Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A food day

It has been a food day. I had breakfast with the Book Ladies, a group of women who have gathered for ten or fifteen years once a month. They all have had careers dealing with books, though most are retired now Still, they keep a lively interest in new books and what's happening in the world of books. Then I had lunch with Mary Lu, a good friend who went with me for the colonoscopy consultation--which was honestly not bad. The clinic is an efficient place. The people are cheerful and comforting, so I'm not really dreading the procedure--just the prep.
But tonight Betty and I went to Lanny's Alta Cocina for the Restaurant Week menu. A three-course dinner is $35 plus wine, and proceeds go to a local institution to help troubled children. Lanny comes from a family well known in this city for their traditional Mexican restaurant--Joe T.'s, which attracts celebrities from all over and a lot of us common folk. It's where my birthday dinner was. But Lanny, a man in his early thirties, went off to cooking school, and he has an upscale (very!) restaurant heavily slanted toward nouveau Mexican cuisine but not exclusively. On the special menu for the week, you get two choices of each of three courses, so Betty and I had heirloom tomato gazpacho (it came with a shrimp which I asked them to omit), coconut crusted halibut on a bed of wild mushrooms, and a marvelous but rich flan of goat cheese with caramel sauce. As a special touch, they serve an amuse bouche before dinner--this time it was a crab cake not much bigger than my thumbnail--but delicious. Because I had asked for the shrimp to be left out, the serving person thought I was allergic to shellfish and brought me three tiny slices of a good Spanish cheese. When I said, no, I can eat crab and lobster, just not shrimp, she brought me the crab cake--superb! It was a wonderful meal.
A bonus touch--yesterday we received two advance copies of Great Texas Chefs, one of our small books with a fall publication date. I wrote it and dedicated it to Betty because she explores restaurants with me, and Lanny is one of the chefs. So tonight, just happening to have one of the advances in my purse (!) I was able to show it to both of them.
I did come home and write two pages--not much, but it was the scene on my mind, and I was glad to have it on paper. Now I'm back to reading about Guernsey.

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