Breaking bread with old friends has to be one of the greats pleasures in my life. I love sitting around the table, eating, drinking, and chatting with old friends. There are some old friends from high school and college, who I adore, and still love to break bread with them. Back in the school days, we were poor students, and all we really had to offer was good conversation, and time to try to "solve all the world's problems." Most of those old friends I do not get to see too often, but when we do, we pick up our conversations where we left off the last time. Then there are some older friends from grammar school, who I really do not get to see because I left the West Coast, and most of them stayed West, and I do not get out there much. There is one dear friend, my longest continuously running friends, who I just adore, and have not seen in a very very long time. Over the years, we kept in touch during spring breaks (I would spring break in CA and she would family vacation in Boston), we call every once in a while by phone, and we hand wrote letters before email, text and facebook (for you kiddos out there, letters are like long text messages written on paper, and you take the paper to the post office, and the post office is like your cell phone and delivers your message). Not so long ago, we even had a virtual exercise club with a few women friends were running marathon and the like, and we would check in every week and chat about our successes.
Then last year I read this article in The Guardian, and lists the top 5 regrets the dying
, of which one is, "I wish I stayed in touch with my friends." My old grammar school friend, who I met really early on, is in San Diego, and it was time for me to see her in person, and really stay connected with her.
|braised and glazed pork belly and pickled veggies|
For our first meal together, we decided on the Prep Kitchen in Del Mar. The Prep Kitchen Del Mar just opened a couple months earlier, and it is known for good local organic ingredients, casual atmosphere, and great views of the Pacific Ocean. The Prep Kitchen Del Mar seems to have more seating outside than inside because the weather is always nice in S.D. Sitting outside (sort of) reminded me having grammar school lunch with my old pal. Our school did not have indoor seating, only outdoor. When the weather is perfect, why would you want to lunch inside? Also it was fairly easy for the custodial staff to hose off the benches, and be ready for the next day. As we sat outside, we had a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean. Del Mar is so chilled out, that it is really nice and sweet to sit at the Prep Kitchen and enjoy the view with my old buddy.
We ordered a bunch of stuff. We got a home made pasta dish, Niman's Ranch pork chop, braised pork belly, salad, and octopus. We shared, tasted and chatted. The Niman's Ranch pork was outstanding, moist, flavorful and hormone free. The pork belly by definition is a fatty cut of pork, so the local pickled veggies was a perfect match to help lighten up the pork fat. Also there was a sweet glaze on the pork, which also paired well with the sour crunch veggies. The fresh made pasta was wonderful with a pork sauce which had a delicious umami gravy quality to it. Here in Nashville, there is the best tender octopus ever made right here at City House
, and Tandy Wilson told me the trick to cooking tender octopus and it is time and other braising ingredients. I like Tandy's preparatin which is braised and then wood oven finished to crisp up the outside, and then usually served with some mild tasting beans or peas, so the octopus flavor is not overwhelmed. When I got the octopus at Prep Kitchen, it is grilled octopus which was way chewier than I am used to, but I like octopus tender or not. Also, the octopus came with a fairly heavily flavored dried chorizo sauce. The heavy sauce is not what I am used to either. With the other heavier dishes, braised pork belly, pork chop and pasta, I was hoping the octopus would be a lighter seafood dish. The octopus had a nice flavor, but probably was not the best choice with the other dishes we ordered for the table. Next time, and I hope there is a next time, we will order more lighter dishes to pair better with the heavier ones.
The evening was getting on, and my friend had to get ready to work the next morning, so we called it a night. It was nice to catch up. It was nice to dine and break bread with my oldest friend. It was nice to hear about her family, and how they are doing. I look forward to the next time we get to break bread.