Thursday, January 5, 2012

last of '11, first of '12

Let me preface this post by saying that my computer had a little meltdown so I am borrowing my mother's Mac and as we all know Macs are lovely and flashy but are a huge pain to use if you are blogging. So I'm using Blogger's photo editing window... which we all know is terrible.

In happier news, Happy New Year!

Based on my delightful and delicious last day of 2011 and my equally delightful and delicious first day of 2012, it will be a good one.

Maya, a blog friend who turned into a real friend, pointed out correctly that it had been far too long since we hung out. We remedied that by meeting up at The Pure Pasty, a Yelp discovery that turned out to be lovely.

Even more lovely, however, was the weather! So we hop skipped and jump half a block to the W and OD trail for an al fresco lunch. By an adorable artful tree!

It was appropriate that we dined at a pasty establishment since Maya was imminently departing to the land of pasties- merry old England! The Pure Pasty struck my fancy because they bragged of ethical meats, and a seasonal menu focused on local ingredients. And they were right affordable! Love!

Neither Maya nor I was all that hungry (Christmas cookies much?) so we split a coupla things.

When I asked the lady behind the counter what the butternut squash soup was like (curry-y? cream-y? broth-y? smooth? chunky?), she said "I'll just give you a sample and then you'll know.

One spoonful was enough where we were both like "Yeah, that!" It didn't taste all that anything-y, except butternut-y. It thoroughly celebrated the wonderful and seasonal veggie :D

As Maya is a vegetarian (and this option sounded delicious), we split the veggie-stuffed pasty. WOW it was good. My sister (who, hilariously, had been to this place and swore up and down she had repeatedly recommended it to me, which I apparently totally forgot), said they are plenty buttery, and they are!

But the filling was a meltingly tender mixture of seasonal veggies, perfectly season. And the crust tasted like SOURDOUGH. How did they make a simultaneously sourdough and flaky crust? Wonders never cease :D

Maya and I then proceeded to walk and talk on the trail... for oh, 2 and a half hours. More than 5 and a half miles. Yknow.

Clearly, we were overdue :D It was GREAT. Quality girl talk is fun (and sometimes I feel like an old washed-up lady being in a happy relationship and all. So it's fun to hear gossip from another!)

Oh, inexplicably there was a Great Harvest right by the pasty place. So that was an obvious choice. By which I mean... we walked in and got our free bread (mmmm obviously we both got pumpkin!)

And then, as ever, appalled by the prices, I went "Err... can I just get a coffee?"

Steve and I had ambitious plans to go out for New Years, and I had a totally fierce new purse from my cousin that I am not sure I am ferocious enough to pull off (it is made out of an old RAF cap on a metal chain, if that gives you at all an awesome image. Because it is. Thoroughly, thoroughly awesome).

But we just get so looooonesome without each other and he'd been gone for a whole week and we really just wanted to hang out with each other :D Plus he made me a gorgeous, gorgeous dinner including this absolutely stunning salad.

In addition to baked sweet potatoes, kale, and brussels sprouts I have also converted the boy to salad.
And I think the student has become the teacher, cause GORGEOUS!

But the star attraction was all Steve.

Seafood pasta in CREAM SAUCE! Yeah baby, that's a PINT of heavy cream!

But ohhhhh my word that was the least of it (though quite delicious).
Start with toothsome, perfectly al dente whole wheat pasta.
Seafood, ethically sourced (he went to Whole Foods to make me happy! Well and himself too, of course). Shrimp and THE BEST SCALLOPS I HAVE EVER TASTED. I know these photos are not the best and context is off but some of them approached the size of a clementine. And SO FAT. And SO TENDER. And SO FLAVORFUL, imbuing all the sauce with their taste of the sea. And so so so so so perfectly cooked my man is good, guys.
Throw in some thoroughly zingy seasoning (red pepper flakes and Cajun spice oomph), sprinkle on MORE than a little cheese... an absolute delight. He is good.

And of course, everything tastes better when washed down wiiiiiith...

Unlike last year's thoroughly amusing martini concoctions, Steve consulted the expertise of this book that a friend gave him:

And this was serious business. Steve made the sangria in a mega-vat and then used those impressively toned arms to give it a thorough shake.

And to further class it up, there were orange juice ice cubes! Melting did not equal watering down, melting equaled FLAVOR!

The table was laid and was thoroughly beautiful.

The pasta (in Steve's classy new pan that doesn't look dangerous to operate! Steve also got new non-paring knives for Christmas! God bless you, Steve's relatives, for making cooking at my boyfriend's place much more pleasant). It released a heavenly aroma.

My plate, impressively plant centric thanks to the green salad AND a delightful Caprese salad AND perfectly roasted, crisp-tender asparagus.

And then it was 2012! And I was hungry. And thirsty.

I read about Busboys and Poets holding a pajama brunch and that was my cup of tea!

And then I got a cup of tea.

Super cool. And YUMMY.

Busboys was PACKED, as other people (who looked more hungover than we!) decided brunch was a great idea.

But I was disappointed how few wore pajamas (though admittedly, I did not, and would have felt sort of awkward).

The waiters did, which I captured sort of blurrily.

I think Steve's order should be a regular menu item at Busboys and Poets. He came up for a great title for it!

The Hypocrite: a veggie burger. With bacon and egg on top.

I had a bite (and more than a few of those sweet potato fries!) It was pretty boss.

But I was very content to eat my (well okay like 1 3/4 out of three of my) buckwheat pancakes. I started the new year with fruit and whole grains. This feels like an accomplishment.


Mandy B. said...

Happy New Year, Ileana! :) Glad to see you've been such a good influence on my cousin! Seriously, ask him about the one time when we were little and he put squeeze butter on EVERYTHING, and you'll see how far you've taken him. I'm also pretty sure the "hypocritical" ordering is in their DNA, as my dad often orders veggie omelettes with bacon ;)

Kudos to all your work on the blog. It looks AMAZING! I'll have to visit more often. Hope to see you in 2012!

marie said...

Lots and lots of good eats. When I was a waitress I always gave samples if someone seemed unsure of something (and I had time). I gave lots of samples of wine, why not?

How was that chocolate tea? It looks super fancy. I am trying to get into tea more but hot chocolate keeps calling my name.

Maya said...

Speaking of that gossip, the creepily kind of like Steve guy I haven't heard from [yet?]. The art school kid is as confusing as ever.


I have a feeling that the gossip mill won't cease next time we see each other! Which will be soon! I have to finally cook for you!

Looks like you and Steve had an adorable New Year's, you lovebirds!

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

Ileana, you look crazy-attractive with the purse Kate made for you. It gives you a confident-euro-swagger that is very alluring.

Anyway, happy 2012! "The year where anything can happen."

MelindaRD said...

I so want that seafood pasta now! It is dinner time here and I am so hungry and I am just waiting on my hubby to get home from the gym. I agree blogging on the Mac is a pain. I use Mars Edit so at least I have some way to blog off line and upload to the internet later, which helps me when I am traveling, and 2012 will have a lot of traveling for me.