Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Friday Five

The Excuse

Well, I had intended to post on 20Nov, but had just returned home from PDC and didn’t even crack open my laptop. Then of course last week was a week off, and I’m generally terrible at posting when I’m at home.

The Weeks

As I mentioned above I spent last week at PDC in Los Angeles, CA. In case I haven’t mentioned this to you before, I hate Los Angeles. Loathe. I hate it…so much… I-it-it-flame-flames..on the side of my face…breathing…breathle-heaving breaths…heaving….

Alas, not every conference can be in Gold Coast, Australia. What is nice, though, is being able to see new technologies, old friends, and, since I was in LA, The Standard. But beyond that, it was yet another conference; a good conference, but still another conference.

That was just the beginning to a couple of busy weeks. Friday when I got home involved running around town and getting things ready for our somethingth-annual PreThanksgiving dinner, which was on Saturday[1]. If you’re new to the blog, PreThanksgiving dinner is a chance to celebrate the holiday season (and in particular Thanksgiving) with local friends and family before everyone goes running off to spend it with their real family. The event takes quite a bit of work, most of it done by Karin, who does all the shopping, and Abram, who’s the kitchen bitch. I just show up to get the glory. This year we had a record 15 people attend. If I do say so myself, I believe this was the best year food wise.

As I’m sure this is the way the Pilgrims and Indians would have celebrated Thanksgiving if they could have, Abram and I went to Vegas for a guys “weekend” on Monday-Wednesday. I can confirm that a good time was had by all, but my lawyer has advised me to say nothing else.

Thanksgiving day was a very traditional dinner – steaks, with a salad and twice backed potatoes. Friday saw a dinner over at Jumbo’s as his family was in town. It also happened to be the birthday of yours truly – yes, I’m now 37.

At this point I’m probably supposed to wax poetic about my approaching 40, but as of this moment the only thing that upsets me about turning 40 is the fact that my 30’s have been so fun. I’ve loved being 30, and I’m interested to see what 40 will bring in 3 short years.[2]

The Exercise

Conference week and vacation. Yeah, like that was going to happen.

The Restaurant

My friend Susan, a fellow MCT, and I are both foodies and we wanted to find a great restaurant to visit in Los Angeles. We settled upon Providence, which is in Mid Wilshire (for whatever that means). We decided to go with the tasting menu, which is a nine course meal complete with wine pairings. The entire experience was fantastic from start to finish.

We started off with an aperitif that was the essence of three different drinks, including a mojito and a gin and tonic; two of them were essentially solidified jello balls with a liquid center that just exploded in your mouth. From there the menu meandered around to different items, including sea urchin in a soft boiled egg, veal, and salmon (which I loved even though I generally can’t stand cooked salmon). In fact, come to think of it, I can’t think of anything outside of the cheese course that I didn’t like.

The wine selection was fantastic. Each wine was introduced before the associated course. My favorite description from the sommelier was the use of the word “funk” to describe the flavor one of the grapes used for the sparkling wine added to it. Gotta love a sommelier that’s willing to use the word “funk” to describe a wine.

If you’re in the area, and you’re willing to drop a good amount of coin for a fantastic dinner, you have to check this place out.

The Travel Note

For the last year and a half I’ve had a Samsonite roller bag that’s served me very well. Unfortunately, it’s served me too well; both handles on the zippers have broken off. This leaves me in the market for a roller bag that can be used as a carryon. If you have a recommendation, I’d love to hear it.

The Five

I’m in a great restaurant kind of mood, so here’s my five favorite restaurants broken down by type[3]:

  1. Favorite high-end restaurant: Providence. See above.
  2. Favorite non-standard restaurant: Elemental, Seattle, WA. You’re doing the tasting menu – you essentially have no choice. The place is tiny – it’s like you’re in someone’s dining room. But you’ll have a fantastic meal.
  3. Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Parkhouse Eatery, San Diego, CA. One of my favorite brunches in town, and a relatively affordable and delicious dinner. And in this case you are in fact in someone’s house; granted a converted house, but a house nonetheless.
  4. Favorite seafood restaurant: Oyster Catcher, Tampa, FL. I think I may have mentioned this place just a couple of times, but I do love this place.
  5. Favorite place to gorge on enough meat to be stalked by PETA: Churrascaria Plataforma, Manhattan, NY. If you’ve never done a Brazilian steakhouse, the basic concept is this: start with a huge buffet. Then when you’ve had your fill of that, flip that little red disk next to you to green and prepare to be bombarded with guys with skewers of all types of meat. Back to red to slow down and digest, then lather, rinse repeat. Of the few that I’ve been to, Churrascaria Plataforma is by far the best.

[1] I will get the couple of pictures I took up later.
[2] I reserve the right to change my mind in the future.
[3] Completely arbitrary types

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