Friday, February 1, 2008

February 1st

Last night, I had drinks with some friends who have been in NY for a while and are contemplating their next moves. I also had dinner with a friend who lives in Boston but works in NY for the week. I am not sure if it was because of my earlier conversation at drinks or what, but I just realized that all the comments I subesequently made at dinner about NY and America were pretty negative. How did it get that way?

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I had one of my best nights in NY last Sun. I had a bunch of people over for dinner, as I do every so often. What made it different on Sunday was I somehow assembled a group with the right chemistry. The night ended at 1am with 4 of us (out of 7) still at the table, after seven bottles of wine and an evening of great conversation, with many references to "Judith". (There's a looooong story behind that)

Perhaps the food was a sign of how the night would unfold. The food was, if you don't mind me boasting, beautiful! I definitely outdid myself this time. Loosely based around a Mediterranean theme, the dinner menu consisted of tapenade, parsley salad, white bean puree, roasted carrots and the piece de resistance, slow-roasted harissa-marinated lamb shoulder. (Boy I wish I had taken a picture of the lamb when it was served.) We finished with an incredibly light olive oil and Muscat cake served with Muscat Love.

Or perhaps I should have known when W burst into the room, overhearing a conversation fragment about Moscow, and went "I have a great Moscow story". W's personality dominated the evening. It was inevitable considering that he was the oldest at the table, lived in NY the longest and was not a banker/corporate type. The quieter personalities fell away quietly in W's wake, leaving W, K (W's gf), A (next oldest person at table) and myself at the table, or in W's words, "the interesting people".

It was one of my best nights in NY because not only had I managed to achieve some kind of culinary success, but I had also managed to bring together a bunch of strangers to share in a great evening. I definitely cannot say that my time in NY has been all that bad. I have managed to pursue my interests to a greater extent - practicing my culinary skills much more often, even going as far as to take a class at the French Culinary Institute. And even though I have been here only nine months, I have met such a wide range of people, some more interesting than others, many friendly but flaky. I have learned to cope on my own, away from friends who have tried-and-tested and thrust amongst strangers.

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