Yesterday was not the merriest Christmas I've had on the books. Chances are, that one occurred in 1978, when I sprinted into our living room to find, to much wonder and awe, my very own little tiny kitchen (OK, I don't actually remember this, but my parents do).
Unfortunately, our Christmas plans were shot yesterday morning, when both Cooper and Dixon woke up with a nasty bout of the stomach flu. We got to celebrate with my parents on Christmas Eve, and see most of both families in the morning, but had to skip dinner at Cooper's parents' house so that Cooper could lay in bed and I could feed Dixon ice chips. It was all very sad. Plus, since I don't have a kitchen - our stove is positioned very attractively on our front porch right now - I couldn't even make anyone chicken broth. Thank God for Towson Best's chinese delivery. A little wonton soup goes a long way.
I can't complain too much about how yesterday turned out, though. First of all, I wasn't even sick - fortunately. Also, kitchen or no, I've eaten awfully well this month. Too well to write individual reviews, but here's a roundup:
- For Cooper's birthday, we went with some friends to Andy Nelson's BBQ in Cockeysville. It's always reliable (though a tiny bit too far from home to be a staple) - but his birthday was better than usual: all you can eat. During Monday Night Football (now, sadly, ended), Andy Nelson's hosts an all you can eat buffet every Monday night from 6-8 pm. It's in the garage outside of the main building and includes pork bbq (amazing), chicken, wings, potato salad, cole slaw, peach cobbler and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. I couldn't eat for about 24 hours after my three visits to the buffet. Seriously.
- A week later, for my birthday, the same group of friends reconvened (sans children) at Petit Louis. I know there's a little bit of Wolf-Foreman backlash out there, but I just don't feel it. At least not when it comes to Petit Louis (I'll admit I haven't been to all their places). Every meal I've ever had at Petit Louis has been spot on, the service is always fantastic, and I find their prices really pretty reasonable, all things considered. Between the six of us, we ordered a lot of things, but I'd say my highlights were all on my plate: escargots, the duck confit (which I order every time Cooper doesn't) and poached pears for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Fortunately, I'll be going back for lunch with my mom, sister and grandmother on Friday. And Dixon. Hoping for his best behavior.
- On my actual birthday, my parents and brother and sister joined Cooper and Dixon for my annual ritual: McGarveys. We had lunch (crab dip, oysters, a crab cake for me, plus more than a few Aviators), then my parents took Dixon home for a nap while the rest of us stayed to hang out. After a few hours of holding court at the back of the bar, we moved on to Bangkok Kitchen, where I closed out my big day by ordering basically the whole menu, capped off with the crispy duck. As Ice Cube would say, it was a good day.
- Earlier in the month, I did some shopping in Hampden, including a trip to Ma Petite Shoe for some gifts (there was also a lunch at Golden West that I won't write about - food was good, baby was bad). I left with a variety of Vosges chocolate bars and fortunately, some were for Cooper, so I got to share. I'm torn between favorites: Mo's Bacon Bar and the Red Fire Bar are both amazing. It's easy to forget just how far a little bit of really good chocolate can last.
- Finally, I feel like I need to offer up a big, huge THANK YOU to everybody at every Atwater's location. Since the kitchen disappeared, we've been eating a ton of their soups and salads and it is just so nice to have carry-out options that are convenient, interesting and tasty. Not to mention that I feel good about every dollar I spend there, since I know the company is dedicated to local foods of the best kind.
So there it is: a month of really great eating, topped off by a day of nursing everyone back to health. So now I'm taking it easy myself. And trying to decide what's for dinner tonight.