Guess who DOY is? :)
- me: if unicorns existed, what would they eat?
- doy: ...dosas.
I met a friend for dinner last night at Paladar, a busy and colorful Latin restaurant in the newly booming Annapolis Town Center area.
Lori and I have been friends since first grade and we have watched each other grow through all sorts of adventures - difficult high school years, rebellious college years and our own brave attempts at adulthood which for Lori has meant a beautiful marriage and two equally beautiful babies.
Like typical girls we talked about boys and diets and fashion and like almost-grown-ups we reviewed budgets and career choices and five year plans.
All talk stopped though when dessert arrived. Lori says that she tries bread pudding wherever she goes and I totally appreciate that dedication to food. Another reason we are friends!
This bread pudding was delicate and rich at the same time, so creamy that the taste and texture reminded me a lot of a tres leches cake. Topped with a little of that caramel sauce and the bread pudding made it pretty close to the top of my dessert list! I’m so glad Lori suggested it but really isn’t that what friends are for?
Here’s to decades and decades of bread pudding dates to come!
Thanks to my sister and bro-in-law I took my first ever cooking class at Sur La Table in Pentagon City and let me tell you friends, I had a great time. Our class was made up of a lot of people just like me - broke folks who got gift certificates for the holidays.
Our chef instructor Wendi was a cook for many years in a few Chicago restaurants and then the Inn at Little Washington. She now runs the cooking school at Sur La Table which she says is plenty fun because she can choose the menu for each class based on what she wants to eat. I can dig it.
Wendi apparently felt like eating Chinese food for the Lunar New Year and so she created an ambitious menu of hot and sour soup, pork egg rolls, crispy duck eaten with our own pancakes and for dessert, drunken fig sesame balls fried to the pretty golden brown you see above. I always wanted to know how to make those!
I enjoyed everything about the class but next time plan to take one with a friend so I can lean over and tell them how delicious the egg rolls are or that the sesame balls are losing their seeds in the hot oil.
Good times all around. Special thanks goes out to my benefactors!
One day I will write a story about my mom, my gandang da nanay. She will be the heroine I know in real life, unfailingly beautiful, strong willed, neat. In the story, like in life, she will be the woman who determined at 50, she wanted to learn to ride a bike by the ocean where tide meets land.
What is that saying about teaching a man to fish so he will never be hungry? Whatever the quote, my mom has taught me so much about life - how to plan ahead, how to pinch a penny, how to dress, how to keep it classy.
Mom lost her own mother at a young age and she took all those years of having without and gave my sister and I all the best of what she never had. I get happy tears when I think of my mom as a teenager in the Philippines, young and full of dreams for herself. Tomorrow we celebrate her birthday, 60 years of a life so full of all of the dreams she’s ever had come true and a celebration of all the other dreams that are yet to be fulfilled.
A few weeks ago I rode my bike with my mom down a long stretch of beach in South Carolina. She was smiling and she told me how she was at that very moment, living her dream, “Gandang da baby, this is too much fun,” she said, pedaling faster and faster ahead of me before I could tell her that I agreed.
Do you know how to mend a broken heart?
Start with a dark restaurant. Order a bottle of wine. I suggest a crisp, lightly fruity pinot grigio for simplicity sake.
Take a sip.
Order a duck flatbread where the duck melts on your tongue before you can say, “Tell me everything.”
Order the brie croquettes, which the cute waitress who might also have a broken heart will say: “It’s like a grown up mozzarella stick.” And she will be right.
Pretend you won’t order dessert.
Talk even more and then make the crucial decision of ordering the strawberry shortcake like the one seen above. She will need the delicate sweetness on her tongue to take home with her.
Pay the bill. The numbers there don’t matter in light of the situation.
At the end of the night touch her arm so she knows the night could be repeated if necessary or even just because.
I did this tonight with a girlfriend of mine at Twisted Vines (@twistedVines) on Columbia Pike in South Arlington. I can’t say she left mended but we tried and we’ll keep trying till we get there.
I love the memories that come with Kam Yen Jan. I saw this on the shelves of my local Filipino store and immediately I thought of my cousin Matthew as a child, sitting at my aunt’s dinner table, legs not touching the ground, asking for “Rice and red sausage,please.”
I think of babysitting him on warm summer nights and watching cartoons and Home Alone over and over. I think of him crying when I had to leave that summer to start 8th grade. I think of the man he is now- silly, strong, wise. I think of what he will be sooner than we’re ready - college grad, husband, father. Amazing the memories that come with msg laden pork sausage, amazing the trips that our foods take with us.