Recent Culinary Adventures

Jeff got a big promotion and a major raise the other day so we celebrated by my taking him to dinner at the Zuni. And yeah, yeah, i know it’s supposed to be the other way around, but we take turns treating, and it was my turn.

I’ve loved the Zuni since it opened in 1979 in the southern sliver of Red Desert, the most gorgeous cactus and succulent store i’ve ever seen, before or since. The food at first was southwestern and quite good, but Judy Rogers changed the focus and drove the quality higher when she came on board ten years later. Superb food at fair prices for what it is.

For an appetizer i had the house-cured anchovies, which were merely good and an entree of duck breast with wild rice that was the best of both i’ve ever had. The wild rice was braised in stock and wonderfully chewy, the duck breast was buttery and fork tender. We both had the Gâteau Victoire, which has got to be the lightest flourless chocolate cake i’ve ever eaten, and among the most delicious, not that i don’t perhaps enjoy even more the luscious denseness of a Gâteau Reine de Saba.

And now, from the sublime to the HP Pavilion snack bar. We knew. We knew all along. Leopards do not change their spots. And somehow, seeing new vendors and menus at the refreshment stalls in the pavilion made me forget what food was like there. So i looked through the offerings and spotted a barbecued chicken sandwich that i assumed would have smaller amounts of carbohydrates, fat, and salt.

One bite was all it took to discover that if the ingredients in that sandwich had been listed by weight, the first would have been high fructose corn syrup because the sauce in which the shreds of chicken were swimming tasted like, and had the mouth feel of, barbecue-flavored simple syrup. But i was starving, so i ate it. And then when, in the middle of the first match, The Great Thirst struck, i realized that the second ingredient by weight would have been MSG. All for only $11.

And no, i did not seek out the HP Pavilion for its food but rather because the 2013 SAP Open marked the end of a tournament that had run for 125 years, the second oldest in the nation. See the last post at the end of Lobs and Volleys.

On the other hand, talk about good enough to eat, a delectation provided by my landlord to brighten up the front of the house:

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