Twice-Cooked Five-Spice Lamb with Red Chile & Day Drinking

Back in the days of braising weather, the routine would be that I did the meat braising before Emily arrived an hour or so before serving time. Then Emily prepped and made the side dish, while I made drinks for us to sip on while cooking. For the evening of lamb shanks 2.0, Emily came over to braise with me which left us about two hours with nothing to do while the lamb simmered away. Together with roommate Alex we decided to grab a few drinks at The Passenger, Alex and my favorite bar of all time and, conveniently enough, the bar that is closest to our apartment. We set the stove top to low, prayed that the apartment wouldn’t blow up while we were away, and made the early evening trek to the Passenger.

I took advantage of the light crowd and the early drinking hour and ordered a Corpse Reviver #2, a tart gin based drink with equal parts cointreau, lillet blanc, lemon juice and a dash of absinthe. After the first round of drinks, the three of us felt a little hungry so we asked for an order of beef jerky with our second round. I love gin and all but my heart belongs to whiskey so I asked for a manhattan made with Jefferson’s Rye. Beef jerky and a manhattan, a pairing after my own heart.

After two rounds, we called it quits and headed back to the apartment to finish making our meal. We were happy to find the apartment just as we left it, except it smelled even more aromatic from the braising lamb shanks. Alex and Emily got to work making stir-fried baby bok choy with shitake mushrooms while I made fried rice to soak up the sauce of the lamb shanks. Soon enough, we were ready to plow into our meals. Our efforts, both sober and not as sober, produced one of the best Sunday dinners of 2012 to date.

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Turning 30

I turned 30 two weeks ago. I am not one of those people who dreaded turning 30, although I wasn’t particularly excited about it either. On one hand, I’m glad my twenties are behind me. Although I had a lot of fun, my early twenties were pretty unstable and at times a little messy. On the other hand, in turning 30 I had to look adulthood in the face and figure out what I am doing with my life.

Anyway, my gift to myself this year was to shove all these existential questions aside and get down to the business of celebrating in style. Because I have great and patient friends who admirably tolerate and indulge in my crazy desires, I turned my 30th birthday party into a three-day festival of gluttony.

After a crazy week at work, I flew out of the office as soon as the clock hit 6:00pm in order to meet Pete and Emily at the Kennedy Center for some National Symphony Orchestra action. One of our running pals works at the Kennedy Center and offered us comp tickets for that evening’s performance as it was undersold. On the program was Strauss’ Metamorphosen and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, the Eroica. Beethoven is my favorite composer of all time and the Eroica may be my favorite symphony of all time. The NSO’s performance was really outstanding and got my birthday celebration off to a great start.

Me, Pete, & Emily at a previous NSO concert

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