Table Side

There was a moment last nigt after I had set down the umpteenth plate of tapas that it hit me between the eyes. I love doing this.

Standing by a table of friends looking at their food pacified faces is just really satisfying. Knowing I’ve got more up my sleeve is also really pleasurable. Listening to the conversation come to a screeching halt, and glancing at them eating, blissful smiles on their faces is one of the more rewarding things I can do for myself.

Dinner yesterday, in case you can’t tell, went really well. The food came together and I was actually well ahead of schedule over the past 4 days so I wasn’t running around like a girl scout on crack. The food behaved the way I expected it for the most part. Best of all were the lamb chops that performed an architectural feat of magic that until I put them down in front of people, I wasn’t sure would hold together. Of course sometimes the simplest presentations are the best. Four tartlettes of caremelized balamic onions on home made puff pastry, baked and then sliced in half and served along with a sundae glass of creme fraiche eleicits grons of pleasure from the table. I hadn’t bothered with any creative plating because I knew they could stand for themselves.

That’s not to say that I didn’t learn a very large lesson this week end.

Saturday I went down to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building and did most of my perishable food shopping. At the top of my list were the cured meats from Mastrionni’s (I think that’s the name) Deli. I got some really nice prosciutto and was really tickled to see a gorgeous sopresetta. I picked my order from the fish guys. Mussels (Diana Ross not withstanding), Ahi tuna and crab meat. From there I stopped by Acme Bread and snagged olive loaf, walniut bread and an herb slab. From there I headed over the Golden Gate meat company. I picked up the filet mignon, the lamb rack, the bacon and the specialty sausages.

At this point I was getting pretty loaded down but I went out back and started getting vegetables here and there, reverberating aroudn the market and feeling pretty damned pleased with myself. At one point though I realized I needed to get something to help me lug it all around. I briefly chastized myself again for not having a driver’s licence and therefor a car to toss it all into. I got a bag and as I was loading everything into it, I noticed something was missing. The bag of meat was gone.

OK, I stayed calm. I knew I wasn’t dumb enough to lose $100 worth of meat. I unloaded everything thinking it was just burried. Uh-no. It wasn’t anywhere in my posession. So I back tracked. Hit all 5 stands where I’d been since I had bought the meat. No one had seen anything. I really didn’t expect them to. It’s a busy market. Soemone probably saw it sitting by itself and took it home. The other option is that some one saw me struggling with everything else and while my back weas turned buying vegetables, they grabbed it. Who knows what happened?

All I know is that between $100 and $150 worth of food was gone. Just gone. No way to get it back.

I felt like a fool. An unprofessional fool.

I decided to head home and bite the bullet. I could have gone back to the Golden Gate Meat Company but I didn’t have enough cash to cover that. So I went to Safeway and got lesser quality, but the same volume. I wasn’t happy about it, but I got it done.

So what did we learn? We learned to bring that rolling shopping bag we bought a few weeks ago and keep everything in that instead of trudging around like a refugee. Especcially when you’re buying raw meat and seafood this is a good idea because ice packs are a good thing.

Despite all that, everything came out fine. The guests were intrigued, surprised, and above all happy.

And again, that’s why I do this.

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