My day

Readers, today was lovely. Has been lovely. As it stands, my dear hubs is opening a 5 putt Tokai for a celebratory nightcap. Years ago when we lived in Amsterdam, we traveled through Eastern Europe and had a hell of a time in Budapest. If ever you go, please, please dine at Cafe Pierrot if it's still open. Up on a hill, beautifully appointed, we ate at it two days in a row, and then our dear friends dined there a couple years later with similarly rave reviews. When we discovered it, Hungary had just joined the E.U. and we had such an interesting conversation with our waiter who felt hopeful yet truly concerned that Hungary would lose some of its sense of identity by becoming part of a larger, heterogeneous whole. It was definitely a stage of transition in Budapest; some streets were dolled up to the nines, others still unpaved, pre-now as it was then. The train station was totally shady. I'm a seasoned traveler and like a bit of mystery but this place was "get me out of here" wild. God, those days seem like eons ago, another life, a totally different one. In any case, my birthday breakfast with friends was amazing. Foodie friend C went to town, and the spread was ridiculously good. I'd purposely held off on eating a thing before I headed over, so by 9:15a, I was ready to chow. And did. Homemade granola, lemon curd, ginger scones, cinnamon-sugar breakfast puffs. And she'd called together a posse of my dearest pals. Wow. Then to a massage, some pick-ups and drop-offs, a pedicure, the most irritating trip to the market EVER and then home to cook. Because I wanted to.

Rapini with vin cotto: insane! Dates stuffed with mascarpone and goat cheese, wrapped in prosciutto, broiled and then sprinkled with chopped marconas and more of the vin cotto? Terrif! Truffle Tremor cheese with melba crisps? I can't speak!

rapini with vin cotto

cheese-stuffed dates with prosciutto and marconas

Thank you to everyone who wrote such sweet Happy Birthdays to me today!