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my birthday dinner

Tonight as is our custom, Robert took me to dinner to celebrate my birthday. Yes, it was several weeks ago, but that is another part the custom. We went to Salts, a small excellent restaurant in Cambridge. This was the site of our wedding dinner on Aug 4, 2004 and we hadn't returned since then - pity because it is so good.

Their signature dish is roast boneless duck for two which is what we had back on that occasion. Since our table was next to a carving table we got to see them serving quite a few instances of this dish and they usually left the platter with some of the duck on that table. I said that if this were a sitcom, we would reach over and sample a piece and then something dire would probably happen, but we didn't do that.

The reservation was in the name Alexander, our alligator, and I quipped that I we should have guinea pig, since Alexander used to always threaten to eat our guinea pigs (who have no names because they can't remember them).

Actually I had a sashimi of some hawaiian fish with pluot (a form of plum) and a nice dish called a Naverin of porcelot in a small iron pot with a confit on the side. Robert had a squash soup with squab and the porcelot. We had glasses of white and red wine as suggested by the waiter. I could get these facts right if they updated the web site from the summer menu, but... For desert we split a lemon soufflé tart and a Torchon of chocolat with ice cream on the side.

Another nice feature of this restaurant is that the portions are quite reasonably sized and not gigantic like some places. And the service was excellent. There were 4, sometimes 5 people working the dining room which only has about a dozen tables.

The tea I ordered came in a proper ceramic pot with an interesting metal lid with a generous amount of tea leaves in it (yes, I looked). It was lemon verbena tea. It often surprises me when we go to a fancy restaurant and they bring out a box of tea bags and a metal pot of not very hot water. I did write to Allison Arnett, the now retired Boston Globe restaurant reviewer, suggesting that she cover the tea service since it was a good measure of completeness in quality for a restaurant' service. She agreed with me about the matter of principal but said she would only sometimes mention it. She retired soon after - not as a consequence of bad tea reporting I'm sure, but a pension sweetener to allow the Globe to reduce staff.

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What is "Naverin of porcelot"? (fish, meat, poultry...?)
Oh, and technically, I believe a pluot is a plum-apricot cross.

It sounds like a lovely meal to mark the occasion.

It would help if I spelled things correctly.

A Navarin is usually a mutton stew.

A porcelet is a little pig.

And in case you're wondering how to make a mutton stew out of a little pig, I'm assuming that they've chosen to extend the meaning of the term to any meat. There's a little more French on the Salts menu than is strictly necessary.

The navarin was in a little pot with small onions (I got to eat all the onions because John avoids them these days) and matsutake mushrooms, which we both originally read as "matsuzaka" for some reason.

which we both originally read as "matsuzaka" for some reason.

I can't imagine why.

...and as I was remiss in wishing you a Happy Birthday (not reading), I iwll say i'm glad you had a good Birthday Dinner :-)

It's a plum/apricot cross, I think.

Sounds very yummy, anyhow. Belatedly, Happy birthday!

Tonight as is our custom, Robert took me to dinner to celebrate my birthday. Yes, it was several weeks ago, but that is another part the custom.

Jeez, you guys really are us. Or vice versa.

Mike's birthday: early September. Mike's birthday meal: pending. To be followed by Sim's anniversary (early October) meal, Mike's anniversary (same day, coincidentally) meal, and Sim's birthday (late October) meal.

Sometimes we drag this stuff out until well into the following year.

Anyways, happy belated birthday!

The first pluots I had were sublimely wonderful, but that was just an introductory ruse by whoever was starting to distribute them locally (about 10 years ago?). Since then they've gone the way of most supermarket fruit -- sometimes ok, sometimes good, never like the sublime tasty ripe off-the-tree stuff at the farmer's market.

They sometimes market them as "dinosaur eggs", which I admit does make them more appetizing.

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