RSS Feed

The End of the Birthday Season … (Finally)

So, this past weekend marked the end of our family’s birthday season.  Beginning with Caia on December 6 and ending with Cara’s mother, Marilyn, on January 29, there are nearly a dozen birthdays in between.  Plus Christmas.

But that didn’t stop us from having a final hoorah for Cara’s mom.  Marilyn is a fan of gravy, so what goes better with gravy than roast beef?  Nothing, that’s what.

On the Menu: Roast Beef with Two Types of Gravy (Mushroom and Red Wine), Roast Potatoes, Flambéed Red Peppers, Flashed Zucchini, and Sautéed Mushrooms, Herbed Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate, Chocolate Cake

This is my favourite kind of day.  Shopping for the night’s menu, followed by some light prep work, maybe a beer or a coffee with Bailey’s … maybe a Bloody Caesar … some heavier prep work, preheat the oven, plop everything in, greet guests, make the sides, open some wine …


Everything ready, the table set, we went about the dinner before us.  Megan brought over a salad which was so amazing, if all salads tasted the way that one did, it would be all I would eat.

I was a little nervous about the beef, since I couldn’t quite tell which cut it was, never having learned the differences, but it turned out quite well.

The gravy was pretty rad, I must say.  I sacrificed a bottle of wine for it but it was worth it.  The mushroom gravy came out of a can.  It was not the more popular of the two.

The wines weren’t bad, either.

Wine: Granero, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, 2010, $110 MXN
Rating: One-and-a-Half-Bottles

Red apple (but the skin part); cranberries and pomegranates; açaí berries.  This wine is quite tart.  Not in a terribly pleasant way, either.  There is a pepperiness to it that rounds it out after a while, but we aerated the wine first, so it didn’t round out that far from where we started.  This was very light wine, too.  Like vapour.  Like it never really exists.  A little disappointing, but not the worst bottle that ever happened to us.

We enjoyed some cake, then Cara’s parents and my parent’s and Rene and Cara and Megan and I broke off into various groups for conversations ranging from the impossibility of nothingness to how I can cross one eye and not the other.  (I can also cross both eyes, but crossing just one is a very marketable skill.)

While Megan and I mucked about with her camera, we forced ourselves to open a second bottle.

Wine: Las Moras, Black Label, Bonarda, Argentina, 2008, $229 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles

Earthy and fruity at the same time is always a fun mixture.  The mustiness of the leathery, oaky, earth flavours mixing with the fruity, sweet flavours.  Like a party inside your mouth!  (Come on … it’s been nearly a year.  The joke had to happen some time.)

Date squares is what you first taste, if you look for it.  Wood smoke (good old fashioned wood smoke, as my friend Jay Costescu would say) plays in the background.  Mature berries, chocolate, mint, lilac, and lavender also drop in for a visit.  When you take a step back and just breathe in this wine, you notice the floral bouquet it has.  Like a campfire that somebody started with fresh flowers.

A really wonderful wine.

The next thing you knew, we were checking the clock and it was nearly ten.  This is way past our bedtimes.  It was time to say goodnight.

My parents leave tomorrow, and that is sad.  We are waiting to see the notary about our house.  We wanted to close while my parents were here, as they are signing the loan on the house, interest rates not being the most reasonable things in the world down here, but the paperwork won’t be finished on time, so we need to do an escrow closing.  Exciting stuff.  We are hoping this won’t be an all afternoon affair.  It would be nice to spend some time with them before the day is through.

One thing that has been amazing about the Norton-Patik birthday season has been the occasion we’ve had for so much socialising.  It has been incredibly fun spending time with loved ones.  We are blessed, our family, in that we get to begin our Holiday season nearly a month before everyone else, and we continue a month after everyone else.  You never need an excuse to hang out with the people that matter the most to you in life, but it’s always nice to have one.

Maybe we can convince my parents that living down here for part of the year is better than spending the entire year up north.  (I know of a few people who’d be glad to take their place if we did.)

Time will tell.

Until next week,



One response »

  1. It was great to see and experience The Sunday Bottles in action…the food prep, the photos being taken upon completion of cooking, but most of all the joy the chef(s) take in delighting our tastebuds (especially those of us who get to sample along the way). Craig, you do an amazing job in the kitchen (you must have had a wonderful mother who encouraged you!!). Thank you to both Craig and Megan for a wonderful experience. I think if more families did this it would do so much for staying connected, enjoying each other and celebrating little moments along the way with good food and wine but mostly the people.

    Mucho gracias,
    Mary (aka mom, Mia)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: