Phew, just finished up a big deadline, so it's time to catch you up. Not that there's that much to catch you up on , since I've been doing little else besides working, but I'll try to think of something interesting.
We watched the first two episodes of "House of Cards." I liked it, but I wasn't all "Oh, I have to binge-watch the entire series now!" I'm not even sure I'll continue watching at all. I said as much on Twitter, and most of my friends there agreed that it wasn't terribly compelling, although a few said that it gets better and better. Anyone seen it?
Saturday we finally used a gift certificate we had received for a "Fireside Chat" at The Fireplace. We'd had dinner there once many years ago, and I've been back for lunch. We also went to a lovely Bar Mitzvah luncheon party there a couple of years ago. The food is homey and fancy at the same time (for instance, at the Bar Mitzvah, I remember fondly a couple of the appetizers being brought around: squares of exquisite grilled cheese sandwiches that you dunked into tiny cups of equally exquisite roasted tomato soup; and a homemade rippled potato chip topped with a tiny dollop of whitefish paté). Anyhow, every other Saturday afternoon they do these Fireside Chats, which are themed tastings of alcohol and food. Or, as the website says, "We’ll sample (and learn about) wines, spirits, beers and tastes of the season’s bounty with farmers, vintners, aficionados and master brewers leading the way." So we decided to go for the Cabernet event. The guest was a guy from Stonestreet wineries, with 6 different cabs for us to taste, 2 each with a particular luscious bite from the Fireplace kitchen. We learned all about how they grow their wines on the mountainside and what the altitude means to the grapes and thus the wines (short answer: really, really good!). I thought Andy had saved his copy of the menu, but he didn't; as best I can recall, the first wine pairing went with a foie gras mousse on brioche toast (I don't care for liver, so Andy got mine), the second was an amazing duck confit arancini with some yummy sauce that I wish I could remember, and the third was a scrumptious square of pork belly with I think dried cherries. We met some nice people as we learned and chatted and ate and drank. The wines were all delicious, and it's not every day I taste a $250 cab, I'll tell you that! (And that wasn't even my favorite one.) Really a nice way to spend an hour.
Sunday I went to my first futsal game, as Pete and his team of Chupacabras (yes, really) had their first match. If, like me, you didn't know about futsal, it's indoor soccer (fútbol sala). The games (well, at this level anyhow) are played on a basketball court, and there are only 5 players on each team. The ball is smaller too. There are unlimited on-the-fly substitutions, and no offsides rule (which is just as well, because I can never understand it). The main thing about it, though, is that it is a FAST game. There's not much time for fancy footwork, as our guys discovered—you just have to boom it into the goal every chance you get. It's more like hockey than soccer. Fun to watch, though, and a good winter pastime since Pete decided not to play basketball this year.
So, there you go, three interesting things for the price of admission!