I am blessed with an embarassment of riches when it comes to friends. I am going to Israel (TOMORROW!!!) with one of my best friends, Tanya. The state of California just sucked away two more of my best friends, Rachel and Jordan (and their delicious Ellen). We were able to go to La Belle Vie one more time with them before they left. It was delicious-- the restaurant of James Beard award-winning chef Tim McKee.
Patch has friends from elementary school that he still sees. He still plays hockey in the winters on Monday nights with a group of guys that he went to high school with. I don't have that luxury, living 1200 miles from home. I do, however, have Carolyn and Travis, who went to college with me (some of the best times of my LIFE). They are partially responsible for my move here, so I owe them a lot.
C's favorite restaurant is D'Amico Cucina, one of the best fine dining restaurants in town. When I heard they were closing, my first thought was of her. Travis wrangled reservations for us for dinner last night, with their favorite waiter Alex as our guide for the evening. Fitting, that my first time at this place was with Caro, and my last time would be as well.
OMG. I am still in a food coma. Somehow, I ended up with truffles and brown butter in all three of my courses. I had scallops with a truffle and brown butter sauce (they were so perfectly seared and yet tender), an egg yolk and ricotta raviolo in black truffle and brown butter sauce, and veal tenderloin sous vide (talk about melting in my mouth!) with... you guessed it, black truffle and brown butter. There was wine with all the courses, prosecco to start with, and a tasting flight of dessert wines with the last course (almond and frangipane crepes, chocolate pastries, and five phenomenal cheeses). Holy cow-- this place is going out with a bang! Alex was one of the best servers I have ever had. Great food suggestions, he paired all the wines (and actually didn't charge us, as they were a gift in recognition of what good customers Travis and Carolyn are), and was that perfect combination of accomodating without being obsequious. Loved him. Plus we closed that place down. Literally. It was 12:15 when we left. The staff was so nice-- I told them we'd happily wash our own dishes.
I did find out last night that in August, a new restaurant is opening, Osteria D'Amico (in a local hotel space currently occupied by a restaurant that has a famous star chef who is rarely if ever in the kitchen). I will be there waiting for Alex with bells on. And a bib.
And tomorrow, I leave for ISRAEL!! I am up at 6:30 this morning having gone to bed at 1 am. Why? I'm too excited to sleep! Busy day. Run one more errand, finish my travel and expense report, pack, get my nails done, stop by a party for some good friends of mine, back home for an early night's sleep-- Tanya is coming over after the kids are in bed and she'll spend the night here so we can leave for our 7 am flight together tomorrow. I feel this low-level hum of excitement in my tummy. I keep thinking there must be something I've forgotten to do... I always get this way before a big trip. I'll keep going over things in my head. There's no room for sleep anymore.