I usually don't do these end of year round-up type of posts....well, because we've usually done quite a bit during the year, and yes, it can be quite a bit of work. This year however, FOY (friend of yoso) Candice asked me to contribute something for end of the year round-up. This in turn made me take a look back.
I did come to the conclusion that I really didn't have a "best" meal, but several memorable experiences....and that's kind of what it's about for me. It can be the simplest of things, a great bowl of noodle soup, at just the right moment. It could be doing something new and different, or trying something new and different.
Or like dealing with Mr Piggy above, you have to overcome things in your attempt to succeed. In the end, it wasn't about the destination, but the journey....and of course proving to my friends that I'm willing to spontaneously com-bust for some pork.
The setting can be a backyard, graciously donated by a friend's mom, knowing that the potential exists of being totally decimated by flaming pork. Or something as wonderful as a stand by the roadside, grill smoking, pelts of sheep slaughtered that day proudly hanging, a sign of freshness and of popularity.....who needs 10,000,000 served? We've slaughtered and grilled three whole sheep today and have sold out!
I'm still thinking that once one of those television travel/dining personalities bites into the tender olive wood grilled lamb from these stands in Tunisia, it's going to blow up.
Well, maybe not......
It's also about learning things....like the "other white meat" seems like filet mignon compared to "dromidaire".
Anyway, I did have a couple of very memorable meals during the past year........
But strangely, I haven't posted on any of them yet!!!
Two of them are from our long trip this year.
We enjoyed the first meal at Le Golfe in La Marsa, a suburb of Tunis, that we returned the next day!
In between beach side homes on the Mediterranean, you couldn't beat the scenery.
Except for maybe the food!
Like th seches grille - baby cuttlefish grilled over olive wood.
Or freshly caught Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio!
We also finally found our favorite little restaurant in Istanbul.......we ate there three times! We escaped the clutches of Kumkapi and found this place.....
On our first visit, all the customers were men.....everyone was a regular it seems.
Items were served in the style of meyhanes.....giant trays of mezes brought forth and you selected. You could still order off the menu too. I saw something that every table had and decided we needed it too. The Missus was a bit apprehensive....but after one taste was sold. One of our new "desert island dishes" Çiğ köfte.
It's raw ground lamb mixed with bulghur and herbs....you wrap it in lettuce with a couple of mint leaves.....oh man!
The third occurred at the end of the year, when I finally managed to get into one of the more enigmatic sushi shops in San Diego. If you know your sushi here in San Diego, you know of this place.
It's not quite like what most folks think.
I'll get to these three posts in the New Year I'm sure!
The fourth meal has a special place in my heart. In September of this past year, Candice and I received emails inviting us to dinner in remembrance of Naomi Wise, who sadly, and suddenly passed away on December 15, 2011. Though I had only met her once, she did have an unforgettable effect on me.
I did have some reservations about attending because I'd never really been a part of her "posse" and didn't want to intrude on such an intimate moment. But I also knew that Sang ("Sam"), who really worked hard to put together this dinner, was such a warm and friendly individual. When I attended it became clear; this was a small intimate dinner of folks who have been touched by Naomi Wise, whether in person, or through her years of writing the dining column for the Reader.
The meal was an excellent, unpretentious, but well put together family style meal at AR Valentien. Chef Kara Snyder did a great job.
There was one particular moment during that evening that I recall clearly. We were eating on the balcony and the fog had moved in. We were seated as the first course started to arrive. Distracted by the menu card, a drop of condensation hit me, getting my attention, in the background the "Hawaiian Lullabye" by the Brother Cazimero started playing.... at A R Valentien!
"Where I live there are rainbows
With life in laughter of morning
And starry nights
Where I live there are rainbows
With flowers full of color
And birds filled with song
I can smile when it's raining
Touch the warmth of the sun
I hear children laughing
In this place that I love"
It was a wonderful evening of conversation and memories! It was great meeting all the folks who attended, some of them members of Naomi's posse:
And the other folks who I got to meet:
Greg (yes, two Gregs and Marcies!)
And of course my buddy Candice.
Sang, I don't know if you read our blog, but I'd just like to say thanks! I was honored to be invited.....you did such a great job!
So I guess that's it, this year is wrapped up. See you next year..........