Monday, February 9, 2015

Restaurant, Recipe and Book Review...

From the title of the blog, it would seem I've had a busy day.  In reality, not so much.  But I did accomplish a few things.  First of all, lunch with a friend at Aladdin's.  I had been there once before, but it was several years ago, and I didn't even recall what I had.  After this trip, though, I'll be sure to remember it.  The food was delicious, and very well priced.  Of particular note was the lentil soup, which was just awesome.  My dining partner is gluten intolerant, and Aladdin's has several GF options.  It was part of the reason we chose it.  They also have a pretty good selection of Vegetarian options as well.

After we enjoyed our lunch and lingered over conversation, I headed home and mostly just wasted time until I woke Hubby.  We needed to go to Penzeys {online and brick and mortar store} to find some herbs.  Fines Herbes, to be specific.  As I posted in yesterdays blog, my walking buddy gave me a jar of Bouquet Garni she had and didn't need, and it had come from Penzeys.  She said she was quite sure they would also have Fines Herbes, so we went to check.  And indeed, they did.  And a couple other things to boot.  I moved my laptop to line up my purchases, and by the time I got my phone ready to take a picture, this had happened.

So of course I did the only thing to be done in this situation, and moved the jars so I could give Beto some attention.  He's clearly quite starved of affections and was desperate.  10 minutes later, when he was tired of getting his head scratched and his belly rubbed, he jumped down and I tried again.

Worked a little better the second time around.  I had planned to look around the store longer, but Hubby said his belly was hurting and wanted to come home.  Those were the jars I had in my hand at the time, so I just headed to the register and paid and we left.  The BBQ 3001 is for Hubby.  He loves BBQ anything, so I got one to make him happy.

I brought him home and dropped him off, then went back to the grocery store.  I had planned to stop at a bakery and get a loaf of French bread for dinner, and was hell bent on having some.  Since I was in there, I browsed the wine section.  I'm trying to find a Sauternes that isn't $50 a bottle, and figured I'd take a look in their wine room.  No luck.  So I just got the bread and headed back home.

 By this time my belly was growling, and walking in the door of my apartment practically made me salivate.  I had Beef Bourguignon in the slow cooker, and it smelled amazing.  By then Hubby said he felt well enough to eat {and I entertained the notion he just didn't want to spend anymore time wandering around looking at spices, and never felt ill at all...}, so I whipped up some potatoes to go with it, and got some of the French bread and just a bit of butter.  This was the first time either of us had ever had Beef Bourguignon, so I wasn't sure how it would be.  In the end, it was fabulous.  Here is the recipe, for anyone that is interested.  The recipe says to cook it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, but I knew I was going to be out and doing things, and wouldn't have the time nor desire to sit at home and babysit an oven for 2 1/2 hours.  So I browned the meat, then put the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker with the meat and set it to going just before I left to meet my friend.  It was in the slow cooker on low heat for about 5 hours, and it was perfect.

Once dinner was done, Hubby and I had no further plans for the day.  So I retreated into my book.  I was finishing Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.  This was my 3rd Atwood book, and possibly my favorite.  Though I adored The Handmaid's Tale, and very much liked Lady Oracle, Alias Grace was maybe the best of the 3.  There were emotional parts, a number of witty passages, and a well constructed story.  The book is based upon a real woman and real events, though much is not known about the crime that actually occurred.  I thought she did a wonderful job of telling the story the way it could have happened, even though it probably wasn't.  I think what impressed me most was the often clever turns of phrases Atwood used throughout the book.  I have a fine appreciation for a keen wit, and it delivers on that front.  Definitely more Atwood in my future.

My next book will be A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews.  Our library did a Blind Date Book display for Valentine's Day.  There were books wrapped in Valentine Paper, and you chose one, checked it out, then took it home and unwrapped it to see what you had.  Then you read the book and fill out a comment card when you return it.  I couldn't resist picking one up, and this is the one I drew.  It actually does sound like something I may have chosen to read on my own.  I'm about to settle down with a glass of wine and the book and get started.

Bonne nuit, all!

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