Sunday, December 12, 2010


Joe's done with his first semester of grad school!!! Wooooohoooo! After a fall full of weekends spent reading and writing around the clock, yesterday at 4pm, I got a g-chat saying he had finished his day of final assessments - I swear I heard angels rejoicing! I couldn't be more proud of that guy and I couldn't be more excited for him to finally get the chance to get some rest in the next couple of weeks and for us to get to see a little bit more of each other.

Last night his 'cohort' had a celebration - I hadn't met any of his classmates yet but I had heard lots of stories and it was so nice to finally be able to put names with faces. And gosh on top of that, everyone was just so genuine and friendly - combine that with an overwhelming feeling of relief with Joe being done and I was just bubbling over.

After a little meetin' and greetin' with the PLI folks, Joe and I headed off for a celebration dinner of our own. ooooooh and boy was it a fun one. We had reservations at a restaurant in Berkeley that we've been wanting to try for a few months - Gather. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this place - if you find yourself in Berkeley any time soon - I definitely recommend it. The whole place has been decorated with re-purposed materials - the booth I sat on was made of old belts! and some of the tables, countertops were made with bleachers from a local gym. They are big on using local and in season ingredients which I totally dig too.

We started the meal off with a house specialty - the Vegan 'Charcuterie'. Four words - Declious and Super-creative! This included the following served on a beautiful wooden cutting board;
1) mushroom tartar, parsnip 'lardo' wth roasted garlic,
2) pear 'carpaccio', smoked persimmon and celery root - the smokiness of this dish combined with the sweet, thing pear was out of this world!
3) Grilled watermelon radish 'steak' leek 'butter' horseradish salsa verde and pomegranate,
4) oyster mushroom crudo, 'tonnato' sauce and avocado in a crispy sea leaf palm 5) roasted carnival squash, sunchoke cashew bay leaf sauce, smoked maple.

Holy Appetizer!!! I'm a dummy and forgot my camera so no pics of this unfortunatley. Joe then ordered the boar with braised fagiole beans (deelish - they were braised in bacon skin and chicken stock) and fennel salad. I ordered the mushroom pizza - both ah-mazing! I can't imagine any better place or way to celebrate all of Joe's hard work this fall!

Today has been simply heavenly - an entire day with no pressing work to get done. We woke up this morning and headed out to our favorite east bay running spot and the site of our first date (which was a year ago next Sunday!). Yup, I love that this is our east bay running spot - it's just so beautiful and conjures up all kinds of fun memories!!! And well, you'd think that since we had the whole day we'd do something wild and crazy, but we once again found ourselves in the kitchen whipping up some orange marmalade and a big pot of chicken soup. And I have to say, I wouldn't have had today any other way - I just love that we enjoy spending time creating things together in the kitchen to share.

Here's a couple pics of the orange marmalade we made today - the color makes my heart sing - nice and bright and cheery for a cold winter morning :).

Happy week of holiday merrymaking!

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