Saturday, 28 December 2013

KThxBai 2013

No Christmas post - the reindeer has left the building.  No Birthday post - that should have been in early October.

It's not because I don't love writing.  It's not because I've stopped eating.  It's just... 2013 was a rollercoaster.  The kind that has you scrabbling in your seat, screaming in the wind and shaking afterwards, looking for a trashcan to heave your stomach contents into.
Some parts were amazingly great, others not so.  Some days were white Negronis, laughter and kind company.  Some days were espressos in succession, rounded out with a menthol cigarette and a raggedy soul.

From photoseries "Be A Woman" by Hanna Seweryn

But it's all learning though, isn't it?  And there was a lot of that.

Thanks to Ruhlman's Twenty, I learned the art of fearless braising.  Braised dishes used to be daunting challenges as I was convinced that specific recipes were required for lamb shanks, oxtail stew, osso bucco, etc.  It's silly to think I'd panic, searching for the correct recipe to conduct what is essentially a wabi-sabi affair - perfection in imperfection.
Once I read Twenty's chapter on braising, it all made simple sense.  Now I can cook a veal shin without getting a headache from reading four different cookbooks. Excellent.

You couldn't meet nicer people than the crew at The Wigs Cellars.  Their range of bitters alone is staggering.
Wigs isn't just a bottle shop - it's an education.  Even my buffoon's palate now knows when a scotch is peated and smoky and when a gin is floral, herbal or a little of both.  I love you guys - and not just in an embarrassing drunk way either.

Food With Friends
  • Jon and Tessa's epic barbecues, where it's not just meat and carbs.  Asparagus! Broccolini! Corn!  I could have wept with joy.  Never have I been so grateful for vegetables in someone else's home.  
  • "This teh tarik is pretty good", Jo-Ann comments as she sits across from me at Mamak.  A part of me can't believe she and Lidia are here - the last time we were all together was 18 years ago in Malaysia.
    I can honestly say that if I'd been shot by some wise-ass, silencer-wielding, black turtleneck-wearing secret agent assassin guy right then I would have died happy.
    Note to self - 18 years is much too long.
  • Narn finally takes me to Seoul Metro.  Under the innocuously named 'Rice Wine Cocktail' they have a blueberry and makkoli concoction which is as intriguing as it was delicious; I'm still trying to figure out what they put in it.  Luckily, it comes in jugs.  Taeyang's Ringa Linga plays in the background as we drink, eat crispy chicken and L.A. rib stew.  A calm evening of good food and excellent company.  
  • Speaking of cocktails, darlings Alex and Yvette took The Boyfriend and me out to Borsch, Vodka & Tears.  The food was amazing and the company sublime, but what wins the Honourable Mention is a drink named "Your Mother Was A Hamster and Your Father Smelt of Elderberries".
    Python fans, I am not making this up.

The Restaurant As Neutral Zone (but not in a Trek way)
This was a year which involved a lot of heavy discussion about relationships, careers, future directions and friends/family.  A lot of these discussions took place in restaurants, fast food joints, cafés and drinking establishments.  The Boyfriend and I have discovered that some things are just too heavy to take home with us and serious matters are better explored over food and drink.

Shout-outs go to Pie Face for it's cheerful anonymity and easily accessible napkins, Gusto at Barkly for it's consistency and proximity (I'm annoyed that I can't go there as often, they do lovely pizzas and pastas and I have become somewhat gluten intolerant) and Gogo Sushi for it's service and perfectly-sized nigiri which doesn't feel like you're trying to swallow a boat.  Most nigiri in this town is just too big - it is supposed to be a one-bite matter after all.
Also, anywhere which did a decent G&T and/or coffee.  Let's just say this year, I drank a lot of gin and black coffee.

In Other News
The Age says that Korean will be the 'next big thing' in 2014.
*howls with laughter*
I'll just be over here making this week's banchan and prepping tonight's soondubu jigae with MFBTY and Epik High playing in the background... and no, I'm not Korean.

So that's it.  Thank you for making it this far. I hope 2014 finds you in good health and happiness. 

May your glass be full and your plate brimming with all good things.

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