Friday, August 11, 2006

A Hitch in our Wok

It's been one wild week of celebrating escaping New Jersey nine years since the day I tricked Amy to marry me (sshhh, don't let her know her mistake!). On the anniversary itself we drove up to SB wine country for the first time in a while and had dinner at the Hitching Post II, now made famous thanks to Sideways. Indeed, we'd avoided the place since the movie, worried about too many drunken, failed novelist tourists lumbering in looking for Maya. The good news is it's as wonderful as ever, 40 miles but 40 years away from Santa Barbara--much more old California west, with relish trays and baskets piled with HiHo Crackers and iced tiny shrimp cocktail over finely diced celery. And steaks. Lots of 'em. My New York was wonderful, but Amy, as usual, picked better and went with a flat iron, which, it turns out, is not only one of my favorite buildings in Manhattan but darn tasty, too, somehow full of flavor yet absent of fat. The 2002 Hitching Post Cargassachi Vineyard Pinot Noir was equally, surprisingly balanced: rich in berries and stone fruits, low in alcohol (under 14%! from Santa Rita Hills?!), and hearty and earthy in its finish. Plus we served a HP Pinot as the red at our wedding reception way back in 1997, beating the Sideways crowd by a good 7 years. (Hint: if we continue to drink ahead of the crowd, Anderson Valley pinots will be all the rage soon.)

Then last night we drove all the way to LA to take a cooking class only to return hoping we can achieve mutual yum. Get your minds out of the gutter and into the galanga--we took a Thai curry class at the wonderful New School of Cooking with the talented, both as a chef and a teacher, Jet Tila. We'd often heard him on KCRW's Good Food, so he seemed like a wise choice to guide us to the green curry we'd always hoped to make and never quite pulled off, despite the purchase and use of arcane (for us) ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and tamarind paste. Well, thanks to his tips and tricks and recipes we can whip up a little something now (at least we could last night), so it's just figuring out what our balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour is and hope Amy's yum and mine are pretty similar. And this time I'm not just talking about the food--after all, we want to stay mairred for another 9, and another 9, and another 9....


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