Pan Con Chocolate

On the two nights that we spent in DC last month, we twice had the opportunity to dine on some haute cuisine. Our purveyor was none other than the world-famous Spanish chef José Andrés, who I had the temerity at the time to describe as a “local” chef, not fully realizing who he was. In a sense though he is a local chef there, hosting a suite of eateries clustered just north of the mall, in the Penn Quarter, on the 400 block of 7th street NW. We visited three and ate at two of his restaurants. We first tried China Chilcano that features Peruvian fare with Japanese and Spanish accents, but it being Saturday night, we were shut out. No worries though, because there were plenty more places to choose from.

We ended up down the block at another of Andrés restaurants, Jaleo, a Spanish themed establishment that we were so impressed with that it made the blog that night. It also was packed, but we ended up being seated at the bar, which is how we ended up dining the next night too. We started with a sliced apple and fennel salad, with Manchego cheese, walnuts, and sherry dressing. For our main course we dined on two small plates, shrimp sauteed with garlic and a Spanish omelet with confit potatoes and onions. Pictured is dessert for two that we ordered, chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream. One scoop of gelato was not enough.

The following night, we went across 7th to Oyamel, a place that featured food from Mexico City. We both ordered tacos. Anne’s featured wild mushrooms and poblano peppers and mine contained confit pork with avocado salsa verde. Trying to be more restrained than the night before, we skipped dessert. All three of these places are on the Michelin Guide’s (by the French tyre company) Bib Gourmand list of exceptional restaurants at “moderate” prices.

In addition to Andrés’ culinary success, he has also won distinction for his humanitarian work with the World Central Kitchen. Winning the US National Humanities Medal. More recently, last year he received an award of $100M from Jeff Bezos, to distribute to non-profit organizations of his choice, which he has used to feed the Ukrainians and receive their Order of Merit in gratitude.


New River Gorge

Thanksgiving was a day of feasting here in Malden, MA. Beginning with a slew of different cheeses and crackers, the menu included, a roasted chicken sitting on a bed of schmaltzy cabbage, with Peruvian green sauce on the side, sliced potatoes and leeks au gratin (I helped), Mac & Cheese, Dan’s Brussel Sprouts, Anne’s pomegranate salad and a silky-smooth pumpkin pie. There was so much food that we didn’t even get to the pie until today. Needless to say, there are plenty of leftovers. After yesterday’s frenetic activity in the kitchen, I’m not sure that we will get out much, except to walk Puck. Everyone is in the living room watching World Cup soccer. I’ve included the above movie version of our walk beneath the New River Gorge Bridge.



We had dinner this week with a bunch of Kaldi teammates. We chose the venue, Cyrano’s, which considering our party was probably not the best choice. Cyrano’s in its current incantation is very loud. Considering that our party comprised sexagenarians, septuagenarians and even one octogenarian, being hard of hearing was endemic to the group. Conversation across the table was difficult. Going forward, this monthly gathering will shift to a late lunch schedule and one of our savvier West County compatriots will pick the next location.

Now that the midterms are supposedly over, except for the continuing steady drip, drip of ballot tabulation and the obligatory runoff elections and recounts, life is settling into a new normal. Trump and the GOP are now in incrimination mode, fighting among themselves and I am loving it. Putin judging that the Republicans would not be coming to his rescue after all, figuratively pulled the plug on his occupation of Kherson. Let us hope that he does not then go on to literally pull the plug on that city’s upstream dam and flood the place. Although, I suspect that he will not lose this opportunity to wash away his many sins there. And then there is the question of what the heck is Elon Musk doing to Twitter?

He has just introduced his new Blue Twitter feature, where for the low, low price of $8 a month anyone can punk anyone else. Just today, “verified” blue checkmark twitter accounts posted the following, while purporting to be:

  • Pepsi: Coke is better
  • Nestlé: We steal your water and sell it back to you lol
  • Lockheed Martin: We will begin halting all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States until further investigation into their record of human rights abuse. #WeAreLM
  • American Girl: Felicity owned slaves
  • BP: Just cause we killed the planet doesn’t mean we can’t miss it 😥
  • Eli Lilly: wait a second… is profit motivated medicine… bad? sh!t
  • Chiquita: “We’ve just overthrown the government of Brazil.” The real Chiquita tried to do damage control from one of these fake verified accounts, “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Chiquita account. We have not overthrown a government since 1954.”
  • Tesla: BREAKING: A second Tesla has hit the World Trade Center.

Since, all of these posts have now been subsequently deleted and their originating accounts disabled, these eight offending posts cost their authors a total of $64 and will likely cost Elon and Twitter $15M in lost ad revenue. UPDATE: Twitter now has “paused” issuing any more paid verifications. 

Festival of Nations

Roma Dancers

Sometimes, I wake up crabby. Sometimes, I let her sleep. Today’s launch hour wasn’t as early as yesterdays was, but still there was some grumbling. Even a seafood avocado toast breakfast did little to mollify her. Anyway, we got out-the-door on time and made it to Tower Grove Park by nine. I was trying to get going early enough to beat the heat, but more importantly also beat the crowds. Today, in addition to hosting the usual Saturday farmer’s market, the park was also hosting the Festival of Nations. This annual event was on again this year after a two-year hiatus. To make matters worse, the adjoining Missouri Botanical Gardens was hosting their official grand opening of the new visitor’s center, with free admission. Parking was going to be a bear.

Laotian Parrot Puppets

It is always hot the weekend of this festival. The festival’s combination of heat, humidity and humanity makes for a terrible triumvirate to overcome, but this festival brings with it a trio of attractions with which to do this with—song and dance, arts and crafts, and food, lots and lots of different foods. This festival doubles as a fundraiser for almost every ethnic charity in town. We arrived at the park an hour before the festival was scheduled to open and already parking was becoming a problem. Usually, we bicycle to this event, making parking irrelevant, but not this year. I guess we are getting old. We shopped the farmer’s market, where I snagged a new t-shirt. After that, it was time to hit the festival. Most of the food booths were still getting started, so we listened to a little music and then hit the arts and crafts booths. When we finally got around to looking for food, most of the booths were already mobbed, but we were still able to find good stuff to eat. After our feeding, we decided that it was time to bail and headed back towards the car, completing our regular circumnavigation of the park. I got the car turned around, but traffic was stop-and-go, all the way home. 

Ecuadorian Shish-Kabobs