Monday, April 22, 2013

Pleased to Meat You

I have so many problems deciding whether to capitalize the blog titles like titles or just follow regular sentence style.  Decisions!

So Meat Club.  The friends we know who are part of Meat Club didn't show, so the only person we knew was the principal organizer, who we had only met once before, at our last Supper Club.  It was still fun though.  We lucked out and sat with the loveliest people by far and we had a grand time.  Richmond Station is themed like a subway station (kind of - I only read that it's supposed to be such and didn't really think so myself) but the decor is ho-hum.  The restaurant was bumping though - filled to the brim and busy the whole time we were there (from around 8pm to 11pm).  Here's what we had:

The charcuterie board.  I kind of hate it when the board features this many things and the server just comes over and rhymes them off to you in one long list.  How am I supposed to remember anything?  Just print out a piece of paper or something, or else don't bother telling us.  The charcuterie was served at the perfect temperature, but sliced a touch too thin for me.  Everything was paper thin which didn't allow you to enjoy all the textures of each type.  It was all good, it kind of got lost in the jumble.  

Presskopf (headcheese) fritters with grilled tongue, and a fried egg and greens.  This dish was outstanding.  The little breaded triangles of headcheese were hot, crispy, not the least bit greasy and so, so light.  The grilled tongue is a no-brainer for me (I love tongue) and the egg was properly runny.  This might have been my favorite bite of the night.

Seared côte de boeuf and braised beef cheeks with potatoes, sautéed spinach, roasted root vegetables and brown butter hollandaise.  They brought out the GIANT rib steaks for us to view - they were Flinstonian in scale, before whisking them back to the kitchen for finishing.  They steaks were a touch over for my liking, but there's nothing not really to love about seared meat, hollandaise, and thinly sliced gratin potatoes that are cut into triangles and then deep fried until they're little, dreamy puffs of deliciousness.  I enjoyed the steak more than the beef cheeks.  I find that braised meat treated like this can get very same-y tasting.  I actually felt that way about the côte de boeuf.  Maybe that's the problem with meat club?  The meat-centric focus means that you're getting food that isn't particularly ground-breaking or inspiring.  It's not something I couldn't get at some other restaurant. It was well prepared, though.

The Richmond Station burger - tender meat on an even more tender milk bun.  Served with textbook fries.  It's hard to really get a sense of a burger when you're only getting a quarter of one, but this was tasty enough?  

Dessert was a cinnamon bun with a walnut crumble, candied bacon, and beer sauce.  These buns were delectable - so soft and fluffy and warm.  The candied bacon was a stand-out too, taking the bacon firmly into sweet territory from the savory side.  This was delicious.  I ate two and then gazed longingly at the ones that were left, wondering who was the lucky sod who got to take the extras home (we left early to relieve Momma D from her babysitting duties).  I easily out-ate everyone there.  I even went so far as to mistakenly think that this nice guy I had just met was challenging me to an eating competition.  So charming, am I!  The Dotytron had my back though.  I take my ability to out-eat most people as a very serious skill.

Friday night was lovely.  Our neighbour kid came and knocked on our door and came in to play after daycare and then invited the Big Yam over to their house for popcorn and movies.  So cute!  I love living in a neighbourhood where the kids just knock on each other's doors asking if so-and-so is coming out to play.  It's so darned cute.  After we ate dinner we dressed up the Big Yam in his jammies and sent him over with his milk.  FOR TWO HOURS.  It was kind of the best and obviously the Dotytron and I immediately started scheming of how we could formalize the arrangement so that you did a rotating Friday Night movie night at a different neighbour's house every week.  LOL!  We're such schysters.  We offered to take the neighbour kid this coming Friday in exchange.  If we're home, I certainly don't mind having a pizza, pajama, and movie party with the kids from the 'hood.  It's cute and the Big Yam was totally and utterly THRILLED with the novelty.  

The Captain started flashing weird brake-related warning lights on our way to Chinese school on Saturday.  I think the Dotytron would have continued driving it, but because I am a GIANT nerd who thinks that we are always one dashboard indicator away from our car exploding and consuming us in a fiery inferno, I looked it up in the book and they were all like, DON'T DRIVE.  So we missed Chinese school AND missed our long-planned, oft-delayed visit with J & Tillers in KW.  It was the WORST.  I can't even tell you how annoying it was.  The Captain INSISTS on making us look bad!  It doesn't even break all that often, but it's always when we're en route to visit people from out of town.  Ugh.  As Tillers said, we probably could have driven with the indicator lights like that for a good long time but I'm a nervous nelly.  Our mechanic thinks it's just a brake fluid issue.  Le sigh.

On Sunday we had R & R over for dinner with their adorable, sweet-eyed little bambino, M.  Little babies are so cute!  They are so light!  She was experience some sleep regression and was thus a little cross.  I keep somehow convincing myself that babies are so low-key and it'll be SO EASY to juggle the twerps when they come but I feel like I might be fooling myself.  We somehow had an easy time of it with the Big Yam but that probably means the twerps will be colicky, fussy, messes.  Why is having babies so jinxy?  I just read a story about a woman who lost her baby at 38 weeks.  Worst.  

Cutest thing ever: we watched part of Mary Poppins with the Big Yam (this is after I vetoed Star Wars as age-appropriate viewing - ummm, hello, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's charred bodies, much?  Not cool for a 2.5 year old!), and the Big Yam was calling it: "Miss Muffin."  

The Big Yam's room is slowly coming together (conceptually).  I ordered his bed frame, dresser and mattress today.  Here is the photo that inspired me: 

I just thought this was a great, fresh, gender-neutral color scheme.  I already have orange accents going in the Big Yam's baby room, so I wanted to carry that over so I could re-use certain things.

For the bed and dresser I went with the Ikea Mandal line.  I wanted a platform bed for the low profile, and there aren't a lot of options with storage.  It'll be nice to put his bedding in there and other lighter items.  I'm not crazy about the birch outsides.  I've heard of people painting them or staining the wood a less birch-y colour, but after seeing how it's been styled, it will go well against the blue accent wall.  The rest of the shelves will be white.  I saw the bed and dresser styled in this New York Times house and it does look nice with blue and orange accents.  If it drives me crazy I'll paint or stain it in the future, but for now, I think it'll look bright and airy.

We ended up going with a deeper, more navy paint than the one in the inspiration photo - Benjamin Moore's Old Navy.  

I saw this photo that totally inspired me:  

That's a $2 Ikea bracket, people!!!  Then I searched high and low for an affordable industrial cage pendant lamp and found someone on Etsy who will make one for me with an orange cord for about $60.  Not bad!  Considering the other lighting will be Ikea, I thought it would be nice to splurge (if you can even call $60 for a light a splurge) on something not from Ikea for the room.  I'm going to paint the bracket white.  

I also ordered these sale FLOR carpet tiles in orange and bone and designed my own design on graph paper.  It's going to involve investing in a carpet knife from Home Depot, but the cost of the knife (around $11) is still way cheaper than having FLOR do the cutting.  It's a triangle based pattern so lots of cuts and FLOR charges $3 a cut!  Ridiculous!  

We'll see how everything looks when it all comes together, but I'm happy with what I'm seeing in my head.  

The Big Yam has been having the time of his freaking life with the bowl from my Kitchen Aid mixer, some styrofoam packing peanuts I saved from our stroller box, a mixing bowl and a measuring cup, a whisk, a spoon and some water.  That alone guarantees us a minimum of 45 minutes.  If I want more time, I throw in some shaving cream and some food coloring and he's good for at least an hour and usually a lot longer.  It's the best!  Clean-up is okay.  It's not hard to wash off the oil cloth and the water on the tile in the kitchen is a bit of a pain, but at least it's tile so not a big deal.  We might get a giant rubbermaid bin to contain the mess for the future, though:

Here's what we've been eating lately:

Friday night's iron-boosting dinner: a roasted crouton, asparagus, and chorizo salad with seared skirt steak.

The Big Yam pointing at which New York Times chocolate chip cookie he was going to eat as his "special treat"

Sunday breakkie: fried green tomatoes, on top of mashed avocado, with English bacon and a fried egg on sourdough toast.

What I made for Sunday dinner - that radicchio tagliatelle with bagna cauda.  Not pictured: raw kale ceasar salad.

Dessert was a roasted vanilla pineapple tart with a coconut crumble.  My first time serving pineapple as a dessert not in upside-down-cake form.  Pretty good!  I'll post the recipe below.


Pineapple Tart with Coconut Crumble
serves 10-12

1 pie crust, enough for a 9" pie
1 large pineapple, peeled, quartered and cored
1 vanilla bean, scraped.
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
2 T. dark rum

For the crumble topping:
1/2 c. whole wheat flour (you could use all purpose - I was trying to be healthy !)
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. oats
1/3 c. shredded coconut
1/4 t. salt
4 T. butter, melted

- put your pie crust in a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom.  Chill.
- slice the cored pineapple quarters into 1/3-1/2 inch slices
- place the pineapple slices with the sugars and vanilla in a large sauté pan.  Cook on medium heat until the juices run and the sugars are evaporated, tossing/stirring occasionally.  Increase the heat to high, add the rum, and cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated.  Set aside to cool
- meanwhile, mix all the dry crumble topping ingredients together in a bowl.  Stir in the melted butter until loose clumps form.
- with a slotted spoon, spread the cooled pineapple in the prepared crust.  Top with crumble topping.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 40-50 minutes or until the pie crust is golden brown.  The coconut in the crumble will brown rapidly, so it might be necessary to tent the top with foil when the crumble is brown and finish baking this way.  
- serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or coconut ice cream.  

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