Category: Miscellany

Blue Ginger Revisited

Since we moved out of the city in 2000, the boss and I have eaten once or twice at Chef Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger in (S)Wellesley MA. While the meals certainly were not horrible, they weren’t wildly memorable either. It’s been years since we’ve been.

Last night we snuck out to celebrate the boss’s 29th birthday (yes, she’s 29 again!). The wait at OGA’s was too long. The wait at Alta Strada was twice that of OGA’s. So we thought we’d take a stab at Blue Ginger, where we were seated right away. We are told by friends they don’t reserve every table in advance so they can often seat walk-ins.

Net-net, we had a stellar meal. Blue Ginger is officially on my list of fine dining outside the Boston/Cambridge city limits. It’s an unfortunately small list, so I’m happy to be able to add to it!

We started off with:

Crispy Fried Calamari with Thai Dipping Sauce which was tasty, but not exceptional. Apparently it’s a signature dish. The batter was on the thick side. The dipping sauce was wildly distinctive, but you had to consume it in units of millileters due to how strong the flavors were.

Foie Gras-Shiitake Shumai in Sauternes-Shallot Broth which was quite impressive. The shumai were ethereal (the best word we could come up with) in that they weren’t smack-you-in-the-face flavorful, but they were incredibly savory and subtle with a superb texture. You kinda wished you could just chew ‘em forever :-) . The broth was exceptional, and many of the calamari were dipped into it rather than the Thai dipping sauce they came with.

Creamless Roasted Parsnip Soup with Wild Mushroom-Truffle Ragout and Beet Syrup which was stupendous. The perfect soup for a cold night. A wonderful mix of flavors. Just enough beet to kick it into high gear. Bravo!

For her main course, the boss ordered the Crispy Skin Salmon in an Aromatic Corn Broth with Shiso-Chile Oil. The crisped-up skin was to-die-for. I assume they crisp it with a torch or something, but whatever they do, it was delectable. The Salmon was perfectly cooked.

For my main course, I ordered a house specialty, the Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster with Lemongrass Fried Rice (pictured below). It was the best lobster I’ve had in recent memory – probably since a lobster dish I had at The Blue Room in the first half of the 90s.

[For those of you with greying hair, the plating of the Lobster gave me a total flashback to the "Fighting Prawns" dish that was a staple at Stan Frankenthaler's original Salamander (in the Thinking Machines building in East Cambridge). Two huge prawns were cooked whole and assembled standing on the plate with their legs intertwined - as if they were fighting. Customers would invariably lose their cool when the dish arrived!]

To finish off the meal, we shared the Palm Sugar Cranberry Tart and Ming’s Maitake Coffee.

It was a super duper birthday dinner, and we’ll head back to Blue Ginger again, now that we know they’re playing an A game. Yes, Chef Tsai was there – hopping from table to table all evening playing the gracious host. We got to say hi.


O.N.C.E. In Hell — A Culinary Adventure

For those of you who have been living in a cave of late ;-) this week marks the premiere (three shows only) of O.N.C.E. In Hell. From JJ’s blog post:

This is a dinner with a full performance. The menu and the script were written together, as a play, by a really amazingly creative group of women, three of whom are cooking- as Cuisine en Locale. It’s not going to be a goth night, it is going to be an art-for-arts-sake literary interpretation of the text.

Jennifer, the show’s Assistant Head Chef, assures us this is not about spicy food. It’s ten courses of haute cuisine plus Dante – damn – what could be cooler than that?!?!?

The show goes on on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights this week in Cambridge at the American Repertory Theater’s Oberon theatrical club space. Apparently the Thursday show is just about sold out, but there are still some tix available for Tuesday and Wednesday, so have at ‘em!

The boss and I are counting the hours ourselves!!!

ET EDT GMT-0400 GMT-0500 — Shoot Me.

As most readers of this blog know, I have some issues with how time is represented :-) . For starters, I can’t stand the whole “AM/PM” nomenclature (as opposed to 24 hour clocks) and the whole ET/EST/EDT daylight savings time bullshit drives me batty.

I got the following today about a meeting I have next week (emphasis and redactions mine):

When: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 8:00 AM-9:30 AM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada).
Where: XXXX Federal St. XXXth Floor, Boston, MA 02110
Note: The GMT offset above does not reflect daylight saving time adjustments.

I have no clue what calendaring system generated this reminder email to me, but it basically made my head explode.

In time zone ET, we have daylight savings time until the first Sunday in November. We switch out of DST on 11/01/2009 at 02:00 ET (we “re-live” 01:00:01 through 02:00:00). During DST, ET is GMT-04. Outside of DST ET is GMT-05. The above text says the meeting starts at 0800 ET but that the offset for DST has not been reflected. What the fuck does that mean?!? Is the meeting at 0800 (GMT-5) or at 0900 (GMT-4)? I happen to know it’s at 0800 ‘cuz I was there when we scheduled it, but c’mon folks!

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

I think it’s time we moved the word FUCK into the common lexicon. It’s a stellar word. It’s no less stellar than MURMUR, LILT or SCINTILLA. It’s no less useful than LAUGH, SUNLIGHT, GO or COME.

A word has only those powers that a society agrees to confer upon it.

We are in complete control of those rules.

Words, strung together, are what should move us. Words, strung together, are to be loved or feared. Words, strung together, allow us to be rational, thoughtful, entertaining, disgusting, and beyond.

There is no net-positive reason for a sole word to be conferred such capabilities.

No rational society would allow the color #4E36C8 to be assigned, explicitly or implicitly, a politeness, usability, helpfulness, or appropriateness ‘score’ – thus broadly limiting or mandating its use in societal functions. Folks would need to repaint their houses, change their corporate logos, throw away lots of clothes, and revamp their schools’ art classes. Picasso’s Guernica probably couldn’t exist without #4E36C8. It’s clearly irrational.

Imagine the global good that could come from the removal of irrational societal constraints on individual words. If epithets are made powerless, it means you have to string together words to hurl a (usually pointless) insult at someone – and in so doing you are suddenly halfway towards having a conversation with them…

So can we start with FUCK? Let’s decide to make it, singly, as powerless as the four letter words DOOR, BLUE, MAKE, and SIGN.