But don't fret! There have been culinary happenings. First, my trip to Uwajimaya today was awesome, as usual. I went a little later than I normally do. Normally, I like to arrive right away. I get to park where I please, lolly-gag around the aisles, have my pick of the freshly cut meats and stocked produce. If they open at 9, I'm there at 9:01. This is probably some sort of obsessive thing that combines my dislike of crowds and my like of early mornings and determining my own schedule and pace. Plus, this is the time when the produce stocking is happening at island tempo and the older employees are happy to engage in conversation. I got a couple recipes last time from one guy. I still have to try those out: one for Brussels and one for parsley and steak! But today I was at the store at 11! Holy gangs of shoppers, Batman! Lots of people increase my human interaction, as well as the probability of me having a disagreeable encounter. Arg! So, most people at U are smiley and seemingly happy to be shopping there ... perhaps I'm projecting, but that's what it feels like. Today I ran into out-of-towners that made me grumpy! I could tell they were not from these parts because they cut off my shopping path (gasp) without an "excuse me" (bigger gasp), and when I made eye contact with the dad (there was a toddler in the cart), he looked immediately away, so I turned to the mom and smiled only to get a scowl. Wow. That's not what we do here. Show me those pearly whites and tap into your inner politeness. Woe is me; where can I go to feel safe and warm again? Why, the meat counter, of course.
I used to be afraid of butchers. I guess "intimidated" is more accurate. I guess I thought I should have a solid grasp of animal anatomy, know all my cuts, and be able to order while projecting meatly confidence. So I always went straight to the plastic-wrapped section. The plastic-wrapped section is great and all, but you are limited in your cuts and sizes. And sometimes you should see a big, dead slab of meat getting cut up. Plastic allows us to separate ourselves from the fact that, yes, that was an animal. And, yes, it was slaughtered for consumption. If people have to think that the slice of red all wrapped up grew on a tree, just like that, in order to feel okay about eating it, maybe they shouldn't eat it. Did I just get way off on a tangent? Yes. My fear of butchers .... Thanks to the Food Network and my cookbooks and magazines, I can now saunter right on up to my meat men and tell them what I'm making and what I think I want. The difference between then and now is certainly more knowledge about the animals I consume, but more importantly a recognition of the fact that butchers are the ones who know the animal backwards and forwards and are there to help a starry-eyed waif such as me. And, frankly, I find the butchers at U awesome in all their blood-splattered glory, cutting up God's creatures for our gustatory delight.
I got lamb shanks, by the way. More on that when I put them to use.
Second, I went out last night! Mommy had a night out with her girlfriend, Jackie (shout out!). We went to Quinn's, which is a newish (?) gastropub. Speaking of meat, this place believes in it! Jackie ordered lamb ribs and I got house-made linguica with lentils de puy. Holy moly! Dare I say Great? If you have not had lentils and sausage as a combo before, I highly recommend giving it a try - they are made for each other. And the lamb. Oh, the lamb. The spice rub definitely had cinnamon in it, and coffee, cloves, and a host of other things that reminded me of cookies and BBQ, somehow making sweet music together. I washed everything down with a Drink. I usually drink beer at these types of establishments, but I thought I would start with some liquor. I started and ended with it because it was a large glass and I am not accustomed. It was delicious: calvados, chartreuse, something else and a sugar rim. Thank you. I have been thinking about it ... wanting another one.
I still have to Yelp! this place. I'm torn, though. I want to go back again before I give it a grade. I was going to hit it with 5 stars, but think that I should sample more items. I also think my five might be unduly influenced by the enjoyment that went on at the table next to us. They ordered plate after plate and shouted things like: "Keep that coming!" and "More of that!" I think they kept a menu on the table for reference and rounds of gluttony. Juxtapose that to the table on our other side of two guys (on a date, I believe) who pretty much listened to us the whole night. I would have too! We talked about religion, books, family, marriage, kids, old friends, institutionalized racism, the suburbs. No sports.
So I didn't cook yesterday. I will be cooking tonight, however, so we should have some photos tomorrow. I kicked myself for not bringing my camera to Quinn's last night. I'm not ready to give away my blogging and Yelping identity quite yet, however.
Oven is beeping its readiness. Time to go.