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Thursday, 24 April
Chewing Many Things, Including The Fat

Tonight a very generous friend treated us to a meal at a tapas joint called "The Harvest Vine." Being the worldly fellow I am, my first comment was, "So . . . what are tapas?" Of course, until recently, I thought "Hugo Boss" referred to one of the enemies to be defeated in Sonic the Hedgehog, so this is not very surprising. Delightfully, it turned out to mean "tiny plates of stuff," so that if you hated something, you just had to wait a couple minutes for it to be whisked away and replaced with something else. Which I did when we were presented with some sort of whitefish gruel cruelly jammed into roasted red peppers, all sitting ghoulishly on some sort of blood-paste. No thanks.

Everything else was, happily, fucking great, seriously great. We also charged through two bottles of excellent 1994 rioja, which didn't hurt our mood either, not even when an extremely pregnant woman at the next table got the vapors and had to be rushed out of there in an alarming hurry after a quick hot-cloth rubdown by the staff. She probably had the whitefish and peppers.

We started out with some paper-thin slices of cured pork loin, which was wonderful, despite the haunting awfulness of the word "loin." I think it's been spoiled by too many romance novels; whenever I encounter the word now, I inevitably imagine that I am eating hunks of Fabio's crotch. Then we dug into some otherworldly cheeses, two courtesy of sheep's milk and one of cow; I comforted myself with the idea that while we ate ritzy, mold-shot delicacies, somewhere baby farm animals went hungry. It's a wonder I can get out of bed in the morning.

Then came the deluge. Golden beets--again, surgically sliced--coated in a garlic vinaigrette and sprinkled with kosher salt. Lucifer's manicured toenails! They were incredibly good; knee-buckling in that mouthgasmic way where you sort of shit your mental pants. Green beans in some tomatoey hummina blummina sauce were almost as good, and then we scratched ourselves like luxuriating apes as more DELICIOUS DEAD PIG was served up to our maws--garlic pork sausage in some sort of fuck-you sauce. Ridiculous.

Because my imposing 150-lb. frame needed a rest, I skipped out on the aforementioned whitefish goo, and waited all of five minutes for the impossibly good scallops to come out. Perfectly prepared, they tasted like Artemis' nipples, provided you ignored the sort of rough-fucked caramelized onions they came served on. Up yours, onions! And finally, gorgeous duck breast slices (replete with bits of fat, of course) made an appearance, wearing a fetching reduction made from port, meat juices (read: blood), and possibly centaur musk. Jesus God.

Finally, the ladies opted for desserts, while I continued to swill the toe-curling wine and moaned softly into my collar. The ladies butchered the chocolate torte with wine-soaked cherries as well as the assortment of cookies with chocolate ganache, and our waitress, apparently either mistaking us for the Japanese Shogunate or simply appreciative of our culinary ranginess, poured us each a complimentary glass of really good port.

Tomorrow we'll probably have frozen pizza. I could just cry.


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Comments

Now...I'm hungry. Damn you Skot!

Comment number: 002882   Posted by: Jigzaw on April 25, 2003 01:00 AM from IP: 80.202.22.122

M.F.K. Fisher is convulsing with laughter in her grave.

mmmm port

Comment number: 002883   Posted by: anapestic on April 25, 2003 05:49 AM from IP: 216.181.58.90

Skot,

Have you ever considered a career as a restaurant critic. I'd much rather read about "rough-fucked onions" and "fuck-you sauce" than to fall asleep while reading about "a delightful salmon mousse, lightly dusted with ground pecans, served simply but elegantly on a plate that was manufactured, interestingly enough, by the college roommate of my great uncle's ex-wife. Suberb individual. I remember once...blahblahblah."

I think you've got a gift.

Comment number: 002884   Posted by: KOTWF on April 25, 2003 06:02 AM from IP: 65.194.133.218

I think comparing the scallops to Artemis' nipples was the master-stroke in this one.

Comment number: 002885   Posted by: Niq on April 25, 2003 06:34 AM from IP: 64.238.64.1

Am I the only person who noticed the part about the romance novels? "Too many", in fact? You mean somewhere there is a straight man who has read "too many" romance novels?
Sorry, got a little hung up on that. The rest of it was lovely. (yes, especially the Artemis' nipples thing.) And made me sad that I am eating a granola bar right now. Ugh.

Comment number: 002886   Posted by: abby on April 25, 2003 07:34 AM from IP: 4.43.240.145

I've always been a fan of Artemis' nipples.

Comment number: 002887   Posted by: Bet on April 25, 2003 09:09 AM from IP: 12.34.246.5

You mean somewhere there is a straight man who has read "too many" romance novels?

Uh, my phrasing in that line is kind of unfortunate. In reality, I only read porn.

Comment number: 002888   Posted by: Skot on April 25, 2003 10:06 AM from IP: 140.107.120.123

You mean somewhere there is a straight man who has read "too many" romance novels?

If "too many" can be taken to mean "1", then I fall under that description.

Comment number: 002889   Posted by: Chaz on April 25, 2003 10:46 AM from IP: 65.203.76.110

"gruel cruelly jammed into roasted red peppers, all sitting ghoulishly"
There's whole legions of AP English teachers opening veins over this sentence, I know it.

And "centaur musk" is truly a rarity. Devour it with gusto, little trooper!

Seriously, though, dim sum is to tapas what Starsky is to Hutch, figuratively speaking, meaning they each take turns driving and reaching around. That, and they're little plates of various goodness wheeled around for your delight. Find a Chinese restaurant (or what the natives peculiarly refer to as a "Chinese restaurant") nearby that serves it. Dine, enjoy. And they rarely have gruel, at least of the whitefish variety. Though stay the fuck away from the pickled jellyfish... it'll cause your balls to rot, no shit.

I like this, I cuss more on your site than on mine.

Comment number: 002890   Posted by: ColdForged on April 25, 2003 04:17 PM from IP: 198.143.236.131

Late as usual.

I just needed to mention Hank. He was a great teenage friend whose father had the misfortune to teach History to Brits.

Dead Pig will live with me forever. Over here we have 'Pork Scratchings' which are bits of dead pig skin, fried and seasoned and put into a small plastic bag. Delicious, actually. Henry was delighted and after only two or three pints would scream "DEAD PIG! I NEED DEAD PIG!"

He's a geologist, now. He studies Viking Teeth, too.

Comment number: 002891   Posted by: Sarah Byrne on April 29, 2003 03:41 PM from IP: 213.122.116.56

You just reminded me of Richard E. Grant in Withnail & I, screaming "I DEMAND BOOZE!"

This is a good thing.

Comment number: 002892   Posted by: Skot on April 29, 2003 03:54 PM from IP: 140.107.120.123

I'm still stuck on "fuck-you sauce". Thanks (no, really!) for making me laugh so hard that my almost-deaf downstairs neighbor pounded on the floor (his ceiling, of course) with some kind of blunt object.

:)

Comment number: 002893   Posted by: Tara on May 11, 2003 01:03 AM from IP: 12.228.140.178

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