Jan. 22nd, 2013

julian_griffith: (Default)
Or, Julian Griffith Cannot Ever Stop Being A Nerd.

Not that this should surprise anyone. I spent the weekend at Arisia, a Boston-area science fiction convention. Most of the time, I was running around dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange (I went to [livejournal.com profile] ceciliatan 's Hogwarts Alumni Party in that outfit), or a female version of Captain Jack Harkness, or The Doctor's Wife (the TARDIS, in human female form), or a pin-up style Naughty Nurse (it's to promote the blood drive, so it's cheesecake for a cause), or, for five minutes on stage, a genderswapped Loki in a corset, boots, and a cape (again, promoting the blood drive, and I got to let my inner Frank N. Furter out to play). So, I think "nerd" is a given.

But Arisia is also my anniversary with my boyfriend (well, if you date it from our first kiss, which makes it convenient). And we had that and the novel to celebrate, so we went to Craigie on Main, which is one of the most amazing restaurants going, as far as I'm concerned.

Okay, we did not change out of our costumes, but as he was the Tenth Doctor, and my Fem!Jack outfit was built around a pencil skirt, we mostly looked like people and not complete dorks. It was better than last year where I'd forgotten normal clothes besides the jeans, T-shirt, and hoodie I bring to wear when I head home, and wound up going out to Legal Test Kitchen in the scruffed-up, blue-dyed wedding dress I used for my TARDIS costume. Oops.

Anyway. So. Craigie on Main. Where I start looking through the drinks menu, because they always have such fascinating inventions, and I notice that one of the cocktails uses arrack.

The question becomes, which arrack? Because there is a Middle Eastern licorice-flavored kind, which would be horrible because it's licorice (I don't even like absinthe, unless it has very prominent herbal flavors to compensate), and there's a Scandinavian kind, which has caraway, which would be fine, but then... there's Batavia arrack. Which is THE arrack of arrack-punch. And I meant to ask, except I decided to flip to the "spirits" part of the drinks menu, and there it was: BATAVIA ARRACK. Which I had never tasted before, and had never even been able to find.

So I said to hell with the mixed drink, and ordered just that. And explained to the nice lady tending bar why I was so excited. And she was very sweet, and handed over the bottle for me to look at, and listened to me babble a bit about the novel. (We were eating at the bar, because we hadn't made reservations. Boyfriend is a lovely person, but reservations aren't his strong point. Not that I mind eating at the bar there.) And at the end of the meal she invented an after-dinner drink just for us, on a sort of Napoleonic theme, she said, based around Calvados and I honestly forget what else, because I was giddy with the arrack and the delicious food and the glass of wine I had with dinner and the general celebration. Probably a little wired from the espresso in the affogato I had for dessert, too. Oh, and the three hours' sleep the previous night... typical convention stuff.

During the course of the meal, I mentioned that I had written the anniversary dinner we'd had two years ago into the novel. She encouraged me to send them the excerpt, so that's what I just did, over at the restaurant's website. Here's what it looks like:

The remains of their dinner sat before them. Once again, Rockingham reflected on the happy circumstance of the 43rd being stationed in Guernsey, where even the humblest cooks followed the French manner. The roast chicken had been savoury with herbs, with the last of the winter's brussels sprouts cooked in the drippings, the marrowbones had been done to melting perfection, and the plate of forcemeats - duck, and pork, and goose liver - had been seasoned with consummate skill. They were lingering now over jam tarts and an apple brandy that had certainly been smuggled, but was good enough to make that inconvenient fact worth ignoring.
You can spot the roast chicken and the assiette of house-made terrines on their menu. The brussels sprouts and marrowbones were off-menu specials, and they had them again this year, but I wanted to try other things, as I so rarely get the chance.

Clearly, I am going to have to write the crispy-fried smelts with squid ink anchoade that I had for my starter this time into the sequel!





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