Love

hôtel ritz parisI admit it – I have a soft spot for hotel bars partly because the first time my present husband declared himself to me was at a hotel bar – albeit it was coming on the heels of “I think you have another girlfriend (true) and if you want to keep seeing me, you’d better tell her good-bye....” In fairness, we’d only been dating for a week and we hadn’t kissed yet. And my version of the story is way more dramatic than his. In my version, I exit the table and he runs after me and says, “Wait, wait...I think I’m falling in love with you.” In his version, the dialogue is the same, but he claims he didn’t run after me in the patio of the bar at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills and dramatically stop my exit, he simply said it at the table. (I’m right, by the way....)

Neither of us dispute the second part – that the first time we kissed was in the driveway of the Peninsula (about three minutes after the declaration) as we were both waiting for our own cars and the possibility that we might never see each other again was hanging in the air. The valets all started laughing and smiling, and in my writer’s mind, there was also applause (this is potentially debatable) but the valets were pretty sweet since basically it was sort of old people making out and could have elicited a slightly different reaction, like yucch, and if this is “too much information” for my children, I apologize about that....

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pancake-stack.jpg Once upon a time, when my future husband and I had just started dating, he called me one Saturday morning to see what I was up to. I was in the car with my friend Phoebe and a trunk full of laundry.

“We’re going to Michael Green’s for breakfast,” I said. I had him on my Reagan-era car phone, which had a curly cord and a speakerphone, which may as well have been a tin can attached to a length of string.

Peter thought about this for a moment. “Is that a restaurant or a person’s house?” he asked.

 

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barbaosummerrolls.jpgIn New York for a brief visit, my wife and I wanted to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary with a special dinner. After a beautiful day walking around the city, we decided to find a restaurant near where we were staying at 70th and Amsterdam. For our anniversary dinner, we wanted a restaurant where we could talk and hold hands. And we wanted a meal prepared by a chef who cared about making interesting food, but we didn't want to spend a fortune.

The New York Times said a new restaurant was opening nearby that sounded interesting, so we called. On the phone the maitre d' described the menu at Bar Bao as a "modern take on Vietnamese food." The restaurant was opening that night and luckily a table was available.

When we arrived we were greeted warmly. That friendliness continued throughout the evening. Our waiter, Matt, accommodating both Michelle's desire to be meat free and my own unrestricted eating, suggested the Vermicelli Noodles and he would bring the pork belly on the side. Rounding out the meal, we decided on the Vegetable Summer Rolls, Sizzling Cuttlefish, Bean Curd Glazed Black Cod, and Asian Eggplant.

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ncporklogo.jpg This summer marks my thirtieth year as an attorney. But when I think back to the summer of 1978 it is not a courtroom that I see; rather I recall a brilliant sunny July day barbecuing at the base of the Seattle Space Needle on a Weber grill. About  twenty of us from the country’s largest pork producing states  were vying for first place in National Pork Cook-Out Contest. Truth be told though the southern states, principally North Carolina, Texas and  Tennessee are known for barbecue the big boys of pork are Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska and  Kansas. They were the guys to beat.

For me the event was the culmination of a 2-year grilling odyssey that began in 1976 when I entered the North Carolina State Pork Cooking Championship and came away with a respectable but disappointing third place for Orange Flavored Pork. Despite the loss (and despite my New York Jewish heritage), I knew I had it in me to bring home the bacon so to speak.  Though I had always loved pork – mostly in the form of ribs slathered in ‘duck sauce’ from the local Chinese take out joint – I really never really embraced the true pig in me until I had come to Chapel Hill, North Carolina two years earlier to attend law school.

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lobsters.jpgLast week, on Martha’s Vineyard, while eating lobster on the docks of Menemsha, my 20 year old daughter asked, “Where do lobsters come from?” She always stumps me! I’m still having trouble with chickens and eggs, so I looked it up and what I found was utterly fascinating.

With a characteristic similar to some humans I know, the female lobster is always attracted to the bad, dangerous alpha in the hood. The male lobster is a mean and aggressive beast. Being the most powerful fighter has earned him the respect of the other males and the pick of the females.

When the female lobster is ready to mate, she approaches alpha’s den and secretly squirts a pheromone, subtly mixed with her urine into his lair. Sensing an intruder, the male rushes to his door with his claws raised aggressively, but he is already sufficiently ruffied, and after a brief fight, the female places her claws upon the love drugged male’s head, who then obediently escorts her over the threshold of his cave.

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