatoes and Baby Greens. Excellent, my favorite course of the night. I'm not familiar with Baratta cheese, but it reminded me of a rich, fresh buffalo mozzarella melted atop the tiny pizza. YUM. The rest of the group ordered the Kobe Beef Carpaccio with Baby Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad. Che especially loved it, but raw red meat is not my thing.

The next course for three of us was the Tomato and Dungeness Crab Bisque with a Petite Candied Pancetta and Tuscan Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The bisque was a little bit of a disappointment for me (not enough for me not to lick the bowl clean, but not the rich creamy bisque I had imagined it would be), but the tiny little sandwich was to die for. Julie must have loved the three Saffron and Shrimp Tortellini with Roasted Garlic and Gorgonzola Sauce, because her plate was clean before I even started to eat my soup and sandwich.

For three of us, the main course was Vanilla Poached Maine Lobster with Artichoke Au Gratin and Grilled Asparagus. The presentation was adorable - all of the lobster meat had been removed from the shells but arranged with the empty tail and head shells to look like a whole lobster on the plate. The lobster was buttery and sweet, with just a hint of vanilla, which was a nice contrast to the sharpness of the marinated artichokes in the au gratin. Che, of course, went with the red meat option: Filet Mignon with Braised Cabbage and Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes. I had a taste of his smoked gouda potatoes, which were sooo delicious. His steak was cooked to medium rare perfection.

Finally, dessert. I was the only one who chose the Ricotta Blini Strawberry Shortcake. Not really knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. The blini were these silver-dollar sized pancakes sandwiched with layers of a ricotta strawberry cheesecake-like filling. Yum. The rest of the group, being the chocoholics they are, ordered the Chocolate Bomb with Caramel Mousse, which was a huge serving of rich creamy caramel mousse served in a bowl made of dark chocolate, topped with fresh berries. I had a bite and while it was very good, it was much too rich for me. Che and Dave cleaned their plates and then finished off what was left of Julie's, after she ate off the fruit.

After dinner, we shared a champagne toast to what I hope will be a wonderful 2008.