Sunday, December 24, 2006

And a Merry Christmas to All!

Ahhh, Christmas Eve, the first in my home in Indianapolis. Due to a number of scheduling errors and some poor planning the part of my entire family, I was able to enjoy a large number of holiday parties here this weekend. I'm planning to bunker down in a posh Chicago hotel for the day tomorrow, hit the post-Christmas sales on Michigan Ave, and read all kinds of wonderful books stacked up for months, mostly on food. I'll order a turkey sandwich from room service as my homage to Christmas dinner. As always, I get sentimental over the holidays and am so thankful for a large number of people in my life. Plus, I've seen many of you over the past few days and in hopes of passing along funny tidbits, relevant information and general thanks, here are a whole boatload of Christmas thoughts:

Thanks for all the holidays party galore! From downtown hideaways to beautiful Westfield homes, I've eaten and imbibed with so many wonderful friends in the past few weeks. And the one thing I've learned above all others? That the Harry and David's Pepper and Onion Relish mixed with cream cheese is hands down my favorite holiday find. Sure, not a profound Christmas life discovery, but a useful one anyway.

Black Bubbles Make the Party Bright: I didn't love some of these sparkling chirazs when I first tasted them in warmer weather, but for holiday party winter sparklers, they're perfect! I prefer them chilled although some like them warmer. The Shingleback is widely available and not pricey.

We Are the Ladies Who Lunch: The most popular holiday gathering I had a hand in organizing? An incredibly pleasant ladies lunch at Oakley's Bistro. As many of us found out, fighting the crowds at the mall is so much more fun after three bottles of prosecco. The trick for a larger party? Reservations for 12:30 or 1:00 instead of 11:30 or noon. We lingered until nearly 3:00.

My First Knights of the Beer Round Table Tasting! I was honored to taste my first beers with my fellow Knights and Hoosier Beer Geeks a week or two ago. My first review is posted. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year my beery fellows.

Cooking Dinner with Friends: Last week also found me with an open night, some odd ingredients and a friend to cook dinner with. He wanted to try the celery root soup with scallops and chorizo (poured hot over the raw scallops in the bowl) from this month's Food and Wine while I wanted to clean all these odd gourmet tidbits from my refrigerator. The result was a fantastic dinner cooked peacefully in a large kitchen and eaten with guests.

What Are You Doing New Years Eve? Unlike the song, I didn't receive a thousand invitations, however I do have a few options. My choice? Neal Brown's party at L'Explorateur. It will be a fun night with party food and freely flowing champagne.

Psst. "I'll Have the 'Special Lobster'": The Chicago Tribune tells us that many restaurants in Chicago are just ignoring the foie gras ban. Some are flouting it openly while others require a code word for the delicious treat. The article features a list of restaurants serving the dish and where you have to ask for the "special lobster". I think "I'll have the special lobster" will become my new mantra for the entire new year.

It Was a Very Good Year: All in all, it's been a good year with many new friends and old ones. I've met so many of you readers who stop in for gossip, ideas, and even bad reviews. (With so many "positive review only" policies at most publications in town, I've recently had request for a "Three Warnings" as well as the latest and best. With new food and wine groups popping up all over town, I can only say go forth, eat, drink, and be merry. (A couple of dinner clubs I'm in already have dinners planned including a Three Kinds epiphany dinner. Plus, the upcoming foie gras smackdown.)

Go forth. Eat. Share your food and wine with friends in your home and out. Enjoy the fellowship of friends and family. Try something new. Enjoy something old. And most importantly enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Merry Christmas, everyone.


Anonymous said...

Hi Braingirl -- I'm an Indianapolis journalist working on a story about blogging, and I'd like to talk to you if you'd be so inclined. Unfortunately leaving this comment was the only means I could find of contacting you. If you'd be interested (or even if not) I'd appreciate it if you could contact me at my personal email account --

Many thanks,

Omar Cruz said...
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