Backpack Full of Cash

Barbarians at the Gates

We barely escaped home this morning. MSD had already trenched across the front of our driveway, when we were ready to leave. Fortunately, Anne had parked the Prius up the street the night before. We had gone to the high school to see the documentary, “Backpack Full of Cash”. Narrated by Matt Damon, this movie deals with the growing privatization of public schools in America, all under the guise of educational reform. Under pressure at both the state and Federal levels, support for public education was the rallying cry in this partisan film. It was followed with a panel discussion by state and local educators. The resistance will not go quietly into the night.

The Great State of Maine

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

Dan sent us some photographs. He got them from the film company that he is about to start working for, on the coast of Maine. They were taken at the cottage that was rented to house the movie’s art department. It’s not my work and I loved them, but in the end I decided not to share them. I think that they were taken to alert the cast and crew as to what kind of weather they should expect and to motivate them to prepare for it. It worked, because Dan was asking us about the REI gift card that Jay and Carl gave him for Christmas. He wants to order some better gloves. It looks pretty cold. Even though the water temperature is warmer than the air, I wouldn’t recommend going swimming. Dan will be working there for the next six weeks.

Meanwhile here in the Lou, the mercury hit 81 ºF, a record. This week, with this warmer than normal weather, I managed to squeeze in back-to-back bicycle rides. This warm weather has also prompted MSD to pick up their pace. They have trenched and laid new pipe past our driveway. The stack of pipes in our front yard had begun to diminish. Work has now progressed about halfway up the street. Two weeks? If only it that could be true.

Dinner for Two

Tiny Phil

This year, Anne and I celebrated Valentine’s Day, big time! I had made us table  reservations for dinner at Acero, a nice Italian restaurant in Maplewood. While not on the Hill (the Saint Louis Italian neighborhood), it was pretty close to it. Acero had a special menu for this holiday. It consisted of five courses, with three choices for most courses. The menu follows. We tried to cover as much of the menu as the two of us could. I’ve grayed out courses that we did not order. 

Cime di Rape Crocchette – Parmigiano, pecorino, pomodoro, butter

Ribeye Crudo – endive fonduta, chive oil, sprouts, shallot, Parmigiano reggiano
Gnocco Fritto – Prosciutto di Parma, olive oil, sea salt, black truffle
Shrimp & Lobster Bisque – shrimp, lobster, tarragon aioli

Egg Raviolo – nduja, black garlic, Parmigiano
Risotto – saffron, bone marrow & lardo butter, parsley
Tagliatelle – twelve vegetable Bolognese, Parmigiano reggiano

Caul Fat Wrapped Porchetta – potato puree, braised vegetables, herbed sugo
Black Bass – garlic confit potato, fennel, broccoli rapini, white wine
Beef Tenderloin – leek whipped potato, porcini mushroom, asparagus, sugo

Chocolate Torte – red velvet cake gelato, raspberry cream cheese crema
Tiramisu – espresso soaked lady fingers & glaze, mascarpone, cocoa powder
Strawberry Cannoli – fresh, roasted and strawberry balsamic reduction

When I originally made our reservation, I was unaware of their special menu. We had some trepidation about the amount of food to be ordered. No one likes to feel too full. The amount turned out to be a non-issue, because the above menu turned out to be a tasting menu, with portions sized accordingly. So, we enjoyed a romantic evening, with some pretty fine dining.