Loaded in a taxi to maximum capacity, we arrived at Mike and Val’s front gate to open arms and the red carpet treatment. After warm greetings and a few minutes to catch up, they announced they were throwing a party in our honor! Although the last thing I wanted to do was be social after 22 hours on a crowded bus, in hindsight it was the best plan, otherwise we would have headed straight for the bed and crashed.
They wanted us to have some local contacts while they were away, so they invited two of their closest friends, Michael, a writer from LA, and Holly, who moved to San Miguel 22 years ago to start a catering business. Both self-proclaimed “foodies,” along with Michael’s penchant for out-of-this world cooking in his state-of-the art “teaching kitchen,” we knew we were in for a culinary delight!
Leftovers don’t look like this!
Michael claimed the reason for the dinner party was to “clean out his refrigerator,” yet the ingredients seemed perfectly paired as one by one, the scrumptious dishes appeared; citrus grilled chicken, braised Napa cabbage with black sesame seeds, roasted red and yellow peppers with caramelized onions, sautéed bok choy with cob-shaved sweet corn, roasted cauliflower with slivered almonds, and an arugula salad with bleu cheese and roasted beets. Dessert was a warm brownie with pistachio ice cream, sprinkled with grated orange rind. No other words to say but “Simply sublime!!”
The List of Lists
We spent the remainder of the evening going over the many lists of “how to’s,” which include landscape love for about 100 tropical patio plants, the care and feeding of Oliver the Cat, and all the new “not to be missed” restaurants, gourmet shops, and hot spots in town.
After dinner, the kitchen now cleaned and quiet, Michael decides he has too much nervous energy before his trip to Italy the next day, so he whips up some petite tarts filled with homemade Moroccan tomato jam and cream cheese. The man doesn’t stop! But there was no staying awake any longer, as Don and I both crashed for a good 10 hours sleep.