It Must Be New Year's Somewhere
This week, I shook the dust of the small town from my feet and headed for the big city. San Francisco! The Golden Gate! The shops! The restaurants! The museums! Things that were once a daily experience have become an exciting adventure now that I'm retired.
The BART train was familiar, although now I was carrying my iPad and feeling very high techie as I scrolled through a downloaded book instead of my erstwhile paperbacks. The streets of the city haven't changed - most people still wear black, a conceit I have never understood when there is all that other rainbow of colors to choose from. I guess the people of San Francisco are rainbow enough.
And they certainly are. Living in a small town, one forgets the true meaning of "diversity," but I was joyfully reminded of it as I jaywalked my way toward the SFMOMA to see the Stein family exhibit. I have missed my city by the bay, I was just so content that I didn't realize it until I was there.
It was an interesting art show - if you live locally or are coming for a visit soon, you should go. It's so worth it, for the Matisses alone. That guy knew color with a capital C. Marvelous. The Picassos were interesting, too, but in my view he was a better sculptor than a painter and I think he was just kidding but no one got the joke, so he kept making more and more outlandish art and selling it for increasingly outlandish prices.
After the show, I met my pal Sari for a birthday lunch (hers) at the café in Nordstroms. When I was working, this was a favorite spot for me and My Beloved - very convenient after work, always a pleasantly restful atmosphere and really good food, reasonably priced. I showed Sari the pictures I took at Katie's wedding, she filled me in about her swoony boyfriend and we had lovely lunches. Mine was Hoppin' John, a surprise to me at this time of year, but I figure it's New Year's in some culture around the world, right?
Anyway, New Year's or midsummer, it was really good. You'll laugh, but this is the first honest-to-goodness Hoppin' John I've ever eaten. I have heard about it on the blogs and from my Southern friends. I have made a version myself, but it wasn't like this. This version was similar to risotto - the rice was a little gooey and flavored with Parmesan cheese - and the black-eyed peas studded it like sassy little winks throughout. A few fresh herbs were mixed in and it was topped with a sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest. Topped with crisp, salty lardons that added texture and a hint of richness to the dish. I scooped up every last grain and pea, boosting my good luck for the second half of the year.