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The Church of England vs. Man U.

There is nothing worse than making a beautiful dinner that everyone enjoys only to have it go undocumented.  Oh, I will write about it, you will read all about it, but you will be deprived of the photos, my friends.  Why?  Because Megan is jealous.  You’ll see.

Megan and Rene have left for London to see Rene’s uncle ordained as an Anglican minister.  (Hey: I have a blog with a readership in the dozen, but you don’t hear me bragging.  What’s that, you ask?  Who’s bragging?  Well, not Rene’s sequestered uncle, I can tell you that.  All right: No one’s bragging.  Leave me alone.)  They left Monday morning, so Sunday, for them, was all about packing.  As with most couples, it is the women-folk who care about what goes into suitcases.  We men-folk simply arrive with magically filled valises, ready for whatever this vacation brings us.  Bring it on, world!  I got my suitcase packed with almost no effort (by me).  I am a man, dammit!  Let’s see what you got!)  So, Megan was understandably unavailable for the dinner preparations.  It was up to me to feed the troops, and my plan was a simple one: make a kick-ass dinner that would make anyone rue the day they ever went traipsing across the globe to see the culmination of some uncle’s life-long goal accomplished.  An honourable quest, I thought.

As Megan was (selfishly) packing her (Rene’s) stuff, we agreed that having dinner at the condo would make more sense.  I opted for something of a tasting menu.  I thought five courses of smallish entrées would allow us to sit and chat more as we reflected on Rene and Cara’s uncle becoming a man of the cloth.  (All joking aside, and whatever your beliefs may be, you must respect a person who devotes themselves so entirely to their faith as to represent that faith as a formal representative of it.)  I was going to begin with something closer to an amuse-bouche than a proper entrée, but with the intent of hinting at promises of things to come.  Something to spark the palette’s interest.  The menu was carefully planned out to be varied, yet harmonious – simple, yet thrilling.  It was, in short, to be my shining glory.

And then I ran out of gas.

Yep.  Right after I lit the oven and put the chicken wings on to braise, I realized the error of my ways.  With a sputtering flame that threatened to die, I (being a man) devised a plan.  So simple, so clever, so male.

Use Megan’s oven!!  (Yes!)  Of course, the obvious problem with my plan (shut up) that we were having dinner next door, at the condo.  So, that meant that I hump every dish being served up the stairs, through the rain, to our place.  Why didn’t we just eat at the house, you might wonder.  Well, that is none of your business.

So, I cut the menu down into a more traditional appetizer/main-with-side type of a thing, as I wasn’t going to be able to plate and cook fifteen different dishes and haul them upstairs by myself and be able to enjoy anything that seemed like company.

But, back to the original point, that it was a great dinner and Megan refused to take pictures of it because she’s jealous and wants to steal all of my thunder!

On the menu: Braised Chicken Wings in a Curry/Salt-and-Pepper Marinade with a Honey and Dill Dipping Sauce, Pan-seared Green Beans and Red Bell Peppers, Chicken Breast Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Red Bell Peppers and Topped With Whiskey Fried String Beans

It really was a fun dinner.  I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s latest book, Medium Raw, and it took me back to my days in the restaurant world and it made me wonder if I could do it all over again if I had to.  Being thirty-five with a daughter, of course the answer is no.  But, for small bursts of showiness, I can still reach into my bag of tricks and pull out some heat.

It was made all the more fun by the fact that my diners were in a different location, and that I had to plate the dishes at the house and carry them up the stairs, ready to eat.  It was like the old days.

The goat cheese I used was a little too strong, however, and it overpowered the chicken a bit, but it was still a lot of fun to pretend that I had a high-end restaurant in my condo that seated only three people and a toddler.

And everyone seemed to enjoy it.  The chicken wings were gone by the time I got upstairs, and the main was gobbled up good.

Just after I served the wings, we cracked the only bottle of the night.  Just one this week, but we were very pleased with it.

Wine: Viña Tarapaca Ex Zavala, Gran Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, 2006, $204 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

We love it when we find a wine that meets expectations.  Without spending a ton of money, here’s a wine that you can enjoy with dinner or just on its own for its own sake.  Very smooth and chocolaty, this wine sits well on the tongue without trying to be too complicated.  Hints of herbs with an earthy, mustiness, that gave it a very drinkable quality.  Tastes exactly like a cabernet sauvignon should (that cost twenty dollars).

In short, a good find.

The night ended, as so many of our nights do, with Rene toddling off to his couch, Cara and Caia toddling off to bed, and Megan and I sitting up and chatting.  Also, we watched The King’s Speech.  It was good.  You should watch it.

And so, we are unsure of what this coming week will bring us.  Megan and Rene are gone until next week some time, which leaves just the three of us, and Caia, frankly, isn’t much of a drinker.  It’s always “Wawa” this and “Mommy” that with her.  While I want to sit around and drink a really nice Pinot, she wants me to read her the same Sesame Street book for the eight-hundredth time.  Which I always do.  It’s a really good book.

We’ll keep you posted.

Until then,



5 responses »

  1. The beans really were amazing and I don’t think you gave them enough face time here. Yummy yum yum yum. Sorry about the lack of photos everyone. In my defense my camera was already packed. The dinner was fabulous and everyone should be jealous. Goat cheese and chicken is a spectacular combination.

  2. Just for the record, I didn’t actually enjoy this wine. I found it heavy, musty and just all around unpleasant. But I also only had like a quarter of a glass and have barely slept for weeks. So maybe I’m not a fair judge….

  3. I laughed all the way thru your rendition of Sunday Bottles, keep writing please! If there is no
    Sunday dinner next Sunday a blow by blow description of your day will do OK . One of your biggest fans SR

    • Thanks, Susan! Megan is keeping us posted from the United Kingdom, so we’ll have at least one description of her journeys through the land of William and Katherine.


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