Gratuitous dinners for dear friends

If you’ve ever turned down an invitation for dinner at my house, here’s a sample of what you missed. Img_3858

Cream of garlic soup, a la Susan Spicer’s "Bayona" in New Orleans

Mustard crusted rack of lamb from Stephen Raichlin’s "How to Grill".

Chocolate volcano (chocolate fondant) with candied and chocolate-dipped grapefruit peels, as recipied by Jacques Torres, master of all things chocolate.

The volcano, pictured at right, has been unanimously voted as my most brilliant masterpiece. Img_3854 Withe the delicious candied grapefruit peels as garnishes, the aesthetic brilliance of my pastry bag’s star tip, and the soft, gooey chocolate center underneath my delicious chocolate sauce has left guests gasping.

Refuse your next invitation at you own risk.

Jennifer, who is responsible for Sarah and I having met, is here for the Grokster hearing and she needed to be spoiled.  I’ve known Jennifer for over ten years, and Sarah has known her for almost thirty.  We both appreciate old friends and can’t resist showering them with generosity.

Img_3840The other night we gave the same treatment to our friend Nicola, for her fortieth birthday.  An excellent piece of tenderloin, three bottles of wine, and then the drunken backgammon trash talking started.  Nicola’s husband Richard is an aggressive backgammon player, someone I’ve never been able to beat.  But he has a weakness, and when I discovered it and exploited it I managed to win two seven point matches in a row, one of them in a single game.  And all that after splitting my third bottle of wine.

I love backgammon, though I think it’s even more of a game of chance than poker.  All information is available to both players, and almost everything is determined by the dice.  I love it, though.  Backgammon is to me, like poker, person-to-person competitiveness personified.  The game is endlessly complex, and a short session playing against the hyper-aggressive gnu backgammon computer will show you the difference that skill makes.

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