January 17th, 2010

Iroh slurpy noodles

Quite a Pheasant Evening

Last night, after my unsuccessful attempt to assist Project Electric Mayhem in the MIT Mystery Hunt, Colin (vyrin) invited me to dinner with him and Jess (ariiadne) and Dan (incidentist) and Tanjent, whom I'd met at their wedding. They had reservations at Flour + Water. Reservations! I don't normally eat at places where you need reservations. Fancy! When we arrived, I saw why we needed reservations: the place was completely packed. Jess said it was like this every night, and you had to make reservations a couple days in advance unless you came at 5:30. We still had to wait twenty minutes for our table to be free because people were taking too long to enjoy their dessert.

Tanjent ended up at the head of the table, and Dan, Jess, Colin, and I each sat kitty-corner from the person we should have been sitting across from or next to. I faced the bathroom and sat next to Tanjent. Can you fill in the rest of the seating order?? (Sorry, still in puzzle mode. We were looking for CLUES in the menu. Especially since there were approximately fifteen words I'd never seen before. But now I know a little more Italian.)

Dan ordered the spinach tagliatelle with braised pheasant and pine nuts. I ordered the biancoverde pizza, which was topped with ricotta, fior di latte, spinach, and garlic with black pepper. Dan said, "Do you wanna...?" Oh, I did.

Dinner conversation generally revolved around Jess's desire for a donkey. No conversation revolved around my secret desire for our waitress, who wore an eighties-style blouse that slanted and exposed her left shoulder. Normally, that looks kind of cheesy, but on her it was sexy. We exchanged smiles a few times. I felt very Victorian in my attraction. If only I had caught a glimpse of her ankle!

We were quite excited when our food arrived. I got a large thin-crust pizza on a large plate, and Dan got a decent bit of pasta on a small plate. I gave him a couple slices of pizza, and he dumped some pasta on my plate.

The pizza, Tanjent and I agreed, was a little on the charred side (always a risk with a wood-burning oven). Otherwise, however, it was very tasty. Chewy. Cheesy. Spinachy! I traded Tanjent for a slice of his margherita pizza, and it was good as well. This was Jess's favorite style of pizza, and although I normally go for the American style, the real Italian style is very yummy. I also borrowed a leaf of arugula from Colin to see why you would pay two bucks extra to have it atop your pizza. It was like having a salad on your pizza!

The pasta was spinach pasta. The pasta was freshly made, and the texture was perfect. I had never had pheasant before, and it tasted similar to quail. The best part, though, was that the pasta was basically coated in pheasant juice. So fatty and delicious!

We examined the dessert menu. Some of us tried to split desserts, but some of us really wanted at least 100% of a dessert, so we each got our own. I got pumpkin cake with brown butter ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe, caramelized apples, and mulled cider sauce. What wasn't even mentioned was a little pumpkin cracker thing that came on top, and holy Christ on a...cracker, it was amazing. Colin, who also got it, said it was nutty. It was so incredibly flavorful. NO CRACKER SHOULD WIELD THAT MUCH FLAVOR. The pumpkin cake was good, though Tanjent said he could make a better one and Jess said it was dry. The ice cream was sweet and worked well with the cake. Dan and Tanjent, I believe, wanted to have sex with their chocolate budino with espresso-caramel cream and sea salt. It looked like a crème brûlée.

The meal came out to a little over $30 each, but I hadn't had an expensive dinner since October, and I had gone in knowing that it would cost a lot, springing for an $8 dessert as part of the experience. This morning, Dan and I were reminiscing about dinner, and that's the sign of a good meal. I feel bad for my stomach that I'm going to be filling it with Totino's Party Pizza tonight. Sorry, buddy, we can't eat like that every night.

After dinner, I ditched the group for Heidi's out-of-debt party. Having recently paid off her student loans, she was celebrating with a theme party where she served Red Stripe and Negro Modelo, red licorice and red pepper and black licorice and black bread. You were supposed to dress based on your debt status, and while everyone else was clad in red or black, I came clad in yellow. Because I had to wear Attack of Literacy! for my librarian friend.

As I arrived, two of Heidi's friends were leaving. A tall blonde woman and a shorter, tattooed black-haired woman. They loved my shirt, and although they criticized it for not having enough women—and the treatment and placement of the few women who were on it—they enjoyed poking my midsection in an attempt to identify who everyone was. They apologized, but I didn't mind, since my shirt had become a conversation piece! It is what I aspire to with my fashion. The blonde woman, Catie, even took a picture of my shirt. From the neck down.

Then we reverted to the age of twelve as Heidi related a story about black licorice and talked about "anise extract" and "anise flavor."

I found the other woman on Facebook this morning and discovered that she's a cartoonist! I read one of her very amusing comics, "The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Making Chili," which was timely and appropriate since I am going to attempt to make chili tomorrow. She's going to have a booth at Comic-Con, and she's going to be the Cartoonist-in-Residence at the Cartoon Art Museum in May. And she works at the Oakland Public Library. How cool! We exchanged a few messages, and then she added me so I didn't have to feel weird about wanting to add her but not wanting to be rejected.

After Catie and Amy left, I spent some time with the rest of the party. Someone commented on my yellow shirt.

"So what does the yellow mean? It's not red or black; does it have some special meaning?"

I responded the only way I knew how: "It means...I'm awesome?"