Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pool It Together

I have the distinct privilege of housesitting for my very good family friends, Smidge and Jest. I have known them for, well, ever. Not only do they have big hearts, beauty, brains, and badinage, but a pool, too.
The pool is not too big.
It's not too small.
It's juuuust right.

And what makes it even more right is being surrounded by lush greenery and my own thoughts.
Makes me feel like a kid to swim real hard and do underwater handstands.
It doesn't get much better than that in the late days of August.
It's the "low sound of August," as my mother would say.
My "Auntie" Maggie calls it "Limbo" after an old article in Down East magazine.

The sounds of the bugs are louder.
Tans have been established.
Tomato growth is slower.
It's a time to sit and reflect in our abundant gardens (or loaned pools) and be appreciative.
A time to look ahead to crisp Fall days and the projects in our heads.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Eat. Drink. Be Merry.

We went to Talula's Table.
But we didn't sit at "The" table.
Instead, we were afforded the incredible luxury of sitting at the "Kitchen Table."

If you are unfamiliar with Talula's, it is a gem of gastronomical excitement and decadent simplicity in the heart of Kennett Square. Normally, one must call one year in advance (to the day no less) for a reservation (with a brilliant & seasonal fixed menu) at the Farm Table!
In the evening, the Farm Table sits handsomely among the stores perfectly packaged edibles underneath a warm dramatic light. I've wanted to sit there for so long. So when I was in the store one afternoon looking for some bangeroni lunch fare, I got talking to one of the nice people on staff there. Eventually she let me in on one of their best kept secrets: The Kitchen Table. Well, it wasn't the table I had imagined dining upon, but anything would do.
Kitchen Table?
Having worked in the restaurant business for over a decade, I thought it might be nice to be behind the scenes once again even if I was getting all the luxury out of it and none of the burns, spillage, or balancing acts.

So, I got on a list and eventually I got a call.

Of course I jumped at the chance and got my fellow food-minded friends and husband on board.
A few days before the big night out they sent a list of the courses and all the suggested wine pairings. (It's a BYOB).
My one of two bestest wine aficionado friends picked up comparable wines at a much more palatable cost and we were set!

It felt slightly magical to walk from my friend's house a few blocks away, in to a dusky downtown Kennett, through a storefront that read "Closed."
We were warmly greeted and to my surprise were butlered two amuse-bouche separately (barbeque pulled pork on a biscuit and crab salad on a firm corn pudding) and a melon tea palette-cleanser, all the while enjoying a view of town and sipping champagne. I sorta felt like I was playing dress-up, like I was too young for this behavior - which made it all that more fun!

After our delicious teasers, we were led back into the kitchen. We walked past the large Farm table in the middle of the store where ten diners sat quietly in anticipation of their first course.
It felt like we were doing something wrong as our group nodded our heads to their group as we walked by.

When we got in through the doors of the kitchen a large industrial steel table with a butcher block top sat large and happily off in the corner underneath a special little pendant light.

We got to watch the food being made.
We got to interact with our chefs.
We got to interact with our servers.
We got to laugh and be loud.
We got to listen to music with the volume turned up.
We got to be quiet and chew with adoration.
We got to enjoy every person in the kitchen's company as much as we did the food.

It was really an amazing place to be, that kitchen.
And as sophisticated as all the food (and wine) was, I think we all felt pretty juvenile that night - like it was Thanksgiving and we were at the kids table in the kitchen, while all the adults were out in the dining room.
I'm really not sure if I'm even ready for the dining room yet.