New Year’s Eve

January 5th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

HG has never enjoyed this traditional party event. Too noisy, too drunken — too anxious in the pursuit of joy with “partyers” grimly determined to have a good time. This New Year’s Eve was different. HG had a glorious time. A group of delightful friends and neighbors joined HG/BSK. Roaring blaze in the fireplace, Yo Yo Ma on the Bose. Many candles. The Celebrants: Polly B. and David F. (Polly B. is a brilliant photographer and David F. is an eminent educator,historian, novelist. Karen K is a movie producer,film maker, gardener,agriculturist (She supplies HG/BSK with phenomenal eggs). She is also a supreme maker of desserts (HG has labeled her The Dessert Queen). Rounding out the party was Chris, Polly’s daughter who resembles her Mom. Funny. Pretty. And, of course, there was Bob C, HG’s friend of some 30 years. Bob had a long career as a reporter, editor, publisher, columnist. And, for a while, was the media counselor for a United States Senator from Colorado. The group did some festive dining. Tomato and Anchovy butter bruschetta. Prosciutto di Parma with Piquillo peppers. Rigatoni with Bolognese Ragu (Marcella Hazan’s version). Green salad. Italian truffle cheese. Karen K.’s dessert: lush rum cake with whipped cream. HG added splash of rum to his portion. Five bottles of very good red wine were consumed plus some after dinner Sambuca. During the jolly evening, HG gently berated Bob C.. Bob C. is a delightful writer on many subjects: His Abiquiu, N.M. neighborhood; horses, dogs, politics. New Mexican government skullduggery., etc.. He writes about these things on his blog: oldgringosgazette.com. He has been desultory of late. He promised HG he would mend his ways. Voila !!! A new, sparking blog entry appeared New Year’s Day. HG followers: Read Bob’s blog and add to your stockpile of pleasure.

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Beautiful Broccoli

January 4th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

There’s a famous New Yorker Magazine cartoon of the 1930’s. Mother and young daughter seated at dining table. Mother: “It’s broccoli, dear.” Daughter: “I says it’s spinach. And, I say the hell with it.” The senior President Bush also expressed disdain for broccoli. Why? If treated respectfully, it is a queenly vegetable (nutritious, too). Broccoli (also Brussels sprouts) can be a horror when cooked into mush in the old fashioned English style. Little SJ, a fledgling gourmand, once complained that his friend’s Mom served “mushy broccoli.” Among BSK’s manifold talents is the ability to do justice to broccoli. BSK makes the ultimate penne with broccoli sauce. Rivals the penne with broccoli once served at the long closed (sigh!) Delsomma Restaurant in New York’s theater district. BSK always manages to find very fresh organic heads of broccoli. Stir fries the florets with sesame oil, garlic and ginger as part of a Chinese meal; with garlic and olive oil for Italian eating; steamed to accompany fish. Roasts broccoli in the oven French bistro style. All splendid. Purees broccoli with a variety of greens and herbs to make a fabulous “green” soup. Good hot or cold. HG often tops a bowl with some Greek yogurt dusted with a bit of cayenne. The dash of fiery spice makes it sing.

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The Men’s

January 2nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The door is marked “MEN” (sometimes “GENTLEMEN”). It is the sign of the men’s bathroom, an essential facility in any restaurant (or any other public area, for that matter). Since HG has become an old guy, the presence of a bathroom has become a matter of necessity. Men’s bathrooms vary in quality from sumptuous to vile. In HG’s younger days, better restaurants had bathrooms staffed by courteous attendants who handed visitors towels and soap. There was a bowl for tips. The Algonquin Hotel had a very distinguished attendant and the luxurious bathroom that served the Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel had an attendant with the manners and bearing of a European aristocrat. (HG once shared a visit to the Oak Room bathroom with movie star Cary Grant, a paragon of style and elegance). French bathrooms vary in quality from stylish to serviceable to disgusting (“Turkish” toilets that are holes in the floor). The quality of food served in a restaurant cannot always be judged by the quality of its bathroom. Most New York Chinatown bathrooms are deplorable while the food is splendid. Bathroom attendants maintained anonymity. The exception was the bathroom attendant at New York’s long demolished Polo Grounds, the stadium in north Harlem that once housed the New York football and baseball Giants. The old African-American gent in charge of the men’s room would chant: “No matter how you shake and dance, the last drop always falls in your pants.” He added: “After you’ve had your little pee, don’t forget to remember me. Old Sam”. He was always tipped.

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Be It Ever So Humble

January 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

After being absent for more than five weeks, HG/BSK are back in their New Mexico home. Toby, The Wonder Dog, was glad to see his pals but resentful about his long abandonment. Needed the reassurance of sleeping all night atop HG/BSK’s bed. Happily, the frisky fellow is now back to normal. Landing in Albuquerque, HG/BKk faced a ferocious snowstorm and road closures. Spent the night in a Holiday Inn. Good bed, shower, internet. HG/BSK are getting back in the Land of Enchantment rhythms. Wonderful pork chops dinner. A roast spatchcocked chicken in the offing. HG (knock wood) seems to have recovered from his pneumonia bouts and is off antibiotics. This means a return to alcohol (BSK says it’s a mixed blessing).

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