Thursday, July 21, 2011

Manners, Courtesy or Get Over Myself?

I tread ever so lightly on this subject.  However, I do want to hear your perspective, my dear readers.  What would you have done in this instance?

Do you remember the Sopranos episode where Tony asks a guy in a restaurant to take off his ball cap?  Let me jog your memory if don't.  

If only....

For my husband's upcoming birthday, I purchased a cooking lesson where we would learn all about preparing Spanish Tapas.  On a lovely Friday evening, we showed up ready to learn along with 18 other people, presumably all with the same motivation.  Our gracious instructor provided us Sangria to start the evening.

The instructor stood front and center at a u-shaped prep counter.  A majority of us sat at that u-shaped table where each of us were given a cutting board, ingredients and knives.  Behind us were two smaller tables with similar set ups.

At one of those back tables a group of five ladies took up residence.  They also decided it was their social hour.  Yackity yack yack yack.  These ladies were making it difficult to hear.  Then a cell phone rang in their group.  Yes, she answered.  The instructor politely asked everyone to mute their phones.  As she continued to give us our instructions it was clear she was about to lose her voice, struggling to be heard having just taught a summer camp class with teenagers. 

Several times the neighboring back table tried to ssh them.  It was even more difficult for them to hear.  Finally, I turned around to see what was going on.  To my dismay, one of the ladies sitting at her table had her back to the instructor.  No wonder the group wasn't focused on the instructor or what all the rest of us were trying to learn. 

I wish I could say it got better, but it never did.  Not until we broke into groups to actually start the cooking did I stop hearing their chatter.  Then it really didn't matter.

Everyone has their own definition of fun.  What happens when your fun starts to interfere with mine?  Does anyone have Tony's number handy?

Tell me, I'd really like to hear your thoughts.  How would you feel in this circumstance?  Is it enough of a problem to say something or would you live and let live?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Mystifying Magic Mojito

One is never too old to learn a new lesson.  And so was the case for me, earlier this month.

My office mate/girlfriend and I shared a fun dinner of Japanese BBQ with a woman we both do business with.  Charcoal cooking not being a strong suit for any among the three of us, we were none the less proud of ourselves for taking on the challenge of coal grilling and were rewarded with many tasty meats and vegetables.  The night could have ended there, but part of the motivation for our restaurant selection actually had to do with the neighboring gastronomic concept next door at the SLS Hotel on the Westside here in Los Angeles.

Bar Centro @ The Bazaar,
Courtesy Esquire Magazine

The Bazaar, is Jose Andres' latest restaurant/bar/patisserie/market experiment.  Jose, if you are not acquainted, is considered one of the great culinary artists of our times.   The James Beard Foundation named him, "Outstanding Chef" of 2011.  He is internationally recognized for his superb Spanish cuisine while blending awe-inspiring creativity resulting in innovative presentations. 

As our cocktail waitress presented the drinks menu, she strongly encouraged us to try of their tapas creations.  She specifically suggested we try Jose's Cotton Candy Foie Gras.

That is not a typo!!  Cotton candy AND Foie Gras. Together.

We politely passed and indicated we'd only be having after dinner drinks and ordered accordingly.  My friends ordered red wine and a gimlet.  I ordered the "Magic Mojito."

The moment the waitress left, I volunteered how much I disliked cotton candy.  Another in our group said she wasn't too fond of Foie Gras.  Imagine pairing the two together.  No thanks!  At this table Jose's Cotton Candy Foie Gras had two strikes against it before the first pitch.

Our waitress returned with the three drinks.  I was fairly certain only two of the three were for us; the wine and the gimlet.  But the third drink could not possibly be mine...I sat staring at a martini glass full of cotton candy!

Magic Mojio,
courtesy LA Times
Apparently Jose's innovations are not exclusive to food alone.   Sure enough, that WAS my drink.  My companions laughed and laughed at my reaction.  Making such declarations only to now be faced with all that sticky yucckiness.  As our waitress poured mojito goodness over the fluff it dissolved away.  Like magic.  How did it taste?  Like the best cocktail I've ever had!

The lesson learned?  When it comes to food I should not place too much faith in my preconceived notions.

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