Yep. We at The Bloated Belly have been lazy. Well, no, check that. Burned out is the phrase, recovering from conference season for us food fucks. So, it was a little more than a week ago that I finally started coming up for air. Thanks to Harold for snapping our slump, and outing us for the heathuns we are.
So what’s happened. The lady friend and I had our first meal on the deck for 2006. Mark it, folks. April 10. Nothing fancy. Diced up a little garlic, tossed it in a mixing bowl with some olive oil with a bit o’ Worcester sauce and pepper and marinated it for a bit while the grill heated up. Didn’t have much else in the fridge ‘cept a couple potatoes, so cooked ‘em up too, cracked a bottle of Coppola Rosso and enjoyed the 70 degree evening. A nice end to a weekend that was a bit taxing on the liver. Prob’ly coulda done without the wine, but, hey. The mood struck us. Aww, lookit. I just noticed the kitty at the screen door.
Yeah, my liver. That previous Friday wasn’t so bad, I guess. A few whiskey sours over the course of three or four hours or so, starting at home with some leftover Thai food from Pad Thai on Grand Avenue in St. Paul (one of my favorite, relaxing hang-outs, worthy of its own post) then at Lee’s Liquor Lounge to watch a friend of mine and his band (Lazy Ike & the Daredevils) open for the Copperheads and Chris Scruggs. Lazy Ike (aka Greg Huff) is also the booking guy for Lee’s, but do you think that gets me, an old friend and former co-worker, in for free? Fuck no. But I can’t complain. Five bucks gets you into the door at Lee’s for some good honkey tonk, rockabilly and country music (the good country music, not the K102, Toby Keith/Brooks & Dunn country crap) and you get to see folks of all generations spinnin’ around the dance floor.
Saturday, finished the taxes. Saturday night led me and the lady friend to the Moscow on the Hill. When I really want to relax with a good meal, this is where I go. The place was jammed, the restaurant short-staffed because of illness, but no matter. All guests were accommodated, the owners, Marina and Naum Liberman, worked the floor, and the chef didn’t sacrifice quality to pound out quick meals—he was short in the kitchen, too. We had too wait a little longer, but that’s part of the fun of the Moscow. The vibe, and, of course, the vodka. For dinner, I had a kick ass seared duck breast in a cherry demi-glace, and the lady friend had what we might almost consider her “usual,” a filet mignon in cabernet sauce. We sat, ate, drank, and drank some more, culminating with a shot of vodka and conversation with the owner and some of the staff. This is not unusual at the Moscow. We never go there if we have to be somewhere else in the evening. Things can quickly get out of hand—but in a good way. And it’s fabulous that we only live three blocks away, because I don’t think I’ve ever left that place in any condition to drive.
Sunday. Concert. Watched pops sing in his choral group at a church near Lake Nokomis. Then headed over to Fat Lorenzo’s for pizza, pasta and wine with pops, his wife, the lady friend, sis and her punk daughter (punk is not a negative term in describing my niece, folks). Now, Fat Lorenzo’s is a great neighborhood joint. It bills itself serving “Italian” food. Not quite. It’s Italian American fare (heavy on the red sauce—make that heavy on any sauce) and it’s not at all bad. The pastas are good, just drenched in sauce—and it’s best to stay away from the shrimp. And the pizzas are quite delicious. But there’s a catch on those pizzas. Don’t ever order thinking you can always take leftovers home to reheat later. NEVER do that. Fat Lorenzo’s pizza, reheated (in the oven, no less), is terrible. And it’s all with the cheese. Reheated, their mozzarella resembles Elmer’s glue, lacking both the consistency and appearance of any sort of cheese. It’s an absolutely revolting textural experience.
So, yeah. Fat Lorenzo’s on Sunday, the outdoor dining on the porch on Monday, April 10. It’s a little disturbing to have 70-degree weather in April in Minnesota. And it’s been that way for about a week-and-a-half now. Thank you, global warming. If you want to find me in July and August, I’ll be down in the basement, sprawled on the cool cement floor.