There is something very freeing about planning things on the fly. Megan arrived back in town Sunday morning from a trip to Florida with her mom. We zipped over to Costco, picked up what we needed for dinner that night, and drove back home at a leisurely pace. Once home, we lazily sipped cocktails, sampled victuals, and prepared the evening feast.
Not having set plans kind of gives you a little freedom from expectation. If you do not know what you are going to make, it keeps your menu simple by necessity. The more complex a meal, the more planning is required. Without advanced planning, you generally don’t have a lot of things on hand to compliment a complicated and varied menu.
We focused instead on catching up with each other after Megan’s short absence. Rene and Cara got home at reasonable hours, respectively, and, sitting in the backyard, swinging in hammocks, drinks in hand, listening to the birds, with the baby frolicking with the dogs, we all enjoyed a sleepy Sunday afternoon that languidly crept into evening.
Megan came back with tales of women of a certain age, shopping in Neiman Marcus, with their dogs. And not, like, dogs in a handbag. Not dogs under their arms. Like, Afghans, and Dalmatians, and … giraffes. Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, there are women who walk their dogs … in strollers. Not baby strollers. No. Dog strollers. Strollers made – especially – for dogs. Now, I have never heard of this is my life, so I can only imagine that it is a phenomenon that is fairly indigenous to places like Fort Lauderdale and Beverly Hills, but if this is a common thing in the States, what in Hades is next? I mean, I have enough of a hard time with children on leashes! Dogs in strollers? No wonder people in other countries cock their eyebrows at us …
Though, it would make for a great prank on exchange students.
You: “See, Milosh? Here, dogs are revered as Gods. In fact, that’s where we get the name for leftovers in restaurants.”
Milosh: “Please to tell Milosh.”
You: “Oh … they are called Goddie bags and you must give them to your Dog-God the minute you get home, or your wife will go to hell.”
Milosh: (with spiritual angst, shacking with rage) “In my country, they would for killing you of that.”
You: “Yeah, well …”
(Woman walks by with dog in stroller. You fall down on the ground, prostrate and whimpering. Milosh starts to cry.)
In her travels to the land of the Blue Hair (aka, Fort Lauderdale), Megan also found a store that she seemed to take a liking to. I have to admit, it sounded a little exotic for my tastes, and I’m not sure it’s a store that will catch on, especially not with women and gay couples. They call it Williams-Sonoma, and if it makes it, I will be surprised.
From this purveyor of house wares and fashion items, Megan returned with something that will no doubt become a welcome addition to our kitchens. It is a sleeve containing four tins, each filled with dry rub seasoning, one more delicious-sounding than the last.
On the menu: Dry-rubbed Salmon, Ranch Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Veggies
Salmon is such a fun thing to eat. Especially when you let the Potlash Dry Rub that Megan brought back with her absorb into the salmon for thirty minutes beforehand. With a dry rub, you really don’t need to do too much work, since the rub itself gets into the meat, fish, or poultry on its own. It affords you more time to take it easy, and enjoy a glass of wine.
A tip about grilling salmon: If you don’t make the grill hot enough, you’ll completely fuck up your fish. Just sayin’. Make sure the grill is clean, too. There is nothing worse than salmon with burnt steak on the bottom.
The chicken is a fun recipe. Put the chicken in a bowl. Pour ranch dressing all over it. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and smoosh all the ingredients together. Let it sit for a few hours and grill it as normal.
While the chicken and the salmon were sitting, eyeing each other suspiciously, we sipped the first wine of the evening.
Wine: Shaya, Verdejo, Old Wines White Wine, Spain, 2009, $169.95 MXN
The most astute assessment of this wine was made by Cara: “It tastes exactly like white wine.” And it does. And nothing else. It also gives you the wine look. You sort of squish up your features like someone snuck a lemon into your face.
Going in, we kind of thought this wine might be a stinker. Why did we buy it? The label, of course! The pretty label that made me think of parties my cool relatives used to throw, when they were in their thirties, and people would do the neutron dance in their living room.
We must doff our caps to their marketing, however. Pretty bottle, even prettier description of the train wreck found inside.
“As a morning mist disperses across the undulating countryside the Shaya deer emerge from the surrounding pine forest to forage. The gnarled vineyards planted a very long time ago in the sandy riverstone soil produce the finest Verdejo in Rueda. There is a distinct minerality in these wines which compliment the abundance of fruit flavours.”
Amazing. Really something. I especially like “a very long time ago” as a unit of measure. I also like the use of “riverstone” and “minerality” as words. Also, I like how the deer forage. You can almost taste them foraging in each glass of this cheeky little selection. Perhaps it is the deer one can taste that makes one’s face look like a deer’s ass after each sip.
Dinner was great. In between dinner and returning to the backyard where we enjoyed a few more glasses of wine and conversation, I checked my email. I got a message from a friend with whom I haven’t spoken in a long time. He caught me up a little, and mentioned TSB. Specifically, he mentioned how impressed he was that I could afford $269 bottles of chardonnay.
It was my mistake. I forgot to include the MXN affixation letting you know that the price was in pesos. While I would love to review a $269 bottle of anything, those days are not yet upon us.
Wine: Nobilo Regional Collection, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2008
Rating: One-and-a-half Bottles
Fruity and crisp, this wine was a huge improvement over the last bottle. But, unlike the Kim Crawford from last week, this wine lacked character. Not amazing, not terrible. Dry and pleasant, but like a kiss from a girl at a bar hours before last call, forgettable.
That said, sitting under the stars, listening to the night music, the trees rustling, the water dancing in the fish pond, it was acceptable.
Next week, we are hosting a guest. A friend of ours, Briar, invited herself and we graciously accepted. She will be bringing a surprise bottle and we will continue our search of a fine bottle of white wine. On the menu? Mystery!!