Friday, May 20, 2011

Waking Up With John Kerry

Well, I woke up in Boston this morning. It happens. Actually, I woke up in Providence and then went back to sleep. One morning, I woke up in the French Riviera - now that's where you want your eyes to crack open from hours of darkness. Thanks to the invention of train travel, or as I refer to it - "the choo-choo".

Still rubbing my eyes from my eight-hour choo-choo slumber, upon my arrival at Boston South station, I was greeted by a media frenzy! Now, that is exactly why I have my personal assistant always put out misleading Tweets such as "out golfing" or "golly, this Big Mac is off the hook" so as to avoid such harrassment. However, I snuck past, undetected, a press conference featuring the mayor and Senator John Kerry and got a few photos myself. I'm thinking about my newest photo exhibit "Guys Who Do Not Live In The White House". I already have McCain and Fred Thompson on film. It's gonna be great!

Boston is a great city. Due to the nature of me being between jobs, and I've been here before, this day has been dedicated to relaxation, photos, and (of course) food. I actually write this from a park bench in the Public Garden - excellent place with a large pond, ducks, and swans. It's been a fantastic day of excellent weather, but getting a bit chilly as the dusk falls into night. Off to find some seafood!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Un Buen Jaleo

By our definition, "jaleo" is an "uproar". Imagine a party, if you will, where everyone is having a great time, the music is roaring, people are dancing and moving about, and things seem at the cusp of being out of control. It aint a party 'til something gets broken, right. Jaleo - it's borderline madness.

Jaleo is also the name of a popular 18 year-old Spanish tapas restaurant, begun in Washington, DC. It is amazing the care and dedication that goes into imagining, preparing, creating, explaining, managing and executing the daily and nightly flood of tiny dishes of deliciousness. From the mind of the wizard... excuse me - "James Beard Award winning" wizard/chef Jose Andres - to his enthusiastic chefs, to the meticulous cooks, to the proudly invested service staff, somehow most of these little plates find their way to the right tables and end up satiating hundreds a day, every day.

At its best, Jaleo is Spain - only better - in America, without the siesta. Of course, any jaleo is never sustained perfection, only an intoxicating whirlwind of a moment. A good jaleo would be the moment of the event when you realize you are truly at a party. It's a tough name to live up to. Well, we try.

I have enjoyed a great many moments at Jaleo DC and have come to know a wealth of people during these six years. A lot of it was fun, wasn't it? Salud!


Monday, May 16, 2011

A Last Supper

Ridiculous, really.

We had a great meal Saturday night. I had long had the idea to orchestrate a wine-paired meal at Jaleo in Washington, DC, but never had anyone given me the green light... so I gave it to myself. This was an event six years in the making, attended by five close friends and myself. We did it right.

First Course paired with 1+1=3 Cava from Penedes:
Spanish "Pan de Cristal" tomato bread
Escalivada Catalana - chilled roasted eggplant, peppers, onions
Gambas con Gabardina - beer-battered fried shrimp w caper mayonaise
Huevo con Caviar - organic fried egg w American sturgeon caviar

Second Course paired with Esencia Divina Albarino from Rias Baixas:
Vieiras - seared scallops with mojo verde and hazelnut-almond romesco
Judias Verdes - warm green beans salad with apples, grapes, apricots
Pulpo a la Gallega - boiled octopus and baby potatoes with pimenton
Pan con Tomate - tomato bread with Pasamontes Manchego cheese

Third Course paired with Neo from Ribera del Duero:
Arroz con Butifarra - rice with artichokes, pork sausage, and mojo alioli
Setas al Ajillo - sauteed garlicky mushrooms with herbs
Garbanzos con Espinacas - moorish chickpea and spinach stew

Fourth Course paired with San Roman from Toro:
Tortilla de Setas - Spanish omelette with mushrooms and goat cheese
Lomo de Iberico Bellota - seared acorn-fed Iberico pork loin

Dessert Course paired with Lustau East India from Jerez:
Flan al Estilo de Mama Marisa

After-Dinner Beverages:
Estrella Inedit
First Fruit Cidra

... fue un buen jaleo.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day

As with any victory comes a sense of pride of accomplishment, team unity, and relief from the threat of failure. We got that last night. Naturally, the winning team will celebrate, and rightly so. Taunting, on the other hand, is generally considered bad form. Perhaps it is a slippery slope, which is why sports have rules against such behavior as "excessive celebration." We have to be taught sportsmanship, because emotions need to be trained to not overpower our moral compass.

It is important to be mindful of the distinction between revenge and justice. To be right, as a people, we must seek justice. Celebration of success should not lead us to a delight of causing defeat. The world is a better place today, but the path that follows remains to be seen. We can be proud of justice today, and we can be proud of the people we are trying to be. We've been down, and it feels good to be back up. However, pride is a unique attribute that can be equally uplifting or destructive depending upon which side of the blurry line one resides. So, to be proud of America today is appropriate. Justice has been served. But, instead of gloating politically against ourselves or "excessively" to the rest of the world, we would be better off remembering the victims of that evil man while finding a way to tomorrow be better than we are today.

"Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good."
- Romans 12:21