Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guns and Butter: the Weekend in Review

On Friday night, Stephen and I got up close and personal with one of the 100 million offspring of the mind of Mikhail Kalashnikov. With appropriate caution, determination, and earplugs, and despite my best efforts to retain the bragging rights I earned years ago at the ancient Lake Placid biathlon rifle range (5 out of 5 to Stephen’s 4 out of 5), Stephen proved to have a much better shot than I did.  And do you know what he got for his trouble? One big-ass, in-no-way-will-I-allow-recoil shoulder hickey.  But for the temporary loss of bragging rights and a tiny scar from the red-hot .22 brass casing that landed on – and stuck as it sizzled into – my forearm, I remained mostly unscathed by the shooting experience and look forward to improving my aim and recovering my title.
Saturday, after abandoning the seemingly hours-long, fruitless search of our 750 cubic foot walk-in sauna, I mean closet, for my Lorelai Gilmore-ish black patent croc leather, rounded-toe, single-buttoned loafer-look, relatively comfortable Bandolino high heels (they have since been found – I know, phew, huh?) to wear with my lovely black formal keyhole-back-closure dress from 15 years ago (yay – it fit – mostly), we finally made our way into Boston where we were overnight guests at the Liberty Hotel. I was hot. I was cranky. But after having such a wonderful time there with my friends, I knew the possibility to enjoy it with my husband was even greater. 
I was not disappointed.


We gawked at the city view from our room, flip-flopped our Scampo drinks (I had the St. Charles once again and learned from the bartender how to make it) right into one of the hotel’s few secret courtyards outfitted with CB2-meets-DWR outdoor furniture.  We enjoyed the warm afternoon in a cooler, quiet, idyllic setting surrounded by the stone walls of the old jail, a paragon of Granite Style architecture, and the newer brick tower where our room was located.  We sauntered back to our room to make a few quick costume changes. It was there I became almost as enamored of my own smoky shadowed, blue-eyed reflection as Stephen was of the penguins on TV (more on that later). And so we went from city casual to foodie formal as we prepared to dine at Clink., a second of the hotel’s excellent restaurants.
We shared the American charcuterie sampler—which should be called a The Lynne as my love of salty pork products is legendary and the country paté completely satisfied my recent hunger for corton, who knew?—and a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Our entrees of dry-aged sirloin and slow-poached lamb medallions were excellent, but the taste winners of the evening were the starter course items we each chose. Stephen ordered the tender braised goat dish which, unbelievable as it may seem, offered the warmest, essentially meatiest, most tender and delicious pieces of animal flesh I have had in a long time!  And I’m quite a carnivore.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that the broth in which the goat meat was served was divine (despite his stated desire, I seriously doubt that Stephen would bathe in it). It was the culinary surprise of the evening.
While our tongues and tastebuds were tickled by the goat, I’ll admit to you, as I gushed to the waitress, that the three perfectly cooked and seasoned sea scallops were by far the best scallops I have ever eaten!  I like the taste of scallops, but the texture is always somewhere on the chewy-slimy scale.  These were cooked beautifully, based on the fact that I have no recollection of the internal texture, but the completely perfect, ever-so-delicately crispy sear on the tops makes my mouth water even now just thinking about it.  Their taste perfection, no doubt owed more than a little to the lemon-thyme butter in which they were cooked and to the chef’s competence.

Three hours after the start of dinner we were ready for another change: this time from foodie formal into we’re-really-too-old-for-this-hipster-bar-scene-but-what-the-hell-I-brought-the-shoes. Oh, yes! The
shoes finally went out to play and I’m happy to report that an earlier shared bottle of wine over dinner and a later shared bottle of champagne were no match for my perfected walk at 4.75”! We had reserved seating at the Alibi Lounge, the jam packed happening bar smartly located in the erstwhile drunk tank of the Charles St. jail, where we shared that bottle of champagne and a cheese plate (remember Mireille Guiliano says, “always, always, always with food”).  In addition to drinking lots and lots of water alongside the champagne, we had a lovely time relaxing on our outdoor couch, toasting to us, and catching snippets from the crush of twenty- and thirty-somethings smiling, chatting, and happily shuffling their way through the other patrons.

It’s true that hanging out in a crowded, drinking hot spot with tons of younger strangers is not something we value; in fact, it’s something we normally and, as luck would have it, easily avoid. But that night, surrounded by general revelry, we were celebrating living life on our own terms: being not only alive, but also aware, surrounded by modern furniture and old architecture, drinking champagne under the stars—together. Staying at a sumptuously appointed boutique hotel and taking advantage of all it had to offer, we made special efforts to enjoy the hell out of our extravagant arrangements.  However brief, those twenty-four hours will linger as a long-remembered adventure for two. And as Stephen is fond of saying, when you go to the well, drink deeply.

He was not disappointed. 

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