Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Best Gift is Time Spent with Friends

Once a person heads into middle age, it seems to more and more difficult to buy gifts for one's friends. They don't need anything, and anything they want, they just buy for themselves before their birthdays or other gift-giving holidays roll around. So more often than not, my local friends and I tend to give each other experiences in lieu of material goods. And this year, my friends, Lee Ann and June, outdid themselves!

In December, they asked me and another friend, Vicky, out to lunch and then presented us with these MAGNIFIQUE baskets filled with lots of goodies from Quebec: Maple leaf cookies and cookies with the Chateau Frontenac embossed in chocolate, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Whippets (like Canadian Mallowmars), and even a can of yellow pea soup (it's traditional--don't ask). But the best thing in the basket was a handmade coupon for dinner and a play in Montreal!

So yesterday, we finally took ourselves north to see The Book of Bob at The Centaur (the staging was inventive, but the play was just so-so), and then we had dinner afterwards at a nice wine bar in Old Montreal called Modavie. Everything we had was tasty, but the salad that June ordered looked especially scrumptious. The menu said it was made with frisee (which is why I didn't order it--I'm not a fan of bitter, spiky greens), but it came with mixed greens, lardons (crispy fried pork bits), and a softly poached egg on top. It looked incredible, and I thought, "Why can't I make this for myself at home?"

So...I did. I used smoky bacon ends from Oscar's Smokehouse, and though I admit, my freeform egg poaching skills are pathetic, a drizzle of Caesar vinaigrette covers a multitude of unsightly eggy sins. DECADENT and DELISH!

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