Friday, October 26, 2012

Making noise to drown the roar

It's my birthday weekend and instead of ignoring it I am filling it in order to muffle the roar of the existential crisis, which, while ongoing, is amplified on occasions like this...

So this evening's drink is the cocktail du jour - cider-based and delicious (recipe will be in the book). Estorbo has deigned to keep me company while Vince has social-bonding drinks with his colleagues.

Planning Supper is an age old trick to thwart universal angst.

Tomorrow the day will start with Champagne. For breakfast. A flute of Billecart Salmon. And perhaps a sliver or two of smoked fish. Crises don't like Champagne - in the face of its tingling and authentic mousse they run whimpering, before gathering strength again. Which is why we'll have a flute every day. Crisis-juju.

Tomorrow night we'll have supper at EN . We last ate there in the spring, when my mom was in town. I dithered around with three simultaneous reservations (yes, I did call to cancel) before settling on Japanese comfort food served in impeccable style, on Hudson Street in the West Village. There will be sparkling sake. I just found it on their menu.

My mouth is watering as I type. Dessert will be the creamiest custard ever to pass my lips, with a barely mobile dark black caramel coating shimmering on the smooth surface. Also good for scaring away The Big Why.

Others dishes that call my name:

Freshly-made scooped tofu ("made hourly"). It is divine. I loathed tofu until I tasted this.
Fresh sea urchin custard
Blue crab miso soup
Thin buckweat noodles in warm broth with duck breast
Crispy fried chicken (!?) with grey salt

Here's the dinner menu. What would you order?

Sunday, if it is not raining, we will catch the subway to Inwood and wander the forest and its turning leaves with a picnic. I need spice bush (Lindera benzoin) berries for the cookies that I will feed my foraging class at the BBG. There are plenty, up there. If it is raining it'll have to wait.

Ahead of the predicted storm, which is going to coincide with a full moon and its extreme tides on Monday and Tuesday, we'll take a break to batten down the roof hatches, move some roof farm pots, and deliver the terrace pots from the edges to the stone table and floor. And secure the climbing roses.

And perhaps we'll slurp an oyster on Sunday night at Fort Defiance.

Yeah. Birthdays. We've come a long way from wobbly jellies and cake with candles. What would we say then, to what we know, now?


  1. You've travelled so far - from wobbly jellies and cake with candles to wild food foraged - mushrooms (which are 'in all probability OK') and japanese knotwood (a government-notifiable threat here in the UK (although I'm not entirely sure what they do when you notify them)) with all sorts of fabulous culinary discoveries in between.

    Looking forward to the book, of course - and sending you happy birthday greetings.

  2. I would want the duck, chicken and or tofu. the custard sounds delish, the urchin, well, i'm not very adventuresome. This is a delightful post, I don't know how old you are, but the existential crisis of why is a wonderful thing to ponder. I think I (possibly much older) finally surrendered to the load of it, although many things that are tragic are on the peripheral. I'm not in denial. It's not a crisis, it's part of the fabric, and the fabric, as you tell us so often, is additionally delightful.
    Your last question is the most enticing. I never knew then that I would make it to the point of seeing the intense and lovely beauty of the everyday. And how wonderful the alternatives in my life would become, despite having to release expectations that did not come to fruition. It's not what I imagined but better, in deeper more sensual ways. Think "digging the herbs," (and more) not "languishing in the manor."
    I think you will have a wonderful birthday, and year ahead- your mind is full of life. ta.

  3. Happy Birthday weekend Marie! I like the way you plan to start it. Will you be wearing a ribbon?

    As for dinner that tuna and avocado salad is calling my name.

  4. Cheers Marie! I hope your birthday is lovely.

  5. I think tuna avocado calls to me. A nice foil to the Cajun chicken I enjoyed to celebrate my birthday the other day.
    No jellies. No cake. And, given the number I'd need, no candles. We already have severe fires raging and it's still only October.
    Happy Birthweek.

  6. Happy Birthday week! It sounds like it's going to be a good one. As for what I think of birthdays now and what I'd say to my younger self... I don't even know where to begin. Except, perhaps... life is short - but wide!

  7. May i start with panne cotta? or must i eat my cod first?

    Have a lovely birthday week!

  8. Joyeux anniversaire Marie ! 🎉🎁🍸

  9. Wishing you a very happy birthday Marie and may your year be full of blessings.
    Your weekend sounds divine.


  10. Have a lovely birthday weekend after all the hard work you have been putting into your book you deserve to do something special as a reward.

  11. Have a fabulous birthday Marie! If I lived nearer(alot!)I'd be bringing over a cake sculpture :) x

  12. Happy Birthday! Toast your birthday with Estorbo and enjoy it!

  13. Happy Birthday Marie. It's my birthday weekend too (28) is the day. We will be dining at Fraiche which has a beautiful view of the city. Hope to see it through all the rain.

    Love the picture of Estorbo it's like he is saying "What no cherry?"

  14. Happy Birthday Weekend Marie, I hope you have a terrific time. Hoping your roof garden will come through Sandy unscathed. Love to Vince and Estorbo :)

  15. Happy Happy Birthday to you Marie and am sure that those two boys of yours will make it special, however you feel! love Pam

  16. What are birthdays for if not a culinary extravaganza!

    Junmai sparkling sake - good?

    Kitty is handsome. Have a great bbirthday

  17. Thank you very much, everyone!

    Shall report on dinner, soon (assuming it is report-worthy). Sparkling sake, and all.

  18. I read your bday posts out of order.....hope you enjoyed the evening and the Billecart Salmon (the best!).
    I would order the duck for sure.

    We brought in all of our pots and plants today and cleaned up the patio, we are getting ready for a miserable few days. Glad you got your bday weekend in before the big storm.

  19. Happy Birthday from a fellow Scorpio !

    ( Scorpios are all too familiar with Existential Angst , IMO )


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