Well, it just goes to show...there PQ was, yapping about her untarnished greens-hoppin' john-cornbread history on New Year's Day, and what did I have for dinner this Jan. 1 but roast beef, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, gravy, and yes, a couple of black-eyed peas. I had my beans a-soaking when Shar called up to say that Mama was making a roast, and that's all it took, after a morning brunch at Rose's Cafe in Cow Hollow (mimosas and the salmon "cozy", a fat slab of fresh salmon tucked into a thin ciabatta-like bread with herb mayo, greens, and radishes)to nip on over to Fruitvale to knit, help with the gravy, and make cookies with the kids. And, of course, eat more meat! First, though, we had to wander through North Beach for a cappuccino at Caffe Trieste, perfect as always. It was a sunny, washed-clean day, a good one to wake up to after dinner at Chow (bacon always makes Brussels sprouts better! Really, their Brussels sprout app--done in the wood-burning oven, I'm thinking--is fantastic, as is the very nice roasted chicken with sweet-potato mash), a Marga Gomez show, and a little champagne party in Bernal the night before, with Roxy, Nance, and Papa Sueno.
The key to Brussels sprouts, as with its other brassica sisters like cauliflower and cabbage: caramelization! Get those suckers cooked through and then BROWNED, in the oven or in a hot, greasy pan on top of the stove, and you'll eat them like candy, I swear. Lynn, Shar's Canadian mom-in-law, did a bang-up job with these for dinner on New Year's Day, and even though nothing can compete with a rare rib roast, they came pretty close.
And then, a couple days later, there was Papa Sueno's cocktail party, featuring tasty Cable Car cocktails of rum and curacao with a cinnamon-sugar rim on the glasses, mmm. Plus sushi AND cheese balls, both made by star cooks Susie & Heather, who also did the amazing food at Papa S.'s wedding last year. Handmade cheese balls, two kinds! Who would have thought, besides Amy Sedaris? There were also dainty little Rice Krispie treat balls dipped in milk chocolate, which I didn't try (being distracted by the miniature dark-chocolate milky way bars) but which garnered numerous moans of molar-curling delight. And as if that wasn't enough, I nipped on over to Lulu's bonfire afterwards, a posse of lovely ladies gathered around the fire pit in her Emeryville backyard. I passed out homemade pumpkin cookies (still tweaking the recipe, but will post soon) and shopped the clothes swap, donating some of the dresses and shirts passed to me by my older sister, and coming home with a snuggly black-velour coat, an excellent "Aloha Cowgirl" t-shirt, and many other pretty things.