Welcome to Dining In

On the surface, the challenge is simple – prepare a meal that consists of at least three courses (appetizer, entrée and dessert) and write about it. The bigger challenge, however, is to create an eating experience at home that transcends time and place and engages all the senses. It’s a meal that includes great food and wine for the palate and the nose, a sense of anticipation for the brain, a presentation and table that is a feast for the eyes and background music to set the tone.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anniversary Dinner -- Friday, September 25

Prosciutto-Wrapped Bread Sticks with Fig Jam and Maytag Blue Cheese
Manhattan East (Cocktail)
Spiced Pears Steeped in Wine (recipe on the fly)

The Playlist
(Courtesy of Doug)

Night And Day Tony Bennett 
  It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)  Rosemary Clooney 
  Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me  Tony Bennett 
  Mutual Admiration Society  
  Me And My Shadow  Judy Garland 
  I'm In The Mood For Love  Julie London  
  Georgia On My Mind  Ray Charles 
  Just The Way You Are  Billy Joel 
  Carolina In My Mind  James Taylor 
  The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)  Simon & Garfunkel 
  Everybody Loves Somebody  Dean Martin 
  Moon River Andy Williams   
  In The Still Of The Night Billy Ekstine 
  I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) Rosemary Clooney 
  Urge For Going  Dave Van Ronk 
  Moondance  Van Morrison 
  'Round Midnight  Charlie Parker 
  Try To Remember  Jerry Orbach 
  Witchcraft Frank Sinatra  
  Samba Pa Ti Santana 
  Blackbird  The Beatles 
  Angela's Theme(Taxi theme)  Bob James   
  NBC Mystery Movie Theme  Henry Mancini
  That's Amore Dean Martin 
  Autumn In New York  Frank Sinatra  
  Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars Frank Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim 

The Back Story
I had planned this for at least a week, as I always do. I had shopped at Balducci's for the Osso Bucco, gone to Whole Foods for the pears. I was looking forward to a relaxing day of cooking and to sharing a fabulous Anniversary dinner with Doug. 

But alas, the morning of our anniversary, we had plumbers at the house, tearing up our walls looking for a leak. After about two hours and five huge holes in walls-- three in the kitchen and two in the small hall bathroom near the kitchen, they found a pinhole leak. They repaired it and left me to deal with the mess and the ugliness and a pass through from our kitchen to the bathroom. 

I thought about just calling it off and going out to dinner, but didn't. Instead I cleaned up the kitchen. Doug and I went out to lunch at the Carlyle Grand Cafe. We got a great seat by the window and spotted Gwen Iffil walking down the street outside our window.  Revived by the close encounter with a minor celebrity (and only a celebrity to news geeks like us), I returned home and got it together with help from Doug, who took care of the playlist and lighting the candles in the living room. We had appetizers and drinks in the living room and dinner and dessert in the dining room. It was a great evening: relaxing, romantic and delicious. 

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