Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 01/09/18: Sticking With It, Christy's Birthday at the Blackboard Cafe, Vito and Ukes at Wallace Brewing

1. Late this morning the Deke and I bounded into the exercise room at the Wellness Center. I had a solid workout. I'm not quite to the point of sweating pools, but I am increasing what I do in reasonable increments. This morning I worked out harder on the recumbent bicycle than I ever had and I had a good session strengthening my arms and chest and abs on different weight machines. The best thing that's going on is that the Deke and I are sticking with it and working out two or three times a week.

2. Today was Christy's birthday. She decided she wanted to eat at the Blackboard Cafe in Wallace. It's a handsome, cozy, comfortably appointed cafe that serves breakfast on the weekends, sandwiches during the day, and mostly Italian food from 5-8. The Deke and I joined Christy and Everett to (further) celebrate Christy's birthday and we all loved eating at the Blackboard.

We started with a small plate of tapenade and the olive spread was the best I've ever tasted. I wish I had it in front of me right now so I could better identify the different tastes, but I can attest to the fact that each bite of crisp crostini topped with the olive spread was a pleasing explosion of the earthy flavor of black olives complimented with garlic, lemon, and other flavors.

I ordered carbonara, thanks to the famous article Calvin Trillin wrote years ago in The New Yorker making a case for making spaghetti carbonara the national meal on Thanksgiving. (His essay first came to my attention when I heard him read it on the podcast, Burnt Toast. Click here, and you can hear him read it, too.)

Until tonight, I'd never tried pasta carbonara. The Blackboard Cafe makes carbonara with linguine. It's shot through with bits of bacon -- not crisp--and dressed with a garlic, lemon, parmesan egg sauce that further enhanced the pasta and put me in a dreamy mood as I savored the sweetness of the bacon, the bite of the lemon and garlic, and the richness of the egg and cheese.

As a gift to Christy, Blackboard co-owner, Luanne, brought out a homemade square of chocolate peanut butter cake and the four of us split it. We all moaned with pleasure as we dove into this creamy, nutty tasting, chocolate-y blast of delight.

3. I guess some nights the Deke and I can't quite enjoy ourselves enough.

After this blissful dinner, we headed down the street to Wallace Brewing, hoping that the latest iteration of Vito, Wallace Brewing's annual barrel-aged English strong ale might still be available. It had been released around Thanksgiving and for all we knew, it had sold out by now.

But, no.

Vito English strong ale, this year's batch aged in scotch barrels, was still for sale, so we enjoyed five oz. pours of this sweet and warming ale and had a great time yakkin' with Cathleen, who was serving the beer; then, before I knew it, I'm almost certain the Deke had organized the women who were at the brewery for a just concluded monthly Tuesday night ale and yoga class into an upcoming ukulele get together where the Deke will bring the instruments and teach those present how to play.

What a night in Wallace. 

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