Gustatory lows and highs

I decided I wanted chicken palak (an Indian spinach dish I grew to love while I was in Yemen) while I was in the gym on sat. This had been an ongoing wish from me, I had been looking at various recipes for a while. So I stopped by the store on the way home to pick up the ingrediants. Got home and realized that I had forgotten the onions and garlic. DOH! It was too late to go back to the store and have any chance of eating it for dinner.

So the next morning I went to the store, got the rest of the ingredients, and set about making it. The sauce looked good out of the blender, but I could never get it to taste right. Not only that, I couldn’t get it to the point that I wanted to eat it… I think the problem was that I was way out of my depth using spices like that. If I were cooking pork chops, I’d have a pretty good idea of what is going to work and what isn’t. Combinations of cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, red and green chilies, cardamon, and ginger? Not so much… I’ve bookmarked an Indian cooking cookbook for rank amateurs on my Amazon wish list that I will get after the holidays. I need some real guidance before I try tackling that again…

Later that night, Dad, Butler, and myself went down to VA Beach to go see Nathan. He had picked out a restaurant that he had wanted to try for a while called The Terrapin. I ordered a salad, and when I got it, I said, “OK, here we go…” It was the classic teeny-weeny thing that looked nice, but on first sight looked silly because it was so small. Well, it was tasty, and Nathan’s appetizer of their fancy mac and cheese made me hopeful. The entrees were hits for all of us. They all had some sort of fish dish, I got a chicken thing. They were all decently sized and cooked to perfection. For dessert, I had a sampling of three freshly made ice creams and sorbet. Their berry sorbet was amazing….

I don’t usually drink alcohol, but I do have a weakness for Cognac. I might have one for brandies in general, but so far I have only sampled some cognacs… Luckily for me, I only crave them after a really good meal, and last night was one of those times.

I ordered a Remy Maitrtin VSOP. Oddly, the waiter asked me if I wanted it on the rocks. Huh? Do people really do that? What a waste that would be.. Anyway, one of the delights of drinking that stuff is smelling it. We’ve all seen the brandy snifters, the proper technique (as far as I can tell) is to hold the glass in your palm to warm it and swirl it around in order to get the most out of the olfactory experience. This was the first time that I had been given a slightly warm glass, I put my nose down to smell and WHOOOSH! It was like huffing Cognac… Quite a bit more intense than I was bargaining for. I’m not saying it was unpleasant, but wow…

Anyway, it was a nice ending to a great meal. As badly as my day started off food-wise, it ended that well. Great company and great food is as good a way to end an evening as I can think of.

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